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PC gamer, WorthPlaying EIC, globe-trotting couch potato, patriot, '80s headbanger, movie watcher, music lover, foodie and man in black -- squirrel!

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Parents Urged To Check Video Game Age Ratings This Holiday Season

by Rainier on Dec. 4, 2008 @ 12:26 a.m. PST

Games industry trade body ELSPA (Europe's ESRB equivalent) urges parents looking to purchase video and computer games for Christmas to always check the game's packaging for the PEGI age ratings and content descriptors.

PEGI age ratings appear on game packaging and are intended to protect children and help the public make informed choices when buying games for children. ELSPA believes PEGI empowers parents to make the right gaming choices for their children.

Games sold in the UK clearly display PEGI ratings - a pan-European gaming-specific rating system instigated and used by all the major games publishers across Europe. PEGI age ratings provide a reliable indication of the suitability of the game content for the protection of minors.

The PEGI ratings are as follows:

  • PEGI 3+ - The game content is considered suitable for all age groups.
  • PEGI 7+ - The game may contain some violence of a non-realistic nature in relation to fantasy characters, which might be frightening to very children but is considered suitable for those aged 7 and over.
  • PEGI 12+ - The game may include instances of violence of a non-realistic nature, but only towards fantasy characters. There is no violence towards human-looking characters or recognisable animals. Suitable for players aged 12 and over.
  • PEGI 16+ - Adult behaviour and violence can start to look life-like. Suitable for players 16 and over.
  • PEGI 18+ - The adult classification is applied to games that are suitable only for an adult audience. Subject matter and graphical details can mirror levels of detail in the storytelling found in adult television programmes and movies. Suitable for those 18 years old and over.

The content of each game is also classified using descriptors, below, which provide an indication of what a player can expect to encounter in the game - such as fear represented by a spider.

Michael Rawlinson, Managing Director of ELSPA, said: “With a little over three weeks until Christmas, parents are under increased pressure from children looking to play their favourite games. But not all games are suitable for younger children so the games industry, which always has child safety at the forefront of its mind, knows that it is of paramount importance that parents carefully check the PEGI ratings and descriptors to ensure the game’s suitability for the intended player.”

For more information on videogame age ratings and content guidelines head to the PEGI website.

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