G-Star 2009 Overview: Rules and Regulations
Less nudity yet more noises
The South Korea’s biggest game trade show G Star 2009 ended a huge success. The show saw an all-time high in attendance numbers, total of 82,000 on 28th. But it still left a few issues to work on. The G Star committee was up front about perennial issues such as noise and nudity from the beginning. Mostly, it seems the participating parties got the message.†
■ Reborn as family friendly game festival
G Star used to be associated with unpleasant reputation; too racy booth models. The G Star committee wanted to clear its names once for all and rebrand G Star as family-friendly game festival like Games Com. So they set out to work on rules and regulations including a dress code for booth models, age-appropriate contents, and noise reduction.
But did it carry throughout the show as they promised? Let’s find out.
■ [Nudity] Loophole found, but overall satisfactory
The guideline provided by the committee seems absurdly specific. No bikini bottoms and no deep side-slit dresses, no tops that cover less than 2/3 of the back and the list goes on. Exhibitors who violate such policy will receive a verbal warning and will face a serious penalty including utility shutdown and even eviction if the violation is repeated three times.
At G Star 2009, most vendors complied with regulations. Models tried to help attendees navigate through a new game rather than just posing for a picture in previous years. Overall, the change was welcomed by attendees and vendors.
It turns out, however, there was a loophole; no regulation on cosplay models. Two female cosplay models who dressed up as characters from NCsoft’s Blade and Soul were asked out because of their racy costumes.
†■†[Age restriction] Guideline needed for game domo
The G Star committee introduced new policies to make G Star more family friendly. The policy dictates that at least one staff should be present at all times at the booth showing adult only contents. The view of such contents should be blocked from outside of the booth. This was necessary because some of upcoming games that planned to show demos are rated AO (Adults Only).
NCsoft’s Blade and Soul and NHN’s Terac omplied with the rule as setting up a closed booth for the games. However, Neowiz Games’ Age of Conan put TV screens on a high pillar but not high enough for underage attendees to see from outside. The demo showed violent sequences which seemed inappropriate.The G Star committee is going to discuss a guideline for outside showing for the future.
■†[Noise] Still noisy and even noisier
Believe or not, the G Star committee has a very specific rule on noise; noise shouldn’t be more than 85dB at one meter away from a speaker and more than 75dB at three meters away from a speaker. Also, a speaker should be more than there meters up from the floor facing center of the booth or downwards.
But it’s all easier said than done. In reality, large companies became very competitive in promoting their games. Especially crowded areas surrounded by NHN, Activision-Blizzard, Neowiz Games, Mgame, and YD Online got out of control. Despite of several warnings from the G Star committee, NHN and Activision-Blizzard hosted events at the same time making people unable to communicate around their booths on the second day. After series of meetings with participating exhibitors, the noise level went down a little on the third day but was still above the recommendation.
■ Stricter rules and voluntary compliance needed
The problem with these rules and regulations is that they are not law-abiding and leave room for interpretation.
This year Neowiz Games distributed free beverages with 4% alcohol as promoting Age of Conan. Neowiz Games ran it by the G Star committee but as it attracted too many people, they shut it down under the recommendation of the committee. Neowiz Games ended up switching it to non-alcoholic beverage.
Voluntary compliance is needed in the area of noise. Exhibitors tend to follow rules when it’s absolutely necessary. In order to create a pleasant experience, companies need to step up and actively comply with the rules.†