- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 18, 2001

A video and computer game "report card" issued last week showed violence and mayhem were increasing in the industry.
In a press conference keynoted by Democratic Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman of Connecticut and Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, the video game industry was given a C overall for installing ratings stickers on its products and keeping ultraviolent games out of the hands of children.
Disturbing trends included signs of compulsive playing of video games in one out of five adolescents, particularly eighth- and ninth-graders. Other tendencies showed that these 14- and 15-year-olds preferred more violent games, had more hostile personalities, performed more poorly in school, saw the world as a hostile place and were more likely to get involved in fistfights.
The report, compiled by the National Institute on the Media and the Family, said that 92 percent of all youngsters ages 2 to 17 played video or computer games. This translated to 52 million children.
But the top-selling games, such as "Metal Gear Solid 2" and "Return to Castle Wolfenstein," both are rated "mature."
Parents should avoid the following games, the report said: "Grand Theft Auto III," "Return to Castle Wolfenstein," "Max Payne," "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty," "Silent Hill 2," "Twisted Metal: Black," "Time Crisis 2," "Conker's Bad Fur Day," "Devil May Cry," "Soldier of Fortune Gold" and "Serious Sam." Reviews on those and other games are at www.mediafamily.org.
Violent games and youth aggression are becoming so convincingly linked that even Japanese producers are considering instituting a rating system because of violence among its youths who play video and computer games.
The report card awarded the arcade industry a D for its efforts. Of the games surveyed in 17 arcades in six states, researchers said, 71 percent displayed rating stickers, which was down from 80 percent last year. None of the arcades visited had attendants steering children away from "mature" games marked with red stickers, the report said.
Retailers also were given a D for not enforcing policies that ensured children would not be able to buy red-stickered games. Two out of three times, children as young as 7 were able to buy such games, researchers found. Exceptions were Sears, Target and Wal-Mart.
The report also listed recommended games. For 3- to 7-year-olds, those were "Bob the Builder," "Blue's Art Time Activities," "Crash Bandicoot The Wrath of Cortex," "Klonoa 2: Lunatea's Veil," "Nickelodeon Rocket Power Extreme Arcade Games," "Spyro: Season of Ice," "Super Dodge Ball Advance," "Madden 2002 Football," "Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec" and "NBA Street."
For 8- to 12-year-olds, recommended games included the above, plus "Extreme G Racing," "NASCAR Heat 2002," "FIFI Soccer 2002," "Math Blaster Mission 2: Race for the Omega Trophy," "NCAA Football," "NBA Street" and "F-Zero Maximum Velocity."
For 13- to 17-year-olds, recommended games included the above and "Oregon Trail 5th Edition," "Crazy Taxi 2," "Madden 2002," "Mario Kart Super Circuit," "Super Dodge Ball Advance," "Myst III: Exile" and "Spiderman: Mysterio's Menace."

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