Two years ago, when Gamewagon took its first steps into the world of children’s parties, there was nothing quite like us on the market. We made a decision very early that we would adhere to the PEGI rating system with regards to which games we would allow our young guests to play. It’s important to note however, that there was no law, regulation or guideline to say that we should – the VSC’s code of practice and accompanying legislature, only applied to the sale of games, not what we do. This decision was our own and one that felt right and important at the time and continues to inform the way we operate – ensuring that games are enjoyed in a safe and responsible way by all ages.
This sense of responsibility is what led us to get in touch with the VSC earlier this year to see how we could help make sure we’re not the only organisation that considers the age appropriateness of video games. After some discussion Gamewagon and the VSC have drawn up an amendment to their industry-wide code of practice to include guidelines and rules that govern the use of video games at events of all sizes – from exhibitions to kids parties. You can find the full text here http://www.videostandards.org.uk/VSC/downloads.html under “VSC Code of Practice” Section 4.
The Video Standards Council is an organisation that few may have heard of but many will recognise. Originally founded in 1989 to “oversee and promote high standards” in the then new technology of home video, its members range from the nationwide supermarket chains to the small independent game shop. Since expanding into video games, one of the VSC’s most important roles is in administering the PEGI age rating system – reviewing all new games and deciding who the appropriate audience is – which it does under the name Game Rating Authority. As of July 2012, this age rating system became legally enforceable for the sale of games i.e. it is against the law to sell age restricted games to children.