“That’s exactly how all games should do it.”

Trigger warnings in games are a subject that is often mocked. Some games have apparently already found the perfect solution.

When games tackle harsh themes, such as high levels of brutality, suicide, sexual violence or psychological torture, this is usually pointed out. But these trigger warnings don’t go down well with everyone, as they can sometimes make a game less fun. The community discussed solutions to this – and found a good way to keep everyone happy.

What’s the problem with trigger warnings? So-called “trigger warnings” or “content warnings” are now becoming more and more common in games. The horror game Outlast, for example, warns extensively about the content by pointing out “violence, bloodthirstiness, graphic sexual representations and swear words”.

The problem is that many games reveal in advance what development the game will take and that can be detrimental to the gaming experience.

A prominent example is “Doki Doki Literature Club” – a game that at first glance seems like a romantic visual novel, but then drifts into a horror-psychological trip and surprises the player with blatant twists. Of course, this isn’t really “surprising” if you’re warned about it in advance.

DevastaTheSeeker writes about this in the gaming subreddit:

Content warnings are a relatively new trend in games.

Many people associate this with some gamers being too “effeminate,” which is stupid. People deserve to know what they’re getting into, but at the same time a game can try to shatter your expectations and then content warnings like this can ruin that.

Which game does this well? “Slay the Princess” is mentioned here as a positive example. When starting, the following warning is shown here:

“This is a horror game and is not suitable for all audiences.”

That doesn’t reveal too much but still warns. If you want more information here, you will receive a link to a list of the individual topics that appear in this game.

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This means that the decision ultimately rests with each player as to the extent to which they want to be warned in advance. Anyone who knows that bloody depictions of violence may cause anxiety can find out about this in advance. However, if you don’t want any spoilers about the content, you can ignore them.

The content warnings are not “forced” here by being clearly displayed in the game, but instead point out that you can read them elsewhere.

DrNomblecronch writes something like this:

That’s…a shockingly simple solution, indeed. I kind of love that.

“This is going to be pretty hard for some people, but we can’t tell you more without spoilers. If you think you’re the type of person for whom this might be hard, then we can tell you the details, because it’s important for you to know whether a game will give you actual suffering and not just fictional horror. At the same time, this is your decision and we trust that you can make it yourself.”

What are your thoughts on content warnings in games and the potential spoilers they can mean? Should all games do this like the Slay the Princess example? Or do you have a better idea?

“The Coffin of Andy and Leyley” also had some content warnings – which was surprisingly good.