List of AO-rated video games

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The ESRB's "Adults Only" ratings symbol

The following is a list of video games that have been given the "Adults Only" (AO) rating by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), a United States-based organization which rates the content of video games to determine its appropriateness for specific age groups. Although it is not legally binding under U.S. law, the ESRB rating system is a de facto standard which is self-enforced by the U.S. video game and retail industries.[1] In some Canadian provinces, ESRB ratings are enforceable by law by local film classification boards.[2][3][4]

Games with the AO rating are considered by the board to be suitable for players age 18 and over; AO-rated games can contain higher levels of violent, profane, sexual, or pornographic content than the next-lowest rating on the scale (Mature [M], generally considered suitable for players 17 and over) can accommodate. AO is the highest and most restrictive of the ESRB's content ratings, and dramatically impacts the commercial availability of games which carry it; all three major video game console manufacturers (Nintendo, Microsoft, and Sony Interactive Entertainment) refuse to allow AO-rated games to be published for their platforms, most retailers refuse to stock AO-rated games, and the popular video game live streaming service Twitch explicitly bans all games carrying the rating.[5] Due to these self-imposed restrictions on the marketing and distribution of games with the rating, the AO rating has been described as a "kiss of death" by critics.[6][7][8]

Relatively few games carry the AO-rating; the majority of AO-rated games are adult video games which received the rating for containing sexual and/or pornographic content, but the ESRB has also issued the rating for games containing extreme violence.[6] The fighting game Thrill Kill (1998) was given an AO rating for its violent content; its release was cancelled after the acquisition of its publisher, Virgin Interactive, by Electronic Arts, as they objected to the game's content. Rockstar Games' Manhunt 2 (2007) was the second game given an AO rating for extremely violent content and the first to be released, but was re-edited to meet the M rating so it could be released on consoles (an uncut, AO-rated version for Windows was released in 2009).[9] Hatred (2015), a game centering on a character indiscriminately murdering everyone he encounters, was the third game to receive the rating solely for violence and the second to be released. The only game to receive the rating for reasons unrelated to violence or sexual content is Peak Entertainment Casinos (2003)[10], which received the rating as it allows the player to gamble using real money.[11]

Fellow Rockstar game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) was temporarily re-rated to AO from M in response to the release of a mod known as "Hot Coffee", which allowed players to access a sexually-explicit minigame that was removed in development, but still present within the game's code in an incomplete state. The M rating was reinstated after Rockstar released patches and revisions of the game which excluded the content entirely.[12][13][14][15][16][17]

List[edit]

Title Release date Platform Publisher ESRB content descriptors Notes
All Nude Cyber[18] 1997[19] Mac, Windows MacDaddy Entertainment Strong sexual content
All Nude Glamour[20]
All Nude Nikki[21] 1998[19]
Body Language[22] 1998[23] DVD NuTech Digital
Critical Point[24] 2002[25] Windows Peach Princess Strong sexual content, violence
Crystal Fantasy[26] 1995[19] Mac, Windows MacDaddy Entertainment Strong sexual content
Cyber Photographer[27] 1996[19]
eden* PLUS+MOSAIC January 30, 2015[28] Windows MangaGamer Nudity, strong language, strong sexual content This game was sent to the ESRB at the request of the Japanese developer in order to get a green-light for the release in the United States.[29] The all-ages version of this game is also rated.
Ef: A Fairy Tale of the Two[30] 2014[31] Blood, nudity, sexual violence, strong language, strong sexual content Unlike other self-rated games by MangaGamer, this game was sent to the ESRB at the request from the Japanese developer in order to get a green-light for a hardcopy release in the United States.[32] The game was already self-rated 18+ for the digital release.
Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Director's Cut[33] 2005 Atari Blood, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content, use of drugs and alcohol, violence In North America, an M-rated edit of Fahrenheit was originally released under the title Indigo Prophecy; Quantic Dream CEO Guillaume de Fondaumière remarked that many players imported the uncut European release instead. A remastered version of the uncut game, released in 2016, was given a Mature rating.[34][35]
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas October 26, 2004[36] Windows, PlayStation 2, Xbox Rockstar Games, Take Two Interactive Blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content, use of drugs Originally rated M, San Andreas was temporarily re-rated AO following the discovery of an incomplete "Hot Coffee" minigame that could be enabled with a mod or cheating device, which featured characters engaging in sexual intercourse. Its rating was changed back to M after Rockstar patched the game to remove the offending content entirely.[12][37]
Hatred June 1, 2015 Windows Destructive Creations Blood and gore, intense violence, strong language The game, along with its Steam Greenlight campaign, had been controversial due to its premise, which focuses on a main character who indiscriminately murders every person he encounters.[38][39][40]
Hotline Miami[41] (Microsoft Store only) October 23, 2012 (original)
June 6, 2019 (Microsoft Store)
Windows Devolver Digital Sexual violence, blood and gore, strong sexual content, nudity, use of drugs and alcohol, strong language, crude humor Despite being rated M for its original Steam release in 2012, the game's 2019 Microsoft Store release was rated AO. It is not known why the game received its higher rating, as its content remained unchanged.
The Joy of Sex[42] 1993[43] CD-i Philips Media Strong sexual content First game to receive the rating.[citation needed]
Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude Uncut and Uncensored[44] October 26, 2004[45] Windows Vivendi Games Mature humor, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content, use of alcohol
Lula 3D[46] June 22, 2005[47] CDV Software Entertainment USA Blood, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content, violence
Manhunt 2 (uncut version/PC version only)[9][48] November 6, 2009[49] Rockstar Games, Take Two Interactive Blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, strong sexual content, use of drugs Manhunt 2 was originally given an AO rating, but was edited by Rockstar to meet the M rating so it could be released on consoles.[50] In 2009, an uncut version was released for PC.[49] Both cuts were also refused classification in the United Kingdom, but Rockstar successfully appealed for an "18" rating on the M-rated edit.[16][50][51] It is the first released AO-rated game to receive the rating due to violence rather than sexual content.
Peak Entertainment Casinos[52] 2003 Online, Windows Peak Entertainment Gambling Peak Entertainment, a provider of online gambling services, submitted its product to the ESRB for an AO rating to demonstrate its commitment to discouraging underage gambling.[6] It is the only AO-rated game to receive the rating for reasons unrelated to violence or sexual content.[10]
Playboy: The Mansion: Private Party[53] 2006 Windows Groove Media Nudity, strong sexual content Expansion pack for Playboy: The Mansion.
Playboy Screensaver: The Women of Playboy[54] Mac Sony Imagesoft Mature sexual themes
Riana Rouge[55] 1997 Mac, Windows Black Dragon Realistic blood and gore, strong sexual content
Seduce Me[56] 2015 No Reply Games Strong sexual content, nudity, strong language, use of drugs Developed by a studio led by former Guerrilla Games employees Miriam Bellard and Andrejs Skuja, it was pulled from the Steam Greenlight program for its sexual content.[57][58]
Sexy Games[59] Mobile phone Nicosceles Sexual themes, partial nudity
Singles[60] Windows Eidos Interactive Nudity, strong sexual content
Snow Drop[61] 2001 Peach Princess Strong sexual content
Thrill Kill[62] 1998 (cancelled) PlayStation Virgin Interactive Animated blood and gore, animated violence Shelved by Electronic Arts after buying Virgin Interactive due to internal objections to its subject matter.[17] It is the first AO-rated game to receive the rating due to violence rather than sexual content.
Tokimeki Check-in![63] August 9, 2001 Windows Peach Princess Strong sexual content
Water Closet: The Forbidden Chamber[64] 2001
Wet: The Sexy Empire[65] 1998 CDV Software Entertainment USA
X-Change[66] March 9, 2001 Peach Princess

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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