Nikki and Julie pooled their Christmas money (gifts from Memere & Pepere) and decided to get a computer game. They wanted Sims, ’cause they’d played it at their cousins’ house and liked it. It seemed like an interesting idea – they get to build houses, create families to live in the houses, etc. At least they get to be creative instead of blowing people up on the screen. So we went to buy it – stood in a ridiculously long line-up in the electronic games store and made the purchase.

We got home, and Marcel took a look at the box and said “we can’t load this up for the girls!” Sure enough, on closer inspection, it turns out the game is rated “T” for Teen and that it contains “mature sexual content”. What the !@#!@! What appears to be a harmless computer game – certainly one of the most harmless looking in the game store – has SEXUAL content? What ever happened to Pacman and Donkey Kong? (I know, I’m aging myself.) Now every game has to have either sex or violence? I’m not a prude and I’m not big into overly restrictive censorship, but this is a little ridiculous. Is there NO moderation when it comes to video/computer games?

I went to return it and found out that the original Sims game didn’t have the sexual content – that you could just make the people kiss, but that was it. Oh – and they could have a baby, but the baby just appeared without any graphic detail. But then with the newest “improvements” to the game, you can make a couple make out and hop into bed together. Call me square but I just don’t GET IT!! The original game isn’t made alone any more, so you have no choice but to buy it with the “mature sexual content”. Excuse me, but I don’t want my kids to learn about sex from a COMPUTER GAME!

Fortunately, they had some pre-owned copies, so I didn’t have to go home empty-handed and disappoint the girls. I wanted to boycott it and say “screw-it” to a company that feels they have to give in to the pressure to add sexual content, but there’s a fine line between making a point, and ticking off the kids. At least, with buying a pre-owned copy, the company didn’t make any money off me. That’s small comfort.

But my question these days is – whaddaya do with “pre-teens” who feel they’re too old for Barbie Dolls, Freddie the Fish games, and animated movies, but they’re not ready for teen content yet? It seems there hasn’t been enough attention paid to marketing for the “in-between” crowd. (Other than Mary-Kate and Ashley, I suppose.)

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