Language in Video Games

The Times They Are A Changin’

Language in games is getting harsher.  Let me preface all this by saying I am a big First Amendment advocate.  Let me preface my preface by saying also that I don’t really mind cursing, swearing, or whatever you call it.  This is just something I have noticed changing.  I’m also not saying it’s a big deal, because it’s not.  The video game industry is getting older, just like it’s customers.  It’s not like we’re all still watching Transformers and G.I. Joe still, right?

Heads up, strong language follows.  Reader discretion advised.

The Dialogue Reflects The Times

At first, there was no dialog in games.  Slowly it was added.  At first all proper and clean, and as time wore on the gaming industry started to play catch-up with the movie industry.  I think today is the beginning of the end of that era of catching up.  The most abundant words like ‘damn’ and ‘hell’ are a dime a dozen.  Now, it’s starting to get serious.

Games Getting Edgy

I’ll start with what I consider the most innocuous games – mobile games.  The game I found is particularly unique because it’s also free.  High Noon, which if you haven’t read my review, is a shooter-type game.  It looks like it’s geared for early teens onward.  In the game you have a ‘Shitlist’ where you can add other players who beat you or simply look at you the wrong way.  It’s not buried five menus deep either, it’s a very prevalent feature.  It gives you the option to add the other player at the end of every game.

Watch this trailer for Planetside 2.  It makes frequent use of
Ass-kicking’.  In the case of Planetside 2 though, I think it’s even more a case of adapting to the language of its users.  If you’ve never heard a group of guys talk while playing an FPS, well swearing like a sailor just doesn’t do it justice.  Suffice to say it’s not for the timid.  There was another trailer I watched that used ‘bad ass’ several times, but for the life of me I can’t find it anymore.

Finally we have Defiance.  This game drops the F-bomb on us through the opening in-game story sequence.  That’s right, your in-game comrade uses ‘shit’ and ‘fuck’ before you have time to finish the first questing hub.  She says it AND it’s put in subtitles just in case you weren’t sure what you heard.  This is actually refreshing to me.  I appreciate when video games strive to make things realistic.  When you’re in an actual combat situation, offending someone with foul language kinda drops off the realism cliff.

It’s Going To Be Okay

Really, it is.  If you can go a day without hearing a single curse word, it’s probably because you’ve never left the house and have no electricity.  If you don’t want to be bombarded by it, that’s fine.  I’d pick another hobby like dominoes instead of video games though.  It’s just a fact of life.

What do you think about bad language in video games?  Do you give a shit?  Or could you not fucking care less?

5 Comments

  1. I have the same feeling on it that I do about including all transgressions of taboos in entertainment: sometimes it’s done because it’s right for the scene and sometimes it’s done because the person doing it thinks it makes the entertainment more “edgy” or “grungier” or sometimes it’s meant strictly as fan service or done purely out of ignorance. I’m all about the first, annoyed by the second and sometimes truly offended by the third and fourth. Swearing, say during combat, your example, is fine. It fits the scene. Frequent additions of racial/gender/orientation/religious/etc slurs, not so much.

    • Language intended to tell a story is definitely okay with me. If it’s meant just to incite someone (racial/religion/etc), it’s definitely not okay with me. Luckily game developers don’t make money if they purposefully abuse their customers!

  2. I could not fucking care less! You know I’m one of the worse offenders out there. But then again, my views on morality and the like are also not the norm either. I do not like that we as a species are losing/have lost our sensitivity to violence, but as a country, we Americans are way behind when it comes to language and nudity. Stodgy, stuffy, prudish and maybe we can start catching up to the rest of the world!

    • You know you love me anyway Kerebear. :p I agree with Aydrien though. I cuss because it’s a habit I developed when I worked in fields that were more male-oriented or staffed and I had to get along with the boys, not to slur or “troll”. It’s a lame reason, I know, but it is what it is. I need to quit posting right after I wake up, since I have no idea what I mean by different morality and such, lol.

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