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ESRB ratings guide NTSC-U/C

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Is there a documentation of historical ESRB ratings and the years they applied to? Looking for NA/USA ratings of course. I am trying to find the first edition printing of Smash Bros Brawl and have seen numerous different ratings. 




Edited by ConsoleCollector88
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  • The title was changed to ESRB ratings guide NTSC-U/C



The middle and bottom pictures are the same style chronologically, just the middle is the dual-language-for-Canada look, the bottom is the single-language-for-US look. Usually you'd expect the middle box to be a Canadian print and the bottom to be a US print, but it seems like for this game there may have been some odd combos like the two-language ESRB logo on a US print...check the back of the box and see what languages are on it.

The middle and bottom boxes are earlier than the top box.

Other things you may want to look out for are presence or absence of a wi-fi logo and presence or absence of "Fighting Game Of The Year" text - not sure if those are on front or back, when they're present.

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oh, "wi-fi logo" refers to the "nintendo Wi-Fi connection" blob, I guess. It looks like that was taken off in the later print (top picture). that must be a pretty late print, since that ESRB logo style started in 2013 and the game's from 2008.

Edited by AdamW
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The more reliable way of determining the first print is by flipping over the game and taking into consideration the info below.

On 10/21/2019 at 11:29 PM, 0xDEAFC0DE said:

There are three identifying features on the box and one on the disc. First is the made in label (usually USA or Japan). Then to the left of the product code on the box is another code where the letter at the end denotes version. Right of the UPC is another 5 number barcode with the format 00A0B where A is the country of manufacture (0 = Japan, 1 = US) and B is the box revision starting from zero (correlates with the letter after the product code). Finally, on the back of the disc near the center hole is a version code.

To add on. These codes increase with release date. If you click through to the post I quoted that from, you'll see a list with a bunch of these codes for the Zelda games (although it's a bit out of date, I wish I had more time to update all that info). There will be a different code depending on where the game is made and sometimes it'll also get a different code for the Player's Choice / Nintendo Selects update instead of increasing the version letter.

I did a short browse of ebay and actually found 7 variants.

64278A 00100: https://www.ebay.com/itm/144131883999
64278B 00101: https://www.ebay.com/itm/255073540285
64278C 00102: https://www.ebay.com/itm/313625131514
64278D 00103https://www.ebay.com/itm/124636984507
64279A 00000: https://www.ebay.com/itm/255069046670
77615A 00100: https://www.ebay.com/itm/164998662508
77615B 00101: https://www.ebay.com/itm/234118650112

Figuring out release date order is a bit confusing, but I'll try my best.

First up is either "64278A 00100" or "64279A 00000". Both have a front that matches your third picture. The main difference between these two is the 00000 one was printed in Japan while the 00100 one was printed in the US. It's hard to say for sure which one came first, but the box code 64278 is one lower than 64279 which probably means it came first. Lending more credence to that theory, I luckily have my copy I bought at midnight on the day of release and it has the "64278A 00100" code. However, it's still possible that both were available at release (which kind of makes sense if they were printing both in the US and Japan to meet demand. Also I remember this game was delayed, so maybe they had a short turn around period). Going deeper down the rabbit hole, we got really luckly with the 00000 listing I found as it has visible disc codes (see here for more info). Those indicate some date to do with the manufacturing process (i.e. the disc was probably produced some time after the date). The date from the 00000 listing 02/14/2008 which is before the NA release date, so it's still possible it was available at launch. For comparison my disc has the dates 02/01/2008 and 02/02/2008 (not sure why there are two codes), which is a bit early.

Next up is "64278B 00101". This doesn't match any of your pictures. It has the English/French ESRB logo with "Fighting Game of the Year" on the front. This one is simple so moving on.

Then comes either "64278C 00102" or "77615A 00100". Both have a front that matches your second picture. I could not tell you why there is another box code of 77615 that starts over at the 0th revision. I checked for any other differences and all I found was they had different UPCs (45496-90039 and 45496-90294). No clue which if any came first. However, "77615A 00100" has a disc with a readable date code of 11/04/2011 (not quite sure on the day).

Finally is "64278D 00103" and "77615B 00101". Both have a front that matches your first picture. And both have UPCs the match their respective prior revisions.

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So the 64278C/77615A print dropped the Gamecube controller from the controller graphic at back top right. It also, weirdly, has English/French ESRB logo, but English/Spanish box text.

64278D/77615B goes to the post-2013 ESRB logo style, again English/French, and again has English/Spanish box text. It drops all online-related stuff - the "wi-fi connection" blob and also the "BRAWL ONLINE" box on the back.

I can't see why there are those two pairs of otherwise-identical prints with different UPCs, either. Very odd.

FWIW, this "two mostly-identical prints, one made in Japan, one made in US" thing seems to recur with lots of first-party Wii games. I do tend to suspect the pairs are probably contemporaneous and it was just a case of printing in both countries to meet demand. Some people seem to really want the made-in-Japan ones, though.

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25 minutes ago, AdamW said:

FWIW, this "two mostly-identical prints, one made in Japan, one made in US" thing seems to recur with lots of first-party Wii games. I do tend to suspect the pairs are probably contemporaneous and it was just a case of printing in both countries to meet demand. Some people seem to really want the made-in-Japan ones, though.

Kenneth said this on FB as well. Here's a Made in USA Metroid Prime with a receipt 2 days after launch to back it up if it makes anyone happy. Once you get into Wii territory, there's probably plenty of launch day Youtube unboxings you can squint at to try to glean info from.


Side note... while I do think much of the disc stuff is contemporaneous, I love that people want the Made in Japan thing to be the firstest first print but aren't willing to get... the Japanese versions. (But also I have some USA garbage I wish was MIJ 😭)

Edited by DefaultGen
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