So, your games don't have potions either, I guess?
And no killing?
I have a week spat for taverns in real life as well as in my games. My games have usually
A world to explore and places to visit ( upgrade shops , taverns , banks etc.. ). By far my favorite are taverns , places where you can have a drink , gamble away your hard earned (in game) money, ask about some information , for a price. From a game logic point of view it is also very useful, it allows a excess money to exit the game and in case of a big win it allows a player to jump over to a higher weapon/upgrades without working for it. A very satisfying experience for a player. A profile system discourages saving only when you win and starting from earlier save when you loose. So all the peaces fit nicely.
HERE IS MY PROBLEM:
The theoretical demographics of the game I am currently making is:
80% of what I think my target is will be man and boys ages 8 to 35.
I know my sun age 8 enjoys playing the game ( the tavern is off limits for him )
And old players like me who use to loose a fortune on Arkanoid and Galaga playing on game machines in Kmart . Few people in between.
20% women who enjoy an occasional arkanoid clone but usually not in a SF setting. Game is not really geared for them but who knows.
The game as far as colors and graphics goes is in part geared towards kids 7 and up and I really do not want to expose them to possibility of having an alcoholic drink or gambling in my game.
MY TWO UNSATYSFACTORY SOLUTIONS:
Create two versions of a game one with a safe tavern for kids and the other with fun tavern for adults
Create a password method for parents to enforce a safe tavern on their kids. This I can imagine will unlash a tornado of costumer support issues ex: I lost my password !!!
I have thought for a while about this and can not find a satisfactory solution.
I would appreciate ideas and feedback. Maybe someone has seen a solution to a similar problem
I ma relatively unknown on this forum so if you are wandering what was my other game with taverns , banks , upgrade shops , starships and aliens it was Heliosfera published in Poland in 1996 on Amiga
Huge and Unique Science Fiction and Fantasy Games
So, your games don't have potions either, I guess?
And no killing?
I guess my reaction is: What's the big deal?
RGP's and strategy games have had taverns in them ever since the genres existed, and I guess I don't see why it's a problem.
Although gambling with real money is reserved for people over an age threshold, video games with gambling content (poker games, casino games, etc.) are generally rated as 'E', right?
The "New Super Mario Bros" that came out a couple of days ago has 3 "Table Games" in the mini-games section, and those games are gambling games that feature Luigi as a dealer, dealing you cards for the 3 games in a casino. At least one of the games lets you explicitly raise your bet if you think you're going to win. All of these games cost you coins to try, and you win coins if you win.
Taverns exist in real life. Adults drink in them. That's what they're for. Kids know this, and it's been portrayed in books/games/movies available to kids for as long as I've known. Heck, even 90% of Casablanca was set in a bar with gambling in the back, and that's pretty family-friendly fare, right?
I would think that a label somewhere making clear that gambling and drinking are portrayed may be enough.
But you could also probably dodge much of the issue by simply referring to the alchohol as 'drinks', and as long as you don't show any blatent drunkenness or anything, then you're not even necessarily portraying alchohol consumption. (Look at Wild West Wendy and other ambiguous sources as examples.)
OK I get the sarcasm
The thing is the game world I created can not exist without ships exploding and a possibility of loosing your own skip/life. It can exist without possibility of having a drink in a tavern and gambling.
Drinking a potion and drinking a shooter is quiet different trust me on this
May be this is not such a big deal. I have seen taverns in different games RPG games. But no explicit drinking and gambling in titles for small kids. This has bothered me for a while. That's why the post
Last edited by Mark_Tempe; 05-19-2006 at 11:17 AM.
So hard drugs are ok, soft drugs aren't?Drinking a potion and drinking a shooter is quiet different trust me on this
So just to make sure I understand correctly:Originally Posted by Mark_Tempe
On one hand, you're saying your target audience is for people/kids 8 and up, and you included colorful graphics to help appeal to the younger side of that audience.
On the other hand, you want to portray drinking and gambling, which you personally feel is inappropriate for kids.
That seems analagous to me saying I want to make a game that targets women, but I really want to show lots of boobs and make tons of fart jokes.
I guess what I'm getting at is that (IMHO) maybe a trip back to the drawing board is in order, other than trying to figure out complicated password systems to lock kids out (which I agree is a very unsatisfactory idea... =)
Yeah, see, hacking and slaying, killing people to get their stuff, robbing chests, etc. is ok. Same for using magic, drugs and substances equal to anabolic steroids etc.
But gambling.. pure evil.
In other words: Drawing the line isn't that easy
Last edited by spellcaster; 05-19-2006 at 11:57 AM.
Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough
Crystals of Altaxia to begin with ( about 3 years ago ) wasn’t a game it was an experiment to try if I could move a sprite across the screen using C++ and direct X. Two years ago it was already a game, but a game that was intended for older audience, but with color fool graphics , because I was tired of gloomy fell of earlier games I made (look Heliosfera). It turned out a bit by accident that younger kids liked to play it.
So it was not a pre-planed 4 months clone with a serious floe of selling oversized mammal glands to soccer-moms. First and fore most at the beginning it was a game I was supposed to enjoy- and I do.
That said since I would like to make money on it and I would like younger kids to play my game, BUT I do not want to expose them to the element of the game I did not intend for them. And I want an elegant way to do it. I do not know what that elegant idea is yet. Again that is why I posted, not to ask a big question IS IT OK TO PUT GAMBLING AND DRINKING IN KIDS GAMES ? C of A is not really a kids game but kids may be a part of its audience.
By the way , for a moment you H_R had me convinced with your first post. Why not really. You could do it , not that many people would mind. But after thinking it over I personally think it is not OK.
Well, it sounds like I have nothing to offer you, in terms of the solution you're looking for. However, you can often find a solution simply by redefining the problem, and I guess I was trying to help you solve it that way.
Another factor: Kids aren't exactly a huge buying demographic for downloadable games. I don't think Nicolodean or Disney have even turned that into a viable revenue stream yet. Maybe just make the game for adults(probably the only people who are going to actually buy it, even if only for their kids), and if there's a parent that wants to buy it for their kid(s), they can just make their own judgement call?
Otherwise, it still seems like you're creating an unnecessary problem by, as I understand it, putting non-kid-friendly content into a game you want to sell to kids... That just seems a blatenly counterproductive and unnecessary paradox that you're creating for yourself.
Perhaps you need to redefine your gambling system so that it removes the aspects you think harmful. For example, a system where there's limits on how much you can "gamble", and it is more of a bartering style of gambling that money-based. i.e. "going bust" is getting a pig in exchange for your humongously powerful weapon, and winning is sort of vice-versa.
There is an element of luck - and hence, gambling of the sort you are talking about - in just about any videogame. And so, so many more old games had devices like a fruit machine or wheel of fortune in-between levels. I can't imagine that being a problem, but then I always expect people to be more sane and reasonable than they really are.
Alcohol shouldn't really be a problem either, except we know from past experience that it is. So I agree with the suggestion to make them non-specific "drinks".
Removing the tavern altogether is probably safest - but it involves surrendering to a very depressing reality; something I'd encourage everyone to resist.
A slave to the ideal
Thank you everyone, for your input.
This will give me something to think about.
One way or the other the tavern stays
Will your game have an unlock code for the full/trial version?
Maybe you could ask the user to input that code on their first entry into the tavern. If the parent who purchased the software is willing to allow their child to gamble, even on this level, then that is their decision to input that code.
It's either that or have an option to disable the gambling element in the frontend; having a kiddie safe option is a good idea
Anthony's idea of making the drink non specific is a good idea; you could call the drinks root beer or something.
Digriz - www.psychotoad.com
I just realized that my first post wasn't very constructive.
Ok, now, let's have a look at your problem.
In the real world, drinking has a bad effect on your body and mind, but gives you a sociological advantage when dealing with other people who are drinking at the same time at the same place as you. An additional effect is that drinking makes people equal. It doesn't matter that much whether you're a rocket scientist or a brick layer - after a certain amount of alcohol both are drunk(s).
Smoking has the same effect. It helps you getting into groups of other people (who are also smoking).
Drinking in taverns is an integral part of the normal fantasy story. A dwarf without beer isn't a real dwarf. The problem now is, that if you reward someone if he drinks, you're saying "drinking is good". If you don't reward him, you're saying "drinking or not - it doesn't matter". If you punish him for drinking, drinking something isn't a very good option, so you're saying "drinking is a bad idea." The problem with the last one is that you might implement a feature that nobody is going to use.
World of Warcraft is rated 12+ here in Germany. Taverns and vendors serve alcoholic beverages. What WoW does is altering your speach. You'll sturt to numble. It also blurs your vision and make sure that you can't walk a straight line.
So drinking isn't bad - the question is: How do you want to implement it?
Now to gambling. Why is gambling regulated?
a) if you can't judge your chances, you might be tricked
b) you might loose a lot of money
c) you can get addicted
d) people like games of chance, so the government wants a piece of the pie
So, if your character can loose a lot of money and there is no way of getting it back (saving before the bet, restoring afterwards, etc.) the character risks actually to loose something. Gold isn't that interesting in most games after some time - but their weapons / armor are. So, if you want to give that "all or nothing" feel let them loose their weapons and magical stuff.
Add tricksters. Those guys will cheat and win almost everytime.
And finally - casinos still exist because they make money ->
a) either the player should loose more often than win
b) loosing NPCs will leave. You might see them as beggars later on. Mumbling how gambling ruined their lives.
c) if you have real casinos, some brutes might want to talk with the player, telling him that it might better for his health if he'd leave now - or: they won't let him leave while on a winning streak, etc.
d) he might get accused of cheating
A password scheme is a bad idea. Why is that?
Ok, if a game has a feature "A" that is only for adults, that feature "A" makes the game even more intersting for kids. We all want to have what we don't have at the moment. Accessing the feature "A" makes the kid an adult - so it is an reward in itself.
So, if you say "drinking and gambling" are adult features, you're telling a ked that these are cool features. You'll also arouse the curiosity of the kid. It will ask himself what's so special about it.
Hope this post was more helpful
Last edited by spellcaster; 05-20-2006 at 02:11 AM.
After reading replies and thinking it over I am starting to think that simple new option in an options menu of REGULAR TAVERN and KID FRIENDLY TAVERN would be enough.
In regular tavern would be switched on you would have all the standard options :
Buy a drink for 50 credits
Play Martian roulette for 100 credits
Play Martian roulette for 1000 credits
Play Martian roulette for 5000 credits
If you switched on the options menu to a ‘kid friendly tavern’
Those option would change to:
Order Venusian sushi for 100 credits
Other options would stay the same like asking for location of the starship upgrades for example.
Actually I would be inclined to a little more aggressive method like password system but that will just create a landslide of costumers who forgot their password.
In this solution there is nothing to prevent a kid from switching back to Standard Tavern after parent has left the room, but this I think is more of the parenting issue then a software problem.
Redesigning tavern to a bartering system for example is out of the question, because the game is already in closed beta. I will add some things to a game but there is no way I will redesign the whole tavern from scratch, after it is already balanced with economy of a game.
Above solution is best I can come up with for a moment,
If someone has a better idea I’m all ears
Thank You all again for the replies
Huge and Unique Science Fiction and Fantasy Games
Strip clubs aren't generally portrayed too often in kid-friendly movies/books/games. Bars/taverns quite frequently are. Even recent Disney movies (Three Musketeers, Pirates of the Caribbean) have bar scenes with adults drinking. I can't recall any kid-friendly media with strip clubs... examples?Originally Posted by Sirrus
As for Casablanca -- probably not too many kids watch it these days, but back in the day it was pretty popular and to my knowledge it's widely considered family friendly...
Younger children certainly should have little idea why adults drink. Alcohol is unknown to them - these drinks are off limits but they don't know why. Children tend to choose drinks by taste. They don't understand that there is another reason until they get a little bit older.
If your in-game drinks have no inebriating effects, and you avoid the names of more, erm... exotic cocktails, you should have no problems.
As for gambling, that shouldn't be a problem either. No real money changes hands, after all, making this more of a sub-game. If you avoid typical games such as poker or roulette, you probably won't get any comment at all - no-one can call "snap" gambling! I mean, I'm not aware of Final Fantasy VIII getting any anti-gambling complaints despite the card games in that. Because adults didn't recognise it? (Or maybe these complaints were drowned out by the ones about summoning demons?)
I haven't read all replies, so this may already have been mentioned.
About two decades ago when Leisure Suit Larry was released they had a "test" at the beginning of the game. The test consisted of five quiz questions about politics, geography and famous singers etc. They weren't really difficult questions, but it was very hard for me (as a ten year old with no English knowledge) to answer them. If you failed the test the game would be cencored when you played.
Maybe this would be an idea? You don't have to place the quiz in the beginning of the game, just put it inside the game setting in some kind of discrete way... such as you must answer the barkeeper's questions before he lets you in to the gambling room.
Don't forget that the computer world was pretty different back then. Now all it takes is some quick google searches, and I'm playing a totally uncensored game!
I'd go the option route too, if you're that concerned. In the end it might not matter much. Any kid could change the option back after mommy/daddy leaves.