Developers Argue For M-rated Games on Nintendo DS

October 29, 2007 -
Should the kid-friendly DS handheld have M-rated (17+) content available?

Yes, say a pair of game developers at new studio Renegade Kid (Dementium: The Ward). In a guest shot with GameDaily Biz, Gregg Hargrove and Jools Watsham make a strong case for grownup content on the pint-sized DS. Said Hargrove:
As of Q1 2007 there were roughly 12 million DS units in the U.S. alone and of these, almost 50 percent were [owned by gamers] 17 or older. In my opinion, the DS suits a lifestyle. I can play it with my headphones on and not bother anyone. As a matter of fact, more than half of my adult friends own a DS. While we revel in puzzle games and Zelda opuses, that's not all we want to play.

From a purely business standpoint, Hargrove believes the lower development costs for DS games make them a less risky proposition than their console counterparts. He continued:
If bigger screens and more bells and whistles were so important to creating a more compelling entertainment experience then why aren't all movie theaters IMAXs by now? If a game is fun, it's fun. If it's a dog, putting it on a giant screen and blasting out your 5.1 isn't going to help.

Watsham added:
[Is] the Nintendo DS is worthy of [the survival-horror] genre? Can it produce the quality of visuals and audio that is needed for this genre? Is the screen big enough? Can first-person controls work? Can the Nintendo DS really scare anyone? Either we're masochists, or we believe that the answer to all of those questions is a rousing yes!

GP: I'm very partial to the DS as well. Readers, what do you think? Should there be M-rated content for Nintendo's handheld? Would you buy it?

Comments

I think people who want games that give the player an option of violence aren't honestly afraid of the game corrupting its player as much as the idea that the player makes the choice to perform a violent action. They're scared to see inherent agression find any expression, so they cut down every medium that allows it. Give me some time and I can streamline that thought, but I'm sure I'm onto something there. (:

The vocal people we see on the screen, doing their worst to hold the evolution of game design back hate change. It's the same in music industry with the record label and behemoths like RIAA trying to repress progress (big name bands going indie, bit torrent, etc) because it hurts their profits, and cover up greed with sentiments.

Yes and yes.

Gotta say, yeah. Handhelds shouldn't be a glaring exception when it comes to M-Rated games. The same rules and all still apply to a handheld, and if it's approved..... why not? After all, if the PSP can have Vice City Stories and whatnot.........

They can have M-Rated Games.. Still wouldn't buy them..

"Should there be M-rated content for Nintendo’s handheld? Would you buy it?"

I'm constantly surprised to see questions of this kind cropping up on such places of intermahwebs that claim to support freedom of expression and speech. It reeks of vanilla hipocrisy.

Well, it would have to be something I want. I only own barely a handful of M titles ( I rent a lot) and regardless of rating I buy what appeals to me. I'm not big into survival horror anyways, so this game doesn't hold much appeal for me.

I disagree with his contention that "If a game is fun, it’s fun." Some games that are good on console would be crap or just impossible on DS because of the hardware limitations. Dead rising would be about as doable on DS as Dementium would be on Game Boy Color.

"I think people who want games that give the player an option of violence aren’t honestly afraid of the game corrupting its player as much as the idea that the player makes the choice to perform a violent action."

Want ... banned. Dammit! Missed out the crucial bit.

@Ace of Sevens

I disagree, never could understand the whole 'mature games must require state of the art graphics' argument.

It's not like mature games suddenly only popped into existence the second hardware got to a certain level. Whilst dead rising indeed wouldn't be possible on a DS, many over types of games that could need a mature rating are extremely doable

Anyway, back on topic...
"Should there be M-rated content for Nintendo’s handheld?"
i'd rephrase that myself:
"Is there any reason why there shouldn't be M-rated content for Nintendo’s handheld?"

"Would you buy it?"
Maybe, but give us the choice please

typo, replace over with other :)

I'm pro choice! Give us the option to choose!

I don't see why not and Yes. My DS is just sitting around lately with my PSP getting all the action. You'll undoubtably hear from the same people who thought having a Wii light gun was a bad idea and the DS-using-child-predator-informers though.

There are actually two M-rated games out already. Resident Evil and Touch the Dead (yes, laugh). I have both of them, and they are fun. RE especially.

I welcome it!

Sorry to ask, but why is there a conroversy on this topic? M-rated may be on anything if the publishersw decide so and it may be bought if costumers decide so.
On the other hand, I don't see how M-rated games make a system more "mature" (despite the name of the rating).

I think there should be all types of content across all the gaming systems, period. Let different products find a following wherever they can. Would i buy M rated games on the DS? That greatly depends on the game and if it appealed to me or not. There are many M rated titles that I love and many I wouldn't ever give a second glance to. I don't use the ratings as a guide for what I will like or not like; that always depends entirely on the actual GAME itself.

I think this is one of those times when the "should they be available?" question can be properly answered with a sarcastic, "um, duh?"

As for whether or not I would buy them, the answer is the same that I would give when it comes to pretty much any other game: "Depends. Is it good? Would I like it?"

The question isn't whether mature games should be on the DS. The question is why they shouldn't be on the DS.

Yea, i'd like them on the DS. doesn't mean i'll buy it necessarily, but still, i'd like to choose

I was also gonna bring up RE1 for it, but someone beat me to it...

They had M rated games on the GBA and PSP (GTA of course), so why not? Besides, people probably wouldn't buy them if they suck ass.

the question isn't "should there be?" the question is "why shouldn't there be?"

the answer is: there's no reason why therey shouldn't be M-rated games on handhelds.

I'm an adult. I do most of my gaming on portable these days because I don't want to spend a lot of my valuable home-time plugged in. I'd rather spend time with my wife and dogs, and game when taking a break at work or in long car trips (when I'm not driving, obviously).

I support M-Rated games for the DS. Just because the DS is kid -friendly doesn't mean it should have a kid-exclusive audience.

Which M-Rated game for the DS I will buy depends on the review.

Yes, but the Mature rating can't come at the expense of gameplay.

"Should the kid-friendly DS handheld have M-rated (17+) content available?"

The answer is yes, because like consoles, not only children use these devices.

Yeah, and if it's a good game, I'd buy it.

I would have to say yes there should be rated M games on the DS, but if the history of handheld consoles have taught anything is that chances of a geunine good game on a handheld are very slim. To me we do not have the technology to make a good, rated M handheld videogame.

“Should the kid-friendly DS handheld have M-rated (17+) content available?”

I thought a large demohraphic of DS oners were seniors - Why do you think the brain trainer titles are the usual hot-sellers?

As everybody sez here - I don't mind having some M+ in my diet. That said, I'm running Dementium right now, and it's actually pretty good.

Like the vast majority here, I'd have to say "Yes, the DS can have it's M-Rated games."

After all, I'm predicting that Final Fantasy will eventually be M-Rated for excessive gun-blade violence, using fire to burn cartoony or fantasy creatures alive, or something excessive like that. Yes--that was both satire and a real concern, the way things are going lately.

That being said... ALL games have a place in ALL mediums. The Ratings are an ADVISORY system, and should be considered such. Not a restriction system.

Would I buy an M-Rated for the DS? Probably--if it was a good game!

"The answer is yes, because like consoles, not only children use these devices."

kurisu wins. This is NO different than any other console, handheld or otherwise. Handhelds even moreso, in fact, are played by adult gamers.

That said, I'd buy an M-rated title if the game looked appealing. I can't remember the last time I even paid attention to the rating on a game I wanted to buy. I didn't actually realize Bioshock was M until after I bought it...

I would welcome more M-rated games on the DS, if they're fun to play.

Really though, I want ports of old M-rated games that I can tote around. I'm hoping there will be Resident Evil 2 in the future (even though I own it for at least 5 different systems) and maybe the original Silent Hill. If the DS cart could handle all of RE's data, then surely it can handle those?

I think the DS should have M games to widen it's appeal. If you don't want your kids to play M games then monitor what they play.

I don't believe any console manufacturer should restrict the ratings of titles available for their hardware. I believe this unilaterally, without exception. DS should allow M.

"Should there be M-rated content for Nintendo’s handheld? Would you buy it?"

@GP -

What kind of question is that?

In their interview these developers are arguing that there should be Mature titles on the DS. The only problem is that these statements are coming from developers who *are releasing* a Mature title for the DS (Dementium the Ward). In two days.

I see no controversy. Nintendo hasn't stopped them from making it. It hasn't stopped anyone else from making any other M+ games for the DS (that I can recall). This is a bunch of developers asking a rhetorical question designed to stir up the "don't censor my games" demographic. Which is all fine and good when things are actually being censored. They aren't.

A better question is -- should the DS allow AO games? Or any console for that matter?

@Nekowolf

Bam! You summed it up perfectly! Exactly how I feel.

A developer should be able to make --any game: MA/AO -- they want for any console they want.. Liscensing agreements are really hurting the creativity and quality of content in this industry. There is something perverse and backward about the concept of exclusive titles and denying the publishing rights on games rated AO. It is the conceptual equivelent of Sony DVD players only playing films developed by Fox Studios, Toshiba DVD players only playing films developed by Paramount, and all DVD players being hardcoded against R movies that contain sex and violence.

The state of this industry ***really*** sucks at the moment.

Nintendo should not try to enforce pro-kiddie morality; they should focus on making the best gaming console for the lowest price.

Let developers and consumers decide the content of games.

No censorship, no licensing agreements, no government regulation.

Yes I think M rated games should be allowed on the DS the important thing is that M rated games aren't sold to children, stopping them from being made excludes a lot of people who are of age and have the system.

And yes I would buy them as long as its a game that I find interesting. Actually I did buy Dementium: The Ward.

@Pandralisk

There's a small problem with that line of thought. If not for licensing, we'd end up with another situation like the gaming crash of the early 80's. The agreements you're complaining about are one of the things that keeps the industry running. It makes sure that a company looking to make a quick buck or two doesn't try to flood the market, as what happened with ET and several other really horrid games from back in the day. They also ensure that we don't see moronic titles like Custer's Revenge (rape and racism anyone?) So I'm sorry but your point about no licensing is wrong.

They are aware there's a port of the original Resident Evil on the DS, right?

Personally I think the DS needs some GTA.

Oh, and is it just me, or is this game sort of copycatting Manhunt 2's plot? Although it looks like an FPS, and I've seen FPS with that sort of a plot numerous times before Manhunt 2 was even announced...

Clearly the market exists, I don't see why 'M' rated games shouldn't be included in the roster.

I don't own a DS myself, but many of my friends do. And most of them are 23+...

I don't know how "mature" you can make content that's on a tiny screen, but if the PSP can do it, I don't see why the DS can't.
-- If your wiimote goes snicker-snack, check your wrist-strap...

@Pandralisk and bayushisan

I believe in the free market, personally. While not to an Andrew Ryan extent, I think developers can make anything they want to. For a proprietary device like a console, they will have to license and negotiate with the console manufacturers for rights to develop games for it, and the console manufacturers can negotiate however they like, saying a developer can not make a game because it is too shocking or that it simply sucks. However, the government cannot intervene in this. When console makers are abusive, like Nintendo used to be, developers will be driven to other manufacturers, just like how Square-Enix abandoned Nintendo for Sony. For something like PC, someone can make anything they choose and, if they have legal rights to the IP, sell it as they choose. The market can choose to not buy a poor product, while a developer can choose to make a product freely available. In any case, it is not the government's business as long as IP rights are respected and nothing illegal is done in the making of the product.

@ Baramos Says:
October 29th, 2007 at 11:49 am

"Oh, and is it just me, or is this game sort of copycatting Manhunt 2’s plot? Although it looks like an FPS, and I’ve seen FPS with that sort of a plot numerous times before Manhunt 2 was even announced…"


Not exactly. If I understand correctly, Manhunt 2 has you trying to kill other live people in the most brutal way possible. Dementium, while it does resemble Manhunt 2 settings-wise (it's a hospital), appears to be a more traditional survival-horror with all them zombies, abominations, and whatnot.

Felt like an FPS-style, de-pixelized Silent Hill for me....

Should the DS have some M-rated stuff? Yes it should. This idea of a versatile gaming system being "kids only" is bull.

Would I buy it? Depends on the usual factors that go into my game-buying decisions (does it interest me, how are the reviews, etc).

@HandofCrom

I believe in the free market myself. Which is actually why I like the idea of licensing aggreements. They allow the market to sustain itself and keep everyone and their brother from flooding the market with garbage. The 80's Gaming Crash isn't something I want to see repeated; and that's precisely the kind of thing that will happen, console wise, if they're done away with. I think the market can sustain M rated titles on the DS and PSP, its just a matter of what titles they produce.

@ bayushisan

What makes you think the Gaming Crash will happen again?

@retrogamer88

I can tell you without bayushisan replying.

simple human nature.

@bayushian:

Licensing has stopped shovelware? Have you seen the reviews of some of the latest Wii games. Plenty of shovelware to be had

@sqlrob

I'm not saying that licensing will stop it all together, I mean they did make Aquaman for crying out loud. However there's not as much as there could be without licensing being in place. Who knows how many horrors we'd be subjected to if not for licensing.

As everyone else has said, there's no reason why M-rated games shouldn't be on the DS, and whether I buy any depends on if I think the game looks good or not. I hadn't heard of Dementium until I read this article, but speaking as a fan of horror and FPS's, it looks to be right up my alley, and I'll definitely be considering getting it.

Also, for some reason, while reading the comments on this article, it occurred to me just how awesome Carmageddon on the DS would be...
 
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