Censorship

Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble has been pulled from Big Fish Games’ site due to including content that the publisher did not agree with. Now, I played the game and didn’t really like it. I found the mechanics a bit annoying. But I greatly approved of the theme and the writing. Apparently others did too as it was nominated for a Writer’s Guild Award along with the big money interests like Fallout 3.

The developer and designer have rolled over, which I assume is because indies need the eyeballs of portals like Big Fish to make any money at all and they don’t want to burn bridges. But what irks me so much is the claim that this isn’t censorship.

Big Fish Honcho Paul Thelan via the linked RPS article:

To clarify, we are not censoring content, it was a judgment call on what is appropriate or not for the BFG brand and it was a scene that was not spotted by our testers prior to release and not even in the gray area of acceptable.

Definition via the good crowds at wikipedia:

Censorship is the suppression of speech or deletion of communicative material which may be considered objectionable, harmful or sensitive, as determined by a censor.

How is that not censorship? Clearly, Redrum is a much more family-friendly game, right?

But here’s the real kicker to me: If the “testers” at BFG can’t even get to the end of the main storyline before giving thumbs-up on a product, how can I trust them that the game is sufficiently bug or virus-free? How can I be sure anything I buy from them is what they say it is? If they can’t play through to the end of the game, how do I know they are choosing games for their portal that are of any quality at all?

Less would have been lost for BFG if they would have just offered up refunds to anyone who complained and left the game on the site. Now I simply don’t trust them since they admitted they don’t know what they are publishing. Unfortunate.

Come on guys, kiss and make up. Big Fish should put the game back up on the site with the same warning you see on the page for Redrum and should simply say “my bad” and “here’s how we are going to improve our quality control”. Knee-jerk reactions rarely help.

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