Do Video Games Push Teenagers Towards Cigarettes?
42 percent of video games reviewed in an unnamed research cited by the KFSN contained tobacco images but only eight percent of those had tobacco-related content descriptors. It should be noted that it is quite common to display scenes of smoking in video games. Smoking is simply necessary to reconstruct an atmosphere for WWII-themed video games, crime gangs and so on. Taking off smoking, alcohol and strong wording from the «M»-rated games will damage the needed realism - one of the significant price components. None of the «T»-rated games (teen-targeted audience) contained tobacco-related scenes although.
There is a social activists group for that. It is has a probably overly pathetic name «The Truth Initiative» and aims to push publishers to clearly mark they «M»-rated games with tobacco label. The group states - and probably grounded - that tobacco displayed in game can influence the audience to try to smoke in real life.
But what are the boundaries of our worries? Shouldn't we be more aware of other types of outright crimes "committed" by first person in such games? Smoking should be explicitly marked but what about other sorts of antisocial and criminal behaviors? Censoring all games will lead us to Nanny State in no time. Especially if we take into account recent progress in the computer graphics which erases the borders of arts. Who has «M»-rated Vincent van Gogh, anyway?
I suppose that «M» stands for maturity - it is not the «mature content» but the targeted mature audience. The audience which will not carbon copy online ways of handling things in real life. Smoking included but not limited.