It is rare that I have a topic that is completely appropriate to post not only to my gaming blog, Greyhawk Grognard, but also to my blog that deals with issues relating to my Heathen faith, GOPagan. However, my attention has been drawn to just such a thing by an article in the Boston Globe (h/t to The Wild Hunt blog).
Let me preface this by saying I abhor Political Correctness. It’s nothing but an excuse for professional offense-junkies to try to silence the free speech rights of those with whom they disagree by invoking a non-existent “right not to be offended”. This is not that. This jackass has a right to make this game, and retailers have a right to sell it. Just as I have a right to weigh in on that question of whether or not, when one has a right, one necessarily should exercise that right, and whether there exists a line on such things that should or should not be crossed.
The game in question is Salem. It was successfully Kickstarted on November 1, with 553 insensitive assholes pledging $33,812 towards it. The premise?
See who can kill the most witches in Salem.
Modern-day witches and Pagans don’t think it’s at all funny that people were killed in all sorts of horrible ways just for being accused of being what they are today. It’s not cute, it’s not an historical footnote, and it’s not something that begs to be made into a fucking game.
“You’re insulting my faith by mocking it” is one thing, and utter nonsense. All beliefs should be open to critique, questioning, and even ridicule. “You’re making a game out of slaughtering people who are like me” is quite another thing entirely.
Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s make a new railroad game. Each player is the commandant of a Nazi death camp. The one who can ship the most cattle cars full of Jews, gypsies, and homosexuals to their camp, while still making the trains run on time, wins. Mazel tov!
Or another. This one’s a resource allocation game. You have a limited number of negro slaves on your antebellum plantation. You need to allocate them between the cotton fields, the house, and in the slave huts making babies to increase your “labor supply”. The player who earns the most money, either by selling cotton, selling slaves to others, or (in an exciting side-game) having your slaves run cockfights, wins. “Uppity nigger” cards can be negated by “If it’s a whippin’ you’re a-wantin’…” cards. Hilarity ensues.
One more. A racing game. You’re in Texas, and each player has a gay man chained to the back of your pickup truck. The one who can make it around the track first, without his faggot falling off the end of the chain, wins. Careful– take a curve too fast and you’ll lose ’em before they die. Game over.
Am I overstating the case? I don’t think I am. It’s a concept that’s offensive on its face, the same way that nobody would think to make a game about the Holocaust, black slavery, or the murder of James Byrd, Jr.
For centuries, Christians engaged in witch-hunts, in which tens of thousands of accused witches were burned, hanged, stoned, and otherwise put to death. This is no “burning times” fantasy. It really happened. And for those who, in the modern day, identify themselves as witches, Pagans, and Heathens, it remains an open wound, even if most of those who were accused were guilty of nothing more than being widows and spinsters with property that was coveted by their accusers and judges. The fact that most of those murdered were killed not because they actually were witches, but because they were merely accused of being so, does not lessen the horror of their deaths, or their relevance in the modern day. People today are being slaughtered– literally– because they’re accused of being witches.
It gets even better– as a Kickstarter exclusive, you get little plastic nooses to use as player tokens, and a cardstock 3D gallows to adorn your game board. (I’m not making this up.) How jolly! The Zyklon-B replica canisters, real cowhide bull-whips, and 6′ length of chain will make dandy props for your game as well.
I don’t know how this vile game concept ever got approved by the Kickstarter staff, I don’t know how it ever found 553 people to commit money to it, and I don’t know how such a game could ever be published, when it essentially makes light of the concept of murdering a group of people who are roughly equal in size to the number of Sunni Muslims in the United States.
Joshua Balvin, head of Rock Paper Scissors Games, should be ashamed of himself. He is an insensitive jerk who obviously doesn’t give a crap about making light of the murder of people because of their beliefs, and anyone who buys this game should also be entirely ashamed of themselves.
WARNING: The comments on this post will be monitored very closely, and not only will offensive comments be deleted, but the author of said comments will be banned. Caveat scriptor.