Rating Systems

2 05 2008

PEGI ratings

The BBFC intend to launch a rating system for online games and films in just a few months, much faster than the two years or so stated to implement the full recommendations of the Byron review. It seems the BBFC are going to work with PEGI, and this TechRadar interview with BBFC chairman David Cook goes into some detail on it (warning, site has popups):

Tanya Byron has recommended pretty much the same thing online as she has recommended for physical product, which is that games to be rated 12 and up should come to the BBFC. So there are two routes we could go here. We could either set up something which we are already doing – called BBFC Online – as a competitor to PEGI Online or we could feed into PEGI Online, given that PEGI Online already recognises BBFC symbols.

In early April the same site interviewed Patrice Chazerand from IFSI (the body in charge of PEGI), who also seems to be a pragmatist:

“The UK public probably couldn’t care less about the competition of two game ratings agencies – they care about getting the right information,” he added.

Maddeningly, just when it seems all the sulking could end, DSGi have announced that they’ll be rolling out their own in store game ratings system. Why? It seems utterly pointless and confusing for a retailer to expend resources on a third rating system when they could put more oomph into raising awareness of BBFC and PEGI ratings.

It gets worse. Here’s how the rating panel will be selected:

The Currys panel will be selected from the winners of in-store competition, the retailer has said.

and what the system will feature:

The sticky labels will feature a “squabble-ometer” and a laughter scale.

Not only is this going to be cringeworthy, but by the sounds of it, despite their line on games expanding into a family activity, the way they’re pitching it is all wrong. It’s crazily simplistic to reference the “games are for teenagers” meme as dying then imply that they’re for kids. A patronising, proprietary ratings system that regards games as “family fun” instead of entertainment for all ages, including adult only titles, is going to do absolutely nothing for games or anything else.

On reflection, DSGi’s system sounds like it might be exactly the kind of crashingly irrelevant rubbish that people just ignore. Here’s hoping.

Rest in Peace, Gary Gygax

6 03 2008


Gary Gygax was at GDC this year. Sadly, news comes via nearly everywhere that he just died. From Terra Nova:

May he rest in peace proudly as one of the very few people whose creations will outlive them.

(Edit: XKCD has done the sweetest tribute I’ve seen).

CC image: D&D circa 1970, mattdork

SCi Cut 25% of UK Workforce

6 03 2008


Reducing them to a total of 800 employees, they are axing 14 projects. No announcements as to which ones yet:

SCi announced its restructuring plans after suffering an £81.4m loss from operations in the six months to December 31, 2007, compared to a loss of £17.9m in the same period in 2006.

Off to GDC 08

14 02 2008

GDC 08

Pixel-Lab will next week effectively pack up and be off for 10 days to the States.  David & I will be attending GDC, the largest games industry conference, and are exited that as a company we will be there in force.

I am speaking at the IGDA Government & Associations Summit on the Monday, and at the IGDA education event on the Monday & Tuesday.

As well as having tonnes of meetings on regional support, tv and virtual world cross overs, pitching our new training, and generally getting about.  If you are going make sure to add us on MyGDC, if not we will see you when we get back.

apologies for lack of posting next week 🙂

GAS Idea Takeaway
The goal of this seminar is to identify what issues are best addressed by government and support organizations and to find strategies to deal with them. It is also a networking opportunity for the participants. The seminar is also intended as a source of inspiration that lasts.

Intended Audience
A broad definition of the intended participant is: someone who is involved with developing the structural factors for game developers, but not necessarily developing games herself. This includes civil servants in cultural-, economic development and technology fields, trade associations, policy-makers, researchers (cultural studies rather than tech or design), active IGDA-members (chapter organizer).

Education Event – Session Description
This 2-day summit will focus on nuts & bolts practices in curriculum and teaching methods for game development education. There will be two tracks, one aimed at novice educators just entering the game education genre, the second for experienced educators looking for additional tools teaching game design and development. There will be lectures, model curricula, case blasts, post-mortems, interactive hands-on sessions as well as great opportunities for networking and discussion throughout the workshop. Attendees will leave with useful examples and ideas on how to best develop and/or reinvigorate game development curricula in their institution.

Idea Takeaway
The goal of this workshop is to address educational issues by sharing examples of best practices in teaching and curricula. It is our hope that participants will collaborate and help create guidelines for the growing community of educators teaching video game design and development.

Intended Audience
The workshop has value for teachers, students and developers interested in a dialog between education and industry professionals. This workshop is aimed at higher education practices.

Dr. Richard Wilson, new CEO of TIGA

31 01 2008

Richard Wilson, new CEO of TIGA

Richard Wilson (previously Head of Business Policy at the Institute of Directors) was unveiled as the new CEO of TIGA, The Independent Game Developers Association here in the UK, at the trade body’s annual awards dinner.

Wilson, ex Torie researcher, takes up the position in March, succeeds current CEO Fred Hasson.

“The appointments board was unanimous in selecting Richard for the post,” said TIGA chairman Ian Baverstock.

“He, like our current CEO Fred Hasson, has no previous games industry experience but has an impressive public affairs background and understands issues relating to industrial sectors.

“We think he has the right qualities to build on TIGA’s achievements to date and take the organisation forward.”

“I am delighted to have been appointed CEO of TIGA. It is a lean, innovative and effective trade association that does a magnificent job in serving the interests of UK games developers,” Wilson said.

“Fred Hasson has been an outstanding CEO and it is an honour to follow him in this role. I am looking forward to campaigning vigorously on behalf of TIGA members, further enhancing TIGA’s effectiveness and raising the profile of the UK games development sector.”

Richard was previously Director of Communications at the Royal Academy of Engineering (2006– 2008). As Director of Communications he had responsibility for the management of the Communications Department, the Academy’s public and media relations, the development and delivery of the Academy’s publications, the design and delivery of the Academy’s programme of events and oversight of its awards portfolio. He was also Secretary of the Associate Parliamentary Engineering Group. Richard was Head of Business Policy at the Institute of Directors (IoD) between 1998 and 2006. Here he played an important part in the work and management of the IoD’s Policy Unit. He authored numerous policy papers, delivered keynote speeches and was a regular media spokesman.

Prior to joining the IoD, Richard worked at the Conservative Research Department (1996 – 1998), where he provided support for Cabinet and Shadow Cabinet Ministers and MPs. Between 1995 and 1996 Richard worked as a political researcher for Andrew Lansley (now the Shadow Secretary of State for Health) and co-authored the book Conservatives and the Constitution.

Richard was educated at Reading University, where he gained a Ph.D. in political theory. He also taught politics at Reading University. Between 1999 and 2002 he was a governor of Christ the King Primary School in Berkshire. Richard is currently the Chairman of the Better Payment Practice Group, a public-private partnership that aims to improve the payment culture amongst businesses in the UK. He is also an independent director of the board of ‘Improve’, the Sector Skills Council that aims to raise the level of skills and training in the food and drink industry.

Tshirts in development

14 12 2007

We took these as our tshirts were in development.  Thought we might share:


We are no longer naked. Pixel-Lab & Never Mind the Polygon T-shirts

13 12 2007


Our first ever batch of T-Shirts have arrived (#1-3), and they look awesome. New ones will be made to accompany each Pixel-Lab event.

Printed on heavy Jerzees T-Shirts, these will make you the envy of developers everywhere. Each design features a game in our Hall of Fame, it’s designer, platform of choice, and year of. Conditions of wear are printeed on the back.
These cost £15 at the events, and will soon be available online for £18.

Current designs are shown below, and new ones will appear shortly before each event.

#1 – Loco Roco (PSP)
#2 – Mario Kart (SNES)
#3 – Out Run (arcade)

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