Shin Megami Tensei and its spinoff games usually have a slightly darker story than most games. What would be the appropriate minimum age for the SMT games?
Jenni: I really don’t think the Shin Megami Tensei games are at all appropriate for kids. Teenagers, yes, but anyone under the age of 12? No. The games tend to be pretty graphic, and the situations discussed in the games are ones you’d see in R-rated movies or cable TV shows.
In addition, the mythology, philosophical and psychological elements discussed in the games contain the kind of topics that younger audiences aren’t typically ready to comprehend.
Of course there are some younger gamers who are exceptions to the rule and may be able to safely play and appreciate the Shin Megami Tensei games. As a whole though, I’d say they’re a PG-13 and up series.
Spencer: There is a SMT spin-off for kids called Devil Children. One of the games out here under the name Demikids and it’s pretty much a Pokemon clone. Yeah, SMT may have had monster allies first, but Demikids and its Digimon art style barely feels like a SMT game, except that the game starts with a Lucifer talking with a demon in Dem.
I mentioned this up before, but I think there is a cultural difference when it comes to the SMT games. Specifically, with Nocturne that had an all ages rating in Japan, but got slammed with a ESRB “M” rating in North America. Perhaps, that gave the Shin Megami Tensei a hook since its one of the only J-RPG series to get the rating.
Louise: Like Spencer said, if you take out the mature story, SMT games are similar to Pokemon. I think that aspect appeals to kids, but with all the text and story in the games, I don’t think younger kids would even be interested in it because they wouldn’t understand the story. At least, when I was that age, I wasn’t too interested in reading blocks of text and story.
As far as it being appropriate for kids, I say, why not? They see a lot worse on television. Maybe some more mature aspects get lost in the translation to the US version, but I don’t remember anything being too mature or graphic. If kids are old enough to read and understand the story in a game like Nocturne, they should be old enough to play it. Sure, Lucifer is in there, but he’s also in the Bible and no one is banning that. I just think that kids in general are too sheltered from thinking for themselves lately.
Ishaan: I’m with Jenni. Considering the source material for Shin Megami Tensei, I’m not surprised at all by how it’s perceived as a game for older players. Anyone who hasn’t read the Digital Devil Summoner novel that inspired the first MegaTen game needs to check it out. It pulls no punches.
Although, while I would say Shin Megami Tensei isn’t for kids, the Persona games (3 and 4 specifically) aren’t as bad. Sure, they still deal with a ton of “sensitive” issues, but I don’t feel they’re as graphic as classic MegaTen. Still, you’d probably need to be in your teens to be able to appreciate them fully.