I have been considering the PEGI and content ratings of games more than usual recently due a project I am working on. Having to make sure that things are not 12 or over is actually quite a challenge in gaming circles.
Much of this seems to be not just related to violence but to the language used. Games actually offer a great deal more flexibility with clever design to be able to be adjusted to the right age range without losing some of their coolness and anarchy.
A prime example is the excellent Rock fest that is Brutal Legend
Whilst playing the intros it challenges you to make some option decisions about the type of content you would like to experience.
In the scheme of things Brutal Legend is a mission based beat-em-up and RTS but heavily themed with Rock imagery. The main character is played by Jack Black. There is a fair amount of hitting things and casting spells but I have found the predlets have enjoyed watching most of it. In particular they loved Ozzy Osbourne shout rock and roll and throwing the sign of rock. The music is great and whilst they dont actually play it I am happy for them to see its cartoon brilliance on screen whilst I play.
At the start of the game I was asked if I wanted the profanity or the other option of “it sounds funnier when it bleeped out”. With the predlets around that seemed better, and it was funnier.
As you can see below there is also an option to turn off the “gore” which is games terms is not really much more than watching Ben 10 as it is so cartoony yet funny. However the option is there to turn it off
Other media, films, books etc are not able to adjust or be able to be toggled like this.
If a few more things tried this, in particular with dialogue, then I would be able to let my predlets see and play a few more quality games.
This does not stop the fact the content is in there to be unlocked of course so some parental responsibility comes into it, and there is still room for pure 15+ or 18 entertainment, but some of it is so borderline we should be able to choose and turn some features off.