Developers Argue For M-rated Games on Nintendo DS

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?

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  1. 0
    limpy says:

    There is already m rated content for the ds, there should be more. If some homebrew guru ports the pornholio games to the ds that should be enough free m content and stylus action for quite a while.

  2. 0
    *NormalGamer* says:

    As long as they’re targeting audiences who enjoy them, and as long as they’re developed and done right, I really don’t think this question even needs to be asked in the first place.

  3. 0
    Grendal says:

    Well the big problem with the few M-rated games that have come out thus far on the DS is the fact that there bad. RE:DS had issues iwth controls and gameplay, and the whole knife segments on the touchscreen got tedious. I beleive goldeneye was also M and that game was just horrid, especially when it stacked up against metroid prime hunters.

    The problem for me is I don’t know if I would really but M games for the DS. I use it primarily when I’m waiting between classes and don’t feel like doing the assigned reading my proffesor has given out, or if I’m on a long trip. So I tend to choose puzzle games for shorter times, and RPG’s and the like for those longer trips.

    I’m not entirly sure how you would make a M-rated puzzle game, M-Rated rpg’s are easier of course, nut the question then is how willing will people be to play untested series?

  4. 0
    MaskedPixelante ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    I wouldn’t, unless they updated that Resident Evil port to the Gamecube Remake Version, or at least expanded upon the whereabouts of Lisa Trevor.

  5. 0
    Mad_Scientist ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ E Zachary Knight

    I think you misunderstood. There are M rated games on the DS. There is no Nintendo policy forbidding them. There just aren’t that many made for it.

  6. 0
    Grendal says:

    @ E. Zachary Knight
    I think that DS is more concerned with targeting casual gamers on either side of the spectrum I.E. very young very old, more so then just kids. Truth be told though I do get your point. Metroid prime hunters was a very good FPS even if it did lack blood.

    Still your point holds, I mean if the DS is selling well sans M-rated games then Nintendo ahs no cause to try to branch out, basiclaly the same thing that’s occuring witht he Wii, if it works why change it? Unpleasant if you own a ds and would like to see an M-rated game that uses the touch screen, but for now I don’t see that changing as long as DS sales are strong.

  7. 0
    E. Zachary Knight ( User Karma: 2 ) says:

    Until such a time where we have open and universal platform for gaming, we will be subjected to the will of the console manufacturers. That is a fact of life. There is no reason for any console manufacturer to let any game on their platform. The reason they set these limits, is so that they retain control over it. They have images to protect and don’t want any third party developers to damage that.

    As for the M on the DS discussion, I believe that Nintendo developed it as primarily a child’s console. That is their biggest demographic for all their handhelds. They chose to set that limit on ratings based on that ideal. Until they change their target demographic, they have no need to change that policy. If you want M rated games on a handheld, get a PSP. It sucks for the consumer as those who want M rated games that uses the functionality of the DS.

    But let me ask this: Does an FPS lose anything when it does not have all the blood and gore?

    E. Zachary Knight
    Divine Knight Gaming
    Oklahoma Game Development
    Rusty Outlook
    Random Tower
    My Patreon

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

    I’m guessing this is being brought up because I’ve noticed in some places that there is a perception about handhelds being even more “kid-focused” then other consoles. Especially Nintendo handhelds. And the Nintendo DS doesn’t have very many mature rated games for it yet.

    But it’s not much of a controversy, that I know of. I’m fairly certain Nintendo hasn’t done anything to discourage developers from making M rated DS games, and it’s not like I’ve heard any complaints from groups like the NIMF or CCFC about M rated DS games.

  9. 0
    Grendal says:

    Not to take some of the oomph out of thise argument, but unless I’m horrifically mistaken the DS already does have at least one M-rated game on it. Resident evil deadly silence was and M-rated title, a horrible horrible M-rated title but on nontheless.

    On to the more pertinant part of the question, should there be more M-rated games. Well sure, and I’ll but them if there any good. If developers want to put out M-rated games more power too em as long as the game is good.

  10. 0
    ZippyDSMlee ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    And the reason for the question?
    Have things fallen so that you can’t have M rated games on a hand held?

    Really the question asked is so simple that one must ask why it was asked…..

  11. 0
    RiffRaff1138 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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…

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


    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.

  13. 0
    bayushisan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    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.

  14. 0
    xzero87 says:

    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).

  15. 0
    Twin-Skies ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ 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….

  16. 0
    HandofCrom ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @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.

  17. 0
    Jabrwock ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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.

  18. 0
    Baramos says:

    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…

  19. 0
    bayushisan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    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.

  20. 0
    ThatGirl says:

    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.

  21. 0
    Pandralisk says:

    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.

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

    “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?

  23. 0
    AM ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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.

  24. 0
    Quad9damage ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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?

  25. 0
    lumi ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “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…

  26. 0
    Silphion says:

    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!

  27. 0
    Twin-Skies ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “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.

  28. 0
    That_1_Guy says:

    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.

  29. 0
    kurisu7885 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    “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.

  30. 0
    general531 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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.

  31. 0
    VioletSon says:

    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).

  32. 0
    Conejo says:

    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.

  33. 0
    chadachada ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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…

  34. 0
    LoopyChew ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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?”

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

    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.

  36. 0
    Thomas D. says:

    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).

  37. 0
    Harry Miste ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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!

  38. 0
    InJM ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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.

  39. 0
    koichan ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @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

  40. 0
    ankh_wombat says:

    “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.

  41. 0
    Ace of Sevens ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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.

  42. 0
    CyberSkull ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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.

  43. 0
    ankh_wombat says:

    “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.

  44. 0
    Saladin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    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………

  45. 0
    ankh_wombat says:

    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.

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