It’s complex

Shadow Complex

Shadow Complex

I liked Orson Scott Card’s original short story of “Ender’s Game”. I was looking forward to checking out some of the author’s other work at some point. When Epic’s 2D Super Metroid homage Shadow Complex was announced, I was mildly interested due to it being based on Card’s novels. The game came out, reviewed very well and I decided to buy it. Then I learned of the many people boycotting the game. I considered this for a day and bought the game for 15 USD.

I am strongly against Card’s world view. This wouldn’t be so much of an issue for me unless he was also an outspoken advocate of these beliefs. It looks like the developer of the game, Chair, and the game’s writer, Peter David, have made an effort to steer clear of Card’s controversial themes while making a kick-ass game. I’ve played the game for most of tonight and it is really, really good. Nothing in the content has jarred with me in any way.

So what we have here is an author I want nothing to do with, lending his name to an entertainment product I enjoy a lot. It helps that as far as I can tell, the author has not collaborated in a very meaningful way with Chair, but rather Chair has taken the fictional world and name from the author to get some PR.

This last bit is what really bothers me, beyond giving some small amount of money to Card through buying the game. According to an article in Gamasutra, Chair’s people are not homophobes to any degree. Maybe they didn’t know about the whole issue when they were working on the game – I know I didn’t. If they did, it bothers me a lot that they would give this publicity to Card, arguably more valuable than anything Card has published, as it’s reaching a new audience for him.

What I decided to do is enjoy the game for what it is (an excellent action adventure I would’ve loved to work on) and talk about my misgivings here. And no, I won’t be buying any books by Card.

Gaygamer’s take on the topic here.

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