In an interesting turn of events, a number of kid-friendly Nintendo games could end up with a mature note.

The European PEGI rating system received an update last year that will affect remakes of classic franchise entries.


Pokemon Shiny Diamond and Shiny PearlCredit: Nintendo

In the wake of the loot box controversy, the rating boards were keen to crack down on the in-game purchases and mechanics that make up the game.

Regulators in different countries have come to varying conclusions on this, but the games’ PEGI ratings have been adjusted in the meantime.

This makes it easy for parents to see if the title they’re buying includes some form of play, but it also means you can see Pokemon and Mario games with a rating of 18+ unless Nintendo revises some of the content.

The new criteria, described in the annual report of the Video Standards Council (VSC), state that all games which “teach and / or glorify the use of games of chance which are played / performed as a traditional means of gambling” are in a the odds are climbing. It continues:

“These are the types of betting or gambling that are normally
played / performed in casinos, arcades, racetracks.

“It doesn’t cover games where betting or gambling is just part of the general scenario. The game should actually teach the player how to play or bet and / or how to magnify the game.

“For example, this will include games that teach the player how to play card games that are typically played for cash or how to play odds in horse races.”

The Pokemon Series Game Corners feature a selection of mini-games, but slots and other forms of in-game “play” mean any re-releases have had to replace these mechanics in order to meet the new regulations.

The Red, Blue, and Yellow Pokémon, for example, would all qualify for 18+ game rating. Scrapping Game Corners, which offers slot machine mini-games, would avoid this problem entirely.

Even the casino-themed mini-games in Super Mario 64 deserve a mature note.

PEGI clarified that older titles with game mechanics will retain their original rating until they are affected, effectively, as a game reporter. Joe merrick reports on Twitter.

But if this is a re-release that has been upgraded, modernized, or changed significantly enough to be considered a “new game,” it is heading for an 18+ sticker.

Naturally, Nintendo will want to avoid this for its franchises, so expect to see the beloved games from your childhood reconfigured to avoid this fate.

Other titles have already fallen under the new system; Ask About Games features the Overboard murder mystery game on Nintendo eShop.

Previously rated PEGI 12 for “Mild violence, suggestive themes and alcohol consumption”, it is now rated PEGI 18.

The descriptor has also changed to reflect this, reading “Simulated Play”. A spokesperson for the VSC Game Rating Board explains:

“The purpose of descriptors is to explain the issues that led to the rating in question, rather than highlighting all of the content present in a game.

“It is inevitable that increasing a grade will result in the loss of all descriptors related to material that would have been acceptable at a lower grade. “

As developers and publishers adapt to the new standard in order to get a proper international rating for their games, keep an eye out for the revised ratings.

You may not have a problem with in-game gambling, or you may decide that it is inappropriate for younger Nintendo Switch users.

Either way, updated PEGI ratings should be inspected carefully to make sure your kids are playing parent-approved games.

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Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Pokémon Shining Pearl Gameplay Trailer

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