GamerSushi Asks: Shadow Complex Boycott?

shadow-complexShadow Complex is a fun game. It is probably one of the best games I’ve played this year so far. Considering that it’s an Xbox Live Arcade game that only cost $15, that’s quite impressive. It plays in the sidescrolling style of Metroid or Castlevania, but sports some incredible graphics a la the Unreal Engine. It’s open, fun and full of secrets. They simply don’t make games like this anymore, and I’m loving it.

However, not all gamers feel the same way. You see, there’s actually a discussion going on in some circles about whether or not gamers should boycott the game, due to Orson Scott Card, the author whose world the game takes place in (note: he actually had little to do with the creation of the game) being a perceived homophobe and a political campaigner against gay rights such as marriage. This is actually a pretty complicated issue, and one that I’m simply not understanding in its entirety.

It’d be one thing if Card had direct involvement with the game. Even then, I’d disagree with the boycott calls, but I’d understand them a little more. It’d also be another thing if Card actually said hateful things or committed some kind of hate crime. However, all I can tell is that Card is simply a conservative religious man with opinions that not everyone agrees with.

While I think it’s anyone’s right to boycott a game for whatever reason they choose, it seems a little hypocritical to call for all gamers to disassociate themselves with everything one person does simply because they disagree with their opinions. It seems like bigotry in and of itself, after accusing Card of being a bigot. I can guarantee that if I distanced myself from every creative person (or product I purchased) because of one person’s involvement whose opinions I disagreed with, I’d have a lot less cool stuff.

Making a game takes the co-operation of dozens, if not hundreds of people, all with their own opinions. Are we to start canvasing each development team with surveys to make sure that all of our views match up? I think it’s completely unfair to the Shadow Complex team to be potentially suffering because of these boycott calls, when the man in question didn’t even have hardly anything to do with the game. Like I said, it’s fine for an individual to decide what they want, but calling for it on a massive scale because of your own personal convictions to me doesn’t seem like the answer.

So where do you guys weight in on these issues? Do you think the call for a boycott is justified? Remember, this isn’t exactly a discussion about homosexuality or gay rights, but feel free to voice your own thoughts if you can do so tastefully. And lastly, have you played Shadow Complex, and isn’t it freaking cool?

Source- Gamasutra

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

28 thoughts on “GamerSushi Asks: Shadow Complex Boycott?”

  1. I’ve seen a few video game ‘boycotts’ come and go, but the reality is, they don’t actually change anything. If it’s a good game, go get it. One person, or even a few thousand in the case of an extremely well-organized boycott, won’t make a huge dent in sales.

  2. I’ll agree with you Eddy on the hypocrisy of it all. I can’t really add anything to what you’ve already said as you pretty much summed up my thoughts perfectly. It’s hardly fair on the devs who’ve probably, as game designers, spent more over-time than is humanly possible on this project. Would the boycotters be happy if we had segregated consoles, where people of one religious belief are only allowed to play on that console with games for how each person stands politically? I’d highly doubt they would but this is the impression I get from them.

  3. This is stupid. If it doesn’t express hate against gays or anything such as that, why should it matter? should we stop playing Rock Band because we don’t agree with the lifestyle or the lyrics? This “boycott” is bullshit

  4. This is stupid and it won’t work. If there is one demographic that clearly has shown little to no decency towards gays, its gamers.

    Regardless, just because it is set in a world he created doesn’t mean anything. Did they boycott Clive Barker’s Jericho even though his works depict ultra violent scenes of masochism and sadism?

    Or the works of Tom Clancy, who depicts the Chinese in villainous ways?

    It’s too huge a leap.

    boycott something like Army of Two for promoting frat boy behaviour.

  5. Man, it’s just like you said, Eddy. If you don’t like what Orson Scott Card has to say about homosexuals, don’t buy his books. To deprive Chair of money just because they chose to use a known universe that just happens to be associated with Card is kind of unfair.

    We as gamers need to start picking our boycotts better. Boycotting sequels that are coming out too soon or boycotting games because they look too pretty is fine, though.

    Just found this little snippit on Chair’s twitter, which makes the boycott make even less sense:

    Shadow Complex Fact: Empire is a CHAIR property. Orson Scott Card licensed the rights to write the novels on which the game is based.

  6. Having read a bit more about Mr. Card, I am not a fan of his for sure. But I am not going to stop watching Terminator just because Arnold is a Republican.

    I respect his religious beliefs, but people also used their religion to keep blacks from attaining equal rights, so that doesn’t impress me.

    But Shadow Complex looks cool, so bring it to the PSN!

  7. Yeah, exactly. It’s possible to enjoy what someone does without bringing their personal whatevers into it. If you can no longer separate that out, then just stop purchasing it. Now, if the guy actually did something illegal or was using slurs, then I’d totally get it.

    Also, Mitch, great find on their Twitter account. I had no idea that he actually didn’t create the world, he literally just wrote some licensed books based on their IP.

  8. Haha, really? Boycott a game that has nothing to do with what his views are?

    I’m sorry, I tend to throw stuff like this out there, but there’s retarded, and then there’s [i]retarded[/i].

  9. Wow. I actually laughed when I read this article. What the hell is wrong with people. We play games that are largely politically incorrect as it is. Just like Anthony said:
    [quote comment=”8161″]If there is one demographic that clearly has shown little to no decency towards gays, its gamers.


    If more creative people expressed their views, I’m sure there’d be tonnes of gamers that wouldn’t appreciate their opinions. Just like with any Art; you must seperate the Art from the Artist. Great things can come from horrible people; and obviously vise versa.

    [On a side note, I think there should be more news about conservative religious people’s ideas. We’re so bombarded with how “okay” being gay is now that it’s almost frightening. And that doesnt make anyone homophobic, it’s a serious philosophical problem.]

  10. @Julez

    I agree with your side note to an extent, we should have more news about religious people’s ideas I just think that if you make a point of limiting it to “conservative” religious people you might have yourself a problem. could you stand any more exposure to rush limbaugh? I think we need to have a wide range of ideas presented in a non persuasive or “preachy” manner, though we all now that that will never happen.

    oh and on topic Boycotts by there very nature tend to be childish and stupid. When people bitch about anything political or religious it tends to make them look the very stereotype they are trying to avoid.

  11. Julez,

    My point was not about people who make games, but about the people on Xbox Live and PSN who use homophobic hate speech on a near constant basis.

    I rarely hear any examples from the media that being gay is ok. All I hear is that gay marriage will destroy marriage, with no reporter asking, “How would that work?”

    I believe people are born gay. There is homosexuality in the animal kingdom. Therefore, being gay is natural. Therefore, it is not wrong. My point of view, obviously. I am Catholic. My point of view does not mesh with the Pope’s, but I make up my own mind. To each his own.

    And this boycott is still stupid.

  12. Yes anthony, I was agreeing with you at the top of my post! (I know you were talking about the online gaming community)

    You really read a lot about how gay marriage would destroy marriage? Maybe there is a lot of print about that. But what I mean about being bombarded with the idea of homosexuality being okay and normal is all very subtle. Flick on the TV and there is so much emphasis on homosexuality that it’s crazy. I wouldn’t want a flamboyant homosexual teaching my (hypothetical) child, and by the same measure I wouldn’t want them taking in all the pop-culture that is so filled with it. I know gay people, I have atleast one gay friend that I know forsure is gay, and that is fine with me. However, lacing it into the basic things like cable TV, commercials, Pop Music.. It’s just a very confusing message to a society full of confused people.

    And Gadfly, that’s what I meant. I just used the word “conservative” because I think a lot of secular people think of religious people in general as “conservative”.

    And this boycott is still stupid.


  13. I hear all the time from conservatives how it would destroy marriage, but they never bother to explain how.

    The reason there are gay people on TV is b/c there are gay people in real life. I think its ok and normal, so I have no issue with it. I had gay teachers, I have gay friends. They are no different at all, from what I can tell.

    Gay people are in pop culture b/c gay people are in our culture, same as black people and Jews and hispanics.

    And this boycott still sucks. Hard.

  14. On the topic of the boycott, I think these people are absolute idiots, but that’s not what I’m here for.

    Let me just get one thing straight, I have no problem with gays as a people. I’m sure most of them are absolutely fine, as is with any race. HOWEVER, I’m a Christian, and it clearly states in the bible (don’t ask me where, I have no clue) thayt homosexuality in itself is a sin, therefore I cannot responsibly endorse it.

    If your gay, that’s fine, it’s just not right in my eyes, but I’m not about to judge you on it, that’s betwwen you and someone a little higher up.

  15. I hate that people would boycott a game just because someone, who has almost nothing to do with the game, has different opinions then they do.

    Everyone wants free speech unless someone speaks something they don’t like!

  16. Sorry Eddy, it looks like this post became exactly what you didn’t want. I agree with Anthony though on all of his points, especially that the boycott is pointless

  17. Eddy is right, everyone is acting like perfect gentleman and THAT is the reason we love writing for this site.

    We can disagree and agree to disagree and still be friends. It’s when people start insulting others and saying, “I hope you get AIDS! TWICE!” that things take a turn.

  18. Exactly Anthony/Eddy. I’ve typed and re-typed/re-read my statements a few times just to make VERY SURE they don’t sound homophobic or slanderous. This needs to stay civil and intelligent if any of us hope to hold some integrity.

    To quote the bible is one thing. What I really want to poke at is the idea of homosexuality being “okay and normal” aside from religion (which is tough to do, I understand). I DO think it is acceptable in general. But we need to decypher “Okay” from “Acceptable”.

    I have no problems with homosexuals at all. However, I do think that there should be extreme caution in what we as Adults decide is proper discussion and what we decide is proper discussion for children who are unable to draw conclusions or decisions due to lack of information. (obviously, which is why I was talking about media/pop culture earlier)

    My Father is Catholic, my Mother is Protestant. I was left to decide for myself. I went to a Private Mennonite middle-high school for 6 years, so lets just say I’ve had some extremely deep, well thought-out discussions about topics like this and others. Which is why I’m not here to judge, I’m just simply saying more people should speak their mind: And shouldn’t be afraid to do so… Including both those who are infact homosexual and those who have issues with the whole idea. Open, developed discussion is what we need, NOT fear and propaganda.

    And this boycott still sucks. Hard.

    (P.S I find it a little strange that you (anthony) chose to relate gay people to 3 other races of people. Homosexuality is not a religion, a color, or a place of birth.)

  19. @Julez, I think Anthony was just trying to incorporate how racism, sectarianism and homophobia were wrong and how unjustifiable they can be.

  20. @glebe

    This is exactly why I love this site, yes the posts have started to go of the topic a little but everyone is still acting civil. It is nice to have an outlet where the comments are just as thought out as the posts/reviews, a place where you can go from arguing religion to talking about fragging nazi zombies all in one post.

    [quote comment=”8199″]
    It [the Bible] also says that if you break the Sabbath you shall be put to death. It says a women should be a virgin on her wedding night or she shall be stoned to death.[/quote]

    Yeah the Bible does say that, but I think it should be taken in context.

    when the man in verse 32-36 is stoned, it was at a critical point in Israel’s development. Back in chapter 13 they (the Israelites) had almost made it to the Promised Land but were sent back into the desert for forty years. I think God told theme to stone the man to death not only to uphold the law but also to keep a tight rein on the Israelites, they did not have the Holy Spirit to “guide them back” to him (God) at that time. [sorry that took a bit longer then I intended]

    What I am saying is the bible says that homosexuality is wrong. However, It does not say that we should (especially in our society) go out and stone (or even try to convert) them. Being gay is not something you can just decide to be. It is something that you just are or are not, and that is what makes it such a difficult thing to pin down, on one hand the Bible says that it is wrong, on the other they don’t really have a choice. in the end there is no “right” answer, we just have to accept theme for who they are, without judging them, and vice-versa.

    (P.S This boycott STILL sucks 😛 )

  21. The reason I related homosexuality to races and other people who have been oppressed is that gays, blacks, Jews and are born that way. The don’t have a choice.

    Thats my belief anyway. I think people are born gay.

  22. [quote comment=”8216″]The reason I related homosexuality to races and other people who have been oppressed is that gays, blacks, Jews and are born that way. The don’t have a choice.

    Thats my belief anyway. I think people are born gay.[/quote]

    I agree with you there, my brother-in-law runs a ranch in Wyoming and they have had problems with gay bulls (yes gay bulls). the ranch had bought five bulls, after a few weeks they found out that only three were mating with the cows, the other two were trying to mate with the bulls. sheep are the same way, as well as a lot of other animals. I also think people are born gay, but it is not unique to humans.

  23. Is it to much to ask that we live and let live? Gays are just as much people as anyone, and IMO they deserve the rights granted to everyone.
    On the belief that people are born gay, i agree, but has anyone ever asked them?

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