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A Response to Some Questions

Posted by Mat on 18th May, 2012
Cut The Card Games In Half

With some hesitance about continuing a sharp tangent from regular discourse that this website is known for (if discussing a card game was a stretch, surmising someone’s opinions during a conversation was a deep lunge, this is probably a 30 minute advanced yoga session) it occurred to me that we’ve held a position about how the continuation of rape culture is terrible, but have had limited success in actually informing anyone of exactly why this is.

Suggesting that something is awful and dismissing it as “just ‘cause” is something that bored parents do. I’m not a parent and I do this writin’ lark for fun, so I thought it’d probably be worthwhile to make a short list of reasons why support for Tentacle Bento and other-such products is kinda awful.

The questions I’m responding to are verbatim (occasionally slightly shortened) criticism or inquiry I’ve received over the last 48 hours:

 

If it only trivialized murdering people like most video games would that be better?

I’m not prepared to definitively justify killing in games, only to essentially back up points I made in another article:

Murder in games is usually justified (and when it isn’t, that’s normally when other widespread media controversies tend to occur).

We’ve established in our culture that murder is bad. We haven’t done that for rape yet.

Murder victims aren’t continually reminded of their attack through media. I’ve been willing to concede that violence might negatively impact people with PTSD, but studies have apparently shown that violence in games has a soothing ability. That’s not a suggestion of justification for their existence, but just something to strengthen the example.

As a favour, though, can we not continue to make this about violence? This is about rape culture.

 

Did Tentacle Bento even feature rape? Isn’t the official stance that the aliens just kidnap the targets?

Brandon over at Insert Credit does a pretty fantastic job of arguing this point in longform through an interview. To shorten it slightly, and to quote Anna Anthropy because she expresses it pretty succinctly:

“john cadice’s sole argument that his game isn’t about rape is that he never once uses the word “rape” and if you don’t see the problem there then you’ve never tried to report a rape in this society.”

 

Is there something I’m missing? Do most goblins like being slain? Do Bond villains like losing? Does Red like losing their flag?

I’m not even answering this. I’ll let you come up with your own interpretation of why this is a terrible thing to suggest.

 

Can @pillowfort can name a top selling game that didn’t seem to trivialize at least one horrible act?

Just Dance does okay. I guess any game where you only shoot robots or monsters? There’s a reason why those slide by more staunch ratings boards.

 

Are you dense? Are you retarded? Do you feel that we should ban all media everywhere if you don’t agree with something in it?

There’s a difference between a flat out ban and accepting that something is in poor taste and you probably shouldn’t create it.

 

I find that your twitter page’s background trivializes animal cruelty.Any defense of that? 

None. I will enjoy dogs dressed up in little costumes for my amusement as long as they continue to remain completely adorable.

 

Is Matt Jones (@Pillowfort) the new Paul Christoforo?

The difference is I wouldn’t pretend to want to go to PAX.

 

What kind of world is this where you are getting the negative attention for standing up against trivializing rape?

Bro. Tell me about it.

 

This disgreement is about a CARD GAME? Jesus I thought this was like a graphic rape simulator.

Does it have to be a graphic representation in order to be a problem? Is the concept being implied not enough of an issue? The game suggests that raping as many women as possible before time runs out is a cool thing to do. That’s enough for me.

 

Why would you even follow someone on Twitter who you disagree with and dislike strongly?

Impartial sources are useful. You shouldn’t just get information from places that you traditionally agree with.

Plus, for as little as we have in common, Gabe’s still an important figure in gaming culture. You’re reading this as a result of a dumb conversation he and I had. That’s influence.

 

You do realize that murder IS worse than rape? I don’t see you complaining about games with murder.

You’d never heard of me before this happened. I do plenty of complaining about games that include murder.

 

Are you saying you boycott ANY game that involves killing?

Boycott? No. Avoid entirely? No. Look down on a little? Yeah. Just senseless killing is a dull way to spend your time.

 

Where do you see the game compared to typical anime/hentai movies?

I don’t have a lot of experience with Anime (Death Note’s pretty good. FMA’s cool. I’m watching Cowboy Bebop again at the moment) so I don’t feel qualified to make a comparative  judgement.

 

So you admittedly don’t watch a lot of anime, but feel that you’ve got the full perspective on an obviously anime based game?

You don’t need a lot of cultural context to suggest that a trivial depiction of rape is bad.

 

I don’t see you complaining about games that trivialize poverty, inequality, murder, torture, homelessness, the exploitation of third world countries by the first world and many other social or global ills.

I’m not doing a good enough job, then. That’s what this website’s for. See also: When I said further up in this post that you’ve never heard of me before.

 

If people find it so bad why didn’t they protest years ago when Blockbuster, Hollywood video, and other Rental places and stores carried the very anime films this game parodies?

I can’t speak for anyone else, but personally it might have been because nowhere I shopped carries this stuff. If people feel strong enough about anything like this I think a boycott’s an excellent use of their time. Let managers and higher-ups know that your patronage of their business is damaged by the products they support.

 

You know that internet white knighting won’t get real girls to sleep with you, right?

As I type this I am getting an inordinate amount of text messages from my girlfriend who posits that I’m ignoring her.

So, it’s possible that I might soon be sleeping with less women than when I started.

 

Do the cards actually hurt children?

They prop up the trivialisation of rape, so, yeah, technically.

11 Responses to “A Response to Some Questions”

  1. Harry says:

    Congratulations on writing one of the most self congratulatory posts outside of reddit, lets take this apart.

    “Murder in games is usually justified (and when it isn’t, that’s normally when other widespread media controversies tend to occur).”

    Hitman. Pretty much any bethesda RPG. Batman games (where you murder people who are mentally ill). Need i continue? Funnily enough all games you rate highly.

    “Murder victims aren’t continually reminded of their attack through media.”

    You think witnesses, family members etc aren’t continually reminded?

    “As a favour, though, can we not continue to make this about violence? This is about rape culture.”

    Well no, seeing as the crux of your argument that video games about rape trivialise rape, you can’t then selectively exempt other crimes from this.

    “Are you saying you boycott ANY game that involves killing?

    Boycott? No. Avoid entirely? No. Look down on a little? Yeah. Just senseless killing is a dull way to spend your time.”

    Says the guy who likes Street Fighter. Tell me about the deep and meaningful plot behind that eh?

    I think the game is stupid, but you draw vast conclusions from $1000~ worth of commitments? (It is higher now, but that must be discounted as that’s only because of all the media attention it’s had originally no one gave a poopie) In the whole wide world? That isn’t even enough to pay for the machine the thing would need to be coded on let alone making it commercially viable yet you draw vast swathing conclusions from this.

    • Harry says:

      Also just want to point out you literally said

      “murder in games is usually justified”

      Justifiable. Murder.

      Definition of murder

      “Murder is the unlawful killing, with malice aforethought, of another human”

      Yeah. Nice. Good going mr “video games could be better”

    • Mat says:

      Hitman. Pretty much any bethesda RPG. Batman games (where you murder people who are mentally ill). Need i continue? Funnily enough all games you rate highly.

      You’re given motivation in Hitman. All of your targets “deserve” it, that’s why they’ve been targeted for assassinations. You’re even discouraged from attacking anyone innocent.

      I don’t personally go around killing innocent people in a Bethesda game, nor at any point does the game force you to.

      Batman doesn’t kill anyone.

      You think witnesses, family members etc aren’t continually reminded?

      Someone’s offered some relevant statistics in another comment thread, I’ll dig them up after answering the rest of this stuff and post it after.

      Well no, seeing as the crux of your argument that video games about rape trivialise rape, you can’t then selectively exempt other crimes from this.

      if we argue about every other crime first we’ll never get to the actual subject

      Says the guy who likes Street Fighter. Tell me about the deep and meaningful plot behind that eh?

      You don’t kill anyone in street fighter. It has amazing mechanics that make it almost on a par with chess. Not many other games are like that.

      I think the game is stupid, but you draw vast conclusions from $1000~ worth of commitments? (It is higher now, but that must be discounted as that’s only because of all the media attention it’s had originally no one gave a poopie) In the whole wide world? That isn’t even enough to pay for the machine the thing would need to be coded on let alone making it commercially viable yet you draw vast swathing conclusions from this.

      What does this mean?

      • Harry says:

        OK

        “You’re given motivation in Hitman. All of your targets “deserve” it, that’s why they’ve been targeted for assassinations. You’re even discouraged from attacking anyone innocent.”

        Apart from all the no name soldiers etc you kill on the way?

        “Batman doesn’t kill anyone.”

        The criminals you knock out flatline after moments, go check if you need to.

        “if we argue about every other crime first we’ll never get to the actual subject”

        No, but the only way to have any leg to stand on is if you apply your laudable morals to everything.

        “You don’t kill anyone in street fighter. It has amazing mechanics that make it almost on a par with chess. Not many other games are like that.”

        It’s senseless violence, in the real world that leads to death. I’ll assume on a par chess line was a joke

        “What does this mean?”

        You made a big deal of some stupid thing that no one was going to buy, and used it to justify your view of the world.

        • Mat says:

          Have you actually played a Hitman game?

          +

          Trust me. I know enough about batman to know that batman doesn’t kill anyone.

          +

          I don’t claim to be the arbiter of why violence is acceptable, I even say that in the post

          +

          I wasn’t kidding about the chess part. You should watch some professional level SSF4AE play, it’s like a ballet.

          +

          Okay.

        • Stephen says:

          The henchmen in the Batman games are explicitly described as “unconscious” forever. Now, one could argue that, realistically, anyone who is punched so hard they’re unconscious for more than a few seconds is probably going to die, and in the real world, they would be right. Batman does not take place in the real world.

          • Schadrach says:

            Neither does Tentacle Bento? Yes, I know, that’s a terrible argument, but I’m using it more to point out that it applies to Tentacle Bento just as well as Batman.

            • Mat says:

              I don’t want to say that you need to read it again, but the point he’s making isn’t that “this isn’t real so it doesn’t matter”, more “this isn’t real so the severity of the injury differs from our regular expectations”.

  2. Not-an-alt-account says:

    Do the cards actually hurt children?

    “They prop up the trivialisation of rape, so, yeah, technically.”

    Why are children playing this game? Didn’t know children had credit cards……….. Yes, it must be everyone fault but the parents….

    If a card game affected someone’s mind to the point that they see no wrong in rape, murder, and what not that person must have other issues.

    There will always be that one person trying to push his ideals on other people with censorship and that person will always lose in this day and age.

  3. Mat says:

    Here’s the really messed up part:

    Kids don’t even have to play the game.

    Just growing up in a culture where it exists is damaging enough.

  4. Dusk says:

    If you truly feel that trivializing murder in games is just as bad as trivializing, would you consider making a post calling for protest of Carmageddon ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/stainlessgames/carmageddon-reincarnation ), a project poised to raise half a million dollars for a game that explicitly rewards players for running over innocent civilians? You can’t say that the victims are justified in that case.

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