As the video game industry evolves and the average age of gamers themselves increases, we see more “adult-oriented” games reaching the shelves. Just like sex and violence tends to sell more movies, it seems they would sell more video games as well.
However, there are some adult gamers that don’t find this Rated M content mature at all. On the contrary, some games seem to be adding sex, nudity and violence just for the shock value and when it has nothing to do with the storyline of the game. Age of Conan was a great example. After the launch of this MMO, there were tons of obviously immature players running around with topless female characters just to see some “boobies”.
Discussions about sex and violence in video games are surrounding nearly every gaming community with many claiming the genre is “moving forward” or “growing up”. Still there are many who aren’t pleased with the direction some game companies are going.
Sex, violence, nudity and profanity are not to be confused with maturity even if these games do come with a “mature” rating from the ESRB. We need to end the mindset that the more sex and violence a game has, the more mature it is. In fact, in most cases, it is quite the opposite. A mature adult is not going to enjoy a game that has needless nudity or profanity in it just for the shock value.
On the flip side, there are some games which do not contain sex, violence or nudity and do not get labeled with the “M” rating but that are still not child appropriate. Some of these complex and adult-oriented storylines are better suited to a mature audience that is capable of handling the complex story.
When mature content is part of a storyline and game plot that makes sense, it is more accepted by the gaming community. Those who choose not to expose themselves to certain types of content can always opt not to play the game.
But when you cross the line from what makes sense in a mature video game to blatant sex, nudity, violence, gore and profanities just for the sake of having obscene content and drawing attention, you’re actually losing your more mature gamers.
Gaming companies are not making a statement by producing controversial content. Instead, they are insulting the intelligence and maturity of their once-loyal fans by insinuating that we want nothing more from our games than nudity, gore and vulgarity.
Gaming used to be about the experience, especially with MMOs and RPGs. There was something special, even magical, about watching the story unfold as you experience it first-hand. Mature rated content isn’t always needed to portray a mature story and in many cases, it turns the story into a locker room joke shared between pre-pubescent boys.
Ultimately it comes down to a personal choice when determining what content is or isn’t offensive and what’s appropriate to a video game. However, the very fact that this is now an issue in video games means people need to start checking the games they play (or let their children play) more closely.
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Lisa Mason is a freelance writer with a specialty in Internet content and SEO articles and the author of How to Earn a Living Writing for the Internet. She has written thousands of articles, hundreds of ebooks and thousands of website pages and related content in her 10+ years as a professional writer.