Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fable and other Stories

The other day, my son and I went to the mall to get dinner.  As I headed toward our favorite gyro place (which probably also happens to be the slowest), he asked if he could go to the gaming store and look around.  He'd earned twelve dollars the previous weekend and it was burning a hole in his pocket.

He returned just as the gyros came up with a used game (the best deals are used) called Ghost Recon.  As we made our way back to the car, I looked at the cover of the game and its rating - T for Teen.  Apparently it used to have an M (mature) rating, but no one was buying it, so they reworked it a little to get the T rating.  Besides, says my boy, he wouldn't be able to buy an M-rated game without a parent with him to okay it.  Which is a good thing.  You don't know what might be in one of those M-rated games...

Like a boy and his dog.  No, no... not like that.

Back at Christmastime, I bought the family a used XBox360 and some games to go with it.  I spent quite a bit of time looking at games and quizzing the knowledgeable young man behind the counter about them.  I explained that I was looking for games for an 11-year old who was both savvy and naive, as 11-year olds are wont to be.  This line of inquiry opened up a whole new world to me.  I discover that the M-rating is kind of overkill - like how the FCC makes you flag or edit certain words or scenes to get a rating.  Words like "F**k", "S**t", and "God" (when combined with certain other words) all have equal ranking in the world of FCC rating requirements.  Apparently the same can be said of video games.

I did wind up buying my boy an M-rated game - one that everyone is playing.  Halo.  My husband and son played the heck out of that game and now we have Halo II and other variations (except the newest one, which is still too expensive).  The game depicts shooting and alien creatures and a little blood, but isn't overly gory. 

Which leads us to my son's current favorite game, Fable II.  It also is rated M for Mature: Blood, Language, Sexual Content, Use of Alcohol, Violence.  Again, I asked the knowledgeable young man behind the counter about the rating - especially in light of the Sexual Content aspect.  I was already familiar with the type of Blood, Language and Violence I could expect, but the sex thing was new.

It isn't graphic, but sex is indicated in several ways.  Skimpy costumes (but no one gets naked).  The ability to "have" sex, which also has repercussions, like babies or disease (there is also the option to have "protected" sex with a condom you find in treasure chests scattered through out).  Because it's a role-play game that starts in youth and the character grows up throughout the game, it's natural that some of this stuff be included.
My son cracked me up when he told me that after having sex with his "wife", her happy meter went up.
We talked a lot about this game and the sexual aspect of it.  What prostitues were and what they did and why that was different from having a wife.  Who knew that video games would be the new launching point for the birds-and-bees discussion?
Being 11, though, the sex part is interesting - but not as much fun as having your own dog that is your constant companion throughout the game.
(Note:  My son informs me that there are games with A-Ratings for "Adult".  You don't see them in the game stores - unless they keep them behind the counter like dirty magazines of olden days - but could probably get them online or at an "adult" bookstore.  Thankfully, he doesn't seem at all interested in those so I am spared that inquiry for the time being.)


Karmyn R said...

That's good you have an open dialogue with your son so you can discuss what is going on in the game - and that you actually know what is going on in the game.

I am always shocked at shat other parents let their kids play. We ran into one of my friends in the game store and she was letting her 8 year old get a Rated M Fight game. My kids know better than to even ask. Maybe when they are older.

Sayre said...

When a new game comes into the house, either my husband or I are in the room for the first few hours it's played. We may not be playing or actively watching, but check in every few minutes to make sure everything is okay and appropriate. My son has a pretty good sense of what he should and shouldn't see so if he notices something he thinks we'd be upset about, he tells us, shows us and lets us decide. I find that rather amazing that he has that good a self-monitoring system in place, but I'm glad of it!!!

Georgia Girls said...

This post was very interesting and also made me smile. Communication is so crucial in the teen years--good job!

PinkPiddyPaws said...

I'm guessing one of the games he shouldn't be playing is Grand Theft Auto. Nothing like a young teen boy beating up some 'hos, running over old ladies and putting a cap in the asses of people. ;)

Anna said...

I got a second-hand copy of Fable II a couple of weeks ago (£5, bargain) and I love it!

My favourite part is how your actions have an impact on the world - how you have a choice between good and evil acts, and how your reputation affects how others react to you. I know that one of the choices you make as a child changes a whole section of the main city (it either prospers and gets rebuild or becomes overrun with criminals and falls into disrepair), so I guess it would teach you that your actions have consequences that you might not see at the time which is a good moral lesson to learn.

Pamela said...

happy that I'm not raising kids right now.

Molly said...

Reading about your son often brings back memories of raising our two boys.

I stopped by to let you know the Fun Monday assignment is posted. I hope that you will join us again.