Some game developers (is that the right name for them?) got a desirable spot at a gaming expo but then decided not to take it up after all, because of the people behind the expo.
But in the back of our minds all along, we’ve been bothered by the public stances that Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, the founders of PAX’s parent organization Penny Arcade, have taken on a number of issues.
First there was the entire “Dickwolves” debacle, during which Mike said that it “felt pretty good” to “support rape culture.”
Then there were the Penny Arcade Kickstarters, one of which offered to let backers pay them $7,500 to work as a Penny Arcade intern for a day.
When critics recently raised objections about the over-the-top depiction of female characters in Dragon’s Crown, Jerry referred to opinions that differed from his own as “censorship.”
And then yesterday a panel was announced for PAX Australia entitled “Why So Serious?” Its description initially included the lines
Any titillation gets called out as sexist or misogynistic, and involve any antagonist race aside from Anglo-Saxon and you’re called a racist. It’s gone too far and when will it all end?
This morning we stopped pushing those long-held reservations about Jerry and Mike into the back of our minds. We talked to each other and did a simple show of hands– do any of us feel comfortable presenting Gone Home at PAX?
No hands went up.
We believe that people’s opinions and actions on social issues and business ethics are important. We believe that agreeing to pay the organizers of PAX over $1,000 for booth space, and to present our game on their showfloor for four days, provides explicit support for and tacit approval of their publicly demonstrated positions on these subjects. And we have finally come to the conclusion that we cannot support Jerry, Mike, and their organization by participating in this event.
So they’re not presenting their game at PAX.