Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

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Pokun
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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by Pokun » Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:31 am

The NES isn't an Atari, it's advanced enough to easily be able to display graphical content that may be found insensitive (and it's not like Atari's systems aren't). The reason it's not common is because Nintendo wouldn't allow things they think are inappropriate in licensed games. There are no adult NES games that aren't unlicensed for example.

Also remember that insensitive content isn't limited to graphical content as the first post says.


And as NewRisingSun and Bregalad pointed out, to consider something insensitive may be cultural, and blindly demanding content you find offensive to be removed would be insensitive in itself. A good example is the presence of a swastika symbol which is not that uncommon in Nintendo games. For example the third dungeon in Zelda is called Manji which is the Japanese word for a swastika and the whole dungeon is shaped like one. The inclusion of this symbol can't possibly be considered insensitive in itself since it's not done with that intention or even considered an offensive symbol in the culture the game was made in. With European eyes, it's often found highly offensive because it's similar to the mark of the nazi. But claiming that it's an offensive symbol and that it should be removed would be highly ignorant, since you don't know the fact that it's a symbol with a long history (both the clockwise and the counterclockwise version) and is still used as a Buddhist symbol (and in other religions as well) today without being considered offensive.

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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by gauauu » Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:09 am

I think an important distinction is this:

Taking reasonable steps to avoid offending people is usually considered to be a good thing.*

Demanding that people stop offending YOU is often considered to be rude or overbearing.



* The devil is in the detail of the word "reasonable"

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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by Nikku4211 » Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:16 pm

gauauu wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 9:09 am
I think an important distinction is this:

Taking reasonable steps to avoid offending people is usually considered to be a good thing.*

Demanding that people stop offending YOU is often considered to be rude or overbearing.
The latter's just being abusive, especially if you're a rich bitch or a parent abusing your authority.
Pokun wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:31 am
The NES isn't an Atari, it's advanced enough to easily be able to display graphical content that may be found insensitive (and it's not like Atari's systems aren't). The reason it's not common is because Nintendo wouldn't allow things they think are inappropriate in licensed games. There are no adult NES games that aren't unlicensed for example.
Sure, it can display that, but maybe a good counter argument is that modern consoles and computers can display much more realistic gore. Anyone who's seen Doom 2016 or PS4 Mortal Kombat can tell you that.

Modern gory video games on modern consoles can make you get used to gore being in video games at all, that low-resolution gore doesn't have as much of an impact in 2020 as HD gore.
Pokun wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:31 am
And as NewRisingSun and Bregalad pointed out, to consider something insensitive may be cultural, and blindly demanding content you find offensive to be removed would be insensitive in itself. A good example is the presence of a swastika symbol which is not that uncommon in Nintendo games. For example the third dungeon in Zelda is called Manji which is the Japanese word for a swastika and the whole dungeon is shaped like one. The inclusion of this symbol can't possibly be considered insensitive in itself since it's not done with that intention or even considered an offensive symbol in the culture the game was made in. With European eyes, it's often found highly offensive because it's similar to the mark of the nazi. But claiming that it's an offensive symbol and that it should be removed would be highly ignorant, since you don't know the fact that it's a symbol with a long history (both the clockwise and the counterclockwise version) and is still used as a Buddhist symbol (and in other religions as well) today without being considered offensive.
And that's why localisation is important.

You can't expect people in the US and western Europe to know about the significance of the wanzi/swasti/manji/manja/whatchamacallit in Buddhism. People in the US and western Europe have a general historical awareness of the Nazi Party, and you can't prevent them from thinking about that terrible dictatorship every time they see the symbol, regardless of the context it is used in.

In Asian countries, people don't generally associate this symbol with Nazis, as Buddhism is much more prevalent in Asia.

This cultural separation exists, and even if you try to make people aware of other cultures, it won't change the fact that there's a giant cultural divide that affects how people think.

There's also the modern idea perpetuated by journalists that lack of intention to harm is irrelevant because it does not consider at all the impact of the offending content in question.
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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by Pokun » Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:29 pm

A localizer certainly has to consider how their audience will react to the content. But I wouldn't call it insensitive use. There are Buddhists in Europe and America as well, and stealing and abusing their symbols would be insensitive. Ignorance is no excuse.
Likewise, I don't think that depicting other religious symbols like crucifixes or Solomon stars could be insensitive in itself. Nintendo of America had a policy against religious symbols for local politics reasons at the time (and it also affected Europe since PAL versions of games usually are based on the North American version), and not because they where offensive or insensitively used. It was only done to stay out of potential trouble. Zelda 1 and 2 probably managed to slip through before this policy was applied though since they contain both crucifixes and swastika.

Nikku4211 wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:16 pm
Pokun wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:31 am
The NES isn't an Atari, it's advanced enough to easily be able to display graphical content that may be found insensitive (and it's not like Atari's systems aren't). The reason it's not common is because Nintendo wouldn't allow things they think are inappropriate in licensed games. There are no adult NES games that aren't unlicensed for example.
Sure, it can display that, but maybe a good counter argument is that modern consoles and computers can display much more realistic gore. Anyone who's seen Doom 2016 or PS4 Mortal Kombat can tell you that.
But aa-dav's question was if it could really be offensive or not, not to what degree or how realistic it could depict graphical content.

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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by Nikku4211 » Fri Dec 04, 2020 4:30 pm

Pokun wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:29 pm
A localizer certainly has to consider how their audience will react to the content. But I wouldn't call it insensitive use. There are Buddhists in Europe and America as well, and stealing and abusing their symbols would be insensitive. Ignorance is no excuse.
Likewise, I don't think that depicting other religious symbols like crucifixes or Solomon stars could be insensitive in itself. Nintendo of America had a policy against religious symbols for local politics reasons at the time (and it also affected Europe since PAL versions of games usually are based on the North American version), and not because they where offensive or insensitively used. It was only done to stay out of potential trouble. Zelda 1 and 2 probably managed to slip through before this policy was applied though since they contain both crucifixes and swastika.
Yeah, Buddhists that live in Europe and the Americas exist, but there aren't that many of them. They're exceptions to the overall rule of the cultural divide.

Yes, stealing and abusing the symbols they've used (which is exactly what the Nazi Party of Europe did, though technically the swastika has been used before the Nazis as a symbol by many societies that were unrelated to Buddhism) is insensitive, I'm not arguing that it's okay. What I'm explaining is why localisation usually removes those symbols.

It was done to stay out of potential trouble, but that's to stay out of any trouble that involves religion, even when it comes to ones the general populace aren't familiar with, whether it's because parents didn't want their kids to deal with religion in video games, parents didn't want their kids to develop (ir)religious independence, or the people who practise the religions depicted would be offended for any reason, if they aren't already offended at their religion simply being depicted in what was viewed at the time as a 'kid's toy'.
Pokun wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 3:29 pm
Nikku4211 wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 2:16 pm
Sure, it can display that, but maybe a good counter argument is that modern consoles and computers can display much more realistic gore. Anyone who's seen Doom 2016 or PS4 Mortal Kombat can tell you that.
But aa-dav's question was if it could really be offensive or not, not to what degree or how realistic it could depict graphical content.
And my point was that how realistic it could depict graphical content actually affects how offensive it is, at least from the perspective of a homebrew developer making NES games in 2020.

That's why 'Animated Blood and Gore' does not give you as high of an ESRB rating as regular 'Blood and Gore'.
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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by Pokun » Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:22 pm

Sure it has an affect on it, but I don't think it's as simple as degree of realism = severity of the offensiveness.
You could draw disturbing pictures well enough in 256x240 dot.

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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by Nikku4211 » Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:38 pm

Pokun wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:22 pm
Sure it has an affect on it, but I don't think it's as simple as degree of realism = severity of the offensiveness.
You could draw disturbing pictures well enough in 256x240 dot.
There are other factors, like the context, but honestly, I think the effect the degree of detail has is more major than you think.

I mean, I've looked at games like Doom (1993), Sweet Home, and the original Mortal Kombat trilogy, which are all 200-240p, and I've never been creeped out by them.

I remember using this same argument just so that my high school principal could allow me to host a Doom 1993 deathmatch tournament in early 2020. I successfully convinced her that 1990s video game gore wouldn't be much of a problem nowadays.
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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by Bregalad » Sat Dec 05, 2020 3:17 am

Pokun wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 7:31 am
A good example is the presence of a swastika symbol which is not that uncommon in Nintendo games. For example the third dungeon in Zelda is called Manji which is the Japanese word for a swastika and the whole dungeon is shaped like one. The inclusion of this symbol can't possibly be considered insensitive in itself since it's not done with that intention or even considered an offensive symbol in the culture the game was made in. With European eyes, it's often found highly offensive because it's similar to the mark of the nazi.
If you ever looked at photos of NS-era, you'd know that the swastika is rotated by 45° compared to what is seen in Zelda. Also the NS swastika is always black, in a white circle within a red background. In rare occasions it would be seen alone, but always rotated by 45°. I do not consider them similar or even close to what is seen in Zelda.
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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by Pokun » Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:01 pm

Sure, yet people not knowing the details are complaining. I remember one guy being sure that Nintendo was a company about secretly propagating nazi values, and the map of the third Zelda dungeon was "proof". Complaints about Zelda hasn't been that common though, so I guess people are quite aware of the differences after all, or they simply didn't read the manual.

Nikku4211 wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:38 pm
I remember using this same argument just so that my high school principal could allow me to host a Doom 1993 deathmatch tournament in early 2020. I successfully convinced her that 1990s video game gore wouldn't be much of a problem nowadays.
Well the same arguments won't work on me. Besides, as I've been saying, the discussion is about insensitive content, not about realistic gore, that's just missing the point.

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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by Nikku4211 » Sat Dec 05, 2020 1:52 pm

Pokun wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:01 pm
Sure, yet people not knowing the details are complaining. I remember one guy being sure that Nintendo was a company about secretly propagating nazi values, and the map of the third Zelda dungeon was "proof". Complaints about Zelda hasn't been that common though, so I guess people are quite aware of the differences after all, or they simply didn't read the manual.
Or they haven't gotten to that dungeon in the game if they've played Zelda 1, or they already know and are sick of hearing about it. /shrug
Pokun wrote:
Sat Dec 05, 2020 12:01 pm
Nikku4211 wrote:
Fri Dec 04, 2020 5:38 pm
I remember using this same argument just so that my high school principal could allow me to host a Doom 1993 deathmatch tournament in early 2020. I successfully convinced her that 1990s video game gore wouldn't be much of a problem nowadays.
Well the same arguments won't work on me. Besides, as I've been saying, the discussion is about insensitive content, not about realistic gore, that's just missing the point.
The arguments were really meant as a reply to what AA-Dev was saying, because due to the odd way they worded their post, I wasn't sure if they were talking about if it was even possible to do on the NES or if they were just talking about how licenced NES games don't have this kind of stuff.
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Re: Unacceptably insensitive content in video games

Post by Pokun » Sat Dec 05, 2020 4:16 pm

I see.

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