Game Theory: AO-K

Game Theory: AO-K

When the original Evil Dead was released, it became an object of morbid fascination among young horror fans for a single reason: It was unrated.

That’s right, Evil Dead was so sick and twisted it couldn’t even be rated!

Of course, we had to see it, which meant sneaking in. Did it warp our fragile little minds? Well, yeah, a bit. Did it turn us into antisocial mass murderers? Not that anyone can prove in a court of law, no.

And yet, it’s not something to which kids should have ready access. The limited rating was exactly right, even though efforts to keep us out were farcical. And this was only Evil Dead, which is positively tame compared to the torture porn crowding multiplexes now.

A few years ago, that torture porn made the leap from movies to games with the execrable Manhunt, a game of remarkable sadism and violence that still managed to snag an M rating, perhaps because the ESRB ratings board was busy fumbling under the couch for its crack pipe. By the time Manhunt 2 showed up on its desk (in its rollout console versions), the ESRB was off the pipe and serious about being a good example of how an industry can police itself. They slapped that sucker with an AO (Adults Only) rating.

Naturally, the perennially irresponsible Rockstar Games was simultaneously outraged and overjoyed. Outraged because many major retailers refuse to carry AO games, thus affecting the bottom line. Overjoyed because now Rockstar can play the oppressed artist who has to censor its own work in order to get it out. (“Unrated Director’s Cut Coming Soon!”)

Nonsense. If Rockstar valued “artistic integrity” so highly, it would release the game as-is using alternate retail channels, damn the results. That’s what Sam Raimi did with Evil Dead. But this isn’t a beleaguered artist pushing the bounds of free expression: It’s a company looking at the bottom line. It has no right to unfettered access to every corner of the marketplace. If Wal-Mart decides it doesn’t want to carry a product, then tough luck, buddy.

And here’s a little rule of thumb: If your “artistic integrity” relies in any way on Wal-Mart shoppers, then you don’t have any, so just shut up about it.

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cartoad

I didn't care for Manhunt, either, but I also don't care much for this Mr. McDonalds' writing. I try not to read his column each month as I eagerly devour Maximum PC, twice, from cover to cover, but I just can't tear my eyes away. It's as though someone said "Hey, there's a corpse over there-" and I try not to look, because I know it will be yucky, and I don't really need to see it. I guess I just hope, every month that it'll be different, that i'll find something useful.
Maybe I'm not smart enough to appreciate the journalistic integrity of his moral arguments. It just seems that Mr. McDonald doesn't appear to enjoy PC Gaming. Sometimes I wonder what the (admittedly awesome) editors of Maximum PC were thinking, why does this man write this blurb for this space every month? He seems to think that Consoles are better than PCs for gaming, and that we're interested in reading his moralistic arguments about what games should or shouldn't be.
As an avid PC builder and hardware junkie, I love the hardware reviews, the tongue -in -cheek editors' articles about DRM and Vista, the White Papers, the Game Reviews, ask the Doctor, and the DIY segments, but I don't believe that Thomas McDonald writes pertinent content for the Hallowed Pages of MaximumPC. Leave the magazine for those of us who Love our PC's Maximumed!

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Edahsetin

I agree with the theory of this... but we're not dealing with a movie, its a game. From what I recall, this was a console only title... and none of the console makers will let AO games on their systems. How would someone actually go about dealing with this seperate hurtle? And no easy out saying retool it into a really crappy looking PC game ;)

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MantaBase

Odd Title - not really game theory.

But I agree 100%.

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