You know, video games will rot your brain. They're filled with nothing more than gratuitous fish abuse, LEGO toilet humour and references to pornographic cannonballs — or so this week's most potentially offensive video games might lead us to believe.
Those warnings of erotic ammunition and trout slapping come courtesy of the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, the people who update us on the daily on video games' suggestive themes, intense violence and use of alcohol references. Let's take a look at the ESRB's newest video game ratings to see how we'll be offended, irked and affronted by video games in the coming weeks and months.
Let us begin with the potentially offensive adventures of Harry Potter and friends in their LEGO forms. What could possibly upset parents and impressionable young children in LEGO Harry Potter: Years 5-7? Traveller's Tales' brand of slapstick humour, notes the ESRB, including "a skeleton creature burping; a character floating from a geyser in a toilet; a wizard covering up after his pants are zapped away." Should pants-zapping require its own unique descriptor?
Somewhat surprisingly, another LEGO-based title warrants mention in this week's list of offending games. LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars features a cinematic moment I never expect to see in the Star Wars universe: "One cutscene depicts a character struck in the face with a baby's soiled diaper." Wait, I take that back. I forgot Jar Jar steps in poop in The Phantom Menace. But who wouldn't want to forget?
Speaking of feces, Assassin's Creed: Revelations is both offensive and educational — offendutainment? — in its teaching us of more foreign language potty talk. Notes the ESRB: "The game also contains the word 'sh*t' and a*s,' in addition to Greek/Italian equivalents (e.g., 'm*rda' [sh*t] , 'm*laka' [a*shole] , 'c*zzo' [d*ck] )."
Card carrying PETA members may want to skip this section. Rapala for Kinect, in which you are the fishing rod, is not kind to fish. "In some sequences, players perform punching/slapping motions to weaken their catch," writes the ESRB. "Successful strikes are accompanied by colourful light effects and vocal encouragement (e.g., 'Punch It!' and 'Slap It!')."
If the blood, gore and torture of Divinity II - The Dragon Knight Saga doesn't rub you the wrong way, the ESRB points out that the dialogue might: "During the course of the game, players can engage in suggestive dialogue and name-calling; some of the more pertinent examples are as follows: 'I'll see you in pieces once more, prostitute of the pervert,' 'At least you still have your collection of erotically engraved cannonballs,' and 'Everybody loves her cute behind. Only it's strictly 'look, but don't touch.'"
Erotically engraved cannonballs? I really hope there's a texture for that.
Finally, here's a Battlefield 3 fact that I was unaware of. Yes, it's violent, with blood splatters and explosions and people dying left and right. It's a first person shooter! But did you know that (spoiler alert?) "This is a first-person shooter in which players assume the role of a U.S. Marine soldier who is on trial for treason."
So, is that how the disparate set pieces of Battlefield 3 tie together? Sounds good to me. See you next week for more dangerous video games... if you can handle it!