I've been playing L.A. Noire Remastered on Switch this week and, while the most interesting aspect for me was how alterations to interrogations made them more accessible, one aspect of the game really stands out. Well, not the game so much as the slightly odd-looking physical Switch cartridge.
As you can see, it looks like you've bought a copy of that famous video game 18. Seriously, that thing dominates, taking up more space than either the game name or the Rockstar logo, and looking like it could easily squash even the Switch logo. It's a bit of an affront to those of us who'd like our lovely little Switch cartridges to look, well, lovely.
There is an explanation for this. In the UK all video games are now rated by PEGI, whose rectangular age ratings you'll see on the cartridge art of many Switch games with a rating of 12+ or higher. Their logos are typically a fair bit smaller than the logo on L.A. Noire. However, L.A. Noire was age rated by the BBFC, who typically deal with age ratings on movies.
Why? Back in 2011 when the game originally released, PEGI and BBFC split game rating duties, prior to PEGI taking over everything in 2012. Rather than get the game re-rated in the UK Rockstar stuck with their existing BBFC rating, as the core content of the game was unchanged.
The BBFC has a set of requirements about the size of its age rating logos, and as it turns out, those requirements do not scale based on the size of the media format. This means that the minimum size of an 18 rating logo from the BBFC is the same on a Switch cartridge as it is on a DVD. This is why the 18 rating dwarfs the rest of the elements on the cartridge art. This is also unlikely to change, as the BBFC now exclusively deal in video age ratings, so would have no reason to adjust their requirements to suit Switch re-releases of pre-2012 games.
PEGI, on the other hand, has specific rules in its requirements that cover adaptive sizing for smaller media like 3DS and Switch cartridges. This is why PEGI ratings on Switch carts look appropriately sized, but the BBFC 18 logo on L.A. Noire Switch is roughly the size of a small independent nation.
So there you have it: wondering why your shiny new game has a horrible-looking cartridge? It was developed before PEGI took control of UK game age ratings, Rockstar didn't get the game re-rated, and so the BBFC's antiquated size requirements for the rating logo had to be followed on the Switch cartridge art. What an interesting little road we went down today.