Robot 6

LEGO Batman game up for inaugural TOADY award

LEGO Batman

LEGO Batman

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, “the only national organization devoted to limiting the impact of commercial culture on children,” has created a new award for “Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children,” or the TOADYs. And joining Mattel’s Barbie Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader Doll and Fisher Price’s Power Wheels Cadillac Escalade in the list of nominees is the LEGO Batman video game:

How do you turn the ultimate creative toy into a symbol of commercialized childhood? Begin by partnering with media companies to sell that toy in branded kits designed for recreating movies like Star Wars, rather than creative construction. Then, dispense with hands-on building altogether by turning your toy into a video game so that instead of deciding what to build next, children choose which cyber weapons to use to beat up their opponent. Finally, ignore the fact it was rated suitable for ages 10 & up and partner with McDonald’s for a Happy Meal toy giveaway to simultaneously promote the video game, junk food, and the violent Dark Knight movie series to preschoolers.

Um, congrats?

I’ve only played the game about five minutes myself; my nephew has it for the Wii, and when we played he spent the whole time yelling at me because I kept getting him killed or getting myself killed or I didn’t pick up all the LEGOS pieces or put on my special Robin suit or whatever … I really don’t remember much about the game, as it’s kind of confusing to play when you have a kid screaming at you the whole time. I remember him trying to grab my controller at one point, and me threatening to hang him upside down by his ankles, and my wife reminding me that I was the adult. Which I knew, thank you very much … it isn’t like he could hang me upside down by my ankles.

So maybe video games do cause violence, just not in the way groups like this would have you believe.

(Seriously, though, never grab a man’s controller in the middle of a game …)

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6 Comments

I’m not surprised by this. I was playing the demo where you have to play as the joker and run around killing cops. I kept wondering why the developers thought it was a good idea to put that in a kids game.

As the father of a pre-schooler, I have conflicting feelings about these things. On the one hand, I don’t necessarily disagree with anything this group says – this game doesn’t sound like its all that suitable for younger children. On the other hand, I don’t think the answer is to try to shut down games like this or any marketing activities. Instead, the answer for me and other concerned parents is to simply not allow our children to watch inappropriate movies (the Dark Knight), or play inappropriate video games (Lego Batman). And unless I’m wrong, I think you can still buy normal Legos that aren’t licensed, right? In my view, the responsibility for what my child views, and what toys get brought into the house, begins and ends with my wife and I, not the producers of a video game.

Well, my five-year old daughter played this game with me and immediately afterwards went outside and tried to shoot a grappling hook on our house!

Then she went into the street and punched a dude and that dude flew apart into several Lego pieces, then disappeared, just like in the game! I was mortified!

Then she strapped a detonator to her back and went around putting bombs on the ground and blowing things up! Sometimes that would leave Lego pieces lying around that she would then (gasp, choke) put together into some unholy contraption that gave her added power!!

She even laughed at the disgusting antics of Clayface during the story portion! She’s ruined, RUINED!!

The shame, the horror, the guilt, the humiliation that I feel cannot be qualified or quantified!! Please, please won’t someone come help me burn this Satanic instrument of Ultimate Evil!!???!!!!

“In my view, the responsibility for what my child views, and what toys get brought into the house, begins and ends with my wife and I, not the producers of a video game.”

Neal K, what are you, some kind of Communist or something? You’re helping the terrorists win, damn you!!

Is there anything more cringe-inducing than when gamers try to be funny?

What’s funny is that you think I’m a gamer. My five-year old plays better than me.

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