999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors Is The Eleventh M-Rated Game On DS

By Ishaan . August 30, 2010 . 2:49pm


Aksys are now the proud publishers of two M-rated games on the DS, tied neck-in-neck with Southpeak Games, who published Dementium II and Crime Scene.


Aksys’s first “Mature” game on the DS was Theresia, a mix of survival horror and puzzles in first-person with a really creepy story to boot. The second, of course, is Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors.


Why the “M” rating? For starters, the ESRB mentioned the following descriptors: Blood, Drug Reference, Strong Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence. They go on to explain in a summary:


“In this adventure game, players are held captive inside a large ship with eight other characters, and must solve a series of pernicious puzzles in order to escape. Failure to solve the puzzles usually results in death, which is depicted in still images of blood-splattered rooms and dead bodies. Text description usually accompanies the images (e.g., “The hallway . . . was splattered with chunks of torn flesh and dark, red blood”). Some dialogue contains sexual innuendo, such as “It’s really hard” and “I might . . . get wet”; a female character wears a revealing outfit, and her breasts occasionally jiggle. During the course of the game, a character jokes that a movie is “pretty enjoyable with a little pot.” Words such as “f**k,” “sh*t,” and “p*ssy” also appear in the game.”


Interestingly, Lux-Pain, which was rather grim in its own right, only received a “Teen” rating:


“This is a text-based adventure game in which players follow a character through a mysterious storyline involving a strange epidemic. Characters discuss several violent themes such as murder, vehicular deaths, and group suicide (e.g., “Let’s die at twilight” and “I’m starting to make sense of mass suicides”). Dialogue also contains some sexually suggestive references (e.g., “I’d love to feel her cheeks,” “I have a kind of lover, a guy I’m dating,” and “Gather all the hot girls and dress them in maid outfits!”). One Character makes a casual reference to drugs (e.g., “Are you on crack?”), and some expletives can be heard in the dialogue (e.g., “a*s,” “b*tch,” and “bastard”).”


I wonder what ultimately caused the ESRB to rate 999 higher.

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  • EvilAkito

    Wow, I forgot about this game. Must buy!

    • Joanna

      same here!
      when is it out? does anyone know. The date slipped my mind and I don’t want to miss it.

  • It’s a Chunsoft game, therefore I must buy it.

    In case Aksys is reading… the same logic applies to Cave titles!

  • kylehyde

    I just hope that they make a great job in the translation, I mean no matter if the best writter in the world wrote the script, if the translation sucks well it will a problem.

  • I remember correctly, Lux-Pain didn’t have any gory images. If there was one, the scene was certainly not as bloody as what the ESRB is describing in 999.

  • Guest

    When I look at the artwork I’m instantly reminded of Capcom vs SNK

    well cause its the same artist….

  • I didn’t do the ESRB submission, so I’m just guessing here, but I would put my money on a word that starts with “f” and sounds like “duck” being the deciding factor, although I doubt the graphic descriptions of gore helped much.

    • Wow, just the f-word? I’ve heard 10-year-olds throw that around. It’s like the ESRB live in an alternate reality. I mean, Lux-Pain has animal cruelty and suicide in it, both of which I would consider a little less appropriate for youngsters, which is why I made the comparison.

      • It’s still not politically correct to have that word in a game that’s rated less than M, even if it’s in the dictionary and there are novels assigned to high schoolers with the word though. You never know if a politician would pick up on it and start nitpicking the game just because of one word.

      • SerasVictoria

        I dont know ESRB’s exact guidelines, but by the MPAA rating scheme, 1 “F-bomb” is automatic PG13. A second is automatic R rating. Look up all the die hard movies except Live Free and Die Hard. They specificly only had Bruce Willis use his tagline “Yippee ki-yay mother******” once to avoid the automatic R rating that it’d cause. (it was discussed a lot in interviews prior to the release of it)

      • Joanna

        Well from the descriptions above, 999 seems to have more visual gore and from what I can tell, visual gore is usually enough to bring up a rating to M, add the f-bomb that Imperator mentioned and I’m not surprised it got an M.But I agree. It’s funny how the ESRB looks at visuals and language but not the actual themes of the story. I guess they think a visual representation of suicide, animal cruelty (which I guess Lux-Pain didn’t have), and violence is more “impressionable” than mere references to them (but this I mean a character referring in the dialogue to these things)? That’s just my 2 cents. :)

        edit: Tommy mentioned the same thing a few posts down (not as a reply).

        • Although this isn’t limited to the ESRB by any stretch, I find it interesting how ratings bodies, and even just people in general, attach so much importance to ranking the “badness” of particular swear words. “F**k” and “screw” are almost completely identical, in terms of meaning AND usage, but one gets gasps at a dinner party and the other people will say in from of their kids (full disclosure: I’ve never actually been to a dinner party).

          Even more interesting is that words like “f**k” are at the top of the bad word heap, despite the fact that all they refer to is the act of procreation, while words like “p*ssy” or “b*tch” are considered much less “offensive”, although they are almost always used in a derogative way which is arguably much more “wrong” or damaging to developing minds than discussing procreation. IMHO, of course.

          • Joanna

            I agree with you on the fact that those derogatory words should be worse than f**k. I think the only reason people even use it to insult others is because of the social stigma associated with it, otherwise, the word itself isn’t really hurtful.

        • Well in Lux-Pain, the characters are disgusted by, or at least disapprove of, the animal cruelty and I think you have to prevent most of the suicides. Either way, the MC and his group never enjoy the news of someone’s death nor does he encourage other people to do kill themselves. So on top of being mostly text descriptions, they aren’t presented in a positive matter. That should be why the T rating was given to it even though it had such a grim story.

  • masuto

    Gotta love these Mature games. Btw, there’s a 999 fb page…www.facebook.com/aksys999

  • sasuke222



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