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#1 Posted by arch4non (428 posts) -

Here's the polygon article about it. To sum it up, two people misinterpreted the joke behind this image from one of the in-game segments discussing player choice. They complained to the developer, so now it's going to be changed.

#2 Edited by JasonR86 (9378 posts) -

Yeah. I mean i hate censorship. But...I kind of cringed at that image too when I saw it. Not enough to cause a fit. But still.

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#3 Posted by themangalist (1675 posts) -

I thought it was pretty funny... ahem. Very fitting to the time period actually.

#4 Posted by Yummylee (20572 posts) -

I'm seeing that image completely out of context, but... I giggled a little.

#5 Posted by Itwongo (786 posts) -

Completely out of context, but I think it's kinda funny.

#6 Edited by MrCaptain (361 posts) -

well, that sure was settled in an polite and nice manner. its removal doesn't really affect much.

#7 Edited by Soap (3530 posts) -

I'll be honest when I saw it that thought crossed my mind...

#8 Posted by AMyggen (1994 posts) -

I would argue that it's wrong to say that the game was "ceonsored". This is the developer changing a part of the game based on consumer feedback. Censorship is the supression of speech by a third party (government or non-government). At most this could be called self-censorship, but not really.

Same thing with the Miami Hotline 2 devs removing that rape scene. That wasn't censorship either.

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#9 Posted by Milkman (16228 posts) -

I'm sure this thread is going to have a lot people screaming about "censorship." But if you read the actual article, this hardly seems like a big deal at all. It doesn't really change the game in any way and it's not like it's compromising the game's vision or anything like that. It seems like the developer and this guy who found the joke offensive had a completely adult conversation about this and reached a fine compromise. Nothing wrong with that.

#10 Edited by SomeJerk (2970 posts) -

Thanks, white guilt syndrome!

Hotline Miami 2's rape scene was "and then you get to choose, do you rape her or not, but if you decide to do it the director yells cut and it turns out you were acting in a movie", still pretty fucked up and not fitting in a game like that.

#11 Posted by TheHT (10281 posts) -

If they misinterpreted the joke, can't someone just explain it to them and we all move along?

#12 Posted by arch4non (428 posts) -

@amyggen: Actually, yeah, that was censorship. Here we have a game where it's okay to show a baby being caught on fire, but if it's a black kid it's suddenly crossing a line.

#13 Edited by OldGuy (1431 posts) -

So... let's see if I've got this right... some folks were bothered, disturbed, whatever at something in the game and wrote the developer... the developer has decided that (among other options): they had a point, they didn't want to deal with other people on this same subject or some other variant and so they are (and here's the salient point) removing the material on their own. Now, while the title of this thread may be technically accurate, it - just like the material removed from the game - is likely to be misinterpreted. This is self-censorship (which, frankly, almost everyone does every day - though not usualy after the fact, granted) it's not being imposed on them by the state or any other officialdom...

It's a far different thing when the creator says: "You know, maybe that's a bit too far" vs. "The Man" saying: "You shall remove this!"

#14 Posted by Vuud (1433 posts) -

Wot wot?

#15 Edited by AMyggen (1994 posts) -

@arch4non: I still don't agree that this is censorship. No one is forcing the dev to do this, it's based on two complaints and something the dev chose to do himself. As I said, you could argue that it's self-censorship, but I wouldn't. It's not censorship every time an artist chooses to change something because some consumer gets offended. If you're gonna use that word about either this or the Hotline Miami 2 incident, "censorship" loses much of its meaning.

Still, I think it's pretty dumb to change this. But it's up to the dev and doesn't impact much, so I don't really care.

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#16 Edited by MattyFTM (14243 posts) -
@amyggen said:

I would argue that it's wrong to say that the game was "ceonsored". This is the developer changing a part of the game based on consumer feedback. Censorship is the supression of speech by a third party (government or non-government). At most this could be called self-censorship, but not really.

Same thing with the Miami Hotline 2 devs removing that rape scene. That wasn't censorship either.

Exactly. The developers have had some feedback and they are altering the game as a result. That's not censorship. They didn't have to change the game, they chose to have a dialogue with someone who saw something they found questionable in the game, and they came to the conclusion that they should change it. Listening to feedback is not censorship.

I personally think that the joke was harmless fun and wasn't racially charged at all. But if the developers want to listen to someone with an opposing view and take on board their feedback, that is absolutely their right. It is their game, their artistic vision, and if they wish to change that based on the feedback they've received, then that's perfectly fine. Not censorship.

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#17 Edited by TruthTellah (7647 posts) -

It's silly to refer to this as censorship, and it distracts from the seriousness of real censorship. The guy heard a few complaints, saw that they had a point that it could distract from the point of the gag, and he has decided to tweak the gag to be better.

Ultimately, it's the developer's decision, and I can appreciate that he decided to tweak it. Considering his sense of humor, I imagine he'll find a way to make it even better than it was.

#18 Posted by Abendlaender (2597 posts) -

That's like saying Blizzard removing the real money auction house from Diablo III is censorship. Doing something because your audience wants it and you agree is NOT censorship. It's still stupid though in my opinion.

#19 Posted by Clonedzero (3724 posts) -

People are too sensitive these days.

#20 Edited by Coafi (1433 posts) -

Yikes.

#21 Edited by Darji (5295 posts) -

@mattyftm said:
@amyggen said:

I would argue that it's wrong to say that the game was "ceonsored". This is the developer changing a part of the game based on consumer feedback. Censorship is the supression of speech by a third party (government or non-government). At most this could be called self-censorship, but not really.

Same thing with the Miami Hotline 2 devs removing that rape scene. That wasn't censorship either.

Exactly. The developers have had some feedback and they are altering the game as a result. That's not censorship. They didn't have to change the game, they chose to have a dialogue with someone who saw something they found questionable in the game, and they came to the conclusion that they should change it. Listening to feedback is not censorship.

I personally think that the joke was harmless fun and wasn't racially charged at all. But if the developers want to listen to someone with an opposing view and take on board their feedback, that is absolutely their right. It is their game, their artistic vision, and if they wish to change that based on the feedback they've received, then that's perfectly fine. Not censorship.

It is forced censorship due to outside pressure. They did it because they had tp prevent an image and to have a better chance of sales. He still said he thought it was a cool idea so why not let it in? Even in the demo it made perfect sense for me to be in there. But hey always be political correct and never try to cross lines. This is what you do if you want this medium not to mature and grew up. So yeah keep it safe and always keep gaming as a joke.....

There is a reason why almost every classic literature crossed the line of its time back than and even today often is still very controversial.

#22 Edited by MattyFTM (14243 posts) -
@darji said:

@mattyftm said:
@amyggen said:

I would argue that it's wrong to say that the game was "ceonsored". This is the developer changing a part of the game based on consumer feedback. Censorship is the supression of speech by a third party (government or non-government). At most this could be called self-censorship, but not really.

Same thing with the Miami Hotline 2 devs removing that rape scene. That wasn't censorship either.

Exactly. The developers have had some feedback and they are altering the game as a result. That's not censorship. They didn't have to change the game, they chose to have a dialogue with someone who saw something they found questionable in the game, and they came to the conclusion that they should change it. Listening to feedback is not censorship.

I personally think that the joke was harmless fun and wasn't racially charged at all. But if the developers want to listen to someone with an opposing view and take on board their feedback, that is absolutely their right. It is their game, their artistic vision, and if they wish to change that based on the feedback they've received, then that's perfectly fine. Not censorship.

It is forced censorship due to outside pressure. They did it because they had tp prevent an image and to have a better chance of sales. He still said he thought it was a cool idea so why not let it in? Even in the demo it made perfect sense for me to be in there. But hey always be political correct and never try to cross lines. This is what you do if you want this medium not to mature and grew up. So yeah keep it safe and always keep gaming as a joke.....

There is a reason why almost every classic literature crossed the line of its time back than and even today often is still very controversial.

That's not what forced censorship is. You may disagree with the developers choice and their motives for it, but to call it forced censorship is just flat out wrong. Criticise the developers if you want. Criticise the gaming industry for doing things like this. But don't call it censorship. It isn't censorship by any definition of the word.

Moderator
#23 Posted by Darji (5295 posts) -

@mattyftm said:
@darji said:

@mattyftm said:
@amyggen said:

I would argue that it's wrong to say that the game was "ceonsored". This is the developer changing a part of the game based on consumer feedback. Censorship is the supression of speech by a third party (government or non-government). At most this could be called self-censorship, but not really.

Same thing with the Miami Hotline 2 devs removing that rape scene. That wasn't censorship either.

Exactly. The developers have had some feedback and they are altering the game as a result. That's not censorship. They didn't have to change the game, they chose to have a dialogue with someone who saw something they found questionable in the game, and they came to the conclusion that they should change it. Listening to feedback is not censorship.

I personally think that the joke was harmless fun and wasn't racially charged at all. But if the developers want to listen to someone with an opposing view and take on board their feedback, that is absolutely their right. It is their game, their artistic vision, and if they wish to change that based on the feedback they've received, then that's perfectly fine. Not censorship.

It is forced censorship due to outside pressure. They did it because they had tp prevent an image and to have a better chance of sales. He still said he thought it was a cool idea so why not let it in? Even in the demo it made perfect sense for me to be in there. But hey always be political correct and never try to cross lines. This is what you do if you want this medium not to mature and grew up. So yeah keep it safe and always keep gaming as a joke.....

There is a reason why almost every classic literature crossed the line of its time back than and even today often is still very controversial.

That's not what forced censorship is. You may disagree with the developers choice and their motives for it, but to call it forced censorship is just flat out wrong. Criticise the developers if you want. Criticise the gaming industry for doing things like this. But don't call it censorship. It isn't censorship by any definition of the word.

By this definition the thing we had with half life in Germany where all human soldiers were replaced by robots is also not censorship. For me censorship begins when the "artist" is pressured through a third party to change his vision. This is what I would call censorship. I do not know how it was with Stanley parable since I never heard a big outcry over this but it was definitely forced with Hotline Miami 2.

#24 Edited by Scampbell (436 posts) -

So how they going to change the "instructional video" without making the "He could spend years helping improve the life of citizens of impoverished third-world nations," sentence seem a bit off? Actually on second thought I guess it could work since the second scenario isn't really necessarily related to the first.

I can't help but feel it is a bit strange to get offend, not by seeing a kid get set on fire, but by the fact that the kid is black.

Actually

#25 Edited by Rick_Fingers (524 posts) -

I would love to see a colourful graph of people slamming the Stanley Parable creators for altering their game due to outside pressure versus those same people discussing the Mass Effect 3 endings.

(not aimed at anyone in this thread, just a general comment based on certain other popular forums)

#26 Posted by joshwent (1778 posts) -

So how they going to change the "instructional video" without making the "He could spend years helping improve the life of citizens of impoverished third-world nations," sentence seem a bit off?

From the guy who got the dev to change this...

I have no problem answering honest questions. My problem was multi-fold:

1. The images did not match up with what was being said in the dialogue.

2. The joke says that he is “helping” them (convincing a child to get hooked on cigarettes, which cause cancer), or burning down orphanages (instead, it shows him lighting one black child on fire).

When I spoke to Davey, I expressed that these things don’t match up and that the kind of message it gets across is “either help minorities by killing them with cancer, or light them on fire.” The joke itself is actually very funny, but the execution of this joke is where it ran ashore.

So we discussed back and forth and obviously redoing dialogue would be cost and time prohibitive. Ultimately I suggested the following:

1. Change the first image to reflect Steven ACTUALLY helping the minority (with say food or water, and this is a minimal edit to the existing image).

2. Change the second image to reflect what was actually said in the dialogue, and show Steven heading towards an orphanage with the gas can and lighter, but not actually showing it getting burned down.

We agreed that this wouldn’t be nearly as difficult and he was really cool about it.

So, he's helping the game's writer improve the joke by making it less funny. Especially odd, because the laugh is obviously at the white man's expense.

You might not call it censorship, but it's pretty lame.

#27 Posted by Brendan (7514 posts) -

Its nice that a constructive conversation resulted in the artist making a change they were happy with, and even better if some teachers can now show it in schools to kids.

#28 Posted by spraynardtatum (2125 posts) -

That illustration teaches kids to do bad things and should be wiped from the planet.

#29 Posted by XCEagle (91 posts) -

@darji: I honestly have no idea what your German robot reference has to do with censorship, but the definition of the word has nothing to do with "pressure". How do you even define that? Is two people having a conversation "pressure"? Censorship is not a person or group of people saying something should be changed or modified in a work. It is when certain material is deemed objectionable enough to be banned. Censorship is banning Catcher in the Rye, it is taking the n-word out of Huckleberry Finn, it is not a developer saying "Yeah, that joke has some racial undertones I did not intend, let me rework it." Here a developer made a choice. Censorship wouldn't give him that choice.

#30 Posted by ShadowConqueror (2993 posts) -

Is it because the kid is smoking or because the kid is on fire? Or both?

#31 Posted by BaconGames (3129 posts) -

@brendan said:

Its nice that a constructive conversation resulted in the artist making a change they were happy with, and even better if some teachers can now show it in schools to kids.

I've yet to play the game but to me the joke "works" precisely because of how charged it is in multiple dimensions (violence, race, age, historical time) and I personally would like to play the game with that included. However, that's my interpretation and I make that in recognition that something like that is justifiably interpretable by someone else as offensive. The fact that teachers can show students is probably what's really pushing me over the edge on this one because I think it's way more worth it to see that happen than to make this a battleground. So in the end I totally agree that it's great the dev took all that into account and decided to do what they did, and handled it maturely. It could have gone in the other direction, and I think that would have been okay too.

Then again, by having this story, the record of that image is now independent of the game itself and I am free to reference this instead.

#33 Posted by DonutFever (3515 posts) -

People use the word censorship way too much when it comes to this kind of thing.

Criticism does not equal censorship. Not even close.

#34 Posted by Carousel (418 posts) -

Looks like I'm not gonna buy The Stanley Parable after all.

#35 Posted by Kaiserreich (645 posts) -

Social Justice Warriors strike again!

#36 Posted by Dalai (6879 posts) -

If Valve had pulled the game from distribution because of the offending image, I would argue that's censorship. Having a few people complain about the image and the developer having a talk with them and deciding to remove the image is not censorship. They could have easily kept the game as it is.

With that said, some people are too sensitive these days and can't handle anything that would offend them. I wouldn't patch that image out, personally, but I didn't make the game so it's not up to me.

#37 Posted by ch3burashka (4902 posts) -

People use the word censorship way too much when it comes to this kind of thing.

Criticism does not equal censorship. Not even close.

But... content is being removed in response to criticism. Isn't that the dictionary definition of censorship? PS Please don't copy/paste the actual definition; mine's close enough.

As for me, it's up to the devs to do what they will with their own product, but it is kind of depressing two people can spoil the experience for others. If it makes you cringe, maybe that makes you a human being, and be happy with that knowledge, rather than trying to limit your world view to what's comfortable?

#38 Edited by believer258 (11043 posts) -

So... how's it racist? I'm completely missing any sort of context here other than the picture. Either that or I'm more thick and/or more daft than everyone else.

EDIT: Also, I am A-OK with censorship when the creator himself decides to change things. Whether or not that can be defined as censorship is an argument that I'll leave to the internet. I'll see if you guys have made any progress in fifty years.

#39 Posted by FengShuiGod (1470 posts) -

How is this not self censorship?

Too bad that criticizing/satirizing imperialist tendencies towards exporting violence and consumerism needs to be softened.

#40 Posted by HatKing (5564 posts) -

@joshwent said:
@scampbell said:

So how they going to change the "instructional video" without making the "He could spend years helping improve the life of citizens of impoverished third-world nations," sentence seem a bit off?

From the guy who got the dev to change this...

I have no problem answering honest questions. My problem was multi-fold:

1. The images did not match up with what was being said in the dialogue.

2. The joke says that he is “helping” them (convincing a child to get hooked on cigarettes, which cause cancer), or burning down orphanages (instead, it shows him lighting one black child on fire).

When I spoke to Davey, I expressed that these things don’t match up and that the kind of message it gets across is “either help minorities by killing them with cancer, or light them on fire.” The joke itself is actually very funny, but the execution of this joke is where it ran ashore.

So we discussed back and forth and obviously redoing dialogue would be cost and time prohibitive. Ultimately I suggested the following:

1. Change the first image to reflect Steven ACTUALLY helping the minority (with say food or water, and this is a minimal edit to the existing image).

2. Change the second image to reflect what was actually said in the dialogue, and show Steven heading towards an orphanage with the gas can and lighter, but not actually showing it getting burned down.

We agreed that this wouldn’t be nearly as difficult and he was really cool about it.

So, he's helping the game's writer improve the joke by making it less funny. Especially odd, because the laugh is obviously at the white man's expense.

You might not call it censorship, but it's pretty lame.

What in the actual hell are you talking about? It sounds like the image didn't match up to the dialogue. If anything, it seems like a weird context mistake. And who are you to say it's less funny? Personally, I find it hi-fucking-larious when a bunch of white dudes get all up in a tizzy because (for fucking once) the joke is on them. Get over, champ. You got a long damn way to go before it's even-stevens.

#41 Posted by talibanchic (73 posts) -

Surely the actual title of this thread is "Stanley Parable creator changes content based on feedback"

#42 Posted by subyman (561 posts) -

Hmm, I looked at the image first and thought about lighting a cigarette for a kid is pretty much the same thing as lighting them on fire because it could eventually kill them. A caricature to convey a public service announcement. I did NOT think about the racial aspect until I read the article. I went back to the image and only then did I notice the child was black. It sucks how everything is turned into a race issue.

As for the actual content of the image. I could see why the devs would want to change the image if they want a younger audience to play their game.

#43 Posted by Levio (1781 posts) -

It's the absolute least important aspect of the story, so eh.

#44 Edited by csl316 (7357 posts) -

My first response is to complain about complaints. But this was resolved in a civil manner without people overreacting. This, specifically, is how criticism would ideally work all the time:

"It took a bit of explanation," Campbell said, "but he did understand the nature of my complaint, and I offered ways of fixing this without destroying the joke or a prohibitively expensive additional amount of work."

#45 Edited by Marokai (2636 posts) -

"Censorship" is obviously going too far, but when a developer decides to change their game because someone got offended by it I'm always a little uncomfortable. While it is the developer's decision, and that is that, it still strikes me as disingenuous to say it's as innocent as "What? We're just raising concerns and the developer took it to heart. Not a chance he was pushed into this decision or made it out of fear of it becoming a big story at all. Nope, not at all!"

Right now, social justice crusades are very en vogue, and if I was some random indie developer and a couple of people prodded me on twitter about something from the game they considered racist/sexist/homophobic, you can bet that in the current environment there would at least be this worry in the back of my mind that it could snowball and become a big thing I could no longer control. That worry has at least some basis in fact, considering some of the other games random individuals have decided to make a stink about in the press or social media.

The truth is that, whether this was a genuine move, or one made out of concern or fear, we'll never really know, but at some point it begins to feel like the games press has enabled a chilling effect for off-color imagery and humor in video games, and I find that very unfortunate. At least in this instance it was a minor issue.

#46 Edited by joshwent (1778 posts) -

@hatking: I read your response to me six times and still have absolutely no clue what you're railing against. Maybe rephrase sounding less crazy, and I'd be more than glad to respond.

#47 Edited by RobotSquad (212 posts) -

I'm always in favor of an artist standing behind their art, but as far as this kind of thing goes, this instance is small potatoes.

#48 Posted by talibanchic (73 posts) -

Why not think about it from the perspective that the developer hadn't considered it might offend someone and after having the discussion with whoever it was, agreed with their perspective and wanted to change it? Why is everyone assuming the developer doesn't have a choice in this or is somehow terrified of repercussions if they didn't make the changes?
If the developer wanted to make the change shouldn't this be trumpeted as a success for community engagement?

#49 Posted by RobotSquad (212 posts) -

Why not think about it from the perspective that the developer hadn't considered it might offend someone and after having the discussion with whoever it was, agreed with their perspective and wanted to change it? Why is everyone assuming the developer doesn't have a choice in this or is somehow terrified of repercussions if they didn't make the changes?

If the developer wanted to make the change shouldn't this be trumpeted as a success for community engagement?

I'm going to assume the developers knew an image of a child on fire was intrinsically offensive. That's really the point of the "gag", whether one thinks it's funny or not.

#50 Edited by ManiacalMech (49 posts) -

I feel like that if the developer put enough time and thought for their joke to deem it fit to put it into their game, then they shouldn't need to censor what they made. You don't just insert a picture of a burning child into a video game without considering it. Everything is going to be offensive to somebody, it's up to the person to decide when to start and stop censorship.