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.”