Think of the Children for April 8

Think of the Children for April 8

Written by Randy Kalista on 4/8/2009 for DS   PC   PS2   PS3   PSP   Wii   360  
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Nobody wants to play with anybody else this week -- everyone’s packing up their toys and going home. No cross-platform titles although, to be fair, the Mac is getting a couple titles that have already appeared on other platforms, of course. Also (and this is something we’ve been passively suspicious about here at GamingNexus for some time now) there are games that are taking at least a second pass through the ESRB with no explanation for the re-review, and no change in the grade we reported on previously. To wit:

Hotel for Dogs was rated Everyone this past week, but was already rated Everyone back in November of last year. Defense Grid: The Awakening shows up this week, rated Everyone 10+, which changes nothing when it was rated back in December. Blazing Birds also earned an Everyone rating, but managed to do that back in August of last year as well. If these games were seeking a different (higher or lower) ESRB rating, it didn’t pay off, so I’m curious if these were just updated gameplay versions with no motive from the developers other than to keep the ESRB appraised of how the game’s coming along.

Aspyr must have greased a few wheels, with five of their games getting love from the Board, all of them pulling down Everyone 10+ or Everyone ratings. And with E ratings pulling in three-times more numbers than second place (Teen), it’s obvious that Everyone is the sweet spot. Naturally.

Additionally, both of the titles appearing on the Mac (both of which are published by Aspyr) were reviewed by GamingNexus. Tyler gave Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword the ‘one more turn’ award in 2007, while Cyril didn’t hesitate to give Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords a game of the year nod that same year. Obviously Aspyr is referring to our review section for smart titles to bring to the Mac. Wink. Barring that, Sega’s Shinobi from 1987 is coming to XBLA -- this being one of those juicy tidbits that’s learned through the ESRB before any official announcements emerge from the respective companies. If you can’t wait, however, Shinobi recently saw new light in Sonic’s Ultimate Sega Genesis Collection in February on the 360 and PS3.

While I find little intriguing about this week’s run-through of games, I’m vaguely surprised that Burn Zombie Burn earned a Mature rating. Sure, you’re fighting off waves after wave of zombies. Sure, zombies sometimes explode into pieces with red spray splattering from their bodies. And yeah, large pools of blood stain the environment. But the effect is more like cartoon steaks exploding in fireworks. It’s comical. It’s not hilarious, but it’s comical in nature. (And insanely repetitive-looking, but that’s beside the point.) While Mature games can be purchased by anyone 17 and over, I somehow find it hard to believe that a younger teen couldn’t manage the emotional scarring potential of a title that sets aflame a few hordes of undead. I can’t help thinking -- despite having never played the game myself -- that this sounds a tad overprotective.

Title   Publisher   Rating   Platforms
4x4 Hummer Aspyr Everyone PC
Bird and Beans Nintendo Everyone DSi
Hotel for Dogs Aspyr Everyone PC
I Love Beauty: Hollywood Makeover City Interactive Everyone DS
Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword Aspyr Everyone 10+ Mac
Defense Grid: The Awakening Aspyr Everyone 10+ PC
Paper Airplane Chase Nintendo Everyone DSi
Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords Aspyr Everyone 10+ Mac
Secret Command Sega Everyone 10+ Wii
Monopoly Slots EA Teen Web
Blazing Birds Vector2 Everyone 360
Beat Runner Yukes Everyone Wii
Mean Girls: High School Showdown Legacy Teen PC
Burn Zombie Burn Kuju Mature PS3
Battlestrike: Western and Eastern Front City Interactive Mature PC
Imagine Soccer Captain Ubisoft Everyone DS
Giana Sisters DS DTP Everyone DS
Ant Nation Konami Everyone 10+ Wii
4 Elements eGames Everyone PC
Crimson Gem Saga Atlus Teen PSP
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs Activision-Blizzard Everyone DS
Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 Activision-Blizzard Everyone 10+ DS
Pretty in Pink Legacy Everyone 10+ PC
Drum King 505 Teen Wii
Shinobi Sega Everyone 10+ 360
The Wizard's Pen PopCap Everyone PC
Detana Twin Bee Hudson Everyone Wii
Donkey Kong Jungle Beat Nintendo Everyone 10+ Wii

Here’s the final tally on who, what and where everything was rated for last week. There were 28 rated titles on 9 platforms: 360 (2), DS (5), DS (5), DSi (2), Mac (2), PC (9), PS3 (1), PSP (1), Web (2), and Wii (6). There were 24 of the 28 titles rated Everyone 10+ or lower, 4 rated Teen, and 2 titles (the aforementioned Burn Zombie Burn, and Battlestrike: Western and Eastern Front) with Mature ratings.

The running tally of game ratings in 2009 is as follows:

Rating   Count
Early Childhood 1
Everyone  270
Everyone 10+  71
Teen  93
Mature  26
Adults Only  0

Got a comment on the article or a rated game? Put it in the comments section or send me an e-mail. Until next week, make sure you know what your kids are playing…

*The weekly Intriguing Title of the Week (and any game that is tossed in that paragraph) is identified based on a game on the list that catches the eye of the author for any number of reasons. Good, bad or otherwise, feel free to agree, disagree or add some constructive input to the discussion.

* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company.

About Author

Randy gravitates toward anything open world, open ended, or open to interpretation. He prefers strategy over shooting, introspection over action, and stealth and survival over looting and grinding. A few of his favorites are Red Dead Redemption, Elite Dangerous, and Hyper Light Drifter. He lives with his wife and daughter in Oregon.

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