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Things That Offend Me In Games #2

#2 Crap swearing

I love swearing, really I do. It’s truly and genuinely a passion of mine. I’m not just a games writer because I love games, but because I love words too, and most of my favourite ones are rude. And when you love something like I love foul-mouthery, you really hate to see it being abused.


Team Buddies on the PSone boasted a massive excess of totally unnecessary swearing. It was quite funny, though.

Profanity abuse is a crime that games are all too often guilty of. Too many of them, in a feeble, transparent (non)effort to appear ‘adult’ and ‘gritty’, f**k swearing right up. Their scripts are given token f**ks, s**ts and occasionally even ****s, in much the same way Eighties action movie heroes were given token black friends who get killed half an hour in. They’re just there because someone felt they ought to be, not because their importance and significance is really understood, and the shoddy writing that shoehorns them in seldom gives them the opportunity to shine.

Fortunately, there are exceptions to the rule. While you could point the finger at the Grand Theft Auto for opening the floodgates to the wave of sub-par expletive use we’ve seen swell over the last five or six years, it has to be said that GTA’s own cussing has mostly come from the top drawer. My favourite example has to be Ricardo Diaz from GTA: Vice City. He uses the term ‘dickheads’ an enormous amount to great comic effect. It’s funny on two levels. First of all, it’s a superb observation on the way people using a second language latch onto particular phrases, using them frequently and in situations in which they don’t really fit. And on top of that, it’s the way he’s expressing a fierce, violent, pathological rage with a relatively innocuous, childish word. That’s the kind of imaginative sweary dialogue I want to hear more of. No more clumsy, out-of-place bad language that just makes it sound like the scriptwriter’s showing off how naughty he can be in front of everyone, please. It offends me.

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