The lights are on
gates are the Internet's half-hearted attempt at preventing minors from seeing
potentially objectionable material. Like most of you, my birthday is on January
1st, but I have found a good deal of variety in just how far back various game
companies' website go in available birth year.
people to honestly report their age on the Internet is highly effective and
accurate, right up there with having people fill out honest OKCupid profiles or
polling teenage boys on how much sex they are having.
some reason, I've always like to take the pull-down year menu as far back as it
will go out of curiosity. I decided to make a more comprehensive overview of
the major game publisher's site - including those who employ the
increasingly popular measure of having the reader type out the date themselves
instead of selecting from a pull-down menu. While many seem to have fairly
logical cut-off dates for years, I also found some odd decisions - and at
least one flat-out error.
I started looking at the age gates of the major game companies, I found a
couple common practice that seemed fairly logical. The first of these was using
an age gate that went 100 or 99 years back. I'm not sure how many people over
100 play games, but I'm all for them being included. According to census and
U.N. data, there are over 50,000 centenarians in the U.S. and over 350,000 in
the world - at least a couple must be gamers. Though I'm poking a bit of
fun at age gates in this piece, Game Informer has one as well, and ours fits
into this camp. Here are some notable sites that belong to the 100 (or 99)
of the Century
turn of a century is a common line of demarcation, and an easy go-to for
websites and programmers looking for a cutoff date. Who could forget the crisis
caused by the Y2K bugs that plagued many programs and business with software
that had been programmed without regard to a century change? Not surprisingly,
the year 1900 is the most common earliest year on game site age gates. Again,
it's a logical move and one that definitely doesn't risk leaving many gamers
out - I can't imagine the 115-year-old demographic is very large.
Bros. Interactive: 1900
every company takes the obvious route with age gates. Poking around on various
sites, I did find some odd choices for earliest year available on ages gates.
Some of these reached back into the past to the point where it would be
extremely unlikely that there's any person alive born in that year (much less
watching game trailers online). I was actually more surprised to see a couple
with relatively recent cut-off years.
one was amusing to me. This site requires you to type in a year, and I started
going back year by year from 1900 until I was stopped at 1891. 1892 is
interesting as it doesn't fall on a 100-year mark or century change, and
doesn't end with 5 or 0 (which is more common). Fun fact: a person born in 1892
would have been 19 in 1911 - the year that Red Dead Redemption is set it.
That's more than old enough to be a character in the game. A person born in
1892 would be 122 years old today, the same age as Jeanne Calment of France,
the oldest documented human being, who died in 1997.
odd choice, it's extremely far back (a person born in 1894 would be 120 years
old), and also doesn't fall on a mid-decade or start of a decade year. The only
connection to the company's historical Assassin's Creed series was that Russian
czar (and Templar) Alexander III of Russia died in 1894.
is one of the latest cut-off years I found. A person born in 1920 would be 94
years old. Before you say, "There's no way that someone 94 is into video
games," bare this in mind: Ralph Baer, the creator of the first video game
system, the Magnamox Odyssey, and known as the "Father of Video Games" is 92.
has by far the most recent cut-off year and, in my opinion, it's too recent. A
1934 birthday would make someone 80 years old - still young enough to
enjoy a good game now and again. Heck, if the guy who invented video games is
92, I'm sure there are some fans who are 80.
1,000 Year Old Frozen Caveman Gamer
saved the most ridiculous for last. Namco Bandai has long, proud tradition
- longer than even I realized. When I went to their website, I was
surprised to learn that you could enter years as far back as 1000 and still
gain entry to see an M-Rated trailer. Of course, I guess someone over 1,000
years old would have seen things a lot more titillating than a game trailer.
Plus, I heard Dragon Ball Z was really big a millenium ago.
Email the author Matt Helgeson, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.