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Parent advocacy group hates EA's 'Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2' ads

A parent advocacy group on Thursday night blasted an ad created by Electronic Arts to promote its new Mature-rated horror game, Dead Space 2, saying the ad is like catnip for kids.

Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2 The ad, titled "Your Mom Hates Dead Space 2," shows footage of middle-aged women as they cringed and recoiled when shown violent scenes in the game. The clips were taken from actual focus group sessions held with about 200 volunteers. One woman, appalled, asked, "Why would they even make something like this?"

At the end of one ad, a voiceover intones, "Dead Space 2. It's everything you love in a game, and your mom's going to hate it."

It's not just moms. Common Sense Media, a family advocacy group in San Francisco, has denounced the ads, saying they inappropriately target children with the tagline. The game, which features nightmarish creatures and gory violence, has been designated by the Entertainment Software Rating Board as Mature, which is meant for players 17 and older.

In a sharply worded letter to the ESRB's president, Patricia Vance, Common Sense Media Chief Executive Jim Steyer urged the New York group to sanction Electronic Arts for creating an ad campaign that would be irresistible to teens and younger boys.

"We think it violates the ESRB's Principles and Guidelines for Responsible Advertising Practices," Steyer wrote. "The question is does the ESRB stick up for kids or not."

Vance, in a reply letter to Steyer, said the ad is clearly flagged at the beginning as being unsuitable for kids under 18. She argued that the TV ads don't air during times in which more than 35% of viewers are likely to be children.

"Surely EA is not the first company, nor will it be the last, to gin up interest in its product by conveying the notion that 'the older generation just doesn’t get it, so it has to be cool,' " Vance wrote. "And just because a product desires to be seen as 'cool' or 'edgy' does not in and of itself necessitate that it is directed at children."

An Electronic Arts spokeswoman, Amanda Taggart, said the ad campaign was reviewed and rated by the ESRB before it launched two weeks ago to coincide with the game's release Jan. 25.

"We work to ensure our marketing is 100% compliant with ESRB rules," said Taggart, who pointed out that Common Sense Media, which also reviews games on its website, gave Dead Space 2 five out of five stars. The review, however, cautioned that the game is "not for kids." 

"It is an M-rated game that earns its rating and is not meant for kids or teens," wrote Common Sense reviewer Marc Saltzman. "Enemy creatures can be stabbed, shot, lit on fire, dismembered, and beheaded with the myriad of weapons at your disposal."

The ads ran on television and can be viewed on YouTube and the game's promotional website, YourMomHatesThis.com.

-- Alex Pham

Photo: Screen shot of YouTube video promoting Dead Space 2. Credit: Electronic Arts, via YouTube.

 

 
Comments () | Archives (9)

I understand the concern here, but it is important to remeber that game venders cannot sell mature rated games without proof of age. If parents don't want their kids playing this game, they can simply refuae to purchase it, as teens under 17 cannot pirchase it on their own. I don't see any real threat here

I understand the concern here, but it is important to remeber that game venders cannot sell mature rated games without proof of age. If parents don't want their kids playing this game, they can simply refuae to purchase it, as teens under 17 cannot pirchase it on their own. I don't see any real threat here

This is rather funny. These groups need to find a different area to focus on. I've been playing games since I was a child. I'm now 23, hold a respectable job, have a wife, two cars, a house, and a dog. These groups say these games ruin kids, I laugh at that. It's in no way worse then TV promoting sex, drugs, and violence. Movies also have the same things in them. But these groups hardly attack them as aggressively as the video game industry. It's a form of entertainment. It's not life altering, this won't ruin your child, it's just entertainment.

Your kid must be 17 years of age or older to buy this game! If your so worried, don't buy the game for them. All the information about every game is easy to access. Game has rating 3 times on a case, with detailed explanation of the game normally located on the back. The vast amount of stores that sell games have very strict ID policy in place. Thus making it very hard to buy a copy of these games.

Get over your 1960's mind set, this whole world is built on sex, drugs, violence, and gore in every form of media. You won't win the war against it. You might succeed here and there. But you will never stop this trend, as this is what gamers want. If we wanted to play dolls, and sniff flowers all day we would not buy $2,000 gaming rigs, top tier parts, to play my little pony.

Keith.

What, 17 year olds and up don't have mothers? Many live with their parents into their early twenties, so the ad is still quite accurate. Whether or not it is attractive to younger audiences is not EA's fault. What about the Saw film series? That is just about 100% worse because it is not animated violence and gore (albeit props and makeup, sure) but we don't see it being attacked this way. If anything, a video game would teach a young person the value of survival, even if it is through gruesome means, whereas the films are just for shock value and that's were it ends.

"If you are under 13 years of age you may read this message board, but you may not participate."

Your mom hates you posting on this message board.

All that matters here is that kids shouldn't be able to get their hands on this game anyway, regardless of any publicity campaign. It's rated M for Mature for a reason. The only people who can be blamed for kids getting their mitts on inappropriate games are the parents who buy these games for their kids without doing the research first. There's a reason the ESRB was put into place. I'm sick of people looking for others to do the parenting for them already.

Well clearly in the ad these moms appear to be "older" in a sense that they might have older children.... regardless i'm a 21 year old college student that lives with my parents...and i can affirm that since i bought dead space 2 "It's everything i love in a game, and [my] mom hates it"...

haha

Well clearly in the ad these moms appear to be "older" in a sense that they might have older children.... regardless i'm a 21 year old college student that lives with my parents...and i can affirm that since i bought dead space 2 "It's everything i love in a game, and [my] mom hates it"...

haha

Good job EA! Now you just destroyed the argument that the game industry doesn't market M-Rated games to children. I hope the controversy is worth the couple extra sales when this goes in the favor of those wanting to make it illegal to sell games to minors!


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