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Round Up: PA & ESRB, T2's Taming, FTC Hot Coffee Report

Today's round up includes news of the launch of a new ESRB public service announcement, Take-Two softening its edge, and the forthcoming findings from the Federal Trade C...
Today's round up includes news of the launch of a new ESRB public service announcement, Take-Two softening its edge, and the forthcoming findings from the Federal Trade Commission regarding Rockstar's alleged deception in the Hot Coffee scandal, as well as the latest GameSetWatch posts, product news, Letters to the Editor, Serious Games Source news, and Gamasutra job postings. - The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) today announced the launch of a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) advertising campaign developed specifically for the video gaming community by the creative team behind the popular webcomic, Penny Arcade. The campaign is comprised of five print ads that include original characters representing the ages of various rating categories, and will be rolled out sequentially throughout the summer. The first ad in the series features a character named Sarah, a girl around age seven or eight that loves video games and whose parents use the ESRB ratings to help them choose ones they are comfortable with. The second ad, which will be released along with the first, introduces readers to the Andersons, a dad and son who play games together. The series progresses with characters of increasing ages and seeks to capture the way each age group views games and ratings. - A report by CNN Money indicates that in the wake of public scrutiny and concern over video game violence and sexual content spurred by 2005's Hot Coffee scandal, video game publisher Take-Two has backed away from allying itself controversial video game titles. Two titles in particular highlighted by the article include Bully, a game that will let players control a "troublesome schoolboy who stands up to bullies and teachers and pulls pranks around campus", and Snow, a real-time strategy game that lets players "advance from a marijuana smuggler to drug kingpin, managing an international smuggling operation." Snow, CNN Money's Chris Morris has confirmed, has been cancelled for unknown reasons, while Bully, which is still under development by Rockstar, has been kept relatively under wraps following public outcry regarding the game's subject matter since it was first announced. - A new editorial by the Washington Times discusses the recent popularity of video game legislation from the position of such laws being unnecessary. The article also highlights the fact that the Federal Trade Commission's report regarding last year's Hot Coffee scandal, which arose in the wake of hidden sexual content which was uncovered within Take-Two and Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and which eventually led to the game having to be re-branded with an Adults Only rating by the ESRB, is "expected shortly". - The latest updates on Gamasutra sister weblog GameSetWatch include a news of commentary regarding Kevin Gifford's recent article on the state of U.S. game mags, a collection of animated Sega logos from the Genesis era, and a look back at Novotrade International's Ecco the Dolphin. - Also updated today: Serious Games Source news on training for Catholic educators regarding an educational game, and a new interview with Pragmatic Solutions, plus Gamasutra product news regarding Cimtek and National Instruments collaborating on Xbox 360 testing, four new Letters to the Editor, each concerning Ernest Adams' recent column on 'Perlin's Law', and the latest Gamasutra job postings, featuring openings from Crytek GmbH, DIC Entertainment Corporation, Electronic Arts, Factor 5, Flagship Studios, Game Trust, Konami Digital Entertainment, Midway Games, Obsidian Entertainment, Radical Entertainment, Totally Games, and Vivendi Games.

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