Shock, Shock, Horror
There are horrors concealed amidst those squashed up dots, should you prove bold enough (or bald enough) to look for them; whether a lurking, swirling mass frantically dancing in your cathode-ray tube or flashing impertinently on your LCD screen, quarrelsome pixel-ensembles brashly barge and shove past the more timid of blinking dots, without reservation. ‘What is this devilry’ the gentle reader may ask? The most outrageous “AO” rated video games which are deemed too violent for minors, that’s what.
Games which are rated Adults-Only are quite rare, since only about twenty titles were ever given the no-go from the industry’s bigots; since opinions are like…well, quite common let’s say, one can argue whether or not these bad boys duly deserve the AO rating.
A previous article mentions notable AO rated video games featuring strong sexual content, including titles like Leisure Suit Larry and Singles; instead, here we’ll feature those violent oriented games that have made the AO rating. Keep reading to fulfil your latent blood-lust tendencies, or merely for curiosity on the industry’s black sheep.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
You may find it interesting that the company formerly known as Neo Software Produktions GmbH, based in Vienna, evolved into a subsidiary of Rockstar Games (Rockstar Vienna – defunct) or the original developers for the successful GTA series of games. Neo Software developers were the minds behind The Clue! and its sequel, named Der Clou 2 in German, two very playable and fun burglary-simulators. It is no coincidence that they went to work on GTA III, GTA Vice City and even Manhunt 2 which will be mentioned later in the article. Of course, you may not find that interesting in which case you suck.
GTA San Andreas differs from the first two games in that it features a 3D environment, and differs from Vice City in its many RPG additions and added content. It perhaps remains the most refined and successful GTA game to date, the culmination of a formula which Rockstar games still work on. San Andreas can suck-in the player for hours, as it certainly did with me spending countless hours wasting those purple-bandanna locos from around the block.
The game was originally rated MA (Mature Audience) but after the controversy sparked by the “Hot mod,” which allowed players to unlock a sex-scene mini game, the rating was moved to AO.
Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy
You cannot deny Indigo Prophecy as an absolute cult-classic, with innovative controls, cinematic cut-scenes and branching narrative offering different endings. Apart from odd glitches, like setting your resolution lower to beat the balcony sequence for instance, the game really must be experienced as an example of interactive cinema. Other writers will tell you otherwise (do peruse the gaming hub), but I would once again invite you to refer to that old maxim citing opinions and bodily parts.
Why was the game banned? The only banned version is the Director’s cut, which features a lengthy interactive sex-scene at Lucas’s apartment; the player uses the controls (i.e. left and right sticks on a rumble-pad) like in the rest of the game which determines the outcome. Sex in my game: blasphemy!
ESRB lists other factors which contributed to the final rating of the game, though in the censored version the game has exactly the same things – alcohol, violence etc… – which only results in a MA rating. The game does has its fair amount of violence and hence it is listed here, since it’s hardly an explicit sex game.
If there ever was a game where a ban for violence is at least understandable, then Manhunt 2 is surely it, cause of outcries and irate lynch mobs all around. The BBFC refused to classify the game, rejecting it completely and banning it from circulation; this was before the PEGI rating system was accepted as the only classification system. The edited version of the game was eventually allowed for sale with an 18+ rating. ESRB rated the unedited version AO, and the edited one MA; once again you can see the differences in criteria between the two continents/classifying bodies.
The interrogation methods featured in Manhunt 2 make the Spanish Inquisition look like care bears; this topped with the brutal executions in the game, which have the player using anything from screwdriver to circular saws to chop off heads in a sploshing blood-fest.
Though I am in the UK, I did manage to get my hands on the uncut version of the game at the time, and never felt it to be a particularly strong title in neither story nor game play. It’s an OK game, known for its gratuitous violence rather than anything else.
Perhaps this should have been included in my previous sexy-game list, but having played it I feel there is as much gore in it – at least for the time it was released – as there is sexual content. The plot revolves around Riana having to rescue the world by way of solving puzzles and action.
Again, not a particularly good game which was rated AO by ESRB more because of the sexual content than the violence, I feel.
That is pretty much it as far as AO rated video games known for violence go. Hate to leave so soon, but as mentioned these titles are few and far between; as you can see only really two of these are decent games, unless you count Manhunt 2 which is far weaker than its predecessor. Enjoy…