PEGI, for example, has great difficulty dealing with slapstick violence, because it can’t find a way of dealing in a questionnaire with person-on-person violence.
The other main strand of disagreement with us and ELSPA on this, and I understand their position on this and I respect it but I do disagree with it very strongly, is that they take the view that ‘games are games and should be classified separately and not mixed up with film and DVD classification systems’.
We take the view that, yes indeed games are different from films and DVDs – and we think that we have done as much thinking and sponsoring of research in this building as anybody, trying to get our heads around that. If you look at our games ratings’ guidelines you will see that there is a lot of emphasis on the difference that interactivity makes – the possibilities of playing games in different ways, you can’t do the kind of ‘counting’ you do with film because you have endlessly repeatable situations… that kind of thing.
Our opinion is that the whole architecture is that it is much better to be able to look across all these different platforms – especially as you will often find the same kind of content in the film version, the console game version, maybe the mobile phone game, the internet version and so on – so we think it is a positive good that it is possible to look across and then give accurate weighting to what the differences are. Whereas ELSPA argue that games should be regulated separately. I think that argument falls foul of various trends within games as well – increasingly photo-realistic graphics, the fact that you have this multiple franchising of content and so on.
The other thing to say about this is that ELSPA’s argument is also a slightly odd argument, as the PEGI system is actually very close to the Dutch film classification system, a system called the Kijkwijzer System The PEGI questionnaire is remarkably similar to the Kijkwijzer questionnaire and they are both run by the same organisation, NICAM.
Head here for the second part of our BBFC interview,including the final word on THAT Manhunt 2 saga... (link).