Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Stanley Parable and Racism

This is kind of a hard issue to talk about because I've not actually played the game in question yet, it was one of those things I was going to get round to when I move into my new place, but now I don't know if I even want to play it at all.

So the story is a remake of an old mod called The Stanley Parable gets released on Steam and people are happy.  Then people start playing and enjoying the Stanley Parable and it seems they are having fun with their interactive storytelling experience.  Then some moron on twitter says that a certain scene in the game is racist and this prompts the developer to back peddle on himself and change his work.

Right, first of all let's talk about the scene.  Apparently it's a scene about choice or something and there is an image of a man lighting a cigarette for a little boy, or pouring him in petrol and lighting him on fire.  From what I've been told regarding the scene the gag is satire of old values from like the 50s and may or or may not have something to do with how first world meddling in third world affairs isn't actually doing all that much good.

Anyway, the point is that race actually had nothing to do with the scene, but morons on twitter got all upset about it because it features a white man in a suit and a small black child being set on fire.  Race doesn't factor into this part of the game AT ALL, yet people are whining about it offending them.  These are people looking for issues where there are none and desperately grasping at straws to try and kick up a fuss.  I bet that if the kid in the above picture was white, there would be no issue here, which kind of brings up the idea that the people who complained are actually the racists because they aren't complaining about a black kid being set on fire, they are complaining about a black kid being featured in the game.....think about that.

So anyway, the developer of The Stanley Parable said he isn't particularly "married to the gag" and is willing to change it.  THIS, is a fucking problem, right here.  People have been saying that it's sort of commendable of the developer because he's changing it after people have complained about it and this shows flexibility and receptiveness or whatever, but no, that's a load of bollocks and anyone with half a brain knows it.

The Stanley Parable is one of those games that's being thrown around as an art game.  Go fire up your steam client and read some of the review quotes on the store page, it may cause you to roll your eyes a little bit.  But here is the thing, art is one of those things that is supposed to inspire debate and not all art is supposed to make you happy.  If something is truly art, then sometimes it's going to make you feel uncomfortable or maybe even offended, but that's what makes it a good piece of art.  The fact that it drew those emotions out of you and made you talk about it is good, that's what art is supposed to fucking do.

But no, the developer of this game proved right here that The Stanley Parable is not art in the slightest.  It doesn't matter how fond of the gag or not he is, the fact is that he made that scene for a reason and he made it that way for a reason and now he's changing it because people are offended by it.  He doesn't care about his own artistic vision, he just wants to sell as many copies as possible.  So if The Stanley Parable is supposed to be one of those games you could consider art, but the integrity of the art is shattered because of this, then why the fuck would I buy it?

It's BARELY a game and now after this it doesn't even qualify as a piece of art.  So my only remaining impression of The Stanley Parable now is that it's sort of like Portal but with absolutely 0 game play.

I think The Stanley Parable will be getting moved to quite a low position on my wish list, and it'll take a pretty big sale to get me to buy it.


  1. You need to play it first before you judge it, it's an excellent game.

    1. I intend to, just I find it hard to drop money on a game with less game play than SNES visual novels.