IMHO: M For Mature
Posted by mcp
I don’t know how much you love or hate the Saw movies. Because I’m not you. I have no idea if you’re “queasy” in hospitals, shiver at high heights, or plain old afraid of the dark. Nor should I know — everyone is going to feel differently about these things. This is why horror movies are either extremely popular or a complete bomb. There is very little in between.
The ESRB, or Entertainment Software Rating Board, has come up with a ratings system that you have seen change over the years. Why certain games get M and others get E that don’t fit the description, some of us will never know. While this rating system is in place to serve and protect fellow citizens, is this police work truly necessary? And whether you answer yes or no, the bigger question is, how do you feel about it?
When I was younger, Starcraft was a huge hit game and I recall my uncles and some friends playing it. The sci-fi real-time strategy game paved the way for balanced warfare games, especially on PC. Starcraft is set in the future, where two alien species, along with humans, struggle against each other in battles on different planets and space stations to dominate different regions of the galaxy. While the game implements the use of gathering resources and building structures, you also need to build fighting units to destroy
enemy fighting units. As a kid, this space based game was absolutely appealing in that it felt like a live comic book, and offered the satisfaction of killing your enemies. My parents did not like the concept and did not want my young eyes to see the blood and destruction in the game.
Starcraft is rated M for Mature, given by the ESRB, and as Utah State law prohibits any person under 17 years of age from buying an M-rated game, Starcraft and several others were beyond my reach. Now I’m no parent, but I can understand that a parent wants to protect their children from the troubles and gloom of the world; however, this shining “M” rating only made me wish I could get to it that much more. For quite some time, I remember sneaking onto the good old Windows 98 PC and playing Starcraft in the wee hours of the night. I hated so badly the times when I was scolded for playing it.
As I’ve gotten older, I realize that certain restrictions are there for safety and young eyes don’t always need to see things as violent as the world offers. However true this is, I can honestly say that Starcraft changed my perspective on gaming and movies as a whole, and not the violence nor the craftsmanship, but the sheer plot of ‘going to space’ was what did it for me in this game. It was inspiring to me — it made me want to draw space pictures and write space stories. This was one of my kid dreams and I am thankful I was able to play the sci-fi alien rts game, no matter how messed up it has made me!
Though I agree with the rating system, I feel it is a bit harsh. If someone under 17 years of age wants a game and has a parent or guardian allow them to buy it, then they can; but I think some games should have less restriction. As a 15-year-old, I wanted so badly for myself and other 15-year-old kids to be able to go pick up Starcraft, Warcraft, or Command & Conquer. These were some great PC games and, though they promoted some violence, I can recall many different sayings, phrases, taunting, and bullying that I heard in school that were an awful lot worse than Starcraft was to me personally.
Just because I was deprived of certain M-rated games as a kid, I definitely don’t think all kids under 17 should be allowed to play a lot of them. I think a little more freedom would be cool, but games that involve killing should be monitored because
I definitely don’t want to hear that my 7-year-old sister played a game as violent as Gears of War where you can smash in the heads of a downed enemy… I’d rather her stick to the Lego Harry Potter games and keep the world a better place! By the way, if you ever need a babysitter, give me a ring and I will absolutely watch some family-safe entertainment with your kids, like Saw. We will eat popcorn and it’s totally going to be fine — nightmares excluded!
Find out more about the ESRB ratings system here!