Although this might sound like an obvious question, there is actually more to the humble videogame box than meets the eye. Quite often it is those of us more familiar with games who actually overlook information on the box that can help us make good choices for our families.
First and foremost you have the traffic light, green/amber/red PEGI age information on the front of the box. This tells you when age the game is appropriate for. It’s worth noting that this is not a measure of difficulty as some games suitable for 3 year olds in terms of their content will still be too difficult for them to play.
More information on the PEGI ratings and the reasons why the game got its age rating can usually be found on the back of the box. This provides a set of black and white boxes that describe Bad Language, Discrimination, Drugs, Fear, Gambling, Sex, Violence, Online game play. In some instances there will also be a short description of how the game falls into one of these descriptors.
Further information on the PEGI ratings can be found by searching the PEGI website (entering the full name of the game) as well as on the PEGI app on iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Phone 7.
Older videogame boxes may display the black and white PEGI marks, or a BBFC rating in place of the PEGI mark for certain titles that were rated by the BBFC due to their adult content.
In addition to age ratings the back of a console videogame box also provides the following information:
- How many players can play the game.
- Local multiplayer and online multiplayer features.
- How many controllers are required to play the game.
- Which sorts of controller options are supported – Xbox Kinect / Wii MotionPlus / PlayStation Move / Steering Wheels and so on.
- Whether additional downloadable content is available.
Here’s an episode from the Family Gamer TV YouTube channel discussing PEGI ratings last year:
Making use of this information on the box, as well as reading up on the games you are buying beforehand enables you to make more informed choices about the games you play. This not only enables you to avoid inappropriate titles but connects you with games that your family are more likely to enjoy.