Wednesday, 15 April 2015

#BoobsNotBlood the bizzare state of censorship

I recently watched a video by the one and only GaijinGoombah on the subject of Senran Kagura's ban and then re-acceptance on twitch due to its 'sexual content' and it got me thinking about the state of censorship in the gaming world today.
Before I get into the crux of the rant I'm going to show you two images and I would like you to think about which one makes you more uncomfortable, ready?


Now take a good hard look at both of those and think about it, personally neither make me uncomfortable (spoiler alert: they're just pixels) but if I had to pick one that I think would be worse to show to a kid, I'd have to go with the top picture. This is where I seem to differ from many people I know, many of them are fine with letting their children play or watch horrifically violent TV shows or games but get outraged the moment a sideboob is shown or a risque joke is uttered, this attitude really perplexes me, it really makes me wonder when human sexuality became more dangerous than ultra violence.

                                           Short of death by suffocation, boobs can't hurt you

I grew up with two much older brothers (about 7 years older to be precise) so I was exposed to sexual imagery very early and new about the mechanics of sex before we covered sexual education in school, and I have not grown into a misogynist or a rapist. An exposure to women whether naked or clad in wonderful form fitting clothes (see image above for reference) is not as harmful as the Helen Lovejoys of the world would have you believe.
I have always been a fan of fan service and Japanese games can usually deliver that to me in spades which is a small part as to why I love them so much, the method of story telling and the unique cultural influences are another part admittedly, but I do love some fan service.

To try and frame the differences between the two cultures I would like to talk about a personal favorite game of mine - No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise, now this version was released with all the bloody effects they would not put into the Wii release for the game as well as the inclusion of 'Very Sweet Mode' which placed some of the female cast into slightly more racy costumes.
A few people I spoke to and some reviews I read praised the inclusion of all the blood but stated the inclusion of 'Very Sweet  Mode' made them uncomfortable and said it ruined their experience of the game, keep in mind 'Very Sweet Mode' was entirely optional, the only reason to play it was if you wanted to see the costumes or if you wanted the trophy. So I hardly think something that is entirely optional should affect your overall experience as much as it did with some reviewers.
                                                 A few of the costumes shown in 'Very Sweet Mode'

A similar controversy came about 'Killer Is Dead' and it's 'Gigolo Mode' which from what I can see what slammed as 'creepy' or 'weird' across the board (I personally found it quite funny and the cutscenes were  equally entertaining) and while this mode was more important to the game (you obtain the four subweapons from the dates with the women) it wasn't really prevalent enough to warrant the level of complaints it generated. I replayed the dates mostly just to earn easy items, I remember reading one set of complaints where they said the dates were 'problematic' as you give a girl gifts and ogle them until you get them into bed. Suda himself indicating that inspiration for the game came from Ian Fleming's James Bond, a man who merely has to smile at women in order to get them into bed. Couple that with the over exaggerated gifting gesture and you get the sense that maybe these sections weren't meant to be taken seriously (shock horror!).
                                                                     A gift for you                                                                    

Finally we reach an observation that myself as well as a large number of people over on the Niche gamer forums have made, sexuality only seems to be condemned when it is in a Japanese video game.
God of war which features sex minigames is never really called out for this content and is streamed with no issue on twitch as it GTA5 despite the fact some people do streams exclusively about the strip clubs, I also have to point out games like 'The Darkness II' where you spend some time in a brothel, not to mention Dragon Age and Mass Effect which all feature sex scenes.
Some of the outrage seems to come down to not just a fear of sexuality but specifically Japanese sexuality which the media seems to paint as deviant or dangerous, and while I can understand certain areas being confusing to someone not familiar with the ins and outs of Japanese culture on the whole it is a sadly very ignorant view of a country rich in a culture that greatly admires beauty of any form, and for a group who claim to be progressive these SJW's who are so appalled by Japanese games come across as awfully racist and entitled with their attitude of 'this is bad, stop making it!' 

Well that's my rant done for today, have fun you magnificent bastards!

TL;DR version - Boobies good, racism bad 

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