A portion of a TUS interview with PEGI’s Dirk Bosmans…
TUS: WeDare was given a 12 age rating by PEGI a few weeks ago and due to the portrayal of the game, there’s been a backlash of opinion. Should there have been a more reactive action to the backlash and an explanation of your decision in the immediate aftermath?
DB: PEGI has communicated and defended its decision to provide the game with a ’12′ rating on various occasions. The problem with the backlash was that all opinions – from both press and consumers – were based on a commercial on YouTube, while the game itself was not available to anyone. As long as no-one was able to play the actual game (and see why the 12 rating was confirmed by the VSC), people based their opinion on the video advert, making it really hard for us to prove our point.
TUS: Two of the criteria for the 12 age rating are that the game may contain “innuendo” and “non-erotic nudity”. Should PEGI be looking at the context of video games and not just the content?
DB: The concept of ‘context’ is often misunderstood in this, ehm… context. An act of violence or one sexual expletive in an otherwise entirely peaceful movie may not necessarily increase the age rating for that movie, because within the context, viewers are only exposed to it for a few seconds maximum. But with games, a simlar act of violence or expletive may have to be replayed a few times up to many many times (partly depending on the skill of the player). Content in games is often repeated over and over again and in different scenarios. This is what we mean when we say that PEGI does not take context into account and has to consider every single bit of content in a game.
But ‘context’ in the sense of ‘atmosphere in which the game is played’ is something entirely different. Sometimes, the VSC or NICAM are confronted with a small number of situations where a strict application of the PEGI criteria does not seem sufficient, since the overall theme or atmosphere of a game has an impact on the gamer’s experience. But this happens very seldomly: there are very few ratings on which the overall theme has an impact that the content of the game didn’t have already.