Common Sense Media’s alternatives to violent games

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There’s still a fervent debate about whether or violent videogames negatively affect peoples’ psyches; especially when it comes to young minds. One camp, believes that violent video games turn children in to raging homicidal maniacs, while the other believes that violence in video games has little effect on those who are capable of separating fantasy from reality.

Still, it’s probably not a good idea to let your 7 year old play “Grim Bloody Manshoot Guts Explosion 5,” so Common Sense media has compiled a list of some of the most popular, most violent games and suggested alternative games for younger folk to play. It’s a noble initiative – if only they’d used, well, a little common sense. While they do suggest some rather good games that are most certainly worth playing, they can hardly be considered suitable alternatives, in that hardly any of them are remotely similar to the games they’re supposed to be replacing.

Here are their most violent games, and suggested alternatives.

Volition’s ultra-mental, ultra absurd and ultra-violent sandbox Saint’s row The Third isn’t suitable for children, though much of that has very little to do with the violence, and more to do with just how crude it is. So instead of that, they suggest your kids play: Mirror’s Edge, Batman: Arkham City, Skylanders Giants or Minecraft. Yes, all quite similar.

Instead of Dead Space 3, which features brutal and scary alien killing they suggest you kill aliens with your brain instead, by playing StarCraft II: Heart of the Swarm. They also suggest that instead of playing agent 47’s latest misadventure in Hitman: Absolution, kids should instead play the morality-juggling Infamous 2. Instead of God of War: Ascension, they’d prefer your kids played the hack-and slash action alternative Portal 2. Wait, what?

They reckon Gears of War 3 is far too violent, so to get their Sci-fi kicks, they suggest people play Star Trek (I suggest nobody plays Star Trek) or LEGO Star Wars as a suitable alternative. they also think that zombie-slasher Dead Island Riptide is no good for impressionable minds, who should rather get their zombie-killing action from Plants vs Zombies. Hey, at least it’s got zombies, right? It makes a little more sense than their next suggestion, which is to switch out the ludicrous Shadows of the Damned –  a game that features a talking Skull named Johnson that transforms in to a gun called “the Boner” – for Battleblock Theatre.

Oh, and if you were wondering what they suggested in place of Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, they thought that kids should swear at people’s moms in the wonderful fantasy RPG Ni No Kuni instead.

Apparently the list was compiled by “expert game reviewers, who play thousands of video games a year and contribute reviews to USA Today, National Post, AARP, and Yahoo!, as well as Common Sense Media.”

Last Updated: July 15, 2013

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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