Video Games Get Dark and Dirty

By: Dr. Tom Snyder; ©2003
Parents and grandparents need to be cautious of the ultra-violent, sexually explicit video games now on the market. These are definitely not for young children!

Media critic Ted Baehr is warning parents and grandparents about the new series of ultra-violent, sexually explicit video games.

Dr. Baehr, who publishes MOVIEGUIDE®: A Family Guide to Movies and Entertainment, www.movieguide.org, warns, “These games are an absolute outrage! Parents need to keep their children and teenagers away from them.”

Nintendo, the Japanese video game company who brought you Super Mario Brothers, and Acclaim Entertainment, a leading videogame producer, have launched a new series of ultra-violent, sexually explicit video games.

Nintendo is now bringing a gorier, bloodier and darker side to video games with releases such as Eternal Darkness and Resident Evil.

Acclaim Entertainment, a leading videogame producer, is preparing to introduce BMX XXX; a game centered on the extreme sport of BMX biking that includes scenes of prosti­tutes, strippers and other seamy stuff.

Nintendo has been known for sticking to children’s video games, including the hit Pokemon series, while its competitors (Sony and Microsoft) aimed for adult players. Nintendo’s focus has paid off, with the Super Mario character alone grossing over $7 billion globally.

Yet, Nintendo has decided to venture beyond children’s games due to the shrinking number of youngsters in its home market of Japan and the growing popularity of adult games in the US.

Nintendo has started to roll out games for its GameCube console such as Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, a psychological thriller featuring bleeding walls and “bone thieves” that can enter a human body and take it over. Following the lead of Microsoft, Nintendo is also releasing Outlaw Golf, a tongue-in-cheek golf game featur­ing rappers and strippers.

By the end of 2002, Nintendo planned to spend $140 million to market videogames to American teens and 20-somethings, including promotions in nightclubs and tie-ins with the beer company Heineken and others.

Nintendo is battling with Microsoft to try to stay in second place after Tokyo-based Sony, which has about three-fourths of the game console market worldwide. Sony’s most popular game last year for its PlayStation 2 was Grand Theft Auto 3, where players can gun people down, steal cars and have trysts with prostitutes.

While the game industry has used scantily clad female characters before, BMX XXX is being touted as the first major title to include live-action footage of nudity. If the game sells well, industry executives anticipate that consumers will see a lot more games like it.

Major game retailers, such as KayBee Toys and Wal-Mart Stores, say that they will most likely not carry that title due to “inappropriate content.”

Game console makers like Microsoft and Nintendo plan to sell BMX XXX unmodified for their machines (X-Box and GameCube respectively), while competitor Sony may ask for some of the nude sequences to be cut for their PlayStation 2 console. BMX XXX will be rated “mature,” which states that the game is “suitable” for people ages 17 or older.

Acclaim is spending three to four million dollars on advertising the game’s launch. The campaign’s slogan flaunts the game’s material by declaring “Keep It Dirty.”

“Lawmakers need to take this development very seriously,” Dr. Baehr said. “These games will inspire a generation of adolescents and teenagers to commit new crimes of violence, including rape and child abuse. Regrettably, the scientific evidence is clear. Thou­sands of studies have clearly shown that depictions of ultra-violence and graphic sex in­spire horrible crimes of violence.”

(Sources: Wall Street Journal, 10/14/02, and MOVIEGUIDE®, 11/07/02.)

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