The news updates from the geeks eye
Published on March 7, 2004 By Austin Gage In Action
On February 3, 2004 the Ontario Film Review Board took the rare step of giving a videogame an R rating. The review board usually allows the industry’s own ESRB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board) rating to be used in almost all cases. The game, “Manhunt” was reviewed after it was brought to their attention. The R rating was applied when the review board found the game to contain heavy violence and gore, as well as mutilation and blood letting.

The ESRB rating is usually more than good enough for the Review Board, but the system isn’t an enforceable standard under Ontario Law. The ESRB is meant as a guideline for parents purchasing games for their children but that won’t stop unscrupulous retailers from selling the product to those under 17. The R rating given by the Review Board is very enforceable, as anybody caught selling the product to a minor faces fines of $25,000 Canadian and jail time of up to a year for the individual, and a corporation can be fined $100,000 per offence. Retailers are asked to bring games to the attention of the review board that might need stronger classification, which appears to be why Manhunt was rated. It is possible that the game will now have to be relabeled with a sticker indicating it is restricted to players over the age of 18.

When asked to comment the game’s producer Rockstar games had this to say:
"Rockstar Games is appealing the decision with the Ontario Film Review Board."

While this is the first time the Ontario Government has stuck the R rating on a videogame, it is too early to tell if this is going to become a common thing. Manhunt already has a checkered past, having been banned completely in New Zealand.

ESRB Rating for the Game:

MATURE (17+)

Blood and gore
Intense Violence
Strong Language

Ontario Film Review Board Rating for the game:

RESTRICTED

BRUTAL VIOLENCE
COARSE LANGUAGE
VIOLENCE
CRUDE CONTENT
GORY SCENES

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