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How far can we go before having trouble ?


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#1 Titan.   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 07:08 AM

Hi,

Since I have a sick and twisted mind, I'm wondering how far can we go before having trouble with "not-nice-things" in games ?

 

some examples:

- Have an extremely racist main character ?

- Play a terrorist that try to drop a bomb in a public place ? (with score based on victims number)

- Play a kid doing a bloodbath in its school ?

- Show naked children ? (not in a sexual context)

- A torture&murder simulation game ? with rape ?

 

and if we overstep the line, is there any risk beyond interdiction to sell in some countries (which would be a nice advertising^^) ?

 

Edit: I'm from France, but I guess it's more or less the same in most of the Europe and north America countries ?


Edited by Titan., 18 July 2013 - 08:01 AM.


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#2 SimonForsman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 5986

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 07:18 AM

Hi,

Since I have a sick and twisted mind, I'm wondering how far we can go before having trouble with "not-nice-things" in games ?

 

some examples:

- Have an extremely racist main character ?

- Play a terrorist that try to drop a bomb in a public place (with score based on victims number) ?

- Play a kid doing a bloodbath in it's school ?

- Show naked children ? (not in a sexual context)

- A torture&murder simulation game ? with rape ?

 

and if we overstep the line, is there any risk beyond interdiction to sell in some countries (which would be a nice advertising^^) ?

 

It depends on where you live, in some countries(even democratic ones) freedom of speech/expression is restricted and you can actually get fined or even jailed if you go too far, normally you don't have to worry about the laws of other countries unless you plan on selling your game there.

 

Edit: Since you're from france, no its not the same in most european countries, it actually varies quite alot between them. Especially when it comes to things like hate speech, or portraying certain historical events.

 

from wikipedia (This part applies to france):


LAW No 90-615 to repress acts of racism, anti-semitism and xenophobia (1990)

MODIFICATIONS OF THE LAW OF JULY 29, 1881 ON THE FREEDOM OF THE PRESS Art 8. - Article 24 of the Law on the Freedom of the Press of 29 July 1881 is supplemented by the following provisions: In the event of judgment for one of the facts envisaged by the preceding subparagraph, the court will be able moreover to order: Except when the responsibility for the author of the infringement is retained on the base for article 42 and the first subparagraph for article 43 for this law or the first three subparagraphs for article 93-3 for the law No 82-652 for July 29, 1982 on the audio-visual communication, the deprivation of the rights enumerated to the 2o and 3o of article 42 of the penal code for imprisonment of five years maximum;

Art 9. – As an amendment to Article 24 of the law of July 29, 1881 on the freedom of the press, article 24 (a) is as follows written: <<Art. 24 (a). - those who have disputed the existence of one or more crimes against humanity such as they are defined by Article 6 of the statute of the international tribunal military annexed in the agreement of London of August 8, 1945 and which were a carried out either by the members of an organization declared criminal pursuant to Article 9 of the aforementioned statute, or by a person found guilty such crimes by a French or international jurisdiction shall be punished by one month to one years imprisonment or a fine.

Art 13. - It is inserted, after article 48-1 of the law of July 29, 1881 on the freedom of the press, article 48-2 thus written: <<Art. 48-2. - publication or publicly expressed opinion encouraging those to whom it is addressed to pass a favourable moral judgment on one or more crimes against humanity and tending to justify these crimes (including collaboration) or vindicate their perpetrators shall be punished by one to five years imprisonment or a fine.[23]


Edited by SimonForsman, 19 July 2013 - 02:49 AM.

I don't suffer from insanity, I'm enjoying every minute of it.
The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas!

#3 Tom Sloper   Moderators   -  Reputation: 9214

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 01:31 PM


how far can we go before having trouble with "not-nice-things" in games ?

 

It depends.

It depends on how you define "trouble," and how you define "distance."

You've already defined "not-nice-things."

 

The publication Rolling Stone just got in "trouble" by putting the Boston Marathon bomber on its cover. 

The Boston Marathon bomber is in "trouble" for blowing up people.  

 

So there are different degrees of "trouble."  I suppose you very much want to avoid the sort of trouble Tsernaev is in. But maybe you'd regard being in the sort of trouble Rolling Stone is in as an opportunity (under the "there is no such thing as bad press" school of thought).  How much "trouble" can you withstand?

 

As for "how far you can go," you have to decide that.  How high is your risk tolerance?  If it's not very high, then don't go far into risky territory.


-- Tom Sloper
Sloperama Productions
Making games fun and getting them done.
www.sloperama.com

Please do not PM me. My email address is easy to find, but note that I do not give private advice.

#4 MarkS   Prime Members   -  Reputation: 880

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Posted 18 July 2013 - 02:25 PM

I think the better question would be: "How long before these issues become acceptable?"

 

I once heard that there was a Chinese emperor that would travel throughout him empire and listen to the music produce by the people in the various provinces. He thinking was (quite wisely) that the quality of the music showed the health of the province.

 

This is very true and applies today. The state and health of a people can be linked to their media (music, games, theater, movies, art, etc.). If you look at acceptable media in the U.S. over the past century, you can see a steady progression in what is defined as acceptable. Movies and games now are filled with gratuitous sex, violence and profanity. The increase seems to be growing exponentially. There was a time in my lifetime where horror movies, for example, were all low budget crap with B-list actors. Now they are high budget, mainstream films with A-list actors and make the studios tons of cash. There is a growing list of mainstream movies with unsimulated sex scenes with mainstream actors. These movies are not intended as porn. We here are all well aware of the growth of violent and perverse video games.

 

My thought is that the list you gave will happen, as society's tolerance grows as we allow ourselves to be desensitized to these issues. It *WILL* happen, the question simply becomes when.



#5 jbadams   Senior Staff   -  Reputation: 17771

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 02:16 AM


I'm wondering how far can we go before having trouble with "not-nice-things" in games ?

Assuming -- based on the fact that you introduced yourself as having "a sick and twisted mind" -- that you wouldn't censor yourself for ethical or moral reasons, there are three main limiting factors that might impact how far you can push things and what sort of "trouble" you might attract:

  1. Legal restrictions.  Certain types of content are either outright illegal, or are tightly controlled.  Depending on the type of content you might risk fines or jail time, you might find yourself unable to sell an uncensored version of your product, or you may be required to comply with strict licencing terms.  You will need to obey your local laws, and potentially laws in any place your game might be distributed.
  2. Offensive content may appeal to a smaller niche audience and may be a turn off the mainstream.  This may limit the potential income of your product, and unless you're willing to make a loss will therefore also limit how much you can spend on developing the product.
  3. Sufficiently offensive content -- where sufficiently is completely arbitrary depending on the audience -- may also result in offended parties taking you to court or attempting to disrupt sale of your product.  This may result in legal expenses and may result in distributors that are legally allowed to carry your product may still choose not to do so if they feel it would cause customers to boycott.

As Tom says above, it's all about exactly how much risk you're willing to take and what sort of "trouble" you consider to be a deterrent.


Edited by jbadams, 19 July 2013 - 02:30 AM.


#6 Olof Hedman   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2719

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 03:00 AM

Several of those games are already made...

 

1. Ethnic Clensing - racist

2. Massive Mayhem - suicide bomber game

3. Columbine Game - kids shooting at school

 

There probably is some game with naked kids and rape too. (torture and murder, well, that's quite a big chunk of games really...)

 

I guess the trouble you could get into is lots of media cover (not really that bad?), some outlets refusing to sell your game (you can always sell it yourself) and maybe some guys picketing in your front yard, and sending you nasty letters.


Edited by Olof Hedman, 19 July 2013 - 03:04 AM.


#7 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4660

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 05:22 AM

All in all, I'd say it is already easy enough to get in trouble if you don't actively try how far you can go.

 

 

Have an extremely racist main character?

You might get away with that if you have a very good explanation, but it's risky to say the least. Not advisable in any case.

 

When Samuel Clemens referred to Jim as a good guy although he is only a nigger, this raised a lot of controversy. And that was over a hundred years ago, at a time when people were not nearly as sensitive to that kind of thing as they are now, and Clemens had a "kind of believeable" explanation.

If you plan for open racism in the protagonist (not in the antagonist), best prepare for a lot of hate mail, and plan for interdiction and criminal prosecution.
 

Show naked children

A naked child (as, for example, on the beach) is a pretty normal thing in Europe (at least it used to be), but a serious affront (close to a capital crime) in the USA or some other places. I would still be careful because Europe is more and more going bigot, too.
 

kid doing a bloodbath in its school
torture & murder simulation game ? with rape ?
play a terrorist that try to drop a bomb

Almost guaranteed to get you on "The Index" in Germany, interdicted in the USA, plus death threat letters from both rape victims and soccermoms and religious people. Most likely to get 18+ ratings in all other places. And, it's almost impossible to talk yourself out of the situation afterwards.

Also note, that quite possibly the police might have a close eye on you after that. Because, hey, you're obviously a pervert, potentially dangerous, aggressive, and a terrorist who is planning to drop a bomb. And you're encouraging others to do it, too.

 

And hopefully nobody re-plays your school massacre in real life, or you might be held liable for giving them a detailled how-to and a virtual training ground.

I remember some imbecile called Microsoft Flight Simulator a terrorist tool back in 2001 (though I can't remember who did). Because allegedly, the alleged arabs who flew those airplanes into the buildings used MS Flight Simulator to train (since they died and burned to ashes in the crash and could not be questioned, I wonder how we can be so sure about all that, but... anyway).

Calling Flight Simulator a terrorist tool is of course total bollocks, but if you make a game about doing a massacre in a school, and someone really does this afterwards, it is a quite different situation, and it is very conceivable that you'll be held liable.

 

I'm from France

Well, as you know, even France isn't what it used to be. As the Conseil Général put it only two weeks ago, they agree with Charente-Maritime's vice-president that attractive young women wearing bikinis are "bad taste".

Luckily they've agreed to gay marriage, now that Marianne isn't allowed to show her breasts -- even wearing a bikini -- any more.


Edited by samoth, 19 July 2013 - 05:24 AM.


#8 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7149

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Posted 19 July 2013 - 07:32 AM

First off, wikileaks...

If what you do displeases somebody, you're exposing yourself to a hate campaign, and do mind the fact that though your game might show naked children (not in sexual positions), a slander campaign can really come a long way in the people's imaginations.

First, the "Naked Children (not in sexual positions)" will become "naked children"

Then, they'll staple your "sick and twisted mind" which you've said yourself, and put it next to "naked children"

Then, they'll say "sick and twisted mind" + "having trouble" + "not nice things" + "naked children" and may even tie it with terrorism.

 

I don't think the problem is as much what you show, as how it is interpreted by your public. A strong medium can really make short work of you, and once a hate campaign of this magnitude hits you, legal suspicions might arise, and your life may become inspected. At this stage, they may use whatever incriminating evidence they have, whether its related or not, to discredit, and potentially harm you.

 

Obviously, this will only happen if what you do is considered sufficiently bad by a sufficiently large and/or powerful community.



#9 Titan.   Members   -  Reputation: 159

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 04:06 AM

Thanks for the advices

 

@samoth I was more thinking about it in the torture game than on a bitch smile.png

 you're exposing yourself to a hate campaign

That's exactly the point: get known, even if it don't sell much, people will have a eye on the next games "look, the guy who did the bloodbath game is making a pokemon like game blink.png"

 

I thing you are right about racism guys, it's less trouble to cut someone in pieces than tell him he is a monkey, but a torture game sound wonderful, I don't thing there is any law for gore and violent or there wouldn't be any game outside, it's just pushing things a little forward. If it's well done with a lot of soft bodies and fluid simulation and some search on the subject, it could even be defended as a serious game about anatomy, I guess...


Edited by Titan., 24 July 2013 - 09:20 AM.


#10 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7149

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 12:44 PM

Would you say "Punisher" has received a lot of attention because of its theme and scenes of torture?



#11 samoth   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 4660

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 04:30 PM

Would you say "Punisher" has received a lot of attention because of its theme and scenes of torture?

 

I'd be inclined to say this is somewhat different. The "Punisher" movie is built around the old "they killed my <insert name>" trope. The video game is a typical "shoot the bad guys" game, essentially not much different from Wolfenstein. Yes, there is tortue in it, but it's not what the game is mainly about. It's probably the reason why there is a big "M" on the shrinkwrap, though. Yes, you shoot people in that game, but they're the "bad guys". Just like the bad guys you shoot in pretty much every game.

 

Now, a "murder game with torture and rape" is somewhat of a different thing. There's no "the bad guys deserve it" element in raping someone. So, the only attention you can really draw from that is a negative one.



#12 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7149

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Posted 20 July 2013 - 05:22 PM

To my point though, I doubt even that kind of publicity wouldn't help selling that kind of product.




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