The Gamer Conversations – Ratings

The other night, Gabby went on the ESRB website then IM’d me. I was intrigued by her findings, and so the following conversation occurred. (As with last time, my replies are in bold, while hers are in quotes.):

“lol…I’m on the ESRB website. Never noticed the progression in Persona‘s ratings. The original Persona was rated E. Eternal Punishment went T. 3, FES and 4 all got the almighty M rating (which in my opinion 3 and FES only got because of the Evokers. 4 actually EARNED that rating through content alone). And SMT: Persona, a remake of an E rated game, got upgraded to T.”

“Some of these ratings and the criteria that got them there make me wonder. Demon’s Souls was rated M. Difficulty-wise and in terms of the general IDEA of the game, I could see why it would go M. But content-wise, I’ve seen much more go T.”

“So I have to wonder if ESRB ratings are completely dependent on the presence of offensive content.”

“Comparatively, it slightly offends me that games like Persona 3 and Demon’s Souls share a rating with something like Grand Theft Auto and Saint’s Row.”

“And I think there’s a degree of leniency in handheld titles…”

Demon’s Souls is such a T.

“It really is. Like, based on the content descriptors, it’s a solid T. Based on the content, to me, it would even still be a T. There’s not THAT much blood, and there’s no more violence in that than there would be in, say, G.I Joe or your standard RTS or T-rated adventure game. The difficulty tier, I would put at 15+. Definitely requires a lot of patience and strategy.”

P3… ok, M I can see

“Yeah… P3 gets an M. Evokers aside, it would be a real stretch to classify that as a T-even. It’s a weak M, though.”

“To me, none of the Halo games deserved M-ratings, either”

Halo? What’s that? *kidding*

“rofl I’ve watched most Halo games being played, and there’s nothing M about them to me. Halo games are solid T. Mirror’s Edge was a weak T. So I wonder what other criteria the ESRB uses.”

CONTENT-WISE, back in the day, stuff like God of War, Heavy Rain, etc, would’ve been AO.

“I think there should still be AO, but all the stigma taken off of it. Like…I think Retailers should still have the option to sell AO games. But the point of that is: They can’t be displayed on shelves: who cares?”

agreed. …Wait…

“Because like I said, it’s bullshit that Demon’s Souls, Persona and GTA all share the same rating. And Halo…lol”

AO go poof? I mean I know we don’t sell AO, but did they do away with AO altogether?

“No, It still exists. It’s just not worth it for publishers. It can’t be put out for display, and I don’t think it can be advertised. I think that AO is like the equivalent of porn, like… gotta keep it secure, can’t be easily accessible to minors and there’d probably have to be some rules regarding not only sales, but trade-in of it, too.”

“But the thing is: games that would go AO, people would know about them already. A lot of games don’t get heavy advertising but still sell. Borderlands was a decent example of that. I saw more advertising after it came out.”

Andrew Monkelban

Andrew Monkelban is an avid gamer and writer, who has been featured in Second Skin, and on Wired's GameLife and The Escapist. He is also really into the Japanese entertainment scene. Even though he has Cerebral Palsy, he does not let it stop him from doing what he loves, although he's always on the look-out for technology that would help him with difficult tasks. He came to PopTen in the Summer of 2009, where he's now able to combine his passions.

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