Ok, so someone forwarded me this link from Borderhouse Blog about Kickstarter booting the fundraiser for a tentacle rape card game called Tentacle Bento from Sodapop Miniatures* after complaints in the Kickstarter community about the game’s content, including write ups on InsertCredit.com and at Kotaku. It’s a hentai game where players are tentacle monsters trying to rack up rapes.
Ok, look. I don’t have a problem with hentai, I like hentai a lot. I suspect hentai doesn’t bother me precisely because it bears absolutely no resemblance whatsoever to how I was raped. That said, not all rape survivors are comfortable with even the idea of hentai, and that is perfectly fine and acceptable. There is no wrong way to deal with the trauma of rape. You can not even want to see the word, or have the word alone trigger you, or you can be copacetic with most uses of the word, or even fictionalized representations. I’m somewhere in the middle. I have no problem with, say, Overfiend because it bears no resemblance to what happened to me. However, a Joyce Carol Oates story made me throw up, and cry in a corner because what it depicted was so close. Just words on a page did that to me.
So, let me repeat: THERE IS NO WRONG WAY TO DEAL WITH A TRAUMATIC INCIDENT LIKE RAPE. People react how they react. And telling a rape survivor to “get over it,” pretty much makes you a horrible person. Like on a scale of “Ghandi to Pol Pot,” relatively close to Jeffery Dahmer.
That said, I am NOT copacetic with any game where the default player setting is the role of the rapist, whether he’s a dude, like in the game Rapelay**, or a tentacle monster. If you are asking me (as the player) to be a rapist, I find that disgusting. And I know lots of people are going to say, “Well, gaming is all about playing characters you’re not.” Yeah, that’s all fine and good. I’ve played assassins and thugs, hell I’ve even played nice people. But I don’t really want to hang out with anyone who “wants to explore what it’s like to be a rapist,” thanks. We have enough media in our society filling that niche. So, I have to say I’m with the guys who wrote Godlike some years back, who wrote into the game their feeling about anyone who wanted to play the Nazis: You’re an asshole.
Also, this is a card game, not a deep exploration of the human condition. They’re using rape as a “cute” hook. I am so not ok with that.
Now there may well be some rape survivors of either gender, who have no problem with this game. That’s great. More power to them. I’m glad for them. They aren’t wrong. And neither am I.
Of course, as with every time something to do with vaginas causes a fuss in the geekosphere, Gabe from Penny Arcade had to open his Failure Hole.*** Sigh. I’m just not… Look, Kickstarter is not the government. Them not allowing Sodapop Miniatures to fund this game using their site is not censorship. In fact, Sodapop is funding it on a site of their own. And the people who complained are not crazy, they have empathy. Give it a shot some time.
So, look, here’s the thing. Sodapop will undoubtedly raise the money to make their game because there are a lot of icky people in the world. Great. Fine. But, that said, if I see it on your shelf, we probably aren’t going to be friends anymore.
If you like the blog or the podcast, or if you would like to help fund the sheer mass of aspirin the *head/desk-ing* around here requires, please, please, please donate to keep us going. Donations go to pay for the podcast hosting and website domain, primarily.
Also, we’ll have an announcement about t-shirts in the next week or so. Ok, more like “or so” but it’s coming. Seriously, I have “stuff.” Soon. Really and truly. Soon.
*Ordinarily I would link, not this time. Ewwww.
**Japanese rape simulation game from a few years back. Seriously squicky.
***I don’t dislike the Penny Arcade guys. I think they do some awesome stuff, like the Child’s Play charity, and I think they’ve done great things with PAX. That said, I think Gabe displays a stunning lack of empathy, and an amazing amount of ignorance every single time there’s an issue with feminism or rape culture in the geek community. Honestly, one of the facepalm-iest things he ever said was about the “Fruit-Fucker” being a rapist. Look, women and oranges are NOT the same thing. And if you can’t wrap your head around why that may be the teeniest bit offensive to women, I don’t know if there’s any hope.