Today's Rather Useful seminar was all about sex, violence, gambling and drugs. Or rather the precise amounts of these things that can be present in video games and how this affects the age ratings assigned to them. Gianni and Joanna from the Video Standards Council came along and gave a fascinating talk on the origins of ratings and the way that video games are assessed.
Gianni started off with a discussion of the way that Victorian concerns about the effect of "Penny Dreadful" publications had on the minds of the masses have led to the creation of institutions to manage the way that media of all kinds is classified before distribution.
Gianni explained that this is not about censorship as such, but more about allowing people to make informed choices on the content that they purchase. Joanna then filled in the details, doing an excellent job of mapping the various levels of content onto the rating scheme used by PEGI for games released in Europe.
There was some great discussion about the way that the rules apply to different kinds of game and what you can and can't do. If you want to find out more about this fascinating field you can take a look here.