Also Known As Lesbian

Recently the word 'spastic' was been found in both Mario Party 8 and Mind Quiz: Your Brain Coach and subsequently both had to be recalled. Now another case of outrage over the inclusion of an offensive word in a computer game has occurred; this time in Scrabble 2007.

While playing the game with his daughter, Mr McAdam “nearly fell off his chair” when revealing an anagram in the game, and now is demanding the game be banned.

The word in question is “lesbo”, meaning, according to the Chambers Official Scrabble Dictionary, a “Derogatory slang short form of lesbian” but apparently can be used for positive purposes. If the word is present in the dictionary it can be used according to Scrabble rules, no matter which particular word it is. There are certainly much more offensive words in there.

The word was simply that, a single word, from the dictionary. If the game had called his daughter a lesbo he may have had a point, but alone it is not insulting and just seems an over reaction by a protective parent.

Ubisoft did apologise to the Irishman but had a similar view stating that it is fine within Scrabble rules it is not the fault of the game. Here is what they said:

We are sorry if Scrabble 2007 for the DS has caused concern to any of our customers. Ubisoft develops games for entertainment, with the goal of bringing enjoyment to the players, and it is of course never our intention to upset them.

In the case of Scrabble 2007, the game uses a word list based on the Chambers Official Scrabble Dictionary and all approved words contained in this dictionary are playable in the game. There are over 277,000 approved words in the dictionary.

The dictionary includes words used in the English language, but that may be considered unusual or offensive. It is for this reason that the game includes a 'junior' option which will prevent the player and computer using these 'unusual' or 'offensive' words in playing. However, 'lesbo' is not considered as offensive by the official dictionary and therefore is playable in both options.

Instead of trying to get a computer game banned for one word that isn't used in a derogatory way maybe Mr McAdam should rally to get the dictionary banned instead. Or maybe the most logical route, to get the word deemed offensive by the dictionary.