Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Are Target and Valve Censoring Games? Yes!

(Update 12/17: Gabe caught wind of Hatred being removed and then put it back up on Greenlight)

A lot of people seem to be confused by the definition of censorship. Let's just clear this controversy up a bit with Google...according to Wikipedia, Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication or other information which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions. Governments, private organizations and individuals may engage in censorship. Censorship may be direct or it may be indirect, in which case it is called soft censorship.

In the case of Target Australia and more recently, Steam is this the case? Are these private organizations engaging in suppression of speech? Well according to the definition, yes! By choosing to not carry products due to the controversy surrounding them, Target and Valve are indirectly censoring the products from their stores. 

It's not just Uncle Sam that can take your toys away, anyone can be a censor! Your school, your job, your parents, your local Target or even your online digital game retailer. So when people tell you that Target isn't censoring GTAV by not carrying the game, they are wrong. Same goes for Steam and Hatred. These institutions are actively choosing what media is appropriate and inappropriate for their audiences, and actively removing products they deem unworthy. 

Some silly people think that, "since the games will be available at other retailers that it isn't censorship", but the media IS still suppressed within the institutions of Target and Steam. They also seem to think that only governments can create censorship, but those of us with overprotective parents know this isn't the case. 

Unknowingly following the footsteps of dictators before her, my Mother literally burned my books, CDs and games that she assumed were products of satanic materialism. Just because those products were available elsewhere to me, they were still censored by the institution of my mother. I know she meant well by trying to shield me from corruption, but sometimes this type of overbearing protection can backfire. The more she pushed, the more I was interested in the things she was shielding me from. 

Just like my Mom, I don't believe that Target and Steam are wrong for removing these controversial products from their audiences. They have every right to censor products they don't want to associate with, and more power to them! I just don't understand why they would do this. First off Steam comes off as hypocritical for carrying games that basically have the same premise as Hatred and Target misses out on potential sales for a game they've been carrying many previous versions of (not counting spin offs). 

Ironically, removing these games is only going to help them succeed by raising awareness, adding to the hype and creating a underdog narrative. It's the "Chick-Fil-a Effect". When the company spoke out publicly against same sex marriage, college campuses and liberals all around America protested and called for boycotts. But Chick-Fil-a's main audience is conservative fast food goers, exactly the opposite of their opposition. It was seen as an attack by the left on something the right loved. The company went on to have record breaking sales at their restaurants due to the controversy. I'm wondering if Valve and Target are just setting these games up for similar success story that they'll be missing out on.

What do you think? Am I wrong? Is this just a case of disassociation? One way or another I'd love to hear it below or: 

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