Adam R. Wood (zotmeister) wrote,
Adam R. Wood


I have often described myself as a software bug magnet, and often note that I am not incredibly proficient at finding (often oddball) glitches in programs so much as glitches in programs are incredibly proficient at finding me. Given the quantity of videogames I partake in, this often results in particularly entertaining (though often bemusing) results. Quarrel, a new release on Xbox 360 LIVE Arcade yesterday, has already provided me with one for the history books.

Quarrel is a strange mixture of Risk and Jumble, where territories are loaded with troops and sent to battle each other, but with their fates decided not by die rolls but rather anagramming ability. For each battle, players are presented with eight Scrabble-style letter tiles (the same for everybody), complete with point values, and are tasked with making the highest-scoring word they can; the greater point total wins the battle, with ties broken by who entered es word faster. Three elements come together to make this especially interesting:
  1. the maximum word length a participant in the battle can submit is equal to the number of es troops in the territory on the disputed border;
  2. non-participants in the battle can also submit words to earn extra troops, and get to use all eight letters for this;
  3. there is always at least one eight-letter word - conveniently called "the anagram(s)" - to be made from the provided letters, and it/they will always be revealed after the battle.

I can't be arsed to give a full review of the game here; the short version is that the game is great fun with friends but not well-balanced in general and uses an old dictionary (not to mention that I'm about to describe one of its glitches), so I can't give it the ZSoA even though I'd urge others to try it anyhow and hopefully play it against me sometime if they enjoy it. What I'm here to tell you about is a funny, quaint little oversight that has to deal with censorship. On the game's own help pages, it notes that there are some words the game will allow in single-player but not multiplayer, due to Microsoft's regulations for the Xbox LIVE service: any word they deem as offensive in one or more languages is not to be transmitted over the service, and the game developers have no control over this list. I thought it a reasonable and perhaps even enlightened approach the game took to this, allowing "offensive" words when playing alone but banning them when playing online against others. The game even uses a specific warning message - "Undesirable!" - to notify the player the otherwise-valid word e just tried to submit was on the banned list.

So there I was, spectator to a battle between SnapDragon and K4rn4ge, and sure enough, I see in the eight letters I'm shown, I can spell...


I was not surprised at all when the game responded "Undesirable!" when I typed it in. What did surprise me, given the whole reason the word was banned in the first place, was when the game announced - to all players, as I confirmed - right after the battle:

The anagrams were COPULATE and OUTPLACE.

Wait, WHAT? I thought you said you couldn't transmit that word over LIVE, and YOU JUST DID! You banned the word because you told me it had to be censored, and then you say it anyway! That negates the entire purpose of banning it! Give me my extra troop then, you bastard!

Seriously, since when have videogames been allowed to get away with being hypocritical?!

Fucking censorship. Fucking game!

...No pun intended. No, really.

Like I said, this shit finds me, people. - ZM

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Tags: glitches, reviews
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