I'm sure that's been said in more than a few game stores and other retailers over the past week, with this Grand Theft Auto thing releasing its lit match into a whole gunpowder barrel-ful of social issues and whatnot...but that's not why i'm writing (today, anyhow). Ask anyone working at a game store about selling M-rated games and (hopefully) you'll get more that a few anecdotes of how some 14-year old tries to buy GTA or DoA Volleyball, or some other M-Rated game, they say you need someone over 17 with them to buy the game and one of several things happens: Scenario 1: The kid just walks away defeated and picks out another game. This is the most preferable (to me) as it involves little conflict with the customer (yes, kids do buy things) and shows that the kid's smart enough to know what the rules are and that the employee will follow them on his end. It's also the least entertaining. If only it were more common.... Scenario 2: The Kid goes to get an older friend, one over 17, to buy the game for him. Probably the most common end-around the yuths (say it like "My Cousin Vinny") use to get their hands on those discs chock-full o' sin and other 'adult' concepts (drug use, gore, nekkid-ness...). There's really nothing we can do about it, even though there is enough going on to (strongly) suspect that the game's going straight to the kid's machine after leaving the store; he's 17 (or over), after all. It doesn't speak to highly of the 17-year-old's character that they do this, but what do they care? He's not their kid, after all. Retailers can counter this tactic by asking for a "Parent" instead of "someone 17 or over". Scenario 3: The kid gets his parent/guardian, to whom we describe all the naughty-ness in the game. The parent looks at the kid in a way that can only say "are you kidding me?", and tells the cashier that they won't be buying that "filth" and (more importantly) tells the child of her disapproval in his choice of game and that he needs to look for another game of which she can give approval. The Parent walks off a sulking (possibly whining about how "everyone else has it") kid in tow. This is the most preferred outcome, since it actually does what the ESRB sets out to do: keep games with adult content and themes out of the hands of children who don't have the life experience to place the events of the game in the proper context of the game world (i.e. they're usually not mature enough to realise that it's only a game and that what works there doesn't work in the real world). These are also the best parents because they're involved enough in their child's life to see when bad things are coming their way and try to either protect their child from them or explain them in terms such that the little'un can get the point of "that's not for me yet". This is also the most satisfying for me because I know that I've not only kept a bad game out of a kid's hand, but also informed a parent of the kind of stuff their kid is looking for while they're not watching. Hopefully, they'll keep tabs on what the kid buys for a while. Scenario 4: The kid gets his parent, to whom we describe the parts of the game not suitable for kids. The parent then gives their blessing to the transaction dismissing its content with "Oh, he's seen worse on TV" or "Can't keep 'em from it forever" or the popular "Whatever..." This is frustrating to let happen but the cashier has to let it; he did his job by informing the parent about the game and gave the parent every opportunity to say "no". The cashiers and retail employees can't NOT sell it to them at that point (even though they shouldn't), and even if they were to try not to, the parent would only complain to the manager and the cashier would catch some hell for it. As for what the parents say...well, I really can't say much about that, not having been a parent ever in my 24 years. However, I can still see wrong in using other bad behaviour/content to excuse other bad behaviour/content, letting people walk blindly into intense experiences, and giving people things for little other reason than to shut them up. None of that is good for anybody, really, especially children. There are people of that almost-17 (read: 12-15) age group who say that they should be able to get the music, movies, and games they want, regardless of their parent's rules of conduct with a curt "You don't know me! I do what I want!" and other Springer-esque logic statements. Once again, I've not been a parent before, but I HAVE been a yuth before, and can say this: It seems unfair at first, but there are rules set up (for adults as well as children) for a reason, logical or not. We follow these rules (logical or not) because everyone seems to get along better when we're all on the same page like that; as though everyone knows their role in whatever situation may arise in life. The illogical rules (i.e. arbitrary curfews, bedtimes and such) might be overturned with enough evidence to the contrary, meaning that if there is a rule that is unfair, just suck it up and deal for a while. Compliance now may lead to leeway with parents later. Besides, this whole grown-up thing? Overrated. It's hard work, responsibility, and at times, it's still a bit scary. But there are those rewards of independence, self-sufficiency, and taking 'advice' from your parents instead of 'orders'. Maybe not so overrated, then... ANYways...to sum up... The retailers aren't conspiring one way or the other to keep M-rated games into or out of the hands of kids; that's more the parent's job, anyways.