Moms Hate Deadspace 2Posted: 2 February 2011 | |
Okay, so I’m gonna be straightforward with you all. I don’t play a lot of video games. I occasionally watch my boyfriend and his friends play, and I am limited to easy Wii games, Fable and Katamari Damacy.
I only know about Deadspace 2 from the “Mom” ads that I always see on AVClub and CollegeHumor. Haven’t seen the ads? Here’s one I saw last night:
The message of this ad got me thinking about the Supreme Court. (Hop on the ol’ thought train with me, and it’ll all make sense.) I took a Supreme Court Politics class last semester at UNC. We spent two class periods listening to the oral arguments for Schwarzenegger v. Entertainment Merchants Association, a case that questions the constitutionality of a law that essentially bans anyone under the age of 18 from buying violent video games (specifically those games with a rating of M or higher). California argues that the current ratings, nothing more than industry-managed guidelines, make it far too easy for minors to get a hold of really violent games that will make them into miniature killing machines. The industry argues that the law impinges on free expression and that the games don’t turn kids into gore-crazed maniacs.
There’s a whole slew of articles available through major news outlets if you’d like a more detailed explanation of the case. (There’s also a transcript of the arguments available on the Supreme Court website.) I want to talk more about what advertising does to harm the industry’s cause. If they’re arguing that minors aren’t playing these video games, and the industry’s intention is to have people playing according to the ratings, their advertising should reflect that intention.
Looking at the Deadspace 2 trailer, they seem to be advertising to a slightly younger age group. Deadspace 2 is rated M, which means it’s suitable for ages 17 and up. It’s technically advertising on sites that fit that age range, but how many people in that age group are actually out to scare their Moms? I think that a fifteen or sixteen year-old boy is more likely to appreciate that message than a 21 year old (who is more likely to be living at college three-quarters of the year and is therefore less likely to be playing this game anywhere near his mother).
I know that this is probably a case of me over-analyzing semantics, and that Deadspace 2 could actually side-step the California law by killing non-human zombies*, but I’m always intrigued by advertisements that misrepresent which age group they’re actually talking to (Like Camel No. 9 cigarettes).
*Poli. Sci. Nerd Moment: This is one of the greatest weaknesses of the California law, which, while carrying honorable intentions, was horribly written.