Think of the Children

Article

posted 6/25/2008 by Dan Keener
other articles by Dan Keener
Platforms: Multiple
After a light two-week period, the ESRB hit us up with no less than 56 rated titles this week. I wanted to note that the ESRB has sent notice to game publishers that they now have the ability to choose when their gaming title will be published as being rated on the ESRB website. I guess some companies were getting a bit upset that major marketing campaigns built around secret releases of titles were getting blown up due to the ESRB letting the cat out of the bag early. It was a bit of a strange week, as a ton of the new submits belong to the PC division of a certain gaming publisher came across, the Next-gen consoles are starting to flash some signs of life including a heavy-hitter and a platform that was as good as given up for dead gets a rated game, and the weekly title of shame.

Apparently, Midway decided to submit their entire 2008 PC lineup to be rated, as the ESRB posted 14 PC titles this week. What is interesting is that several are the same (or offshoot) games that have been found on Xbox Live and Playstation Network. Included are Robotron: 2084 and Joust. Could this be more of the Games for Windows Live product that was promised back at CES 2007 and again touted at CES 2008? Probably not, seeing as how UNO (which we saw a working PC/360 connection in January 2007 and was announced as coming later in 2007) has never been released. Other PC titles from Midway were Gauntlet II, Primal Rage, 3 Peak Deluxe, 5 Star Generals, Crystal Balls, Gemslide, Go Wild, Mahjongg Pairs, MAHKI, PowerCell, Solitaire Classic and Target 21.

What can only be considered a string week for the next-gen platforms saw several anticipated games along with a steady stream of Xbox Live Arcade titles come down the pipeline. Both the Xbox 360 and PS3 saw Silent Hill: Homecoming, Baja, Madden NFL 09, EA SPORTS Fantasy Football Live Draft Tracker and the heavy hitter SOULCALIBUR IV. A pretty good lineup of retail titles that don’t included any movie tie-ins. In addition, the Xbox 360 also had Cribbage, Rocket Riot and Ticket to Ride (one of this week’s XBLA title) all rated. Overall, it was a very strong week for the first time in a while.

The weekly title of shame goes to EA feeling the need to bring Madden 09 to the original Xbox platform. Since I started this article last year, only a handful of times has the platform seen a title (let alone a non-sports title) get rated. The last non-sports title was Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Lockdown, along with the 2K8 basketball (NBA and NCAA) and EA football (Madden and NCAA 08) titles from last year. That’s five titles in two years. I would think at some point (seeing as how Microsoft has already buried the thing) EA and 2K would abandon the original Xbox, as even the ESRB lists the thing under “older platforms”. So I am calling out EA to quit wasting resources on a platform that has essentially been retired and focus on the here and now.

Title Publisher Rating Platforms
Crystal Balls Midway Everyone PC
Gemslide Midway Everyone PC
Harvest Moon: Tree of Tranquility Natsume Inc Everyone Wii
Joust Midway Everyone PC
Madden NFL 09 Electronic Arts Everyone 360, PS3, PSP, PS2, Xbox
Order Up! Destination Software, Inc. (Zoo Games) Everyone Wii
Robotron: 2084 Midway Everyone PC
Rocket Riot ValuSoft Everyone 360
Stargate Online Trading Card Game: Rise of the Ori Sony Online Entertainment Teen PC
The Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria Turbine, Inc. Teen PC
The Sims 2 Apartment Pets Electronic Arts Everyone DS
Wild West Guns Game Loft Teen Wii
WWE SmackDown vs RAW 2009 THQ Teen DS
Zoo Hospital Majesco Entertainment Everyone Wii
Tinker Microsoft Everyone PC
The Golden Horde DreamCatcher Interactive Inc. Teen PC
Target 21 Midway Everyone PC
Solitaire Classic Midway Everyone PC
PowerCell Midway Everyone PC
Madden NFL 09 All-Play Electronic Arts Everyone Wii
Mahjongg Pairs Midway Everyone PC
MAHKI Midway Everyone PC
Jewel Quest Solitaire Activision Value Publishing Everyone DS
Imagine: Fashion Designer New York Ubisoft Everyone DS
Imagine: Teacher Ubisoft Everyone DS
Go Wild Midway Everyone PC
Flip Words 2 Brighter Minds Media Everyone PC, Web Browser
Fate: Undiscovered Realms Wild Tangent Everyone 10+ PC
3 Peak Deluxe Midway Everyone PC
5 Star Generals Midway Everyone PC
EnerG: Horse Rider Ubisoft Everyone DS
Dream Chronicles 2: The Eternal Maze Encore, Inc. Everyone Macintosh, PC
Cribbage Vivendi Games Everyone 360
SOULCALIBUR IV Namco Bandai Teen 360, PS3
Wonder World Amusement Park Majesco Entertainment Everyone Wii
The Lord of the Rings Online: Shadows of Angmar Turbine, Inc. Teen PC
Ticket to Ride Next Level Games Everyone 360
Penny Racers Party: Turbo-Q Speedway TOMY Corporation Everyone Wii
Scholastic Animal Genius Scholastic Inc. Everyone Macintosh, PC
Hide & Secret: Cliffhanger Castle Activision Value Everyone PC
Hot Wheels Turbo Driver™ Race the World™ Mattel Inc. Everyone PC
Legend: Hand of God ValuSoft Mature PC
Gauntlet II Midway Home Entertainment Everyone PC
Little League World Series Baseball 2008 Activision Value Everyone DS
Ninja Commando SNK Playmore USA Everyone 10+ Wii
EA SPORTS Fantasy Football Live Draft Tracker Electronic Arts Everyone 360, PS3
Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties Destineer Teen Macintosh
Baja THQ Everyone 360, PS3
Safari Adventures: Africa Conspiracy Entertainment Corporation Everyone PS2, DS, Wii
Red Bull BC One Ignition Entertainment Everyone DS
Silent Hill: Homecoming Konami Digital Entertainment Mature PC, 360, PS3
PDC World Championship Darts 2008 Oxygen Games Everyone 10+ PS2, PSP, Wii
Primal Rage Midway Home Entertainment Teen PC
The Great Tree Merscom Everyone PC
Target Toss Pro: Bags Incredible Technologies Everyone Wii
World Heroes 2 SNK Playmore USA Teen Wii


Here is the final tally on who, what and where everything was rated for the last two weeks. There were 56 rated titles on 10 platforms. PC (28), Wii (12), DS (9), 360 (8) and PS3 (5) had the most games rated. There were 44 of the 56 titles rated at E10+ or lower, 10 rated at T for Teen and just two (Legend: Hand of God and Silent Hill: Homecoming) rated at M for Mature.

Got a comment on the article or a rated games, put it in the section below or send me an e-mail. Until next week, make sure you know what your kids are playing……

*The weekly Title of Shame (and any game that is tossed in that paragraph) is done so based on several factors, including which games were rated that week, how does the game concept stack up, is it a re-hashed sequel, lame movie tie-in, rip off of another game, etc…
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