Print

Author Topic: Regarding Ratings  (Read 4230 times)

« on: September 19, 2010, 03:46:49 PM »
The combination of Halo: Reach's release and discussion of which games Turtlekid1 is allowed to play has had me pondering something that I seriously don't understand:

How is Halo rated-M while Uncharted is rated-T?

Most of Halo's gameplay consists of suits of armor shooting each other with crazy alien weapons like exploding pink needles. In the campaign you do shoot aliens. Sometimes when you kill an alien there will be a small amount of blue-blood on the ground and sometimes when you kill a suit of armor there will be a small amount of red-blood on the ground. There is absolutely zero sexual content and miniscule swearing (I think someone might say "[darn]" once or twice per title). This is rated-M.

In Uncharted, you blow away thousands of normally-dressed human males with normal pistols and shotguns. However, no blood comes out IIRC. There are more sexual themes than in Halo and more swearing. This is rated-T.

What the heck is going on? Is it seriously just the minimal blood? I propose that Uncharted is actually far more damaging to the soul than Halo, yet the ratings are flipped.

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2010, 04:29:47 PM »
Yeah, I've never understood why Halo is M, nor why blood in virtually any amount bumps ratings up as much as it does.

I wonder whether MS or Bungie did any pushing back in 2002 to get an M rating so the Xbox would look more mature. I think now, people just expect Halo to be rated M, so the ESRB just goes along with tradition. Kinda like how Brawl still got a T despite not really being significantly more violent than Melee, a game that would have easily gotten an E10 if E10 had existed back then.
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

Turtlekid1

  • Tortuga
« Reply #2 on: September 19, 2010, 05:12:34 PM »
I'm pretty sure SSBB made T due almost entirely to Zero Suit Samus.

As for Halo, I haven't played it, but I do sometimes think that Uncharted is really pushing it.  And there is blood when a bullet connects, at least in the second game.
"It'll say life is sacred and so is death
but death is life and so we move on"

WarpRattler

  • Paid by the word
« Reply #3 on: September 19, 2010, 05:45:29 PM »
The ESRB is rather inconsistent with their ratings; one game could have the same descriptors as another and be rated E10+ while the other is rated T. You can try to explain that away with the idea of context, but the discrepancy Lizard Dude pointed out shoots holes in that theory.

« Reply #4 on: September 19, 2010, 06:47:19 PM »
I decided to look up the two games on esrb.org. For Halo: Reach, they mention "Characters are occasionally impaled on glowing swords", "Gun fights are highlighted by realistic gunfire sound effects, explosions, and screams of pain", "players are able to shoot dead enemies, causing more blood to splash out", etc.

Now let's look at Uncharted 2, which got Teen (it got the same content descriptors as Halo in addition to Suggestive Themes and Language). "sneak up on the enemies to perform "stealth kills" (e.g., neck-snapping, choke-holds)", "brief splashes of blood are emitted from characters; more shots—and thus, more blood—are required to kill a growling ice beast"... and then they go on to mention innuendos and language. There's much less of a focus on talking about violence.

So there you go. You get Mature by allowing impalements and shooting dead enemies. Uncharted 1 had to take out shooting fish else it would have gotten slapped with a Mature rating. So shooting animals gets you Mature too.

In other words, yeah, the ratings make no sense. Some games push the M rating more than others. Heavy Rain allows you to possibly cut off a character's finger.

Manhunt 2 was the only game I saw get an AO rating for violence. You'd think if Manhunt 1 couldn't get AO then no amount of violence would. I understand it got it for having less of a reason for the character to do the killings and that the killings may have been even more violent. They had to take out a few things and introduce a blurry tinted filter to get it passed as M. But man, I don't think you really could get much worse than the first game. How is a chainsaw to the face in the first game only M material?

EDIT: Then I find out they did release Manhunt 2 for PC download-only, AO rating.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2010, 06:54:28 PM by penguinwizard »
You didn't say wot wot.

ShadowBrain

  • Ridiculously relevant
« Reply #5 on: September 19, 2010, 07:10:58 PM »
I wonder whether MS or Bungie did any pushing back in 2002 to get an M rating so the Xbox would look more mature. I think now, people just expect Halo to be rated M, so the ESRB just goes along with tradition.
This.
"Mario is your oyster." ~The Chef

« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2010, 08:35:28 PM »
Yeah, I've always questioned the M rating on Halo. It's less violent than most fighting games, and they're generally given a T rating even if there's blood.
Luigison: Question everything!
Me: Why?

CrossEyed7

  • i can make this whatever i want; you're not my dad
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2010, 09:01:57 PM »
I'm pretty sure SSBB made T due almost entirely to Zero Suit Samus.
Doubtful, as it doesn't even have a "Suggestive Themes" descriptor. Although I suspect the ESRB didn't hear Snake's ZSS codec.
"Oh man, I wish being a part of a Mario fan community was the most embarrassing thing about my life." - Super-Jesse

Turtlekid1

  • Tortuga
« Reply #8 on: September 19, 2010, 09:31:39 PM »
Well, on the subject of Snake...

Snake.  The obvious joke about buttocks aside, he has rather realistic weapons compared to other characters'.  They didn't even let him use guns, but apparently lots of explosives were enough to warrant a T.
"It'll say life is sacred and so is death
but death is life and so we move on"

« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2010, 09:44:14 PM »
The ESRB is fixated on sex. They have a virtually unlimited capacity for gruesome, explicit violence, but no tolerance for sexual content of even the slightest sort. My favourite example is Secret of Mana, which received an E10+ rating for its Virtual Console release due to one book-like enemy "accidentally" displaying a nude centrefold for a split second.
YYur  waYur n beYur you Yur plusYur instYur an Yur Yur whaYur

« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2010, 12:45:19 AM »
Yeah, but that goes along with American culture in general.

Note Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, where you can kill old ladies with a baseball bat or drive over policemen in your car with a happy M-rating but when people HACKED THE GAME to reactivate the unused ability to ask a woman to have sex with you and then do it fully-clothed: instant AO-rating.

Note God of War, where you rip dudes in half with your bare hands and cut dudes' torsos open so their individually-modeled guts spill out and jab a dude's eyes out in second-person view but the camera always pans away for the sex scenes.

Note the Super Bowl, where a singer's boob becoming partially exposed was viewed as a national tragedy on roughly the same level as 9/11.

It's pretty messed up the more you think about it. Make love not war, kids.

Chupperson Weird

  • Not interested.
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2010, 12:53:35 AM »
I remember it being a huge mental breakthrough to me when I realized that ESRB ratings mean absolutely nothing.
Anyway I think it's just MS/Bungie wanting Halo to be M so guys with no brains will see the M and want to buy it.
That was a joke.

« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2010, 12:58:16 AM »
And then they also grab a bag of M&M's at the checkout.

Chupperson Weird

  • Not interested.
« Reply #13 on: September 20, 2010, 01:59:37 AM »
Also the 1931 film by Fritz Lang.
That was a joke.

ShadowBrain

  • Ridiculously relevant
« Reply #14 on: September 20, 2010, 07:42:58 AM »
There's an old quote from someone in the movie biz something along of the lines of "If you cut off a breast, it's R-rated. If you kiss it, it's X-rated." There's no way I can explain the basis of this whole thing without getting political, so I'll just say that the ESRB--and other ratings boards--are largely a reflection of American cultural views.

My Dad has many times recalled an event where a French guy explained to him how bizarre it was that, to paraphrase: "In America, it's illegal to kill another person, but you show violence all over TV. And it's legal to have sex, but you can't show nudity on television."
"Mario is your oyster." ~The Chef

Print