- Sparked by the MPAA taking tobacco use into account when rating movies, Matt Matthews at Curmudgeon Gamer has done an analysis of ESRB ratings for tobacco-including games, asking the question: "Does smoking of tobacco get a game rated at least a T? Or maybe even M?"

Matthews' basic factual conclusion? "The 141 games which refer to tobacco or show use of tobacco break down as: * 29 rated E * 18 rated E10+ * 91 rated T * 3 rated M." Comparing, he explains: "75% of movies with even a fleeting glimpse of smoking were given R ratings -- and thereby limited in theory to people who were 17 years of age or older. By comparison, only 3 out of 141, or 2.1%, of games with any mention or use of tobacco were given an M rating, the rating that most closely approximates the MPAA's R rating."

So what, are youth are being led astray horribly by these depictions and/or references - which are two very different things, of course? Matthews highlights: "The PlayStation 3 game Calling all Cars, released just this week, has the "Alcohol and Tobacco Reference" descriptor and is rated E."

I'm presuming that this descriptor isn't related to the people who made the game (Jaffe-ton, OMG!), so I'd love to know - what are all the references in these E-rated games - Calling All Cars and others - and how oblique are they? Is it more common in Japanese games (Metal Slug pictured above, for obvious reasons!)? Yes, this is a Lazyweb research request. It's odd, because I'm pretty sure kids don't want to smoke because of games.