When did the controversy over whether or not violent videogames promote violence begin? Apparently back in 1976 there was a game called “Death Race” that sparked it all. In the arcade (a big room full of machines that consumed quarters to produce entertainment) people were running over stick gremlins to score points. People didn’t like it then. Called it “sick.”
History has shown us that this controversy will be hard to crack for a legitimate “answer.” Consumerism and marketing has shown that an answer won’t be reached. Are you sick of the videogames out there? I’m afraid there is only one way to make sure the market changes into a direction worth going.
What can you do as a parent:
If you’re going to play the game (no pun intended) then you’re going to have to do it right. Not buying videogames is surely one way to do this, but companies are only focused on one thing: Making money.
Whatever is selling, will make money, so why not make more of the same? And if you’ve noticed one thing in the videogame arena, there are nothing but sequels of last year’s popular shooter game, rife with all the stuff an impressionable youth wants.
Now, Nintendo has a good thing going. They have a great market of non-violent, family friendly videogames. They have the Nintendo DS also with a good family selection. However, if you own an XBox or a PS3, you don’t have the luxury of this. Or not yet, anyway.
Whatever sells, more will be made of it.
Do your research on games. Really. Ask a kid. Refer to the Rating on the back of the box. Don’t buy your kid an M rated game and then complain about it later. You just put more money into the market you loathe.
Once you see a game that makes you say, “Gee, I would like to see more games like this,” buy it. If that publisher gets money, they can make more games like it.
For me, I buy the games that seem different, unique, and offer a great gameplay style. I read multiple websites, I try demos out. I usually seek unique games that are First Part Developed for a system (Third Party developers make games that ALL the consoles can use… which are usually aimed at the mass market).
I don’t ask the clerk at the videogame store
You’ll hear about the games they want to unload. Games that aren’t selling, games that no one wants to play, and that aren’t worth playing.
Sports games are safe to buy. I don’t like them, typically, but you can’t go wrong with them. If your kid likes sports games, great. Just make sure you pick a high quality one, or it’s not fun for the kids.
Racing games are hit and miss. If it’s a street racing game (the Burnout series), techinical racer (Gran Turismo), then you’re probably ok. No more Grand Theft Auto games, however. That’s about enough of that series.
Both Playstaion and XBox are moving into the arena that Nintendo has been monopolizing: Motion controls. This Fall, both systems will release their family friendly motion sensing peripherals and hope to dip into the family/party based gaming that occurs. The Playstation will get the “Move” and the XBox will have the “Kinect.”
If you look at the titles coming out, they are pretty harmless dance, racing, running, sports related games. I’m picking up the PS Move and will buy some games my own two children will be able to play.
What was that again?
Basically, if you want something, you need to buy it and promote it. The more it sells, the more others will be made like it.
Make sure you look at the Rating Label on the back of the game when you purchase one for your kids.
The US market is driven by what sells, and the advertising is brutal. Kids want the coolest best game that their friends all are getting (or so the commercials tell us). Do your research and be a smart shopper.