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Video Games, the First Amendment, and Obscenity

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the making-people-explode-is-fine-but-no-gettin'-loved-up dept.

Censorship 229

An anonymous reader writes with an excerpt from an article about how obscenity laws and the first amendment relate to modern games: "This question is a tough one, for the very good reason that no video game developer or publisher has ever been prosecuted for obscenity related to video games. As we have seen, if the medium of video games are held to the same standard as literature and film then, presumably, they can also be held to be obscene. One of the reasons for the lack of obscenity prosecution against video game developers and publishers is that the courts have limited obscenity to sexual content only. In fact, the courts have gone so far as to specifically reject calls to alter the definition of 'obscenity' to include violent content in video games. The other major reason is the vast majority of video games sold in the United States have only small amounts of sexual content thanks to the Electronic Software Rating Board."

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229 comments

The main reason games don't have obscene content (5, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638057)

So games don't have much potentially obscene content because of existing censorship and fear of further censorship if they included sexual content? Talk about a chilling effect...

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638155)

Linux is an os for fags, niggers and spics who cant afford real oses like osx

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (5, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638265)

The lack of sex has little to do with first amendment as its pretty much all based on the self censorship the industry is doing via the ESRB.

A game that contains sex gets rated AO by the ESRB and AO means that it won't be allowed to make it on either Nintendo's, Sony's or Microsoft's console. There is still the PC market, but Walmart and other shops won't carry AO either. So AO pretty much results in a game that you can't sell, so everybody avoids it as good as they can, meaning no sex in games.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

TomHandy (578620) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638391)

Mass Effect was rated AO?

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (3, Informative)

Logical Zebra (1423045) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638491)

No, it wasn't. Mass Effect was rated "M" and can be purchased just about anywhere that sells video games.

The controversy that surrounded that game alleged that there was rape and other sexual disturbing scenes, which was completely false. There exists one (1) "bed scene" that is more tame than what you see on TV.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (3, Informative)

broken_chaos (1188549) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639005)

There are a grand total of four possible sexual encounters. One is optional for all characters in all playthroughs (and happens or not depending on conversation responses). The last three are optional depending on which (if any) crew member you decide to romance - at most one of these will happen per playthrough. All of them are consensual and between adults.

The first doesn't show anything even remotely considered nudity, and is mostly implied. It's with an Asari (a mono-gendered, but female-looking/acting alien race) consort. It's a 'reward' for you if you don't think her gift of advice is enough for completing her sidequests.

The other three are very similar in style, and are between a male PC and a female human, a female PC and a male human, and a female or male PC and an Asari (female-looking/acting) scientist. They show, at most, mild nudity from the characters (showing rear nudity, with full nudity implied), and are indeed tamer than what you can see on network TV in most ways, and certainly tamer than some things you can see on cable TV. They also only occur after a fairly significant romance sideplot, advanced in conversations with the chosen NPC between missions, and only occur near the end of the game (which is, attempting 100% completion, a longer-than 20-hour game, and probably could not be completed in much less than 8 hours, even with skipping all non-plot related events or quests).

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638495)

Did Mass Effect contain sex? Not really, a little stuff shown from the side and cut together so that you couldn't see anything at all. In terms of nudity I think God of War got away with a good bit more and Fahrenheit so far seems to have had the most sex and full frontal nudity of any mainstream game, but then it was only was released uncensored to Europe, the USA got the censored version.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

DeadDecoy (877617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638747)

Mass Effect didn't have explicit sex scenes. They had some boobage along with the implication that there was sex. Same goes for The Witcher, where you have hints of eroticism by having two characters holding each other, but once anything serious is about to happen, the camera blanks out and wonders off. This amount of 'sex' is already fairly common in most media, from the cover of swimsuit issues to your basic cable show (e.g. Battle Star Galactica). So games are pretty much in the safe zone when they advertise sex and show only the periphery of action.
What's sad is that we as a culture treat sex as a constant juvenile taboo but are pretty much ok with most graphic violence and subtle racism. I suppose the former is more likely to happen than the latter (fun copulation versus violent killing spree), that it would require some responsibility on the parent's part. Since that would be awkward and take effort, we shift the blame elsewhere.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (3, Interesting)

Cstryon (793006) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639059)

It is interesting that we are ok with Violence, but fret over sex (At least in the US). To me though, I prefer it that way. My wife and I, we watched Watchmen last night. It is now funny to look back at our reactions, all the gory parts we said "WHOA!" and the sexy parts we'd blush and look at each other (You know what they are doing?!?). I'm ok with sex being Taboo, because I like sex. For example, you're watching some love story, they start getting hot and heavy, you start thinking (they are gonna do it) and then the Camera pans off. Same is is in Mass Effect, and some people think (DANG I wanted to see that). But it's the question that has people interested. If we saw sex, and it was ok, all the time, we wouldn't be so curious about it anymore. Why do you think old married couples don't have sex as often? It's not just because they are busy. It's because they have lost the curiosity.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (2)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638449)

Sounds like the market is SCREAMING for someone to develop a good, highly sexual content video game.

That ratings board is stil voluntary, right?

What's to stop someone from making such a game, that will work on some or all of the platforms, and marketing and selling it independently?

Sure, you may not get offical blessing by Sony, Nintendo or MS, and you may have to omit their trademarked names, but, surely there is no law about what you can plug into your own game unit that you own, is there? Hell sell it online, the first one out to do this would win by word of mouth selling. If the companies start bitching, just throw out the 1st amendment rights and the fair use doctrine.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638553)

Unblessed games don't run on unhacked consoles, so you can't sell your AO game to the mass market of any kind of gamers except those on PCs, a market which has been dwindling.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

Broken scope (973885) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638569)

You clearly haven't seen the DMCA.

To be able to get the game to work on their consoles you have to get their blessing or circumvent their copy protection mechanisms.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (2, Informative)

MORB (793798) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638737)

And the thing is that for a disc to be recognized by a game console, it usually have to include material copyrighted by the console manufacturer, usually a picture of their logo (compared against a copy located in the firmware) and sometimes some proprietary bootstrap code, so if you're pretty much forced to have a license to be legally able to make a game running on their console.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (4, Informative)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638847)

Actually the part about the proprietary bootstrap code isn't an issue as was decided in Sega v Accolade [wikipedia.org] in which Accolade reverse engineered code to load their games for the Genesis as they weren't a licensee of Sega. Basically that code wasn't covered by copyright because it was considered "non-expressive" and as such didn't get copyright protection. The issue for what the GP is talking about has to do with the cryptographic key signing that is used by the consoles. That is illegal to circumvent.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (4, Insightful)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638663)

What's to stop someone from making such a game, that will work on some or all of the platforms, and marketing and selling it independently?

The fact that it won't play on the vast amount of consoles that aren't unhacked?

Sure, you may not get offical blessing by Sony, Nintendo or MS, and you may have to omit their trademarked names, but, surely there is no law about what you can plug into your own game unit that you own, is there?

Are you completely unaware of the DMCA?

If the companies start bitching, just throw out the 1st amendment rights and the fair use doctrine.

And you'd lose on the grounds that circumventing copy protections in such a manner as you described is clearly against the law.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638943)

"And you'd lose on the grounds that circumventing copy protections in such a manner as you described is clearly against the law."

Doesn't DMCA have provisions for compatibility/interactivity issues? What about monopoly issues, they the company alone decides who can sell games for their systems? That kind of thing wouldn't work for computers would it?

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

Freetardo Jones (1574733) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639051)

Doesn't DMCA have provisions for compatibility/interactivity issues?

Sure, but none of them would allow what you are talking about.

What about monopoly issues, they the company alone decides who can sell games for their systems?

Pretty much would fail. No company is obligated to let anyone and everyone develop for their system. Especially if they aren't a licensee.

That kind of thing wouldn't work for computers would it?

Really? Seems to work plenty fine for Apple.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (4, Interesting)

daem0n1x (748565) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638541)

You Americans need to relax a little bit concerning sex. I think violence is a lot worse than sex.

It's OK for kids to see people being machinegunned into pieces, blood and flesh everywhere, but a boobie is simply too outrageous. WTF!?!

Here in Europe, most movies have nudity in them but in a Hollywood movie, if you see some boobs for a fraction of a second, it's outrageous. The leg-crossing of Sharon Stone in Fatal Instinct was deemed as the sexiest thing on cinema, but truly, it's pretty standard in European movies. Of course, in American movies and series, violence is rampant, even in family-rated stuff.

On American TV, I've seen boobs blurred out in movies, music videos, etc. I've even seen something incredible, Naomi Watts was masturbating in Mulholland Drive, but she was only filmed from the waist up, so you could only see her arm going up and down, suggesting what she was doing. They fucking blurred her arm! How stupid is this?

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (5, Insightful)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638579)

Dude, WE KNOW.

We're waiting on the AARP crowd to die off so we can take control. There's a shit-ton of baby boomers out there, they're active and they vote.

Once they're all dead, we'll "relax" more as a country.

But yeah, I agree, I'd rather see a delicious breast than some dude get blown to pieces by a gun in a movie.

Don't kid yourself though, Europe is just as screwed up as the US is, just in slightly different ways.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (4, Insightful)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638895)

Dude, WE KNOW.

We're waiting on the AARP crowd to die off so we can take control. There's a shit-ton of baby boomers out there, they're active and they vote.

Once they're all dead, we'll "relax" more as a country.

I bet you don't. You'll be their age then, and I bet you'll be pretty much the same. Remember that those baby boomers were the "free love" and "turn on, tune in, drop out" generation!

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28639091)

Yes, but then it will be because we're vindictive that we didn't get it, not out of actual morals or anything.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (2, Interesting)

digitig (1056110) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639313)

And the baby boomers are all vindictive because they're not getting it now. Big improvement. Not.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28639317)

Except instead of trying to stop exposed breasts on television we'll be trying to stop hardcore sex scenes. It's almost like one big slope that we are sliding down into the realms of sexual and violent abuse. We're closer to the latter, unfortunately.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

Xygon (578778) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638557)

God of War wasn't AO either, and you had to pound out a sex scene rhythm at one point... not just all sex is AO and removed, just explicit and graphic sex.

That's not self censorship! (1)

loshwomp (468955) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638813)

The lack of sex has little to do with first amendment as its pretty much all based on the self censorship the industry is doing via the ESRB.

That's only self censorship in the same sense that employer-mandated drug tests are "optional -- as long as you don't mind losing your job". Game developers censor themselves because if they didn't, their publishing opportunities would be zero thanks to console vendors and the ESRB.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638967)

mean while...we get the "ESRB-Experience may change during online play"

That I think is the loop hole that gaming companies want. The gaming company can't create it but I've run into enough players online that want to flaunt AO material.

I think that is great, but most gaming companies still crack down on AO fan material creation. If memory serves there was a AO guild that's stated purpose was to flaunt AO subject matter in WoW. Blizzard shut it down.

Personally I think gaming companies would be better served by allowing players to filter when it comes to online content. Give them the ability to ignore players/alliances. Give them the ability to control who can talk to them.

I believe the last leisure suit larry game came out in multiple ESRB and included an AO version. I don't see why online games can't do that. Just create a restricted area for adults only. It would be interesting in WoW to see how many people paid to transfer their characters to an AO allowed server. Kids would still get in illegally of course, but kids also get alcohol before 21 with the infamous 'hey, mister' while offering a $20 outside liquor stores.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639131)

That's true, and they're shooting themselves in the feet by doing it. This is a chance for a new undertaking that could eat Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft's lunch, by making a console that AO games would run on.

Computer games ain't only for kids any more, and actually never were. There's no valid reason why you can't have sex in a video game.

Look at the disaster Die Hard IV: Revenge of the nerds was. They made it so nothing would have to be cut for it to play on TV so as to get the "younger audience", and it tanked at the box office - for good reason. The PG version sucks donkey balls. The unrated version on the DVD is as good or better than the other three Die Hards, but it is in the same spiruit as those. For instance, when the bad guy woman goes down the elevator shaft, the "fuck you, bitch!" fit. "The last time I saw her she was at the bottom of an elevator shaft with an SUV rammed up her ass". And of course the all important "yippie kayay, motherfucker".

That was what people were expecting and wanting to see at the theater, and were sorely disappointed.

Why does the TV version of The Terminator show Arnold cutting his eyeball out, shooting and burning policemen, ripping a punk's heart out, but they cut the sex scene? The people who rate and censor this shit are sick, imo.

I want to see GTA's hookers get naked. I want to see them actually give somebody a blow job. And, er, why is it OK to show somebody getting their head blown off, but not OK to show titties? Some of you young puritans are hypocritical twits.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639201)

What evidence do you have for this untapped demand for AO games? There are AO games, porn games and Henai games which have sex and they don't sell in any kind of high numbers. Games with lots of sex seem at this point to be a niche product. What evidence do you have that there is some untapped market. As for profanity I believe M games can have profanity.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1, Troll)

aj50 (789101) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639281)

Alternatively they could cut it out for the American market and sell it as it was created in Europe, where many popular games are given the highest 18+ rating and are still sold in shops.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638287)

It does amaze me that we live in a society where realistically depicted violence, and in the case of some news stories, actual violence, is considered acceptable. Meanwhile, a single breast being exposed during a Superbowl half-time show resulted in outrage and a strong desire to "crack down" on obscenity. The message there is that violence is normal and acceptable while sexuality is obscene and must be censored.

You are quite right about a chilling effect. That tells me we are doing things the hard way. Rather than censorship, I'd much rather we teach people that fictional depictions like video games can be appreciated for what they are without also being idolized and emulated. Any adult who can't understand what that means is not really an adult but an overgrown child. So I assume this must be about children. If parents are worried about their children being exposed to the more severe video games or movies or any other media, I fully support their right to act as the "benevolent dictators" that they are and control what their children have access to. However, I expect them to actually be parents instead of relying on institutional censorship to carry out their responsibility for them.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638527)

I actually agree with you on expecting parents to be parents. However, as a parent, I have to mention that sometimes my kids stay over at other kids houses. We don't always get the ability to audit everything available in that house before they stay there. In fact, if we tried, the kids would never get to stay as we would be considered "weird creeps". We can ask about the video games - but from experience kids sometimes pull out a game that their parents didn't know they had. So it is a problem and although we try to do this correctly and be responsible some times you can't reasonably avoid them being exposed to something you'd rather they weren't.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (4, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638707)

Well, part of parenting is teaching your kids how to react to things that you don't usually allow. If you'd rather your kid not look at nude photos of women or play extremely violent video games, you don't just keep them out of your house and pretend that they don't exist. At some point, your child will discover them. Instead, you have a talk with them about why you consider those things bad (kids aren't too fond of "because I said so") and how to react if they should come upon something like that. It's what I do with my five year old son (and will do with my two year old son when he gets older).

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (0)

Duradin (1261418) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638773)

But purposely talking to your kid about that stuff might lead to you or the kid feeling embarrassed! That's like psychological child abuse!

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639041)

I actually agree with you on expecting parents to be parents. However, as a parent, I have to mention that sometimes my kids stay over at other kids houses. We don't always get the ability to audit everything available in that house before they stay there.

So then don't let you kids stay at someone else's house. If you want total control, then thats what you should be doing... but instead you're going to the government to ensure your neighbor doesn't have anything objectionable to YOU.

Oh, don't see you agree, because you don't. "However" and "but" are just words used to negate whatever you said previously.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638531)

It boils down to this: Crusades = ok, premarital sex = da debbil.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (2, Informative)

Rycross (836649) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638547)

I think this is mostly because most parents feel that their kids having sex is more likely than them becomming violent killers.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638767)

Of course, they're justified in that. Most people do have sex. Most people don't commit murder.
Indeed, we accept the "sex drive" as a natural part of the human makeup. And seeing depictions of sex obviously stimulates an appetite for the real thing in most normal people. I don't think the same can be said for killing, and most people seem to agree with me.
I'm not excusing censorship, just giving what I think is a reasonable explanation of the disparate treatment of sex vs. violence--they're very different things (for most of us).

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

jayme0227 (1558821) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638623)

Personally, I'm not really worried. Because of the AO rating, obscene games are commercially not viable, but they are not completely banned. Even the most gruesomely violent games aren't censored, and only in extremely rare cases are overtly sexually games completely banned from being sold. I have some issues with this, but I can handle it.

The point where it would cross into being a problem for me is if they banned the ownership of sexual video games, which I don't believe has happened in most of the free world. So long as the development of the video game doesn't negatively affect other people (as is the case with the creation of child porn), I don't believe that the government should have any right to restrict that game's ownership.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (2, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638645)

It's not even "a single breast being exposed during a Superbowl half-time show" but a single nipple. You can show much of the breast on TV and in print without being called porn. Just look at all of the bikini shots that show nearly the entire top of the model. But show one female nipple and you're in "won't someone think of the children" territory. I still haven't quite figured out how that small patch of skin on a female qualifies as obscene while the same patch of skin on a male is mundane. I keep envisioning a test to see how the "think of the children" folks react. Put a woman in a modified burka. It would cover her from top to bottom so you wouldn't be able to tell anything about her shape but cut holes in the burka so that only the woman's nipples showed. (Some tape may be in order to keep any breast from showing.) Would people think this was lewd? What if a similar woman walked around in a string bikini?

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638307)

I'm kind of failing to see what the loss to humanity is if some commercial sex games aren't made.

I can definitely see that a game with strong sexuality can have artistic merit, that's not what this is about. On the other hand, I think most games like that would never, ever be made by anything other than an individual or small group that would make it regardless of whether it would be commercially viable.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (4, Insightful)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638745)

I'm kind of failing to see what the loss to humanity is if some commercial sex games aren't made.

I can definitely see that a game with strong sexuality can have artistic merit, that's not what this is about. On the other hand, I think most games like that would never, ever be made by anything other than an individual or small group that would make it regardless of whether it would be commercially viable.

What humanity could stand to lose is the "we know what's best for you" mentality. Humanity could stand to lose that, the same way that a cancer patient could stand to lose a tumor.

Re:The main reason games don't have obscene conten (4, Informative)

ForexCoder (1208982) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638315)

Sexual content in a movie that would earn an R rating by the MPAA, earns an A (adults only) rating in game. See, for example, the Hot Coffee [wikipedia.org] version of GTA.

This applies to retailers as well, the same retailer will accept the content in a movie but not in a game. It's not just chilling, it's deadly to a game.

BF Skinner was right (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638083)

Environment affects behavior. If you provide no balance to the violence of video games, the outcome can only be violent behavior.

Re:BF Skinner was right (5, Interesting)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638673)

Skinnerian radical behaviorism has all but been completely thrown out the window in modern psychology. These days, cognitive psychology is all the rage. Even more modern post-Skinnerian behaviorists like Tolman [wikipedia.org] had began thinking along more cognitive lines.

Thing is that I, along with many others, including my wife who self-identifies as a bevaviorist, believe that Skinnerian radical behaviorism is far too simplistic a view and that with advances in modern technology we have to look beyond simple operant conditioning as causes of human behavior, because at this point, quite frankly, we can.

Re:BF Skinner was right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638757)

If you're not going to provide balance for anything, you shouldn't have been allowed to reproduce in the first place.

Obscene (3, Informative)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638119)

I can't remember off the top of my head what the case cite is, but the SCOTUS decided that each local has the choice of deciding for its self what is obscene and what is not.

For example, what might be obscene in Kentucky may be par for the course in California and so on.

Re:Obscene (5, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638223)

That would be Miller v. California and is know as the Miller test. For something to be considered obscene, it needs to meet 3 criteria.

1. The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest.
2. the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law.
3. the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

Re:Obscene (4, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638703)

2. the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law.

I've always found it kind of amusing that it's basically all about sex and pooping. Of all the forms of speech that can be censored due to being offensive, of all the activities which we can't tolerate because they're too objectionable, we've picked out sex and pooping.

Re:Obscene (1)

sckeener (137243) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639133)

That would be Miller v. California and is know as the Miller test. For something to be considered obscene, it needs to meet 3 criteria.

1. The average person, applying contemporary community standards, would find that the work, taken as a whole, appeals to the prurient interest. 2. the work depicts/describes, in a patently offensive way, sexual conduct or excretory functions specifically defined by applicable state law. 3. the work, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

and now the Miller Test meets the Internet where my contemporary community standard is compared to San Francisco, Little Rock, New York, Houston, etc....

pretty impossible to meet any contemporary community standard now a days...unless one is aggregating the standard of the entire United States. I'm sure Hawaii will compare nicely to Dallas.

On a side note...there is only one county in Texas that restricts being topless, Brazoria, and it is a semi-recent change (about 4 years ago.) I was always proud of Texas for allowing women to be topless. The only restriction was (is in most of Texas) if someone complained, they had to cover up.

Re:Obscene (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638225)

Yes. This is how our "government" is supposed to work. It's about time states started pushing back by instating local laws to trump the unconstituional federal laws [blowoutcongress.com] that currently exist. The obscenity law should be local entirely. Our federal government is begining to step on the peoples feet, and it's madening.

Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638135)

Declaration of Independence. Three inalienable rights. It shocks the hell out of me that people don't understand everyone's entitled to these. If what I'm doing doesn't deprive other people of these three rights, I should be able to do it. Yes, that's a libertarian viewpoint but it's in the Declaration of Independence. If I want to play Left 4 Dead in my home, what do you care? It's not depriving you of any of these three things and I enjoy it. Should I start saying that you sitting at home all night reading The Holy Bible is bothering me? Because it's about the same damn thing with Lazarus and the whipping and the lashing and the begetting and the Mary Magdalene and the apocalypse ... See how stupid this argument is? It's a waste of time. It has been this way with books and movies and it will be that way with video games. Get over it and move on to target things worth your time censoring and prosecuting like child pornography.

Re:Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness (1, Insightful)

Kayden (1406747) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638219)

If that kind of logic worked, they wouldn't read the bible to begin with.

Re:Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638433)

Unless I'm mistaken, the Declaration of Independence has no legal standing.

Re:Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28639129)

I hope the British don't find out.

Re:Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638539)

"If what I'm doing doesn't deprive other people of these three rights, I should be able to do it. Yes, that's a libertarian viewpoint but it's in the Declaration of Independence. If I want to play Left 4 Dead in my home, what do you care? It's not depriving you of any of these three things and I enjoy it."

sounds good to me so far, you make a good poin... oh wait, not there we are:

"Get over it and move on to target things worth your time censoring and prosecuting like child pornography."

way to invalidate your entire argument

Re:Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness (1)

BornAgainSlakr (1007419) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638859)

If what I'm doing doesn't deprive other people of these three rights, I should be able to do it.

You can argue that stealing a car or running a Ponzi scheme do not deprive anyone of those three rights in a strict sense...which is pretty much why I do not like Libertarian viewpoints. They are too simplistic. Libertarianism is merely a starting point for a larger, longer conversation.

You are not guaranteed "life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness." Rather, that is an ideology that guided the Constitution and current legislation.

And the conversation about video games has never been about what you do by yourself in your own home. The conversation about video games has always been about how they have been traditionally marketed to children and how there is (or was???) no explicit regulation on the sale of video/sexual/obscene games to children.

Does that conversation have any merit? No. But at least represent it correctly.

More apt analogies would be: Should we allow religions to market their mythologies to children? Should we allow parents to send their children to Bible camps for brainwashing?

Re:Life, Liberty & the Pursuit of Happiness (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639177)

The conversation about video games has always been about how they have been traditionally marketed to children and how there is (or was???) no explicit regulation on the sale of video/sexual/obscene games to children.

Except that video games pretty much aren't for kids. The vast majority of those playing are in their 30s.

"Obscenity"? (4, Informative)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638149)

Do keep in mind that the legal definition is really, past all the smoke and mirrors, whatever the judge personally finds distasteful. Deciding what the population doesn't need or want to view for them has no place in a free society.

Then of course, we're not a free society.

The law often makes up legal principles (usually giving them Latin names to try to make them seem magical and justified) to override other legal principles. Obscenity is a great way to override freedom of speech by taking speech, labeling it "obscenity," and then claiming that it's "not really speech." A problem with the constitution colliding with the rights of minors and school? No problem! "En loco parentis," is right up your alley (whether you agree with the concept or not). The "community standards" excuse is, even if it is applied as per the name, is a violation of individual rights which the legal system has been more than happy to sacrifice in the name of a sort of vicious populism. Why community standards in obscenity, and not political opinion? Obscenity, political opinion, all of it is simply how one takes it. Personally, I find Nazis more distasteful than goatse, but we're not at silencing them (yet...).

This also extends into the domain of politics, where wars become "police action."

Don't think freedom means a damn thing if the government gets to play with the meaning of words, or if whatever is popular reigns over individual rights.

Re:"Obscenity"? (1)

causality (777677) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639067)

The law often makes up legal principles (usually giving them Latin names to try to make them seem magical and justified) to override other legal principles. Obscenity is a great way to override freedom of speech by taking speech, labeling it "obscenity," and then claiming that it's "not really speech."

I have often said that the actual principles of freedom and why those principles are correct is quite easy to understand. All of the mystique and the complication and the increasingly "priesthood" status of the lawyers and courts is because you need a great deal of complication before there is room for ever-increasing restrictions to seem like valid options. "You and other consenting adults may do whatever the hell you want, until and unless you affect another person against their will." Really, how difficult is that? The only objection people have is that it might mean others engage in behavior of which they disapprove, like responsible drug use for example, and unfortunately immature people care more about that than they do about freedom. It's like they are personally offended that someone would want to do something that they would not do, which is supreme arrogance disguised as concern for health. The reason why those people are wrong is easy to sum up, as their beliefs go like this: "it's not enough that I don't use drugs; I am not satisfied until I prevent you from using them too."

I'll answer a really obvious objection just because some people raise it believing that it's anything other than obvious and shallow. Drugs should be handled just like we currently handle another drug, alcohol. Stay at home, use them responsibly, don't create a disturbance? Have at it. Use them irresponsibly, try to drive while severely impaired, or otherwise harm or potentially harm others with your usage of them, and then we have a reason to stop you. I feel this way about all victimless crimes. Personally, I want to have a meaningful relationship with a woman I truly care about; however, that doesn't give me the right to stop someone from hiring a prostitute if that's really what he wants to do. If he asked me, I'd tell him that I disagree with what he's doing but if he didn't ask me, then what consenting adults want to do behind closed doors is none of my damned business. That's because I am not his master and don't care to dictate to him how he should live. It's that simple.

A problem with the constitution colliding with the rights of minors and school? No problem! "En loco parentis," is right up your alley (whether you agree with the concept or not).

You have to appreciate the message this sends to the children. From a young age, they are taught in history or "social studies" classes that the rights enumerated in the Constitution are inalienable rights that human beings have by virtue of being human. Then they are shown that those rights can be reduced or removed at will, by a government agency (public schools), so long as a good enough excuse is provided. This is to our great shame. How many countless examples of such hypocrisy have to occur before we start wondering why young people don't respect authority?

Re:"Obscenity"? (1)

Wowlapalooza (1339989) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639181)

Do keep in mind that the legal definition is really, past all the smoke and mirrors, whatever the judge personally finds distasteful. Deciding what the population doesn't need or want to view for them has no place in a free society.

Then of course, we're not a free society.

The law often makes up legal principles (usually giving them Latin names to try to make them seem magical and justified) to override other legal principles. Obscenity is a great way to override freedom of speech by taking speech, labeling it "obscenity," and then claiming that it's "not really speech." A problem with the constitution colliding with the rights of minors and school? No problem! "En loco parentis," is right up your alley (whether you agree with the concept or not).

Mmmmm... pretty bad example there. You imply that In loco parentis (note spelling) was made up by the U.S. Federal Courts, but actually the concept has a long pedigree, back to English Common Law. The only thing "new" about it is that the concept has been applied to primary and secondary educational settings to set tighter limits than usual on Free Speech "free expression". Frankly, even though I consider myself somewhat of a First Amendment advocate, I don't have a problem with this general doctrine. The purpose of these educational settings is, after all, to educate, not just to be a open forum for "free expression". Until they are educated, children and teens aren't really capable, in constitutional terms, of proper "free expression", and any claims of same are almost certainly just rationalizations for acting out or bad behavior. You know it, I know it, when a teenager is caught in disruptive behavior and says they're "freely expressing" himself/herself, 9 times out of 10 it's just a cover for something else. The Constitutional Law doctrine actually has some common sense here. For tertiary education, the doctrine does not apply, since those settings are supposed to be more about a free exchange of ideas.

The "community standards" excuse is, even if it is applied as per the name, is a violation of individual rights which the legal system has been more than happy to sacrifice in the name of a sort of vicious populism. Why community standards in obscenity, and not political opinion? Obscenity, political opinion, all of it is simply how one takes it.

No, there's a big difference. If a political majority can silence or limit the opinions of a political minority, then they can use that to maintain power indefinitely. You can't really say the same about obscenity. Obscenity doesn't, in the constitutional view, give one power over others. Political expression does, by directly influencing how people vote in elections.

Re:"Obscenity"? (1)

ribbitman (262367) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639277)

No, it is NOT what the judge finds personally distasteful. It is what the JURY finds distasteful. Judges in American courts only decide issues of law. Juries determine issues of fact. Judges can override a jury's decision in exceptional circumstances, but they are then subject to appellate scrutiny. It is this kind of civic ignorance that allows the Republican myth of "activist judges" to endure. Yes, it is reprehensible that extreme violence is acceptable while sexuality creates terror, but it shows exactly where the problem lies. Courts do not take up these cases of their own accord. A prosecutor (on his own or on the information of police) brings it to the court and argues the case. In other words, the prosecutor (and/or police) decides what questions of obscenity get analyzed by the courts. Prosecutors are an arm of the executive branch of government, and America has cowtowed to the executive for decades because fear sells. None of this is about protection of anything, morals or otherwise. It is about religious zealots trying to stay wealthy and in power by equating sex with shame and violence with retribution.

Obligatory Tom Lehrer (4, Funny)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638151)

"I do have a cause though. It is obscenity. I'm for it. Unfortunately the civil liberties types who are fighting this issue have to fight it owing to the nature of the laws as a matter of freedom of speech and stifling of free expression and so on but we know what's really involved: dirty books are fun. That's all there is to it. But you can't get up in a court and say that I suppose. It's simply a matter of freedom of pleasure, a right which is not guaranteed by the Constitution unfortunately."

(at which point he launched into this jaunty tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pva35TFiBfI [youtube.com])

Re:Obligatory Tom Lehrer (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638221)

"... but we know what's really involved: dirty video games are fun. That's all there is to it...."

There... fixed that for you.

Re:Obligatory Tom Lehrer (1)

Noren (605012) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638681)

There weren't a lot of dirty video games when Lehrer said that, in 1965.

Re:Obligatory Tom Lehrer (1)

vintagepc (1388833) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638915)

Yes, but considering the average slashdotter, they'd be more familiar with video games than books.

Re:Obligatory Tom Lehrer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638295)

Anyone care to come up with a verse ABOUT video games?

Still more "progressive" than most countries (5, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638177)

Many countries, even in the English-speaking world, still have official censorship bodies which won't let you publish content without state approval. That's general content, not particular content niches like pornography. Games have been effectively banned in Europe or Australia from being sold for being too violent or "mature." By comparison, the United States has no effective apparatus of censorship. The most that can happen is that a prosecutor brings you up on charges of violating local obscenities laws, but then the prosecutor has to show that your sexual content is gratuitous and has no independent (artistic, literary, etc.) merit. If you had a map where a character walks through a realistic strip club, and gets into a shoot out, that content is likely to be protected under the same precedents that protect R-rated movies with similar content.

Now, if you create a sex simulator, even one like Hot Coffee, well, you're up shit creek. That aside, our system is significantly freer and more in line with "let adults be adults and let parents be responsible" than the majority of the industrial world on content in general.

Re:Still more "progressive" than most countries (1)

Dr. Impossible (1580675) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638353)

Now, if you create a sex simulator, even one like Hot Coffee, well, you're up shit creek.

When the game was rated, ESRB was not aware of the existence of Hot Coffee. When it was revealed that it's in the game (sotr of), they decided that the game's rating must be changed to AO. Rockstar could have included it from the start, but they would have had to ship the game with an AO rating.

Re:Still more "progressive" than most countries (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639243)

The fact that rights aren't as tramped here as in Europe does not excuse rights being tramped here. I fail to see your point.

What about Japanese imports? (1)

Absolut187 (816431) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638181)

Anyone know of any court cases involving Japanese sex games?
I know they get pretty obscene..

Re:What about Japanese imports? (3, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638283)

Anyone know of any court cases involving Japanese sex games? I know they get pretty obscene..

There's been a lot of talk [current.com] and grandstanding for banning games like "RapeLay" [slate.com] but I don't think there's been a court case or decree. It's pretty difficult to get a hold of through a major outlet though. And I think Japan's version of the ESRB is passing new standards [slashdot.org] preventing the publishing of games like this. No court cases on US soil regarding this title to my knowledge. From what I've read, it seems to be the most explosively controversial title out there right now.

Re:What about Japanese imports? (2, Interesting)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638369)

Not entirely on topic, but there was that court case in Iowa regarding Japanese sex comics. I can't imagine a zealous prosecutor being too hesitant to make the jump from comics to video games should it serve his interests.

Re:What about Japanese imports? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638395)

Japan's porn is animated, which is a far cry from obscenity.

Demand is low (2, Insightful)

jeffliott (1558799) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638233)

Until the demand for content that is considered obscene (in current culture) allows for mass profits, the big developers will never take it on.

Re:Demand is low (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639247)

So what you're basically saying is that the big developers will never produce anything that would be deemed obscene.

If developers produce it, that means there is a large market for it. If there is a large market for it, that market doesn't view the material as obscene. Actually, when you think about it, it seems kind of ridiculous that there was such an uproar about the GTA games. They were some of the highest selling games ever made, obviously a large portion of the population didn't find them obscene.

It's all about the interface. (0)

MarkvW (1037596) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638253)

I'll bet you see attempts at prosecution when the interfaces for obscene games are well developed.

Games will be pretty wild, then.

There is good reason it hasn't happened (2, Interesting)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638293)

And not just because Jack Thompson keeps failing on the civil side.

Getting video game violence declared obscene is well prevented by the movie/tv industries' efforts in the motion-picture realm. They've been working for decades to keep visual depictions of violence in the "OK for young children" realm. You can punch somebody on television and it'll be ok for anyone over the age of 8. Add some blood and it pops you up into the low teens, on par with a bit of side-boob.

The interactive aspect is too narrow a distinction for the rest of the entertainment industry to risk getting drawn in and censored, so it'll never happen until somebody comes up with a .9 r^2 correlation [wikipedia.org] between violent games and homosexuality.

Isn't it about PUBLIC obscenity? (0)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638303)

I thought the idea was protecting against public obscenity. It's not saying you can't be obscene with someone, or something, or yourself, or whatever, in your home. I thought obscenity laws were to protect someone like me, walking down the street, from seeing obscenity.

For those that are complaining about "we don't live a free society because I can't do obscene things in public," what if I were to complain that "I don't live in a free society because I can't even walk down the street without having to wear a mask to keep myself from seeing obscenity."

Hm. And, while we're on it, there's nothing wrong with me setting up in public and warning people about how awful homosexuals are, is there? After all, it's free speech. It's not even obscene. Oh, wait, you call that "hate" speech and have decided that "hate" is wrong, whereas "immorality" or "obscenity" is not, thus you want free obscenity and bridled hate.

IMO, there's a double standard for "moral legislation." On one side, people don't want to be offended by someone telling them they are wrong to do this or that; on the other hand, they have no problem offending people that don't want to see, for example, obscenity.

I suppose this particular article is not about public obscenity but "private," e.g., video games.... but most reactions against it are going to be regarding public, not private (video games are private), stuff...

Re:Isn't it about PUBLIC obscenity? (2, Informative)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638409)

Hm. And, while we're on it, there's nothing wrong with me setting up in public and warning people about how awful homosexuals are, is there? After all, it's free speech. It's not even obscene. Oh, wait, you call that "hate" speech and have decided that "hate" is wrong, whereas "immorality" or "obscenity" is not, thus you want free obscenity and bridled hate.

That is in fact perfectly legal. The Westboro Baptist Church has become famous for doing exactly that, in contexts where it's generally considered to be in very poor taste (such as funerals for fallen soldiers). The point where it becomes illegal is when you start telling people to beat up gay people.

Re:Isn't it about PUBLIC obscenity? (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638465)

Hm. And, while we're on it, there's nothing wrong with me setting up in public and warning people about how awful homosexuals are, is there? After all, it's free speech. It's not even obscene. Oh, wait, you call that "hate" speech and have decided that "hate" is wrong, whereas "immorality" or "obscenity" is not, thus you want free obscenity and bridled hate.

You have failed: It's only hate speech if you say "The Queers are ruining the soil, and we should do something about them." It's still legal to say that the Queers are ruining the soil to make landing strips for Gay Martians... unless you're actually harming someone. Actually, it has to be a direct incitement to violence to even be prosecutable in most cases; a sort of vague, general "someone should do something about those damned queers" is usually not actionable, even if you find it objectionable.

Anyway, libel, defamation and slander are illegal, so if you want to put up a stand and hand out pamphlets that tell lies about fags, it's against the law. However, it's against the law for them to put up a stand and tell lies about you... under the same laws.

Re:Isn't it about PUBLIC obscenity? (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638819)

Anyway, libel, defamation and slander are illegal, so if you want to put up a stand and hand out pamphlets that tell lies about fags, it's against the law. However, it's against the law for them to put up a stand and tell lies about you... under the same laws.

Not quite right. Libel, defamation, and slander aren't illegal, they're just a cause of action in a civil suit. The police won't arrest you for saying "drinkypoo 153816 is a big fat idiot". All that can happen to you is that drinkypoo can sue you into the ground (and in the case of a public figure like Rush Limbaugh, they'll lose the lawsuit as well).

Re:Isn't it about PUBLIC obscenity? (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638839)

You have failed: It's only hate speech if you say "The Queers are ruining the soil, and we should do something about them."

Now IANAL, but I believe in the US, that is still protected speech.

Actually, it has to be a direct incitement to violence to even be prosecutable in most cases; a sort of vague, general "someone should do something about those damned queers" is usually not actionable, even if you find it objectionable.

Speech, of that nature, can only be deemed illegal if it passes the Bandenburg Test [wikipedia.org]. The speech must be, "directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action."

If fact, I think it would be legal to say something like: "We should kill all the gays." But, it would be illegal to say something like: "We should kill him [pointing to gay guy in the crowd], right now." Even then, for the speech to be illegal, it would have to be "likely" that it would incite the lawless actions.

beware (1)

joocemann (1273720) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638337)

When people decide to get violence removed/banned/controlled in video games, get ready for millions of gamers to call for the same treatment of books, film, TV, and the most violent of all, the news.

Be a parent, not a fascist. Freedom is hard if you cant govern yourself, but at least you have options.

You got it. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638559)

Yes. The second they take my freedom of expression away from me will be the second I begin unscrupulously pursuing censorship of TV, Movies, Music, Artistic Drawings, Books (especially). If they have ANYONE shot in any of them, or death is mentioned, then they should all burn in a big bond fire. If video games can't have violence, nor should they. This will be the slippery slope of hell, where the slope is a swedish luge competition. So I say to the censorship part: bring it, you mother fuckers.

Obscene (1)

thatblackguy (1132805) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638387)

Well a lot of games involve violence of some sort as critical to gameplay, FPS being a favourite of mine where the objective is to annhilate occasionally with good strategy. Games with a sexual objective? Not so much. Of course there could be just as well. However apart from this it's interesting to note just what society calls 'obscene' in Indian movies a hint of sexuality gets a movie's rating bumped up a couple age groups but a movie I once saw which had systematic hunting down and killing people in crazy ways (including being decapitated by a flying car door from a car exploding) and having a head sheared off with brute force, this got a fucking G rating. While matrix 3 with it's tiny no parts visible sex in the beginning automatically gets that an R rating. There's hypocrisy for you.

Re:Obscene (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638765)

a movie I once saw which had systematic hunting down and killing people in crazy ways (including being decapitated by a flying car door from a car exploding) and having a head sheared off with brute force, this got a fucking G rating.

Uhhh, what movie would this be? I smell bald-faced lying...

I think that word means what you think it means (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638439)

Obscene
Ob*scene"\, a/ [L. obscenus, obscaenus, obscoenus, ill looking, filthy, obscene: cf. F. obsc['e]ne.]

1. Offensive to chastity or modesty; expressing of presenting to the mind or view something which delicacy, purity, and decency forbid to be exposed; impure; as, obscene language; obscene pictures.

2. Foul; fifthy; disgusting.

3. Inauspicious; ill-omened. [R.] [A Latinism]

Let each state (or break it down further, I'd prefer, to local municipality) handle what they consider to be obscene. What I find obscene may be right up someone else's alley. What they find obscene I may find normal. This puritanism crap has got to stop. That was years ago. Get over it, America.

*and you too, the rest of the world, especially Germany and Europe in general.

TOS clauses rule out real obscenity... (2, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638505)

TOS clauses of most ISPs rules out the distribution of genuinely obscene content. It is censorship, and in fact, many governments actually do censor this stuff as well.

I mean, if you go by the old rules of what is obscene, sex and violence, obviously, that's not too bad these days and won't get you into trouble. But if you put together a cartoon swastika game for children that features a character running around tossing minorities into concentration camps where you can dehumanize, torture and exterminate them, all while beating the crap out of its wife until she creates babies for the fatherland and streudel for the tummy, that might get you into some trouble.

In Germany, you would go to jail, for sure. In the USA, I think you would probably be banned by most ISPs, be put on a number of terrorist watch lists by the government, get sued by the ACLU, ripped by Al Sharpton, and worst of all, you would get modded as a troll on Slashdot. In the UK, you would probably find a dozen cameras in your house, and a ton of condemnation from the BBC and parliament, unless you were islamic, in which case, it would be ok. In Iran they would probably cheer you and in Israel Mossad would probably have more than a word with you. For some reason, I think Canada would argue you had the right to host but they would probably bend over backwards to paint you as an American.

People that actually had the game would suddenly find themselves subject to any sort of hate crimes laws. So, if you punched someone in the face, without the game, it might be a simple assault. But, if you had the game and punched someone else in the face, that would likely be a hate crime and you would wind up in prison.

So.... in reality, there's still tough anti-obscenity laws out there. It's just that, liberal nations have made it taboo to hate people, just as much as conservative regimes once made it taboo to talk about gratuitous violence and sexuality. If you really wanted to make sure you covered all the bases, you could probably make the swastika concentration camp game into an ultra violent porno. That way, liberals and conservatives would be thoroughly offended, and yes, you would be obscene by anyone's definition!

"Thanks to" (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 4 years ago | (#28638575)

The other major reason is the vast majority of video games sold in the United States have only small amounts of sexual content because of the Electronic Software Rating Board.

ftfy

television/cable/radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28638587)

Unless these games are broadcast over these mediums the Federal Government is going to try to stay clear of them. The exception is ... well everyone here is smart enough to figure it out. I am not going to feed the candidate trolls that need a superfluous platform to stand on.

What is "obscenety" anyway? (0, Flamebait)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639015)

Has anyone of those bible thumpers ever thought about what that word means?
It is the implication of nudity, sex, and talking about these things, being related to something bad and forbidden.
Now if you think about it, we all are born nude, and by nature, this is our intended default state. Also our very existence is based on sex, and it is probably the best feeling that anything can give you. (Especially when based on love and fun). Which of course is for the same reason of our existence depending on it.
So if this are the best and most natural and important things in our existence, then why in the world would anyone come up with the concept of them bing somehow bad and forbidden? It just boggles the mind, doesn't it?
Yet somehow we are so used to it, that it appears to be a totally normal thing, to look in a disgusted manner upon "obscenity".

I once found an article that was the first to actually shed some light on how this was possible.
It explained, that in the dark ages, and even before that, some people came up with this scheme:
You make the very things that they love the most, and can't help but wanting to do, because it is you basic nature, a bad and forbidden thing. Forbidden by "god".
You then tell the people, that this "nice" god, would literally raise hell upon you, if you so much as thought about doing these things.
Because nobody can hold back his basic nature forever, this would make everyone a sinner.
And this would give you absolute power and absolute control over those people, commanding them to do how you please, to pay for their sins.

So apparently, this whole concept is just straight out of the rule book for oppression from the dark ages. And in reality, there is no such thing as obscenity.
Which would make it a power play. A fight for power and control.

Well, if this really is the case, which I believe it is, (but ask you to think and decide for yourselves), then, well, this is easy to fight:
Just ignore those who scream against "obscenity". Because all they scream for, is to stay in power, or for their master to stay in power (while being mostly unaware of it).

So question such (seemingly) basic matters of course, and look at things yourself. Then you will exactly know what is OK and what is not OK to do, and your art and ideas will not be limited by false beliefs or controlled by others. Which in my experience usually results in the most outstanding art and concepts, and even make people follow your strong reality. But not because you oppress them, but because they respect you.

Errata (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#28639179)

Ok, I as usual did not see some errors in the preview, but noticed them right after clicking submit.

1. I should not have used the aggressive tone of "bible thumpers" in the first sentence. If was a bad start. I meant people who strongly believe in their religious rules (which include that view about obscenity), wherever they may come from. I hope you can forgive me, as I respect every person.
2. I should not have used the evil word of "bing" in the seventh sentence. It was a bad pothole. I meant the search engines who gloriously are believed in like religious rules (which include that site from Google), wherever they may come from. I hope you can forgive me, as I respect every eye that is now gouged out because it read that word.

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