[games_access] Betr.: Re: Accessible Adult Entertainment, Censorship and Accessibility

d. michelle hinn hinn at uiuc.edu
Tue May 15 16:50:50 EDT 2007


Never mind. I don't want to know. ;)

But...since you reminded me...here's the answer from Brenda Brathwaite:

>Regarding the question that appeared in the SIG,

>there's no clear cut dividing line when it comes to

>stuff like this. Due to the way that games are rated

>(a panel of three individuals, each with some training

>in ratings and experience with children), the

>individuals try to reach consensus on a rating based

>what they're reviewing and the context in which it

>appears. So, it's not strictly limited to visuals.

>Lyrics in songs have affected ratings. A game in which

>a woman moaned in the dark (i.e. a black screen) would

>still be sexual content.

So...it seems that the ESRB rating system for games is VERY
subjective. I actually had no idea...so it would seem that, yes,
audio cues are also included in the rating system so an audio game
with explicit sexual themes that went commercial would have a hard
time getting away with anything less than an "M" (Mature) rating, if
it didn't automatically get the "AO" (Adults Only) rating. And I
don't think it takes very much sexual content to cross over to AO --
as Rockstar Games found out when their GTA "mod" was unveiled a while

It's my feeling that the "sex in games" SIG does agree with some sort
of "alert system" (and so might a "gore in games" or "violence in
games" SIG if they existed) even if it's not the current system of
ratings. Wouldn't it be great, though, if and when that day comes
that a company has to fight to avoid a "NA" (Not Accessible) rating?
Or...maybe that, too, is a form of censorship? Certainly INaccessible
games can be considered a form of censorship...no matter WHAT the
content of the game is.

And...it would sure be interesting to see how much attention game
accessibility could get this fall when I start teaching my game
design class based on accessible design guidelines AND using Brenda's
book ("Sex in Games") as required reading...perhaps we'll submit it
to the ESRB? Because nothing brings people rushing on over than a
good controversy...

Hmmmmm...wheels turning...


P.S. Eelke -- I apologize for lumping you in with the Amsterdam contingent. :)

>As far as I know, Eelke is not from Amsterdam. :)


>And, after signing a girl's breast at a gig this saturday a week after I

>got the first panties thrown at my head (yes, pink of course) I think I

>will not say anything about sex. Both not in Amsterdam by the way.


>But I think asking Brenda is a good one! So we have a little mixing up

>of SIG's here...




>Sander Huiberts, MA


>Stichting Accessibility

>Informatie, voorlichting, onderzoek en training


>Oudenoord 325

>3513 EP Utrecht


>Tel. +31 (0)30 239 8270

>Fax. +31 (0)30 239 8238



>Zie voor disclaimer onze website:



>Read our disclaimer on the website:



>>>> hinn at uiuc.edu 10-05-07 4:21 >>>

>You aren't the only Amsterdam guy on this list (*cough* eelke *cough*

>sander *cough*)...but the bigger issue is that you pose this inquiry

>and then LEAVE for a sunny vacation? Unfair!


>But you do raise an interesting point and I'm going to ask Brenda

>Brathwaite if she knows of any parallels for sound censorship. I mean

>obviously there is song lyrics censorship (on the US radio and then

>those stickers they put on CDs so that kids can't buy them...in the

>US). But I'm not sure what they would consider a "lyric" -- this

>probably is handled by some sort of legislation but I don't know if

>it refers to other mediums like games (and is a "cd" a different

>medium than a "mp3"?)


>Just a quick scan of some sites, I found quite a lot of protest sites

>that seem to have originated as music censorship sites but now are

>branching out, like this one (started as a school project for





>Then even before the warning stickers was the radio and bans on radio

>include lyrics in songs AND what the DJ says. Now a sound that is

>sexually suggestive *might* not be banned (Howard Stern certainly has

>done that many times).


>Here's a HUGE rundown on wikipedia that covers the US:




>So...I honestly have no idea about this and games so I will defer to

>Brenda and see what she knows about it -- I'm sure that as the "sex

>in games" SIG chair, she has a lot to say. :) Will post her response

>as soon as I get it!






>>Encountered this news item about an accessible porn website for the

>>visually and auditory impaired:




>>So porn that includes closed captions and auditory descriptions. Not

>>that the blind haven't been enjoying auditory porn for centuries,

>>but, oh well... Interestingly, I recently encountered this news

>>item, about a blind man being being charged for listening to child





>>Not that I condone someone seemingly enjoying real child porn, but

>>this issue got my interest because in games there's the whole

>>censorship going on with extreme violence and sex, etc? So how does

>>that kind of censorship relate to alternatives. What I mean is: in

>>an audio game (so without visuals) but only sound, what do terms

>>like "Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Nudity"

>>(http://www.esrb.org/ratings/) mean?




>>Richard (yeah, the Amsterdam guy)


>>games_access mailing list

>>games_access at igda.org




>games_access mailing list

>games_access at igda.org


More information about the games_access mailing list