To help you make appropriate choices, we display ratings information provided by PEGI (Pan European Games Information), the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) and the MPAA (Moving Picture Association of America).
PEGI age rating labels appear on front and back of the packaging at one of the following age levels - 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+ and 18+. They provide an indication of the suitability of the game content in terms of protection of minors. The age rating does not take into account the difficulty level or skills required to play a game.
The content of games given this rating is considered suitable for all age groups. Some violence in a comical context (typically Bugs Bunny or Tom & Jerry cartoon-like forms of violence) is acceptable. The child should not be able to associate the character on the screen with real life characters, they should be totally fantasy. The game should not contain any sounds or pictures that are likely to scare or frighten young children. No bad language should be heard and there should be no scenes containing nudity nor any references to sexual activity.
Any game that would normally be rated at 3+ but contains some possibly frightening scenes or sounds may be considered suitable in this category. Some scenes of partial nudity may be permitted but never in a sexual context.
Video games that show violence of a slightly more graphic nature towards fantasy character and/or non graphic violence towards human-looking characters or recognisable animals, as well as video games that show nudity of a slightly more graphic nature would fall in this age category. Any bad language in this category must be mild and fall short of sexual expletives.
This rating is applied once the depiction of violence (or sexual activity) reaches a stage that looks the same as would be expected in real life. More extreme bad language, the concept of the use of tobacco and drugs and the depiction of criminal activities can be included in the content of games that are rated 16+.
The adult classification is applied when the level of violence reaches a stage where it becomes depictions of gross violence and/or includes elements of specific types of violence. Gross violence is the most difficult to define since in a lot of cases it can be very subjective, but in general terms it can be classed as the depictions of violence that would make the viewer feel a sense of revulsion.
Descriptors shown on the back of packaging indicate the main reasons why a game has received a particular age rating. There are eight such descriptors: violence, bad language, fear, drugs, sexual, discrimination, gambling and online gameplay with other people. PEGI provides the following descriptor graphics:
Game contains depictions of violence.
Game contains bad language.
Game depicts nudity and/or sexual behaviour or contains sexual references .
Game refers to or depicts the use of drugs.
Game may be frightening or scary for young children.
Games that encourage or teach gambling.
Game contains depictions of, or material which may encourage, discrimination.
Game can be played online.
The BBFC is an independent British body that uses minimum ages to categorise films and PC and video games.
18: the film or game is only suitable for adults (persons aged 18 or over). It has an adult theme and contains strong scenes of sex or violence that could be quite graphic. It may also contain some very explicit language. It is an offence for a shop to supply an 18-rated video, DVD or game to anyone below the age of 18.
15: the film or game is unsuitable for anyone younger than 15. It may have a fairly adult theme or contain mature content, language and violence which, while not being particularly graphic, is unsuitable for younger teenagers. It is an offence for a shop to supply a 15-rated video, DVD or game to anyone below the age of 15.
12: the film or game is unsuitable for anyone younger than 12. It may have moments of mild violence and swear words. It is an offence for a shop to supply a 12-rated video, DVD or game to anyone below the age of 12.
PG: this stands for "parental guidance", which means that parents might wish to check the film or game before allowing their younger children to watch it.
U: the film or game is suitable for children of all ages.
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) offers the following voluntary film-rating system designed to provide guidance for parents about which films are suitable for children to see.
G: general audiences; suitable for all ages.
PG: parental guidance; some material may not be suitable for children.
PG-13: parents are strongly cautioned; some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
R: restricted; under 17s should only watch the film when accompanied by a parent or adult guardian.
NC-17: not suitable for children under the age of 17.
NR/Unrated: the film has not yet been rated by the MPAA.
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