Monday, March 31, 2008

Age Restriction

Theres been a lot of stuff in the media recently about video games and violence. Specifically, there is a plan to put age restriction similar to that used on films on these games. This is probably fine. While I think legal guidelines for the purchase of games is somewhat silly, ultimately to my mind the purpose of these should always be to guide parents in their purchases, not to act as strict laws.

It is up to the parent to decide how mature their child is, and whether they want them to play on games with more adult content. I suspect that most 14 year olds are pretty much able to handle most of the violent content one can see in any film or video game, but obviously thats my own call, and it's up to each parent to make their decision. By making it illegal for underage children to purchase these titles, it at least forces the parent to get involved in some way in the decision making process, which is probably all for the good.

Of course we are lucky in that we do not have a system like America's where the rating "Adult only" has come to mean something pornographic despite the films and games being put in that rating often not acheiving that. They certainly have sex in them, but it is usually artistically done. I hesitantly include GTA:San Andreas in this, because after all, the violence is probably far more explicit than the sex in the hot coffee mod. However, thanks to most stores and most cinemas not stocking/showing these titles, it means self censorship is forced on most of these titles unless they want to become a commercial pariah. This was all brought up in This Film is Not Yet Rated, but it is important. Censorship of all kinds is wrong.

This brings me to a problem with the British system, where the BBFC will censor or even ban things it thinks are inappropriate- it did so to Manhunt 2, only to be overturned later on. Frankly the issue there was not that they were wrong about the level of content in Manhunt: they were: but that they felt the need to ban it in the first place. I think that it is not up to an unelected board of people to decide what I do and do not get to watch, certainly give information if the content is extreme, but ultimately I like to imagine i am discerning enough to decide if I want to see something as supposedly awful as that game.



At 10:37 pm, Blogger Kirbie said...

I don't understand what actually needs changing - I mean isn't it already the case that kids can't buy games like this?
I remember I had to get my parents to buy GTA 1 (old skool!), so in effect this is already the case isn't it?
Or is it just more about prosecuting retailers for selling to underage kids?


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