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A long time ago, before you were born, video games didn't even have ratings. Then we figured out how to make digital blood, and we were all like, "Good lord! What is this horror? What manner of beast is man? We must cover these atrocities with letters, quickly!"

"Muuuuuuch better."

But it's weird to me how we only have ratings for violence and sex, but none of the stuff that actually matters to me when I'm trying to decide whether or not to buy a game. Or, more importantly, the stuff that makes me regret buying a game. That's why I'm proposing some ratings that tell me ...

If The Game Wants Me To Wackity-Wack My Noodle-Doodler

These days, lots of games have sexy parts in them. Sometimes these games get -- and I hope I'm not out of line pointing this out -- a tad gratuitous. This is a controversial thing, but who cares? Lots of people, because that's what "controversial" means, but let's ignore that for a second. Instead of talking about sexism and representation of the female form and objectification, I'm going to talk about how weird I feel when I'm in the middle of a video game and all of the sudden I feel like I should be worried about someone walking in on me.

That's a scene in Grand Theft Auto V where you can go to a strip club, sit down, and watch a digital person wave her parts at you for as long as you want. The point isn't whether or not I jerked off to a digital stripper in Grand Theft Auto; no one's on trial here and this is a judgment-free zone. The point is this also happens in Metal Gear Solid V.

If you hang out in your helicopter for long enough with the character Quiet, she'll start waving her butt and boobs in your face. The games I've listed, at least, have the dignity to pick a girl for you -- the franchises Mass Effect, Dragon Age, and The Witcher all have "romance" side quests that are basically mini-games that reward you with whatever genre of light porn you want: "Do you wanna whack it to blue alien butt, elf tits, or a naked brunette on a unicorn? Your call," says the game, to you, the player.

Again, there's nothing inherently wrong with this. I have no problem with you being porn, video games. You do you. All that I ask is that if you are porn, please let me know so I can hide you when my mom comes over.

How Many Hours Of Pregame There Are

Like most of the red-blooded, freedom-loving world, I liked Metal Gear Solid V a lot. But that's only because on the night I played it, I happened to have a free two and a half hours, because that's how long it takes for this game to start. To be clear, MGSV is a great game, but it's a great game that's front-loaded with an entire Fellowship of the Ring of cutscenes and crawling around on a hospital floor, picking up who knows what kind of gross infections. I had reached the point where it was all the horseshit I could take, and I was about to assume the entire game was horseshit, when I finally got to the actual game part of the game and could start kidnapping bears and murdering Russians. But I was at my horseshit limit, and I have a high tolerance for horseshit. If you have a lower tolerance for equine feces, then you should get a fucking warning on the box so you can pay your neighbor's kid to play the first chunk of the game for you.

madsci/iStock/Getty Images
This is never a pleasant surprise.

But the real problem isn't the games that take a while to get good -- I understand that setting up atmosphere is important to some people. The real problem is the games that seem like they're going to get good but never do. I sank like 20 hours into Mad Max before I realized that I had seen everything the game had to offer in the first five. The point is we're all going to die some day and if you're going to waste your precious mortality playing video games they should at least be the good ones.

Why are there so many Southern Country Boys in post-apocalyptic Australia, you piece of shit game?

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How Much Of A "Gamer" Do I Need To Be To Understand This?

Gaming is an insular community. I realize this whenever someone calls me a "fucking casual," as if playing video games for fun, instead of out of a self-destructive impulse, is something to be ashamed of. But it's also pretty obvious when you look at, say, any fucking video game that exists, and count the number of things that only make sense if you already know how to play video games:

Blizzard Entertainment

For people who've played video games since they were old enough to realize that being sedentary was way more fun than any of the alternatives, this visual language is not only clear, but simple. But for someone just learning how to play video games, even something as simple as using the left and right thumb sticks to steer a first-person character is a mental exercise on par with trying to masturbate to completion while you play the piano. And how can you know how complicated a game is going to be before you buy it if we don't institute a rating system? There's literally no way to do it.

All I'm saying is that this would clear up the whole "real gamers" versus "casuals" debate by clearly explaining which game is for which type of person, and what that says about that person's inherent physical worth. And that's what we're all searching for in a rating system, right? A feeling, perhaps not of superiority but of worthiness? Of value? Of self? Can we ask for anything less?

How Much Of A Time Commitment Are We Talking Here?

The release of World Of Warcraft was the Vietnam of my generation. The best of us abandoned our friends, family, and responsibilities for a higher calling in a far off land. Some of us never came home. Those that did were changed forever. We learned a lesson: MMOs aren't just games; they're responsibilities. That's why I skipped out on Destiny -- I knew I wouldn't have the time. Or, worse, I'd make the time, and then I'd quit either sleeping or going to work.

But then the "commitment gameplay" angle spread. First they came for the smartphone games, and I said nothing, because I owned a Razr until like 2008. Then they came for the computer games, but I said nothing, because I was always a console dork. And now I have to check in on my base in Metal Gear Solid V, or other people steal my shit, and I can't upgrade the guns I want. And there's no one to speak up for me, because you're all playing Candy Crush.

Just give me a basic time commitment before I start, so I know if it's a game like GTA V where I can hop in and out with impunity, or if the game was made for a genre of person I just do not understand.

What are you?

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A List Of Games That They're Remixing

Did you play Middle-earth: Shadow Of Mordor? I'm a huge fan of Lord Of The Rings stuff, but I almost didn't pick that up because it just didn't seem to have anything surprising or unique to pull me in. Then someone described it as "Assassin's Creed with Arkham Asylum's combat system and orcs." Then I bought it, and it was exactly that, and I thought, "Why wasn't that on the goddamn box?"

Games ripping each other off is a key part of how they evolve and improve over time. Imagine if Grand Theft Auto III had to invent a new perspective other than over-the-shoulder third-person because Mario 64 did it first. Or if Diablo hadn't been allowed to use experience points because Baldur's Gate had come first. It'd be nonsense. The entire industry would be a confusing mess. And how else can I possibly know what kind of content a game is going to contain unless we have a simple system of codes and numbers, overseen by a corporate entity shrouded in objectivity and fueled by an assumed, unearned authority?

I mean, I guess you could talk to somebody. Like, engage in a human conversation with another person about the content of a video game before you bought it. Maybe one of the friendly denizens of your local video-gamery. It would take less than a minute and solve pretty much every problem here. But let's be real: If we were willing to do that, there'd be no reason for us to have a rating system at all.

JF Sargent is an editor and columnist at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

See why some movies should be rated B for brainwashing in 5 Movie Ratings That Would Actually Be Helpful, and see why the rating system is bullshit and corrupt in 6 Bizarre Realities Of How Movies Get Their Ratings.

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