Game Ratings (ESRB)

Has anyone ever looked at a game rating, played it, and looked at the game rating again, this time in disbelief? If you’re like me, than yes you have done this many times. The way ESRB rates games is annoying, and just simply useless. Ratings C through A is a very unneeded way to rank games.

C (children 3+) is probably the stupidest. what child of three actually knows how to handle mechanics of a console game? I can still trick my 3-year-old nephew into thinking he’s playing with me when there is only one controller! In addition, I  have never seen a C rated game in my life, and if there is, I’m sure it’s on the leap  frog system or something only toddlers use.

E (Everyone) and E10+ is also really pointless. E is defined as 6+. If there is a rating called “Everyone” than why is there a C? it seems very redundant. Some games that are rated E10 are done so for “comic mischief.” What the hell is that? Cartoons getting in trouble? Have you seen Tom and Jerry? On that show, they literally blow eachother up every other episode, and it is a kids show! In addition to that, my 7-year-old cousins are rocking Battlefield 3, AvP, and Black Ops 2 (All rated M). More proof that these ratings are in fact useless.

T for Teen is the least stupid of all the ratings. When I was eight and nine, my protective parents scrutinized the game ratings and if they were rated T, they sat and watched me play to see if it was “Appropriate.” My parents flipped out when there was a simple “hell” or “Damn” it was insane. sometimes they would look at the rating and instantly decide that the game was inappropriate. Things that make a game rated T is the single use of the word “Shit”. Just as in movie ratings. there is a simple line that movies and games cannot cross, the “S word” being one of them. Teen games also cannot contain much drugs or they would be rated M. This is another thing I hate about the rating system. Theoretically speaking a game can be bumped up from E to M if all the characters suddenly started smoking weed. It’s an imperfect system.

M for mature is not a truly fair rating, as it directly translates into 17+. However, as stated before, my cousins who are 10 years younger than that limit are constantly playing these games. When I was 13, my mom was only just getting over my playing T games (of course, as a dedicated gamer,  was secretly downloading M games to my PSP). The thing is, if you’re under 18 at gamestop, you’re not allowed to purchase rated M games without adult consent. That makes some sense, considering the way congress pressures game companies against violent games marketed toward children… but don’t get me started on the politics of it. To be honest, My parents saw me playing Modern Warfare 2 on my PS3 and they sat and watched for a good hour. Of course, they didn’t care about the actual gameplay as much as the rating. What does this say about the rating? It’s just what a bunch of outdated parameters.

A for adult only is a close second with C for children for the stupid ratings. A is classified as 18+. What kind of difference does a year make when it comes to maturity levels? Will the extra blood and extra boobs affect a teenage kid who’s probably been exposed to these things at a far younger age? I think not. For some reason, there is a notice that says “Sony does not publish A rated games.” I don’t even care because a rated A game is a dumb rating anyway!

Why is this rating system not changed? Society has changed in the last few decades and children are exposed to much more violence and sexuality at young ages even in real life! Will these ratings affect the digital generation? Why haven’t these changed? In my opinion a simple rating system based on user discretion should be enacted.


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