So apparently there was more to it

So it seems like Orson Scott Card, author, Mormon and reportedly rather vocal in his opposition against gay rights penned the story of Shadow Complex. Well, not exactly, the story in the game takes place in a universe of his creation and someone figured they could capitalize on this. People are now asking themselves if they should pass on the game, seeing as a small percentage of the money they spend on it may reach Card and in turn be used to further an agenda they oppose.

Shadow Complex really seemed particularly harmless to me. A small project – large by indie standards, sure, but still small – made by someone who to me seems only to have loved the Metroid games and wanted to bring them to the new generation (something I can both sympathize with and endorse, although I do not think they fully succeeded in “modernizing the Old School”), I could hardly have imagined a project being less offensive. The story irked me somewhat for being clichéed and silly, but not for taking any kind of moral standpoint – though the two could probably be related. I did not know about Card’s views when buying the game, though I had read it at some point I did not even know he had any part of it.

Though the fact that the question is raised interests me enough to write something about it, the question itself is a no-brainer for me and I do not care about the political views of some author with a slight connection to a game I might like. There is the argument of how we are sponsoring a bunch of less known developers who might be even more politically active than Card in groups we don’t know about, and there is the argument of how much extra cash such a loose connection will actually net him – Royalties do not stack to a lot in the games industry, especially not for niche titles. There simply is not enough enough evidence that buying Shadow Complex will affect the political climate in any particular way. There is also the matter of the work in question being influenced by the author’s ideals, although I did not think this was the case here the only thing you can really do is to not subject your own self to it, and if you think that the story will ruin your enjoyment of the game I guess that is a valid reason – I did not. Finally, there is the matter of principle, trying to discourage future developers from working with people with an agenda, but that I definitely cannot support. Taking a personal stand is one thing, but attacking a different-minded not by countering his arguments but by trying to undermine his ability to operate is in my opinion morally indefensible.

I liked Ender’s Game, but I did not love it. As previously mentioned, I thought the story in Shadow Complex clichéed and shallow. Regardless on my thoughts on the quality of these works, however, I recognize that the people involved created them in their roles as artists, and in my book their work is the singular thing that I would hold them responsible for when criticizing it. So in regards to Christian Nutt’s reflection, I respectfully disagree; as a child I only regarded the qualities of a specific game when judging it worth a purchase or not, I do not think I can judge a game in a different manner today – nor do I want to.

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Posted on Aug 24/09 by Saint and filed under Moral panic | No Comments »