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Default Next Gen - M-Rated Games Rapidly Declining

February 8th, 2008, 20:13
I remember an interview with the creator of the comic book character Spawn. He explained that he was unhappy with the theatrical version of the movie but that they didn't have much of a choice because the deal with the studio was that the movie should get a PG13 rating and the fact that the movie mostly took place at night, that the story included religious issues about Heaven and Hell and that there was an occasional swear word here and there was almost enough to miss the PG13 rating. Not violent scenes or sexual themes or the nature of evil or whatnot yet … just nighttime, the mention of the devil and a f*ck comment and you're aiming for the M rating.

Had it ONLY been about decapitations and/or a tit here and there, then that would be one thing, but when the topic of the story line, even if it is only in the form of narration, can influence the rating then it becomes increasingly hard to tell a "mature" story in a "mature" atmosphere in a believing manner without getting a mature rating.

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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February 8th, 2008, 20:47
Hm, I must admit that I was never interested in the comic "Spawn", all I saw was those ugly-looking action figures in some comic shops and that definitively drove me off, sorry.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 8th, 2008, 21:18
IMO Spawn was a ground-breaker back in the days…

The forces of heaven weren't really good - they were just nicer than the forces of hell… there wasn't one Angel (or devil) that I liked…

But I really liked the main-character, there was one great scene:

Spoiler


And I really like to have such options… a little bit of real justice

But the series got boring pretty soon, there was simply no progress in the story-line… one undead lonely warrior, somehow betrayed by everyone (his government, the devil, his best friend, his wive, somehow even by heaven…) trying to do mostly the right thing in a dark and bad world…

The Germans are a cruel race. Their operas last for six hours and they have no word for "fluffy".

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Last edited by Fenris; February 8th, 2008 at 21:24.
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February 8th, 2008, 21:21
The only time I recall caring about a game's rating was Mortal Kombat… back in 1992 or 1993 (Cant recall precisely) There was a big fuss over the ratings and the violence so kids who managed to get the game or rent it were cool . I was around 11 at the time and I think thats the only time I really cared about the rating of a game .

To be honest, I dont look much at the rating, although I am buying for myself in general… im sure if I were a parent or if I'd be buying the game for someone else that might factor into my choices..So It is relevant to have those ratings, to help people in general I guess…

But if it comes to myself I never base my choice on that.. I couldnt care less about the rating, as long as the game is fun and ''feels right''… What do I mean by Feels right? I guess that a game neither feels too censored/stiffled or just plain violent and gory without any real meaning? Something along those lines.. I dont really avoid violent games, but Im no fan either.. Just reading on the game Postal and seeing a few screenshot were enough to know I wouldnt bother with it at all… But on the other hand I did enjoy MK series Phantasmagoria and some other horror games…

Just my two cents really

Also since I dont look much at ratings, thats why I hang around news and reviews site like this . Helps me sort out what to try and what to avoid.
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February 8th, 2008, 22:47
I'm not really a comic book fan myself, but I borrowed the Spawn movie from a friend who was (at that time at least).

I don't buy or reject games based on their rating. I'm 34 and I'm buying games for myself so I really couldn't care less what rating a game has. As a tool to indicate an "appropriate" age limit on a game/movie or whatnot, I think ratings is a great idea. The problem starts when a certain rating becomes a goal rather than an indicator.

For those of you who have played BioShock, try to picture the game without an M rating. The dialog would have had to be changed and softened up. The gameplay mechanics would need an overhaul (I doubt setting foes on fire and then electrocuting them when they try to douse the flames in a nearby puddle would go well with a T or lower rating) and you can forget about including the Little Sisters (no way they would allow harvesting children for their Adam).

Now, is it impossible to make a game like BioShock with a T rating? No, of course not. But it sure as heck wouldn't be the same game because the story, atmosphere and topics in BioShock is not intended for children.

Even if you remove the sexual content of The Witcher, the setting, story and world of The Witcher is still much to "mature" for a T rating.

"Chess in particular had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the kings lounged about doing nothing that always got to him; if only the pawns united, maybe talked the rooks around, the whole board could've been a republic in a dozen moves." - Commander Vimes in Thud! by Terry Pratchett
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February 9th, 2008, 11:55
Could it be that it also is a matter of age ? How mature a person himself or herself is ?

I think that the older I grow, the more demanding I become in terms of literature … And games as well, I think.

Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction. (E.F.Schumacher, Economist, Source)
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February 9th, 2008, 15:18
I agree with Sorcha on this.

And if Bioshock didn't have those details then it might have been a game I would have bought.

Mortal Kombat was the first video game I remember that drew a number of complaints for its graphic violence. I remember pointing out to some people that it was way to graphic before I started hearing news about it.

I never read the comic for Spawn but watching the movie (all those fire effects were amazing) as demonic as the character seemed it occurred to me that the character was a Christ-like figure based on the old misunderstanding that Christ's descension was to hell to take the keys of death (His descension was from heaven to earth). This theme used in Lord of the Ring's with Gandalf too and many other places. Todd McFarlane is the creator. He makes most of his money from action figures now, particularly hockey players.

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February 9th, 2008, 19:26
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Geez, if you guys are worried about smoke and mirrors, why don't you go look at the numbers?

So, "pure numbers":

2005, 1133 games rated by the ESRB, 12% "M" = 136
2007, 1563 games rated by the ESRB, 6% "M" = 94

Looks like a significant decline to me in a mere two years.

Adding the evil percentages back, the number of rated games increased 38% from 2005 to 2007 but the actual number of "M" games declined 31% in the same period — not as a fraction of the whole — just directly comparing the actual number of "M" games.

A 31% decline in the face of 38% industry growth seems pretty big to me. It's clear publishers are (currently) abandoning mature games in favour of E and T ratings. I certainly don't think a game needs to be mature to be good but I would suggest publishers are moving rapidly to broad/casual markets, so those of us who like "hardcore" games will be marginalised.
This is true - but I think what is really going on here is a grab for the brass ring of a mainstream cross-platform hit on consoles. As the number of PC titles continues to shrink - both in terms of unit numbers and percentage, we'll continue to see this trend.

A large part of this story is also the Nintendo DS. The nature of the system is such that M rated titles are few. I think there are 4 for the NDS rated M right now. I do believe, however, that the number of Teen titles on the NDS will grow - not shrink - through 2008-09. The platform is getting large enough that there is a critical mass of users to support games aimed at an older age group.

Moreover, I put it to you that as the number of Wii titles or Wii cross-platform titles increases, the number of M titles declines as well for the same "NDS" reason - for a time at least. Right now, M titles are largely seen on the 360 and the PC (and the PS3 - though the PS3 is a little under-represented in M titles right now simply due to it being the last of the three next gen consoles to be released).

For all that, it's not as if rated M titles have vanished or are threatening to. Mass Effect, Assassin's Creed, Halo3, Call of Duty 4, Bioshock, the Witcher and the Orange Box… all rated M. Right now, the big-money-tripleA-eye-candy releases are, for the most part, rated M.

Significant releases in the year NOT rated M? WoW: BC (Teen), Sims XPs and every other sports game, Guitar Hero 3, Rock Band, Heavenly Sword and Ratchet and Clank (Teen)

And a host of Wii and XBLA games. The devil lies in those details.

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