The Needles: The Easiest Buyer's Guide Ever

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The Needles: The Easiest Buyer's Guide Ever

Andy Chalk offers up the only guideline you'll need this holiday game-buying season: read the d**n ratings.

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Nothing to say apart from "Amen Brother."

Although why this is here as your real name and not your pseudonym seems odd?

I find it hard to believe anyone who claims they don't know what the giant number on the front of the box means.

if they are to lazy to read the letters on the front what makes you think there gonna read or care about this article. just saying

Malygris = Andy Chalk?

Anyways, parents don't have time to read it because their children keep badgering about a specific game about it. Children loves hypes and as long it's amusing, they will continue to follow it. Even if it's a rated game that has mature themes.

Well, I assume that an M on the box means: "Moms, look! This game is great for children."

But the thing is, you can't simply put the blame on individual parents when it's such a widespread problem. Now, I don't know myself what the problem is, but a few potshots of mine would be that gaming is still considered a kids thing, all the other parents buy the big new game, creating pressure on other parents to do the same because of the "all my friends have got it" excuse and/or it could simply be that not enough is being done to tell parents that they shouldn't buy 18 games for little Timmy for the same reasons why they won't let them watch American Psycho.

Wish more people would read the labels...would make so much easier for all of us and the campaigners might finally shut up!

Dragon Age: Origins contains blood, language, intense violence, partial nudity and sexual content; do you really want your kid playing that?

Ay, there's the rub. Every parent has different ideas about what's their kids should be playing and I'm sure there are at least a few folks out there who think Borderlands is perfectly cool for their 12-year-old.

Yeah, because let's face it: for 12-year olds, LIFE "contains blood, language, intense violence, partial nudity and sexual content."

It amazes me, the extent to which parents are horrified by what goes on in games, and then they blissfully send them off to, you know: Junior High.

Cheeze_Pavilion:

It amazes me, the extent to which parents are horrified by what goes on in games, and then they blissfully send them off to, you know: Junior High.

parents: not when i was a kid oh no
or that it i'll send you to a convent
their parents it's kinda what they do..

Cheeze_Pavilion:
Dragon Age: Origins contains blood, language, intense violence, partial nudity and sexual content; do you really want your kid playing that?

Ay, there's the rub. Every parent has different ideas about what's their kids should be playing and I'm sure there are at least a few folks out there who think Borderlands is perfectly cool for their 12-year-old.

Yeah, because let's face it: for 12-year olds, LIFE "contains blood, language, intense violence, partial nudity and sexual content."

It amazes me, the extent to which parents are horrified by what goes on in games, and then they blissfully send them off to, you know: Junior High.

Or give them access to the internet.

Onyx Oblivion:
Well, I assume that an M on the box means: "Moms, look! This game is great for children."

Now that I broke the hypnotic spell of your avatar I can respond. That is the big problem right there. Why did they choose this whole new rating system? I don't mean the kids under X shouldn't be playing this. I mean why didn't they stick with what people have grown up with for years. Rated R. Put a big fucking R and underneath that put restricted with the panther. Or PG, 14a or G. People know these letters. They understand that they shouldn't be taking little Jimmy or Jane to an R rated movie. You don't seee very many theatres that feel the need to have a description of what R means do you? Yet you walk into any gamestore (or dept) and plastered all over the place is M= bad for little Jimmy. The problem is if you have to describe the rating it isn't very effective.

squid5580:

Onyx Oblivion:
Well, I assume that an M on the box means: "Moms, look! This game is great for children."

Now that I broke the hypnotic spell of your avatar I can respond. That is the big problem right there. Why did they choose this whole new rating system? I don't mean the kids under X shouldn't be playing this. I mean why didn't they stick with what people have grown up with for years. Rated R. Put a big fucking R and underneath that put restricted with the panther. Or PG, 14a or G. People know these letters. They understand that they shouldn't be taking little Jimmy or Jane to an R rated movie. You don't seee very many theatres that feel the need to have a description of what R means do you? Yet you walk into any gamestore (or dept) and plastered all over the place is M= bad for little Jimmy. The problem is if you have to describe the rating it isn't very effective.

Because there's different criteria reviewed in movies and games, and they wanted to keep the medium seperate. After all, PG means "Parental Guidance", and you can't really have "Parental Guidance" for games, since they're not simply 90 minutes in a room with the kid.

ravensshade:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

It amazes me, the extent to which parents are horrified by what goes on in games, and then they blissfully send them off to, you know: Junior High.

parents: not when i was a kid oh no
or that it i'll send you to a convent
their parents it's kinda what they do..

Yeah, and when did parents become a bunch of pansy asses?

It could save you and/or your significant other some future aggravation when you witness the game in action and realize that high body counts rendered in lush, lifelike visuals is a central facet of gameplay, not to mention the inevitable blowup that will occur when you leap out of your chair with a cry of, "Jesus Christ, boy, you ain't playing that!"

I thought we banned that guy a while back? Oh yeah--there are plenty of people like him. In the end, it's all about this:

One of the big reasons we've been able to keep the anti-gaming jerkwads at bay despite their nay-saying vehemence is the fact that videogames have been proven time and again to enjoy a higher level of compliance with age ratings than any other entertainment medium. It's hard to mount an effective argument about the need to protect kids when it's been conclusively demonstrated that the kids are in fact being protected. The ESRB is far from perfect but it's effective and it ain't Australian, and that's a win in my books.

I've said a bit about the ESRB before (and found at least one Gamer Dad that at least partially agrees with me), but this I can agree with 99%: anything that keeps the "the anti-gaming jerkwads" from meddling in gaming is a good thing. The 1% of disagreement is that I'd like to see an ESRB geared more towards actually protecting kids than pleasing parents, but, then again: maybe that's why the ESRB has been so successful--it comes across as the kind of goody-two shoes organization that puts jerkwad parents at ease. Which in the end, probably results in a net gain for children's rights while also keeping the jerkwads from making a ruckus.

A win/win situation--any kid with a parent that won't let her play Halo because it's got an M rating I'm sure has way bigger issues in all aspects of her life beyond just not getting to play a certain video game if she's been saddled with parents like that.

Malygris:
Andy Chalk offers up the only guideline you'll need this holiday game-buying season: Read the goddamn ratings.

There's not a clap slow enough to reward this sentiment. Very, very well put.

And as a former games retail worker, I'm sure you know how people generally respond to even the slightest hint of "you're a bad parent". I find my self throwing my arms across my face and pleading for mercy just reading the words.

Onyx Oblivion:

squid5580:

Onyx Oblivion:
Well, I assume that an M on the box means: "Moms, look! This game is great for children."

Now that I broke the hypnotic spell of your avatar I can respond. That is the big problem right there. Why did they choose this whole new rating system? I don't mean the kids under X shouldn't be playing this. I mean why didn't they stick with what people have grown up with for years. Rated R. Put a big fucking R and underneath that put restricted with the panther. Or PG, 14a or G. People know these letters. They understand that they shouldn't be taking little Jimmy or Jane to an R rated movie. You don't seee very many theatres that feel the need to have a description of what R means do you? Yet you walk into any gamestore (or dept) and plastered all over the place is M= bad for little Jimmy. The problem is if you have to describe the rating it isn't very effective.

Because there's different criteria reviewed in movies and games, and they wanted to keep the medium seperate. After all, PG means "Parental Guidance", and you can't really have "Parental Guidance" for games, since they're not simply 90 minutes in a room with the kid.

Damn you hypnotoad.

Have you not seen what passes for PG? That isn't really the point if the parents are in the room or not. Most parents will let Jimmy watch a PG movie alone since they aren't usually directed for adults to begin with. Mario would probably get smacked with a PG label because of the violence. Yes Mario is violent. Seeing PG on the label is going to make them stop and think for a second where T or M just doesn't seem too very often.

As for them not wanting to mix that is just stupidity on thier behalf. There is 1 reason for these ratings. To protect the children. Forcing one medium to use different lettering and potentially confusing customers is not doing what they set out to do. What is the movie industry afraid that their movies might corrupt the children but if they get corrupted by other means it is OK? I call shenanigans.

squid5580:

Onyx Oblivion:

squid5580:

Onyx Oblivion:
Well, I assume that an M on the box means: "Moms, look! This game is great for children."

Now that I broke the hypnotic spell of your avatar I can respond. That is the big problem right there. Why did they choose this whole new rating system? I don't mean the kids under X shouldn't be playing this. I mean why didn't they stick with what people have grown up with for years. Rated R. Put a big fucking R and underneath that put restricted with the panther. Or PG, 14a or G. People know these letters. They understand that they shouldn't be taking little Jimmy or Jane to an R rated movie. You don't seee very many theatres that feel the need to have a description of what R means do you? Yet you walk into any gamestore (or dept) and plastered all over the place is M= bad for little Jimmy. The problem is if you have to describe the rating it isn't very effective.

Because there's different criteria reviewed in movies and games, and they wanted to keep the medium seperate. After all, PG means "Parental Guidance", and you can't really have "Parental Guidance" for games, since they're not simply 90 minutes in a room with the kid.

Damn you hypnotoad.

Have you not seen what passes for PG? That isn't really the point if the parents are in the room or not. Most parents will let Jimmy watch a PG movie alone since they aren't usually directed for adults to begin with. Mario would probably get smacked with a PG label because of the violence. Yes Mario is violent. Seeing PG on the label is going to make them stop and think for a second where T or M just doesn't seem too very often.

As for them not wanting to mix that is just stupidity on thier behalf. There is 1 reason for these ratings. To protect the children. Forcing one medium to use different lettering and potentially confusing customers is not doing what they set out to do. What is the movie industry afraid that their movies might corrupt the children but if they get corrupted by other means it is OK? I call shenanigans.

Very well put, but we have to consider one medium is merely WATCHING the images, and the other is performing them. For instance, would the sex scenes in Mass Effect have had such an impact if the player hadn't gone through the relationship with the character personally choosing dialogue options? No.

Every now and again, what should be common sense must be made perfectly evident and clear for all to hear. I believe this falls into that category perfectly.

So what to expect. As an Elder in the church of Present Social, Moral and Internet Current Decorum I suspect that the elder generation, the parent, is fast losing some semblance of guidance and that as long as the producer produces and the retailer retails, the kid will play the game.

Malygris:
The ESRB is far from perfect but it's effective and it ain't Australian, and that's a win in my books.

Aw... ;_;

Malygris:
If you happen to work at a games retailer (and I know some of you do) pay attention to the ratings and talk them up with customers before things get awkward at the register.

My gods, the people. I was working yesterday, and someone insisted that despite my warnings, nah, Prey was gonna be -great- for their 10 year old.

This is a game where you're abducted by aliens into a biomechanical monstrosity and almost get -digested-, have to decapitate and slaughter literally thousands using unimaginable, living alien weapons, listen to audiologs of people being killed or abducted in various violent ways, listen to audiologs of the radio news reports detailing these events, watch your virtual girlfriend be absorbed and mutated into a monster before your very eyes, and then [Spoiler!]crash into the sun.

...yeah, that's great for a kid who's 10. Have a great, fucked up life, thanks Mum.

People will casually buy a game like Modern Warfare 2 because he had the first one. Or he's seen his friend play it.

...words cannot describe my outrage and sadness at the inadequacy of many parents.

Good topic to write on, Mr Chalk. Everyone: Please, please, please, get this published in your local paper! Bad parents aren't online to read it! ><

Onyx Oblivion:

squid5580:

Onyx Oblivion:

squid5580:

Onyx Oblivion:
Well, I assume that an M on the box means: "Moms, look! This game is great for children."

Now that I broke the hypnotic spell of your avatar I can respond. That is the big problem right there. Why did they choose this whole new rating system? I don't mean the kids under X shouldn't be playing this. I mean why didn't they stick with what people have grown up with for years. Rated R. Put a big fucking R and underneath that put restricted with the panther. Or PG, 14a or G. People know these letters. They understand that they shouldn't be taking little Jimmy or Jane to an R rated movie. You don't seee very many theatres that feel the need to have a description of what R means do you? Yet you walk into any gamestore (or dept) and plastered all over the place is M= bad for little Jimmy. The problem is if you have to describe the rating it isn't very effective.

Because there's different criteria reviewed in movies and games, and they wanted to keep the medium seperate. After all, PG means "Parental Guidance", and you can't really have "Parental Guidance" for games, since they're not simply 90 minutes in a room with the kid.

Damn you hypnotoad.

Have you not seen what passes for PG? That isn't really the point if the parents are in the room or not. Most parents will let Jimmy watch a PG movie alone since they aren't usually directed for adults to begin with. Mario would probably get smacked with a PG label because of the violence. Yes Mario is violent. Seeing PG on the label is going to make them stop and think for a second where T or M just doesn't seem too very often.

As for them not wanting to mix that is just stupidity on thier behalf. There is 1 reason for these ratings. To protect the children. Forcing one medium to use different lettering and potentially confusing customers is not doing what they set out to do. What is the movie industry afraid that their movies might corrupt the children but if they get corrupted by other means it is OK? I call shenanigans.

Very well put, but we have to consider one medium is merely WATCHING the images, and the other is performing them. For instance, would the sex scenes in Mass Effect have had such an impact if the player hadn't gone through the relationship with the character personally choosing dialogue options? No.

Although one of them has real people doing harmful things to each other. The other has maybe some resemblence to a real person but you know they aren't. Of course there is exceptions. You would think that watching Mary Poppins (a real person onscreen) fly using an umbrella would be more harmful than Mario stompin a Goomba. But just because they are holding a controller this isn't the case.

I also think that movies and TV series are skating while games take the brunt of it. Just because "games are immersive" and the others aren't. I disagree that putting a controller in the users hand changes much of anything when it comes down to the bottom line. Who didn't cry at the end of "Ole Yeller"? (ok I am not expecting anyone to admit they did lol). Or scream at the stupid camper that Jason is right behind them. Or even think to yourself "c'mon Jason get that stupid jock". Just watch how some people get into soap operas. They are in the same zone we are with a controller in our hands. They are just getting different rewards than we do.

300lb. Samoan:

And as a former games retail worker, I'm sure you know how people generally respond to even the slightest hint of "you're a bad parent". I find my self throwing my arms across my face and pleading for mercy just reading the words.

I've got a similar problem with knives, glue and pens. All age-rated. Karma Sutra is fine.

My CMOA from a customer is when they complained about


because her little darlings could see its willy.

I kid you not.

Then I chat with some woman about her 10(!) year-old wanting MW2 and how she thinks its disgusting, but he just won't put up with not playing it.

These are the same kids that get told not to talk to strangers, and get sex-education at stupid years-old.

Yes, the Policemen look young to me now, but ffs people! Kids NEED some form of authority to allow them to build a reasonable sense of proportion in the world. They need someone they can rely on. And if it's someone like Kotick who's the one person telling them the truth, what the hell do you expect to happen?

Gah.

Are there any studies that give conclusive evidence that violent video games actually affect the development of children? I have played violent video games since I was seven years old (starting with Doom 1 and 2) and I'm perfectly healthy.

Fenixius:

My gods, the people. I was working yesterday, and someone insisted that despite my warnings, nah, Prey was gonna be -great- for their 10 year old.

You are not their parent. You don't know this particular 10 year old.

This is a game where you're abducted by aliens into a biomechanical monstrosity and almost get -digested-, have to decapitate and slaughter literally thousands using unimaginable, living alien weapons, listen to audiologs of people being killed or abducted in various violent ways, listen to audiologs of the radio news reports detailing these events, watch your virtual girlfriend be absorbed and mutated into a monster before your very eyes, and then [Spoiler!]crash into the sun.

...yeah, that's great for a kid who's 10. Have a great, fucked up life, thanks Mum.

Yeah--kid should be reading things like fairy tales, where it's just about you know, kids getting shoved into ovens by a witch in the forest or finding a wolf has eaten their grandmother.

...oh wait.

Kids...are a lot more mature when it comes to content than we think they are. When it comes to dealing with things like emotions and friends, though, that's where the real danger is.

People will casually buy a game like Modern Warfare 2 because he had the first one. Or he's seen his friend play it.

...words cannot describe my outrage and sadness at the inadequacy of many parents.

Kids will casually repeat that some girl is a slut because he heard she was from a friend. Yet no one really worries about that, even though the biggest danger to kids is...other kids. Yet no one has "outrage and sadness" over the inadequacy of parents to keep their kids safe from other kids, or to control their kids from hurting other kids. And even then, if a kid is made to experience emotional suffering but no one is there to see it, well, no one really cares.

I'm a big fan of protecting children and taking their needs seriously, but so much of what I see that passes for 'what about the children' is really just adults concerned with what other adults must think of them.

The_root_of_all_evil:

300lb. Samoan:

And as a former games retail worker, I'm sure you know how people generally respond to even the slightest hint of "you're a bad parent". I find my self throwing my arms across my face and pleading for mercy just reading the words.

I've got a similar problem with knives, glue and pens. All age-rated. Karma Sutra is fine.

My CMOA from a customer is when they complained about


because her little darlings could see its willy.

I kid you not.

Then I chat with some woman about her 10(!) year-old wanting MW2 and how she thinks its disgusting, but he just won't put up with not playing it.

These are the same kids that get told not to talk to strangers, and get sex-education at stupid years-old.

Yes, the Policemen look young to me now, but ffs people! Kids NEED some form of authority to allow them to build a reasonable sense of proportion in the world. They need someone they can rely on. And if it's someone like Kotick who's the one person telling them the truth, what the hell do you expect to happen?

Gah.

I... can't seem to look away from that picture... I really despise Crazy Frog, but seeing his Johnson is like hypno-crack...

AMEN to that. The only person a parent can blame if dear little Timmy is playing that horrible Call of Duty game is themselves. After all, its not like the game jumped through a window in the middle of the night and held up Timmy at gunpoint demanding to be played. Someone had to buy it. So get it together parents. It's not that hard.

The_root_of_all_evil:

300lb. Samoan:

And as a former games retail worker, I'm sure you know how people generally respond to even the slightest hint of "you're a bad parent". I find my self throwing my arms across my face and pleading for mercy just reading the words.

I've got a similar problem with knives, glue and pens. All age-rated. Karma Sutra is fine.

My CMOA from a customer is when they complained about


because her little darlings could see its willy.

I kid you not.

Then I chat with some woman about her 10(!) year-old wanting MW2 and how she thinks its disgusting, but he just won't put up with not playing it.

These are the same kids that get told not to talk to strangers, and get sex-education at stupid years-old.

Yes, the Policemen look young to me now, but ffs people! Kids NEED some form of authority to allow them to build a reasonable sense of proportion in the world. They need someone they can rely on. And if it's someone like Kotick who's the one person telling them the truth, what the hell do you expect to happen?

Gah.

To be fair, although I shouldn't be, I spotted it immediately. I think I remember wondering if it was really necessary to put a dong on that thing when it first came out - almost instantly that concern was superseded by how fucking annoying that thing was.

A frog with a cgi talliwhacker and the one-in-a-million chance that a stranger might be a charming pedophile, these are the things parents worry about? Meanwhile, a game that shows players how to use real-life weaponry in tactical situations (and in terrorist attacks) isn't nearly as important as making her little brat shut up about wanting to play the hottest new game. Parents really are pathetic sometimes. Maybe if I didn't spend so much time telling them this to their faces I wouldn't have so many people mad at me!

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Fenixius:

My gods, the people. I was working yesterday, and someone insisted that despite my warnings, nah, Prey was gonna be -great- for their 10 year old.

You are not their parent. You don't know this particular 10 year old.

Did you seriously just say that? Wow..just wow..

Woodsey:
I find it hard to believe anyone who claims they don't know what the giant number on the front of the box means.

Letter.. But I hear you. I rage at all of the adult-parents I know about this. At least the ones I know will at least have been warned.

Jiraiya72:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Fenixius:

My gods, the people. I was working yesterday, and someone insisted that despite my warnings, nah, Prey was gonna be -great- for their 10 year old.

You are not their parent. You don't know this particular 10 year old.

Did you seriously just say that? Wow..just wow..

I played Resident Evil 2 on the N64 when I was 9. Some kids mature faster than others.

sheic99:

Jiraiya72:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Fenixius:

My gods, the people. I was working yesterday, and someone insisted that despite my warnings, nah, Prey was gonna be -great- for their 10 year old.

You are not their parent. You don't know this particular 10 year old.

Did you seriously just say that? Wow..just wow..

I played Resident Evil 2 on the N64 when I was 9. Some kids mature faster than others.

Can't say I care about kids playing violent games, either. Started playing violent games as soon as they started coming out. Resident Evil, Twisted Metal, GoldenEye, Silent Hill, DOOM I and II. Was also playing Crash Bandicoot at the time, but it didn't really have any seriously adverse effects far as I can tell. Just as fucked up mentally as the kid who grew up next door watching nothing but "The Magic School Bus" on VHS and playing wholesome F1 racing sims.

Well, not much else to say but that I absolutely agree.

The last game on the stack was Gears 2. Yeah, kinda sad how I know that.

Anyhow, I think ratings are a nice idea, but flawed and oversimplified. For example, I think Crysis is much less graphic then Manhunt, but it gets the same rating anyhow? I think a PEGI system would be better, except with 18+, 17+, 16+, etc. And the rating board should have to fucking PLAY THE GAME, not just watch a movie like they do now.

Also, mods should have NOTHING to do with the game's rating. No matter what. The hot coffee "disaster" was ridiculous.

When I was young, my parents read the age ratings and denied me to play lots of games I thought were cool, like grand theft auto 3. Now that I look back, I'm glad to know they did it because they were only to be responsible and to respect the family's value, which was no game in the house where you kill people. On the other hand, my father still allowed me to play the first Halo when I was 11, because it was just about killing aliens and not humans.

Then, my parents allowed me to play more and more mature games because I proved to them that I knew the difference between reality and the fiction in games. I literally had to give my father a big speech to play GTA:SA by explaining to him that I knew that everything in the game wasn't real, why I understood the reasons he was uncomfortable with me playing that game and why the game actually allowed me to focus my frustration in the game when I was in a bad mood.

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