Part 1,""[REDACTED]" Censoring Game Politics! Politics is not a topic normally discussed in relation to game rating systems, but censorship of political content--mostly in the form of political symbols--is quite
common. Nazi imagery, for example, has a long history of being censored, both in Germany
and elsewhere. Exactly why is such political content censored? Whom is it intended to
protect? Who is censoring it? What obligation do commercial game makers have to comply
with prevailing political views? What are the consequences for not doing so? And what
effect does this back-and-forth have on the political imagination of gaming culture?
Games discussed will include: Bionic Commando Wolfenstein Indiana Jones Death to Spies
Metal of Honor (2010) Six Days in Fallujah First-Person Victim Tropico Shadow Complex
Metal Gear "[REDACTED]" - Censoring Game Politics is part three of a running discussion
series on censorship in video games. Konstantin Mitgutsch, one of our post doctoral
researchers, is a/Scientific Board Member of/PEGI, the European games rating board. He
wants people from local Boston industry, academia, and journalism to come and discuss
various topics of game censorship - namely violence, sex, and politics - for a report he
is currently compiling for PEGI. The goal of the report is to suggest changes to the
current rating system. This session will take place in GAMBIT between 4 and 7 pm
(coming late is okay) on Friday 2/18 (today!). It will begin with Konstantin giving a
little context for his report, how game rating systems currently work, etc. Then we will
play a series of games and discuss them while we play. The goal is to capture the
conversation. While it is happening, a small camera crew will be filming. The video will
later go up on the GAMBIT website as part of our normal video series, but the video will
also be used for reference for Konstantin's report.
"Blood, Sex, and Politics in Video Games: How Censorship Is Done (or Not)"
MIT GAMBIT Game Lab researcher Konstantin MItgutsch
, brilliant as he is, can't figure out how video games are rated. And that's saying something, given that Mitgutsch is a scientific board member of Europe's game-ratings group, Pan European Game Information (PEGI).
"Game content rating system like the Entertainment Software Rating Board and PEGI were
established to help educators and parents to make informed decisions on buying computer
games," Mitgutsch says as an introduction to three videos he and colleagues at the
Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab are releasing about U.S. and European ratings systems.
"But both groups have three core problems."
First [mistake about playability]... Second [cultural differences]... Third [lack of
For the videos, GAMBIT researchers invited members of the local video game industry,
academia, and journalism to discuss various topics of game censorship -- violence, sex,
and politics. Mitgutsch is incorporating this research into a report for PEGI suggesting
changes to the European ratings system.
The first video in the series, "'Die!' Censoring Game Violence", will be released on
Monday, March 28, 2011, with the second, "'Behave', Censoring Game Sex" to follow on
April 4. The series will finish with "'(REDACTED)', Censoring Game Politics" on April
11. Videos can be seen at the Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab Website
. Video Produced by Generoso Fierro
, Edited by Garrett Beazley