10 problematic video games and their proposed revisions

I think, at this point, that we can all agree that video gaming is the most problematic form of media that has ever existed in the scope of human history.  If it weren’t for visionaries like Jim Sterling (the current desperate poster-fool of the SJW community) the bigoted trans-haters at Obsidian might never have been shamed  and harangued for allowing  levity in their game.  Anita Sarkeesian is so luminary in the field of video gaming that she doesn’t even need to have played any.  If GamerGate taught us anything (because it didn’t seem to teach us to stop using the suffix ‘gate’ on every minor scandal) it’s that wanting to be able to trust journalism is merely exercising prejudice against lying, cheating journalists and we should all feel bad about it.  We are truly living in a golden age, people. 

But the war is far from over.  Every day, videogames are being released that have the gall to contain thought-provoking, exciting and revolutionary content.  Not only should we find this offensive, but we should do everything we can to arrest and obliterate it, to safeguard those who might find themselves offended or interested.  Reader be warned:  This list contains a number of triggering words and situations, so it’s probably best if everyone just stopped reading right now, crawled under a warm blanket and quietly went to sleep.

Unless blankets trigger you, in which case you might want to call the police and lay on the floor until help arrives.  

 

Wii Fit

Wii Fit, released in 2008 for the Nintendo Wii, is an exercise and strength training program that uses a specially designed peripheral called a balance board.  The player stands, steps or balances on the board in different positions to complete various aerobic tasks, as guided by a virtual trainer.  A score is kept of the player’s activities and measured against a number of different factors, such as height, weight and age to provide an on-going record of physical fitness, areas of strength and suggestions for improvement. 


What's the problem?

Nintendo have shown themselves, time and again, to be the undisputed rulers of oppression in video games.  Since the NES era, their cartridge-and-slot-based systems have upheld a phallic standard which reached a peak with the release of the Nintendo Wii.  Games were played by literally shaking and manipulating a penis-shaped controller; indoctrinating a generation to believe that they need to pleasure the tools of the patriarchy in order to succeed.

Wii Fit is no exception to Nintendo’s out-of-control desire to dominate, obviously targeting and shaming morbidly-obese goddesses with one all-pervasive, toxic message:  “it’s healthy to be healthy”.  This needs to stop, literally now.  A person can be healthy at every size, regardless of whether they get out of breath from chewing, or if they can’t fit their 350 lb lipid-laden stumps on a balance board without shattering it.


How do we fix it?
   
   

The minds behind Wii Fit need to realise that regular exercise and organisation of fitness goals is in no way a ‘magic pill’ to being healthy.  Furthermore, the idea of being active and responsible is shaming to those who don’t have the willpower to exercise or those who find comfort in eating butter out of the tub with their fingers.  Genetics is 382% responsible for bodily fitness, anyway.  Only by adhering to new principles, ones that inspire true health and fitness, can Wii Fit be fixed.

The balance board, for instance is an obviously sizeist tool of oppression.  By not making the balance boards in sizes that suit all bodies, Nintendo is insinuating that it’s somehow wrong to be so fat that your BMI matches your year of birth.  They need to be larger, and able to withstand a fuller figure.  Perhaps about six feet by four.  With a mattress for padding.  And some pillows wouldn’t hurt, either.  The player could be gently encouraged to lie back while the Wii Fit trainer whispers body-positive slogans, reminding the player that  they are beautiful, that real men want curves and that there’s literally nothing wrong with drinking syrup.  The player would at no point be asked for any information regarding their bodies, in order to create a safe and comfortable in-game space, and sessions would end not with competitive and patriarchal goals, but affirmations.  Do as little as you want, eat as much as you want and don’t bother with doctors.

They’re paid to fat-shame you.   

Silent Hill 2


Silent Hill 2 is a classic survival horror game for the Playstation 2 that tells the story of James Sunderland, a widower who is compelled to visit the mysterious seaside town of Silent Hill after receiving a letter from his departed spouse.  Once there, he finds himself drawn deeper into the occult mysteries of the town, meeting a cast of enigmatic supporting characters and eventually uncovering the violent truth about his past.   


What's the problem?

There are numerous problems with Silent Hill 2, from the slut-shaming of a manifestation of lust to the fetishisation of undead women in the nursing profession but one issue plainly stands out from other offenders, however; the problem of the Pyramid Head character. Devised as a physical manifestation of James’ male instinct to rape, the Red Pyramid Thing shows up throughout the game, pursuing James even as the player tries in vain to overcome his base masculine need for sexual abuse.  It is interesting to note that Silent Hill mainly focuses its physical manifestations on James, a successful white man.  It would seem that not even psychological horror settings are exempt from exhibiting white male privilege.  The player, sickeningly, is coerced into going along with these abominable acts, led to believe that the victims are ‘monsters’ simply because they’re blood-spattered four-legged animated mannequins.  Not a single sexual assault inquiry takes place during the entire game, forcing the player to be complicit in silencing the victim.    

In addition to this, the supporting cast seems to exist only to portray those who differ from the neurotypical status quo as mentally-ill psychopaths, rather than allowing them to express their uniqueness without fear in a safe and open space.   


How do we fix it?
   
  

To deal with the deep-seated appreciation of rape culture that pervades Silent Hill 2, a complete change of focus would be the only way to transform the stimulating and morally ambiguous masterpiece into the kind of dull, lifeless slurry that couldn’t even offend the average Tumblr user.  As every self-righteous SJW knows, horror is an archaic and socially-disruptive genre, and the creeping tension, relatable characters and spine-chilling atmosphere inspire nothing but negative, non-constructive emotions in an audience.  Silent Hill 2 would be re-branded an interactive fiction in the same vein as gone home, with the focus shifted to the victims, because everyone who plays a videogame should be forced to endure the tedious emotional problems of ‘realistic’ characters.  

The character of James would no longer suit this aggressively-progressive narrative, instead focusing on the tribulations of Jamie, an independent, free-spirited college student of colour in her hometown of Silent Hill as she faces up to the ghosts of sexual abuse that haunt her.  Rape will be portrayed in a fair and even-handed fashion, making sure to utterly condemn her attacker for refusing to understand her non-verbal passive withdrawal of consent three hours after intercourse, as well as making it clear that her eternal status as a survivor entitles her to win any argument by being an insufferable cunt about it.  She will be surrounded at all times by a supporting cast of like-minded, immature hypocrites, complete with hundreds of thousands of lines of twitter-grade dialogue that unironically equate greetings on the street to brutal sexual assault.  

Cooking Mama

Cooking Mama is a compilation of cookery-based minigames where players use touch-screen mechanics to emulate the food preparation process.  Mama herself acts as a sort of judge for the players actions, giving overall grades on accuracy, speed and competent completion.  The player then attempts to better that score by decreasing their time, or increasing the accuracy of their movements. 

What's the problem?

Where to begin!  The very presentation of Cooking Mama (because she HAS no first name,  defined by menial housekeeping) is one of drudgery and servitude.  The tight, restraining apron, identity-obliterating headscarf and forced-at-gunpoint smile are reminiscent of soviet-era propaganda.  The whole thing spits in the face of a hundred years of hard-won feminism!  Did brave, bored upper-class idiot womyn die in horse-related accidents so that a century later, suggestive young gyrls would know the simple pleasure of lovingly-preparing a home-cooked meal?  No.  Because it’s hard, and it takes time away from posting pictures of cartoon riveters on Facebook.  A true feminist does not engage in the barbaric act of cookery, eating only raw, naturally-occurring foods like caramel macchiato and sponge cake.

As well as this, Cooking Mama serves only to reinforce the toxic belief that wimyn are suited only to simple low-grade labour.  Despite being debunked countless times, the wage gap persists, with current feminist economists estimating that an unemployed man makes 89% more money than a woman with two jobs, and cooking mama only serves to show her indentured position in a man’s world with her signature catchphrase: “don’t worry, mama will fix it!”.  Cooking Mama, by presenting a kind and nurturing female character who is both wise and careful , damages a feminist cause that is built around encouraging wumun to be lazy, shiftless complaint-machines, tossing chubby fistfuls of invisible problems at everyone else to avoid basic human responsibility.    


How do we fix it?
 
    

The cause of true feminism can never be furthered by allowing wimin to make their own choices in life, so Cooking has to go.  Instead, mama will be encouraged to take up equal employment in one of the many male-dominated occupations, though not something hard or dangerous, like mining and logging.  Or icky and gross, like refuse collection or commercial fishing.  CEO Mama, decked out in full business attire, would teach a world of young wameen that being successful and respected in commerce need not be a product of time, effort or essential knowledge.  Players would still face a number of mini-games, but without the stress and pressure of being timed or the patriarchal restriction of having to do anything.  The player will divide their time between various insipid internet forums, alternately chatting about male celebrities they’d like to fuck while shrilly condemning men for calling female celebrities attractive.    

No longer offering to make everything better in a simpering, maternal fashion, Mama’s new catchphrase will be “just fix it!”, ordering the faceless men under her command to deal with the problems arising from her progressive leadership.  These issues range from finding money to pay for the legions of sensitivity trainers mama decided to bankroll to trying to increase productivity lost when she decided to bring the company to a halt while everyone listened to women’s hour on radio 4 and braid each other’s hair.  Mama doesn’t need to worry about these problems.  She just took paid maternity leave without telling anyone.

Final Fantasy VII

Final Fantasy VII is the game that is widely-held to be responsible for the popularity of Japanese RPG games in the west.  The game revolves around the efforts of AVALANCHE, a small group of eco-warriors as they battle the forces of Shinra, a multi-national corporation that is draining the energy of the planet for profit.  In typical JRPG fashion, the plot thickens considerably, leaving the fate of the entire world hanging in the balance.


What's the problem?

It should come as no surprise that Final Fantasy VII is on this list.  The Japanese gaming community has been infected with the poisonous white ethics of western imperialism for thousands of years.  Final Fantasy VII, while containing some measure of truth (corporations are evil, indigenous people are magical), also shrouds itself in bigotry and intolerance when the protagonist, Cloud Strife, is concerned.  Early in the game, the player is introduced to a section in which Cloud sheds his cisgender façade, gender-fucking the inhabitants of Midgar by adopting a dress, tiara and blonde wig.  Xe finds a supportive group of like-minded individuals, and takes up employment as a sex worker, no doubt to trans-empower xirself.  Then, just as suddenly, it’s all thrown away, and Cloud once again becomes a boring, repressed cis-presenting masculinoid.  Way to go, Squaresoft.  You had the attention of a generation of gamers, and chose to treat transgender issues like cheap amusement, rather than to encourage your millions of fans to cast off the shackles of mental stability and embrace dysphoria. 

When the writers of Final Fantasy VII started treating transgender people so callously, implying that gender identity is some kind of joke, they quite rightly lost all respect from the community.  Just because an individual with gender dysphoria feel as though they can alter the ratio of how male or female they are on a moment-by-moment basis whenever they feel like it doesn’t mean that it’s a whimsical matter.  When will videogames designers understand the simple (and certainly not completely insane) fact that no child is truly born with a penis, and gender is completely fluid unless the individual decides that it isn’t?  Final Fantasy VII has done almost as much harm to transgender people as the basic observation of mammalian gender and the crying game combined.


How do we fix it?
      

In order to bring Final Fantasy VII in line with transgender issues, a lot of work needs to be done in reversing the problematic cis-sexism of the game.  If real-life nations and corporations can’t be allowed to point out to addle-pated attention whores that you can’t actually have no gender, no matter how you feel, why should videogames?  The characters in Final Fantasy VII (disgustingly) use outward physical indicators to signify their gender, and this needs to stop.  From now on, Tifa will identify as androgynous, ostentatiously changing zer hair, clothing and outward physical indicators to show how genderqueer zi is, while also getting angry at anyone who brings it up.  There is literally no reason that Cid can’t be trigender, because there is absolutely no logical or mental problem with someone who identifies as male, female and a third gender all at once, all the time.

To illuminate these changers, character dialogue will have to be overhauled to include long, boring discussions on exactly what made-up, nonsensical pronouns the characters decide to use, dropping and adopting new ones on a whim, like a 14 year old shopping for a prom dress.  Barret will become a situational genderfluid, which means kai will be changing pes pronouns every sixteen seconds.  Cloud will no longer return to his reprehensible cisgendered ways, instead choosing to remain in Midgar and become a pangender sex-worker and spokesperson for intersex rights.  The original storyline will kind of fade into the background, as all the characters can no longer be expected to think of anything other than hyper-subjective gender politics, and lack the basic understanding of pronoun usage required to form intelligible sentences. 

The Elder Scrolls V:  Skyrim

The Elder Scrolls V:  Skyrim is, as one might expect, the fifth addition to the Elder Scrolls action RPG series, this time set in the frigid, Nordic-inspired lands of Skyrim.  The story revolves around the player character being the Dragonborn, a legendary figure with the power to consume the souls of dragons and avert an impending apocalypse at the hands of Alduin, the dragon who is prophesied to consume the world. The player is immersed in a sandbox world of swords and sorcery as they fight their way through the dungeons of Skyrim before finally confronting the world-eater with the fate of the world in the balance.


What's the problem?

In a way, Skyrim got so much right.  Same-sex marriage in a medieval setting.  Playable black characters that emphasise their racially-superior athletic ability.  The ability to kill men and get away with it.  However, one area in which skyrim falls down is in dealing with the playable character’s initiation into the companions, a group of otherkin with the ability to allow their wolf personae to front, tapping into their animal sides.  That’s great, you might think.  Otherkin are certainly real, not the product of over-active teenage imaginations, and need representation in videogames! 

The problem is that whenever the player allows their wolf-spirit control, they are universally reviled by NPCs in the game, to the point of being attacked, triggering many otherkin with its allusions to their real-life treatment.   True, in the world of Skyrim, the player transforms into a slavering, razor-clawed were-fiend while in real life, otherkin and represented by bitter, lonely children sporting clip-on plastic tails and horns.  True, in the world of Skyrim, NPC characters might draw their swords and band together to slay the beast, while in real life people usually just ignore them in the halls of their high school and stifle a laugh whenever they start barking and hissing.  But the discriminatory treatment needs to stop, and otherkin need to be reassured that no matter how many people call them retarded for pretending to be a wyvern, the way they feel is always more valid than the way things are.


How do we fix it?
   
  

It should be obvious to everyone reading this that Skyrim needs to be more sensitive to awkward teenagers who believe they time-share a body with a hummingbird, and to avoid inducing PTSD in socially-awkward animal-fetishists, the werewolf characters in Skyrim need to be welcomed, to be made to feel included as they yiff their way through the streets of Windhelm.  The Dragonborn, as an otherkin with the twinned-soul of a dragon, would not be encouraged to fight other dragons, but to embrace a distasteful obsession with them, spending their long, friendless hours creating a special costume of dragonbone that allows for ease of movement while also being crotchless, with easy access to the arsehole in case other ‘dragonborn’ come to visit.

Wearing this special costume, complete with a giant, dragon’s head helmet, the player would travel the realms of Skyrim spreading not violence and death, but understanding and tolerance, by stamping their feet and loudly asserting their feelings whenever a villager mutters off-handedly that they look like a knob.  The abilities of the dragonborn would not be tailored toward violence, pandering to the out-dated stereotype that fantasy monsters need to be fearsome or interesting.  Instead, they will have the power to spread awareness of their otherkin nature throughout Tamriel by making retarded animal noises, defecating all over their dragon-suit and rubbing themselves against children in the streets.  They would have the common otherkin abilities of pretend telepathic communication, an empathic link with other fans of My Little Pony and Asperger’s syndrome.

The Legend of Zelda:  Ocarina of Time

Ocarina of Time, the fifth and arguably the most-loved entry in the Legend of Zelda series, was released in 1998, and follows the travels of mute protagonist Link, as he quests across the kingdom of Hyrule, in a bid to keep dark forces from taking control.  He is aided in his quest by a diverse cast of characters and abilities, which allow his progression through the different regions of Hyrule, borrowing the power of the seven sages to defeat the villainous Ganondorf once and for all. 


What's the problem?

One word:  Gentrification.  The fact that the completely-fic tional kingdom of Hyrule is predominantly white is a stark indicator of just how ingrained racism is in our society.  Even when no real-world races are even present, they can still be under-represented.  Even in a world of talking trees and magical woodwind instruments, completely absent people of colour are being oppressed.  Princess Zelda (unelected monarch and internalising misogynist) and Link (enforcer of the ultra-right-wing racist status quo) are both blond-haired and blue-eyed, and will use every method at their disposal, calling on their nepotistic power-structure of ancient white apologists, to silence any dissent.  In giving the characters of Ocarina of Time culture, physical traits and skin colour, Nintendo have blatantly insulted every reactionary scumfuck who thinks they’re the only person on Earth to notice the difference between black and white.  

When characters of colour are added to this whitewashed Hyrulean history, what do we get?  We get Ganondorf and the Gerudo tribe, the people of the desert.  Their star and crescent moon symbol is obviously meant to symbolise Islam (rather than the hundred other states and peoples who use it but don’t allow me to cry racism), and just like the real Islam, their women are scantily-clad and resemble birds.  Ganondorf is painted as the villain of the piece simply because he wants to become omnipotent and conquer the entire world.


How do we fix it?
   
  

Tolerance, and an understanding on behalf of all white characters that they have done great wrong to Ganondorf and his tribe in impeding their plans.  Even if Ganondorf does take control of Hyrule, it can’t really be called conquering.  As we all know, to conquer, one needs power plus prejudice.  While Ganondorf could be accused of prejudice (which can never be racism, because you can’t really be racist against Hyruleans), the Gerudo tribe are a minority, and thus not powerful.  They would not be conquerors, but refugees, and if they need to ride through the streets of Hyrule, putting vast swathes of the city to the torch, that’s just an expression of their unique heritage, and cultural enrichment for all the people that lay dead in the streets. 

The characters of Link and Zelda need to be completely redone, if ocarina of time is ever going to appeal to videogame-hating ultra-liberal scum with a guilt complex.  As white characters with significant societal power, it would be apt if the main quest revolved around the people of Hyrule checking their privilege, and unpacking the toxic, racist mindset that leads to them want to defend themselves and propagate their own culture.  Only when they’ve done this can they welcome Ganondorf and his armies, offering up the throne as reparations and ushering in a new multicultural state with an open-door immigration policy.  Finally, the Gerudo will be able to do whatever they like and still claim minority status, despite large areas of the city being given up to them because they don’t feel like integrating.  Link and Zelda would now be free to further work off their privilege by starting up a cringing, spineless advocacy group, declaring the Gerudo to be a tribe of peace and harmony.  Child rapists and vicious street beheadings may be far more commonplace, but if you think about it, it’s the victim’s fault for being so Hyrulean, so they kind of deserve it.

Assassin's Creed III

Assassin’s Creed is a long-running action-adventure-stealth series that tells the epic, time-spanning tale of a secret war between the Order of Assassins and the Knights Templar through the ages.  Each game takes place in the present, with characters taking control of a figure during a different period of human history using a genetic memory machine.  Assassin’s Creed inserts fictional characters and events alongside representations of historical figures and actions.  Later instances of the series have played with the theme of historical revisionism, disinformation and information control.  Assassin's Creed III deals with the American revolution and surrounding events.

 
What's the problem?

Despite the frankly obscene levels of cognitive dissonance required to believe it, white Europeans have controlled the entire world with a pallid iron fist for thousands of years, yet still not been able to invent anything more taxing than country western music and the ride-on lawnmower.  Everything else, they stole from those poor native souls who only wanted to live their peaceful agrarian lives while occasionally butchering, wearing and eating those assholes from that other peaceful agrarian tribe over the hill.  No matter how curvy their swords, no matter how renowned for archery and no matter how much gunpowder they’d managed to invent, they’d still somehow find themselves getting their shit wrecked by the sheer tide of white Europeans that flooded across their borders, wielding sticks and stones and wearing bits of sack and tree-bark.  By the time the locals noticed whitey didn’t really care about minarets or understand the principles behind Feng Shui, it was all over.  They’d been colonised. 

One the one hand, Assassin’s Creed acknowledges this with the existence of the Templar Order, who control the modern world with a keen and ruthless observance, like the patriarchy only somehow less fictional.  They make the trains run on time, they keep the streets clean and they regulate and encourage technologies.  The only group that opposes them are the Assassin Order, originally Muslims (yay!) who moved through continental Italy (boo!) into the new world through native America (yay!), before being co-opted by some white guys (boo!) and a mixed-race Arab (not sure!). 

However true it may be that a culture truly propagates by offering itself to the mosaic of human achievement, the price of progress is surely paid by that voiceless minority: hypersensitive liberal fucksticks who get irrationally angry at those who mispronounce Quinoa.

 
How do we fix it?      

The whitewashing of history needs to go.  For starters, none of the Assassin Order’s dialogue should be in English or carry English subtitles.  Although there’s no way to keep the gameplay from being be visible to those whose first language is English, they should not be made to feel welcome.  On attempting to purchase the game, a blood and DNA test should be administered to ensure that the player has non-European roots.  In the unlucky event that they happen to have some measure of white ancestry (in fact, even “one drop” of European blood should be enough to disqualify them) an alternate version of the game will be supplied to them. 

While the regular version of the game, for true-blooded players, will feature a protagonist dynamically steeped in the culture of his people, the alternate version of the game will only allow for play as a naked, mute white ghost.  This ghost player will be unable to use clothing or weapons created by superior races, as well as being bald to keep them from culturally appropriating hairstyles.   In fact, the player will be unable to interact with other characters or the world in any meaninigful way, all dialogue in the game replaced with a monotonous hissing noise.  A piercing shriek will be emitted by the game every 26 seconds to remind European players of the slaughter committed in their name by their evil forefathers, and stop them from getting too comfortable.  On completion of the game, ghost players will be required to report for memory-reassignment surgery to have all recollection of playing it seared from their mind with a laser. They will then be replaced with memories that better suit their white heritage, such as binge-watching Seinfeld, going bass fishing in rural Ohio or editing the Wikipedia page for the World Curling Federation.

Deus Ex:  Human Revolution

Deus Ex: Human Revolution is the long-awaited 2011 prequel to Deus Ex, the phenomenally-popular FPS RPG.  Set in 2027 (25 years before the first game), it follows the tribulations of Adam Jensen, who is forced to undergo experimental augmentation after a terrorist attack on his company leaves his body irrevocably damaged.  Investigating the sources of this attack, Jensen uncovers the threads of a conspiracy that weave throughout the sphere of global politics.  Through the detailed examination of alternate future politics, the game deals with a number of real-world issues surrounding human augmentation and prosthetics, globalisation and corporatisation.


What's the problem?

Sheer arrogance.  In constructing this sickening fantasy reality of 2027, the writers have inserted their toxic message that physical ability is in some way more desirable than disability.  That a paraplegic would prefer to run at super-speeds or fall effortlessly from a great height than to sit in a wheelchair and scratch their stumps all day.  That, given the choice, the blind would see and the deaf would hear rather than drink in the embarrassing encouragement and misguided enthusiasm of internet advocacy groups who claim kinship with them because they self-diagnose as lactose intolerant.  Assuming that people want to be well and healthy and capable is ableism in its purest form. 

In the sinister world of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, however, citizens are not encouraged to wear disability and deformity like a badge of pride.  In their world, it’s not heroic to try and get a nature trail shut down for not being accessible enough, or to try and get out of a restaurant bill by citing your WebMD-inspired irritable bowel syndrome.  Thankfully, this fiction is a far cry from reality, where any attention-seeking idiot can buy a dragon-head cane on eBay and pretend they have restless-leg syndrome for internet sympathy while calling themselves trans-spastic .


How do we fix it?
 
    

Stop pretending that wellbeing is in any way affected by physical capability or functionality, rather than being an enigmatic and ethereal state of existence governed entirely by mood and number of Facebook friends.  After the attack that leaves Adam Jensen devastated, we’re treated with a cinematic that deals with him being pieced back together, brought back into the able-bodied status quo in order to fulfil his role.  No.  No other-abled fantasti-cripple should have to accept surgery so that able-bodied bigots more readily accept them.  We want to play as the true Jensen, limb-free and proud, as he is wheeled triumphantly from mental to physical therapists and back again.  His struggle becomes our cathartic pity-party.

Just because we’re following a non-independently mobile protagonist doesn’t mean the game would lack action.  As a differently-abled positi-victim, Jensen would be able to do everything anyone else can do, as long as you don’t tend to walk, talk or utilise higher-order brain functions.  The game would feature a number of tense QTE-based action sequences where the player controls Jensen in a bid to drink from a sippy-cup, move his pupils in response to distinct light sources and groan piteously when he needs a nappy change.

Jensen’s journey through the parts of futuristic Detroit that he can be wheeled through will include a full cast of two-faced pious morons.  The same uniquely-interactive dialogue options from the original game will be retained, allowing the player to witness them calling Jensen brave to his face, while behind his back petitioning against technologies that would increase his bottomed-out quality of life on the grounds that it would deny his unique struggle.

Eternal Darkness:  Sanity's Requiem

Released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2002, Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem is an action-survival horror game that revolves around a battle between ancient gods for the control of Humanity’s future.  Told through a number of different, loosely-connected characters throughout human history, the player is tasked with thwarting the efforts of these malign deities in many different time periods up to, and including the present day.  Depending on which god is chosen at the start, the enemies in the game will sap the sanity, strength and willpower of the player, resulting in unique play-styles each time.


What's the problem?

The main problem with Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem lies in its ‘innovative’ sanity system.  In addition to health and magic, the player is expected to keep an eye on their sanity level, which causes a number of different effects when decreased.  Not only is it absurd to assert than sanity is any measure of mental health, the effects that take place during the game are extremely problematic.  Ranging from simulating volume and graphical glitches to appearing to wipe the memory card or kill the player character, these effects are not only extremely triggering to those who pretend to have suffered PTSD from visiting 4chan, but serve to invalidate the player’s experience by gaslighting them.

These effects, being momentary, will appear to go away after a few moments, returning control to the player as though nothing ever happened, often having the character state their confusion in an obvious cry for help, no doubt to reinforce the control that the game exhibits so crudely.  Well, these effects DO happen, and this is mental abuse , no matter how many people remind you that it’s only a game, and you’re giving an irrational response to fiction.  In making the player doubt their own perception and memories, then asserting that everything is absolutely fine,  Eternal Darkness literally rapes the player by erasing their experiences.   


How do we fix it?   
    

In order to revise Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem, we need to first realise that such destructive, abusive behaviour should never be tolerated, especially as entertainment.  As such, the gameplay needs to receive some substantial overhauling to make it accessible to the desires of the kind of super-sensitive wet-blanket whose only experience of gaming comes with the prefix Candy Crush.  Not only does such serious abuse need to be cut out at the root, but it needs to be replaced with something kind, caring and emotionally-uplifting.  Because if there’s one thing that gaming needs to be, it’s a learning experience.

There’s no need to change everything, however.  The essential horror classic need only be scoured for violence, threats of violence, allusion to violence, possible metaphors for violence, use of fear to elicit player reaction, tension, allusion to tension and possible tension metaphors.  The eternally-waged battle for humanity would remain, but in the guise of threats we all face every day.  The game would seek to educate the player on the dangers of men saying “hello” in elevators, men taking up space on public transport and men who treat pictures of women like objects.  Unless you’re a man, these are struggles we all face daily, despite lack of evidence, witnesses or actual crime. 

The sanity effects, of course, will be replaced with the inclusion of a ‘boost button’, which can be pressed at any time to offer positive reinforcement to the player, be it a few minutes of soothing whale-song or Nigella Lawson purring long excerpts from the audiobook of Are you there, God? It’s me, Margaret.  Holding down the boost button for a period of longer than five seconds cuts the action completely, replacing it with a landscape view of the cotswolds and pumping a subtle lavender scent from the control pad.  This gives the player as much time as they need to explain their emotions and unpack their concerns before continuing. 

Professor Layton and the Curious Village

The Professor Layton series’ first entry, Professor Layton and the Curious Village was released for the Nintendo DS in 2007, and has since become a household name due to its universal appeal.  The games use a distinctive visual novel style, with puzzle minigames being offered by the townspeople that Layton (and his apprentice, Luke) meet along the way.  Such is the series’ popularity that it has spawned a number of novels and a feature film, as well as a crossover game with the Phoenix Wright series, Professor Layton vs. Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney.   

 

What's the problem?

Well, for a start, there’s the shockingly-chauvinistic attitude of Professor Layton himself, who acts as a metaphor for the patriarchy by espousing to Luke (the younger generation of men) the importance of being a ‘gentleman’.  In teaching Luke to be cool-headed, logical, pacifistic and humble, he is spreading the cause of toxic masculinity.  Aside from this, the Professor Layton series falls into the same tired old trap that all puzzle games do; they’re made solely for neurotypicals.

It hurts my heart to know that in what most consider to be a civilised age, people are still hung up on finding solutions to problems, and deferring to people of intelligence, experience and forethought to do so.  How much better off would we all be if world leaders, rather than hiring some neurotypical think tank, instead decided to trawl around Manchester Piccadilly bus station at 4am asking the cider-blasted pillheads how to solve third-world debt?  But they won’t, because they’re too busy trying to research and investigation to solve their problems!

This kind of narrow-minded thinking is rife in Professor Layton, often taking the form of (racist) mathematical problems or logical brain-teasers that are made for neurotypicals by neurotypicals, with a single set answer.  It is, of course, undeniably true that individuals on the autistic spectrum are far more intelligent than regular people, and the more serious the condition you have, the more super-evolved you are.  These individuals have developed way beyond the childish need for logic, instead solving problems their own way by semi-coherently babbling about rainbows and (in a few very advanced cases) smashing the ground repeatedly with their fists and howling for a relief that will never come.                    


How do we fix it?
 
    

It’s about time puzzle games evolved too, giving up on the limiting notion of problems and solutions.  Instead, the puzzles that the professor and his apprentices face need to reflect the fact that non-verbal imbeciles with learning disabilities who are startled by loud noises can be geniuses too, despite the lack of any ability or potential.  We just need to lower the bar a little, or perhaps dig a ditch to toss the bar into, because equality means participation trophies for everyone, regardless of talent.

Puzzles will be redone to better suit neurodiversity, with any difficulty scoured out to avoid discriminating against lunatics.  For example,  the player would be faced with three red buttons, and tasked with pushing the red one.  If a player fails to push a button, or chooses instead to mash their fists or face into the screen, that’s totally okay too, because they’re expressing their essential uniqueness.  On completion, the game will cut to an episode of Octonauts so that neuroatypical players can relax and distress themselves. 

No doubt due to their obvious superiority as part of the mentally-retarded master race, many neurodiverse players may find their attention wavering during the course of the game, or unwilling to focus their eyes on human characters, so Professor Layton will have to become a smiling, pastel-coloured piglet, while Luke and Flora respectively become a set of traffic lights and a plane in a sombrero.  The original plot would be deemed too intense for our extremely-specifically-abled overlords, so instead, it will be changed to better suit their advanced needs.  Professor Layton, taking a pre-planned route to the shops, faces a variety of new challenges as he desperately avoids making eye contact with the cashier, takes forty minutes to count out the necessary payment in pennies and compulsively mutters the lyrics to she’ll be coming ‘round the mountain to avoid bursting into frustrated tears.    

 

 

polycarpWASDuk writer Arkworthy would just love to accept constructive criticism and helpful comments for this article, but feels like de ought to remind you that xe’s a twin-spirited, omni-demi-sexual transethnic (Greek fronting) otherkin dual-squid who gender identifies as a small oak tree just outside the city limits of Cheshire.  Fe’s a strongly neuro-atypical multiple system, whose headmates include Pol Pot, Ferris Bueller and the cast of characters from Nicholas Nickleby.  Ve weighs 400 lbs, is triggered by carpet samples and experiences violent rape whenever ke is looked at.  As such, te is immune to any criticism you might have, and actually probably deserves reparation money from you for some reason.    

 

 

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