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You’d think that a feminist blogger with a noted disdain for people who ask her to smile would be the ideal consumer for street harassment-based first-person shooter game. (Guilty!) But after a test-run, even I can’t get behind gunning down street harassers for fun and profit:
First, here’s how “Hey Baby” (produced, naturally, by LadyKillas Inc.) works: A man approaches. He sexually harasses you. You respond by gunning him down with your .80 caliber machine gun. Then there’s this soul-sucking noise, a tombstone pops up reading the harasser’s last words (“C’mon, smile for me baby”; “I want to lick you all over”), and the harasser’s bloodied corpse is flung into the street. Repeat! Or not. I could only murder like six street harassers before throwing in the towel. Why?
a. Perhaps it’s because I wasn’t weaned on murdering aliens and sex workers and other targets of your typical first-person shooter game, but virtually murdering people fails to tickle my fancy. Violence is not the answer, nor is it particularly interesting, mmkay?
b. I get street harassed all the time! I don’t also need to get harassed while I am not on the street, and in fact alone on my computer. I’ve got trolls for that.
c. What is the point of this game? I killed half a dozen dudes and couldn’t figure out if I was making any progress toward some sort of discernable goal. I’m bored! Where are the mushrooms I eat to make me bigger?
d. The “premium” version of “Hey Baby” offers “Cool advanced technology [that] allows you to get up close.” Because the one complaint I have about dudes who harass me on the street is that I cannot get close enough to them.
e. I eventually got stuck behind a fence and couldn’t make the machine gun stop shooting. Did I mention I was not weaned on first-person shooters?
I will say this about the game: I appreciate that it sees street harassment as a problem, and I’m eternally grateful that players aren’t forced to watch sexy avatars of themselves do the harasser-murderin’ so as to satisfy the erotic requirements of any dudes who might be playing the game (all you see of yourself is the machine gun you’re wielding). I realize that “Hey Baby” is kind of in a tough spot. It seems to want to subvert the kill-the-hooker imperative of some video games without sacrificing all the bloooooooood. Call me a pessimist, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that feminist issues can never be perfectly applied to a game based on simulated murder.