Some disjointed observations about taboos in IF

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Lars Österberg

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Nov 29, 2005, 3:48:02 AM11/29/05
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o Sex and nudity are off-colour while violence is nowhere nearly as
controversial. A pair of naked buttocks will raise eyebrows, but no one
seems to mind a game where killing people is a problem-solving device.
Overall, sex and nudity are bad while senseless cartoonish violence
(Luminous Horizon), killing people with cool guns (Scavenger), stealing in
general (too many to name), stealing from your benefactor (Savoir-Faire) and
drugs (Blue Chairs) are okay.

o Religion, which is supplicative and usually altruistic, is always
controversial, unless you trivialise it (Jesus of Nazareth) or rail against
God (Voices). Magic, which is manipulative and often egotistic, is never
controversial.

lve...@mail333.com

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Nov 29, 2005, 7:03:20 AM11/29/05
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the only taboo in IF, imho, are bad games.

Branko Collin

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Nov 29, 2005, 7:35:54 AM11/29/05
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"Lars Österberg" <akadem...@uu.se>, you wrote on Tue, 29 Nov 2005
08:48:02 GMT:

Those seem to be great starting points for a game.

(No, I wasn't thinking about a game where the player has to stop an
apprentice whizard from accidentally creating man-eating buttocks.)


--
Wel zie ik het betere en prijs het;
toch jaag ik het slechtere na

lve...@mail333.com

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Nov 29, 2005, 9:03:44 AM11/29/05
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>(No, I wasn't thinking about a game where the player has to >stop an
>apprentice whizard from accidentally creating man-eating >buttocks.)
>

What a great idea! :D

Michael Coyne

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Nov 29, 2005, 9:50:34 AM11/29/05
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On Tue, 29 Nov 2005 13:35:54 +0100, Branko Collin wrote:

> (No, I wasn't thinking about a game where the player has to stop an
> apprentice whizard from accidentally creating man-eating buttocks.)

Phew, I don't have to stop development on Risorg2.


--
Michael Coyne
http://turthalion.blogspot.com

Kevin Venzke

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Nov 29, 2005, 11:45:43 AM11/29/05
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"Lars Österberg" <akadem...@uu.se> wrote in message
news:6BUif.151539$dP1.5...@newsc.telia.net...

>o Sex and nudity are off-colour while violence is nowhere nearly as
>controversial. A pair of naked buttocks will raise eyebrows, but no one seems
>to mind a game where killing people is a problem-solving device.

I think people are pretty picky about their nudity, but not so much
about violence.

> o Religion, which is supplicative and usually altruistic, is always
> controversial, unless you trivialise it (Jesus of Nazareth) or rail against
> God (Voices).

Those games weren't controversial?

I think a game that makes any discernible comment on something
religious is going to be controversial. It'll annoy somebody, especially
if the game assumes the point in passing rather than making it a
central point.

I suppose the same must be true for political issues.

Kevin Venzke


han...@spam.la

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Nov 29, 2005, 1:49:10 PM11/29/05
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"Lars Österberg" <akadem...@uu.se> wrote:

Where are you drawing these ideas from, exactly?

Of the games with sexual content that were submitted to the comp in years
past, ISTR my own entry caused MUCH more ruckus because of someone getting
offended about the 'fantasy arab harem' stereotype than because of sex. In
fact, at least one review complained there wasn't ENOUGH sex in it. :)

Kallisti didn't go down well, but again, in my memory it was more criticised
for *writing style* than for having sex in it.

Space Moose, well, that was SUPPOSED to be offensive. :)

I have certainly seen complaints about having to kill people to solve
problems - I myself have complained about being asked to kill a harmless
animal to solve a problem.

I'm fairly sure there have been many games that involve religion without it
being considered at all controversial either, but since I'm not all that
interested in the study of religion in IF I can't as quickly pull names and
examples either.

This post just reads like you want to try and make the IF community sound
like evil Satanists and are inventing your own controversy. :)

---
Hanako Games
Anime Games and Screensavers To Download
http://www.hanakogames.com/

Duncan Stevens

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Nov 29, 2005, 7:07:21 PM11/29/05
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Lars Österberg wrote:
> o Sex and nudity are off-colour while violence is nowhere nearly as
> controversial. A pair of naked buttocks will raise eyebrows, but no one
> seems to mind a game where killing people is a problem-solving device.
> Overall, sex and nudity are bad while senseless cartoonish violence
> (Luminous Horizon), killing people with cool guns (Scavenger), stealing in
> general (too many to name), stealing from your benefactor (Savoir-Faire) and
> drugs (Blue Chairs) are okay.

Which explains why there's all that AIF out there by New Kid and the
like. And why games like Desert Heat, I-0, Plundered Hearts, and
Heroine's Mantle were generally well received.

There's a very simple reason why you don't see more non-porn IF with sex
as a major element: because that tends to involve depiction of actual
relationships, which is not exactly IF's strength. Violence, by
contrast, requires no such thing. Remember, the prototypical PC is an
antisocial magpie because that's what the medium can mostly easily convey.

Spend any time around IFers, and you'll see: it would be hard to find a
less prudish bunch.


>
> o Religion, which is supplicative and usually altruistic, is always
> controversial, unless you trivialise it (Jesus of Nazareth) or rail against
> God (Voices). Magic, which is manipulative and often egotistic, is never
> controversial.

See: The Legend Lives!, Crusade, Jarod's Journey. (I haven't played
Vespers yet.)

But this isn't actually a fair pairing. Personal religious experience
does not easily translate into IF in ways that don't trivialize it or
become awfully abstract. (>WORSHIP. EXPERIENCE BOTH THE INFINITE AND
IMMANENT NATURES OF GOD. TRANSCEND SENSORY KNOWLEDGE.) The medium deals
more naturally in >EXAMINE, >HIT, >MOVE, etc. There's nothing about
depicting magic that requires this sort of subjectivity. But if you
disagree, by all means go forth and write a religious IF opus that shows
us all how.

(Yes, I'm aware this is most likely a troll. Even trolls can raise
interesting points, however inadvertently.)

--Duncan

GQrivy

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Nov 30, 2005, 12:52:49 AM11/30/05
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I think that it's all a matter of personal preference. Choices such as
these differ from person to person although general tendencies are
probably drawn from overall cultural trends. I tend to avoid games
that are primarily violent, but this is merely a matter of my own
personal preference rather than a taboo. Sex, nudity, and magic are
fine with me. If a game puts forth a particular ethical philosophy,
I'd prefer that this philosophy either be comfortably similar to my own
values or else be sufficiently new and interesting so that it's worth
exploring and understanding.

Regarding religion: I've encountered so much hard-sell evangelism in
my everyday life that I would prefer not to play a game that has this
agenda, but that's a far cry from saying that I consider religion to be
taboo subject. I put evangelism and violence into the same category.
Authors who want to write evangelical or heavily violent stories are
welcome to do so, and I'm sure they'll find an audience of people who
like that sort of thing. It's just that the audience isn't likely to
include me, not unless the game is exceptionally interesting in other
ways.

I realize that many people will have preferences that are different
from mine, and this is good. Variety and freedom should be valued in
any art form or entertainment media.

The nice thing about IF is that anyone can write a game that is true to
their own personality and values without worrying about getting funding
for it. It's not even necessary to please the majority of the
game-playing public. If the author enjoys writing the game and if at
least a few people either liked playing the game or see some potential
in the author, then it becomes a positive experience.

Raymond Martineau

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Nov 30, 2005, 2:24:28 AM11/30/05
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On Tue, 29 Nov 2005 08:48:02 GMT, "Lars Österberg" <akadem...@uu.se>
wrote:

>o Sex and nudity are off-colour while violence is nowhere nearly as
>controversial. A pair of naked buttocks will raise eyebrows, but no one
>seems to mind a game where killing people is a problem-solving device.
>Overall, sex and nudity are bad while senseless cartoonish violence
>(Luminous Horizon), killing people with cool guns (Scavenger), stealing in
>general (too many to name), stealing from your benefactor (Savoir-Faire) and
>drugs (Blue Chairs) are okay.

Sting of the Wasp seemed to be okay - the game introduced itself with a
sex-scene.

>o Religion, which is supplicative and usually altruistic, is always
>controversial, unless you trivialise it (Jesus of Nazareth) or rail against
>God (Voices). Magic, which is manipulative and often egotistic, is never
>controversial.

Bellclap seemed to be okay - although the game was generally rated down
because most people couldn't understand what was going on.

Victor Gijsbers

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Nov 30, 2005, 3:42:52 AM11/30/05
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Kevin Venzke wrote:

> I think people are pretty picky about their nudity, but not so much
> about violence.

I recently read an article about the difference between sex and violence
in American and European movies. According to the author, showing
explicit sex is more controversial in American culture than shopwing
explicit violence; whereas is Europe, it is the other way around, He
claimed that there were many American movies that used explicit
depictions of violence in order to investigate sex (I can't remember
specific examples), whereas there were many European movies that used
explicit depiction of sex in order to investigate violence.

I wonder if this difference shows up in American/European IF.

Greetings,
Victor

J. Robinson Wheeler

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Nov 30, 2005, 3:36:51 AM11/30/05
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Lars Österberg wrote:
> o Sex and nudity are off-colour while violence is nowhere nearly
> as controversial. A pair of naked buttocks will raise eyebrows,
> but no one seems to mind a game where killing people is a
> problem-solving device.

Hmm. Overall, this seems to be a cliched complaint directly
lifted from criticism of television and movies. What IF
games could you possibly be thinking of that feature a
pair of naked buttocks?

That said, I am reminded of one woman's reaction to the
nudity in First Things First. She emailed me to say it was
disgusting and grossed her out, which was fair enough. I
never had anyone else comment on it one way or the other
(maybe because you have to get all the way to the end of
the game to read that part).

In a different vein, every author who implements clothes
has to deal with the issue of whether to let the player
remove any or all of that clothing. Some authors permit
this, some don't. This might be a practical decision as
much as anything, because it drastically simplifies the
coding task to be able to assume that the PC is clothed
at all times.

The last thing to mention is that this is still a young
storytelling medium and we're only now just starting to
see where it can go in these types of areas without
being alienating and while still being interesting IF.


--
J. Robinson Wheeler Games: http://raddial.com/if/
JRW Digital Media Movie: http://thekroneexperiment.com

Michael Martin

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Nov 30, 2005, 3:37:47 AM11/30/05
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Lots of the violent IFComp entries this year were from Europe, I think.
Beyond, Hello Sword, The Sword of Malice, and Dreary Lands all spring
immediately to mind

David Goldfarb

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Nov 30, 2005, 5:13:34 AM11/30/05
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In article <1133339811.2...@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com>,

J. Robinson Wheeler <j...@jrwdigitalmedia.com> wrote:
>In a different vein, every author who implements clothes
>has to deal with the issue of whether to let the player
>remove any or all of that clothing. Some authors permit
>this, some don't. This might be a practical decision as
>much as anything, because it drastically simplifies the
>coding task to be able to assume that the PC is clothed
>at all times.

Which reminds me of a minor bug in "Mortality" (from this year's
Comp) that I was surprised nobody mentioned. When you "x me",
the description mentions your clothing. But if you try "REMOVE MY
CLOTHES", you get "I'm not wearing my clothes!" But there's no
other indication in the game that you're a nudist.

(The other thing I was surprised nobody mentioned was the PC's
name: Steven Rogers. This name jarred for me because it happens
to be the real name of Captain America, who is one of the more
pure-hearted superheroes out there. The PC, by contrast, is a
fairly despicable fellow. I guess there are fewer comics readers
in this group that I would have thought.)

--
David Goldfarb |"Ah, the stench of evil is about this place!"
gold...@ocf.berkeley.edu | "Actually, I think that's air-freshener."
gold...@csua.berkeley.edu | --_Zot!_ #4

Samwyse

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Nov 30, 2005, 8:02:37 AM11/30/05
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David Goldfarb wrote:

> (The other thing I was surprised nobody mentioned was the PC's
> name: Steven Rogers. This name jarred for me because it happens
> to be the real name of Captain America, who is one of the more
> pure-hearted superheroes out there. The PC, by contrast, is a
> fairly despicable fellow. I guess there are fewer comics readers
> in this group that I would have thought.)

It would have jarred me more if it had been Steve Rogers, not Steven.

fel...@yahoo.com

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Nov 30, 2005, 8:03:50 AM11/30/05
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Lars Österberg wrote:
> drugs (Blue Chairs) are okay.

Actually, the premise in Blue Chairs bothered me so much,
I actually refused to play. I never mentioned that before
because everybody else seems to love this game.

Felix

Kevin Venzke

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Nov 30, 2005, 10:03:12 AM11/30/05
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"Victor Gijsbers" <vic...@lilith.gotdns.org> wrote in message
news:d1008$438d5886$9161cd97$20...@news1.tudelft.nl...

> explicit violence; whereas is Europe, it is the other way around, He
> claimed that there were many American movies that used explicit
> depictions of violence in order to investigate sex (I can't remember
> specific examples), whereas there were many European movies that used
> explicit depiction of sex in order to investigate violence.

Hmm... I guess I don't understand what these mean. Does it
mean that you stick a sex scene and a violence scene next to one
another, and be lengthy and elaborate with the one that's more
acceptable in your culture? So that, taken together, they have
the desired amount of impact?

Kevin Venzke


Kevin Venzke

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Nov 30, 2005, 10:12:53 AM11/30/05
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"David Goldfarb" <gold...@OCF.Berkeley.EDU> wrote in message
news:dmju0e$cu$1...@agate.berkeley.edu...

> Which reminds me of a minor bug in "Mortality" (from this year's
> Comp) that I was surprised nobody mentioned. When you "x me",
> the description mentions your clothing. But if you try "REMOVE MY
> CLOTHES", you get "I'm not wearing my clothes!" But there's no
> other indication in the game that you're a nudist.
>
> (The other thing I was surprised nobody mentioned was the PC's
> name: Steven Rogers. This name jarred for me because it happens
> to be the real name of Captain America, who is one of the more
> pure-hearted superheroes out there. The PC, by contrast, is a
> fairly despicable fellow. I guess there are fewer comics readers
> in this group that I would have thought.)

Mortality just didn't get enough discussion. I'm pretty sure you've
just made two major breakthroughs in understanding the game.

Kevin Venzke


dwh...@gmail.com

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Nov 30, 2005, 3:44:38 PM11/30/05
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Kevin Venzke wrote:
>
> Mortality just didn't get enough discussion.
>
> Kevin Venzke

Hear, hear! :)

Poster

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Nov 30, 2005, 9:23:19 PM11/30/05
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Extrapolating from Hollyweird to American IF does seem like a bit of a
stretch, even as far as generalities go. :)

~Poster
www.intaligo.com/ -^-^-^- Inform libraries and extensions!
www.intaligo.com/building/ *- B U I L D I N G -* Dark IF.

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