If you happen to be attending a game design school, you may want to avoid creating a game that could possibly cause controversy.
Keep in mind that if you’re designing a video game that you’re designing something that is mostly geared toward the 20-30 year old age range. Most gamers are in this age range, yet some are younger as well as older, so this F95zone is the key demographic for an industry that brings in over $60 billion.
Game design schools will tell you that video games have proven to be a more lucrative industry, when compared to the music or movie industry. Some have blamed the internet for that as many recordings have been pirated and are downloadable. Not many people go to the neighborhood record or video store anymore, except for hard-core enthusiasts, yet stores that sell video games have seen a consistent increase in sales.
Much of this, it is believed, is due to the younger demographics. Teenagers and twenty-somethings love the variety of role-playing games out there, and quite honestly, who doesn’t love to blow aliens to pieces? Yet while these types of games are popular, there’s always controversy involved. Some games push the envelope with extremely graphic sex and violence. It’s always been said that sex and violence sells, and these tend to be the kinds of games that sell well. In some countries, games of this nature have been outright banned, due to their content. As there is a market for these kinds of games, it’s up to you to decide if this is your cup of tea when you start designing one.
Keep in mind that when your game goes before the general public, you want to make sure that you’ve created something that’s user friendly. You want to cover every angle and make sure that it’s something everyone can play and enjoy. If you’re going for an older crowd, then you may want to push the envelope a bit. However there is a game rating system in place to determine what type of content may be questionable. Think of the movie rating system; you wouldn’t want a young child to see an NC-17 film, and maybe the same would apply to a game that’s rated for Adults Only.
Still controversies can ensue, even if you’ve gone through your game with a fine tooth comb. You want to make sure that every angle is covered and that your game has an acceptable rating. That may not be what you’re going for, especially if your game is more adult oriented, but keep the restrictions in mind.
In game design school, I tried to make sure that anything I designed was user friendly. I never encountered any opposition to anything I designed, even though there was some violence involved, but it was done in a way that wouldn’t be considered shocking, especially when you’re firebombing aliens. Yet, I had friends in game design school that got into trouble for creating games that were just a tad extreme, especially as it featured some nudity. His friends who tested the game felt that this was out of place, and had no real relevance to the overall feel of the game, so he changed it and realized in the end that it made no sense to keep it there in the first place.