PEGI – what I hadn't understood before

So, I asked PEGI about the WotLK 12+ rating based on it containing scenes where the player has to torture human-like characters, and shoot people in cages, some of whom beg for mercy before being killed by the player. Their stance is that the 12+ rating is correct, since the violence isn’t graphic enough, and that the victims don’t respond to the violence in a realistic manner. No blood – the violence doesn’t exist. I’m slightly confused on how lying dead in the ground after being shot is unrealistic, but maybe that’s just me. I was told I can continue the discussion by filing an official complaint, but I don’t think I want to go quite that far.

I guess by this logic one could create a text-based game where the primary objective of the game is to strangle bound people, have long descriptions of how the suffocation happens and get a 12+ by PEGI, since there is not graphics involved. The official PEGI literature uses word “depiction” to describe the game content, but PEGI interprets that as pure visualization. I can only assume the lingo has been carefully chosen for maximum approval by authorities, and the interpretation for the maximum benefit of the gaming industry.

What this means to me, is that when I get to the point of purchasing games to my daughter in a few year’s time, I won’t actually trust the PEGI system. While the visualization of violence and sex is something I think I’ll want to protect her from, I don’t want her to play games with torture either.

I work in the gaming industry and I love games. And I really like WoW, too. But I just sometimes get this feeling that a bit more honesty wouldn’t hurt anyone. And organizations which have been created within an industry in order to proactively prevent authorities from meddling with the industry tend to have issues with honesty, which seems to be the case here. Sigh.

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