A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this website.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that among the fun, free, and innocuous sports and puzzle games on this site there are also a few adult-themed games that have bar settings and gambling scenarios. Banner ads are almost exclusively dedicated to the promotion of casinos and gambling sites. By registering, members can safely chat and use the message boards on ESPN.com's main site, which is linked to from ESPN Arcade.
What's it about?
Take your classic video sports games and add a flash-powered site and you've got ESPN ARCADE. It's free and offers a game for almost every type of sport, from ATV off-roading and 3-point basketball to golf and bowling. Although you don't have to register to play games, registration is required to post high scores and is encouraged. Visitors are asked their age when registering and minors who register are required to provide a parent's email address.
Is it any good?
The graphics are clean and simple, but realistic, and the games lack complexity: There's usually one stated goal for each game, such as make as many baskets as possible or be the first car to cross the finish line. Several traditional bar games, such as darts and bar bowling are available, and most have a bar setting, complete with full mugs of beer. Also, card games such as Texas Hold 'em poker are available and players use betting chips to wager against other players (both real and virtual).
For the most part, the games are simple, nonviolent, and not as competitive as most console sports programs.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about gambling and online gaming issues. Why do people risk their money to play at casinos and online? How does this type of entertainment affect people? Sportsmanship can also be discussed. What is the difference between friendly competition and aggressive behavior? What are the qualities of a good sport? Finally, physical fitness can be explored. Is there a sport you would like to try in real life?