I’m Not Mom

rule-of-roseAdele Haze recently wrote an entry about a PlayStation2 game called “Rule of Rose.”
It’s apparently stirring up controversy in Europe for having adult
content (dark and sadomasochistic images as well as lesbian
overtones).  There have been moves in Europe to ban it there because
it’s not the sort of subject matter children should be exposed to,
Sony US decided not to release it here for fear of controversy — it’s
being distributed here by another, smaller game company.

I don’t want to get into reviewing the game or its content except to
say that, despite reviews saying the actual play is a bit slow /
clunky, it sounds like something I’d enjoy.  But whether I would or not
is beside the point.   What the point, for me, is that by expecting
that every game released be suitable for children, other adults like
myself are being forced by parents into living in their child-safe
bubble.   This, in my opinion, isn’t right.  There are books, films,
places and, yes, games that are intended for adults.  They are not
appropriate for children nor should they have to be.  It’s the
responsibility of parents to keep their own children away from them.
Not to rid the world of the item, but to decide what is and isn’t
appropriate within their own households and those they allow their
children to frequent.

In other words, leave me out of it.  I don’t have children and I
don’t plan to.  I don’t tend to frequent places with children — my
interests and tastes are largely adult.   The students I work with are
already adults .  If my husband and I wanted to live in a child-safe
world we would.  Parents need to just say no to games you don’t think
are appropriate for their families and not expect this to be done by
passing laws the effect adults.  PS2 games are about $30 – $50.  Where
would kids get that kind of cash if not from their parents?

This is an old issue for me, but one that keeps coming up.  A couple
of years ago I wrote a review of Grand Theft Auto:
San Andres.  In it I commented on the this very topic writing

In getting links and pictures together for this blog entry, I came across a
lot of [writing by] mothers and educators worrying about the effect playing this
game (the cite it specifically) would have on their 11 year olds.
Excuse me? Why would you let your 11 year old play with this? The game
costs $50 — they can’t buy it with their lunch money. This is an old
rant for me, but it bothers me when parents think the world needs to be
made kid-proof. My mom and dad decided I wouldn’t see any R rated
movies, even on cable, until I was 13. Even then, until I was 16 I had
to check with them and they usually prescreened them or watched them with me. GTA isn’t written to
target 11 year-olds. The game is written for those of us who were teens
in the 1980s and early 1990s — people who are now in their twenties
and thirties. I’m basing this the music and sense of humor. Please,
parents, I beg you to keep track of what games your kids are playing.
Me? I’d like to see adult movies, books and games safe from the daycare
crowd.

It’s
true that when my parents bought our family’s first Atari system the
games were all intended for children.  But times and technology have
changed.  Further, there’s a whole generation now in their 30s and even
40s who’ve been playing computer and video games since their teens.  It
only makes sense that game makers now write games for an adult market
in addition to the child one.

Personally I’m going to try and get a copy of “Rule of  Rose” to
play while I’m recovering after my surgery next month.  I promise that
after I finish with the game, when I pass it along afterwards it will
be to another adult.  Now if only I could get parents to promise not to
try and take toys away from other grown-ups.

4 thoughts on “I’m Not Mom

  1. Fireman Chris

    Mija, you make an excellent point. One I’m not sure I’d ever really fully considered until I read what you wrote.
    Most of the time, when I see or read about parents going off on a rant about something their kids had (a game, a movie, etc.) that’s not appropriate, the reaction is that it (whatever it is) should be banned so that the kids don’t have access to it.
    Of course, that’s because the parents don’t want to admit that they’re the ones who failed by letting their child get it in the first place.

    Reply
  2. Dyke Grrl

    Mija–by and large, I agree with you. Things that are not explicitly harmful (ie, porn made by filming actual children, or things like that) should not be banned or censored.
    My own more frequent gripe, though, is that sometimes, people should think about the audience for particular information. If I am watching a show on the Food Network, particularly if I’m watching in the early evening, I think there shouldn’t be commercials that aren’t appropriate for children to see; if I’m on the subway, there shouldn’t be disturbing and sexually explicit advertising; if I’m driving down the freeway, I shouldn’t be seeing more ads for strip clubs than for any other single category; and so forth.
    I have nothing against any of these things, but I think parents and children should get to choose whether to view them, rather than having them show up at times when you might expect the environment to be more neutral.
    Good luck with the surgery, and with finding the game to play during your recovery.

    Reply
  3. Mija

    Thanks for your comments Chris. When I write stuff like this I sometimes feel like I’m stating the obvious, so hearing that it influenced your pov made me feel pretty good.
    DG, I sort of get your point, but maybe not. We don’t have cable and so my watching of TV is limited to times at my parents’ house when I binge on all that DirecTV offers, but I can’t really think of any TV stuff that would be a problem for parents / children. I mean, even ads for stuff like viagra or monestat are pretty veiled. Talking with my sister recently, she commented that (ironically) that the only channels that she has problems with for my nephew (who’s 3.5 now) are the commercial ones showing children’s shows. She said the ads for toys are so pervasive now that they worry her. Then again, she’s thrilled about KidsPBS existing now.
    I know there were a lot of strip sign billboards up when I was growing up in LA — but oddly I don’t remember really noticing the content aside from counting them –counting how many billboards were on each side of the car was definitely one of the travel past times.
    Thanks for the good wishes about the surgery. I bought the game a couple nights ago and am looking forward to playing it.

    Reply
  4. Alex Birch

    I don’t know the situation in the U.S. but in Britain they allocate a viewing code to games just like movies – and whats the difference? Should the film industry no longer make classic adult movies because kids can’t see them? Even with these classification codes a hue and cry goes up over adult games and , like you, I get sick of it.
    You are right. Its because many parents cannot control their children once a product is in the house and of course in Europe – and particularly Britain – if parents cannot take responsibility for the children’s moral welfare then the state has to do it – by banning anything a child might possibly get hold of.
    It’s pathetic – but sadly I don’t see much changing soon.
    Alex

    Reply

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