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Is this suitable for young people?


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#1 Wooh   Members   -  Reputation: 592

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 09:05 AM

I'm planning a game that I want to be suitable for most ages. Small children will probably find it hard because it requires reading and writing skills but it shouldn't be unsuitable for other reasons.

Is it ok if the player can cause the death of a person in the game? It is not obvious that the person will die later from eating the poisonous mushroom. There will be no death scenes or anything, just some gossip mentions it later. Is it different to cause the death of an animal, like a fish?

What about inappropriate language? The user can enter whatever words he wants, so is it wrong to respond to inappropriate language? If the user calls some person "nigger" is it ok to assume it is the the dark skinned person he is talking about? Or should it just give the default error message because it can't understand the word? If the user ask for sex. Is it ok to give the respond "I'm no prostitute, you sick pervert!"?

If I'm going to handle these kind of words I have to store them in a file. Should I just assume young people don't look inside the data files?

This will be a non-commercial game so I'm not that concerned about PEGI and stuff like that. I'm more concerned about the what is moral thing to do and what minimum age group I'm heading for.

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#2 JustinDaniel   Members   -  Reputation: 137

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 09:41 AM

What about inappropriate language? The user can enter whatever words he wants, so is it wrong to respond to inappropriate language? If the user calls some person "nigger" is it ok to assume it is the the dark skinned person he is talking about? Or should it just give the default error message because it can't understand the word? If the user ask for sex. Is it ok to give the respond "I'm no prostitute, you sick pervert!"?


It depends, if you concern about kids that's too offensive for them, anyways if a kid wants sex why would he playing your game?
Just store some answer like "Go home kid" and when the user inputs some inappropriate question just pop out that answer

Q: I want sex!
A: Go home kid.

Something like that, try to keep your game neat and clean, try not to add profanity.
And i guess "nigger"
would be too offensive for some people, don't be a racist!

#3 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 18095

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 10:29 AM

Death in Paper Mario... not just death, but murder most foul.
Granted, it turns out later that the guy isn't dead. But that's later... the player of this (awesome) family-friendly child game is led to believe that the mayor was murdered, his wife grieving, and the murderer still at large.

As for the 'sex' input command, I think that would be fine as long as the player brings up the topic and not the game itself (and ofcourse, that regardless of the player's input, the NPCs don't satisfy the request). As for racism, unless it fits into the plot of the game, I'd steer clear of it. If it does fit into the plot of the game, I'd make sure it's very clear that the game itself doesn't promote racism, just that some characters in the game are racist. Even if it does fit into the game's plot, I'd still steer clear of the super-offensive words like 'nigger', and use less-offensive racist slurs or even create new racist slurs for your game.
Even better if your game contains a race that isn't a real-life race, so you can be as offensive as you like to satisfy the drivings of the game plot, without worrying about offending real-life people groups. For example, if your game contains tiger-people or alien species, you can be as racist as you like as long as those races don't depict real races.

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#4 stormwarestudios   Members   -  Reputation: 215

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 02:44 PM

With regard to themes in games, as a parent, death and sex are not ones I would want my child to encounter in a computer game until I was certain they were topics that could be handled. These are things that can be touchy subjects, and without parental guidance, some subject matter can be misconstrued by the child, or represented (by the developer) in a fashion that is considered irresponsible by the parent.

It is better to simply not respond to words whose intended usage are of dubious morality or questionable purpose. If they add value to the game (e.g. think of a serious "police quest" adventure game which deals with things like rape, larceny, or murder) then it's fine, as long as you are voluntarily rating the game appropriate to the country in which it is released.

#5 ill   Members   -  Reputation: 320

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 08:56 PM

I did some research on violence in video games for a computer science ethics class I was required to take.

It also depends on how old the children are which I'm not sure about in this post. If it's something like 2nd graders I'd say don't worry about anything. I used to play Doom and Quake when I was little (which is why I think the whole Don't let children play violent games or watch rated R movies is complete bullshit). I do remember being a little scared by the idea of death when I was about 5 or whatever age that was. It's all a blur if you know what I mean. I also used to watch movies like Terminator, Robocop, The Thing, and Aliens back then too and am not scarred in any way. In fact I think it's basically the reason I'm in to scifi now. Watching those movies didn't make me think about death. I just liked the awesome sci fi action. It was the more serious movies that weren't very violent but dealt with death that struck me harder as a very young child.

From the scientific stand point the strongest idea I have is that there's a third person effect. People think other people will be damaged in some way from seeing content that they themselves saw. This is what causes censorship. For example a 15 year old brother will think his younger 13 year old brother shouldn't play Grand Theft Auto because it's so violent. The 15 year old will play it just fine. On the other hand some parent or politician will think the 15 year old should not be playing Grand Theft Auto until they are 18 years old and slap on a rated M rating because it will turn the 15 year old in to a raging murderer. That younger 13 year old will probably play Grand Theft Auto anyway by sneaking down stairs at night and think that his even younger 10 year old brother shouldn't play it for the same reasons.

Another example is some politician thinks pornography should be banned because it damages society. Does it? I didn't really do my research in that area but I don't think so...

In reality, no one is really damaged by Grand Theft Auto. Even young children understand that the game is completely fake and would never attempt to do something like this in real life. Any aggressive behavior that is found is short term. Contact sports like football aren't banned and they cause the same aggressive short term behavior.

Basically I think that if someone is more or less in elementary school they can take anything. I'm going from personal experience of not growing up with parents who sheltered me, and from the research I did for the ethics class I had to take. The only thing you need to watch out for is parents who see their children playing a game where they can say nigger and get pissed off that you made such a game. The child playing will probably just think it's hilarious because the game recognizes a swear word. It won't turn them in to a racist bigot or anything like that unless they already are. Try to put yourself in the child's shoes and remember how you used to think. It might be a bit hard if you yourself were sheltered though...

I wouldn't exactly let them use the word nigger or anything. I'd recognize it and say something like, "hey, that's not nice!!!" I know I'd get a real kick out of that if I was some 10 year old typing in random cuss words. I'd type in as many cuss words as I can think of to see what happens, then move on and play the rest of the game.




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