Rise Of The S-Word In T-Rated Games

In the first minutes of the T-rated Infamous, players will hear the curse commonly associated with manure and stepping in it. A new report examines how much profanity makes it into T-rated games.

A few weeks ago, I e-mailed John Davison, a games journalism friend, who runs the parental-guide video game site WhatTheyPlay.com. I'd been playing Infamous and was surprised by the amount of cursing in it. The game is rated T, a rating category I previously thought was safe to purchase for teenage relatives whose parents are unlikely to want them to hear cursing in their entertainment.

Sure, "shit" is a word you can hear in PG-13 movies, but given its absence from network TV I had incorrectly assumed it wasn't in T-rated games.

Davison said he was working on a story about profanity in Teen games and published the results this week.

What Davison found:

If you're sensitive to profanity, and to words like "s**t" specifically, then Teen-rated games are not going to be safe territory. While you won't ever hear "f**k" (or any variations of it) in a Teen game, unless it's bleeped-out as it is in UFC Undisputed, you will hear plenty of words like "a**," "b*tch," "p**s," "d**n," body part terms like "d**k," and "t*ts", and variations on cuss words that include "hell" or references to god.

Check out the rest of the What They Play article for comments from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board which labels such content. This one isn't so much a question of labeling, as it is of what kind of content warrants what kind of rating.

Teen Ratings and the S-word