One of our community members takes says that this isn't too much of a stretch for Saints Row.
By PalZer0 on July 12, 2013 at 4:16 pm
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When the news broke about Saints Row 4 being refused classification because of the use of an “alien anal probe”, I couldn’t help but feel that the Classification Board made the wrong call — and here’s why.
Spoilers for Saints Row 3 ahead.
The game’s plot
First, let’s take a look at the game’s plot. Here’s what the Steam Store page says.
The US President must save the Earth from alien overlord Zinyak using an arsenal of superpowers and strange weapons in the wildest open world game ever.
The epic conclusion to the game that changed all the rules! The Saints have gone from the crackhouse to the White House—but the Earth has been invaded and it’s up to you to free the world from Overlord Zinyak and his alien empire. With homies new and old by your side, and an arsenal of superpowers and strange weapons, you must save the world in the wildest open world game ever!
That first paragraph is very important for context of the weapon. This is further reinforced by this point in the “Features” section of that very same Steam Store page.
Alien Toys of Destruction - Wield an impressive array of alien vehicles and weapons… FOR SCIENCE!
This would pretty much guarantee that you’d find some weird and wacky stuff in the game.
The history of Over The Top
Saints Row 3 had various things that were over the top — the giant purple dildo bat, the BDSM club and the various “questionable” machines on the smuggler’s boat. Somehow, the game got an MA15+ rating (in my opinion, it had no business being rated MA15+). Combine the over the top nature of Saints Row 3 and the plot of Saints Row 4 and you have a recipe for some wild and wacky weapons.
The alien anal probe itself
Now we get to the crux of the issue – the probe itself. Here’s what the classification board had to say about it (courtesy of Kotaku).
The game includes a weapon referred to by the Applicant as an “Alien Anal Probe”. The Applicant states that this weapon can be “shoved into enemy’s backsides”. The lower half of the weapon resembles a sword hilt and the upper part contains prong-like appendages which circle around what appears to be a large dildo which runs down the centre of the weapon. When using this weapon the player approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the weapon between the victim’s legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air. After the probe has been implicitly inserted into the victim’s anus the area around their buttocks becomes pixelated highlighting that the aim of the weapon is to penetrate the victim’s anus. The weapon can be used during gameplay on enemy characters or civilians. In the Board’s opinion, a weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context and as such the game should be Refused Classification.
I have a few problems with this statement.
1. The weapon is designed as a parody of the old joke about aliens wanting to anally probe us after abduction. Given that the plot revolves around an alien invasion, this sort of parody should be expected. Even Destroy All Humans (an older game where you played as an alien on Earth) had an anal probe gun. The Saints Row series also has a history of parodying all sorts of things in an over the top manner so this isn’t too far of a stretch to parody this joke.
2. How the weapon is used seems typical of a Saints Row game (complete with over the top death that is hardly realistic in any way). In fact, the part where the victim is launched into the air is pretty much an exact replica of the vehicle in the Prof. Genki pack in Saints Row 3 (it vacuumed up NPCs and you could send them flying at will with the push of a button).
3. The description of what the weapon looks like is hardly going to be realistic given the plot of the game.
4. There was pixelation in Saints Row 3 as well (especially when you’re abducted and stripped of all your clothes and placed in the dungeon of the BDSM club). You could also streak in Saints Row 3, complete with pixelation, for points (and there was even an in-game challenge related to that part of the game).
In my opinion, the Classification Board has blundered in a big way by Refusing Classification to Saints Row 4. Given the plot of the game, the history of the series and the actual look and behaviour of the weapon, I think the alien anal probe is justified by context and could easily be accommodated in an R18+ rating.
Agree? Disagree? Have your say in the comments.