One of my favourite genre of games is the open-world, sandbox, style where you can do pretty much what you please. The most famous example of this is the Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, the game that just attracts controversy wherever it goes. Well I have news for you, GTA has long had a rival and the third instalment is coming soon.
Saints Row is in many ways the same as GTA, there's plenty of scope for wanton destruction and rule breaking is actively encouraged. However, whereas GTIV was a very serious in many ways games, Saints Row 3 is a very silly game. You can dress your character up any way you like, in fact if you so desire you can even play the entire game with them naked, if that's your thing. But that's just one aspect, there's so much more to it than that.
The premise is that you are a member of a gang called the 3rd Street Saints who are by episode three, world-famous with all manner of product endorsements but have had to leave their hometown of Stilwater and relocate to the town of Steelport.
Now I won't go into any more detail about the sort of things you can get up to, only to say that obviously I don't condone violence and mindless destruction in any way. However, despite this I do find games such as this great fun to play, because, to me, they are only games. SR3 and the GTA games are aimed at adults and should never be bought for children or by children.
The trouble is, for some reason, when it comes to games a large proportion of parents just don't seem to understand how games can influence children. I have lost count of the number of times that I've been in game shops and seen parents and grandparents buying games that are classified as not being suitable for children. The shop assistants don't say anything either, which is as shocking.
Age ratings on games have never been clearer, as they are for films, so why parents don't get it I will never know. Yes of course the children pester their parents for these games saying 'but my mate so-and-so has it.' And being a parent I know what pester-power is like, but also how not to give in to it as well.
My children love games too and I am very careful that they only ever see me playing games that are suitable for them and certainly only ever let them play age appropriate games. They love Sackboy from LittleBigPlanet as well as Mario. Gaming is one of the many things they do along with sports, reading and playing with Lego.
So come early November, when Saints Row The Third is released I will be playing it and causing all kind of havoc in the town of Steelport and no doubt loving it. But then games like this are simply a form of escapism like watching TV, films or reading books. And I'm sure you'll agree with me that not all of these are suitable for everyone, just as not all games are.
And if you too will be playing it, why not create your very own mad character now? THQ has launched the Saints Row Station, a cool addition to the game where you can create your character now in the run up to the launch and then include it in the game when you get it.
Check it all out at www.saintsrow.com, you have to be over 18 though of course.