Holiday shopping for a video game? Ratings may be misleading

CLIFTON, Colo. If you have a gamer friend or family member, you might be thinking about picking up a video game for them this holiday season.

But with all the new and exciting features coming out each year, the tolerance for adult-content has been heightened as well.

"I'm pretty liberal with what I'll let them play," said Mike Morris.

Morris has eleven year old twin boys, and as a video gamer himself, he has certain standards for what he'll allow them to play at that age.

"We keep the profanity and sexual content...no. Won't allow that. As far as shooting, I don't have a hard time with that."

Ultimately it's up to the parent, but knowing what a game actually entails when shopping in-store might not be as easy as consulting the ESRB rating, located in the lower corners of all video game covers.

It's also become clear that higher levels of adult content is more acceptable now that ever before.

"If I look at a game that I played in 2000 that was rated M, more than likely it would have a T rating now," said Alex Rollins, manager at Gamerz Planet in Clifton. "It wasn't as graphic, there wasn't as much blood there was hardly any cussing. Now when I play a game, it's...everything's allowed."

Which makes knowing exactly what you're buying much more important.

That means you may want to do some research using online reviews, or utilizing store employees, where they're more than likely to have actual experience playing them.

"For parents, I can give them the guideline it says on the game and if possible, what I might know about the game. I will be like: this is what the game entails. This is why you might have any questions about the games or concerns," Rollins said.

So for those looking into buying a holiday gift for someone who might not be ready for adult content, the ESRB rating gives a reference point to the content, but an extra close look can help save a trip to the return aisle.


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