When last I was discussing the ESRB, I had left off with games that are rated for anyone over the age of 10 years old. So now we get into the games for teenagers and adults. In this category, we start with the T rating. The T rating is commonly known as T for Teen. These games are intended to be for people over the age of 13. Games rated T are things like Tomb Raider and tend to be very violent and have strong sexual overtones. These games also can have gambling and strong language. Now, here’s something that tends to confuse me. What exactly is mild language and what is strong language? As far as I can tell strong language is the frequent use of “profanities” and mild language is the much less frequent use of those same words. I think.
Next up is the M rating. M stands for Mature and this is where my hands-on knowledge of the games gets a touch sketchy. I don’t tend to play games that are more than a T rating. Blood Rayne is really the only game I’ve played with an M rating for more than a a few hours. A lot of the popular military games have an M rating because of the violence and language. These games have a lot of blood and gore (see also : zombies or explosives). The M rated games are rated for play by people over the age of 17, which seems like a fairly arbitrary cut-off to be perfectly honest. Considering how you can drive at 16 and vote at 18. Well, I guess 17 is where you get violent video games. Sure…
And the rest, the rest is just porn. No, I’m not kidding. If a game has an Ao rating (Adult Only), it is for people who are 18 and up only. A lot of gaming stores won’t even carry these games. They include such titles as the various games by Play Boy and one of the Grand Theft Auto games. There are exactly 24 games on the list of those with an Ao rating as of right now. These games are the one case where I will flat out say, listen to the age recommendations. In the case of the others, its really up to you as a parent to think about what your child is ready for. I was playing Blood Rayne in middle school and I’m certainly not a homicidal maniac. But Ao games are a completely different kettle of fish. If you wouldn’t want your child to have a copy of Play Boy, then don’t give them any of these games.
And this concludes my explanation of the ESRB rating system. I hope it helps you in your attempts to buy games both for yourself and others in the future. I have to say, I enjoyed writing this up and I might see about writing some more of this sort of helpful guide. Have anything in the gaming world that mystifies you? Anything you’d love to know? Looking for anything in particular in a game? Leave a comment or email me and I’ll be sure to help you out.