New Video Game Confronts Social Stigma Against Women

Ludum Dare, a weekend long game development event, was started by Geoff Howland in Apr. 2002. Since then, the event has drawn hundreds of gamers, creating nearly six hundred games back in Aug. 2011.

The only rule is that it must follow the theme that was chosen from the community proposals.

Ludum Dare #48, running from Dec 13-16, brought about something different. With the theme of “You Only Get One,” developers dove in.

In this round, over two thousand games were created. “The Day the Laughter Stopped” was one of the text based games that finished at number 68 overall and eighth in mood. What makes this game special is its message.

Pictured above is the web page of Hypnotic Owl the gamer behind the new free online video game, "The Day the Laughter Stopped."

Pictured above is the web page of Hypnotic Owl the gamer behind the new free online video game, “The Day the Laughter Stopped.”

The developer, who goes by the name Crabman in the competition and Hypnotic Owl on his game blog, is a male who found out something about one of his friends.

She had been raped.

All of the usual questions of, “Well what was she wearing? Had she been drinking? Did she flirt with him? Was she asking for it?” went out the window.

He started noticing the rape culture that others had tried to point out to him that he had previously denied existed. That’s why he made “The Day the Laughter Stopped.”

It is the story of his friend who had no choice. While none of the events in the game happened in real life and are not what happened to her, they share the same basis of not being able to escape.

On his game blog, Hypnotic Owl talks about why he did it and where it comes from.

He says the reason is that he felt rape culture needed to be brought to light and discussed, that the victim blaming needs to stop and it needs to be made clear that it is not the victim’s fault. Period.

Right now, rape culture allows for people to think that there are excuses for sexual assault, that not voicing the word “no” is consent. In actuality, victims can be too scared to speak. A “yes” is required for consent, and asking for consent is required.

He wrote on his blog, “The only reason not to ask, not to get explicit consent, is if you’re afraid she might say no, which means you’d rather rape her than not have sex. Think about that.”

After playing through the game, I am struck by how amazing, as well as how awful, it is.

It is amazing in the concept, as well as in the execution. Amazing in the advanced trigger warnings, the detail, the little choices in what is and is not available, but awful in the harsh realities of it. The inability to chose after a certain point, and that once you reach the end, you cannot go back to change anything.

I definitely recommend playing through it, because it does have a very important message.

However, I also recommend paying attention to the trigger warnings and being aware that it is very dark. The game is free and available online.

-Hailey Holcomb, Opinion Editor


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