The Electronic Software Rating Board (ESRB) is the American organization which rates the video games released in North America. In Europe it is the Pan European Game Information (PEGI). The ESRB has been widely criticized for its lack of strictness, with its critics stating that the ESRB rates games much lower than it deserves, so more copies of the game will be sold.
The rating system is as follows.
Titles rated EC (Early Childhood) have content that may be suitable for ages 3 and older. Contains no material that parents would find inappropriate.
Titles rated E (Everyone) have content that may be suitable for ages 6 and older. Titles in this category may contain minimal cartoon, fantasy or mild violence and/or infrequent use of mild language. It is the equivalent of a G rated movie.
Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older. Titles in this category may contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language, and/or minimal suggestive themes. It is the equivalent of a PG rated movie.
Titles rated T (Teen) have content that may be suitable for ages 13 and older. Titles in this category may contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood and/or infrequent use of strong language. It is the equivalent of a PG-13 rated movie.
Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content, and/or strong language. It is the equivalent of a R rated movie. No games created by Nintendo are rated M.
Titles rated AO (Adults Only) have content that should only be played by persons 18 years and older. Titles in this category may include prolonged scenes of intense violence, frequent use of Strong Language and/or graphic sexual content and nudity. It is the equivalent of a NC-17 rated movie. Only 25 games have been given this rating, none of them being Nintendo games.
Titles listed as RP (Rating Pending) - have been submitted to the ESRB and are awaiting final rating. (This symbol appears only in advertising prior to a game's release.)
The Legend of Zelda Ratings
Although the Zelda games have been around longer than the ESRB, every main Zelda game has an ESRB rating due to re-releases. Every Zelda game has a rating of E (Everyone) except for Twilight Princess, Link's Crossbow Training, Hyrule Warriors, Twilight Princess HD, Hyrule Warriors Legends which were all rated T (Teen), and Spirit Tracks, Skyward Sword, Ocarina of Time 3D, The Wind Waker HD, Majora's Mask 3D which were rated E10+.