Since 1994, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rates video games hitting the store shelves. Ratings can help gamers and parents decide which games to buy. Although, there are times when I feel the ESRB gets the ratings wrong. Here are video games undeserving of their ESRB rating and why.
The HALO Series
HALO games are rated Mature for Blood and Gore, Mild Language, and Violence. Yes, the games are violent. They center around humans warring with aliens. The aliens want the humans dead and we’ve got to stop them. It’s a noble cause any human can rally around. Master Chief and the Spartans aren’t gunning down innocent people. The problem with HALO‘s rating is there really isn’t blood or gore and there’s only a few curse words. Most of blood that’s shown is purple or green alien blood. Think of it as a PG-13 movie. In fact, the new HALO Legends movie is rated PG-13. The video games should be rated T for Teens.
Super Smash Bros Melee and Brawl
These wildly popular fighting games pit classic Nintendo characters against each other. Both video games are rated Teen. Melee has Comic Mischief and Mild Violence. Brawl has Cartoon Violence and Crude Humor. I’ve played both of the games with my son. I can’t understand the rating. You can be Mario and slap Donkey Kong around. It’s Nickelodeon type fighting. As for Crude Humor unless you count “Pikachu” being said repeatedly, there’s not much talking. Wario has a farting attack, that’s about it. If your kids are allowed to watch Spongebob, they should be able to play Super Smash Bros games. These video games should be rated E or E10+.
Destroy All Humans 2
Set in the 1960’s, gamers play as the alien Crypto. It pushes the Teen rating to the extreme. Content includes Crude Humor, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, and Violence. There are numerous sexual references, especially Crypto’s over the top flirting with Natalya. The game also features a gun that anally probes people. Innocent humans walking down the street are free to be killed. It’s almost like a science fiction Grand Theft Auto. I do love this game and had a blast playing co-op with my husband. I just think the Teen rating isn’t enough. There’s no blood or gore, but the language and adult themes warrants a Mature rating.
Bethesda’s epic role play video game was originally rated T. A gamer modified the PC version unlocking an art file never meant to be seen or used by players. The file rendered female characters topless. The ESRB stepped in and re-rated all versions of the video game, even though consoles can’t unlock that file. The decision to give Oblivion a Mature rating is also attributed to additional violence the ESRB claims it was unaware of during the original rating process. Bethesda complied with the new M rating, but stood by the first one. A patch was issued for the PC version that disabled the topless mod. Since the controversy was started by a third party modding the game, I believe the original rating should have been kept.
Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess
Twilight Princess was the first game in the series to receive a Teen rating for Fantasy Violence and Animated Blood. Link’s fought many of the same monsters since the earlier games, so there’s some violence. I can’t remember any blood in the game. The enemies usually disappeared in a puff of smoke when dealt with. Twilight Princess is a long, text heavy game. I can see why some children might not be interested. The characters don’t talk and every conversation must be read. Perhaps the amount of text influenced the Teen rating. I believe that children around 9 or 10 could follow the story and have a great time. I hate to think young gamers where kept from playing because of the higher rating. It should have been rated E10+ at the most.
The ERSB isn’t perfect. While I agree with the vast majority of ratings, sometimes they get it wrong. Games have grown over the years with complex stories, stunning graphics and multiple themes. Video games like the ones featured could fit into different rating categories. It’s important to read and research before you buy.