Game devs, notable figures explain their industry secrets (comments from Thompson, SEGA, Boon and more)

What’s the secret to keeping violent videogames out of the hands of children?

Jack Thompson - American activist and former attorney: There is no secret to keeping adult-rated games out of the hands of minors. The UK has a perfectly acceptable solution, which only here, in the US - the land of the free and the utterly depraved - is rejected. In the UK, to sell an adult-rated game to a minor is a crime. In the US, we use age ratings as suggestions, which brick-and-mortar stores routinely ignore. Why? Because there is absolutely no penalty whatsoever for doing so. And when it comes to Internet sales in the US, there is absolutely o effort by anyone to verify the age of the buyer. So, the first line of defence to keep age-restricted products out of the hands of kids is, of course, parents. But when the US game industry says, “We want parents to be responsible and keep these away from their kids,” and then turns around and sells these games to kids with no parents in sight, they thereby prove that they don’t want parents involved in the sale. They want a straight shot at the kids’ money with no interference. Otherwise, they would support age-rating laws to protect kids, and others they might harm, when parental supervision, as the first line of defense, fails. America is a lot of things, some of them very bad. The mental molestation of minors for money leads the list. The UK and other nations have got it figured out. We don’t.

What’s the secret to a great Fatality?

Ed Boon - Co-creator and executive producer, Mortal Kombat: A great Fatality needs to be original, shocking (if that’s possible today), outrageous, painfullooking, and funny. While very few of them satisfy each of those requirements, some can really excel in certain areas. For example, Kung Lao’s ‘buzz-saw on the ground’ Fatality is probably the most painful looking Fatality ever made. It’s also so outrageous that many people actually laugh when they see it so it meets two of that key criteria. Then, of course, you have the Fatalities that are meant to be very serious like Sub-Zero’s classic spine rip or Shang Tsung’s ‘Rainbow Friendship’.

What’s the secret to making 2D work?

Takashi Iizuka - Producer, Sonic 4: I think there are various kinds of 2D platformer and each one of them focuses on different game elements. In the case of Sonic games, I put a premium on the game tempo of the stage. A game cannot be constructed with only speed elements and a game with only jump actions is not a Sonic. Though jump actions bring a feeling of tension and cause a lot of stress, it’s an element giving the player a great sense of achievement when completed. In addition to that, maximizing the feeling of achievement and exhilaration in a game whilst still providing the speed is the basic concept - and also real pleasure - of Sonic games.

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