Hypocrisy, we’ve all done it at least once in our life. It’s not always easy living up to our own standards, I mean trying not to eat cookies and preaching about obesity is HARD. Although for the most part we try our best to not preach about what we’re not going to practice. Recently though, it’s come to my attention that there’s been a ton of preaching in my own community, and a whole lot of practicing…but not exactly in the right way.
My colleague Ryan Bates wrote a beautifully worded and well thought out piece over at Game Revolution. He talks about the necessity to do something about Penny Arcade and their behavior in regards to the well-known dickwolf “joke”. The dickwolf was an unseen character in a Penny Arcade strip that would rape slaves to sleep. One slave was hoping the hero in the comic would come and rescue them all, but his quest only required him to save five and therefore he was done at that point. Mr. Bates, and many others, are quite upset about this and the way that Penny Arcade handled the situation, and rightfully so. Rape is be no means something to laugh at. This being the gaming community though, aren’t there things we joke about that still aren’t right?
In the eyes of society, there are things that are right and wrong. Good and bad. Just and evil. However there are times where certain things can be in a “gray area” or where one thing is wrong while another similar action is deemed morally acceptable. Take for instance drugs. Alcohol is technically a mind altering drug. While it’s illegal to drive while drinking or intoxicated, you can still consume copious amounts in the comfort of your own home without anyone blinking an eye. However, with marijuana we have a whole different perspective. A lot of people are OK with it or even love it, but then you have the rest of the world that put it on the same level as cocaine or heroine. Yet it’s been shown that marijuana isn’t all that bad and can be quite helpful to people, unlike alcohol. I won’t go into too much detail, but you get the point.
This same thing happens within the gaming industry. We see one thing and praise it or hate it, while we do just the opposite for this other device or game that is the exact same thing. In regards to Mr. Bates’ article about rape, aren’t there other things that are morally unacceptable that we are being complacent about in the video games industry? What about violence? What about stealing? How about killing someone? Aren’t these all things that we as society, in real life, deem morally unacceptable? Everyone is saying Penny Arcade should do more to apologize to the community about their rape joke. If so, shouldn’t Bethesda not even have Skyrim on store shelves?
You see, it’s a matter of what the gaming community deems as acceptable within the digital world. Slaughtering someone in a virtual world is just fine, they are just bits and bytes and nothing more. These characters we mutilate or beat up are not real, they have no feelings. They just aren’t real people. We as a community struggle every time people outside of the community get wind of a murderer who plays Call of Duty. This community is full of well adjusted people who have played numerous violent video games. We aren’t degenerates who use Battlefield to train for combat. So how come violence is funny but rape isn’t?
If you take a look all of the violence out of Pokemon, then what would it be? Basically just one of those DS pet games I would imagine. Call of Duty wouldn’t even be a think without all of the head shots and killstreaks, etc. We wouldn’t have a lot of the video games we have today, and even back then, without some amount of violence or unlawful actions. They just would not be fun enough for us to play.
Everyone obviously has a right to their own opinion, I get that. I also get that rape is a really bad thing. It’s not something that should be taken lightly. Truly I hope that you don’t think that I’m doing that. It’s just that stuff like this tends to be overlooked. We break out torches and pitchforks for one incident, but totally accept and welcome another similar concept with open arms. Violence and killing is just as bad as rape, and neither should be taken lightly. However it seems that gamers are more lenient about violence in a digital/fantasy world than they are with rape.
Isn’t the Penny Arcade comic strip something that is not real? Are we getting to the point where certain topics are not acceptable, even in the digital world while similar or worse topics are just fine for consumption? What is the difference between violence in video games and rape being talked about in a comic strip? Sign off below.