I have always held a strong line to NOT carry the Grand Theft Auto series of games in our stores (along with a few other over-the-top titles). Our eBash partner store of which I do not have any ownership carries the games. This newest game would be a HUGE boost to our sales during the next few months and beyond and help us through our slower months. I don’t want to compromise my morals, but how do I skip a game that could mean so much potential income for my stores? I am thinking of perhaps requiring every single parent to physically come into the store and have us read to them the warning label on the game right at the front counter to their face. Something like this:
Me: “Hello mommy of Billy Gamer, are you wanting to allow him to play the newest Grand Theft Auto V game?”
Mommy: “Yes, that is fine. He plays games like that at home.”
Me: “Alright, I just need you to be aware that this game contains ALL of these items: Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, Nudity, Mature Humor, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, and the Use of Drugs and Alcohol. You are fine with your 9 year old son being exposed to all of those things?”
Man, even typing that up I just get a bad feeling in my stomach. I know that all of these parents will say yes. Maybe I should require that they sit down and play the game with their kid for a minimum of one hour before they are allowed to give them permission to play the game? Maybe seeing prostitution in action on the screen will make more of an impact than hearing the words “Nudity and Strong Sexual Content”?
I sometimes get the feeling that parents honestly think that the warning label on games (and maybe movies) are just *potential* things that could be in the game. Almost like it is a general guideline for all M (Mature) rated games that *could* contain those things listed on the label. At least that is what I hope is true.
However the items printed on that label are ACTUALLY found within that exact game. So when GTAV says that it has Nudity and Strong Sexual Content the game itself has those items as something your child will experience while playing.
Maybe I just hope that is the case so that I can give parents a false excuse for not caring what their child puts into their brain. I feel better thinking that parents are dumb and naive and not just doing a lazy and terrible job of raising their children. I want to believe that parents are just too busy to take the time to monitor what their kid is playing, instead of probably the true reason they let them play these games.
Parents are selfish.
I know this is true because I am a parent and I am also selfish. I want my time to myself. We have 3 kids at home and right now my wife and I do not get any time to do what WE want to do. At home and when parents drop their kids at my video game center these “guardians” are just looking for a break from being a parent.
I understand the feeling and I am not saying that having your kids play video games so that you can get a break is wrong. It is not even wrong to have them play for a few hours in my opinion. However it is not right to allow them to be exposed to such things that are in some of these games just so you can have some “me” time.
So, should I carry this newest game in our stores and just put a heavy burden on the parents to be the ones that decide if their child is exposed to the filth found inside? Will that leave me a clear conscience? I doubt it.