Adults Only: What’s Made the Cut?
The ESRB has rated more than 15,000 games since being formed back in 1994, and only 23 have managed to obtain a rating of Adults Only. AO is of course the only rating higher than Mature, meaning the content it contains is deemed appropriate only for those 18 years and older, compared with the 17 years old you have to be to purchase an M-rated game. There’s obviously a lot of maturity that goes on in that extra year. Or something.
But the more important factor with regards to AO ratings, as we learned during the Manhunt 2 fiasco, is that none of the three platform holders – Nintendo, Microsoft, or Sony – will allow a game carrying an AO rating onto their systems. Many retailers will also refuse to even stock the game, meaning the PC and online sales are essentially what developers seeking to develop an AO-rated game are looking at.
So just what 23 games managed to obtain the infamous rating? I think most people can name Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, thank to Hot Coffee, but what were the other 22? What They Play has gone through the trouble of compiling a list with all of the offenders and descriptions of what they are and why they got slapped with the AO rating.
I could get up on a soapbox and talk about Hostel and R-rated movies, but I’ll spare you the trouble of reading me poke holes in the “logic” behind that stuff.