Young people give their views on violence in videogames and videogames age ratings, with comments from TIGA

CEO Richard Wilson
Chimpact, a newly released Windows game which has a PEGI 3 rating, taken to Bromley youth group to hear their perspective in the on-going debate: Which video games are suitable for children? Videogames are often in the news for all the wrong reasons, with claims games containing inappropriate content are getting into the hands of children and people accrediting acts of anti-social behaviour to things they have experienced in games. But is this the full story? Some games are designed for young people and some for adults. Age ratings are created by PEGI (Pan European Gaming Information) which should mean young people are not exposed to games unsuitable for them. By the very nature of gaming, its biggest audience is young people and games are often viewed as less violent or inappropriate, than say film. This tends to be the reason inappropriate games get into the hands of children and therefore exposed to content unsuitable for them. With young people at the heart of this debate, it seems the adults are always making the decisions of what young people should be playing. But what do young people actually think? As part of this debate, videogames developer Yippee! Entertainment took its game (which is designed for all audiences over three years old) to Baseline youth club in Bromley, to hear young people’s views on what video gaming and age ratings mean to their members. The young people who took part in the discussions at Baseline, range in age from 11 to 16 and they played the game on Windows tablets and iPads. They were asked general questions including: Whether a game like Chimpact appealed to them, what they thought of games aimed at young people, what they thought of age ratings and what they thought of parents deciding which games young people should be allowed to play. As part of the initiative, Yippee! Entertainment also gave Baseline a brand new Windows Laptop with Chimpact installed, to thank its members for taking part in the debate.

Madeline Sophie Ellen Byers 15 “I don’t play games all the time but I do play Xbox and things like Temple Run on my HTC and Angry Birds on my friend’s iPad. I think it’s good to have games like this which are designed for kids, you don’t really think of old people playing games. I think it is a good thing to have age ratings, some games contain violence and swear words so it’s good to get away from that. It’s good to have both games aimed at kids and games aimed at older people. It is good parents stop children playing games but it can be difficult to tell kids what they can’t do.”

Daniel Byers 14 and Jack Byers 13 When asked: what do you think are the best games for young people, those aimed at all ages or games aimed at an older age group, both Daniel and Jack answered: “Games designed for the older group.” Daniel continued: “Games like Call Of Duty and Dead Island. Call Of Duty is like a puzzle strategy game, you spend ages on some levels trying to complete them, quite a few people like these games because of that.”

Jack: “I think age ratings are annoying, because there are some games we’re not allowed to play.” Daniel continued: “Sometimes you’ll go to buy something and you’ll need a parent there, the shops will often say, unfortunately this isn’t for your age group, you’ll have to come back with an adult. So, I’m not really a fan of them.” When asked: do you think there should be age ratings on games or everyone should be able to buy them? James said: “They should be open to everyone really.” Whereas Daniel said: “Some shouldn’t be open to under tens, some are a bit too graphic.” When asked: parents often stop their children from playing age rated games, do you think this is a good idea? James said: “I don’t think so, Call Of Duty shows you what happens in war.” And Daniel continued: “Some games are too graphic for young kids others are acceptable, so sometimes it’s best if parents don’t let them play them.” James then said: “In call of duty you can turn off graphic content.” And Daniel said: “You can turn off blood and things like that, as some kids don’t like it.”

Jodie Martin 11 and Saffron Farrell 13 Jodie: “The game was really fun but it’s quite hard to bounce and sling the character around the screen.” Saffron: “The pictures are really cool in the game, I liked the way it looked and the characters. It was really good, it’s something I would play.” Jodie: “I like games because when you are bored and not at school you can just get one out and play it. I play Playstation 3 and things like Super Mario.” Saffron: I think some should have age ratings but some are good for everyone, like the type of games you can play with your family. It’s good that some parents stop children playing older rated games, just in case.”

Nicole Glanfield 16 and Masie Grace Littlechild 10 Masie: “I usually play games more on iPads and smart phones, rather than on consoles. I do play on the Wii at Christmas. I liked Chimpact, I thought Chuck (the main character) was cute. I thought the way it looked was really interesting, like the backgrounds and the way they moved.” Nicole: “I play games regularly, like Call Of Duty and Halo. I thought Chimpact was a lot like Angry Birds but different as well. It was so easy that you could get through it really quickly, but it gets more difficult which made it more fun. It’s fun playing older rated games but it’s also great playing games that are aimed at everyone, you can then play them with your friends and family. I think age ratings are a good idea as young people should not be playing really violent games but others should be allowed if their parents let them, it’s up to the parents really.” Parents should look into games and decide what they deem suitable for their children When discussing games with the members of Baseline Bromley a well-rounded debate developed about what is appropriate. The general consensus was that gaming for very young people should be regulated tightly and parents should decide what they deem suitable for children of all ages. Most enjoyed playing Chimpact but it seemed the older children preferred more adult content in their games. This added to the debate that older teenagers are young adults and most enjoy entertainment aimed at an older age group. Though, these children (in or heading towards their teenage years) think that most games should be regulated to very young children. We didn’t really receive many opinions directly against age restrictions completely, most of those interviewed saw them as necessary and positive. Gaming can be enjoyed by young people responsibly, regulations are in place for good reason and it looks like these young people agree, age ratings are needed and should be taken into account by parents.

The Baseline team and members

Dr Richard Wilson, TIGA CEO, said: "It is important that consumers are aware of the PEGI system and understand what the ratings and advisory comments mean. Parents and consumers generally need to know when they purchase a boxed video game from a shop what the PEGI ratings mean so that they can make informed decisions. However, while PEGI provides more information for consumers, the purchaser must ultimately take responsibility for ensuring that the game which he/she has bought is age-appropriate. Only bricks and mortar stores are affected by the law which puts PEGI on a statutory basis. Online and digital downloads remain exempt. As both of these methods typically require a credit or debit card, parents can ensure that their children play age appropriate games.” TIGA's advice for parents is to:
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Always look for the age classification on the game package. Try to look for a summary or review of the game content or ideally play the game yourself first. Play video games with your children, watch over them when they play and talk with them about the games they play. Explain why certain games are not suitable. Be aware that online games sometimes enable the download of extra software that can alter the game content and eventually the age classification of the game. Online games are usually played in virtual communities requiring players to interact with unknown fellow players. Tell your children not to give out personal details and report inappropriate behaviour. Set the limits by using the parental control tools of the game console or PC

The Age ratings
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3 - suitable for those aged three and above 7 - suitable for those aged seven and above 12 - suitable for those aged 12 and above 16 - suitable for those aged 16 and above 18 - suitable for those aged 18 and above Violence – Game contains depictions of violence Bad language – Game contains bad language Fear – Game may be frightening or scary for young children Sex – Game depicts nudity and/or sexual behaviour or sexual references Gambling – Games that encourage or teach gambling Drugs – Game refers to or depicts the use of drugs Discrimination – Game contains depictions of, or materials which may encourage, discrimination Online – Online game

Chimpact, by YIPEE Entertainment, is available now on Windows 8 and Windows Phone, and other mobile platforms:

About YIPPEE With both feet firmly planted in the casual / social space, Yippee Entertainment Ltd. is a new independent developer founded in February 2011 by seven industry veterans totalling an unparalleled 130+ years’ experience starting way back in the 8-bit era. Collectively the team has worked on a string of AAA titles spanning all genres and including high-profile franchises such as ‘MotoGP’, ‘FIFA’ and ‘Nickelodeon’ alongside first-party titles like ‘Nintendo - Mario Artist’ and 'Ken Griffey’s Baseball’.

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