ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

September 4, 2008 -

The political battle over who will handle video game rating chores in the U.K. continues.

In the latest development, Spong cites comments from ELSPA general manager Michael Rawlison concerning the relative merits of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) system.

GamePolitics readers may recall that the industry strongly favors PEGI, while Gordon Brown's government seems to be leaning toward the BBFC. Here's what Rawlinson had to say:

The PEGI people are available to go and talk to developers through the development process and look at things in pre-production. [By way of contrast] you can only get a ruling on a BBFC rating once you've finished the product.

 

If we listen to what the BBFC said in print around Dark Knight - 'We analysed this film and we felt that it was borderline around 12 and 15 but in the end we decided to give it a 12', now whether they gave it a 12 of their own free will and volition or whether it was through heavy arm-twisting and pressure, who knows? I certainly have no evidence one way or the other. However, clearly there is no way to pre-determine what the rating of that is going to be until you send them the product.


Comments

Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

PEGI twisting the truth perhaps?

"The PEGI people are available to go and talk to developers through the development process and look at things in pre-production. [By way of contrast] you can only get a ruling on a BBFC rating once you've finished the product."

Can I point them to this which was covered on GP a wee while ago. http://www.nintendic.com/news/2907

"SEGA has revealed that it is working closely with the BBFC and PEGI to make sure Madworld is actually acceptable for release."

How pray tell does PEGI work with developers? Tell them which boxes to tick?

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

The BBFC's influence ruining Madworld is proof of why developers SHOULDN'T work with ratings boards.  True the story is wrong in saying that the BBFC doesn't work with developers, but I could only dream it to be true.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

bla bla, rant, bla bla bla, complain, bla police state bla

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

Actually no this isn't so much a police state as cutting out the middle man and premptively opressing ourselves before such a police state can do it.  Its sad really.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

You keep banging that drum little monkey, you keep banging away.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

You speak,  but the BBFC's words come out.

 

Can't do your own thinking can you?

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

You speak and you remind me of this guy

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmbCGtyiD5M

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

Oh dear... that was painful to watch...

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

Now you know how I feel every time I read one of Eriks posts.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

Uh-huh.  Adorable.

Anyways, I'm curious to know why you can't decide what media is proper for you.  You know, with your own judgement?  Why pander that responsibility off on some faceless organization.

 

THINK FOR YOURSELF FOR FUCKS SAKE.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

You know I think it was people like you that caused censorship in the first place; wanting every minute to see gore and sickness just because they can rather than it having some sort of context.

I think you just need to start to think.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

No, rather it was people such as yourself who think that context is for some reason needed.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

Not to stick up for the Anonymous personage, but don't dismiss it as BBFC propaganda.  Agreeing with something is not failing to think, it is merely thinking it through and agreeing.

Furthermore, the BBFC haven't interferred with Madworld.  That would be manipulation of the truth to the highest order.  The developers approached the BBFC to ensure that an 18 rating would be given.  This is sensible and not interference.  Im sorry you can't spot the difference.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

Ahem:

"We are working with the age rating boards, with PEGI and with BBFC. We’re not at the end of the game’s development, but we’re working with them now to make sure that we don’t go over the top."

So Sega is pandering to the BBFC's whims and changing their content due to their desires.

 

Yeah, thanks a pant load for fucking over a game on BOTH sides of the Atlantic.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

You know what?  Anonymous was right... you really are talking out of your arse here.  Hey tell you what, why don't we blame America for Fox cancelling Firefly, thats rational no?  Or what about all the other lame TV programs that are churned out because of the high censorship on American television that isn't applicable on UK TV?

Corporates want maximum exposure and maximum customers and that is all there is to it.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

That is a wise move by Sega if they do not wish to have trouble when it comes to rating the game, they are working with the BBFC in order to stay within the ruleset that will get them an 18 rated Cert.  I really dont see your problem here, either they do this in development or they end up having to rework when they realise they stepped over the line on what is allowed...

It makes perfect sense as a software developer for them to reduce the chance of rework later.

There are rules that must be adhered to.  Chances are madworld will continue on the same path as it was already, bearing in mind that it is rare that the BBFC has refused a rating and demanded rework in order to rate a game (Running down old ladies in Carmageddon is one of the few i can think of right now).  Sega is just making sure it doesnt have any suprises when it reaches the ratings stage.

Re: Hey PEGI, how pray tell, do you work with developers?

They shouldn't care what the BBFC or other censors think.  If they had an ounce of creative integrity left they would find out what the boundries of the BBFC and other censors are and go BEYOND them.  Not to rework it, but count their losses and consider the UK to be a lost cause.

Its a shame I will have to boycott Sega.  And I've supported them since the Genesis.

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

BBFC has the power to refuse to rate titles.  That's a power I don't believe a ratings board should have.  That's why I prefer PEGI despite the fact that I find a few of their illustrated content descriptors a little unclear.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

FYI Under UK law if PEGI became the reglatory body for video games in the UK then they to would be required to withhold classification to media with respect to the Video Records Act.

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

So, PEGI would just become the BBFC?

Well that makes choosing between the two rather pointless.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

The law is simply that all games (and other covered media) have to be rated in order to be sold. That comes from the government, and that is the main difference between the UK and US systems. There are only two ways of removing the option of soft-banning:

1) Change this law. Allow unrated things to be sold and everyone is happy. I can't immediately think of any reasons why we still need this law, to be honest. Actual illegal stuff (hypothetical snuff films, for example) would still be illegal under obscene publications. Concerned parents would know to avoid "unrated" titles.

2) Force ratings bodies to provide a rating. Harder to do so, because this would be the government forcing a private company to respond to another private company. This would lead to the nightmare scenario popularised by many GP commenters: The government must not be able to tell ratings boards how to act. The BBFC can refuse a rating precisely because it is independant.

As long as the must-be-rated law stands, you might as well have the primary rating body be the best one there is.

Semi-aside, all the anti-game stuff is actually good for gamers in the long term. It looks to me like a repeat of Mary Whitehouse. For the uninitiated, Whitehouse campaigned against the moral decline on TV - fulfilling the role of Jack Thompson, Keith Vaz, the Daily Mail, etc. - and insisted that the public wanted plain, wholesome telly. The new age comedians like Ben Elton - c.f. Rockstar - turned the volume up on their profanity machines and the public made its voice known. With nobody fighting against violent games, we would have nobody fighting for them.

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

YAY!  Thankyou for actually GETTING the UK law instead of bashing the BBFC further.  I'm not trying to be patronising here, it is just sometimes it is like banging your head against a brick wall sometimes.

Incidentally, your fears over ratings boards having such powers are not shared by your average UK citizen.  I know this is hard to comprehend as an American, but it is how things are here.  Were cool with the BBFC and for the most part think they do stirling work.  I appreciate this is a culture shock thing, but please try and accept it.

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

I appreciate this is a culture shock thing, but please try and accept it.

 

Hey, I accept it.  I just don't agree with it.

Incidentally, is there some survey floating about that backs up your claim that the average UK citizen is cool with the BBFC's ability to refuse classification?

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

Yes there was, some sort of approval rating thing.  I'll see if I can find it again and post it.  But until I can do so, you only have to ask random UK people about their Cinema/DVD/Games rating system to understand it is just part of our lives here and noone objects to the increasingly minor cuts in films and such.  To be honest, our TV and radio is comparitively uncensored compared to the US.  Often you will get films on TV that are 18 certs completely uncut as long as it is after the 9PM watershed.

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

To be clear, I'm not calling you wrong or a liar or anything, I just can't wrap my head around the concept of anyone being okay with minor cuts in films, video games or anything else.

I look forward to seeing that survey when you find it.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

Still not found it yet.  I'm pretty sure it was linked off the BBC News website but having no luck with the archives.

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

Not quite, your choosing between the methodologies employed in the task of classification. BBFC is more robust and involved than PEGI which is a glorified questionare.

This is the information that the developer is required to present

http://www.pegi.info/en/index/id/media/doc/172.doc

Quite literally a tick boxing exercise.

Here is what the BBFC needs

http://www.bbfc.co.uk/downloads/pub/Submitting%20CompaniesVideo%20Games%...

Note the inclusion of requirements for a working and complete copy of the game, a recording of cutscenes, bonus content, scripts, saved games, walkthroughs and a whole raft of other things. The BBFC acts an agent independant of the developer to rate the game.

 

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

Any ratings body that would refuse to rate a game based on its content is a complete and utter failure in my eyes.  At that point, rating methodology ceases to interest me.

That said, there are certainly valid arguments to be made both for and against the two organizations' respective methodologies.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

Fact is thats the way it is in the UK, it applies to movies just the same as it applied to games. You may not like it but that doesnt even factor into the equation, sorry.

Anyone who has remembers my posts in the past will know I prefer the BBFC and a substantial amount of my fellow UK posters agree. A lot of US posters have in the past falsely framed this debate as a 'ban or no ban system.' The only differences that are of any consquence are the methodologies employed and public trust.

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

I understand that.  I'm merely offering my opinion.  I in no way mean to imply that the UK should change its policies and procedures based solely on the fact that some guy in California doesn't agree with them.

Anyone who has remembers my posts in the past...

 

A bit difficult to do if you don't differentiate yourself from the hundreds of other anonymous commenters.

 

Andrew Eisen

Re: ELSPA Exec Bashes BBFC

Firefox always defaults to anonymous on this site for some reason so I forgot to post my name on that one, silly me :)

 
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