Video gaming consultant Beau Fuquay helps parents sort through the choices.
Video games are more popular than ever — becoming more interactive using enhanced graphics and multiplayer capabilities. Video Games have made a place for all ages and families to enjoy. This has become a video game era as more video game consoles fill our living rooms. However with all of these advances in video game technology, not all games are created equal. Likewise not all games are created for children.
VIDEO GAME RATINGS
This is where the visit Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) comes into play. Established in 1994, the ESRB assigns computer and video game content ratings and enforces industry-adopted advertising guidelines.
The video game rating system comes in two parts. First a rating category symbol to suggest age-appropriateness. These symbols are generally located in the bottom left hand corner of the game case and can help to quickly identify what games might or might not be appropriate for your child.
The second part of the rating system are Content Descriptors which indicate elements in a game that may have triggered a particular rating and/or may be of interest or concern. Content Descriptors can be found on the back of the game case.
From the ESRB’s website you can look up any video game to see its rating and content descriptors. To learn more about the ESRB and the rating system visit their website at http://www.esrb.org
For more information about what’s behind the rating, we highly recommend parents check out the ESRB’s rating summaries . This supplementary source of information provides a brief, descriptive explanation of the context and relevant content that factored into a video game’s ESRB rating. This helps consumers make a more fully informed decision when considering which games to purchase.
INDEPENDENT GAME REVIEWS
Kids know exactly where to find reviews and information on the latest games they want. There are many resources on the internet that provide reviews, previews, videos, and interviews on the newest games. Here are some of the more popular sites:
Many games have a multiplayer aspect or mode to them. MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online)games such as World of Warcraft allow players to interact in a persistent world talking and questing with other players. FPS (First Person Shooters) Such as Halo3 or Call of Duty allow players to team up and compete against the opposing team in combat. Though these games have various ratings, Online interactions such as these are not rated. As good practice know who your child’s friends are and who they play with.
BUILT-IN PARENTAL CONTROLS
Another tool to help parents regulate what content is appropriate for their child are the Parental Controls built in to the game consoles and your PC. These controls empower the parent to allow or restrict games with a particular rating, certain online interactions, and even movie ratings. Depending on the console, parents may even be able to limit the amount of time their child spends playing games.
Visit these websites to learn more about the Parental Controls for your gaming system.
Windows Vista: www.microsoft.com/protect/products/family/vista.mspx
With all of the resources available today Parents are able to make the call on what is appropriate for their child and themselves.
THREE NEW GAMES TO WATCH
Wii Sports Resort
• Use of the Wii motion plus
• Features 10 new games (Frisbee, Power Cruising, Swordplay, Table Tennis, Air Sports, Basketball, Archery, Cycling, Canoeing, Wakeboarding)
• Easy to pick up and play so that every member of the family can join in the fun
• Rated E for Cartoon Violence
• Available NOW!!!
Uncharted: Drakes Fortune
• Excellent storytelling with the feel of an Indiana Jones or Romancing the Stone movie
• An immersive action adventure set in a rich mysterious Jungle Island
• Navigate puzzles and evade maniacal treasure hunters seeking the fabled treasure of El Dorado
• Rated T for Blood, Language, Mild Suggestive Themes, Use of Tobacco and Violence
• The Sequel Uncharted 2 hits Stores Oct. 13
Call of Duty 4 Modern Warfare
• Fight as a member of U.S. forces and British Spec ops to eliminate Well-Armed International Separatists.
• Fight online with friends using dozens of weapons, abilities and tactics to take out the opposition
• Realistic environments and physics help to draw you into the battle
• Rated M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence and Strong Language
• The Sequel Modern Warfare 2 hits stores Nov. 10
Contact Beau Fuquay at