A racing game which puts players in the shoes of a professional driver who must transport alcoholic beverages while intoxicated has been pulled from the Nintendo Switch eShop after it was released with a PEGI 3 age rating.
The game in question, which describes itself as a “tongue-in-cheek racer”, is called Need for Spirit: Drink & Drive Simulator, and it was first released on PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store in late 2018. On the Epic Games Store, it’s rated PEGI 16 for “use of alcohol/tobacco”.
While the game’s description states that it is “a parody that absolutely does not encourage drunk driving in real life”, the PEGI 3 rating it was initially given on Switch suggested that its content was suitable for all ages, which, given its subject matter, clearly isn’t the case.
The game was released on the Nintendo Switch eShop on October 15, but has now been removed. In a statement sent to TechRadar Gaming, PEGI stated that it doesn't know when or if the game will be added back to the storefront.
"When the age rating of the game in question was examined, it immediately triggered a rating override since the PEGI 3 was not correct," PEGI said. "If the PEGI rating of a game as a result of this examination changes by more than one age category, Nintendo requires that the game is removed from the shop and that the game is resubmitted with the accurate rating (to ensure their parental control tools work properly). Whether or when the game will be reintroduced on the eShop is something we don’t know."
The age rating process for digital games sees developers fill out an International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) questionnaire upon submitting their game to digital storefronts. This asks in-depth questions about the games’ content.
Filling this out honestly should, in theory, give accurate age ratings for different age rating systems worldwide (such as the PEGI and ESRB systems), and a license for sale is granted for the game to be sold. IARC administrators then manually check through a cross-section of games - often selected by how many downloads they have or if a keyword in their name is popular - to ensure the rating is correct.
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Catherine is a News Writer for TechRadar Gaming. Armed with a journalism degree from The University of Sheffield, she was sucked into the games media industry after spending far too much time on her university newspaper writing about Pokémon and cool indie games, and realising that was a very cool job, actually. She previously spent 19 months working at GAMINGbible as a full-time journalist. She loves all things Nintendo, and will never stop talking about Xenoblade Chronicles.