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What Do You Mean Its Not For Kids / Video Games

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Due to many superhero-related video games falling under this trope, they have their own page.

  • The unquestionable king of this trope would have to be Mortal Kombat and its sequel games. Literally since the game first came out on arcade systems, the game was horribly mistaken to be a child-appropriate video game (the fact that one of the early advertising poster featuring kids amazed with the photorealistic graphics didn't help). The series may be an adventure series about magical ninjas, have beautiful artwork, awesome character designs, visually-appealing graphics, and a well-built fighting control system, but it is also made brutally clear that this game was not devised for younger players. The series is well-known for its bloody difficulty, full-blown blood and gore, deeply complex character arcs, Ax-Crazy antagonists who're not afraid to personally murder characters onscreen, heavily sexualized characters, and the game actually encourages you to finish your opponents off. Yet, to this very day you'll still find a child who has played one of the titles.
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  • Fallout features a cute, adorable boy as the mascot. In any of the game barring Fallout Shelter and the Fallout Board Game, dismemberment is a common occurrence.
  • Although the Transformers have always been the subject of the other trope, the game Transformers: War for Cybertron is definitely not family friendly. The game clearly establish that War Is Hell, is packed with references for older fans of the franchise, contains a lot of robot blood, and is full of brutal death. To drive the point across players, Megatron is an obvious Expy of Adolf Hitler.
  • Transformers: Fall of Cybertron may hail from a franchise driven by toys but don't let that fool you into thinking that this game is kid-friendly. This is easily the darkest the Transformers has ever gotten, with loads of Family-Unfriendly Death, robot blood, overall depressing story, and anti-war message, which isn't surprising as this game is connected to TF:Prime, itself a very dark series. Have we also mentioned that this might be one of the very few times the Decepticons were portrayed in a morally grey manner?
  • American McGee's Alice: As if the cover art and big M-letter on the box weren't sign enough that this game (with violence comparable to what you'd find in Doom and Quake) was far removed from the Disney film...
    • Doubled by Alice: Madness Returns. In short, the Big Bad is a crazed pimp who tried for years to make Alice a child prostitute.
  • Ogre Battle and Tactics Ogre. Don't let the cartoonish sprites fool you: these games deal with war, betrayal, murder, politics, and everything that makes the real world a mess.
  • Do not let your kids play Eversion at all despite its family-friendly looks. Why, even its website warns you not to let them play!
  • The Borderlands series: Borderlands 1, Borderlands 2 and Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel! are beautifully cel-animated, which may fool some parents. However, on top of the gory, bloody explosions, you have characters like a thirteen-year old girl who witnesses her parent's brutal murder and wants revenge]], a monster who just wants to be accepted and loved by society, an assassin, and a prolonged scene of assisted euthanasia (in which after the father in question hypocritically guilt trips you by calling you a child killer). The game also deals with fairly complex themes like the dark side of capitalism, greed, drug abuse, corporate exploitation of the environment, and grief. The humor is also pretty off-color (though profanity is fairly infrequent). Oh, and there are lots of guns. 87 Bazillion, to be exact.
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  • The Binding of Isaac. Oh sure, it looks very cutesy and colorful... until you realize that Isaac's mom is a murderous psychopath! . Additionally, it is pretty gory, and also takes a rather... shall we say, artistic license with the Biblical account of the actual binding of Isaac, which some may find offensive. It was reportedly rated 16 in Germany for this reason.
  • Monster Party for the NES was released back when there were no ratings for games, and it has gory visuals throughout. And this is after it was seriously toned down.
  • The National Institute on Media and the Family has taken Nintendo to task for releasing MadWorld on their "family friendly" Wii (never mind the fact that it was actually Sega that published the game). Apparently they didn't notice Red Steel, No More Heroes, House of the Dead, The Godfather, Dead Rising, Deadly Creatures, Resident Evil, and Manhunt (not that those were released by Nintendo either, but they're still on the Wii) and thus, they became one more laughing-stock on the Internet. Nintendo countered to NIMF's claim about the Wii being "for the entire family" by saying that the Wii is indeed for everyone...and when saying "everyone", they throw in hardcore gamers in the equation.
  • Stupid Invaders, the game based on the French cartoon Space Goofs, looks cute thanks to the character design but quickly reveals its unsubtle scatological and sexual humour.
  • This story about Kotaku columnist Luke Plunkett discovering Stroker for the Commodore 64 as a young child only re-enforces this trope.
  • Shin Megami Tensei: a RPG with pixies and Jack Frosts... where the USA fall under the control of a fanatic Christian cult ruled by supernatural beings which uses the US nuclear arsenal to rebuild civilization around a fascist theocracy, and God really approves of what they are doing—and he's still the closest thing to a good guy in the story. There's a reason this is a game where the Omnicidal Neutral path is generally agreed on as the most moral.)
    • Any game from Shin Megami Tensei/Atlus. For something that kids can buy, Devil Survivor has to be one of the most fucked up games ever (and it's only rated T!). Proving once again that parents should read the back of the box before letting kids buy video games.
  • Shin Megami Tensei's spinoff series, Persona, gets it just as bad:
    • The original Persona was rated E. The original Persona was rated E. We're talking about a series with Mara, an Eldritch Gag Penis. What in YHVH's name was the ESRB thinking!? Later games in the series are generally rated Mnote  (including Nocturne where in Japan is rated all-ages, in Europe is rated 12+), so at least they noticed eventually.
    • Persona 3. The main characters regularly shoot themselves in the head with handguns. And one of them is a fourth grader. But the visuals in the beta version made the handguns look much more realistic. These were changed as Adults Only is not permitted on console games. By the way, PEGI rated versions that don't have The Answer 12 (FES is rated 16). What idiot would give this game to a 12-year-old!?
    • Persona 4 is a colorful spectacle about a transfer student that moves in with his uncle, a respectable policeman and makes lots of friends! Not to mention the first proper dungeon is set in a fairytale castle, so it must be kid-friendly right? Wrong. There's more sexual themes you can shake a stick at (of which the strip club dungeon is the icing on the cake), your adorable 7 year old cousin is kidnapped and dies in the hospital (though she may return under conditions), and a policeman tries to rape two women.
    • Persona 5 has a talking cat as the game's Deuteragonist so naturally people thought that game was for kids. Keep in mind that this is a game that has policemen brutally torturing the protagonist, characters tearing off masks which pulls off part of their own face, a Sadist Teacher that physically abuses male students while raping the female students, and a student that attempted to commit suicide all before you officially started the first dungeon in the game.
    • Persona Q added onto it, with the entire plot centered around the death of a teenage girl and purgatory, along with the imminent erasure of all the characters you love from Persona 3 and 4 implied if you fail. All encompassed in a cutesy art style to rival even the best anime!
  • Most Atlus games are like this. Like the Luminous Arc series and Etrian Odyssey series features cute character design that won't be out of place in children's cartoons. But the story are complex and certainly not exactly child-friendly, and those scary monsters are actually the least of their worries. That is of course if the difficulty don't throw them off in the first place.
  • Xenogears: Humongous Mechas are for kids? What about the protagonist having an evil Split Personality who is an omnicidal maniac who can and does commit genocides by himself, when one of the dominant religion is a front for a decadent dictatorship where being racist is considered to be a civic duty?
    • Not to mention God, Deus (well, not quite God, the Demiurge) is completely evil and to resurrect himself, 90% of the entire human race mutate into Wels, mini-Eldritch Abominations that become spare parts for him. And then there's the religious undertones, sporadic sexual content, and the overall general dark tone of the story. To put it in perspective, it is probably Square's darkest game to date, bar none.
    • Xenogears? What about Xenosaga? Cannibalism, heavy amounts of blood, the religious references, genocide, just about any scene with Albedo, mind rape, light nudity, exploring the past of a serial killer who basically had to have his mind overwritten to the point of insanity, incestial undertones, suicide, and of course the Bittersweet Ending done because the game had to end on the third game when it was planned to be 5 or 6 games long, resulting in the deaths of a LOT of characters.
  • The Arc the Lad series. The hero of the first episode is a terrorist whose uncle committed genocide against the people of the hero of the second episode before turning said hero into the prototype of bioweapons made by turning children into bloodthirsty monsters. And that is just the beginning, for it gets worse after that. But it has cute graphics.
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day has talking animals and has a cartoonish appearance, but is rather bloody and riddled with profanitynote , and advancing through parts of the game involve getting drunk, and that's just the start. It does have numerous warnings that it's not meant for anyone under 17, as well as a giant ESRB M-ratingnote  on the box; still didn't prevent children from playing it.
    • This was compounded by the fact that Conker did star in the kid-friendly game Conker's Pocket Tales while Bad Fur Day was stuck in Development Hell. During this time, he also made cameos in Diddy Kong Racing and Banjo-Kazooie, both of which are also kid-friendly games.
    • Believe it or not, this was actually averted early in production. Rare decided to turn it into an adult game after the previews were criticized because they were too cute and similar to Rare's earlier platformers.
  • Little King's Story is rated T due to alcohol references, polygamy, religion and, sometimes genocide. Yet it's all presented in a delightful storybook style with vibrant colors and cutesy graphics. Well, the Wii game, anyway. The Vita sequel uses a generic anime artstyle because everyone mistook the Wii game for a children's game.
  • The Fire Emblem series may be high fantasy with bright, colorful graphics, but it's also filled with war, murder, racism, genocide, and incest, especially the Jugdral series. The only reason that these games have never been rated higher than T is that it's never shown, just spoken about and implied. There's a reason the first few games didn't make it out of Japan. Even Blazing Sword, the very first Fire Emblem game released internationally and which was rated E in its original release, has direct references to mass murder and human trafficking before you've even left the tutorial chapters.
  • The (to be fair, newly formed) ESRB must have been HIGH when they rated Lunar: Eternal Blue, a game with blood, partial nudity, swearing, sexual innuendo, and heaping helpings of Nightmare Fuel, a "K-A" rating. Thankfully the remake for PlayStation gave it a more fitting T rating.
  • Heart of Darkness. Rated E for Everyone, despite the painful looking — though not actually gory — death animations, not to mention the abhorrent scenery. Remember kids, shadows are very dangerous things. However, the game got an 11+ in the UK, a more fitting rating.
  • Castlevania: Bloodlines for the Genesis received a "GA" (General Audiences) rating, despite being the first Castlevania game that showed ANY blood and gore in any system, and it had them in large amounts.
  • Grand Theft Auto. It is amazing and disgusting how many parents think it's fine for their kids to play GTA. A personal favorite parental defense: "Grand Theft Auto is the only M-rated game we let him play."
    • Conversely, most of the controversy surrounding the game stems from this trope being applied to video games as a whole. Moral Guardians think that only kids should play video games and therefore making one about violent crime is absolutely heinous.
    • One of the highlights of the past was in 2004 when an 85-year-old New York grandmother that became upset that she bought Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for her 14-year-old grandson (she did have the game taken away from him) and launched a lawsuit against Take-Two over it.
  • Call of Duty is still subject to this, even though all the games after the third have been rated M. The ones made by Treyarch turn this Up to Eleven with more gore, cursing, and horrific imagery. And yet, it's extremely common to find 4-12 year-old children playing online.
  • In the same vein as Call of Duty is Halo, which has a bit of that Star Wars-ish look to it, what with big heroic guys in green space armor gracing the cover. Needless to say, any bit of knowledge of the game makes it clear that it is most definitely not for children. Of course, being a massive big-name game, children are sure to hear of it and make their parents well aware of that fact, hence you will always - ALWAYS - find at least one 5-year-old playing on Xbox Live with you. Halo 5 Guardians is eventually rated T with the space opera feel highly toned compared to the previous games though.
  • Team Fortress 2. At first glance, it looks like an innocent game due to its Pixar-esque artstyle... but then comes the massive amounts of blood and gore. And the jars of urine. The supplementary materials contain their own share of child-unfriendly content—including even more graphic violence (the Spy's head graphically exploding in "Meet the Spy"), sexual references and suggestive imagery ("Meet the Spy", "Expiration Date"), and plain old Nightmare Fuel ("Meet the Pyro"). However, just like with any FPS, you will find many 10-year-old kids playing the game online. note 
  • Overwatch, which is very similar to TF2, subverts this trope beautifully. It was intentionally designed as a fairly family-friendly, bloodless FPS with Pixar-like animation, and is one of the few FPSes that received an agreeable PEGI 12/T ratingnote . Although it isn't for extremely young children, children ages 7-11 have enjoyed playing it and can be very good at playing characters like and Bastion, who don't have large learning caps. That being said, whether or not it's a kid's game is still a subject of debate, but most fans agree that the violence is very tame compared to most FPSes on the market.
  • The English download site for the pigeon-dating game Hatoful Boyfriend gives it a G-rating, and it is officially rated E10+ by the ESRB. Keep in mind that this game has an ending where you get decapitated by a murderous doctor who promises to "examine your insides most... intimately", even outside of that route said doctor regularly kills his bird patients and turns them into quill pens and turkey dinners, and the lengthy Bad Boys Love route starts with the bird characters finding the human protagonist's chopped-up remains all over the school and gets progressively more fucked up from there on. Even the free version has the aforementioned decapitation by Deadly Doctor ending, which should tell you how kid-friendly this game ain't.
    Angie Gallant: A fat bird should not be fucking my intestines!
  • Metal Gear: Ghost Babel is rated E for Everyone, the only game in the entire Metal Gear series released during the existence of the ESRB which got less than a T rating (and all but two got an M). The game includes: ethnic cleansing, a serial killer who makes life-size dolls out of his victims, said serial killer discovering the dismembered corpse of his sister, and a boss who commits suicide by burning himself to death while crying out in orgasmic joy. On the plus side, Snake doesn't smoke in this one!
  • The Fable series has cartoony graphics and a generic fantasy setting. It is far from a children's game, especially Fable II.
  • Glitch is a browser-based game with cute graphics, talking animals and trees (including an eggplant which, naturally, grows eggs) - which also features alcohol, drug use (in the form of no-no powder which temporarily gives you unlimited energy - then you die unless you take another dose), some sex-related jokes, and a somewhat disturbing level in hell. According to the terms of service, the game is not intended for children under 14, and children under 18 need parental agreement.
  • Sam & Max: Freelance Police (the Telltale series). It looks like a kid-friendly game on the outside because of the cute animal characters, but the humor is definitely not for kids. Sure, it may not be as bad as other examples on this page, but there's still just about enough to warrant a T rating. The fact that Sam and Max DID have a cartoon for children probably doesn't help in this regard.
  • Seal Online is a massively multiplayer role-playing online game with cartoony graphics, cutesy characters, and fun music that kids would think is suitable, until when they see the Rascal Rabbit. It is rated T for Teen according to ESRB in the United States (12+ and 18+ uncut in South Korea, depending on which version) due to violence, alcohol references, suggestive characters, and such, despite being intended for younger players according to YNK Interactive's defunct website.
  • The pirate original Famicom game The Lion King 5 seems like a perfectly kid friendly game at first, that is until you get a Game Over and find the character committing suicide. Yes, really.
  • The World of Warcraft expansion pack Mists of Pandaria received this response in spades from a lot of fans, just because the Pandaren and the titular continent of Pandaria look too 'childish' or 'goofy' for, what was considered 'normal' WoW storylines like the Lich King and Deathwing. "We were fighting demons, undead, and giants dragons, and now... pandas." Was a common response to the expansion. In reality, however, it is one of the darker expansions of the franchise (Maybe out darked by Wrath of the Lich King). After all, sure the Pandaren are pretty cute. But they also get drunk often, enjoy getting in bar fights, and have an entire martial art centered around fighting while drunk and setting your enemy on fire after you've doused them in flammable brew. But awww, he's got spots around his eyes! Also the entire expansion has a B plot of "War is hell for those dragged in" as it displays what the fighting between the Alliance and the Horde is doing to the other races on Azeroth by dragging the fight to Pandaria, whose people don't care about either side. This also hands the horde NPCs the villain ball as unlike the Alliance, the Horde continues to make things worse in the name of conquest. Also Garrosh messes around with magic he doesn't understand, the live science experiments in the Throne of Thunder, and the teenage Anduin Wrynn gets mortally wounded. The end result is the final boss of the expansion being Garrosh Hellscream, the Orc and overall Horde leader. This ends with both factions (The horde being represented by "rebels" consisting all non Orc forces (plus player orcs and a few NP Cs led by Varok Saurfang) laying siege to the Orcish capital. Because a bloody siege is totally for kids... A bloody siege in which one character threatens to rip the souls out of another character's dead soldiers: and theyare supposedly allies.
    • Actually the game in general. It has cartoonish graphics and Funny Animals, and plenty of humor: but it deals with mature themes like war crimes, racism, rape, mind-control, religion, the nature of good and evil etc. Also, skeletons are everywhere, you can even play as one. Many of the bosses are pure Nightmare Fuel, and some of the armor sets are very much Squick. Much of the humor is also very dark and/or sexual, and some of it goes into Dude, Not Funny! territory. oh right, and there's an actual concentration camp. As the game is available worldwide, it has serious problems with Values Dissonance: to the point of having a Chinese client, because dead bodies are a very sensitive topic in China.
  • Edna & Harvey: The Breakout got a "No age limit"-rating in Germany on its first release. Never mind it deals with several murders (one committed and one facilitated by the main character), death penalty and psychology above the head of most children. The maker was so annoyed that he said "Fuck!" a lot during the commentaries for the extended version. He got the "12+"-label he had wanted.
  • The first two Duke Nukem games are relatively family friendly side scrollers, where Duke mainly shoots robots. Duke Nukem 3D and its follow-ups on the other hand...
  • Virtue's Last Reward falls into the category of being a game that would likely be passed off by parents as being a cartoon and for their kids. Just a few moments of playing said game and seeing the heavy cussing, violent situations and heavy use of sex jokes, should show anyone that that it's not for kids. Heck, just looking at the rating the game got, M for Mature [16+ in the UK], would tell parents it's not for kids.
    • And before that, there's Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. Oh look at the fun, anime characters making pipe jokes and giving out four-leafed clovers for good luck, isn't it cute? Yeah, if you consider strangers being forced into playing a sadistic game where they can be blown up by a bomb that's been placed in their gut, on a sinking ship cute. Not to mention that there are two men who actually DO get blown VERY descriptive and grisly detail. And to add salt into the already deepening wound, most of the bad endings in the game end with a huge massacre of the main cast, and the game has swearing. LOTS of swearing. One has to wonder how a parent could even make this mistake when A SINGLE SECOND of research on the game, or even looking at the back of the game box, would indicate to them that the basic concept of the game is about a sadistic psychopath's game.
  • The Wonderful 101: a humorous game about brightly costumed superheroes saving the world from invading aliens that use robots to fight their war. What'ya mean it's really hard, the characters are often lewd and it deals with adult themes? At least in regards to the potty mouths of the characters; these were added to the game to Avoid the Dreaded G Rating but it may have backfired resulting in a game that appealed to only a niche audience.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures looks like another retro game. Of course, anyone who knew about what the game is based on should know it's anything but, especially the level based on the Atari Porn games. The fact that both it and its sequel both received M ratings goes without saying. The Nerd himself lampshades on that level during the review of the game.
    "Next is a level based entirely on the Atari Porn games. Who would do that? Don't look, kids."
  • Psychonauts: Tim Burton-esque art style? Check. Ten-year-old protagonist? Check. Takes place in a summer camp? Tons of cartoony, well-written humor? Check. Relatively clean dialogue, barring a few Avoid the Dreaded G Rating moments? Check. Richard Steven Horvitz voicing the protagonist? Check and check. Sounds like a great game for your kid, right? Sure, if you're fine exposing them to excessively mature topics like Family-Unfriendly Death, suicide, child abuse, and psychological illnesses like paranoid schizophrenia and depression, not to mention a lot of Black Comedy with numerous references to sex, drugs, and alcohol, and a final level that will forever haunt their nightmares.
  • One of the early 3D M-Rated games called Shadow Man. This game would go as far as to slap into your face with its cover art that it is not intended for kids, for good reasons. It is a gory action-adventure game that was filled to the brim with references to life, death and murder and the game itself used Voodoo Mythology for its setting, which meant it was filled with very intense Nightmare Fuel. The problem is that it was action-adventure, so people thought it would just be as dark as The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, which is dark enough for a kid's game.
  • Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a game full of magical whimsy as we follow two kid heroes wandering around a fantasy world on an adventure to save their father. It's also filled with literal rivers of a blood, corpses decorating the dark atmosphere, mythological creatures coming out of the shadows to murder you, and the heavy possibility of the two young boys dying violently if the player fails. In fact, one of the young brothers dies onscreen through a Cruel and Unusual Death and the other brother must bury his fallen family member in an emotional scene. Nevertheless, the "T" rating is ignored by quite a few people purchasing the game and was even nominated numerous awards for being the best family title.
  • Vexx is one of those games that was released during the height in popularity of 3D-platformers, so everyone who saw it assumed it was for kids. It features some gory-imagery, genocide and slavery. Suddenly, it becomes painfully obvious why the game got a T-rating.
  • There's a disturbing amount of small children who have played Five Nights at Freddy's and its sequels. Granted, the games aren't as bad in terms of gore, as most of the worst stuff is either hidden in shadow, shown in 8-bit format, or simply described by Phone Guy. That said, the games use jumpscares as a core mechanic. The story for the games features such lovely, child-friendly things as Suck E. Cheese's animatronics coming to life to murder the player character, someone getting serious brain damage by one of the animatronics biting them, a Serial Killer luring children to the backroom to murder them, followed by their bodies being stuffed into the animatronics so that the spirits could take revenge, the killer experiencing a Karmic Death at the hands of his victims and becoming the third game's antagonist, and childhood bullying and neglect resulting in an even earlier bite, among many others.
  • Tales of Symphonia is a T-rated game with things like Fantastic Racism, Nazi-esque concentration camps and human experimentation, magically-induced Body Horror, bloody political and religious intrigue and moral ambiguity, all hidden behind a cutesy, chibi art style and starting out with a very black-and-white "The Chosen One saves the world from the big bad evil guys" plot hook.
  • Fun Run is a game with cute, colorful graphics and Ridiculously Cute Critters. What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Everything.
  • Darkstalkers: This fighting game may have beautiful, anime-esque artwork and flashy graphics, but this game was clearly not meant for kids. The game is full of blood, full-frontal fanservice, morally gray characters, Nightmare Fuel, complex character stories, symbolism to religious beliefs, and stuffed to the brim with sexual innuendos. In fact, the first villain is a Satanic Archetype and one of the heroes is a nearly nude Cat Girl. This was also one of Capcom's darkest games until Resident Evil was developed. To be fair though, the "M" rating wasn't as strongly present when the game came out. Didn't help that Darkstalkers characters are featured in Marvel vs Capcom, exposing a lot of younger players (which are interested because of the Marvel characters) to the Ms. Fanservices. It doesn't help either that its sister franchise, Street Fighter is an example of the opposite trope
  • The Battle Cats: Aww, look, a game bout taking over the world with an army of cute cats! Hey...why is that one drinking a bottle of wine? And that one makes a reference to flashing people for its attack! And those ones aren't even cats, they're furries who are almost naked? SWEET JESUS, WHAT IS THAT ONE?! This game is for mobile phones?!
  • Cannon Fodder: Despite its cute designs, it was clearly not for kids as it is a very violent game where you had to shoot people to win.
    • And even worse. In the North American releases, Atari Jaguar and 3DO versions are rated "E" despite its reasons. It was later re-rated to T when the Game Boy Color version released.
  • Life Is Strange is often confused as a Slice of Life interactive game dealing with teen drama and the coming of age story about a young girl growing up, but it also features loads of dark themes. While our main protagonist Max does gain superpowers, the story is basically a murder-mystery about teenage girls discovering how a missing girl was abducted, drugged, raped and possibly killed right on a high school campus. Along the way, the player frequently sees gruesome violence, underage teenagers casually talking about sex, attempted suicide, the loss of faith, swear words utilized as half the dialogue, a Sadistic Choice once an episode, and the Big Bad is revealed to be a pedophile Serial Killer hiding in Max's high school.
  • The Wolf Among Us has gained quite a bit of interest from younger gamers due to the story being about classic fairy tale characters moving into New York City and having an awesome picture of an epic looking wolfman on the cover. But in short, the game is not targeted at younger gamers. The game features gritty violence, explicit nudity, an overall depressing theme, economic social commentary, corrupt politics, serious detective case work, poverty themes, mafia symbolism, and shows how our favorite fairy tale characters did not gain a happily ever after ending as was assumed in their stories.
  • The Oddworld series is infamous for this, at least the first three games. While they do look child-friendly, with the cute main characters and all, you will quickly realize why they're given the T-rating. Those cute main characters? Watch them get shot down, ground up by meat grinders, stomped out, bitten to death, dropped into bottomless pits, slammed into the ground, blown to bits by mines, electrocuted, eaten and digested on the spot, vaporized by force-fields, crushed by falling boulders, and so on, then decide if the series is as child-friendly as you thought it was. Even some discs of Munch's Oddysee got an E-rating label.
  • The initial media-driven complaints over Mass Effect and its very, very tame sex scenes (which would be considered utterly unremarkable on network television in prime-time) demonstrates the utter absurdity of this trope. Listening to the complaints, you'd think that if the love scene had been left out, the rest of the game, with its genocide, murder, prostitution, drug use, slavery, PTSD, racial bigotry, torture, psychological torment, and the horrific deaths of people who are impaled while alive and turned into Humanoid Abomination cyber-zombies in the very first mission, would be A-OK for the kiddies.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics may use chibi sprites for the characters, but the themes and settings are as dark as they can be that no child would understand or should ever see. War, betrayals, manipulation, lots of murder, and even implied rape are all in the game, even the graphical details don't show it. The sequels heavily dial back the dark themes and appear more approachable for children to play, though there are some darker themes that can pop up every now and then.
  • Doki Doki Literature Club! is a cute dating sim that has 4 beautiful girls to date, so it must be okay for kids, or at least pre-teens, right? Sure it is, at least until one of the main girls hangs herself. After that the game becomes a Psychological Horror and shows terrifying imagery, graphic self harm, and more. It doesn't have a 13+ warning and a Psychological Horror tag on Steam for nothing!
  • Gleaner Heights is inspired by the family-friendly Story of Seasons and Stardew Valley games. It has cute, brightly coloured retraux sprites. It's a kids game, right? Nope. On its surface it looks friendly but go deeper and you'll encounter murder, suicide, abuse, infidelity, and other themes not seen in similar games.
  • Since the company that makes the Xenoblade series is owned by Nintendo, it is technically a first party Nintendo game. Despite that and the fairly cartoony graphics, the gameplay and storyline is incredibly deep and complex. The first game alone features giant killer robots that are actually cyborgs created by converting humanoids who their creator has captured, the main character watching his girlfriend get killed right in front of him (and it is graphic), a religious extremist group's Fantastic Racism-fueled assassination plot, and the Big Bad is a Mad Scientist who destroyed his universe to create the world the game takes place in simply because he had a God Complex. The other games are not as dark, but Xenoblade Chronicles X features a group of religious extremists as the Big Bad with all the humans being the last survivors of Earth after it was destroyed, and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 features people swearing without Symbol Swearing or a sound effect to cover it, prominent War Is Hell themes, several highly sexualized female characters, and once again one of the villains is the corrupt leader of a religious movement.
  • Rad Rodgers looks like a great platformer for kids about a kid who gets sucked into a video game and meets a robot buddy named Dusty (who is a sentient video game console). This must be for kids, yeah? Wrong! It has blood and profanity in it. Rated M for a reason.
  • This and New Media Are Evil helped Rule of Rose become banned in Italy, France, and Australia; and incited members of British Parliament to bully 505 Games into canceling its UK release. The reasons given varied from more legitimate concerns like undertones of underage eroticism and harm to minors, to unfounded notions such as the player having to bury a child alive in the game.
  • It's easy to mistake TinkerQuarry for a kid's game, with the colorful cast of Living Toys and all. But the game is officially rated T, for "dark themes", and boy, does it get dark! The protagonist has a tragic backstory apparently involving abusive, alcoholic parents, the Dollhouse is a Crapsaccharine World where many toys live in fear of being violently attacked at any moment, blood is shown onscreen (although stuffing and dismembered toys are much more common)... it's rated T for a reason.
  • Final Fantasy IX might appear to be cutesy and sometimes silly with the colorful cast of characters with their quirky designs and personalities, but underneath it all is a much darker game; the game will not hold back showing scenes of murder, war, genocide, existential crisis among certain characters, and similar themes. The game is rated T for teen, but it's not unheard of for parents to have bought the game for their children thinking it was another cute game.
  • Baldi's Basics in Education and Learning may look like a colorful and hilariously shoddy-looking Edutainment mathematics game for little kids, but don't be fooled: Once you fail a math problem (and you will), the game reveals its true colors as a Survival Horror game running on unadulterated Paranoia Fuel as you go on the run from easily angered Evil Teacher Baldi and other bizarre characters roaming your school. Though to be fair, the game opens with a disclaimer warning that this is indeed a horror game that's not for kids.
  • M.U.G.E.N has plenty of pornographic, grotesque, profane, and/or gory content, and a hateful community that bashes everything it can think of. For example: Slime and Kuromaru literally rape other characters, Lucy from Elfen Lied has a gory One-Hit Kill accompanied by a slideshow of some of the darkest scenes from her own series, lots of Ms. Fanservice characters are playable, more than one Ronald McDonald edit has a Jump Scare, the cast of The Black Heart is a great source of Nightmare Fuel (especially Noroko), and there are Dragon-Tier cheapies that literally destroy your game and computer! Many children and unsuspecting parents alike have been led to MUGEN by content from kids' media made for it, then were horrified to see all the family-unfriendly content.
  • Soulcalibur VI has a T-rating, and marketed as a fighting game to general audiences, one that anyone can enjoy. It's also filled with so much sexualization that the M-rated, Best Known for the Fanservice Dead or Alive series can even look tame by comparison. How much? Ivy wears razor-thin dominatrix gear as her main costume and fully acts the part. Taki wears tighter-than-skin Sensual Spandex that highlights her voluptuous figure so much her nipples are visible while her backside is very well-defined. Sophitia is a Purity Personified character who just happens to be wearing a Minidress of Power with a Dangerously Short Skirt and Absolute Cleavage. Seong Mi-na rocks a Stripperiffic two-piece ensemble that amounts to tiny clothes over a pink swimsuit, with Underboobs and Bare Your Midriff, while Male Gaze greatly admires her rear. Those are just four examples in a game that's absolutely full of it, and even the youngest characters are played no less for fanservice than the older ones. In fact, its two Guest Fighters are Geralt and 2B, both from M-rated, sexual, kid-unfriendly games themselves, which might indicate that it was never meant for kids to begin with. Even disregarding the abundant sexuality, the game is still far from kid-friendly with coarse language, violence, mass deaths featured in story mode, and morally complex themes. Might be best to not play this in front of your kids, to say the least.
  • The Mobile Phone Game Primal Legends is a four-color Match-Three Game at its core set in a fantasy World of Funny Animals. Its App Store blurb compares it to Guardians of the Galaxy (which falls into this trope as well) due to two prominent units being Rascally Raccoons, and rates it 9+. However, the gameplay requires more strategy than a kids' game, many heroes have bloody backstories and/or are mentally unhinged, the color units are troops that die when hit, and the combo praise blurbs include "Brutal!", "Carnage!", and "Massacre!" Overall, being a smartphone game, it is aimed more at phoneaholic teenagers and adults and up, and the Furry Fandom.
  • Iron Snout looks like a cute and cuddly children's game where you play as a pig fighting against wolves, until you see the actual gameplay. It's rated T for a reason.
  • Toonstruck is about an animator trapped in a ridiculously childish cartoon world full of cutesy characters. If you get past the first few screens, you'll find such things as swearing, occasional blood, and a scene with barnyard animals engaging in pretty explicit BDSM.
  • Wadanohara is a nice, relaxing RPG with a easygoing story and cute character designs, and remains that way for about 2/3s of the whole game. The last third? The game goes full Surprise Creepy with Gorn and Body Horror, and the less said about what Sal does to Wadnohara the better.
  • Scheming Through The Zombie Apocalypse is an adventure episodic game that takes place within a World of Funny Animals and has a bright cartoon art style akin to a children's comic book. For starters, it also takes place in a Zombie Apocalypse with Black Comedy and Bloody Hilarious throughout, as well as strong profanity and drug use, giving it an un-kidfriendly M-rating.
  • Mobile Virtual Paper Doll game Love Nikki has beautiful art, Costume Porn galore, and a very strong emphasis on all things pink, sparkly, and feminine, so it's very easy to mistake for a children's game. Unfortunately for parents who didn't look very closely at the ratings, however, it has a complicated, progressively high-stakes story that gets Darker and Edgier with every chapter, eventually cumulating in an all-out war between two in-game kingdoms. Anyone Can Die is in full effect here, too; Nikki's friend Lunar, a major character up until then, gets stabbed and killed by the main antagonist in chapter 15. Even disregarding the violence, the clothes can be pretty revealing—it isn't too over-the-top because the primary audience consists of young women, but even then, there are plenty of outfits that invoke Hospital Hottie, Bodyguard Babe, Fairy Sexy, et cetera. And many outfits have their own pieces of lore attached, most of which aren't appropriate for children, either. That's why the game is currently rated 12+ on most stores now.
  • Whacked!: A comedic 3D beat-em-up game show seems like it would barely function as a children's show, except the contestants are some combination of violent, insane, bigoted, and/or intentionally inappropriate, and the show's host is actually a high-ranking devil who murders the losers and audience on live television. Also, the protagonist on the cover? That latex bodysuit only lasts for five seconds before it permanently rips off and she spends the entire game butt-naked.


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