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Penny Arcade's ESRB Campaign 27

Posted by Zonk
from the branching-out dept.
Gamespot reports on the official unveiling of Penny Arcade's ESRB ad campaign. Announced previously on their site, and discussed again today, the images are intended to connect up the ratings brand with the average gamer. From the article: "The ESRB ads will not make use of Penny Arcade's existing stable of characters, choosing instead to focus on original characters designed by the comic's creators. The first two ads (pictured) will depict E-rated audiences with Sarah, a pink-haired girl 'around age seven or eight,' and The Andersons, a father-and-son pair enjoying a game together."
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Penny Arcade's ESRB Campaign

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  • by PSXer (854386) * <psxer@msfirefox.com> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @05:52PM (#15490907) Homepage
    The ESRB ads will not make use of Penny Arcade's existing stable of characters


    That's too bad. The Fruit Fucker [penny-arcade.com] would be perfect for AO rated games.
  • That they said "almost" all news sites he went to had mentioned it..
  • Considering the brand of humor used for PA, I think these ads actually have a chance of meaning something to the audience. Still waiting for the R and AO ads to appear in Playboy and Hustler though.
  • by Alaren (682568) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @06:31PM (#15491086)

    Not sure how to feel about this. I mean, I love the PA guys and I think that the ethical motives behind this campaign are sound. The ratings are there for a reason--namely, to help the consumer make educated choices.

    What I'm skeptical of is that this ad campaign is going to accomplish anything meaningful. Not because of any lack in the campaign itself, which looks beautiful and seems intelligently conceived, but because I don't think the people who will see these ads will be the least bit educated by them.

    The fact is, the ratings exist in a world where they largely function as intended. The people who are making a stink about game ratings right now? Yeah, they're freaking out because a couple of games that were rated M (17+) should have (they believe) been rated AO (18+). Because they bought their innocent 17-year-old a game full of occult references and blood or drug references and racism... but no one told them it had breasts! He was saving breasts for his 18th birthday!!!

    Okay, rant aside, all I can think is maybe the ESRB wants a little "positive PR" on the ratings issue? They keep touting this as an educational campaign, and I just don't see how that could possibly be the case. If you aren't familiar with the ratings system, surely it's because you either (A)don't care or (B)have no exposure to video games (not trying to offer a false choice here, that's just all I can come up with).

    I don't know. Maybe someone's mom is going to open up her latest copy of Reader's Digest and go, "Oh my gosh, is that what those little M's mean!?" But I just don't see it going down like that. Kudos to the PA guys for getting a piece of the ESRB's pie though.

    • Because they bought their innocent 17-year-old a game full of occult references and blood or drug references and racism... but no one told them it had breasts!

      Heh, reading this really struck a chord with me tonight. I went and saw The Omen in theatres with some friends (summary: It sucked. BADLY. Don't even bother renting it).
      Now this is a movie rife with references to the occult (the little boy is literally the SPAWN OF SATAN), and littered with BRUTAL death scenes. We're talkin one guy getting impaled b

    • The dumb thing about it is that it's directed at gamers (according to the first link in the summary). Don't gamers already know about the ESRB? And even if there's some that don't, wouldn't they just play the games before their kids to know if it was ok, and if they don't have kids does it really matter if they learn about the ESRB? It's non-gaming parents who don't realize there's games more violent than Tetris that need to be educated, not gamers. Although, appearently this campaign is pushing the "OK
      • The reason it is directed at gamers is because, at least according to a lot of internet rants I've read (hey, some are even in this thread!), gamers hate the ESRB. Yes the ESRB is flawed, arbitrary, sometimes manipulated for commericial purposes. By reminding people that 6-year-old girls play games too, it might clue in the people who are so quick to cry censorship and see only the bad things about the ESRB.

        Today's gamer demographic is much more diverse that it was 20 years ago. Game content is as diverse a
  • by Sheetrock (152993) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:10PM (#15491274) Homepage Journal

    The problem isn't about whether people are sufficiently aware of ESRB ratings. Movies have had ratings for decades, TV shows have a box in the upper left corner, CDs still come with 'Parental Advisory' stickers on them, and every game I've purchased in at least the last five years has had an ESRB rating on it. If you've got any concern about content (besides books) you're aware.

    The problem is that there are folks out there who want nobody to be able to consume content they deem objectionable. There is no middle ground or acceptable compromise for them. We've got chips in every TV out there and now in just about every gaming console but that's simply not good enough. Run all the advertising campaigns you want, it doesn't matter because they're irrelevant to the people causing the fuss.

    • by RsG (809189) on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:44PM (#15491426)
      I don't think it's the Jackass Thompsons of the world that this is aimed at.

      Look at it this way - parents understand what rated "R" means, because they themselves watch movies. They often don't understand what rated "M" means, because they've never played games. There are obviously exceptions (and I'm sure someone will post in a minute that they're a parent and also play games), but of course the people who play the games aren't the ones who support fucktards like Thompson.

      I've seen plenty of examples of parents buying games for their kids without checking the labels on them. At a guess those parents are the ones who simply aren't aware of the ESRB, and will go on to complain loudly to anyone who will listen that nobody told them that Gorefest 2K wasn't appropriate for a five year old. THESE are the people who need ad campaigns and efforts to raise their awareness of the ESRB labels. They are part of the problem, but unlike the puritans, they're a problem that can be solved.

      The puritans, the ones who want to ban anything that they don't like, can go fuck themselves. They can't dictate what other people play, read or watch without running up against the first amendment (or other free speach provisions in other democratic countries). They're a hopeless lot, so we might as well just try and ignore their shrill wailing.

      It's the people who are only interested in their own children, the ones who are rational, who need this kind of education. And if they take responsibility for screening their kids games, then the idiots like Jack Thompson will lose their only credible support base.
      • Unfortunately for your point, these comics don't describe the letter system at all.
        • True, but the person I was replying to was reffering to efforts to educate the public about the ESRB in general. His point was that educating them won't help sway the puritans (who are by and large complete idiots to begin with); my point was that it isn't the puritans who need to be swayed, it's the moderates (who often do not know of the ESRB). The comics are a part of a whole. The ESRB knows that it needs to make more people aware of what it does, and it's good to see them doing something about it.
        • Unfortunately for your point, these comics don't describe the letter system at all.

          I disagree. Although we haven't seen the M or AO rated yet, I think the idea of the comic is to present each character for each rating. These characters (and the way they are portrayed) are supposed to present to the viewer the age group the particular rating is for, and perhaps even why.

          There are explanations on the posters themselves (it was designed to be on magazines so people would turn turn the page around to read

      • Also one of the things that I found interesting is that if you read the text for the "Andersons" ad. It stresses that parents should be involved in *all* stages of the game, to include being beaten by their kids. I think the message that you can't read the rating then ignore the rest of the process is important. Now I'm enough of a misanthrope to assume that this message will be ignored. But I think putting the message that there is more to the process than the ratings is important. And who knows I might ju
  • Uhh.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by SocialEngineer (673690) <invertedpanda@gM ... com minus author> on Wednesday June 07, 2006 @07:26PM (#15491349) Homepage

    "We don't expect to ever be considered cool among gamers, but at the very least we want gamers to understand the purpose we serve," she continued. "After all, many of them will be parents one day, at which time we expect they will be far more appreciative of the tools we provide."

    If by "many" you mean "one or two".

    • Re:Uhh.. (Score:2, Funny)

      by Jtheletter (686279)
      If by "many" you mean "one or two".

      I sure hope there's two involved! Cloning ain't quite ready yet. ;)

    • Soooo, in my circle of gaming friends, 4 are parents, one's only 19 but gets more ass than a toilet seat, and one's the typical 24 year old virgin. I think your connection between gamer and cool is a bit dated.
  • HIDDEOUS typography.

    I'm sorry - you can't ask people to work to read something and expect any decent peneration. Great design - but lousy awareness building. This isn't design for design's sake - you have to do the basic legwork and then go from there. If you can't make it readable - go back to rasterbation, because it's poor design.
  • "The idea is that kids will actually be turning the page around in order to read the text" . I cant see kids actually doing this, kinda seems like a gimmick to me. Too much effort to take in adverstising ..
    • A kid who's too lazy to rotate his or her magazine 45 degrees is too lazy to have picked up the magazine in the first place. "What? You have to turn the pages yourself? There isn't, like, a button for that?"

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