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Conker plays well in spite of its bad habits

By ROBB GUIDO, Times Correspondent

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 18, 2001

Nintendo seems bent on breaking out of its reputation for catering strictly to kids. The result is Conker, a drunken, cussing squirrel with an array of not-so-wholesome bodily functions.

What makes Conker's Bad Fur Day so different is that it uses humor and not violence to earn its M, for mature, rating. Most Nintendo games are rated E, for everyone. The question I had while playing Conker was not whether it was a good game, but rather who is Nintendo's target audience?

I can see why parents might be up in arms at the prospect of a squirrel spitting out foul language (bleeping out one offensive word) and smashing cows to bits. This kind of stuff appeals to teenage boys, and yet they aren't supposed to play it because of the rating. Conker hooked me because it plays well, but the casual adult gamer would become frustrated with Conker's challenges before he got too far.

Despite the foul language, sexual innuendo and gross-out scenes, Conker's is really not that bad, or at least, no worse than, say, South Park. There's no nudity and its violence isn't realistic.

But parents, you have been warned.

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