The Last Taboo of Gaming?
What is the last taboo in gaming? While there are still many, I think that one in particular is rearing its ugly little head more than the rest lately. When games like Postal and Doom rolled came out it was violence. Killing children in games and movies was always a powder keg of an issue, but that has even changed to some small degree. Even sex, though still controversial, is no longer that big of a deal except to mainstream media and family groups. Symbol and imagery equated with devil worship, the occult and demonology were once vigorously assailed, but are now mostly unnoticed in the medium. So what is the last taboo in my opinion: rape. Even seeing that word in print brings forth a torrent of feelings - hate, sorrow, disgust..
I have mixed feelings about this kind of stuff; on the one hand we want content creators, artists and writers to be able to express themselves and sometimes taboo subjects have to be there to drive a story. On the other hand, this subject is not something that should ever be taken lightly. I have a mother, three sisters and lots of friends that are women and to even think about such a thing happening to them shakes me to my core.
So how does a game developer handle such a sensitive topic without seeming to glorify the act? Mousechief's Dangerous High School Girls in Trouble tried to do it tastefully but still caught hell for it; other games have gone at it head first and have paid the price. The one thing we should never ever do is go on a witch hunt when one of these kinds of games show up. Instead you can quietly boycott such products by not purchasing it if you find it offensive or not paying any mind at all.
My concern with these kinds of games is that many of them do glorify the act, but at the same time where do you draw the line between art and just plain disturbing imagery? I honestly don't have answers to these kinds of questions. As society becomes desensitized to these and other touchy subjects, the best thing we can do is at least talk about it.
For a good take on this topic, check out our Mousechief interview and PlayThisThing's rant about RapePlay being banned from amazon.com. I don't endorse the viewpoints in those links but I do encourage you to read them and get some different perspectives, no matter what you think about the topic.