Content disclaimers in games

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  • I'm currently working on a game that has some adult themes and one things I've been going back and forth on is including a possible content disclaimer on both the game's possible site and as the very first thing the player seen when they boot the game up. Things like this:

    Most games that go for a more disturbing angle seem to do this, while many with mature themes in general seem to ignore this, almost like these screens are more to set the mood than actually warn anyone (By the time you usually see them, you've already bought the game). Most games I've seen also go for something rather brief and vague; but with my own game at one point, I went for a massive list of terrible things that might happen in the game and actually caught quite a few eyes with it, when pitching the basic idea of the game to a few friends. I will go ahead and say some of the thing listed below were way overstated, better safe than sorry I figured.

    A few things have changed since this

    So I was wondering, what's everyone's view on including stuff like this? Is there a point to them? When should they be included? And how deep do you think the warnings should get?

  • Don't make your screen too long, only one screen and put it after your company splash screen, just before you the main menu. Also, if during loading, you can put humor in small advice.

    It depends on the platform that you publish your game on and how. In the context of a digital game, it's better to put this advice because there is no law managing who plays it. In a retail game, a minor can't by an adult game except if the parent his with the kid.

    For sure, the 'Advice screen' is a way to protect yourself from possible 'pursuit' because you advice the player. This kind of warning is often used on horror game and as a little fear and B movie mood. I think that there is no ESRB (rating system) on PC or Mobile game. So you need to use your own way.

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  • Just ad a PG rating like they already do with video games. No need to explain the player what he will see, the player should know upfront what to expect and that is easily achieved with the PG rating.

  • Limit it to a sentence or two, not the wall of text in your last image.

  • I think "this game contains themes and images that are not suitable for minors" would suffice as others have said, too much will be counter productive, they wont read it.

    I like the sound of Synthestesia, when is it released? lol...

  • Heh, actually, I kind of like your 'wall of text'. It's...intriguing, to say the least.

    Don't think I'd want to see it every time on startup, but I'd at least stick it in a youtube vid or something. I really can't think of the last time I played a game that covered the apatheticism of objective morality(Bioshock? No, seriously...).

    P.S. What does hedenicide mean? Google isn't helping me here...

  • peterbot1970

    No, I don't think a PG rating is going to cut it. At least PG-13 <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_mrgreen.gif" alt=":mrgreen:" title="Mr. Green">

    It's probably going to be a while. It went a name change to "Sinthestesia" a while ago (That disclaimer is actually kinda old), and much of what has been worked on for a while now has been mostly under the hood stuff. I'm currently in the process of transitioning over to content creation (Level design, cinematic writing, etc) I am however trying to get another video together that's actually stuff in game, and hopefully that will be out soon. Here's an older video, if you're curious though:

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    Thanks. Right now it actually is in the game, but I figured after the first time people will just look at it like one of those copyright screens (The option to just START to the title screen is there). Something more brief might work, but at the same time I'm mostly going for what works the best atmospherically without being too intrusive, so I'm trying to see what might work best in that case. I'm planning on going a bit heavy on the foreshadowing of certain story events within the game, and I think it might be funny to have a few just as the title boots up.

    As for "hedenicide", it's a play on the words "genocide" and "hedonism" (Guess it should really be "hedonicide"), and could generally translate to anything from "waging a war on earthly pleasure" to "Mass sterilization of 'undesirable' personality traits". although It's really only a word though that makes particular sense within the confines of the game's narrative.

  • That intro makes me curious about the game. It's intriguing and I'd like to see more. Personally, it makes me want to find out what is so disturbing about the game.

    Though, I would still take the advice from above. Show it once and be done. I would be annoyed if I saw it every time I turned on the game. Or incorporate it into a loading screen. Use it in promotional material (Eg. Youtube videos and such). It catches attention.

    Edit: I also like the coffee mug in your avatar.

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