Games you played as a kid that would be Mature rated today

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Atari 2600 | 1982 | Wizard Video
Modern equivalent: Manhunt 2

Once again, piss-poor graphics are the saviour of brutal killing. You might expect one of the very earliest horror movie licensed games to be one of the very earliest ever survival horror games, but oh no. In a startling fit of knowing exactly what was suitable for the kids, Wizard made the world’s first murder ‘em up instead.

Yep, you get to play Leatherface, and you get to kill teenagers. In fact, due to the 2600’s comparative horsepower failing when placed next to an alarm clock, that was all you get to do. Just pure, unbridled chainsaw killing, devoid of context or purpose. Over and over again. Well we think it’s chainsaw killing anyway. He’s definitely either using a chainsaw or his giant nobbly wang. The jury’s sort of out though… Where’s the BBFC when you need it?

Werewolves of London

ZX Spectrum/Amstrad CPC | 1987 | Viz Design
Modern equivalent: Grand Theft Auto IV

Werewolves of London might look tame today. Endearing. Cute, even. But those dated visuals belie a wealth of depraved and filthy content. Imagine GTA IV if Niko could tear people’s throats out with his teeth. That’s exactly what we’re talking about here. 

You’re a werewolf exploring an open world city of London, seeking bloody revenge on the family that cursed you. New parts of the city are unlocked as you find new tools and transportation, like a manhole key and a torch to explore the subway. There are pedestrian NPCs who you can ignore or kill as you wish. There are cops who’ll come after you if they catch you killing, and you can kill them too. If you get busted, you’ll spend the night in a cell at the police station and lose your equipment. There’s a day/night cycle that controls your transformations. Do you see? It’s GTA: Transylvania City. There’s even gratuitous nudity as you tear off your victims’ clothes during a kill. Rockstar, remake this now!

The Immortal

Mega Drive/Genesis/Home computers | 1990 | Sandcastle
Modern equivalent: Resident Evil 4

An arcane environment beset by evil. Fantastical monsters and deadly over-sized creatures. A lone hero with a penchant for monster decapitation and a ludicrous variety of graphic instant death animations of his own. A punishing survival challenge. A young NPC maiden who provides assistance. Resident Evil 4? Not at all.

Sandcastle and EA’s dark fantasy role-player was an insanely violent game. Immediate and almost unwarned deaths lurked at every corner, monsters hid in every shadow, and its brimming catalogue of custom death animations must have taken up half of the game’s ROM. You don’t get the scope of the game’s creative killing in the video above, but check out this one (embedding disabled, frustratingly) for a plethora of devourings, impalings, meltings, drownings, head explodings, and a really icky one with several thousand baby spiders. It’s most impressive. Less a game really, and more a wizard abuse simulator.


  • Thatguyfromlastnight - February 17, 2010 8:34 a.m.

    DOOM definitely. i first played that when I was like 4. I've hated those types of games ever since.
  • superfj0220 - January 9, 2010 2:53 a.m.

    They should make a remake of Streets of Rage. It was badass playing it as a child.
  • Jbo87 - December 17, 2009 1:19 p.m.

    mahajinx you read my mind. Moonstone was so gory but pure genius, being splattered by the big blue troll chaps is one of my favourites.
  • AuthorityFigure - December 17, 2009 12:54 p.m.

    The 'modern equivalent' is interesting. Will THESE games end up on a similar list a decade from now?
  • mahajinx - December 17, 2009 10:14 a.m.

    Awww, no Moonstone for Amiga? :( Oh c'mon guys, that was one extremely graphic cookie, one of the bloodiest and goriest games of its time. I figured maybe by the time it came out they alerady started rating the games, so that's why it's not on this list, but then I looked up some covers for it, and yeah, it does say '12', but it also says (and I quote) '...this product is VOLUNTARILY rated 12'. So I guess it wasn't REALLY rated after all :) (and anyway - only 12?! In this day and age, it would be rated, like, a 100). Anyway, IMHO it was, as I said, one of the goriest-coolest-most fun and addictive-AND-frustratingly hard games back in the day. The most frustrating thing for me, though, was having my Amiga lock up after beating the final boss >:( (after hours and hours of of sweating and cursing trying to get there). I never got around to REALLY finishing it afterwards... Also, I think I remember Myth for Amiga being pretty gory and full of decapitations as well :)
  • FlyinHawaiian13 - December 16, 2009 1:10 a.m.

    i like the liberal use of 'em up
  • linkganon - December 15, 2009 10:42 p.m.

    shoot, i forgot to finish, streets of rage was good back then, and is still good now. it's an instant classic, and it's safe to say it was one of the best games on a sega system ever.
  • linkganon - December 15, 2009 10:38 p.m.

    lol, i played streets of rage 2 a lot, in fact i used to go to a neighbors / neighbours house to play it. i even have a copy of it on my wii right now. i recommend buying a points card and obtaining a copy of an arcade beat em up, it really passes the time when you are bored even though they are old. deathandblackmetal has a point, they should ressurect the streets of rage franchise for a forth installment, at least it made sense. still, i don't see why it would have ever been so bad anyway. there's only three and four instances of women, there is no blood and gore, no drug references, it's just an average arcade game that is at the same time extraordinary and good.
  • BloodBarrage - December 15, 2009 6:43 p.m.

    Dude, most of these came out before I was born and I started playing games at age 5 so i nvr really played these. Good Article!
  • DeathandBlackMetal4 - December 15, 2009 6:13 p.m.

    Streets of rage! I love that series, why won't sega make a 4th one already, Sonic is dead, give up sega, forget the blue bastard and move on.
  • raxafrax - December 15, 2009 6:54 a.m.

    Remember that NES game called N.A.R.C. ? You had tons of rockets and blew up all the drug dealers and junkies? You also collected big bags of coke and money! lol
  • SimpleJack - December 15, 2009 4:47 a.m.

    Streets of Rage is addictive today as it was then. I bought it for my Wii as soon as I saw it on the marketplace. Someone play me in NFS Shift. SimpleJack277
  • Teh_Ty - December 15, 2009 3:40 a.m.

    Bah! Where's team buddies?
  • garnsr - December 14, 2009 9:56 p.m.

    The Immortal was fantastically hard, but good fun getting yourself killed, if you weren't trying to make it through the game.
  • CARLINNIT - December 14, 2009 9:49 p.m.

    Streets of Rage was SO good!
  • Metroidhunter32 - December 14, 2009 9:39 p.m.

    Come on, DOOM belonged on this. It practiaclly inspired the rating system. But all that one of the greatest FPSs of all time gets is a throwback in the opening paragraph. And this article was perfect for it too.
  • Cyberninja - December 14, 2009 9:35 p.m.

    man i am young
  • zer0hvk - December 14, 2009 7:59 p.m.

    The Immortal has epic sleep
  • iluvmyDS - December 14, 2009 7:27 p.m.

    No Robocop vs Terminator?
  • 435 - December 14, 2009 6:58 p.m.

    My parents were more than happy to have me playing Streets of Rage. They liked the music. Also, the moment I read the title, I thought of The Immortal. That game gave me nightmares. Regularly.

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