Following reports that parents are ignoring the age ratings on games, even in the UK where such ratings carry the same legal weight as those on films, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) and gaming-focused webcomic Penny Arcade have launched a series of public service announcements (PSAs) called 'Conversations'.
While in the UK game age ratings, carried out by the Pan European Game Information (PEGI) organisation, carry the same legal weight as the British Board of Film Classification's equivalent ratings for films, the two are treated very differently: A survey published back in July revealed that 86 percent of respondents knowingly allowed their children to play games rated above their age, while only 23 percent did the same for films.
A similar survey carried out by Ukie in 2012 found much the same attitude, with only 20 percent of respondents stating that they would play a game themselves first to double-check its suitability before providing it to their child. It's this apparent wilful ignorance of games' content that the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), the US equivalent of PEGI, has partnered with Penny Arcade to address.
The resulting series of video shorts, starring animated versions of Penny Arcade founders Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik with their respective children, are designed to 'illustrate how fast and easy it is to find out what’s in a game by checking the ESRB-assigned rating information'. The videos are backed by a competition in which those posting to social media with the hashtag '#JoinTheConversation' can win GameStop gift cards and one of four family trips to the 2019 Pax Games Convention in San Antonio, Seattle, Boston, or Philadelphia.
More information on the programme can be found via the official website.
February 26 2021 | 22:15