AskAboutGames.com has been the place for parents and carers to learn about video games since it launched in 2005. Over the years there has been a wide collaboration with experts, parents and industry supporters to provide resources and information for families.
What has persisted throughout these different iterations and initiatives was to provide an accessible and understandable place for families to discover what video games had to offer, and access tools to easily control and guide their play.
The launch of AskAboutGames.com offered parents and carers one place to go to find about video games ratings. This provided advice about video games as a culture as well as an entertainment medium.
You could contact the site editor to ask questions and get a direct answer, something the continues on the site today. It also provided a glossary of gaming terms as well as details about the games industry and education.
In its day, AskAboutGames.com was one of the first online resources to offer this advice in one place.
As the site developed it offered more in-depth information.
One way this was provided, to reach a wider audience, were in the PDFs and printed Good Online Gaming Guides (pictured here). These could be downloaded from the site or access in printed form.
Along with introducing the technology and rating of video games, these leaflets encouraged families to play together and to set-up parental controls, a theme that continues on the site today.
With PEGI becoming the statutory video game rating, the site was relaunched in 2012 in collaboration with the VSC Rating Board, to provide more information on the PEGI symbols and the different descriptor badges.
New consoles also meant new advice about parental controls and family settings for parents to guide children's gaming activity. This, along with new regular blog content brought more regular visitors to the site as readership grew.
2015 Jo Whiley
AskAboutGames.com was expanded this year to include more video content. This was highlighted by an introductory video made in collaboration with Jo Whiley.
Not only did this extend the reach of the site, but started to share more family gaming stories to help parents and carers discover great games for their family.
AskAboutGames.com also took to the road, attending video game expos like EGX to engage with families there and take its safe and sensible gaming message to parents and carers who hadn't found it online.
Under the expert eye of editor Will Freeman, AskAboutGames.com expanded its advice for children who wanted to find a career in the games industry.
Posts about the different roles you could follow in the industry were popular with readers. This was joined by content and advice on watching YouTube and Twitch gaming streamers and broader advice on gaming from outside the industry.
This, along with a simplified site design engaged parents and carers in the possibilities of work in this fast-growing profession.
2020 Rio Ferdinand
The latest iteration of AskAboutGames.com was heralded by the Get Smart about PLAY campaign which Rio Ferdinand headed up. This not only provided video advice to parents on how to set-up parental controls and family settings but offered more detailed advice about how to discuss and establish these in your home.
With the site turning 15, it's been good to look back at the heritage of good advice and engaged families. Sifting through these different itterations (thank you WayBackMachine) has uncovered the commitment and enthusiasm for what games have to offer families and how the right advice can empower parents and carers to make informed choices.