Among teen and preteen gamers, the names of violent video games travel fast. And before you know anything about these games, your kid wants to play them. It's difficult to stay on top of it —and it's even harder to know exactly what's in a game in order to make an informed decision about whether or not to buy it.
Of course, many video games can provide enriching experiences and learning opportunities
. But with ultra-violent video games, the negatives clearly outweigh any positives for kids. (Read Media and Violence: An Analysis of Current Research
for an assessment of the studies measuring the effects of media violence on kids.) Complicating the issue is that many ultra-violent video games are actually technically superb — which is why many games that we label "not for kids" receive five stars for quality on Common Sense Media
. But here's the thing: Violent video games may get a lot of attention, but there are always less-violent alternatives available. If your kid is asking for a game you've never heard of, consider your options.
No parent wants to say "no" all
the time. So we've rounded up 10 of the most violent video games out there — explaining the details that put each one on our list — as well as more than 10 that you can say "yes" to. Our reviewers play literally thousands of hours of video games a year — they know games inside and out. But we're not trying to be sensationalistic, which is why we're offering less-violent alternatives. Our alternatives include three categories: less-violent games in the same genre as the violent game listed, less-violent games with a similar theme, and less-well-known but still great titles that play on the same system.
(If you want zero
violence in your kids' games, check out our list of nonviolent video games
. And check out our list of Engaging Alternatives to Ultra-Violent Games
, too.) — Jinny Gudmundsen, Common Sense Media
(Photo: iStock) The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.