I don’t know if you’re up on the current video game scandals but let me fill you in. Supposedly there is a code called “Hot Coffee” that you can input into the Grand Theft Auto; San Andres video game that will allow the player to watch a snippet of a sex scene with some partial nudity. No more than you would get on an episode of NYPD Blue. However, due to this ESRB, the guys who put ratings on video games, have made a new category for games to fall into, AO. This stands for Adults Only, meaning that only 18 and over can purchase the game. As a result many large chain retailers (Wal-Mart) are pulling GTA from their shelves. Also, today Hillary Clinton has started a group dedicated to treating games they feel are obscene the same as alcohol or tobacco.
This is a tricky subject. On the one hand I can see some parents views on not wanting games with over the top violence and sex to fall into their children’s hands. Yet, at the same time why is there all this outrage over things that kids read about, hear about, and see on the news already? Yeah little Billy can watch the news with real car chases and watch shows where people kill each other in fantastic ways, but he can’t play a video game with the same elements? It’s like the argument that violent cartoons breed violence in children. I don’t know of too many people who were killed by falling safes or bludgeoned with frying pans. I wouldn’t want my kid watching porn but I don’t feel that these games are porn. It also seems that most parents don’t care about any amount of violence as long as there is no sex.
Kids today have greater access to unfiltered information than ever before due to the Internet and through television. They are able to tell the deference between fantasy and reality just like kids in the fifties knew that if they were to mimic Bugs Bunny and stick their fingers in the barrel of a gun they wouldn’t have any fingers to pull back out. Normal people can separate video game reality from their reality. I don’t feel that anyone playing these games is going to suddenly decide that maybe stealing cars and robbing people is a good idea.
Though, like I said I can understand why some parents wouldn’t want their kid playing these games. Well, why not get more involved? When I was working at Block Buster a game came out called Conker's Bad Fur Day. This game involved violent themes, bad language and sexual innuendo…it was great. I had to stop parents and tell them this out of a feeling of civic responsibility because they didn’t care to walk over and see what it was their 11 year old was handing them to rent. This got me sour looks not just from the kids but the parents too. “Why would you rent out such a filthy game?” Answer: for the same reason we’re renting you the movie Pearl Harbor (a movie with just as much sex and blood as any video game on the market), entertainment.
Well, the times they are a changin’ and video games are getting more mature to follow the market trend. The youth that started with Pac-Man is now old enough to want something more adult oriented. Video games are no longer the innocent, unrealistic, pixilated things they used to be. I am cool with ESRB’s decision. It seems only right, but get off your high horse Hillary you’re showing your age.