Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

July 22, 2008 -

Baltimore's ABC-2 conducted a ratings sting recently at local retail stores. In the first segment, the station said that Best Buy had a perfect record, turning away the station's 15-year-old secret shopper in all three of his attempts to purchase Devil May Cry 4, Bioshock and Call of Duty 4.

Target, however, did very poorly, not stopping the young man on any of his three tries at its stores. When informed of the chain's poor showing, Target rep Sonja Pothen told ABC-2:

While it's unfortunate to learn about the findings from this study, it sounds like we have an opportunity to encourage these stores to conduct training we've outlined regarding our video games sales policy.

ABC-2's results at GameStop and Wal-Mart are to be aired in a second segment.


Comments

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

I'm all for freedom of ttnet vitamin speech and allowing rent a car game makers to put whatever they want in games, but there's one thing about this app that has me scratching my head.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but from araç kiralama the previous article araba kiralama on this I gathered that players can use Google maps in-game to find the other (real-life?) dealers in their area.  If this is the case, has travesti anyone considered what's stopping someone from using this app to actually move drugs between hands for reals?

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

When I was a kid, it was the time of when Mortal Kombat 2 and violent video games really started to be published and more popular and they started the rating process. My parents saw that I was mature enough to handle violent video games and distinguish reality from fiction. Same with rated R movies. So, they were ok with buying mature rated games and movies and even music. And now 26, i am a responsible person with a job and my own apartment. I have not been corrupted by violence in media and I still play the violent games. I was never affected nor ever will be. My parents were good enough to see what I was able to handle and not. So in my opinion, its all based on the minors who play them. Honestly if some kid who plays violent video games becomes a serial killer down the road, he had a problem from the beginning. Maybe the violence he saw encouraged it, maybe it didnt. But you gotta know that this kid had mental issues from the beginning and media should not be blamed for child behavior.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

I guess these people didn't see the latest FTC report card.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Actually, I'll bet money they did, but decided not to mention it because that hurts the story they were trying to convey.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Yeah selectively omitting facts/studies that don't mesh with their goal is SOP for the media and politicians.

But once again even if the stores do fail to check, it's the parents who are responsible. If they can't spend a min or two checking what their kid(s) are playing then violent games are the least of their problems.

In the end we don't need more laws, we need educated and responsible parents.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

I'm only 16 and I bought Alone in the Dark by myself from Meijer...I really don't think it's a big deal. If the kid looks mature enough, and if he has $60 of his own money, it's not really a problem. His parents should know what he's playing anyways!

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

If I was a cashier and someone that looked old enough to be atleast 15 I would sell them the game. An M rated game isn't going to make the kid cry and crawl into his hiding place if he's 15.

I mean public schooling has worse content than any of those games will have.

Atleast the kid scored some good games. :)

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Yeah I completely agree.  Look at "Romeo and Juliet".  We watched both movies(boring as hell) and read it too.  Worse than anything I have seen in any videogame.  underage scenes too. 

We also watched "The Odyssey" which had a scene in which the Cycops was being stabbed in the eye.  You don't see that often in videogames. 

School itself has more swearing than GTA IV. 

the "childrenz" are not as innocent as the Parent's groups think.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Anyone notice how the kid was playing Halo 3 in front of the camera?  Halo 3 is rated M.  Can't his dad see that?  Or is it okay for his kid and not other teenagers. 

 

 

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

In my opinion Halo 3 isn't graphic enough to be rated M. I have no idea why any of the games got that rating. From what I see it's because you can kill your allies.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

I have no idea how Halo 3 and COD4 have the same rating as GTA IV.  T-rated movies are far worse than Halo 3 and COD 4.  I think they need to have some sort of 15+ rating.  I turned 15 today and I don't see how teens playing COD 4 are gonna affected when they see more violent movies in English class. 

From what I see most people let their kids get M-rated games all the time.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Hell, I watched American History X in English class when I was 17. That is far more graphic than either of those games.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Another example of how the media is trying to parent America.  Why is the media so intent on this stuff?  Let the parents do the parenting.  Im a young person (I hate the word kid) and I've been playing M games for years.  I've seen things that would make MADD shit themselves but my parents talk to me about these things and I understand that it is not real and should not be reincacted.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Pretending to care for the sake of ratings. Typical.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Someone needs to call up this tv station and ask the producers and reporters how the sting on movie ratings enforcement went.

I know we go through this every time something like this happens. It is unpopular to attack moview right now. Everyone has moved passed that point. Video games are the new whipping boy.

E. Zachary Knight
http://www.editorialgames.com
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

This is disappointing.  My girlfriend used to work at the Target in Timonium that the report mentions.  One of the days she worked there, she stopped a parent from buying a plug-in TV version of Mortal Kombat for her underage son, explaining to her why it was unsuitable for him.  So she ended up putting it back and buying something else.  From all indications, it sounds like she was the only one there upholding the ratings system.  Things apparently went downhill bad after she left.

On the other hand, I'm glad that my favorite store, Best Buy, is upholding the ratings.  So kudos to them.

And I can imagine one of my local politicians trying to pass an anti-game legislation bill in the wake of this.  The news report has all the earmarks of scare-mongering.  Shame on you, Channel 2 News!

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

black manta wrote:

" I'm glad that my favorite store, Best Buy, is upholding the ratings.  So kudos to them."

You shouldn't be happy about that.  It shouldn't be in the store's mandate to police ratings.  That is the parent's job.  When a store attempts to enforce guidelines that are supposed to be there to help parents decide what is appropriate for their kids, they are overstepping their bounds and setting themselves up as a moral authority.  That is censorship, pure and simple.

Not only that, but their actions are disrespectful to parents.  If I were to send my daughter to buy Call of Duty 4 I would expect the store to give it to her, because I expect them to sell a product and leave the parenting to me.

 

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

That is not censorship.  It would be censorship if the store refused to carry the game in the first place, period.

If it's not in the store's mandate, then why are dedicated game stores like Gamestop doing it?  Obviously it's in their best interests to do so.  To not would make them appear to be negligent no matter what you say.  And considering we're such a lawsuit-happy country, to allow that kind of thing to happen would leave the door wide open for Jack Thompson or someone like him to step in.  It's a CYA (Cover Your Ass) move, sure.  But for want of anything better, that's what the stores have to do.

Oh, and I bet you let your kid buy alcohol and cigarettes, too.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

It's censorship when a store refuses to sell, whether they stock an item or not.  I think you need to look up the definition.

As for cigarettes and alcohol, while I see nothing wrong with her buying those things, that certainly would not imply that I would have no problem with her consuming those things.  But either way, I think it's about time folks like you stopped trying to impose their values on others.  Parenting my daughter is MY job, not yours or Best Buy's.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

It's not censorship when a store refuses to sell. It's called discretion. They're a private retailer, they can choose to sell whatever they want to whoever they want, within the boundaries of the law, which incidentally in some states requires them to check IDs.

 

You don't cry censorship when you get carded at a rated R movie, and that's even more content-based than the games ratings are. What on earth would make you think this is censorship here?

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Right, because children who go to stores and buy cigarettes and alcohol are going there on their parents' order, not to buy it to drink themselves.

When a good fourth of the country doesn't actually do a half decent job of parenting, then people fail to do their job, and society has to step in.  They shouldn't be able to tell you that you can't buy something for your child, but they don't have to sell you an M rated game if you send your underage daughter in to buy it.  That's ridiculous.  What's next, shall we seat underage kids at bars because they're 'holding a place for their dad'?

 

Face it, what you said is idiotic and irresponsible.  Many children these days grow up with no parenting influence to speak of, or a poor one, and they're easily identifiable. For an interesting take on this, go to a flea market and notice how many underage kids are trying to get knives, and actually succeed in it.  Then tell me that you think that parents are all responsible for their children and are all qualified to raise them.

 

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

It's censorship when a store refuses to sell, whether they stock an item or not.  I think you need to look up the definition.

I just said that it would be censorship if the store refused to sell the game period.  And when I said sell, I mean to stock it as well.

As for me imposing my values, save that for Thompson when he comes on here.  I don't go around telling people how they should live their lives. (Personally I am the furthest thing away from Christian as you can get.  In fact I'm an agnostic/atheist and polyamorous)  While I personally think it's very irresponsible parenting to let your daughter play games not appropriate for her age, it's not my place to tell you.  Ergo it's not my fault if she grows up to be FITH (Fucked In The Head).

For the record, I have a seven-month-old niece and my girlfriend has a four-year-old niece and a 12-month-old nephew.  As their respective uncle and aunt, we share a responsibility in their upbringing and as gamers we will help their parents decide what games are appropriate for them.  We would recommend the Kingdom Hearts games personally.  Once they get to be 15, then we would consider it OK for them to play something like GTA or Gears of War if they express an interest in it.  But again, that's our perogative and no one else's.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

In a perfect world, every parent will parent their own kid and not worry about what every other parent is doing. In a perfect world, all kids would have their parent's approval to buy a game and the stores would not have to second guess the kid. In a perfect world, parents would not sue stores for selling their kids games they did not approve of. In a perfect world, parents would set rules and limits for their own children and the children would live by them.

Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. While you may have sent your daughter to buy COD4, the store does not know that. They cannot tell the difference between your kid and the kid whose parents don't approve of the game and are more than willing to sue the store over them selling the game to their kid. So they take the precaution of not selling the game to any unaccompanied minor to prevent being sued by that one parent.

We all wish we lived in a perfect world, but it won't happen anytime soon.

E. Zachary Knight
http://www.editorialgames.com
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

About 7 years ago, my wife(then girlfriend)and I, went into a Target store, and she bought me a Fallout 1 and 2 boxed set. At the register, we were stopped and carded before we could buy it. Both of us were in our 30's, so we laughed. She took out her ID and the cashier explained that "we have to card everyone for an M rated game". We had a good laugh about that one, because, frankly, we don't look any younger then our ages were.

Take a look at 15-year-old Aaron. He certainly does not look 15. He's about 5'11, and has a face that looks more like a college drop-out then a young teen. We didn't hear his voice, but he also probably doesn't sound like a teen either.
It's getting harder to determine what a small range of that age is really. Is he 14 or 17? Is she 15 or 19? Sometimes, retail employees want to get in to work, get the job done, and get out. I loved retail work when I used to do it long ago, but it never paid much, and there was always some issue with another manager in that department that was obtuse and made life miserable for you. That shouldn't be an excuse for you not to do your job, but if the job doesn't care, and they only see the bottom line on getting the customer in and out, then the problem doesn't start with the cashier.

Alcohol, tobacco, I understand. Dirty magazines, R-rated movies, and video games, (not that they should be coupled together) are not the same. The media makes a big deal about this time and time again. The problem is not running as wild as the media makes you think, and when they do get the games, it comes from a variety of sources. But will they mention that the parents are the number one reason as to how kids get to play the games? Probably not.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

I figured they'd use a 15 year old that doesn't even look 15, typical media BS...

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

garrett wrote:

"...But will they mention that the parents are the number one reason as to how kids get to play the games?"

Not that that fact should make any difference.  It's about time that people realised that there is nothing at all wrong with parents giving kids brutally violent video games.  There has never been any study linking violent media to behavioural problems so, as far as anyone can tell, these things are perfectly safe.

Personally, I look forward to the day when my daughter will start to enjoy games like CoD4 and Assassin's Creed, and the sooner the better because I will enjoy playing such games with her.  She's 5 now and if she wants to play such games with me at 6 or 7 I'll gladly hand them over to her and we'll have a blast together with the most violent games imaginable because there's nothing whatsoever wrong with that.

I wish people would stop trying to control what I'm supposed to be in charge of.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

"Obviously, the anti-game advocates could easily spin this to mean that we need dedicated game stores.  It's only a matter of time before we see a proposal for things like "Virginia Game Control" where video games can only be sold at stores owned and operated by a state agency (Like Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control).  Maybe we're already seeing the beginning of this with the New York law that wants to create a panel?  I can see that morphing into some kind of agency that would control sale through state owned stores."

First off the VABC only applies to hard liquor, you can still buy beer/wine just about anywhere.  Second regulated substances are not the same as media, they are two completely different issues.

But since you brought up the alcohol angle... the only reason stores really bother to card for items is because they can be held responsible if they sell to a minor.  If there is no actual penalty, there is no reason not to do so and you lose the money you would have made on the sale.

"So once again we have evidence that it isn't the "big bad electronics/video game industry" that isn't enforcing its ratings, it's the general purpose department store."

How would they enforce it?  What's the penalty for not enforcing it?  There is none, so it's stupid for a company to lose out on a sale when you can't get in trouble for it.  What you have right now is an "honor system" that you're trying to make corporations focused on profit live by.  So it's just being paid lip service to and doesn't acomplish much.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

I know how VABC works.  I never meant to imply that such a measure would SUCCEED only that I can see it being tried and the loonies trying to spin this for their own benefit.

What we have is multiple reports indicating that DEDICATED electronics or video game stores are doing better than your Big Box retail outfits like Target or Wal-Mart.

Rather than admit that the video game industry as a whole is policing itself effectively the attack dog groups like the PTC and MADD will instead say: "See a dedicated store does better...so what that means is we need  something even better than that...a dedicated GOVERNMENT owned store!"

I was just using VABC as an example of a government owned retail outlet.  Perhaps I should have been clearer, maybe they would only want M-Rated games (i.e. the "hard liquor" of video games) sold at such stores.

As I said above, this would never pass constitutional muster, but when has that stopped them from trying?

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Why is the media so obsessed with video game ratings enforcement as opposed to enforcement of other media rating systems like DVDs, CDs and books? Oh, wait, i forgot books don't have ratings. Where are the people up in arms over children (personally i wouldn't consider a 15 year old a child) picking up the latest Stephen King bloodbath horror novel, or the latest true crime novel which depicts real serial killers real crimes in grizzly details? Report some real news for God's sake. Leave it to the indivdual parents to make sure their own children aren't getting ahold of Free Speech media they don't want them to have whether it be GTA, Harry Potter books or the Holy Bible (i'm sure many muslim, jewish and atheist parents don't want their kids getting ahold of that).

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

 The media is obsessed with controversial news, anykind of news that grabs people's attention... books, movies, music; all that stuff is old news, nobody cares about it anymore. And that's where the double standard comes from, ordinary people have long ago accepted movies and music and thus will ignore their flaws even if those flaws are far greater than those of video games. Only time it will final stop is in a few decades when the generation that grew up with gaming makes up the majority of all the age groups... once our generation becomes the noticable majority, polticians will stop using "anti-gaming" as a method for grabbing votes (not to mention more us making up the political body to help knock some sense into the ignorant)

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

So once again we have evidence that it isn't the "big bad electronics/video game industry" that isn't enforcing its ratings, it's the general purpose department store.

Weren't stores like Gamestop the best in the FTC survey with places like Hollywood Video, Wal-Mart, and Target posting significantly worse numbers?

Obviously, the anti-game advocates could easily spin this to mean that we need dedicated game stores.  It's only a matter of time before we see a proposal for things like "Virginia Game Control" where video games can only be sold at stores owned and operated by a state agency (Like Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control).  Maybe we're already seeing the beginning of this with the New York law that wants to create a panel?  I can see that morphing into some kind of agency that would control sale through state owned stores.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

Why is this such a big deal is what I'm trying to figure out. Oh know! A 15 year old kid bought a game about killing drug addicts in an underwater city in the 1950s. Most of the ESRB ratings are bullshoes anyway. I am only 17 and I can now buy video games without mommy holding my hand, but she says if I ever see some of the aliens in the M-rated games I play, or if I am confronted by an RPG-wielding terrorist like in Call of Duty 4 I have permission to shoot them on sight.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

I doubt any state would get passed the Constitutionality of such a measure. You cannot regulate free speach like that or any way really. If porn is not regulated that way, nothing can.

Also, will people please stop comparing video games to alcohol, tobacco and drugs. They are nothing even close to similar. If you are going to compare games to something, compare them to other forms of entertainment and free speech.

As for the FTC study, yes Gamestop came out with a 95% success rate, while Hollywood was something like a 60% success rate. Everything else fell between the two.

E. Zachary Knight
http://www.editorialgames.com
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

I'm not saying it would be upheld or that it's right.  I'm just saying I see it being tried.  I'm not saying the comparison to alcohol is correct, its wholly wrong, but it is the comparison being drawn.  I seriously doubt this would pass constitutional muster, but it definitely something I see being tried.

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

I didn't think you felt it would pass. But I highly doubt anyone would actually try. Something so blatantly unconstitutional would be a career killer. No one would touch that with a ten foot poll.

E. Zachary Knight
http://www.editorialgames.com
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
MySpace Page: http://www.myspace.com/okceca
Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1325674091

Re: Baltimore TV News Spanks Target on M-rated Game Sales

 Y'know, after anti-video game laws have failed a dozen times in a dozen different states i would think that those would be considered "blatantly unconstitutional" by now... and yet states are still trying to pull that stuff... Really, as long as they keep people in the dark, misquote/misrepresent scientific studies to fool the people and attach the "save the children" tag line, politicians could do anything and not have it be a danger to their career

 
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