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June 22, 2006

Girl Power?

How 'bout kid power?
Or parenting power?
Or the power of common sense?

Sure, it's fun and all when my posts get mentioned in places like Joystiq, the Insomniac website, and in this case, Kotaku. Who doesn't like seeing the spike on their daily hit counter?

However, while I'm flattered by the attention yesterday, Eliza (Gauger, the Kotaku blogger who linked to my post) took my point about parents buying inappropriate games for kids, and strangely veered into girl power territory.

To clarify, I was "shocked and appalled" not because of that kid's gender, Eliza, but because of her age. As she grows ever-older (sigh), my daughter will be free to choose whichever careers or hobbies interest her, whether traditional, frilly, girly stuff, or something more fragtacular, which is usually associated with boys. And by the same token, my son will have that same freedom.

But along the way, my wife and I will be there to make sure that the activities our kids choose and the games they play are appropriate for their age and maturity level.


...if my daughter wants to play baseball, great!
...if she wants to be a firefighter, more power to her.


...if my son wants to play Disney princess dress-up, have fun!
...if he wants to be a dancer, no argument here.

But if, when they're 10 or 11, my kids want to play Grand Theft Auto (or even games I actually enjoyed, like Resident Evil 4), they'll just to have to get used to disappointment, because we wouldn't be doing our jobs as parents if we said yes.

As a reminder, I'm not against violent games, per se. It just depends on the kind of violence it is. The T-rated, weapon-focused Ratchet & Clank? Fine by me. BloodRayne? Not so much. Fantasy violence can be beneficial and even cathartic under the right set of circumstances, but that doesn't mean that anything violent automatically translates into empowerment, for boys or girls.

And in the case of the sad little chapter I witnessed on Father's Day, sorry, but I don't see anything the least bit empowering here.

On the upside, I thought Eliza's drawing was cute. :)


  • The elephant in the room, of course, is that most of the game bloggers out there are college students (give or take a couple of years in either direction) who don't HAVE kids.

    I remember what I thought about parenting...before I WAS ONE. It's one reason I come here for game reviews on family games, and not someplace like IGN or Gamespot. On the rare chance that someone reviews a game like Disney Extreme Skate Adventure, the chances that they'll review it for it's intended audience in mind is pretty slim.

    The idea that they'll accurately assess the actual capabilities of young kids is even more remote.

    I remember someone on a game blog trying to convince me that since my four year-old was reading books on his own yet, that he must be SLOW. [rolls eyes] Yeah, you know a lot about kids and their development, sparky.

    By Blogger WizarDru, at 6:46 AM  

  • I hear you, WizarDru.

    Guys like us are confusing to a lot of people, who don't get the fact that...

    1) you don't have to ban video games in your home to be a good parent.

    Sure, it takes time and effort if you're not already a gamer yourself, but isn't parenting supposed to take time and effort? Banning is easy. Taking the time to find the right games for your kids is tougher. But it's worth it.

    2) you don't have to be a kid to be a gamer.

    Still a mystery to most pepople, even in the gaming press.

    Anyhoo, while we're somewhat of a rarity (at least in public) these days, our numbers are growing, and as soon as the generation above us decides it's time for a nap or a good long sit on the porch swing, our generation (the Jon Stewart generation) will calm all this game-phobia down and move on to other things.

    By Blogger Dan, at 10:17 AM  

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