Conservative Blogger Claims Mass Effect Offers "Customizable Sodomy"

January 14, 2008 -

Have some video game critics completely given up on the idea of verifying their claims before issuing them?


We ask because we're flabbergasted by what's been said about Xbox 360 role-playing hit Mass Effect in recent days.


GamePolitics reported last week on bizarre accusations by the conservative Cybercast News Service that Mass Effect featured "explicitly graphic sexual intercourse."


That those charges are just wrong didn't stop conservative blogger Kevin McCullough from picking up the CNS nonsense and running with it. McCullough, in fact, tries to turn the alleged porn in Mass Effect into a presidential campaign issue. In a (not so) cleverly-titled Townhall.com article, The "Sex-Box" Race for President, McCullough writes:


[Presidential candidates] all probably assume they have better, much more important, urgent, timely, things to campaign on, but I sure would like to get their individual takes on the new video game that one company is marketing to fifteen year old boys.


GP: Do we really need to point out that Mass Effect is rated "M" for players 17 and older? More from McCullough:


It's called "Mass Effect" and it allows its players... to engage in the most realistic sex acts ever conceived. One can custom design the shape, form, bodies, race, hair style, breast size of the images they wish to "engage" and then watch in crystal clear, LCD, 54 inch screen, HD clarity as the video game "persons" hump in every form, format, multiple, gender-oriented possibility they can think of...


GP: Has McCullough played - or even invested any time at all in researching - Mass Effect? Based on what he has written, we can't imagine that he has. His screed continues:


Here's a question [for the candidates]... "How much moral judgement should the President push into legislative issues that are likely to severely damage our children's innocence, function, and capability?..."


If a pre-teen, teen, young adult, or adult male plays such a game in which the women DO submit without choice, are made to appear as Barbie streetwalkers, and perform whatever act can be imagined, what's to stop that same male from assuming that the women in his "other world" shouldn't be forced to do the same.


...And because of the digital chip age in which we live - "Mass Effect" can be customized to sodomize whatever, whoever, however, the game player wishes.


With it's "over the net" capabilities virtual orgasmic rape is just the push of a button away.


McCullough wraps up with a call for legislation apparently designed to drive Mass Effect developer BioWare out of business:


How refreshing would it be for a President to... put his pen and signature to a bill that dealt with such simulated sex excess in a way that was punitive to its creators to such a degree that they would never recover from it?


GP: We've seen some ill-informed criticisms of video games over the years, but McCullough has definitely raised (or, perhaps, lowered) the bar in that regard.


Once again, for anyone who cares to actually, you know, research the well-known love scene in Mass Effect, here's the video:





Comments

"Destructoid" Sorry 'bout that.

"My kingdom for an edit button!"

@GryphonOsiris

And from the looks of it, Austin's decided to walk out. Nasty parting line, though:
________
"As a lover of first-person shooters for 15 years (ever since doom) I used to think John Carmack was "like a god". I still like video games, but have increasingly become more and more disgusted with the direction the gaming industry has been going. I was sad to cancel my PCGamer subscription many years ago, but felt like I just couldn't support the kinds of things they promoted. Mass Effect may not be nearly what McCollough made it out to be, but it's heading that direction. Like I said ... just you wait.

I've spent far too much time defending myself against the trolls who seem unduly concerned with defending simulated sex on consoles because it's "tasteful" or "artistic". There's an endless supply of them ... I used to be a 1st person fanatic, defending them at every chance I got. Now I realize ... they're just ones and zeros. Mostly zeros."
______
Amusing to point out that for the whole time he was there, all he did was try to stress the point that Mass Effect was trying to be some "sex simulator." And now he fesses up to being some former FPS geek.

Wow. Love ignoramus' spreading slapping their bullshit up where ever it'll stick. What an ass clown, the "sex scene" (if you can call it that) was PG in nature, you could see more T&A on prime time television. Make me a bicycle clown!

That was without a doubt the most headache-inducing political hellhole of an article and comment line I have ever been forced to indure.

And the sad fact was, it was based on a story that was complete and utter BS from start to finish.

And don't miss McCullough's... um... "comment" about it on Townhall's blog :

http://kevinmccullough.townhall.com/blog/g/82597684-a9b5-419f-b2d8-251bc...

"Why Ron Paul Supporters do not wish to protect children...

It's a frightening world.

And one of the reasons I am growing to hate libertarians: they live in denial. Read the comments following. And for the record, I saw three kids last week, purchase "M" rated video games at a local Best Buy - with no ID check whatsoever...
But that's why libertarians are not conservatives. Conservatives acknowledge God's morality, libertarians shoot Him the middle finger..."

@ Twin-Skies
"Amusing to point out that for the whole time he was there, all he did was try to stress the point that Mass Effect was trying to be some “sex simulator.” And now he fesses up to being some former FPS geek. "

I would consider that an intellectual victory for our side.

Wow, and here I thought the previews outburst about Mass Effect couldn't be topped. And you can't design a breast size.

Not that I tried to find a way for 20 minutes or anything...

I'm disappointed that Mass Effect isn't available for the PC. It looks like a game I'd like, but I'm not buying a console for just one game.

How the hell did I play Mass Effect from start to finish and NEVER put it in someone's butt, alien or not. Damnit, I want my customizable sodomy!

More on McCullough and video games :

http://kevinmccullough.townhall.com/blog/g/bb0b89fe-f2d8-40dc-9c2b-0f4ee...

"2pm:
It has an "M" rating for "Mature." It is violent, bloody, contains an "ark", religious prophecies and is considered a "thrill kill" video game...Halo 3 is also now being used by churches to reach young people... and I love it! "Halo Nights" have become the rage with local church youth groups, or "Halo Halls" for youth in after school hours. Some serve pizza, teach a bible lesson, and then turn on the video games. Churches that aren't doing it formally do have staff members that are in essence trying the same thing. 800.345.WMCA."


Plus, I found a Seattle Times article praising gamers who involve in charity such as the creators of Penny Arcade. Surprisingly, it's written by someone named Kevin McCullough... But is it the same McCullough who ranted about "Mass Effect" ?

http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=110035

WOW.... I am forced to believe that this is a hoax and was set up to be a kind of sting as to the idiocy of the politicians trying to enact legislation. That he set this whole thing up, and very elaborately planned this. That this man is a genius of a massive scale. Please do not kill my faith in humanity, please do not tell me that it is real. I don't think I could deal with stupidity of a level directly proportional to the genius it would require to pull of this stunt as a hoax.

"My tears cry for oppression of their creator's mind"
-Me

Did I miss the sodomy patch? I really want to know my spaceship's engine better.

@Ben Ambroso
Maybe cause you probably weren't actively searching out like some people ;)

@ rdeegvainl

Yep, it's the one where Wrex does a Strip tease and pole dance for Garrus.
[/end sarcasm]

Geez, I want to know what version of Mass Effect he's playing and how much it costs.

@GryphonOsiris

Eugh, that's the LAST thing I needed to imagine right before lunch.

Make me unsee it, please.

I just sent this email to the author, let's see what I get in response...

Hello and thank you for taking the time out to read my email, I would like to take you up on your recently written article: The "sex-Box" race for president, I am not one for nitpicking, yet nor for issuing blanket statements, therefore I would like to address you on the key factors where some glaring mistakes were made in your article.

I own the game Mass Effect, it is a highly interactive story in which you control a commander *insert whatever first name you want here* Shepard, he and his squad of 6 (interchangable members) are on a mission to stop a cycle that has repeated every 50,000 years, I don't want to go into details because if you ever play it I would hate to ruin the story for you

Anyway on to the first issue with your article:

One can custom design the shape, form, bodies, race, hair style, breast size of the images they wish to “engage”

No, I am afraid that that part of the article alone is rife with inaccuracy, for example: your customisation is limited to the following: Gender, colour (of the human spectrum), hair style and facial features (Facial hair, freckles, eye/nose shaping that sort of thing) and then you may also tweak the backstory, allowing for a deeper understanding of your characters history (including scars if your Commander Shepard has them). There is no possible way to alter the size of the breasts (on a female character), the shape/height of the body or the race of your Commander Shepard.

My Cmdr Ben Shepard for example was an Earthborn soldier who survived a thresher maw incident on the planet Akuze, he had brown hair, a small scar over his right eye and a goatee growing, as well as slight blemishing across his face.

next bit:

video game “persons” hump in every form, format, multiple, gender-oriented possibility they can think of…

A bit over the top don't you think? there are a grand total of 3 possible love interests for your character, The Asari (all Asari are physically female): Liara T'soni, the human female soldier: Ashley Williams and The Human male Sentinel: Kaidan Alenko. As a subplot (IE like a side quest) a male Cmdr Shepard may choose to romance Ashley Williams or Liara T'soni, and a female may romance Kaidan Alenko or Liara, (the Asari being a monogendered race, it is not considered homosexual).

The romance subplot is one that guides your character into a symbiotic bond with the NPC of their choosing, ensuring that they do not come to harm or feel upset by their actions, a romance can be broken by actions just as simple as killing a hostage crime lord out of spite, for the more sensitive characters like Liara at least.

There is, to my understanding, one proper "sex scene" in the game, and that involves the Commander and his love interest (Liara in my case) embracing and then ending up on the bed, there is a brief flash of Liara's bottom, that is it, the rest is too dark to see, but is comprised of kisses in a very dark environment.

There are no visible breasts, Genatalia or other such reproductive organs that even a Thompson follower could find offensive.

Nitpick number 3:

the women DO submit without choice, are made to appear as Barbie streetwalkers, and perform whatever act can be imagined

No No No, the love interest of your choosing will come to your character after he was faced with an impossible decision which [SPOILERS] involved the death of one of his close friends and crew members [/SPOILER] she comes to comfort him as your character is visibly depressed by the choice that he was forced to make, they eventually get on to the subject of their relationship with one another (provided you took the time out to actually build a relationship with a character), this leads to the darkened lovemaking scene in which there is only one sexual act, which you can not interact with nor modify, the only thing that will be different for players is the facial features and skin colour of their Commander Shepard, the rest is all scripted in to the scene, no position choices or anything of that sort.

Issue number 4/5 (this is a small one so I am going to put them together)

And because of the digital chip age in which we live - “Mass Effect” can be customized to sodomize whatever, whoever, however, the game player wishes.

With it’s “over the net” capabilities virtual orgasmic rape is just the push of a button away.

Right those paragraphs are absolutely VOID of facts, as I said before, there are 3 possible love interests in the game, and the lovemaking scene which has been so overblown is little more than a brief 50 second interaction with the love interest of your choosing.

and "over the net capabilities?" If you are refering to XBox live, then I would have to point out that this is a terrible misinterpretation of the facts, this game has no online play, the universe of mass effect spans the entire milky way, sees your character through a ton of star systems, nebulae, star clusters and individual planets, each one being wildly different from the rest, unlike an MMO (like Guild wars), when you play mass effect, your only companions are the virtual characters who you choose to be in your squad, apart from that you are alone.

There is the possibility to download content into the game, (with none released as of yet however) such as new weapons, vehicles, characters and planets, there is no possibility of downloading "virtual orgasmic rape" into the game at all, and you would have to be of a very unsound mind to even want to in the first place! All content that is downloadable over XBox live is content made by the producers of the game in question, Microsoft game studios themselves and approved third party software developers (however the final option is generally for software that you get onto the dashboard itself, not actual in game material), this "virtual orgasmic rape" which you claim is possible to attain can be found only within the head of the author of the article.

Since it seems that you are absent any firsthand knowledge of the game I will try and explain to you one more time "THERE IS NO RAPE, SEX SCENE CUSTOMISATION, GENATILIA, DOWNLOADABLE PORN OR ANYTHING OF THE SORT IN MASS EFFECT!"

To finalise this message I would also like to point out to you that the game is rated M 17+ in the states and BBFC 12 in the UK (where I live, however I plan on moving to LA as soon as I get out of college, there is a university in LA teaching nanotech which I am interested in)

The game is rated as such for:

Moderate graphic violence
1 Mild/ Moderate sexual scene
Use of Mild language

The rest of the stuff belongs only in your head I am afraid sir.

Thank you for taking the time to read my email, I hope for a reply (my address is included), as I would like to get to understand where your view of the game comes from, may I also suggest that you buy the game, there is in excess of 100 hours of fun and storytelling to be had from it and the story is told in the style of a JRR Tolkien novel, definitely worth a playthrough if you get the chance!

Thank you again, hope you get back to me!

Ben

@GryphonOsiris
HAHAHAHAHA..........


*whisper* I never played the game, was that a joke? *whisper*

What an irresponsible article - clearly the writer has had no contact with the game beyond the posted youtube video. The details he describes are beyond exaggerations, they are complete fabrication.

I've added my own two cents there. Maybe it'll help people put things into perspective a bit.

@ rdeegvainl

Well, considering that Wrex is a humped back monitor lizard from hell with a shoot first, don't ask questions attitude, and Garrus is a hawk eyed, armored skin security officer for Citadel Security who is impatient about standard rules and proceedure for law enforcement; I'd have to say, yes, it's a joke.

wow. this guy has succeeded in expanding the total distance someone can have their head up their ass. i never thought thompson would have a rival but i thought wrong.

This is the source of propaganda. People who listen to this guy will take his word as truth and we will have an army of people calling for the heads of the company that is putting customizable, virtual pron in the hands of our poor children, instead of reading Penthouse like good Christian boys!

If only it were true. I'd be grabbing a copy... lol.

Posted a 4-part response near the bottom of the comments section, using same name. I think my work is done for now, although I doubt he'll read that far...

@ jonc2006

Agreed, Thompson as at his own prostate, this guy is looking at his own tonsils.

@GryphonOsiris
I think i just threw up a little in my throat.

Wow, he must have gotten a special edition, because mine is nothing like that. I think I might have to complain to Best Buy for not selling me the good version.

In all seriousness, this seems like a random attack on something he doesn't understand for reasons he heard from someone else who didn't understand what they were talking about. Well, at least we won't have to worry about missing Jack, because we seem to have another in training.

@ rdeegvainl

Be glad I didn't mention how many 'stones' Wrex has. Otherwise you may have had full projectile vomiting.

Damn. Just...damn.

I've read or listened to a lot of overly-sensationalized crap, but this is inexcusable and not funny at all. This article just reeks of lies and defamation.

@David Austin on townhall.com

"You do realize, don't you that the intent of this game is to facilitate virtual killing and watching their character have sex with an alien? You do realize this?"

Oh, for the love of...

*grabs Austin and slaps him around*

The intent...

*slap*

of the game...

*slap*

is to tell...

*slap*

a freaking story!


Seriously, games have changed since the days of Doom, where the plotlines were little more than 'hey, these guys are trying to kill you. Kill them first!' Heck, Mass Effect's story wasn't the best I've played, but it was still better than most of the crap I've seen in movies or on television in recent years.

It's not about the guns, it's not about the boobs. It's about having a story you can really let yourself get wrapped up in.

*slap*

Now get it right!

@MrKenyon

I read his response. He didn't actually respond to a single thing I said other than that I was a Christian.

haha, gotta give it to him thats funny. Nobody but the crazies out there would take this seriously and they already hate games. He's preaching to a choir. Utterly harmless.

Play the game before you make this moron publish shit like this.

Sir you are misinformed and would appreciate you actually doing research before making illogical and baseless accusations.

I didn't think we would ever see someone more out of touch, willfully ignorant and bigoted than JT. But after reading the comments of this David Autsin fellow, it looks like we've found one.

It's also very troubling to think there's someone out there who thinks the same way he does. You wonder how many more are out there.

well david replied to me. he ignored parental controls and my rights as a parent.

apparently he in one post wants to educate parents because they dont understand ratings, so i pointed out that he should correct the article as it spreads misinformation,yet in the next he compares me leaving a gun for my kid to play with as the same as him playing with the game..

ok... yeah and ignores the parental control features issue i put forward.

oh and the point that the game has one pg-13 type sex scene isnt hardly the same as a loaded gun in terms of danger

That comment was not directed at gamepolitcs, but the moron who wrote the article. And for the last time, stop assuming all Christians are like these people. Some of us are rather nromal folk who DON'T throw our religon in other peoples face and who do not aprpeciate illogical, misinformed, ignorant, radical, hate-speech like this guy write. Don't blame all christians for the wrokings of a few.

Hahahahahaha! It just gets better and better. I wonder how long they'll run with this and what the game will turn into with each retelling.

"AMERICAN FAMILY ASSOCIATION ACTION ALERT - Roman orgy virtual game MASS EFFECT has children creating S&M characters for online seduction chat!"

Ahem...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAH

That just brightened up my day. Thank you.

My HS history teacher used to describe some people as having "diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain." I hadn't thought about that saying at all until seeing some of the commentary generated in the defense of McCollough's article.

And remember, kids, you can't spell 'McCollough' without 'UGH!'

(You almost can't spell it without 'LOL' as well, but I wasn't sure if referring to him as 'Kevin McC-LOL-ough' would catch on.)

Fuck that this guy and his godamn dont even deverse my coment its obvious he never played it



Wait, you mean people played Mass Effect for reasons other than to facilitate virtual killing and having extremely realistic interspecies sex??

Next thing you're going to tell me that Assassin's Creed isn't actually an Islamic terrorist murder simulation! D: And that playing World of Warcraft doesn't mean I must forego socialization like some kind of monk! WHAT KIND OF LIE HAVE I BEEN LIVING? D:

So what if it does?

It's rated Mature, after all.

What if people who buy the game like "customizable sodomy"?

Strap in boys. We got another 20 years of this shit until the government is populated by people who:

A) Have played video games.

and

B) Know they're not magically evil.

because

C) THEY'RE NOT ALL FOR CHILDREN.

Until then... this is what you're gonna get.

Well as long as we arnt even trying anymore....

Jack Thompson supports and enjoys taking part in the maiming and murdering of puppies and kittens

McCullough sexually assulted my grandma

McDonalds Chicken Nuggets are made out of unlucky 6 year old orphans

Liz Woolley runs a brothel

The british PM has an impressive collection of knives and "loves to test them out of random people"

India just flat out sucks

and Leeland Lee is an illiterate mentally handicapped senator with an IQ of 6

Well that meets my crazy baseless insulting quota for...today

That's it, someone give me this guys address so I can go round his house...
and engage him in a lively debate about mass effects content and video games in general.

What? Did you think I was gonna say kill him?

CURRENT EVENTS FACT (that was not just created it is real I swear to God)

-100% of the Catholic priests convicted of sexual abuse of minors [could] PLAY MASS EFFECT [if they had access to an] XBOX 360.

-Osama bin Laden is [possibly] playing Assassin's Creed RIGHT NOW and [might] use it to plan new terror attacks on the U.S.A.['s unprotected castles, souks, and Templar headquarters. Which we have so many of.]

*HEADDESK*

This is absolutely ridiculous and shameful. I've never even heard of Kevin McCullough before. Where does some no-name blog-tard get the impetus to write an article filled with lies and distortions about a game with the equivalent of an R rating and its PG-13 sex scene?

And he has the nerve to call himself a conservative when he sounds like a nanny-stater of Hilary Clinton's caliber--or greater?

Penny Arcade's picked up on Kevin's article. Which probably means Kevin is soon to be carbonized by the intense, searing heat emanating from all the flames directed at him.

Thats the sex scene? Wow, I've seen worse on MTV... matter of fact, I've seen worse on Animal Planet.
 
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E. Zachary KnightNeeneko, No problem. In juicy conversations, key points of discussion get pushed off quickly.10/02/2014 - 11:36am
NeenekoA rather scary censorship. I have known too many people and small companies destroyed by such pressure, so this unnerves me at a pretty personal level.10/02/2014 - 11:36am
NeenekoMy bad, I always have trouble working out what is going on in shoutbox10/02/2014 - 11:34am
Papa MidnightTo a point stated earlier, it very much is a form of indirect censorship. Rather than engage in rhetoric and debate, one side has instead chosen to cut-off opposing viewpoints at the knees and silence them via destroying their means of income.10/02/2014 - 11:28am
Papa MidnightNeeneko: the topic of Intel's dropping of Gamasutra is indeed part of this very ongoing conversation.10/02/2014 - 11:26am
NeenekoThis can't be good... http://games.slashdot.org/story/14/10/02/1558213/intel-drops-gamasutra-sponsorship-over-controversial-editorials10/02/2014 - 11:25am
Andrew EisenAnd there's also the consideration that the fact that a former IGN editor was one of the people who worked on the game's localization may be unknown (although in this specific case, probably not. Drakes been very visible at events IGN covers).10/02/2014 - 11:24am
Papa MidnightAlso, let's face it: people seem to believe that a conflict of interest can yield only positive coverage. Who is to say that Audrey Drake did not leave on bad terms with IGN (with several bridges burned in their wake)? That could yield negative coverage.10/02/2014 - 11:23am
Papa MidnightThat's a fair question, and it's where things get difficult. While Jose Otero may not have any cause to show favor, Jose's editor may, as may the senior editor (and anyone else involved in the process before it reaches publication).10/02/2014 - 11:21am
Andrew EisenWould such disclosure still be required if Fantasy Life were reviewed by Jose Otero, who wasn't hired by IGN until sometime after Drake left?10/02/2014 - 11:19am
Papa MidnightIn that case, a disclosure might be in order. The problem, of course, is applying it on a case-by-case basis; As EZK said, what's the cut-off?10/02/2014 - 11:19am
E. Zachary KnightAndrew, a disclosure would probably be in order as she likely still has a strong relationship with IGN staff. My follow up question would be "What is the statute of limitations on such a requirement?"10/02/2014 - 11:09am
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, my hyperbole was intended to illustrate the difference and similarity between direct censorship and indirect censorship.10/02/2014 - 11:07am
Andrew EisenOpen Question: Former IGN Nintendo editor Audrey Drake now works in the Nintendo Treehouse. Do you think it's important for IGN to disclose this fact in the review of Fantasy Life, a game she worked on? Should IGN recuse itself from reviewing the game?10/02/2014 - 11:07am
E. Zachary KnightSleaker, My thoughts on disclosure: http://gamepolitics.com/2014/09/25/what-your-gamergate-wish-list#comment-29598710/02/2014 - 11:02am
Sleaker@EZK - using hyperbole is a bit silly. I'm asking a serious question. Where's the line on disclosure as relates to journalistic involvement in the culture they report on?10/02/2014 - 10:59am
E. Zachary KnightSo a journalist reporting on general gaming news mentions a specific developer and their game involved in said news, and it is suddenly some nefarious conspiracy to hide a conflict of interest. I think someone is reaching for validation.10/02/2014 - 10:53am
Andrew EisenYes, imagine anyone insisting that two utterences of the phrase "Depression Quest creator Zoe Quinn" wasn't influenced by something happening in the future!10/02/2014 - 10:52am
Sleaker@Pap Midnight - So wouldn't it be any journalist writing about general gaming culture would need to disclose any and all links/ties to said general gaming culture to be ethical? Also @EZK to use you're own methodology, I'm still curious on the question10/02/2014 - 10:49am
KronoSure none of those are reviews, but it is positive exposure, which as illustrated by The Fine Young Capitalists, is pretty damn important for getting people to check out your work.10/02/2014 - 10:32am
 

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