Ryukouki Discusses! The Censorship Problem

Discussion in 'General Gaming Discussion' started by Ryukouki, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Hey guys, I'm back with another new topic to talk about. As gamers, we see censorship happening all the time in the media. It often distorts our view of reality on a given issue, by preventing the way something was meant to be communicated. In a very recent example, our very own Gahars covered a news story in which South Park: The Stick of Truth was being censored for a European release. As the South Park series bases itself on satire, it definitely raises eyebrows that it is being suppressed. Let's go a bit deeper into the waters here with this issue, shall we?​
    Establishing Censorship
    Censorship at its root is a means of suppressing the way something was meant to be said. It boils down to a distortion of reality that reflects how social media wants people to see things. Looking at some recent examples, you have, as I mentioned above, South Park: The Stick of Truth, a series that builds itself on the satire, being censored; more specifically, the censoring of material pertaining to abortions and probing, with the censored material being covered up in a rather crude manner. At a superficial level, I do see that censoring these things is beneficial to "protect the children" but in this day and age, children are being exposed to social media at very young ages. An age where I was still playing with Legos, I now see children with smartphones. I see children who are too young to be on the internet, participating on these internet communities. In this day and age, is censorship not doing enough?​
    To provide another example, let's discuss that new Nintendo 3DS game that everyone's raving about, Bravely Default. The audience of Western players raised quizzical looks when it came to light that the title would have certain elements censored out. At a superficial level, the things being blocked out are "cosmetic," such as clothing and the main character's age, but at the same time, it should not even be censored at all. Raising the main character's age to eighteen and making her less scantily clad does not really do much. As far as we gamers and Western players know it, social media has displayed us as party animal type people. We have our society being defined by how social media portrays us. Social media seems to think that fifteen year olds dressing in little clothing is a turn off, so that aspect needed to be censored, and her age brought to the "appropriate level" to conform to the social media "standard." What exactly is wrong with a fifteen year old character that wants to express herself in a certain way? ​
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    Inequality in Censorship
    When we look at censorship, it definitely is not a surprise that the Western players are the red-headed step child. From Nintendo's attempts to restrict Europe's ability to purchase games that are rated a certain rating in the "after hours" period, or Western media being blotted out to hide unnecessary elements, it just does not sit right with me. Look at Japan and Korea, and their video games are most often much more expressive, and made the way the developers wanted to portray it. I understand that I might be inaccurate here, having only played games that arrive in the West. No doubt that there is in fact censorship that might take place in the Eastern territories. ​
    On that note, when the West and the Asias receive their games, sometimes they become radically different. The West has things being blotted out, like Bravely Default or South Park, and the East has a much more expressive game. Even when looking at things like anime, in the West you get certain symbols edited out for more child-friendly objects. Look at the Yu-Gi-Oh! or Pokémon series, with the Yu-Gi-Oh series being edited out as some of the fantasy elements were thought to be cult-like, and edited out. With Pokémon there were episodes that never aired due to aspects that the media thought that we should not be exposed to. What is the point of giving this treatment to gamers? Yes, I know that there are laws that expressly state that things have to happen in a certain way, but it's removing the whole "freedom of expression bit." And we are supposed to swallow that pill and take it the way it is?​
    Does Censorship Really Do Anything?
    When I look at the issue, I get that on one hand it is supposed to protect the kids. But on the other hand, it does not do that much good when kids these days are getting engaged with the social media perception at an earlier age. They start noticing these things. When I look at a song that is being bleeped out, if it were me it would just incite more curiosity and a desire to understand things more in context. ​
    On the other hand, censorship can be justifiable if the material expressly causes harm. In the case of the Pokémon franchise, there was one particular episode that landed hundreds of Japanese children in a hospital due to an animation effect that triggered epilepsy. Following that incident, the episode was basically removed from viewing and a global ban issued to benefit the well-being of viewers. ​
    So What Exactly Are You Arguing?
    *A good portion of us* here have most likely reached the age where things like this may not matter much, and we instead question why censorship needs to exist for us. We can go to a game that's rated M for Mature, and access the website content after faking the birthday. Who has not done that at some point in their life? I'm not trying to say that censorship is completely bad, I merely want to raise my hand and question whether or not this type of stuff is really needed in this day and age, where information can be found instantaneously at the tips of our fingers. At the end of the day, it's hurting us gamers, and it's hurting the right for developers to express themselves freely and create content that was meant to be played and interpreted in some way. People are growing up much faster now, and the times need to change to adapt to that change in growth. ​
    As usual, if you're just joining me now, what is your stance on censorship as a whole? Is censorship something that is needed? Do you feel that censorship is halting freedom of expression? Can censorship be justifiable, such as the case where it benefits the well-being of viewers? Do you agree that social media may have a substantial effect on censorship and its implementations? How do you feel about the idea of censorship in general? Do you like the idea of someone controlling what you should be able to see? Do you accept or deny the fact that social media is distorting your sense of reality and instilling a false sense of reality upon you? Chime off in the comments below!​
     
  2. Tom Bombadildo

    Tom Bombadildo Honk!

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    I forgot
    I like boobies.

    /thread

    EDIT: Ok, now that my internet is stable let me expand just a tiny bit before I go to work.

    I don't think censorship should be a thing with games that made to be rated M and up. Buying a Rated M game should net you Rated M material, not some censored or cut version of a game because publishers are afraid some 8 year old is going to play it. That's like taking a perfectly good Rated R movie, cutting out all the gore and sex scenes and making it Rated PG-13 because you're afraid some 10 year old is gonna watch the Rated R movie.

    The recent Southpark game that was censored in Europe, for example, is doing just that; they're taking a perfectly fine game that warns you about all the explicit content and then they rip some of it out because they don't want some kids to be scarred for life. I mean, first of all, it's a fucking Southpark game. You know exactly what you're getting into even if you've never seen an episode of the cartoon! You know it's going to be filled with dick jokes and dead babies and fucking dead babies jokes and whatever else Southpark does. Secondly, any parent who buys their kid a game like that should be slapped across the face with a fucking sawfish.

    And Thirdly, I'll expand on this later after or during work so stay tuned...
     
  3. Framework43

    Framework43 I'm International

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    Maybe .... just maybe.... we aren't in the wrong but Japan is just overly sexualizing women when its not needed.

    EDIT: FREE THE BOOBS WE NEED TO TEACH CHILDREN THE BEAUTY OF THE HUMAN BODY
     
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  4. GHANMI

    GHANMI GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    You forgot Ringabell's costume that was completely deleted from US/PAL versions (anyone checked that one on JP versions using the English option?)



    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    *insert Neo Armstrong Jet Cannon image here*
     
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  5. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    There's a ton of examples that I've undoubtedly missed. :( It's in a lot of games/media out there. This topic isn't supposed to represent them all. :P
     
  6. GHANMI

    GHANMI GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    I know. I just wanted to have an excuse to post those online :P
    (I love the Tengai Makyou and Ace Attorney series)
     
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  7. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    I'm all for Ace Attorney but God forbid I have no clue on that other title you mentioned. :)
     
  8. GHANMI

    GHANMI GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    It's the equivalent of Earthbound, but set in Japan Jipangu. That screenshot is from the third kingdom, there are two villages which are addicted on mushrooms, and everyone says hilarous stuff. The wiseman that's supposed to teach you the High Heal spell is the one who built those ...interesting statues (the text below one of those is "hardening wood", it's hilarious).
    The fourth game (Saturn, PSP) is set in a fictional America where the hero Rizing (whose name is wrote in kanji) fights demons, pop starlets, an immortal monkey who's the mayor of one of the states, Death casually claiming babies souls, cannibal pig women... it outclasses Earthbound in the weirdness department, and by far (doesn't have Itopi's writing, but its humor is top-notch)
    http://www.hardcoregaming101.net/tengai/tengai2.htm

    Oh, on topic, since beggars can't be really choosers, if censorship is the only mean to make a game viable commercially (lower rating) so... I guess that's always better than getting a Japanese copy (everyone should learn Japanese by the way, it opens a whole lot of possibilities and you get to enjoy the game as it was meant to be originally... I actually found the flow of ToP untranslated Japanese opening much better and understandable that the subbed version by some anime group... even if it's a professional localization, something is always lost in translation)
    However, if publishers butcher a game as their political correctness indicator goes waaay out of control, when it doesn't even matter to lower the rating, and it conflicts with the artistic vision, I'm against it.
     
  9. soulx

    soulx GBAtemp Legend

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    The fact that they're fifteen years old.
     
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  10. the_randomizer

    the_randomizer The Temp's official fox whisperer

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    Dr. Wahwee's castle

    Which can have not so good results. In real life, exploiting a fifteen year old looks bad. I don't see anything wrong with censoring in such cases like that (underage), but generally, censorship does go way too far.
     
  11. Steena

    Steena GBAtemp Advanced Fan

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    Cases in which censoring has been actually good/useful, or has made anything at all better: 0

    Cases in which the fault is terrible parenting, with parents blaming their incompetence on the freedom of creation: all of them

    That's an easy one for me.
     
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  12. liamash3

    liamash3 Advanced Member

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    My thoughts regarding censorship are that it's fine it it's for things which young people (below 10-12) could be exposed to, such as violent murder scenes/gore, sexual images and so on. That said, if censorship hits something that is expected to be watched/used by those of appropriate ages (eg;M and above video games = 12+ people to me) and radically changes the content, I'm against it. Regarding the clothing issue in Bravely Default. for example, it doesn't effect me much besides my guessing the true ages of the characters whenever they get mentioned, but that sort of thing still shouldn't have happened in the game. It was targeted at a mature audience, after all, so censoring shouldn't occur.
    I also tend to think kiddies are much less innocent to the "ways of the world". as it were, than adults believe these days. With the easy access of the internet, knowledge about a variety of topics are easily available (heck, a kid could look up "adult" content easily on Wikipedia, for example) and attempts to prevent access aren't likely to succeed unless something like a internet firewall occurs in the providers for that country (doesn't China have something like that?), which can also be bypassed with enough effort (I recall kids at my secondary getting around the internet security which prevented flash games from working, for example, using proxy links...least I think that was it, wasn't really sure how they did it, tbh).
    To sum up, censorship depends on what is being censored and to what audience. To a group of people who are expected to be above 15, censoring is...silly and generally pointless if the aim was to remove blood/gore/sexy content from a game, and if a child below the intended age gets access to something like that, it's the parent/guardian or object seller's fault, not the game itself.
     
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  13. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

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    My thoughts are generally along the lines of "watch whatever you like as long as it not hurting anybody else". Censorship by age I have major problems with as I am not sure what is supposed to magically happen on a otherwise normal day (including variations for leap years), I get the idea of probabilities and such a grouping may afford the least risk for the most enforceability tradeoff (brain development, including risk analysis, still goes on until around 25, see also why car crashes tail off rapidly around then).

    Many years ago the house rule was "watch whatever you like, if you do not understand something come have a chat". That works for me.

    Observing variations between regions, legislation (real, effective and imagined) and trends in censorship and things that people decide they want censored does intrigue me though, as does the related topic of swearing.

    FAST6191, despoiler of "innocence"
     
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  14. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    I don't want to feel like Chris Hansen is behind my shoulder every time I play, for one.

    I'm generally against censorship, but honestly, I don't think Bravely Default is a real example of that. A part of any localization is, well, localizing the work's content; it's not just a 1:1 translation. Changes should be made, whether that's modifying or updating idioms, altering cultural references, refining the language, or, in this case, making extremely minute aesthetic alterations. If the age of the characters served the work, then maybe this would be a different case (like, it'd be pretty silly to try and pass Jodie Foster off as 18+ in Taxi Driver because her youth is an essential aspect of the character). As far as I know, though, it's not the case here.

    Japan and The West are two very different markets, and you have to understand what appeals to each and what each is going to tolerate.

    I'm against artistic censorship as much as the next guy here, and I can already hear the slippery slope arguments coming, but there's also an issue of practicality here that can't be ignored. This is a business as much as it is an art, and you have to pick your battles. I can hardly blame SE for not drawing the line at scantily-clad underage girls.
     
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  15. anhminh

    anhminh Pirate since 2010

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    I have a question: does game rating somehow affect this?
    I hear some people complain about the game sometime being censor during translate because the publisher want to lower the game rating. Is that truth or just a myth?
     
  16. Gahars

    Gahars Bakayaro Banzai

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    This happens all the time in Australia, so it's definitely not a myth.

    Different countries have different standards (not to mention entirely different ratings systems), so what constitutes a "Teen" game in one country might be considered "Mature" or "2lewd4u" in another.
     
  17. LEDAHGRIM

    LEDAHGRIM RPG Dreamer

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    Censorship is kinda useless in some countries or lands... Here in mexico I see 5 year olds playing
    GTA V killing the faq out of everyone on the street (in game of course) and cursing everyone each second...

    On PC internet cofees I see 10 or 12 year olds downloading hardcore porn from torrents and
    sharing it with friends with USB sticks or in portable HD's...

    Magazine posts sell you hentai magazines even if you're a minor and the ID to make sure you're
    an adult (18+ age) doesn't matter and only is handy to get some quick cash when political elections
    are near (there are people who pay you to vote specific parties).

    When my friends get games on PC that have something censored and it's editable they ask me to
    remove the censorship or reinserting game content that's taken out from original japanese releases.

    So point in case is... Censorship is partially OBSOLETE these days, Anyone with enough brains and
    some common sense can bypass most of it's forms and get what they want. If it's games I have seen
    people selling their usa or eur copies and importing or downloading the japanese versions.

    In in an aspect censorship only causes monetary losses for the gaming industry outside japan depending
    on the case and how bad or annoying the censorship is.

    "YOUR COUNTRY NEEDS YOU!"
    (to give up your freedom of speech!)
     
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  18. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    If I recall Dual Destinies was Teen in Japan but rated Mature in America.
     
  19. vayanui8

    vayanui8 GBAtemp Maniac

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    In the case of bravely default, the censorship isn't too big of a deal. Its very minimal when you think about it, but it still leaves a bad taste in your mouth. the unfortunate reality is that people do dress that way these days, so changing it is rather ridiculous, especially with the amount of mildly sexual text already present in the game. I really don't see a slight change like the one made affecting the rating at all.

    I find the censorship of the fire emblem doc to be a rather entertaining example as well, since they were trying to block out the image, but it ended up looking even worse in the end. kind of goes to show that their censorship is so pointless
     
  20. Ryukouki
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    Ryukouki See you later, guys.

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    Yeah, definitely. I mentioned it's a very superficial issue but it does exactly as you mentioned, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Looking at censorship, it detracts from what it sets out to do; instead of blocking out something, it just calls more attention to it.