Politics makes strange bedfellows.
Yesterday, an ESRB press release trumpeted yet another partnership with a state-level politician. This time it is State Senator Glenn Coffee (R) who is teaming up with the video game industry's content rating board on a parental awareness program.
In partnering with the ESRB Coffee follows in the footsteps of the governor of Washington as well as the attorneys general of Utah, Georgia, Rhode Island, and Idaho.
The fascinating thing about Coffee's new friendship with the ESRB is that he was one of the sponsors of Oklahoma's 2006 video game law, a measure bitterly opposed by the industry. Coffee's version passed the Oklahoma Senate 47-0 enroute to approval by Gov. Brad Henry. The law was ultimately ruled unconstitutional by a federal court judge.
What a difference a year - and a losing court battle - makes. Coffee is quoted in yesterday's ESRB press release:
"As a father, I know about the tough decisions parents face today about the media they allow into their homes. The simple fact is that there's no substitute for parental involvement and responsibility. It's important that parents play an active role in choosing games for their children, just as it's important for Oklahoma retailers to comply with their store policies that restrict the sale or rental of M-rated games to those under 17.
ESRB ratings are an effective and informative resource that allows parents to decide if the video game their child wants is appropriate. I'm proud to be educating parents in our state about the tools at their disposal."