Upcoming Study Might Change New Zealand's Game Ratings

Upcoming Study Might Change New Zealand's Game Ratings

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New Zealand gamers might be getting a new system of videogame ratings in a few years, thanks to a new (and very expensive) study about how games affect people.

New Zealand's Office of Film and Literature Classification handles the duties of rating and censoring all media in the Kiwi Nation, though the way it rates videogames might actually be changing in the future. The Royal Society of New Zealand's Mardsen Fund has committed $405,000 to fund a study about how games affect players.

Dr. Gareth Schott, a Senior Lecturer at Waikato University's school of Screen and Media Studies, will be doing three years of research that will study and record brain activity of gamers playing action-adventure titles. The research will begin next year; it will use a total of 60 gamers as test subjects (20 a year), and they'll also have to keep a diary and undergo regular interviews.

According to Dr. Schott, rating games is a difficult task because "the experience is very different for every player. Players' pathways through games and their decision-making processes are based on a range of influences that are embedded with the complex hybrid medium of games."

While it's admirable that the country is willing to commit some serious cash to updating its game ratings system, this almost seems like overkill. One would think that a system like the one the ESRB uses here in the United States would be a reasonable way to handle game ratings, especially since it was (presumably) created with little more than common sense.

Source: GamePolitics

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God dammit, games do not cause violence already!

When will people get it into their heads...

vansau:
New Zealand's Office of Film and Literature Classification handles the duties of rating and censoring all media in the Kiwi Nation

RAGE. Hardly any government gives a shit about creative freedom anymore.

More on topic. Does this sound familiar:
"Badly drawn, badly written, and badly printed - a strain on the young eyes and young nervous systems - the effects of these pulp-paper nightmares is that of a violent stimulant. Their crude blacks and reds spoils a child's natural sense of colour; their hypodermic injection of sex and murder make the child impatient with better, though quieter, stories. Unless we want a coming generation even more ferocious than the present one, parents and teachers throughout America must band together to break the `comic' magazine."
-Sterling North, Chicago Daily News book reviewer, 1948

Huh, I seriously dubt that 20 participants a year will be enough to reflect the diversity within the gaming community.

Maybe this will be a rating system that actually works .......

but they would need 'underage gamers' to see if the ratings are to high also...

This is a very odd story to say the least. I mean you never hear of studies about how films and books affect peoples minds. No it is probably because games tell teenagers to go out and shoot people instead of the fact that it is easier to get a hold of a gun or knife than ever before. I know they are just testing to create a new rating system but this has been annoying me for a while now. Besides their SCIENCE is inferior to mine.

So the test subjects are getting paid to provide evidence of how video games are safe?

I should sign up for this.

vansau:
...common sense...

...tells us that the earth is the center of the universe. (well, a few centuries ago it did)

ESRB excels at telling people what's in a game, but so far it's done only the most average job of telling us who should play the games they rate. Yeah, they have lot's of levels, but they're all based on age, which I find to be an incredibly ineffective metric for most things to begin with, and they're all assigned based more on public perceptions of "appropriateness" than any empirical research. I think this research is incredibly worthwhile and will have consequences reaching far beyond Australian borders, and the borders of a game rating system as well.

Exterminas:
Huh, I seriously dubt that 20 participants a year will be enough to reflect the diversity within the gaming community.

And yeah, this. I thought it was an oddly low number as well. It's kind of a heavy commitment (playing games is fun, but less so when you have to, and mandatory journals seem just as fun as they were in English class), but I still think it's a pretty weak sample size.

Honestly, I think we had the best solution in Britain with the BBFC. Not so sure now that they're changing over to PEGI - a system that doesn't account for context and seems to be highly inconsistent. (The GI Joe Wii film tie-in game got a 16+ from them!)

How long will it take people to understand that games do not exist in a social vaccume. You cannot just pick a media type at random and assume that it will affect people independently of other media. I mean you don't see people going around saying "The Internet causes violence in the youth of today!"

Stop cherry picking you fake scientists.

Wandrecanada:
How long will it take people to understand that games do not exist in a social vaccume. You cannot just pick a media type at random and assume that it will affect people independently of other media. I mean you don't see people going around saying "The Internet causes violence in the youth of today!"

Stop cherry picking you fake scientists.

I think this post encapsulates my biggest problem with these studies, they don't involve other forms of media. I don't doubt that games have an effect on people psychologically, hell, as far as I'm concerned a truly great game should challenge the way you think, but at the same time I believe other forms of media also fall under this umbrella.

I think the problem "we" are going to have fighting this battle as I think more about it is that games do actually affect violent behavior! The thing is that everything does. Games are simply the form of escapism of choice.

It's like this, people are violent, we have been fighting and killing each other as long as we've existed. Whether this is a bad thing, or a good thing in disguise can be debated by both scientists and philsophers, the bottom line is that it happens. People cannot help but be affected by and inspired by the information they absorb, and the fantasies they use for escapism.

Sure, some kid who performs an act of violence might refer to a video game as inspiration for the exact method he chose, or something like that. However, the same kid had he not been playing video games and instead reading books or comic books would probably still be violent in response to whatever set it off, but the exact act and inspiration might change based on what he's seen.

As a result the current popular forms of escapism are always going to influance violence more than what isn't popular at the time.

The thing is that I'm wary of a study like this because to really determine things you'd need to compare video games to other forms of escapism like books, TV, movies, and the like.

Truthfully though even if you banned every form of potentially violent intellectual stimulation out there, people would still be involved in violence because of how we are made, and honestly I'm not even sure I think a violent nature is something that needs to be overcome or changed as much as channeled, I think it's an integral part of our survival and what makes us human. If we weren't violent and aggressive, we would never have progressed to the point where we could sit around in the peace and safety that allows us to contemplate our own nature as a species as opposed to simply survive.

In closing, many years ago I remember discussions about the Hijacking of planes. A point constantly brought up was the book "Hijacked" which inspired this movie: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skyjacked_(film) (the book itself does not have a page). Prior to that novel being written nobody had contemplated Hijacking an aircraft apparently, and a lot of things were being said about it when it was starting to become a fairly common terror tactic.

There seemed to be tendencies to claim (I was very young, the movie was made 3 years before I was born) that plane hijacking wouldn't be happening if it wasn't for that book, as part of an arguement about what people should be allow to write and "teach" other people to do. The thing is though that while that book might have inspired the specific act of hijacking, the guys committing had already decided to perform acts of terrorism, they would have done something, all the book did at the absolute worst, even if you make the clearest connection possible, was determine the form. Assuming that the Hijackers would have stayed home and done nothing if they hadn't been so inspired is ridiculous, they would have just engaged in some random bombings, mass shootings, or more tradional forms of hostage taking.

It's nice, and the Kiwi's should be proud, that they want to use science to inform policy making, rather than the appalling monstrosity that is common sense.

Unfortunately this hardly sounds like a scientific study, it's small to say the least and only covers one year of exposure. How are the games selected? what's the controls? I know the GP report is only brief but it's missing just about everything.

urrr not that it makes too much of a difference to me being on the other side of the world to that and all but anyway...Does this mean these new rating systems are going to be softer or harsher than other country rating systems.

C95J:
God dammit, games do not cause violence already!

When will people get it into their heads...

It may not, but would you really feel comfortable with a 6 year old plying Dead Space? No. It's not all about violence, that's just part of it. Games should be subjected to the same standards as movies and television are. In other words, rating systems to stop people from seeing content which is inappropriate for them, such as my previous example. It's about educating parents and so forth.

oh god now that pic reminded me of "sven the fucking sheep" game >.>

....

i still love that game.

Unrulyhandbag:
It's nice, and the Kiwi's should be proud, that they want to use science to inform policy making, rather than the appalling monstrosity that is common sense.

Unfortunately this hardly sounds like a scientific study, it's small to say the least and only covers one year of exposure. How are the games selected? what's the controls? I know the GP report is only brief but it's missing just about everything.

True in a way, but in a way also sensible. They are AWARE that there is a huge amount of diversity, and it would require thousands of subjects to measure that (which there is no way they could afford). Seems to me they sorta checking : Right are these games causing any negative/positive effects? Yes/no? Right. If something affects 19/20 participants is a fair guess that its common. If its more like 10/20 ,then maybe they will decide on further testing.

bah I'm kinda saying this all wrong but they point I'm trying to make is they they AREN'T Doing this to determine if games can cause detriments to health, they doing it to see if it causes SIGNIFICANT enough problems to effect the games rating.

So I say to other people In the posts above, Chillax brah, the moment people question gaming (even in a rational manner such as this) you are all spurred into a viscous defensive frenzy bemoaning how oppressed we are -_- Srsly? Its Not That Bad.

i would rather have a Harsh Rating system that doesn't ban Content that a Shitty rating system that Bans content because the rating system doesn't extend far enough to rate the content itself, (ie a lack of R18+ in Australia)

vansau:

While it's admirable that the country is willing to commit some serious cash to updating its game ratings system, this almost seems like overkill. One would think that a system like the one the ESRB uses here in the United States would be a reasonable way to handle game ratings, especially since it was (presumably) created with little more than common sense.

perhaps the ESRB doesn't fit the Kiwi Context? with a recent study suggesting nearly every household in New Zealand has a Gaming device/console perhaps they felt it is necessary to ensure a rating system needs to be suited to the New Zealand and context, slightly different culture everywhere you go. so rating systems need to be individually suited to each place to ensure it works for the location

don't see why NZ needs it, our system works as its based on our movie/TV system

ratings are something like this (i don't know the one below R13)
G = general consumption (?)
PG = parental guidance recommended (?)
M = mature recommended (this ones a bit vague)
R # = buyer must be # or older

highest rating R18 which is a legal adult.

Australia's rating need a bigger overhaul there highest rating is m15+ meaning if its not suitable for a 15 year old its banned

Nurb:

vansau:
New Zealand's Office of Film and Literature Classification handles the duties of rating and censoring all media in the Kiwi Nation

RAGE. Hardly any government gives a shit about creative freedom anymore.

More on topic. Does this sound familiar:
"Badly drawn, badly written, and badly printed - a strain on the young eyes and young nervous systems - the effects of these pulp-paper nightmares is that of a violent stimulant. Their crude blacks and reds spoils a child's natural sense of colour; their hypodermic injection of sex and murder make the child impatient with better, though quieter, stories. Unless we want a coming generation even more ferocious than the present one, parents and teachers throughout America must band together to break the `comic' magazine."
-Sterling North, Chicago Daily News book reviewer, 1948

"Since all juvenile delinquents have been exposed to baseball, we must conclude that baseball causes juvenile delinquency." - MAD Magazine, on the comics hysteria, 1955.

At least it doesn't sound like they're approaching this with an obviously slanted view on the matter without due consideration. In America, it seems like games are one of those things that are an immediate scapegoat without logical or empirical evidence. I can only imagine an American study...

Day 53: Another day playing Call of Duty online. It has been three days in a row without incident and everything seemed to have been going fine. Thirty minutes in, the voices started to pound caustic insults towards my mother, heritage, and sexual orientation into my psyche. Unbeknownst to me, hours slipped past me as the voices grew stronger and flashes of death and bullet lag spilled into my mind. Then came the screams. Oh the screams, they were the worst of it all! It was as though a thousand kittens had been thrown into a wood-chipper and then set on fire. The horror of it all has me questioning my own perceived reality.

Day 68: Now the voices are telling me that my name is actually Nathan Drake and I am to travel to the lost city of El Doritos and find the lost city of golden cheddar ranch! The only thing standing in my way is that damn Mrs. Graham next door and her damn cats and fresh baked apple pies. And those damn campers. I must prepare for the many fights to come, from the neighborhood pool, to Boy Scouts meeting, to the local grocery store! But first thing's first, to the gun shop!

That picture is just a hysterical accompaniment to this article, I almost spewed water all over my monitor from the sudden onset of laughter seeing it provoked.

vansau:
While it's admirable that the country is willing to commit some serious cash to updating its game ratings system, this almost seems like overkill. One would think that a system like the one the ESRB uses here in the United States would be a reasonable way to handle game ratings, especially since it was (presumably) created with little more than common sense.

That would be wonderful in theory, but the unfortunate truth is that both New Zeland and Australia's respective classifcation systems are enforced by law. The ESRB system is merely a reccomendation. (To my knowledge anyway, someone from America correct me if I'm wrong)

SL33TBL1ND:

C95J:
God dammit, games do not cause violence already!

When will people get it into their heads...

It may not, but would you really feel comfortable with a 6 year old plying Dead Space? No. It's not all about violence, that's just part of it. Games should be subjected to the same standards as movies and television are. In other words, rating systems to stop people from seeing content which is inappropriate for them, such as my previous example. It's about educating parents and so forth.

I think that if the parents of the child consent to this, and the child is mature enough to understand the differences between a game and reality, then yes, they should be able to play it.

C95J:

SL33TBL1ND:

C95J:
God dammit, games do not cause violence already!

When will people get it into their heads...

It may not, but would you really feel comfortable with a 6 year old plying Dead Space? No. It's not all about violence, that's just part of it. Games should be subjected to the same standards as movies and television are. In other words, rating systems to stop people from seeing content which is inappropriate for them, such as my previous example. It's about educating parents and so forth.

I think that if the parents of the child consent to this, and the child is mature enough to understand the differences between a game and reality, then yes, they should be able to play it.

And I agree with you. That's why we need rating systems so that parents can make an informed decision. But generally a 6 year old shouldn't play a game like Dead Space without the parent knowing the nature of the game first. That's what the rating system is for.

vansau:
While it's admirable that the country is willing to commit some serious cash to updating its game ratings system, this almost seems like overkill.

I don't know, I'm grateful. Someone somewhere is sacrificing the cash to gather some scientific information on gaming and how it affects us. I don't know if they plan to do anything BEYOND monitoring brainwaves whilst someone plays games, or just do the bare minimum and then bunk off for a government-sponsored smoke, but it's data that might turn out interesting and maybe even helpful.

Of course, it might just be a big smokescreen fund so they can then ban a lot of stuff citing scientific research. We'll see.

And this is proof that its not jsut a syustem no one cares about - at least trying to put some effort into making a system work, and work well

SL33TBL1ND:

C95J:

SL33TBL1ND:

C95J:
God dammit, games do not cause violence already!

When will people get it into their heads...

It may not, but would you really feel comfortable with a 6 year old plying Dead Space? No. It's not all about violence, that's just part of it. Games should be subjected to the same standards as movies and television are. In other words, rating systems to stop people from seeing content which is inappropriate for them, such as my previous example. It's about educating parents and so forth.

I think that if the parents of the child consent to this, and the child is mature enough to understand the differences between a game and reality, then yes, they should be able to play it.

And I agree with you. That's why we need rating systems so that parents can make an informed decision. But generally a 6 year old shouldn't play a game like Dead Space without the parent knowing the nature of the game first. That's what the rating system is for.

yep, perfect viewpoint, I just wish a bit more people take responsibility, and the media handle things correctly

I congratulate.

I congratulate the Guy who actually managed to get a government to pay for that very doubtfull study of only 60 people who have to stound for Millions.

I guess three years of save employment are a nice reason to celebrate.

I think it is a great idea to apply science to the issue instead of listening to a bunch of dumb soccer moms who can't be bothered to actually raise their kids. If they are looking at what material actually affects people and then give that a higher rating, then that system actually makes a bit of sense.

C95J:

SL33TBL1ND:

C95J:

SL33TBL1ND:

C95J:
God dammit, games do not cause violence already!

When will people get it into their heads...

It may not, but would you really feel comfortable with a 6 year old plying Dead Space? No. It's not all about violence, that's just part of it. Games should be subjected to the same standards as movies and television are. In other words, rating systems to stop people from seeing content which is inappropriate for them, such as my previous example. It's about educating parents and so forth.

I think that if the parents of the child consent to this, and the child is mature enough to understand the differences between a game and reality, then yes, they should be able to play it.

And I agree with you. That's why we need rating systems so that parents can make an informed decision. But generally a 6 year old shouldn't play a game like Dead Space without the parent knowing the nature of the game first. That's what the rating system is for.

yep, perfect viewpoint, I just wish a bit more people take responsibility, and the media handle things correctly

As do we all, good sir.

now me being from the nz all i can hope for is that if this test works out correctly and that we either get a slightly modified version of the current rating system or a new system that allows more freedom in these areas of entertainment otherwise i really wouldnt mind if the original system was left in place, though all on one condition that we do NOT end up with and ultra-strict system like austrila.

 

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