The Geek Stories: GameParents.com

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Description

I am a parent and a part-time gamer. I prefer simulation on my Xbox360 (driving) games and a little FPS on PC.

Even when paid to do this, I don't get enough time to experience all games.

Andrew Parsons, recently highlighted in GeekHouse!, also runs GAMEparents.com - a service for people like me to review, discuss and review the latest games. Andrew is way (did I say waaaay) more skilled than many people (having 5 Xboxes in his house!) - and is the perfect host for gameparents.

Have a watch, and visit Andrew's excellent site.

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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    Lord Zimbu

    The majority of games have no redeeming value whatsoever. Due to the limited imagination of developers, limited skill of developers, pressures from publishers to get the games on shelves, etc, all modern games are about is earning money through pop (guns) and glitz(graphics), over true substance. 

    Though Crackdown for instance has about a teaspoon of intriguing story telling, you run through 8-12 hours of  running and gunning to dig it out. Where is the redeeming value for Crackdown?

    The majority of developers seem run from any overt educational content in their game. Sort of like another industry that knows adding an overcoat of well developed storytelling is completely superfluous and even irrelevant since people will buy their videos no matter how bereft they are of substance.

    Will that ever change? no

    Will groups ever demand education value for online enabled console games? no

    Physics is mentioned in the video, but you can't teach physics without teaching math. Can you name 1 game besides brain age, that tries to teach advanced math?

    With all the power of 360, and XBLA for that matter, why isn't there a brain age game on that platform? Why aren't there more language programs on consoles? typing tutors?

    Shouldn't classrooms/governments/churches/concerned parent groups request games that have educational value that can be enjoyed in an online setting? they'd never look like Crysis, or Spore, or Halo 3. Because there isn't any money in it? or interest? or would that kind of relevant substance countermand to selling violent irrelevant sex steeped games to minors that pbluishers and HMs like MS have come to enjoy so much, because those titles sell just like the movie industry?

    Is it just the cost that keeps relevant games off the market? Shouldn't that be meaning less now that there are XBLA and a similar download service for PS3 platform and Wii? Or is it a lack of concerned developers? a general lack of concern in the development community about the negative impact their games have on minors and making games with educational value for the masses.

    Does the MS 'parental settings' feature on Xbox brand consoles make a hen's fart of difference to parents or kids who buy and play M rated games? nope.

    Because parents buy the consoles and M rated games for kids, no matter how irrelevant or violent, if they or Microsoft don't turn on the parental controls (because the console isn't sold with them on by default), and crafty kids can get around the saveguards regardless of whatever efforts parents who actually do to something to try keep their kids safe, by simply making a new account for themselves, the feature is completely pointless.

    The gaming industry is just immature, hasn't reached a large enough audience yet for proper safeguards to be put into place. Or games to have a requirement for true value. I don't think it will reach that level for a long time to come. Not while Movies and Television also don't for the most part do much to protect youth from damaging imagery and mature themes. Not enough is done to control access.

    Nothing will change while the consumer has nearly full control over the platform and the product and the publishers and developers have full control of the content. There is no responsible middle man involved, not ratings boards and no governemt bodies that tell the HM or publishers of developers what should go into every title and what to take out, or the parents and gamers what they should play for their maturity level or for how long each day.

    Where in that model are you supposed to push safeguards like mandatory age verification at every login? Who's responsible for securing the hardware? Especially if in the case of the 360 MS is forced to throw them out the door and forget them? They lose enough money creating the hardware, why should they bother creating compelling relevant content for it? 

  • User profile image
    Nick Hodge

    I've read, and re-read this comment.

    I am a parent, and have largely let my child play games as their heart saw fit. Even games that were "over" the age group.

    In the world, kids are exposed to all sorts of visual images. They have since we were cavemen. It is my opinion, and great concern, that many parents do not know what their children are up to. I think that the technology age has passed a majority of the babyboomers and generation-x in terms of understanding.

    However, I doubt that fear-mongering, nor a 'independent body' (governmnet or otherwise) can become a defacto nanny for content. Parents just have to become more involved.

    In terms of education value, many games are just that: the game. Have you seen Garry's Mod for Half-Life 2? What of the social aspects of WoW and other online games (my opinion is that these are good for kids to build their social / team building skills -- and my opinion differs from Andrew's on this matter)

    Putting cotton wool around the next generation as we fear what we do not understand is a scenario that can only lead to a generation gap wider than was experienced during the 1950s and 1960s.

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