Go figure, you make a game about being a villain, and it offends people.
I’ve decided to suspend development of my game idea for “Puppy Hitler”.
This is hard for me, because I do not believe that the game idea was in any way anti-semitic, but I have a Jewish friend who has relatives who were in the Holocaust, and she asked that I not make this game, and I’m respecting her wishes.
This is also difficult for me because, normally, I am very anti-censorship, and I enjoy art with provocative, controversial messages which some may find offensive. While I personally hold that there was nothing offensive about the message I intended to put into the game, I can appreciate that the subject matter is something which people are still sensitive to, so I will try to see if I can come up with another idea for my game.
Hitler has been a target of ridicule in American popular culture since at least the 1940’s, with lampoons by Bugs Bunny and Spike Jones and his City Slickers, on through Hogan’s Heroes and Mel Brooks’ The Producers, and, more recently, South Park, and catsthatlooklikehitler.com, and any number of 4chan memes, and on and on, and it was in this tradition that I put forward my idea for my game. But for some people, I am reminded, the mere mention of Hitler’s name is too painful. I feel truly sorry for those people, because you can’t un-happen the past, and avoiding bringing up the subject doesn’t change what happened. But I also do not want to cause them to be reminded against their wishes of things that they would rather not think about.
Because the terrible news about Sandy Hook reached me just before the theme for LD25 was announced, my intent with this game was to create a villain who was, ultimately, harmless. By reincarnating Hitler into a puppy, I meant only to ridicule him, and to take away all the power he had to hurt people.
If I had continued the game, what you would have seen is a mean little puppy trying to be tough and scary, and all the people he is trying to scare look at him and go “Oh, look at the puppy! So cute!” and pet him fearlessly, ignoring his aggressive posture, and showing him to be truly powerless, all bark and no bite. His hate ignored, and able to gather no followers, he has no power, for even though he is the reincarnation of Hitler, to everyone else he is just a puppy. By the end of the game, their kindness would have extinguished the hate in Puppy Hitler’s heart, and in time the evil spirit of Hitler would have been obliterated by the power of puppy love and Jewish kindness.
So, I’m sorry for those of you who might have understood the game as it was intended and agreed with its spirit, but won’t be able to play it now, and I am sorry for those of you who may have been offended by the idea of such a game.
I’m going to try to come up with another idea for a game, but since it’s 3pm on Saturday and I have no idea what to do now, I’m not sure that I’ll complete anything this time. And I’m sorry for that, too.