Entertainment Software Rating Boards say the darnedest things

Evan Lahti

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A humorous discovery: as it turns out, some of those hyper-literal descriptions of objectionable content that the ESRB publishes about the games it's rating are ridiculous. Logan's tweet yesterday sparked a minor meme in the office, during which we compiled a list of the oddest blurbs-about-bad-stuff penned by the ESRB. If you've found any others, do share.

Don't get me wrong--we're glad to have an independent, non-tyrannical body rating our games--it's just silly to read someone describe your outfit in Mass Effect 2 as a "future-blouse" when the lore-nerd in us wants to utter the word "Clearly..." while re-centering our glasses on our nose and correcting them for using a non-canonical term.

cuddlez

“In one scene, Nancy Drew is threatened at gunpoint and pistol whipped by a man.”

Nancy Drew: Secrets Can Kill

“Story elements are told through video clips that can include women in outfits exposing their cleavage. Dialogue contains mild profanity (e.g., "hell" and "bastards" ) as well as derogatory remarks towards Russian troops.”

Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

“Players engage in quests to gain experience and skills, and use axes, swords, guns to battle enemies in frenetic hand-to-hand combat. Characters grunt or cry out in pain when hit, and collapse to the ground when defeated. Some missions require villains to fight police officers to advance the storyline.”

DC Universe Online

“Some characters are depicted in a suggestive manner: a reptilian female with four breasts exposes deep cleavage; a humanoid with black squares running across her chest is strewn on the ground; and a hermaphrodite character nurses an eager baby by squeezing a breast-shaped pouch.”

Zeno Clash

“In some scenes, the agent draws his gun and fires at some gnomes; however, the gnomes are magical and are not harmed.”

Puzzle Agent

“…The central characters also beat up elves off screen amid the sound of screaming. In a couple of scenes, blood is briefly depicted: characters find a note written in blood; an elf-vampire hiccups as a drop of blood falls from its mouth."

Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse - Episode 2: The Tomb of Sammun-Mak

"Certain species occasionally throw-up food."

Spore

"Players' soldiers use machine guns, grenades, mobile tanks, lasers, and aircraft to kill enemy units. Artillery fire is depicted with realistic sound effects, including battle cries and yells from injured characters; explosions occur frequently, and can be large and detailed. Aliens and soldiers are sometimes depicted bursting into small splashes of blood; gibbing effects and small body parts can also be seen strewn on battlefields; and a few cutscenes may depict small pools of blood around characters, or alien blood spurting across the screen."

StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty

"One mission requires players to steal a bag of weed from a specific location and give it to a character who replies, 'you high as a kite or what?'"

Far Cry 2

"The dialogue contains numerous jokes and comments that reference sexual acts, venereal diseases, and having sex with one's mother."

Bulletstorm

"Dialogue between various characters references suicidal houseplants, bed-wetting, nose-picking, and current affairs in 'Poopslavkia.'"

Strong Bad Episode 2: Strong Badia the Free

"As players groom, play with, and ride their horses, they can progress through a storyline that contains speculation about a secret romance."

Riding Academy 2

"Players can also choose to have 'romantic encounters' with the alien/human henchmen characters; this involves watching a guided cutscene in which two characters flirt, kiss, and/or embrace: clothed alien/human characters may prop a partner on top of a space console, clear away the clutter from a bed-slab, unzip a future-blouse, or just talk it out."

Mass Effect 2

"The game includes several references to alcohol and sexual behavior; for example, 'This man's appetite for wine, women and song know few bounds,' 'If a man wakes up with a hangover and the memory of a warm woman, it may ease the shock of joining the army,' and 'Sodomy: never, Sir, and damn your eyes!' Other text-based references include 'Pickled in Rum,' 'Gin-soaked Reprobate,' and 'I am drunk.' The game contains several references to 'whores' and 'harlots,' and includes a soldier's remark about 'a man who knows how to shoot his load' on the battlefield."

Napoleon: Total War

"One cutscene depicts a man and a woman wearing translucent, flesh-toned bodysuits as they flee from danger. The digitized lighting effects, the glow from their futuristic suits, obscure most of the details, though outlines of breasts and buttocks are partially discernable (i.e., not definitively nudity)."

Assassin's Creed 2

"During the course of the game, players will encounter male and female prostitutes: the screen fades to black as suggestive dialogue is heard in the background (e.g., 'Nice charlies, too! Give them a shake for the Ben-man, will ya?'); there is also an extended sequence suggesting (no depiction) sexual activity with a robot.'"

Fallout: New Vegas

"A girl stomps and dances on a character named Dr. Fetus, causing puffs of blood to appear. The game also contains an instance of bathroom humor: after a toilet gets flushed, a brown character, Brownie, emerges and emits flatulence."

Super Meat Boy

"The sound of laser gunfire is prominent; characters stagger back when hit, then lie face down when defeated (though some characters get right back up and others disappear after a short period)…players are able to adjust the bust size of certain female characters to exaggerated proportions. Dialogue/text may also contain mildy suggestive phrases such as 'I'll be your guide to . . . pleasures of the body' and "the pleasure goddess of Rixx.'"

Star Trek Online

"Character dialogue covers a wide range of topics and can include references to suggestive behavior (e.g., '[S]he beds her stable boys and anyone else she can lay hands on while her husband is away,' 'leaving a string of love-sick women and cuckolded husbands in my wake,' and 'my prowess in the art of the bedchamber, in which I must confess a modest degree of skill.')."

Mount & Blade: Warband

"Players are occasionally required to identify and track traces of whiskey/tobacco."

Batman: Arkham Asylum

“…During one lengthy scene, Wallace's tea bag accidentally lands on his female neighbor's chest, resulting in an awkward exchange about where the tea bag is…”

Wallace & Gromit Episode 1: Fright of the Bumble Bees (Thanks, Capt`n Gin-o-Cola.)

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