ESRB ratings and how they work

Updated Mon, Feb 25, 2008 by Messiah

This weeks TenTonHammer.Com editorial is about ESRB ratings. What are they? Are they Effective? How are they Policed? And more.

Being a long time video game player of over 25 years, I remember a time before the ESRB. I remember getting an Atari 2600 for Christmas one year (1980 to be exact!), ok at only 7 years old at the time it was more for my Dad than me, but it didn’t take long to master the hit Space Invaders and take over the system for my own! This followed a few years later with a Coleco and has not stopped since.

None of these early systems had any rating system for games. After all, they were just games. I remember more warnings over “burning out your eyes” from playing games than concerns over what the game was about.

This started to change through the late 80’s and sometime in 1990 was what I remember as the first time I saw a game with a serious warning. The game was N.A.R.C., and was a very graphic game, where you took on the role of a cop hunting down druggies, distributors and underworld kingpins. By that point game graphics had gotten realistic enough for some parents to voice concerns. Very shortly after the ESRB emerged.
You can read the whole article by clicking here.

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