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pup Name: Brian Rowe
Date of Birth: 9/7/1980
Location: Brew City USA

All-time favorite game: Fallout 2 (PC)
Least favorite game: Friday the 13th (NES)

Title: So many sad little kids.
Posted: March 15, 2006 (01:57 PM)
I think that video gaming is now well beyond the point where non-gaming parents really need to start paying attention to the medium. We have the ESRB ratings, and that is definitely a step in the right direction. While I have my gripes here and there (yes, Ratchet and Clank is okay for a twelve-year-old), the ratings can be of great benefit. Because the parents can now get a general idea of content, there will be less instances of parents saying, "I can't believe you recommended this for a kid." Let me change the focus here though, because the ratings have been discussed to death. Parents need to also be mindful of which systems are right for their children.

Week after week, I get to see the sad faces of little kids who own XBOX 360's. 8 year olds whose parents decided their children needed this latest and greatest toy. The problem is that there are no games geared towards kids, with the possible exception of Kameo. They come in every few days with the hopes of a new title coming out, but end up searching the regular XBOX titles for something backwards compatible, usually to no avail. The situation always ends with the parents cursing me or Microsoft, but in the end, they should only be blaming themselves.

Video game developers are under no obligations to make games geared towards young kids. It is a good choice to occasionally make them, if only to gather a fresh audience, but the decision is their's to make. If these parents had done just an inkling of research before scurrying off to buy a 360, they would have seen that the system is geared towards older-teens and up. Of course, this all ties into the naivete of many non-gaming parents. They still make the assumption that games are for kids, despite 30+ years of history and all the attention given to violent content over the past decade.

At this point, you may be thinking that this doesn't affect us, but it could. That disgruntled parent who only sees Teen and Mature games sitting on the shelf is now one step closer to jumping on the anti-game bandwagon. Most people like to make assumptions and remain ignorant of reality. Think about this for a second. How many people have you met that think anime is all about Pokemon, that all comics are superheroes in tights, that hip-hop is all about the gangsta life and bling, or that horror films are synonymous with slasher films?

I don't want to blow this topic too out of proportion, but it really does all tie together. Parents need to be educated, not only about the ratings system, but with regards to all aspects of gaming. The question then, is what are we supposed to do about it? In a very real sense, all of our concerns exist in a bubble. A non-gaming parent is never going to read this, or any of the other writings on the subject out there. We need to break the bubble and defend ourselves. I'm not saying to make a sign and start marching down the streets. If you are in retail, make sure parents understand these issues. If you are in a store and see a parent making a questionable purchase, speak up. They will thank you for it. If you see a negative article in a paper or magazine, take a few minutes to write a letter. The last thing I want to see is people like Hillary Clinton get their way, but they will if we don't speak up.

zigfriedUser: zigfried
Posted: March 17, 2006 (09:35 PM)
This post's purpose is to confirm that I read this entry and seriously thought about it. I really have nothing to add. It was very convincingly written.


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