50 Cent, rapper and now movie star with Get Rich or Die Tryin', has claimed that his new Vivendi Universal Games-published title 50 Cent: Bulletproof is an effective tool for children, despite its M rating from the ESRB for "Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Themes, Strong Language, Use of Drugs."
In an interview with Reuters, the rapper, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, suggested that: "Just because it is rated Mature doesn't mean you shouldn't buy it for your kids. Play the game and explain to them what they are playing." Though the game industry has come under heavy fire recently for allegedly marketing violent video games to children, Jackson claims that such fears are groundless: "I think everyone knows that a game is a game. There's the part where you actually press start on the controller -- after that you are playing a game."
Despite 50 Cent's claims, it's important to note that U.S. video game retailers currently implement their own store policies requiring age verification for the sale of games rated M (Mature) by the ESRB, which means that minors are not able to buy 50 Cent: Bulletproof of their own accord under these policies.
However, though Jackson claims the game is good for teaching children about the perils of street life, enthusiastic comments from producer Andre Emerson to consumer game website 1UP.com indicate that the level of graphic violence may be too much for those under the age of 17, exactly the reason for its ESRB rating.
"Here," says Emerson, "you can grab an enemy and steal all of his valuables, leaving both his ego shattered and his pockets empty. Then, you can beat him over the head with your sawed off shotgun until he tells you everything he knows, freeing him of any remaining dignity. Lastly, you can choose to boot him away, giving him false hope of survival as you proceed to blast a hole in his back, which also sends him flying into the path of an oncoming train."