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s-m-r

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Candle
22nd April, 2013 at 22/04/2013 18:40:57 -

This is a thread inspired by recent discussion of game content (on the Front Page, no less). I figured a discussion forum would be a much more suitable location for a long-lasting discussion and/or debate.

Please share your thoughts:

How responsible is a creator to distribute not just their game, but also a notice about potential objectionable content? I'm talking about graphic violence, adult content, vulgar language, use of drugs, etc.

Do you think the standard is different if the game is freeware and/or not widely distributed? If someone doesn't have a big-league publisher, how will this change the presentation of objectionable content, if at all?

Do you think organizations such as the ESRB are useful? Do they hamper creativity and/or artistic expression? What would happen if ratings organizations didn't exist?

Should games with objectionable content even be produced? Should we draw a line that a developer should not cross?

What IS objectionable content?


...Personally, I would LOVE to see some useful discussion and debate come out of this, so let's have it!

 
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UrbanMonk

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22nd April, 2013 at 22/04/2013 19:17:16 -

I think the ESRB is useful. It helps parents to know what their children are playing, and that's its purpose.

Content creators aren't responsible for marking their content if they don't want to, but it's a nice gesture.

 
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-Liam-

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23rd April, 2013 at 23/04/2013 23:40:10 -

Creators should try and specify what content the game has where possible. Though I don't feel it's their responsibility to prevent underage people from accessing this content. (This should be the parents/guardians)

I think the standard is different between freeware and big name publisher titles. It'd be nice if smaller developers tried to suggest to the audience what questionable content may or may not appear in the game through creative use of a trailer. The viewer could use common sense this way, though it's not a foolproof method. They could simply state what material is involved on a website dedicated to the product.

The rating system is good as far as I know, though I don't look into how it works. I don't think it limits creativity, just prevents people from doing things commercially that is unethical.

We had this discussion during a lecture on a Multimedia degree a few years ago. The way I see it, if someone wants to make a game based on stealing babies and brutally cutting them open etc, well, that's bad and we shouldn't do it. I tried to explain this to a kid/teen on a gaming forum ages ago and he thought that'd be cool. I explained that when we were asked this during the lecture, nobody raised their hand to say they'd agree to produce that concept as a job. The guy suggested we were all losers.

Objectionable content is what I described above. In my opinion of course. I can't stand profanity in games/music/movies but I can't seem to avoid it these days. It's sad. Obviously there are a lot of other things I'd rather not see in video games, but that's the stand out thing for me right now, as insignificant as most people see it.


 
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Dialga-Brite



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25th April, 2013 at 25/04/2013 09:26:03 -

Should games with objectionable content even be produced? Should we draw a line that a developer should not cross? 


Honestly, this question jumped out at me the most. The truth is, I was giving an inch when I said mayhem triple should have a warning, as I think it shouldn't exist at all. It just urks me that violent games such as itself get more attention cause violence is "cool". Why don't people like to be innocent and make innocent games with cute characters and storyline? I know I sure do!

That's all I can really say. Although if warnings are the route to go, I am undecided in how they should be carried out, because there probably isn't any way of doing it that will truly keep kids away from it for sure. Best thing to do is not make games that send terrible moral messages.

Edited by Dialga-Brite

 
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Phredreeke

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25th April, 2013 at 25/04/2013 10:59:27 -

1. I'm not a lawyer.

2. You're not someones babysitter. If they don't want their kids playing violent or sexual games then it's their responsibility, not yours.

3. That given, do provide a warning if the content is extreme.

4. Read the Bible, it's full of violence, rape, incest, and all that good stuff. As you'll tell the bar is set pretty high for litterature, and I see no reason for treating other media differently.

 
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Hagar

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25th April, 2013 at 25/04/2013 11:25:16 -

I am a great believer of parents, well parenting. Until a suitable age I only had access to things deemed kid friendly (Nintendo, Lego, Meccano etc). Was probably a lot easier back then, being the pre-internet era.

I think a lot of the judging if this game is OK to play given your ideals comes down to a bit knowledge and application of said knowledge, a game described as "my own Duke Nukem Forever" would give most gamers a clue as to the possible content. That said I think a notice would be nice, but as far as I am concerned the creator is not obliged to do so. I guess there will be a few that do not know what Duke Nukem is like.

The only thing that does worry with such social pressure on games is where will it end? What is deemed as violent will presumably follow the publics exposure to violence. Will Mario jumping on turtles (a fantasy situation with fantasy upright walking turtles) be deemed as violence against "animals" if our exposure elsewhere is reduced? It's a slippery slope to wrapping the the population in cotton wool.

Also I played copious amounts of Mario games as a kid. I have no fascination or urge to eat mushrooms, stamp on turtles or save princesses. All movements are making the assumption games/media influence us all.


 
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Phredreeke

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25th April, 2013 at 25/04/2013 16:44:43 -

There's a strong double standard when it comes to books and video games.

You can have a book describe rape, torture and murder to the finest detail and no one would raise an eye about it. Do the same in a video game and you're in for a ****storm.

 
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s-m-r

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Candle
25th April, 2013 at 25/04/2013 21:32:48 -

Not to disagree with the double-standard present when comparing different types of media, Phredreeke, but I think the double-standard exists because of the accessibility of the media you're comparing. Reading takes literacy, after all. And a bookstore can squeak by and label books on one shelf as "children's literature" and another set of books as "suspense" or "murder mystery." That's built-in content advisory. Meanwhile, anyone with two working hands and a modicum of hand-eye coordination can take on a video game. Sometimes, games can be much more accessible than that. As long as the technology is present, then the game can be played by anyone able to make use of that technology.

I also remember being a 11 or 12-year old, and I was stopped by a bookstore employee from leafing through a (fully-illustrated) paperback of "The Joy of Sex." Definitely a minor reading a book intended for mature audiences. This was in a "small business" bookstore, not an adult bookstore or anything like that. Here in the 'States, there are adult bookstores, but in those businesses the employees are obligated to ask for appropriate ID from customers and it is illegal to sell such material to minors.

My point is that the labeling and monitoring is definitely there when it comes to books, and there's an elevated bar to entry when it comes to explicit/objectionable literature (as compared to video games).

 
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Phredreeke

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26th April, 2013 at 26/04/2013 00:30:40 -


Originally Posted by s-m-r
I also remember being a 11 or 12-year old, and I was stopped by a bookstore employee from leafing through a (fully-illustrated) paperback of "The Joy of Sex." Definitely a minor reading a book intended for mature audiences. This was in a "small business" bookstore, not an adult bookstore or anything like that.



TBH, it may just be me being a crazy liberal (not the kind Hayo use for target practice) but I don't really find it a bad thing for a 11-12 year old to read an educational book about sex. If I had a kid I wouldn't give him a book like that (cause frankly, that'd be awkward for both of us) but I wouldn't scold him if I caught him with one.

 
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s-m-r

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Candle
26th April, 2013 at 26/04/2013 04:22:12 -

...Yeah, it was a pretty weird, amusing situation. The bookstore owner walked up to us (I was hanging out with two friends of mine at the time), and said something like, "You'll need to buy it if you want to read it."

 
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UrbanMonk

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26th April, 2013 at 26/04/2013 04:29:09 -

Books are a different kind of medium. Games and other types of media don't leave much to the imagination. Also as s-m-r said, the bar of entry is higher for books. Books such as the Bible would require prior knowledge to fully grasp some of the concepts anyway. Similar to most history books (and novels) children are required to read in school there is violence and sex.

In 7th grade I was required to read a ton of them, and I turned out ok. I think.



 
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Hagar

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26th April, 2013 at 26/04/2013 11:30:46 -

I always loved the film "Demolition Man", back then I always classed it as a fun filming poking fun of over the top state intervention and political correctness. Sadly, I can see the world becoming such a place. The ever expanding ethos of "ban/introduce laws" rather than tackling the fundamental problem at hand really gets me down. As far as I am concerned it is the same situation here - introduce more "laws" or "regulation" rather than tackling the problem of what a kid experiences online is the parent's responsibility.

Plus all of this is under the assumption video games are some kind of "brain moulding" material, as to which once exposed as a kid we will never recover from. My views are rather odd - a mix of libertarianism, socialism and capitalism all rolled into one.

The book argument is probably a lot more valid these days as well, I wonder how many kids have unfettered access to ebook services?


 
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Phredreeke

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26th April, 2013 at 26/04/2013 15:39:39 -

Yes, it's a problem that today's parents have no interest in actual parenting.

 
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UrbanMonk

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26th April, 2013 at 26/04/2013 17:44:34 -

Well when they're still kids themselves they aren't exactly good parent material.

 
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s-m-r

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Candle
27th April, 2013 at 27/04/2013 13:30:53 -

Here's a sidebar question: for those of you who don't mind having violence in games, where would you draw the line? Is there something that you would never have (either as game environment/context or player action) in a game you author or help make?

Is there some sort of standard that game developers should follow, as a way of self-monitoring? Or should there be no boundaries, regardless of the social or cultural consequences? Are games (and their players) in a protected vacuum, or should they be subject to social pressures and mores about "what's appropriate"?

 
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Phredreeke

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27th April, 2013 at 27/04/2013 14:44:07 -

I wouldn't have the player kill or abuse children.

 
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-Liam-

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27th April, 2013 at 27/04/2013 16:24:48 -

I think the latest Tomb Raider game almost crossed a line for me, personally. There is one scene where Lara is held down and repeatedly punched in the face by large men. She ends up with a bloody face. It just makes me feel sad to see scenes like that. Regardless of weather it's a man or a women.

 
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Phredreeke

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27th April, 2013 at 27/04/2013 17:58:05 -

Liam, don't watch Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction... or any Quentin Tarantino movie for that matter.

 
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27th April, 2013 at 27/04/2013 18:17:58 -

It seemed to me that the purpose of Tomb Raider was to abuse the main character as much as possible.

 
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-Liam-

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29th April, 2013 at 29/04/2013 12:22:20 -

Just to clarify, I think that sort of content is fine. I just choose to stay away from it. I've seen Pulp Fiction, I loved it. I think. It's been too many years since I've seen it now... I've a bad memory.



 
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30th April, 2013 at 30/04/2013 19:30:39 -

I don't think anything should be censored completely. There should definitely be some age limits, but you shouldn't be able to ban any form of art based on it's contents. That is, you can't rape children and take pictures of it and claim it's art for example, but if a work is a product of the mind only, I think it only should be restricted to older audiences. (That being said, I wouldn't like or really approve of anyone creating a child-raping simulator or really anything related, it was just to put an example on the edge.)

PS: I watched pulp fiction today

 
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3rd May, 2013 at 03/05/2013 04:16:18 -


Originally Posted by Dialga-Brite
Should games with objectionable content even be produced? Should we draw a line that a developer should not cross? 


Honestly, this question jumped out at me the most. The truth is, I was giving an inch when I said mayhem triple should have a warning, as I think it shouldn't exist at all. It just urks me that violent games such as itself get more attention cause violence is "cool". Why don't people like to be innocent and make innocent games with cute characters and storyline? I know I sure do!

That's all I can really say. Although if warnings are the route to go, I am undecided in how they should be carried out, because there probably isn't any way of doing it that will truly keep kids away from it for sure. Best thing to do is not make games that send terrible moral messages.



Mayhem Triple didn't get coverage because it's violent, it got coverage because it's a HUGE effort with years in development.

I have to say that I find your answer to this question disturbing. There are countless things that are violent; books (especially religious texts), documentaries, nature, people. To pretend that this doesn't exist and to deny the right for it to be made; you're looking at massive repression something that can and usually will end very badly. Granted, we all have our tastes. I feel that an important part of any reasonable person it to be able to identify reality from fiction, and deal with situations presented to you. If your response is to avoid these situations, so be it; but don't let your actions decide for everyone else.

 
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Phredreeke

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4th May, 2013 at 04/05/2013 23:51:58 -

After reading about a 13 year old slashing another kid's throat after playing Gears of War 3, and the Scottish police reaction to it, I have to say:

I'm sorry but if your kid slashes another kid's throat then there's something fundamentally wrong with him, regardless of whether he played violent video games or not.

 
- Ok, you must admit that was the most creative cussing this site have ever seen -

Make some more box arts damnit!
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-Liam-

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6th May, 2013 at 06/05/2013 17:36:29 -

I agree completely. It's personal anger issues. Another human being enraged him, causing him to flip out. It's no different to riots at football matches.

 
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jamesh



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31st May, 2013 at 31/05/2013 02:38:05 -

I was playing some old klik games (Fallen Angel, type stuff)
And I remembered that back in the day they basically HAD to be offensive
such were the teenage fashions of the time
https://www.facebook.com/fallenangelindustries?fref=ts
http://www.bloodlustsoftware.com/
(HOLY SHIT DOES ANYONE REMEMBER WRATH OF THE SEA KING? that wasn't offensive, but it sure was amazing)

Edited by jamesh

 
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