According to the new PEGI criteria just approved in Japan, the first Pokémon games such as Red and Blue would risk becoming videogame products prohibited for minors under 18. This change would not be linked to the presence in the titles of themes related to violence or sex, but rather to the casino slot machines in the region of the case, similar in all respects to gambling.
Pokémon Red and Blue PEGI 18?
The PEGI (Pan European Game Information) has recently updated its evaluation criteria for video games and, according to the new legislation, gambling would be part of that series of content intended for an adult audience, along with other sensitive issues, such as sex, blood or violence in large quantities. All aspects that in theory do not involve Pokémon, although in reality this is not exactly the case.
In the first chapters of the saga of the pocket creatures up to the fourth generation it was tradition, on the part of Game Freak, insert in game a casino in the region of the case, where it was possible to win very rare and particular prizes. Just to give an example, the casino was the only way to get hold of a Porygon, an artificial Pokémon untraceable in nature.
Definitely the kind of thing the PEGI wouldn’t approve of today.
It matters little that the experience is completely virtual and does not make use of real money then, given that just last year a spokesperson for the Vsc Game Rating Board explained that the criteria have been changed so that, in the future, all titles with moving images that teach or make the use of gambling fascinating will be rated Pegi 18.
Going more into the merits of the question, the restriction would apply when the video game being analyzed actually commits itself to teach gambling to the player making the act of betting a fun and desirable mechanic for the player and not simply a marginal component within the gaming economy.
A non-retroactive measure
In short, no matter the tone of the game, if it contains elements that fall within the criteria of the new PEGI it will still be classified as 18+. An emblematic case in this sense was Overboard! a Switch title that jumped from PEGI 12 to 18 due to a single part of the game where you can play Blackjack with another character.
It is therefore quite clear that these terms should also include the Pokémen games, think for example of Red, Blue and Yellow, in which to get from Giovanni to Azzurropoli it is necessary to go through the casino of the city, while meeting a long series of characters suffering from various forms of gambling addiction (we are not kidding). And if you want to add a Porygon to your team, you have no choice but to earn a few coins on the slot machines.
Fortunately, however, it seems that these historic products will not undergo changes to their classification, given that PEGI itself has recently confirmed that the new legislation is not retroactive and will therefore not affect the original classification. Even any remake of these securities should maintain an unchanged PEGI, should they show no noteworthy changes.
In short, the games of our childhood seem to be mostly safe, and it is clear that this measure is mostly aimed at stemming some very aggressive marketing practices, such as those of loot box and other similar components that can lead to compulsive shopping.