Your Friend, the ESRB

Aside from Wizard101 and Pirate101, we pitch quite a few different games that we enjoy on Spiral Radio101, and many fall outside the Spiral. Let’s say you want to take one of them for a spin. You’re a young person and you want to do the right thing, so you bring it up with your folks. Depending on who they are, that might be a bit of a sticky wicket.

I know if I would have brought something like this to the attention of my folks (back in the Mesozoic era), seeking their blessing to play one game or another, their eyes would gloss over and they likely would have given me the thumbs down. Here is where the Entertainment Software Rating Board, or ESRB, can be your silver bullet. Providing they have a smartphone or some similar device, step one just might start with this video:

So who is this mystical group of people? Here’s how they tell it:

The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is the non-profit,
self-regulatory body that assigns ratings for video games and apps so parents
can make informed choices. The ESRB rating system encompasses guidance about
age-appropriateness, content, and interactive elements. As part of its
self-regulatory role for the video game industry, the ESRB also enforces
industry-adopted advertising guidelines and helps ensure responsible web and
mobile privacy practices among companies participating in its Privacy Online program. ESRB
was established in 1994 by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA).

If they need further convincing, point them in the direction of the ESRB web page at If they need a TL;DR, the ESRB is essentially the Motion Picture Association of America – they rate games so parents know what is cool for their kids and what might not be.

It is up to us as gamers to educate our folks and the non-gaming masses that not every game starring someone other than Dora the Explorer or the cast of Veggie Tales is Grand Theft Auto. There is a vast middle ground full of awesome games that are perfectly acceptable for every age range. Wizard101 and Pirate101 would be two excellent examples. Good luck with your students.

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