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Nintendo has recently revealed that Fire Emblem Conquest and Birthright will not contain a "face-touching" mini-game that was included in the original release of the games in Japan. This announcement comes soon after Nintendo's decision to change or remove certain skits dealing with semi-incestuous relationships and what some netizens claim is reminiscent of "gay conversion therapy."
These decisions are not surprising for Nintendo, who in recent months have censored games during the localization process, such as Xenoblade Chronicles X, Bravely Default, and Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water. Is Nintendo's recent track record a big deal, or is it being blown out of proportion?
Recent Censorship in Video Games
Censorship has always been a hot topic, and is generally frowned upon in most situations. In recent years, video game publishers have been more progressive with what games are localized in the West and what content is allowed in those releases. Sony's PlayStation Vita has been a safe haven for games that, 5 years ago, would never have had a chance of localization like Monster Monpiece or Gal Gun: Double Piece. Steam has been a growing platform for localized visual novels and eroge, which I would never have expected a few years ago.
Even though there have been massive strides made towards localizing more risque and niche games, many of these games have received some amount of censorship. For instance, Idea Factory's Mugen Souls Z had a majority of its nude scenes blurred out with fog or removed altogether. Monster Monpiece, another Idea Factory release, had some of its card images changed because they were deemed to be to sexual for Western audiences.
Trends in Censorship
To understand what's happening with censorship in recent titles, I believe it's important to look at censorship trends in both America and Japan. When looking at Western titles that received notable censorship in Japan, we can see that blood and violence are toned down for Japanese audiences. Blood is removed or heavily toned down in these games, but what is important to note is that these games are censoring blood in content containing 2 or more parties fighting each other. In the West, Japanese games that are localized for American audiences can be sorted into 2 distinct censorship categories: criminal violence and sexual content. The Japanese games I mentioned earlier feature the censorship of sexually charged scenes featuring questionably aged characters. What I found interesting is that there has been a trend in localization where brutal murder and suicide are both censored in games that come over from Japan.
To find the reason for these differences, look no further than the rating systems in both countries. Japan's rating system, CERO, appears to come down hard on violence towards humans when it is shown in a positive light. The ESRB, on the other hand, has become increasingly lenient towards violence but ever vigilant about sexual content (especially when it contains children and young adults). When you step back and look at the cultures of both countries, it becomes even more apparent. To drive the point home, here's an excerpt from a great response given by Idea Factory regarding the localization of Monster Monpiece:
This was a very difficult decision since we work very hard to satisfy our fans and want to bring the same content being offered in Japan. However, Western society is not as lenient as that of Japan when sexual images are involved—especially images of humanoids that appear to be younger than a socially acceptable age. The borderline of what is “acceptable” will always be extremely gray and vary from person to person, but as a responsible company working in the U.S., we had to make the difficult decision that we did. We sincerely apologize for those who do not agree with any level of censorship, but we greatly appreciate your understanding with the decision we have made.
Why is Nintendo Censoring Games?
Now that we've looked into censorship trends, we can discuss Nintendo's recent censorship and why it is (or isn't) a big deal.
Nintendo's recent actions have received more media buzz due to their popularity. The censorship in, say, Xenoblade Chronicles X or Bravely Default, is less intrusive than blurring out scenes or removing artwork in other titles. In these games, censorship comes in the form of giving underage characters outfits that are less revealing than the ones they originally wore. In both instances, these outfits are optional and the changes do not affect gameplay.
This is where Fire Emblem's censorship is drastically different. The removal of the "face-touching" mini-game and editing of text both change the content of the game. Skits that are changed will undoubtedly have an impact on how players view the relationships between characters when compared to the Japanese release, but more notable is the removal of content.
By removing content from Fire Emblem Conquest & Birthright, Nintendo takes away content from the consumer without adding content in its place or lowering the price. Does the removal of the mini-game justify a price drop? I don't think so, but there are those on the internet who are cancelling pre-orders due to the removal of this content.
Is Nintendo's current trend in censorship too harsh? To answer that, we have to think about Nintendo's brand image. Nintendo is known for being a family-friendly company who generally releases "E" rated titles. Their consoles are marketed towards children and families. Releasing games containing sexual content could really damage their image in those demographics, causing them to lose future customers. Imagine a parent seeing their 10 year old petting an almost nude women on their 3DS - would they want to let their child continue playing?
As of now, censorship is still a necessary evil when it comes to localizing games in the West. It is up to each individual to decide whether or not they support the practice and will purchase games featuring censorship. While I am not a fan of censorship in any medium, I want to leave everyone with one final thought: without censorship in some titles, we would not be able to play them in our native language or at all depending on region locking. Is the price of censorship too high when you think of it in that context? Comment below with your thoughts on censorship in video games!14 comments
Thorrash on January 01, 2016 @ 7:28 pm
Hey everyone! 2015 has come to a close, and a lot of great games have been released and enjoyed by us all. We've put together some of MVGL's admins' favorite games from the past year. Hopefully you've had a chance to play them, but if not you should add them to your to-play list!
Picked by morgan
As someone who has never gotten into or had any sort of interest in card games, Blizzard has done a fantastic job sucking me into the world of Hearthstone. Being able to play within a world and with characters that I'm already familiar with was just one part of it. Blizzard made this card game dead simple, anyone could pick it up and understand the mechanics of it in a short amount of time. I also very much enjoyed how they offered downloadable content at a decent price which enabled me to play solo and not against a real person. I also enjoyed working hard to get the unique card back for each month. The game lends itself to generally quick matches so it was easy to pick up and play for 15-20 minutes without having to worry about spending an hour or more between save points as with a traditional game. I'm excited to see what 2016 has to bring for Hearthstone!
Picked by jimmyb
This year has been incredibly busy for me, so finding a game that I could get a few quick matches in without having to dedicate hours at a time was a big deal. As a huge fan of Star Wars and the shooter genre, I chose Star Wars Battlefront to be my game of the year. Yeah, it crept in at the end of the year, but I can honestly say it's the game I've had the most fun with in 2015. I love the large and highly details maps. I love being able to fly an X-Wing or hop into an AT-ST to blast away some rebels. I highly enjoyed playing the Supremacy and AT-AT Walker modes for multiplayer. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what the DLC is going to offer in 2016.
Picked by BroRocker
An epic conclusion to the Starcraft II story, Legacy of the Void is probably my favorite of the series. The missions are diverse, fun, and even challenging when they need to be. Both old and new, the characters in this game are great and I really like the closure we get on all of their stories that go all the way back to the first Starcraft in 1998. Also, the cut scenes in this game are stunning and probably the best Blizzard have ever made. To top it all off, they’ve added co-op missions which only add to the already top-notch multiplayer experience. All in all, Starcraft II: Legacy of the Void is a great game that is the pinnacle of one of the greatest franchises in gaming history and that’s why it’s my game of the year!
Picked by Thorrash
Heroes of the Storm is Blizzard's long-awaited entry into the MOBA scene. As the grandfather of the genre (since Warcraft III was where DOTA was born), Blizzard had a lot of hype to live up to. I would like to say that they delivered with Heroes of the Storm. The major difference between Heroes of the Storm and its competitors is simple: accessibility. Heroes is much more streamlined than League of Legends or DOTA 2, but that's not a bad thing. I don't feel like I need to keep a sheet of mandatory builds or items just to be competitive, and I don't feel like I need to spend hundreds of hours playing to be as good as other people. Maps are one of Heroes most defining differences as well. Each map has objectives that you want to complete to win the game. Some maps have you taking over an area to use turrets, gathering items to summon monsters, and more. Heroes of the Storm almost feels like the Super Smash Bros of MOBAs. Not only is it accessible, but you get to romp around with established characters from your favorite Blizzard games while doing stuff the competition doesn't offer.
Picked by notjim99
Nintendo gave Wii U owners a treat this year with their newest IP, Splatoon. Taking the tried-and-true formula of the online shooter and giving them the good old Nintendo spin, Splatoon shows gamers that online shooters don't need to be filled with gore and grunge. Gamers this year have enjoyed Splatoon so much that it won "Best Shooter" at this year's The Game Awards, beating out high profile releases like Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Halo 5.
Picked by soullesssolace
Disgaea 5 brings NIS's flagship series to the PS4, along with all of its crazy demonic antics. D5 adds a number of features to this tactics series, including fusion skills between certain characters and a revenge system that gives units a bonus when their allies fall in battle. Disgaea 5 offers over 100 hours of entertainment for die-hard fans, along with the comedy you've come to expect from the franchise.
Soccer with rocket-propelled race cars. How crazy is that concept? Rocket League shows just how insane that concept is with this gem of a game. Rocket League gives players high-octane, fast-paced matches that keep players coming back for more. Need more proof? This indie game won "Best Independent Game" and "Best Sports/Racing Game" at this year's The Game Awards, and was nominated for "Best Multiplayer Game."
Let us know what your favorite game of 2015 was in the comments section! Hopefully 2016 bring even more amazing games for us all to enjoy. Happy New Year!10 comments
jimmyb on December 27, 2015 @ 4:06 pm
Happy Holidays everyone! Today we've rolled out version 6.0 of the site. I hope everyone enjoys it. We'd very much appreciate it anyone who comes across a bug or an issue while using the site to report it to our Bug Forum.
We'll be continuing to work on this template and adjusting any issues we see. We hope this year to add some new functionality into the site. I'd like to apologize for the lack of updates this past year. I have taken on a new job at my company and haven't been able to dedicate any time to the site. I've also got a couple other web projects I've been working on. If only I could be paid to work on this site, I definitely would!
Of note, at this time we have also closed off game requests as we're simply far to back logged at the moment. We have something like 1500 pending requests in the forums and 2200 pending requests in the queue. Once we're able to get these down to a manageable place we'll re-open requests.
Have a safe, fun and game filled holiday season!4 comments
Thorrash on November 28, 2015 @ 10:52 am
Yearly franchise releases are nothing new – sports games have been releasing a new entry every year since 1990 and John Madden Football. However, more and more developers are taking part in this trend than ever before. Developers such as Activision-Blizzard with Call of Duty, Ubisoft with Assassin’s Creed, and even lesser known developers like Gust and the Atelier series have all hopped on the bandwagon. But is that bandwagon bringing them to a good place? Let’s take a look at the positives and negatives of the practice, and get a better understanding of why some companies take part in yearly franchise releases.
One of the noticeable downsides to yearly releases by critics is sales. Sales of new yearly franchise entries are sometimes lower than their predecessors for multiple reasons: brand fatigue, poor production value, and a market flooded by the franchise are just some of these reasons. There are plenty of gamers out there that are fans of yearly franchises, but don’t have the time to keep up with yearly releases – for instance, after playing Assassin’s Creed III and Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation at launch in 2012, I didn’t touch the next entry, Black Flag, until just last month. Some people who fall behind choose to wait to purchase newer entries until they catch up or when the price drops – inevitably hurting sales numbers.
Companies such as Activision-Blizzard and Ubisoft have seen a decline in the sales of their franchises’ yearly releases. Assassin’s Creed Unity, one of Ubisoft’s 2014 major titles for the franchise, sold slightly over 6.5 million copies globally according to VGChartz.com. In comparison, Assassin’s Creed II has sold over 11 million copies worldwide. New Call of Duty titles have been underselling their previous installments for the past few years, and franchises like Rock Band and Guitar Hero are now releasing new installments after years of hiatus, possibly due to brand fatigue.
However, this trend may not be all its hyped up to be from the community. Looking at the sales of the Assassin’s Creed franchise, it’s hard to find a correlation between yearly releases and negative sales. In fact, sales had increased yearly for the franchise between 2010 and 2012, and 2013’s Black Flag had sold almost as much as its predecessor (albeit on 5 consoles versus 3). Even when new entries perform worse than the previous one, games like Assassin’s Creed Unity and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare still sell enough titles to be considered financial blockbusters.
Another massively cited downside to yearly releases is production value. When Assassin’s Creed Unity launched last year, it was marred by frame rate issues, fatal errors, and graphical glitches that had caused players to become vocally distressed. It has been an increasing trend for video games to launch with bugs and errors that require Day 1 patches. Instead of taking more time to test and produce a game, some companies are pushing games out to meet their release windows. Incidents like this have long lasting repercussions...or at least long enough for the next installment to release. According to Ubisoft executive Alain Martinez, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate’s sales have been affected by Unity’s poor reception, as seen in Syndicate’s opening week sales being some of the lowest that the franchise has seen, only higher than Assassin’s Creed: Rogue which released alongside Unity to little marketing fanfare.
Some developers have taken the downfalls of yearly releases to heart, and have taken steps to break the cycle. Gust, the developer behind the JRPG Atelier franchise, recently delayed their next title to “further enhance the game’s quality.” During a Q&A session at this year’s Blizzcon, Blizzard Entertainment employees answered a question about Blizzard’s claim last year that they would aim to release new expansions yearly. “Faster launch is still the goal, we don't know if we'll get to one a year,” they said on stage. “Our overriding commitment is to quality.”
Yearly releases aren’t all negative, though. For developers and publishers, these yearly releases generally give them a reliable source of revenue that allows them to continue making new games, both in the franchise and out. The more money a developer makes off of their established franchises, the more they have to put into a new IP. When it comes to using franchise funds to create new IPs, Blizzard Entertainment is a great example. World of Warcraft brings in large amounts of revenue for the company, along with new entries in their established franchises like Diablo and StarCraft. In recent years, Blizzard has used that revenue to create new, exciting games like Hearthstone, Heroes of the Storm, and Overwatch.
There are plenty of gamers who are happy with yearly releases, too. New versions of Just Dance offer new songs for you and your friends to dance to, and Call of Duty offers new maps and weapons to play around with. If sales numbers are any indication, there are still millions of people who enjoy running around new historical locations as assassins, playing sports with the latest rosters, or shooting against online opponents for hours on new maps. If people didn't enjoy these franchises that release yearly entries, then we wouldn't be talking about them in the first place!
How do you feel about yearly franchises? Do you think they’ve had a positive or negative affect on series that you like? Let us know in the comments section below!3 comments
jimmyb on November 21, 2015 @ 4:00 pm
We've been working hard on the next version of MyVideoGameList. While we've only got a single screenshot of 6.0.0 to show you, hopefully it gets everyone excited. We're planning to have a much cleaner and easier to use interface to start with.
We'll be continuing to work hard and push for a release on or before December 30. In the mean time we hope you enjoy this small sneak peek and hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving, Christmas/Holiday season!7 comments
jimmyb on October 25, 2015 @ 6:54 pm
It's been quite some time since we lasted updated you all. I have been extremely busy and simply don't have the time nor energy to keep the site properly updated with code fixes and new features. I sincerely apologize for that. That said let me fill you in on what's going on.
Presently we've had very little time to do any real work on the site. What few volunteers we do have, have been working hard to process the massive amount of game requests we receive. Unfortunately as you've likely noticed we've fallen quite behind with handling them. Nonetheless we're continuing to leave the request forum open and we will handle them as best we can. If anyone is interested in joining our team please check out our jobs page!
We've recently updated the template on the site, and to be honest, we're not 100% in love with it. It was a rushed job and a poor one at that. For that we greatly apologize. If everyone has some patience we have already picked out a new template and would like to have the site updated to use it by December 31, 2015. I know this might seem like a while, and 2 months is a bit away, however given the time constraints we aleady have that is what we can commit to at this time. I think you're all going to like the new layout, and t's look and feel It should be a lot more mobile friendly as well!
A final word, I thank you all for checking out and using MyVideoGameList.com, if I could make it a full time job I really would. The community has been incredibly supportive, we've had some fantastic ideas from members and I've been able to meet some really wonderful people. I'd like to take a minute and thank all those who have volunteered and to those who have stuck with us. I'd like to make a specific shout out to nagizuma who has been with us for quite a long time now and has done an awesome job knocking out many many game requests. I'd also like to thank morgan who has worked countless hours developing the code which runs the website. I am so thankful I have been given the opportunity to create this community and bring together all sorts of gamers. We have 2 more months left in the year, and we'll be working hard to add more games into the database, bring to you a new layout and hopefully a new feature or two!
Thank you.12 comments
jimmyb on March 06, 2015 @ 12:23 pm
Today we've pushed out a huge bunch of code. We call it version 4.0. While we certainly expect there to be some bugs and broken things, we're hoping there's not to many. If anyone comes across something which isn't working and hasn't already been reported in our Site Issues and Bug Reports forum, please, please, please (!!) open a new thread and report the issue you're seeing. Please include as much information as possible and give screenshots as necessary. We'd like to get all the bugs squished before we start working on any new features.It should also be worth noting that we're still working on styling and resolving issues in the forums, so if the forums seem a bit wonky, note we are continually working on them!
Have a great weekend everyone! Don't play too many games!
Psssht, who are we kidding, GAME AWAY!
jimmyb on February 18, 2015 @ 1:34 pm
We've been recently discussing internally on the team that it may be time to add a new category to our game lists. We see a need for another category that allows us to categorize games which we're perpetually and possibly infinitely playing. Games that come to mind in this category would be games which may not have a set end, titles like World of Warcraft, or playing multiplayer Call of Duty or Counter Strike, or even The Sims.
We'd like to reach out to the community to help us come up with a name for this new category. Please give it some thought and let us know what you think the name/title of this new category should be called. Leave your suggestion in the comments!25 comments
jimmyb on January 23, 2015 @ 7:00 pm
This past week we've been busy working on a new feature which allows everyone to setup their own blogs on the site. Now you can chronicle your gaming adventures with ease right here! To get started you can visit your blog page and click on the 'Add Entry' button to write your first entry!
You can use Markdown and emoji within your entries. I suggest checking out my personal blog post here to see what sorts of fun things you can do!
You can also set privacy levels on who can and can't see your blog posts (at a per post level), you can allow or disallow comments on your entries and you can set your blog posts and published or unpublished.
If you ever want to edit a blog entry you can visit the entry itself and click on the Edit button or go to your Edit Profile page and you'll see a new tab for Blog Entries.
We'll be adding pagination to the blog pages so when you fill up one page worth of entries you can go back to see old entries with ease. We don't have an ETA on this, but we are hoping to complete it by the end of the month.
Other things we'd like to get done within this Milestone (which has a completion date of April 31, 2015) are:
- Adding Pagination to blog pages (/blog and /myblog)
- Sending a notification when someone adds you as a friend to those who have the notification enabled
- Add more styling to the post bits on the forum
- Complete our group chatroom (no more manual refreshing)
- Add a friend feed which shows you what your friends are up to
- Add an RSS feed to the sites new blog
- Add more privacy options
- Add a groups feature
While we can't guarantee if and when all of the items will be completed, it's certainly our goal to get these worked on and completed as soon as we can!
As usual, please report any bugs or issues to our support forums, it's greatly appreciated!1 comment
jimmyb on January 02, 2015 @ 1:11 pm
This year has gone by so incredibly quickly. I feel like we were just beginning 2014. I hope everyone has had a fun, game-filled 2014! I know we've got a bunch of games and game-related things to look forward too in 2015! Xbox One and Playstation 4 are going on their second year. Nintendo Wii is hanging in there, I know I'm certainly looking forward to the new Legend of Zelda game.
Around the site, we've been working on various bug fixes and building our database. As you've likely noticed we've gotten swamped with requests and are quite behind in adding them into our database. We're looking for immediate fulfillment of two positions on our team, a Game Submitter and a Games Database Administrator. You can find out more about what these positions are and what the job entails on our jobs page. We're looking for people who have some time to dedicated and want to help build our library of games.
Often I see the question, why can't anyone add games into the database? The answer is quite simple. Quality. When MyVideoGameList previously opened we did allow anyone to add games into the database. This seemed like a great idea at first, but when we started getting tons of poorly put together descriptions and game information we had to stop. The quality of database is very important. We want information about each game to be correct and of the best quality. In order to do this, we have a team of wonderful people who gather all the required information and then another team of equally as wonderful people to review and double check that information and then finally add the game into our database.
That said, please, if you have time and are looking to help out a good cause, please, visit our jobs page, we'd love to have people who understand what we're trying to do and want to help us build a great site, join our team. Just a few hours a week, would really help us out!
To everyone who has used and enjoyed using our website in 2014, thank you. Thank you for being apart of our growing community. Thank you to those of you who submit suggestions on how we can make our community better. I personally read through each suggestion and we've gotten some really really good suggestions. I really hope I can find the time and knowledge to learn how to add this suggestions to the site so they become reality! MyVideoGameList has been a HUGE learning project for me. It's been completely coded from the ground up. I do this all in my spare time, but it's definitely been well worth it to have been able to build such a fantastic community with amazingly passionate gamers and community members.
In the last few months we were able to squish lots of bugs and add a couple new features:
- Issues with game names in email notifications were fixed
- Username mentioning in the chatroom was made possible (will be expanded to the entire site soon)
- We've added new staff to the team
- Added verbiage to the review page when no one had completed or favorited the game
- Switched from using Emojify to EmojiOne
- Fixed a bug when editing your profile
- Allowed users to setup forum signatures
- Fixed an issue where HTML was being stripped from the welcome comment left on new user profiles
- Show a message in the chatroom if no users are online
- New profile fields have been added (e.g., Twitch)
- FontAwesome was updated
- Added a message to the search results page showing user what they searched for
- If there was only one result for a search then we send the user to it
- The game names are now shown in the URLs for reviews
- Custom error pages
- Show new message if no search results - direct user on how to submit a request in forums
- Fix issues when trying to set a game to replaying
- Change emoji images to Twemoji
- Resolved issues related to setting and updating forum signatures
- Use icons on the profile pages, saves room
- Fix an issue with privacy settings not being respected in the feed
- Add pagination to the platform pages
- Allow users to rate various aspects of games when writing reviews
- Fix an issue with start and finish dates when editing a game on your list
It's definitely been a busy last few months, and our todo list isn't getting any smaller!
Thank you again for being apart of our community! Happy 2015! Here's to another awesome year of gaming!7 comments
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