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September 21, 2010

Grandma's buying me an M-rated game!

During my recent trip to Iowa, there was a hilarious incident that I feel I must share.

The wife and I were at a local shopping centre, and she wanted to look at some clothes. There was a video game store just a few stores down, so rather than hover over her while she looked, I decided to head down there just to see what was happening and to browse around.

After telling the two guys there that no, I'm from Canada, so pre-ordering Halo: Reach there would be counter-productive, they left me alone. I was just looking at all the titles they had, seeing if there was anything I wanted to pick up, when a young kid (maybe 12?) came in with an old woman; obviously, Grandma was taking the kid video game shopping!

I was the only other person in the store, so I listened a bit while the two guys (obviously bored, so happy to try and sell something to anybody) talked to the new customers. They talked for a bit about other game suggestions, and then the kid blurted out "What about Mafia 2?" My ears perked up and I listened more intently.

Now, for those of you who don't know, Mafia 2 is an M-rated game about the Mob in the 1950s. There's lots of swearing and bloody violence in it. I'm not sure if there's nudity in the actual game, but one of the collectibles is 50 Playboy magazines from that era, complete with centerfold.

To the guys' credit, they did warn the customers about that, in detail (mentioning everything, including the Playboys). There are no ERSB (Entertainment Software Ratings Board, the organization that rates games so that parents know what's in them) issues because Grandma's there, of course. While they weren't actively discouraging the kid, they were pointing out everything that could be potentially harmful so that Grandma could make an informed decision. (This included me chiming in and showing my ignorance of 1950s Playboys, when I said that you don't necessarily see everything, and one of the guys said that no, some of them you do actually see everything...see how innocent I am?)

Anyway, they talked about having seen the demo for the game (which includes 5 of the Playboys, actually), and Grandma asked where the kid had seen that. He said over at a friend's house (great friend!) as it's available for download on Xbox Live.

The following sentences (paraphrased, because they are from memory) actually came out of Grandma's mouth during the decision-making process.

"He's probably heard and seen it all before."

"Maybe your dad can play it with you." (or maybe it was "before you," as in he can check it out, I can't remember)

"Don't tell your mother." (to which the kid replied "I'll play it at your house!")

This, of course, kind of contradicts the "don't tell your mother" comment, unless she expects Dad to keep it secret too.

Grandma happily bought the game for her grandson and they walked out the door. She was very uncertain the entire time (or seemed to be, anyway), but ultimately she decided to do it.

After they left, the three of us just burst out laughing, with one of the guy's saying "I wish I had a grandma like that!"

To be honest, I was quite shocked. Granted, it was a different age (I am 40 now!), but not only would neither of my grandmas even have considered buying me this game at that age, they would probably have been actively disappointed if they discovered that I was playing it after having got it through some other means.

After leaving the store and meeting up with the wife, I told her the story, and we had a laugh. It is funny.

But it's also sad, in a way.


  1. I vote for sad. I am definitely not that kind of mom, not for a child that young.

  2. I'm very glad to hear that, Cindy!!!!


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