Unlike last year after the tumultuous “Hot Coffee” scandal, the MediaWise Video Game Report Card, issued by the National Institute on Media and the Family, has given the industry good marks on rating games and enforcing them. Specialty shops and parents were not so lucky.
Large retailers like Best Buy, Target and Wal-Mart scored good marks for not selling M-rated games to minors this year, garnering a perfect score in the limited testing done by the institute. Specialty shops (unspecified) did not fare so well, getting an “F” from the report. “Specialty stores seem more interested in making money than anything else. Despite years of scrutiny and repeated promises to clean up their act, it is still far too easy for kids to purchase inappropriate games at such stores.”
Parents also got low scores for not keeping up with their children’s gaming habits. “While nearly two-thirds of surveyed parents said they had rules about how much time their children may spend playing video games, only one third of their children said they had such rules.” The report claims that the amount of time kids spend playing games is on the rise while parent involvement seems to be stagnant.
The impact extended gaming sessions have on obesity and diabetes were also mentioned as a concern. “The link between obesity and media use has become increasingly clear with each new study. Children, ages 8 to 18, spend more time (44.5 hours per week) in front of computer, television, and game screens than they spend on any other activity in their lives except sleeping.”
Finally, the report card lists some of the games parents should watch out for. As Joystiq noted, Gears of War is strangely absent from the list while games like Saints Row, Dead Rising and Just Cause are flagged.