So, in some deep, recessed, clearly demented corner of my mind, I thought that freelancing, working full time, and going to grad school full time all at once was a great idea.  Needless to say, I don’t have much free time and I’m falling behind on reading the gaming news, let alone reposting it for the my 3 readers (all of which I’m pretty sure are actually in my grad program, ha).

Neither here nor there, I plan to keep writing, just not nearly as often — going to most likely drop down to a post or 2 week till I work through some of my freelancing jobs and get the groove with the grad-program going .

BioShock Infinite’s Vision of a Nazified America

BioShock Infinite Billboard

Irrational Games released a trailer for the third installment of their BioShock franchise – BioShock Infinite, and just the trailer has people squirming in their seats. To start, the game appears to deal with the very 19th century obsession with eugenics (breeding in desirable traits) and racism in the fictional American city of Columbia.

In the article on Game|Life from Wired and the ECA’s GamePolitics, I got a sense of general queasiness, an uneasiness not about the quality of the game, but rather the moral choices the game will force you to make. With all the racial tension currently in the the US–from the Arizona law, to the the Shirley Sherrod incident, to the even more recent Dr. Laura N-word controversy, it’s clear that race is once again entering the lime-light as one of the most contended and persistent issues facing America today. The anxiety (and anticipation) present on Wired and GamePolitics about the issue of race and eugenics in “BioShock Infinite,” is palpable and expected to say the least.

We can leave out the criticism of turn of the century America, as well as the criticism of current day America – as both articles state, I’ve no doubt that political pundits will use this game to push their own agendas as they are often wont to do with media that pushes the envelope.

Penny Arcade Comic Marginalizes Rape Survivors

You might have stumbled across at this point the mini-controversy (I cringe to even call it that, truth be told) around the Penny Arcade cartoon called The Sixth Slave, which makes reference to rape, as gamers are often wont to do, and Penny Arcade has never put forth an over abundance of effort at remaining politically correct.

The cartoon itself is basically about questing in MMOs where you are required to free a given number of things (be it people, slaves, etc), and how when you are done, there are inevitably those who are left behind that you walk away from. I’ll admit, I’ve had twinges of conscious at these moments, and have even gone above and beyond the quest requirements at times to free more of the digital have-nots, as it were.

But the rub comes with the reference to being, “raped to sleep by the dickwolves.” I’m not sure what a dickwolf is, and I’m pretty sure my life perfectly fine without that knowledge, but apparently the use of the “raped” word rubbed some people the wrong way, resulting in a brief verbal tussle. I know personally that Tycho and Gabe are not the kind of people whom I’d want to get into a verbal tussle with, but nonetheless, a few columnists did.

I won’t rehash the arguments, but suffice to say the feminist columnists railed against the use of rape in any but the most quite and almost revered terms, while PA comes back with the “Offensive jokes are funny till they offend me, then they aren’t anymore.”

This little back and forth, as minor and inconsequential as it was made me think about how I speak in gamer-talk. Even I don’t hesitate or cringe at the use of the word ‘rape’ in gamer-talk but the intent there seems to be somewhat different. If you take away the context of the game, the word takes on a much more somber feeling rather than meaning, “I got my ass-handed to me like it ain’t no thang,” as we typically use raped to mean in gamer-talk.

In the grand scheme, as something of a communications scholar, the use of the word rape doesn’t bother me in the gamer context, because of that context. However, I do occasionally run into trouble when talking about gaming to a non-gamer or being overheard when I use a term like raped and they don’t understand the cultural gamer context of the word.

Penny Arcade Strip Sticks in Craw of Rape Survivors | GamePolitics