Standardized Educational Games Ratings: Suggested Criteria
Intro to Educational Games
Video games have evolved greatly over the years, becoming a more complex andeffective interactive media and forming a highly popular and expansive industry; one that islikely to continue to grow at a significant rate. In 2007 alone, game software sales grew over sixpercent to 9.5 billion dollars (Entertainment Software Association, 2008).Capitalizing on this increasing popularity, educators have the unique opportunity to usemany components of game design and apply them towards a curriculum which utilizes game-based instruction, either through educational games or through the re-purposing of entertainment games. The idea of motivation, for example, can change the sometimeslamented prospect of mastering a new subject into a player-initiated experience, where learningoccurs simultaneously with engaging game play. Harnessing the compelling and immersivenature of games to teach subjects is no small feat, however, and the promotion of these gamesis hindered by the lack of a consistent and reliable rating system. With no effective method of distilling a game down to its educational content, parents and educators may find it hard tochoose a title appropriately.
Intro to Game Ratings
In order to propose a new rating system for games with educational content, it is veryuseful to look at ratings systems already in place. Entertainment games are currently ratedaccording to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, or ESRB. Most of the current gamedevelopment studios submit their games to the ESRB for ratings (Entertainment Software RatingBoard, 2008), and some will even modify their in-game content to acquire a desired rating. This