Games had changed severely over the years. When I was a kid, ultra-violence came in the form of the original Mortal Kombat and Splatterhouse games, and of course, Doom. These seemed quite horrific at the time. So horrific, that I clearly remember feeling physically sick while playing MK for the first time, and terrified wandering the corroders in Doom. In those days, games were simply accessible to anyone who had a console to play, or a pocketful of lose change to lob into an arcade cabinet.
There were no age restrictions back then. Mortal Kombat’s violence sent the media into a frenzy, and became one of the first real controversial video games. Hell, first time I ever even laid eyes on it, it was on the BBC news. They showed a bunch of distressed parents rattling on about how this game would turn their nation’s children into deranged, blood-thirsty psychopaths. They also showed clips of the game, including Scorpion performing his fatality move. Looking back now, I think that may have been the moment that I became a Kombat head. This was also, pretty much, the moment that age ratings began being stamped on games. They didn’t want kids to play these macabre masterpieces, in fear that it could indeed leave the children psychologically disturbed. It was following this that video games got blamed for just about anything and everything that was wrong with the world. A trend that’s still going on to this day.
Games marked “18s” (or “M”, if you’re living state-side) are made for adults. They are aimed towards fully grown men and women because of their adult content. Whether it be sex, violence, strong language, the use of drugs, or whatever else the game may be about; these are designed for adults. I know I may sound like a hypocrite here, considering I’ve already stated that I played games during my childhood that were not aimed for my age, but graphical and technological advances have ensured that the games I played then are vastly different to what’s going on today.
I remember listening to a radio chat-show recently about violent video games being played by underage kids. During this show, one particular fucking eejit rang up and claimed that he spends his days playing Call Of Duty: Black Ops with his eight year old son. He seemed quite proud about this, and didn’t see any harm in it. The fucking kid is only eight! There is one scene that really stood out for me while playing Black Ops. A horrific scene in which you and your team-mate have been captured by the Vietnamese, and are forced to play Russian Roulette. Your team mate refuses to play their sick game, and as a result, he is beaten to death by being hit repeatedly across the head with a blunt object. It’s a shocking scene, but it fit’s the story well, and it plays a great part in showing the horrors of war. However, I sure as Hell wouldn’t allow an eight year old to see this! This game, and many others like it, is not intended to be played by children. It says so on the fucking box.
There is a wealth of hugely enjoyable kids’ games out there- Mario, Sonic, Pokémon, Viva Piñata, and tons more. When they grow a little older and want something a bit more advanced, then hit them up with some Street Fighter, Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, or Plants Vs Zombies. These games will seem a little more grown up for them, yet are still family friendly.
I, of course, don’t blame the child in question. He’s six, he’s just loving the idea of playing games all day, and why wouldn’t he? Instead, I think the blame lays squarely on the shoulders of his sorry excuses for parents. Parents so unbelievably stupid that they’d allow their child to play more than nine hours of video games per day. Parents so moronic that the father would not only boast about this live on national radio, but would also give you his young son’s gamertag, boldly saying “Sure, add him! I bet he’d fucking beat you too!” as if that makes it alright. So incredibly ignorant that he wouldn’t even listen to anyone else’s opinions on how damn wrong he was for allowing his child to do this.
Personally, I don’t believe there is any real evidence that proves the brain-altering, mind-warping effects of video games have, because most of the shite you hear about it is completely fabricated by newspapers and dead-end news channels. If there is evidence, I believe that it’s simply shards at this stage, and nothing more. I will need some very hard and relatively undeniable evidence before I change my mind. However, I personally wouldn’t allow my children (if I had children) to play games that weren’t intended for their age group, simply because I wouldn’t like my (non-existent) kids to witness that type of violence. I also wouldn’t allow them to play for an insane amount of time each day. If there is a risk, like we are told, then I’m not going to run it with my (fully fictional) offspring. When they grow up (into non-existent adults), the choice will be their’s to play whatever they like. I’d even recommend them some of my blood-soaked favourites. But until then, it’s up to the parents to be parents. Man up, raise your children properly, and stop blaming gaming for your own fuck-ups!