Monday, July 25, 2005

Hillary v. Grand Theft Auto

As an avid video game fan, I get frustrated when politicians think its chic to attack my hobby. My "illustrious" gov., Rob Blagojevich, has found an interest in doing this lately. Apparently the junior senator from New York has decided to jump on the bandwagon.

Look, I'm not a huge fan of games like GTA or Postal with such strong sexual or violent content. Well, these games are over the top in terms of violence. Sexuality? They don't even scratch the surface. But that's another story.

The point is that the video game industry already has a very good rating system. The problem is not the industry! The problem is that the retailers don't enforce policies strictly enough that utilize the rating system. And while we're at it, let's not take any blame away from the parents, who allow their kids to play these games.

Are there 16 year olds who are mature enough for ultra-violent games? Sure, but I'd still be incredibly leery of purchasing such games for them. But younger than that? That's just irresponsible parenting. Parents, watch what your kids take in! TV, movies, video games, even books and magazines need to be monitored. Take responsibility!

And if I ever had the chance to talk to a grandstanding politician about this, I'd ask them, "Oh, you're worried about children playing violent video games? How do you know this is a problem? What games are they playing? What children? How old?" It seems to be just a given that if violent video games exist, children must be playing them.

I'm not sure what statistics exist out there, but I'm willing to bet that the incidence of kids under age 16 playing M-rated games is much lower than critics would lead us to believe.


Anonymous said...

I must say, that working at a place where we sell all kinds of video games, many of the M-rated games are sold to younger people. We don't have a policy against selling any games to anybody, so I pretty much go along with it. (Though I have suggested checking IDs) I've never personally sold a GTA game, but I have sold M-rated games to (presumabably) 12-13 year olds, when they have mommy to pay for them.
We also had a kid (with parents) purchase Resident Evil: Apocalypse, and to give you a good idea of how old this kid was, he also purchased Power Rangers Dino-Thunder.

Bottom line: Parents aren't doing their job, and we will probably all suffer for it at the hands of the gov't.


Hal said...

Well, I probably should have said that the major retailers have such policies (i.e. Wal-Mart, etc.).

But you're right, the bigger problem is parents buying these games for their children. I don't know why responsibility in such things has become a rarity, but it has.

And you're right; we will all suffer for it.