ESRB ratings and their impact on video game content and consumer choices.

M and E Video Game Ratings

M rated games contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and strong language. They are suitable for players aged 17 and up.

The original Halo games were M rated, a first-person shooter sci-fi series that was compared to PG-13 rated movies for its tame content. It even caused one of the largest gaming controversies for its sex scene depiction.

What is an ESRB rating?

The ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board) is a self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings for video games in the US and Canada. The ESRB rating process involves a team of trained reviewers looking at written documentation, early builds, and videos that capture gameplay and cutscenes featuring the most extreme instances of game content.

Once a game has been rated, the ESRB displays a letter grade and content descriptors prominently on the game’s packaging and in digital storefronts. This allows parents and other consumers to make informed decisions about what sorts of games they’re purchasing for themselves or their children. However, some critics have argued that the ESRB has a vested interest in the gaming industry and that it has failed to rate games like Grand Theft Auto harshly enough for their violent and sexual content. Regardless, the ESRB rating system is considered essential to protecting gamers from inappropriate content.

What is an M rating?

One thing is for sure: Whether you’re watching TV, seeing a movie or playing video games, you’ll encounter some sort of age or content rating. The G (General) classification indicates that the work is suitable for audiences of all ages and may contain only minor levels of classifiable material such as crude language or mild violence. The M classification, formerly called M 15+, means that works with this rating should be restricted from children under 15.

When Doom hit the SNES in 1995, it became the first game to receive an M rating and opened the floodgates. At the time, many were fearful that a Mature rating would negatively affect sales or annoy gamers. But it didn’t take long for the M rating to prove itself as a useful tool in regulating the gaming industry and helping parents make informed decisions. Today, the M rating is as commonplace as R and TV-MA ratings are for movies or TV shows.

What is an AO rating?

An AO rating indicates that a game has been rated Adults Only. This rating is reserved for games that contain explicit sexual content, prolonged scenes of extreme violence, and gambling with real money. There are only 27 video games to have ever been AO rated, with four of them being awarded this rating solely for their extreme levels of violence.

The AO rating is similar to an NC-17 or X rated movie, with the difference being that NC-17 and X movies can still be sold in some stores while AO games cannot. There are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that most major retailers do not carry AO rated games.

Hatred, a shooter from Destructive Creations, received an AO rating in the US for its violence and harsh language. The developers stated that they would have preferred an M rating but were happy to not see any of their game’s sexual content cut to garner a less severe rating.

What is an E rating?

E for everyone is a rating used to denote games that are suitable for all ages. It can include games with minimal cartoon, fantasy, or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language. It can also contain games with slightly mature content such as simulated or actual gambling, drugs and alcohol, or partial nudity.

The E rating is often used to label games such as the Pokemon series of role-playing video games. These games feature fantasy violence, and have been compared to animal cruelty due to the way Pokemon fight each other. In addition, some Pokemon games have been criticized for displaying graphic and disturbing sexual violence.

However, ESRB does not use the E or E10+ ratings to indicate that an online service is directed to children. This is because games and apps that are rated E or E10+ do not necessarily contain the kinds of content that would make them directed to children under COPPA.

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Top 5 Video Games Released in 2018

Top 5 Video Games Released in 2018

Developers started making video games in Adobe Flash with the idea of letting users play them on web sites like Newgrounds. It was an early form of social justice gaming, where players could create and share games without censorship or publishers.

Remedy Entertainment never does things the easy way. After Control, its satirical send-up of clueless government bureaucracy, the studio delivers an atmospheric, third-person adventure starring Stephen King facsimile Alan Wake.

Baldur’s Gate 3

Baldur’s Gate 3 has been a huge hit for Xbox gamers, achieving near universal acclaim and ranking among the highest-rated games of all time. It has also been nominated for Game of the Year, which means that it should have been on everyone’s holiday wish list.

The 1.0 version of the Dungeons & Dragons-inspired game has been out since August. It features an immersive world and a story about mind flayers, the squid-faced alien tyrants.

Larian Studios announced that the Xbox Series X/S release of Baldur’s Gate 3 is set for December. It will have all the same updates and improvements as the PC version, including split-screen co-op.

Bob Rush Cyberfunk

Bomb Rush Cyberfunk is the closest thing to a new Jet Set Radio since Sega’s 2002 sequel. And like its spiritual predecessor, it’s a love letter dripping in style and oozing with cool.

It’s a free-running game, but the real draw is its graffiti tagging system. That and the pulsing, funk-filled soundtrack, which features tunes from a mix of artists including Knxwledge, Reso, and Klaus Veen.

Released on August 18, 2023, Bomb Rush Cyberfunk ushers players into a futuristic world of dynamic parkour and graffiti-based battles for dominance. It was developed and published by Team Reptile, an independent game studio known for its previous work including Lethal League Blaze.


Since the game’s first gameplay trailer, players have eagerly awaited a deeper look into Scorn’s nightmarish world. The biomechanical puzzle adventure melds flesh and machinery in ways that only Giger and Beksinski could dream of.

Exploration and puzzles are key features of Scorn, as players visit a handful of constrained spaces that need to be solved in order to move forward. These are often large, multi-step puzzles that require the player to poke around the space and find alternate routes to solve them.

Scorn is scheduled to release on October 14 for PC and Xbox Series X/S. The grotesque sci-fi adventure is reportedly not demanding in terms of hardware, so it should run smoothly on many computers.

Alan Wake 2

The sequel to Remedy’s 2010 cult classic is here. Alan Wake 2 follows troubled writer Alan Wake, trapped in a nightmare prison beyond our world, writing stories to reshape reality and escape.

The game returns to Bright Falls, Washington, a setting that Remedy describes as “Remedy’s take on the Pacific Northwest” and influenced by other thrillers, horror, and detective stories. These include True Detective, Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, Twin Peaks, Fargo, and Taxi Driver.

The PC version will be available exclusively through the Epic Games Store at 12 a.m. Eastern on Friday, Oct. 27. It will require at least 90 GB of free space.

Xenoblade Chronicles 3

Xenoblade Chronicles 3 is a massive RPG that has inherited the best parts of its two predecessors. A robust technical base, beautiful vistas and strong storbytelling come together to make an experience that feels like nothing else out there.

A new class system allows you to recruit “Heroes” to join your party, letting them take part in battles in real time as they automatically attack enemies within their radius. Up to 19 Heroes can be recruited through story events or sidequests, with each Hero having a unique class that you can teach to your main party.

Originally announced in February of 2022, the sci-fi RPG will now be released on July 29, almost two months ahead of its original release window.


Sifu is the latest game from French developer Sloclap, whose 2017 title Absolver captivated audiences with its fluid combat and realistic body weight. This time, players control a martial arts student on a mission for revenge.

Almost anything in the environment can be used as a weapon, and attacking an enemy’s “structural gauge” will cause their guard to break and set them up for a flashy finisher. Heavy attacks and weapons will max out the gauge faster, but avoiding damage is just as important.

The Arenas Expansion will add an estimated 10 hours of gameplay to Sifu when it launches on March 28, 2023. Adding new levels and game modes, such as wave-based survival, time attack, king-of-the-hill style capture and a targeted manhunt.

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