What They Play is a site with the intent to make parents a little less clueless about the video games their kids are playing or are begging to play. Utilizing but going well beyond the ESRB ratings that you may already be familiar with, What They Play is a great resource for parents that explains without demeaning them. “Them” meaning I am not a parent; on the contrary, I was an 8th grade student at the time of the Columbine High School shooting which had one side effect of a moral panic against video games. Where some parents sought to blame video games and sue video game producers, others began taking responsibility and showing interest in the games their children were playing. It is this latter group that What They Play can assist.
What They Play is a product of a larger Internet company called What They Like, Inc. The company “offers unbiased information and guides to parents about the various forms of popular entertainment that engage their children.” What They Play is their first product and seeks to provide a family guide to video games from the perspective of a parent.
What They Play is completely free but ad-supported. They try to provide information for all games out there, or at least the popular ones, and they cover a lot of systems like the Wii, Xbox 360, PS3, PS2, PC, DS, PSP, and even iPhone apps. You can search for a particular title or browse popular titles by systems. Each game entry has lots of information like title, platform, and ESRB rating along with screenshots and a full review. From there you can find related games or scrolling down to the bottom, you might find comments from others that have a similar or differing opinion of the particular title. All of this information is presented in the context of “Should my X year old be playing this?” with the information right up front so you can be a responsible parent.
Along with the game review entries, there are also plenty of articles to keep you informed. Explaining the latest technology or big hype games, the articles are really the meat of the game while the game reviews are the bread and butter. With editorials on all sorts of topics, you can find some of interest that easily explain terms you’ve heard either in the news or from your kids. There is also a news blog that provides general news from around the video game industry. While terms are explained, none of it is dumbed down so it serves as a good general source for gaming news.
If you’re a parent concerned about the video games that your kids are playing and would like some help making sure they’re playing appropriate games, be sure to check out the What They Play website. The related games and popular games by ESRB rating can also be very helpful when shopping for birthday or Christmas presents. It will also be interesting to see more products that stem from the What They Like company, perhaps something for movies, tv, and music. Www.WhatTheyWatch.com and www.WhatTheyRead.com already redirect to the What They Like, Inc site.