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Double Standards - Why Can't Video Games Have The Same Storylines As Movies and Novels?
You be the judge
Crystal Dynamics recently revealed that along with the rips, tears, and bruises of a much younger and inexperienced Lara Croft in their upcoming reboot Tomb Raider, Ms. Croft will also face an attempted rape. This statement was later clarified by Crystal Dynamics where they claimed their words were twisted by online gaming website Kotaku during the interview that has seemed to outrage fans of the series and the gaming population in general. So what's the big deal? Why can't a video game explore a more mature and vulnerable storyline involving a female that is usually strong and very dependent? Movies, novels, etc...seem to be able to get away with telling these stories, so what's wrong with a video game telling the same thing?
Rape is something that is not to be taken lightly. It is a serious offense and can damage the victim for years to come. People are often afraid to speak about it or even mention the term which is one of the reasons that I believe that the idea of a video game character being in that situation seems so hard to grasp. After all video games are long considered to be a form of escape, a creative outlet, and gives the player the chance of playing out events that can otherwise send a person to jail. So do gamers really want to see an attempted rape. Probably not, but we are talking about something that can be done in other forms of entertainment without a single word being mouthed about how it shouldn't have been done. A fantastic case in point is the 2002 novel The Lovely Bones and the 2009 movie adaptation, The Lovely Bones where a young girl is lured by a disturbed man who rapes her, murders her, dismembers her body, and dumps the remains in a sinkhole. I'm not sure how many of you remember the critiques that came out by those that read that book and famed movie critiquers such as Robert Ebert seemed disappointed that the movie did not follow in the book's footsteps of showing the brutalization of the young girl.
Excerpt from Roger Ebert on The Lovely Bones Wiki
On the movie side of things, in 1999's hit Boys Don't Cry starring Hilary Swank as the main character who is a female leading the life of a male as a transgendered. Swank's character Brandon falls in love with Lana who returns his affections, however is heckled by two other men who cannot accept that Brandon has female genitalia. Both of the men end up beating, raping, and eventually murdering Brandon in front of Lana. Boys Don't Cry was hailed in the media for tackling tough subjects especially after the killing the openly gay Matthew Shepard. Boys Don't Cry ended up receiving 43 awards including Hilary Swank winning best actress at the Academy Awards.
So what is with the double standard? Why do people gravitate towards movies and novels based on the same touchy subjects however when it's presented in a video game, people tend to back away from it? Or does the problem with the term rape being spoken about a female character in a game that you play as just spook everyone?
Take Atomic Games, Six Days in Fallujah that Konami dropped out of publishing. Completely different subject matter, but again the same touchy subject involving the Iraq war. Why is it that the thought of playing these events out in a video game disgust people, but yet we can turn on the news and listen to the stories of the events that transpired that day or even watch a beheading or hanging over the internet?
It's a double standard in the entertainment industry and one that I believe should be crossed. If Lara Croft's backstory includes an attempted rape, why can't the subject be in the game in a way that Crystal Dynamics would see fit? Knowing the full story to a character causes a person to root for them even more and in this case with Lara Croft where we are seeing her origins, why wouldn't you want to know what happened to Lara before she became the ass kicking, pistol toting, female badass that we know and love?