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Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble In Trouble

Well, EXACTLY

Well, this isn’t a micro-controversy I was expecting to wake up to. A previous-RPS fave and Gametunnel’s 2008 Innovation award winner has been pulled from Big Fish Games’ portal after climbing its charts due to – gasp! – salacious content. Cue casual fans getting distinctly less casual. The fairly-hefty eight-page comments thread has the full story, but the (minorly spoilery) details can be found beneath the cut…

The initial responses bounces back and forth between those who can’t believe the game’s been “censored” and those are glad that it was, because it promotes bullying. Which others note, it really didn’t. Eventually, bfgAegean, a Big Fish representative elaborates on the reason for withdrawal…

“However, after extensive testing of the game, there was content in the game that we deemed unacceptable for our family oriented standards here at Big Fish Games. We are very sorry that some of you who wanted to play it will not be able to, and we apologize for the inconvenience.”

It was removed due to some strong sexual content towards the end of the game. We would ask that if you have not played the game to its end, that you trust our judgment and reasoning in our decision to pull it from the site.

Which of course just leaves everyone wondering what the content could be. Ewonka muses…

The story does turn quite dark near the end, but the only bloodiness happens when you prevent an assault on one of your girls by shooting the assailant. The event is described in two short paragraphs. It is not illustrated. It is a striking event that reminds one that women (and men) are not safe, unless they are prepared to defend themselves and others. It’s a message I would want to teach my older children, to respect the real troubles in the world, to prepare for but not fear them. That’s how I felt when my queen “kissed her smoking gun”.

Or maybe they didn’t like the scene with two women who claimed they were playing ‘Parcheesi’.

Or maybe they didn’t like the bondage scene which is utterly ridiculous, like something from a Mork and Mindy show. It’s not even Seinfeld offensive.

Did I miss something? There are quite a lot of endings to the game. Anyone find something more potentially offending than those?

And then it goes back and forth for a bit. Here’s Rose247 with an anti-DHSGIT position…

Wow, did this just happen today? If the game got darker towards the end I understand, I could see little bits through my trial version of it that sort of just made me think “Why?” Games, movies, and tv always get ruined with gutter type stuff in my opinion. I did not notice any women in the credits of who worked on this game, so maybe that’s why the game went dark. If another version of this came out without some of the issues this game seemed to have. I would certainly play it, give me a game set in the 1920s please without the sleaze!

(Then other people make it clear that women were actually involved)

And here’s a pro-DHSGIT one from DonnyDJ…

I am a teacher and I have never played this game before. Regardless of what content is in the game, the decision to remove the game on the basis of offensive content is ridiculous. If I looked really hard, I am sure I could find things that offend me in several casual games, but I won’t; I have more constructive things to do. I also don’t like the fact that Bigfish refers itself as a ‘family site’. What are they trying to say? Are they trying to impose ‘family values’ on us? Bigfish…please do not go right wing, ignorant, and close minded on me…

Please do not become the Anita Bryant or Ann Coulter of casual games.

Thankfully, the debate clarifies when Picman (aka Paul Thelan, Big Fish big fish)…

To clarify, we are not censoring content, it was a judgment call on what is appropriate or not for the BFG brand and it was a scene that was not spotted by our testers prior to release and not even in the gray area of acceptable.

To be transparent with you all, the scene that was brought to our executives’ attention was a branch in the story that resulted in the implied violent rape of a woman in graphic detail. So this is not about “family friendly” or “rated G” this is a simple judgment call on what we want the BFG brand to represent and that type of content definitely was not it.

Blimey.

At which point, MousechiefCo – aka Keith Nemitz, the game’s designer – enters, noting that this really isn’t explicit at all…

“(person’s name) overlooks her unconscious form, trousers dropped to his ankles. Nail marks and bites on his arms seep red.”

That was the ‘graphical detail’ of an attempted rape. No rape actually occurs in the game. This incident is clearly described later in the game as an attempt that was foiled by the protagonist girls. In this scene they save one of their friends by shooting the attacker.

And later…

We fully support our game as a fine entertainment for TEEN audiences and older. Our website labels each game with a rating icon. We also abide by Big Fish’s decision to withdraw the game from their site.

However, picman, who appears to be a representative of BFG, made a false statement, and we felt obligated to clear it up. Again, no rape occurs in the game, and there is no explicit sex of any kind. The event picman mentioned is not on a branch in the story. Everyone who plays will eventually encounter it, as it is a plot element critical for the ending of the game. Yes, it is emotionally intense, but no more so than a similar event in the movie ‘The Journey of Natty Gann’ from Walt Disney pictures.

So there you go. It’s the micro-hot-coffee. While no longer on Big Fish, for those intrigued by the events, you can still get the demo – and unlock the full version – from Mousechief’s site.

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Kieron Gillen

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Kieron Gillen is robo-crazy.

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