Voice actor Richard Wells has been causing quite a stir on TikTok. Under the handle @richardwells48, he posted a video to the platform on February 9, 2024 where he revealed himself to be the voice actor behind the iconic ‘PEGI 18’ age rating in English.
“I’ve made at least 10,000 recordings, spoken millions of words, but ironically I’m best known for just two,” Wells explains at the beginning of his first video. “You won’t know my face, but millions of you gamers really do know my voice because I’m the guy who says ‘PEGI 18’ on all of your video games.”
For those outside of Europe, the Pan-European Game Information (or PEGI) organization is an age rating system used throughout the region. It’s effectively the European equivalent to the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) and displays advisory warnings alongside a numeric age rating at the start of video game trailers and in a prominent position on most video game boxes.
The warning at the beginning of each trailer is accompanied by a short audio clip stating the game’s age rating in a range of languages depending on the region. While this is often ‘PEGI 18’, which denotes a title suitable for those above the age of 18 like Grand Theft Auto 5 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, titles can also be labeled with the ‘PEGI 3’, ‘PEGI 7’, ‘PEGI 12’, and ‘PEGI 16’ ratings depending on their content.
The English version of the lines will be immediately recognizable if you live in UK and have spent any amount of time watching trailers for all the latest and greatest game releases. Wells concludes his post by asking the viewer to “like this video and [...] share it with your gamer friends” if they have heard his voice over the last fifteen years.
It seems like the clip resonated with quite a few people, as it has since racked up over 14 million views, 2.4 million likes and more than 15,000 comments. Given this huge popularity and the abundance of responses from other TikTok users sharing their fondest memories of the line, Wells has posted a recent follow-up video unveiling the original recordings for each age rating which he says date back to September 2009. You can watch the video and hear the recordings for yourself below:
With how much each of these voice lines has been heard over the years, it’s perhaps not too surprising that plenty of people have taken an interest in this part of gaming history. Even so, Wells concludes this post by saying “Who knew back in 2009 that I would be talking about this 15 years later with thousands and thousands of people around the world, thank you very much for your interest.”
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Dash is TechRadar Gaming's Hardware Writer. Before joining TechRadar, he was a print journalist writing articles for some of the UK's biggest gaming magazines including PLAY, Edge, PC Gamer, and SFX. Now, when he's not getting his greasy little mitts on the newest hardware or gaming gadget, he can be found feverishly devouring the latest Nintendo Switch otome.