What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that some games on this site are violent and feature fighting, blood, and bruising, although the "shooting games" aren't heavily promoted and are on the bottom of the page. The site's IM feature lets users chat with other users in a public IM window or on a one-to-one basis without any restrictions -- and the talk does get pretty racy. The site sometimes sticks moderators in the chats, but in most cases they rely on other users' complaints. Users can -- and do -- say inappropriate things like "Wanna have cybersex with me?" and swearing isn't filtered out. Users can block others from IMing them directly or complain about them by clicking on a "warn" button; although someone has to be warned by multiple visitors before being banned, and it's unclear how many warnings it takes for that to happen.
What's it about?
GAMEGECKO.COM has a lot of free games in categories like Action, Adventure, and Sports, but while many look like they were designed for kids, most are full of adult stuff. Some even include excessive violence -- such as "Celebrity Girl Fight," which offers players the chance to pummel celebs like Paris Hilton using select keys for different punches. As the battle wages on, blood shoots out from your opponent's face. And then there are games like "Teletubbies Mercy Killing" -- which gives you a chainsaw, rifle, or pistol to slay sweet Teletubbies playing in a field -- that are not only inappropriate for kids, but just plain disturbing.
Is it any good?
The games are easy to access and play right on screen; click on some and you're taken to different gaming sites. A few feature fun, familiar characters and even impressive graphics -- the Transformers game, for example, looks like an animated comic strip. On the positive side, many of the games on GameGecko.com do involve good, clean gaming fun, such as its dress-up games. It's just too bad that overall, the site may have enough content to provide hours of entertainment -- but it's often not valuable entertainment for younger players.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about why it's dangerous for users to be able to contact you without being screened first. Why is it bad to answer a random IM, even if you're logged in under a username? Also, what's OK to share with someone online and what's better left unsaid?