Modern video games are unlike those that first became wildly popular nearly four decades ago. In addition to their remarkably life-like appearance, modern video games are now categorized in ways designed to help consumers ensure that children, who make up a significant percentage of the gaming population, are not playing age-inappropriate games.

The Entertainment Software Rating Board is a self-regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings to consumer video games. The ratings assigned by the ESRB are easily deciphered, but it can still benefit consumers to familiarize themselves with the ratings before buying games for children and adolescents. A rundown of ratings is available at

Gaming packages contain a wealth of information, including various acronyms that may confound consumers who are buying games for loved ones but are not gamers themselves. The following rundown can help consumers purchasing games for loved ones understand the contents of a game prior to purchasing it.

3PS/TPS/OTS: This acronym stands for third-person shooter/over-the-shoulder games.

FPS: This indicates a game is a first-person shooter game.

CCG: This means a game is considered a collectible card game.

MMO: This stands for massively multiplayer online. This designation means a game is intended for many players who play the game online together.

MOBA: This acronym stands for multiplayer online battle arena and is essentially a subcategory of MMO. These games are team games in which each player controls a single character.

RTS: This indicates a game is a real-time strategy game in which all players play simultaneously in real time.

RPG: This acronym is used to identify role-playing games in which players control the actions of a character in richly designed worlds unique to the game.

SIM: This acronym designates a game as a simulation. Flight simulations are popular examples of SIM games.

Learning to decipher the various codes that appear on video game packages can help consumers, particularly those without gaming experience, make more informed decisions.