Poll Question 177 – Would you play a mod that was purposefully trying to be offensive?

18th June 2010

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

This is a tough question to broach. In fact, I am not even sure that I should start this discussion. I’ve used the image but I am talking about all types of offensive content.

Personally, I dislike almost anything outside of the basic idea of killing to save my planet and I know that’s naive considering the game genre I play but I do feel that some things are off-limits.

There have been a few mods with nudity and sex, along with other image and ideas, in fact, one recent mod had the image of three men hanging and I didn’t like that, but in general mods stay within quite a constrained limit of acceptability, and that’s fine with me.

I am sure there are readers, probably the more immature amongst my readership, that will feel anything is fine but I truly hope that most will agree some limits are good.

What do you think?

The Poll


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69 Comments

  1. Greenagainn!

    I voted that I will play anything, although that doesn’t mean that I’ll like it or that I support what they’re doing. Sometimes something can have that offensive edge but it might be able to pull it off in a tasteful/meaningful way.

  2. Warzone

    Depends on what “purposefully” and “offensive” mean. Is Reactor’s needless use of homosexuality a purposeful attempt to get people to play and appreciate it, or risk being branded homophobes? It’s clear that any criticism of that (awful, if original) mod will have that elephant in the room to deal with.

    It’s hard to define the confines of intentionality in cases like that.

    Offensives IS in the eye of the beholder, and while I’m definitely not in favor of all manners of speech, and I will fight some speech to the ends of the Earth, I do agree that works pushing the boundaries into universally agreed bad taste are still an exercise of the right to free speech… and like all rights, unless it’s exercised (and to the limits!), it risks being taken away.

    So long as I can rightfully express my disgust with certain speech, without immediately being shushed as a “race traitor”, “homophobe” or “racist”. Censorship for me, but not for thee means that certain kinds of offensiveness are allowed (de facto encouraged), and all others are prohibited. In that case, free speech is already dead.

  3. Zekiran

    While I voted no that I have limits, it does depend on the specifics of the mod. But really, I don’t go out of my way to be “offended”.

    Some things I’ve seen have been in poor taste, it’s sometimes the whole point to QUESTION whether something is inappropriate or not. I would not have issues with something that showed, say, homosexuality in a reasonable context. But I would have issue with something that showed it either being “bad”, or hinting that it was a joke and to be mocked.

    Myself, I find racist things to be hugely offensive no matter the source, almost anything involving nazis or the N word will turn me off completely. (More specifically about the nazis, if you’re not fighting them, I don’t wanna see them.)

    The canon HL games have surprisingly little swearing or questionable content, though none of the conflicts in them would be “cut and dried” to say the least. Not many mods have been able to really successfully emulate that, as I’ve seen. Some use vulgarity as a draw, while others simply use bad words because they’re not really subject to the same kinds of restrictions as a published product would be.

    … And just don’t get me started on the Fake Factory crap replacing Alyx with nudes. Just… guh.

  4. I find it sad, that accepting anything, no matter how offending is instantly seen as “more immature” as you write.

    Yes, I am 16.

    1. yea its kinda like trying to prove that you’re not insane by screaming

      “I’m NOT INSANE!! YARGGGGGGG!!”

      but yes I agree with you

  5. Kasperg

    Well, this isn’t something that can be answered straight away. I think the line that must be drawn is whether the offensive element is the mod (representing the authors) or actual characters/factions inside the game.
    If done well, that extra edge of offensiveness could work in favour of really making the player root against their enemy. There are, however, lots of ways to do that without having to deviate into extremes.

    I personally think that the overall effect has to feel natural. Obvious censorship or avoidance of certain elements has to be done convincingly, if you want to not be offensive but still mantain certain elements that you need to define the bad guys etc.

    A good example of subtle omission in Half-life 2 has to do with the interrogation chairs. In most cases, you see them surrounded by blood stains. Who knows what really goes on there! We know that it’s something terrible. We hate the Combine for that. But do we really need to see it? The little window on the door of that interrogation chamber (right before Barney’s appearances in HL2) that closes when you approach is a perfect touch.

    As for language, I really can’t give an opinion. Most foul language in games and films impacts me much less in English that it would in my maternal Spanish. In that sense, I’m really not bothered at all by that.

    Would I play a mod that tries to be offensive?
    I’d play a mod that looked good, played good and tried to tell a story. I guess the judging would come after playing.

  6. I find that people who specifically try to offend usually don’t have the skill necessary to create anything of actual quality.

    Those who feel the need to specifically show a scene or image that is disturbing generally don’t realize how much stronger of an impact the implication of the same scene can really be.

    I’ve watched family guy, a cartoon series that often goes out of its way to be offensive, but there are two reasons I can still enjoy it: The characters in it are dumb, so even if they say anything offensive, it lacks any validity because the source is expected to get things wrong. the other reason is that the offensiveness has no specific target, so there’s no reason to take anything personally.

    If a quality mod has a story supported reason for the offensive content, I’ll usually put up with it and if it’s not story related I’ll just ignore it or find a way to modify things to get rid of it.

    1. Kyouryuu

      Family Guy works because, for the most part, it’s an “equal opportunity offender.” If nothing is sacred, you can get away with a lot more.

      That’s why some fans of South Park were offended when Issac Hayes, who voiced the Chef, quit the show because it mocked Scientology. He had no problem lashing out at every other religion, but suddenly when it’s his own, he has an issue with it. If being edgy and offensive is your game, you have to take the punches that invariably come your way. If you can’t stand the heat, then you need to get out of the fire.

  7. Kyouryuu

    I wouldn’t play anything where the offensiveness wasn’t substantiated by something. If something is hateful just to be hateful, if it has no redeeming qualities whatsoever, nine times out of ten it’s just someone starved for attention and I wouldn’t waste my time.

  8. Pyro

    Portal: Combat will feature a scene with nude women in cloning tanks, and the developers insisted on including it, despite the objections of almost everybody who saw it. They refused to even blur the glass. I personally was very offended by this.

    1. To be fair, it makes logical sense that a cloning tank would not bother to include clothing, and for observation purposes (to monitor any defects or problems) the glass shouldn’t be fogged…

      But the real issue is that portal is rated T, and more than likely Portal 2 will also have the same rating, so this would effectively give players access to mature content from a teen game.

      There should at least be the option of making the glass fogged for players who don’t want that content.

      1. Pyro

        Precisely my point. The devs of that mod are rather stubborn about their sometimes poor choices. They’re set on using CS:S and L4D props, and all kinds of models and guns that aren’t remotely Aperture Science-style.

        They’re probably sex-starved or something and can’t resist the opportunity to put some nudity in their mod.

        1. In Germany, Half Life 2 is rated 18+. Portal is rated 12+.

          Now, through the console players are able to cheat guns and enemies.

          What is this shit? In my opinion the censorship here is very harsh, just look at the cut TF2 or the cut L4D2. But this is just a weird thing, that nobody thought of when rating it. Is it because it doesn’t belong to the “real” storyline and therefore not into the “real” game?

          1. Pyro

            It’s because it’s cheating, and I doubt anyone but experienced HL2 players would know about the weapons, or even the console.

  9. Woah, wait, what’s with the image change? I find it offensive that there are people who think boobs are offensive. Boobs are wonderful.

    The swastikas got the point across better.

  10. Pyro

    You know, timeline had Swastikas all over the place, and I didn’t mind. Because I was killing Nazis by the truckload! There’s nothing wrong with Nazis if you’re killing them.

  11. jgoodroad

    this makes me ask if genocide would be considered offensive, when in fact human error placed you in a position where YOU were aiding said genocide. of course this offered a moral factor of you killing your own kind, but would it be different if it was in Africa? (allusion to the genocides in Africa)

  12. Zekiran

    lol @ grey’s double standards 🙂

    I worked for a long time in a comic shop. I was responsible for ordering, shelving, picking for subscriptions and the like, as well as pretty much reading everything that crossed our counter. Not just because we had very little else to do, but because I’d get people coming in asking for recommendations.

    I would easily be able to tell when a younger boy would come in with his parents, that they had bought a book at another store which didn’t have as attentive employees as mine, and demand to know a book more appropriate to their child. I’d be happy to point out things that even the kid would like, though they didn’t involve decapitations and massive bloodloss (hello Spawn, thank you very much).

    But then I also had to deal directly or indirectly with the manufacturers of the books themselves. One in particular, Frank Miller (a name you might know from the movies 300 and Sin City) was positively defiant in his attitude about censorship.

    He would put *whatever he wanted* into his books. Violence, sex, drug use, language, situations that were simply way too mature for pretty much any kid. And then, refused to put a “mature readers” label on the cover because “it was censorship”.

    Of course, HE wasn’t the one who would stand a chance at *being arrested* and having a 10k$ fine for selling those materials to underage kids, if the parents were of the mind to sue or pursue it.

    Now don’t get me wrong: boobs are great, I have my own 😉 And I would far rather sell or see ‘sexual” content than violent content any day. Heck when I was that kid’s age, I was buying Heavy Metal magazine (from the guy I wound up working for) for years – that was long before it became not just kinda wrong, then illegal to do so.

    But I also feel that SELF censorship is extremely important in this day and age. And, that parents need to get their heads out of their own rut and into their kids lives in order to have some say about what those kids are looking at.

    And also that said: I think video games set a mood. If the mood is “blast the crap out of the nazi bastards” violence is the order of the day and to be perfectly accepted. I wouldn’t EXPECT or think it would even warrant the presence of any sexual content in that kind of context.

    Of course, then there are the asian “romance games”… *shudder*

    1. More of a joke than a double standard. I was also referring to covered boobs rather than exposure of them. Even then, I think there’s a difference between simple nudity and sexual content. Like the point mentioned earlier, I personally don’t consider nude clones to really be sexual content, since there isn’t any sexual implications involved, they’re simply naked because cloned DNA doesn’t include your clothing. However I do recognize that some people are more anal retentive about that, and it would suck for a kid who’s just looking for a fun mod to play to get in trouble with his/her parents because of a mod where he/she couldn’t control the content that was in it.

      As for violence. I do think that excessive violence should warrant a Mature rating, but when it’s presented properly; where excessive violence is portrayed in a negative light and used only by enemies, while the player character is generally limited to violence needed to protect yourself and allies, like what HL2 generally did, then I think it should be worth considering taking it down from Mature to Teen.

      1. Zekiran

        I agree absolutely 🙂

        “In a PG movie, it’s okay to blow a breast off a torso, but not fondle it.”

  13. Shadowmancer471

    Unfortunately, the phrase ‘the most immature of our readers” will naturally alienate your audience to choose “no I will not’, as otherwise they are announcing that they are “immature’, which many people strive against as they progress through childhood and adolescence.
    This may alter the result of your polls to steer towards a false result.

    I seriously suggest you use a less biased tone next time

    1. Please don’t be too quick to judge my content or the reasons for its inclusion. That sentence was added specifically for a reason I would rather not mention. In addition, I am just expressing my opinion, which is the same as other comments, although I accept it’s in the post not a comment. Lastly, I truly believe that most votes are made before reading the post, if at all.

      1. Nrmartins

        Hey , are you australian ?

  14. Yes.
    I need to know if I am offended. What offends others may not offend me and vice versa.
    What is offensive to anyone is a matter of taste, environment, upbringing, education (or lack of it)experience et al.

    You cannot know that an image, work of art or a mod is offensive to you personally until you experience it. The opinions of others are irrelevant to making up you own mind about what is offevsive to you.

    There was a scene in “Random Quest” which I thought was hideous in the extreme and completely unneccessary rendering it an obscenity in my eyes. To me it was vile and offensive, to others, not so.

    Offensiveness is a personal matter.

    1. Offensiveness is a personal matter.

      Of course, but if you knew that a mod would offend you, perhaps because you read a review, would you still play it?

      1. That a reviewer(s) finds something offensive does not mean that I and others will find it offensive.
        This is not unlike your EP3 question on the lines of would you buy it if it had bad reviews. For me, yes, I would. What others like or dislike may not concur with what I like and dislike.
        Offensiveness and the degree of it is a matter of personal opinion.

        Returning to your question, I cannot know if a mod would offend me until I played it. The reviews of others are irrelevant to the decision of whether I play or not; thus I have to play it.

        The relevancy of others” opinions to me are only realised after I have played, formed my own opinion and compared it to others.
        That said, what I find to be offensive is probably mainstream

        1. That a reviewer(s) finds something offensive does not mean that I and others will find it offensive.

          Yes, but you are missing my point. if the reviewer mentions X and you find X offensive, then you will know that this mod will offend you. if a reviewer simply says “I found this mod offensive”, then clearly that doesn’t help anybody.

          I cannot know if a mod would offend me until I played it. The reviews of others are irrelevant to the decision of whether I play or not; thus I have to play it.

          I disagree. If a reviewer or even screenhots, show innocent children being slaughtered, then I wouldn’t need to play it to know I would find it offensive.

          1. Phillip said “Yes, but you are missing my point. if the reviewer mentions X and you find X offensive, then you will know that this mod will offend you”
            I disagree. You are missing my point. What review? I only read reviews after I have played therefore a review has no place in my decision to play or not.

            “If a reviewer or even screenhots, show innocent children being slaughtered, then I wouldn’t need to play it to know I would find it offensive”
            I concur but only about screenshots. If I were to see images or videos that depicted this or anything else so obscene before I played, I would not even give the author the satisfaction of having his download count increase.

            It is worth pointing out that reviews and comments here are in text.
            Other than your own to which I do pay heed, the exception that proves my rule for me.

  15. What is offensive?
    As an example; “IL2 — Sturmovik” for the PC. A flight sim combat game where the German aircraft were missing their swastikas! And on some historically accurate models in Microsoft Flightsim FS2004! Both of theses omissions were due to the author’s person opinion. But the real offence here is to deny history. (I am a model maker and an aviation enthusiast).

    So it’s all about personal opinion. And we all know censorship can be a very dangerous weapon in the wrong hands.

    I personally believe there should be a limit to the offensive nature in video games, but only at their certificated level. An 18 plus rated game should have more freedom in language and violence portrayal than those aimed at a younger, maybe more impressionable age group.

    I like the levels set in the Half Life universe and the mods I’ve played so far including those with a sexier Alyx found in the ” cinematic” range.

    Accurate game reviews are a must so people can make informed choices.

    Never forget that censorship has led to book burning!

    1. Would I play a mod that I knew would offend me?
      The only answer to that would be no!
      If I said yes I would be seeking help…….

  16. I thought about this and it will probably be similar to what others have already written.

    You might be right, I wouldn’t play anything that I’d find offensive. Then again, I would still play any mod (if the quality itself is good). Maybe also any game.

    I remember watching a HL2 speedrun, before I had played it myself, because I was really interested in the storyline. Yeah, by doing so I spoilered the story and everything around it. After doing that, I knew about Ravenholm and I wasn’t familiar with brutal games and zombies. They seriously scared me back then.
    When playing the game myself, I then at some point reached Ravenholm and wanted to complete it as quick as I could.

    Was this because I found it offensive? I should maybe ask myself what do I find offending. Is it pure violence (blood, corpses) or is it the symbolism in things? I saw you changed the picture from an image with swasticas to the Alyx Model Replacement with the larger neckline (I don’t know if this is the correct english word, I googled it, correct me if I’m wrong).

    However there are games with sexual content, but there are also enough games with Nazi content. I haven’t played it, but what would one say about the Call of Duty naz zombie DLC? My first impression was “cool”, but others might have found it ofensive. Maybe felllow germans? Maybe Jews? Maybe Nazis themselves?

    The more intersting question is the discussion about what is offensive and not would you play offensive mods. This however goes far into the philisophy however…

  17. s.anchev

    Well, I will always be found of “offensive” content IF :

    1) the bad guys gets what they deserve… Otherwise, it would be frustrating…

    2) It is not too gratuitous… And it is not involving children or things like that.

    2) there could be some “nudity” but NO devalorization of the women’s image…

    Now the poll is done, can someone tell me the mods with some “offensive” content? 🙂

    The only one I remember is Random Quest… There is this quite disturbing scene where a woman in the dungeon is taken away by the guardians…

  18. Muzzow

    I voted “no, I have limits”. Everyone regards the term “offensive” or “provoking” different. Some people have more limits than others or they are sensible about topics other’s won’t mind. But as long as a mod isn’t just plain sexist, or cracking bad, obscene jokes, about racism (pro-racism) or mocking gay people, I really can live with it. I’m more offended with rude or vulgar language than with nudity in general, and if a modder really want’s to be offensive on purpose… dunno. I just have to see what he comes up with.

  19. Designing a mod sucks because there is no way to reduce exposure or limit the exposure to a “target audience”. Chances are good that an equal amount of adults and children will play a mod.

    My mod is going to be mature in nature, up to and including curse words, sexual themes, and torture scenes. Will my mod gain or lose support for the inclusions? Only time will tell. If a mature theme is going to be explored, why not go all the way?

    1. And another thing…why will nobody design pregnant zombies? What kind of ignorant censorship is that!? Imagine shooting a zombie’s swollen belly, watching it pop in a huge juicy splatter, and behold a squirming fetus slithering its way toward you, dragging a sprawling nude mother’s corpse by the umbilical cord.

      Hell yes. Come through for me, Treyarch.

    2. Zekiran

      When you say “mature” what you seem to be indicating is actually “gratuity”. Unless those things (torture, sexual themes, etc) are included for a reason and in context, and not thrown in because you think it’s fun or ‘mature” to do so… It’s not mature at all. It’s merely “not intended for sensitive audiences’.

      And based on your own reply to your comment…. It’s highly unlikely that whatever your mod will be, has a plot that would support such gratuitous inclusions. Shock value =/= good storytelling.

      1. Torture, rape, genocide. They all take place in real life. They are all mature themes. And they could all exist in the Half-Life universe – it’s just that Valve has chosen to not present them in force out of consideration for their target audiences.

        Consider the transhuman army. Aliens came to Earth to harvest the bodies of humanity, surgically remove their vital organs, and brainwash them into military vessels of destruction. Would Valve create a complex scene where Gordon and Alyx watched as a human was “modified” before their very eyes? Hell no. But would a game like Quake 4 give you a first-person perspective of the process? Sure, because their target audience was the mature crowd.

        Rape is another touchy subject, and probably untouched by video games. But consider the Combine suppression field and the storytelling elements left untold there. Nobody is sure if the suppression field simply breaks down “certain protein chains important to the process of embryonic development” or deletes sexual urges from the human psyche. In my mod, I will choose the former instead of the latter. Now combine this “freedom from children” with the equally crippling emotional stigma of alien invasion and planetary occupation. Certain evil men would feel obliged to indulge in their most heinous impulses before their endings caught up with them – up to and including rape (not to mention spreading countless diseases and becoming cesspools of deadliness and decay).

        So to that end, why not include a rape scene in a mod? Well for starters, you might as well give up any chance of being distributed on a forum like Mod DB. You also might as well give up any chance of getting a positive rating. But more important to me is the fact that I mentioned first in this thread:

        “Designing a mod sucks because there is no way to reduce exposure or limit the exposure to a ‘target audience’. Chances are good that an equal amount of adults and children will play a mod.”

        I am dreadfully aware of the chance that children playing my mod will perhaps show them to their parents. And if the parents see a fucking rape scene in the mod (the UNRATED mod) they would go completely berserk and it would potentially undermine the entire “unregulated” mod community.

        So it’s my opinion that the reason there are limits could be twofold – one reason being that you don’t want to offend your players, and the second reason being you don’t want to get the entire community punished by distributing something that is totally vile – no matter what your “target audience” may be.

        However, now I am thinking about the picture Phillip used to introduce this topic. How many nude Alyx and nude Chell and nude Zoey models have been downloaded cince 2004? How many of them got the mod community in deep trouble for their distribution? Are these not merely pieces of digital pornography? Should the websites that distribute them have a splash page mentioning the presence of pornographic materials and attempt to prohibit access to minors?

        Perhaps “Where do we draw the line?” is a bogus question because if we are willing to accept models of nude women with jiggle-physics boobs alongside the explosive dismemberment of human bodies, then perhaps we can include rape scenes and graphic torture segments. It sounds like a matter of what we can get away with, and not a matter of who we might possibly offend.

        Who frikkin knows…? (Just so you know, I’m probably not going to put a rape scene in my mod. Where would I find the willing voice actors!?)

        1. I think the real point you’re missing is that instead of graphically depicting these serious and mature issues you can imply all of these things, to just as much of a disturbing and grisly effect, and often with a much deeper emotional impact, without actually showing the scene itself.

          The other point you might be missing is that one of the very first breencasts specifically states;

          …Instinct, therefore, must be expunged. It must be fought tooth and nail, beginning with the basest of human urges: The urge to reproduce.

          We should thank our benefactors for giving us respite from this overpowering force. They have thrown a switch and exorcised our demons in a single stroke. They have given us the strength we never could have summoned to overcome this compulsion. They have given us purpose. They have turned our eyes toward the stars…

          From what Breen almost explicitly states, the combine suppression field has shut down the urges themselves, not simply rendered people sterile.

          1. Muzzow

            Even Valve’s games have logic flaws. 😀 In Ep1, Dr. Kleiner merely mentioned that, after the shutdown of the suppression field, the “protein chaines vital for the embryo to develop are no longer prevented from forming”. I haven’t played Ep1 in quite a time, so my quote maybe isn’t exactly word for word, but the meaning fits.

            1. It’s only a logic flaw when two different concepts CONFLICT with each other. The suppression field could very well handle BOTH the inhibition of the urge to reproduce as well as stopping the actual fertilization of the egg. More than likely Valve added that point to address the issue of artificial insemination, which likely would have been attempted if it were merely a matter of the urge to reproduce being shut down.

              1. Zonbie

                I think it’s a really interesting topic because I think if the suppression field were truly able to shut down the human instinct to reproduce, would it also have an affect on young people growing up?

                I imagine there were children and young adults around when the invasion began. Do those kids go through puberty normally? Do they ever have erections or menstrual cycles? If not, do they become pseudo-eunichs? You know, chemical castration has been around for years in real life. Those guys usually get it done after raping someone or moelsting a kid. Afterward, they become more passive and benevolent. Are Half-Life 2’s men like that?

                And another thing. What if the answer to all these questions is “Yes”? Well then what happens when the suppression field goes down? Do men suddenly feel hyper-eroticized? Do they suddenly have an unexpected and uncontrollable urge to have sex? Talk about the heat of battle, but how many people (many of the younger of whom may have never experienced sexual arousal or the other “benefits” of adolescence) would decide, upon learning that City 17 was about to explode, would resign themselves to their fates and spend their last few bleeding hours making love in the dead city? It sounds romantic to a poet. Or maybe a science fiction geek. Or maybe your mom, who reads all those freaky sci-fi love story novels.

                See, like I said before – there are a myriad of complicated and interesting storytelling elements left unharvested by the presense of the Suppression Field alone. And I say, why not explore it all?

                1. Muzzow

                  It’s a common thought to believe that a suppressed sexuality (prisoners for example, get ‘treatment” through their food to suppress their sex drive) suddenly unfolds again when the reason for the lacking sexuality is gone again, turning them into sex-crazed people. The exact opposite happens though. When the drive was gone for too long, the person is impotent and has no interest in sex. Years ago, I met someone who had been imprisoned for quite some time and he’d said that it had taken a year until he was back to a “healthy” level again. And to come back to HL2, after 20 years (or more) without sexuality… dunno, younger people would recover faster, sure, and older people maybe never. But it would still take a VERY long time until the first babies would be born.

        2. Zekiran

          I think I want to kind of add something to what Grey has said, I agree with his assessment.

          Whether the PLAYER does something “questionable” or not, is also a huge factor. Witnessing a rape? That’s… okay, in most ways. It may be meant to get the blood pumping and anger forming at the bad guys responsible. Participating in it? Absolutely not. That goes along with some of the Asian games which I mentioned before, that are pretty much the whole run between “get a date” through “rape whatever comes in front of you”. Now, given: the Japanese culture which spawned these games is exceptionally restrictive in terms of what ‘real world” people say, do, and show to their friends. It’s like… paintball for sex… if that makes any sense. In America (at least in my observation) it’s so very different, that those games would not be seen or played in the same vein.

          I know there are some games out right now or in the past where you’d be able to torture captives, getting information, etc. While a good tactic (one of my tattoos is of a character of mine whose job it is to do exactly that…) I don’t think it’s appropriate to actually have those kinds of things IN games, directly. Most people who play games are NOT “mature enough” to handle those bits – and those who claim they are, are often enough not handling it in a healthy manner. It’s THOSE folks who do occasionally make the rest of us normal healthy gamers look very bad indeed, when they decide to act out their idiotic fantasies in real life.

          Observation versus participation, then, I think is very important.

          1. Zonbie

            So here’s what I had in mind, I’ve been thinking about this for a while. (I’m going off the idea that the sexual impulse is still present, although maybe not in City 17. After all, one of the rewards for capturing Freeman, as announced by Overwatch, was “non-mechanical reproductive stimulation”, which not only suggests that humans can still desire/percieve sexual pleasure, but also suggests that said might be procured by forceful means (Who would want to have sex with a Combine?).)

            I’m thinking that the player will hear the sounds of a violent rape taking place in the next room. Player bursts into the room and discovers a common metrocop (not cybernetically enhanced yet) having his jollies with a common female citizen. Oh, the horror.

            Player shoots the metrocop and wounds him. Woman gets up (she has her clothes on for the most part) and rushes past him while player dispatches more metrocops rushing in from other rooms of the apartment. (Later the women might confide in the player that she is used to it – maybe she had been raped several times in the past – maybe women are a hot commodity in the defiled, yet largely rampant, human trafficking business in the wake of Combine occupation.)

            Immediately after the gunfight, player and allies angrily take the rapist metrocop (again, a normal human who volunteered for duty in the Universal Union) into a room and torture him to death for being a rapist. It’s a terrible thing to see or be a part of, but consider:

            The Metrocop is a traitor to his species. Also, by the way, he just tried to rape a woman. So why not torture the bastard?

            And to top things off, let’s say that right before he dies from the torture, he divulges some top secret information that helps the resistance. So it’s my opinion that the whole rape/torture segment becomes a vivid depiction of the awful, hopeless times, and also a plot device to move the player along to his next combat affair.

            Does anyone reading this (Phillip) object to its possible inclusion in a HL2 mod, however morbid the scene?

            1. I’m torn. Your description is real and valid but I personally feel that it doesn’t belong in the HL2 universe. Of course there must be horrors but somehow we don’t get to see them and that’s how I prefer it. That said, I am on the conservative scale of players. I am curious to hear what other readers think. In fact, I might make it this week’s poll question. More of a survey really with what players feel is acceptable to include in the HL2 universe.

              1. Zonbie

                You know, Gabe Newell mentioned a return to the convention of Half-Life “scaring the player” and then said he would do this by showing the player “the death of their children” and “the fading of their own abilities”. What in the world does that mean? I have no idea…but I’m dying to find out.

                Some of this has already been explored in the Half-Life 2 universe. I mean, Advisors can make you powerless (fading abilities) because they can pick you up, immobilize you, disarm you, and pretty much have at you with their mind powers. Gordon only avoided Eli’s grizzly fate (you know, that part where his brain was getting sucked out the back of his skull by a floating, psychic, tentacle-tongued alien monster) by pure chance – twice! Who else in the Half-Life universe will be de-brained in the name of scaring the player? And how far is Valve willing to go in acheiving their new goal?

                Until Valve comes out with Episode 3, and thus draws the line for us, I will provide my own dark analogies of such terrors in my own mod.

                1. Zekiran

                  “Scaring the player” doesn’t generally involve “making them torture someone”.

                  I have to say, while I understand where you’re going and to an extent agree with the assessment, I agree with Phillip in that it doesn’t really have a place in the HL2 universe as is. If I personally came across a Metrocop or anyone else for that matter, raping a woman, I’d just outright kill them and be done with it. Comfort the woman, make sure she’s okay, perhaps give her a gun to defend herself. But I wouldn’t “make them pay” – that’s pretty much for other games, not HL2.

                  1. Zonbie

                    One of the reasons I like World at War so much is because of the optional “execute enemy soldiers” scenes. I like the first Modern Warfare because of the interrogation and ultimate execution of an enemy terrorist leader. I suppose I was inspired to capture that harshness in a Half-Life 2 setting.

                    1. Muzzow

                      I fully agree with Zekiran here. While rape is really bad, torture is even worse. Someone must be pretty sick or sadistic to hurt someone on purpose like that. There’s really no excuse for that. And I don’t think that enraged refugees would go so far. They would kill the CP, sure, they would either shoot him or beating him to death. But that’s really it – and brutal enough, I think. Torturing someone to death is the absolute extreme though. It really has no place in the world of Half-Life. Even trash games like Postal 2 or Manhunt never went so far and those were pretty offensive already – and therefore, banned. At least in my country.
                      Personally, I think, that rape and torture would happen in HL2 but that’s not something the player must or should see. Imaginations alone are far more disturbing than actually showing those events – through watching or witnessing them acustically. The conquered world and the enslaved population in itself is already grim enough.

  20. ANonEntity

    If FPS is not offensive, then what is?
    I voted “bring it on”……I’ll play anything.

  21. s.anchev

    Why no prgnant zombies?

    Because there is the supression force field 🙂 No children, and no prgnancy possible in the HL2 world 😀
    maybe it can be done with a mod just after HL with headcrabs invading the world or long after the vents of HL2…

    However, killing prgnant people… Ugh… That’s REALLY gratuitous violence… Shocking for shocking… And the zombies are enough disturbing with their muffled howling, but it’s IMHO…

    1. Because there is the supression force field 🙂 No children, and no prgnancy possible in the HL2 world

      Hahah, pwned. Excellent point.

      1. ouch I have been crushed by logic yet again 🙂

        uh I was mainly talking about non-HL2-universe mods. I think a pregnant woman who was headcrabbed would simply have a miscarriage.

  22. Michal

    yes, but it had to be funny

    1. Can something be funny and offensive at the same time?

      1. Kasperg

        Apparently, the writers of cartoons like The Simpsons and Family Guy think so.
        It’s a very old tradition for humankind to have some people’s misfortunes become other people’s source of entertainment and joy.
        Sad, but true.

        1. I have watched both shows and the things I find funny are not the things that offend me, although I take your point.

          1. Kasperg

            Of course, I meant funny for someone and offensive for someone else at the same time.
            I don’t think it’d be normal to have a bipolar attitude towards something of this nature. But then again, there’s a difference between understanding something is offensive or wrong, and being actually offended by it.
            Other parameters to be taken into account is how much the media support in question (film, cartoon, videogame) manages to increase or decrease the impact of those offensive elements. Cartoon “blood” is not the same as blood shown in the news. The death of a NPC in a game is not the same if we are talking about an important member of the cast (with a personality, hopes, fears, dreams) or a throwaway generic ‘redshirt” character.
            Etc

  23. Major Banter

    If a modification is deliberately trying to be offensive, it’s extremely likely to have a negative impact on every other department of gameplay.

    Ergo, by this logic we must assume that the mod is either shite, or unique and powerful in its “offensiveness’.

    The shite mods use “offensiveness” for whatever reason. The powerful mods use our opinions on what offends and repulses us to its advantage. Ergo, people rave about it and the offense is forgotten. BioShock had a child and mother burnt alive; but it was a powerful, potent scene. It had meaning and reason.

    Simply put; to be offensive and to use “offensiveness” is two different things.

  24. HL Fan1

    Phillip, sorry but I think you are so conservative, I mean you dont even are open minded to accept other people concepts, there are some good mods like Hour Glass, in which, you can see some pornographic scenes, but that doesn’t mean that the mod concept is poor, I mean, c’mon!, is just different for good seak!!! and I can say that Hour Glass is a good mod just because of that, because it’s different.

    So anyway I think you are some of those neocons of right which only are trying to impose their rules and criteria, because you talk of “respect” and you here in your web page have even inssult some mod developers saying that their mods are poor and ugly with no basis.

    And well I think you are a republican,and that’s a shame because HL represents, revolution and fight for freedom of the opressor like you here are just shoeing that.

    pd. make us a favour and don’t disscus about moral ideals, and do your job just talk about HL universe not the human reallity

    1. Let me start by saying that this website is an extension of my home and has an open invitation. However, I expect people to behaviour in a polite manner. I don’t feel that your reply is polite and in fact I am insulted by it. Please don’t be rude to any commenter, myself included. I would have told you privately by email but you didn’t leave an address. Consider this your first and only warning. I won’t hesitate to edit or delete any future comments and will even ban you if you can’t write fair and polite comments.

      Now, onto your points.

      Phillip, sorry but I think you are so conservative,

      And you are welcome to that opinion. I don’t even deny it.

      I mean you dont even are open minded to accept other people concepts,

      Just becasue I find pornography offensive in a Half-Life mod, that doesn’t mean I am not open minded.

      there are some good mods like Hour Glass, in which, you can see some pornographic scenes, but that doesn’t mean that the mod concept is poor

      I never said it was. This is what I find insulting, the fact that you are twisting my words to suit your false thinking.

      i can say that Hour Glass is a good mod just because of that, because it’s different.

      I enjoyed Hour galkss but if you take out the pornography it would still be a good mod. If the mod is ONLY good because it has pornography then that is a shame.

      So anyway I think you are some of those neocons of right which only are trying to impose their rules and criteria

      I am not imposing any rules. I have never not added a mod just because I find it offensive. The criteria is there to ensure my work has a clear purpose.

      because you talk of “respect” and you here in your web page have even insult some mod developers saying that their mods are poor and ugly with no basis.

      I have never insulted a mod developer on this or any other website. Giving and honest and justified opinion is part of this website.

      And well I think you are a republican,and that’s a shame because HL represents, revolution and fight for freedom of the opressor like you here are just shoeing that.

      My political opinions never interfere with the running of this website and to suggest that is just wrong.

      pd. make us a favour and don’t discuss about moral ideals, and do your job just talk about HL universe not the human reality

      My job is to do anything I choose to with MY website. If you don’t like it then you are free to find another source and in fact I encourage you to do so, because comments like yours are not welcome here.

      I consider it my duty to pose thought provoking poll questions and illicit discussion.

    2. Quite frankly, you should be thanking Phillip for his conservatism and willingness to censor, as it I fully expect him to delete your post and mine here for what are essentially personal attacks, in order to keep things from spiraling into a giant flame fest.

      Phillip, sorry but I think you are so conservative, I mean you dont even are open minded to accept other people concepts,

      Being open minded does not mean that you need to accept someone else’s opinion over your own. That’s the type of argument used by the fringe left that no intelligent person actually follows.

      there are some good mods like Hour Glass, in which, you can see some pornographic scenes, but that doesn’t mean that the mod concept is poor, I mean, c’mon!, is just different for good seak!!! and I can say that Hour Glass is a good mod just because of that, because it’s different.

      I have never played Hour Glass, but if anything, I want to play it even less due to this on the spot review it gave for it. The argument that different automatically is better is usually used by those who don’t actually have the skill to implement anything of quality.
      Now, I’ll go ahead and check out Hour Glass, just in case I might be wrong, but everything you said about it has simply lowered my expectations of it right to the floor, then continued drilling into the floor until it reaches the earth’s core; It can’t go down any further without coming back up somewhere else.

      So anyway I think you are some of those neocons of right which only are trying to impose their rules and criteria, because you talk of “respect” and you here in your web page have even inssult some mod developers saying that their mods are poor and ugly with no basis.

      Phillip’s rules and criteria are what keep people looking to this site for good mods instead of just going to filefront or moddb. The fact that PlanetPhillip.com has gained enough popularity for you to care that Phillip isn’t accepting works of “art” like this hour glass mod you’re talking up shows that people WANT those rules and criteria.

      And well I think you are a republican,

      Phillip isn’t even american. He’s in Europe, Spain or Portugal or somewhere around that area from the best of my memory.

      So yeah, I’ll just restate the issue phillip has already pushed a thousand times before. This is not his job, it is his hobby, so he can damn well do whatever he wants here. I’m not repressing your opinion, you can still have it. “I’m just telling you that no one else here cares about your opinions”

  25. Norton Hess

    Ok ok,, let’s clear up some things in this discussion, I just think, and I aint going to insult anyone, more over, thanks phillip for open this discission, that what you find offensive in Hl mods depends in what kind of person you are and belive, I mean, maybe if you are vietnamese you will find mods like HEART OF EVIL, highly offensive to your culture or history maybe an ANTI NAZI would find offensive just the swastica showing in some mod, so I think that you play what you want to play it’s under your dessicion and if you find some mod offensive and have the guts to play it, its ok, but it’s allways under your stright risk and decission, thats the beautifull thing about HL we are a comunity and many people here are doing just amazing mods and dont even are puting a price for his years of effort!!!!!!

    so c’mon dont tell phillip what he have to do… he is the owner of his home and he decides what to do with it, thanks to persons like him HL is a great universe in with any gamer could acces to tons of greats mods and effort of other people which like us are enjoying this game.

    pd. thanks phillip for take hl serious and take us, the gamers with respect and as intelligent human beings no matters our ideals or belives because here the important part is discovering as your web slogan says, that FINISHING HL IS JUST THE BEGINIG!!

  26. Majugarzett

    Personally, I think offensive content is fine if it can be justified within the context of the mod. Including nudity or graphic images just for the hell of it would be stupid and unnecessary. However, I played an old mod for HL1 ages ago (can’t remember the name) which featured scientists committing suicide and self harming as their sanity deteriorated – this fitted in with the context of the mod and so I enjoyed it for what it was.

    Also good to see the site after so long, don’t know if you remember me but I used to browse a few years back and just decided to see if you were still running today – may become a regular again =)

  27. I’m a perverted kinkmeister, so porn is part of my daily regimen (I really LIKE Alyx nude! 8-D )

    As long as it doesn’t entirely distract from the game, “adult” content could be fine. Of course, a mod that was devoted to, say, “A Study of the Sexuality of Slaves Under the Overwatch” could be rather interesting.

    I’m honestly surprised that no one’s done a total pornographic conversion or mod; then again, lately I’ve been living under a rock. 🙁 So it’s more likely than not there’s something out there.

    As for the rest of the subject at hand: humanity is a rather brutal and obscene bunch of critters, and the atrocities we are capable of are rather awful at best. Depicting such nastiness is actually already a part of the game now, but not to too great a level; so taking it a few steps further wouldn’t be much of a stretch, to be honest.

    And, yes, I would play them.

    1. Hec

      Ok, I think something, in some way hl universe involve a kind of sexuallity story underground, so come on, in the ending of episode 1 kleiner suggest citizens to procreate in order to conserve the human race!, that’s awsome, because personally i’d like to see babys or children again into the hl plot no matter if it is even indirectly, also would be cool to see a pregnant alyx, I mean to have her wating a son of gordon, that would be fantastic, so lets see if hl developers conssider the sexuallity of human race as something vital in the future episodes….

  28. Some one, can’t remember who did make a “Naked Half-Life” mod…It wasn’t explicit just funny.. “No parts was showin”

  29. And hey.. I’m bored today and found some off topic RE: Alyx… I’m sure many would not admit it but would play a mod where she were topless…lol.. After some of what I read today there are more than a few wild dogs and dogettes on here..lol

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