So a guy walks into a bar... no, wait let me start again. A girl walks into a bar... no, the girl walks out of the bar, that's it.
Hey I've got an idea, let's start making games about rape, just to explore the limits of the high, and maybe see if games can show us something about being human that narrative about rape cannot. Ok, what would be a good title for such a game? How about Rape?
Yeah, one syllable, just rolls right off the tongue. What a great title? This could be the birth of a franchise! Son-ic-the-hedge-hog, five syllables, Grand-theft-auto, three syllables, Rape, one syllable. Less is more, let's do it, we wouldn't want people to get the wrong idea.
Jazzuo is not Ryan Lambourn, and he is not an H-game developer, we must give him this much credit to start. (For the record, I am a Vtech alumi, I had to deal with the possibility of my friends getting shot that day, my ex-girlfriend had a friend who lost her fiancee, but I still enjoyed VTech Rampage and I'm glad it exists.) Jazzuo has developed a bunch of games, all available on his site, I took a minute to play his crucifixion game, which lets you shoot nails into the wrists of the Monty Python crew. A similar attitude is applied toward the design of a game about rape, but with some poise in the design. You control a posse of ruffians RTS-style, left clicking to pick out one and right clicking to move them around. Your goal is to stalk women and rape them. This is not excusable because the people involved are tiny pixels, or because the audio wears like a broken record after initial shock has passed. It is excusable and somewhat interesting because the gameplay involves the dynamics of pack attitudes, there's insight here. Success comes from manipulating vector retracements; that's the hard system of it. In Breakout it was so charming, family fun at that, but when it's a womanly sprite doing the retracement, it means fear. We are animals, that's a reality we're going to be getting more aware of in coming years, and this game dares to show us a portrait of that in the form of hunting patterns driven by psychopathic horniness coupled with domestic paranoia that is sadly justified.
Another interesting thing about this game is the point system, usually points are meant to be a fine-grained measurement of success, of skill. Here, you get an orgasmic barrage of points during a rape, completed through the rape. In the wake of this faux-euphoric rush, you leave your victim beaten and possibly dead to search for the next one. These are not earned rewards, the mind decouples from that satisfaction early, and then you feel relieved when a woman escapes and your game ends. What profit is it to a man to attain the high score but lose his own soul? I mean, that's a lot of raping.
Worked for the Bush administration.
On the other hand, this game is an immature swipe at a topic that deserves a touch more sensitivity and maybe another order of magnitude of system depth to truly yield insight. The portrayal of the rapists is entirely one dimensional, it would almost be more interesting if he just took clips from the limey thugs in A Clockwork Orange. It's got a punk reek to it, like Sid Vicious stabbing his girlfriend to death during a heroin trance. If you don't like to experience reek, I recommend you do not play Rape. However, I have a feeling my girlfriend is going to get a kick out of this one. That's what we call a paradox.