ESRB Teams Up with Penny Arcade

At this year's E3, there were some posters on display featuring characters clearly drawn by Mike "Gabe" Krahulik of Penny Arcade. Each character's poster was labeled with one of the well known ESRB content ratings: E (Everyone), T (Teen), M (Mature), and so on. Now, the ESRB has sent out an announcement explaining the characters. Penny Arcade created the series of characters as part of a campaign by the ESRB to remind actual gamers of the purpose of ESRB ratings. "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," said ESRB president Patricia Vance. "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."
For the past several years, gamer magazines and websites have loyally and consistently supported ESRB PSA campaigns, with over 70 ads published generating 25 million impressions. However, game enthusiast publishers felt that the ESRB ads, which target parents, were somewhat disconnected to their readers and the editorial environment. The Penny Arcade campaign was developed with this expressed purpose in mind, and does not replace the existing ESRB OK to Play? ads, which will continue to appear in all non-game enthusiast media.

Only the first two ads were revealed alongside the announcement, both corresponding to the E (Everyone) rating: Sarah and The Andersons. Characters corresponding to the remaining ESRB ratings, most of which were on display at E3, will presumably be formally revealed in the near future.