How much do your personal and political views influence your spending habits? Does it even enter your mind at all?
Here’s a question for you, would you buy a game if one of the people involved in it was an outspoken opponent of something you really believed in? That’s the dilemma facing supporters of gay marriage when to comes to buying Xbox Live Arcade Shadow Complex.
Author Orson Scott Card, most famous for his book Ender’s Game, is an outspoken critic of gay marriage, saying that its legalization would herald the end of democracy in the United States. Card sits on the board of directors of the National Organization for Marriage, an organization set up “in response to the growing need for an organized opposition to same-sex marriage in state legislatures.”
While Card didn’t create the world that Shadow Complex is set in, he is commonly believed to have helped shape it and is responsible for writing the spin-off novels. Buying Shadow Complex would essentially be funding Card’s political views, albeit indirectly.
The idea of boycotting the game started in the NeoGAF forums and was given more publicity in a Gamasutra article written by gay gamer Christian Nutt, who talked about the conflict he felt about the game and his relief at receiving a review code, allowing him to sidestep the issue.
But he also touched on a worrying trend that he saw in the NeoGAF discussion thread, that gamers were reluctant to discuss the issue, instead choosing to brush it aside with the ‘it’s just a game’ response. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m a pretty liberal guy and this knowledge has certainly influenced the way I perceive the game, but what do you folks think?
Should an artist be held accountable for his personal views, even if those views are not espoused in their art, and why do you think that gamers in general have such a hard time discussing these kinds of issues?