Video Games’ Age Requirements

A couple of days ago, I went to Target with my brother so that he could buy the latest Grand Theft Auto game. The reason he needed me to go with him was because he wasn’t old enough to buy it. I also didn’t mind going because I want to play it and he was paying. But that’s beside the point I’m trying to make and the question I’m working to arrive at.

When he was ready to cash out the game, the customer service rep. asked him if he was 17. First of all, I have no idea why they ask you why you’re 17, when the cover of the game says 18+. Again, that’s just a side question and beside the point. “No, but my sister is,” my brother told him. He had a slight smile on his face. I wasn’t sure why he was amused. Perhaps it was a questioning smile because my brother was using me to buy the game and I was sort of off to the side barely paying any attention. Maybe he wanted me to verify that I was in fact okay with him buying the game. “Yeah, I’m buying it.” I told him.

He just shrugged. “I don’t really care.”

“You don’t check people’s IDs?” I asked.

“What ever. I’m not going to ruin your night, you know.”

And as I thought about that, I realized that to be a very reasonable and satisfying answer. Is it really necessary to check ID? Many children are going to end up getting the game anyways if their parents don’t get it for them. Hell, if the parents forbid it, it generally just makes the child want it more. It’s just a video game. There may be certain things you don’t want children to be seeing in them, that’s understandable.

But my question is…

How seriously should this rule to verify that a person is of age before selling them a video game be taken?