I remember when video games were far and few between. You had a choice of Mario Brothers for Nintendo or Sonic for Sega. Nowadays it's explosions, guns, pimps, hookers and now, with Nintendo's latest creation, "We Dare," we're adding partner swapping and sex. The United States doesn't have to worry so much right now since it's only being released in Europe. But it's only a matter of time before it comes knocking on our liberal door. It even has a 12-plus rating!
This game isn't even appropriate for adults let alone 12-year-olds. Why it would get this rating I have no idea. I've been reading a lot of blogs based on this game, and some claim that the game itself doesn't depict anything risky; it's the live players that act out the sexually influenced scenarios. Tell that to the animated stripper poles in the background. The avatars are clearly grinding against them.
The commercial for this game shows the couples swapping partners while spanking one another, girls on the verge of kissing each other and the men stripping while the avatars dance in the shadows next to poles. Real kid-friendly, wouldn't you say? Oh, I guess at the end they cut to the parental code, but if the game is OK for a 12-year-old, why would they need the code at all?
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The creators of the game say it's aimed toward 20-35-year-olds and that the 12-plus rating was set by an "Independent European Panel." So that makes it OK? They're willing to slap a ridiculous age rating on their game and blame it on someone else?
I was pleasantly surprised to find most of the negative feedback came from parents who refuse to let their kids play this game. What a relief! Parents actually doing their job – I wouldn't have guessed. There were a few pro-"Dare" parents in the mix who thought it was perfectly natural and innocent for preteens to express themselves. "It's only like a modern-day 'spin the bottle.' It's just a bit of harmless fun." So sayeth Sandra Betts whose son is only 15. Once her neighbors get a whiff of her casual attitude toward underage sex, little Billy won't be getting visitors anymore. It's not like spin the bottle; it's spin the sex act.
Arguments have been raised that the parent is responsible for what children view, but we all know that's hardly reliable these days. Don't family-friendly game consoles have a responsibility, too? Shouldn't they feel some sort of shame for allowing such a rating? You can't just create smut and then blame the ratings system. No one feels responsible anymore. Where's the moral compass? Furthermore, what is the point of a parental control code if it's "suitable" for kids?
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I get that the Wii and PS2 are trying to cover their butts by using 20-something actors and parental controls, but I'm stunned that this is how we've turned out. It hasn't been released in the U.S. yet, but that doesn't mean we don't have to worry about it. Heaven knows some nut here will push for its release.
We have to keep our eyes open and our minds clear if we're ever going to defeat the evils of this world. Our children need us more than ever to make good choices. If they see mom and dad playing these kinds of games today, there's no telling what lies on aisle two of GameStop next week with a 5-plus rating. Just because the actual game meets the "proper" requirements for youngsters doesn't mean it's appropriate for them. And because we can't count on a corporation to be responsible for what it sells, we've really got to be on guard. No one can look out for your children better than you.
To the panel that approved this rating: You have no idea what you've just done. It's likely you don't have direct contact with kids – but since sterilization isn't government-enforced yet, I have to assume perverts like you have been allowed to procreate. Would you let your own kid play this game with their friends? That's my does of honesty for this week.