Sector 7 → Rated M - Not Suitable For Society
Rated M - Not Suitable For Society

Posted: December 19, 2003 |  Printable Version | Rating: 8.08 out of 10 (26 total votes)
Author: Sonic | Back to Article Listing

Today’s ESRB ratings are absurd. Yes it’s true…and no I don’t mean that they are too high as most of you are hoping. You see in my opinion, with the types of games coming out lately, the ratings are too low.

 

Now I can see the need to push the limit of what is socially acceptable. Madonna did it and look at her, everyone knows who she is and she has money coming out the…well lets not go there. Unfortunately there comes a time, every once and while, when industries need to stop trying to break through the social extremes and take a step back.  Developers like Rockstar have to take a good hard look at certain stats in the gaming world, stats I find horrifying.

 

For those of you who don’t know what games Rockstar has come out with you need to look no further than Grand Theft Auto. This game started off well enough…sure the random violence and car jacking did disgruntle some of the suits in parliament but this was something I found acceptable, I mean kids were playing bloody arcade games (Mortal Kombat anyone?) so it wasn’t much different. My problem lies with the latest versions, GTA 3 and GTA Vice City. Rockstar started adding stuff like drugs and picking up prostitutes then beating them for their money, stuff that didn’t need to be added in the first place. The ESRB decided that so it would stay out of the hands of children they would slap an M rating on the box. Unfortunately for them they didn’t realize what they needed to do was slap some brains into a bunch of parents.

 

You heard me talking about stats right? Well here you go. Grand Theft Auto Vice City is the number one game bought by 8 to 10 year olds. Eight to ten years of age! Wait hang on…is that the meaning of Mature being burnt into ashes and scattered in to the wind?  Mature means  “suitable for persons ages 17 and up.” But this is okay because…oh yeah 8 is so close to 17. I don’t blame the children, no I blame the parents, the parents whose in-ability to look at the back of a video game case and think, “Hmm maybe blood and gore is something my second grader shouldn’t be watching.” Granted this is not so bad with fourteen year olds and fifteen year olds…I mean if they can watch a horror movie or see any movie for that matter it’s no different, except maybe with the random killings, no wait that’s in movies too. But second grade people! Second grade is when kids should be learning to spell longer words and develop some kind of moral ethics…not being taught that beating a prostitute until she dies then looting her corpse is fun or okay!

 

Don’t get me wrong here; I don’t have a problem with people playing these games, just as long as the right people are playing them. This is why I think a new, or updated rating system is in order. First to change would be Mature: games that depict violence, obviously fake blood and coarse language (such as Halo) would be put under Mature. Next games that have strippers, drugs, prostitute beating, senseless killing of innocent civilians (such as GTA) and killing that is graphic and nightmare inducing  (a la Manhunt) would be rated as Adult. The new adult rating would be as hard to get as liquor or smokes. People would have to show two pieces of I.D. one with a picture, and one with their age, verifying they were over 19.

 

Now of course my plan has some bumps, seeing as people (the parents) can still just buy it for their children by saying it’s for them (anyone up for a lie detector in each retailer?) thus effectively proving that it’s the child’s parents that are the problem. Most parents don’t realize that at the ages of eight to ten children are most impressionable, this is where they get their ideals of right and wrong. By exposing them to a game where you play a bad guy you’re going to seriously screw with your kid’s head.  I still have a strong belief that you should have to take a test to see if you can become parents…anyone who fails can’t have a kid, but that’s not the way life is. For every well-adjusted kid that learns his ABC’s in grade 2 there are five that get Manhunt for Christmas and learn that the more people you kill, the more points you get.

 

You see the politicians are wrong, video games where you kill other people don’t cause kids to become psycho Charles Manson-esque mass murderers when they grow up, it just causes them to become desensitised to the horrors of death and destruction. If parents aren’t careful, aren’t aware of what their children are playing and watching, the next time a national disaster happens, no one will care. No one will even blink an eye at the death of thousands.

 

So I ask parents to at least read the ESRB label on the game and ask themselves if the game is right for their nine year old. Also I beg the video game developers to just back off a bit. Maybe it’s the natural human curiosity to see how far something can go before it breaks, or maybe it’s that society on a whole is just maturing to fast, but forging new ground can be a double-edge sword. The creation of Nuclear energy created a new and renewable power source, but it also created the most feared weapon in the world. The discovery of oil made many people rich and let many countries create a booming economy…but it also started an uncountable number of wars.

 

Sometimes, to charge ahead and boldly go where no man has gone before needs to be pushed down the to-do list. Sometimes, people just don’t want to hear about Madonna.
~By Sonic
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