you know, most video games are all about the quest for this magical item, or that rescue mission for some idiot. those challenges are all very fine and good, but nothing is more of a challenge than the esrb. this little bitch has been a thorn in the sides of gamers everywhere. video games do not kill people. your poorly-parented, over-indulged little bastard does. ok?
anyway, lately apparently the esrb has really been going to town. they’re writing summaries for games now. can you believe it? rather than make a decision themselves, as an allegedly rational adult, parents can now read a few words about a game and not have to make a choice.
here’s a sample for infamous:
This is an action adventure game in which players use electrical super powers to subdue urban gangs in a post-apocalyptic world. Presented from a third-person perspective, the game allows players to roam around the “open world” environment and electrocute anyone at any time, including civilians and security/police forces. While players receive “good karma” points for killing gang members, they are penalized with “bad karma” for attacking the pedestrians, objects, and other neutral parties. Combat is often frenetic and includes explosions, cries of pain, and brief blood splashes to indicate damage. Some of the more striking imagery is contained in the comic-book-panel cutscenes: Civilians are seen getting hit by a barrage of machine gun fire; security/prison guards appear gravely injured with patches of blood on their uniforms; silhouettes of impaled corpses hang from large beams. While most of these still images are highly stylized and fleeting, they serve to embellish the dark, apocalyptic tone of the storyline. During the course of the game, a boss character named Sasha appears covered in a tar-like substance, which leaves her cleavage exposed. She sometimes makes suggestive comments during battle (e.g., “Yes! Yes, I love it!” and “We stayed in bed the entire time…”). Some profanity (e.g., “sh*t” and “b*tch”) can be heard in the dialogue, and a reference to drug dealers is contained in the narration.
ok, fine, most of that’s pretty true. but then here’s the description for lego indiana jones 2:
This is an adventure game in which players assume the role of a small “Lego”-version of Indiana Jones as he fights his way through ruins, jungles, and underground mine shafts. Players use guns, whips, barstools and bazookas, spears, and fists to defeat enemy characters that break apart into smaller Lego pieces. Although the tongue-in-cheek nature of the game is a mitigating feature, the fighting action is constant: multiple waves of enemies need to be eliminated in order to collect Lego stud pieces and complete levels.
there’s nothing wrong with video games. in fact, they can teach us a lot, and they can be a valuable learning tool. now i’m not a book on parenting. in fact, i’m not a parent all, but a bit of common sense is called for here. sure, there are parents out there who legitimately have a lot on the go, and can’t always stop to try the game out themselves. this is why the esrb is good, because it provides guidelines, simple ratings saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
however, the majority of parents are lazy – you seriously need a summary? if it’s questionable, don’t give it to a child. these are the same parents who blame video games for violence. if your 5-year-old is playing video games rather than spending time with others – or god forbid you – you need to examine your priorities. if your kid is flunking out of class, fuck the game’s rating. play the game of hitting the books, son.
when game time trumps people time, it’s the moment you have to be an adult and very firmly say ‘no’. spend time together as a family, but not in front of the tv. if your kids are gaining weight faster than the speed of light, send them outside. the wii fit is NOT the answer.
what have we learned today? we’ve learned it’s ok for parents to think for themselves, for starters.