Every now and then the video games industry crosses swords with some form of righteous group, person or figure.
Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty and alike have all previously had their fair share of mud flung in their general direction by such gaming aficionados as Keith Vaz MP, the Daily Mail and everybody’s favourite – the American Christian group.
Oh how I love those cuddly Christian’s and their friendly little groups. They clearly do their research; I mean surely their latest objection to the gaming industry would be as well grounded and reflective of the modern world as their previous campaigns? Right? RIGHT?
Well, no, not really.
EA games and Lucasfilm were on the sharp end of objections from the ‘Florida Family Association’ over homosexual content in Mass Effect 3 and MMO smash Star Wars: The Old Republic.
That’s Mass Effect 3, the game which falls under the same ESRB content descriptors EA bestows upon all its games. The same Mass Effect 3 that carries a 15 rating in the UK and contains no more risqué content than your average Thursday night movie on Channel 5.
It’s also the same Mass Effect 3 which continues (and concludes) a series of games which contained the same relationship options in previous chapters. So it’s not like this is new territory for the franchise, or those who have enjoyed the first two outings for Commander Shepard.
And that brings me neatly on to my next point – it’s an OPTION. It’s always been a choice. It’s not forced on anyone. You choose which path you follow and which fellow character you choose to strike up a relationship with; if any!
But the one thing that takes the biscuit for me – the Florida Family Association are encouraging people to protest to EA about homosexual content, but seem perfectly happy with the idea of some inter planetary bump and grind with Dr Liara T’Soni?!
Ah yes, Liara. That saucy blue minx.
Equally, in Mass Effect 2 you could, if you played as a female character, strike up a relationship with another alien in the form of (the uber cool) Thane.
So, two men = bad. Two women = bad. Human + alien = ok? Seriously?
This whole sorry episode has left me wondering if I bumped my head and wake up in 1954? Or that I am I Dr Samuel Beckett and I’ve taken a Quantum Leap into some sort of crazy house 70 years in the past…
EA Vice Prez of Corporate Communications said it best for me:
“This isn’t about protecting children, it’s about political harassment”
The startling ignorance displayed by some of these groups worries me. But it doesn’t worry me half as much as the idea that some media outlets will give them a platform from which to spew their ridiculous, and on this occasionally vile, outpourings.
But what REALLY makes me mad is it’s another pop at the gaming industry based on ignorance rather than well researched and reasoned argument.
We can only hope developers and distributors remain strong in the face of such groups and continue to push the envelope for the millions around the world who get countless hours of enjoyment and entertainment from this ever expanding industry