On yesterday's show,
I allowed the gaming universe to tee off on me in whatever capacity they wished to vent a bit about my most recent column.
It was a great conversation.
Two of the callers pointed me to the "Undercover Shop" survey
that had been carried out by the Federal Trade Commission to help document the trend of underage purchases of "M" rated video games, I was eager and glad to hear the news.
As my callers had pointed out, the ratings enforcement - particularly by nationwide chains had dropped some forty percent between 2000 and 2005. In 2000 85% of minors attempting to purchase "M" rated video games were successful in doing so. In 2005 that number had been sharply reduced to 42%.
In other words 58% of the time children were now unable to purchase "M" rated games. Despite my own feelings about removing "M" rated games from easy access points all together (National retailers), I have to admit - it appears the enforcement of the rating system has taken a decided turn toward improvement.
Since yesterday's response many gamers who have written have offered more assistance in unlocking obscenity and dangerous content in the video game world. That is much appreciated.
Based on the multitude of response by gamers who share my concern for decency in the entertainment of our children, it is obvious that I had been misinformed on at least two points of substance in my original column.
For this I DO apologize to the gaming universe!
For the strides that retailers HAVE made to attempt to keep smut out of children's hands, I thank them! (Though can't we do better than 42%?)
And thank you to the many who have volunteered to help lend a hand
on future gaming issues...
If enforcement numbers track similarly in terms of improvement as they have from 2000-2005, then the critical concern I carry with me deeply in regards to minors getting inappropriate material and spending tens of hours at a time removed from society absorbing it will be minimized.
I still do concur with my original position that the objectionable content in Mass Effect is still offensive, and should be kept out of the hands of those under age.
Mass Effect fans have demonstrated that the three minute cuts on YouTube are only arrived at after hours of play. So in their argument the "percentage" of objectionable content is heavily outweighed by the overwhelming amount of content leading up to it. Point well made...
It is for me however the presence of the content at all that I reacted strongly too.