Colin Moriarty on the dangers of political correctness and being offended in gaming:
A trend such as this could very well obliterate developers giving us fresh stories and experiences in gaming moving forward.
Yes, because unconscious mistreatment of women and flippant use of unfamiliar religious figures are helping to advance the videogame medium (or any artistic medium, for that matter).
Developer Crystal Dynamics dared to allude to sexual assault in protagonist Lara Croft’s story, something deemed over-the-top and inappropriate in gaming by some commentators.
Well, if by over-the-top you mean that people wrote about how cheap it was to try and create a sexual assault scene for the purpose fueling yet more violence from the protagonist and to connect to a perceived need to “protect” Lara Croft.
This is not thoughtful or respectful of victims of such violence. Merely including controversial elements does not advance an art form. And purpose matters. And the end result matters. If you meant well, but it comes out horribly offensive, there should be cause for concern. By no means does this mean offensive material should be outlawed or banned, simply that the creators and consumers should consider—or reconsider—it based on the new perspective.
And here’s the straw man that Moriarty’s whole article hinges upon:
Think about the nerve I’d have to say that because 9/11 hit so close to home for me and my family, films shouldn’t be made about it, books shouldn’t be written about it, and dissenting voices and opinions should be silenced all because I’m offended.
No one that I have read is saying that controversial issues shouldn’t be addressed in videogames, just that the way the issues are currently being addressed—or ignored—is unacceptable in an industry that aspires to become more than a child’s playground or teenager’s power fantasy.
Now, on letting the market decide:
Because various groups of peace advocates and war veterans alike deemed that because the Iraq War was still ongoing, Six Days in Fallujah couldn’t be experienced by gamers. Instead of letting the market dictate whether we collectively wanted the game, Konami let a few loud people tell us that because people died in Iraq, we couldn’t have this game.
This is the market dictating what happened. A commercial entity, Konami, decided that a commercial product, Six Days in Fallujah, would be detrimental to the company’s bottom line were it to be released, so the project was cancelled. Should it have been? I don’t know, I never played it, but to crow about the market when economics alone were enough to end the project is misguided.
When are we going to come to terms with the fact that by strangling creativity because of abstract notions of being offended and hurt feelings, we are doing a major disservice not only to ourselves, but to the people who want to give us new stories full of new ideas?
So, based on the prior examples, I’m supposed to believe that new stories and new ideas are coming from Tomb Raider 12 and a cancelled modern military shooter? Not that it isn’t possible, but the odds seem stacked against these two. This is not creativity. If anything it’s a sign of creative bankruptcy. Companies are out of ideas, so they grasp for controversial issues in order to spark commercial interest in an industry full of sameness.
Lastly, this whole paragraph:
George Orwell once said that “if liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” I’m certainly saying something that some people don’t want to hear; namely that you being offended doesn’t matter to me, and I resent being subjected to the whims of the vocal when I don’t, in turn, project the things that offend me onto you.
We’ve got Orwell on liberty and this inane comment somehow promoting free speech while also stifling it at the same time all in the same paragraph. It’s too bad Moriarty resents hearing those who choose to be vocal on these issues because in a conversation where we support the right to speech, it’s hard to also begrudge a person making use of that freedom, even if you wouldn’t do so yourself.