The Entertainment Software Ratings Board -- known to you and I as the ESRB -- has come under fire from one its own ex-employees, who has provided a little rating of his own regarding the company's practices.
Jerry Bonner worked as a full-time rater within the ESRB for six months and has criticized the way the organization does its job with several key factors that need changing. His complaints include the suggestion that the ESRB needs to play the games it rates and, more unnervingly, the accusation that sequels are not judged on their own merits, but rather the merits of games that came before it. Next-Generation provides a summary of Bonner's key issues:
The last two issues are, for me, the key ones. It's pretty obvious that sequels to controversial games get viewed with a more disparaging eye by censors (for instance, had Stephan Pakeerah not had his death falsely attributed to Mahunt, I believe British stores would be selling Manhunt 2 right now), and above all, this need that ratings boards seem to have to shroud themselves in secrecy ought to stop. Dodging questions and acting like a clandestine Illuminati is not going to help the ESRB or, in fact, any rating body being scrutinized by power-hungry politicians. While I agree with Next-Gen that the above points won't stop government busybodies from wanting to control the ESRB's work, I do believe that his suggestions certainly won't hurt, and might at least endear the rest of us some more to the group.
ESRB boss Patricia Vance had a few things to say about Bonner's statements herself, and you can view her counterpoints after the jump.
Patricia Vance's response to Bonner's criticism: