A couple of weeks ago, i talked about the call by a child psychologist for exercise ratings to be attached to games. Low and behold, against my better judgement, it's happening. And sadly, it's even worse than i thought. The Exergame Network, which is part of the Games for Health initiative has come out with game rankings. While Games for Health is something I fully support and have covered multiple times, this particular initiative seems wrong. It's not just that they'll be ranking games based on the exercise contained, but they're also ranking them based on game play, but including that in the rating of the game. So, a game is being labeled with a "rating" which really contains a review as part of the process.
Frankly, while I think it has the opportunity to provide a real negative impact on who will pick up a game based on the exercise content within, I can see the benefits of at least identifying the overall exertion caused by playing the game, as well as the key physical skills required. What I cannot see is having a ranking on game play as part of the process. That doesn't walk the line between monitoring and reviewing, it crosses it. I'm fairly sure as long as a game review is contained in the ratings, manufacturers will never stand for having the rating placed on the box.
I would welcome an independant review of games based on established physical activity criteria (maybe based on guidelines from the Presidents Council on Fitness), but this seems far too close to a review of the game itself.