OK, so your kid wants a new game for their PS3 (Xbox360, Wii, PS2, GameCube, etc). Check out WhatTheyPlay.com. Sure there are plenty of sites out there that give you information about games, what is good, what is hot and what is not. But that is not what this site is about.
WhatTheyPlay tells you in plain English what the ESRB categories are (for those that don’t already know), and some of the explainations that go along with it, so that you can get enough unbiased information to make your own decision, because honestly, while the ESRB ratings are generally a good guideline, there are some areas that are a bit murky, such as some of the warnings about things like “Alcohol References.”
What exactly does “Alcohol References” mean? After all, you may not want you kids playing a game that glorifies drinking, right? And based solely on the box, with other point of reference, even though the rating may be right, that “Alcohol Reference” may give you pause, because there is no way of knowing. And this is where WhatTheyPlay comes in. Now a couple of examples from the site that I have seen include the games, DiRT a rally game, and Cooking Mama: Cook Off. Both of these games have “Alcohol Reference” listed on the box. But according to the site, DiRT’s only alcohol reference is your passenger mentioning “cracking open the champagne” when you win, and Cooking Mama mentions cooking with wine. Obviously not what most people thing of as “Alcohol References” in a game.
There is also an “Ask GamerDad” column, where you ca read questions and answers from other parents, or you can ask GamerDad a question of your own. The Site not only covers the PS3, Xbox360 and Wii, it also covers the PS2, Gamecube, PC and Macintosh as well as the handheld games like GameBoy Advanced, Nintendo DS, and the Playstation Portable. If you want to find out “What is hot and what is not” go to someplace like 1up.com. But for information to make your own decision on titles you may or may not wish your children to play. Don’t depend on gossip around the water cooler about who got there kids what game, and whether or not it was appropriate, check out WhatTheyPlay.com and get the facts you need to decide for yourself.
While, this came off more like an advertisement than I intended, this is not some PayPerPost type promotion. Matter of fact, there is no advertising here at all from WhatTheyPlay at all. I was just that impressed with the whole idea, it is an excellent tool for parents.
I can make no guaratees as time (as previously mentioned) has been at a premium, but it has been my long standing (and hopefully now coming to fruition) idea to start a Tech Tuesday for Parents. Next Tuesday, I am currently looking at posting some information and doing some research on Blu Ray now that the format war is over. If you have any questions you would like answered, or information on a particular Blu Ray product, drop me a note over at JayMonster and that is at Google’s Gmail with a dot com ending (just let me see a screen scraper try to harvest that!)