Well, someone must have been taking pity on my and my excruciatingly long train journey filled day yesterday, because I found this little gem on my morning news trawl. I’ve been a Princess Bride fan since the first time I saw it, years ago, so it’s a bit of a no brainer that I would happily shell out cash to play a game version, so the pre-order went in about 5 minutes after finding the site. Looking at the trailers and concept art, I think I’ll be pleased with the end result – definitely looking forward to the release date later in the year.
On an unrelated note, my train journey down to our client’s site yesterday was capped by a mother and her kids joining me at my table, a boy of around 6 and a girl probably 9 or 10. The boy had a PSP and was playing away, engrossed, but he would keep banging my laptop in his efforts to show this or that to his mother. So I asked what he was playing, and he replied “Grand Theft Auto”.
“Hmm,” I said, “Liberty City Stories?”.
“Uh-huh”, with an eager nod.
“That would be the 18 rated Liberty City Stories then?”, which I accompanied by a look for his mother which I hope conveyed the level of my disgust and disappointment in her parenting skills.
“Oh, ” she says, a bit flustered, “is it?”
And with that the conversation died, thankfully. Anything else I could have said would have boiled down to “you’re really just a bad parent”. Really though, come on: you wouldn’t let your five year old watch The Exorcist, or Goodfellas, what on earth makes you think that letting them play an 18 rated game is okay?
The government is apparently planning to ‘clamp down’ on unsuitable video games. If I believed that it was anything other than a cynical vote-grabbing ploy to pander to Daily Mail readers I would heartily endorse this, as I’ve always been in favour of proper age regulation on games content, just as there is for films and television. Thing is, it’s already there. The games industry gets a BBFC/PEGI age rating on pretty much every title that goes out there. The console platform holders (Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo) insist on it as part of the publishing process. Big publishers would never think about not getting their game rated, it’s just part of making games. All in all, we’ve got a great record of self regulation – we are open and up front about the content of games, and we’re not trying to sneak games into the hands of younger gamers.
None of that makes a blind bit of difference though, as long as irresponsible parents refuse to accept that games deserve the same level of care as films. So you’ve found your 14 year old playing Manhunt, or GTA with the Hot Coffee mod – you think it’s outrageous that the developers can make such games. Well here’s a newsflash – we didn’t make those games for your 14 year old. We didn’t sell them to your 14 year old (high street retailers thankfully do pay attention to age ratings). But if their gran bought them the game for Christmas and you said “Oh, that’s nice, now go play” without ever actually checking what the game was like, then I’m afraid that the blame for your child’s emotional scarring lies firmly and squarely with you, the responsible adult. Stop trying to blame others for your actions.