Created By: Someoneman on November 13, 2012 Last Edited By: Someoneman on November 27, 2012
Troped

Adjustable Censorship

The option to adjust the amount of mature content in a work.

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Page Type:
Trope
Adjustable Censorship is when you are given the option of turning mature content (usually violence, swearing, or sexual content) on or off. This usually happens in Video Games, but other media, such as DVDs and websites, occasionally have such options. You may have an "On/Off" toggle or a slider that goes from "Bloodless Carnage" to "High-Pressure Blood" to "Gorn".

In some older games, back when adult content was much less acceptable in video games, the mature content was deactivated by default and had to be re-activated through a cheat code in order to hide it from the censors, making this a possible way of Getting Crap Past the Radar. The ESRB or other similar organisations will generally rate a game assuming all mature content is set to its highest level.

Examples:

Action Game
  • In Alien Hominid, there is a "Gore" option in the options screen. Turning it off will replace all blood with flowers.
  • Assassin's Creed II and up have an option to turn off blood.

Adventure Game
  • The Infocom game Leather Goddesses of Phobos can be adjusted from "tame" to "lewd."
  • In the first Leisure Suit Larry game, you could turn adult content on only if you correctly answered questions that were theoretically answerable by people old enough to view the content (or, these days, able to access Google).

Fighting Game

First-Person Shooter

Puzzle Game
  • Version 1.0 of Boppin' featured the option to turn off the characters' suicide animations. Version 1.1 is a self-proclaimed "politically corrected version" that replaced the Accursed Toys screen (which depicted a bloodied teddy bear impaled by a knife), but the censorship can be disabled with a command line option.

Real-Time Strategy

Role-Playing Game
  • Neverwinter Nights has a gore slider in the game options. The max setting frequently results in enemies outright exploding. Zombies are particularly prone to this when hit with a cleric's or paladin's Turn Undead.
  • The American release of The Witcher censored the copious nudity present in the original European version. CD Projekt Red released a Director's Cut patch that restores it.
  • Fallout 1 & Fallout 2 both have options to tone down the swearing and gore used. Of course, this being Fallout, there's a special trait called "Bloody Mess" that lets you turn up the gore as well.

Survival Horror
  • In the first three installments of Silent Hill, an expanded options menu is accessible by pressing L1, L2, R1 and R2 at the game's regular options screen. This menu always includes an option to change the color of blood in the game from red to green, violet or black. This is probably more for fun than for censorship though, as no one tells the player about said hidden options menu and that the blood is red by default.

Third-Person Shooter
  • Bulletstorm has an option for alternate, slightly less profane dialogue.
  • The first Max Payne allowed the player to disable blood and all graphic novel sequences in the game.

Visual Novel

Non video game examples:

Web Original
  • A lot of websites allowing users to upload content, such as DeviantArt, feature an adjustable content filter.

DVDs
  • Some DVDs of Family Guy have the option to turn off the censoring.
  • In Utah, a service called Clear Play allows the viewer to select a level of violence, sexuality, etc. and watch compatible DVDs with the selected elements stripped out. This is done through the same methods used to make movies "family-friendly" on network television: mute, filters, and even complete elimination of some scenes.
  • Eddie Izzard DVDs always have an option for bleeped audio, since his acts are mostly family-friendly except for the copious swearing.
  • Lee Mack's Going Out stand-up DVD has an option to switch off the bad language.

Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • November 13, 2012
    StarSword
    Role Playing Game
    • Neverwinter Nights has a gore slider in the game options. The max setting frequently results in enemies outright exploding. Zombies are particularly prone to this when hit with a cleric's or paladin's Turn Undead.
    • The American release of The Witcher censored the copious nudity present in the original European version. CD Projekt Red released a Director's Cut patch that restores it.

    Web Original
    • Deviant Art features a mature content filter, typically used for nudity. Users with it turned on will see a picture of a safe instead of the work in question.
  • November 13, 2012
    SneakySquirrel

    Fighting Game

    Web Original:

    • Many art sites that allow porn to be uploaded have this feature.
  • November 13, 2012
    KTera
    • Bulletstorm has an option for alternate, slightly less profane dialogue.
  • November 13, 2012
    Stratadrake
    If this is meant to be a videogame-exclusive trope like I think it is, we need a title that helps better imply it.

    Censorship Switch? Censorship Levels?

  • November 13, 2012
    moriwen
    The infocom game Leather Goddesses of Phobos can be adjusted from "tame" to "lewd."
  • November 13, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    This does not seem like a storytelling convention. It is just something that happens. (That developers do.) No meaning.
  • November 14, 2012
    NESBoy
    I've read in a book once that the PC version of the 1999 South Park video game has the option to turn off the Sound Effect Bleeps, but I have not seen any confirmation. Anybody want to verify?

    • Version 1.0 of Boppin featured the option to turn off the characters' suicide animations. Version 1.1 is a self-proclaimed "politically corrected version" that replaced the Accursed Toys screen (which depicted a bloodied teddy bear impaled by a knife), but the censorship can be disabled with a command line option.
    • The Sega Genesis version of Time Killers features an option to set the violence level to "No Blood", "Blood", "Dismember", or "Decapitate".
    • The Genesis version of the first Mortal Kombat had a button code that undoes the censorship, giving it an edge over the Super Nintendo Entertainment System version.
  • November 14, 2012
    Koveras
    • Brutal Legend offers the player to bleep out all expletives in the game half a second before Eddie's very first Precision F Strike--but only because "it's funnier that way".
  • November 14, 2012
    ozaniel
    Katawa Shoujo has an option to skip the mature content (though some instances of nudity remains). Instead, you get a Relax O Vision.
  • November 14, 2012
    Someoneman
    • Stratadrake: This doesn't have to be a videogame-only trope. If, for example, you buy a DVD and it has the option of skipping some of the film's more mature scenes, it counts as an example.
    • Rodneyanonymous: Why can't this get in over the other censorship tropes?
  • November 14, 2012
    Stratadrake
    Rodney, don't be too quick to assign "Not A Trope" to a YKTTW.
  • November 14, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    • Fallout 1 & Fallout 2 both have options to tone down the swearing and gore used. Of course, this being Fallout, there's a special trait called "Bloody Mess" that lets you turn up the gore as well.

    ^^ Maybe we should mention all those "Family Friendly" Moral Guardian groups that like to create their own re-edited versions of popular movies to sell to squeamish people?
  • November 14, 2012
    Bisected8
    @rodneyAnonymous: There are plenty on non-story related tropes. Video Game Difficulty Tropes, Censorship Tropes, etc.
  • November 14, 2012
    DracMonster
    Adjustable Censorship is clearer I think.

    Or Selectable Censorship Setting to get some alliteration.
  • November 14, 2012
    tustin2121
    ^I vote for Adjustable Censorship

    @rodney: quit assigning unremovable tags to things you don't like...
  • November 14, 2012
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Hat>

    This seems tropeworthy as a game mechanic. Those are tropable.
  • November 14, 2012
    StarSword
    @rodney: Since when does a trope have to be a storytelling convention? Game Breaking Bug is a trope, as is Out Of Order.
  • November 14, 2012
    Duncan
    Most recent Family Guy DV Ds (since they were Un Cancelled, I think) have the option to turn off the censoring.
  • November 14, 2012
    shimaspawn
    ^^ Tropes ARE story telling contentions. If they aren't then they aren't tropes. This is a story telling convention though. It's manipulating the content and the user experience. That's a storytelling convention. It's just not the type convention he's used to.

    Game Breaking Bug is a storytelling convention where the story is not told as intended.

    Out Of Order is a storytelling convention where the story is told in the wrong order.
  • November 14, 2012
    Folamh3
    Maybe trivia.

    I can think of a few examples.

    The original Half Life gave players the choice of disabling blood, which could only be re-activated by inputting a password.

    The first Max Payne allowed the player to disable blood and all graphic novel sequences in the game.
  • November 15, 2012
    ShadowHog
    Team Fortress 2 has the command-line option "-sillygibs", which doesn't deactivate the blood, but replaces all giblets with clocks, springs, cheeseburgers, balloon animals, unicycles and similarly goofy objects. This is actually a holdover from the German version, where this is turned on by default and cannot be deactivated.
  • November 15, 2012
    ayjazz
    Might be a bit of a stretch, but Modern Warfare 2 had an option that allowed you to skip the infamous No Russian level.

    I think you could turn down the gore in World at War and Black Ops, but I don't remember, haven't played in forever.
  • November 15, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous

  • November 15, 2012
    Stratadrake
    ^^ You're right, that is a bit of a stretch.
  • November 16, 2012
    ShadowHog
    Curious, the Modern Warfare suggestion made it in, but the TF2 one didn't. I mean, changing the gibs from relatively-realistic offal to goofy objects is a form of censorship, even if it doubles as a Silliness Switch.
  • November 16, 2012
    Stratadrake
    I agree, let's add that one.
  • November 16, 2012
    Someoneman
    I improved the description a little bit. Does anyone think this is ready to launch?
  • November 19, 2012
    reversePsychologist
    In the first three installments of Silent Hill, an expanded options menu is accessible by pressing L1, L2, R1 and R2 at the game's regular options screen. This menu always includes an option to change the color of blood in the game from red to green, violet or black. Although this could have been intended to be an actual way to toggle censorship, it should be noted that no one tells the player about said hidden options menu and that the blood is red by default.
  • November 19, 2012
    KTera
    Modern Warfare 3 had an option that let you skip the somewhat-less-infamous Davis Family Vacation level.
  • November 20, 2012
    bluebandana
    Non-game example: In Utah, a service called Clear Play (https://www.clearplay.com/default.aspx) has become increasingly popular. Clear Play-compatible DV Ds allow the viewer to select a level of violence, sexuality, etc and watch the movie with offensive (to them) elements stripped out. This is done through the same methods used to make movies "family-friendly" on network television: mute, filters, and even complete elimination of some scenes (making for a shorter film).
  • November 22, 2012
    justanid
    Censor Control?
  • November 22, 2012
    BlackTemplar
    How about the mechanic in Dead or Alive where you could control the amount of the ridiculous "DOA Bounce"
  • November 22, 2012
    ConMan
    In the first Leisure Suit Larry game, you could turn adult content on only if you correctly answered questions that were theoretically answerable by people old enough to view the content (or, these days, able to access Google).
  • November 23, 2012
    ArkadyDarell
    I agree with Folamh3 that I wonder if this should be considered a Trivia trope.
  • November 23, 2012
    Someoneman
    This wouldn't fit under Trivia because Trivia is for things that are not storytelling conventions, and shimaspawn explained that this is a storytelling convention.
  • November 23, 2012
    moriwen
    Should checking to see if you're under/over 13/18/21, then making certain things available/unavailable based on that count as this trope?
  • November 23, 2012
    Generality
    Eddie Izzard DVDs always have an option for bleeped audio, since his acts are mostly family-friendly except for the copious swearing.
  • November 24, 2012
    reversePsychologist
    hey, thanks for including my Silent Hill example, I appreciate that you edited it to make it sound better but I think the fact that the adjustable blood color is just for fun should still be written as if it were a hypothesis since nobody's sure of what's the purpose of that as far as I know.
  • November 24, 2012
    abloke
    Lee Mack's Going Out stand-up DVD has an option to switch off the bad language.
  • November 24, 2012
    orange4014
    Assassins Creed II and up have an option to turn off blood.(Even though there isn't as much as AC III)
  • November 26, 2012
    Someoneman
    moriwen: It would count, as long as it is possible to "lie", otherwise you are not being given the choice so it doesn't count.
  • November 27, 2012
    Someoneman
    I'm going to launch this page now.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=f38q2n43nhlhwj9s83karvc1