Monday, 17 October 2016

EGX 2016

Yes, of course we were there!  Whaddya mean you missed us?  We were on the “Askaboutgames” booth stuck between the retro games area and FIFA17 – at times it felt like being permanently tuned into ‘Match of the Day’.  However, it did prove to be a good location with lots of human traffic being collared by GRA staff and having handfuls of ratings information, plus PEGI keyrings and memory sticks, stuffed into their palms.

We attracted a lot of attention, particularly from parents and educators who seem to find the whole game rating business a bit difficult to understand at times - something I find somewhat surprising since, as far as I can tell, it looks pretty straightforward.  I think that maybe some folk still haven’t realised that PEGI 12, 16 and 18 ratings are subject to regulation in the UK.  We spent considerable time explaining how the ratings work and why they exist as a result.

More problematic was the fact that time and time again the same issue of children accessing adult rated games cropped up.  You certainly feel a lot of sympathy for parents who are doing their best, but find their efforts constantly undermined by others.  The typical example is: “I won’t let my twelve year old play Grand Theft Auto, but his friend’s parents aren’t bothered at all which makes it hard for me to say ‘no’ when he asks.”  How you square that particular circle is especially hard.

Lots of folk, including “Deadpool” who appeared to have gotten lost, stopped by to chat and offer comments about the ratings most of which were positive though one man, clearly a lover of conspiracy theories, decided we were some sort of government agents out to ‘get’ people.  Yes, my friend, those innocent-looking PEGI keyrings actually emit rays in order to fry your brain!

I think my most interesting experience was having a crack on the “Whizdish” – a piece of VR technology where you physically move your legs on a circular plastic base in order to ‘move’ through a game; in my case running away from the ghosts in a VR version of Pac-Man.  The manufacturer of this device claims that it helps prevent motion-sickness and I have to confirm that this seemed to be the case.

I think EGX’s new home at the NEC is a major improvement on Earl’s Court and it’s probably safe to state that we aim to be back there next year.

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