Think of the Children for March 12

Think of the Children for March 12

Written by Randy Kalista on 3/12/2009 for DS   PC   PS3   PSP   Wii   360  
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The ESRB is keeping up the pace with another near-three-dozen titles rated. And boy, do I hope they love Nintendo games. As usual, the big N shovels out over two-thirds of the games that fly across the ESRB’s ratings board. And while the occasional MadWorld comes along for Mature ratings’ sake, the lot of this week’s games from Nintendo can be tossed with nary a second glance into the E for Everyone pile. The Xbox 360 makes a poor showing with only one game rated--Raiden Fighters Aces--while the PlayStation 3 puts forth a similarly weak effort with Wheel of Fortune. Excuse me while I feign excitement.

The cross-platform award goes to Up, an upcoming Pixar film about an old man and a young boy traversing wilderness and sky. Up (the game) will get a lift on the PC, PS2, PSP, Mac and the separately-rated Nintendo DS (though all came home safely enough with an E rating). Movie-game tie-in jinxes be damned, this is based on a Pixar film, folks. Hopefully THQ, the developers of the Up game, can put to rest all these haphazard notions of so many games looking “like a Pixar film.” And hey, it wasn’t made by Dreamworks, so there’s a possibility that there won’t be the obligatory fart and kick-in-the-crotch jokes for the cheap kiddie laughs.

The Intriguing Title of the Week goes to…Drama Queens? Now, hear me out. I’m not intrigued just because you can “secretly make out with your friend’s boyfriend,” or because you can “find your boyfriend in the hot tub with your BFF,” or simply because you may find that your boyfriend may want to “take the relationship to the next level.” But, in fact, I find it intriguing for all of those reasons. So often in Mature-rated games we get all excited if there’s a God of War quick-time event with a couple ladies on a mattress; or we fawn over touching moments in The Darkness when Jackie Estacado and his girlfriend, Jenny, get a little snuggle time in front of the TV; or, when Mass Effect came out, 95% of us made a bee-line for a few titillating moments with a certain lithe, blue alien. But, aside from the obvious conversational choices that would let you bed that last asexual Asari, “Mature” games don’t often explore relationships with any complexity.

I’m just saying. How much would it spice things up if Ares had to hold an orgy secretly without his best friend’s knowledge? What if Jackie Estacado’s girlfriend was willing to “take the relationship to the next level” before she was murdered? (Oops, spoiler). What if Commander Shepard found his/her love interest…in a hot tub with another crew member? So yeah, Drama Queens is a Teen-rated board game for the DS, but I think Mature-rated games should step up their game and branch out of linear relationship outcomes and really bring the drama.

Title   Publisher   Rating   Platforms
Raiden Fighters Aces   Valcon Everyone 10+   360
Death Track: Resurrection  Aspyr Teen  PC
Overlord Minions  Codemasters  Everyone 10+  DS
Silver Star Chess  Agetec Everyone  Wii
Up THQ Everyone  PC, PS2, PSP, Mac
Up THQ Everyone  DS
Dawn of Discovery  Ubisoft  Everyone  DS
Dark Sector  Aspyr Mature  PC
Imagine Makeup Artist  Ubisoft  Everyone  DS
Jake Power Soccer Club  Ubisoft  Everyone  DS
Wheel of Fortune  Sony Everyone  PS3
Big Buck Hunter Pro - TV Games  Jakks Pacific Teen  Plug-and-Play
Puffins: Island Adventure  Majesco Everyone  DS
Sudoku - We All Play  1Bit Garden Everyone  Wii
I Love Horses  Destineer  Everyone  DS
GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra  EA Everyone 10+  DS
Drama Queens  Majesco Teen  DS
Men of War  Aspyr Mature  PC
Monster Racers  Koei Everyone  DS
Monster Mayhem: Build and Battle  Crave Everyone  DS
Battle Poker  Left Field Everyone  Wii
Class of Heroes  Atlus Teen  PSP
Dokapon Journey  Atlus Everyone 10+  DS
Jelly Belly: Ballistic Beans  Zoo Everyone  DS
Bubble Bobble Plus!  Square Enix Everyone  Wii
SmileyWorld: Island Challenge   Zoo Everyone   Wii
X-Men Origins: Wolverine  Activision-Blizzard  Teen  PSP
Pimp My Ride: Street Racing  Activision-Blizzard  Everyone  PS2
Pony Paradise  505 Everyone  DS
Final Fantasy IV: The After Years  Square Enix Everyone  Wii
Crystal Defenders R1  Square Enix Everyone  Wii
Crystal Defenders R2  Square Enix Everyone  Wii
Alex Kidd: The Lost Stars  Sega Everyone  Wii
Puppy Playtime  505 Everyone  DS
Kitten Corner  505 Everyone  DS

Here’s the final tally on who, what and where everything was rated for last week. There were 35 rated titles on 9 platforms (counting plug-and-play for Big Buck Hunter Pro - TV Games): 360 (1), DS (16), Mac (1), PC (4), PS2 (2), PS3 (1), PSP (3), Wii (9), and plug-and-play (1). There were 28 of the 35 titles rated Everyone 10+ or lower, 5 rated Teen, and 2 titles (Dark Sector and Men of War) with Mature labels. As expected, there are no Adults Only games in sight.

The running tally of game ratings in 2009 is as follows:

Rating   Count
Everyone  189
Everyone 10+  45
Teen  66
Mature  17
Adults Only  0

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

*The weekly Intriguing Title of the Week (and any game that is tossed in that paragraph) is identified based on a game on the list that catches the eye of the author for any number of reasons. Good, bad or otherwise, feel free to agree, disagree or add some constructive input to the discussion.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

About Author

Randy gravitates toward anything open world, open ended, or open to interpretation. He prefers strategy over shooting, introspection over action, and stealth and survival over looting and grinding. He's been a gamer since 1982 and writing critically about video games for over 15 years. A few of his favorites are Skyrim, Elite Dangerous, and Red Dead Redemption. He lives with his wife and daughter in Oregon.

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