Manufacturing Discontent

Manufacturing Discontent

If you're going to get upset whenever a videogame might possibly cause offense, don't be surprised when you end up with nothing but bland and inoffensive videogames.

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People just want to be offended these days. I don't know what it is or what's causing it, but you can see it in the subtlest of things. If people don't have something to be offended about, they go out of their way to find it.

And then they talk about how it's actually destroying the fabric of society, while they conveniently forget about the hatred in the real world.

But like Kanye West, controversy means ratings, and that's all it's about.

people are dumb

the only people who generate controversy these days are people who are not actually offended by these things, but they shout because someone /might/ be

idiots

Why would anyone enjoying games like Scribblenauts bring up that a foreign word for a kind of melon is also an obscure racial slur? The only reason I can think of is to grab attention. Another example: Can you think of anyone who's ever played (and enjoyed) Mass Effect to take offense at the barely-even-sex scene at the end? No self-respecting gamer goes out of their way to point out problems that weren't there to begin with. It's always the hyper-sensitive douchebags that ruin the fun for the gaming community. Yes, I'm looking at you, Australia and your L4D2 ban.

The thing that bugs me most is that issues like gore, sex, and maybe even racism in a game (or any other work of entertainment) can be easily overlooked if the game itself is well-made and enjoyable - at least for me. This especially goes for things that aren't even related to the games. Nazi propaganda in Wolfenstein is acceptable because it provides a realistic setting. And I can enjoy a well-crafted game by Activision even if Bobby Kotick presents himself as the company's evil corporate slaver.

Back to the dumbing down of games: Fortunately, we can often rely on the indie development scene to give us titles that are pure and unadulterated, breaking taboos and blowing a breath of fresh air in our game collection. [/indiepraise]

(We could also rely on Japan to break taboos, but I think some would agree that some of them should be left unbroken.)

I don't worry about this stuff at all unless the released product is blatantly offensive, and I don't think there have been any games within at least the last ten years which were. There have been mistakes here and there, but certainly nothing truly worth protesting. There's a lot more going on out in the real world that we should be worried about.

A fun game is a fun game. A crap game is a crap game. These statements are true no matter who was involved or not involved in the development of said game.

This is not the fault of 'people'. This is the fault of the bloody media. From Fox, to GMTV, to Kotaku - any and all. All of them are guilty of bullshit. All of them stir stale turd so you can experience the horrid smell. No one cared about the shit, and we still don't care.

ALL media organisations, gaming journalism's included, needs to focus on what actually matters. If typing 'black', or 'nigger' or 'negro' brought up a avatar of a Black and White Minstrell, then we should be up in arms. All that annoys me is that my Samba dance level will be attended by melons.

And, a good 2.5D Metroidvania? The story writter could burn kittens for all I care - I'm getting that ASAP

That watermelon story was so bloody contrived that if it were not for notification of changes in future versions, I'd hope it wasn't newsworthy.

(Edit: I seem to have given the impression that I'm against specific media groups. Some edits, some rewording.)

Maybe its a sign the medium is evolving if people care enough about it to start complaining and overreacting, it means people are seriously looking into the medium beyond, "you shoot things they die", eventually it should move past this phrase as did Books, Movies ect. and start to really advance.

Absolutely nobody was offended by Scribblenauts, and most people could care less about Orson Scott Card. As Christian pointed out, this was all tabloid. These were both manufactured controversies for website hits. And they worked. Kotaku, Escapist, and everyone else got some extra hits because they were able to make up a story and shove "anti gay marriage" or "racist" in the title.

.

This is a good way to look at these controversies; as hypocrisy and over-sensitiveness, ultimately leading to a hypocritical standpoint.
The people concerned who talked the most about Scribblenauts are probably the ones who know the racism issue inside out (unlike 5th Cell who were innocently unaware of the issue until it was brought to their attention) so that they can add more fuel to the controversy fire, and the people who are calling for a boycott of Shadow Complex are more than likely aware that their discrimination against a less-than-controversial figure over a non-controversial game will, by nature, not create greater acceptance.

good god, people will find anything and everything to complain about

So, people boycott him because he's against gay marriage? Isn't he intitled to his own opinion? It's not like he eats babies for breakfast.

I somewhat understand where they're coming from, boycotting his silly ideals. On the other hand, refusing to play a good game because someone you don't like had a hand in it is a no-no for me.

This issue reminds me of something I read a few months back--that a company hired one of it's own workers to slander a new product, because through the slander more people would be aware of it. I always wonder who comes up with some of the controversies (the more important ones, not about Sambo being a south african gourd or what not), and if it's more of an attempt to advertise without having to pay for it. Think about it--you put up a magazine or online ad, only a few people see it. But you put some lunk on the news, telling him to say things about it...suddenly you're approaching a bigger audience, and more people want to go get the game, play it, and see their opinion on whether it's controversial or not.

But the most unsettling thing is that the controversy was triggered by what seems to be no more than a handful of gamers on the Internet forum NeoGAF. At least the Resident Evil 5 controversy, as misunderstood by all sides as it was, was kicked off by the writings of N'Gai Croal, one of gaming media's most prolific figures, and involved the eagerly-awaited sequel to one of the most high-profile brands in gaming.

Let's be honest--it was no more than a handful of ignorant gamers that kicked off the RE5 controversy *by* misunderstanding N'Gai Croal's writings. A lot of these 'controversies' are manufactured by the side complaining about the controversy. They become self-fulfilling prophecies, usually by dumbing down the issue in the retelling.

(though what it presumably shows is that no one on the development team was aware of the racial references - is not knowing racist references something to be ashamed of now?).

Yes. Yes it is. These are an unfortunate part of our history, and that history is still playing a big part in the present. Obviously there are gaps in everyone's knowledge no matter how well informed they are, and the common pool of knowledge we expect of people is going to change as the years go by, but in some sense yes: there are times when people should be ashamed of not knowing a racist reference because it means they aren't paying attention to the world around them.

It's like not being able to find your home country on a map, or tell the difference between WWI and WWII: it's just the kind of stuff everyone should know. A pacifist doesn't become a better pacifist by not knowing anything about war--I don't know why not knowing anything about racism is proof of one's lack of racism. Which is the most important issue--if you don't know something is a racist reference and someone else points it out to you, maybe you should be glad to know a little bit more about the world rather than wearing your ignorance like a badge of honor.

The worst part of this whole affair is that both Shadow Complex and Scribblenauts are brave and ambitious products attempting to do a lot with very little. They are the kind of titles we in the industry should be supporting, not building non-existent controversy over. And while for these two titles, at least, the publicity will probably be good for sales in the short term, it sets a worrying precedent for future titles.

To put it another way - when we get up in arms about the mere possibility for offense in our videogames, is it any wonder that we end up with so many bland and inoffensive products?

...

I firmly believe that videogames are art, and as art, not alone should they not be afraid to offend, they should actively seek to challenge popular opinion and the status quo.

Isn't that a bit contradictory? If you believe that videogames are art, why not treat them like art? People get up in arms over art all the time.

Let's lay the blame where it belongs: games are too big for a AAA title to be the work of an independent artist. We will never 'discover' a game designer after their death in poverty, hanging their games in galleries and auctioning them for millions. That's why video games can't offend: it takes too much money to produce these games, so unlike other forms of art, the 'patrons' of the 'artists' are far more sensitive to controversy because they're exposed to far more risk from flops.

Let's be honest what is being asked of us here: to muzzle the kind of reaction that is part of the rest of art criticism because of the economics of this particular art form.

At what point should we start boycotts because we disagree with the opinions of a certain percentage of the people making it? Should we stop listening to Wagner's operas because of his deplorable thoughts on Judaism? Should Republicans stop going to see movies made by Democratic supporters, and vice-versa?

Good question: thing is, like so much with games, this issue stands out not because games are the only place it is unresolved, but because games are the area that seems to demand more than the others this question be answered.

image
would you like fries with your Kulturekampf?

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Let's lay the blame where it belongs: games are too big for a AAA title to be the work of an independent artist. We will never 'discover' a game designer after their death in poverty, hanging their games in galleries and auctioning them for millions. That's why video games can't offend: it takes too much money to produce these games, so unlike other forms of art, the 'patrons' of the 'artists' are far more sensitive to controversy because they're exposed to far more risk from flops.

So are movies - they aren't made by a single artist. They offend people all the time. People will get over being offended, and ultimately the kind of fringe lunatics who get offended over trivialities aren't any kind of serious danger to the bottom line.

Oh. OK. Big thread. There's a pretty nice reply up there. Let me say my mind first: anything whose cost is measured in millions of dollars is as safe as devoid of controversy as possible. If any work has sprung into your mind that you think is not, I assure you any controversy you see in whatever you're thinking of was either a) carefully planned by a board of wealthy people as to be radical enough that people will feel cool by watching/reading/playing/whatever that thing but not so much there'd be an actual outcry against it or b) the fruit of a small group of people who deliberately misled investors in order to try to make something like real art. Putting money inot these things is an investiment, and investors only put money in things that will give money back to them, not out of the kindness of their hearts.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
< (though what it presumably shows is that no one on the development team was aware of the racial references - is not knowing racist references something to be ashamed of now?).

Yes. Yes it is. These are an unfortunate part of our history, and that history is still playing a big part in the present. Obviously there are gaps in everyone's knowledge no matter how well informed they are, and the common pool of knowledge we expect of people is going to change as the years go by, but in some sense yes: there are times when people should be ashamed of not knowing a racist reference because it means they aren't paying attention to the world around them.

It's like not being able to find your home country on a map, or tell the difference between WWI and WWII: it's just the kind of stuff everyone should know. A pacifist doesn't become a better pacifist by not knowing anything about war--I don't know why not knowing anything about racism is proof of one's lack of racism. Which is the most important issue--if you don't know something is a racist reference and someone else points it out to you, maybe you should be glad to know a little bit more about the world rather than wearing your ignorance like a badge of honor.

Well, it's a touchy subject. You can be racist without actually having words to describe it, so I agree you shouldn't use the 'racist? I didn't even know'er!' defence. But you can't expect people to know every racist word in the vocabulary just in case someone gets offended. Because if you didn't know what you were doing, you weren't being prejudiced - it's the people who felt prejudiced who were prejudiced against themselves. Of course, some smartasses will always find ways to insult people and then throw up their hands and say 'oh, I didn't mean to!' but that's better than lambasting people for not studying the extensive history of people being mean to each other for no adequate reason.

I say this becase I have no idea of why in the seven planes of hell eating watermelon and fried chicken are negative stereotypes of black people in the US. Really? So black people are bad because they enjoy these particular foodstuffs? I'm sure there's a perfectly logical explanation for it, and I'm sure it won't make any more sense after I hear it.

Cheeze_Pavilion:
The worst part of this whole affair is that both Shadow Complex and Scribblenauts are brave and ambitious products attempting to do a lot with very little. They are the kind of titles we in the industry should be supporting, not building non-existent controversy over. And while for these two titles, at least, the publicity will probably be good for sales in the short term, it sets a worrying precedent for future titles.

To put it another way - when we get up in arms about the mere possibility for offense in our videogames, is it any wonder that we end up with so many bland and inoffensive products?

...

I firmly believe that videogames are art, and as art, not alone should they not be afraid to offend, they should actively seek to challenge popular opinion and the status quo.

Isn't that a bit contradictory? If you believe that videogames are art, why not treat them like art? People get up in arms over art all the time.

Let's lay the blame where it belongs: games are too big for a AAA title to be the work of an independent artist. We will never 'discover' a game designer after their death in poverty, hanging their games in galleries and auctioning them for millions. That's why video games can't offend: it takes too much money to produce these games, so unlike other forms of art, the 'patrons' of the 'artists' are far more sensitive to controversy because they're exposed to far more risk from flops.

Let's be honest what is being asked of us here: to muzzle the kind of reaction that is part of the rest of art criticism because of the economics of this particular art form.

The problem here is that the people who should be going up in arms over videogames are the people who should be supporting them. It's one thing to complain about a series of famous books that became a best-seller even though you feel it's bad literature, because the fame of that series means that other, better writers won't have a chance to shine. But you won't find someone who truly loves literature complaining about things that maybe perhaps could one day be conceived as offensive. So why are people who enjoy games and want to push it into a real art form going up in arms over how 5th Cell dared to reuse this sprite in this manner? Leave that to the naysayers, they're much better at it.

Although I agree, as I said in the first part of my post, that AAA games may claw and scratch at the surface of Art, but will never really get in.

I believe that all these games shouldn't be placed upon someone elses shoulders to determine whether its "moral" for you. An example if you will, in Australia with the recent ban of L4D2 for whatever reasons, i haven't researched to much into it, raises the question why make the decision whether its moral for them or not? If the thought of blood and gore offends you, simply don't buy it, if you don't like the thoughts of black zombies don't buy it. Otherwise I'm sure they're plenty of people who have the moral aptitude to see some blood and gore and realize that there's a line between reality and fantasy; also the existence of black zombies disturbs me, not that their black at all but that people feel the need to put them on a pedestal when in reality they should be yet again another person in society who's brains I'm sure smell just as delicious.

As was said in the article, Videogames are an art form, and need to be treated as such by government and society as a whole. Admittedly some games don't have as much finesse as others Gears of War 2's blow shit up til it stops moving might not be a very elegant art form but its art nonetheless, A bland and overdone piece of art especially. TV comes to mind, and American History X coming to mind first, Without spoiling the movie its about a Neo-Nazi who goes to jail for killing a black man with a good message throughout. Its not a well liked idea in society to talk about Nazi's and killing people out of hatred, but the movie did it and the movie did it very well, yet on the same spectrum lies smut like pornography and other not so elegant art forms. In relation to video games, There is not so elegant video games the above mentioned GoW2, bit society picks apart any unpleasantness in any videogame making it to risky to push the envelope and make an artistic masterpiece, again as mentioned in the article controversy might be a good short term selling tool, but in the long run it retards the grow of this art form.

I'll shorten it down to as fast as i can what I just ranted on about, in a book I just finished recently, freedom was listed as the ability to be stupid, if its stupid to see blood and guts let em if they don't want to then they're not being forced to play the dam games. So if you have something to say about the game just shut up and don't play and/or buy the games and let others enjoy the ability to make their own choice and further allow an expansion of an art form that has been retarded almost from the beginning.

(apologize for crappy spelling and or grammar, was written in a hurry)

KaiusCormere:

Cheeze_Pavilion:

Let's lay the blame where it belongs: games are too big for a AAA title to be the work of an independent artist. We will never 'discover' a game designer after their death in poverty, hanging their games in galleries and auctioning them for millions. That's why video games can't offend: it takes too much money to produce these games, so unlike other forms of art, the 'patrons' of the 'artists' are far more sensitive to controversy because they're exposed to far more risk from flops.

So are movies - they aren't made by a single artist. They offend people all the time.

Doesn't seem that way to me-most movies meant to be blockbusters aren't offensive. The only movies I can think that really offended people lately have been Dogma, Harry Potter, and The DaVinci code. One was a small, semi-indie film, and the other two had millions of copies of the book the movies was based on to calm the fears of the companies making the film.

The Random One:

Cheeze_Pavilion:
(though what it presumably shows is that no one on the development team was aware of the racial references - is not knowing racist references something to be ashamed of now?).

Yes. Yes it is...if you don't know something is a racist reference and someone else points it out to you, maybe you should be glad to know a little bit more about the world rather than wearing your ignorance like a badge of honor.

Well, it's a touchy subject. You can be racist without actually having words to describe it, so I agree you shouldn't use the 'racist? I didn't even know'er!' defence. But you can't expect people to know every racist word in the vocabulary just in case someone gets offended.

Not at all. Like I said, I think the important thing is the reaction. It's a kind of 'well I never heard of it so it can't be that important' attitude that's the problem.

I say this becase I have no idea of why in the seven planes of hell eating watermelon and fried chicken are negative stereotypes of black people in the US. Really? So black people are bad because they enjoy these particular foodstuffs? I'm sure there's a perfectly logical explanation for it, and I'm sure it won't make any more sense after I hear it.

You're looking for a logical explanation behind racism ;-D

It's just...I have no idea why. But it is, and it's meant as a put down, almost like...not like Englishmen and Tea, but more like Mice and Cheeze--it's not just associated with the group, it's a put down like they're sort of sub-human, and can't control their desire for white meat.


I firmly believe that videogames are art, and as art, not alone should they not be afraid to offend, they should actively seek to challenge popular opinion and the status quo.

Isn't that a bit contradictory? If you believe that videogames are art, why not treat them like art? People get up in arms over art all the time.

...

Let's be honest what is being asked of us here: to muzzle the kind of reaction that is part of the rest of art criticism because of the economics of this particular art form.

The problem here is that the people who should be going up in arms over videogames are the people who should be supporting them. It's one thing to complain about a series of famous books that became a best-seller even though you feel it's bad literature, because the fame of that series means that other, better writers won't have a chance to shine. But you won't find someone who truly loves literature complaining about things that maybe perhaps could one day be conceived as offensive. So why are people who enjoy games and want to push it into a real art form going up in arms over how 5th Cell dared to reuse this sprite in this manner? Leave that to the naysayers, they're much better at it.

Sure, but let's be honest about what we're doing and why we're doing it. We're not deciding to 'man up' and not get offended so our butthurt doesn't impact the gaming industry: we're shutting down criticism of an art form for purposes of appeasing the commercial interests.

I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm not asking for martyrdom, but let's not go blaming the victim here, either. Let's acknowledge that what we're doing is self-censorship. Like when we all groan over the games we *know* are going to make the Jack Thompsons of the world go bugfuck if they ever hear about them--we'd like to give complete creative freedom to all game designers, but sometimes...sometimes it's like 'please do not tempt fate like that'

Dr. Love:
Admittedly some games don't have as much finesse as others Gears of War 2's blow shit up til it stops moving might not be a very elegant art form but its art nonetheless, A bland and overdone piece of art especially.

Dude (Huge), Gears of War was an artistic tour de force!

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/9.69819#672404

One of your tags is broken. It's "Going Old" instead of "Going Gold".

Yeah, those are some very odd contreversies...

First off, I'm a bit of a minor Orson Scott Card fan (really liked some of his books, read a couple of essays, but it's not like I even knew he had a blog or a website or anything...) It goes back about 20 years now, to when I first read Ender's Game. Through all of that time, I've never had any clue that he had any problem with homosexuality; or that he even had any particularly strong views on the subject one way or another. (For the record, I firmly support gay marriage, etc...)

I've certainly never come across anything in any of work that would seem to me to have been promoting an anti-gay agenda. I might be diametrically opposed to his point of view on this subject, but unless he's promoting his view in his work - I can't really say there's anything for me to object to. I might think he's wrong in this particular aspect, but he gets to have an opinion. If he was working on a game that tried to promote (even subliminally) an anti-gay agenda, then I certainly wouldn't be buying that game.

But personally it's just too much work to check out the moral standards of everyone who works on every project I end up supporting and hope it holds up to my standards. (Like as said in the article) chances are that most every game I've played has had someone I'd very much disagree with.

The Scribblenauts thing I just find ridiculous. I've never heard of that particular racial slur. I used to live in the Deep South, and I'd have thought that by now I'd heard most of them by now, but that certainly doesn't ring any bells. Frankly, I've been playing a lot of Toribash lately, and one of the game types (Aikido) runs under the "Sambo" mod. That would have been my first thought, had I even thought to use that word in that game.

People these days...

Pandobra:

George144:
Maybe its a sign the medium is evolving if people care enough about it to start complaining and overreacting, it means people are seriously looking into the medium beyond, "you shoot things they die", eventually it should move past this phrase as did Books, Movies ect. and start to really advance.

Yeah I can imagine people in the future having to play classic games for a history test.

(Actually not really)

I already do in my course, I have to play old games in order to see how they evolved and what techniques they used.

Mr. Christian Ward

I think a lot of the problem we're looking at is writers like you giving a platform to this ridiculousness. The reason why people are going to try and hang on any potentially contreversial thing in a game is specifically because those in the media are going to scream it from the rooftops to hopefully get some attention brought to themselves. Whether your promoting the contreversy or "debunking" it with a more reasonable approach you STILL contribute. If the media hadn't taken things like the "Sambo" contrevery seriously enough to report on it, we wouldn't have ever had an issue. Ditto for Resident Evil 5, or Shadow Complex.

I can respect differing views as well, but also consider that some of what is billed as being "contreversial" isn't exactly cut and dry. To use Shadow Complex as an example, consider that there are VAST numbers of people who agree with authors like Orson Scott Card on his various issues (including homosexuality). Granted you are not among them, but they are out there. In general I feel the media should remain neutral on such subjects (as hard as that ideal is to enforce) and really shouldn't have helped to promote this issue. He has the same right to say his piece as anyone else. If people choose not to buy the game because of his enviroment, that's fine, but the media should not be reporting on such things because frankly his involvement isn't newsworthy other than for the intentional purpose of getting people's goat and trying to drag up a scandal.

The bottom line of a game like "Shadow Complex" is not going to be affected because despite how things seem to be reported there really isn't a *clear* majority of people who disagree with Mr. Card on those issues. It's just one point of view gets more media support and seems more prolific. The bottom line of a game like "Scribblenauts" is unlikely to be affect because it's nothing but rabble rousing and pure ridiculousness. In the case of the word "Sambo" in paticular, as it has been explained to me, is that it comes from an old rally by bored politicos looking for something to persecute, so they decided to target a pancake house that used an old African folk tale as a promotional gimmick. Really, very few people are even likely to know that has ever been a racial term.

Frankly if the media was responsible the "Sambo" thing would never have been reported on. Given what has already happened I think a truely impartial media would be engaged in a bit of tournabout, because honestly I cannot see how anyone even found that bit in the game, never mind recognized it as potentially offensive, unless they were specifically sitting there typing in obscure racial slurs to see if the developers did something accidently so they could grab a headline.

What's more it's a bloody watermelon. I understand the whole thing about black folks and the "fried chicken, black eyed pease, and watermelons" stereotype, but honestly Sambo doesn't even make sense in this context unless it created #1: a black tribal kid, #2: pancakes, #3: Butter, or #4: A tiger.

I guess my point here is that you seem to be decrying the contreversy, but your actually becoming part of the problem. I basically agree about "manufacturing discontent" but in the end that is also what your doing. This is in the final equasion yet another article summarizing these "issues" and spreading the message. What's more given the implied intent your comments on Orson Scott Card seem to in many respects support the contreversy despite what your saying in connection to it.

My solution to the problem on a personal level is simple.. I ignore the whiners. Yes, I know that racism is a serious problem, but this is just looking for trouble. Too many people get up in arms about every little thing, and it's a bit tiresome. If anything, it undermines the cause you might have, so that when an actual case of discrimination occurs, people like me are likely to brush it off as "more whining" instead of taking it seriously. Don't ascribe to intolerance what is likely caused by ignorance, and the world will be a happier place.

Great article. I'd say that people are definitively oversensitive these days.

I remember that restaraunt, Sambos....now at last I know why it went away, I guess! Somehow the Sambo name never entered m,y vocabulary as a child to mean anything racist....I still thought it was an East Indian fable. Odd.

As for Orson Scott Card, he's just a mormon SF author, and pretty good at that. Someone opposed to anti-gay sentiment would do better to protest the Mormon Church and its stance, and boycott Pepsi-Cola (which the LDS owns, I understand) ....not that it will do much good, but it might make them feel better. Likewise, they have the right to boycott this game, but I appreciate that people feel strongly enough that they will not purchase an item that is affiliated with or may funnel money to someone they disagree with, if only for their sense of personal satisfaction. I do it all the time, myself! I, for example, am endlessly irritated by cartoon animals chibi characters, and so refuse to buy any game that even hints at such.

I don't think these controversies are valid. They're just knitpicking. Also, I've wondered aobut this for a while now: has there been a gay main character in a video game?

The_root_of_all_evil:
People just want to be offended these days. I don't know what it is or what's causing it, but you can see it in the subtlest of things. If people don't have something to be offended about, they go out of their way to find it.

And then they talk about how it's actually destroying the fabric of society, while they conveniently forget about the hatred in the real world.

But like Kanye West, controversy means ratings, and that's all it's about.

It's just a theory, but I have two ideas as to why people get offended so easily anymore.

The first has to do with the idea of the Me culture. People are so used to things going the way they want it to, that when something offends them, they feel that they have to make a big deal out of it, that the game and everything else must be changed so it fits what they think it should be.

The second has to do with liable suits. People get offended so that they can sue the pants off of anyone who offends them.

Doesn't this put The Escapist right in the middle of the problem? How many articles of these so called controversial issues are posted here? Isn't it a bit hypocritical to say that these oversensitive issues are a problem while promoting said controversies?

I can feel the banhammer swingin my way :(

People get offended because they hear someone else getting offended and don't have the necessary facts to figure out whether they're upset about something real, or something that isn't true. However, because people are dicks and love to be right, they'll jump on the bandwagon and believe whatever bullshit they've been told, and nothing that you say or do can disprove it.

Case in point, the Mass Effect sex scene controversy. For heaven's sake, a cutscene shorter than anything you'd see on an equally rated TV show or Movie had lunatics ranting and raving about how kids would be able to customise the size of the female characters' knockers, or that there would be a sex minigame (that's more Ninja Gaiden's style XD).

People get all riled up because they like to think they're important and they like the sound of their own voice. Of course, when a lot of these people congregate together, they drag other people into their crusade, which isn't based on reality so much as a knee-jerk gut reaction and exploited fears.

To be honest, I think they're sabotaging themselves. I mean, in Australia, they cut out the ability to have sex with hookers in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, which, as a consequence, lowered the rating, so I was able to get Vice City at a younger age. =P I'm better for it too, since I saw less violence in that than in movies I'd been watching since I was ten.

oppp7:
I don't think these controversies are valid. They're just knitpicking. Also, I've wondered aobut this for a while now: has there been a gay main character in a video game?

There was a lesbian couple in Fear Factory 2 (I may have the name of the game wrong, but I don't really care), but you are right. Because video games are one of the most loved pinatas of socially conservative groups, there is very little diversity of gender or sexuality in video games, because the last thing big-name executives want is to invite more lawsuits or censorship. About the only way people can play gay main characters is in a game like Fable where you have the option to marry someone of the same sex, but since there's no attached storyline there, it feels pretty meaningless. Also, depending on your own thoughts or feelings, Female Shepard and Liara in Mass Effect may or may not count.

The rest of the time there's only subtext, which is usually countered with rabid declarations of heterosexuality which do everything possible to straighten out the perception of the characters, if you'll pardon my pun. I think video game designers and executives are also quite scared that their core audiences would be alienated by the thought of playing a gay main character, but I don't believe that. Sure, maybe in an FPS, they might be, but hey, I guess we'll have to wait and see.

 

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