The rare Nintendo game that doesn’t have a rating

This summer, Nintendo will be shipping software for the Nintendo DS that is missing something seen on every other game released by the company, a review by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. 100 classic books are noted … nothing.

The art of the software box states, instead of presenting an ESRB rating, “This product does not require an age rating.” It is a rare sight.

It is, after all, simply a collection of novels and plays by William Shakespeare, Jules Verne, Jane Austen, Mark Twain and others with limited interactivity. 100 Classic Books is little more than an e-reader for the Nintendo DS platform. Its interactivity is limited to adjusting text size, placing bookmarks, and downloading new content from Nintendo’s Wi-Fi connection service.

As the ESRB notes in its official FAQ, the rating system is voluntary, “although virtually all games sold at retail in the United States and Canada are rated by the ESRB.” 100 Classic Books, more of a “no-game” than any other released on DS, is the rare exception.

Of course, here’s the one issue that typically prevents unrated games from appearing on store shelves and on the console platforms you play on, according to the ESRB: “Many retailers, including most of them. large chains, have a policy of only stocking or selling games that have an ESRB Rating, and most console manufacturers will only allow games that have been rated by the ESRB to be released for their platforms. “

The collection has already been published in Europe and Australia, with the illustration of the box also missing from assessments of local classification entities.

The content of 100 classic books is the kind of fare one would expect to read in elementary and middle school, generally safe stuff like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, the kind of E-rated stuff that can be attributed to ‘comedic mischief’.

But some of Shakespeare’s included works, which tackle darker themes like murder, incest, and suicide – barely 2-caliber Manhunt content – veer into the lower-rated E. We asked the good folks at Nintendo how abridged (if at all) Harper Collins’ books are, just out of curiosity.

Update: Nintendo says “All books are full editions, not abridged.” The company also points out that 100 Classic Books isn’t the first Nintendo game released on the Nintendo DS platform not to be ESRB rated. Some DSiWare titles, such as Photo Clock, that do not include video game elements are not rated.

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