Here is something I saw in Game yesterday — a 50 Cent game with an oversized BBFC 18 certificate logo. You don’t think the makers of the game might be using its 18 certificate status as a selling point, perhaps?
Having an 18 certificate is a sure-fire way to get kids interested in a video game. It works in exactly the same way that 8-year-olds were interested in South Park just because it had lots of swearing in it. And it’s why tons of six-year-olds are well into Slipknot — because it has a ‘Parental Advisory’ sticker on it.
Grand Theft Auto did it way back in the mid-1990s. I was definitely playing that game well before I was 18 — I think most of my peers were. I didn’t like it because of its 18 certificate — I thought it was quite a funny game actually — but I’m sure that for a lot of people, the 18 certificate was a large part of the appeal of the whole thing.
It’s not news that a video game company might be getting an 18 certificate on purpose as a cheap way to get kids interested, or to get loads of priceless media coverage for free (à la recent Grand Theft Auto games). The thing that stunned me about the 50 Cent game was the sheer size of that 18 certificate. It must be at least four times the size of a normal 18 certificate. Is that even legal?
Of course, the game makers could just say that they are only trying to make sure that parents are aware that the game contains adult content. Ingenious. Of course, it doesn’t stop many parents from buying it on their child’s behalf anyway.