Big Baubles For Christmas

For those of you who read this blog, you’ll have noticed that horrible stench of a rant appearing in the appendices of last week’s How To Play in which I talked for far too long about the Bryron report and the outside image that gamers have in some media circles. I’m sorry about that, and I wish I hadn’t got so worked up about it. However, I feel that I should both: a) Give a proper post to the issue and b) Explain why I was worked up [1]. Suffice to say, if you don’t want any rage, anger or hate, now is the time to leave and wait until Wednesday.

I may have looked something like this last Wednesday

I may have looked something like this last Wednesday

The Byron Report [2] essentially pointed out the issue with currently having two different board of classification. Sadly, what it missed out is the difference between the two. For example, everyone knows about the BBFC. They were set up a good few years ago (1912 apparently) to classify films and then, when they appeared, DVDs and Games. The BBFC is a independent organisation, which was set up by the film industry, but is independent from it. The BBFC’s choices are not decided by the creator of the product, and is the work of the BBFC employees using the product and deciding on the rating. PEGI ratings however, are for games only, and the process of rating is started off by the creators sending off an application to PEGI, with a content declaration, written by them. This, the content declaration, is why the PEGI rating isn’t as serious, since its essentially delivered by the makers themselves. Some people argue that people might ‘conveniently’ forget about the big horrible parts of the game they’ve made [3].

This was stated as the main reason why Oblivion was rerated in America. Yes, a mod written by someone else, who wasnt in the development team

This was stated as the main reason why Oblivion was rerated in America. Yes, a mod written by someone else, who wasn't in the development team

The other problem is that gaming is still quite a new phenomenon. Yes, Pong is very old, but gaming has only become mainstream during this generation. This means that all the Luddites aren’t really sure on how to think about this. Remember all the horrible stuff that people used to say about Television? Well, you might not, but still. When TV was first used everyone complained about how it destroys minds and causes children’s intelligence to decrease. We are well aware of how stupid that is now. However, people are accepting that TV is a cause for good and isn’t a waste of money.

So essentially, the Byron report did a good job, and I’m not against what it stood for. However, I don’t believe that the ‘excuses’ given by parents were fair excuses, and I don’t agree with the idea that two different classification systems is confusing. The idea that a different way of giving numbers is confusing is both stupid and wrong. I may have grown up around games, but just because the numbers are shown differently, it doesn’t mean that its hard for people to understand.

[1] On the subject of the issue, I’m not going to spend the next few minutes arguing and name calling. Gaming is a mature hobby, and spending the hour or so that I do writing these things insulting these scaremongers isn’t worthwhile, or mature. I can easily write a program to do that for me. Now I’ve just set a challenge for myself without meaning to. Damn. Get back to reading
[2] The Bryon Report was a report that Tanya Byron (A TV psychologist apparently. I didn’t know who she was) was commissioned to do by the British Prime Minister (Gordon Brown for those who didn’t know) in 2007. It wasn’t specifically aimed at gamers, but was about the online world. This does, of course, include gaming. The microsite is here but the actual 226 page report is here. There are also two summaries of the report, a 12 page version aimed at adults and a 20 page version aimed at children I included the children’s version for the sake of those who still consider themselves to be children. That might include me. Get back to reading
[3] There was one case of this for Oblivion. Of course, it was American idiots that did it, and it was because of a mod. But apparently it was also to do with some misrepresentation in the game code submitted. I also remember there being something very similar for Team America. The creators noted in an interview that they had some stupid overly offensive scenes for the censors because ‘You have to give them something to cut’. I’m assuming that infers that they’d get rid of other jokes that were borderline offensive if they hadn’t included these scenes. This is the issue with a censorship organisation that is funded by the industry. Get back to reading

  1. March 22nd, 2010
  2. August 20th, 2010
  3. December 2nd, 2010

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