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1) Ten-Year-Old Timmy
If there is any one group that will single handedly bring about the fall of gaming, it is this one. He may look cute and harmless in his Naruto t-shirt and jeans, but don't let that sugar sweet coating fool you. Inside this kid lies a the cursing mouth of a sailor and a desire to kill all that we hold sacred about gaming, even if he may not know it.
Why? Parents will go to ridiculous, unreasonable lengths to protect their kids from anything they view as a bad influence on their little ones. And as we've noted, politicians will go to ridiculous, unreasonable lengths to curry votes from parents. 99% of the time, protecting the children is what all the hubbub is about.
Never mind that the kids often actively seek out the negative influences - for example, it is 100% impossible to play the Hot Coffee bit of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas if you aren't specifically hacking the game to get to it. So, publisher Rockstar didn't set it right there in front of your son's innocent eyes, any more than Larry Flynt snuck into your house and left a copy of Hustler under the child's pillow. Your little cutie went to the store, a friend, or possibly under dad's mattress and tracked it down. In fact, the parent probably bought it. But parents won't listen to that. Forget it.
That's the kid's most dangerous quality - they are always considered totally innocent, and thereby make it the gaming industry's fault when their parent buys them the wrong game, they get caught playing it, and the legislators with the slush funds and hookers subsequently try to outlaw games.
Above: This is not a game Timmy should be playing, yet for some reason we keep hearing him swear at us in online multiplayer matches
As if that wasn't enough to earn them the top spot on this list, young kids have a second, more direct kind of negative impact: it has nothing to do with censorship, but it makes actual gameplay suck. They're far more likely to be griefers and bad sports.
How many times have we gotten in to an online game of Halo or Gears only to hear pre-pubescent voices screaming things at us that would make a porn star blush? It's constant. Additionally, they're often poor losers who will curse, hurl racial slurs, literally cry, and drop out of a game when the loss is inevitable. And none of that's fun. Okay, sometimes the crying. But that's it.
Finally, there's yet another totally new kind of bad that happens when kids stick to their age ratings. They're the reason Hannah Montana outsold Okami by a landslide last year. Which pretty much grabs our entire concept of good and evil, punches it in the throat, and makes out with its girlfriend and her hot cousin after stealing its wallet and car keys.
How do we fight him?
Here the answer is not so simple, but it's critical - Timmy could grow up to be any one of the other troublemakers on this list. If you're the parent, the obvious answer lies in stepping up and leading him down the correct path. For everyone else it gets trickier. Help them, be patient with them, and if you know any potential little monsters yourself ,do your best to take time out and mold them into a positive, mature person. We really hate to quote Whitney Houston, but remember: "children are the future." Let's help them not ruin gaming for all of us who love it.
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