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Gone Home developer withdraws from PAX Prime

Saturday, 22nd June 2013 17:00 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Gone Home developer The Fullbright Company has announced it will not be attending PAX Prime this year, due in part to remarks made by Penny Arcade co-founder Mike “Gabe” Krahulik regarding transgenders earlier this week.

According to a post written by Fullbright co-founder Steve Gaynor on the company’s page, the latest comments made by Krahulik were the last straw so to speak.

“First there was the “Dickwolves” debacle, during which Mike said that it “felt pretty good” to “support rape culture,” wrote Gaynor. “Then there were the Penny Arcade Kickstarters, one of which offered to let backers pay them $7,500 to work as a Penny Arcade intern for a day.

“[Then] when critics recently raised objections about the over-the-top depiction of female characters in Dragon’s Crown, [PA co-founder Jerry "Tycho" Holkins] referred to opinions that differed from his own as “censorship.” And then yesterday a panel was announced for PAX Australia entitled ‘Why So Serious?’”

The panel, the description of which has since been changed, originally featured rawDLC founders Dave Kozicki and Josh Philpott , AusGamers Stephen Farrelly, GameArena editor Joab Gilroy, Gameplanet NZ editor James Cullinane, and Rae Johnston gaming editor for TechLife discussing, in part, how: “Any titillation gets called out as sexist or misogynistic, and involve any antagonist race aside from Anglo-Saxon and you’re called a racist. It’s gone too far and when will it all end?”

The description was eventually changed to something less “inflamatory.”

“We believe that people’s opinions and actions on social issues and business ethics are important,” Gaynor stated. “We believe that agreeing to pay the organizers of PAX over $1,000 for booth space, and to present our game on their showfloor for four days, provides explicit support for and tacit approval of their publicly demonstrated positions on these subjects. And we have finally come to the conclusion that we cannot support Jerry, Mike, and their organization by participating in this event.

“We know that this will do them no harm; that’s not the point. Another developer will take our slot at the Megabooth; they won’t lose any ticket sales; we won’t hurt their feelings. If anything, we’re hurting ourselves– our ability to reach new fans who might not have heard of Gone Home, to connect with players, sell stuff, meet with press and video crews, and so on.

“But this is not something that we’re doing for practical reasons. We are a four-person team. Two of us are women and one of us is gay. Gone Home deals in part with LGBT issues. This stuff is important to us, on a lot of different levels. And Penny Arcade is not an entity that we feel welcomed by or comfortable operating alongside.

“We wish all the best to the organizers and participants in the Indie Megabooth, as we really do believe that it is an incredibly positive force for indie games and video games in general. We just wish it weren’t at PAX.”

We won’t go into the whole controversy on here. If you want to read up on it, you can do so through the links, and various op-eds on the net – but we’re sure you’ve heard about it already. Krahulik has since issued an apology on the matter.

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24 Comments

  1. Schwarzerwind

    Though I treat the comic itself as all non-serious shits and giggles, there have been some things that the two Wunder Men have said, etc, that have had me thinking the meteoric success of what they do (which didn’t really even exist before them) has begun to make them a wee bit… inflated.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. DSB

    People who are constantly looking for something to offend them, will be offended quite a lot. Sadly, those people have the easiest time getting publicity.

    You won’t see a lot of headlines dedicated to the people who can actually read something provocative without flipping their shit.

    Personally I applaud PA for being genuine. They don’t let political correctness get in the way of a good joke, and they don’t let the morality police get in the way of speaking their minds.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Ireland Michael

    @2 If being “genuine” involves making rape jokes, they can fuck off and go bankrupt.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    @3 http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/8/11/

    If this to you is an overt attempt to validate or promote rape, then I think you have issues.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. onlineatron

    @2

    Your argument is that people should be able to be and think what they want to think without prosecution, right?

    Well, that’s all these Fullbright guys are doing. They’re exercising their right to not support people they think are actively against them.

    Unfortunately, Mike, the guy you support, believes that men who want to identify as women (and vice versa) can not. That they should be unable to call themselves what they want to. That directly, wholeheartedly contradicts your argument. And is a sentiment I cannot get behind at all.

    Bravo, Fullbright. Your game looks great, and your stance laudable.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. DSB

    @5 He’s said nothing of the sort. He merely said that if you have a penis you are biologically a dude, and if you have a vagina then you are biologically a woman.

    And while I’m sure that’s cause for MASSIVE speculation among the prissy pseudo-intellectual intelligentsia, keepers of the PC flame, I’m personally not bothered by that, and I don’t think it makes him Hitler.

    He actually stated the exact opposite by telling his transgendered female staffer Sophie Prell:

    “Wanna be a guy or a girl or a fox or whatever and I will be happy to treat you that way.”

    But as per usual, the hipster inquistion is too busy winding themselves up about form and confusing it with actual substance.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. onlineatron

    @4

    It’s not promoting rape. It’s promoting rape culture. The idea that the illegal, horrendous act of rape has become trivialised to the point of parody; that a lot of people view the act as acceptable under certain conditions; that Serena Williams can suggest that a 16-year-old rape victim was at fault for being out late and drunk. Any joke that makes light, makes fun of the act of rape–THE ACT not the rapist–is directly contributing to these pernicious attitudes in our society.

    The Penny Arcade guys are unable to admit fault or empathise with rape victims, even after all this time, is dangerous and damaging.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Ireland Michael

    @4 I never said they were validating it.

    That doesn’t make it any less sick.

    You can make a display out of a dead animal carcass and claim its art (this actually happened), but that doesn’t make it good art. You can make a joke out of rape and call it a joke… but that doesn’t make it funny.

    @5 “Unfortunately, Mike, the guy you support, believes that men who want to identify as women (and vice versa) can not. That they should be unable to call themselves what they want to. That directly, wholeheartedly contradicts your argument.”

    …what?

    #8 2 years ago
  9. onlineatron

    @6

    That’s exactly what he insinuated: “It was pointed out to me that not all women have vaginas and I will admit right here in front of everyone that this came as a big shock to me”

    Look, I don’t begrudge your right to defend those guys, to feel how you feel. But why must you belittle other people’s opinions and feeling in the process? Especially when they are egalitarian in nature.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. DSB

    @7 How can it possibly be promoting it? The “hero” is obviously the scumbag for not helping the slaves. Simply using the word rape in a comic doesn’t make you a part of any “debate” about rape, which to my mind makes every bit as much sense as a debate about murder.

    They’re both fucking unacceptable activities, they’re both completely fucking illegal, and yet you have these guys with hornrimmed glasses on Twitter who want to debate the fuck out of it while sucking on their pipes and quoting Kipling.

    It’s a total waste of everybody’s time.

    To say nothing of the fact that it wasn’t a rape joke. It was a joke about MMORPGs and how they actually design total player apathy towards NPCs who have to be in an unbearable position.

    Instead of freeing all of them, you only save five. Dickwolves or no dickwolves. I find that funny.

    @8 Again, it’s not a rape joke. That’s purely your own misguided idea of it. It’s a joke about MMORPGs that contains the word rape. It’s not political, it’s not value based, it’s provocative satire.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. onlineatron

    @8

    OOOOOPS!

    That was supposed to read like I was naming Mike, the Penny Arcade guy. Not you. Sorry for the confusion.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Ireland Michael

    @10 No, it’s a rape joke. It uses the act of someone being raped and physically violated for “lulz”. Intellectualise it all you want, it’s still a joke centred around rape.

    @11 Hahahaha. Whoops.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. DSB

    @12 The rape isn’t the point of the comic. Choosing to obsess about it is entirely on you.

    That’s exactly why this is ridiculous.

    You could choose to be equally incensed about the fact that it features prisoners who are beaten in captivity, in direct violation of the UN’s convention on torture and inhumane treatment.

    And you could suggest that the writers are somehow trying to promote violence in the criminal justice system by including it.

    … But it would be equally silly if you did.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Ireland Michael

    @13 Its also entirely on me to believe that rape should never, ever be made light of.

    As someone whose time is often spent around people dealing with deep emotional scars, I have a low tolerance for people who display apathy towards it. It’s very easy to laugh at suffering when you’re not the one being punched in the face.

    The joke was bad enough. The constantly snarky dismissal and follow up comic that basically *did* make light of rape, though… yeah, I don’t feel the need to respect that at all.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DSB

    @14 Well, personally I think unreasonable accusations often provoke unreasonable responses.

    You may have a personal relationship to rape that makes you incapable of appreciating the comic, but I don’t think that’s any reason to accuse people of stuff they didn’t do, or to start assigning them motives they never had.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. onlineatron

    Exactly, Mike (you Mike not PA Mike)!

    This is all about empathy.

    I can not fathom how someone who has ever seen the effects of rape, or even heard about them second hand, could ever make light of it. No matter the context.

    It’s the refuge of the privileged and the psychopathic.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Ireland Michael

    @15 The only thing I’m personally accusing him of is making a tasteless joke. I don’t feel there’s anything to even remotely appreciate in that comic.

    I don’t have a personal relationship with murder, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to make jokes at the expense of someone’s death.

    @16 *nods*

    #17 2 years ago
  18. DSB

    Everybody’s had something bad happen to them.

    People can have problems with all kinds of shit. Churches being destroyed, housefires, whaling, the words gay or retarded – Seriously, you name it.

    That’s exactly why you can’t let stuff like comics, or any other form of expression be dictated by the most sensitive people in a society. It would become frightfully boring and monotone, instead of breaking down boundaries and moving us forward.

    I had a friend who committed suicide last year and that affected me a great deal, but that doesn’t mean I can’t find suicide funny as part of a comic.

    At some point you have to accept that you’re looking at fiction and entertainment, instead of forcefully turning it into an ideological manifest meant to promote or validate anything.

    That’s purely your own hysteria, and in my opinion that’s not fair to the author. You can object and disagree anyway, that’s a fair response, but attributing them all kinds of values and motives is not, and clearly serves to show who is actually holding onto an agenda.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. SplatteredHouse

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/2013/06/19/twiiter-sucks-sometimes
    I think Sophie Prell of PAR summed up well in her first message to Gabe the issue.

    Sophie concluded the same message on that page, with: “All I wanted to do was let you know that someone who has met you, who has worked for you, who admires the hell out of you is hurt by what you’ve said. You say what you need to say, and I say what I feel I need to in order to excise this tension.”

    http://business.financialpost.com/2013/06/21/download-code-penny-arcade-needs-to-fix-its-krahulik-problem/
    They are PA. They are PA in public. They are, have positioned themselves as public figureheads for their business. What was said, and the attitude adopted after does seem to stand completely at odds with the sort of message that Penny Arcade grew from.

    How can it be okay for Adam Orth to be viewed as a representative of Microsoft, on his own Twitter account. For his comments to cause offense, for the gaming population to largely call “foul” at what they saw as an insult/sleight, the result reflect poorly on Microsoft, and he gets fired in short order and MS takes a pr hit.

    (I’ll be clear on this beforehand, I’m not at all trying to suggest the two outcomes should have matched. Hopefully, this Krahulik affair gets just sorted through, there’s talk and whatever – but nothing like THAT!)

    However, in this instance, again, we have senior company man not conducting themselves well in public. It reflects poorly on his company (there’s at least a sense that PA is taking some of the flak for these repeated PR gaffes) as he’s speaking in a manner perceived to be at odds from values he previously championed, and removed from the community message the company had been pushing.

    There’s a bunch of stuff to it, and so there’s a summary. That comparison, btw, is mine alone. Im not having much success squaring off the reaction and comments to these two “incidents”.
    One circumstance occurs and a man is vilified. Another similar, a short time later, and the reaction markedly differs.

    I don’t think Mike’s defense of (basically) “me just stoopid comic guy” really holds up to much in relation to the impact of what that guy, with all his responsibility and placing said.
    I think there’s a level of “if that’s what he says, and view that’s held when the lights and cameras go away…” Some people are, clearly, not cool with that.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. DSB

    @19 Keyword being percieved.

    If Twitter wants to disregard the substantive issue and simply indulge in naming someone a rapeloving rape-promoter, then they’ll do that.

    It’s obviously pretty hard to stop, and common sense isn’t a match for the pseudo-intellectual intelligentsia. They clearly lack the concept.

    Saying that someone with a penis is a guy isn’t being anti-transgender in any way. Saying that someone who has a penis has no right to call himself a woman, would be.

    Again, the argument sprang from the fact that morons on Twitter were saying that a videogame was anti-LGBT because it was meant to teach women how to masturbate, but failed to include “women” with penises.

    Arguably that’s another incredibly unintelligent accusation.

    Personally I think it’s great that Penny Arcade takes a stand against being willfully misenterpreted by people who are obviously just looking for someone to thump with their politically correct bibles.

    People shouldn’t be allowed to read absolutely anything they want into a harmless statement, and simply expect anyone else to accept their premise or accomodate their problem, just because they have a big group of people repeating the same stupid things based on the same flawed assumption.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. zinc

    A company of 2 lesbians, a gay guy & a hetro guy?

    Guaranteed that its the hetro making the stand, proving his not one of “them”.

    Guy dude’s too busy having dick wolf parties with his mates.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. dkpunk

    Is this really a thing? I read over the convo between Sophi and Mike… Read the original statements. I still for the life of me can’t find anything insulting. Political correctness is starting to hit insane levels of hyper sensitivity. This SHOULD be a none issue but can now be used as an example the LGBT community over stepping it’s boundaries.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. YoungZer0

    Ugh, here we go again. If you think rape is something people should not be allowed to make fun of: Go fuck yourself.

    Really, who are you, the PC Police? Are you one of those people who says that we shouldn’t make fun of Hitler? Do you know what sarcasm is? Do you even understand how humor works?

    Fucking rape culture? Seriously? Please tell me you know the actual origin of the word, because it has nothing to do with the bullshit feminist use to silence people.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. Clupula

    My god, are we still on the dickwolves joke? First, it’s a play on the name of the producer of Law & Order, Dick Wolf. Second, the rape is not the point of the joke. There is such a thing as being too sensitive and that is an example of it. The rape is not the punchline of the joke. The rape is not even the focal point of the joke.

    Compare that to the bullshit said by Daniel Tosh when he said to a woman in the audience of his standup, “Wouldn’t it be funny if you were raped by like 5 guys right now?” People made a huge deal of the dickwolves thing when it shouldn’t have been. There was a big deal about triggers, but having been around women who have recovered from the very real horror of sexual assault, pretty much anything can become a trigger. There was nothing malicious or insensitive about this particular comic strip, while I wouldn’t say the same about Tosh or even about Duke Nukem Forever.

    I don’t particularly find Penny Arcade funny most of the time, but I think it’s ridiculous that people gave them shit for that.

    #24 2 years ago

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