24 August 2007

Manhunt 2 Cleared

As released by developer Rockstar, their controversial game Manhunt 2 has now received a Mature rating by the ESRB. The game began with an Adults Only (AO) rating in June. For games, that spells disaster as Nintendo and Sony both will not allow AO rated games to be released for their respective consoles. That wasn't the only hurdle for them as retailers such as Best Buy and Wal-Mart would not sell AO rated games.

It's not certain what was adjusted within the game to allow the game's rating to be downgraded, but you can be sure that the game has probably dumbed down the amount of violence and gore that was prevalent before. Not to say that the game won't be worth playing for the violence and blood (if you're into that sort of thing), but it definitely won't be the same as it was intended by the developer.

My take on the whole situation is that the ESRB is way more over-powering in their rulings. For games the AO rating is akin to the NC-17 rating for a movie. It limits the target audience and in turn lowers profits. But what really sets apart the ratings are the fact that if Manhunt 2 were to be a movie, it would clearly be rated R, not NC-17. Just look at movies like Hostel to see violence and gore as depicted in the game Manhunt 2.

It seems that the ESRB needs to loosen up their restrictions on game ratings and start making them more in line with the movie ratings system. Not that I'm a fan of these games that depict this sort of violence and gore, but I believe that the developers have a right to build a game and as such have it rated fairly and accordingly.

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