Video Game Censorship: An Honorable Move

Why censorship is a very respectable move and how franchises like Gears and CoD have really stepped up to show their class.

Blood and guts, swearing and sex. It seems hard to find a game of good quality that doesn't at least throw in a bit of this to make it "legit" these days. Now, I know we've got our Mario Karts and our Batmans which are obviously top-notch experiences without a ton of the aforementioned pillars of maturity. But, it seems to be that more and more developers are thinking that some grit and adult content is necessary to make the gamer feel like they're playing something worthwhile.

The Line Needs to be Drawn Somewhere

I enjoy the butterflies of a long range headshot as much as the next guy, and I see the necessity for some of the themes in today's games to create the narratives that the writers have dreamed up. In other words, these things have their place. But many games have been ruined unnecessarily by a random and unnatural shot of nudity or a character who swears just a bit too much in order to develop his "rough and tough" personality (I'm looking at you, Sleeping Dogs). I'm talking about games that don't make experiencing mature content a focus in the first place. If you go out and buy the latest copy of Duke Nukem or Leisure Suit Larry, you pretty much know what you're getting--good luck making a case against the blood, swearing, and/or sex. But for a game like Far Cry 3, do we really need a sudden nude shot popping up in a main storyline cutscene that the user can't even skip through? No. No we don't.

But hey, my dislike for what I consider totally unnecessary inclusions of "adult content that makes the game legit" is a personal opinion. It's hard to draw the line with what to include and what not to include sometimes. But Gears of War and Call of Duty have earned themselves a high degree of respect by taking a bold step that other franchises haven't. They've included graphic content filtering.

In a Class of Their Own

Many a game has done this with regards to blood (ex. Assassin's Creed, Mortal Kombat, Metal Gear, etc.), but Gears of War and Call of Duty (World at War and onward) have brought this filter into the foul language department. Call of Duty has even gone so far to limit curses with "damn" and "God" involved, which is a move that I am extremely thankful for.

I know we've got some gamers out there scoffing because connecting with Joel's expletives in The Last of Us made them feel like they were real, rugged men like him, and censoring him would just make him (and them) "soft". I encourage those gamers to think about why they need that swearing, and if explicit language and scenes are necessary for their pride in playing that game.  If that is not the case for you, then what Gears and CoD did should appeal to you. Gears of War, a game built around a macho, dirty band of brothers whose tough personalities make them perfect for squashing alien scum, added optional blood and language censoring. If you honestly feel that Gears of War just isn't Gears of War anymore with those censors, then by all means switch the "Graphic Content Filter" to "OFF." However, if you're like me and simply do not wish to indulge in that language, then you can flip that option and joyfully play your game without reservations.

It's common knowledge that games (and entertainment in general) have changed greatly over the past 50 years or so in terms of the mature content included. It's also clear that your average mature game these days feels the need to conform to this pattern, from the nude shots to the F-bombs. Though Gears and CoD have no doubt been carried along with this movement, they have elevated themselves to a very respectable place of class and sensitivity by including their respective filters.

The Dream of a Refined Gaming Industry

Now the next step for game developers and publishers is to consider the sexual content in their games. Like the blood and language filters, developers/publishers should include a sexual filter in their games, whether the developer chooses to push sex or not. Nudity and the inescapable sexual references (obscure or not) littered throughout even the tamest of games these days go a long way to destroy the class of a game.

For someone like myself, who thinks this says awful things about the honor of a franchise and who is morally opposed to fulfilling my sexual drive in this way, a fantastic option would be to include a filter. Blurring out the images, including a mature content warning screen with an option to skip, or even having black squares would go a long way! This is very doable, and taking whatever steps are necessary to make this sort of thing happen would be a HUGE step toward the earning of respect, and would open up today's games to a much wider audience.

Welcome to my profile! My name is William Farr. I've been gaming for most of my life now and have developed an interest in a wide variety of game genres, most notably (J)RPGs, 1st/3rd Person Shooters, Adventure Games, Retro Games and Sports Games. I play offline quite a bit but in recent years have stepped my game up in the multiplayer realm as well (but no, I still don't play LOL). My number one passion though is Jesus, so don't get confused. I hope I can rep Him well to my gamer community! HGA. Thanks for checking me out! Currently Playing: Resident Evil 1

Published Jul. 28th 2014
  • rondior
    Let me get this straight. Most people on here are saying that if a game producer includes a content filter inside of the options panel of a recently created game and I as a consumer decide to use that filter that this somehow is a form of censorship? Is it me or do most people not understand what censorship actually means? True Censorship is when something has been created, shared or sold by one party and then someone other than that original creator tries to govern or change what others can or cannot view of that original material. The key word there being “others”.

    Let’s pretend you were to write a book and I as a consumer buy it and take it home. Half way into the reading I decide that there are some topics in there that I am personally not comfortable with but since I still like the overall story and think you are very talented I decide to skip over the last few chapters and go right to the ending. Have I in essence destroyed what you have created or censored your material? Does it give you the right as an artist to tell everyone that decides to buy your book what parts they need to like and how they need to read it?

    I think these game producers that use statement like “creative freedom” or “holding true to oneself” are in reality being huge hypocrites. Because of what’s popular within the main gaming community, these game producers are afraid to add a content filter for fear of looking “old school” or “uncool”. I know they would all argue and say “that’s not why we won’t do it” and come up with a bunch of main stream excuses but at the end of the day them not giving a large part of consumers what they would like is unprofessional. I find it extremely hypocritical how computer video game producers have no problem giving you 10 different options for turning down HD graphic details and polygons so the game will run on more computers thus equating to higher sales. When a consumer goes into the options menu and turns off all graphical details they are in essence deleting 1000’s of hours of creative work performed by graphic artists. They are not simply taking out a few vulgar words here and there but are taking out incredible visuals by deleting millions of pixels throughout the entire game. To give players this option though is OK because it helps them sell games to the main stream gamers which makes it popular and not unpopular.

    If someone here can honestly explain how by ME having the option to dial down or turn off certain aspects on MY purchased game kept in MY media center, such as violence, language or nudity. How does this in any way ruin YOUR gaming experience or keep others from deciding what parts that they would like to personally play or view? Too, by me personally deciding to use a content filter option how is it hurting the creator of the game and or destroying what they have developed? After all I am in no way telling them how to create or telling others what they can or cannot view. I am simply deciding for myself how I would best enjoy the experience and really isn't that what we all want in the end?

    If anyone here can reasonably explain that to me I will change my point of view.
  • Josh_3130
    Agreed! Sleeping Dogs is excellent, but being a Christian, the constant F-Bombs drives me nuts...

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