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Penny Arcade, Tentacle Bento, A Summation

Posted by Mat on 17th May, 2012
I just can't even parse why someone with a history of receiving criticism for trivialising rape would Fucking Continue.

It’s not often our scene to write up TMZ-style examinations of celebrity opinions regarding current events, but it feels justified in this instance as this is probably of as much relevance to the “Saga of Tentacle Bento” as the sale of the game itself.

Not long after I’d finished writing a post detailing Tentacle Bento’s bereft existence Mike Krahulik of Penny Arcade made his support of the product known. You’ll remember Mike has previously received criticism for some of his work which is probably not even worth going into; we know what dickwolves are. We know what he’s had to say about them.

I approached Mike with shock, not necessarily due to his support of the product, but in confusion as to why a man already under scrutiny for his opinions surrounding rape culture would stoke flames even further. He suggested that though I personally don’t appreciate the product, it has a right to exist.

I’ll agree completely; the right to freedom of expression is important. All I am suggesting is that Tentacle Bento is in incredibly poor taste. A game where the object is to kidnap the most girls is protected by free speech, but horrendously indecent. Its existence trivialises the seriousness of rape; that is at best ill-advised. If it were to receive funding and be freely available it only serves to continue a terrible continuation of thought that rape is permissible and entertaining. It completely has the right to do so; it’s just awful that it should exert that right.

In a reply, I flippantly suggested that we couldn’t deny the merit of a game about kidnapping and rape, to which Mike countered with an assertion that, because games trivialise violence and we find them acceptable, rape clearly also serves as a relevant and acceptable place to draw entertainment from.

Though I feel somewhat under-qualified to argue against his point given that I have middling opinion of overly violent games (not from any moral objection, I just find the mechanic of “shoot a man” to be more than played out) I’ve noted suggestions that twitter uses have supplied me with as to why murder is more acceptable:

1)      Murder in games is normally justified within the fiction. There’s no justification for rape.

2)      Much of society doesn’t view murder as acceptable. We’re still trying to get there with rape.

3)      Murder victims aren’t continually reminded of their attack through media.

Mike made a few more comments that aren’t worth much further discourse, then affirmed that his position was entirely one of wishing to fight censorship (while also exerting his right to silence anyone he disagrees with).

I suggested that, as a show of faith that this is truly his position and not that he continues these posts in active support of rape culture, that Mike should donate some money to a charity that supports rape victims. Rape continues to be a serious issue, even if the staff of Penny Arcade would like to defend the freedom of speech, the least they could do would be to support those that have suffered through the reality of what’s being discussed. He responded to this by questioning my mental health.

He then posted a picture of some candy and a video game.

As of this post I am making no plans to attend a PAX.

I might still watch those behind the scenes videos they make of how their comics are written because their process is kind of fascinating, but I’ll be bitter about it.

51 Responses to “Penny Arcade, Tentacle Bento, A Summation”

  1. Code_Monkey says:

    I should say that I am a big fan of PA, and probably biased, but here’s my two cents on your 3 points.

    1)It’s true that murder is “justified” (though justifying murder at any case is a huge discussion by itself, but go with it for now) most of the times in videogames, but only storywise. Pretty much everytime the game leaves you alone in a town or a city (skyrim and GTA for example) , most people will start killing and attacking random people, because it’s fun gameplay-wise. Hell, in GTA’s case that’s its selling point.

    2)Although I’m not from America, so we obviously have a huge cultural difference, i believe that most people don’t view rape as acceptable (unless you count the “Grey” areas like having sex when someone is drunk, but then you should add the grey areas of murder, like killing a kid molester)

    3)When it comes to video games I think they are. If someone’s father got killed in a drive-by, then every second of San Andreas will remind him of it.

    On a whole I don’t think that Tentacle Bento is that big of a deal. The fact that it does make light of rape doesn’t mean that it will make people think that rape is okay, same with video games and murder, or even rap music and gangs.

    I have to agree though on the fact that Mike does come off as a dick in the internet, but I don’t believe he’s like that in person. Same with Scott Kurtz really. I don’t think that should be a reason for you to miss PAX if you want to go.

    • Mat says:

      Thanks for your even-handed and rational response. It’s not something I’ve come to expect over the last couple hours.

      I won’t claim that I put a lot of faith in the justifications as I haven’t had nearly as much time to consider them; you raise salient points.

      I’ll likely respond in better detail when I’ve had more time to think about it.

      • smhll says:

        I think your notion that videogame killing has justification in the story is a good point. In a mini-game with tentacles and kidnapping, the implied justification for implied rape is “hey, that sounds like fun”. To my mind, not a good justification!

      • I thought I would contribute this to the point about murder and being reminded of it; this This American Life episode was eye-opening for me:
        http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/342/transcript

        …The part that troubled me was the idea that, yes, there are people who are constantly triggered by reminders of events of murder, because they themselves were extremely close to a murder. For them, a murder mystery dinner party (something I enjoy and have written multiple of myself) is not fun, it’s a PTSD episode.

        This is troubling partly because it makes me realize how inured we are to murder in our culture; it makes me wonder if there’s something wrong with that. But whether or not there is, it IS a fact of our culture: should I stop writing fun murder mysteries because someone out there might be triggered by it?

        It’s a difficult question that fascinates me because I can see all perspectives involved; and there’s no simple answer.

      • JuJitsu Girl says:

        On the topic of rape and the current political crap that’s been happening in the US, as I am a woman and the writer is not, I would like to make a few points. When it comes to female rape in the our thriving culture. It is not funny or entertaining. I think the writer and most sane people agree with me. It is not something that should up for discussion in our culture. Politicians have been dragging rape through the media lately for attention. I am personally offended and sickened by anyone who thinks they have a right to tell a rape victim they weren’t actually raped. My last point is that women aren’t the only ones who can be raped. They’re not the only ones who can be molested or sexually harassed. It is a hard and horrible thing to try to understand, but making light of it makes it easier to discuss. I doubt that soda pop miniatures thought about all the heavy stuff when they were making their game. They probably thought “You know what’s a big trend right now? Tentacles. People love tentacles. Lets make a funny game about Japanese school girls and market it to the adult anime/manga crowd.”

        Talking about these things is simply our way as a culture to deal with the horrors and injustices we face or may face at some point in time. If I believed or accepted everything I’ve seen in a video game/board game/TV/ and other media than I would be too frightened to even leave the house let alone care about what they put in a card game. If the game was about a modern city clown kidnapping and torturing children then I would be incredibly upset.

        The game is just a silly way for people to talk about something that scares them. We (as human beings) have always tried to make light of these sorts of things. You can look to any classical comedy for proof of that. Blowing it out of proportion and making it out to be some sort of crusade against rape victims will only take the humor out of the game and make it into something ugly. I mean seriously, it’s a tentacle monster in a hot girls backpack. As far as I know, and I could be wrong here, no one has ever actually been attacked or raped by an octopus, squid or similar formed alien. I’m not afraid of tentacle monsters, although the aforementioned clowns… they scare the poopie out of me.

        The whole tentacle thing is an altogether different discussion about Japan and the weird things that come out of their culture. It’s long been known by most of the world and the vast majority of internet users that tentacle hentai is about as weird as it can get, and as far as I’m (as a woman) concerned the farthest rape can get from being rape considering it’s completely fictional and not at all plausible until we either invent or discover a life form with a sentient brain and a taste for human women. Then I suppose the game would be offensive and in incredibly poor taste. (Not to mention offensive to the tentacle monsters, what if they are very civil and polite non reproducing creatures?)

        Last statement I promise: I don’t think there is any actual rape in the game or that they even suggest the the monsters will rape the girls. Maybe they have a “To Eat Man” cookbook. The art is cute, the companies other games have been incredibly fun and interesting. It’s just a game, it’s not the end of the world and it’s not going to tell people that rape, murder, kidnapping, or clowns are okay. We decide how we feel about the big bad things in our lives and we decide how to stand up to them. If you feel so strongly about the topic I suggest you help by spreading knowledge about the rights and services available to help victims and prevent attacks.

        -A concerned women
        Sorry for any spelling and grammatical errors, typing on a touchpad sucks indeed

    • I’d like to respectfully disagree with you on some of your points here.

      1. I’m not sure “most” people would do so, but even granting that, it still misrepresents the significant difference between the two crimes and the attitudes involved. I’ll get into that in the other points, but presuming that because both are terrible crimes that means that they are the same ignores the important differences between them.

      2. While most people don’t approve of rape, we still live in a society that doesn’t take rape seriously, not the way we take murder seriously. While people react to confirmed rapes, they take a long time in establishing that one has even taken place so they can treat it the way they should. Only about 3% of rapists are actually punished for their crimes (http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates). Rape victims are often ignored or blamed for their rape. Nobody looks at a murder victim and says, “Well, if only he hadn’t worn that shirt, he’d still be alive. I mean, he was practically asking for it.” Making a game of rape further trivializes a crime that is already not taken nearly seriously enough.

      So, no, rape is not “acceptable,” but it’s not treated with any seriousness, and I can’t imagine making a game out of it will change that in any sort of positive way.

      3. The majority of (read: all) murder victims will not be playing or viewing violent video games. The majority of rape victims are still alive. Yes, if my father was killed, murder in video games may affect me, but not nearly in the way that rape in video games would affect me if I was directly raped. Trauma directly experienced is far different than trauma that happens to other people, even if we’re close to them.

      Moreover, rape leads to a whole lot of other problems that victims of attempted murder and those related to murder victims (since, as I pointed out, murder victims are incapable of playing or viewing video games) don’t have to deal with. They are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likely to suffer from PTSD, 13 times more likely to abuse alcohol, and 26 time more likely to abuse drugs according to the World Health Organization. Compared to homocide survivors, there simply is no comparison (http://www.ncvc.org/ncvc/main.aspx?dbName=DocumentViewer&DocumentID=32358). This is not to say those touched by murder don’t suffer, they do, but it’s much, much different and the chances that games like this will trigger a rape victim are much, much higher than the chance that they’ll trigger somebody affected in some way by murder.

      All of that being said, the major problem with Mike’s support is that it is based on the premise that this is “censorship” and some sort of free speech issue. It isn’t.

      The creators of this game have every right to make it. In fact, if they were being censored, they wouldn’t have been able to move to their own site. Kickstarter is under no obligation whatsoever to provide them a platform for them to create this game. The creators have the freedom to speak, and the rest of us have the freedom to consider them abhorrent and not want to have anything to do with their game, including the people who run Kickstarter. Far too often people confuse a right to say what you want, which is a real right in much of the industrialized world, with the entirely fictional right to say what you want consequence free. Mike has made that mistake.

      • Schadrach says:

        1. The GTA and Saint’s Row series more or less demonstrate his point. Rampant murder and mayhem are more or less the point of the game. Compare to how other vaguely similar games performed — Saboteur and Mafia didn’t do nearly as well, in no small part because they made just going on a rampage a lot more difficult and less rewarding, and LA Noire is exceptional primarily because of the new tech it brought to the table. Even outside of that genre (though it should be noted that the offending card game is a take on a genre of anime and largely follows its conventions), I could still point you to piles of games in which the murder of innocents is an element of play. Heck even in Black & White, the murder of your own people in exchange for extra mana was a core game-play mechanic, and children seemed to be generally worth more.

        2. Define taking rape seriously. Is that accusation = guilt? Because the problem with rape cases is that we have this silly little concept called innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, and people don’t generally take an accusation to constitute that level of guilt on its own. In many of these cases, there literally is no evidence aside from the testimony of the victim. That’s one of the reasons the so-called “Dear Colleague” letter is so heinous — it provides a means with which a student can accuse another and effectively put an end to their education, with a ridiculously low threshold of proof required.

        3. The let’s trade murder out for non-sexual violent assault, since as you point out, being dead means they aren’t exactly playing a lot of games.

        @Mat:

        “Mike made a few more comments that aren’t worth much further discourse, then affirmed that his position was entirely one of wishing to fight censorship (while also exerting his right to silence anyone he disagrees with).”

        Is it fair to point out that there’s a difference between “Let’s raise a swarm of people and have Mat forcibly removed from Twitter” and “I’m not going to listen to Mat anymore, personally, in a way that affects no one else”? The former is what was done to Tentacle Bento — “Let’s raise a swarm of people to complain to Kickstarter to remove a game they’d already approved until they cave in because we have problems with it” rather than “I have a problem with this, I’d rather not buy it.” I have a sneaking suspicion that the same people who pushed to have it removed are going to try to continue to prevent it from being made — maybe try to get PayPal (or whoever they use) to freeze their account? I know some Shakesville commenters want it to be more than cancelled, they want the page locked, updates disabled, and an apology from Kickstarter posted in place of the projects former page, because the mere cancellation meant that the old project page now has a link to the new one, and merely kicking it off Kickstarter wasn’t good enough because it didn’t destroy the project entirely.

        • Mat says:

          RE: Your last point. I recognise the difference. I wrote that because it seemed poetic not because the two were necessarily connected.

          It’s “You need to stop talking” vs “I’m going to stop listening”.

        • 1. Again, though, murder is not blamed on victims. Nor is non-sexual violent assault. The victims of that don’t have to deal with recrimination for their own victimization the way that rape victims often do. Other victims are given the benefit of the doubt that they may have actually been assaulted and not just accusing people of assaulting them without cause.

          2. Well, for one thing, we can stop asking the question of rape victims, “What were you wearing?” We can stop attempting to find ways that they could have been responsible for their own rape. We can investigate rape cases and stop trying to pass legislation that only specifically bans “forcible rape”. Moreover, we can make it where accusation = investigation to determine if there is guilt.

          My question is: why would somebody lie about rape? I admit, it happens, but why would you think this is such a wide-spread problem that rape victims need to be routinely ignored and have their claims given extra scrutiny as compared to breaking and entering, for example? It’s the only crime in which the victim is as likely to receive extra scrutiny in their life and depending on where she is, shunning from their community. If it’s a man being raped, he is likely to be met with accusations of not being masculine enough. If it’s a woman, as it is in the overwhelming number of cases, she is likely to be condemned and victim blamed for having been assaulted. That simply doesn’t happen to people who are robbed, non-sexually assaulted, conned, or the victim of any other crime. Moreover, there’s a very good chance that they will simply be ignored (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=96556&page=1#.T7qno0VYuf8 , http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-police-passers-by-ignored-reported-gang-rape-on-tel-aviv-beach-witness-says-1.424681 , http://www.willamettelive.com/2011/news/allegations-of-ignored-rapes-unsafe-working-conditions-at-oregon-youth-authority/ , http://www.care2.com/causes/women-sue-military-for-ignoring-rape.html , http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/nisvs/index.html , etc.). So, with rape being likely to be ignored and, if it isn’t, provide a good chance that the victim will be mistreated by their community and accused of inviting the assault, why would somebody randomly accuse others of rape? I know this does happen, but it is far from a common phenomenon, especially in comparison to the number of people who continue to be victimized long after their rape. Arguing that because people do make false accusations, we shouldn’t take accusations seriously is akin to arguing that we shouldn’t investigate possible child abuse or should make video games focusing on it because some kids call DCFS on their parents for not giving them ice cream.

          As to “innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt,” there are two things wrong with this. The first is that you tacked the last part onto the end. “Beyond a reasonable doubt” is just one of many legal standards by which evidence is judged, and suggesting that we change that standard to one where a person only needs to prove that a person most likely committed a crime, especially one with the unique characteristics of rape, is neither unheard of nor even particularly rare. We change the standard by which legal issues are judged all the time. The other problem is that it does not require that the best possible interpretation of any evidence be given to the defendant ( http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Innocent+until+proven+guilty).

          3. As I mentioned above, victims of non-sexual assault can at least expect the support of their community whereas there’s no reasonable expectation for rape victims that they will receive anything other than doubt at the least and blame at the worst. The “Dear Colleague” letter that you mention above was a reminder of current law and the consequences of not reminding people that “beyond a reasonable doubt” has thus far allowed for the assault of thousands of people who have no recourse. That’s why Title IX mandates another standard of judgement in the case of sexual assault: because the other one was allowing rapists to get off for their crimes. It’s only heinous if you’re arguing from a place of privilege where, were you sexually assaulted, you could at least be under the reasonable expectation of being believed, and the odds of you being assaulted in that fashion are vanishingly small.

          I’m not sure how you justify allowing roughly 90% of real rapes go 97% unpunished in order to condemn the roughly 10% of false accusations, but it rather demonstrates my point that rape is not taken seriously. Most other crimes have a much higher percentage of false claims which would equally ruin a person’s life, but it seems that the only crime in which the accused is given an inordinate benefit of the doubt is sexual assault. “Innocent until proven guilty”

          So with all of that in mind, no, it’s still not the same when a person who has survived a non-sexual assault has to deal with video games that involve assaulting people. They are not likely to continue to be victimized, they are not likely to not be believed, they are not likely to suffer as many of the problems I mentioned in my above post. It’s not the same thing, and treating it as such downplays the very horrendous nature of rape.

          • makomk says:

            Murder in general may not be blamed on the victims or treated as acceptable, but a lot of the murder in video games is murder by soldiers as an act of war and there are definitely a plenty of people who think that’s perfectly acceptable. Also, look at the ways the US military, for instance, has justified murdering civilians – a lot of that falls squarely under the umbrella of “victim blaming”.

          • minuialear says:

            Ethnic minority homicide/assault victims are blamed all the time (“That black kid was wearing a hoodie; if he hadn’t looked so sketchy, I wouldn’t have shot”/”That Latino boy gave me a weird look, so I assumed he was in a gang and shot him”/”If the black guy hadn’t reached into his pocket to pull out his phone, we wouldn’t have had to panic and think he was reaching for a gun, and therefore wouldn’t have had to shoot him”).

            This doesn’t necessarily negate the overall message of your post, and nor do I mean it to; I’m just getting tired of the “murder victims never get blamed” mentality. Any black/Latino person in America can tell you otherwise.

          • TD says:

            You have no idea what percentage of rapes get reported to the police. It is literally an unknowable number. Anyone who claims otherwise is an obvious liar. RAINN is well known for lying about rape statistics and simply making numbers up, when they don’t cherry pick.

            If someone doesn’t report a rape to the police, what are the odds that they will to some random person who is conducting an impersonal, over the phone survey? Seriously, how would you EVER know that 54% of rapes go unreported?

            How do you get numbers like that?

            The answer is you don’t. The numbers are made up. Anytime anyone cites a statistic about what percentage of rapes go unreported, you KNOW that they’re liars who are making up their numbers, as the VERY FACT that a large number of rapes go unreported make them unknowable – people even talk about how many rape victims never tell anyone they were raped -while citing these statistics-.

            Don’t ever trust RAINN.

            And remember, accusation is not equivalent to guilt. People lie about being victims of crimes – or about -committing- crimes – all the time. 60 people claimed they were the perpetrators of the Black Dahlia crime. Dozens of people put forward their own relatives as suspects. Why do people do these things? For attention. Because they have a grudge to settle. Because they are mentally ill.

            Another easy way to read RAINN’s study:

            46 people get reported to the police
            Of those, only 12 of the cases are credible enough to even lead to an arrest, and a quarter of those end with the charges being dropped. Even of those (now at 1/5th of those accused of committing rape) who go to trial, half of them are NOT found guilty of committing rape.

            Or to put it simply: 9 times out of 10, there isn’t enough evidence of rate to warrant a conviction. Per our justice system, that means the accused was innocent.

            Saying that anyone accused of committing rape is guilty is not only a lie, but it is devastating to the person’s reputation, even when they’re found innocent. The entire purpose of the justice system is to avoid innocent people being put in jail.

            RAINN doesn’t understand that, and that makes them bad people. Period.

            We DO take accusations of rape seriously, by and large, hence WHY people’s reputations tend to get ruined if they’re even accused of such things, -even if they are found innocent-. And that is in part due to people like yourself, who assume that they are guilty automatically.

            And no, actually, beyond a reasonable doubt is THE standard for ALL criminal convictions. If you cannot prove beyond reasonable doubt that it happened, then the person should not be spending years of their life in jail and suffering social stigma for a crime they did not do.

            Anyone who says otherwise is a vicious rapist who needs to be in jail without a trial, and you have to believe me, because why would I lie? :3

            I will also note one other thing:

            Just because you are not at fault of being raped, you are responsible for your own personal safety. While the rapes of many minors are difficult to prevent, college students who go out and get drunk with random folk are putting their personal safety at risk. Do they deserve to be raped? Are they asking to be raped? No, obviously not (if they were, it wouldn’t be rape, now would it?). But are you much more likely to be taken advantage of when you’re drunk (or high, or whatever) with a bunch of people you don’t know very well? Yes, yes you are.

            A lot of rapes are preventable by simply not exposing yourself to a dangerous situation.

            • You see, all I heard was “Blah, blah, blah, I don’t cite any sources, blah, blah, blah, what about the poor MENZ?”

              That you don’t understand how statistics works doesn’t make those citing them liars, it just makes you ignorant.

              As to the last thing you said, that is probably the stupidest part of your whole little diatribe. You know how rapes can be prevented? By not raping people.

              Now, if you’d like to present some evidence to support a single thing you’ve said, we can talk, but until then I’m going to invoke Hitchens’s Razor.

              • GlitchKiller says:

                Kaoru, at no point in his argument did TD mention rape on men. If you’re talking about his statements about the social stigma of the accusation of rape, those are good points that should not be dismissed as misogyny.

              • Kaoru Negisa says:

                I didn’t dismiss it as misogyny, I dismissed it as unsupported, hence my invocation of Hitchens’s razor. And they’re not “good points”, they’re meaningless derails that try to redirect attention back to men.

    • DW says:

      I’m going to guess that Code-Monkey is a) a man and B0 has never been raped, harassed, or sexually threatened.

      Many people in America already think that rape is no big deal and the girl deserved it because she was drunk, dressed that way, asked for it, was at that place at that time with that person, was out alone, etc.

      We won’t be wasting out time and or money on anything PA produces and on this poopiety game, either.

      You try raising both a son and a daughter in this culture. It stinks.

      • DW says:

        Hey, there’s a ton of typos there. Sorry.

        I also hate the “rational” voice of those who will likely never be the victim of sexual violence. It’s not rational, it’s ignorant.

      • Code_Monkey says:

        Well, I did say that I’m not an american, so I really don’t know how bad things are over there. I guess the whole “she was asking for it” is a big issue over there since I keep hearing about it,I’ll give you that, but I am not ready to believe the “97% rapists get away” is just because of rape culture. (First thing that comes to mind is a minority being a rape victim, and losing in court. This happened because of the injustice towards minorities, not because rape culture)

        Still I don’t really believe that tentacle bento will make people think less of rape. Those people who rationalise rape and say stuff like “she was asking for it” are already gently caressed up because of bad parenting, bad education etc. I don’t believe they turned out like that just because tentacle rape hentai exists, or even because stand up comedians make rape jokes and that makes people think less of rape.

        But even after all that, if you do enjoy their comic, or video game, PAX or any product of theris for that matter, it’s a shame that the fact that you think they are dickheads stops you from enjoying their products. Scott Kurtz makes me hate him with every other tweet he makes, like legit-want-to-punch-a-wall mad, and is pretty much an all around asshole, but I don’t think that would stop me from reading his strip. The same way that people can’t stand Tom Cruise because of his opinions, but go to watch his films since he’s a good actor.

        Lastly I am a monkey THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

    • Jessica says:

      The difference between murder and rape is that when you see murder depicted, you may empathize with the victim (unjustifiable murder) or with the perpetrator (justifiable murder). When I say justifiable, I mean by your own internal standards, I mean you identify and relate to one party, but *it is not the same party every time.* Rape is different. Every time a woman sees rape depicted, she feels empathy for the victim, she thinks about what it feels like to be the victim, she is reminded that she was previously and/or could in the future be a victim. A woman never experiences a rape depiction from the perspective of the perpetrator. A man watching depictions of rape will never feel what a woman feels Every. Single. Time. He may deplore it and find it horrible, sure, but it is not a giant flashing neon sign saying “THIS IS WHAT WE DO TO PEOPLE LIKE YOU. AND IT IS HILARIOUS.” Murder is different because it could be anyone; rape is different because rape (as it is popularly depicted for entertainment and humor) is always women.

  2. Charred Knight says:

    Sometimes the killing is justified and sometimes it’s not. While FPS generally try to justify killing in the single player, the multiplayer which is the main draw of the system is simply killing other people to increase your kill count/score/ranking.

    Even some games don’t even try to do that, the entire point of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is to take over the drug trade of Vice City, killing anyone who stands in your way. My problem with the whole thing is that you can say that some things shouldn’t be made, but I don’t agree with someone trying to campaign against one type of game while not caring about another controversial game. Is Leo Plunkett going to campaign that Mortal Kombat should remove fatalties? He hasn’t done it so far. Is he going to ask readers to send in complaints hat GTA should drop all hitman missions? Not that I have seen. Is their a rape culture? Yeah, and at the same time their is a gun culture that is only getting worse (as can be seen by things like less regulation, and things like Stand your ground laws.

    Sexualizing rape and then selling it is certainly wrong but to try to dismiss violence like that does come off as hypocritical.

  3. Cole Cash says:

    I think it’s important to point out that Tentacle Bento is satirizing tentacle rape and not regular rape, for lack of a better expression. It seems pretty clear by the octopus style tentacle in some of the imagery that they are making fun of some of the ridiculous hentai out there that features women being raped by phallic shaped tentacles. I haven’t heard of any victims of this in real life.

  4. Chris says:

    A lot of the coverage of this game and the cancellation of its funding via Kickstarter has started with a very forceful premise: namely, that the conversation has to be about rape. The moral violence used to support this assertion has been pretty shocking: pre-empting other points of view by starting the discussions with characterizations of “poor taste” and “creepiness” is much closer rape culture than Tentacle Bento. I recently saw a rape awareness poster that said “it’s not consent if you make me afraid to say no.” Similarly, in this situation, “it’s not a dialog if you make me afraid to speak my mind.” Just like the girl in the short skirt must be a slut, the investor or fan of Tentacle Bento must be creepy or, and this is expressed more strongly than the innuendo of Tentacle Bento, a misogynist.

    I expressed a counter argument to Mr. Sheffield in the comments to his article commenting on his interview with Mr. Cadice. Kirk Hamilton encouraged me to repost those comments on his Kotaku piece reporting on Mr. Sheffield’s interview. I think it might be worth also posting here in a somewhat summarized form. The satire of Tentacle Bento is a satire of the Western reaction to a seemingly bizarre aspect of a non-Western culture. Anyone who actually gets off on the idea of violence against women will find Tentacle Bento to be a total disappointment because of its studious ambiguity. That ambiguity is at the heart of the game’s concept: making you question why you react to something the way that you do and what kind assumptions you bring to the table.

    I cannot take entire credit for this analysis. I was helped along by reading the tumblr comments of a person called Michelle Zhang who posted this: “So where’s the controversy? The controversy comes from our own minds. Our own already twisted minds projecting our thoughts on to the game. And in a way I feel like this game is suppose to get us to have that reaction. It’s a sort of commentary on how we see certain things. A commentary on how this genre has been so pervasive that we automatically associate “tentacle” with something more sinister.” (http://mishyz.tumblr.com/post/23170453317/ewww-tentacles)

    Rather than forcing into defending against an accusation of rape-apologism, a situation so analgous to the rape victim corralled into bearing the burden of explaining her attackers perception of her, those who have a powerful voice on the internet should use it to encourage (as Kirk Hamilton did) dialog with those who don’t share their views. Is it any wonder that people who assume that others share their assumptions or want to force them to do so missed the point of Tentacle Bento — a game that makes us reconsider our preconceptions and evaluate our discomfort?

    • Sally says:

      I’m glad you get to “reconsider your preconceptions” and “evaluate your discomfort” on a topic that women not only live with the reminders of and fear of every single day of their lives, but one in four also get to viscerally experience (and then be reminded of over and over and over, and why it’s not a big deal and obviously her fault and so on by everyone from close family to complete strangers).

      I’m so glad that the safety of >50% of the population from this harm, which can only be assured by stopping the reinforcement of rape culture as “no big deal” and “just a joke” and “a topic to consider once in a blue moon, then dismiss immediately because it doesn’t affect me”, isn’t as important to you as pretending that something that is not satire, somehow has satirical elements.

      I hope that you never have to personally understand why your comments are so horrible.

      • TD says:

        The “one in four” statistic is known to be an utter lie. The actual lifetime prevalence rape rate for women in the US is about 3-5% – an order of magnitude less. The special interest groups lie about prevalence rates because it gets them more money and attention, and because it makes them feel better about themselves. Rape victims actually only make up a fairly small percentage of the population.

        Maybe if you actually cared about reality, you wouldn’t be so worried about it.

        The vast majority of people don’t live in daily fear of rape. If you do, then you either need to live somewhere else, or seek serious psychiatric help.

        • E says:

          I live in San Francisco (in a decent part of town), and have to take precautions every day to avoid rape. Two nights ago I had someone follow me, grab me and start kissing my neck, but luckily I was taller than him and he was too drunk to do much. This is definitely a faily worry for women in big cities.

    • I feel like you’re entirely missing the point, Chris, and as a result you’re making a number of incredibly privileged arguments. I understand that it’s very easy to not consider the positions of other people when it’s highly unlikely that you will ever have to deal with being raped, but you are arguing as if this is a rare occurance and one not worthy of consideration. However, let’s examine your points.

      You say that the game is designed to make us question our preconceived notions about certain subjects. Perhaps I’m just horribly unsophisticated, but I wasn’t aware we needed to question the assumption that rape is a bad thing. Is there some sort of philosophical movement I’m unaware of that demonstrates why we shouldn’t be as concerned about rape? You say the game is made to make one question why they react to things in certain ways. I had always thought I reacted to rape because I had a basic sense of empathy for the pain and suffering of other human beings. Is there another reason why I should react that way? Should I react differently? In other words, did we need a game to make us consider whether there’s anything *really* wrong with forcing women to have sex?

      “Anyone who actually gets off on the idea of violence against women will find Tentacle Bento to be a total disappointment because of its studious ambiguity. ” I’m not sure where you’re getting this from. The act of rape has very little to do with sexual desire most of the time, and is more often about power dynamics (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/741922353 , http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/581754?uid=3739600&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=47699021230147 , http://www.springerlink.com/content/j000166825m72p83/ , http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1037/h0080386/abstract , etc.). Somebody who “gets off on the idea of violence against women” will have no problems doing so at the idea that women are being forced to do something against their will and it’s in the control of the person holding the game pad. That being said, this again misses the point that the problem is not people being inspired to rape, the problem is the advancement of the idea that rape is a game, something not to be taken seriously, and this game perpetuates that idea.

      “A commentary on how this genre has been so pervasive that we automatically associate “tentacle” with something more sinister.” The problem, of course, is that Zhang is implying that tentacles are *not* sinister in the context of this game and, being used to rape people, they are. Were the game not about taking sexual advantage of unwilling partners, then it would be ironic and Zhang’s point would be valid. But, of course, it is about taking sexual advantage of unwilling partners, which doesn’t make this a game challenging a pervasive stereotype, but rather one more example of that stereotype. It’s rather like the video of the guy from Mars Hill who claims that he’s not religious, he just believes in Jesus, goes to church, does work for the church, prays multiple times per day, and makes an effort to spread his faith. But he’s totally not religious. Here we have Zhang saying that the “tentacle” trope has been associated with rape, and this game is bravely addressing that trope by falling directly into it. How avant-garde.

      Your entire post comes across to me as very similar to the arguments by homophobes who say that really, it’s LGBT people who are being intolerant of their beliefs, or racists who insist that minorities are the real racists. You’re saying that rape victims and the people who support them are trying to create an analogous feeling of fear, and I find that to be an incredibly ignorant assertion. Rape involves a traumatic and often prolonged amount of physical and psychological violation that can do damage that may take years to repair, if it is ever repaired at all. You’re trying to suggest that this is roughly the same as being called creepy on the internet. Do you not see why it would be hard to take you seriously, if not find you remarkably callous and self-absorbed?

      You haven’t seriously come to an internet forum to suggest that rape victims need to stop abusing you and those who agree with you because calling you a rape apologist is somehow like rape, have you?

      • Chris says:

        Hi Kaoru,

        Thanks for you thoughtful response.

        When I say that Tentacle Bento makes us reconsider preconceived notions, the preconceived notion I have in mind is the supposedly bizarre quality of certain Japanese pop sub-cultures. I believe there is a tendency in Western countries to simultaneously become enthralled by and dismiss manga and anime. Tentacle rape hentai is an outlier example, with most Westerns not at all enthralled and 100% dismissive. For most of us, the RAPE part completely overwhelms the TENTACLE HENTAI part exactly because, in our culture, rape is actually not something that is tolerable much less funny or sexy. And yet tentacle rape hentai makes its rounds in Western circles nonetheless.

        One reading is that the all-powerful patriarchy has conditioned us to be rapists and rape-victims deep within the deepest parts of our psyches. I think that account is inherently weak for two reasons. First, it can neither be proven nor disproven. Second, as a basis for argument, it presumes passivity: you and me and everyone else, we’re just the tabula rasa upon which the patriarchy stamps its vile decrees. The a priori brainwashing narrative may be appealing to some, and Lord knows they have their reasons, but I find it to be an excuse for more of the same.

        My alternative reading is that apart from its superficial content, tentacle rape hentai stands for something completely “other” in the cultural sense. It stands for an expression that Western culture is incapable of, again, exactly because rape is taboo. The taboo is so crushingly powerful, in fact, that in order to even make space to address the question of otherness (i.e., space for dialog), tentacle rape hentai must be transformed into something else.

        This is another point of divergent opinion: Some people say that Tentacle Bento does not transform tentacle rape hentai at all but rather simple sanitizes and/or trivializes it. Others, myself included, would say that the defining characteristic of tentacle rape hentai (especially as viewed by a Westerner) is its explicitness and substituting in a total way explicitness with suggestiveness renders its something else.

        Whether or not Tentacle Bento transforms or merely sanitizes tentacle hentai rape is, however, immaterial to the question of whether the game satirizes tentacle hentai rape. It simply doesn’t and it doesn’t even attempt to do so. Again, the very debate between transformation and sanitation/trivialization points us to the real satire: our own engagement with otherness.

        I think of it like this: how do you deal with language that doesn’t fit your purposes? If you’re strongly committed to one set of cultural prerogatives, what do you do when you have to deal with another set? You have accused me of speaking from privilege but I see your response laden with counter-privilege. Is this the best we can do? Every meeting is a battle with legitimacy as the prize? Who can force who to abandon their position?

        If you’re going to begin by calling someone “privileged,” or “misogynic,” or “homophobic,” etc, please understand that you have not begun a dialog — rather, you have thrown the first punch. I would argue that this kind of rhetoric is “rape rhetoric.” If the way we talk about the issue is not important (i.e., you’re critique regarding ” because calling you a rape apologist is somehow like rape”) then surely a card game cannot be important, either. My contention is that both are important.

        • I’m not exactly sure where you’re going regarding the enthralled and dismissive response to anime and manga, but the rape part *should* overwhelm the tentacle hentai part. However, I find your other arguments to be weak on a couple of points.

          The first, your argument regarding otherness presumes that all explorations of otherness are positive and good. There are reasons why some things are considered other, and we are again left asking the question of why we would want to confront the otherness of rape. The rape taboo *should* be crushingly powerful, in fact it should be even more so than it already is. Because there should be social pressure to not rape.

          I would disagree with your second point, which reads to me that you’re suggesting that implied rape is ok so long as it’s not explicit. I’m not sure why this “renders it something else” when the implication is clear. As I pointed out above, rape is rarely about sex and more often about power dynamics. By rendering the act implicate, all it has done has removed any notion of sex and reduced the act to a pure power struggle. If it has changed it at all, it has distilled the horror of rape down to its most concentrated element. That is not an improvement.

          “It simply doesn’t and it doesn’t even attempt to do so.” It may not attempt to, but it does. Rape is not a game, nor should it be considered one. It is a unique crime with elements that are unshared by any other and, as I’ve mentioned a number of times, presents victims with problems that no other sort of victim will ever have to face. Pointing toward “satire” to hide that the game crosses a line doesn’t prevent it from crossing a line, it merely attempts to cover its own misstep. We don’t satirize the perception of otherness in racism by playacting having a lynch mob, why should this be any different?

          I understand your point about otherness, I really do, but I think that addressing it in this fashion is entirely inappropriate. It’s an attempt at shock value that trivializes a very serious problem. These guys are not the Quentin Tarrentino of video games, they’re making a tentacle rape game based on sexually assaulting young girls. This is not an act of genius attempting to confront our basic ideas and shatter lingering Orientalist mindsets, it’s an attempt to make a game that they think will sell to American otaku. And in doing so, they’re making a game that makes light of a terrible crime.

          I’m not sure what you mean by “counter-privilege,” (it sounds a lot like “reverse racism” and other terms created by powerful majorities to try and make themselves look like victims when minorities call them out, but I’m keeping an open mind that an explanation will make it clearly something else) and I’m also not sure you know what “privilege” is. It’s not designed as an insult, but it is descriptive. Whether you want to admit it or not, there are certain things that people who fit in any combination of the categories “White Straight Christian Male” are able to do (at least in America and most of the West) that others are not. Often it’s what they don’t have to do. For example, if you are male, you never have to worry that you’ll be raped. You may, in fact, be raped at one point, but the odds are ludicrously small and, unlike the vast majority of women, you don’t have to be constantly on guard for it. Part of being a woman in most parts of the world is being constantly vigilant about where and when they are walking, what they’re wearing, whether they can reach help, whether they packed a weapon, if they can have another drink, if their drink has been sitting unattended for too long, will this person they’re flirting with accept “no” if they don’t want to have sex, can they trust their friends in certain situations, etc. You, as a male, never, never, never have to worry about any of those things, nor do I. They may happen, but I’d be better served worrying about being hit by a car as that is far more likely. When I say you’re making an argument from privilege, I mean that you are so used to not having to worry about any of these things that it doesn’t even occur to you that lots of people do, and your argument reflects that lack of awareness. I’m not attempting to denigrate you, however it’s important to realize that your personal experience doesn’t reflect the experience of millions of people, and attempting to argue from your experience without adjusting to consider their position leads you to making arguments that don’t reflect reality.

          As for “misogynistic” and “homophobic,” if I am leveling the accusation, then it is reactionary. The idea that we must be polite above all else, even when somebody has politely said something that is nevertheless terrible, is absolutely ludicrous. Kindly telling women that they are not as important or well regarded as men is not in any way any better than doing so with gendered insults. I’m not saying that you have been, but just addressing the point as it’s different from “privileged.”

          “If the way we talk about the issue is not important (i.e., you’re critique regarding ” because calling you a rape apologist is somehow like rape”) then surely a card game cannot be important, either.” This borders on tone trolling, but I’d like to give you the benefit of the doubt that you’re not, again, trying to say that because people have been mean to you on the internet it’s functionally and morally the exact same thing as rape. Again, we come back to privilege. As somebody who has never had to worry about or imagine rape as a very real possibility in their lives, I’m sure it does seem like being called things and “shutting down dialogue” is at least similar, but they are not even close to it. There are worlds of difference there, and I’d like to believe that you can see the difference between being called a misogynist and having somebody force their body parts into you, potentially many times, followed by what could be years of memories, the potential of having to report a number of times just to be believed, and still facing minuscule odds that your rapist will actually be punished. They are not “both important.” One is a terrible violation of another human being, and the other is a bunch of anonymous people telling you that pretending rape isn’t a terrible violation of another human being makes you a horrible person. They are in no way similar and the false equivalence is mindboggling.

          • Chris says:

            Again, Kaoru, thanks for your response. I appreciate you taking the time to write so extensively but I still think your line of argument simply begs the question. This is not a “tone argument” (although I have come to understand how powerful that accusation can be and I appreciate you being wary of throwing it around) but rather my belief that your conclusion regarding Tentacle Bento is the same as your premise.

            I (therefore) necessarily reject both and so we may just end up talking past each other. I think we have some common ground; however, it may be hard to concede as much. I think we both find rape to be a terrible thing that should not be trivialized. If I’ve understood what you’ve written so far, your immediate objection will be that I am okay with trivializing rape and therefore must also think that it’s not so terrible. But no dialog is possible unless you can accept that this is not the case.

            Assuming we can move forward: One of your other objections involves the notion of “false equivalence.” Namely, it is wrong of me to consider presumptive rhetoric to be the same as physical abuse. I agree that they are not the same. But I believe they are similar and related. Isn’t this what is meant by “rape culture”? Not that crypto-condoning rape imagery will cause me to become rapists but rather than it will signal to rapists that rape is okay? So “rape culture” isn’t just about the actual rape of women but rather about a way of engaging with other people. That is what I meant by contrasting the way you criticize the game Tentacle Bento with the way you are criticizing me.

            This touches on the question of privilege as well. Privilege is not merely the result but also the cause. Being white, male, Christian, and straight connote status because of the way that people who are white, male, Christian, and straight have controlled language. Privilege is, at its heart, a set of perceptions that are considered legitimate as an a priori matter. Counter-privilege therefore is a competing set of perceptions, brought to bear against the first set, also presumed to be legitimate. This is what is called “fighting fire with fire.”

            I contend that the conclusion “Tentacle Bento is a shameful trivialization of actual rape” can only be legitimate as the result of argument rather than as presumption; in other words, I understand that using it as a premise is merely (counter) privilege. That is no more compelling than saying “heterosexuality is natural.” (And, of course, the counter privilege premise-conclusion “homosexuality is natural” is not compelling, either.) Regarding this game, what I have seen time and again is the conflation of premise and conclusion.

            For example, I notice that throughout your post you talk about rape. Not tentacle rape hentai. Not a suggestive card game. But actual rape. This is a clear example of “loading the question.” As prepared as you are to see Tentacle Bento and actual rape as somehow equivalent, I reject this notion. To me, this is an authentic example of what you called “false equivalence” as well as a reflection of the conflation of premise and conclusion or what in rhetoric is called “begging the question.”

            This position is not only rhetorically but also morally untenable. If you assume that the game is about rape then you are making a pretty severe judgement about everyone who does not agree with you. You are not only saying “they disagree with me” but you are also saying “they are rape apologists.” If you’re comfortable making that kind of statement without any actual argument to back you up then dialog is impossible.

            It is okay with me if you do take that sort of fundamentalist perspective. As you mention, being unfairly labeled a rape apologist in what amounts to ad hominem argument is not the same thing as actually being raped. No matter how righteously you might say it, I’m still not the thing you might call me. But Tentacle Bento is not the same thing as rape, either. Clearly, a thing does not have to be equivalent to rape in order to be possibly problematic as regards rape culture.

            • Pumpkin says:

              “your conclusion regarding Tentacle Bento is the same as your premise.”
              And? Is a conclusion only ever valid if a premise turned out to be incorrect? Kaoru explained how he arrived at his conclusion.

              “But no dialog is possible unless you can accept that this is not the case.”
              Translation: the only way we can resolve this is if you admit you’re wrong.

              “I agree that they are not the same. But I believe they are similar and related.”
              Do you never learn? Every time someone points out how awful what you’re saying is, you crack open that thesaurus and find a weaselly way to say it again in a different way, in the hopes that no-one will notice.

              “Not that crypto-condoning rape imagery will cause me to become rapists but rather than it will signal to rapists that rape is okay?”
              Ugh. Kaoru explained what rape culture is. The victim-blaming, the way that victims are scrutinised and put on trial, the lack of seriousness, the apologia, the excuses, the humiliation, the complete lack of respect, the fact it’s treated as a joke, those horrible, horrible statistics – all of that, and so much more, is rape culture. Kaoru explained all this and you didn’t make even the slightest effort to take any of it in. No, this game won’t create more rapists, but it will perpetuate and validate the attitudes of the uncaring masses which make rape culture a reality, which makes a rape survivor’s road to recovery that much more hellish. And on top of all of that, you had the gall to flippantly phrase it in a way that begs people to draw comparisons with those hyperbolic claims of shooting games creating killers.

              “Privilege is not merely the result but also the cause.”
              No, it’s a description of the benefits gained by belonging to certain demographics. It is most definitely just the result.

              “Privilege is, at its heart, a set of perceptions that are considered legitimate as an a priori matter.”
              No, it is a set of observations of very real social phenomena.

              “Counter-privilege therefore is a competing set of perceptions, brought to bear against the first set, also presumed to be legitimate.”
              A: It’s not even a real thing, it’s just you using your thesaurus to come up with another way of saying ‘reverse-racism’ and it’s extremely obnoxious.
              B: Stop trying to weasel your way out of having to respond to arguments with your fancy-pants pseudo-philosophical labelling. If you have a poorly-supported point of view, you can’t just label the opposing as ‘anti-my-view’ and then act as if both views are autonomous little abstract entities which exist in a vacuum and are of equal merit merely by virtue of being autonomous little abstract entities which exist in a vacuum.

              “For example, I notice that throughout your post you talk about rape. Not tentacle rape hentai. Not a suggestive card game. But actual rape.”
              Rape is rape. And even if it is only suggestive, it is suggestive of rape.

              “I contend that the conclusion “Tentacle Bento is a shameful trivialization of actual rape” can only be legitimate as the result of argument rather than as presumption”
              Kaoru explained his reasons.

              “in other words, I understand that using it as a premise is merely (counter) privilege.”
              Holy crap, now it’s in parentheses. How dense do you think we are? Just go ahead and drop the ‘counter’ bit. We know you want to.

              “You are not only saying “they disagree with me” but you are also saying “they are rape apologists.””
              Unless they’re just very ignorant. Or self-centred.

              “fundamentalist perspective”
              That’s gotta be on someone’s bingo card, right? Anybody had that one?

              “But Tentacle Bento is not the same thing as rape, either.”
              No, but it certainly trivialises rape, as outlined by Kaoru, above.

  5. Chris says:

    Thanks for your ultimately positive wishes towards me but I do not feel that your other points are responsive to mine.

  6. Piss Wizard says:

    rape is gently caressed up

    women having to be constantly vigilant because anyone could be a potential attacker is gently caressed up

    people equating traumatic sexual assault with someone hijacking their facebook profile is gently caressed up

    when there are still people out there who see women as objects and think it okay to strip them of their humanity and be degraded to tools for sex, “satirising” rape is still encouraging rape culture and endangering women (and men)

    is it that such a gently caressing huge assault on your liberties to be told that

    “hey

    stop making rape jokes

    because rape is still happening and people are still not taking it seriously and you are certainly not helping at all in the slightest”

    rape is gently caressed up and so are people’s attitudes towards it

  7. AdamTM says:

    I’m late to the party but I’ll give this a whirl.

    Most games do not contain murder.
    They contain killing, but not murder.

    Some games -allow- for murder (GTA, Skyrim, just about any sandbox), but the murder is -always- (or at least i can’t think of a game where this is not the case) penalized realistically.
    In GTA the cops get on your ass for killing people. In Skyrim the guards will kick your ass.

    You will notice that killing children for example is also generally not allowed in those sandboxes by default (Fallout 3, GTA).

    I can’t think of a game that portrays -MURDER- as trivial.

    And there is the problem of scope.
    While murder, or killing, is bad and usually is portrayed as such, rape is worse, because the victim keeps on living with the violation.

    Similarly there are no snuff-games on the market (again, as far as I’m aware of).
    There are no games that trivialize the act of killing -innocents- (even fallout 2 removed its Child-killer perk before release and in GTA there are penalties, even though the penalties create fun gameplay, they reinforce the stance that killing pedestrians in a tank is not ok).

    I’m pretty sure that someone that made a game where you play a murdering psychopath that kills innocent people and revels in their agony would be subject to the same backlash as Tentacle Bento.

    Try it for yourself.
    Create a game on kickstarter that has the main objective to fornicate with a mans dead skull and see how that goes.

    • minuialear says:

      This is a very good point. Murder refers to a very specific type of killing that isn’t necessarily present in most violent games. It’s disingenuous to act like killing the enemy in CoD is glorifying murder, for example.

    • eduo says:

      I can’t think of a game that portrays -MURDER- as trivial.

      Carmageddon (and its spiritual predecessor, Death Race, of which there are current versions in mobile devices), Postal, all multiplayer FPS, among many others not only trivialize murder but actually use murder as a scoring statistic.

      Black & White actively rewards murdering of believers and infidels. Children are worth more, too. The game was almost universally praised.

      These are just some very high-profile games that portray murder as a desirable action in a game. There are tons more.

      Depending how far you want to go (remember this is a discussion about unexisting tentacled octopodes attacking unrealistically drawn unexisting schoolgirls) you could even label Angry Birds of this. You’re murdering pigs in it (using suicide bombers, no less). And yes, I know how silly this example is, which is sort of part of my point.

      I’m really sorry, but whenever a rape culture critic defends murder culture their whole argument flies out of the window to me. It’s a serious double moral standard that can’t be addressed because even hinting at it earns one hate from BOTH sides of the discussion.

      Murder is the ULTIMATE violation of a body, and any justification to the contrary is an insult to murder victims and people affected by those murders. Even suggesting that rape is worse than murder because the sufferer keeps on living is a disgusting argument that can be uttered only because there’s actual fear on people when commenting these subjects lest they be labeled rape apologists.

      For the record, I hate rape as I hate murder. When I see a rape joke I tell the joker it was in poor taste just as if it had been a joke about murder or any of a thousand joke subjects that are in poor taste. Going further than that is something you can choose to do, if you have a pet cause you want defending, but trying to justify it as being worse than others you simply choose not to be against could label you as a hypocrite.

      People that attack rape especially do so because it’s a subject closer to them for some reason than the others. Trying to spin this into pretending it’s worse than others is not only manipulative but insulting and demeaning to victims of other forms of violence. Either accept you don’t care about those forms of violence or accept you have chosen a battle of many possible for whatever reasons personal to you, don’t try to make other forms of violence less just because you don’t happen to find them worthy of your activism.

  8. Myrdhale says:

    I’m just gonna throw out the most important point about all this and why Gabe can shut the gently caress up about this ‘censorship’

    Kickstarter is a company and a company has full rights to not continue with a project or client if they feel it would be negative to their image.

    I wont’ touch any of the justifying rape stuff, Kaoru has already very clearly made the right points about it. The fact is this isn’t censorship. No one is stopping them from making their stupid tentacle rape game. Kickstarter is simply choosing not to be a party to it. That isn’t censorship, that’s business, and people calling you out and saying ‘your poopie is vile’ isn’t censorship either, it’s criticism and public opinion.

    Censorship would be rounding up all the makers of the game and sending them to interrogation camps after burning all their materials. This is public opinion, and as much as someone is allowed to spout their ignorance and bullpoopie in regards to rape, everyone else is allowed to decry and shame them for it. Freedom of Speech goes both ways, it doesn’t mean you get to say something and have no one question it.

    So no Gabe, this isn’t a fight about censorship, this is a fight about making it acceptable to play a game based on raping little girls. You can play it all the gently caress you want, but know that most people will look down on your for it, and they have every right to do so.

  9. Meinhardt says:

    “Nobody looks at a murder victim and says, “Well, if only he hadn’t worn that shirt, he’d still be alive. I mean, he was practically asking for it.”

    Actually people have said that before. See: Treyvon Martin.

  10. [...] Holkins made a rape joke and then doubled down on it by making t-shirts.  Or how Krahulik defended a tentacle rape game by saying if murder can be trivialized in videogames, so can rape. Or how Bob [...]

  11. [...] Even if you disagree with the hypothesis linking the forever-alone fedora and the friend-zoned nice guy, you can at least see why it explains the high volume of mockery aimed at the hat—and why some defend it in militant tones usually reserved for explaining the right to make rape jokes. [...]

  12. Michael says:

    “1) Murder in games is normally justified within the fiction. There’s no justification for rape.”

    Excuse me. But we consider murder not justifiable in real life, so if we construct a narrative around murder in fiction it is okay but doing the same for rape, which is also not justifiable in real life, it’s not? Why?

    “2) Much of society doesn’t view murder as acceptable. We’re still trying to get there with rape.”

    Could you provide some proof for that? And no, not online forums / postings, because I can and will find you forums where they find murder completely acceptable as well. Show me, that by and large society considers rape acceptable.

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

    Well, that may be because they are dead. But if you actually read any kind of media you will find most of the gruesome murder cases are being popularized and talked about without end. There are entire magazines / news programs / websites dedicated to this. It’s no different than rape. As humans we are deeply obsessed with all things “dark”.

    So, I don’t really see your three points there, they seem to be picked out of convenience more than for any real reason.

    • eduo says:

      This. I tried addressing this before but you do way more succintly so I’ll just add my head heavily nodding here.

      I would go even further and say murder more present in popular culture and media than rape and that rape is actually more vilified, as people have become too jaded with murder by now. I’d have to admit this is my personal opinion, no doubt also influenced by my own prejudices and beliefs.

      I agree that the points seem fabricated without any basis of reality, expressly to support a position.

  13. TD says:

    He was right to call you a crazy person.

    1) No, actually, in a lot of video games murder isn’t justified, or is only dubiously so.

    2) Society actually views rape as more unacceptable than murder, which is why we have lots of games about murdering people and few about raping them.

    3) Murder victims are dead, so this point is nonsense.

    Being raped doesn’t mean your sense of humor has been removed.

    In no way has he ever endorsed rape. The fact that you think he has just demonstrates your lack of connection to reality.

  14. Father Time says:

    “If it were to receive funding and be freely available it only serves to continue a terrible continuation of thought that rape is permissible and entertaining.”

    You sound like any generic anti game crusader warning us how GTA will lead to more real life violence.

    Do you think Tarantino movies make murder more permissible and entertaining and if not why is it suddenly different for this card game?

    “(while also exerting his right to silence anyone he disagrees with).”

    You seriously going to imply someone’s a hypocrite for being pro free-speech but not wanting to listen to you? Come on man that’s ridiculous.

  15. Susan says:

    Out of curiosity, how many people posting here know someone who has been raped? D you still play the game and have a fun time?

    I was a victim of rape and it still affects me. I didn’t tell anyone because of the way our culture is. This game is an element of that culture. When someone tells me to put my “big girl panties on” if they crack a rape joke around me, the panty joke, makes me realize that women are looked down upon. To be a woman is weak. We are weaker than men physically, so it is ok to make light of rape, even nice guys rape. My rapist was a “nice guy” I knew for years. I was raped at work, without drugs or alcohol. Basically any stereotype of how a woman can protect herself against rape was turned on its head.

    I think violent games and rape desensitize people. I don’t play them because of this.

    I know people will say things about how I can’t take a joke, because I have triggers and flashbacks to a violent rape that almost killed me, my only crime was working at a job I liked and trusting my male co-workers.

    So making rape cute is gross. If you knew someone who was raped, you would think the opposite that you do and donate the money you’d buy this game with to a charity that helps women. I am not saying men don’t get raped too. They do. And our “be a man” culture doesn’t help them either.

    I have a great sense of humor, but this game is close to being a hate crime or one of molestation. The sexual themes are made PG-13, so even young kids can play it? What’s the harm? I am sure my rapist, who went on to rape underage girls after it, would love playing it.

    There is no argument for my words. You can put me down for not being ok with a crime that still hurts years later. A crime I couldn’t report because the guy who did it had power over me at work. I do believe RAINN and other places are true with their facts. I believe that most raped women know their rapists beforehand and that is a terrible breech of trust.

    By the way, I have read Penny Acade and I don’t find it funny. I find a lot of rude comedians funny. I’ve read this card game isn’t that great either. I wish PA was funny so it could justify it’s existence for me. I know other people like it, but I’ve never laughed at any of the jokes in it.

    I guess rape is like a bridge. There are people who have crossed it, who are raped themselves or have someone close to them raped, and those who haven’t. It is hard to see life the same way once you cross the bridge and look back at people laughing on the other side, playing a rape based card game. You can clean it up with winks, nods and the like, but it is like frat boys who kid each other and the think it is ok to have sex with a girl that’s asleep because she is asking for it just being in the room with you in the first place.

    I understand free speech, but I have no idea why anyone would enjoy playing this game. “I just snatched another girl to be raped and she was crying…LOL”. Our culture can be pretty sick at times.

    So, back to my question: How many people know someone who has been raped? Or is just funny because it hasn’t happened to someone you love at? I can’t even see how a parent who loves this game could play it if they had a daughter. Sure, it is fantasy and you can say a tenacle has never raped you but the tenacle is supposed to be a penis…I am sure the least intellectual of you out there can get that, right?

    • Martin says:

      Wanted to reply to this and say I’m really sorry that happened to you, and I’m sorry about the occassionally terrible things that crop up in these comments. Thanks for sharing that with us. I hope you’re doing okay.

  16. [...] Mr. Krahulik’s more recent support of a tentacle-rape card game and this most recent anti-trans rant makes it seem less like an aberration and more like the views [...]

  17. Mike says:

    ” Much of society doesn’t view murder as acceptable. We’re still trying to get there with rape.”

    HAHAHAHAHAHA YEAH EVERYBODY STILL LOVES RAPE! Nobody gently caressing views rape as acceptable, you stupid gently caressing morons. Get out of your stupid piece of poopie victim vulture. Thanks!

  18. [...] took me a moment to realise exactly what was happening. As we’ve said before, tackling the subject of rape in games is very different to tackling violence; for starters, we [...]

  19. […] Then in 2012, Gabe threw his support behind a card game about tentacle rape that eventually got pulled from Kickstarter. When someone questioned his support of the game, Gabe replied to the criticism with snarky and mocking tweets. […]

  20. Paulo says:

    I’d like to add a further point about this. 1 in 6 women are raped in their lifetimes. 0.7% of deaths [in the U.S.] are due to homicide (so about 1 in 150.). Furthermore, because of the frequency, rape is a concern even for women who haven’t become a victim yet. Most people have a fairly reasonable expectation in this country that they won’t go outside and be murdered, except for crime-ridden neighborhoods. Women EVERYWHERE have to worry about the possibility of being raped. Bottom line, the comparison is complete bull.

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