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While I get the inclination to think of this in a dev perspective, I think it's ultimately the players who are more important to consider here as it is to their benefit. Yes, it would be good to have a system that is easy to fill out by devs and doesn't take half an hour per game, but if that leads to a subpar content rating system, it's not that useful to implement. 

My own inclination in this case is to have some broader subject matter tags that can be chosen, after which some refinement tags are suggested to help branch out to more specific subjects. It should also be possible to add multiple subset subjects. 

Some suggestions for categories and subsets: 

  • Violence: cartoon/fantasy violence, violence towards children, intimate partner violence, etc.
  • Sexual content: heterosexual sex, homosexual sex, intersex sex participant(s), transgender sex participant(s), group sex, masturbation, fetish, etc.
  • Alcohol/drug use: marijuana, alcohol, smoking, hard drugs, etc.
  • Coarse language: sexual innuendo, sexually explicit language, blasphemy, slurs, etc.
  • Mental health/abuse: child abuse, domestic abuse, depression, self harm, etc.
  • Common phobias: spiders, insects, needles, etc.

This would allow the developers to fill out the contents in broad strokes if they aren't interested in being super specific or want to avoid spoiling their games, but it also allows them to get more specific for players who asked about specific subject matter or if they want to be specific in the first place. The one flaw I can think of is that some subjects that fall under the broad categories might apply to multiple broad categories (rape would fall under violence, sexual content and abuse, for example), so it would be good to have some subjects automatically apply more broad categories when picked.

I personally think age limits are only useful in a legal sense, as different people mature at different rates. I'm not particularly interested in age ratings as a result. The problem I have with the categories of "mature" and "adult" is that the line between them is very blurry for me personally, especially for games. I would personally only mark with ages or age categories if a product is intended to only be consumed by legal adults (basically: porn).


Thanks for your feedback.

I think the difference between mature and adult is specifically to account for "adult content," and we're going to need that distinction.


Fair, though I would personally put that as "legal adults only" to make it clear it has potentially illegal content for minors.

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While I agree that it probably shouldn't be required by game developers to be so fine-detailed descriptive of specific subcategories of sex, it may still be useful to allow these tags to exist as community-submitted contributions to the game page that are viewable (and rateable) by other users.

You seem a bit overly-defensive for what was a discussion of content rating descriptions and terminology.  Immediately accusing others of being 'phobic' because they do not desire to be exposed to certain content in their entertainment is both narrow-minded and short-sighted of you.  Every person, regardless of who they are, can choose to exclude themselves from being exposed to certain content.

If I watch porn involving people of specific ethnicities (or excluding them) then that is displaying a preference that I am entitled to do so as a consumer of such content.  I never feel that game devs (or anyone) should arm-twist people into being exposed to content they do not desire to be exposed to.  Caveat venditor and all that.  Kindly keep the penises to yourself :P

In a recent AAA game (Assassin's Creed Odyssey), one of the (gay) male characters makes obvious unwanted sexual advances towards my main male character multiple times to the point where it might constitute sexual harassment.  That is NOT ok.  I don't give a damn if they are gay.  Unwanted is unwanted.

TLDR:  No means NO regardless of the genders involved.  Get over it.

No, a community submitted ranking or tag only ends up in a mess. It happen in Steam, Gamejolt and Metacredit. They all have reviews that do not reflect on the game but on what they believe.


Consider the other side of the coin: the devs are important to consider, too, because it is part of their workflow, and ultimately their responsibility to jump through these hoops. Yes, it would be good to have every game thoroughly documented, but that friction will make devs less likely to want to put effort into categorizing their game. It's better to implement a 'subpar' content rating system that is actually used than it is to implement a content rating system that is in theory ideal but in practice inconsistent and subpar in its own ways.

The players don't see the rating system directly, they see the result of collaboration between system & dev.

I'd actually like to see an end-user contributed tagging system similar to how Steam does it.  You have the basic tags added by devs and then additional tags added by the users (with inaccurate tags being reported if needed).