Forbidden Art?

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Radiac
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Forbidden Art?

Back in 1993, Magic: the Gathering was released and one of the cards included in some packs looked like this:
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?multiverseid=87&type=card

Then later they changed it to this after complaints:
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?multiverseid=2133&type=card

CoX had different variations on the 5-pointed star motif, one or two of which came close to this. Are there going to be "taboo" symbols in CoT, and if so will the pentagram be one of them? If I want to use my Iconic to make a pentagram, will I be told that's a "no-no"? What about any number of different variations on the cross (Christian looking ones, the Maltese cross, various military crosses, etc)?

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This is obviously an issue

This is obviously an issue that has happened before, where people feel that they have the right to declare their offense against someone's creativity and get them to stop. Being creative. People have a perfect right to be offended by anything they so choose. There are lots of examples across history where a symbol may provoke negative thoughts or reactions. The Swastika for example. However, while I do agree that the Devs have to cater to some extent to the people buying their product, I am hopeful that most players in the game will have the common sense to take it with a grain of salt. George Carlin (The master of forbidden in my opinion) said it best. "I believe them to be symbols, and I leave symbols to the symbol minded."
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4lMDbYZ26rg (5:00)

Do I want to be able to plaster my character's chest icon with a middle finger? No. Do I think that it would be inappropriate for a game played by children? Yes I do. But the line has to be drawn in the sand somewhere. X is okay, but Y is not. Otherwise little by little the creative aspect of the game will dwindle. First it's the Pentagrams, then it's the bomb Icon. Then the Poison image. Slippery slope if you start giving in to people complaining because their delicate sensitivity is offended. "Ohmygosh that person has a Bullet symbol on their back! How Rude."

If something in game offends you, I am truly sorry. I think I can speak for everyone involved when I say no one was trying to make you angry, insult your political beliefs, your religious morals, or anything of that nature. However, if something seen in game does happen to cross that boundary, keep it to yourself. Don't join that team, don't do that mission, stop playing the game entirely. I think I can also speak for most people when I say, We don't want to be bothered in game by someone "Oh you should take that Pentagram off of your character don't you know what that means?! Jesus won't love you if you do that!" Or some such idiocy. (I can see it happening, is all I'm saying.) To which the proper response should be something to the effect. "My character is a pagan mage, a Pentagram seemed appropriate. Thanks for the critic about Jesus, and while I may or may not be a Christian, it's nice to know your looking out for my immortal soul." I'm not saying I want to see Nazi man, or some such hero in a game, I probably would be put off by it too. But banning artwork or symbols just because of a pre determined reaction to what they may or may not represent is not something I want to see. I would be more apt to see people banned for things said in game, rather then what their costume looked like. If Nazi man starts spewing obvious hate across the comm, then yeah, he's gotta go.
(Sorry, slightly ranty there. But I am not Politically correct in any way.)

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To be fair, as I remember

To be fair, as I remember being in high school when Magic started to really catch on, WotC was coming under heavy fire for many things, from encouraging gambling, to the game being real magic. A few things getting whitewashed was probably a good business decision, even if the reasoning by the masses was stupid.

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The swastika brings up

The swastika brings up another good example. It was originally a rune that meant "purity" in a runic language, the Nazi's adopted it as their symbol in the 30s, and from there on afterward, it was "bad". The pentagram appears in early instances as a symbol of good luck or protection to ward off evil, and eventually it becomes associated with devil worship. The devil had horns in some artistic portrayals because he was originally an angel (Lucifer, which means "the bringer of light") and all angel's had some kind of "animal parts" added to make them look more than human (wings being one example, but not the only option). Other things people might find offensive, or in poor taste, or against their beliefs, or just "don't want to look at" might include the Stars and Bars (the flag of the Confederation during the American Civil War), a pink triangle, phallic symbols, the star of David, the middle finger, etc. The real question is where does CoT draw the line?

Another question is "How is the symbol being used?" If you have an Archvillain who is an undead Nazi vampire from WWII who is trying to start a new thousand-year reich by making everyone his vampiric thralls, do you give him a uniform with a swastika on it? If so, are you promoting anti-semitism or are you just using it to further vilify a villain and make him look historically authentic? If you allow people to put a circumscribed pentagram on their chest as a symbol, are you promoting devil worship, or are you simply allowing people the freedom to create their characters as they want? Marvel actually HAD a character with a pentagram on his chest in the 70s, his name was "Son-of-Satan" of all things. And he was a GOOD GUY! Look: http://www.reocities.com/marvel_terror/son_satan/marvel_spotlight013.jpg

The last thing I want is for the game to turn into a magnet for skinheads to spout bile about white supremacy, or actual satanists to try to recruit people through the game, but I don't think that means you have to avoid those symbols entirely either. Also, there are some things that are almost unavoidable. You can't disallow the triangle as a chest symbol, and you can't disallow pink as a color, that would just be unworkable even if you wanted to try. But maybe you don't put a pre-made swastika in the costume creator on day 1, I don't know. That leaves open the question of people using their Iconic for some of this stuff though.

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IIRC not only did they change

IIRC not only did MTG change the artwork, all the cards called demonic whatever were removed too.

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Making a undead nazi vampire

Making a undead nazi vampire spewing white supremacy in terms of RP, I suppose would be acceptable. I mean, that character is meant to be doing that, but if it bothers someone, shut the chat off.

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Removed meaning they stopped

Removed meaning they stopped printing them, maybe, butif so that wasn't permanent, as this card was printed recently (in the last 2-3 years):
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?multiverseid=271092&type=card

Also, this:
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?multiverseid=222904&type=card

Not to mention there was an entire set that was released and which got criticized for using far too much phallic imagery in the art (Mirage). Example:
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?multiverseid=3442&type=card

Also, some people didn't like having to explain this card to their kids (What are those two monkeys in the background doing, mommy? And what does the flavor text mean?):
http://gatherer.wizards.com/Handlers/Image.ashx?multiverseid=14690&type=card

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Interesting they've brought

Interesting they've brought them back in, I was talking of cards like demonic tutor, demonic attorney, demonic hordes that were in at the start, but all got removed.

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Demonic Tutor is restricted.

Demonic Tutor is restricted. They haven't reprinted it, because it's too powerful of a card. Demonic Attorney got removed and banned, because people no longer play for Ante's anymore. I don't think WotC is removing cards because of their name, but more because of the strength of the card in use to current block or type. So depending on if you choose to play Type 2 Standard, Modern, Legacy, Commander, Vintage, etc. will depend on what cards you can or can't have access to.

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Demonic Tutor actually WAS

Demonic Tutor actually WAS reprinted in a not-tournament-Legal two-deck set called "Duel Decks: Divine Versus Demonic" not too long ago.

http://www.wizards.com/Magic/TCG/ProductArticle.aspx?x=mtg/tcg/divinevsdemonic/productinfo#famous

That card set not only includes that card but has the word "Demonic" in the name of the SET, i.e. on the actual box. The premise of the two-deck set being that the two decks are meant to be played against each other, not in tournaments. Demonic tutor is banned (for game power level reasons, as far as I know) in all formats except Vintage and Commander, where it is restricted to 1 per deck. While it is true that some of the "Demonic" named cards had other reasons for being banned or taken out of print (like the ante cards), it's also true that they didn't make any more "Demonic" named cards for a pretty long time after the "Unholy Strength" complaints surfaced. I'm not sure what might have changed since then that they feel they could print Demonic Taskmaster more recently. Maybe they've just lawyer-ed up better than before and feel they can field those complaints now. Or maybe there's so much "demonic" stuff everywhere else in the gaming universe now that those people who were apt to complain have given up. Or maybe their concerns about "teaching the children to worship the devil through games" have been proven to be largely foundation-less in other cases and the legal precedent is now on WotC's side, I really don't know.

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One issue with using the

One issue with using the swastika is that (somewhat depending on context) it actually can be illegal in Germany, and I'm sure MWM doesn't want to cut off the German market.

I can understand swastika issues better than objecting to a pentagram, because Nazis were/are real.

Spurn all ye kindle.

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Why not have an option to

Why not have an option to turn off the more "obscene" symbols like the option to censor chat? so that a person can hit an option and the game simply doesnt load swastika, pentagrams, whatever else the dev team deems appropriate to add into the list. Of course when choosing that symbol in the character creator there should be an extra line explaining that "this symbol will remain blank for those who have the censor option active". Sure some would get through but it should make both sides happy.

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Honestly I'm a bit of a bible

Honestly I'm a bit of a bible thumper and I don't really mind any symbolism so long as its used appropriately. If it has something to do with demons then a pentagram is only appropriate. My only real pet peeve is evil angels and to a lesser extent good demons (Though two of my favorite characters are Hellboy, and Dante from devil may cry). Its mostly just that as a christian I believe that by definition a demon is an evil angel, but i understand that not every belief looks at it that way.

But back onto the subject, I don't think anyone should take offense to anything so long as the symbol is used in the appropriate context. Someone likely will, but they shouldn't.

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My personal opinion is that I

My personal opinion is that I dont care what symbols are in the game. I learned a long time ago to not be offended by other people ideologies. I have heard from some warthunder and world of tanks forums and youtube videos that some symbols are actually illegal in some contries. That is why you cant find a swastika in those games. Aparently it is an automatic ban in germany.

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charlieranger wrote:
charlieranger wrote:

My personal opinion is that I dont care what symbols are in the game. I learned a long time ago to not be offended by other people ideologies. I have heard from some warthunder and world of tanks forums and youtube videos that some symbols are actually illegal in some contries. That is why you cant find a swastika in those games. Aparently it is an automatic ban in germany.

There is no "apparent" over it... it *will* get the game banned in Germany. You can even be arrested for Goose Stepping or throwing a Nazi salute in public as well over there.

Games like Wolfenstein have to tread *very* carefully, and edit the game so that it can be released over in Germany as well.

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Pbuckley wrote:
Pbuckley wrote:

I don't think anyone should take offense to anything so long as the symbol is used in the appropriate context. Someone likely will, but they shouldn't.

So if you happen to be offended by the sight of swastikas in general it shouldn't bother you as long as a game "appropriately" displays them on military uniform armbands or flags/banners hanging on buildings? Sadly some people are going to be legitimately offended by these types of things whether they are displayed in the "appropriate context" or not.

I agree with you that there is sometimes too much political correctness and people seem to be way too easily offended by things they have no reasonable reason to be offended by. But it's up to the Devs of CoT to play umpire in these cases and err on the side of mitigating obvious "hot button" issues before they arise.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

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I'm with Zanje, any costume

I'm with Zanje, any costume piece that could be "overly offensive", ie: swastikas, middle fingers, crucifixes (that actually show jesus), etc, should be negotiable with a "hide offensive options" menu option in the costume creator or settings. However, i'd urge MWM to include these decals to widen creativity as much as possible.

If I'm making a villain who is wiccan or devil-worshiping, or... the devil, I should have the pentagram at my disposal. On the other side, if i wanted a wiccan hero, i should also have it available.
If I'm making a (neo)-Nazi villain or anti-hero, I feel i should have a swastika available. Again, on the other side, if one wanted to make a hero ( or villain i guess) that uses the original meaning of the swastika, purity and peace, he should also be able to use it.

If such a menu option were toggled, the offensive symbols could be converted to benign ones. E.g., a swastika converted to a plus sign or 4 rectangles, or a G (for grammar nazi ;) ), and a pentagram could be turned into a star. A middle finger could be turned into a pointing index finger. These benign alternatives should also, of course, be available without the "hide offensive options" toggled on as well.

Aside from this, I generally people should just have thicker skin and not be offended by swastikas IN A VIDEOGAME, or any other symbol. But, since countries sillily ban such symbolism, I'd opt for the above. Germany and Australian versions can just have the toggle locked on.

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I would hope that, if this

I would hope that, if this game gets saddled with a texture filter (or a word filter for that matter), it's customizable. If a player gets angry when he sees a swastika, he can ban only that symbol, kind of like Adblock. Otherwise, don't include any filters at all, but expose an API so that players can make and share a customizable filter. There's no reason to make having delicate sensibilities lead into a zero-sum mini-game where not looking at a swastika is "balanced" (or "punished" if you will) by not being allowed to see a cross or a star of David. It reminds me too much of the standard troll retort that if you don't like cursing in Broadcast, you have to turn chat off or cripple it with a passive-aggressive monolithic filter.

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This is not just in reply to

This is not just in reply to your statement, but a comment in general that many people simply forget about the swastika.

The original use of the symbol as that of peace is indicated by the symbol laying flat and resembling a + sign in vertical orientation. this is the Bhuddist version, and should be completely inoffensive everywhere except in Anti-Nazi (but nazi about censoring anything referring to the nazis) Germany because they're fucking retarded about these things there.

The Nazi version, which should be offensive to everyone and therefore appropriate to use for a villain, was made by tilting the symbol 45 degrees so that the central element resembles an x rather than a +. This is properly referred to as the TWISTED swastika and is the symbol of hate and intolerance that we all know and loathe.

Now, we also know that the avatar builder will allow us to re-position, rotate and stretch symbols. The simplest solution therefore is to lock the swastika to 45-degree increments in its rotation so that the only orientations possible are the proper and twisted versions, with even that being disabled for people in countries where the twisted version is illegal to display, or if the laws are just as asinine as I assume them to be, have the swastika locked out and autocensored to a + sign as suggested above.

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Remember, CoT is aimed to be

Remember, CoT is aimed to be a T rated game, not E10, or E, and consider the european analogs.

Most 13 year olds can handle a middle finger or pentagram. A swastika, ehh, some, maybe not "most".

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One of the several offensive

One of the several offensive ways Quake lost it's soul, jumping the shark in Quake II, was getting rid of the Pentagram of Protection, and replacing it with the Shield of Protection.

(They also replaced the cool, clanking grappling hook with this humming POS, the bursting, exploding rocket launcher with this humming phoot POS, and the grenade launcher that launched a clanging, bouncing grenade with a thing that launched an orange sweet potato that bounced once. And got rid of rocket jumping deliberately (it was a side-effect from well-done physics) but added it back in half-buttedly. And...)

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The way I see it is this: if

The way I see it is this: if it's likely that the number of people who would use them properly vs. those who would abuse symbols like the swastika is not worth the inclusion, it probably should be left out (or it should be replaced with a similar, but fictional, symbol).

As an example: CoH had the Fifth Column - which were very obviously Nazis - but they never used swastikas. They didn't have to, and they didn't let players have them. They DID have the column logo, though.

Basically, I'd leave out the swastika & a few other very specific symbols that will be used almost exclusively for the wrong reasons. And the middle finger, which seems pointless for anything except juvenile one-shot characters.
Everything else seems fine, honestly... even pentagrams & crosses.

--------------------
@Radiac:
"or actual satanists to try to recruit people through the game"
Um... you DO know that real satanists are just non-theists with some Pagan flavour & a belief in putting the self above others, right? The whole child-sacrificing, blood-drinking stereotype is just an invention of the movies (and maybe a couple of seriously disturbed individuals). Real satanists don't convert, either; I've met a few of 'em, and they're pretty decent & respectful if you show the same. Plus that whole rule they have about never harming a child, or allowing anyone else to do so, is kind of unexpected.
Besides, there's only a couple hundred of them in the whole world.

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Shortly after release the

Shortly after release the Fifth Column suffered an internal schism and turned into The Council, even less Nazi-like.

I always wondered if they were a little too Nazi-like so as to fall afoul of anti-Nazi symbolism laws in Germany. Yet how could the Indiana Jones movie get away with it but a game not?

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Gorgon wrote:
Gorgon wrote:

Shortly after release the Fifth Column suffered an internal schism and turned into The Council, even less Nazi-like.
I always wondered if they were a little too Nazi-like so as to fall afoul of anti-Nazi symbolism laws in Germany. Yet how could the Indiana Jones movie get away with it but a game not?

The only (from what I can tell) sensible explanation is contained in this thread.

Long story short: In historical/period films (or documentaries), you can get away with it. In games which are purely fantastical, you cannot.

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One last thing I just thought

One last thing I just thought of: remember the 1980's Pepsi can scandal?

http://www.snopes.com/business/graphics/pepsisex.jpg

A single can looked harmless, but stacked vertically the graphics spelled "sex" in weird neon letters. The board game "Settlers of Catan" comes with "city" pieces that are L-shaped with a pointy end which, when laid flat on the table and arranged in a certain way CAN be used to form a sort of swastika. Are we going to have to worry about "hidden symbols" like this?

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Wow, I totally forgot about

Wow, I totally forgot about the placeable decals, that almost makes some sort of censoring pretty futile. That'd favour the option of reporting costumes that could be too "offensive", and a GM could adjudicate whether it is or isn't.

Throw in a "do not create racist, hateful, etc. costume" translated into legal jargon in the EULA and people lose their ability to argue. As well, the EULA can vary on country, so Germany can have their own Anti-Swastika Clause, and allow people to switch costumes or something...that gets legally complicated fast.

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Should certain styles be

Should certain styles be banned in certain colours ? A character in a uniform with a pointy hood in black called "The inquisitor" is not stupid for a villain, the same in white called "Imperial grand wizard" is a lot dodgier.

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Minotaur wrote:
Minotaur wrote:

Should certain styles be banned in certain colours ? A character in a uniform with a pointy hood in black called "The inquisitor" is not stupid for a villain, the same in white called "Imperial grand wizard" is a lot dodgier.

KKK :(

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Only if it gives a bonus to

Only if it gives a bonus to accuracy for anyone shooting at him ^_^

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More and more this seems like

More and more this seems like it would have to be handled on a case-by-case basis by someone at MWM tasked with such, plus you'd want a generic "we can make you change your costume if we feel we have to" clause in the EULA. That still eaves fairly open the question of whether or not certain symbols will appear in the costume creator's main "chest symbol" palette. Personally, I would still like to have a circumscribed pentagram in there, for whatever that's worth to you.

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Throw a pebble out into a

Throw a pebble out into a crowd of people and I guarantee you'll find somebody that will find something offensive. Everywhere you turn people are finding more and more things that offend them. No matter what you do, somebody will be offended. Circular Reasoning for the win.

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Offending one person isn't

Offending one person isn't the problem though, for the reason you just stated. If a player complains about something, the devs can look into it and either do something or not based on their own common sense. If the devs apply THEIR version of reasonable judgement, they can allow or disallow things on a case-by-case basis, and "Thou shalt not offend even a single person." is not the rule then, but rather a more broad "Should we let this go or stop it, what seems the most reasonable?".

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