Video games can be extremely violent; it’s part of why you fell in love with them when you were a kid. But that doesn’t mean you think they’re appropriate for your kid. Though this may be the first generation of gaming parents, you probably don’t have time to check out all the new releases (stupid job!). Fortunately, the nonprofit Common Sense Media is dedicated to helping families make smart media choices and they play video games so you don’t have to.
Yes, it sounds like a cush gig, but it also allows them to compile lists like their recent ” 10 Most Violent Video Games of 2015 (and What to Play Instead).”Here’s a summary of their list to help you consider which games to keep your kid away from (but maybe play after their bedtime) and which are OK for their Christmas list:
Battlefield: Hardline Among many other offenses, this game gets flagged for seeing “a character fed to crocodiles.” Not only is it violent, it’s a blatant Pitfall ripoff. Stick to Portal 2 of Metroid Prime: Hunters.
Bloodborne In this game, “blood acts as … currency,” says Common Sense, and it sounds like there are a lot of very rich people. Go with Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch or Xenoblade Chronicles 3D instead.
Dying Light“You’ll be covered in blood and gore as you decapitate and dismember” in this game where players try to stop a zombie outbreak. Though learning to defend the world against zombies seems like a decent skill for a kid to pick up, they recommend the less gory Lego City Undercover or The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D.
Hatred“One of the most controversial releases in recent history,” says Common Sense, since “players play as a sociopath who attempts to kill innocent bystanders and police officers.” It’s exactly why you cancelled the family vacation to Detroit. Stick with Halo: Spartan Assault or Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
Mad Max This video game take on the movie offers “characters having their throats slit, along with piles of bodies, lots of profanity, and drugs being inhaled.” On a positive note, your kids won’t be exposed to any Mel Gibson. Still, Axiom Verge and Dark Souls II: Scholar of the First Sin are safer bets.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain This game gets singled out especially for “references to rape and derogatory language toward women,” which is kind of ironic since the original Metal Gear couldn’t even master basic grammar. Go with The Swindle or Republique instead.
Mortal Kombat X The Mortal Kombat series has been offending parents so long you probably remember when your own folks didn’t want you to play it. So enjoy the nostalgia of making things come full circle by recommending your kids play Super Smash Bros. or All-Stars Battle Royale instead.
The Order: 1886 Just cutting to the chase, “the game opens with a torture scene,” the site says. Though that torture might not be as bad as the one you inflict on your kids by telling them they should play Splatoon or The Red Solstice instead.
Until Dawn“Teens are shown beheaded, dismembered, sliced in half, and more,” says Common Sense. Though this might sound pretty cathartic for parents of teens, it’s probably not yet appropriate for children, so point your kid towards Anna’s Quest or King’s Quest.