Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Self-Censorship

Game designes often struggle with "edgy" content. Do we put in this extra thing because it's cool, or leave it out because it might push the game's rating to M when the publisher demands that it be T? Or, even if it's an M game, maybe this is just a little too offensive; we don't want the industry to have to go through Hot Coffee all over again. And then we criticize ourselves for being too hypersensitive, and doesn't the industry have to deal with enough censorship without us doing it to ourselves?

Well, I just had that same kind of feeling when teaching, for the first time (and probably not the last). I encountered a game that would make a great example for my Game Design class, for why the theme of a game can make a huge difference in player experience even if the underlying mechanics are the same. In particular, there's this game that is mechanically an uninspired clone of a street-fighting game... but the theme is either going to be hilarious or offensive depending on who you talk to, because the playable characters are from the Bible. So, I only brought it up after class, to a few select students who I knew would appreciate it. And now I'm chastising myself for putting political correctness before education.

1 comment:

a visitor said...

I find this sad... especially if you were thinking students would complain about you to the administration or so. That's really bad pressure in an educational institution. And polital correctness actually resulted in sort of a "positive discrimination; you just told to those whom you thought could bear with it... And then there is the other side of all: Maybe you must bear to the idea of a god, although you think there isn't one... Really bad that had you had to act with such concerns... I think having class is like visiting a doctor. There should be no taboo and nothing sacred.