WiG 2007 BBFC - Caitlin O'Brien & Heidi Renton


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Caitlin O’Brien &
Heidi Renton
The BBFC and UK Games Classification
British Board of Film Classification

Published in: Entertainment & Humor, Sports
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  • WiG 2007 BBFC - Caitlin O'Brien & Heidi Renton

    1. 1. British Board of Film Classification & Video Games
    2. 2. Contents <ul><li>Introduction to BBFC </li></ul><ul><li>2006/07 statistics </li></ul><ul><li>How BBFC examine games </li></ul><ul><li>Recent video games research </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Aims </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Methodology </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Key findings </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Next steps </li></ul>
    3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>Started classifying films in 1913 </li></ul><ul><li>Independent, non-governmental body funded through charged fees </li></ul><ul><li>Video came under BBFC remit in 1985 with Video Recordings Act 1984 – ‘suitability of viewing in the home’ </li></ul><ul><li>Became British Board of Classification (not censors) </li></ul><ul><li>‘ A highly expert & experienced regulator of the moving image (film, video, DVD & video games)’ </li></ul>
    4. 4. Some facts <ul><li>In 2006 , BBFC classified 18,103 works </li></ul><ul><ul><li>15,122 (83%) videos & DVDs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2,128 (12%) trailers & ads </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>555 (3%) films </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>298 (2%) digital games </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Although video games small % of BBFC’s overall total, is an important area </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First video game classified - DRACULA in 1986 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Video games submissions increased tenfold from 2000 to 2006 (28 to 298) </li></ul></ul>
    5. 5. PEGI <ul><li>Pan European Game Information </li></ul><ul><li>Administered by the VSC </li></ul><ul><li>Ratings based on questionnaire </li></ul><ul><li>16+ & 18+ games checked </li></ul><ul><li>All 18+ & non-exempt games referred to the BBFC </li></ul>
    6. 6. VRA <ul><li>human sexual activity or acts of force or restraint associated with such activity </li></ul><ul><li>mutilation or torture of, or other acts of gross violence towards humans or animals </li></ul><ul><li>human genital organs or human urinary or excretory functions </li></ul><ul><li>techniques likely to be useful in the commission of offences </li></ul><ul><li>or is likely to any significant extent to stimulate or encourage anything falling within paragraph (a) or (b) </li></ul><ul><li>Or if digital work contains ‘moving images’ as an ‘extra’ </li></ul><ul><li>(ie. trailers, ‘Behind the Scenes’, interviews etc) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Section 2 of the Video Recordings Act 1984: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>‘ A work is not exempted if, to any significant extent, it depicts’: </li></ul></ul>
    7. 7. 2006/07 video games <ul><li>Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire / Starship Troopers Demo / Urban Chaos: Riot Response / Metal Gear Acid 2 / Hitman: Blood Money / The Godfather / From Russia With Love / The Sims Deluxe Edition / Final Fight – Streetwise / Timeshift / Tenchu: Time of the Assassins / Trapt / Resident Evil: Deadly Silence / State of Emergency 2 / Prey / Def Jam Fight for New York: The Takeover / GTA: Liberty City Stories / World Championship Poker 2 / Full Spectrum / Warriors: Ten Hammers / CSI 3: Dimensions of Murder / Golden Nugget Casino DS / Texas Hold ‘Em Poker DS / Sin Episodes: Emergence / Play Wize Poker & Casino / Vegas Reel / Saints Row / Jaws Unleashed / Call of Duty 2 / Curious George / Reservoir Dogs / Metal Gear Solid 3 – Subsistence / Company of Heroes / Yakuza / The Warriors / Canis Canem Edit / 50 Cent – Bulletproof / 24: The Game / Ultimate Mortal Kombat 3 / Dirge of Cerberus / Call of Duty 3 / Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell - Double Agent / Tony Hawk’s Project 8 / Sid Meier’s Civilization Chronicles / Rapala Tournament Fishing! / Guitar Hero 2 / Eragon / Barbie in The 12 Dancing Princesses / Forbidden Siren 2 / Crackdown / Superman Returns / Leisure Suit Larry Collection / Tony Hawk’s Downhill Jam / IL2 Sturmovick – Forgotten Battles / Driver ’76 / Shrek the Third / Tomb Raider Anniversary / Dead Rising / The Darkness / Dungeon Siege 2: Broken World / Call of Juarez / F.E.A.R / The Shield / Viva Pinata </li></ul>
    8. 8. 2006/07 video games <ul><li>Magazine covermount DVDs </li></ul><ul><li>- Jetix </li></ul><ul><li>- OXM </li></ul><ul><li>- XBox World 360 </li></ul><ul><li>- PSW </li></ul><ul><li>- PC Gamer </li></ul><ul><li>- PC Zone </li></ul><ul><li>- PC Format </li></ul><ul><li>- OPS </li></ul><ul><li>- PSM2 </li></ul><ul><li>- Nintendo Official Magazine </li></ul><ul><li>- Ngamer </li></ul>
    9. 9. How BBFC examine <ul><li>The BBFC Guidelines - latest issue 2005 - published every four years, & derived from a combination of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>requirements of UK law & Human Rights Act 1988 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>public consultation (citizens’ juries, research & questionnaires) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>research projects </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Examiners apply largely the same guidelines to games as to other media, allowing for some differences </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive aspect key – increasing physicality of games (Wii) means BBFC must fully understand the gaming experience </li></ul><ul><li>To assist the examining process, BBFC recently commissioned bespoke research study </li></ul>
    10. 10. BBFC video games research <ul><li>Overall research objective: </li></ul><ul><li>‘ To improve understanding of what players enjoy about video games, & to explain their preferences for particular games’ </li></ul><ul><ul><li>how gamers relate to the medium </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>what makes games attractive (interplay between visuals, adrenalin rush, reward of finishing, social benefits of playing, etc) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>the implications for classifying games relative to other media (grounds for applying different criteria to the classification of games?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>how games are perceived by the public, & by parents of gamers </li></ul></ul>
    11. 11. Research methodology <ul><li>Qualitative research, consisting primarily of interviews & discussions with: </li></ul><ul><li>- gamers ( aged 7 – 40 yrs; light, intermediate & heavy players, in hours pw) </li></ul><ul><li>- gaming & non-gaming parents of gamers (of kids aged 7 – 17 yrs ) </li></ul><ul><li>- people involved in game production, design & reviewing in specialist press </li></ul><ul><li>Fieldwork in several locations across UK in Autumn 2006 </li></ul>
    12. 12. Key findings <ul><li>Basics </li></ul><ul><li>- people playing games younger (some 3yrs old) </li></ul><ul><li>- children usually have consoles in bedrooms </li></ul><ul><li>- ‘word of mouth’ & peer pressure a powerful influence (especially with young boys) </li></ul><ul><li>- notoriety of some games in media has effect on gamers wanting to play higher rated games </li></ul><ul><li>Patterns of use </li></ul><ul><li>- many young gamers play to the limits of what parents allow </li></ul><ul><li>- girls/women typically play fewer games, shorter sessions </li></ul><ul><li>- men make time to play, women fit around other activities </li></ul><ul><li>- boys talk about & share gaming experiences more than do girls </li></ul>
    13. 13. Key findings <ul><li>The appeal of video games </li></ul><ul><li>- girls stay calmer & set achievable objectives – boys tilt towards jeopardy & excitement </li></ul><ul><li>- games offer a ‘safe’ environment, structured by learnable rules - gamers find this dependability more relaxing & de-stressing than more passive activities like watching TV </li></ul><ul><li>- Storylines a relatively weak element in overall appeal </li></ul><ul><li>- gamers forget they’re playing a game less readily than filmgoers forget they’re watching a film </li></ul><ul><li>- intense concentration & fierce determination to win or make progress are not the same as deep emotional involvement </li></ul>
    14. 14. Key findings <ul><li>Violence as an appealing element </li></ul><ul><li>- violence as a means of eliminating obstacles is built into many game structures </li></ul><ul><li>- violence contributes to game tension; gamers vulnerable to being shot – many concentrate on their own survival rather than on inflicting damage </li></ul><ul><li>- violence is an element of escapism; makes the play exhilaratingly out of reach of ordinary life </li></ul><ul><li>- gamers seem not to lose awareness of playing a game & do not mistake the game for real life </li></ul>
    15. 15. Key findings <ul><li>Gamer concerns about playing video games </li></ul><ul><li>- sense of achievement can be fleeting, ‘rather a cold, emotionally shallow experience’ </li></ul><ul><li>- some gamers uncomfortable with gore/bloody deaths, & ‘wrongness’, wickedness prevailing over innocence </li></ul><ul><li>- players exonerate games of responsibility for real violence </li></ul><ul><li>- most gamers & professionals agree TV/film violence creates more compelling, upsetting illusion </li></ul><ul><li>Parental concerns </li></ul><ul><li>- many relieved their kids not involved in more harmful activities </li></ul><ul><li>- confident that their kids not influenced by game violence </li></ul><ul><li>- no feeling that interactivity is an aggravating factor – TV worse </li></ul><ul><li>- many unaware of sexual content in games – more indignant about sex than violence </li></ul><ul><li>- more fear of ‘stranger danger’ than sex in games </li></ul>
    16. 16. Key findings <ul><li>Supervision & regulation </li></ul><ul><li>- many parents see amount of time their kids spend on video games - rather than content - as the problem </li></ul><ul><li>- parents motivated to enforce classifications are often defeatist: children get access to forbidden games anyway </li></ul><ul><li>- some keep issue at arm’s length as conscious they don’t know anything about games </li></ul><ul><li>- widespread agreement that some regulation of video games needed - current system generally regarded as fit for purpose </li></ul><ul><li>- problems seen with compliance; people buy kids age- inappropriate games, & stores don’t take games classifications as seriously as DVDs </li></ul>
    17. 17. Next steps <ul><li>Research published this week </li></ul><ul><li>Key research findings to be used to inform examination policy for video games </li></ul><ul><li>Likely to be included in next issue of BBFC Guidelines, published 2008/9 </li></ul>
    18. 18. Any questions? <ul><li>Caitlin O’Brien / Heidi Renton </li></ul><ul><li>Examiners, BBFC </li></ul><ul><li>www.bbfc.co.uk </li></ul>