For those of you who still think that HALO is something that hovers over an angel, allow me to translate. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is “a non-profit, self-regulatory body that independently assigns ratings, enforces advertising guidelines, and helps ensure responsible online privacy practices for the interactive entertainment software industry.” In other words, they’re a self-anointed videogame industry watchdog designed to keep government regulators at bay. Innex Innovative Accessories makes videogame peripherals such as headphones with built-in microphones, controllers, golf clubs and guns. Strangely, the five weapons they sell aren’t listed in the “browse by type” menu. So . . .

Innex is introducing the “RapidShot” for the Wii game system, modeled after the Heckler & Koch MP5. Because it looks a LOT like an MP5, because there could be a serious shitstorm if some sad you-know-what terrorizes a non-gamer with the RapidShot and/or gets wasted by an oblivious po-po, the company sought and received the ESRB’s blessing. Well, a rating anyway.

The ESRB gave Innex’s fake machine gun its maximum classification: M for Mature (17 and older). The RapidShot is the first peripheral that the non-profit gaming org (for them anyway) has ever rated.

The RapidsShot sports a blaze orange muzzle (Color No. 12199), as per the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, Title 15 Commerce and Foreign Trade, Section 1150.3, applicable to all replica firearms and toy guns.

Ahead of the RapidShot’s launch at today’s  E3 Expo in Los Angeles, Innex’s talking heads justified the love that dare not speak its name with a TANP (This Ain’t No Party) defense.

“Video games aren’t just for kids anymore,” said Titi Ngoy, president of Innex. Citing a recent study by the Pew Internet&American Life Project, Ngoy points out that more than half of U.S. adults play video games, and these adults compose a significant percentage of the $1.3 billion video game accessory market.“Graphics and stories are much more intense and mature than ever before,” continued Ngoy.“It’s about time a video game company delivered a realistic accessory to match that intensity.” . . .

John Drdek, Innex’s new marketing manager, and a reserve officer in the United States Navy, was brought on board to assist the final stages of the RapidShot release.“I am very familiar with military weaponry,” said Drdek.“Having trained with a real MP5, I can say that the RapidShot is the closest simulation to the real thing I’ve ever used.”

Though Innex holds an account with the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), they ultimately decided to apply their own warning label to the RapidShot packaging. “The ESRB had never dealt with anyone creating an age-restricted video game peripheral,” remarked Ngoy.“However, this is a very realistic combat accessory, and we want to ensure that parents and retailers understand that.”

Not to mention kids.

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