September 23rd, 2008

Tom Baker - what

My XBox knows more swear words than I do

One of the perils of selecting completely awesome band themes and slogans in Rock Band is that the XBox Live service has final say over what you can and cannot use (at least for the 360 version. Unless you want to be a real silly billy and say "They also have online content control over the Wii and PS3 players too! Hee hee hoo!" in which case I'll have to ask you step over here into the Noogie Machine.)

Sure, you can name your band whatever you want and motto-ize yourself accordingly, but XBox Live will prevent it from showing up online. You can still be called Sarah Palin and the Rape Kits in the comfort and privacy of your own system, but nobody online is gonna see that name when you soundly beat everybody in the Heart song challenge -- er, that is, if there was any Heart in Rock Band. (Which is why we keep the GH series around in case we get a jonesing for Crazy On You.)

Rock Band attempts to console you gently if your name doesn't pass XBL's guidelines, by advising you that your name or motto contains elements "which most people would not find 'classy'." Yeah, it's in quotes and everything. It's pretty clear that XBL is the one holding the reins here, and Harmonix is gamely complying but not entirely enthusiastic about it all. The thing to remember here is that XBL removes all whitespace from the string when they do a check against their List Of Naughty Words, and by gum, some of the stuff they've got in there is truly cryptic and arcane.

For instance, my band slogan "Put a camera in front of a bunch of squares and they flip out!" was rejected (and 50 points for you if you immediately guess what I'm doing here.) A quick scrutinizin' of the string showed me ah ha, there it is, "puta", right there in front of us. Well! That one's for all the 13-year-olds who thought they'd be clever and s p a c e their c u s s words o u t to avoid the filter. Attempts to use some synonyms for "put" revealed another level of rejection, this time for the phrase "of a bunch".

"A bunch" was fine, but "of a bunch" was right out. This one I admit stymies me. I checked for foreign-sounding words. Fabun? Ofab? Huh? The closest I got was someone suggesting that according to Urban Dictionary, "fabu" can stand for "fuck a bitch up", but god, that's such a stretch that it's sad. On the other hand, context is king, isn't it? If you can get in trouble in certain parts of the world for using "berk", which at best is abbreviated Cockney rhyming slang and removed far enough from the initial cuss word in question, there's no reason why XBL can't justifiably go after ... acronyms.

Geesh. There's so much you can do with acronyms, which is the sad part. And if XBL is just taking the Urban Dictionary wholesale for use in its verboten words list, we've got bigger problems on our hands as it's not exactly... what's the word? Authenticated. I mean, I could go in there and say that "happy fuzzy bunny feet" means, in da hood, "huge American breasts" and oh there you go, it's on the Internet, so it must be true.

At any rate, I was able to paraphrase my slogan, and "Get a bunch of squares in front of a camera and they flip out!" was accepted and once the new is launched, you'll be able to see the band online in their full glory (which is happening in a far-out kind of way.) That it's a paraphrase of a paraphrase doesn't concern me much, and if anybody wants to step with the nitpicking, I could tell you what you could go do to yourself, only I couldn't do it on XBox Live.

So it goes.