Useful Notes: Entertainment Software Ratings Board
The Entertainment Software Rating(s) Board (or ESRB) is the most prominent and well-known ratings system for Video Games. The ESRB is a volunteer organization that was created in the mid-1990s after Mortal Kombat and Night Trap raised concerns about the content of violent or "mature" video games. The ESRB must review everything — they see a full script, review all art assets, and even play through the game — before they give a final rating, and they'll sometimes revise that rating post-launch if circumstances warrant. Before adding examples to under the age ratings, there are some points to consider:
- ESRB only covers the big three North American countries (Canada, The United States and Mexico). As a result, ESRB will not have No Export for You games listed.
- According to Wikipedia, ESRB was formed in 1994. Games that were released before that time will not be listed under them. However, there is a chance that they will be listed under them due to Compilation Re-release and/or Updated Re-release.
- The games they have listed will sometimes not match the titles that TV Tropes has assigned to them. It's a good idea to make sure the game to be added is the same one, and that it's just titled differently.
- It is possible to have the same game be given different age ratings. This is due to the fact that some video games are released across the personal computer, consoles and hand-held devices. Sometimes features have to be removed from differing versions, which decreases the age rating.
- ESRB has the word "software" as part of its name. This means that they will check video games, screensavers, visual novels, messenger services and so on.
- You can access the ESRB website itself here.
The age ratings that ESRB uses:
- Ages 3+ — eC (Early Childhood)
- Ages 6+ — E (Everyone); originally known as KA (Kids-Adults) until 1998
- Ages 10+ — E10+ (Everyone 10+)
- Ages 13+ — T (Teen)
- Ages 17+ — M (Mature)
- Ages 18+ — AO (Adults Only)
- RP (Rating Pending); this is only used in advertising when a game has been submitted but hasn't yet received its final rating. Adding examples is not recommended, because that would cover potentially every game in existence.