Controversial opinion alert! Age ratings are there for a reason.
Let’s face it, some games require a certain deal of maturity before they can be properly appreciated or understood.
While I don’t believe violence in games will turn you into a brutal rage-filled monster nor will watching some lewd activities make you a sexual demon, I do think introducing a child to behaviour they cannot comprehend is going to have some effect. I say this as a person whose first introduction to games was sitting on my dad’s lap as he blasted his way through hell in Doom.
As gamers, most of us can say that there were certain games we played as kids that, now we’re adults, we can agree probably weren’t all that age-appropriate. Here are five games a lot of us (probably) played when we were too young.
Mortal Kombat caused a massive uproar in the 90s with court cases and media retaliation to the wonderfully graphic ‘fatalities’. But we all know that Mortal Kombat would be nothing without its lovingly gory death sequences. Every part of the body was wonderfully dismembered in front of our eyes. However, at a young age, this senseless violence that was displayed was hard to comprehend and was – to use 90’s slang – too radical for our little brains to come to terms with.
This didn’t really do any long term damage to us, but there is a very practical reason for us not to have played Mortal Kombat: school detention. The sheer replicability of the fatalities means they were easily acted out in the playgrounds and therefore stomped out by teachers across the UK and beyond. The biggest fatality was to my free time as I spent playtime in the school hall with my friends after pretending to be Scorpion.
Did I say bloody gore and untamed aggression? Enter Doom. A masterpiece of game design, Doom knew how to sate our bloody desires in a way no game really has come close to since. Crawling through hell armed with a fully-stocked arsenal seems like a simple idea now, but it was revolutionary at the time.
Anything with this amount of gore in is best kept away from young eyes, but there’s also the argument that it dispels any understanding of empathy or diplomacy and instead teaches us that all our problems can be solved with a shotgun. More importantly though, it made us into entitled little brats. It was so good at scratching that violent itch in our brain that we grew impatient when we had to wait on anything. Like when I was five and wanted sweeties. Essentially Doom was the perfect tool to making us all like into spoilt little kids that you see terrorising their parents at the shops.
3Leisure Suit Larry
While we are mentioning the fulfilment of desires we might as well mention the sexual menace of Leisure Suit Larry. In the times of family computers and dial-up internet it was much harder for us frustrated developing boys to get our, er, ‘fix’. Internet porn was popular but more among dads than their sons as they could go on the web at times when the phone didn’t threaten to ruin your climax. So a lot of us had to settle for a version of the famous wannabe playboy Leisure Suit Larry and pretend we were playing something more wholesome with our left hands.
Now I could go into a massive rant about how his behaviour was lewd and disrespectful. I could further this by saying that gamifying the seduction of other people disrespects them as human beings. But the main reason that we shouldn’t have played any game in this series is because the Leisure Suit Larry series was bloody unrealistic. Larry more or less stumbles his way into the bosom of every girl he meets. Teaching young boys to act like him in the hope of some tittage is a false economy, and for that sake kids shouldn’t be allowed to play it.
4Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto is still in its heyday. GTA Online is as popular as ever, and the constant updates to the service keep people coming back for new race maps and fight scenarios. What has been lost slightly in the five years since we’ve had a new release, though, is the parody nature of series. Grand Theft Auto’s violence, sexualisation and referential nature is supposed to show the downfalls of America in a hyper reality. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Vice City.
Vice City relishes on the corrupt drug-fuelled 80s and tells a junked-up story of a city not unlike Miami. It was packed with lots of amazing references to big events of the decade, homages to the corrupt nature of the police and showcases the huge cocaine problem of the decade in a funny story. That was all lost on us children who were far too busy shooting everything that moved and laughing at the lawyer when he pisses himself. We were far too young to understand the complex storytelling at play.
Resident Evil was unlike any game that came before it. Despite having some of the most stupid lines of dialogue that were performed by the worse actors imaginable, this game and its two sequels were masterclasses in building tension and scaring you shitless. This game still gives me the goosebumps now despite the graphics ageing badly and it resembling a bad Roblox map.
So why shouldn’t kids have played this? I will sum it up in one sentence: Resident Evil gave me nightmares.