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? 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!