A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this site features some violent games -- blood spurts from zombies as they scream in one game; Endless War 3, one of most popular free games, includes so much gunfire that it's hard to realize what's happening until opponents bodies split apart and spurt blood -- all to a samba beat. Although users 13 and under are supposed to seek parental permission, no checks exist to confirm user's ages. Full versions of many games run around $19.95.
What's it about?
ARCADETOWN.COM is full of games -- but we're not talking "Mother, May I?" or hopscotch: The site features a number of downloadable games that are for older audiences, based on mature themes. There are some tamer board game-type varieties on the site, but, for the most part, those are the ones you have to pay for.
Is it any good?
The site doesn't clearly list the charges for the premium versions of its games. And, regrettably, many of the free preview games seem to involve adult (or just violent) interests like shooting and killing. Other games are just plain not kid-friendly -- like Betty's Beer Bar, which features a goal of serving drinks to nuns, Santa, and other patrons. The site also enforces other unsafe behaviors, such as crashing other cars in driving games. In addition, some of the site's game challenges are just plain violent.
The good news is free versions of many games can be downloaded fairly simply; the bad news is frequent pop-up windows advertise everything from games to screensavers. Sure, trial games may be free at ArcadeTown.com -- but if those games involve bloodshed and booze, is that really a bargain?
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the frequent sales pushes on the site for the premium versions of the game. Telling a friend about the site gets users 15 percent off; ordering two or more of certain games gets you 35 percent off. Is promoting the site right? Why would you have to pay for more complete games when some versions are free?