England Screens Games For Seizure Scenes

England Screens Games For Seizure Scenes

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The British Parliament is moving toward regulating game content to protect against epileptic seizures.

John Penrose, a conservative Parliament member for Weston-super-Mare, offered a motion to Parliament that would screen games for potentially dangerous and seizure-inducing scenes before publishing. The motion was triggered by reports that Gaye Herford, a dentist from Winscombe, Somerset, had found her 10-year-old son seizing on the floor of his room in front of Rayman Raving Rabbids for the Nintendo Wii. Hospital testing confirmed that Herford's son had suffered from a bout of photosensitive epilepsy caused by the game's flashing lights.

Mrs. Herford described her son when she found him. "As I held him he was rigid. His look was blank. I could see the side of his face and his left hand twitching and he told me, 'Mummy, stop these lights and flashes please.'"

Penrose defended his stance on the issue. "We don't allow toy-makers to sell products that could poison or injure our children. This shouldn't be any different. We need government action, now, to change the law so no more young lives are affected by seizures triggered by electronic videogames."

Rob Cooper, managing director of Ubisoft UK, explained, "Our immediate response to Gaye Herford was to not just take note but to take up her case. Testing of the original Rayman Raving Rabbids Nintendo DS game showed that no images posed a high risk for photosensitivity epilepsy.

"However, we took the view that different people can react in different ways and made a decision to prescreen and pretest all Ubisoft in-house developed games regardless of platform, prior to publication."

Source: TimesOnline via GamePolitics

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Or maybe epileptics should, y'know, maybe just not play games.

To be fair, many don't know they're epileptic until something sets off their first seizure.

I honestly don't have a problem with this. Censoring a game for content is something I don't agree with, but imposing controls when a game might have serious affects on a persons health just through normal usage? Yeah, that strikes me as quite reasonable.

In the end, the solution will just be an unreadable warning on the back of the box. That way, theres less effort and no law suits. But taking away effects becausea sixth of the population cant handle flashing lights is absurd.

on the other hand, we cant take away their right to play the games that they want to play, just so we can have a couple of flashing lights.

Curious though: Would a game like Half-Life 2 cause seizures? Would sudden explosions cause seizures? Any examples of games aside from Rayman Raving Rabbids? I'm wondering because if this is a huge change that prevents things like dramatic lighting, I'm worried. Otherwise, go ahead! Might help people.

Eh? "Mummy, stop these lights and flashes please." You what?

When I wake up from a fit, it's in a puddle of blood and slobber. (I'm a grand mal epileptic, which fortunately for me is completely controlled by medication, so it doesn't interfere with any part of my life. I've had one fit in the last 10 years, from when I got complacent, and hadn't been taking my pills).

Okay, it's pretty clear he had a petit mal seizure, but this response just highlights what a knee jerk reaction this is. Is the MP also going to regulate night-clubs and music concerts, or outlaw strobes? Epilepsy warnings are on every instruction manual, and the games are tested for epilepsy triggers already.

Some people are epileptic, that's life. We epileptics just have to deal with it the best we can. If it hadn't been a game, it would have been something else that acted as a trigger (but then it wouldn't have got an MP on the case so quickly).

^My thougts exactly. My wife was recently diagnosed epilepsy, and believe me the last thing she's worried about is videogames: the doctors still haven't found the proper dose to treat her, and until they do, they recommend her not to even cook or take a shower if she's alone in the house. (btw, It's always heartening to hear from people who have been able to control it and lead a normal life).

Like jez said, if it hadn't been a game, it would have been something else like a movie at the cinema or whatever. Also, testing and removing certain efects from games it's a tricky thing to do, since epilepsy can have many levels, and what doesn't afect to one may afect to the other.

Games should have an epileptic option in the menu to stop sudden flashes from happening and slightly tone down the brightness in a game. That would be cool.

jezcentral:
Eh? "Mummy, stop these lights and flashes please." You what?

When I wake up from a fit, it's in a puddle of blood and slobber. (I'm a grand mal epileptic, which fortunately for me is completely controlled by medication, so it doesn't interfere with any part of my life. I've had one fit in the last 10 years, from when I got complacent, and hadn't been taking my pills).

Okay, it's pretty clear he had a petit mal seizure, but this response just highlights what a knee jerk reaction this is. Is the MP also going to regulate night-clubs and music concerts, or outlaw strobes? Epilepsy warnings are on every instruction manual, and the games are tested for epilepsy triggers already.

Some people are epileptic, that's life. We epileptics just have to deal with it the best we can. If it hadn't been a game, it would have been something else that acted as a trigger (but then it wouldn't have got an MP on the case so quickly).

I too am an epileptic and have grand mal seizures, which are not induced by flashing lights or strobes and is controlled by much daily medication. However, this doesn't keep me from trying to avoid flashing lights and strobes. And as a gamer I find it particularly difficult to avoid these situations.

Take for example Rock Band. I love this game! But there are times when the background goes black and white with a strobe light effect and the not-really-Star-Power is enabled that I get quite nervous and even look away (effecting my score at the same time :(). Rock Band of all games!

A bit off-topic here:
For those non-epileptics posting in this forum there are some serious and annoying side effects with having a seizure. For instance, did you know you are supposed to have your license suspended, for almost a year or more in some cases? In some states (California I know for sure) if you tell a doctor you had a seizure they can have their medical license revoked if they don't notify the DMV. And this could happen with just one seizure You're teated in the same class as DUI offenders by the DMV. And when you live in a city without a decent public transportation system not having your license can get very old very quickly. Don't get me wrong, I know that it's for the good of public safety, having a seizure at the wheel could be deadly to multiple people, but it doesn't keep it from being inconvenient.

And don't even get me started on the physical side effects...

With all due respect to the epileptic demographic, is it even slightly realistic (or desirable) to eliminate any trace of "strobe effects" from videogames? Because, and forgive me if I'm wrong here, aren't strobe lights and similar effects a fairly standard aspect of life? Are we going to slap warning stickers on movies, television shows and dance clubs, too?

Or doesn't it make more sense to say, okay, now that you've had this episode we know you're suffering from this problem, and we're going to suggest that in the future, you exercise more caution when it comes to [insert seizure-causing happy fun time here]. Because, as Jez said, if it wasn't games it would've been something else, and I doubt very much you'd have members of parliament making motions to regulate live performances of "One."

In fact, now that I look again, I see Jez has already said pretty much everything I just did, so...

How 'bout them Leafs, eh? Talk about seizure-inducing...

It's for just such an emergency that game companies have an official warning in every instruction manual ever made that says, 'This game might give you a seizure. If you try to sue us, our crack team of lawyers will come down on you like a ton of bricks. Play at your own risk.'

 

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