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The Pimp Game

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setarcos
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Joined: 07/31/2008

Guys,

There’s quite a discussion going on at SoCalGamesDay’s message board that I think is very topical for us as game designers. It developed out of the response to Seth’s inquiry about playtesting prototypes at the SoCalGamesDay event and concerns what is appropriate as a theme for a game. (Someone asked about playtesting a game called “The Pimp Game”.)

Go to http://games.groups.yahoo.com/group/SoCal-GamesDay/. If you tag any message, then click on “Message Index”, then “Previous” you’ll get a list of all the most recent messages. Look for the ones with the subject “Re: Prototypes”.

I’d be very interested in our community’s thoughts on this issue.

Leland

FastLearner
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Joined: 12/31/1969
The Pimp Game

Me, I don't find anything even remotely humorous or glamorous about the abuse and emotional/physical enslavement of women. I'd never play the game.

IngredientX
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Joined: 07/26/2008
The Pimp Game

First things first: I hope the designer understands that it's "Hos," not "Whoes." (Definitely not "Ho's.")

Secondly: a game like this may just live and die by its theme, as opposed to a game about colonization or building, in which the theme is usually secondary and the mechanics are center stage. Unless the mechanics to this game are truly unique and notable, then the "pull" of this card game is about playing a game about pimps and hos.

Unfortunately, such a game already exists: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/6231. So if the designer has an eye towards publishing this game, then it MUST be distinguishable, if not qualitatively better, than that game.

Finally, I think enough people will find the theme humorous enough that offensisensitivity (a term coined by the cartoonist Berke Breathed) may not be too much of a hindrance. That being said, care should probably be taken to not immediately assume that every single gaming group will embrace this game.

Most gaming groups run late; so if I was the designer, I'd wait until about 9:00 or so (a time when the most impressionable kids are gone), and try to find a hardy group that wouldn't be offended by the game's theme.

I wish the designer luck!

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
The Pimp Game

We had a long discussion about this in a thread entitled "Controversial themes: How much is too much," which was even revived recently. You might be interested to see what's in that thread.

Personally, I'm done talking about that kind of thing.

- Seth

setarcos
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Joined: 07/31/2008
The Pimp Game

FL,

Your response to this issue was well put, so much so that I just had to quote you in my last post at SoCalGamesDay. (I hope you don’t mind.)

BTW: I guess I should have added this topic to the thread Seth mentioned. Feel free to move if you like.

Here are excerpts from my last post at SoCalGamesDay:

Eric, try not to take it personally that so many of us just do not appreciate the theme you chose for your game at all. But there are reasons for that. (And you can always re-theme a well designed game.) It is to your credit that you would not bring this game to GamesDay to test-play.

I’ve worked with youth groups in the past, and sometimes it was a constant battle to discourage the young men from routinely referring to their female peers as “da hos”. If our youth can’t see how obviously misogynistic that is, then the adults of our society have fallen short.

Next (as if enough of a raucous hasn’t already been raised) we’ll have to talk about how themes of violence, such as warfare and such, fit into this discussion. My personal take is that anything too explicit or gratuitous is not ideal, especially if it is directed toward children. (I don’t like the theme of “Lunch Money” for that reason.)

War games are a somewhat different case. I’m usually OK with those if they don’t try to glorify all the gore. Consider that philosophers going back to Augustine of Hippo and before have posited situations when a war might be righteous. But I can’t think of any philosophers who’ve suggested that brutalizing and sexually exploiting young women is justified (or even morally benign) under any circumstances. Although, regrettably, there probably are some moral relativist who would. (But I am NOT suggesting that anyone who is amused by the game-theme of pimping actually feels that such behavior would be alright in real life.)

Anyway, I wasn’t really trying to resurrect this issue. It just came up at GamesDay.

Leland

sedjtroll
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Joined: 07/21/2008
The Pimp Game

Setarcos wrote:
Although, regrettably, there probably are some moral relativist who would.

Heh, "moral relativist." I like that. I think I'll make a note of that term and use it myself if it comes up.

Though perhaps the descriptor 'moral' is misplaced there in order to inject a particular connotation- I suspect anyone you'd refer to as a "moral relaltivist" would probably be as accurately (or more accurately) described as simply a "relativist".

- Seth

setarcos
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Joined: 07/31/2008
The Pimp Game

Actually, there are hard-core relativists who not only hold to relativism as it applies to ethics and morality, but even when it comes to things like the laws of logic and such. Sometimes they’re the ones who dispute whether or not you or I or they even exist. But those folks are rare. (I always wondered if they bother to look both ways before they cross the street.)

Leland

Anonymous
The Pimp Game

Hello All,
Couldn't help but see what you all had to say.
Thanks to IngredientX for the correct spelling of Hos, although I'm
not sure about it. Or was this ment in jest? Since it is a slang term, I've seen it spelled in different ways.

Elder

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
The Pimp Game

It sounds like this discussion is going full-steam ahead over at the SoCal group; is there any particular reason you're forcing it upon us here, even cutting and pasting content from those posts? I'm going to excercise restraint and not lock down the thread, but I can't tell you how much I want to.

Seriously, this thread is going nowhere. "Normal" people know that a game about Pimps and Hos is in poor taste, and would never design such a game, so this discussion doesn't really have any real value for them. People who don't already know that won't be convinced of such a position with any amount of discussion. If you want to have a real discussion about questionable themes about which someone here might actually design a game, I recommend you check out Gil's (IngredientX) excellent posts on the subject, which attempted (if I recall) to identify that "fine line" that each of us won't cross. This thread here is all about condemning the "Pimp Game", which to most of us is obvious to the point of not meriting discussion, and to some isn't obvious and won't lead to productive dialogue, just a lot of posturing.

I strongly encourage all parties to cease and desist; not as an edict from an admin, but from a person who's seen such discussions go nowhere in the past, where this one is surely going...

Just my take,

Jeff

Anonymous
The Pimp Game

Jeff,
As one of the Administrator's, I assume you have every right to lock down this thread. I would question your motives though. I think it must go a little deeper than believing this topic is going nowhere.

I am the "abnormal" designer of "The Pimp Game" and, thought that "taste" was a matter of opinion. I have found these discussions very interesting and valuable.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the thread on Questionable Themes and plan on adding to it, as well. That "fine line" is something that each individual has to determine for himself. I agree that Gil's posts in the other thread, were excellent. My background is in fine art, animation and academia and I now act as the academic director for a Game Art and Design department, at the Art Institute of California- Los Angeles in Santa Monica. So I found his branching off into the discussion of the current state of video game themes, quite interesting.

If this post is about "condemning The Pimp Game", I don't think it has to be. If this is a topic that merits no more discussion, then I am certain no one else will post another message here, and this will be the last of it.

Thank you,
-Elder

phpbbadmin
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Joined: 04/23/2013
my question is

Why was this post even brought here to the BGDF? Why didn't it stay at SoCalGamesDay? It seems like the whole thing is just stirring trouble for us here at the BGDF, when it should have just stayed there..

-Darke

jwarrend
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Joined: 08/03/2008
The Pimp Game

Folks,

Ok, in consultation with the other admins, we've decided to lock this thread down. People who want to discuss "The Pimp Game" can do so over at the SoCal group, where we feel this conversation should have stayed. People who want to discuss controversial themes can do so in the other threads that have discussed that topic. For future reference, I would say that it's not a good idea, any time someone comes up with a "controversial" theme, for us to need to have a new discussion about it. Finally, I'll observe that references to video games run somewhat off-topic, not just because this is a board game group, but because the kinds of things that can be simulated in video games (visually) don't really apply to board games. So in that sense, moving to a discussion of the questionable content of video games would be off topic for this group.

Anyone who wishes to log a complaint about the forcable cessation of this thread can PM me for further clarification.

Thanks for understanding. Bottom line take-away message: let's try to keep it happy-happy, people!

-Jeff

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