This might not be of real concern outside of Germany, but you might know that shooters traditionally have a tough standing in this country. Often decried as “killer games” by politicians, the debate on shooters tends to focus on the violent aspects of these games and the supposed effect it might have on adolescents, frequently ignoring the key aspect of these games – the fascinating game play dynamic that manifests when playing with and against others.
Since the beginning of development, the team behind World of Padman has aspired to create a fun-shooter that can be enjoyed by young and old players and can not be put into the same “killer game” corner most other shooters are put into all too easily. We had been contacted by a German organization Spawnpoint – Institut für Computerspiel, which offered to apply WoP 1.5 for an USK 12+ label for us, since they assumed WoP would match the criteria. The reason why they wanted to do this is that the video game educators of Spawnpoint and many other media educators in Germany are faced with the problem, that they can’t really use shooters in events and workshops attended by people under the age of 16, because games in that genre with a 12+ age rating just don’t really exist on the market.
After some research they discovered WoP and saw great potential in it to be utilized in a media educational context. They assured us that the goal was not to change WoP, but to just use it as a showcase to critics, proving that the surface of a game does not have to affect the game play dynamic. They’re hoping to then use this experience with WoP to create a more balanced view on other games like Counter Strike, Call of Duty etc. without reducing them to their graphical presentation.
We weren’t sure if we would really get a USK 12+ rating even though WoP is very harmless in its presentation, but now it turns out that our worries were unfounded and WoP now officially carries a 12+ label by the USK. Does that change something for you as a player? Probably not, but additional support for WoP is always a good thing, right? 😉