Author Topic: Alice and moral panics?  (Read 13457 times)

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Alice and moral panics?
« on: February 02, 2008, 11:46:10 AM »

I study cultural history in the Unversity of Turku in Finland and I'm currently writing my master's thesis about moral panics concerning digital gaming culture. I remember that back when American McGee's Alice was released there was some discussion about the violent themes in the game. I paid attention to the way Computer Gaming World magazine edited their ads. I recall they slightly tidied up the content of the ad by removing the word "hell" from a poem appearing in the ad. Also, as far as I know the box cover art was altered for the European version so that the knife was removed from Alice's hand. I also recall the way Alice's design changed from the first concept to the final version. The dress was changed from black to blue, the inverted cross was changed into a horshoe talisman etc.

I would be very curious to know whether these changes were made because of some particular feedback during the development process.

How was the game received in general? Was there any moral panic in the air concerning the content of the game? Were there any pr problems or incidents because of the game's gothic undertone?

I thought I'd bring up my questions here because I couldn't find any related articles by googling or browsing the limited material available to me.

American McGee's Alice is only one of the games I've paid attention to in my research. I enjoyed the game very much myself and I'm looking forward to the Alice movie. :)

Offline american

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Re: Alice and moral panics?
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2008, 03:47:45 PM »
Changes to the artwork and words used to promote Alice came very late in the development process. This was due (I think) to the fact that Alice development went on in relative secret - at least when compared to other more high-profile projects being built around the same time at EA.

The feedback that had the biggest impact on marketing and sales came from the highest levels of EA's "executive branch". Alice was seen as "the sort of product EA should not be known for making" - more due to its 'M' rating than anything else (again, my opinion). There was a sort of "panic" - but it is hard to estimate how it impacted the product and sales. Some would argue it crippled the product - certainly this "panic" had something to do with the PlayStation version being killed. Had there been a PS version I would assume it would have sold quite well.

There were never any problems outside of EA because of the game's tone or theme (as far as I know).

I think if Alice were released for the first time today it might not garner an 'M' rating. Compared with other 'M' material being released - the content in Alice is pretty tame.