What is ESRB? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]


Once again, the holiday season is upon us and the time for shopping has reappeared, well at least in terms of when this article is being written. Thus, parents all over are now in a mad scramble to find their kids the perfect gifts to not only appease their loved ones, but also to stop them from having major crying sessions and anger fits. Which we might or might not have done at our younger ages. Parent’s choices come in many forms, shapes and sizes. They could good with an action figure from a popular TV series or a LEGO playset based on also a popular series or brand. Though in this technology driven age, most kids—regardless of gender—want video games. With that a new dilemma comes up, what game is age appropriate for your kid or kids to play?

Well folks, that’s where knowing about the ESRB comes in real handy in the gaming world. Now some parents out there may be scratching their heads—heck maybe some new gamers are as well—wondering what does ESRB mean and why should we care about what it means? Luckily for you folks, we here at Honey’s Anime know what ESRB stands for and how important it is for video games and ultimately for you. That’s why with our What is ESRB article we plan on schooling everyone so the questions you most likely have will never have to be asked again. Now then let the schooling begin once more!

Guard your kids!

The ESRB—also known as the Entertainment Software Rating Board—was crafted back in 1994 when a flood of complaints arose from parents. These complaints were in large part due to a game called Mortal Kombat which also stands as our first example on explaining What is ESRB and why it’s important. Mortal Kombat was released to large fanfare nationwide for having realistic graphics and awesome fighting game mechanics. However, parents and Senators saw Mortal Kombat less for its entertainment purposes and more for how ultra-violent it was back in the 90s. Let us talk about Mortal Kombat briefly and then explain how knowing what ESRB means helps protect your children and loved ones from violent games. At least, before they’re teenagers.

1. Mortal Kombat

  • System/Platform: Arcade, Super NES, Sega Genesis, various consoles
  • Publisher: Midway, Taito (JP), Acclaim, Virgin (EU), Tectoy (BRA)
  • Developer: Midway
  • Release Date: 1992

Warriors prepare, you have been chosen to enter the fighting tournament Mortal Kombat. Various martial artists and warriors will enter Earthrealm to engage each other in battles to the death. For some of these warriors this tournament is a means of honor and victory but for others it’s a means to saving Earth from being taken over by evil forces. Regardless of their reasons, Mortal Kombat is about to begin. Will you stand victorious or be stood on by your defeater?

While people in 2017 may look at Mortal Kombat as a joke for what was considered good graphics back in 1992, those who did play it when it released were horrified by the ultra-violence it contained. Mortal Kombat had blood, partial nudity, people being mutilated and people being killed in horrible ways. Thus, when the ESRB released, games like Mortal Kombat needed to be rated appropriately to the different age groups and by current standards the game would be stamped with a M rating which meant for mature audiences only. That’s why in today’s society, if you happen to see a game with an ESRB of M you’ll know that there is content not suitable for those under the age of 18. Which will not only mean your kid won’t find themselves exposed to possible nightmare inducing violence but your spouse probably won’t yell at you for ten hours for exposing your kid to nightmare inducing violence.

Fun For the right ages

The ESRB is an important tool in not just avoiding scary mature titles, but also in finding a game appropriate for your child or niece/nephew. Kids obviously come in a wide variety of ages and thus the ESRB as it advanced became more flexible for various ages. The ESRB would soon have ratings like E +10 which stood for everyone 10 years of age and or older and T which stood for teenager. Still a bit confused? Don’t fret, we’ve include two more examples for you to better understand the different ESRB ratings in the form of Pokken Tournament DX and Destiny 2. Trust us, you’ll completely get it after these two examples.

2. Pokken Tournament DX

  • System/Platform: Nintendo Switch
  • Publisher: The Pokemon Company
  • Developer: Bandai Namco Studios
  • Release Date: Sept 22, 2017

Pokken Tournament returns for the Nintendo Switch in the form of Pokken Tournament DX! Once more, fans of Pokemon can take some of their favorite cute companions and duke it out in arena style combat. Pokken Tournament DX also gives players several new Pokemon to use as warriors and even new game modes. Thanks to the Nintendo Switch, Pokken Tournament DX can be played while on the go or at home. Get ready to once more fight and level up to work your way up the ladder and become a new kind of Pokemon Master in Pokken Tournament DX!

Now some parents may worry about their children playing a Pokemon game that is not as cute and more action-orientated with actual fighting. Well this is where the E+10 age ESRB comes into play stating any kid around the age of 10 or older will have no problem being mature enough to play Pokken Tournament DX. Which is a very good thing, as we might add, as Pokken Tournament DX is a really amazing fighting game and is even better than the original that released on the Wii U a year or so ago. Now if your kid marks down for their upcoming birthday or Christmas they want Pokken Tournament DX, you can gladly get it for them if they meet the age requirements. Your kid will be happy and probably won’t yell for a good few days.

Pokken Tournament DX Nintendo Switch- Reveal Trailer (Official Trailer)

3. Destiny 2

  • System/Platform: PS4, Xbox One
  • Publisher: Activision
  • Developer: Bungie
  • Release Date: Sept 6. 2017

Guardian things aren’t looking too good for you. With one war over, a new one has quickly begun and this time the battle has reached Earth. A new enemy known as Dominus Ghaul has led his Red Legion Cabal army to Earth’s door step for one purpose, to gain the powers of The Traveler. With your Light taken away by his apprehension of The Traveler, you must regain your strength and once more become the guardian the Earth needs. If you fail, not only will Earth be doomed for destruction but the entire Universe may soon follow…

Now if you’re a parent who isn’t too aware of the gaming scene, you might associate guns and explosions with overly mature gameplay which as we learned would be rated M by the ESRB system. Though in the case of Destiny 2 by developer Bungie, while it may contain guns and violence, it isn’t rated M for mature but instead sits at a T for teen rating. This means that when your 14-year-old is trying to explain to you this isn’t a super bloody game filled with high levels of violence, they aren’t lying to you but stating a fact. Yes, Destiny 2 does contain blood and violence as well as some language but by no means is any of that over the top in comparison to games like Call of Duty Black Ops 3 or Dishonored 2. That being said now you won’t have to worry about your teenager playing a super violent game but will have to remind them not to have the volume at a super high level, Destiny 2 can be pretty loud.

Destiny 2- Official Launch Trailer (Official Trailer)

Final Thoughts

The ESRB may sound like a headache inducing concept at first, and we completely understand here at Honey’s Anime. However, as we mentioned multiple times in our What is ESRB article, the rating system isn’t that hard to understand and also is perfect for keeping parents worry free at what content their children are seeing and or playing. That’s why we hope you now better understand the ESRB system and can maybe even pass along the knowledge to a younger game who might not understand why Resident Evil 7 might be the wrong choice of a game to engage in if they’re only 12 years old. Now that our article has come to a close we would love to hear from you out there in regards of how we did? Did this article work to explain what the ESRB system is or are you still a little lost? If you think we did a fantastic job then why not scour through our site for more What is articles to help you level up your gaming knowledge!

Destiny-2-gameplay-700x394 What is ESRB? [Gaming Definition, Meaning]


Author: Aaron

Hey everyone I’m Aaron Curbelo or Blade as I’m called by my YouTube Subscribers. I’ve been an anime/manga fan since I was a young kid. In terms of anime I have watched nearly a thousand shows and have read hundreds of manga series. I love writing and honestly was so happy to join Honey’s Anime to get a shot to write articles for such a wonderful site. I’m a firm believer in respect in the anime community being the most important embodiment we should all have. We all love anime and we have varying opinions of series but we should respect one another for those differences! Life is too precious to spend it making needless arguments in a community that should be the shining example of loving an amazing medium. I hope as a writer for Honey’s Anime I can bring you folks some amazing articles to read and enjoy!

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