Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

Homophobic censorship?

Dec 9th, 2008

Recently it was discovered that the word censor list for the computer game Pure was included in the game install in plain text format. Predictably this has resulted in many people trying to string together the most obscene sentences which will be able to bypass the filter. However for me the list raised another question. Among the filtered words were:

bisexual
bisexuality
bisexuals
bi-sexual
bi-sexuals

gay
gays

homo
homos
homosexual
homosexuality
homosexuals

lesbian
lesbians
lesbo
lesbos

Along with several pejorative terms for describing non-straight people (except poof for some odd reason). What the list didn’t block is straight, heterosexual or any of its variants. This provides gay and bisexual people with little ability to discuss their sexuality, while placing no such restriction on straight folk.
This just continues to reinforce the idea that gay and bisexual people are an ‘other,’ and that there is something dirty or morally corrupt about their sexuality. If the list itself can’t be described as homophobic, it in the very least reveals the deeply rooted homophobia in our society.
Before someone raises the issue, I am well aware that gay and ‘homo’ are used as insults in the same was heterosexual isn’t. However the developer’s approach here is highly unsatisfactory, and I think creates a situation which is worse than the situation they were trying to prevent. By blocking the words, they merely end up re-enforcing the attitude that led to them being considered offensive in the first place.
I feel the developers (or more accurately the publishers, as there is an indication that the list was supplied by Disney) should have either allowed all non-pejorative terms to describe sexuality, or none of them.
If anyone is interested, the banned word lists can be found here.

This post was originally a message on the snopes messageboard.

CORRECTION: The post intended to refer to the game Pure, rather than P.U.R.E, as was mistakenly written in the initial post. I apologise to the creators of P.U.R.E for this mistake.

Germany to crack down on violent video games

Dec 12th, 2006

FT.com / World / Europe – Germany to crack down on violent video games

Virtual hit men in Europe’s largest video games market could soon find themselves behind real bars if German regional politicians have their way.

Under new legislation drawn up in reaction to a shooting at a school last month, developers, retailers and players of videos featuring ‘cruel violence’; could face up to a year in jail.

Germany already has fairly strict censorship laws when it comes to computer games and other entertainment media. For example Nazi regalia has to be removed from games, even in cases where the Nazis are the enemies. Furthermore, many games replace enemies with robots or zombies to avoid otherwise harsh classifications.

However this particular move is an order of magnitude more severe, and is little more than an over-reaction. This degree of censorship should be unacceptable in a European country, and hopefully the bill will be seen as such and rejected. It is interesting to note that the ban doesn’t try and cover film, television or books, presumably because it is not possible to scapegoat such media.

It is interesting to note that Germany is not the first EU country to consider the banning of computer games, or a sub-section thereof. In 2002 the Greek government banned all electronic games in a move to attempt to crack down on illegal gambling. Complaints, and intervention from the EU resulted in the clarification of the law, and its eventual suspension.

Note: I should point out that all online sources appear to point back to this FT article. I’m trying to pull up the text of the bill, although given I don’t speak German I’m not sure how easy that will be.

Edited to add: Whoops. Had comments turned off. Not that it matters. Only get spam anyway.