If asked whether rape is a suitable subject for a game, most people would answer, “No, of course not!” But not all, it would seem. Sadly, the UK Games Expo made the national news yesterday when one individual was thrown out and banned for life thanks to the unsuitability of the material he was presenting. The game in question was Things from the Flood, a role-playing game or “RPG”, where the players take on the roles of young teens in the 1990s where players were trying to balance everyday life with solving mysteries with their friends in an alternate time-line. Unfortunately, the game master concerned (widely rumoured to be Kevin Rolfe), saw fit to include kidnap and gang rape in the scenario he was leading. Perhaps worse, he allegedly found the shock-factor entertaining. The floor manager, John Dodd investigated and the organisers released an official statement saying:
“The content was not set out in the game description. If it had been included in the submission it would have been rejected as unacceptable even for a game with an 18 rating. … We immediately halted the game the GM was currently running and cancelled all of the games he was due to run. … He has also been banned from submitting any games for the foreseeable future.”
The unequivocal nature of the response from UK Games Expo clearly demonstrates that sexual assault is not a subject matter that is acceptable for games at the event, nor indeed in the wider hobby. However, it has undoubtedly done damage, not only to the convention (where there are many children and young people present), but also to the image of board gamers in society where there is already the perception that gaming is full of misfits and weirdos with a personal hygiene problem. This is very sad given how family-friendly, sociable and open most gamers and game groups are.
|– Image by boardGOATS|