Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Lego Rifter and Age Appropriate Content

Last week there was talk on Twitter why the Eve Online Lego Rifter will not probably pass the next review stage by Lego.

Rixx Javix of Eveogander fame Tweeted and cited precedent where a model of the spaceship Serenity from the TV series Firefly (and also the movie, erm, Serenity) was denied.

The reason for that was the TV shows content was not deemed suitable for Lego's target age range. Well I suppose the guys and gals at Lego are right there. Just think what did we see in the TV series Firefly....
  • Torture (War stories - Mal and Wash)
  • Hooker(s) (Inara in most episodes)
  • Girl-on-girl kissing (War stories - Inara and her lady Client)
  • People being shot and bleeding (Most episodes)
  • A brothel (Heart of Gold)
  • Sexually threatening behaviour (Objects in Space - Bounty Hunter and Kaylee in the engine room)
  • Bonking (A couple of episodes including Heart of Gold)
So, yes, that is generally not acceptable content for 6-year olds I suppose.

But Star Wars is obviously is acceptable, Lego makes a HUGE range of models of models for that. Hang on a second.....
  • Burnt fleshy, skeletons shown (Episode IV)
  • A man being strangled for a disturbing lack of faith or for dropping the fleet out of hyperspace at the wrong spot or for having their apology accepted.
  • Some bodily part cut off and the bloody appendage shown (IV, V, VI, oh and Jango Fetts head)
  • Brother and sister kissing (V)
  • Man has limbs hacked off and left to roast alive in lava by his best mate (III)
  • People being shot (Every one)
  • People being tortured (IV and V)
  • A few billion people killed (IV)
  • People suffering to force lightening (III and VI)
  • Chained Slave Leia and the metal bikini! (VI)
Now, when you think of it like that, yes Firefly is targeted at an older audience, but is it that much off compared to what we saw in Star Wars?

The original Star Wars movie was rated "U" for Universal in the UK as I recall (I still can picture the VHS video tape box). Meaning suitable for all. Not PG, not 12 (not that the rating was around then), not 15, not 18 and certainly not R18. A 6-year old could watch it on their own according to the certificate it received for the UK. The IMDB here shows it's various age ratings.

Interestingly the US MPAA rates the movie Serenity nearly the same as Star Wars Episode IV (PG-13 vs PG). However, the international age ratings on IMDB show a much higher certificate around the 15 mark worldwide generally for the movie Serenity.

So may be Lego was right with the Serenity model. The show isn't suitable for young kids so the model my association isn't.

Now how about Eve Online. What content have we got in-game that is not suitable or classed as too mature for a 6-year old....


Eve Online is not a game to be played by six year olds. Some might say it IS a game to be played by adults acting like six year olds though (see Facebook, Eve-O forums, local chat etc). However, this is more to do with the game mechanics and time investment needed. As far as content goes, what is there in Eve that can even be slightly classed as mature? There is no nudity, no boobies, there is no sex, there is no in-game swearing, there is no violence, there is no blood or body parts. The worst we have is the icon for a corpse. Is that really it? I cannot think of anything else.

I know that CCP videos contain the ESRB "violence" warning at the start. But you have to ask, WHY? Are we as a society so namby-pamby that we define violence that needs to be warned about as computer generated starship models shoot at each other in space?

But lets go back to what Lego does make a lot of. Lets compare Star Wars to Eve Online. What has the more mature content? As far as I am concerned, Star Wars has much more mature content than Eve Online the game.

One of my very first blogs here last year was that Eve could do with "sexing up". Yes, Eve has a wide demographic which includes the ladies, but the core Eve customer is the same as the core sci-fi audience, guys. Sci-Fi generally panders to our (as in blokey) needs. Leia, Seven of Nine, Lexx, Jadzia Dax, Inara etc etc etc. But as it stands right now, what mature content is there in Eve other than the language of the "online interactions"?

Why shouldn't a starship from a game that really contains no mature content as I would define it, become a Lego model?

I suppose we'll find out this summer when the Lego review is concluded.


  1. Believe me, I hope for nothing more than an entire line of Eve Lego ships sitting on my desk.

    Two points to consider:
    • Star Wars is a multi-billion dollar international franchise with a four decade generational following. That covers up a lot of details.
    • ON-line content is unrated. Children and unrated access to adults on-line is pretty much a no-no, at least here in the States.

    Again, I want a Lego Rifter. And my fingers are crossed.

  2. Remember that whole deal about Eve's content (for the most part) being "user created"? Sure, the official backstory and in-game information may be fairly lightweight; but Eve is a place where scamming, backstabbing, theft and harassment are tolerated when they're not explicitly encouraged, and it seems "die in a fire" is a common and accepted form of greeting. Players whose gameplay styles do not include the above activities are roundly addressed with general contempt. This is evident not only on peripheral fan forums, but the official forums and in-game communications as well, which are generally vulgar and obscene on a good day.

    Lego is not stupid; they can and will notice all this. For adults these things make Eve a special place; for kids, not so much. And while there are plenty of adults who collect and build Legos, it is first and foremost a toy company and it's primary audience is young children. This makes it compatible with Star Wars, of whom children are a large part of its target audience. Children form no part of Eve Online's target audience, so I just don't see a compatibility there. The official material "not being offensive" frankly isn't good enough.

  3. I think the issue is really just popularity. Star Wars is so well known that it makes sense to ride its coattails. Eve on the other hand, not eve a million people play it. Doesn't make sense. Who would buy it except for the fewer than a million that know what Eve is?

    1. That may be true, but most EvE fans would buy not one but several of these models (and those that don't may have them gifted to them). And Lego knows there doesn't have to be a known and licensed property to sell plastic bricks - they built their company on generic things like police cars, fire engines, the "Space Police" line...all based on the "that looks cool" factor - I fervently hope they make a full line of EvE ships because it's more exposure to this game we all love.

  4. That's the whole thing isn't. ;)

    Take Eve as what CCP provides, and it really is age appropriate for all.

    Now add us lot into the mix and what do you get? (looks at next draft blog post and age appropriateness of it)

    Also I don't see it targeted at only Eve players. Parents will still buy a "lego spaceship" for their kids. Kids will see it and want it.

    And finally yes, of course Star Wars has other considerations than age appropriate. Like...

    $6.68 billion at the box office +
    $9 billion on toys +
    $1.6 billion on video games +
    $200 million on novels