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What do Audiences want from 18 Age Rated Computer Games/ films?

18 rated games and films have been rated 18 for a reason. People who are suitable to play
and watch 18 rated games and films can expect to get more explicit, visual and more graphic
content, compared to a game or film that was rated 12. Games that are usually rated 18 are
games like Call of Duty, Grand Theft Auto and Dying Light. Call of Duty for example, involves
a main campaign and then multiplayer. The multiplayer is usually what everyone plays the
most. Looking at forums and what people have to say about Call of Duty and what they like
about it, the majority like
how they can just “pick up
the controller and go” and
“turn off my brain for a few
hours and run around and
shoot people (and constantly
be rewarded for doing so)”.

The meaning for Age ratings is because there is a possible link between violence in games
and the level of anti-social behaviour that tends to be given to children who play these type
of video games. There are usually cases where children have done something that was
influenced by an 18 rated violent game (or

film), rather than people in the suitable age
for that game, who have played those games for many years. Games that are rated at 18 is
because it is for people aged 18 and over to play those games, because they are grownups
and therefore (would) know better than to copy anything from the game into real life.
However, letting a younger child of the age of 10 grow up playing 18 rated games could lead
to it affecting the child as they grow older. It is stated that children under the age of 18 who
play video games or watch films over their age range have a different, less normal way to
deal with social interactions. This has increased since 2005 - and is constantly pressured
onto the gaming industry that explicit videos shouldn’t be ever shown to young kids. Of
course, whether or not a child plays these games it is down to the parents. PEGI has rated
the games and the gaming industry have created a game suitable for that age rating, so
some could argue that it is down to parenting.
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The Effects of Exposure to Explicit, Sexual or Violent content, Health concerns
& Censorship Debates:
There have been many debates and news articles on
where children have committed crimes that were
influenced by violent games or films, or where censorship
debates have taken place. A game such as Grand Theft
Auto V is a game with the age rating 18, but many parents
are letting their children under the age range play. This
game involves explicit, sexual and violent content, where you can drive and run around and
shoot people and run them over, and pick up a prostitute at 2am in the game time. There
have been many cases in which children have been influenced by this game and gone out
and committed crimes in real life after having played this game. These are children under
the age range of the games’ rating. One case was that 6 boys had played GTA IV and then
later did an all-nighter and went out with baseballs smashing up cars, mugging bikers and
stealing from stores, etc. Another case was a 14-year old boy who got arrested and charged
with murder for killing his father and brother. The boy had played the newest GTA V, and
had said that the character Trevor was “Kinda cool” in how he shoots people to relieve his
anger. The boy, Eldon, said that his father used to beat him and that on the same night he
had got in an argument with his father and his “father had shoved him twice in the chest”.

There are many articles on how violence in video games is linked with
increased aggression in players, however there is insufficient evidence
whether or not the link extends to criminal violence. Children, such as
Eldon, who commit crimes and refer to it being influenced by a violent
game, these children are usually ‘troubled’ or have had troubles in the
past such as being exposed to violence in their home or neglect from
their parents, for example, in the case above, it does not mention a
mother, only a father and brother, where the father beat him. These
things can affect the child and drive them to become more aggressive
and angrier.
Media is filled with explicit and sexual content, and society telling women how they should
look, etc. – you can’t get away from it. Women magazines often focus on weight and how
women should look, by showing example pictures of skinny female models and suggesting
that ‘this is beautiful’. A lot of younger female audiences look up to this and usually become
influenced by this and try to starve themselves to look like the model in the Vogue
magazine. Other Medias such as music – on average around 65-70% of songs have some
form of sexual connotation to them. It is often degrading, sexual music that is pushing the
level of unplanned pregnancies and STIs up,
based on how the music makes the
audiences feel. Music that degrades women,
such as Robin Thicke’s ‘Blurred Lines’ has been
regarded as ‘rapey’. The song lyrics appear as
“Explicitly sexually violent and appear to
reinforce victim- blaming rape myths, for
example about women giving 'mixed signals' through their dress or behavior, saying 'no'
when they really mean 'yes' and so on” – from an article on the song.

This is apparent in the lyrics;
“I know you want it, You're a good girl, Can't let it get past me, You're far from plastic,
Talk about getting blasted, I hate these blurred lines”

The Batman film “The Dark Knight” first came to the BBFC for a classification in 2008 with a
distributor request for a 12A rating. The main classification issues in the Dark Knight are
violence and threat. The examiners who classified the film agreed it met the guidelines
criteria; however there were a large number of complaints about the 12A rating from
members of the public. When the film was then released with this classification, feedback
was sent to the BBFC with 30% thinking it was too low and 1% thought it was too high. general, the complaints were mainly
aimed at the fact that the film was too dark and too violent and that it wasn’t suitable to be
rated a 12A, to which under-12 year olds could be taken to see the film, if accompanied by
an adult. There was a scene in which the Joker demonstrates a ‘trick’ where a pencil is
balanced on the table and then a villain’s head is slammed down on the table and the pencil
has ‘disappeared’. The audience were left with the impression that the pencil was slammed
into the face or eye of the victim but there aren’t actually any visuals of this, nor any blood
or injury. This scene in the film left the audience guessing and coming up with their own
ideas of what happened, but as it was rated a 12A (like the previous Batman films), there
were no signs of injuries or where the pencil actually went.
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Audience responses - Negotiated, Preferred, Oppositional, Participatory, Fan
There are many different types of audience responses that media platforms receive, ranging
from both good and bad, depending on the company motive. It is ideal for any media
product to receive a good response.
Negotiated - This is where the audience have their own opinion and create their own views
and ideas about the media product. The audience chooses whether or not they agree with
the information they’re given. For example, in Halloween (film) Michael Myers, the main
serial killer in the movie, is identified as being mentally ill, so when he dies (or looks like he
dies), the audience feels a sign of relief but at the same time you feel sorry for him, due to
his mental stabilities.
Preferred – a preferred response is to give the audience the information that they want to
receive. For example, violence in games is usually for it to give the player a sort of thrill and
adrenaline rush, such as in Multiplayer in Call of Duty, which is a quite fast paced game
where players almost compete on who gets the most points (or XP) and wins. This is purely
for entertainment and also works as a sort of adrenaline rush due to the fast pace of it all.
Oppositional – an oppositional response is when someone who isn’t necessarily may not be
the target audience doesn’t like the information given and they think badly of the product,
and may react negatively towards it because they don’t agree with it. For example, despite
the rush of it all in Multiplayer in Call of Duty, it is a quite violent game where the only real
aim is to get as many kills as possible, therefore earning more points (or XP). This could
affect younger players, who are younger than the age rating of the game, which is 18. There
have been cases where children have been influenced by the games’ violence and gone out
and killed people in real life after having played the game, however, a sane person wouldn’t
just go out on a mass murder from playing a game, so it wouldn’t be unusual if these
children had some sort of mental illness or have experienced neglect from parents, etc.
Participatory – participatory responses from audiences is where they interact ad participate
with the media form they are consuming. An example of this is the game Little Big Planet,
where you have the main game created by the game’s producers, but then you also have a
community where you play online and other people from the community can create their
own maps for other players to play. This brings the community together and lets them
participate with the game and interact in other players as well.
Fan Culture – Fan culture is where an audience (usually fans of a product) takes an active
role in creating similar products or other types of media of that product, for example spin-
offs in films, that is based on an existing product. In media, it is usually fans who create work
of their own, based on the actual work. For example Star Wars – there have been millions of
fans who have created bibliographies, or books or spin-offs of the movies.

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