Playing games on a console or PC has remained one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the UK. It is enjoyed by millions of people who immerse themselves in a virtual world that has so much to give.
From sports and action to puzzle and shooters, every genre is covered by leading game developers who work tirelessly to utilise the latest technology to produce superb animation, physics and artificial intelligence which continue to bridge the gap between reality and the virtual world.
Although modern day titles are predominately aimed at an adult audience, there are games on the market, such as Viva Pinata and Family Game Night, that are predominately created for younger gamers and families. However parents regularly face tough decisions about whether Grand Theft Auto V, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and Battlefield 4 are suitable for their son or daughter.
This is due to the inclusion of official certification which clearly states what age group modern day games are suitable for, and also prevents children and young gamers from purchasing titles they are too young to buy from a store. Although Coral adhere to strict gambling laws and enforce the same certification on blackjack and other like-minded games to prevent unde-age gaming, it has not stopped young console gamers from getting their hands on titles that come with an 18 certificate.
Playing computer games has been proven to carry benefits for children, but they have been legally prevented from buying adult-based games through certification.
Although a grey area exists in so much that parents can still buy 18-rated games for their children who are under the recommended legal age, certificates are there as a guidance to prevent non-adults from subjecting themselves to material that may be harmful. Shooters are a prime example of games that should only be targeted towards an adult audience; the inclusion of guns, explosives and killing people is part and parcel of any successful title, but should only be viewed by those over the age of 18 who are less likely to be affected by the game.
Certificates often indicate the type of overall content that is integrated within a console game, with bad language, use of illegal substances and sex scenes amongst lengthy criteria that instantly promote a game to an 18 certificate.
The argument over whether violent games have a negative influence on young people will rumble on for many years to come, but violence is part of the selling point for numerous genres in the modern day gaming world. Saw and The Evil Within are a perfect example of how the gaming industry follows the same guidelines as the film industry; titles which include blood, gore and elements of torture are simply not suitable for any gamers under the age of 18 and is purely classed as adult content.
Even melee hits on games such as Call of Duty and Battlefield can be considered acts of violence, albeit necessary in the battle against global threats, while boxing games also fall into the adult content category due to the nature of the sport. Any game that includes physical harm is instantly given an 18 certificate due to the potential danger of allowing younger gamers to assume violence is acceptable in the real world.
Although game developers would love to incorporate gamers of all ages in their titles to provide the entire gaming community with a game they can play, certain genres must come with certification. Fifa 15 and F1 2015 are prime examples of recently released games that do not come with certification, but the large percentage of modern day titles now target an adult audience due to the vast percentage of worldwide gamers who are over the age of 18 and become drawn to a particular genre.
Horror games have grown in popularity through a cult following that remain attached to hugely successful games series, such as Dead Rising, Dead Island and Left 4 Dead; Activision have also included zombie modes in some of their most recent Call of Duty titles to not only provide gamers with a unique mode to play, but also an added incentive to buy the game. The Evil Within is the latest gore-filled game that is only suitable for adult gamers, with certification in place to prevent people under the age of 18 from viewing material that could upset them and potentially scar them for life.