Hilarity Ensues When the ESRB Discovers the Most Misogynistic Game of All Time
The ESRB and I don’t have any beef. Unlike the movie industry’s ratings high council, the MPAA, who will give Once an R-rating for two f-bombs and Attack of the Clones a PG despite someone getting decapitated onscreen, the video game ratings board has always been pretty fair. They just rate all Nintendo games an “E” and all violent games an “M” and everyone goes on their merry way, probably because most publishers don’t give a shit about their games being M-rated, while movie studios will chop a movie in half to get out of an R.
But what I have noticed is that the ESRB is getting more and more outspoken in their critiques of games, moving up from simple “suggestive themes” and “brutal violence” labels and have been giving more or less full-on ratings-based of reviews of games on their website.
The one that caught my eye was their recent analysis of Dead or Alive: Paradise, a spiritual sequel to Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball which rose to fame last console generation. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, Dead or Alive was at one time a fighting game, but when the developers realized the reason everyone was playing their game was to see their fighter’s boobs bounce, they decided to roll with it, and so Beach Volleyball was born which featured nothing but bouncing and bikinis. Now, Paradise is using new-gen graphics to render the same thing, and the ESRB takes offense to this. Here’s what they had to say in their rather hilarious description:
“This is a video game in which users watch grown women dressed in G-string bikinis jiggle their breasts while on a two-week vacation. Women’s breasts and butts will sway while playing volleyball, while hopping across cushions, while pole dancing, while posing on the ground, by the pool, on the beach, in front of the camera.
There are other activities: Users can gamble inside a casino to win credits for shopping; they can purchase bathing suits, sunglasses, hats, clothing at an island shop; they can “gift” these items to eight other women in hopes of winning their friendship, in hopes of playing more volleyball. And as relationships blossom from the gift-giving and volleyball, users may get closer to the women, having earned their trust and confidence: users will then be prompted to zoom-in on their friends’ nearly-naked bodies, snap dozens of photos, and view them in the hotel later that night.
Parents and consumers should know that the game contains a fair amount of “cheesy,” and at times, creepy voyeurism—especially when users have complete rotate-pan-zoom control; but the game also contains bizarre, misguided notions of what women really want (if given two weeks, paid vacation, island resort)—Paradise cannot mean straddling felled tree trunks in dental-floss thongs.”
I’m not faulting the ESRB for their description here, though they’re clearly crossing the line from fact reporting to opinion. I don’t blame them however, as no one who works at the ESRB (who clearly must care about objectionable content in games) could review this and not feel the need to chastise it for its absolute ridiculousness.
As for the game itself? I think I need to uh, do some further research to see if these claims are accurate. I’ve heard a lot about this “investigative journalism” thing lately, and I figure now’s a good a time to start as any.
Update: The ESRB wrote an entirely new judgement-free description because of all the shit they were getting! Totally all my doing… Just kidding.