ESRB Rating: eC for Early Childhood

 

The ESRB rating eC is given to games that contain no content that could be considered questionable for anyone ages 3 and below. Most often these games are based on characters in children’s television like Nick Jr or Sesame Street. At the very least they will contain mascots and avatars that are cute and simple with colorful graphics

There are a number of barriers you might run into when looking at games this rating category. The biggest one is that our first instinct is often to look for games that we would qualify as “good games” or “quality gaming experiences” from our perspective as adults. The reality is that there is a large disparity between what makes a game “good” for the adult gamer and for children ages 3 or less.

Games rated eC are often grouped in with games rated E. This is generally fine from a content perspective. But, that does not necessarily mean that the game will be accessible. The most important difference between eC rated games and those rated E is the level of interactivity that they require. Games rated E are not necessarily simple. They can require timing, object recognition and the ability to react to changes in environment quickly. There are not many people who would make a reasonable claim that a 3 year old would be able to play Super Mario Galaxy. It is simply too complex and requires the use of too many concepts that they do not understand.

Most eC rated games require limited interaction. Meaning they are little more than mildly interactive movies or cartoons that give the children opportunities to experience if not actually “play” a game.

A great example of a quality game in this category is a title released on the Wii called “Learning with the PooYoos.” It is a WiiWare title and has a price point of 500 Wii points ($5) so no one should expect a blockbuster gaming experience, but for the price there is plenty of game play available. (Especially once you get a 2 year old to do one of the dances. That is worth the price of admission alone.)

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