The rating system used on cartridge games, originally developed by the Interactive Digital Software Association, Washington, and now handled by the Independent Entertainment Software Rating Board, New York, has five rating categories:
Early Childhood -- Suitable for children ages 3 and older.
Kids to Adult -- Ages 6 and older.
Teen -- Ages 13 and older.
Mature -- Ages 17 and older.
Adults Only -- Not intended to be sold or rented to persons under 18.
According to the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the games are rated by three independent, trained raters, with no ties to the interactive game industry.
Additionally, content descriptors that further describe the products may appear on the package back. They include: "mild animated violence," "comic mischief," "animated violence," realistic violence," "animated blood and gore," "realistic blood and gore," "suggestive themes," "mature sexual themes," "strong sexual content," "mild language," "strong language," "gaming," "use of tobacco and alcohol," and "use of drugs." The rating system developed for computer software by the Software Publishers Association, Washington, and overseen by the Recreational Software Advisory Council, Cambridge, Mass., measures the levels of violence, nudity/sex and language found on computer disks and CD-ROM games.
Icons were created to represent each of the three categories: a bomb for violence, a hand covering an eye for nudity/sex and an exclamation point for language. There is also an icon "ALL" for games suitable for everyone.