Video Game Ratings Needing an Overhaul?

By Jorge Ba-oh 27.03.2008 13

Psychologist Dr Tanya Byron claims that game ratings need an overhaul to prevent children from seeing harmful content.

According to BBC News, her report reveals that parents are unaware about what their children are playing. At present games go for a mandatory review if they are said to contain mature content such as "human sexual activity" or "gross violence".

She suggests clearer logos on the front of cases. "The European Pegi system works for the industry but the BBFC works for parents and children." Pegi currently displays a large age rating sticker on the front, with the suggested minimum age. Content warnings are followed-up on the back, warning buyers of any possible violence, gore, discrimination etc.

The British Board of Film Classification responded to Byron, agreeing that "games classification is less well understood that that for films and DVDs", hoping to bring ratings to a similar level of understanding. The proposals suggest that same UK-film censor icons would appear on games rated 12, 15 and 18, i.e. the same 18-rated sticker on an adult-only DVD would appear for a similar level of content on a game.

News reports have highlighted an example: a twelve and thirteen year-old playing Resident Evil 4. A game rated Pegi 18+, a clearly displayed label on the front, the parents oblivious to what they've bought for their kids.

Is it really the fault of the ratings classifiers or the ignorance of parents when buying products that are clearly marked inappropriate for their lil' ones.

  • Does the current system need to be improved?
  • Should parents give their children more credit?
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    Read the Byron review (courtesy to the BBC)

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    Comments

    Hmmm.

    In some ways I agree, that it would be good to have the same design/stamp for films on games as well, but disagree with the ways its approached this.

    Parents will, I think, still be stupid and give into their spoilt-shitless children. A prime example is my mum. My younger bro is turning 14 this year yet with the click of a finger can ask my mum (or dad) to get him some 18-rated game or something with a lot of violence.

    He does save up and pay for it, but neither of my parents check.

    But still, kids always find ways to getting these games - asking older siblings, friends, people they know and shops generally being a bit retarded when it comes to monitoring ratings.

    The thing about Resident Evil 4 really really pissed me off - it showed two little kids playing it, and even they said \"it\'s only a zombie game\" - yet the report claimed it wasn\'t clear enough. How the fuck would it not be clearer?! There\'s a huge, bigger-than-dvd-sticker 18 on the front of the bloody box!

    Kids aren\'t being given enough credit these days. I\'m sure your average teenager can handle him or herself. What old-fogies forget is that we\'re part of the digital age, we live, breath and work with digital forms of entertainment, yet they still think that kids are stupid enough to think a zombie is real.

    Plus, that picture above (the front cover of the report) is the most patronizing piece of shit I\'ve ever seen. My god.

    ( Edited 27.03.2008 14:52 by jb )

    Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer

    I totally agree. That pic is fear-mongering daily mail patronising bullshit. The self-important old fogies who get way too excited about this shit are scared and stupid interfering busy bodies who know nothing compared to the people they claim to be protecting (in reality its all just cause they like getting excited/hysterical and/or tutting/clucking).

    its like a bunch of chickens in a chicken coop all hysterical about a rumour that there was a OMG sheep secretly disguised as a chicken just outside the coop where there is not currently chicken and has never been a chicken. ever. only hundreds of sheep eating grass eternally. It doesn\'t matter how many times intellegent young chickens tell them that no chicken has ever been eaten and their not even entirely sure foxes exist let alone chicken-eating sheep disguised as chickens. They will always continue to act as only an idiot frightened chicken can - by scaring and stressing out all the other chicken with all the constant bullshit causing all of them to run hemselves to sleep...until the next morning and the next issue of daily mail comes out.

    EDIT: Although they should just hurry up and put the film ones on there to save everyone the mental effort of getting so excited. And that RE4 thing. It\'s huge and its a fucking film one anyway (I had american version though so I might be wrong)

    ( Edited 27.03.2008 16:36 by KingDom )

    2509 2156 5486

    SHOCKER: REPORT IS TOTALLY SENSIBLE AND AGREEABLE, PAPERS RESORT TO MAKING CRAP UP BECAUSE THEY CAN\'T HANDLE SENSIBLE AND AGREEABLE.

    ( Edited 27.03.2008 16:48 by RyanT )

    That front cover is brilliant haha! I thought it was a Cubed3 joke at first, but the fact it's serious just somehow makes it even better.

    Damm, I want a copy of Shoot them All, it\'s been rated 18 TWICE! sounds like there some fun to be had there, shame we get the american cover.

    ( Edited 27.03.2008 17:46 by Blade2t3 )

    XBL Gamertag: James2t3

    From what I've seen of the report so far, it does indeed seem sensible.

    The age rating stuff is very sensible, in my opinion. Go home and dig out a boardgame like Jenga or Monopoly. Those have ratings that look very similar to the PEGI ratings (an age plus symbol), but they mean that kids younger than that age won't be able to play the game as it's too complex, with too many rules etc. Parents, most of whom grew up either without games or with really, really simple early to late 80s games, look at PEGI ratings and think it's about difficulty, rather than suitability. That's why the universally understood BBFC system is much preferable. Of course there'll still be parents who'll allow their kids to play BBFC rated games they shouldn't be allowed too, but they currently allow their kids to watch similar movies.

    If any of you have been reading the sections on violence and games, it makes a wonderful distinction between the research carried out in Europe and that carried out in the US. It suggests that the European approach of examining what young children, and adults, learn from games (i.e. how they contextualise what happens in games) and how it affects them generally, is more useful than the US approach of directly examining the 'do games cause violence' question.

    It also concludes that the evidence suggests that, whilst games don't cause violence, young children may not be able to contextualise events in games properly, may find their attitudes and outlook adversely affected by the content of games and may suffer from elevated stress levels when playing games. All very sensible, and all things to be avoided.

    "This man has advanced communist views ... He dresses in a bohemian fashion both at his office and in his leisure hours."

    I cant be bothered to type an essay as i think most of you have already said what i think, but i remember when i was younger trying to convince parents that video game ratings werent the same, and the suckers fell for it! mwahah

    Now look at me, i strip and cross dress on the internet with food condiments, perv on kids, got put in jail and used to be a Guru....

    Either way i remember the game Conkers Bad Fur Day on the 64 being a Parental Advisory, not rated in any way shape or form, the cut down Xbox version is rated a 16. Yet that game was had so many profanities in it, it should be an 18, alcholics, war, sex, really bad language...its just funny. Albeit in cartoon animation.

    Also, all the Resident Evils on the Cube are rated a 15 (BBFC)...well all of mine are neway.

    Wow, what a retard. That is all.

    How can anyone miss the fucking huge labels on the front? And on the side...AND the back.....

    I don\'t really get the content of the report either. *glances across collection*

    > Mass Effect (BBFC 12)
    > Guitar Hero 3 (BBFC 12 (didn\'t realise that))
    > Stuntman Ignition (BBFC 12)
    > Stranglehold (BBFC 18)
    > The Orange Box (BBFC 15)
    > Assassins Creed (BBFC 15)
    > Gears of War (BBFC 18)

    Am I missing something?

    edit: Having watched the video it seems she makes reasonable points about the systems and at least she isn\'t in there trying to remove violence all-together, but I just don\'t understand how anyone could get confused by the 2 systems. They have a number on them. I just...I don\'t get why they\'re \"extremely confusing for parents\".

    ( Edited 27.03.2008 19:44 by knighty )

    I was in ASDA earlier and most games I saw already had BBFC ratings on almost THREE times as big as those on films.

    No excuse really.

    Most 18 rated games have BBFC ratings on.

    Tomb Raider: Anniversary is rated at PGEI 16+. Yet almost everyone would totally disregard it and think it's a kids game...

    Also I was shocked when Resident Evil 4 was released in the UK with a 15 BBFC rating.

    How many films can you think of where you graphically see someone intentionally chainsaw a persons head off that is rated anything lower than BBFC 18?

    I know for a fact that if I'd have been 15 and seen that, it would have traumatised me.

    Yet I know my young cousins of 12 and 13 who have RE4 and dont even batter an eyelid... just shows people have no sense of moral/sense of right and wrong is generally disapearing.

    Have any PARENTS actually complained about the age rating system? Because as I see it, responsible parents would clearly see the age rating and not buy it. Irresponsible ones that don't even check the age rating are the same parents that let their 5 year old kids watch 18 rated movies. It's not that they don't know, it's that they don't care.
    The vast majority of young kids have seen movies/games rated 15/18, whether their parents let them watch it, or they just see it at a friends house. The generation complaining about the age ratings is totally different to the generation playing the games. They are the generation that found the tin-foil Daleks terrifying. We are the generation that watched Alien at 10 years old, and found the sight of a glove puppet bursting out of someone's stomach absolutely hilarious.

    Of course the parents haven\'t complained their too confused by the pegi ratings in gamestation.

    It\'s just a slow news day.

    -what shall we do a story on today
    -lets drag up some old story about a media report that will get all the worst people in our society get really excited and make loads of noise.

    ( Edited 28.03.2008 12:14 by KingDom )

    2509 2156 5486

    Don't they realise putting an 18 Rating on a game makes it MORE appealing to children? It's that typical childish anarchism.

    Anyway, did anybody read the Daily Mail Article on the subject? They had a woman play 6 of the most popular violent games at the moment, and the woman dissed RE4, saying it shouldn't be sold to anyone. Forgive the irony of violence in videogames causing problems in people and this next comment, but that woman should burn in hell.

    Add me on anything. I'm always looking for new friends/opponents/town visitors/chances to appear more popular than I actually am.

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