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


Atari 2600 | 1983 | Wizard Video
Modern equivalent: Silent Hill

And here it is ladies and gentlemen! The first decapitation ever recorded by the video game format (we think). Appearing, quite possibly, in the first survival horror game as well (though naturally, if you have any other suggestions, feel free to tell us of our failing in the comments).

Where the Atari 2600 game’s representations of Laurie Strode, Michael Myers and various kids in need of a rescuing are understandably a confused garble of pixels, its depiction of the mostly defenceless Laurie’s death is remarkably striking. Remarkably striking, and utterly hilarious. A head removal by way of popping as much as slicing, it gives the impression that Laurie’s pumpkin head lives counter is literal rather than figurative. Is her head really an over-ripe pumpkin ready to explode at the first tap of a pointy object? We like to think so.


Mega Drive/Genesis | 1988 | Razorsoft
Modern equivalent: True Crime

One of the first third-party games released on Sega’s 16-bit machine, Razorsoft’s bloody run-and-gun arrest ‘em up was a deliberate attempt to find out where Sega drew the line in terms of explicit content. It turns out that Sega drew the line in an abattoir using a dirty finger dipped in blood.

Using those special body-disintegrating bullets later popularised by ‘90s action game heroes, our technological policeman hero burst perp after perp all over the walls of many a grotty apartment building on his repetitive travels, but most dodgy of all was his ability to redecorate with the guts of any innocent child who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. And by “wrong place”, we essentially mean “nearby and asking for it”. Techno Cop: To protect and sever.

Streets of Rage series

Mega Drive/Genesis | 1991 - 1994 | Sega
Modern equivalent: Godhand

A scrolling arcade beat ‘em up has to be violent, but strip away all those cozy Mega Drive memories and what have you really got? A series of games which encourages you to brain people with lead pipes, stab them in the face with knives, beat women and steal valuables from the postal service. And you’re playing a cop?

It might sound like we’re over-exaggerating Streets of Rage’s shock value today, but back in the 16-bit heyday, the parents of one Sega-loving GamesRadar editor were genuinely not very happy at all.


"Mature" games that are actually mature
More than sex, blood, swears and nudity

Top 10 banned videogames
Games that incurred the wrath of the censors

E-rated games that are evil
Do you want your children playing these?


  • 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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