Everyone has their own opinions on violence in video games. Some love games for the blood, guts, and gore. Coupled with the oh-so satisfying feeling of blowing a zombie’s head off with a 12 guage. Or taking another zombie, and hacking away at his neck with a cleaver until you’re using it as a bowling ball in your free time.
We, as gamers, typically enjoy getting revenge on the sniper that’s killed you 4 times in a row, sometimes, in the most specatcular of ways.
Therein lies a problem, however. Should your child really be subjected to that kind of violence? I’m a firm believer that kids under the age of 13 should not play the games listed below. There’s many more appropriate games out there for them.
And no, it’s not because of the worry that “if my 10 year old plays GTA V, he’ll think it’s okay to run people over”. We’ll get into the details for each specific game below, but believe me, that’s not the intention of this article.
Obviously, different children have different maturity levels and there’s no one size fits all solution, and at the end of the day it’s up to parents to make sure their kids are playing age-appropriate games. There are some 13 year olds that are more mature than some 30 year olds.
Grand Theft Auto V: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One
GTA V is a gem. It has a massive world, great story, and plenty of fun things to do.
It also has a character named Trevor. Trevor is your typical trailer-park livin’, wife beater wearin’, ass kickin’ kinda guy. He’s incredibly violent. In-fact, the first time you’re truly introduced to the character, he throws a man to the ground, hits him in the face with a bottle, and proceeds to stomp his face in until it’s a squishy mess, all while screaming out the C-word.
Which leads me to the next problem with kids playing GTA V. The “F” word is mentioned, and this is NOT an exaggeration, over 1,000 times in the storyline. I’m not aware of any parent that wants their kid saying words like that. And since the characters in GTA V are very likeable, your kids could pick up the habit very easily. Other offensive words are said throughout the game as well, but we don’t need to get specifics on all of them.
One last thing, upon many unmentioned, that should seal the the deal on your kids not playing this game, is strip clubs. Yes, virtual girls taking off their virtual clothes, while your virtual character throws virtual money at them. Personally, I don’t see why anyone would want to partake in this. But if anyone is going to, it may just be little Jimmy playing the game alone.
That sums up GTA V and why you shouldn’t let your kids play it. My suggested minimum age for this game would be 16.
Postal 2: PC
What else can you really say about a game that New Zealand banned for “gross, abhorrent content”? The follow-up to the hugely controversial 1997 game didn’t pull any punches, either. To this day, you can face up to 10 years in prison and a $50,000 fine for owning this game in NZ.
The devs responded to claims about the game being overly violent by saying that the actual amount of violence is up to the player themselves. Obviously, ‘going postal’ is encouraged in the game, but it’s not necessary. Postal holds the crown as one of the most violent games of all time… but were they just holding a mirror up to society?
Ryan C. Gordon, who ported the game to Mac and Linux, describes the game as a “brilliant caricature of our mangled, disconnected, fast-food society, disguised as a collection of dirty jokes and ultraviolence.”
The Last of Us: PS3, PS4
This game, to me, is the most well written and executed game ever. The story is extremely emotional. The gameplay is incredibly fun and doesn’t get stale. The visuals and atmosphere are unmatched. It really is, in my mind, a perfect 10… For the right age of course.
The Last of Us drops you into a post-apocalyptic setting, where outside the walls of certain quarantine zones, it’s pretty much a free for all between people and the infected, zombie like others. Needless to say, you (Joel) venture into these dangerous places, with a 14 year old girl named Ellie.
Ellie, being raised in this post-apocalypse, isn’t as sweet and innocent as your kid is. She uses strong language regularly, which, as mentioned in the GTA section, is not something you want your kids hearing by someone they might want to replicate. This is especially bad however, because of Ellie’s age. It could lead your child into thinking her kind of behavior is accepted.
Joel is a rough and tough dude, born in normal society, and now has to fight for his life in the apocalypse. And man, he sure does fight for his life. Joel’s animations are very brutal. From smashing someone’s head against a wall until it’s caved in, to digging a makeshift shiv into someone’s temple. It’s.. graphic to say the least.
To sum The Last of Us up, I’d give it a minimum age of 15.
Dying Light: PC, Xbox One
Dying Light is a post apocalypic zombie game, with a heavy emphasis on parkour. It focuses largely on melee combat. So yes, there’s many fun ways to kill zombies, while using things like a hammer, machete, cleaver, axe.. you get the idea.
Not much has to be said about why kids shouldn’t play this game. Heavy amounts of gore from the zombies is almost a staple of the game. Ranging from creative killscenes to straight up beating them with a pipe, these zombies sure do have a lot of blood in their decaying bodies.
In addition to raining down a fury of strikes with your baton, you can also kill zombies in.. other ways. Weapons have modifications you can add to them, which give them a bit of a special effect. These include burning, toxicity, and electircity. I’m sure you can imagine how it goes when you hit a zombie with a cattle prod..
This one gets a minimum age of 15 from me.
Ryse: Son of Rome: Xbox One
Set around the time Rome fell, this game has very realistic graphics. That’s always a positive, but it has the side effect of being too real for kids.
Strong language is common, but the real deal breaker here is the violence and partial nudity. Your character, Marius, has some spectacular executions. Slitting throats and curb stomping heads in are only a couple of his talents.
The game also has some partial nudity and sexual content. Which to me, no kid under 15 should be exposed to this kind of stuff by a video game.
Deadpool: PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Deadpool is a pretty popular Marvel character. But what exactly is he popular for? His snarky attitude, his, at times, intense moments of violence, and of course, his admiration of the female body.
Deadpool is definitely a more mature game character. In-game, he can literally be controlled to take a “stink pickle”. A scene in which he pulls down his pants, with a black “censor box” over his junk, and proceeds to sit on a toilet to do his business. It may not be the most inappropriate thing, but do you want your kids saying “stink pickle” for a week straight?
On top of his more mature scenes, there’s a decent amount of violence, blood and gore, and strong language. All things we covered in previous sections on why they aren’t appropriate.
Saints Row IV: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One
Saints Row IV is very similar to the GTA series. Open world and very similar gameplay, except in some ways, it’s even more inappropriate for kids than GTA.
For the sake of sounding repetitive, this game is on this list for some of the same reasons GTA is. But this game has one special little secret up it’s sleve. It’s called.. The Penetrator. Now, as it’s very apt name would suggest, The Penetrator is a dildo bat, used to beat enemies with. Do I really need to go on? No? Okay. Don’t buy this game for your kids.
From a gamer, these are my honest opinions of games that are inappropriate for kids, with valid reasons as to why. Do you think games can be a negative influence on kids, or do you completely disagree with this article? Either way, let us know and have your say!