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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Don't Discourage the Noobs!

Epilepsy warnings in video game: sometimes they are hidden in the game manuals, sometimes they steal the spotlight as the first thing that pops up on the screen before the start of the games being played. It is apparent that developers are only required to slap the warning inside the instruction manuals because if not, we will always see it being displayed before the start of a game. Nintendo, due to its history with being directly associated with a death by video gaming induced epilepsy, really takes a strong stance to advocate healthy video gaming by showing a brief warning every time the Nintendo Wii is being turned on before you can even get to the channel selection screen. The warning that shows up on the Wii refers gamers to check out the instruction manual to read up on the "dangers" of gaming. That has not been the case with games on the PlayStation 3 until I saw this when I boot up God of War III:


Why the sudden decision to tame down the warning?

If an epilepsy warning would be displayed before the start of a game on the PlayStation 3, I normally expect to see something similar to the one below:

The warning that precedes the title screen of last month's Heavy Rain.

GoWIII is a darling of the PlayStation 3 and I am sure that Sony is hoping to gain an increase in the sale of its console units. It would be damaging for them to not introduce the threat of epilepsy to their new customers but wouldn't it be discouraging to allow their customers be so hyped up about GoWIII and the console - especially if they were new to the gaming scene - only to be greeted by a cryptic warning that the same game and system that they had paid a lot of money for may forcibly induce seizure on them? Maybe this reasoning would explain that even though Nintendo are trying to avoid potential lawsuits from the casual gamer moms and pops, they chose to place a generic warning instead since it would further shield them from potential liability while avoiding unnecessary fear in their core consumer base. We all know that ignorant parents out there would freak out like there is no tomorrow if they actually read the epilepsy warning like how they would freak out about violent video games without knowing about the ESRB ratings. Perhaps the funniest thing to me about this whole thing is that there is no real necessity to plague the screen with such warning in the first place: it did not appear in-game on the recently released Final Fantasy XIII. It is ironic that epilepsy warnings are not shown when you first turn on the television or before the start of a movie in the theaters because these kinds of epileptic episodes can be induced by those sources as well.

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