On Wednesdays for the next little bit I, along with a few other awesome dad bloggers, will be helping out answering some questions over on The Madness of Mommyhood Facebook Page. I may, from time to time, also publish the answers over here! So here is the first.
- Have I played GTAV? - Yes.
- Is GTAV less "intense" than its previous incarnations? - No. Quite the opposite.
- Would I let my 13 year old son play GTAV? - No
So I'll stick to what I know. The game. Grand Theft Auto V is a beautifully designed, engaging, and immersive game. It is also fun. It is rated M for mature, and if it could have a movie rating it would be NC17. It is designed for adults.
The game has graphic and often disturbing depictions of death, sex, drug use, and torture. Your character is able to commit pretty much every felony, misdemeanor, and petty crime humanly possible. This is nothing new for Grand Theft Auto Games. In one previous incarnation, your character could (if the person playing the game wanted to) hire a prostitute, utilize her services, beat her to death with a baseball bat, and then collect your money back. (You don't have to, but you could) You can still do that in the newer game, the graphics are just better. So no, it is not any less intense. There are some truly disturbing scenes in the new game. But just like Saw, or Lethal Weapon, they are intended for adults.
But here's the rub. GTAV had nearly $800 million in sales in the first 24 hours. That means even if you don't buy the game for your kid, one of his friends probably already has it. He just wants his own copy, because his buddy is bogarting the controller and won't let him have a turn. So you can tell him no, but you'll also have to call his friends moms and make sure they are on board too, and honestly, even that probably won't work. My buddy Chuck was forbidden from playing Mortal Kombat back in the early 90's, and his mom called everyone on the block. Guess who was the best Mortal Kombat player in the neighborhood? Seriously, he was invincible with Sub Zero.
This is where my direct expertise leaves off. My boy is 1 and enjoys eating his hands more than he enjoys video games. You sound like you know much more about dealing with a 13 year old boy than I do. So I hope my input about the game helps.
If I might add one, humble suggestion, not from my experience as a father, but from my experience as a son: play video games with your boy. This isn't going to fix the GTAV dilemma, but it is going to open up a channel of communications with him that you may not already have. My dad played video games with me all the time growing up, and being able to talk about them with him strengthened our relationship in a way that I still cherish today. Knowing he was involved also gave him input on what games we bought, not because he was trying to control me, but because he wanted to enjoy the game too. Or maybe he was secretly trying to control me. Either way, it worked.