I have had an idea for a game. It’s a card game. In the game, the players have to hunt down a bunch of witches who are performing spells on innocent people. Once they are found, they have to be burnt to death without trial because, as we all know, once you’ve made a spell, you are no longer worthy of being called a human being and deserve to die. The more witches you kill, the more points you score and, at the end of the game, the player who’s committed the most number of murders wins.
But wait, let me make the game even more interesting. Where I live, there is a fairly strong Pagan tradition, so, for the cards, I am going to use the portraits of the heads of some well known covens. I will take photos from magazines and maybe even their private lives and use them so people know exactly who they are killing and what nasty horrible non-human beings those witches are.
Of course, because I am a good designer, the game will have nice mechanisms and will play rather nicely, so everyone will be happy and have a great time!
Well, no. That idea is despicable. That game would be despicable.
For the record, I am a witch. I practise witchcraft and have friends who are witches. I don’t think witches are evil or inhuman or deserve any less respect than anyone else. Why use the example then?
Because there is a game designer somewhere who thought that the idea of a game just like the one I described but with terrorists instead of witches would be a good idea.
Well, it’s not. It’s despicable.
For those of you who are already getting fidgety on your seats, I can’t wait to see the day when all terrorists who have had anything to do anywhere in the world are brought to justice and the full, complete and unrestrained weight of the law is brought upon them. They are the scum of the Earth and I have no sympathy whatsoever for their causes or their actions. I hope I am making myself clear enough on that front.
So what’s my problem? For starters this game is condoning murder of real people. Not imaginary creatures or even imaginary people. This game is saying that it is OK to go out there and kill a terrorist.
Furthermore, this game is telling this horrible and disgusting message to people of all ages. Children who could grow up to believe that killing someone because he’s done something bad is OK. It is not. Ever.
Even if I agreed with the death penalty (and I don’t), I would still believe that everyone should go through a trial. Everyone should go through the process of having to explain his or her actions. To look at the relatives of the people who they’ve killed in the eye, and tell them why. So to have an act of murder, even if it is the murder of an evil person, glamourized in a card game disgusts me.
The point of this article is to highlight the fact (yes, fact!) that game designers have a responsibility towards the players. Designers have the responsibility to make sure their games don’t spread messages of hate and a feeling that taking justice into your own hands is the right thing to do.
For those of you out there thinking now “but it’s just a game!”. Bullshit it’s just a game!
If it is just a game, why not change the faces and names of the people and make it non-real life? Why not changing the terrorists for trolls, or demons, or aliens?
This game was not just a game. This game was the product of the hatred and spitefulness the designer feels towards terrorists.
Whatever the reasons you had to design this game, shame on you! You seriously need help and I truly hope you’ll never design a game again until you’ve got the help you need.
I am very aware I haven’t mentioned the name of the game. And I haven’t because I don’t want to give it any publicity or lead anyone to it. If you want to find out more about that game, feel free to do your own research.