Censorship In Video Games. Essay, Research Paper
Censorship In Video Games
The first point is on the ESRB1. (Electronic Sanction Rating Bureau ) At fist
glance it would appear that the ESRB is the main problem….or solution to some, in video
game censorship. Many uneducated gamers see the ESRB putting “Mature” or “18+”
ratings on games. These stand as warnings, like in a movie theater, but not enforced. This
can occasionally deter sales, and for some gamers with strict parents this may cause them
to not play the game at all.. The ESRB only gives a warning, and this is only fair, for the
young impressionable gamers that should not play these games.
Others like to point the finger at the ESRB, saying that because of content the
ESRB forces game companies to go back and edit things out of a game. Turning a
potentially ultra violent game into a run of the mill mildly violent game.
Another group would LOVE the ability to say that the ESRB has the authority to say
whether or not a game is released. These same folks go out and set up web sites,
encouraging people to boycott certain companies because of editing games under the so
called “power” of the ESRB. And once again these guys rear their ugly little heads,
whining and complaining that the ESRB should be eliminated and that there should be no
rating system at all.
I feel as though I should give a brief history lesson, on video games of course. It all
started one summer day, a small child walks into a pinball arcade and notices a man
putting in a very short looking pinball table. On closer examination the child notices no
flippers, no spring piston. The owner plugs it in and gives the kid a free game. This child
was my brother, and he now has owned every system that he could get his hands on.
Anyways, the game goes on to make history and create wave of new video games. Then
nothing really happened for a long time. Until 1992, The game Mortal Kombat is
released, it starts a uproar with angry parents and kiss up senators. The fans did not lay
down and die, oh no, they rose to the occasion. They fought on and pressed harder for the
control of their games. And by god they didn’t even come close. But they found a happy
medium in the creation of the ESRB.
The fact of the matter is that the ESRB does NOT have any control over the
market, as well it cannot and does not pressure any companies into editing or changing
their product with threats or scare tactics. The ESRB does what it was appointed to do,
that is to give a fair and just rating on all games evenly. They do not give a game a higher
rating just so that it sell less copies. They do not put a harsh rating on a game so that
parents wont let kids play them. The ESRB does not do any of these things, nor does it
force companies to tone down games or destroy games. They do just the same job as the
surgeon general who puts a warning on cigarette packages.
But WHO? Who would do all of these thing to games?
The game companies do. It is them who do all of these heinous things to games.
Yes, the same corporations that millions upon millions of gamers fork over
$40-$80 bucks to. And for what? A toned down, edited, over priced, bloodless kiddy
version that was made that way so that some 8 year old punk can rent it without
“mommy!” throwing a fit over the rating! And this is who I am supposed to give my cash
to? No thank you! I do not care if some kids mom has a problem with what there kid is
playing. And I don’t think the game companies should care either. Under no circumstances
should a game manufacturer compromise the quality of a game to satisfy the complaints of
the cry baby parents and conservationists, who can’t stand change in a developing world.
Game companies find ways to sponge us enough as it is, with corny sequels and over
priced additions to games.
A prime example of this is CAPCOM, a leader in video game production.
CAPCOM released RE(Resident Evil) and it went platinum within one year. Selling over a
million copies is a landmark in the video game industry, RE is a pinnacle in the history of
video games. It was a game based on solving intricate puzzles while trapped in a booby
trapped mansion that has become infested with zombies. I realize it sounds a little far
fetched but if you read the novel “RESIDENT EVIL/THE UMBRELLA
CONSPIRACY”2 it helps to add to the realism. Any how, when RE was originally
released it caused an uproar on the political side of things, people were going on about the
violence and how they thought it was too excessive.(the same argument that arose from
But times changed and people moved on, but not CAPCOM, oohhh nnnooo!!
They wouldn’t dream of it. They insist on milking every good product that comes their
way into the ground. For non-gamers, I will give you a brief history lesson on CAPCOM.
(Majorus Sellus Outus) Street Fighter II was a top arcade game when it came out in the
early nineties. When it was released on the home consoles CAPCOM destroyed the good
name of SF2. With over ten new sequels and no real sequels, well, the fans got mad.
Not only did they get mad, they developed a hate for the name CAPCOM, through
negative re-enforcement of course. But that was when RE1 came along, it undid most of
the damage done by SF2. But only for a time, two years later CAPCOM came to the
E3(Electronic Entertainment Expo)3 with a stunning demo of RE2. Promising the games
release for the following spring. Spring came around, but what’s this? No commercials?
No ads? But why? Well, it just wasn’t ready. So CAPCOM hyped and previewed RE-DC(
Directors Cut) The original UN-cut version of RE, with a playable demo of RE2. This was
a foolish move. But not all too destructive. The good idea inside of this trick, the playable
version of RE2, and selling it for 49.99$ instead of the common 59.99$ . Just to give the
fans a taste of the soon to be released game. The bad idea inside of the trick. Advertising
it as UN-cut when it really wasn’t. The Japanese version was, oh sure. But we have stupid
laws that prohibit the ability to show smoking in video games unless it has a key roll in the
game. This enraged the north American gamers, but they calmly sat down and shut up as
soon as they saw the ads and commercials for RE2. This game looked so good that they
were willing to put the past behind them. The game was released and went platinum …
Now you are probably wondering why I told you all of this, right? Well, some of
the other reasons CAPCOM did not release the purely UN-cut version of RE is because of
worry, over complaints from….are you ready? Non-gamers, that’s right. Not the people
that pay them oh no! My point is that these are the wrong people to listen to. All game
companies should listen to the people the pay them, not the people that hate them.
The people that hate are the parents and the senators.
If one half of all the parents out there monitored there kids viewing and playing
experiences. Instead of sitting their kids in front of the TV and using it as a baby-sitter.
Well I would not be writing this essay. But no, one mom lets it go too far, then one day
decides to take an interest in what their kid is doing. This parent sees a violent scene in a
video game and throws a fit. From here they decide to call all of the other parent and
blows this thing way out of proportion. They get the great idea to call their local
politician. Odds are he doesn’t care. Soon after it’s an election year, some guy sees the
chance and takes it. wins the position by a land slide and rides the momentum all the way
to the senate. This is the story behind senators Herb Kohl and senator Joseph Liberman.
These people, the fussy-lazy people, and the people with power, are the ones that force
the companies to edit, cut and tone down their products.
I for one do not like this. The last thing that I want is for my games to be guarded
like movies. What I mean by that is, that I don’t care how old I am, I refuse to be the
victim of ageism. You may think that I am over exaggerating or that “I” am over reacting.
Well, we the youth disagree. No one will ever be able to tell me what I can or can not do.
If it’s games or movies, or drinking or smoking. I will find a way around it. I always
…and I always will.