"Babble babble, bitch bitch, rebel rebel, party party
Sex sex sex,note
and don't forget the violence."
When video gaming first started, almost all of the games created were playable by children. Not to say that early games weren't enjoyable by many adults (they were), they just lacked the mature themes that would be unsuitable for younger audiences — because, let's be honest, it could be pretty hard to get graphic on some of these older systems (though not impossible...
). Some of this was due to the Censorship Bureau
imposed by Nintendo
in the early 1990s; when Nintendo dropped this and backed an industry-supported ratings system, developers became free to develop whatever they desired, and thus began making games that were more realistic in their depiction of violence, and along the way, containing Darker and Edgier
themes than previous titles.
But thanks to the success of a few specific M-rated titles, the clones and copycat titles
that followed them, and the media attention that followed both
, today there is a public perception that developers focus solely on extremely violent titles targeted at "hardcore" gamers (that is, those who believe "G" rated movies
and "E" rated games are "for kids only"), because hardcore gamers are supposed to be the most profitable demographic. This results in even more attention from Media Watchdogs
and Moral Guardians
alike, and if those titles are successful, ultimately reinforces the notion of M-rated titles being the best way to make a top-selling title
, if not a license to print money
outright — in other words, they're just Rated M For Money.
"M" rated games are not, in fact, guaranteed hits — only an average percentage of titles sell enough copies to be commercially successful, not at all much different from any other rating or genre in the market. Furthermore, general industry wisdom actually claims "T" for Teen is the most profitable rating, for the same reason that many movies target the PG-13 ratings bracket — these are the highest unrestricted
rating of their respective scales, combining the most creative freedom with the broadest possible (if not potential) audience; some developers or publishers have actively restricted levels of violence and/or sexual content in their games order to achieve this rating. Indeed, in 2010 only 5% of video games released had an M rating.
However, this small minority was the focus of more hype than the rest.
The larger amount of hype M rated games tend to get than E, E10+, or T rated games can probably be attributed to the ongoing public perception that Video Games are for kids
. Granted, this perception has significantly diminished over the last 20 or so years, but it's still prevalent enough (mostly among Moral Guardians
and Media Watchdogs
) to cause quite a stir with the gaming community. Thus, it makes sense that many would perceive M rated games as the key to breaking video games free of this stereotype and, thus, gaining them more respect as an entertainment medium. However, many of these games still contain vulgar and or over-the-top humor that brings them down to "drunk" level of maturity.
Ultra Super Death Gore Fest Chainsawer 3000
is what you get when this is the issue of a Very Special Episode
Compare Avoid the Dreaded G Rating
. While there are no direct ties between this and Rated M for Manly
, it's not uncommon to see both tropes employed at the same time.
- Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song was "Rated X by an all-white jury." The X rating in this case was a default judgment by the MPAA since Van Peebles couldn't afford to submit the film for a proper rating. (That the MPAA allowed the "X" to appear on films it never reviewed explains why it became essentially synonymous with pornography, since once the MPAA realized they could not claim it as a trademark they stopped using it as an official rating and now like to pretend that it never was one.)
- A transparent example: the season sets of Flight of the Conchords carry two ratings designations: the US and HBO-applied "TV-MA" rating, and the Canadian "14A" rating.
- This is especially odd with period-set series, such as Boardwalk Empire. Sure, prohibition-era America had its fair share of mob influence and shadiness, but Boardwalk Empire litters every other scene with a Cluster F-Bomb and to call the sex and nudity "gratuitous" would be putting it lightly. Case in point: a corpse is laid out on the morgue, a corpse belonging to a beautiful young woman. The corpse is not covered in a sheet, and not only can the audience see everything, they can also see the Y-shaped stitches running down her torso and abdomen.
- HBO Competitor Starz seems to require that their series have sex, nudity, violence, and/or language. Most prominently seen in the Spartacus: Blood and Sand series.
- And HBO responded with the adaptation of Game of Thrones. Anyone who has read the source material knows what to expect, yet HBO somehow managed to add in more sex and nudity than what was in the book.
- White Wolf's Black Dog imprint, for Old World of Darkness RPG sourcebooks deemed "For Mature Audiences Only." It most likely caused gamers to buy titles they might have overlooked but saw the Black Dog logo on the back and said "I have to get this!" The line was canceled during the 3rd Edition, when White Wolf's general titles started getting darker than the Black Dog stuff. In fact, the only book that truly deserved its Mature rating was Charnel Houses of Europe: The Shoah, which dealt with the Holocaust.note
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Dual Destinies became the first game in the series to achieve the M Rating. When this was announced, the fans went nuts, not seeing how come this game could get a higher rating than its predecessors since there was nothing that suggested a big change in tone or themes (Sure the game was advertized as entering "The Dark Age of the Law" but in gameplay and trailers it was the good ol' Ace Attorney light mood story). The result, the game indeed has some disturbing situations but the general consensus among fans is that the M rating came as a combination of: 1) The transition of the game to a more realistic 3D environment and 2) The sensibilities of the people in charge changing with the times (In fact many people believe that if the previous games came out today, some of them would probably also get an M rating. Particularly the first game whose fifth case shares some similarities with Dual Destinies' fifth case).
The content descriptions seem to be pushing this. In addition to "blood" and "violence" (which is a given, seeing as it's a murder mystery game), the description also lists "language" and "suggestive themes." The game features maybe one or two uses of "damn" at worst, and "suggestive themes" probably stems from one line.
Worth noting that the game received a PG rating in Australia. Yes, PG.