Saturday, February 18, 2012

Video Game Revolution!

As you probably already figured, I play a fair amount of video games. I watch Nathan play even more. (He's trying to review every single one he's played over here, incidentally, and even at the rate of two reviews a day he's hardly made a dent.) So I feel like maybe some of the ideas I have for making the video game industry better might at least be a little tiny bit legit. There's one feature in particular that I think is a no brainer.

Language filters.

Seriously. Gears of War put one in (kind of as a joke, I think; they also put in a gore filter which I thought was a pretty cool addition too), and even though I didn't care for that game as a whole, I thought that feature was awesome and I respected the franchise more as a result. (In fact, that's one of the big reasons I didn't complain when Nathan bought the third Gears of War.) It cannot possibly take that much more programming to silence out the swearing in a game. It's standard procedure to add subtitles in most games with a lot of talking. It should be standard procedure to put a language filter in too.

Here's my logic: if there's a language filter option available, then those who don't want to listen to some voice actor dropping the f-bomb every two seconds don't have to. Those people who do want to subject themselves to such delights can. Everybody's happy. You please a larger audience, and you sell more copies.

Okay, so maybe the population of people who don't appreciate swearing in video games is small. But consider this. There are a lot of games that Nathan plays through once, and never wants to play through again at least in part because of excessive cursing. It's the difference between a rent and a buy (or possibly the difference between a buy-and-return-to-Gamestop-within-a-week and a buy-to-keep). It's the difference between a parent playing it in front of their kids (with language filter on) and indoctrinating the next generation into playing this cool game, and a parent passing on it entirely (or playing it after the kids are asleep). In other words, maybe it's a smaller population, but I still think it's significant enough for the developers to spend an extra day or two adding in a basic feature.

There are so many games that I immediately dislike because I hear five f-bombs in the intro cut scene. I really don't think there's any call for that anyway, but I can respect artistic license or whatever if developers want to put it in for "atmosphere". I just think there ought to be an option to mute it for those of us who find it offensive.

Maybe I'm over idealistic. But that's my two cents.

1 comment:

  1. I played Nier with headphones on for almost the entire game (just the intro cutscene has a veritable bucket full of curse words), since I didn't feel comfortable sharing the dialogue with people around me. I felt that that type of language helped to develop the character that used it, but I also feel that it probably could have been accomplished with similar effectiveness using clean language.