Mortal Kombat, Postal And The Real Censorship Of Fantasy Violence

Lizzy Finnegan

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Mortal Kombat, Postal And The Real Censorship Of Fantasy Violence

Mortal Kombat came out in 1992 and Postal arrived in 1997. Both brought with it outrage over the graphic nature of the violence. Censors tried to have them banned and failed. And the struggle helped the video games industry come of age.

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Fhqwhgod

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I live in one of these countries where these games (and many many others) are or were banned. Thanks to the internet (buying from other countries eg.) the situation has become way better but in my teens I missed a lot of games or even didn't know about them because they lacked press and space on a shelve.
 

rembrandtqeinstein

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For fun copy and paste the article into a word processor and replace violence with "sexism" or "misogyny" or "racism" or "offensiveness" or whatever other accusation words are being thrown around now.

It reads exactly the same.

The same show keeps playing out through history. Busybodys get their jimmies rustled by a creative product. Not because it intrudes on their lives but because they are made aware that something they don't personally approve of exists. Or because the creator of the product dares publicly express an opinion they don't approve of. Then the busybodys use whatever power they have to try to make it stop existing. They use any means they can including shame, force (usually through government), connections, fraud (false copyright claims, false moderation reports), mob intimidation, etc.

I don't see why people can't just leave each other the fuck alone. If you don't like a game (movie, comic book, song) just don't buy it. And don't waste everyones time spamming the internet telling them why they shouldn't buy it. Instead use your creative energy to promote products that support your position and worldview.

People need to stop pretending that being offended is some kind harm. If is a feeling that is made up in their minds and doesn't give them any special rights.
 

LysanderNemoinis

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rembrandtqeinstein said:
For fun copy and paste the article into a word processor and replace violence with "sexism" or "misogyny" or "racism" or "offensiveness" or whatever other accusation words are being thrown around now.

It reads exactly the same.

The same show keeps playing out through history. Busybodys get their jimmies rustled by a creative product. Not because it intrudes on their lives but because they are made aware that something they don't personally approve of exists. Or because the creator of the product dares publicly express an opinion they don't approve of. Then the busybodys use whatever power they have to try to make it stop existing. They use any means they can including shame, force (usually through government), connections, fraud (false copyright claims, false moderation reports), mob intimidation, etc.

I don't see why people can't just leave each other the fuck alone. If you don't like a game (movie, comic book, song) just don't buy it. And don't waste everyones time spamming the internet telling them why they shouldn't buy it. Instead use your creative energy to promote products that support your position and worldview.

People need to stop pretending that being offended is some kind harm. If is a feeling that is made up in their minds and doesn't give them any special rights.
Amen to that. Offense is something that is taken, not given. It's only overly sensitive little snowflakes who go insane over something as trivial as what happens in entertainment and assumes that just because you read, watch, or play something that has some sort of explicit content that it's going to make you a racist/sexist/murderer/whatever.
 

blackrave

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I don't get it.
Where the fuck are these morality enforcers when another Saw movie comes out?
Watch all 7.5 movies and then play Postal2 (takes aprox. same time to finish game)
Now honestly answer, which is worse violence-vise?
 

The Rogue Wolf

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Contrary to what Lieberman said, parents could "do it alone". The problem is that this required parents to become familiar with the unfamiliar, to accept that video games had become more than Super Mario Bros., and to actually exert their parental responsibility to monitor their children.

Unsurprisingly, many American parents preferred to go screaming to smirking, pandering politicians like Lieberman. "Make the bad thing go away; we don't like it!"

Were they right? Did America turn into a blood-soaked madhouse, with violence-desensitized children rampaging through the streets, killing innocents in blind parroting of their favorite gore-orgy games? Doesn't seem like that happened, no... in fact, violent crime has been steadily decreasing since those alarmist days. And since I don't believe that parents magically figured out how to be proper parents during that time, I'm just going to believe that the fearmongers were either flat-out wrong or flat-out lying, which in an intelligent society would mean that they'd be discredited and ignored on any serious subject thereafter.

Somebody let me know when we get an intelligent society around here.
 

deathbydeath

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pressfarttocontinue said:
It's interesting to see how little people have learned from the Jack Thompson era.
It's interesting to see how many people completely misunderstand [https://youtu.be/8tF8m0q_CQM?t=43s] Thompson's opinions on the subject. Granted he couldn't properly communicate his ideas to save his career, but still.
 

DeepReaver

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deathbydeath said:
pressfarttocontinue said:
It's interesting to see how little people have learned from the Jack Thompson era.
It's interesting to see how many people completely misunderstand [https://youtu.be/8tF8m0q_CQM?t=43s] Thompson's opinions on the subject. Granted he couldn't properly communicate his ideas to save his career, but still.
I actually agree with you there, from everything I was able to read on Thompson his more recent views are not to ban games as adult entertainment but to actually enforce the ESRB.
 

JMac85

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The most important aspect of freedom of expression is not defending the things you like, but defending the things you don't.
 

Scars Unseen

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DeepReaver said:
deathbydeath said:
pressfarttocontinue said:
It's interesting to see how little people have learned from the Jack Thompson era.
It's interesting to see how many people completely misunderstand [https://youtu.be/8tF8m0q_CQM?t=43s] Thompson's opinions on the subject. Granted he couldn't properly communicate his ideas to save his career, but still.
I actually agree with you there, from everything I was able to read on Thompson his more recent views are not to ban games as adult entertainment but to actually enforce the ESRB.
And as soon as similar enforcement is put in place for mature-themed movies, books and music, I'll agree that that is a reasonable stance to take.
 

Karadalis

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"Discipline and self-restraint when practiced by an individual, family, or a company is an effective way to deal with the issue. The same thing when forced on a people by their government or, worse, by a self-appointed watchdog of public morals, is suppression and will not be tolerated in a democratic society." - John Denver, 1985 PMRC Senate Hearing
Oh boy... did someone not foresee the apearance of tumblr and twitter.

With the advent of the hobby offended this statement sadly was proofen to be wrong.
 

Recusant

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One thing I see mentioned all-too-rarely is the system used by the ESRB's predecessor, the Recreational Software Advisory Council. ESRB ratings are just like MPAA ones- short, simple, and hideously abuseable. RSAC ratings had four categories with four objectively measurable levels of intensity- still abuseable, but much, much less so. Supposedly, the ESRB system won out since parents (apparently) couldn't figure out whether a given game was appropriate for their children. I think, however, that we could hybridize the two and get the best of both worlds.
 

Willy Rogers

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Fantastic article and one I agree strongly with. The problem is that since the dawn of Human Civilization there have always been perpetually displeased people who seek to banish all things they disagree with and those who actively seek out things to not like so that they may banish it and receive praise and accolades for doing so. We can never truly be rid of people like that, they will always come back, but we can limit their influence if we try.
 

Virtual Boy

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Willy Rogers said:
Fantastic article and one I agree strongly with. The problem is that since the dawn of Human Civilization there have always been perpetually displeased people who seek to banish all things they disagree with and those who actively seek out things to not like so that they may banish it and receive praise and accolades for doing so. We can never truly be rid of people like that, they will always come back, but we can limit their influence if we try.
The part that makes me truly sad is how traditionally the people who attacked gaming or other art forms came from outside of that industry, now it seems to be coming from within. It's the gaming press and other developers who try and censor games now. It's comic creators attacking other creators over provocative art or covers. And now directors criticizing other movies like Whedon with Jurrasic World. I was used to being attacked by politicians or Fox News and laughing it off, but now that I'm watching these industries each each other alive it's getting harder and harder to enjoy things.
 

Tawanda

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I'm 100% certain none of these people actually ever believed in what they were spewing, its about scoring political brownie points without fear of consequences.
 

Jake Martinez

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Tawanda said:
I'm 100% certain none of these people actually ever believed in what they were spewing, its about scoring political brownie points without fear of consequences.
You're probably right. Just look at the recent kerfluffle over "sexism in video games". The vast majority of hot air spewed on this has been complete nonsense, but no one ever loses trying to look morally superior to those "evil gamers".

You'll also notice how these same pundits are happy to to spout how terrible gaming is, but the moment you accuse them of censorship they back peddle as fast as they can because they don't want to face up to that label since it's one that has actual consequences to them based on historical connotations (like as mentioned previously, Jack Thompson). They'll make ludicrous claims like "Only the government can censor!" When it's bloody obvious that when you attack and denounce a product, the company that makes it, and the people who enjoy it, you're certainly trying to bully someone into stopping to make, buy and enjoy that product. But it's not "censorship" according to them. Oh no, only the government can do that. Tee hee.

Frankly, it's actually worse than government censorship in a lot of ways because usually the government has to actually provide guidelines for what they find acceptable or not. These people instead reserve the right to get morally outraged at whatever suits their fancy at the time and for whatever reasons as well as to completely contradict themselves in terms of what's okay and not okay (usually depending on if they're friends with the people who made the product in question - ahem).

Anyway, yeah, these people will keep spouting their garbage because it gets them consequence free attention from the majority of people who are either too uninformed or too apathetic to care about protecting freedom of expression.
 

blackrave

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Tawanda said:
I'm 100% certain none of these people actually ever believed in what they were spewing, its about scoring political brownie points without fear of consequences.
This is something I think constantly when politicians and activists spout something ridiculous.
But then again, malice must be proven, stupidity can be simply observed.
So until proven otherwise I must consider these people misinformed.
It would be intellectually dishonest not to.