It appears that Nintendo could be turning a little bit of a corner with its forthcoming Super Mario Odyssey, creating an adventure that caters just as much to adults as it does to kids – well, it's not like Mario games haven't been doing that in the past anyway. But with this adventure, there's a significant change that's worth noting – its rating.
In the past, the ESRB has had no trouble giving Mario games "E" ratings, indicating that they're perfect games for everyone without any sort of questionable violence or bloodshed. Super Mario Odyssey won't have any of that, but that didn't stop the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB for short) from slapping the game with its first ever "E10+" rating.
The game's official website indicated the rating, though the ESRB stopped just short of explaining why it had gotten it. The ESRB's guidelines indicate that the game got this rating mainly due to cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes. Now, violence is obviously not the factor here, since the craziest Mario really gets is throwing his new friend Cappy at cars and people to possess them. So perhaps it's something else, like the idea that Princess Peach could be stuck in an inter-species marriage with Bowser, or perhaps something with Mario's actions that pertain to something a little more realistic, since New Donk City is probably the most life-like setting we've seen in a Mario game to date (compared to his previous Galaxy adventures and whatnot).
The Australian ratings board previously gave Super Mario Odyssey a similar rating, so this isn't entirely a shock. And it's not likely that the new rating will affect the game's sales when it arrives later this year, given the positive reception of its E3 presentation a couple of months back. So now it's just a question of what pushed the ESRB over the edge to give it a different rating than usual. It's doubtful that Mario's gotten super-violent in his transition to the real world, but we can't help but wonder…