Govt: Video games will kill you

By staff

The government’s Change4Life campaign has turned up the heat on video gamer by linking the medium with premature death.

The print advertisement has been featured in women’s lifestyle press titles including Star, Receal and Heat. The ad shows a young boy holding a PlayStation 3 controller under the text: Risk an early DEATH; Just do nothing.

The ELSPA (Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association) which acts as a voice for the computer and video games industry, expressed surprise at the controversial ad campaign, and held an “urgent meeting” with the Department of Health (DoH).

ESPLA director general Michael Rawlinso told industry website MVC: “When we became aware of the adverts we were surprised as they contradicted much of the discussion that we had enjoyed with the Department of Health. We immediately called for an urgent meeting with its officials responsible for Change4Life.

“Following that meeting we have been informed that the ads are the responsibility of the NGOs listed. We are now taking the matter up with these organisations and informing them of the responsible position taken by the industry as demonstrated on our ‘Ask About Games’ website.”

MCV-UK’s editor Tim Ingham argued the Change4Life’s advertising campaign “makes a mockery of everything the industry has achieved in the last decade,” further commenting that it’s “bang out of order.”

“Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft have all moved Heaven and Earth to provide a more socially embedded and (whisper it) healthy interactive experience with this generation of consoles,” he added.

“Not only have they got the UK’s idle, McDonald’s-munching youth actually keen to break a sweat – but, more importantly, they’ve helped them have a genuine giggle with their parents for the first time since ‘peek-a-boo!’ in the pushchair.

“Change4Life’s heart-in-mouth scapegoating of the video games industry is a troubling indictment of a hypocritical government which flashes us grins when we generate £4 billion a year for its depleted coffers; but which then turns its back and explicitly tells parents that we’re KILLING THEIR CHILDREN.”

MCV has submitted an official complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority over the adverts.

Earlier this week home affairs committee chairman Keith Vaz reiterated his previous attacks on video games, calling for a renewed focus on their classification s