Hatred Rated Adults Only by the ESRB

WhiteNachos

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T8B95 said:
And oddly enough, the sun still rises in the east, birds are still flying in the sky, and the ground is still beneath my feet. Honestly, is anyone surprised? I called this back when the first trailer came out, and I said it again when Steam put it back on Greenlight.

As others have said, context is important. Like it or not, no media exists in a vacuum.
Can that phrase please die? It's so vague it's meaningless.

T8B95 said:
Yes, I can go on shooting sprees in GTA. I can boot up the Sims and psychologically torture them to insanity. I can play Total War and commit mass genocide on civilian populations. However, these games aren't rated AO because the context of the game creates options to these actions, and those actions aren't the stated purpose to the games.
Imagine a game about cartoon characters that are all smiley and happy, everyone gets along and the missions of the game involve you helping people and sorting things out through non violent conflict resolution. Now imagine this game is a sandbox and if you go into the police station you can find guns and use those guns and go on a bloody gory rampage. There is no other blood in the rest of the game. What should the ESRB rate this game?

If your answer is M (and I'm betting it is) then we've established that optional parts should still count towards a game's rating, and since that's the case there's no difference between this and the most violent parts of GTA. These actions are actions you can perform in GTA so it should be rated M.

T8B95 said:
Also, this isn't really "censorship" of the game.

I'd say it's de facto censorship but it's just semantics. The point is all these issues surrounding the Ao rating are just needless obstacles between adults making the games they want to make and selling them to adults who want to play them. There is no benefit to consumer other than the selfish satisfaction that a game you weren't going to play is now harder to obtain.

T8B95 said:
Also also, to the people who are saying "They're taking away our vidja gaems!!!" this isn't a video game specific issue. This is part of a larger cultural issue with adult-oriented entertainment. Specifically, there's no issue with R-rated films being released, but only one NC-17 film has gotten a wide US release in living memory (Showgirls, and we all know how that turned out).
Lots of people have had to edit their films to get it to an R instead of NC-17. It's a broken, stupid system and it should go away for both films and games. See the movie "This Film is not Yet Rated"
 

Dagda Mor

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SmapdyAge8 said:
So I wonder.... if your in-game victims make smart ass quips while you beat them to death (GTA, Saint's Row) it get's you an M rating. If your victims beg and plead for their lives while you do it that ups things to AO. That appears to be the only difference between the two games. What am I not seeing here?
In GTA and Saint's Row, it's all about catharsis. Although GTA is fairly tasteless, the people you kill still aren't made to look realistically sympathetic--on some level, you're aware that they're lifeless simulations that exist solely for your amusement. Hatred goes out of its way to show your victims defenseless and pleading for their lives. It deliberately paints what you're doing as something horrific and terrible. I'd actually say that it would be better for a child to play Hatred than GTA, since Hatred makes murdering innocents terrifying where GTA makes it fun, but it's rather silly to say that the violence in Hatred and GTA are equivalent.
 

Dagda Mor

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WhiteNachos said:
T8B95 said:
Also, this isn't really "censorship" of the game.

I'd say it's de facto censorship but it's just semantics. The point is all these issues surrounding the Ao rating are just needless obstacles between adults making the games they want to make and selling them to adults who want to play them. There is no benefit to consumer other than the selfish satisfaction that a game you weren't going to play is now harder to obtain.
1) Hatred didn't need to send the game into the ESRB to get rated, you know. The ESRB is a voluntary service.
2) The ESRB exists to inform consumers of the content of a game. It doesn't censor anything. It's true that giving the game an Ao rating made it harder to acquire the game, but you're suggesting that the ESRB should misinform consumers so that the game has an easier time. Even if you consider censorship to be silencing people in any form, regardless of government involvement, this isn't censorship. The choice of whether or not to stock a game goes to the distributor--games aren't entitled to go to every store shelf so that people can find them. Free speech guarantees you the right to say something, but it doesn't entitle you a platform to get your word out. All that's happening here is distributors are denying Hatred the privilege to use their stores as a platform.

And if you're thinking of bringing up the Target GTAV fiasco, don't.
 

WhiteNachos

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Dagda Mor said:
WhiteNachos said:
T8B95 said:
Also, this isn't really "censorship" of the game.

I'd say it's de facto censorship but it's just semantics. The point is all these issues surrounding the Ao rating are just needless obstacles between adults making the games they want to make and selling them to adults who want to play them. There is no benefit to consumer other than the selfish satisfaction that a game you weren't going to play is now harder to obtain.
1) Hatred didn't need to send the game into the ESRB to get rated, you know. The ESRB is a voluntary service.
2) The ESRB exists to inform consumers of the content of a game. It doesn't censor anything. It's true that giving the game an Ao rating made it harder to acquire the game, but you're suggesting that the ESRB should misinform consumers so that the game has an easier time. Even if you consider censorship to be silencing people in any form, regardless of government involvement, this isn't censorship. The choice of whether or not to stock a game goes to the distributor--games aren't entitled to go to every store shelf so that people can find them. Free speech guarantees you the right to say something, but it doesn't entitle you a platform to get your word out. All that's happening here is distributors are denying Hatred the privilege to use their stores as a platform.

And if you're thinking of bringing up the Target GTAV fiasco, don't.
I never said it was the ESRB doing the censorship but it would be fixed a lot easier if the ESRB dropped the Ao rating and made M 18+ (or dropped both and had a new adult rating). There really isn't a need for a 17+ and an 18+ rating.
 

T8B95

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WhiteNachos said:
1) The phrase is perfectly useful. It explains that context is important to how people see things. Just because you don't like it doesn't make it meaningless.

2) Ignoring the obvious hyperbole, I'll go back to the GTA thing. As many other people have said, the citizens in GTA and the citizens in hatred are very different. Namely, I can't go over to a screaming woman in GTA, stick a gun in her mouth, and blow her brains over the sidewalk while she pleads for mercy. The violence in GTA is stylized, which gives it a disconnect from reality, while the violence in Hatred is designed to emulate real life violence.

3) It's not censorship, de jure or de facto. ESRB has no legal power to enforce its ratings. This is a group of retailers making a voluntary decision to not sell or promote games with certain content in it. If you want to play Hatred, by all means play Hatred. Download it from the dev's site and have fun, I promise that I will not judge you. But Steam has no moral or legal obligation to sell you this game.

4) I'd say that it's the culture that created the system that has the issue. But my point remains, that the culture has an issue showing extreme adult-oriented material, no matter the medium. That's why it annoys me when people point to something like Hatred and say "They're discriminating against it because it's a video game!" while ignoring the fact that a movie with Hatred's content would likely receive similar treatment.
 

EvolutionKills

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WhiteNachos said:
Okay, you're just being purposely obtuse now. If you think that authorial intent has no bearing whatsoever on this, then there's nothing left to say.

Might as well require ID checks when buying a hammer because you could smash someone's head in with it...
 

SmugFrog

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Sep 4, 2008
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JMac85 said:
the AO rating should be an industry standard, not a threat of ad hoc censorship. There are plenty of games rated M that should be rated AO. Not because of any moral grandstanding, but because the rating system should be properly utilized.
I think the problem behind this stems from the big debate about games rated Mature or AO. There are certain people that want these games where the boxart, ads, etc can be seen by anyone that isn't of the age required to play the game. Hence, many stores would remove it from their shelves or be required to have a "backroom" to go view these titles, similar to going to buy pornography.

It's not as much of a problem in today's world of digital distribution; but the fact that games like Grand Theft Auto 5 could be treated the same as hardcore pornography is a messed up way to treat it. I also agree that there are probably more games that should be rated AO; however it's left up to the parents (however obviously incompetent they are based on the number of kids playing these games). Personally, I don't let my kids play anything that I haven't played myself; and some games that I think they're ready for I hold off on because of certain scenes of language/violence.
 

Ramus

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I am personally glad it got the AO rating because maybe this will open up more discussion on the distribution of AO games. There needs to be venues willing to sell AO games if AO is going to be anything more than a "we don't like this game" rating.
 

vgmaster831

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Dec 15, 2010
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Ramus said:
I am personally glad it got the AO rating because maybe this will open up more discussion on the distribution of AO games. There needs to be venues willing to sell AO games if AO is going to be anything more than a "we don't like this game" rating.
I agree that it's an important discussion, but this is not the right game for it. The Adults Only rating could be an accurate rating for many hypothetical games discussing a wide variety of issues only suitable for adults. A few issues I can think of that would be beneficial for gamers to think about are rape culture, the existential and literal horrors of war, and domestic violence. Games have- to name one of games' many unique qualities- the ability to give and take away agency from the player and use that to make a statement. That said....

I would call Hatred many things, but mature is not one of them. It's a game with little to say on a subject that is deeply in need of discussion. It seeks to offend and push the boundaries without adding anything to our culture by pushing those boundaries. The very best it can do is open the path for another game which does say something. Even that's unlikely though, because this is not gaming putting its best foot forward. This game will just make gaming look bad. At least gaming as a whole isn't really susceptible to bad press anymore. Despite the best attempts of some people in our lovely community to make us all look like intolerant, reactive trolls recently, gaming still contains more people looking to make actual progress in the world than any other medium, I think.

That might have gone beyond the scope of my original reply.
 

blackrave

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Dagda Mor said:
SmapdyAge8 said:
So I wonder.... if your in-game victims make smart ass quips while you beat them to death (GTA, Saint's Row) it get's you an M rating. If your victims beg and plead for their lives while you do it that ups things to AO. That appears to be the only difference between the two games. What am I not seeing here?
In GTA and Saint's Row, it's all about catharsis. Although GTA is fairly tasteless, the people you kill still aren't made to look realistically sympathetic--on some level, you're aware that they're lifeless simulations that exist solely for your amusement. Hatred goes out of its way to show your victims defenseless and pleading for their lives. It deliberately paints what you're doing as something horrific and terrible. I'd actually say that it would be better for a child to play Hatred than GTA, since Hatred makes murdering innocents terrifying where GTA makes it fun, but it's rather silly to say that the violence in Hatred and GTA are equivalent.
Dammit, stop ruining my fun.
Stupid people Time travelers from future who know everything about game that will come out in ~6months may actually realize what this game is about and stop embarrassing themselves.

This is one thing I liked about Fallout and Fallout2- they often had civilians (even kids) in middle of firefights.
And this is where Spec Ops:The Line fucked up.
Yes Spec Ops had civilians in few special places, but not in the middle of "ordinary" combat encounters.
Men, women, children, everyone doesn't get magically teleported away from combat zones.