Online Censorship: Is It Possible?

I was playing a little bit of Gears of War online last night and something hit me, how can you give Gears of War a Mature rating? I find it extremely humorous that game companies can put a little sticker on a game box that says "Game Experience May Change During Online Play" and not be responsible for a complete shift in gameplay content. Play about five games of UNO on Xbox Live with random strangers and I guarantee you will see someone's privates using the Vision Cam. Play any shooter game (and most other games too but especially shooters) and you can't have your ear piece in for five minutes without hearing profanities and racial slurs.

I've seen plenty of R-rated movies in my time and hung out with plenty of people who curse up a storm (we call 'em sailors), so I've become pretty good at shrugging off curses and ignoring idiotic remarks. With the whole Manhunt 2 debacle with the ESRB a question has come to mind, how can you truly rate games with online features? Shouldn't you still be responsible for supplying an avenue for such things, or is that off your shoulders because it's online.

Not that I agree with Nintendo and their online plans (because for the record, I think game-specific Friend Codes are a complete waste of time) but they do have one way of helping these games get rated, or at least censored. Nintendo does not allow any player to have any verbal communication with anyone that they have not already exchanged Friend Codes with. So this stops random cursing from anyone that you don't, presumably, already hear it from. But this also cuts you off from a ton of the fun of online games, meeting new gamers within the confines of the game and "talking shop" with them.

So here is where I think Bungie (makers of the Halo series) has one of the better ideas in regards to online censoring, you are allowed to censor the game as you play. Halo 3 allows you the simple option to mute anyone who may be offending you in anyway. If someone says poop and you are one of those rare people who doesn't poop and is offended by even the mention of the word, then mute the person who said it and never hear them again. Does this help mothers wanting to completely censor their child's life from curse words and profanities? No. Is it a step in the right direction? Yes. You know what I would like to see, a company (and parents) actually use the Parental Controls, that's what I would like to see.


chauncey said...

ah dang, that's not right man. do people really flash there junk at ya online? damn!

TanookiTravis said...

Do you have an Xbox and an Xbox Live account? If you do and are willing to take the chance, give it a whirl. But be prepared for some "adults only" imagery, if you know what I mean. It's really pretty sad.