×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Censored Video Game Content Stifles Artistry

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the i-paint-with-virtual-bullets dept.

Censorship 289

AnInkle writes "The question of whether modern video games represent art and the persistent attempts to censor controversial content in games have been discussed here at length. Now, a blogger at The Tech Report makes the case that censorship of violent and sexual images and themes in video games is precisely what inhibits video games from maturing artistically beyond a nascent form. He cites a historical comparison between video game and film production, as well as geo-cultural comparisons of film production in the US vs. Europe and of video game development in the US vs. Japan. Are these comparisons apt and the assertions valid, or might the embrace of video games as a legitimate art form be limited for entirely different reasons?"

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

289 comments

8==U=N=C=E=NS=O=R=E=D==D ~~-_ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28388883)

8==C=O=C=K=S=L=A=P==D

thunk.

art is for homos.

Re:8==U=N=C=E=NS=O=R=E=D==D ~~-_ (2, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 4 years ago | (#28388933)

art is for homos.

Says the guy displaying ASCII art :).

Re:8==U=N=C=E=NS=O=R=E=D==D ~~-_ (3, Interesting)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390137)

Art is anything that conveys emotion from the artist to the audience.

-The artist can also serve as the audience. (a diary)
-If there is no emotion from the artist, it's not art. (a police log may generate emotion in a reader, but it's not art)
-If the emotion does not penetrate the audience, it's not art. (elevator music)

In other words, art is anything that passes these three tests:
1) Did the creator intend to convey an emotion?
2) Did the medium capture that emotion?
3) Did the audience receive that emotion?

Some video games pass this test. Some do not.

Asking whether video games are art is like asking whether furniture is art.

Re:8==U=N=C=E=NS=O=R=E=D==D ~~-_ (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28388947)

8==C=O=C=K=S=L=A=P==D

Brilliant! Exquisite! Darling, you simply must let me exhibit this in my gallery!

Re:8==U=N=C=E=NS=O=R=E=D==D ~~-_ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389731)

ASCII art of pens!es

Re:8==U=N=C=E=NS=O=R=E=D==D ~~-_ (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390093)

What a coincidence, I just post a journal pointing out that some mods are idiots, [slashdot.org] and an anonymous troll gets modded "insightful". OK, troll, I'll bite (I have to). [kuro5hin.org]

Yes, art is for homos. It's for heteros, too. I pity anyone who is so culturally deprived that they can't appreciate art.

What's funny is about ten years ago, I was in an online discussion with Charles Broussard, who was of the opinion that videogames were NOT art. I think in the end we agreed to disagree, I wonder if he ever changed his mind? I certainly haven't changed mine, games ARE art. Some are good art and some are bad art, but all are art.

And I do think that censorship may be keeping the art from advancing, but what is a bigger factor is the fact that the folks who make games don't see them as art.

My daughter Leila, still an avid gamer, mentioned to me that in the last GTA she got, there's a dope dealer named "Osama". It seems to me that the designers are censoring themselves, and pushing politically correct themes (like dope dealers being terrorists) and their snideness is hurting both their art and the quality of the games themselves.

It's a long way from Duke Nukem 1, where shooting the Energizer Bunny resulted in points. I remeber when games were a lot more primitive, but a lot more fun. And a lot more artistic.

I think the real problem is... (4, Insightful)

F34nor (321515) | more than 4 years ago | (#28388923)

that most people who make video games are technicians rather than artists. I think that the few people who overlap creativity in the story telling or avaunt guard space, rarely overlap with coders or the middle management corporate structure that herds them. So you get Doom->Quake->Wolfenstien->Doom->Quake games that are just excuses to kill shit with rocket launchers as a development platform.

There are games that tell stories, Halo, Half-life, Morrowind, & et al. and they're blockbusters. He's what we need to do, hire writers, pay them starvation wages and provide them with shitloads of high quality hallucinogens.

Or go educational, Immune Attack is really impressive and just needs a little bit of play polishing and graphics massage to be awesome.

Or just remake really good games, Ultima Underworld, Marathon, Starcontrol, and on and on on new engines to bring real games to the starving masses.

Re:I think the real problem is... (1)

qortra (591818) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389047)

most people who make video games are technicians rather than artists

Perhaps "most" as you say, but I think there are plenty who don't. In fact, many studios are preferring a model where there is a larger dichotomy between engineering and art. For instance, Mistwalker offloads their engineering work to other firms so they can focus purely on music, story, and visual design. I suppose that their artistic accomplishments using this method are subjective, but I don't think it helped all that much personally. There's almost certainly a larger problem here, and this article might be on to something.

Re:I think the real problem is... (2, Insightful)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389139)

that most people who make video games are technicians rather than artists. I think that the few people who overlap creativity in the story telling or avaunt guard space, rarely overlap with coders or the middle management corporate structure that herds them. So you get Doom->Quake->Wolfenstien->Doom->Quake games that are just excuses to kill shit with rocket launchers as a development platform.

Well said. Games most often contain things of high artistic value (tell any 3d modeler that what he's doing isn't art, and then duck!) but seldom is the game itself art. Think of the game as a gallery -- no artistic value, but it puts on display things of [subjective] beauty and wonder.

Re:I think the real problem is... (3, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389305)

Think of the game as a gallery -- no artistic value, but it puts on display things of [subjective] beauty and wonder.

Can't the Louvre or the Uffizi be thought of as works of art in themselves? I agree that games are mostly thought to be mere entertainment, but I think it's not unreasonable to say that sometimes (if seldom) games are art.

Re:I think the real problem is... (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389669)

Think of the game as a gallery -- no artistic value, but it puts on display things of [subjective] beauty and wonder.

Can't the Louvre or the Uffizi be thought of as works of art in themselves? I agree that games are mostly thought to be mere entertainment, but I think it's not unreasonable to say that sometimes (if seldom) games are art.

I agree - my generalization is for "most but not all".

Re:I think the real problem is... (1)

BPPG (1181851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390179)

+1 here,

In much the same sense that art exhibits can be art themselves, and a movie exhibiting artful video clips can also be artfully arranged, so can video games be art.

But due to their interactive aspect, games deserve a slightly different attitude. If anybody took a board game or a pen and paper roleplaying game and treated it as art, it would be hard to take them seriously. In fact, the only real "serious" games are the ones that are based on high-strategy and skill, such as chess or sports or card games. There's nothing really "artful" about those, except that the real art is in the game-playing, as it ought to be.

Of course, everyone has a different idea about what a good video game is. And with the industry seeing a major influx of casual-gaming customer base, the power gamers are seeing less and less stuff aimed at them specifically. Casual gaming is quickly becoming kitsch, as power gamers already tend to view it as.

Re:I think the real problem is... (3, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389417)

Sorry to be all McLuhanistic on you, but there is the medium, and the message.

The medium, or dev platform, enables differing kinds of user interaction.

The content (story line, user interactions, group play, value and weighting of scoring dynamics) is something else entirely.

Is it art? Sure. There's a dizzying variety of it, too. Some appealing, some clearly un-evolved, some realistic and staggeringly so. To believe that these have no artistic value is a slap in the face of designers everywhere.

That said: some designers make their livings appealing to a very violent nature based on highly animalistic behavior. But then the movies/cinema does this, too. Is this bad, this ultra-violent trend in some areas of gaming? There's no doubt that whacked people use violent entertainment sources to legitimtize their own behavior. Are we obligated to stop them from doing that by censorship? It's a good question. We're not responsible for them, but we are responsible within the constraints of a civil society to prevent others from reasonable harm. Should there be a sanity-ID card offered to buy these things? Clearly, that's not possible. Sanity is transient. The conundrum of what to do, remains.

Re:I think the real problem is... (1)

cellurl (906920) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389253)

Yea, I started development on a game for iPhone.
It would play in the car.
It has hypermiling and stunt mode. aka it might promote reckless driving (in a sense).
I know people will buy it, but I doubt iTunes would sell it.
Is there any place to promote underground iPhone apps that people see?

Re:I think the real problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389781)

Cydia?

Or add some fart noises. Apple's guaranteed to approve it then!

Re:I think the real problem is... (1)

LKM (227954) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389335)

So technicians can't be artists? WTF?

Re:I think the real problem is... (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389599)

My thoughts exactly. Play through one of Valve's games (Half Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead), and notice how many names go by during the credits without an attached job title. This is because Valve's approach on game dev is for everyone to contribute where their skills, experience, or advice are needed. This means their technicians are also their artists. Furthermore, there are emotional investments in games that match or exceed films. If anyone's played Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic by Bioware, and felt terribly guilty after cheating a struggling single-mom of some money, they can attest to this. How many people can honestly say they watched Sephiroth kill Aeries in FFVII with no feeling whatsoever?

Re:I think the real problem is... (1)

FunkSoulBrother (140893) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390131)

This means their technicians are also their artists.

So that's why all the cutscenes in Half Life 2 were so stunted and cold....

Re:I think the real problem is... (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389701)

Not only are most video games made by technicians, but most content is likely driven by marketing.

Let us look at an analogy. In a street festival with arts and crafts, there is some art, but most of the people there have paid significant amounts of money for a booth, and they need to recoup the costs plus a profit. So there may be a few serious artists there, but mostly what you will see are cat motifs, some regurgitated western prints, and variations on naked ladies. Now all this can be art, but it isn't. It is carefully constructed product meant to generate profit.

Call me a purist, but art has to do with an original statement made in an original medium in an original context. It's primary purpose is not to meet some marketing guidelines, but to express the arthur.

There is no lack of video games, and setting age limits or censorship does not seem to hurt the game industry. The excessive and fantasy violence and sexuality is put in purely to increase sales, and there are limits to what a civilized society will allow to increase profits.

Now, if the motives of the games were changed, if they were purveyed as art rather than purely commercial product, then things would be different. For instance, when I was a kid I was exposed to many things that kids my age were not exposed to. That is because much of my time was spent at art events where things sometimes got violent, in a fantastical way, or sexual in a not so fantastical way. It was not done to drive sales. It was not a sporting even where they hoped to sell another thousand tickets by have half naked women with little coordination prance around the field. It was art, and as such was not subject to restrictions of the average commercial product. This even extended to some television I watched. Lack of commercial focus meant more leeway in what was acceptable.

Re:I think the real problem is... (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389749)

Adventure games have broken fresh ground with intriguing and sophisticated new ways of storytelling, both in genre and mechanics. I've never seen an FPS or RTS with the kind of eye-popping cultural creativity of, say, Grim Fandango or The Longest Journey. Those games had excellent writing.

The Bladerunner game used recombinations of footage to create new instances of basically the same mystery: "Who's the replicant this time." It helped add replay value to what would otherwise be a straightforward game.

If you're looking for a remake of Star Control, look no further than Ur-Quan Masters [sourceforge.net] . I did a review of the new version a few months ago: see the link on my sig.

Re:I think the real problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389959)

As was pointed out on /. before filmmakers are technicians and not artists so you get the opening of Charlies Angels and the impossible parachute stunt which makes a CNN newsreader want to do the same. So impossible things in videogames are wrong because they appeal to a different demographic than films?

artistic maturity ? (-1, Flamebait)

hebites (1450707) | more than 4 years ago | (#28388935)

Graphic Violence and exploitive sexual images represent artistic maturity ? In the sense that Howard Stern represents the best of artistic achievement of our culture. Oops I farted he he ha ha ho ho that was so funny. Wait, performance art.... maybe I can get a grant.

Re:artistic maturity ? (5, Insightful)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389145)

Graphic Violence and exploitive sexual images represent artistic maturity?

They certainly can. Ever seen "Apocalypse Now?" "Eyes Wide Shut?" "Psycho?" Picasso's "Guernica?"

Dismissing something as an art form simply because it's violent or erotic is just silly. Do I think that Quake's a masterpiece because you can blow heads off? Of course not. Do I play through the Half-Life cycle once or twice a year because it has a compelling story and it's like revisiting a favorite book? Absolutely. And I'll defend that game as art to my last breath.

Re:artistic maturity ? (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389273)

I would say that violent and sexual imagery are the primary reason for the degeneration of art in the modern world. Just because people will pay money to see a carnival full of freaks, gladiators and strippers doesn't make it art. Art is not simply spectacle.

Re:artistic maturity ? (3, Interesting)

Wain13001 (1119071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389681)

Oedipus isn't art then? the works of Shakespeare? The Barber of Seville? The Rite of Spring? The Song of Solomon? These works by and large are not much more than spectacle, particularly to those who lived in the time period they were written.

      I know you said "modern" art, but there has always been an extreme violent and sexual side to art throughout western civilization...it's not new...and people have always expressed the opinion you've expressed now...one which clearly shows you don't have a real understanding of what much of art is about.

      Art that encompasses violence and sexual imagery usually(not always) has an ontological nature about it, it raises questions about humanity, it raises questions about honesty, and it raises questions about our moral compass (where is it? why is it? should it be there?)...violent and sexual themes aren't necessary in all works (and much of what is available is and always will be "junk" in many people's eyes as you yourself are observing)...but it isn't for you to judge for the rest of us what is and isn't...and most likely, many of the things you consider to be "Art" were considered just as extreme as the works you are criticizing today.

      If something doesn't appeal to you, don't play it, watch it, listen to it, etc... but your argument is ignorant.

Much art throughout history was designed simply to provoke, Art is often spectacle.

Re:artistic maturity ? (2, Insightful)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389841)

You are wrong. Art is not simply spectacle. Art is a communicative effort. Art is about drawing the focus of the audience to consider a certain perspective that was preconcieved by the artist. That is where it's merit lies. Violence and sexuality are important parts of the human experience, and they have a place in art, but only in art that is actually trying to comment on those aspects of the human experience. Art is supposed to provoke thought and open the mind, not close thought and rouse the base instincts. Any thug or whore can do that.

Oh, and my spouse is a professional fine artist, and I move in artistic circles as a consequence. I know a lot more about the history of art and the mechanisms by which a modern artist makes a living than most non-professionals, thanks. Perhaps you ought to stick to arguing your point and refrain from accusing people of ignorance from a position of ignorance.

Re:artistic maturity ? (3, Insightful)

Wain13001 (1119071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390155)

Spectacle is often a communicative effort.

You know fuck all about art...you think it has a concrete definition.

Don't try throwing credentials at me, I'm a (successful) professional artist as well, as is my partner...it's what we do for a living...I am a working composer, performer, and dramatist, my partner is a working visual artist.

I would tell you immediately the one thing in life you're not going to see agreement on is the definition of "Art." The fact that you try to present one shows your complete ignorance in the subject. The one thing artists successfully do over and over again throughout the ages is destroy whatever definition and rules society tries to hold them to.

"...drawing the focus of the audience to consider a certain perspective that was preconcieved by the artist."?? What about furniture music?

You also completely missed my point..."drawing the focus of the audience to consider a certain perspective that was preconceived by the artist." is in fact considered SPECTACLE by just about anybody who didn't like that particular work.

You see deciding something as spectacle or not is a perspective...it's an opinion. Where you see violence or sex simply for their own sakes, others may not...it's not up to you to decide what is art for the rest of the world...now I'm not saying everything out there is good...most of it is crap...but that's the way it always is.

The Rite of Spring caused a riot within the first 3 minutes of it's first performance...people were throwing chairs. It was most certainly considered spectacle by the people who were infuriated by it...now it's considered one of the most important works of the 20th century by composers and dancers alike.

What's really funny, is that we in fact agree for the most part on art in general...I just don't think I'm qualified to judge what is art and isn't...you on the other hand seem to think you can recreate the world in your own fascist image of what should be acceptable and not.

Re:artistic maturity ? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389747)

You're taking violence and sexual imagery to be at the pornographic end of the spectrum (See the Saw movies for what's commonly been called gore pornography). It is entirely possible for violence, or sexual activity, to be metaphor or allegory. It doesn't have to be just the literal represented act.

You're limiting your scope for interpretation on purpose, I feel.

Re:artistic maturity ? (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389819)

I would say that violent and sexual imagery are the primary reason for the degeneration of art in the modern world.

I'm sorry, art has degenerated in the modern world? WTF gives you that idea?

Sounds to me like your thinking is clouded by survivorship bias. The only reason you consider old art "good" is because the crap is long forgotten. Similarly, a hundred years from now, I guarantee you, most people will forget Scary Movie ever existed, while Apocalypse Now will be considered a great work of art.

So get the stick out of your ass and relax. The world of art is fine. It doesn't need you to defend it.

Re:artistic maturity ? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389455)

Psycho features graphic violence and sexual images? I'm going through the movie in my mind, and nothing about it stands out as sexual or graphically violent. Maybe you're talking about a remake that I haven't seen, but those descriptors do not match the Hitchcock film I know.

Re:artistic maturity ? (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389601)

I'm going through the movie in my mind, and nothing about it stands out as sexual or graphically violent.

In fact, Hitchcock made the movie B/W because the the Shower Scene in color would be too exploitative.

Maybe you're talking about a remake that I haven't seen,

1998 remake by Gus Van Sant. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0155975/ [imdb.com]

Re:artistic maturity ? (1)

The Ultimate Fartkno (756456) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389799)

It may not be "graphic" by modern standards, but I think that in 1960 it was pretty jarring to see (offscreen mostly, albeit) a nude woman stabbed 40 or 50 times and then watch her blood run down the drain. In the context of this discussion, I think that qualifies as about as graphic as it gets. And in the context of the entire film (no spoilers here, but c'mon people... it's been 50 years!) there's a sexual element to that that just can't be denied.

New medium (3, Insightful)

Drakkenmensch (1255800) | more than 4 years ago | (#28388939)

It's a well known fact that every new media form is plagued by censorship and "not art!" protest as it has not had a chance to establish itself past the resistance of the other art forms not being willing to let the new guy in town into their club. I'm pretty sure that cave people protested that hunting scribbles on cave walls were deemed "too violent to let the young ones see".

Re:New medium (2, Funny)

yuna49 (905461) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389051)

Not to mention the "secret room" in the back of the cave where other activities might have been drawn.

Re:New medium (1, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389589)

I don't know about that. To me art is - or ought to be - something one or two steps up from routine artisanship, sonething that is somehow above and beyond the ordinary. In most cases a video game doesn't qualify as art any more than the latest album by any of the trivial boy-bands, however well-crafted it may be.

The problem I see with modern games is not that they are too radical, but that they are too trivial and that they trivialise subjects like war, violence and suffering. A lot of games are in that respect nothing more than a kind of "pornography" and utterly insignificant. The first version of Doom may have broken some boundaries and counted as "art", despite its clumsy graphics, but I think the Nth remake of the same theme in stunningly crisp detail and completely naturalistic movements is simply nothing more than cheap and trivial pornography; there is certainly nothing "art" about it any more.

People are a lot more openminded than you give them credit for - which is why there are so many people who are willing to go to Tate Modern in London. I'm not saying whether there should be censorship on video games or not, only that if we're talking art, there is some way to go still.

Re:New medium (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389721)

Film isn't the only prior form of new media to experience this. Comics went through a similar period of censorship in the US, with Fredric Wertham's "Seduction of the Innocent" as its bible. This led to Congressional hearings in the 1950s and resulted in the creation of the Comics Code Authority, an industry self-censorship board that effectively killed off most genres of comic books (e.g. crime, horror, even romance and westerns), leaving only superhero and funny-animal books that were suitable for young children. It's only in the last couple decades that commercially viable comics with grown-up themes (Watchmen being one of the early examples) have re-emerged, and the CCA fading into irrelevance. The film industry weathered the Hayes Code more successfully, continuing to get intelligent, adult-oriented fare to the public even at the height of censorship (albeit in "sanitized" form); comics did not.

Bunk (2, Interesting)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28388991)

He cites a historical comparison between video game and film production

Censorship forces you to either:

  1. think hard and cleverly about how to transmit your message while staying within parameters, or,
  2. "create" generic pablum.

Hollywood made a lot of great movies in the Hayes Code era, thus demonstrating that it is possible to create Great Art while refraining from constantly spewing foul language, women hanging out their breasts, constantly showing blood and gore, or hopping into someone else's bed every other moment.

Re:Bunk (3, Insightful)

oneirophrenos (1500619) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389167)

Hollywood made a lot of great movies in the Hayes Code era, thus demonstrating that it is possible to create Great Art while refraining from constantly spewing foul language, women hanging out their breasts, constantly showing blood and gore, or hopping into someone else's bed every other moment.

Yeah, maybe art needs some guidelines. I'm not saying art should be controlled and stifled, but if it can't take the easy "tits n' blood" way out, maybe it forces the artists to be more creative.

Re:Bunk (1)

Tanktalus (794810) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389357)

What I think we need is censorship on crass commercialism, not necessarily nudity or violence. Don't sell tits and gore, sell your story. Too often, tits, gore, or both are added gratuitously simply to get that R rating to entice (adult, presumably) viewers. Or just gore to get a 14A/M rating to entice teens. Or whatever. Usually, it's not needed, and the story could be told just as effectively without it.

There are exceptions, of course, and here comes the fine line. To me, it's gratuitous unless the story would be impacted to the viewer (yeah, the producers/directors think it impacts the story, but let's face it, most of us miss those subtleties). As an example of both gore and tits that was not gratuitous would be Schindler's List - a story about a real occurrence where the abject horror and humiliation suffered by those interned (nearly all Jewish) was an integral part of the salvation story. There was no salvation without something to be saved from, and so it was needed, IMO. OTOH, I'm of the opinion, having not really liked the movie, that Eyes Wide Shut was largely an excuse to put a bunch of tits on the screen. With a bit more imagination, I think the story of tempation and rejection/falling could have been told in other ways without resorting to the base sexual lusts that they did. It's an interesting story, I just think they took the easy way out.

Re:Bunk (1)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389741)

With a bit more imagination, I think the story of tempation and rejection/falling could have been told in other ways without resorting to the base sexual lusts that they did.

They? What's this about "they?" Criticize Stanley Kubrick if you must, but ascribing artistic decisions to an anonymous Hollywood cabal is wrong.

Personally, I felt that the American cut missed the voyeuristic point, but then, I also like titties.

Re:Bunk (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389753)

I'm of the opinion ... that Eyes Wide Shut was largely an excuse to put a bunch of tits on the screen. With a bit more imagination, I think the story of tempation and rejection/falling could have been told in other ways without resorting to the base sexual lusts that they did. It's an interesting story, I just think they took the easy way out.

Another example: the 1978 Halloween. John Carpenter wanted to make a gore-fest, but didn't have the money. IOW, he was restricted. Sooo, he had to be clever, hinting at the blood and graphic violence, thus making the audience use it's imagination.

Will anyone rationally make the argument that Halloween was worse because it wasn't explicit???

Re:Bunk (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389271)

Hollywood made a lot of great movies in the Hayes Code era, thus demonstrating that it is possible to create Great Art while refraining from constantly spewing foul language, women hanging out their breasts, constantly showing blood and gore, or hopping into someone else's bed every other moment.

But why censor something? If they can dream it, why can't I watch it? Besides most of the stuff you list happens in real life. I use "foul" language on a daily basis; so many people do it is hardly "foul" (it is all in the interpretation/connotation - not the actual syllables). Women's breasts are great! They give life to the young and men like them. What's wrong with that? We all bleed. Nature is all about blood and guts. Ever seen a lion tear apart a wildebeest? Seen that hamburger you ate get processed? And as to your last point.... Ahh, college days!
Your a fucking square. I would never want to live your life. That's fine. I will never try to make your boring antics illegal to be done or viewed. So please don't try to make how I want to live illegal. Even if you don't like it, it isn't your place to tell me how to live.

Re:Bunk (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389751)

Hollywood made a lot of great movies in the Hayes Code era, thus demonstrating that it is possible to create Great Art while refraining from constantly spewing foul language, women hanging out their breasts, constantly showing blood and gore, or hopping into someone else's bed every other moment.

Sure, but how many perfectly valid pieces of art never got made because of those very laws?

Personally, while I don't believe *any* videogame has achieved the level of "art", and while I have serious personal issues with games that glorify random killing (GTA, et al), war, and so forth, I also don't believe those efforts should be censored. Derided? Sure. Criticized? Absolutely. But censored? Hell no. We westerners claim to live in a free society, where people can speak their minds so long as they don't violate the rights of others... there's no reason games should be treated any differently.

As an aside, I think the biggest problem games will have, going forward, is the difficulty of independent works, thanks to the sheer expense and manpower required to make a modern game (yes, I've seen games written by amateurs yes, in general, they suck, save for a few exceptions (I'm looking at you Nethack) :). In contrast, a talented guy with a few thousand bucks and a bunch of friends can put together an excellent film (Primer comes to mind). Modern technology has mad it trivial for any artist to create music in his home. And it's always been true that painting, writing, and many other artforms have been easily accessible to those with the necessary time and talent. But games are a whole other animal. As a consequence, at least for now, I strongly suspect games will remain the purview of the corporation, and that means catering to public whim and taste... which unfortunately means self-censorship.

Re:Bunk (1)

Wain13001 (1119071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389765)

There were plenty of films made this year without "constantly spewing foul language, women hanging out their breasts, constantly showing blood and gore, or hopping into someone else's bed every other moment."

You make it sound as though we have no choice in Cinema and we shouldn't be allowed variety...this is foolish...there are a great deal of people who aren't particularly offended by such things, they should be allowed to be marketed to by writers and producers.

Also allow me to say one word here in argument to your distaste in dramatic content...

Shakespeare.

Re:Bunk (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390085)

You make it sound as though we have no choice in Cinema

We don't, seeing as how only what gets to the cineplex is what's gets made.

It's a known fact that directors add (note the quotes) "naughty" words to teenage movies, not for the sake of Art, but for the express purpose of getting a higher MPAA rating.

That's the definition of exploitation.

Also allow me to say one word here in argument to your distaste in dramatic content...

You think I dislike drama because??????

Shakespeare.

Last I checked, there's no explicit tits 'n guts in his plays.

Re:Bunk (1)

GMFTatsujin (239569) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389821)

As far as the Hayes Code era and great movie production, I think that's more a case of 'in spite of," not "because of."

Though I agree with you to some extent: boobies and bullets offer an easy way to simulate Great Art without having to think too hard about it. The same way free prose tends to spoodge all over the page in the name of free expression while the more structured iambic pentameter actually takes advantage of the form to overcome the restrictions and crystallize into something profound.

On the other hand, not every creative work needs to aspire to fulfill some kind of self-absorbed High Culture milieu. Sometimes it's nice to play with boobies and bullets.

Why is "art" always sex and violence? (4, Insightful)

Rog-Mahal (1164607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389019)

On some level I guess it's kind of sad that violence and sex seem to be the only two themes that will allow games to mature as an art form. That being said, why shouldn't videogames be protected as freedom of speech just like other forms of media? Ultimately it should be up to the consumer (or the consumer's parents) what they choose to purchase and use.

Re:Why is "art" always sex and violence? (2, Insightful)

qortra (591818) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389241)

Because human life is always sex and violence. For better or worse, these are the tools by which the human race defined, refined, and propagated itself throughout history.

As a side note, I don't think that the article is talking about sex and violence in the GTA sense; "Let's run over a hooker with our cars." It's in a much deeper sense - how can something be decent art while not dealing with the most central and passionate areas of our lives?

Re:Why is "art" always sex and violence? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389513)

Hmm that gives me an idea.

Since GTAIV added in drunk driving, and using hookers has always been a part of the series..... why do you still have to park to use the hooker? Why can't you drive while using the hooker? I'm sure the developers could use the drunk driving engine to make that work....

Also, I've never picked up a hooker in GTAIV, mostly because I don't think I've ever seen one.

Re:Why is "art" always sex and violence? (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389997)

Also, I've never picked up a hooker in GTAIV, mostly because I don't think I've ever seen one.

You haven't been looking hard enough.

Re:Why is "art" always sex and violence? (1)

Rog-Mahal (1164607) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389545)

Point taken. I guess it's hard to visualize how a videogame could provide insight into those areas without engaging in mindless glorification. (Man, that sounded prudish) Perhaps that's precisely what the article is talking about, the medium needs room to breathe and evolve into something more meaningful.

Re:Why is "art" always sex and violence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389251)

Why nude acts are considered art?
Why sex and violence appears in written pieces of art?

Games will be mature when they can cover ALL themes other mature fields of art are allowed to cover.

Re:Why is "art" always sex and violence? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389317)

They're *components* of art, not necessarily art in and of themselves every time. But by barring the 'smut' (if you will), you inhibit the will to include references to it at all. For every timeless classic that happens to have a few sex scenes or a few battle scenes, you have thousands of pointless action and skin flicks, or novels, or TV shows, or songs, or [medium].

Throughout history, entertainment has revolved around violence and sex. It's true from the classical era to the modern day, and will continue to be true until we're some sort of hyper evolved emotionless entities. We remember the classics for their ability to go above and beyond simple sex and violence. Video games will get there too, eventually, with or without censorship.

The biggest problem is now that video game creation is still too technical. Once it reaches layman's level of ease, where anyone can pick up and a 'make a game', then we'll start seeing more unique and interesting, and perhaps even classically 'artsy', projects. Speech was the first barrier, and song and theater and spoken word are our oldest forms of art. Then writing, for the longest time an arcane mystery known only to priests and scholars, once opened to the common man we started seeing diverse and sometimes beautiful works. Creating a game will get there too. We can already see some wonderful things *inside* games, like Line Rider or Little Big Planet levels, or more involved 'project' levels in FPS games and such, but it'll be a while yet before we see entire games like that created by joe and jane blow created after their daily grind.

Re:Why is "art" always sex and violence? (1)

hort_wort (1401963) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389439)

To guess an answer to your question, the target audience is a bunch of angry teens who want to rebel against their parents and/or look cool. To that end, they'll do anything to test the limits of what they can get away with. That includes playing violent games with adult humor that they don't even understand yet. The videogame company, of course, will cater to this mindset in an effort to sell more product. It's not art. It's not freedom of speech. It's money.

My nephew likes to play GTA4 whenever anyone his age is around. When it's just his family in the house though, he'll play anything BUT that game. He got bored with it long ago, like any other game after playing it too long. I'll grant you that GTA titles can be fun, but they're just another title to me, nothing special.

Re:Why is "art" always sex and violence? (1)

physburn (1095481) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389557)

Art is always sex and violence?, Paintings and drawing hardly ever are sex or violence. Movies are often sex and violence, but there plenty of biopics and storytelling movies which aren't. Games are often violence and rarely sexual, (could be due to interface, you need that mouse hand). Sex, Violence and Death, are of course the strongest emotions a human can feel, so naturally are the most common themes as jaded emotion lead to ever stronger content. Movies, aren't protected as free speech in most countries, the're rated, censors, and there limits to what you can show, so the videogame industry can hardly ask for freedom by comparing itself to the movie industry. The case for media censorship of the games and movie industry is largely based on the monkey see, monkey do argument, that if people see a criminal activity there likely to follow it. Its difficult to argue to people don't copy what they see in the media, they often do. However if the movie/game, is a mortality tale, then it may prevent the crime, by showing the wrong doer getting his/her just doom. That doesn't often happen in games, more kills usually equals winning in games.

----

3D Shooter Feed , [feeddistiller.com] Horror Movie Feed [feeddistiller.com] @ Feed Distiller [feeddistiller.com]

Re:Why is "art" always sex and violence? (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390079)

Paintings and drawing hardly ever are sex or violence.

Unless you count anything made by Rubens, Giotto, Titian, El Greco, Picasso, Klimt, Schiele, Michelangelo, Bacon, Warhol, Klee, Dali... Well, most artists really.

But won't somebody (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389037)

think of the children? ;)

Re:But won't somebody (1)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389149)

I know you're being sarcastic but I think we've gone way to far with thinking about the childeren. In the end thinking about the childeren most of the times means: Hi, I am a important fellow who can change rules and I believe in God X. God X doesn't like this content so you shouldn't either. I am 30 years old if I want to play virtual rape, than that is probably distastefull but I ain't hurting anyone... Protecting the childeren is done by parents. Not by goverments. At least not as long they send other kids to poor schools in fancy suits trying to get them to sign up to become an officially trained murderer. (no troll intended btw to all army-personal)

On thinking of the children... (1)

Wain13001 (1119071) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389883)

I think you make a good point...

I also however believe that "thinking of the children" should include making them be aware that the world is for and run by adults. They don't need to have their childhood necessarily ripped away, but trying to lull them into some self-entitled, overly-pampered, completely unrealistic understanding of the world- where everyone is special, nobody is ever mean to anyone else, and there's no such thing as sex of any kind, including distinguishing that people have different body parts- simply because they're children is cruel and abusive.

It's not helping the children if we remove everything a parent might not want their child to see from their sight. What helps the children is leaving these things right where they are, and then having a loving parent work to put these things in context for a child so they can begin to understand the world and their place in it more effectively.

Nascence (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389053)

I like using this word to describe it and I agree with this piece for the most part. Although I would like to point out some differences with photography and video.

8-bit games are the cavemen drawings of what games will become. At the time of their inception they were probably revered above many other things by those who viewed them. Today they are crude and easily reproduced by a two year old. This will not be the case with games. And why not?

I can sit down with pen and paper and make a caveman drawing but I cannot sit down at my computer and make a Contra clone for an NES emulator? Why? Because the tools that represent pen and paper in this analogy are not open to me. They are closed and guarded by law and by obfuscation. I can look at a Picasso and begin to imitate the colors and angles and feel. I can play a Playstation One game but not imitate. I am not arguing that these methods should be open and available to all, I am just pointing out that this inhibits the everyone-can-do-what-they-want factor of most art mediums. It's difficult for me to acquire oils and pastels but it is near impossible for me to acquire a Neo Geo developer's license and kit.

In part this is due simply to complexity. Which brings me to my next point: games require a team.

Painting, drawing, photographing do not necessarily require a team. Films do but it is often to create a vision of a director or writer. I believe that games require much more teamwork and collaboration. Your texture folks have to be on board for the feel, your 3D engine has to be tuned to work with your feel, your dialogue has to match the feel, the coordination seems endless to me for modern games. This prevents the explosion of games and relegates us to a set number right now. I am not sure this will ever change.

In short, I feel that the difficulty in anyone picking up something to create a game inhibits the artistic expression. No one can arise by their own will in this field like you could in art or film. Furthermore, the idea of a lone genius revolutionizing or creating a movement is far more rare due to these inhibiting factors whereas that may more often happen in other arts.

I argue that games are art but they do hold different complexities and properties from other traditional arts. It may be a long time before they are recognized in the general public as such since the general public may always be removed from being able to create their own games with open tools.

Re:Nascence (1)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389699)

No one can arise by their own will in this field like you could in art or film

Furthermore, the idea of a lone genius revolutionizing or creating a movement is far more rare due to these inhibiting factors whereas that may more often happen in other arts

Really? Have you ever heard of Miyamoto? Kojima? Hironobu Sakaguchi? Granted there are not many individuals which fit the description you provided, but as gaming has only been around for a fairly short period of time, this is to be expected. In all honesty, how many out of one million painters or film makers could ever fit this description either? You said that the idea of someone revolutionizing games is rare, but an individual revolutionizing ANYTHING is rare! That's why it's a revolution! It means breaking from the norm and taking off in a radical new direction.

Re:Nascence (1)

Draek (916851) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389727)

I can sit down with pen and paper and make a caveman drawing but I cannot sit down at my computer and make a Contra clone for an NES emulator? Why? Because the tools that represent pen and paper in this analogy are not open to me. They are closed and guarded by law and by obfuscation. I can look at a Picasso and begin to imitate the colors and angles and feel. I can play a Playstation One game but not imitate.

While it does not invalidate your point, perhaps you're just looking at the wrong era. I remember during the '80s when PC magazines would have a "software of the day" thing where they'd give you the entire source-code (all of two pages!) for a cool app or game so not only was it possible for you to reproduce it and, perhaps, improve on it, it was *expected* from you to do so. The sheer awesomeness of it was one of the factors that drove me into programming, in fact.

Re:Nascence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389891)


near impossible for me to acquire a Neo Geo developer's license and kit.

Why bother, when you can get all of the tools for Windows game development for free, not to mention that Linux has a long history of free tools.

I think you are limited more by your (lack of) creativity and (lack of) free time. I know artists who would think nothing of putting 80 hours into a single canvas - why would you think you can get away with less?

Re:Nascence (1)

Fantom42 (174630) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389921)

In short, I feel that the difficulty in anyone picking up something to create a game inhibits the artistic expression. No one can arise by their own will in this field like you could in art or film.

Oversimplified. Have you ever tried to put on a musical? My friends and I did it in 24 hours. Let me tell you, it was a group effort, and many of the difficulties you discuss as being unique to game development apply to any cross-disciplinary art.

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389071)

Let me get this straight? If an artist has to limit the amount of sex and violence then his/her creativity is compromised? I always thought creativity was the ability to expand and open new and unexplored realms. I never realized that creativity was so limited in a confined box that removing the box would kill it.

All for censorship... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389089)

in the home. The government however should stay out of it. I do appreciate them having little warnings on boxes to help me decide if the children I'm responsible for should have access to that material or not. What I don't understand is how does classifying something as art give it a special dispensation to show material that wouldn't be deemed appropriate in other media.

Why not? (1)

rawls (1462507) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389119)

There is no intrinsic quality of the medium that prevents it from being art. There will probably be games developed in the future that will be considered art and there are probably games already out there that qualify. Whether there will be games that achieve any significant level of artistic quality is a totally different matter. To use a simplistic argument, let's look at the time and concentration involved. The average game has (conseratively) over ten hours of gameplay, at over 20 frames a second. Compare that to the amount of time it takes a painter to complete one frame or how long a sculptor spends on one model.

Really? You can't express yourself? (2, Insightful)

Nerdposeur (910128) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389147)

I'm not advocating censorship, but really, can't you make games that represent any political or artistic notion that comes into your head? What viewpoints cannot be expressed because of this repressive censorship we now have?

And it's hard to swallow the idea that video games aren't allowed to be violent enough. You can already kill prostitutes for fun and torture people to death and make people explode in gore - what else do you want? Are there ANY rules right now, other than a rating system that gives people fair warning?

Re:Really? You can't express yourself? (2)

santax (1541065) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389183)

Seen the news about China an Germany today?

Re:Really? You can't express yourself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389391)

Seen the news about China an Germany today?

Do you live in China or Germany?

If not, please stop sticking your nose in their business. They're old enough to take care of themselves.

Re:Really? You can't express yourself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389561)

Until America starts changing its laws to synergize with the rest of the world. Isolationism has rarely born fruit.

If anything, we should empathize for the Germans' plight because they are fellow human beings.

Or maybe you are perfectly okay with human rights in China because she is "old enough"...

>=(

Re:Really? You can't express yourself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28390103)

I agree with this. There is very little (if anything) preventing an artist from creating a a game. Most games aren't art though - they're entertainment media and consumer fads, although perhaps with some educational or cerebral value. Despite this, many analyses of games as art focus exclusively on large corporate moneymaking ventures: Half-Life, StarCraft, Final Fantasy and the like. As with any medium, the mass-market products tuned to maximize profits are the least likely to be art. Find the artist who creates a unified whole game, rather than a pile of gameplay, music, graphics, and writing. Then we might discover that the art form is not so nascent after all.

Re:Really? You can't express yourself? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28390177)

What viewpoints cannot be expressed because of this repressive censorship we now have?

Art isn't necessarily about which viewpoint is expressed, but how it is expressed.

Let's see if I get this straight... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389181)

If we're going to emulate film's success in video games, we need more daring, out-there, no-holds-barred visionary kind of stuff like Birth of a Nation [wikipedia.org] (a.k.a. bizarre violent paranoid racist fantasy) ?

Sorry mates, I think I'll stick to Minesweeper myself...

Author not looking for art but for porn. (2, Interesting)

will_die (586523) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389225)

Since the prime definition for art is "the products of human creativity" games definatly are art, as is the way I have the my desk decorated.
However the author of the article just talk how you cannot have art with have nudity. So based on his thinking bioshock would of been a better game if the females wore no clothing or if the zombie could gang rape Zoey in Left 4 dead.

Perverts arn't artists. (-1, Troll)

yourassOA (1546173) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389281)

They are just perverts who wish they could be pedophiles and serial killers but don't have the balls and would rather fantasize. All alleged art is not art just because someone says it is. And how come games were never called art until sickos wanted to molest children and murder people on their computer screen?

Re:Perverts arn't artists. (1)

eXFeLoN (954179) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389605)

repressed much? they've been called art since they were first created. and sickos have wanted to molest children and murder people for thousands of years, not just since they've gotten computer screens.

Tired of these stupid debates (2, Insightful)

Atrox666 (957601) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389303)

Does anyone remember(presuming you were born) when the big debate was not if video games were art but if anything that was done on a computer could be called art?
Let's stop having these debates and giving the morons who will never understand a voice.
They are the same people who claimed that expressionism wasn't art, surrealism wasn't art, pop art wasn't art. They are a pox on humanity.

"not being able to create art
they will not understand art
they will consider their failure as creators
only as a failure of the world"
  http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-genius-of-the-crowd/ [poemhunter.com]
The Genius of the Crowd - Charles Bukowski

Yes, Citizen Kane needed those sex scenes... (2, Insightful)

millia (35740) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389333)

I admit I haven't read the article yet, and perhaps it's got a very nuanced discussion on this subject that will persuade me otherwise...

but I doubt it.

Look, it's a new thing, really. I don't know why we haven't had 'art' in VG yet, but the simple fact is that it isn't because we don't have explicit sex. (Explicit violence has been censored from VG? Uh...)

I just drew a simple classic off the top of my head. Citizen Kane has nothing approaching violence and sex, and yet it's well regarded. And although Shakespeare had violence (and bawdy puns) it's nothing that you couldn't do without being a MA game.

I could probably list a 100 movies that affected me greatly, that are well regarded, and at least half of them I'd put forth as art, and of those, at least half again would be lacking in violence and sex. Sometimes, lacking colors in your palette can ENHANCE the experience.

We're getting there. Things like Braid are a step forward. Quite honestly, though, the real problem is the lack of a broad audience. When the 40 year old gamers of today hit 60, they'll have different tastes and requirements.

Very little effect on real ART in games... (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389339)

Yes, the censorship can be annoying and ridiculous (eg, GTA series: its OK to murder hundreds in a random crime spree, but god forbid there be hidden, unaccessable content of still-underwear-clad figures bumpin-boots).

But I think it has very LITTLE effect on art in games. EG, what effect did censorship have on something like Braid?

The game developers which are actually serious about doing ART are not interested in building "Sex-laden-splatter-fest-3000".

By Neruos (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389425)

Well duh...

Any type of limit, censor and/or law henders advancement in any field; resulting in the best situation a slowing of the initial desired effect/outcome.

Absolutely.. (1)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389473)

I mean, imagine Citizen Kane without violence and breasts... it wouldn't be the masterpiece compared to House of 1000 corpses. I agree more boobies and dismemberment should be in every film to bring it to a mature stage. OH! I get it, he's saying Botticelli boobies == art ... and those Medieval frescos of battle. Got it.

Something is Art because it expresses some emotion rooted in the human experience that causes a cathartic reaction in the observer, or some reaction (yeah, I suppose confusion counts)... kind of like a very convoluted form of conversation between an artist and an observer.

Boobies are just boobies, death is death, violence is violence and has no relevency to whether something is art or not. But the absense of Boobies != absense of Art.

It's like speech (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389477)

When you regulate it, people feel stifled and like they have to share important things in private. When you leave it open, there are bound to be some offensive people and some lunatics. There is no "win" state, there's always a trade-off. However, you can always choose to ignore these things as they are not forced on you any more than any other thing. We all have to deal with things we don't like, and something you may like might be something someone else will find offensive. There is no please-them-all solution, but we all have to be happy together. That's where respect comes in, but there's always disrespectful shit disturbers as well. As a society, we have to grow up and accept and tolerate and respect and understand. The sooner we accept that, the better.

Flawed premise of argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389517)

I would compliment the blog post as it's well written and obviously passionately about the topic. The premise of the argument is a bit misunderstood however. It goes like this:

Games are censored. Games often lack artistic value. However, once upon a time movies were also censored and lacked artistic value. When this censorship was removed, the artistic value of movies increased. Therefore, if games are no longer censored, the artistic value of games should also increase, becaues games are similar to movies

The flaw is this: games are NOT 'censored'. They have their sales restricted by law to exclude minors if the content is deemed to be adult, however, this is not the same as being prohibited. "Manhunt" and "Postal" were both released - and can be released in the future as well. They simply cannot be shown to minors. Unless there is something I miss, the same age restrictions apply to movies as apply to games.

The major difference is that it's a lot easier to make an appealing low-budget film (which can, due to its low budget, be any of: risky, risque, driven by a single individual, provocative, produced with few professionals involved) than it is to make an appealing low-budget game. This means that whereas films can have sexual content and be appealing, games have to choose between having sexual content and being appealing just in order to get the budget in (and to the naysayers: yes, there might be a single counterexample in the history of computer gaming, and no, a game that doesn't make it to store shelves will never sell millions at retail prices).

Actually, fuck all of that. In Japan they make 'hentai dating games' sold for chips - which are clearly very sexual. The author seems to be grinding a fairly narrow point.

An alternate explanation could be that, with a few exceptions, the films deemed to have 'artistic value' are also produced on a relatively limited budget, perhaps implying a link between willingness to take risk and artistic value. Similarly, there's a few games with artistic value and produced at a high budget, however the mass of 'low budget, recognised artistic value' games seems to be lacking. I'll leave to others to speculate why.

OMG there goes the point, over there... wait... (1)

achenaar (934663) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389603)

You missed it. How is it possible that there are people saying "Author not looking for art but for porn." or "What I don't understand is how does classifying something as art give it a special dispensation to show material that wouldn't be deemed appropriate in other media." when even TFS let alone TFA say nothing of the sort?
It's a fairly ranty article against censorship that highlights the absurdity in the difference between what can be shown in an 18 rated movie or described in some other art form e.g. literature, and what cannot currently be shown in video games regardless of their rating.
I tend to agree, although there are problems with movie ratings too IMHO.
Why shouldn't a game developer be able to make a story driven game with all the gritty reality of some of the more shocking hollywood movies, while presenting a story that, if it were in movie form, would win huge numbers of writing/cinematography awards showing it's acceptance as a work of art.
It's ridiculous, and I think that's some of what the author was trying to get across.

Once you can see a video game more as a delivery platform for a story and less as a child's toy, it's fairly simple to grasp.
Well, I think it is anyhow.
Meh.

Possible spoilers below: (1)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389639)

A few months back I was playing the Fallout 3 expansion, The Pitt. The game pretty much assumed that you were going to take the nice guy role and not harm a child and have a sense of guilt when that action results in a city of people being enslaved because you pussed out. I played it, went the route the developers wanted me to take and it had the desired effect. The next day I played through it again and played as a bad guy, only it didn't follow the gravity of the good guy route because they couldn't kill children in games (no one wants to be accused of making a child killer simulator). I walked away feeling slightly jipped, because there were no negative consequences. So yeah, such censorship, even a self imposed one can have an impact.

Stupid Argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28389725)

I personally dislike video games that are excessively and gratuitously violent and offensive; but neither do I think laws should be passed concerning censorship. Just stick to the rating system... and steer the violent or offensive video games more towards the 'M' or 'AO' ratings. Not that that stops kids from getting a hold of them, but at least the people who care about content have an easy way to decide whether they want the game or not.

He's got a point! (2, Insightful)

g_adams27 (581237) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389803)

After all, we all know that it would not have been possible to have such mature artistic works like Lord of the Rings, Atlas Shrugged, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Brothers Karamazov, and Casablanca without the addition of explicit sexual imagery. And it's clear that such immature games as Half-Life, Zork, Monkey Island, System Shock and Civilization were kept from becoming true works of art by not containing pornographic content.

.

Seriously, this article is a joke. You want a mature game? (And I use the word "mature" in its ordinary meaning, not as a synonym for "titillating"). Write good stories. I just finished Thief Gold (again), and was easily able to dismiss the clunky late-90's-style graphics and immerse myself in the fantastic story that unfolds for the player throughout its 13 missions. I'm starting Thief 2 now, where the storytelling got even better. Compare that with Crysis - while visually gorgeous, it told a very tired, worn-out story. (I get to play as a space-marine? With futuristic weapons? Wow! And I'm fighting aliens who are coming to earth? Amazing!)

.

Gamemakers: I'm not looking for more violence. Really, I'm not. Shooting bad guys is fine, but I don't wistfully dream about a future game where I'll be able to murder housewives and their children. And I'm not looking for more sexual imagery in my games. I want a story, with a beginning, plot development, and an end. I don't want an open-ended game where I have to create my own story because you were too cheap to hire good writers - I want you to pay what it takes to get some writers to write a fantastic tale that I can immerse myself in. Don't make it pornographic. Don't make it a blood-fest. Just make it compelling. Then you'll have a mature game.

Explicit content does not make art (1)

Carbaholic (1327737) | more than 4 years ago | (#28389967)

While sex and violence are a part of many art pieces, they are not part of all of them, and I would venture to say not part of most of them. The purpose of contemporary conceptual art is to make people feel a certain way or explore new ideas, not about being edgy. I do not usually like Art that has the sole purpose of being edgy. Artists who take the time to create something that makes the viewer feel or think something meaningful is better by far than art that simply shocks the viewer.

Also, saying that video game censorship is impeding them from becoming art is like saying that the movie rating system is keeping hollywood movies from becoming art. The very idea that these huge commercial video games would ever become art is just plain silly. On the other hand, there are more venues to distribute indipendent video games then there ever have been and some of these games are becoming more artistic. I haven't played one that I would consider high art yet, but I have played some very creative games that are moving in that direction.

Re:Explicit content does not make art (0)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390147)

I haven't played one that I would consider high art yet

The original Fallout series made a lot of pretty profound social commentary while still managing to mix it with some humor. If Fallout existed as a novel instead of a game I'm pretty sure it would have literary merit. Furthermore, Fallout was a great example of how explicit content can deepen a game's experience; it was possible to do some really rotten things to the NPC's in that game for personal gain, including killing women and children. The possibility of doing so made it more meaningful when the player acted with nobility instead. It also showed how difficult it can be to treat others with justice when times are hard which is a theme worthy of any novel; scarcity tempts the player to take advantage of others, and the NPC's in the lawless and desperate setting frequently turn to slavery, looting and cannibalism to survive.

Another game that might be considered art is Zeno Clash. The visual style of the game is very unique and surreal, and the plot of the game is inspired as well. I'd describe some of the literary aspects of the game but I don't want to spoil the plot twists.

Perception: Games Are For Kids (1)

reallocate (142797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390087)

The perception is that video games are for kids. As is the case for every medium, parents will decide that they do not want their kids seeinig certain images or hearing certain language regardless of the artistic intent or value of those images or words.

You can disagree all you want, or poke fun at the "Think of the Children!" syndrome, but you can't fight human nature.

Aside: The quest for video games to be accepted as art would acquire more credibility if people heard about it in some context other than attempts to include explicit sex and violence.

It's about enabling people... (1)

Temujin_12 (832986) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390139)

While I'm against absolute censorship (with a few extreme exceptions), I am very much for the creation of reliable tools that enable people and families to make informed decisions to control what kinds of material they interact with.

Fortunately, the internet has stepped up and done quite well at being the kind of tool I see as being effective. If you want to know what kind of material is in a game/movie/song/book/etc. there are sites or blogs full of reviews on whatever you're looking for.

Case in point, my wife and I recently ditched cable (and by not keeping up with the digital TV switch even local broad cast TV). Honestly, we couldn't justify the cost given how little we ended up watching it and how much inanity there was in many of the shows. Plus, news is better online or on the radio and neither of us are into professional sports. So now we just use Netflix/Redbox or watch shows online. Since what we're watching is not live, there are tons of reviews on the internet of exactly what kind of content (or lack thereof) is in the movie/show. So now we end up watching exactly what we like to watch and our TV watching experience is much better. Interestingly, we've found ourselves watching more independent films than blockbuster films.

Of course, this means we're a season behind the live TV viewing. But being up on all the latest shows isn't socially important to us so we don't care.

I feel there's plenty of information out there for people to be in control of what they watch if they take the time. Hopefully, more sites will pop up that are focused on providing an organized way for people to make informed decisions about their media viewing/listening/reading so you don't have to pour through random blog posts all the time.

Are Games More Dangerous Art? (1)

InsertCleverUsername (950130) | more than 4 years ago | (#28390187)

I am a strong opponent of censorship, but I wonder if society might want to be more careful with games than we are with other media. Reading or watching Lolita [wikipedia.org] seems much less dangerous a thing than playing Humbert Humbert in a FPS environment. And where will we be in 20 years, when your NeuroPlug(tm) makes the gaming experience almost indiscernible from reality?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...