Gaming subject matter

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scotland
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Gaming subject matter

Postby scotland » June 16th, 2017, 8:51 pm

I came across a game where you are a sniper shooting at traffic.Realistic Traffic. In this day and age, I thought that was totally inappropriate for subject matter. So easy to take the same game mechanics and shoot aliens, nazis, insects, etc. Then I thought my initial impulse against the subject matter is censorship. The game has a mature rating. Gaming has had a violence issue since at least Mortal Kombat and Night Trap. Would a Bill Cosby game be okay? A modern version of Death Race? Is there a problem here, or not?

What do you think? Any subject matter out of bounds?

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ptdebate
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Re: Gaming subject matter

Postby ptdebate » June 16th, 2017, 9:25 pm

I lean towards eschewing any form of censorship. If we disagree with a game's content, we can vote with our wallets by not buying it.

These days there's so much diversity of content in games that the fixation on violence isn't as much of a problem anymore.

eneuman96
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Re: Gaming subject matter

Postby eneuman96 » June 16th, 2017, 11:29 pm

There was a game called Hatred that made the rounds a couple years back for being all about graphically slaughtering innocent people. There also exists a game called RapeLay which involves exactly what you think it involves. Although the content of both of these games is certainly heinous if not outright offensive to most people, I agree with ptdebate in that we should allow such games to exist regardless and simply choose to not buy them if we find them objectionable. It helps that games like those tend to not make much money, so it's not like the market will get flooded with a ton of them.

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Atarifever
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Re: Gaming subject matter

Postby Atarifever » June 17th, 2017, 7:18 am

I hate censorship and believe most of the world we live in exists because of free speech (and the way that opened up arts and sciences). The only way to protect that is to protect even horrible expression, as once we start judging and censoring, we're losing the freedom and may censor something important.

What if this "traffic shooter" game and games like it tells us something about people. What if it became wildly popular? As I don't think games "cause" violence, what would a massive run on this game tell us about what people are looking for in games? In leisure time? If we censor something, even something that seems trivial, might we miss something? Personally, I say let it exist. Heck, it's already started this discussion right here.

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scotland
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Re: Gaming subject matter

Postby scotland » June 17th, 2017, 8:18 am

Its hard not to start talking politics, but there is some overlap on video games and art, freedom of speech, censorship and politics. I will try not to get specific, and hope the thread stays mainly on video games. I think the debate over Doom is relevant.

Its interesting we link this to freedom of speech. There used to be a prominent saying was 'I disagree with what you said, but I will fight for your right to say it'. That was never really true in practice, but it was at least an ideal. Modern (American) culture has changed on this to you are free to say what you want, but be prepared for the consequences of your words. Whether its a statue taken down, a comedian fired, a speaker uninvited to speak, sponsors frightened to pull ads from speakers people disagree with, boycotting an entire state due to one law people disagree with, etc etc.

I could take any recent terrible event - the attack at Manchester, or London Bridge, or the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School or the Alexandria congressional basebal game, or the Bastille Day attack, or Boston Marathon bombing or even the recent London fire and make a heinous video game about it. Are you okay with games being made about these? What if it was a big AAA release and not a small indie game? Would you defend it publicly?

After the Columbine shooting, Doom was brought up as suspect. Over time, the tension with shooters seems to have gone away as millions of people are playing them. Is that lesson broadly applicable to any game on any subject matter?

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Atarifever
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Re: Gaming subject matter

Postby Atarifever » June 17th, 2017, 8:39 am

scotland wrote:culture has changed on this to you are free to say what you want, but be prepared for the consequences of your words. Whether its a statue taken down, a comedian fired, a speaker uninvited to speak, sponsors frightened to pull ads from speakers people disagree with, boycotting an entire state due to one law people disagree with, etc etc.


I usually think this stuff is incredibly silly when I see people and companies apologizing, turning tail and running away, etc. I think most companies and people over-react to pressure and then later people talk about how they were "censored." Realizing what you say may have an impact on your image or profits is not the same as being censored.

I think it is fair that people deal with the consequences of what they say publicly. If the head of Wal-Mart said he did not like some minority group, it is that groups right (and their allies and friends) to boycott Wal-Mart and try to make life miserable for them. I still don't think that is censorship. That's holding someone to account for what they said. I don't think the person shouldn't have been able to say what they said, but neither do I think the response should be censored or shut down. It's a free market of ideas out there, and people have a right to be offended by whatever they want, to respond (non-violently and legally) however they want, and to express their opinions back how they want.

I personally think, though, that most people in Western society are more tired of the professionally offended than they are of almost anything else, so I think free speech and expression are about to enjoy something of a decade or two of free reign.


As for what I would defend publicly: I wouldn't defend a game about any of those things because I think they are not nice or civil or good. I would argue they should be allowed to exist though. There was a comedian taken to court over human rights violations here in Canada when he made fun of a disabled child in his show. I have a child with a disability, but I still come down on the side of the comedian. He said something I really liked like "I don't think you ought to make a joke about a disabled child, no. However, I think you ought to be allowed to."

GTS
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Re: Gaming subject matter

Postby GTS » June 17th, 2017, 9:15 am

I'm with everyone else here; let people make games about anything they want. It's best not to get outraged about them too, since controversy only brings publicity, which causes the titles to sell more. Night Trap owes a lot of its popularity to the "outrage" that some in gov't had toward it.

There is a fear out there that kids will imitate what they see/play. I'm not sure if there's good evidence to support that. When Super Mario Bros came out, I don't remember kids punching bricks. Then there's my own experience of watching some very sickening/violent movies, but this didn't effect the way I turned out. I haven't done anything bad. No really, I haven't.

Voor
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Re: Gaming subject matter

Postby Voor » June 17th, 2017, 9:33 am

I generally object to censorship, but games that put the player in the position of being the person inflicting violence on others with harmful intent should be banned. Big time. I'm referring not to mortal kombat, but more those mentioned above me.

*to be fair, in general, I'm not a fan of realistic games. I'd MUCH rather be in space or a fantasy world.

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scotland
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Re: Gaming subject matter

Postby scotland » June 17th, 2017, 10:22 am

You probably couldn't ban a game today, but people could put heat on distributors like Steam. Atarifever mentioned a fictional issue with Wal-mart. What if Wal-mart just sold a controversial game? Would you be mad at Wal-mart and want to boycott them just because they sold one item that upsets you?

Like Voor, I do find myself disturbed with games you play as a perpetrator of violence, but there are rating systems, and other economic forces to use. Yet, I would hate to see kids playing a concert shooting or bombing simulator.

Atarifever brought up a nonviolent example with mocking a disability. Is something like that - say a game you insult people, or paint racial or sexual insults on peoples homes or houses of worship or hang nooses outside schools, etc. There is probably something that upsets all of us - would you be boycotting Steam if they sold such a game

PS - thanks to everyone so far for a nice discussion without going off the rails.

Voor
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Re: Gaming subject matter

Postby Voor » June 17th, 2017, 12:39 pm

I'm not usually one to get involved in boycotts. There's just too many innocent bystanders (like everyday employees) who get affected for things way beyond their control.

I would say the rating system board (or whatever they are called), should rate a game as "unacceptable" and therefore, not fit to be released. Aren't they The judge the appropriateness of games to certain audiences? So it seems like it's their responsibility. Can't stop people from making hateful crap, but you can limit what is sold in stores.

Regarding Steam, sure, if anything bothers me enough, I just stay away, but I understand that that sounds like a boycott, lol. So who knows? Take it on a case by case basis as they come up. I'd be more likely to "boycott" a developer than a distributor, but there's no blanket answer for me.


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