If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Quarrel XBLA exposes baffling Microsoft word filter

"Balls", "shaft", "train", "god" deemed unacceptable.

Well-received strategic wordplay game Quarrel has exposed a curious mandatory word filter imposed on developers by Microsoft.

As detailed by Edge, players have taken to the game's forums following its Xbox Live Arcade release earlier this week to complain of having seemingly innocuous words turned down.

Though ridiculously conservative, one can hazard a guess why Microsoft might not want the likes of "balls" and "shaft" being thrown around Xbox Live. However, the game is also refusing "help", "train", "start", "dice", "god" and various others seemingly innocent examples.

Gary Penn from developer Denki explained that it's out of his control.

"Quarrel uses the Collins official Scrabble dictionary comprising over 110,000 words up to eight letters in length, including a huge collection of words deemed 'offensive' by Collins, such as 'arse', 's***', 'w***' and 'f***'," he said.

"You can make any offensive word you can find in single player mode - unless you have the Xbox 'Family Setting' turned on.

"Microsoft has an additional filter in place for all Xbox Live games, which we have to support," he added.

"But while we have to use that filter, we don't know which words are permitted. From playing, we do know that it includes such oddities as 'help', 'start', 'skid', 'poop', 'bung', 'hung', 'dice' and 'god'. Microsoft clearly has its reasons for censoring such words within Live games."

We've asked Microsoft to explain exactly what's happening here and will update if we hear back.

The original iOS version of Denki's game was among Eurogamer's picks of 2011, while the XBLA version picked up a hearty 9/10 earlier this week.

"Quarrel is still the horribly compelling single-player game it's always been on mobiles, with an extra dollop of polish and a few new tantalising game modes for the console release - and all for the laughable sum of 400 Microsoft Points," read John Bedford's Quarrel review.

Topics in this article

Follow topics and we'll email you when we publish something new about them.  Manage your notification settings .

About the Author
Fred Dutton avatar

Fred Dutton


Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

Eurogamer.net logo

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Explore our store
Eurogamer.net Merch