GDC 09: Could games get too politically correct?

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Videogames have been accused of unnecessary violence, racism, sexism and homophobia in the past, but this is the first time I can remember someone warning that games could become too politically correct. First Amendment lawyer Lawrence Walters has issued that warning at GDC yesterday.

“Just when the decency police and moral values groups have been all but defeated in the courts — both of law and public opinion — a new threat has emerged from our left flank: political correctness,” he proclaims. “The leftist thought police are now wanting to impose their view of propriety on modern cultural discourse…

“Think about [a New York bill that would prevent minors from purchasing games containing racial stereotypes] … Would we ever in a million years tolerate the government passing a law that movies cannot have profanity, racial jokes, or derogatory language? That would eliminate practically every movie made.

“Now we can debate all day long whether racist stereotypes or derogatory language is even appropriate in video games, but that’s for us to debate, and not for the government to decide … [The video game industry] needs to reveal its enemies for who they are — radicals on the left and on the right — and marginalize them …”

While I can’t see companies like Rockstar ever feeling the need to tone down content, there might be some truth to his words. After all, we’ve already seen how some publishers are dumbing down their titles so as not to scare off the new “casual” market. A wave of new, politically correct games may very well pop up, but I think it’d have more to do with appealing to the mediocre mainstream rather than appeasing the radicals.


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