Stores to ask for ID before

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 10, 2000

selling some video games


Staff Writer

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Children who want to enjoy the thrill of the kill by buying video games will have to bring an adult along on the shopping trip at some stores.

Recently, retailers have made decisions regarding violent video games and many are refusing to sell mature-related games to those under 17.

K-Mart recently announced the company will use a barcode scanner that will prompt cashiers to ask for a young person’s identification. And, Wal-Mart has announced enacting a similar policy.

Wal-Mart spokeswoman Jessica Moser said Wal-Mart has not made an official decision when it would implement its new policy, but has spent more than $3 million to educate customers of the Entertainment Software Review Board rating system.

Video game ratings have been performed since the early 90s in an attempt to keep children from being exposed to video games that are designed for a mature audience.

In a 1998 report on video game violence and its effects on children the National Institute of Media and the Family games for Nintendo 64 and Sony Playstation along with computer CD-ROM games were rated on their content by Kidscore®.

Select games were rated for age groups from ages 3-7, 8-12 and 13-17 and included ratings for amont of violence, violence portrayal, fear, illegal or harmful, language, nudity and sexual content. The results of the Kidscore® ratings led to video games carrying one of seven ESRB logos showing age recommendations. The ratings are EC - Early Childhood, ages 3+; E – Everyone,

minimal violence, slapstick comedy and some crude language, ages 6+; T – Teens, violence, profanity, mild sexual themes, ages 13+; M - Mature, more intense violence, profanity, mature sexual themes, ages 17+; A – Adult Only, due to graphic violence and sexual themes, not for persons under 18; and RP – Rating Pending, has been submitted for rating.

Retailers will use these ratings when children under the age of 17 attempt to purchase or rent video games.

Most video games sold by major retailers have a rating which advise buyers which games are suitable for younger players.

On-Cue in Troy is one of those stores that depends on the rating system, said store manager Jeremy Mathews.

"We really don’t sell anything but computer games anymore," Mathews said, adding those have ratings on the package.

"If they (customers) don’t meet the age requirement, they have to have an adult with them," he said of making purchases of rated material.

The recent action taken by retailers was sparked by letters from a group of United States senators.

In May, Republican U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and eight other senators sent a letter to executives of major retailers, encouraging them to pull the games off the shelves or prevent sales to anyone under the age of 17.

Since then, Sessions has been encouraged by the move, but said he would prefer retailers stop selling the games, altogether.

He said he believes "intense involvement" with violent video games can cause a young person to become violent.