Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

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Prof Mango B Coconut
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Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by Prof Mango B Coconut » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:12 pm

Ah, the old moral panic concerning video games. They always seem to follow the same pattern: journalists for the Mail (or similarly crappy outfit) jump on some story, find some tenuous link to video games, get some quote from a clueless fuddy-duddy politician who doesn't even know what video games are, let alone ever played one, let the story simmer for a bit AND WHAMMO - video games are the work of the devil (or similarly made-up bogey man) and corrupting everyone!

I have two particular favourites:

Night Trap - the blustering around this one was simply superb.
Carmageddon - BAN IT! BAN IT!

Even after the establishment of age ratings, the press still can't leave the subject alone. I'm looking at you, Keith Vaz.

Anyway, does anybody else have any favourite "outrages"?
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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by samhain81 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:14 pm

Probably the whole Thrill Kill/ Manhunt higgildy piggildy

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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by DPrinny » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:16 pm

GTA, made my son into a killer

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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by Rayne » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:20 pm

My fave outrage was over the discovery of the Japanese PC game Rape Lay.

A game where you basically hunt down and repeatedly rape anime characters? You're damn right that's borderline obscene, well deserving of public outrage.

What amused me was the sudden assertion that the MAJORITY of video games featured graphic rape. :?
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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by Antiriad2097 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:52 pm

Rayne wrote:well deserving of public outrage.
Why?

It may be morally dubious, but from an artistic/experiential view it could be interesting. Compare it to the spate of body horror movies if you will. They offer no worthwhile story, they are akin to a funfair ride where you experience fear and revulsion. There's no reason why games can't also be in that arena. 'public outrage' about it merely reinforces the (incorrect) view that games will turn us all into murderers since we kill people all the time in them.
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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by Hiro » Sun Sep 01, 2013 3:42 pm

Rule of Rose. Most people ranting about it didn't even know what they were talking about. Mediocre game at best, by the way.
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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by killbot » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:07 pm

Antiriad2097 wrote:
Rayne wrote:well deserving of public outrage.
Why?

It may be morally dubious, but from an artistic/experiential view it could be interesting. Compare it to the spate of body horror movies if you will. They offer no worthwhile story, they are akin to a funfair ride where you experience fear and revulsion. There's no reason why games can't also be in that arena. 'public outrage' about it merely reinforces the (incorrect) view that games will turn us all into murderers since we kill people all the time in them.
I think rape is a viable topic to be explored artistically, even in the form of videogames. But you have to be extraordinarily careful in how your present it in order to ensure that you're not seen to be using an emotive, upsetting subject as a basis for cheap titilation.

Unlike alien invasions or zombie attacks - which are fictional scenarios and therefore allow the imaginations of writers and designers to run riot - rape is a real thing that affects a lot of people and causes a lot of hurt and distress. That doesn't mean it's off limits for game designers but you can't just go about it like a bull in a china shop wilfully causing offence. Well, you can but it would be an outrageously irresponsible and morally disgusting thing to do.

The problem - as ever - isn't that videogames aren't a viable form of artistic expression, it's that many (not all) of the people who make and play them aren't fully equipped with the emotional maturity or the appreciation of artistic values necessary to be able to handle these things properly. Seeing game designers discussing the depiction of rape reminds me of a child playing with a lump of gelignite - they really have very little idea of how explosive it is and how it can cause irreprable harm to not only their reputation but that of the games industry as a whole.

I think the issue lies where the 'game' part of a game intersects with the 'story' side. Often game designers are more in love with the 'game' side, with the mechanics and routines which control how we play. The plot that holds it together is often constructed as an afterthought by writers who are far from Hollywood grade (putting it nicely) and who can't handle issues like race and sexual violence as skillfully as (for want of a better word) better writers in different mediums.

The solution? Hire better writers.
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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by DoraemonTheCat » Sun Sep 01, 2013 6:36 pm

The most legendary -

The in-famous senate hearings based on Mortal Kombat and Night Trap.

Great piece of history here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwIfnS1ewgQ

A young, pressurised looking Howard Lincoln (NoA President) and a kick ass senate Herbet Kohl generally stating how serious this was (at the time) cue the line - "This is a really serious problem here, this is not a dog and pony show"

Those quotes would best be suited to an alien invasion.

And they get funnier (it's a very long hearing).

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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by Liamh1982 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 2:35 am

Hot Coffee - the fact it seemed totally lost on the press that the game had to be patched to access it, you couldn't just buy it and get straight down to it.

And let's face it, having sex is far from the most offensive thing you can do in a GTA game. I think the tabloids already know that...

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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by skylarking » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:47 am

The ridiculous fuss about the "sex scenes" in the original Mass Effect. Most of the alleged "offensive content" was completely made up.
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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by joefish » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:38 am

Liamh1982 wrote:Hot Coffee - the fact it seemed totally lost on the press that the game had to be patched to access it, you couldn't just buy it and get straight down to it.
And let's face it, having sex is far from the most offensive thing you can do in a GTA game. I think the tabloids already know that...
It was a typically American outrage - that sexual scenes may have appeared at some point amongst all the healthy gun-based violence.
And yet the law wouldn't prohibit sale to minors because it would inhibit the 'free speech' rights of the publishers.

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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by joefish » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:51 am

The classic British one was about Manhunt:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manhunt_%28video_game%29

In 2004 a 14-year-old was murdered by a 17-year-old, and the victim's parents claimed it was a copycat murder from a scene in the 18-rated game Manhunt. The facts of the case, as re-asserted by the police, were that the motive for the murder was robbery, and that the copy of the game in question had been found in the victim's room, not the killer's. So, the mother of the victim who was protesting so loudly about the bad influence of the game and how a change in the law was needed to ban it had been letting her 14-year-old son play an 18-rated game where he went around murdering people.

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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by koopa42 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 6:23 am

Rape in games? Hmmmmmm not for me thanks, I think that's a little too far, would you agree with child abuse too then? if it's done carefully? No, its very wrong un. I'm guessing your arguement about 'artistic' is based on the fact we have films/TV/books based on these themes?

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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by joefish » Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:29 am

koopa42 wrote:Rape in games? Hmmmmmm not for me thanks, I think that's a little too far, would you agree with child abuse too then? if it's done carefully? No, its very wrong un. I'm guessing your arguement about 'artistic' is based on the fact we have films/TV/books based on these themes?
The irony to the moral outrage is, of course, which attracts the longer prison sentence - child abuse, rape, violent consensual sexual acts, or murder? Now consider that on top of that we have laws that make posession of even completely artificial depictions of the first three of those acts a crime, yet not images of murder.

Plus that particular game was exclusively Japanese and never released anywhere else. It's not like you could realistically prohibit the sale of a game which could only be obtained by illegal means. But of course, a columnist can always associate it with any other game you care to name in the minds of an ignorant public.

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Re: Favourite video game "Moral Panics"

Post by ToxieDogg » Mon Sep 02, 2013 10:13 am

Liamh1982 wrote:Hot Coffee - the fact it seemed totally lost on the press that the game had to be patched to access it, you couldn't just buy it and get straight down to it.

And let's face it, having sex is far from the most offensive thing you can do in a GTA game. I think the tabloids already know that...
What makes that even more laughable is that other games have featured characters having sex and the tabloids haven't batted an eyelid. The original God Of War allows Kratos to have sex (even turns it into a QTE minigame :lol: ) and more recently in Saints Row 4, you can attempt to have sex with anybody in your gang regardless of gender....OK, the actual act itself isn't shown in either of those games but it's as clear as hell what's going on when the screen fades to black or the camera angle shifts to the side.

Jak X Racing on the PS2 actually made a joke about it, by having an unlockable 'Hot Coffee' mode, which just showed Jak & Daxter sitting at a table drinking cups of coffee (Daxter looks at the camera and says 'Where you expecting something else?' :lol: )
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