Geek Girls Rule! #216 – Kickstarter Kicks Out a Rape Game

I'm going to wind up with a concussion from all the facepalm-ing going on around here.

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 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.

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*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. 

5 thoughts on “Geek Girls Rule! #216 – Kickstarter Kicks Out a Rape Game

  1. You know what sort of bothers me? (I say sort of because the other stuff you’ve covered the articles you linked to covered is more horrifying) I have friends, a few of them, who have had their projects rejected by Kickstarter for a variety of reasons. Yet in some of the comments I glazed through and at the borderhouseblog there are people talking about how Kickstarter needs a better vetting system. … I think (correct me if I’m wrong) they have to approve all of their projects in the first place. Which means that someone at Kickstarter actually approved this game for it to get to the point that it could start earning money.

    … That bothers me.

  2. True.

    However, once called on it, they did boot it. Let’s face it, particularly if their vetting system is mostly dudes (I have no idea), or people who have never been sexually assaulted, they don’t think about this because mostly they don’t have to. I’m just glad that when it was pointed out they went, “Oh, Gods, you’re right! This is out!” Instead of, say, doubling down on how it was just a game, or “Lighten up, don’t you have a sense of humor?” as in so many other instances.

    Because I’m pretty sure the majority of their vetting is “Is this a reasonable thing to try to fund like this? Does it meet our parameters, etc…” Now, I am more than a little iffy on already successful companies (cough Steve Jackson Games cough) using it to fund things, but I keep having this argument with the GHWR, and I CAN see the validity of letting them use it as well, I just think it violates MY understanding of the spirit of the thing.

  3. Yeah, using rape as a cute hook is… yeah… >_>

    Honestly, it’s hard enough to get away from that stuff in most media that I don’t want to see it in more. It’s why I stay the hell away from the Game of Thrones novel series, because it’s so filled with rape, according to a friend of mine who I trust and who read it. It seriously squicks me out.

    Also, Gabe just needs to shut the F up. That idiot thought those classes for men who manipulate women into sex were just a fine and dandy idea, since, you know, women don’t like sex and use their vaginas to wrangle material and wedding rings out of men.

  4. I try to be tolerant, or at least not rage too hard at Gabe, he’s a victim of our culture, and it has benefited him greatly so he doesn’t see the wrong in it. Self-actualization is fucking hard. He’s a clueless dork in an ocean of them, so I really do try to not let it take up too much real estate in my head.

    I couldn’t get through Game of Thrones myself, not because of the rape stuff, just because after the prince has Sansa’s wolf killed, I was just like, “Wow, I do not give enough of a shit about any of these characters to continue reading after this thing which is a huge trigger for me (animal cruelty). Honestly, I didn’t even find them interesting enough to hate.

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