Now, Ed is 30 years old, and grew up with video games in vast production. They eclipsed books as a source of his childhood fun. As he grew older, like all of his friends, more adult games were released. When he was 18, he voted, then went out and bought a pack of cigarettes and some porn, because he was 18 and could these things. He was a grown up, finally. This delighted Ed.
When he turned 21, he went out and had a drink in a bar, then a few more. He could. What a wonderful thing being a mature, consenting adult was. No wonder his parents knew so much: They were grown ups and had choices. Ed is now 30, and can vote, be tried as an adult, own a home, buy pornography, cigarettes, prescription drugs, alcohol, hire prostitutes (in Nevada), and rent movies where people are decapitated, shot, starved, screwed, anally raped, beaten, and even killed as part of genocide. He can serve in the ARMY and question authority, and can perform any variety of sexual acts with consenting whoevers. His tastes are his own, because he is an adult human being.
But Ed recently discovered a hitch in his natural right as a grown up:
It seems the one thing Ed can't do is play Manhunt 2, a game he's been looking forward to, on his Wii or Playstation 2, or ever in the future on his Xbox, because it's been rated an 18-and-older game. Wait... 18+? That should be fine, because he's 30. Ed was 18+ before it was cool. But it seems he won't be allowed to play this game as is, because it's been banned in the U.K., Ireland, and refused (at the last second) by it's distributors, who now won't carry it.
Does that make any sense? It doesn't to Ed, that's for sure. He's 30, so an 18+ game should be all clear, right? Unfortunately, this particular 18+ game has now been banned in two countries, Ireland and England, and both Sony and Nintendo, who were slated to release the game in the U.S. on July 10th, 2007, now will not. The reasoning? The game is an 18+ game, and both companies have refused to sell an 18+ game.
Ed is confused. He's upset. He's getting pissed off. What possible problem could there be in a 30-year-old man, and a man weaned on video games his whole life, playing a game rated just for him? Banning Manhunt 2 because it received an adult rating is the same as banning a movie because it's rated R. Others may not like or approve of the game, but it's Ed's choice if he wants to buy it. And he does. He wants to buy it bad.
So, as it is, Ed won't get to play the adult game he's been waiting on, since he's an adult who, as the basic message can be perceived, isn't smart or trustworthy enough to buy something he's legally entitled to. It's a shame, too, because Ed's been getting awfully tired of being given child-like games. The games made for kids are great for kids, but Ed is a grown man, and no amount of hopping around collecting coins in the form of a cute, smiling animation in a virtual world is going to satisfy Ed's need to be a grown up that can both handle and satisfy himself with the material he decides to buy. He isn't the sort to watch handfuls of Disney family movies in his little apartment all day, and he doesn't want to play the video games of them either.
Ed can't play Manhunt 2, wherein an escaped patient from a mental institution goes on a killing spree, but he can certainly watch the myriads of movies on the exact same thing. He can read Silence of the Lambs, if he wants. He can watch it on the news, certainly. He can rent all the Friday the 13th movies he wants, wherein an unkillable lunatic in a mask goes about on a rampage, killing innocent people in horrid, disturbing ways (and Ed can even play the video game based on it some time back, which was released with a rating appropriate for him as a CHILD, when he played it).
Does the video gaming world realize they have created a vast demographic of adult fans that they aren't serving at all? A demographic that's slowly leaving because they're getting tired of being programmed down to? This game was slated to be released, is finished, and ready to ship. Now, it won't until Rockstar Games dumbs it down and makes it 'happier' for us all.
What use is a rating system if everything is for kids?