A game rated “T” is reserved for teens, and parents should know that violence, sexual innuendo, partial nudity, and also curse words are par for the course. “M” for mature indicates games for those over the age of 17 and the blood, guts, gore, and sex are superslot in these games. Upping the ante are games marked “AO” or adults only, as they are “M” squared. An “RP” rating simply means that a rating is pending, and parents should hold off on buying the game until the rating has been apportioned.
2. Read the ESRB Content Descriptors
Since preschoolers and grade-schoolers cannot simply be pigeonholed into age brackets, but should be much further differentiated by their maturity levels, parents will be wise to read the ESRB content descriptions on the backs of the video game packets. They list potentially objectionable content.
For example, “animated blood” refers to purple, green, or other kinds of unrealistic blood that may be shown during game play, while a listing of “blood” is an indicator that realistically depicted blood is part of the game play. Children highly sensitive to blood may not enjoy playing these games, even if they are rated for their age brackets.
3. Understand the Classifications When Shopping For Older Kids
Parents who have braved the age appropriate ratings, and also made it through reading the descriptions may now be stumped by a further classification: the kind of game-play their kids may expect.
Older kids may like “FPS” (First Person Shooter) games that put them into the action from a first person perspective, rather than seeing the character they are controlling doing the actions — which is the case in “TPS” (Third Person Shooter) games. In addition, some games are classified by the kinds of content that provides the storyline, such as vehicle simulation games, strategy games, or sports and puzzle games.
Shooter games are the most violent while strategy games are perhaps the most educational. Puzzle games require strategic thinking but do not offer a lot of action moves that appeal to teens.