A Guide To Help You Understand Video Game Ratings and How to Make Informed Video Game Buying Decisions.
Tower wants to help you find the video games that best meet your needs. This is why we use the video game industry's standardized rating system, developed by the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). These ratings provide video game consumers, and parents of video game consumers with helpful information about the content of a video game title and the ages for which the title is considered suitable.
For more information, please see the ESRB Web site.
ESRB Ratings are comprised of two parts;
1) rating symbols indicate the ages for whom the game is appropriate
2) content descriptors discuss subject matter in a game that may have led to a particular rating symbol and/or may be of interest or concern.
Titles rated EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language.
Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling, and/or infrequent use of strong language.
Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence and/or graphic sexual content and nudity.
Titles listed as RP (Rating Pending) have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game's release.)
ESRB Content Descriptors
Reference to and/or images
of alcoholic beverages
Animated Blood Discolored and/or unrealistic
depictions of blood
Blood Depictions of blood
Blood and Gore Depictions of blood or the mutilation
of body parts
Cartoon Violence Violent actions involving cartoon-like
situations and characters. May include violence where a character
is unharmed after the action has been inflicted
Comic Mischief Depictions or dialogue involving
slapstick or suggestive humor
Crude Humor Depictions or dialogue involving
vulgar antics, including “bathroom” humor
Drug Reference Reference to and/or images of
Fantasy Violence Violent actions of a fantasy
nature, involving human or non-human characters in situations easily
distinguishable from real life
Intense Violence Graphic and realistic-looking
depictions of physical conflict. May involve extreme and/or realistic
blood, gore, weapons and depictions of human injury and death
Language Mild to moderate use of profanity
Lyrics Mild references to profanity, sexuality,
violence, alcohol or drug use in music
Mature Humor Depictions or dialogue involving
"adult" humor, including sexual references
Nudity Graphic or prolonged depictions of nudity
Partial Nudity Brief and/or mild depictions of
Real Gambling Player can gamble, including betting
or wagering real cash or currency
Sexual Content Non-explicit depictions of sexual behavior, possibly including partial nudity
Sexual Themes References to sex or sexuality
Sexual Violence Depictions of rape or other violent sexual
Simulated Gambling Player can gamble without
betting or wagering real cash or currency
Strong Language Explicit and/or frequent use
Strong Lyrics Explicit and/or frequent references
to profanity, sex, violence, alcohol or drug use in music
Strong Sexual Content Explicit and/or frequent depictions of sexual behavior, possibly including nudity
Suggestive Themes Mild provocative references
Tobacco Reference Reference to and/or images
of tobacco products
Use of Drugs The consumption or use of illegal
Use of Alcohol The consumption of alcoholic beverages
Use of Tobacco The consumption of tobacco products
Violence Scenes involving aggressive conflict. May contain bloodless dismemberment
Violent References References to violent acts
Online Rating Notice
Online-enabled games carry the notice "Online Interactions Not Rated by the ESRB." This notice warns those who intend to play the game online about possible exposure to chat (text, audio, video) or other types of user-generated content (e.g., maps, skins) that have not been considered in the ESRB rating assignment.
These descriptors, while no longer used, may appear on older products on Amazon.com.
Contains animated/pixelated or cartoonlike depictions of blood.
Animated Blood and Gore
Contains animated/pixelated or cartoonlike depictions of mutilation or dismemberment of body parts.
Contains depictions of aggressive conflict involving cartoon/animated/pixelated characters.
Provides user with specific skills development or reinforcement learning within an entertainment setting. Skill development is an integral part of the product.
Depicts betting behavior.
Mild Animated Violence
Contains scenes depicting cartoon/animated/pixelated characters in unsafe or hazardous acts or violent situations.
Mild Realistic Violence
Contains scenes depicting characters in unsafe or hazardous acts or violent situations in photographic detail.
Reading Skills, Fine Motor Skills, Higher-Level Thinking Skills
These phrases, found only on products rated Early Childhood, indicate whether children's reading, computer, or other skills are used in these titles.
Contains realistic or photographic-like depictions of aggressive conflict.
Contains representations of blood in realistic or photographic-like detail.
Realistic Blood and Gore
Contains depictions of mutilation or dismemberment of body parts in realistic or photographic-like detail.
Some adult assistance may be needed
Early Childhood descriptor only.
Use of Tobacco and Alcohol
Contains images of the use of tobacco and/or alcohol in a manner that condones or glorifies their use.