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Game Maturity Levels


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Its funny because cranky old white politicians really like to harp on videogames for mature content even though its still a pretty big step down from movies. My question is, do you think that game content should be pushed further and have a few more mature type games? Should we keep it at the current level? Should we get away from the GTA mold of heartless killing and violence and make less of these games?

I don't think that games are nearly as graphic as movies, mostly because of sexual content. The USA is actually pretty conservative about sexuality in a lot of ways, TV is one of them and videogames is a big one. There have been some games lately with a little bit of nudity, but its pretty much been stupid nudity like "the guy game". In my opinion there could be games that are content wise the same as R rated movies. Would it be that wrong of a game to have a sex scene if it fit in with the story. There could even be husbands and wives in games, but I can't think of any games where you woke up next to someone in bed, just a few implied sex scenes. Metal Gear Solid 3 has the closest to a sex scene I can remember.

To go even further, I don't think that there is a very big market for pornographic videogames but it might be funny to have one or two out there. The biggest reason not to would just be the backlash I would expect from an AO PS2 game. There are people who watch porn out there, its a billion dollar industry. A porno-esque videogame would be interesting I would say.

Trying not to directly conflict with what I just said, I don't think that in general games should become more sexy or violent. I really love games like Wind Waker and Katamari Damacy which are pure fun and a little bit silly. I'm happy that not everything is being pressures to get more serious, violent or sexy. I'd like to see the borders of content stretched both ways.
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[color=#B0251E]I just find it interesting that "maturity" is always centered around either sex or violence. What about games with political themes? Games with characters of different sexualities (and I'm not talking about two women rubbing oil on each other for no apparent reason)? What about games that deal with a character who has had an abortion? Or perhaps games that deal with themes of religion and race on a deeper level?

Of course, there are some games that do this already (particularly religious and political themes). But it'd be nice to be talking about mature games that are truly mature -- games that reflect various issues in society via their characters and stories, while still obviously being entertaining just as game experiences.

I will always enjoy games that aren't mature, though. I'll always enjoy games that make me feel like a child again -- games like Mario and Zelda in particular. Zelda is a bit arguable, because historically it has jumped between being slightly mature and being far more lighthearted. And the new iteration definitely appears to be aimed at 20-somethings in terms of its general themes and design philosophy.

Funny thing is, I don't regard GTA as being particularly mature. Sure, it has violence and sex and so on. But does it really deal with anything particularly mature? Generally the humor is fairly low-brow and the story is relatively devoid of anything truly compelling (although it was definitely improved in San Andreas).

So, I think it would also be worth talking about what a mature game really is and whether or not new themes should be explored (or old themes explored in new ways).[/color]
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I agree with your question on the use of the word mature, but its pretty much widely used for this sort of thing, maybe just because of the ESRB rating system. The two big ones to get you up there are sex and violence though. The original 12 angry men was definitely a mature movie and not for kids, even though they could conceivably watch it.

The things like politics and issues like abortion aren't going to be easy things to put into games. Politics is always a good framework for storylines, but I can't think of any non-ridiculous way to incorporate it into gameplay. The story for Metal Gear games is always pretty political, and RE4 actually has some funny anti-american comments thrown in from the villians. That stuff is always sort of second stage though to the gameplay. Being able to kill random innocent people in GTA brings attention while Slaughtering and conquering a whole country in Romance of the Three Kingdoms isn't noticed because you don't so much play it out. Basically its tough to bring many of these other elements forward since the focus is almost always the player input.

Proposed game: Timber Industry Lobbyist: Game where you must convince the government to include logging friendly law changes into bills and pass them in the Senate by "greasing the wheels".
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I've always been pretty interested in this topic. I've been thinking about writing an article or something big on it for a while now. Maybe when I have the time lol.

[quote name='James][color=#B0251E']Funny thing is, I don't regard GTA as being particularly mature. Sure, it has violence and sex and so on. But does it really deal with anything particularly mature? Generally the humor is fairly low-brow and the story is relatively devoid of anything truly compelling (although it was definitely improved in San Andreas).[/color][/quote]

I think that GTA is more 'adult' than 'mature'. I don't like getting into semantics, but there's a difference between the two to me. Adult themes are violence, sex, swearing, etc. A mature game doesn't necessarily have to include those themes in them, I think. I'd consider something like Zelda to be pretty mature, because I think that you'd have to be pretty mature to be able to beat it and appreciate it. Not just any idiot is going to be able to solve the puzzles in a Zelda game lol.

Gaming isn't even that old yet, and adult themes in mainstream video games is still a relatively new concept. As these themes become more and more accepted, I'd like to see the envelope pushed in newer and more creative ways. If games just become more violent, more filled with sex, and have tons more swearing in them, they will get boring eventually. Games that explore some deeper themes could be a nice kick in the balls for the industry.

On the same token, like satan says, I wouldn't want to see the more lighthearted, fun games like Wind Waker and Katamari Damacy suddenly become obsolete. I'm happy that companies are embracing adult content, but I wouldn't want to see that happen at the expense of games that are fun just because they're fun.
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