A while back, in the wake of my article Why You Owe the Columbine RPG, I had the pleasure of being shat on by an old conservative game designer who was convinced that a) games that tackle uncomfortable issues are hurting the ability of upstanding game designers like himself to make entertaining product and market it; and b) I was shamelessly hogging the spotlight.
One of those two accusations was true :).
Danny sent me a mail earlier pointing me to Operation: Pedopriest. It's exactly what you're imagining. Ian has some commentary, tambien.
The inveterate designer I spoke with used the example of a game about pedophilia as an absolute taboo. I responded with a few paragraph-long mini-treatments for games that could involve pedophilia and be artistically interesting. He responded by saying, essentially, "phla mhwa mwha, hanananan, blooooo! I'm not listening, neener! Neener! Neener!" but not in so many words.
I was more courteous in my language with him than I am with you all, the heroes who read this blog.
This game involves controlling a squad of eunuch provocateurs (that's a Mars Volta song) to intimidate frightened parents, abused children, and maybe if you're up to it, some salacious priests. You can also snow cops investing the cases to buy some time. The goal is to hold off long enough for the media attention to die down. As Ian puts it, it's not so much a simulation of the secret church policy (yes, this is real) of suppressing reports of child abuse within the church, but a satire of its ultimate failure. The implication being that the only way to maintain the status quo is for news outlets to make their ad dollars some other way, such as reporting on gun violence, marginalizing political candidates that threaten their corporate interests, or glossing over the war in Iraq. Leave the church alone, media! There's a moral decline and you're not helping by reporting on it!
Mechanically, this is a casual, queue-based game. It's like Diner Dash with child rape. However, when you beat level two you do not get a better drink machine. The dynamic is not terribly deep, but it's deep enough to impart an implicit message, which is really the whole point of making a game like this. It's not really that much fun -- any pleasure in success is countered by the fact that, you know, you are facilitating the screams of innocence defiled. You almost want to allow all but one priest above your quota of protection to be arrested, as if doing just enough to get by is the moral imperative. The floating eye of God, fashioned after the Illuminati symbol, is a great touch, as Molleindustria is wont to provide. (Ed.: No, it's not based on the Illuminati symbol; the "All-Seeing Eye of God" is an ancient Christian symbol, albeit seen more often in Orthodox than Catholic churches.)
The fact that you're playing a eunuch trying to hide the fact that the priests are undeterably sexual, juxtaposed with the other parties, parents and cops, who clearly enjoy heterosexuality (as evidenced by the sheer number of moral Orel's walking around) kinda implies that a belief system that represses sexuality is just a bad idea.
I once had a dream that I was talking with Jesus in his final moments of life. I asked if he was God. He nodded. "In what sense?" I continued; "We all take part in God", he said. Then I asked "is there life after death?" The nails went into him as I said this, the cross was propped up. He looked up at me, barely holding his neck up, and smiled, shaking his head "no".
He took a great breath and gasped: "reconciliation."