Going Gold: Gaming Doublespeak

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Going Gold: Gaming Doublespeak

In the gaming world, why do we say "mature" when we really mean "immature"? Going Gold examines this and other gaming doublespeak.

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A lot of typos in this issue, but it's pretty good content-wise. I've always loved the industry for this.

I would have to say I thought mature meant, "Containing content inappropriate for young children" (By the standards of the kind of person who wants to work in a censor office)

Also I only ever use the term casual to mean "Does not consider gaming to be one of their primary hobbies or leisure activities".

Aside from that, I think the digital distribution trend is going to work out great!... For people on the PC, that is. Plenty of room for competition in an open platform. Still, you console gamers are screwwwwwwed.

Nimbus:
I would have to say I thought mature meant, "Containing content inappropriate for young children" (By the standards of the kind of person who wants to work in a censor office)

Also I only ever use the term casual to mean "Does not consider gaming to be one of their primary hobbies or leisure activities".

Aside from that, I think the digital distribution trend is going to work out great!... For people on the PC, that is. Plenty of room for competition in an open platform. Still, you console gamers are screwwwwwwed.

What about people who play both consoles and PC games?

Or people who consider Gming their primary leisure activity, but only have time to play maybe an hour every night?

I don't know if I agree with the article; but I like the effort behind it. Let's stop discriminating against people with different tastes and opinions and just get back to what's important; reaching level 60 and getting the kickass weapon we wanted.

I am actually in favor of digital distribution as it stands now. I have heard the fears of monopoly and conflict of interest before, but I have not seen anything to justify those fears. I don't look at gaming portals like steam and Xbox live as a giant snuffing out its smaller competitors, but a means for small time developers to reach a major audience without having to print thousands of CD's and Boxes. If the major gaming portals refuse admittance the public trust of digital downloads can still work in the small developers favor if they decide to self publish.

Nice article, very funny.

And it's not Kazakhstani post modern that's gonna be big.

It is sooo Vannu Levan hardcore pornography dramas starring Meryl Streep AND ONLY MERYL STREEP! You heard it here first.

CuddlyCombine:
A lot of typos in this issue, but it's pretty good content-wise. I've always loved the industry for this.

Its certainly made in industry intresting, I dont know if its always the best to let some gel but...good article ^^

I'd rather say that the average gamer is more of a mainstream gamer. Though most people focus the term casual gamer on moms and grams, I also include the people that play family games like Crash Team Racing and player friendly games like Hogs of War.

Please keep writing stuff like this.

Christian Ward:

(The primary reason for this likely being that there are far too many fans, journalists and business people in influential positions who are pretending very hard to seem like they know what they're talking about... but I digress.)

Don't digress I would like to see an entire article about this.

My favorite term for this is "Buzzword Compliant."

I personally hate everything jumping on the 'dark and edgy' bandwagon. Not only that, but they don't even turn out to be 'dark and edgy'.

I think game ratings should be treated more like movie ratings, i.e. whichever game company just so happens to leave a briefcase full of money underneath the ESRB's meeting table gets a more lenient rating.

The term casual does have some bonuses; it allows people to start gaming it what seems like a relatively easier environment where there reflexes won't be taste to their limits and strings of combos be learnt. It allows more people to experience gaming, thus making it more accepted and less likely to be demonised in public media.

Although I suppose those attracted by the idea of it being casual are likely to be initially put off by anything "hard-core"

Christian Ward:
...even the most vaguely ambitious of titles like Okami or Beyond Good and Evil are ignored by the "hardcore" for their perceived differences.

Is this true? 'sob'

shMerker:
Please keep writing stuff like this.

Definitely. The game industry is a VERY screwed up place, especially compared to the other forms of media. And if it doesn't acknowledge its problems it could very well suffocate underneath its own fat.

I agree with you, although I would have added a little definition to "mature" : marketing ploy. I think companies want that logo for the additional sales it will bring. Seriously, for someone who has played games for a long time, some games nowadays contain so much fan service for no apparent reason. It's not the story that is dark or the characters going through emotional distress, it's the female flashing her "underboobs" (to quote Unskippable) or the f-word dropped around like it composes half the English language.

I was always scared to recognize myself in the "casual" definition, even though I barely play anymore. I think being gamers make us part of a community that identifies us. "Casuals" are seen as a threat to that community, because we can no longer identify ourselves through what we do, because everybody does it.

My least favorite word/jargon: exclusive, bonus or any of that preorder marketing crap. Some exclusives are alright. They don't effect the game in any way, be it a Beatles shirt for your Xbox Avatar, having Bill's hat in TF2, or having a "KHAAAN!" emote in Star Trek.
However, ones such as the weaponry I'm seeing for Mass Effect 2, half of the Star Trek preorder list, and balance-changing items are not good. They lure people into buying so they can have an advantage over others. They take away from the game experience, and they punish those who didn't want to feed Gamestop. It deprives others not of innocent emotes, but of things the developer could have put in the game, but was told or decided not to for the sake of more money.
Exclusive is a nice way of saying "ruin your game's balance and be better than everybody by paying $5 ahead of time."

I hate the whole "Romance/Relationship" term.
In games all it means is "have sex with". (Bioware games, I'm looking at you).

Granted that probably fits into you point about "Maturity", but I think it should be addressed on its own.

That and "Realism.*

Which means get shot at, duck behind cover, regenerate health, and start shooting again. All done in an enviornment of 3 colors, grey, brown, and grayish-brown.

The author pretty much hit the nail on the head with the "casual" and "hardcore" terms. I can only hope that one day the internet learns to accept these terms for what they are: Pointless, derogatory buzzwords.

Of course, I may as well hope for world peace to be resolved 24 hours from now.

Christian Ward:
Going Gold: Gaming Doublespeak

It's strange how backwards our thinking - and complaining - on the digital realm can be. We bitch about DLC and wanting everything "on the disc" (when nobody boycotts movie Director's Cuts or the "deleted scenes" you often get on the disc release of TV series - what's the difference exactly?)

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The difference is that you're not paying extra for things that are made before release and tacked on as "Day one DLC" that you have to pay for that CLEARLY is just a way of getting more money.

I always imagined hardcore gamers to be like how South Park parodied World of Warcraft.

As for mature, I think the definition has changed from when it was first defined, alot of young kids are being forced to grow up (mentally) at a much faster rate these days. With both parents often working, kids are learning independance and self reliance far earlier and faster then 20 years ago.

Phrases that bother me:
"New Re-release"
"Updated Original Content"

I wouldn't mind cheaper DLC and games (who didn't drop $30 on games at the Steam sale? Not this guy, he dropped more!), but I'm currently fairly content with a digital means of distribution--it just means I have to save x amount in my account before I can spend it on my couch/desk, instead of at the store.

great job on the meanings of the words, especially since I openly call MYSELF a casual gamer without the assumed meaning. I've been trying in vane for years now to change the meaning of Casual Gamer at least in language. The meaning should be people like me, those not accustomed to owning ONE system with ONE genre only, like the kinds of people that refuse to own anything but a 360, and do nothing but play endless matches of Halo online day and night.

Instead, I have a PS3, PS2, PC, Xbox 360, Wii, DS, PSP and I play and enjoy them ALL, but there's not a single genre I exclusively play. Sure there's a few I DON'T but I'm not a sports fan so it's bound to happen.

good stuff...

The Digital Distribution part puts into words how annoyed I am with the system, one that a lot of others don't see the problems with it

Good article, article guy. I haven't thought of how ESRB's seemingly arbitrary choice of words can restrict the way we think about games. The Orwellian reference in the title fits it like a glove, since much like newspeak planned to make it impossible to even think "Big Brother is not good" by making the word good mean "benefic to Big Brother", it's impossible to clearly describe mature games because the rating is the first thing to come to mind. 'Adult' seems to be the to-go choice, but it's a rating as well, although one no one ever goes for, ever, unless they've been hit in the head with a shovel. Or think the audience has, more likely.

As for digital distribution, eh. It's the way things are going, and you can't complain about it any more that you can say it's harder to tape things from the TV because your VCR broke and no one will fix it any more thanks to those bastardly DVD thingies. I'd like to add that the only reason online games are still as expensive as dead... um... sand games is that the latter exist. Games that weren't released on disk are much cheaper, and isn't the price the thing that drives us towards second hand games on the first place? (Online activation is another thing entirely, of course of course.) You still can't rent or sell games, but with lower prices there's much less benefit to do so. And that comes from a man that's owned a 360 for 3 years and owns one game.

Irridium:
"Realism.*

Which means get shot at, duck behind cover, regenerate health, and start shooting again. All done in an enviornment of 3 colors, grey, brown, and grayish-brown.

I've also seen this called "Modern". Hopefully that means it'll only last for this seventh generation of consoles and we'll see something new and bright next gen.

A lot of things to agree with, like restrictive Digital distributing, aexceesive ragging on casual players, and the way the market ensures that any game with less than a mature rating is unlikely to be bought by "hardcore" gamers.
Shoving swearing into a game is annoying to say the least, and means that I have to put up with a large amount of immaturity in my games, rather than being able to avoid buying the games which are immature.

Not that this is unique to games. I recently rented two comedy movies and found the one "for kids" funnier (and not as big on injuries and disgusting substances as humor), in short I'm actually starting to consider some G rated movies more mature.

And saying that "the empty can rattles the loudest" is somewhat ironic considering the wordcound of the article, which none of us will top.

Irridium:
"Realism.*

Which means get shot at, duck behind cover, regenerate health, and start shooting again. All done in an enviornment of 3 colors, grey, brown, and grayish-brown.

BobisOnlyBob:

I've also seen this called "Modern". Hopefully that means it'll only last for this seventh generation of consoles and we'll see something new and bright next gen.

Agreed on this - whenever happened to the other colours?

Also... Fanboy - the word suggests that it is simply a fan of the game, who's probably a boy. In reality it means a fanatic with a degree of 'loyally' to something that would make Al-Qaeda proud.

As for digital distribion... I do like the principle, but I'm seeing too much I don't like, like overpricing. Especially in the EU and UK zones. Though I suspect this is the publishers being dickheads - they can't, after all, check every shop to make sure they are selling game X at the RRP, but online they can quickly look it up.

My least favorite word would be "innovation" which usually means... nothing at all, really. The wii is innovative! No it's not, it's gimmicky! This game is innovative, it's nothing at all like anything else! This game is innovative, it's like everything else but with one new feature!

Mature always meant immature(at least since the 90s or late 80s), or at the very least trying to hard to get immature people to watch it.

Hardcore (gaming wise) means the the trend and crowd following casual consumers of gaming who buy gaming stuff regularly.

Modern means lower color pallet

Casual means zombie..oh wait no it means sheeple....hardcore is zombie now......*rolls eyes*

I mostly play indie games. I'd consider myself a hardcore gamer.

I must not track the gaming culture closely enough, because I have yet to have these deep-rooted stigmas spring to mind when I hear "casual" or "hardcore." They've always meant to me the proportion of your life you dedicate to the hobby, and naturally certain games appeal to certain particular audiences. Someone who maybe plays a few minutes a day is more likely to have fun playing games with a minimum threshold of dedication or control from the player, like Carnival games or something. Someone who would find it gratifying to explore every detail of or become better and better at a game would obviously think that Zelda or Modern Warfare 2, with their depth and lengths, would be more worth the time it takes from their lives to enjoy.

I don't have a whole lot of time to play games or read gaming websites during term, so even though I mostly play AAA titles and avoid shovelware I consider myself "casual" because it more closely matches how much of my life I spend on games.

Digital distribution succeeding will depend on whether you think it's worth your money. Steam pulled some good sales out of their magic games sack over the holiday, and consequently I bought a decent amount of steam games (for me, at least). If you really think digital distribution is a pain in the ass, don't use it. Hopefully everyone else doing the same would force the industry to change on that.

I would think "mature" would be more of a reaction to the idea that videogames are a childlike activity than they are to the maturity level of the people playing and enjoying them. I wouldn't want my kids playing M-rated games before they're mentally ready to understand context and all of that, and hopefully the rest of the world would too. To those who think "videogames are for kids" it might be easier to understand that they would contain violence, sexuality, drugs, and profanity if they were labeled "mature." Hopefully that necessity will go away as the people who grew up with games reach the age that they would have to make those kinds of judgement calls.

You can lament the methods of making, composition of, and ways to discuss a medium all you want, but in the end the only things that will be created will be works that someone has deemed artistically or financially worthwhile. You have to take the good with the bad. That's why today we have "mature" movies, shallow movies, fun movies, strange movies, and crappy movies instead of just good movies, even though film has been around over a century.

[Insert Name Here]:
I personally hate everything jumping on the 'dark and edgy' bandwagon. Not only that, but they don't even turn out to be 'dark and edgy'.

Add 'trendy' to that list.

Oh man! I love those article with some kind of a deep rage behind them. It's like throwing a chair through a window and let go of a primal scream.

You have successfully resumed the last year when it comes to the stupidity the average internet commenter will say or do. Great article.

I kind of laughed a bit at the Heavy Rain comments because I've pretty much brushed it off as QTE central. Here's the thing about Heavy Rain as I see it. I'm all for a well told and engaging narrative and given the premise of Heavy Rain it had better deliver on that for its own sake but they really have made in essence a "choose your own adventure movie". Its not like Avatar though where the CGI blows your mind. No. Every character is at the bottom of the uncanny valley, creeping me out and making it seem like it'd be awkward to watch, especially when all I'm doing is watching. Nothing else. Also I don't know how long it is but 60 bucks seems like a steep price of entry for whats basically a long ass movie.

As for other games yeah there are some sleeper hits out there like Okami and Demon's Souls that are really damn fine games that don't see massive commercial success because they don't have "Modern" and "Warfare" in their title but honestly looking around my school it makes perfect sense.

I'm easily the most avid gamer I know and when I talk to my friends about games its really limited conversation most of the time. They all have 360's and their knowledge of what's on that console is pretty limited, as is the amount of money they're willing to spend on games. That means that they want the most straightforward games they can get with the highest amount of replay value. MW2 with its multiplayer being more addictive than crack is a no brainer because they can sink hours into it and not really get tired of it. GTA4 with a big city and plenty of room to just dick around in is another appealing choice.

Past that though they really haven't heard of much. I talk about how awesome Demon's Souls is and I get blank stares. Darksiders? Bayonetta? What the hell is that crap. They've just never heard of it. They might like it but given their limited interest and wallets they just don't bother with experimentation. I give all kinds of games a chance. I love Modern Warfare, I dabble with JRPGs, I've spent a nice long time in Hyrule, but that's because games are my primary source of entertainment. For them its a bit of MW2 between tv shows. For me its a bit of TV between games.

Nothing wrong with that but that's the average gamer.

I agree with you on most of that to be honest. Especially Digital Distribution which I think is a massive threat to gamers in general for exactly the reasons you mention (among others).

Where I disagree with you is on "mature" games. See, I'm a horror / shock type fan who enjoys all kinds of bizzare books and movies involving warped sex, and even more warped violence. Stuff that it's intellectual, and maybe not "mature" to a certain way of thinking, but stuff I very much don't think kids should be getting their hands on.

Your right about what the label has turned into. To me, I feel that an "M" rating should be akin to an "R" rated movie. Most of the swearing, T & A, and even naked boobies can be done at the "T" or "PG-13" level without much difficulty going by Hollywood, and really (as you point out) that is what it's directed at.

I understand the idea of people calling things like "Heavy Rain" mature, and in a certain sense it might be, but frankly I've heard very little about that game that has made me think it should be rated more than a "T" rating. Even the so called "Oragami Killer" hasn't struck me as being especially intense.

I guess we agree here on certain levels, but I think that the key is to actually handle games like movies. Lower the stuff that could be done at a PG-13 level to 'T' even if carrying an 'M' rating "to be safe". Let 'M' rated games go every bit as far as an 'R' rating does for movies, even if immature I want my horror games to be ultra-sexy and violent. When I pass an abandoned school bus in a zombie game, I want to shoot at zombie children. Heck for that matter, as a sick F@ck I might want to see children eaten by zombies. Kids seeing this will probably never sleep again, but it's not for their consumption. When I get it on with the babe in a game, let's have a sex scene akin to what Hollywood does in the movies. I mean cripes, I can't see how "Dragon Age: Origins" calls that mature in the same world that has produced THREE "Wild Things" movies (not counting the childrens version).

By the same token, I also feel that "AO" should be reserved for hard core pornography (what would be labeled 'X rated' nowadays) but even then I think porno games could be done a lot better than they are now. Right now I personally find limited appeal in the genere, but then again that's probably because pretty much every single one is nothing but a sex farce with little in the way of a storyline that doesn't revolve around sex.

I think right now an X/AO rating is a problem because it forces a dividing line between general entertainment and porn. You can't have the two overlap. If it's porn, it's nothing but non-stop porn. If it's entertainment there is a limit to how far things can go. I've sort of hoped gaming (if the ratings were properly sorted) could do something to change this somewhat.

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