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back to article Game rating system needs legal backing, claims supporter

The Pan European Game Information videogame classification system needs a legal framework, but it's still best placed to protect children from disturbing games, according to the code’s primary backer. The code was recently criticised by a government report into UK videogame classification, which said that the British Board of …

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Flame

Its all a joke anyway

Until parents are forced to give a flying "File System ChecK" about what their kids are doing then these labelling systems are just used as a shopping list of things a game must contain for them to want it.

The sort of parents that would happily let a 12 year old have a clearly 18 rated game are not going to be bothered if it has a icon meaning violent on it or not

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Paris Hilton

Not just the kids but the parents too

At the weekend I was in my local Game store and was surprised to see two young kids (must have been about 10 and 12) with their mum buying some Wii games. One of those games was Resident Evil 4 which clearly has a 15 certificate (the same certificate as used on videos) but this stupid mum didn't seem to be bothered about that. I felt for the poor bloke selling the game, he had a look on his face to say "I know these kids are going to be playing this later on when they're not old enough" but what could he do, the mum was purchasing the games not the kids.

Actually thinking about it, she did look like a typical Daily Mail reader, maybe she's an undercover reporter.

I think some of these parents should stop and think about what they're buying. Yeah I play games like Resident Evil (well, not Resident Evil itself, but things like Doom) but I'm sure not stupid enough to let my kids play it!

Paris because even she isn't that stupid.

Rob

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Boffin

I felt for the poor bloke selling the game...

Been there, applied the rules to the letter, and witnessed the flagrant disregard for ratings by parents.

I woked in Virgin Megastore (pre-Zavvi) and parental ignorance is the common theme. Time and time again

All staff mambers are well aware of the (legally enforceable or just guideline) rules. And they adhere to them.

As an aside: I once asked for id from a 12 year old. Obviously a stupid thing to do, given that we were told that the only acceptable forms of id were passport, photo driving license, or portman card. Sold it to the kid in the end - I was pretty sure he was old enough. Just wanted to make sure I wasn't gonna come a cropper on the wrong end of a sting and end up with a whole load of hassle.

Also, why is a credit card acceptable as payment but not as proof of age when you have to be 18 to get one and you have to prove that it's yours in order to complete the payment?

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Bronze badge
Joke

Funny coincidence (video game)

When this article was displayed, the ad was for one of those GPS goodies that tell you where to drive. Given that these devices do have problems in their operation, and can get people lost (or worse), maybe they should have a "game rating" as well. I don't know what it would be, but something like "Requires Common Sense to Operate" could be in order. Of course, not many games would have this style of "warning message" as they rarely require common sense.

Oh, the humor!!

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Rating

I kind of agree, both systems have their merits, but PEGI's rating system isn't one where PEGI will play the game a little and then rate it, PEGI will get the game developer to tell them "so, what should we rate this? moderate sex, violence, swear words, blood, gore and spiders? so a 6 then?". A developer *can* lie to PEGI since it is not legally enforcable.

The BBFC has teeth, not only are the rating legally binding, but if a developer tries to get an 18 rated 15, the developer would be in deep water.

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This post has been deleted by its author

I feel for the gamers...

Me included...

Ask most shoppers who PROVIDES the ratings and they wont have a clue. Ask them what the BBFC ones mean though, and they understand - not so with just the PEGI icons although they are much more informative and in depth.

My local Gamestation enforces age ratings amazingly well, have seen two teen-year olds try to by a game when only one had ID and the other was paying. Transaction refused. 5 Min later, ID boy comes back, the guy behind the counter refuses to sell again. Kudos to that man...

Gamers get stick because parents/media/"adults" (yes, tar with same brush and all that) because they all think games are, well, games. Most are, some aren't. It is like films but until people realise this, then there are always going to be complaints about little timmy learning how to kill cab drivers based on GTA67... Doesn't matter that timmy's darling mother bough it for him for the realistic driving experience...

And yeah, I support PEGI. Give them the same legal backing and enforcement as BBFC and slap the parents who still persist in trying to buy gmaes for their underage sprogs...

From a 25 year old gamer...

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Re:I felt for the poor bloke selling the game...

If the rules aren't already the same as for alcohol then they should be. If a shopkeeper suspects that an adult is buying an age rated game for an underage child, they should be able to refuse the transaction and in fact it should be their legal responsibility to do so.

The problem is (and I point no specific fingers here) that a lot of shops are quite happy to continue selling games to parents for their children, as if they refuse then it would affect their profit.

I know that it should be the parents responsibility but seen as it is obvious that a good proportion of parents just don't care, then the law needs to be changed to help enforce it.

I also consider there to be a different type of decision-making process where a parent plays a game themself, judges the content and decides if their child is mature enough to play it. I personally would encourage this approach, but sadly most parents who buy games will never see the content of them

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Coat

Problem with rating

Is that bbfc don't just have to play the game, they have to play every possible ending and plot split from the main game.

Take C&C for example in 1995, it says B**tard, on the last level for the GDI. But unless you play that bit you don't get it.

Also take in Clive barkers undying, if you type in the cheat codes (easily given as they also let you fly, have unlimited ammo etc) that lets you walk through sections previously out of bounds or locked down, then you get to see one of the maids of the house in her undies because the devlopers left them in there for a laugh.

So are the BBFC going to have to check everything, including all easter eggs. Or are they just going to test the main game.

Also they would have to listen to every single sound bite recorded for the game.

Warcraft 2 expansion, click on a character a few times and they talk to you in a funny way, one female elf talks about a g string not bow string and that you are touching her in a way you don't touch the others. :)

Now consider far cry or mass effect (which also has an achievement that includes sex with aliens) it takes about 4 days of playing to work through that, never mind all the possible conversations you can have if you play male of female characters. You'd need a copy of the script instead of playing it.

So what are the BBFC going to do, rate on what they get to in a time limit, or what the developers tell them is there.

I also would bet the BBFC are not hard core game players.

It won't work, never mind the fact parents buy it anyway.

mines the one with "sad old gamer" on the back.

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Anonymous Coward

lolz

My folks used to get me movies of any rating if they thought it acceptable (sci/fi and horror for the most part but then I wouldn't want my old dear getting me pronz) as they had raised me to understand the differences between reality and fantasy.

See as a kid I could read stories, write stories, play games and watch television.

Fact of the matter the biggest protection you can give a child is a proper education and upbringing.

I don't have a problem parents buying games or movies for their kids, as the truth is most teenagers wont have any ill effects at all.

Is it possible that many of these parents you're all ranting about actually know their children and have taught them that there is a difference between playing games and reality? You know a bit of old fashioned upbringing and parental discretion?

No? Too busy reading the daily mail I'm sure.

As an aside I knew some kids who weren't allowed to watch 18s till they were 18 in their parents house - and many were weird people others were just repressed psychotics and more often then not their parents were f---ing mental.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Problem with rating

why is this a particular problem for the BBFC and not PEGI?

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Unhappy

pointless

Even if there is a rating in place, the little dears can still get a cracked version from a torrent site and install and play it in the privacy of their bedroom without the parents even knowing or checking.

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@Andrew Crystall

>> No, you can get one at 17 in some circumstances, or get a company

>> credit card at 16.

Indeed, to sign a credit agreement you need to be over 18, but the minimum age to be an 'authorized user' depends on the card issuer AFAIK.

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Paris Hilton

Do-gooders should mind their own business!

The mere fact that some people cannot make decisions and think for themselves should never be the excuse for limiting the choice for those who can!

Children forced to always stick to the age rating by weak parents are either known wierdos (if they obey) or liars (if they don't) - on top of lying they will seek out the home with *No Standards At ALL* to see what's inside the 16 rating (16 being the highest in the DK) or what a beheading really looks like on the internet but with no-one to stop them. Children *do* want to be stopped occasionally because it is easier to agree with their mates that their parents are strict arseholes than to say 'No' themselves!

So, my children @self will continue to watch and play what I think is suitable for them; This is absolutely not decided on some age rating label or government advice.

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Anonymous Coward

Just ban the kids from playing games

keep them off the net as well, and frankly let's all of us have a good time.

Let them read books.

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@credit cards in general

don't forget debit cards, you can have those from 16, and you'd only know the difference if the till told you.

Also remember the fun of chip and pin. It might not be the child's card. in the old days you had to be able to make a decent effort at forging a parents signiture to pass it off as your card, now you just need to put it in a reader and know the pin, the staff never even go near the card in most places anymore.

To be useful as a form of age verification, the card would have to store your age on it and tell the shop somehow, it would also need some way of verifying that you are the genuine card holder, maybe fingerprints. in fact you should really put a photo on it so that you can quickly tell if the card belongs to the user. :)

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Paris Hilton

GTA is bad

Is this why GTA has been getting so much coverage this week?

What of the parents who allow their children to play the games or the kids who fileshare without parental consent?

I'll be trying for top speed in the car on the way home, if I get stopped I expect to get off scott free by claiming Super M*rio Cart made me do it.

Paris, because Leisure Suit Larry made her do it.

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W

Credit Cards

It's a fair cop. Some 16/17 yo's might have 'em.

Shame that the management in charge couldn't have just given me that simple fact when I asked 'em. What's the betting that _they_ didn't know and were 'just passing on orders?'

Re: Difference between Credit Cards/Debit Cards (or lack thereof) and using 'em . Noted. Although not so long ago it _was_ alot more clear cut.

Re: Andy Worth's "prevent folk buying for someone else, off-licence alcohol style" suggestion. Fair point. Although it's not the easiest thing to enforce when you've got an irate parent at the front of a queue of 15 or so folk, all wanting to get their Christmas shopping over with, and you're preventing them doing it on the basis of a _suspicion_ that they _might_ let an underage kid play it.

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