The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) can be very fickle. It's there to rate video games and keep the most mature ones out of the hands of children. And many times it gets the rating right, even if it's very obvious. After all, we don't think anyone would dispute that Grand Theft Auto deserves anything other than an M rating.
But there are also times when they get it wrong. And in some instances, these inaccurate ratings have been given to classic games. Whether the ESRB were too lenient or too strict, these are ten classic games that probably have the wrong ESRB rating.
10 Halo: Combat Evolved
Halo: Combat Evolved is one of the greatest and most influential first-person shooters, and we have no doubt that it's been played by countless children and teenagers (heck, one game on Xbox Live should tell you that). So it may be surprising to hear that the game is rated M for blood and gore and violence. However, the violence is incredibly tame, especially when compared to modern video games, and the blood that is there is usually an alien blue or green (only on a rare occasion do you see red, human blood). It's really nothing you wouldn't see in a PG-13 movie, so why this game has an M rating is truly beyond us.
9 Super Smash Bros. Melee & Brawl
There's no denying that children love them some Super Smash Bros. The games are filled with timeless Nintendo characters, and Nintendo is easily the most family-friendly video game company. Yet both of these games are surprisingly rated T - Melee for comic mischief and mild violence, and Brawl for cartoon violence and crude humor. We're not going to deny that the games have mild, cartoonish violence, but that's just the thing - these games are nothing more than interactive cartoons. The violence is fun and novel, a goofy form of innocent escapism. To think that these games should be played by no one under 13 is just ridiculous.
8 Uncharted 4: A Thief's End
Just think about this for a second - those two Super Smash Bros. games have the same rating as Uncharted 4. Uncharted 4 is rated T for blood, language, use of alcohol and tobacco, and violence, and really, that's a whole lot of things to be rated T for. This is a game that features incredible acts of violence, cigar-smoking and alcohol drinking, constant swearing, and even some mature themes that many young teenagers may not be able to comprehend or understand. Sure, the violence is not excessive or anything, but it's shocking to think that a game as mature as Uncharted 4 was given the same rating as Super Smash Bros.
7 The Legend Of Zelda: Twilight Princess
Twilight Princess is the only game in the Zelda series to be rated T, which it was given for animated blood and fantasy violence. This is VERY problematic. Yes, Twilight Princess has fantasy violence. All Zelda games do. So, we can safely assume that it was the animated blood that pushed this game into T territory, yet we can't think of a single time where blood was shown. And yes, the game was dark and dreary, but that does not warrant a T rating, and it was nothing worse than a particularly depressing Disney movie. This should have been E like all the others, and the T rating only seems to validate its "edginess."
Snatcher is a brilliant cyberpunk video game created by Konami and Hideo Kojima, and it features, according to this hilarious Digital Press user, "a disemboweled dog, maggots eating a rotting corpse, a decapitated man with visible trachea and esophagus in the neck, and makes implications towards strippers and prostitution." And despite all that, it's only rated T for animated blood and gore and animated violence. We mean, yeah, there is animated blood and gore, but that is some VERY detailed and disturbing gore! How on Earth was this given such a lax rating!? Ah, times were different, we suppose.
5 Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six: Vegas
We understand that the Rainbow Six series consists of very realistic military shooters, but does it REALLY warrant its M rating? Yes, the violence is realistic and could prove troublesome for some players, but we don't think it's anything that a particularly mature teenager can't handle.
Vegas is a very tame shooter when compared to others, as the blood is minimal and there is no gore to speak of. Regardless, it was slapped with an M rating for blood, intense violence, strong language, and suggestive themes. It's really no worse than most military shooters, many of which are given a more understandable T.
4 Mass Effect
Upon release, Mass Effect was given a particularly harsh M rating for blood, language, partial nudity, sexual themes, and violence. And yes, we aren't denying that those things are in the game, but they are surprisingly tame, and the violence is nothing you wouldn't see in a typical science fiction adventure. The blood is minimal, and the violence fantastical. The language is nothing harsh, and it's certainly nothing that a 12-year-old boy hasn't heard on the playground. And even the "sexual themes" are non-graphic, and it's nothing you wouldn't see in a PG-13 movie. Maybe the ESRB has something against science fiction, because both this and Halo were given terribly unfair assessments.
There is nothing too bad about Portal aside from blood splatter after you're hit by the turrets. Apparently this blood splatter was enough to warrant the game a higher rating, because it was rated T for blood and mild violence. And while we wouldn't go so far as to give it an E rating, we think an E10+ is more than acceptable. Sure, some 10, 11, and 12 year old kids may find the blood to be disturbing, but we think most would be able to handle it just fine. It's not as if the blood is splattered in a grotesque and grisly manner, and let's be honest, most kids that age are playing more violent games like Call of Duty anyway.
2 Guitar Hero Series
Guitar Hero was all the rage back in the 2000s, and trust us, more than a few children were playing it. The gameplay is easy and intuitive, the toy guitar was fun to play on, and the songs rocked our socks off. It's no wonder why it was such a hit with all ages. Yet all Guitar Hero games were given a T rating for the lyrics and suggestive themes. But come on, these songs are classic rock staples - the kids are going to hear them on the radio. And it's not the game is blasting out Eminem lyrics. At best, the lyrics are a mild curse word like "damn" or a brief innuendo that would probably go over a child's head, anyway. Guitar Hero should have been no higher than an E10+.
1 Heart Of Darkness
Let's end the list with another T game that should have been given an M. The game is Heart of Darkness, and it is absolutely terrifying. It's filled with horribly brutal deaths that would even make adults squirm - Andy can be completely incinerated, crushed to death (complete with graphic crushing bone noises), and even ripped to shreds by a shadow monster. It's complete nightmare fuel, and yet the game was given an innocent E thanks only to some animated violence and use of alcohol and tobacco. It's simply flabbergasting that a game with such disturbing and violent deaths can be played by young children. That's a good way to scar them for life.