Another media related post; this one is again another reaction type piece towards a news article. More of an addition to my last piece really.
Game development seems to be heading in a different direction in recent days; an increasing amount of art and indie games are hitting the market – and succeeding due to the likes of various digital distribution venues such as Steam, take The Path and Braid for example. Even mainstream games such as Velvet Assassin are dealing with more adult themes, these tend to all end up being questioned and in some cases insulted in various mediums due to trying to tackle the issues that up until now only TV and books have really been able to tastefully.
Recently in The Star was a small article about My-Queen.com, an online social network and gaming platform that has themes of gender, sexuality and modern society deeply pinned in its ideologies, though is nothing along the lines of the “metaphor for rape” that The Path is claimed to be. It goes without saying that the article in The Star, a British newspaper, was as negative as an electron that made the online game seem like a massive slag fest. I played the game a bit to investigate and except for your online character beginning in the nude I didn’t find much about sleeping around. I contacted the director of Blouzar, the company that produces My-Queen.com, Chris Evans for more information and thoughts.
ThoughtShake: Hi Chris, thank you this interview. Could you firstly introduce yourself and My-Queen.com?
Chris Evans: Hello, My name is Chris Evans and I am founder of Blighthy entertainment, owner of My-Queen.com. My-Queen.com is an online virtual world for Queens. Beauty Queens, Style Queens, Drag Queens, Regal Queens and Drama Queens! The site is a Queendom where Queens can enjoy their virtual Queen, make friends and have a good time!
ThoughtShake:My-Queen.com has been ridiculed by the media recently due to its adult themes, what is your stance on this reaction?
CE:In my opinion the media reports about My-Queen.com were totally ridiculous. I would go so far as to say they were totally inaccurate and were a good example of ‘sloppy journalism’. They focused on the fact that one can choose to be a male or female Queen and then twisted this to suggest some sort of perverse role play. Well I can’t agree with that and I am sure that none of the journalists who wrote about it even spent 10 minutes on the site. If they had they would not have found anything untoward.
ThoughtShake: As My-Queen.com contains adult themes what kind of age restrictions and parental controls do you enforce?
CE:My-Queen.com is designed for a more mature market however we are aware that there may be some younger viewers. Whilst I am sure there is nothing untoward on the site even for younger viewers we have decided make it a site for over 13s only. We are in the process of implementing that now.
ThoughtShake: Video games in this day and age regularly get thrown the tag line of “murder trainers” and “rape-sims”, who’s responsibility is it to enforce which audiences can attain such products?
CE:Well the developers of such sites as My-Queen.com and other products whether they be online or on consoles have a responsibility to society. We have a responsibility to society. They must monitor their own content and the users of them to make sure they are not damaging the end users in any way. However beyond that then yes the government also have a role to play and maybe they should introduce a ratings system to protect users in the same way as they do with films etc
ThoughtShake: In recent times the industry has been pushing more mature subjects into their triple A title games, such as the case of Velvet Assassin and the increased popularity in indie and “art” games. As a developer what do you think it will take for the media start taking video games seriously on the same level as books or film?
CE:Yes it frustrates me a little that books and films are viewed as ‘art’ and are held in such high esteem whereas sites like My-Queen.com are viewed as ‘childish games’. It is annoying that books and films are held in such high esteem especially when we work so hard to produce top quality sites for end users. Why is it that My-Queen.com is not considered art? To me its a work of art. Its modern art isnt it? I think in time this attitude will change and famous classic games or sites will be remembered as great works of art. Who knows maybe in Charlotte Brontes time people viewed her ‘books’ in the same way as people view our sites and games? We will just plough on ahead and maybe in the future people will come to see them as great works of art! When the industry matures then parents/media/art critics and government will take it more seriously!
ThoughtShake: Thank you view much!
CE:Thanks alot and looking forward to reading more on thoughtshake.com
I’m not going to take this into the unsolvable world of whether games are art or not, that’s something a seperate blog could be dedicated to. Obviously a big obstacle to games being taken serious by modern society and not seen as something that nerds and geeks spend days playing in their room like the old Dungeons and Dragons stereotype but as something to stand up next to film, TV and books as a respected medium is getting the media not to look down on us.
Problem is the only way to do that really is to wait. Games are massive in the younger generations, the ones that tend to not be writing news articles and running TV stations. Every year that passes is a year that somebody who enjoys games gets a job in one of those industries and shows a bit of respect towards the medium.