The following are some tips for choosing video games based on ratings:
1. Know what the rating means. There are all sorts of ratings out there; most people are only familiar with the E for Everyone, T for teen, and M for mature. But what does that really mean? What makes it for teens instead of everyone?
Here is the ESRB Game Rating System and some explanation of why the rating is classified as it is:
EC – Early Childhood. Appropriate for anybody between the ages of 3 to 6. May include stuff that may require reading or math skills.
E – Everyone. This is for everyone over at least seven years old. May contain little or no violence or dirty words. Resembles the MPAA’s G Rating.
E10+ – Suitable for people ten and older. May include some mild violence, and a few dirty words. The Sims 2 for Playstation has this rating. Resembles the MPAA’s PG rating.
T – Teen. Anybody thirteen and older could play this game. Most of the western civilization games are under that level. Resembles the PG-13 rating. There may be some nudity or some violence or dirty words.
M – Mature. The most common game rating because most gamers are over seventeen years old. A lot of the war games under this category and some sports games such as NASCAR fall into this too. Resembles the MPAA R rating. Usually has violence, some nudity, language, possibly sex.
AO – Just hardcore stuff with intense nudity, violence, sex, and language. Not sold in most major (Walmart, Best Buy, etc.) stores, but is widespread for most of the Internet. Must be eighteen or older to buy this game and most people are done with gaming after they get at this level. Resembles the MPAA’s X or NC-17 Rating.
RP – Rating Pending. Usually used for advertisements, but when the game hits the stores, it’s rating is determined. Some games, however, do have this kind of rating, just to do a similar kind of thing as calling a movie that should be R or higher unrated, such as “American Pie 2”.
2. Know why it is rated that. If you look at the game, under the rating it will explain the reason for the rating. So, for example, if it is a teen rating, under the T it may say, nudity, violence. This way you can decide if the reason for the rating is going to be appropriate for your home or not.
3. Know more about the game. Some video games that get an E on Gamecube could be getting a T or M on Playstation. The ratings can change for the same game from system to system. So take time to go online and evaluate whey something is rated as it is, and what it contains. For example, a T rated game might display nudity as a “reward” for completing a level or a challenge. You should know things like this before you choose the game.
4. Read reviews. Choosing games based on rating can be a lot like choosing movies based on rating. Just because it is PG-13 does not mean you will like it. So, consider genre, what other gamers think, etc. as well. If you do some research, chances are you will find a game that is in the rating category you like, and that is also in the genre you like.