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The Blackangel

No longer for kids?

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I've been noticing a shift in video games over the last several years. Especially since the N64/PS1/Xbox era. Games are getting more violent, graphic, vulgar, and just not particularly kid oriented. So I'm thinking that gaming may not really be meant for kids anymore, but instead, meant for adults. Sure there are games such as Mario, Sonic, and Zelda that are kid friendly. But the majority of what I see on the shelves, and in online discussions, are not for kids. I remember when NES came out, there were a lot of parents who either sold or threw away the Zapper because they thought it would teach their kids gun violence. Then we have the whole controversy of fighting games (MK, SF2, etc.) and games like COD and GTA. So is it just me, or are kids being phased out from the gaming world to make room for adults?

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You are right, according to a recent study the average age of gaming consumers is between 25-35 years old. So the ones that contribute more to the gaming market are actually adults that buy games for themselves. 

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Video games were, at the start, marketed as kid's toys that utilized televisions as visual interface with some form of controller to interact with the game.  This started in the very late 60's and grew into the 70's with Pong machines, video arcades them home consoles and computers as the next couple of decades rolled on. Then in the later part of the 80's and into the 90's, video games stated to change. They were getting more detailed, closer to real life situations and with an already strong "boys toys" style connection to action, were thus becoming more violent.

July 29nth, 1994

A coalition of game publishers presents Congress with its proposal for the Entertainment Software Ratings Board, a voluntary industry-wide standard for age ratings on videogames. A joint congressional hearing in December 1993 took up the growing concern that the game industry was irresponsibly marketing violent videogames to minors. Spearheaded by Sens. Joe Lieberman. This was important as concerns from parents about how violent games like Mortal Kombat were becoming and if they were appropriate any more. Video games, despite these concerns, were still very much considered to be toys at this point. That's something some areas of the game's industry were actually determined to keep that way, more specially Nintendo who famously censored games like Mortal Kombat and Wolfenstein 3D. However, something had to give. The game's industry couldn't go on like that and his meeting would eventually give birth or organizations such as the ESRB, PEGI and other such self-regulating bodies for the game's industry throughout the world. This also spelled the start of seeing things like these on game boxes.

 

pegi_ratings_system.png

 

(These are the PEGI labels, the ESRB labels are similar, but with some differences to the age ratings)

 

Some may look at this like political nannying, but this is in actual fact the best thing to ever happen to the game's industry because this is the precise moment video games stopped being toys and became an entertainment media.

 

Toys are for kids only (I'm well aware of those OTHER toys your thinking of, we all thought of the joke), but in entertainment media, you can make a product to market to anyone you want. The game industry took full advantage of this and it wasn't long before we saw games like Resident Evil. Ironically, the people moaning and bitching about games being to violent ended up giving the games industry the freedom to do make more violent and adult themed video games.

 

Yes, this didn't stop the controversy completely. Even in 2019 there's still people stuck in the past who see games as play things and thus get all shocked and shaken when there a drop of blood, a boob or swear word. However, it's never been much more than short term political scapegoating that was never gonna cause any huge problem for the industry or prompt much more severe censorship and mostly because of what happened in the mid 90's. When stopped being toys, by definition of law. Obviously, there are still games made for kids and that's something that should remain, but even those aren't toys any more, they're still an entertainment media, just one produced for children.

 

The ESEB and other such organizations have fucked up a few times, especially recently with the loot-box controversies, but ultimately their existence is to our benefit. Imagine if the meeting back in 1994 had gone down different and the proposal to self regulate was rejected? What would video games be like today, if they were to exist at all.

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Shagger you missed the point entirely.

I was here in the early days of Atari. I remember playing games like Pitfall and Pac Man. I remember them being the pinnacle of video graphics. The point of this post was not to debate game ratings. Game ratings have nothing to do with anything here. My intent with this thread was how game companies are no longer focusing on children. the look at adults. They create games that are what adults want to see. A 4 year old will most likely have no interest in Skyrim. Or even be able to play it for that matter.

Make sure you understand the post next time. I've read your posts across the forum, and your incoherent babbling is starting to get annoying.

Edited by The Blackangel

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1 hour ago, The Blackangel said:

Shagger you missed the point entirely.

I was here in the early days of Atari. I remember playing games like Pitfall and Pac Man. I remember them being the pinnacle of video graphics. The point of this post was not to debate game ratings. Game ratings have nothing to do with anything here. My intent with this thread was how game companies are no longer focusing on children. the look at adults. They create games that are what adults want to see. A 4 year old will most likely have no interest in Skyrim. Or even be able to play it for that matter.

Make sure you understand the post next time. I've read your posts across the forum, and your incoherent babbling is starting to get annoying.

I brought that stuff up to make the point out not just that video games aren't made for kids nor adults specifically, but why. Video games were kids toys and little more back in the day and how it would have stayed that way if nothing happened to bring them into another scope of entertainment. The rating's system coming into being is what changed everything. Without it, video games aimed at adults probably wouldn't have happened. It did happen though, and now adults in their 20s and 30's are a much bigger market for games than children Add that to the fact this generation of young adults are the first generation to have grown up with these games all their lives and to be as familiar with them as older generations were with TV, film and books, and there is your answer. So to put it simply, and... again, video games aren't made for adults nor children. Like all entertainment media, each game is mode on it's own for it's own market. So I did understand the post and provided that as my opinion told as a sub-context of what I was writing about. So, sorry to bust your bubble, but you're the one who didn't get it.

 

I could end the post there, but I'm not one to take someone being this rude as well as wrong, so let's go through your original post and see how "off topic" I was.

 

8 hours ago, The Blackangel said:

I've been noticing a shift in video games over the last several years. Especially since the N64/PS1/Xbox era. Games are getting more violent, graphic, vulgar, and just not particularly kid oriented. 

 

Your statement is a quarter of a century late, but doesn't make it any less true. More to the point, I literally brought this up.

 

8 hours ago, The Blackangel said:

So I'm thinking that gaming may not really be meant for kids anymore, but instead, meant for adults. Sure there are games such as Mario, Sonic, and Zelda that are kid friendly. But the majority of what I see on the shelves, and in online discussions, are not for kids.

 

I admit this point was not addressed directly, but was a sub-context throughout. Instead of agreeing or disagreeing, I went for option and explained my own view on the matter. That view being, neither is true, and discussed the ratings system was my way of explaing that view.

 

8 hours ago, The Blackangel said:

I remember when NES came out, there were a lot of parents who either sold or threw away the Zapper because they thought it would teach their kids gun violence. Then we have the whole controversy of fighting games (MK, SF2, etc.) and games like COD and GTA. So is it just me, or are kids being phased out from the gaming world to make room for adults?

 

Again, I literally brought this up. And as already explained, the sub-context of what I was trying to was answering the question as "neither" by pointing that games are an entertainment media. So once again where did I not read of de-rail the topic onto something else here?

 

What you describe as "incoherent babbling", I describe as my insights you just couldn't be bother to think through, rad into and debate with maturely, whether they be right or not. I'm sorry that you find me and or my posts annoying, but one thing you'll find out about me is I'd rather be wrong than lie. So take it, leave, or report it, it's your choice.

 

PS. I've seen a few alerts from @StaceyPowers as I've been typing this out but haven't seen them, so sorry if it appears I've ignored something you've said. I'll edit the post if necessary.

Edited by Shagger

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28 minutes ago, StaceyPowers said:

Makes me wonder if there are actually fewer kids' games being made, or if they're just less visible with more adult titles in the mix?

They're still made, but the market is smaller, so they're not advertised as much, unless you count kids TV of course. Gotta love targeted marketing.

My son is quite happy with a handful of licenced gamed based on the movies and TV shows he likes on his Switch, but like most kids these days it's his mobile device (Tablet in his case) that is his main go to for gaming. That has shrunk the market even for kids console and pc games even further, and I see it getting smaller still in years to come.

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16 minutes ago, The Blackangel said:

I obviously hit a nerve.

Interesting.

 

Well, you said I annoyed you, so you're clearly the one got triggered here, and for no reason. Still, thank you for this post as it's all the proof I need that you want to troll me instead of engage like an adult.

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15 hours ago, StaceyPowers said:

Makes me wonder if there are actually fewer kids' games being made, or if they're just less visible with more adult titles in the mix?

I think its the second, for example on PS4 we have Ratchet and clank which is a very good game but ultimately it was largely ignored because its a kids game.

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2 hours ago, kingpotato said:

I think its the second, for example on PS4 we have Ratchet and clank which is a very good game but ultimately it was largely ignored because its a kids game.

I suppose there is also the question of "what does it even mean to say something is a kids game?" I mean, obviously adults can enjoy a game marketed at children, and the reverse is true for some kids too. I clearly remember growing up playing Doom.

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5 minutes ago, StaceyPowers said:

I suppose there is also the question of "what does it even mean to say something is a kids game?" I mean, obviously adults can enjoy a game marketed at children, and the reverse is true for some kids too. I clearly remember growing up playing Doom.

Thats a good question, so maybe games being for kids or adults doesn't really matter and its more about the content of the game itself

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1 minute ago, kingpotato said:

Thats a good question, so maybe games being for kids or adults doesn't really matter and its more about the content of the game itself

And cultural and individual perception of that content.

I mean, my mother highly disapproved of Doom, but in a rare moment of live-and-let-live, ignored it. But my father didn't find Doom objectionable at all. And as a kid, I didn't have a hard time distinguishing video game violence from the real thing. So maybe it also depends on the kid and what is appropriate for that specific kid?

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