Adult content is not content for adults

Recently, my dad sent me an awesome present from poland (my home country). It was a package with ALL the comics of my favorite polish comic book series “Tytus Romek i Atomek”. I don’t think it was everytranslated into a different language so most likely you don’t know it. Too bad, because it is made of pure win! It is a story of two pathfinders and one monkey (chimpanzee) having a series of crazy adventures. Each episode (or “Book”) is about a certain theme. So you have an episode about sports, one about space, one about art, one about western movies etc… Also, almost every episode features a crazy vehicle. Most of the time, the vehicles look like scaled-up everyday items: a video camera, a flatiron, a guitar etc… It is the comic I grew up with and reading it again I was struck by the sheer density of awesomeness it provides. One book might go something like: a professor provides the thee guys with a vehicle capable to drill into earth. After some funny testing results they learn some interesting geology facts, have a crazy chase in a museum, drill into an old coal mine to find plant fossils, drill further to find a giant mole, drill to the other side of the world where the monkey steals bananas, dill further to discover an ancient civilization that was cristylized in a catastrophe, drill further to empty an oil reservoir and pull a prank on an oil company, drill further to discover an underground empire of technologically advanced dwarfs, get captured and shrunk by the dwarfs, do an excursion on the surface in the shrunk state, fight against insects and birds, get chased by a lizzard and eaten by a snake, break out of the snake, escape the dwarf empire and return to normal size again. All of that only on 62 pages. And it’s just the rough outline. And it’s funny too.

So anyway here is one of my favorite pages from that particular book:

Tytus on Adult Movies

Tytus, the chimpanzee is always up to no good and decides to use the drilling vehicle to get into an adult movie which turns out to be quite boring. I love this one because asides from being funny, it illustrates an important point. I think it was Dennis Ray Vollmer who once said in a discussion on Spielkultur (roughly translated):

Game designers often confuse content for adults with adult content.

What he meant was that even though some content (sex, gore) might not be suitable for children, it doesn’t mean that adults automatically enjoy media full with that kind of content. However, until now game designers often fell for that fallacy and tried to show off the maturity of their medium by focusing on adult content. After all, if there is gore this can’t be for kids, right?

Well bullshit. Because excessive adult content is typically not attractive for adults. It is however attractive for adolescents, who (like games as a medium) are keen to prove their maturity. In fact, you will consistently find that it is often the adolescents who provide and consume most of the adult content available on the Internet. True content for adults often looks pretty boring for children and especially for adolescents. And this is what this particular page is about.

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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