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(7/22/2001) When does the creative right of a videogame developer to put interactive violence too much for society to handle? We explain where "too far" is when we review games.
Whether it's because programmers are aiming for an older audience when they're making QB games or they're simply perturbed that we haven't reviewed their games yet, more and more violent games are being made for gamers to try and for review magazines like V Planet to review. Because videogame violence has been linked all too often with violence among adolescents by the media, it's a sensitive issue where V Planet should take a definitive stand.
Many of the console-based review sites, like IGN.com, Gamerweb.com, and Gamepro.com are staffed with qualified journalists who are given set budgets and salaries. They also carry a huge advertising and sponsor base, and are targeted towards a large demographic. It is because of this larger user base that these review sites are forced to take a very conservative approach when it comes to violence in videogames. There has been a recent crackdown on IGN.com involving the use of profanity or violent subjects in discussion boards.
QB Game review sites like V Planet and GBGames have many things in common with the big boys of the review business. QB Review sites are also full of qualified journalists, though there are no salaries yet. The sponsor base is quite huge, but it is targetted specifically towards the teenagers, adult game programmers and retro-gaming fanatics. It is this specified user base that allows a site like this one to have a more liberal view when it comes to choosing which QB games we can review and which games we can't. With that in mind, here's a dissection of how we approached some of the more violent QB games pended for review:
Binary Magic's Alien Terror was the first QB game reviewed by V Planet that really featured Interactive blood and violence. However, your target in this game are aliens bent on destroying the world. This, combined with an arcade-style theme, makes for an entertaining arcade experience.
After Alien Terror, we agreed to
review another ultra-violent game, this time from coding group Focus
ZERO. The shooter Monkey Blast! took videogame violence in QB
games one step further, with more exaggerated but thoroughly animated depictions
of violence. Although the theme encompassed by the game is somewhat questionable,
the gameplay of this game is quite addictive whether you dislike monkeys
or not, simply because of the original concept and excellent program execution.
Boyband Bloodbath hasn't been reviewed by V Planet, but it will be soon. Check out the game at http://www.binarymagic.net.
In this case, Binary Magic still gets the last laugh when it comes to ultra-violence through the release of their anti-Boyband shooter, Boyband Bloodbath. While this game takes bloody gaming to the next step by featuring actual human beings, the game pushes the envelope one step further by being a "hate game" for boy bands everywhere. Games that promote inflicting violence on specific people is looked down upon by V Planet in a moral sense, but it usually does not affect the overall score of the game when it comes to gameplay though. However, this becomes a very sensitive issue. Games featuring targetted violence like this are always analyzed by V Planet before being approved for review.
However, V Planet does have to draw the line somewhere. While there hasn't been a QB game that was made in bad taste, M/K Productions still has the hesitant honor of being the only QB game rejected by V Planet for game reviewing. In Bob Saget Killer 2000, gamers are invited to shoot down the geeky father figure Bob Saget, of Full House and America's Funniest Home Videos. Bob was banished from V Planet because of three key reasons: the game provided no way for Bob Saget to beat you, the game promotes serious amounts of hate toward an individual, and (most importantly) Bob Saget is indeed a gimp.
So in short, where does V Planet draw the line when it comes to videogame violence? There practically isn't a line. Different people are entertained by different things. QB games are an excellent example of this, as developers produce games reminiscent of the gaming industry's luscious past, with an occasional entourage of original gaming genius. But the most important part of any videogame is the gameplay itself. No matter how much blood and guts you pack into a QB game, it will still get a smattering from our reviewers if it doesn't live up to the technical and entertainment standards that every videogame should provide.
Editor, V Planet! QuickBasic Magazine
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