Boss Rush Banter: Do Video Game Ratings Even Matter Anymore?

Video Games are meant for all ages. Initially, when video games first became mainstream around the 80’s and 90’s, different regions of the world adopted rating systems for video games to help parents know which games their children could safely play. While video games are still rated on release, the rating of these games hardly ever comes up in conversation. So do ratings still matter? Or are they slowly becoming words just printed on the box?

Now, there are no laws in the United States surrounding game ratings aside from people under the age of 17 being unable to buy games rated M by the ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board). Similar laws are found in other countries, such as much of Europe with the PEGI system (Pan European Game Information). Nothing stops these kids from simply having their parents or friends buy the game for them, though. Many parents play these M rated games themselves, and have no qualms with letting their children play once they reach a certain age. 

I remember playing Halo 2 with my cousin when I was about 11 and feeling sick to my stomach afterwards, nervous that I’d get in trouble. When my mom found out, she just said “maybe that’s not the best game for you to play” and I got off with no consequences.

Games have ratings for a reason, though. The argument that video games lead to violence in children is riddled with contradictions and fallacies, but most would agree that an 8 year old shouldn’t be playing games like Mortal Kombat or God of War, and games with adult content like Catherine: Full Body or Life is Strange should probably be put off until gamers are closer to 17 or 18.

Game ratings aren’t going to all of a sudden disappear. However, it does seem like people are caring less and less about ratings, especially when most gamers are already over the age that these mature games are trying to warn against playing. Some gamers still don’t love games that are super violent or that have adult and mature content, so these ratings may still serve as a warning sign of what to expect from a game.

What do you think about ratings in video games? Do you check the ratings of the games you purchase, or do you not even pay attention to the ratings? Do you think the rating systems need to be adapted or changed? Comment below, ask a friend, or join us on the Boss Rush Discord!

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