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You Want Me to Buy What?

 

Last
weekend I was in my favorite gaming store. Who could stay away when they were
having one of those stellar buy-a-few-get-a-few-more games for free promotions?
Not my family! This was one of those all-day family events. Two hours later,
everyone regrouped at the back of the store holding their choices. My youngest,
now 7, showed us his choices and for the first time it hit me…what was this game
rated?

 

Yes, games
are now rated just like movies. Ever since 1994 there has been an advisory board
called the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). They are responsible for
looking at the content of software and affixing the appropriate rating. This
could range from EC (early childhood) to AO (adults only). This labeling will
appear on the front of the software box. On the back, the rating is repeated,
along with a description of why it has been given that particular rating.
Descriptions can be anything from “animated blood” to “use of drugs” or
“violence.”

 

Do these
ratings work? Are they effectively keeping harmful software out of the hands of
today’s youth? I would have to admit I have about as much faith in these ratings
as I do in movie ratings. Which person or body needs to police compliance by
consumer to these ratings? Is it the counter salesperson? The store managers?
The game makers?

 

Needless
to say, at the moment there is no one who oversees this system.  In a society
that is bent on saving our youth from the scourges of tobacco (just say no) to
drugs (this is your brain on drugs) to overeating (tired of having friends laugh
at you?), the one area that keeps millions of the world’s children in thrall has
no effective safety net to ensure that harmful material is NOT ingested by the
youthful mind.  Any person, regardless of age, may buy any of these packages as
long as they have the wherewithal to do so.

 

It’s as easy for them to buy these games as it is for a teen
to slip into a rated R movie with his/her friends for a day at the mall. I feel
that the policing of these purchases and of these games falls squarely on the
shoulders of the parents of the children playing them. When I stood there with
my family and my son had a game marked T (teens) and the back suggested there
was animated blood, violence and other things, I was glad. We did not buy that
game and I told him why. I explained to him what the descriptions meant and why
it wasn’t good for him to play.

 

Will this
keep him from asking for another game with things same things in it in the
future? I can’t tell you. But what I can tell you is that I will be checking the
boxes of each and every game he asks for. Not only that, I sit with him when he
has a new game and I watch him play. We talk about what he likes about it and
what he doesn’t.

 

This kind
of parent participation, I believe, encourages him to be a responsible gamer and
consumer even at his young age. Just say no…this is your brain on drugs…now have
another mantra to join them. Check the box.

 

I am
grateful that someone is out there monitoring the software hitting the market
these days. In an era of games promoting theft, drugs, gang activity, rape and
graphic violence, you can be sure I am looking for the little black rating tag
on any box of software that entice my hard earned money out of my purse and onto
the games section counter. In the end, the reality is that it has to be the
consumer who polices these games and their ratings. Whether it is by not buying
something due to the rating, contacting the ESRB and reporting a game you feel
isn’t rated properly or ending your account with a game, you, the consumer, are
the only one that can send a message to the game companies.

 

What
rating will Vanguard: Saga of Heroes get? It’s early days yet, and only time
will tell about its ultimate rating. However, the team so far has gained my
confidence by their responsible actions.  From the ethical way the developers
have talked about the game and its content, I am reasonably certain that their
final product will be something that safely invites your entire family to play.

Tell us what you think


To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our Vanguard: Saga of Heroes Game Page.

Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016

About The Author

Karen 1
Karen is H.D.i.C. (Head Druid in Charge) at EQHammer. She likes chocolate chip pancakes, warm hugs, gaming so late that it's early, and rooting things and covering them with bees. Don't read her Ten Ton Hammer column every Tuesday. Or the EQHammer one every Thursday, either.

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