Question about labeling games by age appropriateness?

I was just thinking, there seems to be a growing divide in HG’s in particular (but also some in COG’s) for how age appropriate some are for different groups. One one end of the scale, there’s games like Detective and Dryads riddle which are very family friendly and probably aimed primarily at younger audiences, on the other end of the scale there’s games including everything up to graphic killing and sex scenes with some WIP’s (which may or may not end up being finished, but potentially could end up in the stores eventually) being further along that scale again.

Is it worth starting to include a suggested age level or warnings of some type in the descriptions for the stores/or a sorter in the omnibus to help people sort which might be ok to give to their kids? I can just see some parents banning their kids from buying HG’s or COGs altogether if they happen to read one and find their 11 year old is reading games with explicit scenes in them (even if they can be turned off at the start.)

I don’t find the standard classifications in places like amazon and google all that reliable and wonder how much stock people put in them. for example on one hand Starship is listed as family friendly by amazon and there’s a couple of scenes that I think make it PG (not G), where as Wizardry which is pretty benign and PG at most is listed as mature content on one of the stores.

Just something I’ve had on my mind for a while about how to help manage which games are ok to all audiences and which definitely aren’t, when they’re being sold under the same label.


I think this is one of those cases where the responsibility falls to the parents, not to the authors on whether or not a story is acceptable for their kids. If a parent reads the description for a story like Zombie Exodus and still thinks that its acceptable for their child, putting a “Mature audience only” in the description won’t change their mind I don’t think. I think if an author wishes to put recommended ages onto their stories thats fine but making it a requirement seems a little silly to me.

The only parents I can really envision letting their kids play games like Zombie Exodus or Sabres of Infinity are parents who aren’t going to read the descriptions in the first place.

As for a sorter in the Omnibus I think while it sounds like a good idea, what the CoG staff or authors (depending on whose job it is to put it in the kids category) might think its child friendly while the parent might not. Then the parent sends a complaint that “This was in the children’s section but it wasn’t appropriate!” and then a whole issue starts. Best to leave responsibility of what the kids use and read up to the parents in my opinion.


I agree to an extent, but on the other hand, I know when I was a kid, my parents felt pretty safe letting me pick what ever I wanted to read from certain sections of the library without having to vet it first as I never came across anything really innaproprate for my age there. If I had to wait for my parents to read anything I wanted to, I wouldn’t have got to read anywhere near as much as I did in primary school :slight_smile:

Sometimes mistakes can be made if it’s a quick glance at the cover and what it’s about is what is happening. A whole lot of young kids that got to see watership down because it was a “cartoon about rabbits going on a journey” can attest to that. Sometimes it’s not even that obvious. For example Starship has a few drug and sexuality references. Nothing explicit, but enough that some parents I know would be unhappy if they gave it to their young kids and discovered it later. It’s not immediately obvious it’s in there from the description or it’s rating on the stores.

Anyway, it was just a thought for a quick way for parents to screen in or out innapropriate content. Anything in the grey range they’d have to decide themselves what the boundries are in terms of language, sex refs, violence level etc.

Yep but some things are pretty universally ok. If there’s little to no violence, no bad language, written with younger audiences in mind, you’ve been safe with a G type rating. Anything in the middle would be PG (ie PG- mild language and violence etc) Things obviously out like heavy violence or sex scenes would be in the Mature rating. It’s just a quick and dirty rating system to screen things in, out, needs PG :slight_smile:


Thats true, and I totally understand. I just think that what one person considers to be age appropriate is not the same as the others, which has a tendency to create issues. When I was younger I used to read books filled with pictures from Soviet war photographers. Meanwhile somebody from my church stated that Paw Patrol was to adult for her 7 year old son.

I think it’s a potentially good idea that has a large chance to cause some issues eventually. But I could be completely wrong and it could be a potentially great idea. But in my opinion I’d leave it at the authors discretion whether or not to add a rating to it.

It is an interesting topic though. Thank you for bringing it up.

I think tags like ‘sexual innuendo , explicit Gore , Hide your childrens…etc’ should be enough . Every country have their own rating after all . So I wouldnt see that as a Good decision making , since whats acceptable in a country is different in another . kinda could come off as misleading…


Luckily we have the adult-fiction category on here now, but other than that I totally agree that the classification on google amazon and such are pretty unreliable. It doesn’t really matter to me personally very much but I could easily see a lot of issues popping up from this… yikes.

Still, anything I write is definitely 18+, so I can’t quite give a viewpoint from someone who struggles with age ratings, but I’d say swears to any extent definitely should just pop it up to 18+ to avoid any controversy. I am 100% sure someone will rage about it if not. That is my viewpoint at least.


Well… many games in play store and i assume apps store as well ,are definitely not children friendly if we really want to moderate into their contents, the so called strategy game and even RPG games are fill with cruel killing and blood splashing every where, and referring to online RPG games on play / app store , many of the characters are almost “naked” in these games … but unfortunately many of these players are children as well…

Unfortunately I’d bet the majority of those players are really children lol I think most adults who are interested in that have realized those games are just bait and filled with microtransaction’s or terrible gameplay most of the time. It is sort of ironic but I think they may be marketing to the younger audience lol

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Hmm, categorising games by age appropriateness seems slightly difficult from my perspective, it really does depend on how parents and readers classify something as ‘family-friendly’ and '18+", as opinions on classifying ‘adultness’ is really subjective. I mean, in my case, my parents really didn’t care much about what I chose book-wise, though they did have some gripes with swearing and graphic violence, they overall just let me explore the wide range of books and media.

Though I do think categorising games/filtering them into categories such as ‘Graphic Violence’ or ‘Sexual Tones’ would probably be better to fight against the ‘subjective age appropriateness’ problem by just telling the reader that these themes are present in the book rather than just saying it’s PG or R rated. Something on the same lines of:

You have to fill in a content form for the apple app store if I remember correctly, so they can put it in the right category. I don’t think I picked myself.

But here on the forum, it might be a usable one for the WIPS.

On the whole though, things like this is SO DIFFERENT depending in the country. I mean swearing seems to very forbidden in the US, and over here it’s no big thing at all.


Hmmm…I grew up with my parents openly cursing around me, so my view of what is age appropriate is skewed.

I kinda go by movie guidelines. 1 f-bomb is PG-13. Mild nudity or somewhat explicit scenes? PG-13. Full frontal? R. Actual sex scenes, with all the bits exposed? NC-17/X.

There are some children’s books and movies that were more traumatizing to me than adult media (oh my God, I had nightmares about Snow White’s forest for years)…So, I agree it can be difficult. However, I don’t think it’s as difficult as some commenters are assuming.

I do think a basic “if it checks off these boxes and/or enough boxes, it is mature. these ones/this many for erotica…” etc., etc. would be a great way to handle things.

I have three siblings under the age of 18 - 17, 13, and 9 (18, 14, and 10, this year)…I am acutely aware of how much more accessible to children media has become. Just a few weeks ago, I caught my 9 year old sister playing some lewd, naked roleplay in Roblox, for God’s sake!

Suggested ratings is a good idea that 100% has my support. The pros far outweigh the cons, imho.

Also, @malinryden, swearing isn’t too big a deal in the US. It isn’t put in children’s programs, but I hear some very interesting phrases daily. And parents definitely curse at their kids, so idk why the FCC cares so much. The only thing we really care about is cunt, which I say pretty regularly, myself, so idk. It’s more sex that we’re worried about.

Sex is a big deal in the US; violence is a big deal in Europe. Extreme versions of either probably shouldn’t be viewed by children. (That Tom&Jerry was a children’s cartoon still shocks me, tbh)

At the ripe age of eight, I was reading The Mists of Avalon. One day, while sitting in the back seat of my mom’s car, I asked her, “is it ok if this book has a little bit of rape in it?”

My mother basically never asked me about what I was reading from that day forth.


It kinda feels like she should have, though…


Yeah, I can’t recall the title, but my mom gave me a book that she had loved, when I was 7, and a major subplot of the book was the mom’s remarriage…And this 12 year old girl was referring to her mother and step-father’s, em, relations as “sexual intercourse.” Constantly.

My dad was shooketh :tm:, but then…I also read stuff by VC Andrews when I was, like, 12/13. But I also grew up fast, due to various home situations. My siblings aren’t mature enough, particularly due to being raised differently; but I was. I think a lot of parents go on a case-by-case basis like that.

That said, I stand by my previous statement that some sort of general guideline is a good idea. It doesn’t have to be strict, and I’m sure it wouldn’t catch everything, but as HG/CoG spreads its wings and diversifies (I’m assuming the adult label is still in the works), it might be a good idea to have suggested age groups. Movies, TV shows, games, and books all manage to do so. I don’t see why IF would be any different :slight_smile:

I think that content warnings in published products should be included, but I also think that while establishing some kind of age sort is a step (I don’t really know where atm), it’s easy to remember reality and that maybe some parents might not care enough to check or that it might not be worth it since the audience that an age sort would be intended to protect might have completely different interests rather than more reading.

I think that it’s ultimately in the hands of the consumer, or - you know - whoever’s paying the bill - to make informed choices and that’s partially (I imagine) why the publishers have demos so that audiences can sample the work and then make a decision.

IIRC Choice of Zombie starts right out the gate with the MC witnessing a zombie chewing a leg (is it human? or was it a squirrel? I can’t remember, but I know it’s some kind of leg!). SoH uses this technique as well with the fish in Book One.

I think that introducing what kind of tone/genre your story will have (especially concerning themes that is aimed at older audiences) right out the gate is a better “age warning” than making up a new system because it (1) introduces the potential buyer to the content itself, rather than just reading a (possibly) misleading label (or maybe people just have different conceptions about the label, hence confusion) (2) clues the buyer into what kind of game it’s going to be and therefore sets up the tone so they can make an informed decision (3) and probably doesn’t force CoG/HG to add anything else or make them go through any hoops with other publishers or whatnot (this I’m not quite sure about since I’m not them).

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I know that parents generally don’t have the time nor inclination to check every single thing their child(ren) come(s) in contact with.

I agree that having an idea of the type of action, pretty early on, can be a good option. I will say, it put me off SoH for a while, because it seemed silly to me, at the time.

Nothing is a foolproof guarantee that kids won’t see what they shouldn’t. Having trigger warnings at the beginning, in the free trial intro, is 100% a great first step, as is @Havenstone’s option of having a page in the stats screen dedicated to content warnings.

I just happen to think having the added “this story may not be appropriate for people under (age)” could be beneficial.

Good points.

Ultimately, I’m of the opinion that it’s the author’s responsibility to give warnings ahead of time, whether it’s with a scene, content warnings, etc. It seems like a lot more work for any sort of age appropriateness to be established from the top-down since the CoG/HG staff already have a lot of their hands.

On the other hand, I think it’s completely fair of CoG/HG to have the requirement for content warnings, trigger warnings, etc., but I don’t think they should be the ones trying to put an age label onto products as a part of their regular work day.

Let the authors and beta testers do that work cause the CoG/HG staff have a lot on their plate already, I imagine.

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I agree! At the same time, I believe I read somewhere that the games get read through by a member of staff prior to publication (correct me if I’m wrong! Not trying to start a rumor mill or anything. This also may only be for official CoG games). This could be a good second barrier to verify that games are being categorized correctly.