Picture the scene. You are behind the counter working in your local Video Game store, sorting through the mountains of traded in consoles and games due to the imminent release of the XBOX ONE and the Playstation 4. You turn around to see a parent standing with a copy of Grand Theft Auto in their hands ready to buy. “Ah good choice” you say, “You will get soo much out of this game! Rockstar always craft outstanding worlds infused with top notch dialogue!” (Okay, maybe not exactly in that way!) “Oh its not for me! I know nothing about games!” they say, to which you reply “Oh! Who’s it for if you don’t mind me asking?” “Its for my 8 year old.”……….Yes you heard that right, this parent wants to buy an 18 rated game FOR THEIR 8 YEAR OLD!
Now I’m not here to call into question anybodies parenting skills, but when you cave in to your child’s demands to buy for them an 18 rated game because “All my friends are getting it and I will be the only one who doesn’t have it!” then it is inevitable that you going to tumble down a deep hole of disaster! A colleague of mine told me the other day that a customer had to take a copy of Grand Theft Auto from their 10 year old child because they began to have episodes of rage that she couldn’t control, so that was the only course of action she could take. That example right there displays why an 18 rated game has been classified as such. In all fairness, I don’t believe that the Video Game was the soul cause of this episode of ‘Rage’ and that there are other factors that come into play that contribute to this. Maybe the child is used to getting their way more often than not, or that the parents ignore this type of behaviour so the child thinks they can get away with it. I’m not saying that I have NEVER had a bout of ‘Gamer Rage’, because I have, but I would never take it out on another human being in any way, shape or form……..Although I’m sure a few of my Xbox controllers would protest against this point!
Most kids between 8 and 12 wouldn’t understand most of the content within these 18 rated games i.e. why Trevor from GTA takes any drugs he can get his hands on or why he murders people with no explanation, or an antagonists motivations for anarchy and destruction within the game world in the Call of Duty or Battlefield series. When I was their age (Wow I feel really old! Somebody pass me my Zimmer Frame!) I had no interest in games that were too old for me! All I cared about was how to get to the secret zone in Super Mario World with my brother, sisters and parents or attempting to pass the level ‘Slippery Climb’ on Crash Bandicoot, which I have purchased again recently and it took me about 50 attempts to reach the end! I have no idea how I even finished the game as a kid, let alone got past that level! The same goes with Zelda: Ocarina of Time, I felt the dungeons and Bosses were insanely hard for a child my age but with ‘a little help from my friends’ (And my Step Brother) I was able to get relatively far in the game. Granted I never managed to finish Ocarina of Time but I still had fun in all the times I failed. THAT’S what gaming should be about for a young child, having fun playing a game with their family and not worrying about what the latest game craze is!
This is why I applaud parents who come into the GAME in Southport where I work and buy games such as Minecraft, Just Dance or any of the endless Super Mario games that Nintendo release, which shows you what kind of parent they are and judging by the games they buy for their kids, they are damn fine ones! If I had a child and I had to pick between a Call of Duty or a Minecraft, I would choose Minecraft every time because it challenges the young children to engage their vast imagination that kids possess these days. The things I have seen my 12 year old brother, or anybody for that matter, create in his little world is absolutely astounding. While I’m stuck attempting to build a small house for shelter away from the endless parade of Creepers and Endermen or attempting to mine what little Iron I can find in the world, other people are making to scale replicas of Hogwarts or The Starship Enterprise! Just take a look at what the guy’s over at Achievement Hunter have done with their Minecraft world and you will think “How is that even possible!?”. That’s what I love about the game, Who’s tagline is “You are only limited by your imagination!”, that you can pretty much create anything you like within the game world. Just ask the schools that have implemented the game in their school as a way for children to learn about City Planning, how to care for the environment and even teach children about different aspects of Science, such as Gravity. I feel that this is more engaging for a child rather than just sitting down at a desk and listening to a teacher drone on and on for hours and hours, which I can testify to, tends to cause your mind to wonder to other subjects such as “I wonder what mum is making for Dinner tonight?”. The field of Medicine has also started to use the XBOX Kinect Sensor to view MRI scans without ever having to leave the room! With a simple wave of their hands, they can move around and see everything right in front of them instead of having to go through the rigour of having to disinfect their hands, check every scan, come back to the operating theatre and then disinfect their hands all over again!
So if you have children and are thinking to yourself “Maybe I should just get them this game if all his friends have it! Maybe it will give me some peace and quiet for a change” DON’T!!! Go away, have a think to yourself and then have a chat with your children about their different interests and likes and get some games based on that, such as your FIFA’s or Minecraft’s, or something that the whole family can join in with like Mario Kart! Don’t bow to pressure, cause in the long run it will benefit your children exponentially!
ASTON LEWIS SHAW