Like many Nintendo fans I rushed home yesterday and feverishly fired up my Wii U waving my wallet wildly. EarthBound was finally back. As I purchased the classic Super Nintendo title I noticed something different.
Now before I get into this let me state that I actually own a physical copy of EarthBound. I picked it up a few years back and while I've never gotten around to beating the game I have played it quite a bit. So why would I even buy the game in its digital form? Well, as the game is pretty rare I'd rather get my fill on the Wii U, as opposed to slamming the SNES cartridge into my old system. I'd rather leave my physical copy in my display case and look at it fondly from behind the glass.
So, as I mentioned above, I noticed that EarthBound's original ESRB rating of "K-A" (Kids to Adults) had been changed to a solid "T for Teen". For some reason this was upsetting to me. It didn't put me in a terrible rage, it just kinda bothered me for a moment. That being said, I don't disagree with the rating at all. EarthBound is rated Teen for -
I would be lying if I said all that wasn't in the game. It most certainly is. The problem I have with a game rating being changed is that it may turn parents and kids off of the game as a whole. Say an elevin year-old asks his mother to buy EarthBound from the eShop and she asks what it's rated. She might deprive him of the game simply because of its rating. I fear a "Teen" rating could be a huge turn off for some gamers who don't understand how EarthBound utilizes these silly "suggestive themes".
It's funny though, because the description of the "Kids to Adults" rating on Wikipedia states:
This category indicated titles with appeal to people of many ages and tastes. Titles in this category may contain minimal violence, some comic mischief (i.e. slapstick and gross-out comedy), or some crude language. This rating was replaced in 1998 by the E rating; subsequently, all games with a K-A rating are considered to be E-rated.
I guess a re-rating by the ESRB bumped EarthBound up a notch.
The same thing happened when I found out Super Smash Bros Melee had been upgraded from the original titles E for Everyone to a T for Teen. I was worried my parents wouldn't let my little brother play it with me because he was far from a teenager at the time. All in all a rating can't ruin how fantastic a game is, but it can keep potential fans away. I'm overjoyed that EarthBound is back, so when your mom asks if your little sister should play the game, just give her the cold hard facts! The truth that you know in your heart.
Via la EarthBound.