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Topic: Censorship Vs Localization

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GameOtaku

My old thread on this subject has been long dormant so given that the subject I believe "NEEDS" discussion I've decided to open up a new one for this purpose.

Censorship and Localization don't necessarily go hand in hand. Localizations goal is to essentially make the game easier to understand especially when coming from another culture you don't fully understand. This is why Brock makes jelly donuts and Maya eats burgers. Censorship is making something comply with your beliefs contrary to the original intent. The best example I can think to compare both from personal experience is from my church. If the pastor makes a modern parallel to a biblical era problem that's localization. If however the tone and purpose of his message is changed to diverge away from its original intent for the sake of not making someone uncomfortable that's censorship.

GameOtaku

Anti-Matter

Censorship is still important in video games.
Sure, creativity in video games are really great.
But, if creativity turns into inappropriate things, it must be censored.
Creativity without control is a Chaos, not even something good or positive.

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Giowo

I don’t really like when localization changes too much about the original product. The localization team should just translate the game and keep other elements such as names and storylines.
As for censorship, it’s not always bad but it’s always undesirable since it changes the creator’s original idea for the game.
I don’t mind small things being censored like the outfits in Tokyo Mirage Sessions, but censorship becomes a problem when it changes something important in a character, like how one of Bernadetta’s most impactful lines got censored on Fire Emblem Three Houses.

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Ralizah

@Octoguy My understanding is that Bernie's lines were altered to be more accurate to the original script.

@Anti-Matter The problem with your totalitarian mindset is this: absent universally agreed-upon standards of what is or is not "appropriate," who are you or anyone else to tell other law-abiding citizens what entertainment they can or cannot produce or consume?

I'm guessing you'd not appreciate it much if, say, I determined that "cute" or "girly" things were inappropriate for a man to own and made it where you have no access to them, right?

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GameOtaku

@Anti-Matter
I agree with @Ralizah. My standards for what's inappropriate is different from yours and his so does that mean no ones moral compass is true north?

Let's not forget the rating systems in place either. If a game is rated for Teen then it's probably not appropriate for a six year old to play. Demographics must also be considered. Take TMS:Encore for example. It's rated for teens and not little girls and boys. It's intended audience was teenagers. It deals with more mature subject matter and situations. Suggestive themes implies there may be risqué elements but nothing especially overt.

GameOtaku

NinChocolate

Gamer rage vs creator’s choice.

NinChocolate

Dezzy

The difference is quite simple in my mind.

Localization is changing something for a particular audience in a way you think they'll generally appreciate, usually because it makes it easier for them to understand the original intent.

Censorship is changing something for an audience with no interest in what they actually prefer, but because you think you know better than they do how something SHOULD be.

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GameOtaku

@Dezzy
Pretty much in a nutshell yeah. Tge creators original vision has been scrapped and though he says the changes are fine it may have been a case of "say you approve the changes or it could cost you your job".

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GameOtaku

Sunsy

My opinion on the subject is similar to @Dezzy's.

Localization to me could be simply translating the game from its original language, or changes made to make the game appeal to those outside of the country of origin, or appeal more to a wider audience to sell more copies. Usually, this decision is made by the developer or the publisher.

As for censorship, I consider censorship to be something when someone, or even a group, complain about content they do not like, and pressure the developer or publisher to change it because they don't like it.

At least that's how I see it anyway.

Sunsy

alpacatears

I'm Irish and we've had a long history of censorship from the Catholic church. They banned many books and many movies, sometimes just because a bishop didn't like the content. We still have issues around the Catholic ethos in schools preventing proper sex education or discussion of LGBT people at all. I always think it's important to remember the wider context around censorship. To some, seeing it occur in video games is just an extension of the wider realm of it occurring in society. I think it's important to question who is being the moral arbiter and whose interests they are representing with their censorship.

alpacatears

jowe_gw

@GameOtaku There are times where it is obviously censorhip (like @alpacatears example about LGTB discussion at schools being prevented by Catholic church) but there are some gray areas. Like, what if the original developers of a game intended for the localized version of a game to have some stuff omitted from the original version? Is it censorship if the creators themselves decided that?

jowe_gw

Silly_G

jowe_gw wrote:

Is it censorship if the creators themselves decided that?

Sometimes they decide on that for commercial reasons. It doesn't change the fact that it's censorship in effect.

Some games are censored because they have received too high a rating in a certain jurisdiction, but the game as a whole is censored in order to appease the aggrieved markets. This has happened on a few occasions due to Australian classification restrictions (particularly when games have been banned), though there have also been occasions where Australia receives a censored version while other territories can access the uncensored version.

While this is not the most high-profile example, I am quite familiar with the circumstances surrounding it, so I will cite the WiiWare game Sexy Poker.

Sexy Poker, in its uncut form, received the following classifications:
ESRB - M (I don't recall the exact reasons, but nudity was disclosed)
BBFC: 15 - Moderate nudity
ACB: RC - Banned due to nudity relating to incentives or rewards

The games entails playing poker with anime-styled women of the player's choosing, and upon winning rounds of poker or blackjack, items of clothing will be removed from the women, which can result in underwear being exposed. The original intent was to be able to expose their breasts, however...

At the time of its classification, the R18+ classification had not been legislated for games, and because the guidelines at the time did not accommodate nudity relating to incentives or rewards at categories that are not restricted to adults, the game was subsequently banned. Funnily enough though, if the women had just been topless throughout the entirety of the game without incentivising the gradual exposure of their breasts, the game is very likely to have been rated M (that is, recommended for mature audiences, but not legally restricted by age).

The game was subsequently censored to fall short of exposing breasts. Stupidly, the game still received an M rating by the ESRB, I'm not sure if the rating had been revised by the BBFC, but the non-nude version was approved with an M classification in Australia for "Sexual references" (nowadays, it would most likely have received consumer advice of "Simulated gambling and sexualised imagery").

Since the R18+ classification has been in effect for games in Australia in 2013, the uncut version of the game would now receive an R18+ classification for "Nudity related to incentives and rewards". The funny thing is, the R18+ classification places virtually no restrictions on nudity, so, somebody can make a game where all of the characters are naked all the time, and it would receive an R18+ classification without any problems, and technically, even incentivising the exposure of buttocks (which, in itself is routinely permitted at the G and PG ratings) would receive an R18+ rating!

Edited on by Silly_G

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GameOtaku

@Silly_G
Australia is a prime example of when censorship goes too far. The esrb isn't particularly consistent when it comes to ratings either. Looking at the box of Yugioh: Legacy of the Duelist: LE it has Fantasy Violence, Mild Blood and Partial Nudity and it's rated T. Battle Chasers Nightwars has Alcohol Reference, Blood and Gore, Fantasy Violence, Mild Language and Suggestive Themes and rated T. Compared to Dark Souls Remastered Blood and Gore, Partial Nudity and violence it's rated M?! Why is it not T or E10? Compared to the other two it's easily good for the whole family.

GameOtaku

Silly_G

@GameOtaku : The ESRB discloses all content while most classification bodies only mention the reasons why the game/film earned that specific category.

Funnily enough, the Australian Classification Board is usually very lenient at the lower categories, but they don't know what to do with themselves when it comes to stronger material, hence some of the bizarre decisions that they make. All of the peer-reviewed Phoenix Wright games were classified PG in Australia, while the fourth game was rated M by the ESRB!

Meanwhile, games like Yu-Gi-Oh: Legacy of the Duelist, and a few other T-rated games, such as The Simpsons Hit and Run and Fitness Boxing are rated G in Australia.

Edited on by Silly_G

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kkslider5552000

man i wish i still had enough energy to care about something as meaningless as "the most major change in this work of art is occasionally they showed boobs for no significant reason in Japan"

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skywake

I couldn't care less about content censorship TBH. We have access to more information than ever before, if you REALLY want to play the Japanese release where they show a bit of side boob you can. Hell, there's an entire internet out there with WAY more than the occasional bit of sideboob. Unless you live in China censorship shouldn't worry you. We all have much bigger platforms than we ever have.

If you want to be worried about something? Be concerned about propaganda and "us vs them" type thinking. With almost no censorship we have a problem at the other extreme. These days it's super easy to pick and choose to believe what makes you feel comfortable.

.... something which doesn't really apply to games outside of maybe shopping for reviews, getting stuck in comfortable genres and getting caught up in angry mobs

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kkslider5552000

Censorship v Localization: Dawn of Cleavage

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cheesedude

A lot of the time it's just about making the most money. Publishers will make the changes that they think generate the most income in different countries. They may be indifferent to the moral issues, having an eye only on profits. What is or isn't acceptable varies quite a bit worldwide and there will never be agreed universal standards.

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GameOtaku

@skywake
Censorship is a slippery slope and is an issue that definitely needs discussion. I've always been told of you don't approve of something you don't have to partake. Nowadays though it seems like if you don't approve of something you get it banned or changed so it conforms to your standards and no one else's. Sony is a fairly big offender. It wanted to butcher Xseed games like Senran Kagura but leave games like GTA alone. Why?! Rockstar brings them in a ton of money so they don't want to shake the boat even though the series is notorious for its content. Can you say hypocrites?

This is especially shocking since Nintendo has apparently turned the page recently and is actively bringing in more mature content. It's not like TMS in its uncut state had anything especially egregious to cause the purityrannical outrage need for censorship.

Edited on by GameOtaku

GameOtaku

skywake

GameOtaku wrote:

I've always been told of you don't approve of something you don't have to partake. Nowadays though it seems like if you don't approve of something you get it banned or changed so it conforms to your standards and no one else's.

And what does "banning" something do these days other than expand its reach? I stand by my original point, censorship isn't what concerns me. What concerns me is propaganda which, more often than not, presents itself as being something that was "censored" in order to gain a larger audience.

Going back to the topic a bit, do I care even the slightest if Nintendo changes the costumes or ages of characters in the Western release? Personally? I don't. Am I maybe a bit concerned about what motivates people to be super concerned about it? Definitely.

Edited on by skywake

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