Teen Rated Video Game

Written by Wes Farrell
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The first video games I ever played didn't have ratings. After all, gaming technology in the early '80s couldn't produce an objectionable degree of sex or violence, as it was limited to blocky, pixilated characters and repetitive electronic bleeps. However, new gaming consoles, such as the Xbox and the Playstation 2 feature games that can easily replicate entire worlds as intricate and detailed as anything in the cinema. As a result, video game ratings, similar to those used for movies, were invoked to help parents guide their children's gaming choices.

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) is an organization dedicated to the implementation of a standard rating system for video games. Just as the MPAA reviews movies and assigns each a rating that denotes the film's age-suitability, the ESRB has established a number of definitive rating categories in order to ensure that the content of each game is clearly labeled.

Teen Rated Video Game Standards

The five major ratings assigned to video games by the ESRB are Early Childhood, Everyone, Teen, Mature, and Adults Only. Early Childhood indicates games made specifically four very young children. Games with an Everyone, or "E" rating, contain little-to-no objectionable material, apart from minor slapstick violence or comic mischief. The Mature rating is similar to the "R" rating for movies. Mature games may be unsuitable for gamers under 17, and may contain excessive violence, adult themes, and profanity. Adults Only titles cannot be sold or rented to customers under 17, and are likely to feature suggestive or violent scenes.

However, like the "PG-13" movie rating, the middle video game rating of Teen appears to be the most popular designation, as it targets the widest audience. Teen rated video games are considered inappropriate for children under 13, and can contain mild suggestiveness, profanity, and violence. Because the Teen rating implies an edge not found in Everyone rated games, but can still be purchased or rented by children too young to access Mature or Adults Only titles, it has become the default standard for the industry.

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