main image
main text bar

The Pros & Cons of Gaming

Screencap from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Copyright Rockstar North Ltd. One only needs to walk into any electronics store to understand the myriad of video games available today. Much of the controversy with video games is involved with certain video games having a negative influence on the players, especially the younger ones. Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series probably makes the top of the list of the most controversial games. When the game's popularity surged parents began to worry whether minors will imitate the gang-related violent acts common in the game. The lawsuits and protests came quickly after the infamous sex scene was discovered through a downloadable mod in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. With angry parents and Attorney Jack Thompson, a known advocate for the ban of violent video games, demanding something be done, the video game industry had tightened up. Some states have also passed new laws that control what can be sold. Rockstar's new game 'Bully' stirred up outcries even before it was released. Reactions to it are still mixed.

A Mature Rating from ESRB. Copyright ESRB.

However, that is not to say video games have been running amuck before the Grand Theft Auto controversies. A majority of videos sold in stores have what is called an ESRB rating. The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has been rating video games since its creation in 1994. On the video game box there is usually a letter that tells the buyer what age range the game is suited for and for what reasons. This can help parents make better decisions when making a purchase for a child. The ratings in no way prevent the selling of Mature or Adult rated games from being sold to minors though.

Not all is dark for the future of gaming. Although the video games have caused much worry for some, there are others who see the potential of video games to positive causes. Researchers are hoping to find a way to insert education into the many hours kids spend on video games. The games can teach valuable analytical skills that employers want. It will also be easy to adapt since the consoles are common in homes.