PEGI’s new gameplay criteria mean remakes of old Pokémon games could be rated 18+

Pegi 18

To update: A PEGI representative has now provided further clarification on the updated rules regarding play in games, explaining that older titles would only be updated to 18+ if they were re-released with changes, which would technically make it a new game. . You can find the full explanation under our original story below:

Original article (Wednesday, September 1, 2021 13:00 BST): PEGI, which serves as the video game content rating system across Europe, has updated its criteria regarding play in games. The change means that any game that “encourages or teaches the game” will now instantly be classified as PEGI 18.

You have undoubtedly seen PEGI content descriptors in your favorite games: inappropriate language, discrimination, drugs, fear, gambling, sex, violence, and more recently, in-game purchases can be noted in a game box or on the store page. along with an age rating between 3 and 18 years to match the content included.

Over time these descriptors are revised and while a game that contained games of chance could previously get away with being a PEGI 12 or PEGI 16, it will now automatically always be a PEGI 18. The VSC Gaming Leaderboard explains the change:

“In 2020, the PEGI criteria were changed so that, in the future, any game with moving pictures that” teaches and / or beautifies the use of games of chance that is played / carried out as a traditional medium of game ” It will be rated PEGI 18.

This refers to types of gambling or gambling for money that are typically played or carried out in casinos, gambling halls, or racetracks. It does not cover games where betting or gambling is simply part of the overall story. Actually, the game must teach the player how to gamble or gamble and / or beautify the game. For example, this will include games that teach the player how to play card games that are generally played for money or how to play odds in horse racing. “

As pointed out AskAboutGames, a Switch title affected by the rule change is Overboard !, a murder mystery text adventure featuring ‘Mild Violence, Suggestive Themes, and Use of Alcohol’ content that would normally give the game a PEGI 12 rating. However, thanks to a scene where the player can enjoy a game of blackjack, the rating is increased to PEGI 18, and the lower age indicators are removed in favor of the higher level warning of ‘Simulated play’.

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Electronic Store Overboard Switch
Image: Nintendo Life

Interestingly, the rule change means that if Nintendo – or any publisher for that matter – remade some of their older titles and releases them again in the current climate, they would almost certainly see a significant increase in the age rating.

Take Pokémon Red and Blue, for example, which features Game Corner, a building full of slot machines that allow the player to bet their money on the game to win more money and claim prizes. These were originally released as suitable for everyone, but were upgraded to a PEGI 12 rating when they were re-released on the 3DS eShop in 2016 thanks to their gambling content. If Nintendo were to release the games again on the Switch, they would be classified as PEGI 18. [Update – see clarification below for more info].

Countless other games would be similarly affected as well, such as Super Mario 64 DS. Thanks to a gambling minigame, its original PEGI 3 rating went up to PEGI 12 when it was relaunched on Wii U, and it would now be awarded a PEGI 18 if it were remade for the Switch.

To update: PEGI provides further clarification, explaining that a direct relaunch would not be affected, but an “improved and modernized” version:

“If an old game that is PEGI 12 for simulated gambling were to be re-released, its age rating would be maintained, provided it is not an improved, modernized, reinterpreted or rearranged version of the previous game. It must be identical in content, otherwise it must be treated as a new game, at which point the current criteria apply, the historical rating is maintained as long as the game is re-marketed in the same form.

When we implemented the criteria change in the first part of 2020, we made a conscious decision not to apply the change retroactively. We wanted to avoid the exact same game being found in one store for two different consoles with two different age ratings. “