Rockstar Developer Says Parents Buying Their Games For Kids Are "Terrible Parents"

Rockstar LogoHardly a week goes by without someone in the media talking about the dangers that video games pose to malleable, impressionable youth. Even though Jack Thompson has (mostly) disappeared from the scene, there are plenty of folks out there that are still willing to use the same flawed arguments to condemn gaming.

In an interview about Red Dead Redemption with the BBC, Rockstar developer Lazlow (the voice of the DJ on Grand Theft Auto’s radio) ran up against this question.

During the interview, Lazlow got this question: “How do you feel about accusations that games such as yours are responsible for more violence among young people?” Lazlow’s response reflects the perfect attitude for the industry to have, in my humble opinion.

Lazlow’s reply? He said, “Our games are not designed for young people. If you’re a parent and buy one of our games for your child you’re a terrible parent. We design games for adults because we’re adults.”

This is in keeping with the industry’s funding and support of the ESRB, which has done an admirable job of rating games, as well as making those ratings available to parents and gamers across the country. Moreover, game retailers have bought into the system, and they enforce it strongly.

Just this week, I watched a 17 year old kid turned away from the midnight release of Red Dead Redemption because he “left his ID at home.” I’ve seen electronics clerks at Wal-Mart ID’ing young customers. All in all, the industry does a great job policing itself, much better than other industries (like film) do, and it’s good to see those in the industry placing the blame where it truly belongs: the parents who provide games for their kids that aren’t appropriate for their age.

What do you think? Will we ever get away from the video games = violent young people questions?

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3 Comments on Rockstar Developer Says Parents Buying Their Games For Kids Are "Terrible Parents"


On May 21, 2010 at 2:14 pm

Parents need to take an active interest in their childrens’ lives and activities, and if that includes video games so be it. Brush up on general gaming knowledge, read game reviews before you buy them, and follow the ratings. Oh, and another thing- play WITH them. Games are a great way to bond with children of all ages. Don’t treat them like a babysitter!

I’ve yet to find a game where I didn’t agree with the ERSB rating.

Hatchet Jack

On May 24, 2010 at 5:13 am

Well…only recently (maybe its just a local thing for me in NZ) as game store staff only bothered checking ID after the law started to keep them on their toes, damn Sheriff.


On July 25, 2010 at 8:44 pm

I disagree. I think that games such as Grand Theft Auto or Halo can provide an outlet for minors. Although there is evidence that minors can potentially be desensitized to violence, I still believe that it can make them more aware that games are different from real life: you can’t get away with murder whenever you feel like it. But when the time comes when you feel like you want to kill someone, wouldn’t it be better to let your kid relieve themselves in a virtual world instead of a real one?