As indie game developers we have found ourselves many times in the need of an easy way to inform players about the content and intended audience of our games. The easiest way to do this is with a rating system, and while the use of these systems is not mandatory in most cases, it is a process that can be very expensive, very time consuming or even both.
Free GR™ is an open, free, unofficial and voluntary game's rating system designed by Irreverent Software™. It has been designed from zero with indie developers in mind and a comprehensive set of guidelines to help them rate their own games and inform this in a clear way to their player base.
A Free GR™ rating contains a numeric rating displaying the intended age group, a small legend explaining if the game has online features or not ( since these online features are always unrated ) and a certain number of icons that represent in a more detailed manner the main reasons behind said rating.
Take the rating above as an example. It tells the player that the game has been considered adequate for players that are 12 years old and above. The swords icon indicates violence, and the two white bars under it indicate that it is moderate. The second icon clearly indicates bad language while the white bar indicates that it is very low and not frequent.
There are 6 different ratings in our system, for six different age groups. Each group, from left to right, gets progressively stronger content in terms of violence, language, controversial topics etc. The final rating labeled as Z+ is for games intended for adults only and is in general applied for games that are overtly sexually explicit, sadistic or controversial, making them not apt for general audiences regardless of their age. At the very least, your rating should display the full numeric rating. Adding the them icons is not mandatory but is heavily encouraged.
There are 8 available icons for the ratings so far, and their meanings are :
This page is constantly updated with the newest thematic icons and information on ratings. If you see a Free GR™ rating displayed on any game and are unsure of its meaning or are interested in adding Free GR™ ratings to your own games, contact us on the email displayed below.
Language : This game uses strong language and / or cursing. A level 5 language icon indicates that racial slurs and/or constant swearing are present in this game.
Violence : This game depicts scenes of violence. A level 1 on violence indicates non-
Sex & Nudity : This game has varying depictions of nudity and/or sex. Level 1 and 2 have no graphic nudity nor sexually explicit scenes while level 5 is reserved for games with frequent sexually explicit content ( usually interactive ) and frequent graphic nudity.
Sensitive topics :This game depicts themes that may hurt player sensitivities including suicide, discrimination, sexual assault, child abuse, hate crimes and others. Level 1 games only make references to these topics while level 5 games make them a main and usually interactive / rewarded feature.
Religious themes : This game touches on religious themes. Lower levels indicate that religion is featured, referred, depicted or otherwise present in the game, while level 5 is reserved for games that intend to influence the player’s religious views ( pro/anti religion games )
Gambling : This game contains depictions and or simulated gambling features. Lower levels depict and simulate gambling with virtual currencies while level 5 is reserved for games with real-
Advanced logic based content : This game contains puzzles, gameplay features, narratives or other elements that require a great amount of logic and / or academic skills, which may make it inadequate for younger audiences.
Horror related content : This game depicts scenes and situations that may cause distress in the player.
Level 1 is reserved for unrealistic horror and level 5 for any instances of realistic horror.