Sunday, October 29, 2006

More Bully "Controversy"

Another excellent story from Joystiq, this time about the Bully game-clips going around the net showing the main character kissing other boys. As part of the gameplay, your (male) character can romance (give flowers, smooch) various schoolmates, including a small number of male characters--giving the player the freedom to break out of the hetero-normative limitations found in most digital games. This option is also available in The Sims. Although the characters can't do anything more than kiss, Jack Thompson, anti-video games lawyer extraordinaire, is blasting the game for being sexually explicit (!), and blasting the ESRB for giving the game a T for Teen rating. The ESRB, however, has responded that they were aware of the content when they rated the game. The underlying issue here is, of course, why does Jack Thompson think that homosexual content warrants a higher ESRB rating than heterosexual content. The mainstream press has picked up the story, and Joystiq predicts a media frenzy on the issue in the coming weeks.

Link to the full story here.
For the original coverage, click here.
To see one of the videos in question, click here.

Having a homosexual option is awesomely progressive and the impending "controversy" silly to say the least. And yet, I must point out that once again a double-standard is arising within the right-wing American reaction to video game content. The other bully game, Rule of Rose, which deals with girls' bullying and has flown silently under the radar despite all the hoopla around the male-centric Bully, also has homosexual themes, and yet somehow these are not deemed worthy of any controversy or moral panic.

Update: Lots more coverage of this can be found at Game Politics

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