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Defining Mature
Written By: Roger Taylor

You may have read my article “N64 Is the More Mature Console” which hopefully proved to many of you once and for all that Nintendo caters to mature gamers as much as any company.  But I ask you, what is mature?

The average gamer will tell you that ‘mature’ is a label put on games that have been deemed by the ESRB to be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age.  However, we rarely think about the real meaning of the word: experienced or fully developed.  Most people will tell you that getting extremely excited over bouncing breasts and graphic violence is an immature way to act.  And yet games such as Dead or Alive (the main selling point of which was scantily-clad women) and Mortal Kombat (which only gained such popularity because it was the bloodiest game of its time) are slapped with a “Mature” tag.  Gee, and I was taught that having good, clean fun was a mature way to act.

The difference between your standard game and a solid, mature game has nothing to do with the language content, or amount of blood.  It has to do with the strength of gameplay and story.

The story part should be pretty obvious.  The story in Atlus’ fabulous Ogre Battle 64 would fly right over the head of an 8-year old (or a dim-witted 20-year old as my brother recently proved).  It is a complex, winding tale dealing with every thing from treachery to pride to love.  This, and not the fact that the dialogue in the game is laced with swear words, is what makes Ogre Battle a mature game.

Now allow me to defend what I mean by “it has to do with the strength of gameplay.”  Having great gameplay may not make a game mature; but it does manage to outweigh anything else in the game.  The graphics and overall feel of Mario 64 may have been childish in nature, but because the game was so well made and fun to play, I have seen people from age 5 to age 40 enjoy the game.  My point is that it just doesn’t matter if a game is “kiddy” in some way because, in the end, the only thing that matters is that the game is fun.

Happy gaming.
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