The Escapist Magazine
Issue 101
Cutscenes at 11
Editor's Note Letters to the Editor

"As Kenneth A. Gagne's excellent thesis outlines, the similarities between the American fear of comic books in the 1950s and the modern day global concern over videogames are glaring, right down to the comparisons between Dr. Frederic Wertham - he of the declaration that Batman and Robin's co-habitation was a homosexual's dream - and Jack Thompson. Wertham was extremely influential in forcing the comic book industry to adopt the self-censoring Comics Code Authority - something, no doubt, Thompson has in mind for gaming.
"The similarities don't end there. Cable television, rap music, Dungeons & Dragons, violent movies - all new, all strange, all accused of corrupting our youth. And in the '90s came videogames."

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"This game contains sex, politically incorrect behavior, blasphemy, and lots of other things which are not acceptable to many people," says the Sociolotron website. "This game allows you to bring out your darker side, but it also allows the same for other players!
"Just what exactly the makers of Sociolotron intended by the phrase 'darker side is a matter of subjective opinion (and a matter most of us won't feel the need to investigate too thoroughly). Suffice to say, Socioltron is a place where anything goes; up to and including most things we simply would not tolerate in normal life - including rape."
Russ Pitts explores the depths of online depravity, from consensual sex sites like Sociolotron to Habbo Hotel.

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"As WoW barreled toward 5 million subscribers, SOE launched SWG's Publish 25. The NGE replaced the combat system with a shooter-style twitch game, reduced the value of crafting and entertaining, and collapsed 34 professions into nine classes. Jedi Knight powers, once obtained only after torturous grinding, were now widely available. Creature Handlers and Bio-Engineers, previously stunted by the CU, vanished.

"The launch, like the original game's, went horribly: awful bugs, broken quests, lag. But these paled beside the main problem. For an unexpectedly huge number of players, the issue - the overriding issue that has burned in their heart down to, lo, this day and hour - was betrayal."

Allen Varney explores the tragedy of the NGE.

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"During the course of the ESRB's examination, however, the organization saw even more it didn't like. Though the Topless Mod didn't change anything but textures on female NPCs, the ESRB found "more detailed depictions of blood and gore than were considered in the original rating." That, combined with the revelation that the skin texture was among the files shipped with the game on release gave the Board cause to approve a rating change from 'T' to 'M.'"

Michael Zenke examines the strange case of Oblivion's exposed breasts.

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"Let's go back in time, to the early '90s: Nirvana's Nevermind just launched the grunge movement, and David Koresh's Branch Davidians were under siege by the ATF. But rock music and embattled cultists were the last thing on concerned parents' minds, as a greater evil, one far more advanced, was already working its way into their very homes! In 1992, Night Trap was about to hit the home console audience. This was the year politicians became interested in videogames and started a war of ignorance and misunderstanding that even today shows no sign of reaching an amicable peace treaty."
Richard Perrin tracks the moral outrage over videogames to its source: Night Trap.

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