The Rare Nintendo Game That Doesn't Have A Rating

In a few short months, Nintendo will ship software for the Nintendo DS that's missing something seen on every other game the company publishes - a rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. 100 Classic Books is rated... nothing.

The software's box art states, instead of showcasing an ESRB rating, "This product does not require age classification." That's a rare sight.

It is, after all, simply a collection of novels and plays from William Shakespeare, Jules Verne, Jane Austen, Mark Twain and others with limited interactivity. 100 Classic Books is little more than an ereader for the Nintendo DS platform. Its interactivity is limited to adjusting the size of text, placing bookmarks and downloading new content from Nintendo's Wi-Fi Connection service.

As the ESRB notes on its official FAQ, the rating system is voluntary, "although virtually all games that are sold at retail in the US and Canada are rated by the ESRB." 100 Classic Books, more of a "non-game" than any other released on the DS, is the rare exception.

Of course, here's the one catch that typically prevents unrated games from appearing on store shelves and on the console platforms you play, according to the ESRB: "Many retailers, including most major chains, have policies to only stock or sell games that carry an ESRB rating, and most console manufacturers will only permit games that have been rated by ESRB to be published for their platforms."

The collection has already been released in Europe and Australia, with the box art similarly absent in ratings from local classification entities.

The content in 100 Classic Books is the kind of fare one would expect to read in grade school and junior high, generally safe stuff like Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, the kind of E-rated stuff that can be chalked up to "comic mischief".

But some of the included works from Shakespeare, which touch on darker themes like murder, incest and suicide - hardly Manhunt 2-caliber content - veer toward the less E-rated. We've asked the fine folks at Nintendo how abridged (if at all) the books from Harper Collins are, just out of curiosity's sake.

Update: Nintendo says "All the books are the complete, unabridged editions." The company also points out that 100 Classic Books is not the first Nintendo game released on the Nintendo DS platform to not carry an ESRB rating. Some DSiWare titles, like the Photo Clock, that don't feature video game elements go unrated.


    I've always wondered if one day books will be given classifications.

      Books are classified already. In most cases (well in the cases of major book retailers) most books are "unrestricted", however there are a few higher profile examples of books that have been given a "Restricted" rating, eg. American Psycho. Same thing applies to Porno Magazines......

        I saw the R rating on American Psycho the other day. I couldn't believe it, it was wraped up just like a porno mag. Does this mean they have to go back and rate every book that could now possibly have inappropriate material for children?

        Ratings on books... They should stick a rating on the bible and see what happens...

          The fundamentalists would lose it. Which is funny, seeing as they're the ones behind all the book burnings.

      Doesn't OFLC stand for Office of Film and LITERATURE Classification?

    wow all of shakespeare? that is one HELL of a deal! fucking love shakespeare.

    I don’t think people will be inclined to pay $49.95 for 100 public domain books, especially when you can download them all for free with one Google search.

      Most of those classic books are also for sale at the book store, so I don't think you're really paying for the books, more the packaging.

      I wonder what the screen is like to read on?

    Do you think that Nintendo is trying to compete with the iPad Touch? Hope not for their sakes, the screen is way to small.

    I bought this when it came out. I've always been meaning to read most of these classics, and already having a DS, it was cheaper than buying the books in paperback at $10 each. I have a 100 book library in my pocket. No real interest in buying an eReader either.

    This has been out in PAL regions for a year or so. For 50c per title, in a format that is user-friendly, and saves you the trouble of sourcing all that classic lit, it works out nicely.

    Of course, if you are the kind that is complaining about the price, you probably have an R4 and Nintendo has no need nor desire to pander to you anyway...

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