GamerDad to ESRB: Why is Halo 3 Rated M-Mature?

halo31In the four years since I launched GamerDad.com, we’ve only disagreed with the Entertainment Software Ratings Board a handful to times. We felt that The Elder Scrolls: Oblivion deserved an M-Mature ( the ESRB actually changed the rating soon after, but not because of us) and we’ve always felt that Microsoft’s best selling Halo series was far more PG-13 than Rated R – or to put it in ESRB speak, T-Teen versus M-Mature. Despite the purple and blue alien blood, Halo has always seemed so… tame to those of us actually familiar with M-rated fare. Well, Halo 3 comes out today and it’s sure to be a massive hit, but once again the ESRB has rated it M-Mature. I received my copy on Friday and I’ve played through most of the short single player campaign and I keep asking myself the same question, over and over again: Why is this game rated M-Mature?

Don’t get me wrong. I firmly believe in the ESRB and support its mission. I know how hard their job is. GamerDad is built to go beyond what they do and speculate why a game gets the rating it gets but as I mention, we very rarely disagree with them. They do a fantastic job. But what exactly are they protecting teenagers from in Halo 3? BioShock, another Xbox 360 first-person shooter with an M-rating earns that rating by challenging the player with horror, creepiness, audio logs delivered by insane people, harsh language, and blood covered zombies being dispatched with crude weaponry, including a wrench. And that’s not even mentioning the 8-year old genetically modified little girls and your upsetting option to Harvest (read: kill) them or save them from their weird and twisted fate. BioShock is fantastic because it’s mature in the truest sense. It’s made for adults, not kids. The rating is appropriate.

Grand Theft Auto is a series that lets players indulge in fantasies of lawlessness. They present the player with an open playground where they can hijack an ambulance and rescue people, a taxi and earn money from fares, or, more likely, a backdrop where they can kill innocent people and police in an effort to get to 5 stars and the inevitable Army tanks. If that gets old, there are plenty of missions based on popular adult films like Scarface, Boyz in the Hood, and Goodfellas (depending on the edition you buy). Clearly mature content for an adult audience.

But what is Halo? Halo is the story of Master Chief, a guy in powered armor, who fights alien monsters through a series of mostly clichéd backdrops and missions. It’s a simple, non-challenging storyline. Basic sci-fi. Nothing upsetting or inappropriate here.halo32

The ESRB descriptors mention:

VIOLENCE: Combat is constant – you’re always trying to kill, or being killed by, aliens ranging from wicked to silly. But there aren’t gratuitous blood spatters on the walls and ceiling. The graphics are sensational, but little time is spent on making bodies fall in twisted heaps. There are friendly soldiers and they can die, but they never lose limbs or die gasping in excruciating pain. The alien blood is about the most violent thing present and it’s the only difference between Halo and the similarly sci-fi Metroid series on the Nintendo Wii. A game rated T-Teen.

LANGUAGE: I heard the occasional “bastard”, “hell” and “damn” – meanwhile at the local playground I heard: “Sh*t”, “F*ck”, and “Motherf*cker”
BLOOD & GORE: I’m playing the game in HD on a 32” screen and I sit about 5 feet away from it and… where’s the blood and gore? There’s alien blood, but it’s bright blue or purple alien blood, and it looks like someone cut into one of those carnival glow sticks and shook it all about. I can vaguely remember maybe a hint of red blood but in the heat of combat I can’t swear I actually saw that.

———————-

So there you have it. Halo 3 has been rated M-Mature, that is to say it’s been brought on par with games like BioShock, Grand Theft Auto: Whatever, Manhunt, and several other truly mature or boundary-pushing games for reasons that seem primarily limited to fluorescent alien blood and the word “damn.”

For the sake of contrast lets look at a PG-13 film like, I dunno, the latest James Bond flick (several brutal murders, truly harsh language and the hero gets tortured by having his testicles repeatedly struck by a knotted rope) and Aliens vs. Predator (which had fluorescent blood plus lots of red blood spatters, people murdered by monsters, harsh language, and horror).

Now lets look at television rated for teenagers. Heroes is a pretty good example to start with, sorry for the spoilers but on Heroes your teen saw several people get the backs of their heads removed so a villain to consume their brains, the shooting of several characters, and all the unnerving “readjustments” the cheerleader would make after surviving death (her superpower is self-healing and we get to see her move her spine back into place, or remove a giant piece of glass from her chest). Heroes also featured a heroine addict. This is material deemed appropriate for 13-year olds in TV land.

Look, I understand that these are different ratings systems and the ESRB isn’t beholden to the ones for TV and movies, but shouldn’t some sense of parity be maintained? For the sake of parents, I mean? Is a 14 year old – that is to say a High School student – really going to be shocked by the brightly colored glowstick blood in Halo and baseline combat violence in Halo 3?

I don’t think so. I think this rating misleads parents and is unfair to Bungie and Microsoft.

That’s why GamerDad strongly urges parents to seek as much information as they can about the games they let their kids buy. Truly Mature games like Grand Theft Auto and BioShock should be given to kids reluctantly and carefully, if at all. The rating is accurate for those games. But to lump Halo 3’s Star Wars-esque gameplay and violence on par with those more mature titles only muddies the waters, confuses well-intentioned parents. And makes them not trust a ratings system that 9 times out of 10 is exactly right. M-Mature needs to mean something substantial and my argument is that Halo 3 isn’t substantially mature enough to warrant this kind of warning and scrutiny. Nobody needs to be carded for Halo 3, except those under 13.

Halo 3 has one heck of a co-op system in place. If you’re the parent of a teenager, why not pick it up as a rental and have a grand time blasting aliens in an effort to protect future Earth together. It really is the right kind of militaristic sci-fi action game that’s appropriate for most of today’s teenagers. It’s time for the ESRB to get with the program and rate games based on criterion that makes sense to today’s media saturated teens and parents.

GamerDad maintains that video games are no worse than other media. It’s time for them to be rated in at least a remotely similar way other media is rated. For the sake of the parents – and the children.

Thanks for reading and note that this isn’t a full review of the game, it doesn’t take into account the incredibly offensive and rude multiplayer community this game typically attracts.

Looking for the GamerDad Review of Halo 3?  Click here!

176 Responses to “GamerDad to ESRB: Why is Halo 3 Rated M-Mature?”

  1. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  2. It wouldn’t surprise me if Microsoft submits footage of the most violent scenes in the game, thus ensuring ESRB’s high rating, thus ensuring the game as popular amongst kids looking to play something taboo.

  3. That is one of the reasons I have wondered about managing the launch last night. Here is a game franchise that has appeal down to tweens, with parents playing it alongside of their kids, and yet it is M while Call of Duty or Medal of Honor Airborne are T? That really makes no sense to me – those Germans were bleeding red, which is different than the sci-fi ‘blood’ I saw in the PC Halo games.

  4. As someone who has submitted games to the ESRB, my guess would be that two factors primarily led to the game receiving an M-rating.

    1) During single and multiplayer games, shooting humans can result in long-lasting blood and gore.

    2) During the single-player campaign, you can kill marines without consequences.

  5. Once again, Gamer Dad comes through. Thanks for your insights, and hopefully the various media ratings systems will get coordinated some day.

  6. Good statement of the issues, Andrew. This one’s had me scratching my head for years, as you well know. ;)

  7. Even though “the rating may change during online play”, perhaps the ESRB had enough experience with the — erm, jerks? (this is a “family” blog, right?) — that saturate the online mode that they knew the end result would be for “Mature” audiences only. Or maybe #1 is right and Microsoft just wanted them to give it an M to increase its appeal to tweens.

    All I know is that a rating system that puts BioShock and Halo in the same category is a failed system. I used the Halo/Star Wars analogy when discussing with my wife whether or not it was OK to play the H3 beta with my 2-year-old in the room — we decided not, because unlike Star Wars, in Halo you’re shooting people all the time, instead of for a minute or two once or twice an hour. BioShock actually made *me* feel a little uneasy with all the gore, etc., and I generally don’t even notice. If Halo isn’t a “T” game, then they need another category between “T” and “M”.

  8. I agree with the T vs. M thing.

    Regarding online play – if what you say is true, *every* game with an online mode, particularly any one that supports voice chat, would need to be rated M … or perhaps AO!!!

  9. Except for Maplestory which has a real-time filtering system in it’s screenchat, that’s pretty much how I roll, Mike. Unless you block voice chat and manage their Friends lists pretty intensely you are just letting them jump into a mosh pit of smackmonkeys.

    And James, you have a good point. Or at least a set of descriptors that make the difference clear. There’s a whole lot of room between 13 and 17.

  10. The rating has nothing to do with online play.
    My concern is that it makes Halo 3, an incredibly popular game, look like a “dangerous” or “controversial” game. That makes reasonable parents withold a mild title and makes Gamerparents not trust the ESRB. Either way, compared to other media, it makes the ESRB look completely out of touch with the culture.

    I wish this was getting more attention ’round the web but it doesn’t seem to be. I know parents care about it because Halo’s rating is one of the #1 complaints about the ESRB I get from parents.

  11. I honestly don’t think Oblivion deserved the M rating because it(from my understanding, correct me if I’m wrong) was due to a nude player-mod. That’s equivalent to say, writing an erotic fan fiction of a book and it was something that they had no control over. World of Warcraft also has nude mods, but it’s still rated T-Teen. Anyway, yeah you’re right about Halo. I see no reason for them to be rated M instead of T. (by the way, these are the opinions of a 15 year old, dismiss them if you’d like, but they’re just as valid as anyone elses.)

  12. You are wrong. ;-) Though most people thought so and still think it was changed because of that.

    We gave Oblivion our Adult Seal because of the searchable hanging corpses, the ways you could be evil in the game, and other reasons like the prostitution etc.,. To be fair I never played the game and am simply backing up my reviewers here. You can go to GamerDad, or the search field to the right, and find out why in our Kid Factor. Bethesda even expressed surprise at the T-Teen rating when we asked them about it. They thought they were making an M-rated game. The ESRB made the ratings change about a week or two before the nude mod thing came to light. One reason they did so, according to rumor, was because of “parental complaint.” Now, is Oblivion okay for a 15-year old? Sure. We don’t make that judgement, only that recommendation. And all we’re calling for here is a little more consistency from the ESRB.

    And yes, a 15-year old’s opinions are definitely as valid as anyone elses. Thanks for sharing yours!

  13. “I honestly don’t think Oblivion deserved the M rating because it(from my understanding, correct me if I’m wrong) was due to a nude player-mod.”

    Although that was noted in the ESRB rerating of Oblivion, it never was a part of the GamerDad rating. See http://gamerdad.com/detail.cfm?itemID=3218 for their review for the PC. In particular, Mike wrote

    “I was happily exploring a happy town with my kids watching when I met
    someone and had a chat that resulted in them getting furious and running
    off to confront the guards, which resulted in the person getting brutally
    struck down. My kids were shocked, and so was I – and I gravely regretted
    letting them watch me play. This isn’t a game for kids to play – or even to
    watch. The game earns its M rating and Adult seal because the situations
    are unpredictably adult, but invariably realistically presented with very good
    voice acting.”

    as part of his judgement regarding the GamerDad “Adult” rating.

  14. Thank God you made this. I was just convincing my dad to get halo 3 since he is unsure cause it is M for Mature (btw I am 13). I

  15. Oblivion did NOT get re-rated for the nudie mod. It got re-rated because of the content Dave pointed out.

    We already said it all at http://www.gamerdad.com/detail.cfm?itemID=3211, complete with links to the relevent press and other information.

  16. croaker – I remember that moment well. There are many moments we all remember as gamers, and many I also remember as a Gamer Parent. I remember learning that seeing Phantom Menace didn’t prepare my younger son for the opening of Jedi Knight … and amon others I vividly remember this.

  17. Arthur, note in the review we say 14+.
    But those are just details. If you’re watching TV aimed at teens and PG-13 movies, Halo 3 comes off like a light war movie where the good and bad guys are clearly separated. Have your parents read http://www.gamerdad.com and know that we’re considered a credible resource by a lot of media. I also write for Disney and CommonSense Media.

    Just remember to accept your dad’s ruling. He’s the dad and you should respect that. You’ll get to play whatever you want in just a few years anyway.

  18. Thank You Gamer Dad,
    I to am 15, today I got Halo 3 and got a big lecture from my Dad because it was mature, but I showed him your article and he saw really what Halo 3 was. I mean I think that Oblivion should be M rated because nudity even if a mod is still Adult content. But in Halo 3 the worst you could do is to whack soem one who is dead, and I nor anyone I know takes time to do that. So again thanks Gamer Dad!

  19. Dear Gamer Dad, Thank you for this information. Our 13 year old son has many friends who play H3, but we have said no due to the rating. This has caused many discussions about the “unfair” world of our house. It is difficult to go to a friend’s house where 4 boys are playing Halo 3, but you are not allowed to do so. We don’t want to be unreasonable, but won’t comprise just because “everyone else gets to do it.” I am so glad we have found your blog – and i think our son will be glad, too. My husband will suggest they play together first so we can see first hand, and assuming it is what you and others descirbe here, i think he will be able to play the game. Here is a game that probably should be rated T, but then there is World of Warcraft that is rated T and i read that it includes sexual induendo and drinking. This does not seem consistent and makes it hard for a parent to make the right choices. Thanks again!

  20. thanks now maybe my parents will let me get halo is basically star wars with blood and i have a game republic camando for xbox it has the same stuff as halo but it is rated teen.

  21. GamerDad:
    I can’t thank you enough for your post. I have tried on Bungie.net and Xbox.com and wrote to the ESRB to get a real discussion of the rating system. Almost no response. However, one individual had a good idea. Why not a sliding scale (1-5 or 1-10) to give a better idea of the content of a game, versus the T or M rating. Or, come up with an in-between.
    Do you think it would be possible to get an open letter, signed by anyone online, that would address these issues to the ESRB?
    As the saying goes:”there is strength in numbers.”

    Sincerely,
    Jason F

  22. gamerdad or anyone else that will be willing to help,
    ok im 13 years old and i really want h3. ive played all 3 halo games many times at friends houses and i had alot of fun.(just to tell u, im not a video game nerd, i play football). i havent told my parents that i want halo 3 yet. when i first got into video games, i was like 5 with my moms old super nintendo and mario. then i got a gamecube when i was 8 because of the mario games. now i have a ps2, and a wii, and i really want a 360, halo 3, and xbox live for christmas. when i do tell my parents that i want h3, they will probly say no, but i will have them read the gamerdad review, and watch some videos on youtube. now, heres my question: h3 on xbox live might be the best part of halo, but my parents could be uncomfortable with xbox live because of “some” people. could anyone help me explain to the parents that h3, and xbox live are not bad.
    thank you!

  23. i also got my first james bond game at age 10, just for some background.

  24. I couldn’t agree more. I think a game like Call of Duty 3 that received a T rating by the ESRB deserves to be rated M much more that any of the Halo titles. I realize there isn’t any blood in CoD3, but it is people shooting people in a historically realistic environment. Not that I disagree with the T rating on the game, but I think the argument could be made that Halo is much less realistic in its content.

    Good thoughts on the game.

  25. I have your answer. The Flood. Did you forget watching the marine get disfigured in front of your eyes on the fifth level(Floodgate)? I feel that the flood are the sole reason for an M rating, and have been for all 3 games. The flood get nastier and more detailed in each game. And there’s the Cortana level. The flood-ified High Charity could be disturbing to some.

  26. Jeff, that is how the ESRB rates it. One of Bungie’s updates a while ago actually talked about bringing clips of the most violent material specifically for the rating systems.

    I do agree with the opinions here, though. As compared to many M-rated games, it stands out as quite tame. I mean, compare it to Gears of War. Halo’s violence has blood, and amounts of it perhaps even less than there normally are. Gears of War boasts one of its major features as the “chainsaw bayonet”, which is gratuitously violent, what with chunks of flesh and copious amounts of blood flying everywhere.

    Another thing to think about is the significant lack of sexual content. The closest you get is Cortana, and compared to many other games (*coughGrandTheftAutocough*) rated M, it is quite tame. Great article, GamerDad.

  27. Lack of sexual content, minimal blood, and less language then what is heard on a playground, it seems as though this game should be rated nothing more then T, but alas, along with all the other halo games it has the infamous M. Obviously some parents take the game off the shelf, look at the back and to the lower left hand corner in search of the M and once this M has been found an instant “No” creeps from behind the parents lips. Ha this similar situation happened to one of my best friends. Its a very touchy subject on whether or not to let your child play an M rated game because everyone else is or because you feel like you are being to strict, but I believe there is no way for one to have a concrete opinion without sampling the game for oneself. Granted this could be a seemingly costly method, a definate yes or no can be derived from playing the game yourself.

    One thing I found that could be considered “violent” in some sense is the film save/screenshot feature where you can watch multiplayer matches and campaign levels in slow-mo then pause and rewind, just like a movie (hence the in game name lobby of “Theater”). My buddies and I would take screenshots of insane fragging where a couple grenades go off and corpses fly, or you get sniped clean through the visor on your mask and you zoom in to get extreme detail then take the photo.

  28. Charles, you touch on a possibly important issue: human disfigurement. Infected marines transform into Flood before your eyes. This reanimation probably counts as a horror theme. However, I agree with GamerDad: Halo 3 doesn’t belong in the same class as games like GTA. It’s practically a cartoon.

  29. Wow Gamerdad, while i’ve never visited your site before, i must say i am extremely impressed. I was redirected here from an article on Halo.bungie.org, and i must say that it is refreshing to see a well thought out, well written and reasonable article on the internet. Everything you wrote about Halo i completely agree with. More power to you!

  30. Forgot to add, i completely agree with Flashman and Charles, the Flood would have to be the reason behind the M rating. I remember being easily freaked out by the very first meeting of the Flood in Halo PC a few years back, and that was when i was 15, which would fit into the mature category wouldn’t it?

    Also, does suspense fit into the rating of games, because some games while not graphically violent can be pants-wettingly frightening based just on suspense alone. I know this was the case especially with the first introduction to the flood in PC. While they arent expecially graphic, the instances where you were walking along a very dark passage and then a Flood would leap out of nowhere and slash you was absolutely terrifying.

  31. Yes I do agree with the fact that the flood are kind of scary from what ive seen on youtube, but when you do shoot one the is red blood and a kind of yellow smear. The blood is just like call of duty 2, and the yellow stuff looks like when you squish a bee.

    still, if you go up about 10 comments youll find my other post.
    if you could read it please reply!

    thanks!

  32. Hey Bills fan, if this article and the review linked to it don’t convince your parents there’s really no other way we can help. Every parent needs to make the call on their own. And hey, I like football too. Go Pack!

  33. I think M. Russell has a good point, regarding the killing of your own marines without consequences. I do get the impression that the feel of the game is meant to be for Teens, but there are subtle things that may make some parents squirm but not necessarily their kids.

    I had read your review on gamerdad.com and it made me wonder how you address what changes with difficulty and the skulls that are found throughout the game? I have noticed changes in dialog on Legendary, most notably a few more swear words than you had listed. So, I’m just curious what you do in regards to that.

  34. You mentioned swear words and I was just wondering how many their were. I mean are they constantly say them or just rarely like on call of duty 2. I just want to know because my parents are pretty strict about that type of thing.

  35. Thanks Gamerdad
    Thanks for helping me with this. Now I feel confident that since you replied and said that this article is the most convinving thing that I can show my parents. Still, what about Xbox Live?
    Thanks again!

    P.S. I Like Brett Farve! Poor Bills I was at the Bills vs Cowboys Monday night game. They had won that!

  36. @Ben77 I’d say swears are moderate but you won’t hear anything worse than “damn” really.

    @Billsfan “What about Xbox Live?”
    Well, it can’t be policed or controlled. The upshot is that 90% of the foul-mouthed jerks you’ll play against are teenagers themselves. Teens being teens. I usually play the game without the headset so it isn’t so much of a problem.

  37. Dear GamerDad And the Community,

    I recently disucssed with my parents getting an Xbox 360 for Christmas, and have hopefully convinced them. But on the topic of Halo, they seemed very reluctant to consider this my “starting game” for the holidays (I would enjoy this game most becasue it is played most by ALL of my friends on Live) I was wondering what you think I should talk to them about in order for them to allow me to receive this title. I will direct them to this site as well.

    Thanks!

  38. Hello Again,

    BTW, my parents disagree with FPS games by nature. Any tips in this department as well?

    Thanks Again!

  39. To H3 4 Me
    My parents are the same way. They let me play games like james bond and Call of Duty but of course not games like GTA. I read the Gamerdad article and it looked very convincing to parents that it is not violent and that it is appropriate for a person like me(12 years old). I also do want a 360, Live and H3 for Christmas, but I have not told my parents this. I saved this and a video I found on YouTube to my favorites. Type in Halo 3 Parental Review on YouTube and it gives a very good review on the content of this game.

    Reply back and we can chat about our problems together.

  40. I’m trying to convince my parents to get me halo 3. I already have a game called Assassin’s Creed which by ESRB is worse than Halo. I’m 13 and i know ur seal is 14+ but i think its fine if i get a game that isnt as bad as Assassin’s Creed. what do you think?

  41. Well if you can pla a game like Assassins Creed which has blood,strong language, and lots of violence, Halo 3 is appropriate for you. There is blue alien blood,basic gun violence and minimal languge. Im 13 too but i bet my parents would not let me play Assassians Creed.

    Lucky You!

  42. I just have 1 other question Gamerdad. Are you planning on having a review for Assassins Creed? because i would like to know what you think of it.

  43. I’m also 13 and am trying to get H3 and Live for the holidays and I just thought of an idea.
    If your parents dont like the idea of being able to talk with complete srangers, let them change the parental controls and dont use the headset. If you dont like that, remember that it could be a choice between parental control and not playing Halo at all.

  44. can completely agree! wow its like you read my mind. i was debating letting my child get this game and hes 8. its perfectly fine for him. if they took out the occasional cuss word and the every once in a while small spray of human blood that you can olny see when you enter “theater” (a option to take snapshots of all of your missions). and ITS NOT DISTURBING AT ALL. why they rated it m ill never know. thank you!

  45. Now the comment above me is one to show parents!

  46. I Just read your article and Halo 3 seems pretty convincing to give to my 13 year old son. He really wants an Xbox 360, Xbox Live, and Halo 3 for Christmas. My son seems kind of nervous to bring up the topic of this game though. I know he has played it at friends houses many times but I did not know what Halo was until now. I let him play games like Call of Duty but not games like GTA. He gets great grades at school, has many friends and loves to play sports like football, basketball, golf, soccer, and skiing. Recently the other day I saw him playing 007 Agent Under Fire and started laughing because my daughter was beating him. Do you think if I can let my 13 year old son and 10 year old daughter play a game like 007, can they play the Halo 3 story mode and multiplayer online. If you could reply back right here, that would be great!

    Thank You!

  47. I must correct you about killing marines with no consequence. You may kill a limited amount in case you were to, for instance, throw a grenade & it bounces off a wall and kills a marine on accident, but kill a certain amount (3 or 4 I think) and they turn and kill you. I’d call that a consequence.

  48. Metroid Prime 2 has something similar to the Flood, the Ing, that also infect humans, and it got a T rating, and while it may not be as gruesome as the flood (which isn’t really all that bad for a 13 year old) you can shoot the bodies of dead marines, and some aliens explode & splatter guts on your visor. I wouldn’t give either games an M rating, especially considering how many rated- T games are worse.

  49. I forgot to add, there is human blood in multiplayer, but it’s not graphic and it comes straight from the armor, you can’t see them bleeding, just a quick small “spray” from the armor that’s mainly for confirming a kill than anything. It’s very annoying to think you’ve killed another player only to find out that they barely survived and then killed you, so the blood is just there for that, once again nothing graphic, I actually didn’t notice it for a while.

  50. I was messing around in campaign mode and was searching for a sniper when I heard two marines talking, one was complaining about something and the other said “quit your b**ching”. So apparently there is more language than I thought, although I had to wait in one area for over ten minutes to hear it. I had the IWHBYD Skull activated, which unlocks hidden dialouge, that may have something to do with it, though most of the hidden dialouge is stuff like a marine yelling “this is Sparta!”

  51. Gamerdad- i’m 13, I have live and a 360 and I really want Halo 3. My parents just hate the fact that you are killing things and that you can kill marines, any tips?

  52. Hi. I’m a 13 year old, and I play Halo 3 a lot. I agree with you on every point. However, I remember thinking around launch time, “If it’s rated T, then it’ll suck.” I still believe that. Not because there’s anything wrong with T games, but because if they made it dumbed down enough to get a T rating, then it just wouldn’t compare to Halo 1 and 2. They had some scary scenes (the Flood, anybody?) but I still slept fine. The movie I Am Legend had similar zombie creatures, similar scary dark areas, but it’s PG-13. Cloverfield had a scene with someone’s chest burst open, and another person popping behind a tarp, as well as an extremely high death toll. But? PG-13. I’ve see BioShock played before. It was much darker, much scarier, and much more intense. I want to thank you for clarifying this for those confused parents.

  53. Owen, while i think that I agree with most of what you are saying, the choice of phrase ‘dumbed down’ doesn’t work. The implication that M games are ‘smarter’ than T games is completely wrong – indeed, many of the ‘smartest’ games ever are rated T or below. Saying ‘stripped out mature content’ would work, though.

  54. Hey gamerdad,
    My parents are convinced about buying me halo 3 (i dont have 1 M rated video game in my collection) after your great review! I am 13 after all. Anyways, ure the best. Back to my question. Well, I am just wondering… Are there any extremely scary parts. I don’t mean like blood spartering i can handle that. But scenes where the violence is so intense.(like a Saw movie,not a i am legend movie) thx again. Hope you get back to me soon.

  55. In response to SouljaGrl07, no there aren’t any really scary scenes. Some are a little creepy, but none of them are anything equal to horror. Even when people get stabbed in cutscenes there’s not even blood.

  56. thanks slot 4 this review. It finally got the idea that just because a game is M dosent mean I have 2 b 17 to play it through to mi parents. Also LuckyNumbaSIXX is mi gamercard and any1. Who wantsto add me asna friend feel free

  57. Nothing like Saw.
    Lots of stuff like I AM LEGEND – only less intense than the movie.

  58. my parents r the same to. they dont let me have any games rated m.but after seeing wat halo is really like and how much it isnt like other m-rated games(gta, bioshock) theyre thinking about it. thanks for the review.

  59. Change E to 7+
    Change T to 10+
    Change M to 14+ for games like Orange Box, Halo
    Add M+ for 16+ titles like Bioshock, maybe GTA, etc
    Change AO to 18+ for games like Manhunt 2, “h” games, etc

  60. I’m tired of having the ESRB misrate games and mislead people. Seriously, why is something like halo M if is a movie like superbad is PG-13.

  61. “I’m tired of having the ESRB misrate games and mislead people.”

    Why? Does it happen so often? Can you cite 5 other examples?

  62. Have an 11 yr old who wants Halo 3. Thanks for letting me know not to get it. After reading through a number of comments, looks like a lot of your readers are kids. Yes, kids…and think they’re grown up, hence mature. You’ve got a long way to go. Take your time!

  63. I totally agree with you andrew. I’ve never played halo but i always watch my friends play it and it look similar to the t-rated alien syndrome for the wii. I was wondering is the blue-purple alien blood the only thing that makes it seem that its M-rated or is there others things that may only happen on xbox live?

  64. Thanks i am using your website to convence my parents

  65. I agree. Ive got call of duty 3 for my wii and its one of the most violent games i have. people get live grenades strapped to them and get caught on fire. my parents are always saying,even when ive just heard the worlds scariest story “its just a story dont worry about it” Halo 3 is just a game. anyways im saving the galaxy from the threat of aliens that will stop at nothing to kill us all. doesnt it get points for a heroic purpose as opposed to GTA 4 where you mercilessly slaughter people then blow the living **** outta everything. im getting an xbox 360 soon and i would really like to play live with my friends. halo 3 is T worthy if you ask me. i mean come ON.Republic Commando had blood and gore more than halo 3 and it got T.

    (Sorry for my many complaints :P)

  66. oh yeah and im trying to get really good rescources so i can convince my parents to let me get the game. i kinda gotta get an xbox 360 first though.

  67. I agree that halo should not be rated m that is a for sure it may be a little more than battlefront, but not much. As for assassins creed i have played the game and the blood can be turned off and strong language well that is over exagerated i mean langauge at its best. The most i heard was damn and come on for any of those history buffs the f bome was not even created yet it did not exist in 1191 ad. The violence is there though not mature in my opinion, but you are a medival assassin. Just letting it be known that assassins creed is not a horrible game. I do have a question is it possible to turn the blood off on halo please let me know.

  68. I agree. I have played Halo 1,2, and 3 and all are good games. just so you know, halo1 and 2 on PC have an option to turn of the blood. but it also disables the bullet holes. I think it is over rated. the only thing that is close to making Halo M is the “Flood” a parasite alien that takes over the host and mutates them. they are a little disturbing. thats problebly why Halo is M.

  69. Thank you so much GamerDad! Because of you. my parents allowed me to get all 3 of the Halo games! I can’t thank you enough (yes, now I’m a Halo NERD).
    Oh and to Dona2Day who said,
    “Have an 11 yr old who wants Halo 3. Thanks for letting me know not to get it. After reading through a number of comments, looks like a lot of your readers are kids. Yes, kids…and think they’re grown up, hence mature. You’ve got a long way to go. Take your time!”
    You have to understand that kids just want to have fun and play games that their friends talk about. Sure I’m only 13, but a lot of parents forget things like that at. Just talk to your son that killing people is wrong, and all that stuff, but I’m sure that he will respect you alot more. You can also sit down with him and play together, and if anything gets to gory or scary for you, it may not freak out your son. Just rent it and see how fun it really is!
    Thanks for Reading

  70. look guys i know yur trying to help but i have a bunch of mild language games but only say f@!$ and bas#@$% also A@$ but for some reason this girl lied to my mother about halo 3 she said its to “gorey” and ugly and it was my first time getting halo3.so please write back to me at my email addres.

    thank you scinccerly jim.

  71. Yes, I completley agree. Halo 3 SHOULD be rated teen, and this is a helpful article. My dad would buy me Halo 3, but my mom wouldn’t. I’m trying to convince her that I have games of the same content level, and that this game is rated the same as some other titles I have in europe. It is unrealistic in terms of violence. I have played Call of Duty 4,Gears of War and Gears of War 2 at freinds house’s and I am completley unaffected by them. I am 11 going on 12 and once again, I thank you for this article.

  72. Yeah, this is very helpful, but my parents are still unsure, because I can’t get m games. what should i do? i’ve played this before too. please some advice would help!

  73. i’m 14, but my parents are still iffy.

  74. yeah ive played all these other m games before. My parents just don’t want me toplay that much or become a psycho bcause of them or become messed up in a way.

  75. i am only 15 but my friend plays it my mom and dad are reluctant tolet me get this game cuz of th rating i dont like those game like gta and bioshock cuz it contradicts my values but do u c halo 3 as a game that teens should be able to play and have u heard of the new halo coming in the fall

  76. I have just recently started my blog and am really enjoying leaving comments on my favorite blogs ;) Bookmark for sure.

  77. I an gettin this and im 10

  78. ps your blog is great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  79. I think this game should be rated M. Ever shot your teamates? blood gets all over the wall.
    Its definately tame for an M-game, but i think it’s too much for a T.

  80. well I think it should be teen because the humans barely bleed if you shoot them

  81. I think your just saying that so you can play it actually -_- it’s still worthy of an M though.
    I don’t think a 10 year old should play it. i agree with maybe a 15 and up, but not to be rated Teen. Someone give me a bloodier game then this thats T.

  82. My concern with FPS is more about context than content. The visceral feel of playing a FPS is very different than a RTS or turn-based strategy or RPG. I think that no FPS should be less than T based on that, but whether or not it is M … I dunno, I think Halo is pretty bland in general, and aside from the FPS-thing would have no issues with my kids playing.

  83. no actual my parents approve of the game and play it with me

  84. stupid wampa king -_-

  85. TAKE that wampa king and your weird -_- faces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  86. “Someone give me a bloodier game then this thats T.”

    Republic Commando. If you knife someone, their blood splatters on your visor, although it’s usually bright orange or black (droid oil).

    Halo’s content is definitely T-rated, in my opinion, especially compared to M-rated games with similar premises, like Gears of War.

  87. Thats alien blood, just like halo, and it doesn’t go all over the walls and floors. So, you fail.
    Portal is the only one i can think of. well, all i mean’t was i still think this is M-rated, and i don’t think 10 year olds should play it. and -_- -_- -_- -_- -_- -_- -_-

    “stupid wampa king -_-”

    “TAKE that wampa king and your weird -_- faces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    *facepalm*

  88. Hmmmmm…. I have always wondered why violence in video games even matters for people 10+. For one thing, all people who claim video games were the reason they killed, thats just fuckin’ ridiculous. At least live up to what you did. Anyway, language you will hear throughout your life? Big deal. Its just words. Personally, say whatever you want about me, it doesn’t offend. Then alcohol usage: whose parent doesn’t drink occasionally? Or who doesn’t see the guy on the corner drink a lil’? Then blood and gore. Its just part of our body! Mature humor. Well, if you get it, its fine! Sexual content. If you know what sex, oral sex, and anal sex are, you’re pretty much fine. Personally, I knew all at the age of 7. Not by proper terms, of course! Then nudity. Its part of our bodies! You’re going to see naked people! Drugs? You are going to run into drugs in your life. In games like Grand Theft Auto 4, if indeed it DOES desensitize you, then you’re not going to take the joint in real life. I mean, I’ve smoked marijuana a couple times, I never abused, I just did it when I was really stressed. And I haven’t done it for two years. My mom lets me play Grand Theft Auto , etc. and I’m not a mindless killing machine at the age of 14.

  89. Once again.

    *facepalm

  90. I have played it, in story mode, i saw a little bit of blood splattered on the ground. But i go against ESRB in this.

  91. And the little people i thought i heard what the f— then he got killed, and then alien blood. If it can splatter on the wall it’s M+ that’s how ESRB roll’s. And what’s with the Wampa King?

  92. No one has given me a good T game thats worse then this. Replublic commando is not.

  93. “I think your just saying that so you can play it actually -_- it’s still worthy of an M though.
    I don’t think a 10 year old should play it. i agree with maybe a 15 and up, but not to be rated Teen. Someone give me a bloodier game then this thats T.”

    Check out Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter 2. There’s a lot more blood than Halo. Every enemy you shoot is human and red blood comes out of them. I didn’t even notice the aliens in Halo spewing out blood.

  94. “I didn’t even notice the aliens in Halo spewing out blood.”

    What? Its bright and colorful, how the heck did you miss it. And Ghost recon was pretty bloody, it never wen’t on the walls and floors like Halo. Next time playing halo, shoot your teamate in the face against a wall or a foot.

  95. halo 3 totally should not be rated m, i agree. if you look at like, gears of war, resident evil, GTA, and stuff like that this game looks like it should be rated E.

  96. You guys are comparing it to the worst of M-games! Look at something like Splinter Cell chaos theory and Double agent or Theif deadly shadows. Just because its not as bad as GTA or Gears of war, that doesn’t mean it should be T,

  97. How true. Halo should have been rated T. The game’s gore is quite minimal, considering the fact that the worst you can see is a spray of red online when hitting someone with a rocket, or a flood alien turning to pieces, no spray of blood by the way, unlike games like fallout 3. Yes, you are killing humans online, but it, in fact, is no worse than any other shooter game, say, Time Splitters 2 (A teen game) and killing marines in campaign is a wrongful act, thus triggers the reaction of other marines or other allies around you to eliminate you for that action. And mild language? Oh no! They said ‘bastard’! They say that stuff in TV-PG shows! No way am I showing this to my kids, who have already heard each and every curse since fifth grade! This game isn’t that bad at all compared to the other M, maybe even T games. An eleven-year-old could handle Halo.

  98. Halo 3 is [in my opinion] one of the cleanest FPS games out there. Sure it has the alien blood of multiple coloring, but what do you expect from an alien. The only gory part that i noticed was when I was fighting the flood. The flood are the only gory things in the game because of them being a zombie mutant that kill anything. I stopped playing there because I hate them so much. The flood are the only red blooded organisms in Halo 3. Of course there is the minor red blood from a marine if you accidentally shoot them, but other than that, it is almost all aliens and plasma weapons. There is very little if any human to human violence that I can remember. Language is on the very minimal side. No f-bombs or any other extreme swear words. Just the occasional words that you would expect from a tight situation. There are worse words and violence in many PG-13 movies. Halo 3 compared to other M-rated games is way cleaner. There is no nudity or sexual themes like some other games, and there is also barely any extreme gore like many M-rated games. I have played Halo 3 many times and it has not disturbed me at all [i am 14 if you are just wondering]

  99. another thing that i will mention is that i play multiplayer all the time.

    the multiplayer is phenomenal in Halo 3. very little blood, very fun, but watch out for some of those foul-mouthed players that are out there if you don’t like hearing much language.
    one way that i ignore them is i plug my microphone in so all of the chatting goes through it in stead of my tv. i give the multiplayer aspect of Halo 3 a 10/10 in appropriateness. in multiplayer, there is not any extreme gore that you see. there is hardly any whatsoever.

  100. I agree with you GamerDad. This game shouldn’t be rated M-Mature. This game does have “sci-fi” blood but that is only like green and purple. There is violence and profanity but it is not great and it just shouldn’t be M. So I totally agree with you it should actually be rated T.

  101. my 14 year old son recently purchased an X-box 360 and got a couple of games with it. he wanted to buy halo 3 [he was nervous to ask because of the rating] and we immediately said no just because it had that tricky little M on the front of it. my son was not completely upset because he kind of expected that answer from my wife and i. we knew that he played it at his friend’s houses and he wanted it badly. after we asked other parents about it, we were still unsure about it. we decided to do a little bit of research about how “Extreme” the blood and gore was in the game, so i looked around about reviews and eventually found GamerDad’s site. his site completely changed our mind’s about halo 3. before buying the game, we went out to rent the game to see if it was gory and inappropriate for his age. the only blood that there is in the game is the green, blue, and purple alien “sci-fi” blood that you would see in a star wars movie or any sci-fi movie. there was no gore at all except for these things that are called the flood that explode into various parts when killed. we told our son to skip over that part somehow. after our little trial of halo 3, we decided to buy it for him. he was able to play x-box live with all of his friends. the amazing part is that there is hardly any blood and no gore in x-box live multiplayer.

    my personal opinion…. HALO 3 SHOULD HAVE BEEN RATED T!!!!
    i have seen and let my son see PG and PG-13 movies that are worse than halo 3.

  102. The Wampa King
    April 6th, 2009 at 6:15 am
    Thats alien blood, just like halo, and it doesn’t go all over the walls and floors. So, you fail.
    Portal is the only one i can think of. well, all i mean’t was i still think this is M-rated, and i don’t think 10 year olds should play it. and -_- -_- -_- -_- -_- -_- -_-

    “stupid wampa king -_-”

    “TAKE that wampa king and your weird -_- faces!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    *facepalm*
    —————————-

    I think you’re missing the point, the blood splatters ON TO YOU in republic commando.

    The Wampa King
    April 3rd, 2009 at 3:44 pm
    I think this game should be rated M. Ever shot your teamates? blood gets all over the wall.
    Its definately tame for an M-game, but i think it’s too much for a T.
    ———————–

    Generally most people aren’t going to shoot their own teammates…

  103. “Generally most people aren’t going to shoot their own teammates”

    That doesn’t freakin matter! Its like saying GTA shouldn’t have Partial nudity because you don’t have to go to the strip clubs. Its in the game, weather you do it or not. And the blood in republic commando is barely anything. Mostly oil from droids, or stuff that looks like honey, just not as thick.

  104. hey wampa king I just got COD 4 and my perents approve. what do you think of that!!!!

  105. -_-_-_-_-_-_-_-_-

  106. Your parents most likely don’t know everything about that game. And judging by your messages, you aren’t the most mature person out there.

  107. Dear Gamer Dad, i am 13 and got a x360 last christmas and i have been wanting halo 3 ever sence. i have call of duty 3, this game call battlefield: bad company that says sh*t a alot! but yet my dad still wont let me get h3. i have played it at friends and have totaly enjoyed it and thought that it wasnt M material. i also have killzone liberation which u do kill people, harsh language and there is blood thats goes on walls and floors but it is rated T. i am going to show my parents this artical

  108. Don’t waste your money on this cruddy game. Get CoD4 instead.

  109. Dear gamer dad,
    I got an xbox 360 about 3 weeks ago and I want to by halo 3. The only problem is that my parents may not let me get the game. I am 12. my friend plays cod4, and my parnets don’t like that game. So thank you so much making this article my parnets may let me get just cayse it is only Sci-Fi Violence and you say it should not be M. Once again, THANK YOU!!!!!!

  110. hey gamerdad! i used to play call of duty and my mom saw my playing it(nazi zombies on level 21!) and thought, this game is super violent! she took it away, and took away my halo 3 because she thought it was rated M because of the “blood”. now she thinks it should be rated M for a reason, and shouldn’t be rated T. So, if you have any connections to ESRB Ratings, can you ask them to make halo 4 teen, please?

  111. I have the second most anti shooting game parents around. (my friend who is 14 can’t get a t game beacause his parents are morons. I think that esrb should develop a rating between t and m just like they did with the e10+ rating this would be great as for the language on live if you go to a public middle/high school you hear worse so unless all of those over protective parents are going to home school their kids in their atic then who give a d*mn about language
    And the wampa king your just a stuck up sob who needs to stop complaining for the sake of compaining and get a life
    KISS MY @$$ WAMPA KING

  112. On the subject of should halo 3 be rated m or t since halo 3 is star wars with better storylines and graphics I think it should be rated t I like what other posts said about the blood being like glow stick fluid and if one of them broke you wouldn’t turn in horor or run for a barf bag also I like how gamerdad said he heard worse language on a playground and on the subject of shoring the marines and blood splattering everywhere
    1) that is an exzaduration
    2) who would be dumb enough to shot their teamate
    And 3) there is a consiquence for shooting a marine… You have one less person to fight for you.

    And again go burn in h*ll the wampa king

    And again go burn in h*ll the wampa king

  113. Sorry about the two posts my bad

  114. Hay gamer DAD,
    Thank you for writeing this artical. I have been trying to convince my parents to buy my h3 for about a month now. I got started when my friend told me about at school one day. I looked it up on youtube and it looked fun. I talked to my parents and they seemed okay with it. Up until I told them it was rated M. THat is were they said no. For about a week I have been looking for an artical like this one that explains to parents why it should be rated T unstead of M. IM 13 and I know you suggest 14+. WHen I show this to my parents Im sure they will be convinced. Thanks for writeing this artical.

  115. gamer dad plz do an artical on cod4 i want that game. i have been trying to get the halo3 for months i hope ur artical works

  116. Hey, i’m not complaining, i’m posting my opinion. Yes, i think 14/15 is a good age to play this, but i think its just a bit worse then most T games. And, why the heck would i be complaining about the rating? I dont even like this game (but i do have it). And Srog, your posts just proved how Immature you are.

    And yes i aggree you hear worse language on a playground or whatever, but that doesnt mean it should be good for entertainment.

    And as i said, no its not smart to kill teamates, but its there. The esrb rating are based on whats in the game, weather you do it or not.

  117. halo,gears of war,call of duty and grand theft auto can be played by 10 year olds. all people that go on gamerdad.com or whatever its cauld are big fattttt slimmy pussy nerds that happen to be hobos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  118. my cousin could play m games at 6 and i finnaly get to play halo at 12 and there is no FUCKING blood.

  119. I agree completely. I’m only almost 19 and never plan to be a parent, but if I were one, I wouldn’t be overly-harsh with what my (hypothetical) kids play. I wouldn’t want them playing GTA until they’re close to the end of high school (16 or 17), but something like Halo isn’t even really violent and is something a teen could play. It gets a lot of press as a “violent” game, but it’s simply undeserved.

    Like you mentioned in your article, Halo is similar to Metroid (which is T-rated), so I’m wondering if the factor of media hype plays in at all (Halo is far more well-known and could potentially get more negative press if there’s some shooting incident).

  120. Hey, i’m a newly thirteen year old, and i’ve tried persuading my mom for awhile to get “Halo 3″. She hasn’t quite believed me yet, and i’m going to use this as a point of reference. I guess the general synopsis is: “Thanks a lot for your guide, it helps a lot.”

  121. WOW gamerdad, and i thought your site was just a joke… My parents would never listen to me about something like this.
    VERY GOOD ARGUMENT. Truly what it was meant to be!
    im 17 and my parents wont let me buy it cause its M.
    And definetly should not be compared on same levels as others.

  122. GamerDad, your argument took the words out of my mouth. I’m nearly seventeen, and my parents downight refuse to let me play M games, simply because they’re M, with no research involved (I can, however, play Gears with the Extreme Content, Dialogue, and Subtitiles off). The Halo series just really should be Teen. I’m in a similar situation to Josh above. I’ll show this article to them; I actually doubt, however, that it will have any effect, but this may be the last try before I might just give up and play the more light M games when I go off to college (I know to stay away from those hardcore and harmful games like Bioshock, Army of Two, and GTA).

  123. hi,
    im really just 13 and i believe the game should be a 12+ on http://www.amazon.co.uk they are selling the original halo 3 for a 12+ and my dad didnt want to get it, as he always says “they gave that rating for a reason i can see why on other games though not this.

    ^_^

  124. i have read some of the reviews and so has my dad and he bought it and secretly put it in my xbox.

    at the start when i bought my xbox 360 i bought it just to play halo and when my freind comeround or i go to theirs i ask if they can bring it to my house

    my dad watched the gameplay on youtube and beleived me and my parent always went by the ratings.
    but anyone who is the same age as me ask them to look at this it might just work!

  125. Gamerdad,
    my mom/ dad wont let me get the game.
    i try to convince them to let me get it but they
    keep saying i will only get you the game if
    it is rated teen. if you could change it would
    you change it to teen instead of mature?
    Please i need a answer.

  126. WOW Thank you very much for this article. I looked at a lot of games. From GTA to Bioshock (Absolutely Love the story and the city itself) and I dont understand why Halo is M. I am doing a school report on this and its also going to be my persuasive letter to my parents to see if I can get it. I really want it for teh building feature and all the amazing vehicles. Awesome article will be sure to read more :D

  127. Great read. But the way I explain Halo is this – the game itself is Teen. The game online is beyond mature. Despite its obvious lack of maturity.

  128. All games are Mature online then. Its mostly the tiny little kids too that curse too much. They get on my nerves XI

  129. i agree man sup

  130. hey gamerdad would it be possible if you could email my parents and explain to them that halo really isnt all that bad. just shoot me the email if you are able to help me here and ill forward it to my parents.
    thanks,
    max

  131. by the way ive already played it plenty of times at friends houses. i just need them to let me get it for home.

  132. gamerdad i am trying to use your article to my advantge but not sure if it will work my dad will go with anything but my mom is the hard one how can i persuade her into lwttin me get the game

  133. i think it should be rated t its pretty much the same as lost planet btw im a teen i think its not so bad some parents just get scared when they see M ratings on boxes also BUT halo has some very rude people on online play but thats why they made A MUTE button and a KICK FROM PARTY button besides the human blood its fine i meen u only see a little spark and maybe a stain but that isnt all bad anways bye.

  134. I just let my kid get halo 3 for xbox 360 because of the store person at gamestop. I was thinking no way can my kid get an M game. But then the store guy explained to me that its shooting aliens with hardly any human blood and only a few cureses. Then when I came home I got a lecturing from my wife so searched is Halo apropriate for teens and we read this article so she let him keep it. Im sure my son apreciates this, so thank you very much.

  135. Thank you so much for this. I needed to know how permissive I should be with an “M” rated game. The answer: You can play it as long as you *don’t* play it in online mode.

  136. I just happen to have the game Metroid. In my opinion, Metroid is just as bad as H3. In this one part in the story, I remember jumping up out of my seat after being scared. Plus, I have seen plenty of blood, and heard cursing in it.

  137. Thank you. I’m 12 years old and my parents think that Halo 3 is too violent, so I can’t play it according to them (although i have at friends houses), and i agree with you. instead for Christmas, i got halo wars, which, to be honest with you, is a pretty boring game, compared to Halo 3. If you are wondering why i am here, i was trying to find a loophole to let my parents let me buy it, so i googled what the rating was and found this. besides, YEARS ago, i can remember kids talking about AO games, and i always feel left out on the fun.

  138. Thank you. I’m 12 years old and my parents think that Halo 3 is too violent, so I can’t play it according to them (although i have at friends houses), and i agree with you. instead for Christmas, i got halo wars, which, to be honest with you, is a pretty boring game, compared to Halo 3. If you are wondering why i am here, i was trying to find a loophole to let my parents let me buy it, so i googled what the rating was and found this. besides, YEARS ago, i can remember kids talking about AO games, and i always feel left out on the fun. AND NOW THIS THING IS SAYING IVE ALREADY SAID THIS, BUT I HAVEN’T!

  139. This game is borderline T I think. But M????? Definitly not. Overated if you ask me. Republic Commando was rated M when it was first coming out but they switched it to T. I think that this next Halo Reach should also be T. I really appreciate this article because it goes to show that Halo is a game that does not have enough material. A game for 11 year olds… No. But for 13 year olds and up…. Yeah. Besides you can turn off the language on xbox live. I don’t even need to hear those losers drop Fbombs. I get that enough at work. so for all you concerned parents who think that it’s going to screw your kids up for the rest of there lives…….. Wrong its not. Stephen Speilburg was wrong. Aliens are not in our future.

  140. I definitely agree!!!!! My mom wont let me play M games but she does not understand how NOT bad this is. So you say it has bad swearing people on it but my xbox live has parental controls disabling that. I have wrote ESRB and Microsoft multiple (like 2 letters and a couple emails) about this. So I tell my mom that we can rent it and I can prove it to her and she say this as usual “No. Go to your room” so what should i say to at least let me try it?

  141. Thank you gamerdad for doing this i have now convenced my dad to let me borrow it from a friend’s house. And for all you people complaining about the Flood, there are PG movies with quick “rated r scenes” I mean really you don’t see the zombies the whole game

  142. Ok now i completed Halo 3 and i thought i was the most amazing game i have ever played. There are bits and pieces that are a little rough, but mainly its a T game. GamerDad, there are red sprays of blood in fact evry time u get shot blood goes everywhere. But still good game. Sergant Johnson could lower his language but yeah Not an M game. M games that DESERVE m titles are Fallout 3, GTA IV, BioSchock, Call of duty modern warfere 2, and other games

  143. I belive you are being very short sighted. even though it is not as bad as some other games that have the same rating the multiplayer has people being dismbered, burned, and blown up. It contains everything that would be needed to call it mature. Also, players scream when they are burned. Even though the area is not always coverd in blood it can have blood on it.

  144. I am only 12 and I think Halo 3 should not be rated M-Mature. One alien race bleeds red, but I have seen more blood come out of my pinky finger. The zombies in the game can sometimes surprise me, but never scared me. GTA deserves M-Mature but not Halo 3 The The popular series Pokemon is rate E-Everyone and it is about capturing animals and forcing them to fight for fame and fourtune. ESRB kinda messed up on this one.

  145. The *extremly* popular game Portal has more blood in it than this game. And that blood is actually red. My mother let me get the free download of the game and has seen the blood and says things like “big deal” and so on. Halo 3 is a good 12+ game for kids who are mature enough to take a little blood and swearing.

  146. P.S. Portal is my favorite game.
    P.S.S. cant wait till Portal 2.

  147. thanks for this i have an xbox not a 360 and i have the first halo and want the 2nd one but my parents say no because of the rating so i hope this will help my chances

    P.S. halo is basicaly like star wars battlefront II with mabey 1 or 2 more swear words and blood and that just it

  148. there is no alien race with red blood that i know of hunters have bright orange but not red unless you count humans as an alein and by the way Star Wars has more killing in it just think in episode 4 a whole planet gets blown up and the in episode III the whole jedi order gets destroyed exept for obi wan and yoda and star wars is rated PG exept the 3rd thats PG 13 but still in halo your killing like in star wars but with just a little more blood

    P.S. i have beaten halo 1 2 and 3
    P.S.S. i think forge in halo 3 is more fun than the campaing

  149. Thank you for this article. My mom and dad were not so comfortable with me playing this game, but i still could. And now since I showed this to my mom she is much more ok with me playing it. P.S. THIS GAME IS SO FREAKIN AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Me and my friends love playing it.

  150. @alex
    Brutes have red blood. and in one level you can kill rats.

  151. i am 12 and even though i have seen james bond movies and played james bond for the first time at seven, my friend who is six months older than me is alowed i am not allowed to play.

  152. if i have call of duty 4 for ds should i be allowed to play halo 3?

  153. It depends that game has horible graficks compared to halo and the blood is in short 1 second splaters but it is red but I don’t think so if ur 13 or older I think u should be able to get It

  154. They came out with halo reach. is that any worse than halo 3?

  155. I need to show this to my mom. I am 13, and my mom is VERY strict about M rated games. I really think this will help me out a lot. Thank you GamerDad.

  156. Good article. I think it proved a lot of good points.

  157. Halo should be e10+ because violence is colered laser beams not guns and language is mild and blood and gore is blue purple yellow it is not real animated.

    No not e10+ i meant T

  158. hey im 13 years old and i have played all of the halo games but i dont know how to ask my parents if i can get it because i think that they will say no any suggestions on how to ask them

  159. well i think it should be changed to teen now cause there is no blood and gore, barley language on multiplayer. i agree, this is no bad gore or anything, just small dots of blood that isnt even noticible in the midst of combat, even from a distance. all you really see is the glowing of the body showing that the other player is losing health. i am 12 and i started playing at 10 years old. even i didnt notice the blood, and my TV is huge. so the rating should drop as low as rated T. it is just rediculus to rate it M. it should only be Vilonce and Slight blood. so they should drop it to teen cause they are not going to get much sales on that game if it is rated mature.

  160. and also, thank you for this report it should help change my parents mind

  161. I am a 13-year older, and I just bought a new copy of Halo 3, which both my dad and my mom obviously hate. I keep telling them that the game is not that bad, and has an unreasonable rating, but they won’t listen to me exactly. I am not the online multiplayer-type (I play campaign and split-screen), and the campaign itself isn’t very effective in tremor to my temper or influence in violence. I’ve seen plenty of cruel and violent movies with strange ways of tortures, and what does Halo 3 have? Master Chief shooting through aliens, trying to save the universe, with a regular story plot of the enemy becoming good again.
    To wrap this up…. is Halo 3 appropriate for people my age?
    (I don’t have a huge temper in gaming…)

  162. hi gamerdad, im 10 years old my mum and dad arent letting me have halo odst and halo reach but i always play it round my friends house and we already orderd it so what do you think

  163. The online rating should be M. The people of the xbox community are extremely rowdy, rude, and not very nice to listen to. This is coming from a 21 year old that plays it. If you mute the people it’s not a big deal any longer. The only problem with that though is part of the game is about communication during the team situations. This just boils down to the game itself is not a bad one, it just has people in the community that like to ruin it for the rest of us.

  164. Hi,
    Thanks for the post – I’m the most unfair/uncool Dad in the world because I insist on holding the no-M rated games in our house. I’ve scratched my head on this one for a long time and when I found your blog it made a lot of sense. My teen son and I played H3 this week on multi-player and had a blast; we didnt have to “turn off the sound” or find the settings to make it not-M, it just didn’t seem “M”. It may be an “ajudicated to a T” game in our house which is what I think the point of your whole site is; that people would read, think and make informed decisions.

    Thanks again – I hope it’s good to know that your post, while a few years old is still very relevant.

  165. Gamer Dad,
    I live with just my mom thinks that all M games have way to much curses and way to much violence. I really want to play Halo 3 and i think i should be able to after reading your article I went to show my mom this article and once she saw the title she didn’t give the article a chance can you email my mother and tell them that Halo 3 is not all that bad I left her email in the mail. So please just take a moment and send a quick email.

  166. If halo 3 is fps star wars then wouldnt there be people getting there hands chopped off and a lot of it.

  167. I can tell you right now im going to talk to my parents about this. I know 4th graders that plays this for God’s sake. I’ve played it a few times at my friends’ houses, told my parents about what I did and didn’t they didn’t seem to mind at all. But now that i ask them for Halo again this year the usual “no” comes up

  168. So I’m turning 13 in a month and my parents just don’t allow M games in the house nor R rated movies. And I’m pretty sure I can’t even play M rated at a friends house… I mean COD is one thing to be M rated, but Halo? It’s basically like Metroid on steroids…

  169. Actually michael Russell if you kill more than one marine during campaign mode at a time they will turn on you and kill you

  170. halo is not a bad game it only has violence blood

  171. this might be a ploy by microsoft to make the game seem more mature than it actually is. this has probably been stated a lot in the comments, but it’s very possible that they made it seem more violent to make it seem all the more adult to younger kids, who already heard it being talked about by their older brothers/sisters/friends. I remember the first Gorillaz album, which was marked explicit and every song on itunes is marked with that, despite none of the songs containing curse words. it’s probably a similar concept

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