By Alec Meer on November 24th, 2009 at 12:49 am.
At what? At a game about beating a woman. As in savagely, brutally, unforgivably, not as in “at badminton” or “in a round of cribbage.” It’s horrible, despite being nothing more than crudely looped video footage overlaid with a strangely undersized floating hand. As it spools hideously onwards, a voice demands you hit her harder, even as blood and bruises blossom gruesomely across her face. Horrible.
Shockingly, it turns out to be a Danish public service announcement about domestic abuse, designed to deter gentlemen who think of themselves as ‘gangsta’ from treating their girlfriends and wives with horrific, violent contempt.
Apparently calling you a “100% idiot” after making you spend five minutes beating a woman to the floor is enough to justify the game and to affect some kind of social change. Perhaps their insane approach to philanthropy sounded arch and affecting on paper, but all the good intentions in the world don’t change the fact that it’s still a game about repeatedly punching a woman in the face, and only that.
Since causing an understandable storm of controversy last week, the game’s now blocking anyone from outside Denmark (it was formerly available here, if you want to futilely click on something), but one chap managed to record a video, erm, walkthrough of the awful thing before it closed its door post-horse-bolting. Sadly he’s not translated the Danish dialogue, but instead overlaid some none-too-subtle captions of his own. The bewildering horror of the piece is very much intact, however.
Perhaps its message might have worked if it presented any possible interaction beyond violence – an opportunity to do the right thing, to learn, to refuse the shouting prompts to attack the poor woman. Instead, you’re essentially forced to hit her, depending on where you stand as to inaction being action. In a lot of ways, it’s doing what That Modern Warfare 2 level did – the same out-of-context shock tactics, the same confused belief that a message is stronger when couched in enforced moral transgression. November, you’ve done us no good.