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Are Game Designers Pandering to Lowest Common Denominator?


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#1 IMG News

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 08:25 AM

The firestorm of controversy surrounding computer and video games containing mature content has been raging for years, with games like Doom and Grand Theft Auto raising questions from concerned citizens and inspiring legislative action. CNET News is one of the latest to jump into the fray with a new column from executive editor Charles Cooper. With Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's recent signing of a bill designed to prevent minors from playing games which "depict serious injury to human beings in a manner that is especially heinous, atrocious or cruel" as a backdrop, Cooper takes aim at game designers.

The American Psychological Association in August came out in favor of a reduction in video game violence. It found that "exposure to violence in video games increases aggressive thoughts, aggressive behavior and angry feelings among youth."

Critics say the APA relied on a flawed methodology and that it is just more evidence that the video game industry is being unfairly singled out. Maybe that's true, but it also ignores the unease most middle-of-the-road types feel about the horrid content found in some of the games marketed by the industry.

You can hide behind the protections offered by the Constitution--which is every American's right--and maybe a smart lawyer will win the case. That still doesn't explain why the common denominator of quality has to begin in the gutter--and work down from there. Not that it's lurid but that it's simply lousy.
For the full article follow the link listed below.
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#2 johnhood

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 01:15 PM

Controversy (a relative term) has been used by the dominant music, film and television industry to generate revenue for years. Why should games be any different? Incidentally, I do not endorse 'violence' in games per se. Have fun.
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#3 ibookworm

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 01:23 PM

I, for one, absolutely agree that game developers are on the wrong path. The amount of blood and sex in games these days is extreme to the point of idiocy. New games for the Xbox 360 even use realistic physics to make the breasts of their female protagonists bounce in order to entice people to buy the game. Unfortunately, much as I despise that kind of base immaturity, I have to admit that it makes good business sense. A company like Cyan, which makes rich and artistic games (for whom "mature" means "sophisticated," not "filled with blood and sex"), with a deep story and no blood or sex, has to struggle to survive, with Damocles' sword hanging over their heads at every moment. But a company like Id, which simply retreads the same story-weak and violence-heavy path, is extremely successful. Obviously, the blood and sex sells games. I really wish that weren't true, but it is. Its a vicious circle: video game makers have identified their primary audience as being immature enough to like extreme amounts of gore and the nudity, so they give it to them, which in turn makes the gamers demand even more, etc. I doubt the cycle will ever end. Unfortunately, that means less games that I want to play. *sigh* But I'm a rare breed, and I recognize that. What sells, sells, and I can't really do anything about it.

#4 The iMac Man

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 01:48 PM

ibookworm, on October 10th 2005, 02:23 PM, said:

New games for the Xbox 360 even use realistic physics to make the breasts of their female protagonists bounce in order to entice people to buy the game.

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Uhm, no.  They don't bounce to sell games... they bounce because that's what they do.  Boob-physics are there to recreate realism, not to turn people on.

Would you rather they just stayed in place as the woman moved?  That would be unrealistic and look weird, and then you'd complain about that too.

And, what games are you playing that have sex in them?  Last I heard, GTA was just busted hardcore for having sex in it.  What sex games are you playing that somehow made it past the ESRB's radar?  Or, are you talking about rated AO games that only adults are supposed to be playing anyway?

As far as blood... big freakin deal.  I saw more blood come from my own body by the time I was a teenager than I have seen on screen in my entire lifetime of video gaming.
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#5 NightCougar_37

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 02:50 PM

Games do seem to be pushing things a bit. Its not helping. Most of the violent thoughts growing up for some of the older gamers were out of TV and movies since games used to be all pixels and sprites. Games back then infact helped absorb anger. Now kids are growing up with very graphic games along with graphic TV/movies. Easy to blame games for some of the trouble but they are only part of it. Singling out games is alone not going to completely help everything.

#6 The iMac Man

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 02:55 PM

Hey, on the bright side, at least music's not being blamed for it anymore!
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#7 Pixel Pusher 208

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 03:25 PM

"Surely the best creative minds of this generation can do better." Sounds ones sided, or this guy does not play any video games at all.

Dance Dance Revolution/Karaoke Revolution?
Kataro Dimanchi (did I spell that right)?
Nintendogs?
Tetris?
The pluthera of sports and racing games that have been made since the 1970's with just updated rosters and graphics?

Don't blame the developers.

As far as the rest of the article, I personally feel it is the same as the movie industry, and it boils down to if you are interested in watching one movie over another, one tv show over another, playing one game over another -- go watch it, or play it -- do not let the government take it upon itself to regulate it because you are not able to control yourself or your parents will not do it at home.

Real title should be "Why don't parents get it?" or "Why shouldn't parents buy it?"

#8 ibookworm

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 03:34 PM

Pixel Pusher 208, on October 10th 2005, 01:25 PM, said:

Real title should be "Why don't parents get it?" or "Why shouldn't parents buy it?"

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True. If the parents would get their act together the market for this stuff would be cut by at least a third.

iMac, about sex in games: just because the actual act of intercourse isn't represented doesn't mean that sexual innuendo, references, and images are not present. They are. In a big way. Oh, and if the game developers are really so interested in realism, why are they making games about impossibly physically endowed young woman beating each other up? The entire point of a game like that is to draw in the people who like that sort of thing, and "boob physics" is a part of that.

#9 The iMac Man

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 04:46 PM

ibookworm, on October 10th 2005, 04:34 PM, said:

iMac, about sex in games: just because the actual act of intercourse isn't represented doesn't mean that sexual innuendo, references, and images are not present. They are. In a big way.

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Okay, so in that case, same goes for ALL of television!

For the love of God man, I mean, they use sex to sell shampoo to women, in the middle of the day, on channels children watch!!!   :huh:   If I were a parent, I'd be more pissed off about a woman having a fake orgasm in the shower, in the middle of the day, which I had no way of avoiding, or choosing to be part of, than I would be about some dirty jokes in a game rated T for Teen that I bought knowingly for me or my kids.

Don't even try fooling yourself for a second that innuendos only appear in video games.  It's all part of modern-day human nature, sad as that may be.  Don't blame it on video games.
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#10 Pixel Pusher 208

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 05:17 PM

The iMac Man, on October 10th 2005, 03:46 PM, said:

Don't even try fooling yourself for a second that innuendos only appear in video games.  It's all part of modern-day human nature, sad as that may be.  Don't blame it on video games.

Indeed. Stay around Cartoon Network, Nick, or Disney long enough, and you will probably find something that should not be there.

#11 bookman

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 05:45 PM

That the world of possibilities electronic entertainment could offer has been boiled down to the few, usually violent genres that dominate sales makes me agree to some extent - I like violent games as much as anybody, okay, perhaps not the Battle Cat, :) , but when you think of the possibilities for interactive adventures that could involve so much more, oh well.
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#12 the Battle Cat

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 05:59 PM

::In anger the Battle Cat throws down the Pfhor spleen he was fiddling with::  

How the hell did I get THAT reputation???
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#13 Frost

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 08:53 PM

the Battle Cat, on October 10th 2005, 06:59 PM, said:

::In anger the Battle Cat throws down the Pfhor spleen he was fiddling with:: 

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Ooo! Dinner!
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#14 Space_Pirate_Killer

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 09:13 PM

Oh really, Who likes violence?
I'll blow their heads off... I mean give them a talking too.
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#15 Eric5h5

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Posted 10 October 2005 - 10:04 PM

The iMac Man, on October 10th 2005, 02:48 PM, said:

Uhm, no.  They don't bounce to sell games... they bounce because that's what they do.  Boob-physics are there to recreate realism, not to turn people on.

Would you rather they just stayed in place as the woman moved?  That would be unrealistic and look weird, and then you'd complain about that too.

There's an amazing invention called a "brassiere" that you apparently haven't heard about.  I guess women in video games don't wear them.  Might want to meet some real live women sometime.  ;)

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#16 Belcarius

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 02:00 AM

It's nice to know CNET are devoted to bringing us fair and unbiased coverage of this issue. No one ever notices the many non violent games that go by. In 14 days time Civ 4 will be released and millions will indulge in it: not for gore, sex or killing, but for great gameplay. But will these 'experts' take notice? Will they make note of how our citizens are taking such a wonderful interest in history, civics and international relations? You bet they won't.
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#17 Pixel Pusher 208

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 10:06 AM

Belcarius, on October 11th 2005, 01:00 AM, said:

But will these 'experts' take notice? ... You bet they won't.

/* sarcastic */
Naw... They will be playing 24 straight hours of Doom 3, Quake 4, Unreal Series, Sims, The Playboy Mansion, and that Singles game -- trying to find how it will change them, or their kids (in their own words) into perverted psychopaths.

#18 The iMac Man

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 12:26 PM

Eric5h5, on October 10th 2005, 11:04 PM, said:

There's an amazing invention called a "brassiere" that you apparently haven't heard about.  I guess women in video games don't wear them.  Might want to meet some real live women sometime.  ;)

--Eric

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Women's boobs bounce while in bras too... maybe YOU might want to meet some real live women sometime.   :glare:
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#19 the Battle Cat

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 01:50 PM

The iMac Man, on October 11th 2005, 10:26 AM, said:

Eric5h5 @ October 10th 2005, on 11:04 PM, said:

There's an amazing invention called a "brassiere" that you apparently haven't heard about.  I guess women in video games don't wear them.  Might want to meet some real live women sometime. 

--Eric
Women's boobs bounce while in bras too... maybe YOU might want to meet some real live women sometime.   :glare:

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Hmmmm... I think this calls for an in-depth investigation.  I think I'll renounce my vow to never volunteer... just this once... and look into this for you boys and return with a full report that will settle this important and profound debate.  Don't never say I never done did nothing fer ya.
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#20 The iMac Man

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Posted 11 October 2005 - 01:55 PM

the Battle Cat, on October 11th 2005, 02:50 PM, said:

Hmmmm... I think this calls for an in-depth investigation.  I think I'll renounce my vow to never volunteer... just this once... and look into this for you boys and return with a full report that will settle this important and profound debate.  Don't never say I never done did nothing fer ya.

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Hey man, I do this stuff for a living... why do you think I know so much about boob physics!?   :P

But, if you insist I do a second pass on the research, I'd be more than willing.   :wub:  :thumbsup:
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