Rated "O" for Obvious

Rated "O" for Obvious

By Thomas L. McDonald

THOMAS_LIAM_McDONALD.jpgGamers got a good chuckle this past November with the release of a list detailing the Ten Most Dangerous Video Games of the holiday season, sponsored by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) and a group of allied organizations that care very deeply about you, your children, and little dots a screen that faintly approximate the appearance of real things. I can’t argue with the violent content of many titles on the list (even the two games from the list that don’t even exist). Apparently, neither can the creators and publishers of these games, because they gave them all an M-rating.

Now, I wouldn’t allow my first-grader to play Doom 3 or Half-Life 2 or Postal 2, but it stands to reason that most parents should able to differentiate between a hellknight and SpongeBob while standing in the PC game aisle and make their purchase accordingly. But what if some parents can’t make this distinction? This nightmare scenario keeps Pamela Eakes of Mothers Against Violence in America, up at night: “I wonder what it will say to a child if they receive such a game from a parent or grandparent, no matter how unwitting the gift giver might be.” Apart from the mangled syntax, that sentence takes the breath away.

Sister Pat Wolf, executive director of the ICCR, weighs in with more mendacity: “Many adults who have not played video games may not realize that these ‘games’ will typically force an impressionable child to kill in order to ‘win.’” Note that the words she puts in quotes are “games” and “win” (two objective facts), but not “kill” (not an objective fact). It is an actual game, and you may in fact win at it, but absolutely, positively no one will be “killed” before, during, or after the game unless they file down the edge of the disk and use it to saw open their carotid artery. And if they wanted to help, why pick only 10 titles?

There are far more than 10 M-rated games out this season. If they really wanted to help, they’d list them all and provide content information, which is handily available right on the box. Of course, if they just repeated what people already know, who would pay attention to them? Worse, how would people know where to find the little “donate” button on the ICCR web page?

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