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Friday, June 24, 2005

Open Invite to Parents

"The research is on the money," he told this morning, "but anyone working in a games store has known this for a long time. The number of copies of Grand Theft Auto I've had to sell to parents accompanied by their ten year old kids, who I had refused to sell a copy to just a few minutes before, is absolutely sickening."
- New research shows that parents ignore game age ratings []

More proof these anti-game laws will only result in some rare, but expensive, frivolous lawsuits. It won't help the kids, the parents will buy it anyway. It won't help crime, because there's no tangible connection there. So why do we have all these people so keen to tie video games to crime? It's not necessary. Most rational people agree that a ten year old kid doesn't need to play Grand Theft Auto - so why do parents keep buying it for them?

There's clearly a bigger social problem here. Parents are disconnected from the lives of their kids. When it comes to video games, they must have a bigger problem as many are faced with completely new technology.

Look, parents - I know you aren't reading this ... but if you are: Forget the lawyers. They just want to win more lawsuits. They aren't looking out for your kids. Forget the politicians, they're just looking for a safe issue they can look good with so that you'll forgive them the next time they screw up. Forget the television news, because all they want to do is scare the bejeeezus out of you so that you'll feel it's imperative to watch their show.

In short, they are all freaking lying to you. So come swing by our place. Yes, the gamer's house. OK sure, there might be some dirty socks laying around and I don't think that particular bag of chips is still quite fresh. But we have a lot of games, and we know them a lot better than some ambulance chaser.

I won't lie to you, I'm not really interested in your kids. I'm not going to tell you how to raise them. I don't have any of my own. But I will tell you about games. I'll tell you if I think they're violent or difficult or whatever. I gave my niece Katamari Damarcy for Christmas. Trust me, I'm one of the good guys. So are most gamers out there. Your best bet for information is to find someone passionate about these things and talk to them. Get a subscription to EGM. Sure, it will look funny next to that copy of Vogue, but you'll be much better informed.

And if you want a really good resource, go visit GamerDad is run by Andrew Bub, who (among other things) does have kids. He and his group have a whole database of video games they've reviewed from a parent's perspective. So why go to CNN to learn about video games? I bet Nancy Grace has never even tried to save a princess.

In short, we need to cut out the middle man. If kids are going to play games, parents need to know about games. Might as well just come on over and learn from the experts. And you're unlikely to find them on TV.

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