Across the Line: MPAA Jargon as the Key to Great Gaming

Tuesday , 19, January 2016 4 Comments

Game designer S. John Ross had a flash of insight when he went to the movies this past weekend:

I noticed that one movie had a PG-13 rating for including “brief teen partying.” Another threatened both “crude humor” and “thematic elements.” Someone needs to collect MPAA jargon into a d100 table to be used as a vague-but-evocative GMing aid.

Here’s the whole list as it stands right now:

  1. Crude Humor
  2. Futuristic Violence
  3. Brief Teen Partying
  4. Thematic Elements
  5. Brief Language
  6. Comic Nudity
  7. Strong sexual content including dialogue
  8. Language
  9. Strong language
  10. Brief language
  11. Violent images
  12. Racy innuendoes
  13. Non-stop action violence
  14. Brooding, dark violence
  15. Intense depiction of very bad weather
  16. Intense depiction of urban disaster and related injuries
  17. Brief teen partying
  18. Crude humor
  19. Thematic elements
  20. Sci-fi action and brief historical smoking
  21. Momentary sensuality
  22. Kids’ rude language and pranks
  23. Rear nudity
  24. Slime and gore
  25. A mild birds and bees discussion
  26. Mild peril
  27. Some menace
  28. Ribald humor
  29. Off-color humor
  30. Macabre humor
  31. Jungle adventure terror
  32. Satanic war violence
  33. Unsuitable teen behavior
  34. An opening accident scene
  35. A beating
  36. Reckless behavior
  37. Kids in jeopardy
  38. Mock terror
  39. A brief crude reference
  40. A crude comment
  41. Quirky situations
  42. A humorous drug related scene
  43. Irreverent humor throughout
  44. Momentary sensuality
  45. A poignant death
  46. A mother’s sociopathic behavior
  47. Intense fantasy action
  48. Intense sequences of bat attacks
  49. Graphic heroin use and resulting depravity
  50. Mature theme
  51. A smoking caterpillar
  52. A wide range of perversions in explicit detail
  53. A murder and other action sequences in an adventure setting
  54. Grisly afterviews of horrific and bizarre killings
  55. A bawdy puppet show

S. John Ross is the designer of Encounter Critical and many other games. You can find out more about his Risus Rpg here. If you’re heavy into discussing role-playing games, you won”t want to miss his Google+ feed.

  • Astrosorceror says:

    This is pretty cool. It’s Deck of Many Things for movies.

  • Aeoli Pera says:

    These are great.

    Intense sequences of bat attacks


    Momentary sensuality

    PG 13: Scenes of awkward teenage romance

    A smoking caterpillar

    Who told them my fetish?

  • JeffintheWest says:

    Sounds more like a list of “trigger warnings” from the nearest liberal college campus.

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