Jackbox Games' first-ever M-rated game promises to put the 'jack' back in Jackbox

In retrospect, given the series' title, it's a little surprising this didn't happen sooner. Jackbox is making its "first foray into the world of mature gaming" with the Jackbox Naughty Pack, a collection of three "adult-themed experiences" that promise "laughter, wit, and a touch of irreverence."

"Dim the lights and charge up your devices (you know which ones) because here comes Jackbox Naughty Pack, an intimate pack of three games that are sure to have you laughing and maybe even sweating just a little, coming out later this year," the Jackbox folks said. "We will be revealing more details this summer, but for now, we can tell you that this will be Jackbox’s first M (Mature 17+) rated game, full of spicy surprises and maybe even some familiar faces."

There's not much more to say about the new Naughty Pack: Jackbox said it's aimed at people "seeking a more risque entertainment option" from their quiz-based party games, but beyond that even the titles are being kept in a plain brown wrapper for now. 

That said, I think it's interesting that Jackbox is keeping the Naughty Pack to an M rating rather than a full-on Adults Only (AO): It's a blurry line but typically straight-up sex stuff is more apt to end up AO while violence is generally contained within the limits of the M rating. Here's how the ESRB breaks them down:

Mature 17+ (M): Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language.

Adults Only 18+ (AO): Content suitable only for adults ages 18 and up. May include prolonged scenes of intense violence, graphic sexual content, and/or gambling with real currency.

Setting aside the fuzziness of that line and the inherent silliness of putting a one-year split between "a little bit of sex" and "all the sex you can handle," I think squeezing under that particular wire suggests the Naughty Pack will be more innuendo than in-your-face. The Jackbox Naughty Pack currently doesn't have an ESRB listing, so we can't dive any deeper into it than that.

As for why the Jackbox folks would want to keep the Naughty Pack from being too naughty at a time when Steam is drowning in hardcore porn games, I would guess that generally speaking AO is still a tough rating to deal with: Twitch, for instance, doesn't allow AO games to be streamed on its platform. Remember too that we're talking about "risque" here, not hardcore hentai. Sometimes less is more, you know.  

"The thing that we did want to be mindful of is we didn't want to do anything that was just so overtly over the top or offensive," Jackbox Games CEO Mike Bilder told Screenrant. "You can look at other adult party games or card games, and sometimes they can get very offensive or be very uncomfortable. And so we've tried to make sure that we're kind of toeing the line of: it's an M-rated product, it has adult material, but it doesn't do things to offend."

Speaking of remembering, it's also fun to recall that all of this can be traced back 30 years to a game called That's a Fact, Jack!, a children's game predecessor to the You Don't Know Jack series that ultimately morphed into the Jackbox games. How far we've come.

The Jackbox Naughty Pack is slated to arrive later this year. 

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.