BlahCade #152: Does Censoring Pinball Kill the Buzz?
An article that Ars Technica wrote has got us thinking about where we draw the line at censoring content in a pinball machine to appease license holders.
There’s a point at which you just shake your head and say “nope, that’s too far”. For some, it is when you change even the slightest part of an original item to meet today’s censorship laws. For others, it ranges from “a bit is OK” to “hey, I really couldn’t care less”.
In this episode, we focus on an article in Ars Technica that documents the censorship of Zen Pinball FX3 Williams Pinball.
It will be interesting to hear what you think about the approach taken in the article, so do comment if you have a position on this. We know one thing for sure about this last month: Zen do give due consideration to the community when it comes to what matters to us.
Ways to Listen
Click below for the post-produced audio of the show.
BlahCade Podcast - Does Censoring Pinball Kill the Buzz?
There's a point at which you just shake your head and say "nope, that's too far".For some, it is when you change even…
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And now… on with the show
Some warm-up banter about weather and stuff, then we get into the show…
Pinball FX3 Williams Pinball Cross-platform Release
- 06:00 - Williams Pinball Tables released
- 06:20 - New To Zen Folks
- 06:55 - What are Wizard and Super Scores in Zen?
- 09:20 - Finding your favourite Table View in Zen
- 11:00 - Animations and enhancements are hitting a sweet-spot with folks
- 12:30 - Shared animations with the animated skins in the games
- 13:20 - Medieval Madness dragon animations triggering some folks.
- 14:20 - Scores popping up show deep ROM integration
- 15:30 - Custom Tournament glitch with Zen vs Tournament flipper physics.
- 17:15 - Renaming Single Player and Classic Single Player.
- 18:00 - Don’t front-load all the on-boarding tips.
New Physics are attracting new folks and opening new sales possibilities
- 19:30 - Insta-buy for new-to-zen folks if they apply Williams physics to all Zen tables.
- 20:00 - How could the Venom table benefit from Williams Physics.
The Final 10%
- 23:45 — Williams Pinball gamble paid off: Mel Kirk
- 25:00 — Beta physics tweaks show how rapidly new physics could be rolled
- out per table.
- 25:30 - Why it's important to finish off the job.
- 26:30 - How the alpha to beta to release 10% worked with Zen.
Ars Technica Article on Censorship in Zen FX3
Zen Studios alters classic pinball art to protect family-friendly rating [Updated]
Update: This piece has been updated with comments from Zen Studios VP of Publishing Mel Kirk at the bottom of the…
- 30:00 - Framing the discussion
- 32:00 - Why was Fish Tales so heavily censored?
- 33:30 - Can’t unsee those hardly noticeable Medieval Madness edits.
- 35:30 - How will re-submission work if they need to reclassify?
- 36:30 - Protecting Zen Studios’ other license properties.
- 37:00 - Aside: Censorship on TV vs Video Games.
- 39:45 - Where should they draw the line with audio call-outs and censorship?
- 41:00 - Should they really be censoring the "character" out of a pinball
- 43:00 - What "is" gambling really in the scope of Pinball?
- 45:00 - Should you even consider doing a table if you have to censor key
- 45:45 - Could you segregate Williams Pinball packs in a separate app to work around ratings restrictions?
- 46:45 - Could you make Zen FX3 a launcher for ESRB licensed external content packs.
- 49:50 - Should you consider altering the original factory game code to fit into classification guidelines?
- 51:45 - Closing thoughts about censorship, and prior art in this area.
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