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Controversy: A good or bad thing?

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Alright, I have an idea for a game, but I''m not a liberty to share at this moment (not that i dont trust ya''ll Anyways, the story to the game, if it ever got published, would be highly controversal. I mean VERY controversal, I guarantee. It would call out many issues that are affecting the world today, and show both the very good and very bad side of both. On top of that the game would have very realistic, graphic violence - I''m trying to make the game as realistic as possible, and in the real world bullets are nasty. It would also contain strong language. Anyways, my question is this: Does controversy help or hurt a game? Give me your thoughts on this, please. Thanks!!

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I think it will all depend upon whether your controversial elements are gratuitous or poignant. Just enough tweaking of peoples comfort levels is often regarded as artistic and edgy. If it seems heaped into the game with no sensible purpose, it will be regarded as trashy and without merit.

I think the rule of thumb is dont include anything unless it has a point. A lot of angry teens do things just because they want to flaunt the rules by doing gross or lude things in public and feeling justified because they have supposedly exposed something about life...but artists do it one better by doing less. A book may be deemed controversial by simply being a normal book with a single, key, controversial element(racism, for instance) that ties in HEAVILY with the point of the book, ie tom sawyer.

I'll toss one other example: Decades ago, the first movie to ever deal with interracial relationships was "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner." It starred some of the biggest actors of the day(people the public were comfortable with), and everybody within the movie was uncontroversial by themselves..no drug addicts, no wife beaters, just doctors and business men: normal people on both sides of the equation..it just so happened that there was a single controversial element that ran the entire movie- a Anglo-saxon girl and an african american male getting married. It blew minds and upset people, but it was 'normal' enough to be respected while the audience mulled it all over.

So, I guess my thought is to not just include something because it is shocking and contrary to the norm, but have purpose in every controversial element...and if you don't just throw it all at once on the audience, they will cope. Dropping them into a bloodbath, however, may shock people too harshly.

[edited by - krikkit on May 3, 2002 12:58:49 AM]

[edited by - krikkit on May 4, 2002 1:00:29 AM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I think its a good thing. Look at Grand Theft Auto, Duke Nukem, Quake, and games that are based on being a gangster etc... Many of the games arent really that great but sell copies just because people have said its awful and should be banned. The mere fact that people want to ban the game, helps it sell. The Catholic Church learned that the hard way too a long time ago, any book they put on their black list instantly became a popular must have book.
If your idea is really drastic and ''evil'' the best thing you could hope for is to get on the news as one of those "games your kids shouldnt be playing."

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I fully agree with what your saying. The game''s violence really won''t be the controversal factor of the game. The controversal factor will be the story, dealing heavily with hot button topics. I decided to go ahead and make the violence very realistic because the game takes place in a very real world with very real problems, and I felt that telling a story such as this and then toning down the realism just to appease the soccer moms and politicians of the world would not do the players of the game justice. So therefore I wont drop them into a blood bath just so that I can make a sell to the angry teenagers of the world who feel the need to blow peoples heads off in games. The violence will serve a point: hopefully to make people realize that the world is in fact messed up, and that all this stylized violence you see in other games is not reality.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Is this an Al Qaeda fps? Perhaps a Palestine vs. Israel rts?

This looks like a job for me/So everybody just follow me/cause we need a little controversy/cause it feels so empty without me

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Nah, it doesnt deal with that per say. Alright, I guess i need to explain a little bit about the game then. Look, the game is set in the future, about 30 years. America is on the verge of another civil war do to the civil unrest that has came across the country over genetic reseach and horribly strict restrictions on rights to the after affect of the war on terrorism. You play as a group of people, alternating roles, as they try to stop a terrorist organization that is threatening the Times Square New year''s celebration. The first half of the game plays as a mix of forward happening events in new york, with scenes going back in time to explain how everyone got to the point that they are now. Then the game gets crazy after certain events about halfway throught the game start happening.

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alright, btw, before everyone jumps my ass for using NY in the game, please remember that firstyl it is set in the future, way after all the stuff that has happen there lately. Secondly, i picked new york on purpose, because using a place with that history attached to it now will really help people understand the political statements that the game is trying to make. Im trying to make different statements in the game, but im not going to force feed them to you. Im trying to make a future that I see can easily happen, and then let you make up your own opinions on the subject discussed.

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and ppl wonder why you cant use other places in the usa where terriosts ahve attaxck. heh. use ny, as it really wont matter if its done tastfully. dont exgerrate too much, and dont show things like ppl falling out of buildings. while realistic, it is not required to get teh point across. in fact a mere image of the twin towers ablaze on a front page of a newspaper within the game woudl be enough. the key is moderation. dont do things for the sake of it. strong langauge and profainity are not always required, and in fact you can show quite a bit of emption wthout profanity. same with graphic violence. amking everythgin realistic wont make a fun game. leave political statments to print, music, and tv/movies. games dont work well with that because you need to have ppl enjoy them gameplay and not be caring about something controversal. show the usa in turmoil in the future, just remeber, its vouge to have usa pride, so your game wont do very well.

so i am guessing a aingle bullet wound means the player is dead eh? (loss of blood).

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Just try to understand the line where controversial ends and gratuity starts. If you''re looking to be artistic, you don''t neccessarily need blood guts gore gib death violence evil, you could probably get away with a red colored gassy explosion like back in the PSX Tekken games, and just having the bodies drop and fade away after a moment. Bear in mind you''re trying to make a political speech and you don''t want it being masked by all of the chaos going on.

As for the difficulty of one bullet being a potential killer, this may be a good idea, if you give the player way more than adequate ways to fight, rather then throwing them into a typical FPS battle situation. What I mean is, they need serious cover, like being able to hind behind a car door that is adjar, and everybody has to have less than perfect aim, so much so that its difficult for the player and the AI to score a hit. This way, the player has a fighting chance.

-> Will Bubel
-> Machine wash cold, tumble dry.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
As long as you don''t exagerate the violence, I think it is a good thing. You''re actually showing the results of violence, rather than glossing it over and showing none of the consequences.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I can agree with both inmate and the anoynmous guy. On one hand, graphic violence wil possible distract, but on the other it will show the real affects of violence. However, the story itself does get rather dark at times (however, there will be more light hearted stuff thrown in, or itll end up being one of thoes sickenly depressing games) and a big portion of the game is showing cause and affect; therefore, i think showing the cause and affect of the violence can hit home with people. Games like SOF dont have realistic violence; its all glossy and wrapped in pretty packaging. I *think* if you show violence more on the level of something like Saving Private Ryan (even though it is a movie) it can click in peoples mind that violence is not cool and glossy. Oh, BTW, the guy who talked about using it tastefully: trust me, I will. While im willing to be ballsy and controversal, I also need there are some things that I need to do to draw the line. There wont be any pics of the Twin Towers, there will be no buildings collapsing, etc. And as for profanity, i figure it as this: It''s just uncalled for to use the f-word every other word, but when your on a battle field or in the middle or some hostage crises or whatever, what comes out of your mouth is not where your mind is at that moment.

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Thats my post above. Sorry, server must''ve screwed up or something. Anyways, since the whole message board has been about violence and stuff, I''m also slightly interested in knowing what yall think about my idea. I know yall dont konw hardly anything about the story, but how does the idea of a game based on the idea of American about to break out into another civil war sound??? I appreciate any input!!

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I don''t honestly understand how America can break into another civil war. Just saying a civil war happens is one thing, actually backing it up with legitimate historical elements is another thing. The way America currently is is that they''re so damn comfortable in their shiny cars and big houses that they forget that they might potentially have IDEALS to fight for.

Frankly, the only way I could see an interior conflict arise inside America is if the workers united and rebelled. I don''t think we would ever get that lucky, though. Americans are trained to believe anything with the name Karl Marx on it is bad.

Anyway, I guess that''s the point of the game, though. Actually seeing what the elements were that initiated it. Well, good luck.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Are you asking whether controversy is good in terms of marketing a game or in terms of playing a game?

In the case of the former, controversy is good, it will help the game get noticed. In the case of the later, controversy in and of itself is irrelevant to whether your game is good or bad (to play).

Joe Ward

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