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ESRB Gets Preachy With Dead Or Alive Paradise Rating

I love the ESRB. That's not sarcasm or an exaggeration; I really think the organization has done an excellent job rating video games. I believe them to be more thorough and accurate than the MPAA, too.

But at the same time, it seems certain ESRB members can't help mounting a soapbox when writing detailed descriptions of a game's content. Now, it's hardly surprising that Dead or Alive: Paradise for the PSP would land the "M"-Mature rating but surprisingly enough, it seems the ESRB's description is more out of line than the content itself. As you can see, whoever wrote it is plenty disgusted with the game, and even used the word "creepy" along with an expanded opinion that reads as follows:

"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."

Um...I'm sorry, this isn't your job. Social commentary really can't be a part of your description. But if you can stretch the rules, than I can too, even though this is a news piece: we all know this game is all about cheesy sex appeal. It's likely that even 8-year-olds know it. It's probably true that it sends the wrong message to younger children and I would certainly agree with the "M" rating, but don't adopt a lecturing tone as if 90% of the entire gaming community isn't well aware of the facts. Yeah, no such vacation could ever exist. Hell, no such women exist. And even if they did, no, they probably wouldn't spend it posing. ...or maybe they would; how the hell would I know?

The point is, high-and-mighty ESRB person, please just do your job and give us the facts in regards to the content. Don't slap on the teacher glasses because you seem to think that all gamers are still fragile, impressionable 12-year-olds.

Side note- Where's this preaching when describing intense violence?  You know, just wondering...

Related Game(s): Dead or Alive Paradise

2/3/2010 10:48:30 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (50 posts)

Fabi
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:07:34 AM
Reply

Too funny.

What up Ben?

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Arvis
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:39:34 AM

It strikes me that I haven't seen you around in some time, Fabi...

-Arvis

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Fabi
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 2:19:58 PM

I know right? Been busy I guess, I still read every article, and try to read as many comments as possible.

Haven't played anything but FIFA10 in the past few months.

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ed_winchester
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:08:48 AM
Reply

You make a good point Ben, sometimes I find these people can be a bit out of touch with reality and use their position to open their mouths for the sake of it simply because they can and are in a position to do so

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Hezzron
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:12:20 AM
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Sounds like someone is a little confused between "age ratings" and a "critique review".

Anyways, if you think a video game is the best way to enjoy some T&A, then you have my pity.

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Naztycuts
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:14:37 AM
Reply

Violence sells
Sex sells
why opinionate? we all know that D.O.A. should be T.N.A. but I guess they have to write in such a way that an oblivious idiot could understand it, but they can keep their opinions to themselves

"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."

If this were a movie itd be porn and thatd be ok but since its a game (we can control) its all creepily voyeuristic DOUBLE STANDARDS ANYONE?

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Highlander
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:54:14 AM

No, actually, it wouldn't be porn because it's entirely non-nude. It would simply be silly, stupid and dismissed as adolescent fluff.

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Naztycuts
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 12:00:22 PM

They aren't even nude? Then wtf are they so miffed at? Thanks for the knowledge Highlander

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 12:30:24 PM

No nudity whatsoever in any of these DoA spin-offs. Just to clarify.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 12:59:19 PM

Unless you apply a patch ;)

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Highlander
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 1:12:42 PM

Would that patch would perhaps become known as the "warmed over cappuccino" patch?

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Sir Shak
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 1:14:15 PM

You mean remove it , right World ? :)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 2:43:20 PM

Apply a patch, remove some floss, it's all the same.

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Alienange
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:15:42 AM
Reply

The only thing "creepy" about this game is it's customers.

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fluffer nutter
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:39:48 AM

I think your ignorance is creepier than the fans of the series.

Ben makes a very good point. The ratings system is not for opinions and this person has gone too far. This person should become the bishop of new church.

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Highlander
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:52:57 AM

OK, now I have got to ask. Why characterize fans of the series of games as creepy? Why characterize the game as creepy? Why do people get so hot under the collar about this kind of thing?

It's just cartoon boobs.

Let's not even go down the road of trying to say that this kind of game encourages this kind of behavior in reality. Anyone making that argument had better explain why the same can't be said of all those first and third person action games with T or M ratings where the player can 'kill' hundreds or thousands of people whether bystanders, combatants or enemies. If DOA Paradise is so dangerous, then by the same standard all these other games have to be even more dangerous.

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Alienange
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 1:51:49 PM

You think I'm ignorant fluffer? Let me explain something to you.

NOBODY buys software like this for what it offers in game play. Nobody. DOA used to be an excellent fighting game. "Games" like this are geared towards young boys who are either scared of real women, have the wrong view of women, or have been beaten by their mothers.

You honestly think buying this and having a bunch of friends over to play it with you is 'normal?' No. Because people who play this play it alone. If they actually had a friend that was a girl and she knew he had this game, her first thought would be "That's as close as you'll EVER get to a real woman."

Lonely and sex deprived = creepy

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 2:09:56 PM

Alienange: Speaking as someone who has had training in the mental health field, and as a well-adjusted 31-year-old man, I must tell you that your view of this is extremely shortsighted.

While what you say might be true in relation to certain cases, and although I certainly agree that games like this can have a negative influence on younger people (as I said in the article), this doesn't mean it's purely trash for those who understand what it is. I have more respect for women than probably anyone you know, and I enjoyed myself playing the DoAX games on the 360. I just found it relaxing and amusing.

By your rationale, this must mean I'm maladjusted, lonely and "sex-starved." It also must mean I'm playing it for all the wrong reasons, reasons that can actually hurt my understanding of reality. Well, I'm not going to agree with that, if you don't mind.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 2:47:12 PM

Yeah I can't relate Alien, I have DOAX on my old box and I never beat my meat with it on, and I get my fair shake in real life. So what's the problem with a little fun? To me this is no different from putting a sexy woman pic as your desktop wallpaper.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 2/3/2010 2:48:18 PM

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Alienange
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 4:32:26 PM

Interesting angle Ben, although I never said the game was trash. What I'm saying is that it's hardly a game. It's exhibitionism geared towards those who aren't getting any action in real life or who wish their real life was more of a fantasy world.

You can call that shortsighted if you want, I call it pointing out the majority. Just because you feel you're an exception doesn't change who this software is aimed at.

Anyway, even if we don't agree, can you at least leave the people I know out of it? I found that to be an odd thing to say...

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 5:05:03 PM

He referred to people you know? I don't see it.

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ace_boon_coon
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 6:39:38 PM

i'm going to have to agree with alienange all the way. this is not a game. this is just exploiting pervs and tryin to get a quick buck out of them

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 8:14:59 PM

I don't recall mentioning anyone you know...I don't KNOW anybody you know. If you're referring to my comment about females, you can't possibly have taken that literally. I was making a point.

And I will not agree that Dead or Alive Paradise specifically targets repressed shut-ins. I'm sorry, but that's a very tiny minority; 99% of those who will buy this game buy it for the reasons I got DoAX. But believe what you will.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 2/3/2010 8:15:46 PM

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Camelopard
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:21:40 AM
Reply

I agree with you Ben, the ratings and subsequent description accompanying games should be based purely on a factual basis and devoid all opinions. The ESRB should watch out, because statements like these could be construed as defamatory (libel) and basis for a cause of action in a lawsuit.

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Qubex
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:35:10 AM
Reply

Nothing in "Dead or Alive" could come close to Lusts' wobbly bits in Dante's Inferno though... those baby births were something else...

Q!

"i am home"

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Highlander
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:36:52 AM
Reply

LOL, I just flamed the ESRB about this in the comments about the previous article on this game. Once that appears, I'll repost it here.

Let's just say that I wasn't aware that the moral judgments and opinions of the ESRB were taken into account in their ratings. It's like a judge who rules someone not guilty in a case and then goes on to use the ruling as a platform castigate the defendant for their conduct. It's just wholly inappropriate for the ESRB to make such judgments about a game.

Ben, thanks for noting the double standard when it comes to their assessment/reaction towards violence in games. But as we all know, violence is not near so dangerous as clothed boobies.

Last edited by Highlander on 2/3/2010 11:42:14 AM

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Highlander
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 1:10:03 PM

Just for the sake of flaming the ESRB or their attempt to impose their moral judgments, here's my other post (edited).

Well, the ESRB apparently doesn't like this PSP game. Unsurprisingly the game hass been given an M-Rating. Now, before anyone jumps at that, despite having no nudity, the game is clearly meant for adults and relies almost entirely on what the ESRB would no doubt call "sexual themes". But, it's not the rating that's the problem.

It seems that the ESRB has expanded it's mandate beyond rating games to rating their worth, or worthiness. Their description seems more like a moral directive to inform parents.

I'm not sure why parents should know anything about a title clearly aimed at an adult audience. Hey, my parents are still alive and kicking, perhaps I should run this game by them?

The thing is, I really do not like it when a ratings body makes such charged statements ("cheesy", "bizzare", "mis-guided", "creepy") about a game that involves no nudity or sexual contact. It reeks of moral superiority and a double standard. It's not so much the 'M' Rating (that was probably appropriate) this is a game for adults not kids. The problem is that the ESRB saw fit to make moral judgments. It almost makes me want to buy this game simply to spite the prudish folks at the ESRB.

I'm going to guess that none of the folks on the ESRB ever went on a vacation to the beach while in their mid teens with raging hormones. More than a few young men have been known to follow bikini-clad women around like lap dogs. I really don't see how this game is any better or worse than that.

Ah well, you live and learn. I prostrate myself before our new puritanical overlords and thank them for the scourging I am no doubt due.

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fluffer nutter
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 7:58:12 PM

They pulled that "inappropriate ratings summary" for DOA, today.

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Highlander
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:36:43 PM

@fluffer_nutter

LOL! That's nuts. Did they paste a big "Whoopsie" instead?

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fluffer nutter
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:56:36 PM

Here's a link to an article about it but I couldn't find a source article anywhere. It's from another site so I'm not sure if it will get clearance but here it is.

http://gamepolitics.com/2010/02/03/esrb-pulls-inappropriate-ratings-summary

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mexgeo86
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 11:49:46 AM
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Do most people even read such descriptions on the box? I figure most know what they're getting into. In any event, the person should hold back their own personal judgment and just do their job.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 1:03:11 PM
Reply

What a tool, and an ignoramus. It's just light hearted playful eye candy. Does he REALLY think this is supposed to be some reflection of reality?

At ANY rate, I hope this jaunt on the PSP foreshadows some DOA returning to the Playstation family on the PS3.

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fluffer nutter
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 3:01:35 PM

Do you really think this description was written by a he? I'd be surprised if we found out it wasn't written by a woman. I'm not saying that I think it's impossible but the wording makes it sound like someone is defending their "species" of women.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 3:03:48 PM

Yeah I spose, but you'd be surprised how men can get preachy under the right circumstances. I didn't bother to research it though, you are right.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 1:29:32 PM
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OK, I want the name of that ignoramus!!!!

She will be hearing from my lawyers since I hold any & all of the patents or copyrights on the words....
"Dental Floss Thongs, Dental Floss Bikinis, Dental Floss Briefs, Dental Floss Underwear, Dental Floss Patches, Dental Floss G-Strings, etc, etc, etc."

Soooo, please don't get your "Granny Panty's all in a wad there ESRB, as my lawyer's just may have to do some extra-curriculum diddling in your checkbook too.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 2:30:29 PM

Biker, are you a dentist?

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 2:50:32 PM

@World,
No, not a dentist, but funny you should say that, cause my lawyer's will be drilling for them like a pissed-off Big Daddy.

(BTW, casino dealer is my occupation)

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 2:26:36 PM
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Why is ESRB using demeaning words towards a game?

Isn't their job to place a rating and nothing else?

I'd so sue ESRB if I was Tecmo

PS: Yes, the game's meh, and probably won't get anything higher than 5. But it's not ESRB's position to be slamming the game.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 2:31:00 PM

did u get it or something?

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Scarecrow
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 4:01:19 PM

Nope

It still doesn't give ESRB the right to express their feelings on the games

Imagine if they start doing this for other games:

"GOWIII's gore is too much and it all seems superficial. Parents will hate it"

Okaaaaaaaaaay

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BigBoss4ever
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 4:12:57 PM
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DOA girls are the hottest, so any games showcasing the girls are welcomed.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 2/3/2010 4:13:57 PM

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fluffer nutter
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 4:20:16 PM

Don't let Alienage see your post or he may report you to the local authorities. ;)

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 5:05:54 PM

or at the least he will be certain you are a virgin.

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Alienange
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 6:39:33 PM

*dials 911*

Yes, I've found some virgins. Send someone right away.

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BigBoss4ever
Thursday, February 04, 2010 @ 1:54:24 AM

lol, too late, the police is sent over. :D

well, this is just my preference, nothing more.

Last edited by BigBoss4ever on 2/4/2010 1:54:42 AM

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SympoziumPawa
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 4:18:58 PM
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I'm just wondering.... whos buying this?

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tes37
Wednesday, February 03, 2010 @ 5:42:56 PM
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I have no plans to get this game, but I hope it does well just so the ESRB doesn't grow comfortable telling people what games they should or shouldn't buy. In all honesty I don't see how any heterosexual male would be offended by this game. Any moral issues should be left up to individual gamers to decide, provided they are of age.

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___________
Thursday, February 04, 2010 @ 12:58:39 AM
Reply

hmmmm wish i could say the same about the OFLC.
though the ESRB ratings still make me wonder.
how DMC4 and killzone 2 or dantes inferno get the same rating is really stupid to me.

like today i went into EB to put down a few preorders and tried to trade in SAW but she would not let me because it was not a AU copy.
so i said to her so what the copy of DMC4 i returned on tuesday had the US M rating.
and here excuse was yea but that was blacked out.
so i grabbed a marker and blacked out saws M rating.
still would not let me trade it in so i canceled all me peorders got my 600 bucks back and am going to game from now on.
ill end up loosing money because they dont have the 7 day money back policy but im sick to death of EBs sh*t treating me like gum under their shoe.
customer service has gone down the sh*tter latley no company gives a rats A$$ about their customers any more.

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D1g1tal5torm
Thursday, February 04, 2010 @ 6:35:45 AM
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Maybe they're branching out...

..who knows next they'll be reviewing the darned things!

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BikerSaint
Thursday, February 04, 2010 @ 4:40:27 PM
Reply

The ESRB's retraction to their earlier posting....

ESRB spokesman Eliot Mizrachi released a statement on the issue today:

The rating summary for Dead or Alive Paradise was posted to our website in error, and we have since replaced that version with the corrected one. We recognize that the initial version improperly contained subjective language and that issue has been addressed.

Our intention with rating summaries is to provide useful, detailed descriptions of game content that are as objective and informative as possible. However they are ultimately written by people and, in this case, we mistakenly posted a rating summary that included what some could rightfully take to be subjective statements.


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