Is it ok to be a fan of Survival Horror games? and do you agree with Australia's proposed "R" rating for Video Games?

I haven’t posted on this site for a while, so I’ve decided to once again begin doing so as it is a really great religious forum, perhaps the best one on the internet that I’ve experienced. This post will probably be quite long as it is an issue I feel quite passionate about from a hobby perspective.

I have a Nintendo Wii at the moment and I am and have always been an avid gamer. This is however my first Nintendo Console ever(as I was previously a Sony fan with a PS2, then previously “a Sega Man”). I have quite a few games now, several of which are exclusively Adult(Scareface, Dead Space Extraction, Resident Evil 4, Resident Evil Darkside chronicles) and I’m sure not to everyone’s liking from that point of view. I do also have several G games which I play though ranging from Mario Kart, Mario Galaxy, Zelda, Smash Bros Brawl, Top Spin 3, and the usual Wii Sport and Wii Play.

I am particularly fond of survival horror games, which is odd because Nintendo’s console, while containing numerically the most Horror games of the current generation of video game systems(and that is not a generalization, it is an IGN confirmed fact), is the console that is aimed at appealing to the whole family, especially the “fitness” crowd.

But I have noticed a trend away from the traditional and truly terrifying Survival Horror(which was of a psychological sort) to a viscerally violent type of horror video game. No where is this more evident than in Capcom’s marquee Resident Evil series. It shifted from a cinematic type of horror, relying on the employing of a Video game version of “survival strategem”, to a Run and gun, over the shoulder camera
(with little to no thought of needing to “Survive”) technique. I’m not sure this is a good “genre drift” as the games are more violent but increasingly less scary and quite predictable.

Resident Evil 4, some would say is the epitome of the “new” type of survival horror games(and I would agree with them) as it successfully employed game-play elements from a game which I had and liked on the PS2 which was Sony’s self developed “Extinction” game(which was not a horror game, but actually a science fiction thriller game with the occasional scary moment) and added horror to it and a Resident Evil storyline(complete with a predictable “Countdown to destruction” finale). I have not played RE5 as it is not available on my fav current generation system.

I am not a fan of Konami’s Silent Hill series. I previously played and enjoyed Silent Hill 2 in 2002, but I cannot play games that are too horrifically occultist anymore. It was a horribly scary gaming experience though and one I do not want to repeat ever again.I am aware there is a new title for the Nintendo Wii coming out. I am interested in it, but do not believe I will buy it unless I research into it first and make a decision to try it. I know it is significantly different from the second game in the series and appears to be much less violent.

I even struggled getting through RE4 on my Nintendo because the thematic was noticeably slightly more occult based than even was usual for those games, which mostly employ a more “I am Legend” science-fiction horror theme(to appeal to a more mainstream audience).

I thoroughly enjoyed Dead Space Extraction. It is also a science fiction Survival horror and a prequel to the XBOX/PS3 “Dead Space” game, but also a unique Light Gun on rails shooter, perhaps my fav since Sega’s “The Lost World” Arcade film tie in. I thought it was graphically beautiful, one of the best games I’ve played on any system from the graphics and gameplay point of view. The graphics pushed the system so hard at one or two points that the frame-rate noticably jumps on one or two occasions. It really looked great on my 37" FullHD LCD tv set despite not being in FullHD itself(a design limitation of the Wii system). To it’s credit it wasn’t too “Realistic” which I believe is a problem with gaming these days as gamers do indeed struggle to separate reality from non-reality. But it was brilliant and beautifully realized, especially the level where you have to man the space gun and shoot asteroids in the spaceship’s path, or the several sections you go on “space walks”. And for once it was genuinely scary and thrilling, consistently creating an atmosphere that reminded me of the relentless last 20 minutes of the movie “Aliens”. This was a great Wii game and thoroughly deserving of IGN’s award of “Wii Game of the Year”. I actually thought the Australian MA rating was actually overrating the game from a censorship point of view, I thought that the violence rating should have been M instead as there are deliberately many tension increasing moments where you go a few minutes at a time(mostly in dark corridors or sewer pipes) without seeing any enemies, especially almost the entire “Asteroid” level. I thought the MA rating may have been a selling point gimmick to appeal to gamers who liked the PS3 game(which i have never played). This game proved to me that overt visceral violence does not make a horror game scary and fun, It drew it genuine scares from the “Aliens” inspired atmosphere it successfully creates.

Anyway who do you think about the Survival horror video game genre? do you agree that it has tended to become more about Visceral Violence than genuine horror and that this has resulted in a sullying of the genre itself?

Another issue that has been going on in Australia is yet another debate on weather or not Australia should allow R rated games to be distributed on our shores. The Government is reviewing it's laws concerning R rated games. The retailing industry, or at least some elements of it, is currently funding without any shame the political campaign to push for a change in laws so that they can sell R rated games without any censorship.

Currently in Australia any game which would be released under the Video Game equivalent of an R rating is automatically banned, as there is no R rating allowed. R rated games, in order to be released on Australian shores usually get edited down to an MA15+ rating.

I fully support the rating laws as they are staying in place. While I agree that most gamers are in their 20s and are Adults, I do not agree with changing the laws, as amongst many other reasons, I can see the game industry is going through a Nintendo spearheaded rebirth that I fully support. Under the previous Fifth and Sixth generation it drifted away from a predominant marketing approach of the first four generations of games. Previously Consoles were marketed to families as safe entertainment for kids(with the occasional Mortal Kombat), this was also the case with most PC games, which were predominately marketed as family friendly entertainment for young children and teenage in the early nineties. Compaired to the Nintendo Wii, the SNES had only one Adult Horror game. It was called "Clock Tower" and was little known until it was re-released on Playstation. The PlayStation console saw this market change into a more young Adult market. Nintendo continued to market it's consoles as family based despite the change. It resulted in their two latter consoles, the 64 and Gamecube in being less successful though.

The industry is changing yet again and is drifting away from the current adult base. I believe that adult games will once again make up a minor part of the industry, because Nintendo have moved the goal posts again, and there is no major financial benefit in changing the laws as they currently exist. A select few Playstation 3 or PC fans would consider it a benefit to have R rated games, while the majority of the industry would have it's fragile family reputation blighted by political moves from the other members of the Gaming industry to bring an R rating.

Alot of video game fans are saying that the Wii was a "sell out of hardcore gamers", but in actual fact I think it is the first nintendo system since the Nintendo to reach massive financial success by marketing it as a family friendly gaming system. I think it is a return to what made the games industry boom in the late Eighties and early Nineties. As I myself have outlined in my "Survival Horror" section of this post, the Nintendo does indeed have a range of significant Adult games with an MA rating for Adult gamers, but the system predominantly sells family based games and has made a success out of it again.

The only argument really leveled at the government is that other countries also have an R rating in video games. But that argument is obviously flawed as other countries also do things we currently, I believe correctly, don't do in our country(on the other hand our country legalizes stuff other countries would consider deplorable). The US still has Capital Punishment and comparatively relaxed Gun Ownership Laws, but in Australia they will happily probably never be imposed in my lifetime.

Although I own games like Scarface, Dead Space Extraction(which as I said was not so violent that it actually was rated above the level it deserved) and Resident Evil 4, these games were Rated MA meaning they were not purchasable by anyone under the age of 15 years(Playable but not purchasable). I believe this is an adequate maximum Adult Game rating and any overseas game rated R should conform to the MA standard if the company desires release in Australian shores. I think it would damage the industry's image to have an R rating, people would begin to ostracize and further attack the industry in the same way that Cigarettes and Porn are treated(in most cases Justly) and it really isn't to the advantage of the industry to have the R rating allowed in Australia. It would cater only to a select few owners of PCs and more powerful console systems, but not to the majority of gamers which is families.

Perhaps I should send this post to the politicians discussing this change at the moment, and pray it doesn't fall on deaf ears mostly as a Gaming fan that doesn't want to see the industry get a worse image than it already has.

As a fan of action FPS games, I like the games coming out of this trend (like Left 4 Dead).

The desire for horror, be it in games or other media, seems to me kind of disordered, but that's just a gut feeling. Could be just not my thing, I dunno.

[quote="The_Epigone, post:3, topic:196664"]
As a fan of action FPS games, I like the games coming out of this trend (like Left 4 Dead).

The desire for horror, be it in games or other media, seems to me kind of disordered, but that's just a gut feeling. Could be just not my thing, I dunno.

[/quote]

I agree on this actually, but I have always been a fan of the Resident Evil series. I do find that these games of late are drifting however disturbingly into predominantly visceral on-screen action violence rather than the psychological horror of previous games. They have drifted that way of late in my opinion, a trend that was led by the last two Resident Evil games.

Of courrrrrrrrrse it's all right to enjoy survival horror. It's just fiction. RE5 is awesome, yb the way.

As for Australia, if they want to ban video games because they feel it's too violent for mature adults, that's insane. If the want to have a rating system to entail which age groups should be playing these games, I'm all for it.

The problem with Australia is their highest rating is 15+.

So if something is not appropriate for 15 year olds, they ban it outright instead of limiting it to adults.

Needless to say, most people agree this is rather stupid, but there's one politician with the power to block any changes and he's a whacko.

Here’s my two cents:

Mature games (or any form of entertainment, for that matter), should be judged on its artistic value. We must weigh its worth and significance against the parts of it that are offensive. If a game can lead into significant temptation to sin, then it should be avoided. This is opposed to insignificant temptation, such as the temptation that playing Bully might engender to boss people around, a temptation that for most people can be fought easily.

On that note, I would recommend not buying the Wii Silent HIll. It asks explicit sexual pyschological questions and then transmits that into the game. Sexual temptation should never be confronted willingly–the church fathers wisely point out that sexual temptation is not a temptation that one fights; it is a temptation that you run away from.

In fact, subjecting yourself to any kind of temptation is a really dumb idea, unless that temptation is one you know, in humble honesty, that you can handle (you know you can fill out your taxes without fear of sinfully cheating on them, even though the temptation is there) and there is a good that outweighs the “badness” of it. (Appreciating art is a good since God wants us to do so.)

So, you know yourself, and you know your weaknesses, so don’t leave those exposed.

Peace! :thumbsup:

[quote="The_Epigone, post:6, topic:196664"]
The problem with Australia is their highest rating is 15+.

So if something is not appropriate for 15 year olds, they ban it outright instead of limiting it to adults.

Needless to say, most people agree this is rather stupid, but there's one politician with the power to block any changes and he's a whacko.

[/quote]

I do not agree with you and will argue against changing the rating system of my country. I think it is beneficial to the industry that the government does not allow R rated games to be sold in Australia. R rated content will only cause further criticism of the industry's drift away from the family friendliness of gaming generations 1 to 5. Australia is the only first world country that bans R rated games, or forces developers to censor their work so it fits the MA15+ Rating... but that is NOT SOMETHING TO BE ASHAMED ABOUT.

I mean "Mortal Kombat" was one of the only widely available "Adult" game of those first few generations(and even at that the SNES version shifted without Blood effects in it!).... compare that to today's gaming scene. This is a drift to adult gaming that the Nintendo system and it's handheld counterpart have deliberately and successfully bucked anyway by returning to a focus on "family entertainment", the same focus that caused the sucess of the original Nintendo. It has only occasional M or MA rated games(Silent Hill included of cause, abiet under the lower rating of "M", which is itself a drift away from it's usual rating of "MA15+").

I think that limiting the violence and sex in video-games to the MA rating has proven to be a successful, morally firm, policy. The MA rating allows enough Adult games under the radar already anyhow, such as Mad World and Grand Theft Auto 4.

The argument that "everyone else does it so why shouldn't we" has never held up to scrutiny, and if that's the only reason they are arguing for a change, it is a morally corrupt argument for change based on nothing but "Peer pressure".

There are a couple flaws here.

Games like left 4 dead or GTA4 SHOULD be for adults only (GTA should be for no one because it's an awful game, but that's beside the point). Yet Australia stuck them in the 15+ category, because their system does not have a proper rating for them.

In the US you need to be 17+ just to play Halo, so how is a system that allows 15 year olds to play GTA4 more family friendly? (I'm not American btw, just using them as the most common example)

Some people enjoy realistic combat games. There's nothing morally wrong with that (in general). And even if there was, an adult has the right to make that choice for themselves (especially in a world where you can buy porn on every corner store - games don't deserve the hate that they get).

[quote="The_Epigone, post:9, topic:196664"]
There are a couple flaws here.

Games like left 4 dead or GTA4 SHOULD be for adults only (GTA should be for no one because it's an awful game, but that's beside the point). Yet Australia stuck them in the 15+ category, because their system does not have a proper rating for them.

In the US you need to be 17+ just to play Halo, so how is a system that allows 15 year olds to play GTA4 more family friendly? (I'm not American btw, just using them as the most common example)

Some people enjoy realistic combat games. There's nothing morally wrong with that (in general). And even if there was, an adult has the right to make that choice for themselves (especially in a world where you can buy porn on every corner store - games don't deserve the hate that they get).

[/quote]

That's not true. Games that would get an R rating are banned in Australia.

GTA did not warrant an R18+ rating(the maximum rating in Australia for general media), according to the censor. It is only speculation to believe that it was because of a lack of an R rating that it got MA instead. The next rating available down from R18+ is MA15+, and naturally that is the rating it got. The MA15 plus rating has always been roughly the equivalent of your country's NC17+ rating. For example the movies Urban Legend, SAW(all of them) and 1996's Scream(+ sequels) were given the MA rating. All were rated NC17+ in your country.

I have not played GTA 4 but I have played other GTA games, as well as other GTA-style games too(I own Scarface on my Nintendo). San Andreas was banned and slapped an R rating(with the "hot coffee" minigame singled out as what pushed into an R rating and subsiquent banning), and so was GTA 3(which had a simular sex based controversy). Both titles were later reedited by Rockstar to remove the offending scenes(which only affected gameplay minimally anyhow), to fit the MA standard. According to this article by IGN, GTA 4 recieved the same treatment:
au.xbox360.ign.com/articles/869/869828p1.html

so you are incorrect in asserting the full game got a release in Australia, it was edited by Rockstar to fit the MA15+ rating.

Also Left 4 Dead was allowed and rated MA. I think how hard the censor came down on it's sequel puts your initial observation under scrutiny. The Sequel was outright banned and they refused to allow the company to reedit it and rerelease it... unlike GTA's 3, SA and 4.

[quote="The_Epigone, post:9, topic:196664"]
There are a couple flaws here.

Games like left 4 dead or GTA4 SHOULD be for adults only (GTA should be for no one because it's an awful game, but that's beside the point). Yet Australia stuck them in the 15+ category, because their system does not have a proper rating for them.

In the US you need to be 17+ just to play Halo, so how is a system that allows 15 year olds to play GTA4 more family friendly? (I'm not American btw, just using them as the most common example)

Some people enjoy realistic combat games. There's nothing morally wrong with that (in general). And even if there was, an adult has the right to make that choice for themselves (especially in a world where you can buy porn on every corner store - games don't deserve the hate that they get).

[/quote]

I have to tell you that our Rating system is very diffrent to yours. For example, movies:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NC-17_rated_films

Looking at this list I can see alot of films that were Rated M15+ were given a much harsher rating in your country, such as "Cliffhanger"....
While alot of films on that list were actually given the maximum rating in my country, which means that you had to be 18 to be legally able to see them at all... Clerks, Natural Born Killers, American Psycho and the like.

Cliffhanger and American Psycho both got the same rating in your country? I don't believe they are in the same league at all.

I mean Cliffhanger was rated M15+ over here, while American Psycho was lucky to get an R18+ release and not be banned(just like Natural Born Killers before it). Godfather Part 3 was rated M in my country(a rating it deserved in my opinion), the only Godfather to be rated less than R18+.

The majority of the films on that list were released as MA15+ here, but only about just over half of them. The rest were rated either the lower unrestricted M15+ or the maximum R18+. Highlighting major differences in our rating systems.

I still don't believe American Psycho didn't get your country's maximum rating.... and got put in the same bed as Cliffhanger and Bram Stoker's Dracula(also rated M in my country), films which are far less violent.

I think this difference in rating appears to stem from the fact that, in the Australian system, due consideration is given to the Impact of themes on the viewer. For example, the film American Psycho sustains a level of violence for a prolonged period, while Bram Stoker's Dracula and Cliffhanger have only occasional scenes's of violence and long periods of the film where there is little violence.

I think one reason American Psycho got the same rating is because the American rating system, from my point of view, considers the impact of single acts of violence, as opposed to the full impact of the entire film. Meaning that the singular Decapitation scene in Dracula makes American censors consider it up for the same rating as American Psycho or Natural Born Killers, which, as opposed to Dracula or Cliffhanger, maintain high levels of violence throughout the entire film. The australian system does not consider that, and considers the overall violence of the film. The rating is given according to potential impact, which I'm sure you'll agree is far less in Cliffhanger and Godfather 3 than it is in Eyes Wide Shut(R18+, because of it's highly sustained sexual themes) or American Psycho.

The same fundamentals of the Australian rating system, ratings given in consideration of the "total impact" of the piece, apply across all media, especially video games.

I did say I'm not American ;) and I'm not promoting their rating system.

My point is this: Left 4 Dead 2 is awesome, and there is no valid reason an adult should not be able to play it. :D

I haven't played many survival horror games. I've played 4 of the Silent Hill games (1, 2, 3, and the prequel). While it does have occult themes, they don't actually bother me because the occult is obviously portrayed as the bad guy in the games. I really like the puzzle solving, and they always scare the bajeezes outta me (pyramid head in the second game just about gave me nightmares).
I like the Resident Evil games. I played part of the remake of the 1st game that came out for the Gamecube, it was pretty awsome. I also played the 4th game which was probably one of the best games I've played. Those chainsaw people scared me. And also the guy that looked like wolverine on steroids.
I played almost the whole 5th resident evil game in two player with my brother. I liked the 4th one better.
Another good survival horror game is Haunting Ground. That one if definately scary, mainly because you aren't given any weapons, and for the most part you cannot fight back. The girl you play as also tends to have major panic attacks if she gets too scared, lol.

I think R rated games are a joke. Most of the games you listed are played by kids and teens. Who buys kids' games? Their parents do.

I remember when they put a rating on Grand Theft Auto, and 8 year old boys with their moms went to buy the game.

[quote="child_of_God85, post:13, topic:196664"]
I haven't played many survival horror games. I've played 4 of the Silent Hill games (1, 2, 3, and the prequel). While it does have occult themes, they don't actually bother me because the occult is obviously portrayed as the bad guy in the games. I really like the puzzle solving, and they always scare the bajeezes outta me (pyramid head in the second game just about gave me nightmares).
I like the Resident Evil games. I played part of the remake of the 1st game that came out for the Gamecube, it was pretty awsome. I also played the 4th game which was probably one of the best games I've played. Those chainsaw people scared me. And also the guy that looked like wolverine on steroids.
I played almost the whole 5th resident evil game in two player with my brother. I liked the 4th one better.
Another good survival horror game is Haunting Ground. That one if definately scary, mainly because you aren't given any weapons, and for the most part you cannot fight back. The girl you play as also tends to have major panic attacks if she gets too scared, lol.

[/quote]

I've played RE games since the original Playstation/Pc game, which I thought had a brilliant plot and game-play style. I remember the first time those dogs jump through the window in the hallway scared the me alot. I played it as Jill more often.

The Second one was a more epic game, I had the bleem emulator and a Demo disk of this one(that gave you the first 15 minutes of the game). Then I had a ps2 and played it on that. I played it to completion many years later with the PC version though. Played mostly as Claire, her scenario is better.

The third one, has that Nemesis guy who can, for the first time in the series, show up from nowhere at all and chase you from area to area. That provides you with some tense moments early on when you have to run like heck when you see him. But he's easy once you realize the game gives you "safe zones" and periods where he doesn't appear. That Game had the best final battle of the whole series.

The fourth game, and by that I mean "Code Veronica X"(PS2 version), was the BEST in the whole series. The "formula" of the first 3 was perfected in this one, and the T-Virus plot comes to an end as you take down umbrella as Claire. The graphics were great(really pushed the Dreamcast when it first came out on that), the plot was epic, the voice acting was ****(but that's a good thing to RE fans!).

I'm currently playing Resident Evil 0 on my Wii. May get the remake of the original once I'm done that.

RE 4 the wii edition is something else entirely. It is a brilliant game in every aspect. Best RE? probably not(as I would put CV as a better traditional RE game), but comes very close to it, especially the Wii version. My only gripe was that they changed the way the savegame system worked and introduced chapter breaks(first time in the series).

The other RE game I really enjoyed was the Wii rails shooter "The Darkside Chronicles", it was nice to revisit the plot of my fav RE game from an entirely new perspective, as well as the scenario that was a Remake of RE2. Graphics are great in this game.

This should really be two separate threads... as one is an argument, and the other is a melancholic indulgence. ;)

I love survival horror games, but unfortunately did not own a PS back in the day, having a N64 instead and so missed out on the bulk of the RE and SH series. I've played RE4 and RE5 on the Wii and 360, and I loved both of them...although I found the horror rather tame. Unfortunately I've never touched the SH games and feel that I've missed something special there. Question for the board though, what made SH2 so scary? The only game that I've played where I've been pretty freaked out was the Shalebridge Cradle level in Theif: Deadly Shadows. What a psychological trip! It probably didn't help playing it late at night either, with everyone else gone to bed. Dead Space had its moments as well. The whole limited ammo situation does make a game more tense, I wish they would implement it more.

As for the R18+ argument. I think it is clear that there is overwhelming support for it by the Australian community. We have R18+ rated movies, why not games? The current system just doesn't work, it delays release dates, changes game content needlessly, and in the worst cases absolutely ruins the game. I can cite Left 4 Dead 2 as the best example of how our current ratings systems fails. The game had to be changed so much to fit our 'standards' that it ended up becoming unplayable. Every poor soul who purchased the Australian version should be refunded their money by the government. The R18+ rating can't come soon enough for me.

[quote="PrayerShark, post:16, topic:196664"]
This should really be two separate threads... as one is an argument, and the other is a melancholic indulgence. ;)

I love survival horror games, but unfortunately did not own a PS back in the day, having a N64 instead and so missed out on the bulk of the RE and SH series. I've played RE4 and RE5 on the Wii and 360, and I loved both of them...although I found the horror rather tame. Unfortunately I've never touched the SH games and feel that I've missed something special there. Question for the board though, what made SH2 so scary? The only game that I've played where I've been pretty freaked out was the Shalebridge Cradle level in Theif: Deadly Shadows. What a psychological trip! It probably didn't help playing it late at night either, with everyone else gone to bed. Dead Space had its moments as well. The whole limited ammo situation does make a game more tense, I wish they would implement it more.

As for the R18+ argument. I think it is clear that there is overwhelming support for it by the Australian community. We have R18+ rated movies, why not games? The current system just doesn't work, it delays release dates, changes game content needlessly, and in the worst cases absolutely ruins the game. I can cite Left 4 Dead 2 as the best example of how our current ratings systems fails. The game had to be changed so much to fit our 'standards' that it ended up becoming unplayable. Every poor soul who purchased the Australian version should be refunded their money by the government. The R18+ rating can't come soon enough for me.

[/quote]

SH2 was scary for many reasons. Foreboding Graphics(a deliberate lack of visibility overall, a characteristic fog covering the whole city during day, large segments where you have to find your way around in the dark or in the "nightmare world" with little to no weapons of anysort, and finally the game had a "blue filtered" coloring style that made everything lack warmth), a strongly unnerving occultist theme and a big bad pyramid dude who you cannot kill(scariest thing about the game really) and who always corners you in small places. It is mostly the first one though, the graphics were beautifully realized. There's large segments of the game where your really spending time wadeing your way through the fog... especially when you have to row across the lake and find the lighthouse/Hotel, that takes a fair amount of time, but really builds the suspense.

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