Early this week a game popped up on Steam Greenlight designed to do little more than offend. It was a simple target shooter where you killed gay and transgender people while avoiding harming the straight ones, and it was utter garbage. I won’t be mentioning it’s title here for no other reason than because I’d rather take more words explaining why I won’t than actually type it out, but it fit the theme of the game perfectly in that it was stupid, juvenile and the utter opposite of clever. I’ll just roll my eyes and move on from Homophobia: The Game, but did the gameplay really have to be sub-Newgrounds quality and its tone little more than a load of unfiltered cliches and insults that were worn out back in the 80s?
Nope, not at all. There’s a lot of ways to be offensive that take only a minimal amount of creativity, and being a horrible waste of humanity is much less obnoxious with just a bit of intelligence behind it. Hatred (the game) is a good place to start looking, of course, but here’s a couple of other ideas to give examples of ways you can be both utterly reprehensible while not doing the game design equivalent of smearing the walls with your own crap.
Disclaimer- these are all terrible ideas that should never be made by anyone. They’re also fairly obvious, so maybe they have been made already.
Abortion Clinic Tycoon
You start off with a cheap doctor in a dirty smock working out of a back alley and end up with abortion mills spanning the country. Abortion Clinic Tycoon is all about servicing unwanted pregnancies wherever they may turn up, from the poorest school girl to the richest socialite. This is a management game, though, so you’ll need to update the initial staff from a failed gynecologist with a drinking problem who files his paperwork in a shoebox to a series of functioning medical facilities with doctors, nurses, secretaries, and all sorts of lovely devices to turn fetuses into profits. It’s not just about hoovering the unwanted baby bits away, there are also salaries to manage, equipment costs to budget, advertising campaigns to approve, insurance and ever more draconian state regulations to work with or bribe your way around, and of course masking the origin of where all these stem cells you’re dumping into the market are coming from. With a bit of planning and some careful management, you can turn life’s little accidents into a massive job-creating industry.
This is a driving game where you cruise around in a windowless van looking for unsupervised children to lure in with candy. Once you’ve found one that lets you drive close enough the side panel opens up, arms reach out of the darkness inside, and then a couple of things might happen. If there’s other kids around they can raise an alarm, or an adult might intervene. Don’t move fast enough and the police show up for a massive city-wide chase. Time it right, though, and you can drive carefully away to a secluded spot and rack up a massive Pedo Bonus.
Concentration Camp Clicker
As the name implies, this is a Cookie Clicker-style game where you run a concentration camp, sending the ethnic or social group of your choosing to the ovens. At first you need to click on each person manually to dispose of their horrible taint on social/racial purity, but once you start racking up the victims new options come available. Conveyer belts to move them along and automate the clicking, more and bigger camps to house larger groups of undesirables, shower rooms capable of holding dozens at a time, and much bigger ovens for corpse disposal will all keep your camp humming with activity. There’s no end to the cleansing, no final solution to work towards, because as in all games of this sort the number of items being processed just keeps getting bigger and bigger until all sense of scale is demolished.
This is a first-person shooter set on a lovely island filled with traps, hidden weapon stashes, and plenty of ways to turn the environment against your prey. You are the hunter and your prey is whichever minority you choose in the game’s procedural stereotype generator. Pick a race, adjust the slider from realistic to 1950s Warner Brothers cartoon, choose how many you want running loose on your little slice of racist paradise, and get to hunting down the most dangerous game. Your hunter has a career that lasts until the tables are turned, at which point your lodge is wiped clean of the trophies you’ve collected from whoever it is you hate for the color of their skin. Each hunt is a new opportunity to bag unique specimens, though, and favorite or particularly notable trophies can be tagged to be saved forever, for a price. So grab your favorite hunting tools, whether that’s a simple knife, bow and arrow, machine gun, or rocket launcher, and get out there to prove your racial superiority.
The difference between these games and the steaming pile that landed on Greenlight is that I spent about five seconds apiece applying genre tropes to them. The formula, if you want to play along at home, is (offensive idea) plus (genre conventions) equals (garbage that at least functions as a game). There’s a lot of people in the world with bigoted beliefs, viewing anyone who thinks differently than they do as the enemy of society while imagining their own personal lifestyle as the One True Way, and if we were to get offended every time they say something monumentally stupid we’d have to shut down the internet to ever function again.
Offensive garbage is expected, but like a dog turd on the sidewalk you just walk around and move on. The gay-hunting game was designed specifically as a quickly-made troll to the people who’d get upset about it, and there’s no headline in “person who wants to piss people off succeeded in pissing people off”. What would have been impressive and not a complete waste of everyone’s time is if there had been a single moment’s thought or shred of talent applied to whatever it was the developer thought it was doing.