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A NOTE ABOUT SEX AND VIOLENCE IN GAMES by Richard Karsmakers

This article was originally written to be submitted to the UK
magazine "Atari ST User". I decided later not to send it, and
instead rewrite it a bit and publish it in ST NEWS. I was kinda
fed-up with all that talk about sex and violence in games, so
that I simply had to write something about it. Only when I was
finished had my fingers stopped itching.

*****

First, I wish to apologise for the fact that in this article I
will express opinions probably being referred to as 'naive'. For
I got an urge to respond to all that which has been written in
several computer magazines in recent months on the subject of
'morally dispiccable' games.
Many people, with respect, think far too deeply about certain
games. Games are meant to offer entertainment and none other than
that. It might be so that the female wearing a bikini in e.g.
"Vixen" or "Barbarian II" might not get through the first level
when dressed like that in 'real life', but don't you agree that
women cannot transform themselves into foxes or battle birds with
built-in chainsaws respectively either - in 'real life', that is?
If people feel offended because certain companies seek to
display beautiful, scarcely clad females on their packaging, they
can just leave the game on the store's shelves, can't they? And
kids that might not yet be up to getting confronted with that
either probably do not have (and should not have) sufficient
pocket money to buy these games. Or do they play pirated copies?
Putting Ms. Russell or Whittaker on packaging is a mere way of
trying to increase sales - just like record producers will not
refrain from maybe using some equally (un-)dressed girls in a
videoclip, or washing powder manufacturers using certain colors
in their packaging that please the eye more than other colors.
Because that's what it's all about: Getting people to buy
something. And is it so awful to put girls wearing bikinis on
packaging? Are Victorian times in fashion again?

Another topic that has had many people eager to ban it,
especially in Germany, is 'War games'. Here, I'd also like to
emphasize the fact that games are there meant for fun and nothing
else. Playing "Silent Service", you're just as unlikely to become
a fascist warhound then to become a well paid professional member
of a submarine crew in future life. And I can assure you that
"SDI" nor "Raid over Moscow" made me a fond hater of communists -
just as unlikely as playing "Populous" would make me think I'm
God. Instead, I found "SDI" an extremely dull game and "Raid over
Moscow" an interesting variety on its predecessor, "Beach Head".
Don't like war games? don't buy them! It's really all very
simple, so why make things more complicated than they are? Life
is already tough enough.

I suppose these people find Sierra's "Larry" games also sexist?
After all, you're tied to a bed, visit nude beaches, get dressed
in a very travestite fashion (including blond hairdo), visit
certain women who tend to ask money for their love, and much
more. And do you hear anything bad about these games? Of course
not - and there's no reason why you should; they are entertaining
and people appreciate that.
And if you're a poker addict, you can always get your hands on
other programs rather than the ones where you undress females.

*****

I would surely like people to send in their reactions to this
letter. We might be able to start a whole series of letters
regarding 'Ethics in Software' or something like that. What do
you think of sex and violence in games? What do you think of
the "Larry" games? What do you think of the above? Just write,
'cause that's where the correspondence address if for after all.

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.