MORE Bad News for Rockstar: Wii-mote Control Prompts Demand That Manhunt 2 Be Adults-Only in North America

Around the offices of Take Two Interactive, they’re likely calling this "Black Tuesday."

In the wake of this morning’s word detailing Britain’s ban on Manhunt 2 comes more bad news for publisher Take Two and developer Rockstar.

Citing concerns over the Nintendo Wii’s popular motion control system, the Center for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC) has demanded that Manhunt 2 be rated AO (adults only) by the ESRB. The game is scheduled for release in North America on July 9th. 

Although Manhunt 2’s rating has not been made public to date, the ESRB says that it has already informed Take Two and Rockstar of the game’s rating.

The watchdog group’s demand was made this morning via letter to ESRB president Patricia Vance. In a press release, CCFC also says that it will launch a letter-writing campaign "so that parents and advocates for children could share their concerns."

AO ratings for commercial video games are virtually unheard of and are considered the kiss of death at retail, since many stores won’t carry AO-rated titles. The only commercial game to receive an AO in recent memory was Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas following the 2005 discovery of the notorious Hot Coffee animations and the game’s subsequent recall.

From the CCFC press release:

In Manhunt 2, players can saw their enemies’ skulls in half; mutilate them with an axe; castrate them with a pair of pliers; and kill them by bashing their heads into an electrical box, where it is blown apart by a power surge.  On Wii, players will not merely punch buttons or wield a joy stick, but will actually act out this violence…

Said CCFC co-founder, Dr. Susan Linn of Harvard:

If ever there was a time for the ESRB’s strongest and most unambiguous rating, it is now. An Adults Only rating is the only way to limit children’s exposure to this unique combination of horrific violence and interactivity…

An “M” rating is more like a wink and a nod than an effective safeguard. The industry appears to be going through its paces, but as the FTC’s most recent data show, these games are still being marketed to children.

Also quoted in the CCFC press release is Dr. Michael Rich, Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Children’s Hospital Boston:

Video games are among the most powerful educational tools yet developed… players experience and learn the game’s skills, whether they be based in strategy, logic, or violence. The content of Manhunt 2 and the unique physical interaction with the Wii control combine to take this simulation a level closer to reality – we can expect that the effects of this experience will be even greater. 

On June 6th GamePolitics broke the news that, prompted by Miami activist Jack Thompson, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum was looking into Manhunt 2 on the Wii. It is unknown what role, if any, Thompson may have played in the CCFC’s action, but it’s clear that he knew it was coming.

The original Manhunt, controversial in its own right, was rated M (17 and older) at the time of its release in 2003. In addition to the Wii version, Manhunt 2 is scheduled for release on PlayStation 2 and PSP.

A statement received by GamePolitics from ESRB president Patricia Vance said:

We have received the letter from CCFC and, while we might take issue with some of the statements made within, we sincerely appreciate their expressed concerns.  Our ratings are intended to provide guidance that allows parents to choose games they deem suitable for their children, and that is a responsibility we take extremely seriously.   

It should be noted that ESRB has already assigned a rating for the Wii, PS2 and PSP versions of Manhunt 2, and that rating has in fact already been communicated to the publisher.  However, we are unable to publicly release the rating at this time as it is our policy that ratings be posted to our website 30 days following assignment, unless the game is released prior to the end of that period. This is done to give publishers the opportunity to consider modifying and resubmitting their games for rating or appealing the rating assigned to our Appeals Board should they wish to do so.  We have not yet been notified by Rockstar as to what they intend to do with respect to our rating assignment.

GamePolitics Poll: Should Manhunt 2 be rated AO or M? We now have a poll running in the right sidebar. Be sure to vote.


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  1. 0
    Anonymous says:

    There is a difference between a 17 year old and an 18 year old. Actually, it depends on the country. In Europe a 17 year old has no rights. When he turns 18 he is considered too be mature and has all the rights an adult has. So one year makes all the difference.
    piano lessons

  2. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    well if the ESRB rated it as AO it might not even be made it might be dumbed down to M,I will give rockstar props for pushing it,its high time the world woke up and out into place a mature level headed system where adults can get their games and kids can not its that or take everyone “steaks” away because the children can not eat them think of the poor children!
    bah! think of the gray bland world that sentiment creates >

  3. 0
    Terence says:

    I can understand that the government is trying to limit the games access to young kids by giving it a higher age rating but in doing this they are making adults suffer who wnat to play the game, by retail stores not selling the game.
    Parents should be more responsible in watching what there kids play.
    I played the first manhunt and thought it was dope now i have got to wait and see if i will be allowed to play manhunt 2, and im 21 years old.

  4. 0
    Bruce Lee says:

    Hello all, I would like to point out that VIDEO GAMES DO NOT TEACH CHILDREN HOW TO KILL PEOPLE!!!! THEY TEACH THEM HOW TO PWN NOOBS OR PWN THE COMPUTER SO THEY CAN BEAT A LEVEL!! Games will not and have not caused violence in our world. My parents and many of my friends have lost trust in the ESRB because they rate games like Halo 2, Halo, and half-life series M. seriousely do those games even deserve and M rating? i think that no matter how violent a game is the highest rating it should receive is M and leave the AO rating to “sex” games.

  5. 0
    Norwegian viking says:

    Wow, do they never learn? If you dont want a “bad” thing to get noticed, what should you do? A: Keep quit and dont make a fuss about it.
    B: Scream and shout about how messed up your kid will be if he plays THIS game… Like its the games fault….
    Sometimes a game comes along and stires ting up like this game, gta and others like them. But give it six months, nobody remembers this.
    What happend about the lawsuit against Sony and gta…….?
    People have to much time on their hands…
    -Greetings from Oslo-

  6. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    the main problem with AO is stigmatized like X was and because of that its a ineffective rating,AO needs a reinventing like X had NC17 is a bit more common that you think and its DVD releases are called “unrated”.

    I think we really o need a 18+ level for games like Manhunt 2 leaving AO for “sex” games.

  7. 0
    Oldboy says:

    ChrowX: I’ve seen Manhunt 2 commercials a few times on tv on Adult shows. So yes they definetly aren’t recruiting kids, but they are advertising it all over the web and a few tv channels.

  8. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    That’s because everyone would know that person was a mental-case if they paraded up and down with a sign saying ‘Ban Saw 3 – It’s corrupting our society!’.

    Partly it’s down to familiarity with the Media format, but it’s also interesting to note that someone can behave in precisely that manner about a computer game and get taken seriously.

  9. 0
    A Pretty Ticked Off Guy says:

    It’s just absolutely amazing, isn’t it?

    People are already trying their best to rip this game to shreds, but I’ve yet to see a single activist take up a picket sign against SAW or Hostel 2. Absolutely pathetic society we live in.

  10. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Anyone else have a problem with Denis comparing this day to black tuesday? Yes for manhunt it’s really bad, but not nearly as bad as black tuesday.

  11. 0
    marc says:

    Honestly, why shouldnt this game get the AO rating. what i mean by that is, what possible need is there for a game to have parts where players can more or less re-create scenes from Hostel (if you havent seen part 2 yet there is a scene where someone cuts of a guys penis using a pair of scissors or some sort of weapon like that). sure its better to let these people commit the torture they desire in a virtual world rather than the real one but there really isnt any reason for the ESRB to give Manhunt 2 a rating any lower than AO. I dont mean to sound like him but im about too, this game is basically a torture simulator. frankly Rockstar should have just stuck with the GTA games and Im glad Rockstar is taking so much shit for these games that they make. did they honestly think they wouldnt come under fire for making a game where you could kill a man by bashing his head in with a car battery or electircal box or whatever it is.
    what Im getting at here, is that the ESRB really did make the right choice for this situation and if rockstar is worried that the rating will kill there sales then good. they shouldnt have made the game as violent as it is.
    thats my two cents and now i gracefully bow out of the topic.

  12. 0
    Dave ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I wonder how it would play out for Rockstar and Take Two if they let Manhunt 2 be their, pardon the pun, sacrificial lamb. (See, the main character is Daniel Lamb, and… no, I guess it wasn’t funny. OK.) Here you’ll have a benchmark, where you clearly see that this is a title for an AO rating. Most games don’t approach this level of violence, and therefore would not be considered candidates for that rating.

    It’s not like this is a marquee title, anyway. It might be worth just going through with it.

  13. 0
    IrregularCape says:

    These games are not developed for children, they are developed for adults. Video games are a form of art, and to censor art like this is basically being communist. So, Jack Thompson, er, asshole, wants us to be communist? Wow, what a traitor. I’m not saying that this game should be played by kids, I’m saying that parents need to get off their asses and limit what their kids play. Don’t you ever dare to tell me that parents don’t have the time to do that. Bullshit. Parents need to use that little tool called responsibility and stand up for themselves, and instead of bitch and moan about what’s in a game, bitch to their kids that they don’t play it, or they will get punished. No, I take that back. They should just monitor what their kids play period. TAKE ACTION PARENTS. Don’t sit there and just think this will go away. It won’t, there will ALWAYS be a controversial game out for the masses, always, and unless you tell your kids NO, then there will always be this problem. Seriously, be a parent, be a grownup and take responsibility.

  14. 0
    twisted_devil_mind says:

    I think an M rating is good enough for this game. M is 17+ while AO is 18+. I don’t think that’s a big difference in maturity. Some people are violent by nature and don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong BEFORE they play a video game. In those cases I see how a game like Manhunt 2 could give them sick ideas. But, the majority of people are not psychotic serial killers and won’t become violent just because they play a game. An AO rating is almost as bad as a ban, so I hope for an M rating.

  15. 0
    Sil says:

    Why is everyone getting so worked up over this rating? Take Two will tweak the game so that ESRB will rerate the game as an M instead of AO and all problems solved.

  16. 0
    green_ghost5 says:

    this, is such bullshit, this country is being overun by retarded liberals, these ppl are not happy unless they have someting to bitch about constanly, if nots not games, its the war, if it is not that, its certain music……howcome we never hear them bitch about movies, because they probably like to watch them who knows. I think it should be rated M for mature, not AO, i swear, i wish all these ppl would just go play in traffic. The parents are the responsible, and i say this all the time, wonder what the f***, ppl like jack thompson, blamed any killing on, before there were videogames around. and as for stefans mom, shes just tryin to get some money, kinda like the COE, I mean really, and sorry to say video games do not teach a person how to kill, just because you see some guy break some dudes neck on tv or you do it in a video game, it does not teach you how to do it, it is much harder than it looks. I agree with inahaze too. parents who have such f***ed up little retards, they don’t need to paly games.

    liberals, jesus freaks, doves, democrats, jack thompson. I hate them all.

  17. 0
    InAhaze2006 says:

    Okay so it’s alright for movies to come out that have mutated nuclear fiends raping teenage girls, brutal deaths and executions, etc etc. But ya can’t play a game that does all this because it is infact teaching you to kill? Huh What? Who is the retard playing these games, get him away from video games, if your son is fucked up in the head and crazy, yes parents its probably your fault. Figure it out and move on with your life, don’t petition against it and ruin everyone elses times with your own problems.

    This is so dumb that Stefan Pakeerah’s mom is still bitching out Rockstar. You know the story, Stefan got lured into the woods and beat to death with a hammer by his friend. Wow, so they blame manhunt for this? I understand why, you do lure people around and kill them, but come on you can blame that on anything, fucking for christ sake they could say Marilyn Manson says in this song “Lure some kid into the woods and kill him” and RIGHT THERE here we go again, another dumbshit ignorant parent is out petitioning against music and arts just because she cant get her shit straight and parent her own kids.

    And anyway the copy of Manhunt was owned by Stefan Pakeerah, not the kid who killed him, strange how thats true and his parents are fighting so hard against the people who create violence in video games. They must be some parents if they buy violent games for their son and then are suprised that violent games are allowed to be released so easily.

    Who the hell lures someone into the woods and beats them with a hammer, it sounds like that kid most likely had some issues to begin with, its not like he was a great happy kid and then played Manhunt and was like “Wow you can kill people with hammers? No way! That is so cool, I’m gonna try it”…. Come On, the kid mustve been a fuckin tard to do that.

  18. 0
    Ace of Sevens ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Kotaku reports all versions have been rated AO. Will Sony and Nintendo even allow AO content on their systems? Historically, they haven’t. AO is the kiss of death because Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart and Best Buy won’t carry it, and they count for a very large percentage of game sales. It seems likely the game actually deserves the AO, though. I’ve long thought it ridiculous there’s no distinction between Halo and Manhunt in the ratings.

  19. 0
    michael lee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    How can we decide if it should be AO or M without access to the game first? 😉

    AO is much better than refuse to rate.

  20. 0
    Serrenity ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Most of my sources are from non-profits I’ve worked in — so mostly professional resources … outside of that, I need to do some digging on my own, hence not being able to do it on my own haha

    So, I’ll start making some inquiries if people are actually interested, but I don’t want to waste my time if no one would jump on board.

  21. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    I’ll do some research, I’ll admit that I have no knowledge what so ever on how to start a non-profit organization. Are there any good sources I can access to get some decent info?

  22. 0
    Serrenity ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @Terrible Tom

    The idea is to have an organization attached to your name — a non-profit group, something to that effect with an informative website (ie or something similar) to get noticed beyond just a polite thank you.

    For example, something like the CCFC — a non-profit that has some credibility. I know generally how to get one started, but its well beyond my ability to do alone.

  23. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    Just to be sure you guys realize that the ESRB doesn’t play the games, they just reveiw the content in the game, which in most cases is taken out of context. So before you say we havn’t played it yet and we don’t know if it should be rated AO keep in mind the ESRB doesn’t play it either. Only people who have played this game are the testers at Rockstar.

  24. 0
    Mysticgamer ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m talking about 14-16 year old gamers who quite possibly THINK they’re mature enough to play games like this..

    I think that if you’re old enough and responsible enough to have a job or driver’s license then you should be able buy any game that you want.

  25. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    I don’t have a problem writing a professional essay, letter or other response its just that this is a blog. I wouldn’t dare send out a essay or a letter as crude as my posts here but they would certainly convey the same message without any appologies. There has to be a method of having our responsed heard instead of located in unread e-mails or in a giant bag of unread mail to a politician. Maybe a few of us could get some kind of media attention many of us probably couldn’t.


    If you have any ideas on how we can have well though out responses heard and not fall opon deaf ears then I’d certainly be willing to listen. I mean so far non of my e-mails have been responded to, and if I get something in the mail from a politician is a generic thank you for your letter response that they send to everybody.

  26. 0
    Serrenity ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Well then. Wow. I’ve no doubt at this point that had we all been in the same room for any period of time when this new broke, there would have been violence. Lots, and lots of violence. Not that its bad, but I can almost see the spittle from people hissing at their computer screens….

    That being said, I agree with the majority: censorship is bad. In one way, the utmost of all evils. To take away, both figuratively and literally, my right to speak, you take away my humanity. No one other than me, myself and I should be have a say in what I do, what media I engage in, or what games I choose to play.

    For those of you say that this game is indecent, thats great. I totally respect that, but what you believe isn’t what I believe. For example, I hate the Jackass TV show and movies. Loathe might be a better word, make fun of people for watching and liking them and yet — I would never do anything to infringe on the right of those shows and movies to be made, because its not my choice. My choice is not to engage in that media myself, and you know, that choice works well. I change the channel, I don’t go to the theater to see it–I don’t rent it. The same goes for Larry the Cable Guy, Nazism, KKK, and the like — I don’t for one second agree with anything they say, but I will defend their right to have those opinions, as loathsome as they may be.

    I’ve said it before–I think Gamers need to step up in this. We need to ignore the people like Luscan who seek to hold the entire industry back, and start making our voice heard. We sit around saying that the CFCC shouldn’t be allowed to demand anything, we say that the Industry or the ESA should rise up the occasion. Just like Luscan and his cronies, we want to be able to blame the problems on someone else when everything goes to hell. Our inaction is seen as our salvation, freeing us from responsibility of the world where we live. I think it’s time to stop with the kind of mentality.

    I think we take the task of responding to these kinds of issues, to JT, and the like into our own hands. It’s obvious that even here there are some amazingly intelligent people, and I think given the opportunity could make some incredibly eloquent and well thought out responses to whats going on in the industry. I know I would have no problem with starting it, but of course, something like that can’t be done alone …
    Pipedreams of course …

  27. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    I totally agree with abolishing the NC-17 rating as well but thats not my concern right now. The ESRB has a greater effect on me.

  28. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    Stinking Keven-

    They do deserve my anger because they are responsible for the rating of games and its because of their rating system that retailers are turned off from allowing AO games on their store shelves. They are the very root of the problem. Their system does not have any logic behind it I mean come on, M is 17+ and AO is 18+. Doesn’t make any sense at all. Kill the AO and just raise 17 to 18 and that way Mature game are automatically rated for adults only(though the rating says Mature which implies adults anyway).

    Because of the way they set up their rating system it gives them the power to influence the content of games. They shouldn’t beable to infulence it they should just do their job and rate it. They know what the deal is. They know AO is the kiss of death so they use it to water down violent content in games. They have no business doing that. The ESRB should either be abolished or they should fix their crap rating system and I will be angry at them and everyone else looking to censor video games. They deserve every ounce of anger I can give them.

  29. 0
    Stinking Kevin says:

    @”A Link to the Future”, Geoff
    Are you really arguing that there’s no meaningful difference whether or not you are eligible to vote, or be drafted, or purchase pornography and firearms, or be held accountable for your actions as a legal adult?

    For the sake of argument, why not bring the MPAA into too? “R” movies are suggested for people 17 and older, while “NC-17” movies are intended strictly for people…17 and older(!).

    If you believe the ESRB, its ratings and descriptors are intended as more than just abstract age-cutoffs to blindly accept. I think it can be confusing when we focus too much on the numbers instead of the meanings behind them.

  30. 0
    Black Manta ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    After reading Vance’s statement, I’m glad to see that the ESRB made up their minds about this game a while ago, and in a way I kind of find that reassuring. I have a feeling that it’ll probably be rated M regardless.

    Even if it s AO, I don’t necessarily see it as the “kiss of death.” At least, the manager of the EB Games didn’t see it that way when I spoke to him while I was buying my copy of UFO: Afterlight. He wasn’t too concerned about it. In fact he was like, “Go ahead, let them.” The way he saw it, it would be more business for EB Games if Wal Mart and the like would not carry it, and I found it hard to disagree with him on that.

    EB Games/Gamestop at least seems to have every intention of selling it, and I don’t recall them ever saying they wouldn’t carry any AO-rated games anywy. After all, they’re a specialy store, so odds are they be more likely to carry it than a big box retailer. So if people want this game, at least there will be a place where they can get it, and in a way that’s good news. So at least someone would benefit from it.

  31. 0
    ~the1jeffy says:

    @ cusman

    Interesting points. Manhunt 1 was hardly a best-seller, and it was on the shelf. So will an AO rating, keeping purchases to specialty stores or the internet, necessarily hurt sales, if Manhunt 2 is well and truly intended only for adults?

    In practice, however, I am of the belief that an AO rating has been reserved for pornographic games, despite its intent to the contrary. And as such, an AO rating has a chilling effect at best, or at worst – left-handed censorship.

    However, the ESRB is well within its limits in assigning such a rating, and I will trust their judgement. Perhaps an AO is warranted. I wouldn’t know until I play it, or see scenes from it first hand. Personally, I don’t think it will be given an AO, since most of the ‘content’ I hear about is speculative, or hyperbolic word-of-mouth from critics like the CCFC, and gamer press is little better. I will wait until its rating by the ESRB, the game’s release, and it’s review by GamerDad. Then I will feel informed enough to pass judgement. Or I’ll buy it outright because it’s a big, stinking deal, like everyone else.

  32. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    To anyone who doesn’t understand the difference between Ao and M rating

    The Ao rating is usually reserved for porno games that’s why most retailers don’t carry them. I think you can still get an Ao rating from extreme violence which is why they are tweaked to get M.

  33. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Didn’t they demand that bully be rated Ao or M? Refresh my memory what did that end up being rated? Oh yeah T. They can demand all they want, the ESRB doesn’t have to listen to them (nor should they listen to them).

    “In Manhunt 2, players can saw their enemies’ skulls in half; mutilate them with an axe; castrate them with a pair of pliers; and kill them by bashing their heads into an electrical box, where it is blown apart by a power surge.”

    wow thanks, I really want to get this game now (that was not sarcastic).

    Honestly i wish the game would be rated AO, not because I want to see it effectively banned or that i don’t like the game, I want to see it get an Ao rating and still be a sucsess. Also if the game hits an Ao rating then I know they didn’t tune down any of the violence.

  34. 0

    […] If you’re already tired of the Manhunt 2 discussion, read no further.  However, a recent Gamepolitics post, in which the head of the CCFC called for the game to receive the kiss-of-death “Adults Only” rating, got me thinking… what on earth is the distinction between Adults Only (18+) and Mature (17+)?  Is the ESRB really arguing that there’s a meaningful difference between an 18 year old and a 17 year old? […]

  35. 0
    Hilaryduffgta ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    ahhh man i cant wait for october 4th to come around cause even if i dont have the ps2 with me then i’ll be going over to eb games and buying the ps2 version and then the wii version once i can find a wii somewhere..

  36. 0
    Stinking Kevin says:

    @Terrible Tom
    The ESRB just rates the games. ESRB ratings are not enforced by law. Unlike the BBFC, the ESRB will rate any game you pay to have rated. The ESRB censors nothing. The ESRB is not worthy of your anger.

    From the quotes above we know the CCFC is biased, ill-informed, or both. Assuming they are smart enough to research how the ESRB works (and you’d think so, with all those impressive Harvard-types on the payroll), this is all a bunch of well-calculated ado about nothing. The CCFC is not worth your time.

    If you want to write an angry letter, write one to Wal-Mart, or Target, or Best Buy, or any retailer who refuses to sell “AO” rated games but is happy to stock “unrated” DVD versions of theatrical movies. There’s nothing wrong with a private retailer having its own standards, but hypocrisy is always evil.

  37. 0
    KitsuFox says:

    I’d say E-Mail all the politicians you can find, as well as the CCFC with mass mails URGING them to look into the real facts and not just the watchdog groups that will scrounge up anything and everything to get a little spotlight.

    I’m registered on the Democrats’ blog on their website, so I’ll make a post there this evening. I go by “Foxwood”.

  38. 0
    Radio Guy says:

    I really wish the CCFC would get their nickers in a twist over somthing thats relevent to them. Like say, a game that marketed brands to kids ( rather than an adult videogame marketed to (well adults) Perhaps we should all pose as concerned parents.

    Think about it. The CCFC is starting a lettering campaign against rockstar, maybe if WE start a lettering campaign then we divide their time with a game no one really wants to play.

  39. 0
    cusman says:

    I think it should be totally okay for the game to get an AO rating and that it should still sell well to its respective adult audience. Why should the game developer fear the AO rating due to retailers unwillingness to sell AO games… the developer can sell the AO game on their own website or at internet retailers like etc

    I think it is wrong for developers to try and modify their game vision to avoid the AO rating to get the M just to be able to sell more

    I think it is a myth that AO will sell less than M for a game that is clearly intended for very adult audience

  40. 0
    BmK ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    who wants to start an angry e-mail campaign against the ESRB and the CCFC?

    Unfortunatly, that would be a waste of time. Like the CCFC would give a darn what we have to say. Also why should write angry letters to the ESRB? Just wondering.

  41. 0
    Siftr says:

    1. CCFC is like the PTC, except even less powerful
    2. In case the CCFC has had their heads in the sand, more and more game stores are making selling an M-rated game to a minor a reason for instant termination
    4. CCFC really can’t do anything as they can’t even say something like “if you do not rate Manhunt 2 AO, then something will happy” as they obviously didn’t.
    5. They are wrong, obviously
    6. They fall under the same mentally retarded thinking as jack thompson that M-Rated games are specifically marketed to minors
    7. They fall under another mentally retarded way of thinking that just because you do something in a game, means that you’ll do it in real life too.

  42. 0
    Mandingo says:

    Twilight Princess, Red Steel, Medal of Honor, and Call of Duty had you slashing individuals with swords, beating them with blunt objects, grappling with them, shooting them with a variety of weapons, and tossing explosive devices at them.

  43. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    Why should we be quiet about the flaws rating system, it works for the benefit of those who wish to effectively censor games. Its not doing us any good we would be better of if it was changed.


    It shouldn’t matter if parents are morons, the we shouldn’t have to adapt to dumb parents.

  44. 0
    monolithic says:

    I think the controller issue is being appropriately dismissed, especially concerning the complete lack of objective evidence presented by those claiming the game should be rated AO on the Wii. If the purpose of censoring games such as Manhunt is to curb whatever violence may be inspired by the game, doesn’t it make sense to establish a link between the specific style of gaming employed in Manhunt and subsequent violent acts? Sorry if I’m beating a dead horse here, but simply banning a game just because it offends your sensibilities – or the sensibilities of what you perceive to be the average person – is absolutely unacceptable. And let’s make no mistake here; considering how the current ESRB system works, an AO rating would in essence constitute a constructive ban.

  45. 0
    Dave says:

    The game isn’t going to get an AO rating… it would be ridiculous to think that since the rating was already in before the complaining (and the ESRB is pretty reasonable).

    Also, kids will still get a hold of it regardless of the rating. Make it 21 like alcohol or 25+ like renting a car… There’s still people who will do you a favor.

    This is the August Underground of videogames. Definitely getting it.

  46. 0
    DarkTetsuya ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “An Adults Only rating is the only way to limit children’s exposure to this unique combination of horrific violence and interactivity…”

    They’re right you know. 99% of moronic parents don’t know any better. (Though I know none of them post here.)

  47. 0
    Picho ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ WizarDru

    Thrill kill was also a non-nudity game that was coming out of the PS.

    But after the first few scenes were shown to the esrb, and it got its AO rating, poof, it was no more.

  48. 0
    Brandon St. Germaine ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m very surprised by the understanding and logic used by the CCFC. They recognize video games for what they really are, and make a very valid point as to what an M rating really means.

    In an ideal world, Manhunt 2 would be rated AO (Granted, none of us have played the game, so our rating could be grossly overstated) for it’s ability to associate movements to activities in an adolescent mind (Which if any of you have any psychology or even physical therapy knowledge, is very much true all the way into the mid 20s). However, due to the way the market has been established, a title with the AO rating isn’t sold in stores, and thus is not given fair market, making the AO rating MORE than a warning; it’s a red herring.

    Either way, I think we should seriously have a look at the association of movement to the mind, and we should also tread very lightly when talking about our flawed rating system (in conjuncture with it’s flawed understanding by parents and retailers) being all-knowing.

  49. 0
    bayushisan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I understand both sides of this debate, however I think there’s being too much dismissal of the context of the control issue. Maybe that’s an unfair assesment but its the reality of the situation. This isn’t a game like Twilight Princess, the entire point of Manhunt 2, like its predecessor, is murdering people in the most gruesome manner possible. Using the Wii-mote to enact and simulate this has to be taken into consideration as it is part of the entirty of the context. If Manhunt 2 gets an AO rating for the Nintendo Wii version it will do so because of the context in which the controller is used. I’ve never played the first and I’ll likely never play the second, in large part because I don’t like what the games are portraying. I do think that if Manhunt 2 is going to be as violent as they say, with the only purpose of the game being controvesy and gore, then all the versions of it should get an AO rating.

  50. 0
    monolithic says:

    The difference I referred to in my last post would be pertaining to aggression, attitudes towards physical violence, etc. Until the watchdogs can find and replicate studies that find a causal link between Wiimote simulations and increased actual aggression (as compared to playing with a regular controller), they’re crying wolf as far as I’m concerned.

  51. 0
    monolithic says:

    All I have to add here is that it’s a bit sad that people here, of all places, are trying to condemn Manhunt based on their own subjective biases instead of a more objective measure. One person’s “controversy for controversy’s sake” is another person’s “pushing the envelope”. At any rate, a lot of the condemnation of the Wii version of Manhunt is based on speculation and nothing more. If any one of these “watchdog” (read: pro-censorship) groups could present a body of statistically significant evidence that there’s a material difference between moving a joystick to kill a foe vs. simulating the killing motions via Wiimote, then perhaps their cries would have validity.

  52. 0
    ~the1jeffy says:

    You know I almost agreed with the CCFC people … until I read the line, ” … still marketed to kids.” Anyone who uses this arguement loses every shred of credibility. TTWO and R* have taken a huge hit on when and where they can advertise. No kids shows, after 10 PM, etc. Only in trade mags are they free to market to children. These restrictions are bordering the level of restriction handed to alchol/tobacco companies.

    Manhunt2 is still marketed to kids? Burden of proof lies with the accuser, please provide some or STFU, CCFC.

    And yes, I can gather they meant that kids will want to play this game, but realize that this is natural. Kids want to feel like they can watch adult movies, etc. I did, you did, and your parents did. Every generation has its things hidden in the mattress. It’s a part of growing up, and this is, in no uncertain terms, the strict domain of parents. The ESRB, retailers, etc. all try to help out, but at the end of the day, where are these games played? In the home. Left-handed censorship of ideas (and an AO rating is very clearly just that) is an invasion of a parent’s home, plain and simple. I would very much like the CCFC to stay the hell out of my right to raise my (future) kids as I see fit. Guess what, I wouldn’t let any kid play this game either, but I recognize that I have no control over other people except in the case of illegal or imminently dangerous situations, and a video game (no matter the implied ‘realism’) doesn’t fit either of those cases.

    The real debate we need to have, as gamers, is whether or not the Wii-mote controls actually are realistic enough to warrant concern, in the case of pantomiming the brutal acts of Manhunt? Too bad the real debate gets lost in the activist parade …

    Personally, I used to fashion swords, guns, etc. from anything and would brutally ‘slay’ my younger brothers (or be slain in turn). And those games included using real-life items as weapons, bats, golf clubs, etc. So because the game is pseudo-realistic on a screen, does it mean more? I’m inclined to say that it doesn’t because my imagination is still more vivid and I can distinctly remember ‘beheading’ my ‘adversaries’ many times. I’d think the Wii-mote is very similar to this type of play violence.

    The difference is, of course, the subject matter, which I think we can universally agree is far to strong for most kids in Manhunt 2. Now, maybe there are some kids that can understand the right context? But who is best suited to know what an individual kid can understand?

  53. 0
    Kirk ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    1) How is it that these parenting groups know the content of the game before we do! I mean Jack Thompson knew Bully inside and out right after it was announced.;-p

    2) I would only support this game for AO if major retailers offered to sale AO games in brick and mortar stores. If that occured I would be more willing to let these nit picky parenting groups to have a little more say in what is rated what, because then it wouldn’t actually affect the games sales.

  54. 0
    WizarDru says:

    I keep hearing this “AO is the kiss of death” claim, and yet I tend to think that we don’t really have enough examples to prove that, either way. If this list is accurate:

    then there have barely been two dozen games to ever receive the rating. When GTA:SA was relabeled as AO, it was already well past the initial surge in sales…but we didn’t see a sudden revocation of the game from the market. But with the exception of GTA:SA and the “director’s cut” of Inidigo Prophecy, virtually every game on that list is sexually explicit (and most are PC games or hentai dating sims).

    That certainly shows where the bias lies with regards to violence versus sexual content….and remember, GTA only got an AO because the Hot Coffee mod on the PC version unlocked a sexually themed mini-game left in the code. Inidigo Prophecy also only got an AO rating for the download-only version that reinstated the sex scenes to the game.

    Manhunt 2 would be the first game receiving an AO for extreme violence, if that were to occur. How that would impact sales is a matter for debate, since most retailers weren’t carrying AO games because, for all intents and purposes, they contained sexual or in some cases pornographic content. Also at debate is how successful Manhunt 2 would be with just an ‘M’ rating. I mean, was the original Manhunt that big of a commercial success? It was banned in several countries too, as I recall. I doubt Rockstar is all that concerned; to them, this is just a way to develop media attention, anyhow.

  55. 0
    Rob says:

    All they would do is claim that the AO rated games were being marketed to children still. Nothing will change, they’d still assault the gaming industry and still blame them for all the problems in the world, and still be outraged that these games are being created and “marketed” to their children. Nothing would change, and then after AO is used, they’ll call for either a tougher rating for things that offend them even more or an out right ban of it all together. This is how it always works with them. These people are completely fucking braindead and it just pisses me off to no end.

    It’s like wrestling, their kid sees a wrestling move and tries it out on his friend killing him/her or paralyzing them. Do they blame the dumb ass kid? No! Their own lack of supervising? No! They blame wrestling, the wrestlers, etc. If you kid is so fucking stupid that they have to do things they know that could or would hurt someone else, well, then your kid shouldn’t even be allowed to do anything other than sit in a big white room eating crayons and riding the short bus back home at the end of the day.

  56. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    I also think it would work out in terms of getting the politicians and anti-game activist to calm down. Hey look at us we are increasing the age of the M rating, happy now that its only for 18 and over?

  57. 0
    Terrible Tom ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    This is why AO should be removed as a rating and have M changed to 18+. Retailers wouldn’t ban the sale of M rated games even if AO wasn’t a rating, they would lose too much profit. If the retailers didn’t want to carry a certain game, fine then dont carry it. I’m also sure that Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo wouldn’t be willing to sacrifice all their M rated titles so I’m sure this would work. The AO rating is just a tool used to censor content in games, how about we try to take that tool away from them.

  58. 0
    Alan Parsons says:

    This is a classic case of “cherry picking”. The polliticians are obviously co-opting off of violence that struck with the VA massacre, the family in the UK that lost their son, etc…

    It’s funny/sad that people fall for this kind of sensationalisim in the media. Wow, the only thing they have to their advantage(if there even is one) is the fact that the Wii’s controls are hands on.

    * silence *

    Were these same people after Arnold when he was running for Governor? Don’t they remember him emulating a futuristic robot that was “sent back in time” to murder a woman?

    Or how about when he was blowing people away in Commando? Or featured in violent films such as Predator, Conan, etc?

    I mean, he had to do several takes when those movies were shot, right? What if one day Arnold snaps, thinks he’s in one of his movies then goes on a killing spree becuase he once “emmulated” it?

    Just a thought. Also just wanna show, once more how rediculas and contradicting this can be.

    I plan to buy this game. I have the first one, beat it a few times and I still manage to make it in to work without ripping people’s nuts off.

  59. 0
    DeusPayne ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I hope it’s AO, I hope Nintendo OKs it, and I hope this ends the final debate of “we need to protect our children”. Fuck off… it’s AO. If you’re too stupid to know what MATURE means, maybe an ADULT ONLY rating will get these stupid politicians to abandon the age old “must protect the childrens” ploy.

  60. 0
    Rob says:

    This whole thing is just fucking stupid. I’m just so tired of the idiocy of it all. As someone else pointed out there is only a YEAR difference between the Mature and Adults Only ratings, so why is it necessary to make it AO with such a small difference? All it will do is cause problems for Rockstar/Take 2 because a lot of places refuse to carry AO titles simply because AO implies heavy sexual content such as full on sex scenes. Yet, we’ll just give Hostel an R rating. M is like the R rating of the gaming industry, so why does Manhunt 2 have to have an AO rating? Don’t let your fucking kids play it! That’s why it says Mature 17+. God damn! Stupid fucking people!

  61. 0
    Arlen ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A few thoughts on this issue:

    As many people have said, no one has yet seen this game in action. I remember a lot of hooplah about how Bully was going to be a
    Columbine simulator,” and it didn’t work out quite that way. Of course, a reasonable person can infer that Manhunt 2 is going to be waaay over the top; after all, Nintendo wanted it to be, so that their console wouldn’t be type-cast as a kids-only system. Let’s all just sit back and let the ESRB do its job on this one.

    The difference between AO and M is a subtle one, but there is a good case to be made for not merging the two. AO, like NC-17 is a necessary straw man for the ratings board. Major retailers can say that they are protecting kids by not carrying whatever the strongest rating is (be it AO or NC-17), while ratings boards will only very rarely have to rate anything at that level. Most movie companies know when they are making smut, and just don’t rate it. I think Manhunt could probably sell just fine without a rating, but they’d like to see if they can get the ESRB to rate it M so that it could be sold in mainstream stores.

    There should be no difference in rating between games controlled by a joystick, a light gun, a traditional controller, or a wii-mote. I’ve played the Wii; the motion controls are fun, but in no way do they approach actual simulation of what’s happening on-screen. Pulling two white sticks toward one’s torso doesn’t any more simulate strangling a human being than moving two joysticks on the PS2, or even playing tug of war, or flossing your teeth, or anything else. I remember when people were up in arms about the hyper-realism of Mortal Kombat (the original). Now it just looks silly. The “realism” of wii-mote controls are perfectly analogous.

    I have no intention of buying this game and no opinion about what the rating should be. I just wish people could argue intelligently and logically about what actually is, not about what they fear might be.

  62. 0
    illspirit ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hmmm.. I think an AO rating would be more than just a retail kiss of death. I’ve not seen a Wii developers contract yet, but it’s likely Nintendo doesn’t even allow AO rated games to be made for the system. ‘Tis in the the Xbox developers license agreement these days, so why wouldn’t Nintendo be the same?

    If that is the case, an AO rating would be a de facto ban as there would be nothing published for retailers to choose whether to sell or not..

  63. 0
    William Douglas says:

    If they want to have this game set as AO, they’re asking to pretty much ban this game from sales. There are two main reasons why AO games are very rarely seen.

    1) No console maker (Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft) will allow an AO rated game to be published on their console. They will effectively pull their support for the game, and it will not meet their console certification requirements.

    2) No store in America, that I know of, will sell AO rated games. Even when GTA got rerated to AO, they pulled all copies off the shelves until the game was re-rerated as an M rated game.

    What this group is asking for isn’t a proper rating, but an effective ban on the game. This is what we call censorship.

  64. 0
    Gray17 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Here’s an interesting article on media violence:

    Anyone here ever hear of the Kaiser Family Foundation? That article’s about a survey/study they did on parent’s knowledge of what media their children consume. The study and article seem fairly impartial, but I’m curious as to what information other people here have.

  65. 0
    Scrubking says:

    Why are the rantings of some laughable watchdog group bad news for Rockstar? By that example every rant and email by Jack thompson should also be portrayed as horrible, seriously bad news for Take-two.

    Anyway, if this was rated AO in the States we would all know about it. It would have been a too juicy piece of news to not be leaked.

  66. 0
    Picho ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    what would be very very funny is even with all this hype of the game, you end up not using the remote to ‘slit’ throughts and are instead forced to use the classic controller or something.

    What would be even funnier is it never comes out, not because of Jacky or the OMG groups, but cause rockstar never actually produced the game in the first place… and instead are secretly working on a hidden game they dont want anyone to know about.

    (Memo… when i get my own gaming company, pretend to produce overly graphic game. Start viral campain on april 1.)

  67. 0
    Namrepus221 says:

    If Take Two really wanted to clean up…

    They’d hand distrobution themselves, completely online transactions, thus bypassing the major retailers.

    Of cource the game would be like $90 to cover shipping costs and other kinds of crap.

    But they would’ve effectively gotten past the ESRB and the retailers that won’t stock games that are either unrated or AO.

  68. 0
    John ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    All I see AO as is a way to legally ban games. These watchdog groups don’t want games rated properly, they want them removed from existence. This is a bigger issue in my eyes than the rating of a stupid looking game. This is censorship at its finest. They know how to make games go away, and this is their step in creating their ideal world.

    On the side, I am sick of R*/Take 2. They make their fame and fortune on controversy alone.

  69. 0
    Dorkmaster Flek says:

    I say bring it on. This will only serve to increase knowledge about the game, specifically the Wii version if it’s the only one getting an AO rating. I bet it will make people more interested in it, not less. I’m personally picking it up, because it looks like a fun game and I’ve heard really good things from previews and hands-on play tests.

  70. 0
    Frosty says:

    The people making this game are pathetic. Simply marketing a game on its shock factor…

    Using a Wii control to physically act out the extreme violence?

    These developers need help, seriously.

  71. 0
    Nick says:

    I guess you can say we knew all this controversy was coming. There are certain things that you are going to be able to do in Manhunt 2 which some people may not find appropriate. Additionally I can see that the Wiimote does add a deeper level of game play which is not going to be suitable for any children. However, this game is not made for children and I think Rockstar isn’t trying to market this product to them. This game is for the more mature gamer (as are most of Rockstar games), and it is up to the parents to prevent there games from getting into the hands of their children. As for me, I will own and play this game on July 9th. I truly feel sorry for all the gamers that will be missing out on this fine piece of art. Regardless of how gruesome it may be, Rockstar is making it, and one way to look at this situation is that all this controversy may be intriguing the minds of some gamers who otherwise may not have known about it. This could be looked upon as free advertising, not the black Tuesday that was mentioned in the article. Of course this does mean that there will be a lack of sales for the product, but Manhunt 2 wasn’t designed as a game for everyone in the first place.

  72. 0
    SilverStar says:

    also, @ oldest gamer:

    “The game will still sell well enough to kids, adults etc. Parents will still ignore their children and claim ignorance when said child kills. Besides, what parent allows their child to be ‘un cool’?”

    The problem there is, no AO game will be carried on store shelves. Not in gaming boutique stores, not in Wal-mart, not in Blockbuster. It would mean the parents would have to actively seek it and purchase it, on their credit card, online, where they’ll be hit with all the information required for them to make a decision. They won’t be distracted by a bunch of other games, they won’t be confused with anything else, it’ll all be about that game, and that game only.

    There’s a gulf of difference between passively buying whatever the kid hands their parents, and their parent having to actually look at it every step of the way and have all the time in the world to read about it, without their kid harassing them.

  73. 0
    MaskedPixelante ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    if you’re going to rate this game AO, rate all the versions AO, not just the Wii version…

    Now that that’s out of the way, this is bad news for the ESRB. If they do rate it AO, then the parents groups can basically do whatever they want when they don’t like the rating. Bully 2? AO. Left Behind 2? E. The next Bible Game? M for mandatory purchase.

  74. 0
    SilverStar says:

    I find it funny that people don’t see a difference between the PS2 and Wii version of the game.

    People, it’s as much a difference as watching a movie of Romeo and Juliet, compared to acting in a school play of it. Either way, it’s still fiction.. but in one case, you’re actually acting out the part. That’s where the big difference comes from.

    Just pushing a button doesn’t do a lot for stimulating, or even training the brain to understand how certain moves are done. Imagine.. playing a WWE game, on PS3 or X360. Sure, it’s all nice, flashy, and has a lot of characters and moves.. but it doesn’t matter HOW good you are at the game, you’re not going to last 30 seconds in the ring in real life, without being in a lot of pain, unless you’re already trained in stunts.

    Actually acting out a mimicry of said action.. well, that’s how babies and children learn. They watch, they mimic. Be it vocalization or actions. We learn by doing. And Wii allows one to do it, in as close a mimic to real life as possible, for all the important aspects.

    That being said, since I’m 25.. if it does get an AO rating and I’m only able to buy it online, I’m gonna pull out my credit card and do so. I want the game, and I want to support the idea that Wii, and Nintendo in general, isn’t just for kids and families. Nor is gaming in general just for kiddies.

  75. 0
    Masterofpsi says:

    @Shariq Ansari:
    I agree with a few of your points; M and AO should be merged/changed. The retail industry should figure out a kid-friendly (in that it prevents kids from getting their hands on it) way to sell AO games.

    I’d suggest a 15+ rating for things like Half-Life (shooting, some blood, but nothing over the top) and an 18+ rating for this. I’d like to see them both in the same store, and (eventually) be able to buy them both. R movies are sold next to G movies. Why not sell 18+ games next to (roughly) 15+ games?

    However, the changes that would require to the industry won’t happen overnight. Guesstimating, I’d say at least several months would be required. Until something like that happens, I think it’s the parent’s job to monitor what his kid watches. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m saying how it is.

  76. 0
    oldest gamer says:

    An ‘AO’ rating means nothing. The game will still sell well enough to kids, adults etc. Parents will still ignore their children and claim ignorance when said child kills. Besides, what parent allows their child to be ‘un cool’? Bad karma all around for Take Two as they suck up to the m$ tit over GTVI download content to the tune of $50 million. Reap what you’ve sewn Take Two, REAP IT.

  77. 0
    Keiji says:

    I’m probably gonna get crucified for saying this, but I sort of understand where they’re coming from, and I agree -to a certain extent-. It’s a little bit…odd to wield a shard of glass to cut someone’s throat with a wiimote, and I can definettly see what they mean by “active participation”. It makes me vaguely uncomfortable, to be honest, to be able to not just smash the B button or whatever to kill someone, but to swing the controller instead. Now, that said, I somewhat agree with the AO rating. If that wasn’t, as GP said, a kiss of death, it may well be warranted. Not because the game is marketed to children, but because it’s…I dunno, a little weird.

    Of course, I have no problem with copious and frequent Lancer bayonet kills in Gears of War, so color me hypocritical. I do think, however, that this game might be getting a bit too close to the borders of good taste.

    Don’t ban it, don’t censor it, but give the proper information so consumers can make the right choice for themselves. Maybe slap a non-obtrusive but visible
    “This game not intended for people under X years of age” on the front for games like this, just to get the point across to the willfully blind parents and cashiers out there.

    Just my 2 cents.

  78. 0
    Matthew says:

    This is an exact quote from the esrb web site.

    Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.

    Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for person’s ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.

    You know reading this; I can think of a few other games that I have played that probably should have been AO rather than M. Like Resident Evil (Chainsaw death scene) and Silent Hill 2 (Pyramid head doing his thing with the things while buddy hides in the closet… um yeah). Great games but thinking back on it after looking at the difference in the categories, giving them M ratings really isn’t enough and I do hope that Manhunt 2 gets it, if it is as violent as everyone, including its creators, make it out to be.

  79. 0

    Manhunt 2 Told Us It Was Hardcore…

    With the (still planned) upcoming release of Manhunt 2 for the Nintendo Wii, Sony PlayStation 2, and Sony PlayStation Portable just weeks away, the time has come for the outrage and the bannings over the content found within developer Rockstar’s…

  80. 0
    BmK ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I’m talking about 14-16 year old gamers who quite possibly THINK they’re mature enough to play games like this.

    Personally by the time a person reaches that age they should be able to play any game they want. With the exception of young children (who don’t yet have the full capability to understand the difference between right and wrong, reality and fantasy and what is and isn’t acceptable to do in real life) age limits IMHO are extremely arbitrary. It absolutly rediculous to believe that once a person reaches some magical arbitrary age limit they are suddenly and miraculously able to handle the content and withstand the supposed *cough* Bullshit *cough* negative effects of the game in question. But before they reach that magical arbitrary age they are not.
    The fact of the matter is there are loads of teenagers who can handle these games perfectly fine and loads of adults who cannot not. People have really got to stop basing everthing on age. Yes, age does play a part but a much, much smaller part (esspecially for teens) then people make it out to be.

  81. 0
    me says:

    This is a losing situation either way for the ESRB. If they rate if M, they will be called on for not “protecting teh children.” If they rate if AO, it’s essentially the kiss of death, sales wise.

  82. 0
    Shariq Ansari ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    You know what? I’m sick and tired of gamers rehashing the same old “parents should watch what their kids play!” argument every single time something like this happens. The ESRB is there to rate games and give parents trustworthy information, but the difference between an M rating and an AO rating is such a joke; one year? Come on, that’s a load of nonsense and you know it. There shouldn’t even be any differentiation. We shouldn’t have “Rated M” and “Rated AO.” We should just have “Rated AO” period. The comment about M being a wink and a nod is totally accurate; it’s a useless rating, because lots of stores still don’t card you for a rated M game.

    I agree that parents need to be involved, but you know what? The industry DOES count on KIDS playing games like this, whether they admit it or not. And I’m not talking about 9 year olds; I’m talking about 14-16 year old gamers who quite possibly THINK they’re mature enough to play games like this. And while they may not be mature enough, they’re certainly smart enough to work past all those safeguards like built-in parental controls.

    One of the ratings needs to be abolished, and the retailers need to get their act together and support the industry instead of allowing a rating to completely kill the sales of a game.

  83. 0
    JBourrie says:

    “Just thinking – why wasn’t there a big deal around Resident Evil or Scarface for the Wii? The graphic decapitations and assorted shocks in RE or the profanity and violence filled Scarface seem pretty adult oriented.”

    No offense meant, but this argument (which gamers make all the time for some reason) makes us look pretty ignorant. It’s pretty clear that to the average thinking person, onscreen decapitations are a far cry from physically acting out garroting somebody or slitting their throat. Resident Evils violence is passive, Manhunts is (supposedly) very interactive. There’s a big (*big*) difference between aiming a pointer around on a screen to shoot a virtual gun at zombies or mobsters and the methodical multi-motion sequences re-enacting a brutal murder that Manhunt gleefully advertises as it’s defining feature.

    You also have to take more into account than just the existence of the violence. The context is just as important: Resident Evil is you versus the zombies in a Hollywood style adventure and the stylized, over-the-top violence is a staple of the horror genre. Manhunt is based on snuff films, movies that are meant to depict real-world death, and the violence is as gruesome and painful as they can make it, intentionally trying to disturb and offend the viewer. Both of these are valid artistic uses for extreme violence, but they require different considerations when rating. Personally I can’t stomach the very concept of Manhunt, while in Resident Evil I’m always going for head-shots.

    Once again, I’m not going to say that Manhunt definitely deserves an AO rating, because I’ve never played it. But arguing that it doesn’t deserve one is equally pointless, the definition of “violence” is not that black & white.

    Apologies to Joshua for picking on his post here. You’re not the only one to say something like this, but hopefully by responding to it others will read it as well and put a bit more thought into the situation before they make such poor analogies.

  84. 0
    chadachada ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    On a second note (sorry for double post), I’m not interested in the least in the game, and I would get the 360 version anyways, but i sincerely think that this game (probably) deserves the same rating as the version for the 360

  85. 0
    chadachada ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “An “M” rating is more like a wink and a nod than an effective safeguard. The industry appears to be going through its paces, but as the FTC’s most recent data show, these games are still being marketed to children.”

    What? I’m sorry, but since when has it became the retailer and the ESRB’s job to make games that are specifically for ADULTS unavailable for children? Whatever happened to a thing called “Parental Responsibility”?

  86. 0
    Dexee ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This is the biggest bloody joke I have ever seen. The CCFC is a joke in itself, but demanding that the ESRB set it to AO? WHAT A JOKE! Down with soccer moms/parents groups/child advocates that dont know a jack SHIT to what the are talking about. As for the UK “banning” it, someone can take their PS2/Wii over to France, buy it there, pop it into their PS2/Wii and come right back across the border. They’ll never know.

  87. 0
    Greatnocturn says:

    manhunt+wii+contravercy=SALES[now the wii prints money]
    unfortunatly early 3rd party games on the wii are destined to suck.

    i say im don’t care cause manhunt 1 sucked, it was mostly shock appeal.

    let jack win this one…than CRUSH HIM LIKE A BUG!!!!!!!

  88. 0
    JBourrie says:

    So the UK has banned it, and the watchdog groups are panicking… and yet none of us have actually played the game OR even seen much in the way of videos.

    I can picture mentally what the game will probably be like, and if it’s in any way accurate then I would give it an AO rating, no question. But you can’t just start making demands about a game that you haven’t yet played.

    As far as retail outlets go, Manhunt isn’t exactly a mainstream title. It is aimed at a niche audience, an audience that will actively seek out the game. If it isn’t on Wal-Marts shelf it might hurt sales a bit, but to say it’s the kiss of death is probably an overreaction in this particular circumstance. Very few people will be impulse buying Manhunt on a whim, and there will be plenty of access to the game if the fans know where to look (boutiques, music/video stores, online).

  89. 0
    Joshua says:

    Just thinking – why wasn’t there a big deal around Resident Evil or Scarface for the Wii? The graphic decapitations and assorted shocks in RE or the profanity and violence filled Scarface seem pretty adult oriented.

    When all is said and done I think that gamer’s & gamer culture don’t have a thing to worry about. Growing up watchdog groups felt it necessary to shield me from slasher movies, gansta rap, Communism, and Dungeons & Dragons. This too shall pass.

  90. 0
    Steve ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Seeing as the game is supposedly being created only for adults, it’s not unreasonable to rate it AO. What’s unreasonable is that game stores refuse to carry AO titles. If the industry doesn’t take the ratings system seriously nobody else is going to. How can we say these sorts of things aren’t for children, but then pretend as if the adult entertainment market doesn’t exist? It’s hypocrisy, and it’s time to change it.

  91. 0
    Masterofpsi says:

    I lurk the blog here at GP (very nice stuff), and based on the stories I’ve read here, and elsewhere, I think it should be the parent’s job to keep an eye on what their kids do. Assuming M games can only be sold to 18+ (I think. Maybe it’s 17), then nobody below that age should have the game, unless a parent buys it for them. Therefore, the system works right up to the parent. See below.

    ESRB rates ==> Retailers sell only to 18+ =/=> Parent gives game to child

    I don’t think we need watchdog groups to tell us that GAMES are the problem. The way I see it, parents need to step up to the plate. Would you let your child see an R rated movie? Then don’t let them play an M rated game.

  92. 0
    BmK ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So how the hell is this game being marketed to children?
    Did the ESRB give it an E for Everyone rating and broadcast commercials for it on Saturday morning cartoons. Seriously what the hell is wrong with these people. They are making a mountain out of a molehill.
    Manhunt 2 is definetly an extremely violent game i have no doubt and yes, young children should not be playing it whatsoever but Manhunt 2 is no more being marketed to young children then Hostel 2 was. Trust me this has nothing to do with children otherwise this moralist bullshit group would be attacking movies, music and other media also.

    P.S. – While i can understand that releasing this game on the kid friendly Nintendo Wii might not seem like a good idea but that doesn’t mean it’s being marketed to kids. Alot of teens and adults i know and work with love the Nintendo Wii, even more then the XBox 360 and PS3.

  93. 0
    Exick says:

    JB, Manhunt isn’t an FPS. It’s a third-person sneaking game (think Splinter Cell, Thief, etc.)

    Frankly, I doubt that if the ESRB decides on an AO rating, it would hurt sales of the game. I don’t really understand the distinction between M and AO anyway (aside from retail implications) but suffice it to say that I think the first Manhunt was deserving of an AO rating and there’s no reason to think the sequel is scaled back, so it probably deserves one as well.

  94. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    This game is being marketed to kids solely on the basis that it is a video game. There is no other reason nor proof needed. The fact that it is a game imeans it is for kids.

    I propose that we no longer call them “video games”. I propose that we instead call them “entertainment software” That removes all doubt that they are games and for kids.

    This manhunt thing, if what JT and CCFC say is true, would most likely get an AO rating. But could get an M rating. It all depends on how graphic the violence is and what sort of context it is in.

    Who knows maybe this game will be the one that gets retailers to start carrying AO games. Sure they would keep them behind the counter but they would be there for the Adults who want them.

    As for the M to AO ratings gap, maybe they should widen it. Make M 16+ or AO 21+ One or the other. One year difference really is kind of strange.

  95. 0
    JB ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It’s funny. I’ve never played Manhunt (or any other FPS for that matter… besides FEAR) but all this hype that Manhunt II is getting is making me want to buy this game just to see what they’re complaining about.

    I guess it’s true when they say… all press is good press.

  96. 0
    Joshua says:

    Adults – myself included – are going to buy this game no matter what or where it’s purchased. Personally I stay away from “Big Box” retailers where AO is an issue.

    I do find it interesting that Manhunt2 is being released for the Wii. It just doesn’t make sense – I have to admit that I view the Wii as something you play with the kids or Zelda or bowling. Family friendly – not Addams Family friendly.

  97. 0
    Jythie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Long term, I wonder if there is a way to start changing the image of “AO” games so they are not, as was said, the kiss of death.

    I could see the removal of the always rather silly “M” rating helping there. Or changing it’s scope.

    Getting the smaller retailers to change their policies would be another step. One might not be able to convince wallmart, but gamestop might be receptive.

  98. 0
    ChrowX ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A few things about this that bother me.
    1- A random watchdog group does not had the right to make demands to anyone. A few pissed of parents don’t change anything.

    2- The Wii had parentalc ontrols built in already. If your child somehow gets their hands on an M rate wii game (of which there are very few of) thena RESPONSIBLE parent would be able to stop that. Seriously, parents of the world, read the f***’ing manual!

    3- Say the parents ignored point #2 and decided it’s easier to do it the CCFC’s way.. Well, the Wii has a built in function that tells you how long a game has been played that day. If your kid is spending 80 hours a week mutilating digital genitalia, then I think it’s time for a talk.

    On top of all of that, I still don’t see how this game is being marketed to children. The game doesn’t even have commercials out yet, and the kids that read the gaming magazines are old enough to know some semblance of right from wrong. The only thing these groups are doing is turning this game into a proverbial forbidden fruit to teenagers who fall into the ‘unaderaged’ grouping.

  99. 0
    Brokenscope ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    So your going to buy 2 copies of a game if it gets a higher rating…. does that make any sense?

    Where are they getting the line about castration from? I would really love to see a source for that one.

  100. 0
    A-wel Cruiz ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “An Adults Only rating is the only way to limit children’s exposure to this unique combination of horrific violence and interactivity…”

    Well that or, I don’t know, RESPONSIBLE FUCKING PARENTING!!!

    Y’know, I may just buy this game purely for all the hooplah surrounding it. Maybe send a message to these groups that all their yakking only gives the game a ton of free press.

  101. 0
    TK says:

    If only we could convince retailers to carry AO games. They carry plenty of violent movies too.

    But anyway, isn’t the M descriptor “17 and up” while the AO descriptor is “18 and up”? Pretty pathetic, if you think about it, that such a fuss is being made over a one year difference.

  102. 0
    Black Manta ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Would I buy this game? No. Not even remotely interested in it. I don’t even own a Wii. Should it be sold? Yes. I might not want it, but someone else might. That’s the beauty of living in a free-market economy in that there’s always something to cater to your own tastes.

    I hope the ESRB does not cave in to pressure on this, and they shouldn’t. Hot Coffe was one thing, but now there are people out ther condemning a game they’ve hardly seen let alone played. It’s almost like Bully times 10 now, even if Jack Thompson isn’t directly involved he’s still doing everything he can to stir the pot as it were.

    Hopefully the ESRB will keep a level head in this and rate the game on its own merits as opposed to what everyone else wants it to be rated. If it’s rated M, they can scream all they want about it. If anything, the ESRB can use this game to make a point that not all games are for kids, that some are actually intended for adults, and that the ratings need to be enforced and paid attention to.

  103. 0
    Meggie ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    My personal opinion is that Manhunt 2 should be AO, but like the article said, it would hurt sales. I just want see an end to parents groups/half-wit politicians making overseeing ERSB committees and bad-pun ratings systems. Perhaps actually using the AO label would give the ESRB more clout. It could also stop any “violent game being marketed to children” propaganda in their tracks.

  104. 0
    jakethe8lf ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Blah, blah, should be up to parents, blah, blah, get the Government out of our lives, blah, blah, etc.

    I’d like to say would be up to the parents they wouldn’t let their kids play this game, but you can’t speak for every individual. And every individuals choice matters, the Government shouldn’t micromanage people’s lives.

    We elect them to be the servants, not the masters.

  105. 0
    Matt Paprocki ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    So all games should now be rated based on how they control, not by their content according to them?

    Let us all have a moment of silence for the great genre that was the light gun shooter.

    *bows head*

  106. 0
    johno says:

    You have to laugh at the yanks, you can buy a gun and blow someone away on your proprty but you can’t by a video game where you don’t really do it…mad!!

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