ESRB Smackdown

When Nintendo's Wii console launches a scant few months from now, it will make hundreds of earlier Nintendo titles available for purchase through the Virtual Console service. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (or ESRB) was not founded until 1994, so many of these games were never given a rating, particularly every release for the NES. With this in mind, the ESRB has retroactively rated a number of popular NES titles to protect the sensibilities of today's video game audience.

Kid Icarus
Rated M (Mature) for the presence of theology.

Super Mario Brothers 2
Rated T (Teen) for implying that women can jump higher and further than men, and promoting violence against dodo birds.

Excitebike
Rated AO (Adults Only) for suggestive bumps littering each racetrack, along with a track editor that allows players to place these bumps in whatever perverse order they wish.

Bubble Bobble
Rated T for excessive spitting and the existence of dinosaurs.

Tetris
Rated AO for the possibility that a player can line the blocks up just right, causing them to resemble exposed breasts or swear words such as "cunt" or "hell".

Dr. Mario
Rated T for promoting the unlicensed dispensing of pharmaceuticals.

Arch Rivals
Rated M for scenes in which players can pull the pants off of other players, resulting in embarrassment and psychiatric trauma.

Battletoads
Rated M for the brutally accurate portrayal of the combative nature of frogs.

Dick Tracy
Rated T for foul language in game's title and the excessive use of the color yellow.

Rampage
Rated M for animal abuse (tiny military men shooting at gigantic apes, lizards, and wolves for trivial reasons such as the supposed destruction of multiple cities and the eating of countless humans).

Bionic Commando
Rated M for the protagonist's "bionic arm", which suspiciously resembles a metallic penis that grows in size and features a groping hand at the tip.

Nightmare On Elm Street
Rated E (Everyone)

Zelda
Rated T for suggesting that a kidnapping should not be reported to the authorities.

Smash TV
Rated T for condoning vandalism in the game's very title and tricking children into thinking that an American Gladiators foam helmet can somehow offer protection against bullets.

Paperboy
Rated M for promoting deforestation in the production of newspapers.

Final Fantasy
Rated M for graphic hand-to-hand combat between combatants who are a full thirty feet apart from one another at all times.

Top Gun
Rated MA for way too many homoerotic themes to list here.

Gaming In The Olympics

The Global Gaming League has begun a push to make playing video games an Olympic sport, possibly taking the place of current fan favorite Synchronized Pizza Ordering. It may seem absurd at first, but professional video gaming and the Olympics are a perfect fit due to the fact that virtually no one honestly cares about either. When asked which game would be featured in the inaugural Olympic Video Gaming event, a spokesperson for the Global Gaming League stated that athletes would in all likelihood play EA Sports' upcoming button-masher: Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics. We'll keep you updated!

Xbox 360 Backwards Compatibility

Are you and Xbox 360 owner? Sort of disappointed by the lack of updates on the backward compatibility front? According to Microsoft's Peter Moore, you've gotten more than you deserve.

"Nobody is concerned anymore about backwards compatibility. We under promised and over delivered on that. It's a very complicated thing... very complex work. I'm just stunned that we have hundreds of games that are backwards compatible... More are coming, but at some point, you just go, there's enough, let's move on, or people aren't as worried about a game being backwards compatible - and I like to think we've upheld our end of the bargain in making at least two or maybe three hundred games backwards compat."

He has a point. Stop living in the past, you jerks! At some point you have to realize that old games are horrible, and that the present is where it's at. The present is in fact, so great that word is Microsoft has plans to cut forward compatibility. By saying "hey, that's enough" and scrapping all games in development, customers will be able to forget the pesky past (which Peter Moore has commanded we aren't concerned about anyway) and the annoying future so that we may enjoy what we have and thank Microsoft for it.

Half-Life 2: Episode 1
Episode 1 is as fantastic as the original game, and most important of all it should quell the flood of whiny nerds who bitched about the ending of HL2 way too much. 9/10

Heroes Of Might And Magic V
Journey through a fantasy world with unique heroes and take on your enemies in turn-based strategy battles in this excellent game based upon the life of Tom Arnold. 8/10

Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis
This would have gotten a higher score if it hadn't invited a deluge of horrible jokes such as "I heard you can beat hookers with the paddle" and "There's an unlockable car stealing mini-game". 8/10

Hitman: Blood Money
This superb game gives you more opportunities to kill people and don their clothes than the entire Reader Rabbit series combined. 8/10

Steambot Chronicles
You can customize a mech, partake in musical mini-games, become a chef, dig for fossils, become a bus driver, and get into epic battles with the game's crappy combat controls which you can never really defeat. 7/10

Rogue Trooper
A fun shooter that only lasts five hours, the experience is sort of like the bizarro-world version of a Kevin Costner film. 7/10

Dino Master
Become a master of the dinosaurs by drawing lines like a schmuck in this rehash of the sixteen year old NES game Qix with much worse gameplay. 1/10

Monster Hunter Freedom
Hunt monsters with the deadly combination of a horrible camera and no lock-on targeting, or just go jump into the lion cage at your local zoo with a blindfold on and your shoes tied together. 4/10

Lemmings
Lemmings simultaneously succeeds at being a very old game and serving as a cautionary tale of what happens when you blindly join a flock with disastrous results, such as one that, say, buys PSPs without knowing how few quality games are in the works. 5/10

– Dennis "Corin Tucker's Stalker" Farrell

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