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 Offsite Article: The Daily Mail recommends...Hatred...


Link Here 21st December 2014  full story: Hatred...Computer game sets out to wind up the easily offended
hatred Is this the most sickening computer game ever? Or at least since the Daily Mail's previous 'most sickening game ever'?

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 Updated: Voted Off...

Hatred video game banned from Steam Greenlight


Link Here 18th December 2014  full story: Hatred...Computer game sets out to wind up the easily offended
hatred The controversy seeking violent shooter Hatred appeared on Steam Greenlight seeking gamers support for future inclusion on the game distribution service. Not long after, it was yanked by Valve who run the games distribution service. The company commented:

Based on what we've seen on Greenlight we would not publish Hatred on Steam. As such we'll be taking it down.

The Destructive Creations Team responded in a statement:

As you know today we've launched our Steam Greenlight campaign for Hatred. Unfortunately after couple of hours Steam shut it down.

Even though games like Manhunt or Postal are still available on Steam we of course fully respect Valve's decision, as they have right to do so. In the same time we want to assure you that this won't in any way impact the game development, game's vision or gameplay features we're aiming for. The game is still to be released in Q2 2015 as planned.

Moreover we don't treat this as a failure because yet again this showed us a huge community support we're totally overwhelmed with. After only a couple of hours Greenlight campaign being live, Hatred gathered 13,148 up votes and ended up on a #7 on top 100 list. This is the best proof for us that there are diehard Hatred fans out there waiting for this game to be released.

Voted On

18th December 2014. See  article from  gamepolitics.com

Valve has decided to reinstate Creative Destruction's controversial game Hatred on Steam Greenlight. We don't know why, but it's probably not a bad thing. Greenlight is supposed to be about the community picking and choosing what games get approved - not Valve.

Valve's founder Gabe Newell said:

Yesterday I heard that we were taking Hatred down from Greenlight. Since I wasn't up to speed, I asked around internally to find out why we had done that. It turns out that it wasn't a good decision, and we'll be putting Hatred back up. My apologies to you and your team. Steam is about creating tools for content creators and customers.

 

 Update: Passport to Censorship...

Apple change their mind on the censorship of a game with trivial nudity depicting an airport security scan


Link Here 15th December 2014  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone
papers, please Apple's iOS version of the border-guard simulator Papers, Please was set to have been released with bits cut out at the behest of Apple.

Games developer Lucas Pope planned to release Papers, Please on iOS but without the feature that shows immigrants completely nude during the security scan. That's because Apple rejected the app when Pope originally submitted it, and the company explained it was because it is pornographic.

Apple is now stepping back from that classification, according to Pope, with Apple claiming that rejection for porn was a misunderstanding on their part. Apple suggested that the game should be resubmitted complete with the nudity option.

While this is a win for Pope, Apple's control over its closed system will likely continue to trouble other developers. A freelance games designer, Tadhg Kelly wrote an open letter to Tim Cook of Apple on this subject of censorship:

Tim,

I'm a huge fan of Apple's products including my new iPhone 6 Plus. It's gorgeous. I'm even more of a fan of what Apple has done for games in the last half decade. Prior to the App Store, selling games to the mass market was an expensive and difficult mess of approvals by powers-that-be, often at massive disadvantage to the game maker. Apple opened that closed shop, which in turn spawned multiple revolutions. It led to many new kinds of game, new powers, new economics for games and a whole raft of other innovations.

I bring these examples up to frame my appreciation and disappointment appropriately. I think you're doing an incredible job but there is one area in which you're letting me down badly: Censorship.

Movies might get age certificates and music might get stickers warning of offensive lyrics, but they don't get banned. They used to. From the early days of pulping books like Ulysses through to the Comics Code and video nasties , every medium has had to face allegations of offense or indecency. Every one has had to make the case that their material is worthy of being treated as free expression. And -- thankfully -- they've all won. Except games.

Game developers are regularly treated as second class media citizens. It was only in 2011, 40 years after their creation, that video games were finally declared to be a protected form of free speech by the Supreme Court. Throughout the history of the industry we have had self-policing, legal suppression, publisher, platform and retailer demands for creative changes to games based on censorship. Some are ridiculous (bans against showing blood) and some are allegations of prurience (nudity in games) and some are baseless fears of corruption (video game violence).

Whether it's a console or a big retail chain, we game makers have long had to put up with a level of interference that no other medium faces. We're consistently told what our medium should be like, often by people with a poor understanding of it. We frequently get accused of leading the world astray in ways that are not supportable. All this at a time when the first generation of game makers is passing the torch ( Ralph Baer RIP ). The second generation often wants to make fun games, but some of them want to use games for other means. Games like Depression Quest and dys4ia , for example. Games like Papers Please . Games like Sweatshop . Games like Howling Dogs .

But even though Apple has done many amazing things for our industry in liberalizing its economics (with great thanks) the company nevertheless buys into the urge to suppress games. And it's just morally wrong. Tim I don't believe that this is a position that you're actively taking. I think it's happened as a result of a couple of related issues that have bred an awkward censorship.

First there was the issue of trying to keep iOS relatively consumer friendly by keeping porn away. Apple's position has been that people are welcome to go out onto the Web and do as they wish. If they really want their adult material, Safari is their gateway. Second was the fact that because games are made in software there is frequently confusion in many minds over whether they are a medium or a product. Approval of software is essentially a checklist of what's permitted or not, much as a technical requirements, violations, bugs and so on. It's (mostly) entirely binary.

The problem for us game makers is that the Safari answer usually doesn't work for us. Software is not permitted to get to iOS devices via the Web because to do so invites malware, and that would be a major problem for such a high-profile platform. And secondly evaluating games in the manner of software checklists strips them of context. It is literally this game contains boobs as in Lucas Pope's Papers Please . Ban or change.

It doesn't feature whether those boobs are appropriate or not, as they might in other media. Via Apple today I can purchase Game of Thrones episodes or Lady Chatterley's Lover even though both have invited questions of appropriate content in their time. Why? Because Apple understands context. Media gets protected even though some would find it offensive because it matters. Except for games. If a game is philosophically seen as like an app then it falls under a certain remit. If a game is philosophically seen as like a book or album, it goes another way. Shifting from one to the other view is what needs to change.

I imagine that the experience of the team vetting Papers Please was a little like the Fox censor character from the Simpsons . He reads a script and marks no, no, no then sees a joke which makes him laugh out loud before marking it no . I imagine that in playing Papers Please or many of the other banned or censored games on iOS that the team knew it was good but had no option to approve it. It didn't fit the checklist.

I don't mean to make light of your own situation, but Tim you know what it is to express your true self . You know that being free is important, supremely important. Yet through a series of circumstances the company founded by one of the designers of Breakout finds itself in this position of saying no, of insisting that games fit in a box and be culturally relegated. Great revenues maybe, but creatively they're not being allowed to be all they can be on your platform.

Would taking the view that games are media and thus not censoring them alter the bottom line of the App Store? I doubt it. Would it need some thought as regards age categories and appropriate handling? I would think so, yes. So it's likely a net drag to actually do it. But you should do it anyway.

It's been a hard fought battle for some of us within the games industry to get to the point where we're not thought of as drug dealers or child-corrupting monsters. We're trying to overcome that Comics-Code perception, and slowly succeeding even despite resistance within and without. The big platforms often still stand in our way, still act like games should only exist in certain boxes, but they're slowly shifting.

Tim you control the biggest gaming platform in the world. Mobile games will surpass PC and console soon enough, and when they do they will become the new core gaming . The games won't all be just Candy Crush and Clash of Clans forever though, any more than TV stayed as its 1960s incarnation forever. Communities and cultures form around games in a way that's important to the overall culture, and will only increasingly do so.

Given your position of power do you really feel it's your place to stand in the way of the development of a medium? To say game developers you get to live in this box only . I don't think you mean to, but that's kind of where you are. Tim I need Apple to lead on this, as it has so often before.

 

 Updated: Censorship Target...

Major Australian department store bans Grand Theft Auto V


Link Here 7th December 2014  full story: Grand Theft Worldwide...International certificates for GTA IV game
Grand Theft Auto V PS4 Grand Theft Auto V was pulled from Australia's largest department-store chain after feminist complaints about scenes of violence against women. Another major store, Kmart, later followed suit.

Target is Australia's largest department-store chain by outlets. Grand Theft was the second-highest selling video game in the previous week.

Jim Cooper, general manager of corporate affairs at Target said in a statement:

We have listened to the strong feedback. This is not a product they want us to sell.

A petition on website change.org had attracted more than 40,000 supporters, saying the product makes a game of bashing, killing and horrific violence against women.

Update: Petition targets the selling of sickening religious books

7th December 2014. See  article from  tvnz.co.nz

Close to 13,000 people have signed a petition in Australia calling for Target to ban the Bible from its stores.

target logo The protest comes from gaming enthusiasts after Grand Theft Auto V was banned from Target and Kmart this week due to its violent content.The petition, which is posted in change.org, points out that the sickening religious book encourages readers to commit sexual violence and kill women .

News.com.au reports the disgruntled gamers are also calling for Target to change its violent name and aggressive logo , a petition to ban all knife sales and a demand for a ban on Fifty Shades of Gray.

Update: However to be fair, Target did themselves no favours with this advert

7th December  See  article from  kotaku.com.au

gta at target advert Kokatu comments:

I mean seriously, what is wrong with this picture? What were they thinking? This is an advertisement and it is essentially informing consumers that Grand Theft Auto V is a toy for children on the same level as Peppa Pig.

Absolutely mind-boggling.

 

  Playing the Morality Game...

Major New Zealand store bans 18 rated games and DVD


Link Here 26th November 2014
warehouse logo New Zealand's Warehouse group of stores won't sell any 18 rated games and DVDs in future, saying it wants to promote family values.

Chief executive Mark Powell says the decision was made to remove such games and DVDs from its 92 Warehouse and 77 Noel Leeming stores after controversy surrounding the recently released Grand Theft Auto V . He claimed it was driven by feedback from customers and the community, and its guiding principles, which include making New Zealand a better place to live. He spouted:

This feedback has formed part of what has been an ongoing internal review, to ensure that the products we range reflect our brand values of family, children, and community,

Bob McCoskrie, director of the moralist campaign group, Family First, spewed:

It is completely unrealistic to believe that young people will not be influenced in their attitudes and behaviours by constant exposure to this type of gaming and DVD material.

So-called 'entertainment' and freedom of expression should never be at the expense of the safety of our community, appropriate emotional and moral development of our children, and promoting acceptable attitudes towards women, violence and law enforcement.

 

  A Question for Sweden...

Would a gender equality rating for a computer game ironically mean that it was a game for girls?


Link Here 18th November 2014
g rating logo Future video games produced in Sweden could be labelled according to whether or not they promote gender equality, as part of a new project by gaming industry trade organisation Dataspelsbranchen.

The association has been given a 272,000 kronor ($36,672) grant by Sweden's government-funded innovation agency, Vinnova.

Inspired by the Bechdel test, which looks at whether fictional films or books feature at least two women talking about a topic other than men, Dataspelsbranchen will work with several game developers to analyse how Swedish video games portray female characters and gender issues.

Speaking to The Local, project manager Anton Albiin said it was unclear at this stage if all games produced in Sweden would be given a label, or if companies developing games that promoted equality would be given some kind of certification to use for their own marketing purposes. But he said he understood that either strategy would be a world first:

I do not know of any other project in the world asking this question and of course we want Sweden to be a beacon in this area.

 

  So Last Century...

New Zealand chief censor whinges that he is left out of the loop on computer games distributed online


Link Here 17th November 2014
andrew jack Andrew Jack, New Zealand's chief censor, has spoken against game publishers digitally distributing games that haven't gone through the country's censorship process.

New Zealand law requires games that have been given a restricted rating in Australia or the UK to go be classified by the Office of Film and Literature Classification before they can be sold in New Zealand. Games with a G, PG, or M rating in Australia or the UK do not need to be locally rated.

However, the rise of digital game distribution through services like Steam, the iTunes App Store, and Google Play has seen some publishers selling games in New Zealand without first having them classified.  Jack whinged:

As chief censor I have previously expressed the view that games, in the legislation, should be treated the same as films. This would see all games distributed in New Zealand carry New Zealand classification labels, and allow New Zealanders to make informed choices about what they and their children watch and play.

Jack wondered it is perhaps time to consider whether the game industry can continue to be trusted.

However, Ron Curry, chief executive of the Interactive Gaming and Entertainment Association, said that Jack's idea of classifying every game is crazy, and that government organisations should work with the industry to find a solution.

 

  Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence?...

Er.. no. Another research paper finds no correlation


Link Here 9th November 2014

journal of communications Does Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When, by Christopher Ferguson; Journal of Communication

Since the 1920s, scholars and politicians have blamed violence in movies and other media as a contributing factor to rising violence in society. Recently the responses to mass shootings in Aurora, CO and at Sandy Hook Elementary followed this theme as media consumption came into the equation. But can consumption of violent media really be a factor in real-world violence? A recent study published in the Journal of Communication by a researcher at Stetson University found that there were no associations between media violence consumption in society and societal violence.

Christopher Ferguson (Stetson University) published his findings in the Journal of Communication. Ferguson conducted two studies that raised the question if whether the incidence of violence in media correlates with actual violence rates in society. The first study looked at movie violence and homicide rates between 1920 and 2005. The second study looked at videogame violence consumption and its relationship to youth violence rates from 1996-2011. He found that societal consumption of media violence is not predictive of increased violence rates in society.

For the first study, independent raters evaluated the frequency and graphicness of violence in popular movies from 1920-2005. These were correlated to homicide rates for the same years. Overall, movie violence and homicide rates were not correlated. However, during the mid-20th century, movie violence and homicide rates did appear to correlate slightly, which may have led some to believe a larger trend was at play. That correlation reversed after 1990 so that movie violence became correlated with fewer homicides. Prior to the 1940s, movie violence was similarly related to fewer homicides, not more.

In the second study on video game violence, the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) ratings were used to estimate the violent content of the most popular video games for the years 1996-2011. These estimates of societal video game violence consumption were correlated against federal data on youth violence rates during the same years. Violent video game consumption was strongly correlated with declines in youth violence. However, it was concluded that such a correlation is most likely due to chance and does not indicate video games caused the decline in youth violence.

Previous studies have focused on laboratory experiments and aggression as a response to movie and videogame violence, but this does not match well with real-life exposure. Other studies have indicated that, in the short term, the release of violent movies or video games is associated with declines in societal violence. However, no one has examined these trends long-term. Some scholars have argued that movies are becoming more violent, but none have examined whether this phenomenon is a concern for society. This study is the first to suggest that movie violence and video game violence consumption probably are increasing over time, but that there is little evidence that this has caused a problem for society.

Society has a limited amount of resources and attention to devote to the problem of reducing crime. There is a risk that identifying the wrong problem, such as media violence, may distract society from more pressing concerns such as poverty, education and vocational disparities and mental health, Ferguson said. This research may help society focus on issues that really matter and avoid devoting unnecessary resources to the pursuit of moral agendas with little practical value.

 

 Offsite Article: The worst thing about censorship is...


Link Here 2nd November 2014
Left 4 Dead Xbox 360 A report about German censorship inflicted on the video game Left 4 Dead

See article from destructoid.com

 

 Updated: Where will it all end?...

Generating a little 'outrage' for a new video game named Hatred


Link Here 27th October 2014

hatred logo Video games have received all manner of attention over the last week, much of it negative. Now the release of the first trailer for Hatred , a game where the only objective appears to be the mass murder of as many innocent civilians as possible, is bringing the industry to a new low.

The trailer for the video game, which is designed by Polish developer Destructive Creations, begins with the appearance of an obscure, long-haired figure dressed in black and brandishing a host of weaponry including machine guns, knives and grenades. After a brief monologue about this character's hatred for the world and the human worms that reside within it, the character then proceeds to embark on a genocide crusade which showcases several brutal executions of men, women and police officers with no apparent purpose.

In Hatred , not only violence, but violence against innocent civilians seems to be the whole purpose of the game. Since the trailer's release a fierce debate has sprung up about the morality of such violent and destructive game-play, adding fuel to the massive fire currently surrounding moral game-play, the sexualization of women in video games and the threats directed against outspoken women in the industry.

Update: Interview with the makers

27th October 2014. See  interview from  thelinc.co.uk

TheLinc: Your game, Hatred, is ultra-violence without any kind of subtext or wrapper around it, do you not find that a little grim to work on?

Jaroslaw Zielinski, CEO of Destructive Creations: Well, when you see that game every day and you're creating from scratch all horrible scenes, you don't see the whole big picture of it. You're just noticing every, goddamn little issue that needs to be fixed. And actually working on this crazy title is pretty fun.

TheLinc: You make mention of it just being entertainment, or it just being a game . In the current environment of games, do you not see that as something that's problematic to pass off any blame of disgust or offence people have felt?

Jaroslaw: But there is this other side -- people who love the concept, support us as hell, write us such quantity of supportive e-mails that I would never expect. And we are making this game for them, not for all those disgusted or offended (by the way, I don't get how anyone can get offended by our title). We live in free society -- we can do this kind of game and we won't force anybody to play it.

TheLinc: Is the team literally aiming for shock factor? Or do you think the game itself will be fun?

Jaroslaw: Both. Shock factor, as you can guess, made all the world to know our game. We are small team from Poland and we would never achieve such renown if we would be making something with common theme. Even if it would be a great game. We never expected such big fame and all our thanks are going to our haters. But yes, this game is fun, it's some kind of sinful pleasure . It has quite a unique atmosphere and for us, the most important thing to do now is to make it better and better.

...Read the full interview

 

 Offsite Article: Japan Is Even Censoring The Evil Within's Uncensored Version...


Link Here 25th October 2014
Bethesda The Evil Within PS4 Pictorial cuts details of video game cut for a 17 rating in Japan

See article from kotaku.com

 

 Offsite Article: #GamerGate: an un-PC rebellion...


Link Here 17th October 2014
Spiked logo There are good reasons for non-gamers to be paying attention to the video-games industry right now. it has become the site of a rebellion against moral crusaders and their relentless push to politicise every aspect of culture and society

See article from spiked-online.com