Inside Job: Kids and Games, Part Two

Inside Job: Kids and Games, Part Two

As promised, two weeks ago, I began my journey to find out first-hand what parents today really thought about videogames, and how, as a community, developers and gamers could reach out to them to provide information and support.

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Thank you Erin. This might be the first article I've read that has a reasonable description of what most people think about videogames. Nine out of ten people that I meet have opinions about games that range from neutral to enthusiastic. Many are vaguely positive. I've met very few that demonize games. Thanks for that even-handed survey.

It seems to be common for enthusiast groups to develop a feeling of persecution from outsiders. For example, judging by pages on the internet, both Christians and atheists think that they are a minority. Most of the articles that I read, even on the Escapist, operate on the assumption that the outside world is hostile to games. However, I haven't encountered that hostility in reality.

Good article. Parents absolutely should be mystified by ESRB components and why a game receives a certain rating. The only thing that separates Onimusha 3: Demon Siege and Manhunt is "Strong Lanuage." The actual content of those two games is very different in terms of what each asks a player to do, yet if one were to compare the backs of the boxes, only the "F-bomb" would seem to separate them.

As for automatically limiting time, I've longed for a machine to plug quarters into that keeps the console going just like in the old days. Kids want to play? They put down their hard earned cash just like we used to. (Goodness I've just aged myself!) By attaching value to their time, I think think gaming could be placed in perspective with other desires/needs. Too much of children's entertainment is "on demand" and it's so pervasive and available it's very hard for parents to create limits effectively. When I was a kid, we had ONE television set. Now I'll wager most home's sets outnumber individuals in the house. And don't get me started on the unlimited programming now available. :P
(That, of course, is another issue, but I can't help but feel that in our affluence we have let the cat out of the bag and no one really wants to put it back in themselves. They want someone else to do it for them.)

This was a very pleasant read.

I love these kinds of articles.

Kudos for a very good read. It's always nice to hear a more balanced voice from groups who are at the center of the "violence in videogames" storm.

The suggestion of the automated timer - which sounds a great deal like a physical version of the play schedulers already available for account management on several MMOGs, where addiction has been a longer-standing concern - was very popular.

The concept isn't bad but I'd hate to see it applied to games where long periods of gameplay without saving progress are either required or just break up the pace of gameplay.

LisaB1138:
Good article. Parents absolutely should be mystified by ESRB components and why a game receives a certain rating. The only thing that separates Onimusha 3: Demon Siege and Manhunt is "Strong Lanuage." The actual content of those two games is very different in terms of what each asks a player to do, yet if one were to compare the backs of the boxes, only the "F-bomb" would seem to separate them.

You think the ESRB is bad for vagueness? Try the PEGI system which has no indicators of the "strength" of content (if you catch my meaning) and have icons that shown what the content is, some of them not obvious at first sight, namely the discrimination one (two white guys at the side of the icon look at a black guy in the middle) or the scary content one (a spider). Add the BBFC into the mix (inconsistancy galore: Quake Wars and Halo 3 both getting 15's?) and you have a real winning system on your hands.

Great article, Erin. It's so relieving to read something from "the trenches", as it were, which shows that the lunatic fearmongering isn't actually what the general public thinks. It made me weirdly excited to read quotes from parents who were so positive about games, and who were so serious about trying to be the best parents they can be with regards to them. I definitely agree that there need to be more websites like the fantastic GamerDad which specifically target parents who may not have any great knowledge about games and what playing them entails. GamerDad is great for reviews and content descriptions, but I'm getting this wonderful utopian vision swimming through my head of a forum where non-gamer parents and gamers like us can come together, where parents can ask questions about games and we, being more knowledgeable, can answer them.

I'm not sure why all this is exciting me so much; maybe I'm getting to the age where the prospect of having children of my own is actually on the horizon. Or maybe I'm just a sucker for that Can't-We-All-Just-Get-Along utopian vision.

Will this series be continuing, or will there be more addressing similar topics in the future? I've enjoyed it so far.

Maybe somebody could start up an advice column, I don't know. I know somewhere out there is already a website that reviews video games, not just in terms of quality, but also in terms of how little it contradicts a strongly Christian viewpoint. Perhaps There could be a site that's like that, but for a less specific audience?

Hi, you seem to be lacking an obvious link to part one.

Limiting the amount of time that kids spend playing videogames also seemed to be a major concern, one currently managed "manually" but with a desire for automation:
Well I would certainly love something that would do this but there are also time you know when you have to do that thing starts with a p, ends with arenting.

bue519:
Limiting the amount of time that kids spend playing videogames also seemed to be a major concern, one currently managed "manually" but with a desire for automation:
Well I would certainly love something that would do this but there are also time you know when you have to do that thing starts with a p, ends with arenting.

with todays tech creating a suspend resume system that ties into parental controls is a snap, they just don't want to give gamers save states :P

shteev:
Hi, you seem to be lacking an obvious link to part one.

It was first in "Related Reading" on the right.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/insidejob/2314-Inside-Job-Getting-Real-about-Kids-and-Games

Great article, Erin.

I actually wonder if, rather than a database as you suggest, maybe a community/forum for gamer parents and parents of gamers might be even more useful? A database, like a FAQ, is inherently limited by answering specific questions. If you had a big community/forum where people could ask these questions, I think that would actually work better. To use the example you used about the 7-year-old who likes dogs... well, a simple database would maybe help by being all "oh hay Nintendogs!" but that requires someone to have asked it (or a similar question) before. Whereas you might get explanations/second opinions on such a forum.

Someone should register like parentalgamers.com and make it happen >_>

Has anyone checked out http://www.commonsensemedia.org ?

It's a site by non-profit organization Common Sense Media that gauges the kid-appropriateness of various media products. Their reviews get very specific about content -- for example, their "Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass" review expands on what the ESRB calls "Fantasy Violence" by telling parents exactly what weapons Link uses and how often he has to use them. They also offer suggestions for game-related family discussion ("What does Link do and say that makes him into a hero, and how do Linebeck's actions brand him as a scoundrel?") They also take user reviews, from both kids and parents, and have a "top picks" section that offers recommendations by genre. They review movies, television, music, books and websites as well. Could be useful?

Great read. It's nice to see parents actually understand videogames are aa hobby, similar to movies, where there's a rating system in place for a reason. A breath of fresh air really.

PS: I just don't talk to many adults in real life who see the video game industry as it really is. Personal experience.

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