Yet the Change4Life campaign’s deliberate fingering of video games – even using hackneyed gaming clichés like ‘Game Over’ – as a contribution to child obesity has sought to ignore and undermine all that, and proves there are still people out there that just don’t get it.
The debate has rumbled on all week, as you’ll no doubt be aware from following MCVuk.com – seeing news of the industry’s argument against what is effectively propaganda, and our complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority – or just from the array of voices to the right here.
Of course what we aren’t disputing is what Change4Life wants to achieve. This is a campaign with good, high intentions. It wants to encourage active lifestyles and a better awareness of the issues around that amongst both adults and children. Let’s not forget that is A Good Thing™ – and something no-one can rally against.
What irks most in the trade about all this, however, is that our voice simply wasn’t heard.
The games industry has become a real force for change, with ‘stand up and be counted’ titles like Guitar Hero and Wii Fit appearing everywhere from Gossip Girl to GMTV – and this ad smacks of ignorance. How have we become singled out as a purveyor of ‘DEATH’?
The fact that our leading names were not invited (yes, we checked) to join Change4Life-funding coalition Business4Life speaks volumes of how games are still a victim of oversight.
And while the Brits are cringing at the fact that this Government-backed ad even exists, it’s taken a New Zealand politician to show that, in fact, the state and games can interact well.
The country’s chief government censor plans to introduce a law that will fine or prosecute any parents that give age-restricted games content to children in a bid to ‘send a message’ to adults.
It’s concrete proof that matters of games content and their impact can be handed sensibly and responsibly by a government – and shows a progressive understanding of the sometimes complex issues debated around games content.
Of course, it also puts Whitehall, which currently seem not care about our own industry, to shame.