Tuesday, September 25, 2007

T vs. M

As I briefly mentioned in my previous post, I stopped to get my queue number for Halo 3 on the way to the dojang. I had a t-shirt and my TKD pants on. I also had my 2 kids with me. Someone in line behind me said they went to the same dojang and we were in class together. I didn't remember them that well but they looked somewhat familiar. I'm really bad with names and faces. Anyway, the comment made to me was: "I didn't know you were a gamer. Are your kid's going to play it with you? Our kids do." I look around and their kids are playing one of the store display machines (Forza 2 I think) and they are younger than mine. Well, the game is rated M and that immediately rules it out for my kids. However, this begs the question: Why is Halo rated M yet the Call of Duty series rated T? Seems like a big disconnect to me. What is the ESRB thinking?

The CoD series is pretty realistic and pretty intense. The closest thing I can compare it to is the Saving Private Ryan or Band of Brothers type action. You also have human on human killing in CoD while in Halo you don't, at least not intentionally. Admittedly, in CoD, there isn't any blood that I can see while in Halo, there is "blood" (both alien and human) but not enough to really notice. To me, Halo seems somewhat "cartoony". We aren't talking about Gears of War or Bioshock type violence here either. There is also "mild language" but I've heard a lot worse in a PG-13 movie. None of the language is used by the main characters that I've heard so far.

My daughter (11) wants to play Halo. Mostly because some of her male friends play it and she wants to be part of the cool group. I honestly don't see any other connection to her normal interests (mostly Harry Potter) to this type of game. It may also be because I play it. This argument really doesn't fly with me though because she knows there are "adult activities" (i.e. I have a beer on occasion) that she just isn't allowed to do as a child. I generally refrain from playing any M rated game while the kids are awake. If they happen to be awake, I'll be playing the game while they are watching a movie or otherwise occupied away from the TV. Pause button on the ready if they happen to come into the room.

One of the conundrums is that other parents do let their kids of my daughter's age play the game. She sees it as a "They get to, why can't I?" argument. You can't really pull the "If they jump off a bridge, would you do it too?" argument with her. She sees right through that in a heartbeat. It usually ends up being a "Because I said so!" statement on my part. However, in reality, it's because we just do things differently. She doesn't like that logic.

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