In case you didn’t know this, I’m a woman. I game. I also GM. I consider the safety and emotional well-being of the people who sit at my tables to be of paramount importance.
I also believe in the value of artistic integrity and consider censorship to be a serious issue in the world in which we live.
That said I recently found out that, last week Drive Thru RPG, one of the places where I tend to buy games when I am not at a convention, put the game “Tournament of Rapists” up for sale. The description of the game is as follows:
The Tournament of Rapists details the sadistic Rape Pure Fight circuit, expanding on what you’ve seen already and introducing dangerous new sexual predators. The sadistic bloodsport takes place in abandoned office buildings and atop Tokyo rooftops. An assortment of superhumanly powerful and inhumanly misogynistic men, and even worse women, step into impromptu fighting arenas, killing and raping the weaker in search of a multi-billion yen fight purse provided by a half-oni billionaire in thrall to dark impulses.
The fact that this exists at all is fucking repugnant to me. The fact that Drive Thru RPG somehow thought it was appropriate to put this game into it’s inventory is completely unacceptable.
And if you think it’s “not that bad” or that this game could possibly be less terrible than it seems, I present you with the Phallic Swarm.
It’s worth noting that this horrible device is described as “rape incarnated” and is specifically designed to combat people who have already been sexually abused, paralyzing them if they fall victim to it. It also does 1d8 “pleasure” damage… This thing is 100% unacceptable in more ways than I can properly articulate.
The fact that Drive Thru RPG carried “Tournament of Rapists” alone would not be enough to force me to make the decision to boycott them. Mistakes happen. I’m not sure what system they use to determine what games make it to their site, but some failsafe somewhere clearly did not function correctly. Or someone who did not deserve to be in charge of filtering these things put through a game that shouldn’t have been put through. I get that people and companies can fuck up. That’s not the problem. If they had simply pulled the title, apologized, and assured us that this would never happen again, there would be no issue.
The problem here is how Drive Tru RPG responded when they fucked up.
On the 28th, when asked by game producer Jessica Price what they would be doing about game, they were told that they would be removing the pathfinder tag and restricting it to the adult section. Which doesn’t really even begin to solve the problem.
Their latest response (outside of the rest of the mess which you can read here) is the following:
We spoke to the publisher and they have decided to withdraw the title from sale. (1/3)
— DriveThruRPG (@DriveThruRPG) August 31, 2015
If they choose to republish it we have asked but not demanded that they consider some changes to the title. (2/3) — DriveThruRPG (@DriveThruRPG) August 31, 2015
A more detailed blog post from our CEo is forthcoming after the weekend and staff being out of office. (3/3) — DriveThruRPG (@DriveThruRPG) August 31, 2015
The fact of the matter is that the title is a problem, but it is not the heart of the issue. This is a game that glorifies rape to a degree that I didn’t think possible until I saw it for myself. And glorifying rape – I can’t believe I actually have to say this – IS NOT OK. In good news, game publisher Exploding Rogue are pulling their work from Drive Thru RPG over the production of this title, citing the poor response of Drive Thru to the entire situation as a motivating factor. I can only hope that the outrage over this builds to a point where Drive Thru RPG will be forced to take a serious look at themselves and their behaviors and come out with more than just a half-assed nonpology for how unacceptable this entire situation has been.
Honestly, though, this shit is exhausting. Being a human being in the world is hard enough. Having asshats throw something so over-the-top wrong out there and watching a company that you liked and utilized basically defend them and waffle around about how it’s some kind of ethical decisions slippery slope nonsense makes me just want to crawl into a hole and pull the earth in on top of me.