Police in Kyoto have arrested a 28-year-old man on suspicion of coercion after it was claimed that he had repeatedly forced his nine-year-old stepson to play violent and age-inappropriate video games such as Grand Theft Auto IV and fighting game Tekken Tag Tournament 2 over the course of six months whenever his mother was absent.

Video games often get a bad rap in the media. Although the majority of today’s reporters, critics, medical professionals and parents grew up with televisions in their homes and will happily stare at the idiot box for hours on end each day, video games are a far younger medium of entertainment and as such are often misunderstood or blamed for all manner of atrocities as soon as it becomes clear that an offender – as well as owning a television set, watching movies, reading books, and eating food every day – plays video games.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 2.36.59 PMImage: The Last of Us Wiki

Even the most ardent of gamers would doubtless agree that there are plenty of video games out there that are simply not meant for kids. Grand Theft Auto V, which sold 29 million copies in its first six weeks alone and went on to become 2013’s most popular game, is packed with  graphic violence, foul language and scenes of a sexually explicit nature. Critically acclaimed survival drama The Last of Us, meanwhile, thrusts players into a post-apocalyptic world in which the protagonists are set upon by everything from cordyceps virus-infected mutants to vicious groups of survivors with cannibalistic tendencies. The games are clearly labeled 18+, or “CERO Z” in Japan, meaning that they are strictly for adults only.

Kids sometimes get away with playing games that aren’t meant for them, and many parents, knowingly or otherwise, often allow their offspring to pick up titles that governing bodies deem inappropriate for minors. But one man in Japan’s Nara Prefecture currently stands accused of not just allowing a child access to such games, but actively forcing him to play them over a period of six months.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 2.20.55 PMImage: Weebly

The unnamed male, who worked as a care giver in the Nara area, allegedly subjected the elementary school boy to games such as Grand Theft Auto IV, Tekken Tag Tournament 2, brawler Kenka Bancho and Metal Gear Solid IV, all of which feature scenes of intense violence and strictly not for children (although you’ll have to forgive this writer for suggesting that the boy was likely more confused or bored than traumatized when it comes to Metal Gear Solid 4‘s convoluted plot).

Police heard that the boy’s stepfather would force him to sit close beside him and play the games, sometimes up to three times per week for two or three hours at a time, even though the boy was uncomfortable doing so.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 2.59.05 PMImage: Siliconera

Sadly, it would seem that this isn’t simply a case of a passionate yet misguided gamer ignoring age restrictions, however. Kyoto Police also heard that, whenever left alone with the boy, the man would suddenly hurl insults at him, swearing and telling him that he was “not wanted” in the home and that he wished he would die, as well as making ominous statements such as “I have yakuza [gangster] friends.”

Japan’s Yahoo! News reports that, after months of worrying about the effects of the man’s behaviour and the content he was exposing her son to, the boy’s mother separated from the 28-year-old care giver in April last year. Speaking with medical professionals, it became clear that the boy was suffering from a form of post-traumatic stress. It was then that the single mother went to the authorities, who arrested her estranged husband in January this year on suspicion of coercion.

There is clearly more to this case than simply one man and has penchant for violent video games, and we sincerely hope that the boy and his mother recover from their ordeal, but as passionate gamers here at RocketNews24 we would like to remind all of our readers that, just like with movies, video games have age ratings stamped on them for a reason, and these should be paid close attention to.

Play safe, boys and girls!

Source: Yahoo! Japan News
Top image: Doctor Jenn