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Sorting Through Video Games For Kids: Good, Bad & How To Tell Them Apart

12:11 AM, Feb 8, 2013   |    comments
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Greensboro, NC --  You can't judge a video game solely by it's cover or by your child's description. Sometimes, you need a little expert help.

Like from Mom. "What if your mom walked in at that moment and you went 'don't look, don't look', then it's probably something you shouldn't be playing," says Ali Haynes.  

Ali watches what games her kids play at home and there's nothing her mom would be upset with in house house. But when her kids are playing games somewhere else-

"Is there ever a game that you think it's too violent, too gory, I don't want to play it?"  

"No," answers 11-year-old Evan Haynes. 

Of course not. Kids just want to play what their friends are playing.

WFMY News 2 asked the Tech and Gaming experts at USA TODAY to give me the three games you need to keep your kids away from. On the list: Borderlands 2, Deadspace 3, Halo 4.

Borderlands 2 came out this past fall. It's a typical first person shooter game but it has lots of blood and a little gore.

Then there is DeepSpace 3 released just this week. "That one is particularly gory because it is a horror game. You are fighting these zombies and it requires dismember the  zombies," says USA TODAY's Brett Molina.  

Halo 4 is played on-line. And while it's not any more violent than any other game, the  danger here is four letter words spoken by players.

In fairness, these games have an M or Mature rating so they're not meant for kids to play, but that doesn't mean they're not.

And if you're thinking a T or Teen rating means you don't have to look at the game closely, "Usually the teen rated games are the ones you need to watch out for. There seems to be more wiggle room as far as violence invovled," adds Molina.

How about three games that should be on your radar for all the right reasons: Sim City, Minecraft and the Scribblenauts series.

Your teen won't be playing Scribblenauts but your younger ones will like it because they solve puzzles and it helps them with their spelling.

When Evan was asked for his reaction when someone tells him he's playing an educational game?

"I usually pretend to be happy and say, oh cool, and then I play it once and never play it again," admits Evan.  

But he loves Minecaft and it's on the expert's good list. The best way to describe it? It's like digital Lego land.

"It's one of those games that it doesn't get boring becuase they're always updating it, " says Evan.

Another game, set to come out next month is in the Sim City series. You build your own city. you're the mayor and you run it... all of it!

Not every game should be a learning experience for kids, they're kids. Sometimes it's just all about the  fun.

But for parents, every game, every decision on which game to allow in your house is a learning experience.

"Yeah, ugh. It's tough. Cause one you have it figured out than all new games come out and it's all starting over." 

Here's a way to make figuring it out easier. The agency that rates games, ESRB  gives you full detail of what is in every game, not just a one or two word description. Get the free App on your phone & have the info with you when you shop.

 

WFMY News 2

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