I'm sure many of you in Desctructoid-land have read the article mentioned above. Perhaps you have watched a video similar videos and they all end the same way. They bring some "expert" who sensationalizes everything in the content in question. When the "Video Game Industry" person chimes in they are cut off or given little to no time to speak to begin with. The focus is always the same; video games are evil and are everything that is wrong with society.
This trend hasn't changed since at least the 1900's when "popular" music were town marches by Sousa (for serial. I've taught this stuff to real people before). Jazz was the problem for a while, then motion pictures, then rock and roll, comics, dungeons and dragons, now video games. I'm surprised the internet has never been brought up in discussion. There are some truly disgusting things on the internet (also a lot of great and entertaining stuff).
We can agree that this is terrible, that places like Fox News are getting the wrong idea and spreading downright incorrect information to their viewers, but we're preaching to the choir. Some politicians have made campaigns to promote the ESRB the importance of the ratings, but this is still not enough. We need to have our voice be hear, but we need to do it properly, which I feel the gaming industry has not done yet.
Having a "typical" gamer, one that is in his 20's, male recent college graduate is not going to connect with the concerned housewives who lack knowledge. Yelling at them is not going to help. Flooding their inboxes with emails won't help either. I'm sure many of these pundits have fun deleting our messages. In most cases I bet they don't even read them. These people need someone who can speak to their level, share their concerns about violence and sex. They need to see that not all gamers play violent shooters; if they can see other genres out there they can decide to buy those games for their kids instead. All three gaming companies need to make commericals specific for the housewife demographic that focus on how to use parental controls, how to use the family timer and discuss EXACTLY how the ESRB ratings work. I expect these to appear on ABC Family, Lifetime, Oxygen, on networks in the middle of the afternoon during soap operas, Oprah, Dr. Phil. We need to have people come onto those shows and EDUCATE. They need to be articulate, upstanding citizens. Ideally the spokespeople should be parents who game
Educating parents about the gamertag is important. If they knew how to read a gamertag they could read exactly which games their childrens accounts are playing. That way if a parent puts the parental controls on their 360, their kids somehow figure out the password and hop on to Mass Effect, their parent can see it reflected on their gamertag. Punishments would ensue and they can simply change the password to something harder to crack. Follow the Wii message board. That also tracks exactly which games are being played on the system. I assume Sony has something implemented on the PS3...? Maybe? The point being is that the hardware companies have many tools that parents can use, but they aren't being informed. Would anyone seriously expect the kids will be telling their parents about these things?
I think older gamers who have gone on to be "successful" would be important. Perhaps this is shallow, but I think it would get through to these people. Have adults who are gamers, but also have jobs, advanced degrees, families. Show that it is possible for children to enjoy gaming but also be well-rounded responsible adults. Maybe get the parents of these adults to talk about how they supervised their children. Make it clear that the ESRB rating is in big letters on the front of the box. Teach young children their letters by telling them they can only play games with the letter E on the box.
Finally, these people need to be exposed to games that are not overly violent, not made by Rockstar (sorry Rockstar but your name causes a lot of grief and I've heard some not-nice things about you guys from my peeps on the inside). Games that can spark imagination like Zack and Wiki, tell a great story like Final Fantasy (well "great" is a general term). Show great games rated E and T that can help kids with imagination, eye-hand coordination and problem solving. Find games like Buzz, Scene it! and the Touch Generations titles to get parents to play games with their kids.
Some of this is a stream of consciousness but it has been bubbling inside of me for months. This article is what put me over the edge. If I had the resources and the time, I would make a website myself for parents, older gamers to educate and inform. I'd start making videos on You Tube with my mom about the ESRB rating and go from there to see how it could grow. I'd try to get advertising dollars so it could reach out to as many people as possible, work with lifetimetv.com or oxygen, ABC Family. Its one of the things I want to do in my lifetime, in some ways more than my music career, and I love writing music. I'm sick of video games being treated as a scapegoat.
I'm not just writing this because I want to vent. I'm writing this because I think this is something that seriously needs to happen and we as a collective need to get together and do something. I'd like to hear what people think.
I should go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. Maybe Fox News pundits will become more reasonable in the morning