ESRB ratings on videogames aren't always enough for some parents. While a Mature rating is a clear indicator that a 7-year-old shouldn't be playing the title, a Teen rating may have a full range of questionable content, and ESRB ratings don't do a good job of conveying exactly what that content is.
WhatTheyPlay is a newly launched Web site that gives parents the skinny on popular games. Straight forward reviews written by the site's staff give detailed information on what the game is about as well as what kind of content it contains. Site users can also add their comments and views on these titles, making this a solid reference for confused 'rents.
I spent some time poking around the site's 16,000+ game listings, which are searchable by console and genre. I was quick to check God of War and the head-shooting goodness of Persona 3, but both are currently lacking staff reviews. Final Fantasy XII did receive a staff review, and they go as far as breaking down the ESRB's bullet points.
The suggestive themes and partial nudity described refer to a number of the characters who wear somewhat revealing outfits, with one of the characters in the player’s party in particular wearing thigh-high boots and a tight leather one-piece that leaves little to the imagination.
The site also features parent-focused features like Games They Want Next: 2008, which gives non-gamer parents a preview of that their kids will be begging for later in the year.
It's great to see that some are setting out to educate non-gaming parents. Now, if only they could teach them how to say the console names properly...