A UK-gamer has interviewed his own personal videogame “gate keeper,” (his mother) for a wonderful piece examining the roles of parents in ensuring that inappropriate titles are kept out of the hands of younger users.
Penned by Nathan Miller, who is an Assistant Community Manager at Face, the piece appears in the company’s blog. Miller, who came of age in the early 1990s, began by asking his mother about how she managed his early fascination with games :
I had heard stories of addiction on the radio, alongside those more extreme stories of children getting violent through not being able to differentiate between fantasy and reality and re-enacting the games that you had, but ultimately I didn’t censor you beyond the extremely violent and gore-filled games as I had faith both in my parenting ability by correlation your own ability to distinguish fantasy and reality.
Miller’s mum refused to buy Grand Theft Auto for him, even in light of every child’s number one rallying cry—that all his friends owned the game. He wrote that, “I suppose the early censorship my Mum had instilled had worked as I don’t really remember having a large desire to get GTA.”
The Miller-family matron would typically examine the cover of a game to decide suitability for her son and was not averse to playing games herself. She enjoyed Golden Axe, but fell for Streets of Rage after some initial distaste:
And Streets of Rage, I was iffy about the violence on the cover but I let you convince me slightly and I wanted to experience it myself to see whether it was bad or not, and in the end I ended up really enjoying it! The girl character became a fantasy me!
I think I ended up playing it through wanting to experience how violent it was for myself and also you asking me to play with you when you didn’t have friends round.
As her son is now a grown-up and capable of making his own decisions, Miller’s mother has had little reason to keep abreast of the latest in videogames. To bring her up to speed, Miller decided to show her the “No Russian” scene from Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. Her reaction:
I’m shocked at the realness of it! I’m not sure I would’ve bought you the beat-em up games if they’d been this real!
…the wanton destruction of this game disgusts me. It made me shudder and dragged my emotions into it despite it being a game. If you were younger, I wouldn’t be buying that for you if you!
Miller ends the piece with a bit of insight, “My discussion with my own Mum also suggests that it is possible to find a middle road, where both parents and children can enjoy games together, where censoring can become more of a behind-the-scenes issues rather than a confrontational one.”
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