It’s that time of year again. All the Forces of Anti-Fun are on the move again. US Prosecutor Kym Worthy and The National Institute for Media and the Family (NIMF) have both released Top 10 Video Games for Parents to Avoid lists.
Here are the two lists:
Kym Worthy’s list of ten games for parents to boycott over Christmas 2007 (With Comments!)
1. Grand Theft Auto – ESRB Rating M
“Allows to players to act out crimes and rewards players for doing so.”
2. Manhunt – ESRB Rating M
“Revolves around the making of a snuff film.”
3. Scarface – ESRB Rating M
“Involves buying and selling drugs and killing hundreds of people.”
4. 50 Cent: Bulletproof – ESRB Rating M
“Rapper 50 cent is involved in a web of corruption, double crosses and shady deals that lead him on a bloody path through New York’s drug underworld.”
5. 300: The Video Game – ESRB Rating M
“Invites game room gladiators to slice their way through the Persian army.”
6. The Godfather – ESRB Rating M
“Opens with a ‘child’s version’ of the player witnessing the murder of his father.”
7. Killer-7 – ESRB Rating M
“Experienced adult gamers call this the most violent and twisted game ever played.”
8. Resident Evil 4 – ESRB Rating M
“Shoot outs involving massive crowds of enemies in large open areas. A typical play-through can result in the killing of up to 900 enemies.”
9. God of War – ESRB Rating M
“A sea of unrelenting violence”
10. Hitman: Blood Money – ESRB Rating M
“Self-proclaimed ‘most violent’ game of a series. This game glamorizes killing.”
NIMF Parent Alert! Games to Avoid for your Children and Teens 2007
1. Assassin’s Creed – ESRB Rating M
2. Call to Duty 4 – ESRB Rating M
3. Conan – ESRB Rating M
4. The Darkness – ESRB Rating M
5. Jericho ESRB – Rating M
6. Kane and Lynch: Dead Men – ESRB Rating M
7. Manhunt 2 – ESRB Rating M
8. Resident Evil: Umbrella Chronicles – ESRB Rating M
9. Stranglehold – ESRB Rating M
10. Time Shift – ESRB Rating M
Well, what can I say about these? Of course they aren’t appropriate for kids. Note they all already have an M (mature) rating which is displayed with this symbol on the game box.
If you’re not familiar with the ESRB rating system an M is roughly equivalent to the MPAA’s R rating. If you’re under 17 you can’t view/play it without your parents’ permission. In other words, these games were made specifically for gamers over 17.
NIMF had this to say about the ESRB ratings: “This year also marked a laudable effort on the part of the ESRB to make ratings education for parents a higher priority than ever before. Creating and distributing a series of public service announcements (PSAs) about the importance of using video game ratings, the ESRB teamed up with governors and state attorney generals in Utah, Georgia, and Rhode Island, Washington, and several others… Unfortunately, these efforts aren’t working well enough. Parents are still largely ignorant of the ratings.”
To summarize that statement – The ESRB has made great efforts to explain their ratings, but parents are too stupid to understand them. Or too lazy to read the box.
Maybe… or maybe some parents just don’t agree with the ratings. It’s very possible that some parents believe that Grand Theft Auto is too much for their 15 year old, but Resident Evil is okay because the enemies are zombies (a traditional monster) and not people.
Both Ms. Worthy and NIMF act as though they are providing a service to parents when, in reality, they just want to remove all violence and sex from video games. That’s the only way to be sure that no child plays a violent game. Especially when parents themselves are still allowed to make decisions about what their children can see and do.