Mature content in WIPS


#1

So…why are like half the WIPs here saying they have mature content? That sounds cool but are you all really saying that there are some elements in your story that are so “adult” that they’re completely unsuitable for anyone under 18 and that Apple will reject your gamebook because it’s too mature? All of that sounds fine to me and it wouldn’t turn me away, but I’m just curious, because that’s what I take “mature-content” to really mean.

If I’m incorrect, let me know. I mean, my WIP, The Magician’s Task, will end up containing sexuality, gambling, drug use, adult language and violence, but that doesn’t mean I think it would warrant a rating that’s above “R”.


#2

I think a lot of authors (most?) won’t be the ones tagging their threads. So it may not be anyone saying something about their own story.

Readers clearly have different ideas about what “mature” means. It can’t mean “adult” unless they’re in the Adult category, so “rejected by Apple” won’t be what it’s saying.

Definitely worth pinning down how we understand that tag!


#3

There should be some conformity in using the labels; the rating system on movies and tv shows often include mature “due to language, nudity”, etc …

In my experience, it is the authors who tag their own threads… I’ve even had some change what was tagged there before…

great minds and all that, ya?


#4

This would probably need more than that. Remember that a lot of people around here are not from the US and standards of acceptability vary wildly around the world. If you really wanted a comprehensive understanding of what the ‘mature’ tag means someone would have to do a write up. While I personally am roughly aware of US American mores I can’t really comprehend them. If mature tags are important to people a checklist might be a good idea.


#5

Alright, I will bite. My WiP hasn’t been overly graphic thus far (explosions, gun fights and you sniping targets) but eventually the combat will move into melee, so dismemberments will happen (let’s face it, melee combat isn’t pretty.) I also tend towards more descriptive language, so I am hedging my bets.

Add in future drinking, implied “physical” scenes and even some serious questions about what makes us more than a machine make me want more mature readers than “kids.”

So, the tag may not be for what is in my WiP now, but I know where it will be going.


#6

Yeah, I definitely understand that. My WIP is aimed more towards teens and adults, as well, but I don’t think that any of the stuff in my WIP or yours are too extreme for, say, 17 year olds.


#7

In another time, those 17 year olds already would’ve been considered adults. I am thinking pre-teen and younger should definitely stay out but I have no control over what parents let their children consume.


#8

I try to view all the WiP threads as serious attempts towards getting published within the CoG/Hosted family. As such, the standards should conform to those of the publishing platforms: Apple, Google and Steam.

Apple has traditionally been the most sensitive to negative/pressure orientated feedback and often will ask that changes be made to those apps that aspire to be hosted by their store. My sister used to work for Apple’s customer service, so knowing their criteria is ever changing and often blurry in application, I suggest trying to adhere to their rating and judging criteria as the basis for labeling your WiP thread.

@Spire has a point that some localities where your game-app is potentially sold will have their unique criteria. Steam as a platform was temporarily banned in a south-east nation recently (which specific country is escaping my mind at the moment) for its selling a fighting game involving religious figures. China also is very touchy about games that include free or separatist Tibetan themes as another example that might impact your game …

The main thing is that CoG/Hosted games should have a guide aspiring authors can reference in labeling their own WiP.


#9

True, Europe is different and in so far as they play a role our self-appointed moral guardians are a bit more likely to get riled up about excessive violence, rather than sex or nudity (unless it is in a gay or lesbian context :unamused: ).
Our censorship these days is pretty much limited to the occasional word and symbol edit (Nazi/national socialist words and symbols may get censored, with emphasis on may it is far from guaranteed) and blurring of male private parts. But that is mostly on TV we don’t really censor videogames to any standard beyond what the EU and US impose on us de-facto by being the larger markets.

I’ve know big bad neighbour, Germany to on occasion censor such things as blood and drugs though.


#10

Back in the day I used to play the superheroic MMO, City of Heroes. One day they introduced a new ‘international’ bad word filter which lead to some hilarity. Not only were certain numbers suddenly censored because they related to gangs in certain parts of the world but also the word ‘fist’. In a superheroic context that was more than awkard.

“Look out! It’s Iron bleep!”

“The #@&! of justice will strike you down!”

And so on.

In this light I’d hate for any recommendation to go overboard. But I for one plain don’t know what it means when someone tells me to ‘keep it PG-13’ for example. I do know I was cursing up a storm and was acutely interested in sexual matters at that age though.


#11

I assume you’re referring to Smite and the controversy it has in India due to the Hindu pantheon?


#12

I believe it was Smite but am unsure of the country involved. :heart:


#13

I guess I’ve kind of interpreted the tag to mean the equivalent of PG-13 or the game rating T; something I’d hesitate to recommend to a young teen unless I knew them well (I know I found the last few Harry Potter books and a little later, Mistborn kind of intense the first time I read them). I’m guessing something that moves into the R/M area doesn’t really fit with what’ been published so far? Maybe I just haven’t looked around enough. But then, it’s hard to put a solid rating on something written, imo – a lot of the impact can depend on what’s already in the reader’s head.

I’m kind of using Brandon Sanderson’s work as a yardstick for myself as to how dark/graphic I’d want to go. Maybe that doesn’t warrant the tag? But, like @IronRaptor, I haven’t gotten to the content I’m thinking of yet. I don’t know entirely what it’s going to look like when I do get there. I’m also open to ‘letting my characters decide’ if they’re going to swear (does that make any sense? :smirk: – good dialog for me tends to just happen), so the language thing is also hard for me to predict at this point.


#14

The GW2 forum used to auto-change anything it thought it should censor to ‘kitten,’ with the goal of defusing angry posts by making them funny (and eventually people would just use kitten as an expletive in the first place!). Problem was, in a few places it would censor names of things from the game: Kessex Hills :arrow_right: Keskitten Hills! Oh, and the constantly recurring that it’s :arrow_right: thakitten


#15

@alexandra
I think most of the titles that CoG publishes would be PG-13, including all of mine. (TMT might end up being R but that’s still below Mature.)

In my previous trilogy, there were only a few cases of minor language, but in TMT, I’m only 100k in and there’s already lots of swearing, including shit/bitch/fuck. I mean, almost all of the characters are adults so it just feels more natural and fun that way.


#16

I guess people tag their work that way because they can’t be sure the age of people reading the games. I mean, I wouldn’t mind a 16/17 year old reading curse words and sexual content, but if they were 13, I’d feel kind of bad.


#17

Published games with forum threads tagged mature content:

Samurai of Hyuga
Life of a Mobster
Infinity series
UnNatural
The Great Tournament (? - someone’s guide, not the game announcement)

…and that’s it. But I think the tag is fairly new?


#18

There also tons of WIPs that have the mature tag. From the scanning of the WIP section I did, it seems like a bizarre ~ 50% of them claim to be mature. If that were really the case, they should have an 18+ disclaimer and the actual feedback would have to be posted outside the forum. So I guess I’m just very skeptical.


#19

Seems that what most people are meaning by mature isn’t “18+” but “not for 12 year olds.”


#20

Well, that’s interpreting mature-content specifically as 18+, which isn’t necessarily the case. I put my tag up based on how I saw it used, but it’s really not consistent at all. Everyone has their own interpretation of the tag, it seems. Given that the forum includes such a tag, I’d assume whatever it means is somewhere within the range of acceptable on the forum in the first place