Just as it has been for decades with television shows and movies, every so often there comes a game that makes parents of gamers stand up and take notice. Sometimes, as with Nintendo’s Wii console, it’s because parents are interested in getting involved in gaming with their children. Other times, it’s because their children play games without them and they worry about what the latest and greatest titles might exposure their children too.
For those who game, Grand Theft Auto 5 is a title they’ll want to pick up. For parents, the equation is a bit murky.
For starters, if the Grand Theft Auto franchise has a legacy it’s that it was the first real game to make parents question if they should blindly buy video games for their teens and young children. Although it’s likely this new title won’t reach the heights of the completely inappropriate scenes in hidden in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, all the hallmarks of the franchise are still there. That includes gambling, robbing fictional characters with fire arms and attacking police officers with bats, grenades and assault rifles.
Scenes from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas were completely inappropriate. Warning: Not safe for work.
In trying to stave off regulations by the United States Federal Government, the video game industry adopted a ratings scale that will seem familiar to longtime movies goers. Under the content ratings by the Electronic Safety Ratings Board or ESRB, games are classified with different ratings based on their criteria. These ratings include E for Everyone, T for Teen, E 10+ for children ten and up, M for Mature and A for Adults only.
While Grand Theft Auto 5 doesn’t have enough outrageous content to make it to an adult rating, it’s M for Mature rating is reason enough for parents to not buy it for children 17 and under. The game gained that rating for “intense violence, blood and gore, nudity, mature humor, strong language, strong sexual content, and use of drugs and alcohol.”
While some parents may be OK with buying the M rated Call of Duty:Ghosts for their child because it mainly involves gore and shooting in a military setting, the same parents may not appreciate the nudity, prostitutes and other sexual content available in GTA 5. Rather than be shocked and surprised at what their child is playing, it’s a very good time to download the ESRB ratings app and familiarize yourself with what game ratings mean in order to make an informed choice for your kids.
All of this isn’t to say that Grand Theft Auto 5 is a great game. In fact, many of the trailers depict a game world that’s as unique and filled with colorful characters as Rockstar – the game’s developer — has ever made. The amount of vehicles and weaponry that users will have as they try to advance in the game and pull off ever more complicated robberies are great.
That is, For those who are old enough to handle it. GTA 5 arrives on store shelves, September 17th for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.