It’s the context, stupid

Heavy Weapons GuyTeam Fortress 2 has arrived, more or less, assuming you’re a PC gamer (and really, I don’t care if it’s coming for the 360 and PS3 – you should be playing with a mouse and keyboard. How’s that for controversy?) and assuming you’re willing to pay for a “beta”.

In my opinion, it revitalizes the team-based FPS genre, not because it adds lots of new features (though it does have several welcome neat touches), but because it goes back to basics. Back to fun. Back to meaty, bloody chunks of corpse flying around the screen. Violent, to be sure.  So why don’t I think this is an M game?

Because of the context. The ESRB rating might note “Blood and Gore, Intense Violence” – and that’s an accurate description – but the whole game is such a delightful cartoon that I have a hard time putting this alongside Manhunt 2. You’ll be laughing most of the time, smiling with glee at the wonderfully goofy animations. There’s no swearing. There’s no sexual under or overtones. There’s none of that scary demonic stuff. But that “Blood and Gore” will get you an M, automatically.

Now, I don’t know who’ll be covering this for GamerDad, or what rating we’ll give it. We do have to be pretty consistent with our ratings there, and as this is online only, we have to include the Internet Douchebag factor (something the ESRB always skirts around with its “Contents may change blah blah blah”), which would be more only real reason for restricting this to the top-end of the teen scale. But if we’re talking the actual game content? 14+ all the way for me, sir.

4 Responses to “It’s the context, stupid”

  1. Ok, now I wish I had a working PC. I have a Team Fortress 2 T-shirt from the days when Half-Life was new and that it was a very big deal that Valve picked up the team responsible for that little Team Fortress Quake (2?) MOD. You know what delayed TF2 all this time?

    The sudden success of a little Half-Life MOD called – Counterstrike.

  2. I saw somewhere – I think it was on Attack of the Show! – a mention that TF2 is a great example of a game that invented a genre (Battlefield) without ever actually being released. It’s so worth the wait.

    Shame about the PC. Oh well, I’m sure you can play Colleen on Live 😉

  3. My prediction – half of all of those people who were cheering as Wil Wheaton said ‘don’t be a dick’ in the PAX keynote will be playing TF2 … and being total dicks.

    It is one of the big reasons why I’m not a big online multiplayer fan.

    But for the M part I certainly agree. From all of the stuff I’ve seen this is a 14+ experience, minus the headset factor, of course.

  4. Man, I need this game so bad. I have to dig my gaming PC out of the home theater it’s currently in (buried by toys from my 2-year-old 😉 so I can play that “beta”…

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!