It all started with a tweet. Irrational Games’ Creative Director, Ken Levine apologized for looking tired at his latest round of interviews at PAX East because he was “roofied” by Giant Bomb’s Jeff Gerstmann.
For those of you that don’t know (and we’re hoping there aren’t many of you who don’t) a ‘roofie’ is a slang term for Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 5.25.17 AMRohypnol – a sedative that has been dubbed “the date rape drug”. Perhaps the joke was in bad taste, and it is quite possible the world isn’t ready for a joke like this so soon after Steubenville and the recent horrors in India so fresh in everyone’s mind.
Who knows? Maybe there should never be a time when roofie jokes are acceptable.
Nevertheless, a joke about being drugged does not necessarily constitute a joke about being raped, no matter how “bad tasting” the joke might be. That didn’t stop the Twitterverse from flipping it’s collective lid and the shitstorm of keyboard warriors filling their 140 characters with both vitriol and a defense of Levine’s comment.
At the time of writing, the discussion has continued and Levine has apologized for his tweet.
It would be easy to come to the defense of one of our favourite game designers by dismissing the tweet as a harmless joke – and we need to make it clear that neither this writer, nor Pixel Enemy are defending Levine or siding one way or the other.
The issues surrounding rape are contentious at best and have not only polarized a small town in Ohio, but brought rape culture into a world discussion (which is what this writer feels it should be) through the use of social and mainstream media.
What is needed here, and in any discussion on rape, are cool collective voices admonishing the crime as reprehensible. The video gaming community is both vocal and connected and has a tremendous potential to bring changes to harmful social attitudes.
Someone simply needed to tell Levine it was a bad joke.