Here is a list of the “Dirty Dozen” violent toys from The Lion and Lamb Project, and the reason the group chose the toy:
Army Forward Command Post, Ever Sparkle Industrial Toys. Recommended Age: 5+
Description: This dollhouse looks like a home that has been hit by a bomb: there are holes in the roof, one wall is demolished, bullets are scattered on the floor, and the porch railings are broken.
Why the group says it was chosen: “This playhouse, marketed as appropriate for children five and up, trivializes the harsh reality of war.”
Star Blaster Set, SRM Entertainment. Recommended Age: 5+
Description: A Battle Blaster, an extendable sword and a voice changer.
Why the group says it was chosen: “The Battle Blaster-batteries included so children can test it out at the store-makes machine gun sounds as a loud voice yells, Fire! Fire! While the gun itself does not look realistic, it may send a confusing message to kindergarteners: guns are fun to play with.”
Zoids, Gun Sniper, Hasbro. Recommended Age: 4+
Description: A posable action figure of a creature called Sniper, wielding a gun in each hand.
Why the group says it was chosen: “This toy takes the dinosaur concept and gratuitously adds a sniper element. The Zoids line melds two traditional toy categories-construction toys and animals – and adds violent themes, which are then marketed to pre-schoolers.”
NRG Paintball, Toymax. Recommended Age: 8+
Description: A toy version of paint ball, which fires up to 40 feet.
Why the group says it was chosen: “This game encourages eight-year-olds to shoot their friends, and the paint shows them how successful they have been. The instructions with this toy warn children not to shoot anyone in the face or eyes, but second-graders cannot always be relied upon to follow such cautions-especially at distances of up to 40 feet.”Nerf Blastin Zurg from Toy Story, Hasbro and Disney/Pixar. Recommended Age: 4+
Description: A brightly-colored action figure for pre-schoolers that shoots Nerf laser darts.
Why the group says it was chosen: “This action figure, which appears rather innocuous and is based on a character from a popular movie for young children, does only one thing: shoot darts from a triple-barreled toy gun. It takes cartoon violence off the screen and puts it into childrens playrooms.”
Galidor Ooni, Lego. Recommended Age: 4+
Description: A fantasy constructible action figure that children can build themselves. One of a series of action figures whose body parts are interchangeable.
Why the group says it was chosen: “The Lego brand has long been a leader in creating quality, open-ended construction toys. But starting with the Star Wars figures, continuing with Bionicles, and now with the Galidor line, Lego is moving away from its traditional base and toward the action figure category. While the Galidor action figures are not nearly as violent as many others, children may still use them for fantasy fighting.”
VIOLENT VIDEOGAMES FOR CHILDREN
Burnout 2: Point of Impact, Acclaim for the PlayStation 2. Recommended Age: E for Everyone with a Mild Violence descriptor. Description: An extreme racing game highlighting street races and spectacular crashes.
Why the group says it was chosen: “A Game Informer ad for this game-rated as appropriate for children ages six and up-shows a mans head crashing through a windshield, with glass flying around him.”
Mike Tyson Boxing, Ubi Soft for the Game Boy Advance. Recommended Age: E for Everyone, with a Violence descriptor.
Description: A hand-held boxing game that includes four modes of slugfest.
Why the group says it was chosen: “Fight like Iron Mike, the copy on the box suggests to first-graders, who do not yet understand the difference between fantasy and reality. Violent games rated as appropriate for schoolchildren send confusing messages in a zero-tolerance world.”
FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER GAMES FOR TEENS
Duke Nukem Advance, Take-Two Interactive for the Game Boy Advance. Recommended Age: T for Teen, with Violence and Blood descriptors.
Description: This first-person shooter game includes most of the violence of the Mature-rated console version, minus the sexual themes.
Why the group says it was chosen: “The original Duke Nukem video games, set in smut shops and strip bars, featured over-the-top violence and adult situations. This teen-rated version, published by Take Two Interactive of Grand Theft Auto fame, introduces young teens to the franchise-with most of the violence left intact.”
Timesplitters 2, Eidos Interactive for the Playstation 2. Recommended Age: T for Teen, with a Violence descriptor.
Description: A first-person shooter game rated as appropriate for teens. Reviewers compare it favorably to ultra-violent Mature-rated games such as Halo, Perfect Dark and Quake.
Why the group says it was chosen: “Most parents would assume that a first-person shooter game such as this – where the player sees a gun or other weapon at the bottom of the screen at all times, as though he is carrying it in his hand-would be rated Mature. But for unexplained reasons, the industry ratings board has given a Teen rating to several of these games.”
James Bond 007: Nightfire, Electronic Arts for the Nintendo GameCube and PC
Recommended Age: T for Teen, with Violence and Suggestive Themes descriptors.
Why the group says it was chosen: “This first-person shooter game is based on the ever-edgier James Bond franchise. Todays Bond packs many more weapons and kills many more people than the Bond most parents grew up with: call it extreme Bond.”
PUSHING THE ENVELOPE
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Take Two Interactive for the Playstation 2
Recommended Age: M for Mature with Blood and Gore, Violence, Strong Language, and Strong Sexual Content descriptors.
Description: The sequel to Grand Theft Auto III (the best-selling game of 2002), Vice City allows players to hijack police cars, gun down pedestrians, kill policemen, pick up prostitutes in order to get health points and then kill the prostitutes in order to get their money back.
Why the group says it was chosen: “Even though this game is rated M for Mature, it has been touted as the best game of 2002 for the freedom it offers players. As a result, middle and high school students have been flocking to the Grand Theft Auto franchise, as well as other Mature-rated products.”