I worked with ELSPA across 2008-09 to assist in lobbying press on the benefits of a Pan European Game Information system. Here we are in July 2012 and it’s only just become UK law. Still, better late than never and I’m as convinced as I always was that PEGI — rather than the BBFC — is the way to go for video games (but that’s another blog though largely an irrelevant one now).
I genuinely hope that PEGI succeeds in guiding parents to be more responsible with purchases. It’s not only ‘the kids’ that are an issue but the respectability of our industry. It does no one any good to see parents buying 18-rated titles from stores, with barely-adolescent offspring hanging off their arms and pleading — ‘can we go home now and play it’. Yet the same parent will tell any sales clerk who asks that the game’s not for the kids, it’s for them! There’s only so far that argument can go, especially when it becomes obvious to the vendor that they’re not going to receive an honest answer. The same parents often won’t allow their kids to see an 18-rated movie yet see no problem buying an 11-year old a copy of GTA IV.
It seems a full cultural shift is required to change these habits. Parents who play games might, hopefully, better understand the impact of hard-hitting and graphic material. PEGI in law may force retailers to take a hard line with parents and I’m all for it. I don’t subscribe to the opinion that any media significantly impacts behaviour but let kids be kids — at least until they’re adult enough to comprehend the full depth of adult themes.
Gary Burns is loving the Olympics: “Oh, which of the 20 live events should I watch in HD?” #firstworldproblems — you’ll find him remarking on the virtues of handball on @GTBurns