ESRB Pulls Inappropriate Ratings Summary

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) removed an online ratings summary of the content in Dead or Alive: Paradise for PSP from its website today in response to inquiries as to the appropriateness of the summary.

While the ESRB is mostly known for providing ratings on game boxes (such as the familiar "E for Everyone" or "T for Teen" ratings), the organization’s website also provides more detailed synopses of a game’s content intended to "explain in objective terms the context and relevant content that factored into a game’s ESRB rating assignment."

The entry for Dead or Alive: Paradise, however, went a step beyond "objective":

This is a video game in which users watch grown women dressed in G-string bikinis jiggle their breasts while on a two-week vacation. Women’s breasts and butts will sway while playing volleyball, while hopping across cushions, while pole dancing, while posing on the ground, by the pool, on the beach, in front of the camera.


There are other activities: Users can gamble inside a casino to win credits for shopping; they can purchase bathing suits, sunglasses, hats, clothing at an island shop; they can "gift" these items to eight other women in hopes of winning their friendship, in hopes of playing more volleyball.


And as relationships blossom from the gift-giving and volleyball, users may get closer to the women, having earned their trust and confidence: users will then be prompted to zoom-in on their friends’ nearly-naked bodies, snap dozens of photos, and view them in the hotel later that night.


Parents and consumers should know that the game contains a fair amount of "cheesy," and at times, creepy voyeurism—especially when users have complete rotate-pan-zoom control; but the game also contains bizarre, misguided notions of what women really want (if given two weeks, paid vacation, island resort)—Paradise cannot mean straddling felled tree trunks in dental-floss thongs."

ESRB spokesman Eliot Mizrachi released a statement on the issue today:

The rating summary for Dead or Alive Paradise was posted to our website in error, and we have since replaced that version with the corrected one.  We recognize that the initial version improperly contained subjective language and that issue has been addressed. 


Our intention with rating summaries is to provide useful, detailed descriptions of game content that are as objective and informative as possible.  However they are ultimately written by people and, in this case, we mistakenly posted a rating summary that included what some could rightfully take to be subjective statements. 


We sincerely regret the error and will work to prevent this from happening again in the future.

GP: While some might be quick to condemn the ESRB for overstepping their boundaries, it’s important to realize a couple things. First, there’s nothing technically wrong with their original position: the ratings, after all, are voluntary, and the ESRB itself is an industry body. Second, they were quick to admit error and replace the synopsis with a more objective one — when was the last time we heard the MPAA admit they were wrong?

Dan Rosenthal is a legal analyst for the games industry.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. sharpshooterbabe says:

    Well to you MEN in this forum, I can see why the original description would be written by an angry woman that didn’t like the fact how MOST MEN make video games of women in tooth floss bikinis bouncing around. Of course yall would love that! Only to see a naked woman or more. I just roll my eyes. Yeah confidence is what makes a woman sexy & I have all of that. Which I don’t mind getting naked in front of the nurse for my gyno exam. On the other hand when I tell my fiance about it, he ups & jumps to be there to see what goes inside of a woman & what all is put up in her. Ugh! Which btw it is cold. 🙂 Anyways, if that woman in "real life" loves to show her body then why not? Show it off, but using body language & words & body parts to get a man for one thing, is extremely low & trashy. Val is right. Same goes for me, if I want to see a naked man in a porno, then I can look it up on the net for free to watch. But I would get the game to see if the original description is correct. Now saying im bi or lesbo. But other women do like to watch if we are straight, just to look at the competition & hate to compare. Or just to watch to laugh at it & joke about it. But the way it was described in the game in the original, I will say to you guys that I hope yall know that if a woman dresses slutty, that’s what she will find & what she is asking for. Then she complains about it! WTF! Get over it, you (women) are the one dressing like it. Plus men love looking at the main parts of a woman.



    "It’s better to be hated for who you are, then be loved for who you are not." – Montgomery Gentry

  2. Arell says:

    While I do admit that the negative and opinionated tone of the original review was wrong, I am torn on how I feel about the game itself.

    On one hand, there’s nothing inherently wrong with a little bit of lighthearted cheesecake.  Titilation is fun and natural.  And I do think that for a woman (or man) to be comfortable and open with thier sexuality, is progressive.  (not that every woman and man needs to flaunt their sexuality, but if they choose to, it’s not automatically a bad thing).

    On the other hand, I don’t see anything "progressive" about the DoA Xtreme series.  The original review hit it on the head, the representation of women is fairly distorted and mysogynistic.  The way the girls act and are used in the game, feels like creepy sexploitation.  And if the player is unfamiliar with women, or just an idiot, he might get the wrong impression.

    I don’t really feel like getting into it any more than that, as it ultimately doesn’t matter.  Either buy the game, or don’t.  It’s no more complicated than that.

  3. Bennett Beeny says:

    "misguided notions of what women really want (if given two weeks, paid vacation, island resort)—Paradise cannot mean straddling felled tree trunks in dental-floss thongs."

    Clearly you haven’t met my wife.

  4. DarkSaber says:

    Sorry but "have a life" and "play that game" are, for obvious reasons, mutually exclusive.


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  5. Valdearg says:

    I was thinking the same thing.. LOL..

    Not that I’m passing judgement, since he can enjoy whatever he wants to enjoy. It’s just that when I was reading that, I was thinking, "Are you sure you want to just put it out there like that?"

  6. DarkSaber says:

    Freak. Good luck getting out of your parents basement!


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

  7. GamesLaw says:

    " I wish I could be able to control what my girl does and even perhaps explore the island and fight against monsters on the island that might try to eat her or wrap their tentacles around her and I have to push the right buttons for her to get free of else she will be eaten, now THAT is what I would call a great game of my taste. "

    You do realize how creepy that sounds, right?

    — Dan Rosenthal

  8. TBoneTony says:

    Oh…I didn’t read that last papagraph there.

    Good point in pointing that one out for me.

    Regardless, I always felt that the Dead or Alive games where girls relax on an Island for two weeks like on Zack Island, were a little bit on the shallow side.

    Like I would have allot more perfered to have something like a Dating Sim and have chats with your partner and your response would affect if they like you.

    But all you do is buy gifts for them and you have to know what they like before they become your partner and even if they do you lose your original partner for the new one. Kinda makes it a little bit shallow.

    Plus the Volleyball is a little flawed because there is no circle to indicate where the ball will land and the camera is skewed on an angle that makes is hard to tell where the person is serving at.

    The Water Ski is perhaps a little better but it can be hard to steer where there is allot of big rocks.

    The pool events are perhaps the best with tug of war and also the butt bumping game that I do have fun playing.

    The pool jumping game is a little bit hard because some buttons you jump longer than others depending on how hard you push down and it all becomes a bit flawed.

    The events where you have fun on the beach, you can only take photos and it is perhaps the most shallow part of these games, I wish I could be able to control what my girl does and even perhaps explore the island and fight against monsters on the island that might try to eat her or wrap their tentacles around her and I have to push the right buttons for her to get free of else she will be eaten, now THAT is what I would call a great game of my taste. 

    Also having a mission to save your own partner when she becomes kidnapped by a monster on the island, therefore when you save her, the connection between the both of you becomes closer.

    but that is only just my own ideas. Those Dead or Alive games that are about relaxing on an island had allot of prommise but they are just a bit shallow and I would rather play an eroge dating sim game since I know there are many of those who have allot more fulfilling stories than what this pseudo dating sim does.



  9. mdo7 says:

    I saw this on Joystiq, and Kotaku last night.  I do agree.  The previous description was better and more attractive and it get guys wanting to buy the game.  How can the ESRB "accidentally" put the previous summary about DOA: Paradise?  Could this be a publicity stunt.  I wonder.  Anyway, I might buy this game for my PSP.  Here the sad part: I can’t play this game on my PSP one-handed (if you know what I mean)


  10. Bennett Beeny says:

    Just what I was thinking.

    Actually, the ESRB is good for something after all. If you go to their website you can search for games based on the particular content. For example, if you want a game with nudity, a quick search brings up Dante’s Inferno, GTA IV and Godfather II. It’s great!

  11. Valdearg says:

    Hey, I wasn’t trying to discredit anyone’s opinion. I was just laughing at the fact that as I read that original review, the first image that popped into my head was some middle aged woman with body issues. I could just imagine her saying, "Ugh, how can women possibly wear such skimpy outfits!! Men enjoy this trash?!?"

    Mysoginistic? Probably. However, I’ve got no problem making jokes like that. Hell, my girlfriend laughs at the fact that I make fun of her driving all the time, too.. "Wow, nice park job! You park like a woman!" I’m no stranger to Politically Incorrect humor, and if you can’t handle that, too bad.

    Also, note that I don’t enjoy the DOA series at all, either the fighting or psuedo-porn that they put out. Personally, if I REALLY wanted to get my rocks off, I could go online and find real porn for free, rather than shell out 50 bucks for some childish, immature game.

  12. Arell says:

    While there’s nothing new in a person trying to discredit someone else’s opinion by attacking them directly and making fun of them (it is,after all, easier to mock them as a person, even when you know nothing about them, than to face thier views head on), I do hope that the "irony" of your rather mysogynistic post, in relation to the story as a whole, isn’t lost on you.

  13. Skillz817 says:

    That’s exactly what I was thinking as I read through the orginal decription, but I am pretty disappointed at team Ninja for wasting their talent and resources on this game instead of making a DOA5 for PS3/360.

    Courage is not the absence of fear, but the strength to overcome it.

  14. Valdearg says:

    "but the game also contains bizarre, misguided notions of what women really want (if given two weeks, paid vacation, island resort)—Paradise cannot mean straddling felled tree trunks in dental-floss thongs."

    LOL.. The original description sounds more like it was written by an angry, frumpy woman with low self esteem…

  15. Bennett Beeny says:

    I very much doubt it. He or she probably got told that it’s too bad that they can’t write what they really feel.

  16. Monte says:

     Ya i would have expected that the ESRB would have editors to double check things before they are posted… usually just looking for grammar errors, but you think upon reading this they would have noticed that it was not an appropriate rating summary. I do expect that the writer likely did get some form of punishment… 

  17. Bennett Beeny says:

    "kinda shallow really."

    Yeah, but compared to Wolf Quest ( it’s a deep, layered and meaningful game experience.

  18. Valdearg says:

    If you read the original description, compared to the new one, you can tell that the original had a very negative tone to it. While they both describe the game, the ESRB is not tasked with passing moral judgement on the games, it is tasked with making accurate, neutral summaries of the games, to inform parents exactly what’s inside.

  19. TBoneTony says:

    I felt that their original description was perfectly accurate,

    like it was not overstepping and considering that the Dead or Alive Extreme games often are of just ladies relaxing on a resort island where you are able to buy the swimsuits and play Volleyball and go to a Casino and do other things and play with your partner that only is just a cut scene and you can only zoom the camera to take photos and that is what the game is all about, 

    kinda shallow really.


  20. GoodRobotUs says:

    Dan Rosenthal is a legal analyst for the games industry.’

    Talking of wierd statements that leap out of the blue… 😉

    Did Dan send this in, or was it on his website or something, did he write the article? I don’t know…

  21. Keith K says:

    While I agree that the ESRB is not tasked with maintaining a moral standard on games, I do agree with their original assessment.

    Rather than condemn the ESRB, I hope Tecmo might take the original assessment to heart and perhaps realize how idiotic Dead or Alive games have always been and how they continue to just get worse.

  22. Shadow D. Darkman says:

    Is that a joke or did you not read the memo? (For clarification)

    Even if it was one person whose views conflicted with those of the rest, it still hurts the ESRB itself, even if they did fire him. It will still hurt the ESRB’s credibility, like Rodrigo said.

    It was posted as the collective opinion of the ESRB, and will be taken as such, even if the rest of the ESRB disagreed.


    "A Chrono Trigger is anything that unleashes its will or desire to change history!" -Gaspar

  23. Ryoshi says:

    How is everyone missing that "we posted this to our website in error" means "some idiot took offense at this game and wrote a mini editorial about it before we fired his ass"?  It’s not like the ESRB, as n entity, would’ve done something like that – it’s clearly one person.

  24. ShayGuy says:

    To be fair, I can get behind some of those opinions — DOA Paradise is a bit of an eyeball-roller. Question is, is it as good as the Scribblenauts description?

    Lord, grant me the strength to finish what I

  25. Rodrigo Ybáñez García says:

    The rating summary for Dead or Alive Paradise was posted to our website in error.

    No, sir. Deleting your System32 folder from Windows is a mistake. This was totally deliberated. It has to be. That, or you were hacked by some watchdog group.

    Anyways, enjoy the lost of your credibility.


    My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship):

  26. DarkSaber says:

    Appropriate or not, brilliant description! Not quite as succinct as "Rapelay is filth" but thumbs up!


    I LIKE the fence. I get 2 groups to laugh at then.

Comments are closed.