The Anniston Star Links Our Article To Family Media Guide

Note: Although this column may seem a little old - it was originally penned in December 2005 - the subject matter is surprisingly (not really) still relevant today.

It is always nice to get linked to by other sites. Sometimes the usage of said links is a little odd. The Anniston Star linked to the article Matt and I wrote about the Best Games of 2005. They even have a great intro graph for it:

It’s always nice when people who like video games and people who don’t like video games agree, and this year they agree on “Resident Evil 4.” The Family Media Guide said it was the most “ultra-violent” video game of the year, while a loose consortium of blogger-gamers said it also was the best of the year.
Since I am on the subject, lets take a look at The Family Media Guide's Top 10 Ultra-Violent Video Games of 2005.

Resident Evil 4 - Game of the Year. No question. Not as violent as others on this list. But yes, it is pretty violent. It is rated M, imagine that! Sold purely on game play.

This is the most “ultra-violent” video game of the year? I don't think so. Call of Duty 2 (which is not even on this list) has something that RE4 lacks: reality. CoD2 is not only brutal, but it covers a subject that really happened.

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas - This is the 2005 list right? Oh yes, it was re-released on the Xbox. These people just see the need to drag Grand Theft Auto through the mud as many times as they can. This is so 2001 people. And don't even get me started on Hot Coffee. Did you even see it? She has a top and thong on. He has jeans and a hoody on. If you are going to bitch, why don't you take a look at the sex scene in: God of War, the European version of Indigo Prophecy (Fahrenheit), or possibly the shower scene in The Sims 2. Oops, did I say that out loud?

Sold purely on game play (and name recognition), the controversy is over by now.

God of War - A candidate for Game of the Year. Bloody as hell, really fun too. This game also got a M rating. I see a trend here. If not for Resident Evil 4, this would have been the best PS2 game of 2005. Sold purely on game play.

Narc - I never played this. But you can actually take drugs in the game, and this affects the Player Character. Not good reviews - 50% average. Sold purely on controversy.

Killer 7 - Average game oozing with personality. The presentation is very unique - a great rental for the weekend. I had fun with it. Sold purely on game play.

The Warriors - After Matt reviewed it, I had to rent it. Here is yet another great game from Rockstar. Sold purely on (great) game play.

50 Cent: Bulletproof - Sold? purely on controversy. Here is a game that tried to cash in just on the controversy alone - that my friend is sad. Rappers need to stick to rapping. Leave movies to Hollywood and games to anything but badly licensed Hollywood flicks.

Crime Life: Gang Wars - Sold purely on controversy. Here is another game that tried to cash in just on the controversy alone. But this one is worse than 50 Cent: Bulletproof.

Condemned: Criminal Origins - Best game of Xbox 360 launch - hands down. Fully deserves the M rating it got by the ESRB. This game is visceral in every sense of the word. Not to mention a great showing of next-gen technologies. The review is on its way. Sold purely on game play.

True Crime: New York City - The first game in the series, Streets of LA, was an OK GTA knock off. True Crime: New York City devolved. Sold purely on controversy.

Do you see a pattern here? I have my hand raised; I'll get this one. All of these games are rated M for Mature by the ESRB. The reason the Family Media Guide has to put this list out is because - and only because - parents obviously cannot read and understand the ESRB rating system. Well I take that back, these "Family Groups" are attention whores when it comes to anything remotely resembling GTA.

On the back of the box for Condemned it says: Mature (17+) Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language. Let me translate: When you hit someone over the head with a lead pipe, blood squirts out; this game is really violent; you will hear people say things like "Fuck You!" in this game. Was my translated needed? Do I have to answer that?

On the front of the box is a big white "M" reversed out in black so as to draw attention. A parent is not going to care that the game is about a FBI agent hunting a serial killer. If they cared more about the game they might read a review, or *god forbid* ask someone about it. Are the Family Media Guide's ratings superior to the ESRB?

The ESRB provides a concise listing of all potentially offensive content in the game. They even have a standardized way of listing these things. They really are smart.

The other pattern to note is that games that sold well have game play outside of the mature themes of the games. This means that if you take out the blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, etc., there would still be a very good game underneath it. The same cannot be said for attention grabbing nock off wannabes.

The simple fact is that gamers are getting older. Parents need to wake up to this fact and take an active role in what games there kids play.

When I started playing games in the 1980s the industry was not catering to the older gamer - because that demographic did not exist as it does today. How hard is that to wrap your hear around? At that time playing Leisure Suit Larry on an Apple II GS was about at Mature as it got - which barely touches the radar by today's standards.

Trying to pass legislation to ban the sale of mature rated games is not the answer. Taxing mature games is also not the answer. Doing your own homework so our government doesn't try and do it for you - now that is the answer.

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