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Censorship Entertainment Games

Censored Video Game Content Stifles Artistry 289

Posted by Soulskill
from the i-paint-with-virtual-bullets dept.
AnInkle writes "The question of whether modern video games represent art and the persistent attempts to censor controversial content in games have been discussed here at length. Now, a blogger at The Tech Report makes the case that censorship of violent and sexual images and themes in video games is precisely what inhibits video games from maturing artistically beyond a nascent form. He cites a historical comparison between video game and film production, as well as geo-cultural comparisons of film production in the US vs. Europe and of video game development in the US vs. Japan. Are these comparisons apt and the assertions valid, or might the embrace of video games as a legitimate art form be limited for entirely different reasons?"
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Censored Video Game Content Stifles Artistry

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  • by F34nor (321515) on Friday June 19, 2009 @09:36AM (#28388923)

    that most people who make video games are technicians rather than artists. I think that the few people who overlap creativity in the story telling or avaunt guard space, rarely overlap with coders or the middle management corporate structure that herds them. So you get Doom->Quake->Wolfenstien->Doom->Quake games that are just excuses to kill shit with rocket launchers as a development platform.

    There are games that tell stories, Halo, Half-life, Morrowind, & et al. and they're blockbusters. He's what we need to do, hire writers, pay them starvation wages and provide them with shitloads of high quality hallucinogens.

    Or go educational, Immune Attack is really impressive and just needs a little bit of play polishing and graphics massage to be awesome.

    Or just remake really good games, Ultima Underworld, Marathon, Starcontrol, and on and on on new engines to bring real games to the starving masses.

    • by qortra (591818)

      most people who make video games are technicians rather than artists

      Perhaps "most" as you say, but I think there are plenty who don't. In fact, many studios are preferring a model where there is a larger dichotomy between engineering and art. For instance, Mistwalker offloads their engineering work to other firms so they can focus purely on music, story, and visual design. I suppose that their artistic accomplishments using this method are subjective, but I don't think it helped all that much personally. There's almost certainly a larger problem here, and this article m

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        There is a larger problem here and a good study of history clearly reveals this. The increase in the morally despicable content in video games is indicative of the morally corrupt of society. While I am not promoting "morality police" here, I am just a good study of world history and human nature. In nearly every case of societal downfall (the Roman Empire is a good example of this), the morality of the failing society degraded as a precursor to the process. This can be attributed as either a symptom of
        • by Jesus_666 (702802)
          However the question stands whether trying to stop the symptoms helps. Is the change in morality a cause or a symptom of this downfall? We seem to have data on correlation but do we also have data on causation?
        • by PitaBred (632671) <slashdot.pitabred@dyndns@org> on Friday June 19, 2009 @12:52PM (#28391751) Homepage
          What about the increase in "morally despicable" content in movies in the late 60's [filmratings.com]? Did that contribute to the downfall of civilization? Maybe comic book violence [loti.com] and salacious, "morally despicable" stories in the 1950's? How about the increase of "morally despicable" content in books in the 1800's? Seriously... read a damn history book. Video games are nothing more and nothing less than a new form of media, and there is always a knee-jerk reaction from society against any new media. The parent is FAR from "Insightful".
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      that most people who make video games are technicians rather than artists. I think that the few people who overlap creativity in the story telling or avaunt guard space, rarely overlap with coders or the middle management corporate structure that herds them. So you get Doom->Quake->Wolfenstien->Doom->Quake games that are just excuses to kill shit with rocket launchers as a development platform.

      Well said. Games most often contain things of high artistic value (tell any 3d modeler that what he's doing isn't art, and then duck!) but seldom is the game itself art. Think of the game as a gallery -- no artistic value, but it puts on display things of [subjective] beauty and wonder.

      • by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Friday June 19, 2009 @10:01AM (#28389305)

        Think of the game as a gallery -- no artistic value, but it puts on display things of [subjective] beauty and wonder.

        Can't the Louvre or the Uffizi be thought of as works of art in themselves? I agree that games are mostly thought to be mere entertainment, but I think it's not unreasonable to say that sometimes (if seldom) games are art.

        • Think of the game as a gallery -- no artistic value, but it puts on display things of [subjective] beauty and wonder.

          Can't the Louvre or the Uffizi be thought of as works of art in themselves? I agree that games are mostly thought to be mere entertainment, but I think it's not unreasonable to say that sometimes (if seldom) games are art.

          I agree - my generalization is for "most but not all".

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Mister Whirly (964219)
          Art is always entertaining, but entertainment isn't always art.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by jtev (133871)
          Mere entertainment. That's what I hate about fucking art fags. Art is supposed to convey something to the audiance. What is conveyed depends on the particular peice of art. There is nothing mere about entertainment except in those who have lost sight of what art is supposed to do. Happiness, interest, and devotion are all emotions, and yet they get the short end of the stick when any coversation about art comes up. Art is supposed to bring meaning and emotion to the audiance. That is at once a simple
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Toonol (1057698)
          I disagree. I think, pretty much, games are ALL art. Just like, pretty much, paintings are ALL art. They're crappy, poorly done art, granted. But QUALITY doesn't determine whether something is art or not. A beautiful painting is no more art than a painting done by a moody eleven year old girl. It just is better art.

          I know a proper definition of art is hard to come by, but 'well done' certainly shouldn't be part of it. A piece of art is a creation (or recreaction) that filters some sort of sensibil
      • by postbigbang (761081) on Friday June 19, 2009 @10:09AM (#28389417)

        Sorry to be all McLuhanistic on you, but there is the medium, and the message.

        The medium, or dev platform, enables differing kinds of user interaction.

        The content (story line, user interactions, group play, value and weighting of scoring dynamics) is something else entirely.

        Is it art? Sure. There's a dizzying variety of it, too. Some appealing, some clearly un-evolved, some realistic and staggeringly so. To believe that these have no artistic value is a slap in the face of designers everywhere.

        That said: some designers make their livings appealing to a very violent nature based on highly animalistic behavior. But then the movies/cinema does this, too. Is this bad, this ultra-violent trend in some areas of gaming? There's no doubt that whacked people use violent entertainment sources to legitimtize their own behavior. Are we obligated to stop them from doing that by censorship? It's a good question. We're not responsible for them, but we are responsible within the constraints of a civil society to prevent others from reasonable harm. Should there be a sanity-ID card offered to buy these things? Clearly, that's not possible. Sanity is transient. The conundrum of what to do, remains.

        • Sorry to be all McLuhanistic on you, but there is the medium, and the message. The medium, or dev platform, enables differing kinds of user interaction. The content (story line, user interactions, group play, value and weighting of scoring dynamics) is something else entirely.

          I think that's my point if I'm following. The game is a vehicle that delivers content - the content itself can be very artistic (though sometimes is not - as always, it's a subjective thing). But rarely will you find that things like gameplay mechanics, overall gameplay themes, etc are artistic.

          • Oh, sometimes the artistry is applied in different ways.

            Smoothness, context switching, detail of non-focus objects, ambience, these all have artistic elements to them, and are colorations of the overall experience.

            When multiplayer interactive audio was first introduced, it was primitive. Now, some users have added low-volume/background music or other audio to the experience.

            Screen geometry and rendering can also add to the experience, as does the palette of characters, costuming, roles, even nervous tics. W

      • by Creepy (93888) on Friday June 19, 2009 @12:06PM (#28391077) Journal

        That may depend - some games may be art, others not. I suspect as the medium develops, some will truly be considered art, and some may be already. The tale told by Doom the video game may be trivially simplistic and all about blowing things up, but was the tale told by Doom the movie any better? Why should Doom the movie be considered art and not Doom the game?

        Some people consider literature art, others not. Is Alice in Wonderland the book art? How about the pictures in the book in the book or on the cover (most versions are illustrated)? Is a trashy romance novel art? How about the cover? How about the D&D manual? It certainly isn't literature, but it contains art.

            You will always have the argument of it being interactive vs passive, so the story changes depending on the viewer, but theater is considered art, and improv theater is interactive, so it is possible.

            Also if art is something you have to have some emotional attachment to, I'd say at least some video games are art - who doesn't have at least some emotional reaction to Dogmeat (Fallout), Gwen (Guild Wars), April (The Longest Journey), or even Samus (Metroid, though more so in later games)? I'd even go back to 1984 with the mostly forgotten Below the Root [wikipedia.org] as any of the three protagonists (and how many other action games [it is essentially a platformer] become unwinnable if you kill ANYONE?).

    • by fermion (181285)
      Not only are most video games made by technicians, but most content is likely driven by marketing.

      Let us look at an analogy. In a street festival with arts and crafts, there is some art, but most of the people there have paid significant amounts of money for a booth, and they need to recoup the costs plus a profit. So there may be a few serious artists there, but mostly what you will see are cat motifs, some regurgitated western prints, and variations on naked ladies. Now all this can be art, but it is

    • by grumbel (592662)

      that most people who make video games are technicians rather than artists.

      I kind of doubt it, think the real problem is simply that most people who makes video games these days are gamers and have been for all their life. Video games these days are way to much driven by other video games, instead of being driven by culture in the broader sense. Which is why you get a tons and tons of games with the same themes and gameplay elements, while hardly anybody ever tries anything outside of established video games conventions. Even the indie crowd doesn't help here, as half there stuff

    • that most people who make video games are technicians rather than artists

      How did you come up with this conclusion? Do you work in the industry, or have conclusive evidence that supports this?

      Game design draws from many fields such as marketing, business, engineering, computer science, visual art, sociology, technical writing, and so on. I've never got the feeling that game designers in general revolve round any one of these specific fields, but I could be wrong. However, I'm pretty sure most companies have technical people working on technical things, and artsy creative peopl

    • by hidannik (1085061)

      He's what we need to do, hire writers, pay them starvation wages and provide them with shitloads of high quality hallucinogens.

      Already been done. [shamusyoung.com] The result was Indigo Prophecy (aka Fahrenheit).

  • New medium (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Friday June 19, 2009 @09:37AM (#28388939)
    It's a well known fact that every new media form is plagued by censorship and "not art!" protest as it has not had a chance to establish itself past the resistance of the other art forms not being willing to let the new guy in town into their club. I'm pretty sure that cave people protested that hunting scribbles on cave walls were deemed "too violent to let the young ones see".
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by yuna49 (905461)

      Not to mention the "secret room" in the back of the cave where other activities might have been drawn.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jandersen (462034)

      I don't know about that. To me art is - or ought to be - something one or two steps up from routine artisanship, sonething that is somehow above and beyond the ordinary. In most cases a video game doesn't qualify as art any more than the latest album by any of the trivial boy-bands, however well-crafted it may be.

      The problem I see with modern games is not that they are too radical, but that they are too trivial and that they trivialise subjects like war, violence and suffering. A lot of games are in that re

      • I don't know about that. To me art is - or ought to be - something one or two steps up from routine artisanship, sonething that is somehow above and beyond the ordinary. In most cases a video game doesn't qualify as art any more than the latest album by any of the trivial boy-bands, however well-crafted it may be.

        An excellent and well crafted argument, one to which I agree. While a lot of games do seem to be the quick-consumption or snack-food type, there are indeed some exceptions that give me pause and make a solid argument for the art consideration. The outstanding visual quality of Braid, for instance, which made me think all the way through "I'm not playing a game, I'm playing art!"

      • by TubeSteak (669689)

        To me art is - or ought to be - something one or two steps up from routine artisanship, sonething that is somehow above and beyond the ordinary.

        The first version of Doom may have broken some boundaries and counted as "art", despite its clumsy graphics, but I think the Nth remake of the same theme in stunningly crisp detail and completely naturalistic movements is simply nothing more than cheap and trivial pornography; there is certainly nothing "art" about it any more.

        Doom is like a cave painting compared to modern video games.
        Even those trivial and insignificant rehashes have more art than Doom.
        Otherwise you're saying that the Nth painting of [landscape] or photo of [famous landmark] "is simply nothing more than cheap and trivial pornography".

    • by tverbeek (457094)
      Film isn't the only prior form of new media to experience this. Comics went through a similar period of censorship in the US, with Fredric Wertham's "Seduction of the Innocent" as its bible. This led to Congressional hearings in the 1950s and resulted in the creation of the Comics Code Authority, an industry self-censorship board that effectively killed off most genres of comic books (e.g. crime, horror, even romance and westerns), leaving only superhero and funny-animal books that were suitable for young
  • Bunk (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Nutria (679911) on Friday June 19, 2009 @09:40AM (#28388991)

    He cites a historical comparison between video game and film production

    Censorship forces you to either:

    1. think hard and cleverly about how to transmit your message while staying within parameters, or,
    2. "create" generic pablum.

    Hollywood made a lot of great movies in the Hayes Code era, thus demonstrating that it is possible to create Great Art while refraining from constantly spewing foul language, women hanging out their breasts, constantly showing blood and gore, or hopping into someone else's bed every other moment.

    • Re:Bunk (Score:4, Insightful)

      by oneirophrenos (1500619) on Friday June 19, 2009 @09:51AM (#28389167)

      Hollywood made a lot of great movies in the Hayes Code era, thus demonstrating that it is possible to create Great Art while refraining from constantly spewing foul language, women hanging out their breasts, constantly showing blood and gore, or hopping into someone else's bed every other moment.

      Yeah, maybe art needs some guidelines. I'm not saying art should be controlled and stifled, but if it can't take the easy "tits n' blood" way out, maybe it forces the artists to be more creative.

      • by Tanktalus (794810)

        What I think we need is censorship on crass commercialism, not necessarily nudity or violence. Don't sell tits and gore, sell your story. Too often, tits, gore, or both are added gratuitously simply to get that R rating to entice (adult, presumably) viewers. Or just gore to get a 14A/M rating to entice teens. Or whatever. Usually, it's not needed, and the story could be told just as effectively without it.

        There are exceptions, of course, and here comes the fine line. To me, it's gratuitous unless the

        • With a bit more imagination, I think the story of tempation and rejection/falling could have been told in other ways without resorting to the base sexual lusts that they did.

          They? What's this about "they?" Criticize Stanley Kubrick if you must, but ascribing artistic decisions to an anonymous Hollywood cabal is wrong.

          Personally, I felt that the American cut missed the voyeuristic point, but then, I also like titties.

        • by Nutria (679911)

          I'm of the opinion ... that Eyes Wide Shut was largely an excuse to put a bunch of tits on the screen. With a bit more imagination, I think the story of tempation and rejection/falling could have been told in other ways without resorting to the base sexual lusts that they did. It's an interesting story, I just think they took the easy way out.

          Another example: the 1978 Halloween. John Carpenter wanted to make a gore-fest, but didn't have the money. IOW, he was restricted. Sooo, he had to be clever, hintin

      • by mcgrew (92797)

        maybe it forces the artists to be more creative.

        Creativity cannot be forced.

        • by Nutria (679911)

          Creativity cannot be forced.

          Sure it can. Writers are constantly told by directors, producers, book editors, wives, etc that their work is sub-standard and to Go Back And Try Again.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840)

      Hollywood made a lot of great movies in the Hayes Code era, thus demonstrating that it is possible to create Great Art while refraining from constantly spewing foul language, women hanging out their breasts, constantly showing blood and gore, or hopping into someone else's bed every other moment.

      Sure, but how many perfectly valid pieces of art never got made because of those very laws?

      Personally, while I don't believe *any* videogame has achieved the level of "art", and while I have serious personal issues

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      Hollywood made a lot of great movies in the Hayes Code era, thus demonstrating that it is possible to create Great Art while refraining from constantly spewing foul language, women hanging out their breasts, constantly showing blood and gore, or hopping into someone else's bed every other moment.

      I disagree. Take the westerns of the 30s and 40s; A cowboy shoots another cowboy, who falls down bloodlessly and painlessly. Compare that to Unforgiven. [wikipedia.org] NOT showing the gore made the old movies less realistic, and

  • by Rog-Mahal (1164607) on Friday June 19, 2009 @09:43AM (#28389019)
    On some level I guess it's kind of sad that violence and sex seem to be the only two themes that will allow games to mature as an art form. That being said, why shouldn't videogames be protected as freedom of speech just like other forms of media? Ultimately it should be up to the consumer (or the consumer's parents) what they choose to purchase and use.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by qortra (591818)
      Because human life is always sex and violence. For better or worse, these are the tools by which the human race defined, refined, and propagated itself throughout history.

      As a side note, I don't think that the article is talking about sex and violence in the GTA sense; "Let's run over a hooker with our cars." It's in a much deeper sense - how can something be decent art while not dealing with the most central and passionate areas of our lives?
      • by Talderas (1212466)

        Hmm that gives me an idea.

        Since GTAIV added in drunk driving, and using hookers has always been a part of the series..... why do you still have to park to use the hooker? Why can't you drive while using the hooker? I'm sure the developers could use the drunk driving engine to make that work....

        Also, I've never picked up a hooker in GTAIV, mostly because I don't think I've ever seen one.

        • by lxs (131946)

          Also, I've never picked up a hooker in GTAIV, mostly because I don't think I've ever seen one.

          You haven't been looking hard enough.

    • by physburn (1095481)
      Art is always sex and violence?, Paintings and drawing hardly ever are sex or violence. Movies are often sex and violence, but there plenty of biopics and storytelling movies which aren't. Games are often violence and rarely sexual, (could be due to interface, you need that mouse hand). Sex, Violence and Death, are of course the strongest emotions a human can feel, so naturally are the most common themes as jaded emotion lead to ever stronger content. Movies, aren't protected as free speech in most countrie
      • by lxs (131946)

        Paintings and drawing hardly ever are sex or violence.

        Unless you count anything made by Rubens, Giotto, Titian, El Greco, Picasso, Klimt, Schiele, Michelangelo, Bacon, Warhol, Klee, Dali... Well, most artists really.

  • think of the children? ;)
  • Nascence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn&gmail,com> on Friday June 19, 2009 @09:44AM (#28389053) Journal
    I like using this word to describe it and I agree with this piece for the most part. Although I would like to point out some differences with photography and video.

    8-bit games are the cavemen drawings of what games will become. At the time of their inception they were probably revered above many other things by those who viewed them. Today they are crude and easily reproduced by a two year old. This will not be the case with games. And why not?

    I can sit down with pen and paper and make a caveman drawing but I cannot sit down at my computer and make a Contra clone for an NES emulator? Why? Because the tools that represent pen and paper in this analogy are not open to me. They are closed and guarded by law and by obfuscation. I can look at a Picasso and begin to imitate the colors and angles and feel. I can play a Playstation One game but not imitate. I am not arguing that these methods should be open and available to all, I am just pointing out that this inhibits the everyone-can-do-what-they-want factor of most art mediums. It's difficult for me to acquire oils and pastels but it is near impossible for me to acquire a Neo Geo developer's license and kit.

    In part this is due simply to complexity. Which brings me to my next point: games require a team.

    Painting, drawing, photographing do not necessarily require a team. Films do but it is often to create a vision of a director or writer. I believe that games require much more teamwork and collaboration. Your texture folks have to be on board for the feel, your 3D engine has to be tuned to work with your feel, your dialogue has to match the feel, the coordination seems endless to me for modern games. This prevents the explosion of games and relegates us to a set number right now. I am not sure this will ever change.

    In short, I feel that the difficulty in anyone picking up something to create a game inhibits the artistic expression. No one can arise by their own will in this field like you could in art or film. Furthermore, the idea of a lone genius revolutionizing or creating a movement is far more rare due to these inhibiting factors whereas that may more often happen in other arts.

    I argue that games are art but they do hold different complexities and properties from other traditional arts. It may be a long time before they are recognized in the general public as such since the general public may always be removed from being able to create their own games with open tools.
    • by Draek (916851)

      I can sit down with pen and paper and make a caveman drawing but I cannot sit down at my computer and make a Contra clone for an NES emulator? Why? Because the tools that represent pen and paper in this analogy are not open to me. They are closed and guarded by law and by obfuscation. I can look at a Picasso and begin to imitate the colors and angles and feel. I can play a Playstation One game but not imitate.

      While it does not invalidate your point, perhaps you're just looking at the wrong era. I remember during the '80s when PC magazines would have a "software of the day" thing where they'd give you the entire source-code (all of two pages!) for a cool app or game so not only was it possible for you to reproduce it and, perhaps, improve on it, it was *expected* from you to do so. The sheer awesomeness of it was one of the factors that drove me into programming, in fact.

    • I can sit down with pen and paper and make a caveman drawing but I cannot sit down at my computer and make a Contra clone for an NES emulator? Why? Because the tools that represent pen and paper in this analogy are not open to me. They are closed and guarded by law and by obfuscation.

      You could totally make a Contra clone. I don't know if you can make it for an NES emulator (why the hell you would want to create game on such an old, unmarketable platform is beyond me). But you could totally make it. There are plenty of development tools available to you to do such a thing. XNA, OpenGL for programming and there are plenty of open applications for 2d and 3d art.

    • On the contrary, it's becoming easier and easier to create games. There are message boards crammed full of people participating in indie games competitions, many with only the most rudimentary of programming and art skills (no offence to them). The tools have progressed to the point where these people can put together a game, and sometimes the result is (in my opinion) worthy to be called "art" [sourceforge.net]. Of course, the majority is utter rubbish, but you can say that about commercial games also (Sturgeon's Law).

      Funni

    • by mcgrew (92797)

      I can sit down with pen and paper and make a caveman drawing but I cannot sit down at my computer and make a Contra clone for an NES emulator? Why? Because the tools that represent pen and paper in this analogy are not open to me.

      One of my instructors said "a good artists can make good art with nothing more than mud and a stick." Perhaps you're using the wrong OS, there are tons of free tools out there. If you're good enough, you can be a blacksmith and create your own tools.

      Of course, the main tool needed

  • by Nerdposeur (910128) on Friday June 19, 2009 @09:50AM (#28389147) Journal

    I'm not advocating censorship, but really, can't you make games that represent any political or artistic notion that comes into your head? What viewpoints cannot be expressed because of this repressive censorship we now have?

    And it's hard to swallow the idea that video games aren't allowed to be violent enough. You can already kill prostitutes for fun and torture people to death and make people explode in gore - what else do you want? Are there ANY rules right now, other than a rating system that gives people fair warning?

  • by will_die (586523) on Friday June 19, 2009 @09:54AM (#28389225) Homepage
    Since the prime definition for art is "the products of human creativity" games definatly are art, as is the way I have the my desk decorated.
    However the author of the article just talk how you cannot have art with have nudity. So based on his thinking bioshock would of been a better game if the females wore no clothing or if the zombie could gang rape Zoey in Left 4 dead.
  • by Atrox666 (957601) on Friday June 19, 2009 @10:01AM (#28389303)

    Does anyone remember(presuming you were born) when the big debate was not if video games were art but if anything that was done on a computer could be called art?
    Let's stop having these debates and giving the morons who will never understand a voice.
    They are the same people who claimed that expressionism wasn't art, surrealism wasn't art, pop art wasn't art. They are a pox on humanity.

    "not being able to create art
    they will not understand art
    they will consider their failure as creators
    only as a failure of the world"
      http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-genius-of-the-crowd/ [poemhunter.com]
    The Genius of the Crowd - Charles Bukowski

  • by millia (35740) on Friday June 19, 2009 @10:03AM (#28389333) Homepage

    I admit I haven't read the article yet, and perhaps it's got a very nuanced discussion on this subject that will persuade me otherwise...

    but I doubt it.

    Look, it's a new thing, really. I don't know why we haven't had 'art' in VG yet, but the simple fact is that it isn't because we don't have explicit sex. (Explicit violence has been censored from VG? Uh...)

    I just drew a simple classic off the top of my head. Citizen Kane has nothing approaching violence and sex, and yet it's well regarded. And although Shakespeare had violence (and bawdy puns) it's nothing that you couldn't do without being a MA game.

    I could probably list a 100 movies that affected me greatly, that are well regarded, and at least half of them I'd put forth as art, and of those, at least half again would be lacking in violence and sex. Sometimes, lacking colors in your palette can ENHANCE the experience.

    We're getting there. Things like Braid are a step forward. Quite honestly, though, the real problem is the lack of a broad audience. When the 40 year old gamers of today hit 60, they'll have different tastes and requirements.

    • Citizen Kane has nothing approaching violence and sex, and yet it's well regarded. And although Shakespeare had violence (and bawdy puns) it's nothing that you couldn't do without being a MA game.

      Yes but both of them utterly pushed the boundaries of what was possible at the time. Something in the order of thirty never-before-done special effects were created to realise the vision of Citizen Kane.

      A game may not require explicit sexual content. Plently don't.

      But since we know that there are art forms which have it, and be improved by it, but that video games generally can't, we know that video games are being limited. Knowing that, of course we take them less seriously.

      Look at it this way: do

  • Yes, the censorship can be annoying and ridiculous (eg, GTA series: its OK to murder hundreds in a random crime spree, but god forbid there be hidden, unaccessable content of still-underwear-clad figures bumpin-boots).

    But I think it has very LITTLE effect on art in games. EG, what effect did censorship have on something like Braid?

    The game developers which are actually serious about doing ART are not interested in building "Sex-laden-splatter-fest-3000".

  • I mean, imagine Citizen Kane without violence and breasts... it wouldn't be the masterpiece compared to House of 1000 corpses. I agree more boobies and dismemberment should be in every film to bring it to a mature stage. OH! I get it, he's saying Botticelli boobies == art ... and those Medieval frescos of battle. Got it.

    Something is Art because it expresses some emotion rooted in the human experience that causes a cathartic reaction in the observer, or some reaction (yeah, I suppose confusion counts)
    • by mcgrew (92797)

      I mean, imagine Citizen Kane without violence and breasts...

      Imagine Death of Marat [bc.edu] without violence. Imagine Luncheon on the grass [artlex.com] without nudity (and breasts).

      Both of these pieces are acknowledged by every art historian alive as great art. Yes, some art can be made without violence or nudity, but not all art.

  • When you regulate it, people feel stifled and like they have to share important things in private. When you leave it open, there are bound to be some offensive people and some lunatics. There is no "win" state, there's always a trade-off. However, you can always choose to ignore these things as they are not forced on you any more than any other thing. We all have to deal with things we don't like, and something you may like might be something someone else will find offensive. There is no please-them-al
  • A few months back I was playing the Fallout 3 expansion, The Pitt. The game pretty much assumed that you were going to take the nice guy role and not harm a child and have a sense of guilt when that action results in a city of people being enslaved because you pussed out. I played it, went the route the developers wanted me to take and it had the desired effect. The next day I played through it again and played as a bad guy, only it didn't follow the gravity of the good guy route because they couldn't kill

  • He's got a point! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by g_adams27 (581237)

    After all, we all know that it would not have been possible to have such mature artistic works like Lord of the Rings, Atlas Shrugged, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Brothers Karamazov, and Casablanca without the addition of explicit sexual imagery. And it's clear that such immature games as Half-Life, Zork, Monkey Island, System Shock and Civilization were kept from becoming true works of art by not containing pornographic content.

    .

    Seriously, this article is a joke. You want a mature game? (And I use th

  • The perception is that video games are for kids. As is the case for every medium, parents will decide that they do not want their kids seeinig certain images or hearing certain language regardless of the artistic intent or value of those images or words.

    You can disagree all you want, or poke fun at the "Think of the Children!" syndrome, but you can't fight human nature.

    Aside: The quest for video games to be accepted as art would acquire more credibility if people heard about it in some context other than a

  • While I'm against absolute censorship (with a few extreme exceptions), I am very much for the creation of reliable tools that enable people and families to make informed decisions to control what kinds of material they interact with.

    Fortunately, the internet has stepped up and done quite well at being the kind of tool I see as being effective. If you want to know what kind of material is in a game/movie/song/book/etc. there are sites or blogs full of reviews on whatever you're looking for.

    Case in point, my

  • I am a strong opponent of censorship, but I wonder if society might want to be more careful with games than we are with other media. Reading or watching Lolita [wikipedia.org] seems much less dangerous a thing than playing Humbert Humbert in a FPS environment. And where will we be in 20 years, when your NeuroPlug(tm) makes the gaming experience almost indiscernible from reality?
  • Now, a blogger at The Tech Report makes the case that censorship of violent and sexual images and themes in video games is precisely what inhibits video games from maturing artistically beyond a nascent form.

    Because Hollywood has proved it's impossible to be creative without the of crutch showing boobies and gushing head wounds.

    You know what's sad? The fact that there is very little creativity in the game market, and censorship has absolutely NOTHING to do with it. But go on and continue believing that th

  • If you don't want to be stifled do what every other fringe artist does, open your own studio, peddle your stuff on the web, etc. There are plenty of outlets available for any artist to produce whatever they want. Of course the difference here is that the money stream it produces might not be there. Oh well, its all about the art anyway, right?
  • Americans have so many deep issues with their sexuality that whatever we're doing is obviously very far from working.

    A friend and I were discussing this a few weeks ago: if we had sex in public, showing real, normal, healthy sex and making no effort to hide it from our culture's children, how would they be different? Does making sure that sex only takes place behind closed doors help anyone? How? How exactly would you, as a middle-school kid, have been scarred if your parents had occasionally made swee

  • Creative video games are, well, creative video games. Innovative game play and a rich playing experience make for a good video game, not more blood, guts, and T+A.

    A good game is a good game, regardless of it's rating.

  • Don't forget the Japanese EOCS banning the depiction of rape in Japanese video games. The suppression of art is going on there as well as here.

  • Now, a blogger at The Tech Report makes the case that censorship of violent and sexual images and themes in video games is precisely what inhibits video games from maturing artistically beyond a nascent form.

    Sure, because we all know that slasher flicks and porn are the highest artistic form of cinema...

  • This just in...

    The rhyme scheme and number of lines specified in a sonnet format stifled Shakespeare's artistry, the Comics Code killed all creativity and relevance in the comics industry, and censoring the word "hell" from the title of the South Park movie kept Trey and Matt from making the title to "Bigger, Longer, and Uncut" obscene and graphic.

    Reality fail. The only thing that can effectively censor actual artists is medication. ;^)

    --
    Toro

  • [C]ensorship of violent and sexual images and themes in video games is precisely what inhibits video games from maturing artistically beyond a nascent form.

    Right. Because no great art has ever been created under a regime that censors violent and sexual imagery.

    Theses like these are nonsense. Yes, a lot of great art bends social rules. Shocking as it may seem, though, it is possible to create magnificent works of art without pushing social envelopes. A lot of great art came out of patronage systems and commissions, where it had to be actively sponsored by a ruling elite. It was art by rules, and much of it was magnificent. (Mozart, anyone?)

    I've defended

  • Bullshit. If you need sex and violence then you're not particularly creative. Certainly either can be a crucial part of a story and add to that experience, but it certainly isn't the end all and be all of creativity. I don't understand this obsession with "mature" themes, like gamers and developers alike are trying to prove they're mature in the most immature way possible. And let's not kid ourselves, developers are making their games more violent and adding more sex not because of some creative need, but f

  • Ok, not that I'm in favour of censorship, but the implication that violent and sexual themes are the only roads to maturing artistically is nonsense. Games are not stifled because they are being prevented from going down those roads- you as an artist are limited if you can't dream up any other avenues for growth or originality than only those two. I for one truly hope that video games have more directions in which to grow rather than just becoming more violent or sexually explicit.

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