Boyfriend Dungeon has a stalker problem

And OnlyFans bans porn in Naughty List News #43

Boyfriend Dungeon is a dungeon crawler combined with a dating sim that was released last week with overall positive reviews. I wrote about how successful it already is in my last issue. However, some players took issue with one of its storylines that features stalking.

Before you start playing the game, a screen shows up with warnings about these and other themes in the game’s narrative. This dialog box is a way for players to avoid engaging with media that could rip open old mental scars. The issue for some players was that the game was not specific enough about what the storylines contain.

Kitfox Games quickly responded by saying they will update the content warnings:

I think content warnings in general are a good idea. We can debate whether avoiding triggering media is good for someone’s mental health in the long run, but people should be able to choose to engage with difficult topics on their own terms. I find it commendable that Kitfox Games took the feedback about their content warning so seriously and immediately chose to push out a patch.

However, let’s put the situation in context. The original content warning for Boyfriend Dungeon looked like this:

You might have noticed the word “stalking” in there. I would argue that that is sufficient warning about what the narrative is about. But what some people online are arguing for is the complete excision of anything in the story that makes them uncomfortable:

As a game developer myself, I can tell you that these demands are completely unfeasible. Games are held together with spaghetti, glue, and a lot of prayers. Making part of the story optional can double the number of bugs you now have to squash.

But as a writer and an artist: Are people aware that art is allowed to make you uncomfortable? Renata Price wrote an extremely smart piece for Kotaku where she argues that the backlash against Boyfriend Dungeon is powered in part by refugees from Tumblr and Archive Of Our Own (AO3).

Renata writes, in part:

There are definitely legitimate criticisms of the game’s content warnings. We’ve covered those already. However, the “All Media Should Be For Me” attitude surrounding the recent Boyfriend Dungeon backlash has gone beyond content warnings, and on to content removal. There has been a call to make the game’s stalking ghoul, Eric, optional from the onset of the game. The idea that an offending relationship can just be removed from a text feels deeply in line with commodified and tag based approach to art that Tumblr and AO3 facilitated. If you can distill a relationship to a tag, then that tag can be just as easily removed and another relationship dynamic slotted in its place.

I find myself agreeing with this piece completely. Not only does it offer an explanation for what is happening with the discourse around the game, but it also shows how people hold this game to an impossible standard.

People are coopting the language of abuse when talking about this situation, saying they were “gaslit” and that the game “mentally abuses” them. But that’s simply not true. Media only holds power over you as long as you choose to engage with it.

I absolutely would like to see more games feature content warnings. But if you are ranting to Kitfox Games about their sincere attempt at including this feature, please ask yourself: Why are you holding a tiny independent studio with diverse creators to a higher standard than the next Call of Duty?

OnlyFans no longer supports single moms and recently-divorced men

OnlyFans has decided that they want to focus on what’s really important: making money. But the way they’ve gone about it is perhaps a bit peculiar. Starting October 1st, they are banning porn from their platform.

You might have spotted a bit of a problem: isn’t adult content what OnlyFans is… for? Yes, says the company, but no, say the payment processors. If you want to understand what that’s all about, I can highly recommend this thread:

There’s more to unpack here, and I will try to get into it next week. What OnlyFans is facing with payment processors will likely reverberate into adult gaming too.

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-Mr. Hands