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Jannak

Are games getting less censored?

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Although this may not be the case for certain areas like Germany & Australia but have you ever noticed that games these days are getting more lax in terms of swearing, nudity, etc compared to the past? Well for example, could anyone name one game from the 90s that had the word "fuck" because the very first time I seen that word in a game was Max Payne 2.

Hell even the ESRB these days now list nudity and extreme sexual content (as I seen in Duke Nukem Forever) under the M rating instead of giving a A rating which was a issue not to long ago.

Hmmm...wait a minute, I just forgot the earlier Elder Scrolls games (like Daggerfall) had nudity so I think that could have refuted part of my argument (I think the game came out before the ESRB was founded I think which may had hindered creative freedom of games for a long time until slowly recently).

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I'd have to say yes, GTA 4 episodes from liberty city has male full frontal nudity, and it's the only game that i know that does. And it's esrb rating is 'only' M.

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Jannak said:

Hell even the ESRB these days now list nudity and extreme sexual content (as I seen in Duke Nukem Forever) under the M rating instead of giving a A rating which was a issue not to long ago.

It'll only be suggestive. If there is exposed breasts, I'll be very surprised. The ratings have just stepped up to prime time television. Swears and blood are standard today. Video games are more for adults now, but we've seen the fiasco when Grand Theft Autos Sans got pulled.

GTA 4 is a new example so maybe time are a changin'.

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Jannak said:

(I think the game came out before the ESRB was founded I think which may had hindered creative freedom of games for a long time until slowly recently).


what

Videogame censorship is usually self-inflicted here in the USA. The *pressure* is on the developers to deliver a title that will sell, and a AO rating throws that out the door, because no mas-market store will carry it.

Due to the rise of Steam however, you might find titles like that in the future. A online store without content requirements means anything can go, and its only a matter of time before games begin entirely migrating online.

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Mr. Freeze said:

Videogame censorship is usually self-inflicted here in the USA. The *pressure* is on the developers to deliver a title that will sell, and a AO rating throws that out the door, because no mas-market store will carry it.

I always found it ironic how big stores will ban music and games over graphic films. But the Motion Picture Association of America is a whole other rapist of films. At least unrated DVDs are standard now.

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In the US, there's been a lot of pressure on the ESRB in the last several years by developers and consumers alike to not rate games AO if at all possible, since most retailers will refuse to stock AO rated games. Another important thing to note is that a tremendous number of the big name titles these days are rated M, and not E or T. And on the flipside, there's been tons of pressure on retailers to not sell M rated games to minors. I think this combination has led to the ESRB being a little bit lighter on using the AO label, and thus games being on the whole less censored as a result.

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The US has always been hypocritical in what is deemed "too intense"

It really shouldn't be a surprise that they'll ban games at a whim and still carry gory movies.

on the topic more, I think the times have just changed. People aren't as amazed at gore in a video game like we were before, because it's become common place. I mean, there was a time when Doom was considered sickeningly violent--something I do not think anyone would call it these days. Sprites with red pixels just aren't as realistic as they must have been before.

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What really boggles my mind is that M and AO are separate ratings in the first place. Is the ESRB seriously telling me that my tolerance for blood/boobs/etc. increases after only one year of age (17 to 18)?

If it was up to me, AO would be merged with M, creating a kinda general "Mature/Adult" rating, the same way movies do (Yeah, I know the NC-17 rating exists. That doesn't make its existence any less bullshit).

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Mr. Freeze said:

What really boggles my mind is that M and AO are separate ratings in the first place. Is the ESRB seriously telling me that my tolerance for blood/boobs/etc. increases after only one year of age (17 to 18)?

Because you are no longer a minor thus no longer liability.

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Jannak said:

Well for example, could anyone name one game from the 90s that had the word "fuck" because the very first time I seen that word in a game was Max Payne 2.

I find the use of the word "fuck" very cheap, because it's such an unimaginative swear word, and it reminds too much of movies, therefore games overusing "fuck" are little more than interactive movies. I also don't swear often (unless I'm troubled) and I don't need my protagonists to be more temperamental.

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printz said:

...and it reminds too much of movies, therefore games overusing "fuck" are little more than interactive movies.


This is the biggest logic fail I've seen all day.

Using fuck in games is like using it in anything else. It works for the types of characters that would use it (eg. the raiders in FO3); it doesn't work for all the characters.

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Aliotroph? said:

This is the biggest logic fail I've seen all day.


Now now, I know you've read the Borderlands thread, be honest!!

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Technician said:

Because you are no longer a minor thus no longer liability.

But at the same time the equivalent MPAA ratings allow unsuppressed nudity and sex in 17+ rating movies (and even to an extent in the 13+ category).

It's all a load of nonsense anyways. The ESRB has always been needlessly more strict with rating content than any other rating group this side of television. I can only name a handful of games with a T-13+ rating that actually live up to being the equivalent of a PG-13 movie in terms of content: StarCraft being the most prevalent in my mind. This is in terms of language and violence.

It strikes me as odd that a 13 year old is "allowed" to hear "shit" and the occasional "fuck", along with seeing sexually suggestive setups and violence involving a noticeable amount of blood in movies, yet any of that being in a game shoots it up to an M17+ rating. (Again, with few exceptions like Starcraft for language[at least in the FMVs, some of the in-game unit chat is oddly censored] and violence and the somewhat recent Battlefield: Bad Company and Black Site: Area 51 for the word "shit".)

@printz
The word "fuck" is a word that's meant to have a strong meaning behind it, and well written dialogue will use it to reinforce a strong feeling behind a phrase. (Or to signify that a particular character is crazy, such as the raiders in FO3/NV.) It shouldn't be regarded any differently than its usage elsewhere. (Though I will agree on the notion that it's pretty overused, blame the damn kids who think they're hot shit because they swear/drink/smoke/bully/etc. when they're young.)

As for the main topic at hand, yes. Games are a slight bit less censored than previously. Nintendo of America isn't censoring the hell out of everything it releases these days, and by the looks of it Jack Thompson-esque prats are a little less prevalent in their "video games should be free of adult content because they're 'supposed' to be 'just for kids'" nonsense.

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printz said:

I find the use of the word "fuck" very cheap, because it's such an unimaginative swear word, and it reminds too much of movies, therefore games overusing "fuck" are little more than interactive movies. I also don't swear often (unless I'm troubled) and I don't need my protagonists to be more temperamental.


I think your straying off the question and taking it out of context, I originally asked if anyone can name one game from the 90s that has the word "fuck" on there.

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Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers, released 1993, has "fuck" delivered by none other than Mark Hamill. It is also a more-or-less perfect game that I highly recommend.

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Remember how controversial Doom was when it came out? Honestly, I think it'd be hilarious to travel back to that time, show the people back then the gore effects for something like FEAR 2 and see how they'd react.

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Remember the Leisure Suit Larry games? They had some 16 color nudity going on (not much, though). I remember on number 3 (I think) had you answer a bunch of popular culture questions in order to play the game uncensored, and we used to have our dad help us with it. These games were way under the Senator's Wives radar, however.

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I wonder if video game ratings are higher simply because it's generally interactive violence instead of just watching it happen?

Not that I agree with this kind of sentiment, but I can imagine that people would think it is worse to be "participating" in the violence

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Craigs said:

Remember how controversial Doom was when it came out? Honestly, I think it'd be hilarious to travel back to that time, show the people back then the gore effects for something like FEAR 2 and see how they'd react.


Hell, Mortal Kombat alone was much more violent. Blowing zombies into bloody chunks was nothing compared to ripping someone's heart out, or smashing their frozen form to pieces, or incinerating them, or bisecting them vertically, or w/e.

What confuses me even more is the fact that no one went after Soldier of Fortune.

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It's not so much that video games are getting less censored as much as it is video games being marketed to children without acting like they are. I'm 100% sure everyone here didn't wait until they were 17 to start playing all the mature rated games we talk about here. Video game developers know that their biggest target audience are tweens and preteens. ESRB ratings would lead you to believe otherwise but getting these games in the hands of children is as easy as getting mom to come into the store with you. These kids were going to bring mom to Gamestop anyway. They can't drive and they don't have the money to pay for how ridiculously expensive these shitty games are. Mature ratings don't even mean anything anymore.

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Mr. Freeze said:

What confuses me even more is the fact that no one went after Soldier of Fortune.


I thought it was banned from a ton of places?

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