About JIG/Casual Gameplay ratings

Over the years of maintaining the site, we have covered thousands of games, most of which are appropriate for an all-ages audience. However, there have been some interactive experiences that we have chosen to feature that may not be appropriate for everyone.

To help determine whether a game is appropriate for you (or for your children), we initially settled on a set of 3 tags: "kidsafe", "pg13" and "mature". The problem with these is they suggest an age range, and over the years we would often receive comments such as "I don't think this game is kidsafe" etc.

So, recently we decided that we should move away from suggesting an audience for the games we review, and instead identify potentially objectionable content a game contains.

To that end, we have created the following simplified series of symbols that you will begin to see appearing within the header for the games that we review, along with these corresponding tags: rating-g (green), rating-y (yellow), rating-o (orange), rating-r (red).
JIG Casual Gameplay game rating symbols

Here's what you can expect to find in games labeled with each symbol:

LANGUAGE:
Green :D = not even mildly harsh language
Yellow :o = mildly harsh language (single instance of "hell" or "damn", for example)
Orange :S = some language concerns
Red xP = George Carlin's Seven Words, uncensored, on loop

VIOLENCE:
Green :D = no violent content at all
Yellow :o = mild violence, cartoon or otherwise, but no blood
Orange :S = violence, and some blood
Red xP = lots of blood

ADULT SITUATIONS (sex, nudity, drugs):
Green :D = no sex, nudity or drug references at all
Yellow :o = very mild adult situations, nudity or innuendo
Orange :S = drug references, nudity or sexually explicit content
Red xP = we won't feature games that would warrant a red in this category.

We will go only as far as indicating the strongest level of content present from all categories combined. The new rating system is designed to simplify our game ratings by flagging objectionable content, not to provide a detailed listing of the content a game contains. It is up to you to decide whether the game is appropriate for you (or for your children).

We will do our best to identify potentially objectionable content in the games we review. We're not perfect, though, and there may still be points of contention, so feel free to speak up and we'll always be there to listen. :)

Thank you for your visits, your comments and your suggestions!

46 Comments

What about nudity (in non-sexual contexts)?

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ThemePark January 20, 2009 5:14 AM

I LOVE these new icons! XD And the humor in the language section as well.

One question though. Will the reviews contain one icon per group, or one icon that sums up the three groups?

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waycooler January 20, 2009 6:26 AM

Ooooh thank you! Mainly for the violence third of it. I see a game that looks cool, and I'm all, "Ooh I'll play it." Then I notice a pg13 or mature tag on it. Which makes me stop and read the review thoroughly, just in case. When it doesn't really seem to mention blood or gore at all, and I start playing... sometimes I stop and I'm like, "Ok, nevermind." I definitely appreciate this.

And I just thought of it, and it wouldn't really apply as well as language, violence, and nudity, but maybe something similar for scary games? But... the horror tag tends to sum it up pretty well. At the same time sometimes games don't have the horror tag but still have scary/intensely suspenseful bits that are far from horror, (i.e. The Submachine series. very atmospheric, but... not exactly horror) but I still wouldn't want to play. At the same time, the reviews tend to mention such things very well, so... I don't know. Just an idea.

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Silent George January 20, 2009 4:45 PM

Great system; thanks, Jay!

I love playing games here with my 2.5-yr-old, but he's now at the age when there's absolutely no telling what he'll find "scary." He laughed his head off at the Bamba snack quests, though; was even speaking some Hebrew by the end. The color codes will help.

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Carny Asada January 20, 2009 4:49 PM

I like that you're trying to be more specific and helpful with the ratings. There are always going to be problems. (I wonder how you would rate Kingdom of Loathing under this system? Cartoon violence, mild innuendo?)

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I think this is a nifty addidtion. I think an even better (yet slightly more complex) system would be to have a filter that will block the entire blog entrys for games of a certain level, but its not necessarly needed at this point.

I'm just curious, but you used xP with a lowercase x for the Red tag, but I've always seen it as XP with an uppercase X, but thats just me. Lol

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Super Twichy January 22, 2009 4:23 PM

Wow! This will be really useful! Good idea.

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FlameToFire January 23, 2009 7:28 PM

"George Carlin's Seven Words, uncensored, on loop" he he he!

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Kingdom of Loathing is a tough one... if it were more of a visual game I would say orange for violence and adult situations, but because it's (almost) all text, the graphicness just isn't there like it is for other games. I don't know if I'd classify the innuendo as "mild", but it's hidden beneath some layers, so that it would sail right over most kids' heads. I'd probably give it a yellow, or maybe an orange just to be safe.

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arceus121121 April 13, 2009 4:15 PM

thank you for the rating system!!! before you had this my parents kept busting me for inappropriate game content, considering a simple pg-13 wording at the category didnt really do it, now these really help me.

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I'll never understand why sex is considered so much worse than violence... but oh well.

[Edit: I think that's a common misconception. There is no evidence that sex is considered "(much) worse" than violence. I think there is far too much violence in the games we play today. We don't feature games with extreme or gratuitous violence; and games with lots of sex might as well be labeled 'porn', which we won't feature either. Not that it's worse, it's just inappropriate for our audience. -Jay]

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atomic1fire May 26, 2009 10:40 PM

The only problem with the rating system is since the icons are the same for everything, unless the author divulges what part of the game may be objectionable, you really have no idea other then the face.

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darcixcore May 29, 2009 8:16 PM

Suggestion: Perhaps you can make it so when you scroll over the face it gives a slightly more detailed description of why it's rated that way? Since there's no other way of knowing if it's for language, violence, or adult situations?

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Arikiko June 9, 2009 3:57 AM

I agree with darcixcore, although it would take a little extra effort. A game could have no language or sexual concern, but be extremely gory/ violent.

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Meeeeeeeee August 2, 2009 11:17 PM

Eh, bugs do not wear clothes. Should all games including any animal without a costume not be considered green?

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They should use this rating system for video games. :D

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I think there's one thing you are SUPREMELY overlooking. HORROR, CREEPY HORROR & EMO THEMES. I can give examples: Dreamgate Escape is HORRIFIC. You didn't feature it, but it's an example of the kind of horror I mean. Then, some games aren't as bad, but make me feel like there's a lead weight at the center of my stomach & shouldn't be entirely overlooked. Then, there's games like COLOR MY DREAMS, which WAS featured here. 4-year olds(& their moms) would not appreciate seeing that game's jump scares(horror) OR emo themes. Sorry but I think it's pretty important.

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I'm very confused. Didn't both my comments show? I apologized for the 2nd one, but, um, why is it totally deleted? I'm relatively new to how this all works :P

[I read your rant and subsequent remorseful apology for it as reason to remove them both. -Jay]

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how to find all game with mature content ?

LANGUAGE, VIOLENCE and ADULT SITUATIONS

rating-o (orange), rating-r (red)

[Simply use the tag listings for the ratings (you can also click on any tag to see a listing of all games with that tag): http://jayisgames.com/tag/rating-o and http://jayisgames.com/tag/rating-r -Jay]

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MethanalCHO June 10, 2010 7:54 PM

So you know, there is one reason why they don't have "horror" as a category: because different people find different things scary. As I say, "One man's thermometer is another man's doom". That sentence is a reference to the element mercury, by the way.

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Anonymous July 9, 2010 2:40 PM

Can we know WHY it was rated g, y, r, or o?
e.g.:

rating-y :o

for cartoon violence

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Garythesnail July 23, 2010 11:22 AM

Jay, just an idea like Anonymous's ^
|

Why not post the individual rating, then an overall rating, as if you were posting a comment on a game, (i.e. Graphics: 2/5, Game-play:4/5, etc... Overall:4/5)

Just a suggestion, that's all.

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@Garythesnail

I would also love the idea of, when you hover over the rating icons, you would get an idea of how each category was rated (language, violence, adult situations). It's easy enough to do, me thinks.

But regarding the gameplay ratings themselves, it would be taking value from the review cause if we have an easy-go system to see details about the game, we wouldn't be actually reading the reviews anymore.

I do love JIG's reviews, even if sometimes I have no interest in them for certain games. JIG is the most polished, systemized, effortless and community-interactive games' site I know.

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sunglasse August 11, 2010 8:34 PM

All I know is about the red is satatouriem.

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Why are drugs special enough to warrant "adult situation" status?

[Because anything involving drug use and abuse is considered an adult situation here at this site. -Jay]

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Not all of them have the game ratings! Are they all supposed to?

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One of the reasons this site is better than alot of other collections of games is the reviews and ratings. Keep up the good work, Jayisgames!

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Mark Wigglesworth October 25, 2011 3:58 AM

Please let parents select the desired rating level through a browser cookie. That would hide games above the desired rating level.
This is of course no excuse to leave your children unattended by the computer, but it makes things easier for parents.

[This is a really great idea, but it will take some significant development to change the way the site currently works and is structured. I promise to work on this, but I can't make any promises about how long it will take. Thanks for the feedback! -Jay]

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I agree with some of the others who've commented about horror themes. I've seen plenty of terrifying games on this site without the horror tag or anything like that. I have perpetual nightmares and if you could adjust the rating s for games like this (color my Dreams, dreamgate escape, etc...)it would be much appreciated. I also think the rating should be raised for Viricide. the whole

suicide-esque ending

was HORRIFIC.

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Egbert2011 March 17, 2012 2:57 PM

Fair Ratings, Funny Icons and Good Descriptions, but what I'm Reading here..I have a New Game, it's a Horror Game called Bloodthirst and I was Thinking: Dang, if I Submit Bloodthirst on here it'll Get an XP Rating, just Because of Graphic Violence.

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https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawkm5I2UTHaLsPTGqoPQAjmbzIUeQti2zHA July 29, 2013 9:58 PM

fantastic!!

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Carny Asada October 19, 2013 4:36 PM

Is there an easy way to dismiss some of the more booby-licious ads featured in the side banners of your site? I understand why you need to run ads, I would just prefer not to make a lengthy visit to your site with a glaring reminder of the oppressive nature of game design patriarchy slapping me in the face. I would happily have other, less offensive ads in my peripheral vision.

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I Strongly Agree With Carny Asada. Maybe you could run ads for armor games, kongregate, nitrome, or similar places for anonymous users and everyone under 18. There could also be some ad type setting under a profile page.

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This might be the cutest rating system ever. Red is how I feel on a Sunday morning.

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Is there a way for reporting games that are rated wrong? And not just the subjective 'my-children-are-too-sensitive-for-mild-cartoon-violence' kind of wrong, but like games with 'horror' and 'rating-g' category tags. For example, House (2008) has blood and jump scares, but it's green. Even if it's not red, House probably shouldn't be green, just based on the tag definitions list.

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Hello Jennifer,

'Humanum errare est'
Which url please?

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Hi Jennifer, I rooted through the archives and found the game you were talking about. It was probably simply mistagged, so I've changed the rating. :)

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I think it would be great if you guys relaxed the policy against reviewing games that happen to be pornographic. There are some important games that have pornographic elements and high quality writing/art and do not deserve to be ignored by a quality game review site such as this. I don't mean things like dopey little things on Newgrounds, I'm talking things like Rance or Unteralterbach or Corruption of Champions, serious games for serious people that happen to have sexing in the gameplay.

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What is your policy on tagging violent content in text-based/interactive fiction games? Example: in Enlightened, vividly written descriptions of violence include (gameplay and solution spoilers ahead)

using pepper spray in someone's eyes, stabbing their other eye out, then the sounds of them screaming in pain as they're literally eaten alive, resulting from actions you took as the player character.

Granted, not one bit of that is presented through graphics or sound effects. It's all in text. And granted, the entire game was presented as humor. Still, the imagery and emotional impact was quite vivid (and painful) for me. And yet, that game is tagged with a rating of Green.

Was that something that merely slipped by? Or do you consider text-only depictions of violence to not count towards a higher rating?

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Oops, sorry, I meant Enlightenment.

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Dora April 8, 2015 1:22 PM replied to Lysana

Hi Lysana. Ratings are applied at the discretion of the reviewer (editors, I'm sure you understand, don't have the time to play every single game from beginning to end to verify, so we have to trust our writers), and, well, sometimes they make mistakes. Given that this game is so old (actually several months before I even joined the site as a writer myself), it was likely a simple error in judgement by someone who wasn't thinking. These days, based on my own experiences and trying to learn from feedback, we encourage writers to always "rate up" (IE, give a game a slightly higher content rating) when in doubt. I do apologize, and I'll edit the review in question.

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Lysana April 8, 2015 1:37 PM replied to Dora

@ Dora - Thanks so much! I appreciate your thoughtful and informative reply. This also makes me feel more confident about choosing IF (and other) games to play here - I'm mostly a "green"-ratings person myself, and even when I want to dip into something above that, it's a huge help to me to know what I'm getting into so I can prepare myself. :)

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Dora April 8, 2015 2:36 PM replied to Lysana

Cheers. :) The best advice I can give is to always ask if you're ever unsure, since not every potentially troubling theme fits neatly into any given rating, and an orange rating may, for instance, simply mean one character cusses a bit, or there could be implied hanky panky. I always encourage the writers to err on the side of caution and disclose big themes like assault or abuse behind spoiler tags in the comments whenever possible, which they're usually great about, so don't ever feel bad about going, "Hey, can you please tell me why specifically this game has this rating?"

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