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The chilling effect of the AO rating


Game|Life's Chris Kohler has written a feature for Wired about the effects of the Adults Only rating on not only Manhunt 2, but the development and marketing of all mature-oriented games. He contends (accurately) that because the AO rating reduces to near zero the ability of a company to sell games, and because more attention has been paid to adult content in games since "Hot Coffee," publishers are trimming back the adult content of their games out of fear of the AO. This, of course, means that the rating that was nominally put in place to remove any need for censorship is instead creating that need.

The most shocking example is the Leisure Suit Larry Collection for the PC, which is incomplete because of concerns that Leisure Suit Larry 7: Love for Sail!, which contains a single scene of brief nudity, would push the collection into AO territory, despite the fact that the game had already been given an M rating in 1996. Well, that's not the only omission. The collection also doesn't include the original EGA version of the first Larry game, nor does it appear to include The Laffer Utilities or Leisure Suit Larry's Casino, but we chalk that up less to censorship and more to Vivendi just being lazy.

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