Mind Quiz pulled from shelves

Brain-training game whisked out of stores after mother of handicapped child complains about offensive content.

Ubisoft's Mind Quiz was pulled from shelves today after a mother of a child with cerebral palsy complained about the game calling her a "spastic" when she didn't score well, reports the BBC.

The mother, whose name was only given as Nicola, told the BBC that she had been playing the game as a way to pass the time during a recuperation period in hospital following the birth of her second son, Austin. Nicola said that she had recently lost her first son, Logan, who suffered from cerebral palsy and was brain damaged, to pneumonia.

The woman said, "I thought it was absolutely appalling that a word like this should be used to describe someone who has not achieved very well. My daddy also has cerebral palsy and he is in his mid-50s and this is a word that really offends my dad."

While the word isn't quite so incindiary in the US, it is generally considered highly offensive in the UK. Ubisoft, the publishers of the game, confirmed to GameSpot that immediately after it was made aware of the complaint, production of Mind Quiz was stopped and the game was being pulled from shelves. A Ubisoft spokesperson told GameSpot, "Ubisoft sincerely apologises to anyone who has been offended by the game. ... The game was developed in Japan, and we unfortunately did not pick up on the offending word in our quality assurance. We are currently working with the developer to find a way to rectify the issue."

Mind Quiz, released in the UK for the PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS, is one in a series of many titles in the popular "brain training" genre, the first of which was Dr Kawashima's Brain Training: How Old Is Your Brain? (Brain Age in the US) in 2006. The genre tasks gamers to reduce their Brain Age by undertaking a series of arithmetic and other mental exercises, including sudoku puzzles.

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418 comments
ChicaQueenWarGa
ChicaQueenWarGa

I see a lot of thumbs up for those who support this article, and a lot of thumbs down on those who are against. Thumbs up and down shouldn't be based on opinion... I'm sure this lady had much more worse situations than this. She probably only wanted the law suit money.

Timex2020
Timex2020

Lady, get over yourself. Just because you suck at taking quizzes and the game tells you that you fail at life, doesn't mean jack. The son wasn't the one playing the game!!!!! I guess then if someone fails a test in school, they could cry foul play and get the test wiped from their records. Wow, I thought that the US was bad, but UK is even worse.

LeCage
LeCage

Too right they pulled it. Stupid idiots, what kind of quality testers have they got? Apes?

DrKill09
DrKill09

OMFG, they pull a game, AN E rated game for one word. Do the whiners not understand they are wasting a ton of the comany's money and time over this?! A word kids call each other on the playground? The one character in Road Rash Jailbreak was NAMED Spaz. I didn't hear them complain about that! I say just slap a T rating on it, and keep in on the shelves. People need to quit taking everything so seriously! If we allow this censorship to continue, it will be like the "Non-offensive Christmas play" they had on South Park. DO YOU REALLY WANT THAT?!

kaedahewson
kaedahewson

Ok so obviously some people here are a little ignorant and don't really understand why the word is so offensive ESPECIALLY to someone like Nicola. In Britain kids and adults with disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism and various others were looked at as second class citizens when really its all part of some genetic fluke. They couldn't get good jobs, couldn't get into good schools and were generally the biggest outcasts and most discriminated people in the country. In order to unite them all a society was formed known as the "Spastic Society" within a few years however the society had disbanded because its name had become an insult used against the very people it was set up to unite and protect. That was 20 years ago and it is still a highly offensive term and a very sensitive issue here in the UK - people who say they use it all the time are usually 14 or 15 year olds who don't know the story behind the word and quite how offensive a term it is. I'm not surprised it has been pulled as while it is not likely to offend as many people, and admittedly is not as volatile a word, it is a word that is similar in its discriminatory meaning to that word that begins with N that will probably get me banned forever if I say it... you know the one

Darkside2501
Darkside2501

People are taking this to far. Boo-hoo, the game called her a bad name. Big deal.

firebirdboi06
firebirdboi06

Sooo... then Ubisoft didn't look at the entire game before it went to the factory? If that had been done then perhaps a modified PAL version of the game would have been created too root out the word.

stziggy
stziggy

I can think of quite a few better names to call Nicola. Way to cave Ubisoft!!!!!!

Nintendo_Man
Nintendo_Man moderator

Good on her complaining, i too would not like to be called spastic if i don't do well on a game. I also think the word stupid should also be removed if it is directed at a gamer. You must think about this in the perspective of the general public, it gives video games a bad image and can only lead to parents, stopping to buy games for their children which hurts sales. It may not offend you but it is up to the game developer to make sure things like this should not happen. But if i saw that in a game, i am not sure how that would not strike me as bizarre when reading it, i think they need new quality assurance people.

el_chupacabras
el_chupacabras

Feelings shmeelings! People over react to every darn little thing. If you find something you don't like... you don't do it anymore. Why go around and make a huge ruckus for something so minute. Yeah... so she has had a little suffering in the past and it is a bit hurtful. I fear for what the video game industry may have to endure... somebody will get offended about something. People need to learn to just get over it.

Killian420
Killian420

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

MatthewNintendo
MatthewNintendo

I'm seriously shocked by how insensitive people are after reading more of the comments. I'm very impressed by the action ubisoft has taken, it won't take long for the changes to be made anyway. People who are saying "laugh it of silly woman it's only a joke" or similar, imagine losing your child to a disability and then getting branded as that by a game assessing your brian power. It would make you feel aweful. Please think before you all comment.

MatthewNintendo
MatthewNintendo

I don't think people commenting should be so harsh to this lady. It seems she had been going through a very difficult time in her life and a lot of the problems involved disabilities. The last thing she needed was to be called a spastic, which I can imagine would be hurtful, since I live in the UK and it is said by people without any regard to people's feelings.

minos30
minos30

gaming as a global thing, companies should put more attention towards they're putting out.

9344891
9344891

Spastic is not very offensive and it is in the uk because i live there and use spastic all the time.

Pookis2006
Pookis2006

She took it too far i think, but meh. Also, i'd love a game where you get to kill upper class americans who dont give anything back to the community or donate to charity,or move to help the millions suffering elsewhere in the world. it would be sweet.

desolatordan
desolatordan

Well, boohoo. What a way to complain about sucking at a game. Who cares what the "You Lose!" message is. i'd like to know who gave the order to recall the game...

Get_Shorty
Get_Shorty

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

bjmage16
bjmage16

Remember, "spasitic" is offensive in the UK. Just because it's not here, doesn't mean it isn't somewhere else.

xxxxxn
xxxxxn

God, I hate how some people overreact to the smallest things in video games. Like how WarioWare touched was removed from shelves just because Ashley said something like "I have granted kids to h***. " or something like that(I never bought the game, so I wouldn't know what she says). I am Lutheran and I don't find that offensive at all(I think it's kind of funny actually). And yes, I know that spastic means something different in England, but I have been called words like retarded and moron a few times in my life and I was just like "whatever" and walked away or continued working on my homework or whatever I was doing at the time. I hate how the USA censors everything to the point of excess(the banned Pokemon episode where James gets some plastic surgery to win a beauty contest is one example. Is it really that horrible that they can't show that on TV?). I have played much worse video games that are a lot more offensive than that. In Red Steel, the enemies are constantly shouting offensive words/swears(I think I heard F*** you from one of the characters once) and I just laugh when they say that. Actually, the only thing that ever bugged me in a brain improving video game was how in Big Brain Academy: Wii Degree, they have the voice coach, which is a voice coming out of the speakers that says things like "record setting pace, you might set a record, good job, you're almost done, keep going, etc". The problem is the voice is so soft sometimes, and it almost never shuts up. I probably hear the voice 6 times on the average practice with ten problems. Also, the voice praises you no matter how badly you do, unless you do really terrible. One time, I was playing and the voice said "wow so fast, incredible speed, you could set a record, record setting pace, and good job", and I only ended up getting a silver at the end. Cmon, that's just ridiculous that any game has to praise the player that much just so people won't get upset.

VfighterX
VfighterX

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

geebus
geebus

blow way out of proportion..

FilthyYamBag
FilthyYamBag

OK stat, everyone got it, transplant ready. This is gonna be tough, we have to act quickly. Uh doc, yea, i dropped the THICK SKIN. crap, i guess she'll be another whiner with no sense of humor. NEXT.

Grodus5
Grodus5

If games could be pulled off the shelf by offending people, why can't I submit a complaint and get rap music and GTA taken off the shelves?

Metalhead8282
Metalhead8282

God, lighten up people....... It's just a game......people are way too sensitive.....

bobhoffnee1985
bobhoffnee1985

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

mrklorox
mrklorox

Absolutely ridiculous. I didn't realize how offensive 'spastic' is in UK. They're such fannies.

Staccat0
Staccat0

Just thinking... In general, nearly anything negative you say about anyone is prejudice, because its in their DNA... They literally cannot help it. That goes for things like dumb people too (I'm not making a equivalent comparison with palsy understand) I wonder what kind of world we will be old in??? I look at movies now nd the way I see dwarves and little people portrayed is similar to blacks in old cartoons. same goes for calling things "retarded" or "gay" Many of you also seem to think the game was pulled against Ubisofts will. They did it of free will to avoid bad press. What they did was smart. Why offend ANYONE in a CASUAL game. These games are marketed to non-gamers.

gam3r3OOO
gam3r3OOO

One word can cause a game to get recalled. Wow... I kind of think she was overeacting. But I suppose put in her position I probably would've done the same thing. I sometimes feel like the less fortunate should have censored versions of games that are kosher for them (without any off limits words in them). The nature of that kind of game is not to have fun its to improve or maybe find out how "smart" you are. I guess we all saw this coming just like we saw the whole throwing wiimotes at TVs was inevitable too. I really don't like the whole censoring everyones games, tv, radio etc just because of one very small minority.

gaming_otaku
gaming_otaku

We often take for granted a lot of things when it comes to choosing our words. It seems that as long as something doesn't apply to certain people, they'll happily use others' conditions to make fun of someone else. I'm glad Nicola did what she did, and I'm glad UbiSoft acted the way it did. This sort of news shows the world that the videogame industry actually cares about people, as opposed to most of the other news. As to people who are saying that "this just goes to show that the U.S. has a better sense of humor than England," you're wrong. This just goes to show that the U.S. is generally more insensitive towards mental conditions than England is. As long as that kind of attitude is retained in America, videogames will never be taken seriously in the U.S.

Volath
Volath

Her reaction from it and how far she took it pisses me off. And my brother has cerebral palsy.

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

dang, just ruin the game for everyone. That would be like me saying "Brain Age said i was 80 and my grandpa just died at age 80, holy crap"

Pokeruler
Pokeruler

How is spastic offensive? I just don't get it.

rokkuman09
rokkuman09

Wow this is just sad, even if it was something really really offensive, it's a game, get over it.. If the game offends you don't play it it's simple, how does the person survive in day to day to life if she is offended this easily, it's ridiculous.

jpfondeur
jpfondeur

ROFL! I guess the game was right then, huh?

SimuLord
SimuLord

If the word is highly offensive in the market where it's released, a game for all audiences shouldn't contain it. The phrase "bugger off" is a Monty Python joke in America, but tell someone in London to do that and he'll probably punch you in the mouth. One may presume from the tone of the article that "spastic" is similarly different in meaning there rather than here.

HightimesBX
HightimesBX

Last I heard Spastic was a word that LITERALLY MEANS someone of irregular movement. It's not an offensive word and a woman complaining about it is total Bull****. WHICH IS AN OFFENSIVE WORD!

HuxleyHobbes
HuxleyHobbes

Ali_Bubble_67: "I did, and I laughed REALLY hard." So did I, upon imagining this, but not everyone is endowed with thick white rich man's skin like you and I. :(

redskinStu
redskinStu

I think she carried it too far. It's just a game. She's probably like the chicks who want you to stop doing anything near them that might harm their unborn feotus.

Ali_Bubble_67
Ali_Bubble_67

The game is supposed to be a family-friendly title. Just think if someone released a family game in the US that called you hateful racial slurs when you did poorly. The negative publicity would be extremely damaging. I did, and I laughed REALLY hard.

StryfeBringer
StryfeBringer

I see a future where before you play a game, the game will ask you a set of questions such as: 1) what is your race 2) what is your sex 3) do you have any physical impairments? 3a) if you answered yes to question 3, select which impairments from the list below 4) do you have any mental impairments? 4a) if you answered yes to question 4, select which impairments from the list below 5) anything else we need to know NOT to say/do in the game to prevent offending you? By answering those questions, the game can then edit out the "offensive" subject material. Yes, that'll be our overly PC future. And when I say PC, I don't mean personal computer.

Daeman_Uhr
Daeman_Uhr

Absolutely idiotic. If she got spastic she probably deserved it. They should change the 'spastic' result to 'you are retarded'.

vmfstorm1
vmfstorm1

...obviously someone needs to play the game more if said someone keeps scoring so low....but seriously even though words can be "offensive" i dont think any single word should be considered so much so that it has the potential to have a game...meant for entertainment and pleasure...to be pulled from the shelves. Im not attacking the woman and her child, they do have a right to be frustrated, i am more disappointed with ubisoft for taking such drastic measures to solve a relatively trivial matter. When companies do such things to appease people it, in certain ways, spoils the masses into thinking they can get whatever they want from multi billion international corporations.

SowJoan
SowJoan

It's like saying someone is a drooling mongoloid here in the states. I would be mad too. I would laugh at first..but if I had a kid who died of being spastic or was spastic i would be upset.

Elite_Bushido
Elite_Bushido

well spaz aint as bad as"its like tryin to watch a retard hump a door knob"

chubear700
chubear700

I didn't know the game had such a thing. What the hell were they thinking?!? That's just very poor planning, I'm so glad she did something about that cause I could have picked this up for my child thinking it was good EDUTAINMENT material when in fact it had elements in it to potentially target my child's self esteem. Thank you Nicole for speaking up, where ever you are.