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Veteran Member - Level 11
A number of my blogs have ridden on the coattails of
Blacks Ops success and popularity and just when I thought I milked the source
dry, finished the game or got all the achievements, along comes another blog
idea inspired by Black Ops. Should be the last one...maybe. Who knows? Until
Let's talk about the Black Op's Playercard Editor, and...
When good ideas go bad.
So...the Playercard Editor, summarized:
Playercards is a
feature that appears in Call of Duty: Black Ops to act as a replacement for
callsigns and titles. Emblems are fully customizable, as individual emblem
images can be colored, moved, rotated, flipped, resized, and stacked on top of
each other. There are over 480 images and over 180 backgrounds to choose from.
Each playercard can have up to 12 emblem images layered at once. The emblem
images and layers will still have to be unlocked, however. The player will
unlock the ability to have their emblem printed onto the weapon of their liking
at level 16. All the emblems, layers, and backgrounds the player buys, stays
with them when they prestige.
If you're one of the three or four people who haven't
played Black Ops then you might not have ever seen the Playercard editior in
action...but you still might have read a story or two about it. The latest news
post that has everyone up in arms...
(See the original image and read full story at Herd of Cats.)
"If You Use A
Swastika In Black Ops, You Will Be Banned"
If you read that
headline and think, "Duh, that's obvious," congratulations: You're
not an idiot. For everyone else, Microsoft has made it expressly clear that if
you use a swastika as your multiplayer symbol in Call of Duty: Black Ops, you
will be banned from Xbox Live.
My daughter is the artistic one in the family...always
drawing, doodling, writing poetry and creating something out of nothing. She
loves the Playercard Editor and is always creating these interesting emblems.
(If you're wondering - my daughter is old enough to play, so don't worry). So,
the other day she is showing me one of her latest creations...a cute little
monster looking thing, created with the various shapes and symbols that are
available. She was quite pleased with it. I told her about the above story and
asked her if she witnessed any swastikas. I was curious and wondering just how
big of a problem it is. She went on to tell me it's not just swastikas either...all
kinds of inappropriate user created content. Well, when I say inappropriate,
obviously that may depend on personal preference, but listening to her
"describe" some of the emblems, I think it's safe to say most would
agree it's inappropriate.
(On a side note, while my youngest son might not be as artistic,
I am impressed with his "chainsaw with a scope" emblem)
Imagine if you will, giving gamers from all walks of life
a paintbrush and canvas to create practically whatever they want and trusting
they'll handle it in a responsible manner...creating emblems in good taste that
represent their character or something significant and worthwhile.
Some are real masterpieces. Very creative. Original.
...others...make you question man as the
"intelligent" species; some I'm too embarrassed to even mention, and
certainly couldn't post photos of here. It doesn't take much looking around on
Google to see some perfect examples of what I'm talking about. My feeling on
the matter is there are some particularly distasteful emblems. You may or may
How do people even think this stuff up? Why do people
even think this stuff up? I dunno.
Is this kind of creative expression right or wrong?
Should Microsoft and/or Activision (or any company for
that matter) have the right to censor content they deem inappropriate? Or ban
accounts over it?
It's an interesting topic and one where there is no easy
answer or solution. I'm sure if you read the fine print the big guys, the Microsoft's
and Activision's, are legally allowed to do this...but should they? It doesn't
really bother me if they do.
Its unfortunate we even have to have this debate...but it
certainly wouldn't be the first time included features in a game were abused or
at least not used for its intended purpose.
I'm a huge fan of Valve and pretty much all of their
games. If you've played them online, then there is a good chance you've used
the "spray" feature, but if you haven't...the spray feature is a way
you can leave your mark in games like Counter Strike, Half-Life Deathmatch and
Team Fortress 2. You press a button, and a "spray logo" is painted on
the surface - wall, floor or ceiling. Of course this feature is customizable
and allows the user to upload their own logos...and logos can be pictures of
And yes...you see some rather disturbing images. It's
almost like a game of "who can come up with the most offensive
It's pretty bad when the Planet Half Life website gives
on the topic of all things saucy, avoid using pornographic sprays while
in-game. Sure, it's funny to you and a few of your friends, but most gamers
feel that if they wanted to see naked women on their screens, they would go to
a porn website. Game servers are for gaming, so respect that."
Again...a brilliant feature...seriously marred by those
who would abuse the feature.
What are we to do...
...when good ideas
There is a reason why most of these games are rated M, however I have to agree that it's kind of disrespectful and embarrassing when people do this. As gamers we should try to elevate the hobby, however when the mainstream see stories like this, it only elevates the idea that gamers are anti-social miscreants who can't act maturely. Personally I feel the swastika should be a reason to be banned, however it is kind of hypocritical. The emblem exists all throughout any WW2 game, and you can even play as a nazi in multiplayer in some of the early MoH games.
It's kind of like giving a dog a half a milk bone and holding out on the rest of it. I'm also pretty sure that a pot leaf has circulated, which I don't know if that's gotten banned, but the question is ultimately of where do we draw the line. Not so much of what to do when good ideas go bad, as all ideas whether good or bad can be used as is seen fit by the user.
It's a tough age we live in, the banhammer can now come down for any reason, and yet at the same time we try to uphold freedom of expression. There's good reason behind the ban, but you have to dance a fine line of appropriate and inappropriate given the games M rating. I think the argument is more valid in a T or lower rated game, where people who are immature and unable to rationally comprehend the image they are exposed to.
I know. Why do people have to have their symbol be something inappropriate? Why?
The current system is based upon a reliance on self censorship. They laid out the guidelines for people when they received an account. If people choose not to follow the guidelines set forth, I have no sympathy for them. Microsoft has the right to say what is or is not allowed on their service. Much the same way a store can kick you out for cursing aloud at anyone and everyone that can hear you.
The real sad thing is when people try to defend the behavior by saying things like that the swastika is a symbol of peace. That may have been once, but considering the number of racial slurs used by CoD players, I'm not gullible enough to believe that the vast majority of people that would use the symbol have ill intentions.
Great blog. Too bad that behavior like this is usually so institutionalized in the gaming subculture. But like with the internet, anonymity leads to people doing as they please.
Just shows how the maturity level of those who use good idea's and turn them bad, are the ones who never grow up ... but hey, someone has to pick up my garbage in the morning?...
I agree with you on keeping this kind of inappropriate content out of game's and have noticed gamer's abusing the Playercard feature on the PS3.
I am against this mainly because even though the game is Rated M there are still many underage kids playing all kinds of M Rated title's. For example, my nephew is a big fan of the Call of Duty series but sometimes I feel uncomfortable playing with him due to the explicit content that may be shown both in the game or through online feature's such as the ability to use the microphone or the Playercard in Black Ops.
The way I see it, the Playercard problem can be solved if Treyarch decides to remove some of the images that can be easily used to offend people such as the pickle.
Anyways, good blog.
Also, I'm one of the four who haven't played
Yeah, I've played almost every valve online game. I used to own them on steam, but my account got irreversibly hacked. So I have this new one, and I'm planning on buying TF2 (after I get a better graphics card) when I get paid.
I used to play TF2 a lot. And CSS. And a helluva lot more stuff XD.
That scared looking monster was cute
Oh and incidentally, there's apparently website/forum somewhere with lots of patterns for Blops icons like Pokemon and South Park characters. Not sure where, but I've seen lots of evidence: at about the one week mark there was an explosion of very similar, very good renditions of the more known characters.