by Coyote, Ten Ton Hammer's MMOG Humorist
Age of Conan
is live, and the servers are filling up with every incarnation of
"Conan" that you can imagine. And while no game launch is without its
share of issues or unimaginative people using every possible spelling
of the name Conan conceivable, AoC has something to offer almost every
genre of gamer. Action, adventure, compelling story lines, and even an
"M" for "Mature" rating to both captivate and concern those who pick up
its box and contemplate playing.
But why the "M" rating? Doesn't this alienate your normal MMORPG player
base and limit your customer demographic by age? What could be so
controversial in a game set in the world of Conan that would be
deserving of adult rating? It isn't Grace Jones is it? Because all
games should come with a "Grace Jones" warning. She's frightening
beyond belief and if her lithe and manly muscled Wesley Snipes looking
self is popping out regularly, this game shouldn't be played by style="font-weight: bold;">anyone.
Does AoC deserve its
But I haven't seen Grace Jones. Or Wesley Snipes for that matter, so it
has to be something else. Is it the decapitations and blood?
The combat style while new, is still pretty familiar to those who play
MMOG's regularly. First or third person avatars following clicked icon
commands in order to pummel the enemy into submission. But unlike most
MMOG's, Age of Conan
offers a "visual" reward for a critical hit.
The brutal slaying of your enemy.
Limbs broken, heads decapitated, and even the splashing of gore onto
your screen, one would think that this alone would warrant a warning to
parents and players alike.
But it doesn't.
The combat itself isn't overly graphic. Numbers go flying by, arrows
point to your foe's weakest defensive side, and the occasional spray of
crimson to note a strike is pretty common in almost every RPG out
there. Even the death animations seem common to your normal player of
violent games, and aren't anything overly disgusting or disturbing. In
fact after enough times lobbing off your opponent's head, or stabbing
him through the chest, the animations can seem almost annoying as you
wish to hurry towards the next fray.
The violence, while there and as realistic as a video game can make it,
shouldn't fall far beyond "T" for "Teen". The combat is admittedly
brutal, but nothing past what you have seen in scores of other games
with lighter ratings and more brightly colored blood and gore. Were the
issue of the game to lie only in death, then "T" for "Teen" would be
given without a single argument.
But let's be honest with ourselves and the gaming community
Age of Conan
is rated M for one reason, and one reason only:
Even now as the word is being read, people are raising their eyebrows
and questioning the direction of this article.
Did he just say nipples? Can he say nipples? Why wasn't there a
disclaimer at the heading of this content stating in big red letters
that the word nipple would be used, not just once but multiple times
and in its plural form? But there it is plain as day. Nipple.
Unfettered, uncensored, and one of the *main* reasons that style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan has,
and deserves an "M for Mature" rating.
Because people have nipples.
According to this
woman's unseen nipples - yes it does.
And what was the thought behind putting those two little points of
controversy into the game? Wouldn't the game have been exactly the same
had nipples been covered? Would content have been drastically altered
if they had been airbrushed, blurred, or left off completely? Did Age
of Conan truly need
to "dot the i's" of the female characters?
In short, yes. Yes it did.
We follow a cultural stigma that tells us that our bodies are wrong.
That our bodies are taboo and should be covered, hidden, and exposed
only in private. The nude form isn't something to be enjoyed openly,
but behind closed doors. We sexualize a portion of the body that gives
life to our young from our females, or..just..um..sit there waiting to
be pierced or covered with chest hair in our males. Okay, granted -
nipples on men are redundant and in the cases of people like Fabio,
really big and kind of scary. Seriously, they look like huge wads of
discarded bubblegum spat out onto the cover of whatever romance novel
he's currently brooding on.
But I digress.
The point is, Age of
Conan isn't set in our world. It isn't set in our land and
our time and for the reality of the game, it doesn't and shouldn't have
our same social stigmas. Were nipples the focal point in graphic sex
scenes or used to titillate (ha!) or entice as part of the game's play
dynamic then yes, they would be wrong and an "M" rating for strong
sexual content would be warranted.
But they're not. They're just there to say "Oh, by the way, people have
nipples." Which, we do. (Or you should. If not, stop reading and
consult a doctor immediately.)
Everyone does, including the people who are extremely offended by the
game and now in turn, this article. Hell, some people have style="font-weight: bold;">three! Famous people
like lead singer of The
Red Hot Chili Peppers Anthony Kiedis and that one mutant
chick from Total Recall.
Yet we like to forget, or pretend that our nipples disappear with
whatever garment that we put on over them. They're hidden, they're out
of sight, and because of that they become taboo.
Man most desires what it cannot have, or in the case of nipples - makes
taboo what it cannot see. Were our society so wired that foreheads were
considered forbidden, then countless forehead aficionado magazines
would spring up and Age
of Conan would have hatless women brazenly displaying the
upper half of their face without a care in the world causing an uproar
while their nipples went about, wholly ignored.
So beyond the violence and blood, the storylines and the content, style="font-style: italic;">Age of Conan, in
this humble writer's opinion does not deserve the scarlet letter "M"
that has been burned forever into it simply because nipples can be
seen. Yet my opinion is just that, and due to laws and what our world
considers "decency", the M rating stays.
Deserved or not.
This guy has nipples
But the next time you see a busty barbarian named "Alottajiggles" or
you laugh like a schoolboy at the sight of your first topless, nipple
filled NPC encounter, remember this;
You have them too. And because of that, technically, no matter how
childish or juvenile you act..
...YOU are rated M for mature.
Because you have nipples.
(Author’s Note: Not one person was harmed in the writing or
reading of this article even despite the fact that the word nipple was
mentioned 17 times. Nipple. 18.)
The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed are those of the author
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of
the Ten Ton Hammer network or staff.
To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Age of Conan: Unchained Game Page.