Growing Up Games: When Will Mature, Mature?

By Leigh Alexander
We may have an M-rating for "adult content" in games, but that doesn't necessarily make them mature. What will it take for games to grow up?


    I think it will be a while before games earn the rank of true mature content, just like comic books and manga before it had to. Osamu Tezuka strived for years to be recognised as a true artist who dealt with mature themes in what was considered a children's medium, and Alan Moore is regarded to have changed comics forever with Watchmen, but the "grim and gritty" content in comics that occurred afterwards could sometimes hardly be "mature".

    With video games it's still regarded as something new and it's a medium that in some cases is literally like giving a shotgun to a four year old, only the shotgun is a Wii Zapper, and for older gamers it might be that gun thing that comes with House of the Dead: Overkill. Sometimes the shotgun is not a shotgun literallu, but a controller pad. It still does the same thing though, it kills enemies.

    On the other hand you have games which have highly mature content however they aren't really read that way by children. Phoenix Wright games can have some terrifying explorations of courtroom drama, even though it is a children's game it deals with ethical dilemmas in quite a mature way, with nary a sex scene in it. Any and all references to sex are implied, and it's a better game for it.

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