May 13, 2004

Video Games and AO Ratings

Brian and I throw an Atari party every year. We mentioned it in our blogs last year - think it was in mid July. At AP III in 2002, we actually pulled out the Playstation and hooked it up to a work-provided projector. One of my coworkers who had never played Grand Theft Auto III was tooling around switchin' radio stations, getting shot at, and being dissed (six times no less) by prostitutes.

And it was absolutely hilarious in a group environment. Can you imagine a bunch of your coworkers chiding you because your ride's not good enough to land a hooker?

So don't color me so surprised when CNN Money reports "raunchy" video games, as it says, two years later.
Nekkid people are coming to a video game near you. Some will be funny. Some will be sexy. And some will be just plain raunchy. At least three games on display at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (better known as E3, the annual trade show of the gaming industry) feature characters frolicking au naturale – with two of those introducing sexual elements.

Where you'd expect to see this, of course, is "Playboy: The Mansion." The first game built around the Playboy license is due out this fall from developer Cyberlore and co-publishers Arush Entertainment and Groove Games. But what might surprise you is "Playboy" is the tamest of the nudity-enhanced games.

Sure, polygonal Playmates will strip down to their birthday suit for your character to photograph – and you may even be able to access the actual Playboy photo archives (Cyberlore hasn't yet decided). As far as sexual content goes, though, it's pretty tame.

The racier stuff will come from publishers Eidos and Vivendi Universal Games (V: Research, Estimates). Each plans to take a different approach to including mature content in their games.

While "Singles: Flirt Up your Life" (which Eidos is publishing in the U.S.) bills itself as a reality simulation of the single life, "Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude" sticks closer to the "Animal House"/"American Pie" formula.

Both are likely to push the Electronic Software Ratings Board's limits on what it allows in a M-rated game. (The M rating is the gaming equivalent of the film industry's R.) The next step up the ratings ladder is AO (essentially, an NC-17 or worse). Most retailers will not sell a game with that rating.
The rest of the article's content centers on the fact that most retailers will not carry AO-rated games. Well, most retailers, save speciality shops, don't contain the equivalent print materials (magazines, specifically), either. What's the big deal? If you don't like it, don't buy it. Decry it even, and keep your kids away.

Of course, with the adult entertainment industry, if you build it, they will...wait, I really didn't mean a double entendre here, but the truth remains in this industry. It's capitalism, and if it strikes people's fancy, it'll do well.

One last remark: A software tester working on this would be, well, you know, getting the kinks out of the program. Or back in.


Posted by hln at May 13, 2004 05:00 PM | Entertainment | TrackBack

i wish had saved my atari and other 'junk' that i somehow decided to throw out when i was 10 or 11. ohh for some bad graphics courtesy of riverraid!!

Posted by: express at October 25, 2004 12:28 AM