John Cadice, creator of Tentacle Bento, says that while the game is full of sexy girls, and a “horrid, tentacle flailing, slime oozing monster from outer space,” his game is not about tentacle rape, but rather tentacle…tickling. And cake baking. Anything but rape.
Cadice says the game is a satire of a “horrid genre of anime,” but I simply don’t see the satire. It’s cuter, it’s lighter, but that does not a satire make. So I am meant to believe that while the game is based on the genre of tentacle rape anime, it is not about tentacle rape. There’s clearly a fundamental disconnect between our consideration of inference and implication versus intent.
I got an email from Cadice not two hours after my initial article, and within 24 hours the Kickstarter was canceled. We had a dialog all along the way, which was a very curious process. First Kickstarter limited the game’s searchability. The game was now only viewable through direct links. At the same time, my article, as well as Kotaku’s, had given the game greater media attention, and after my article went up the project rocketed up from $23,000 to $30,000 in funding. Clearly, as we scrutinized and criticized the project, we also popularized it.
After the project was canceled at Kickstarter, I wondered to myself – while I felt I had struck a blow against a game I found to trivialize rape and molestation, had I also struck a blow for censorship on Kickstarter? In the end, I feel this project shouldn’t have been allowed on the site in the first place – most of the approvals process at Kickstarter happens at the front end – it’s allowed, or not, based on what Kickstarter decides. I think this one simply fell through the cracks, and simply got canned much later than it should have.
I’ve been asked by some what part of the Kickstarter terms this game violates. It’s entirely subjective, but it’s right here: “Offensive material (hate speech, inappropriate content, etc).” There are some who don’t find this game offensive. Its creator claims the game is clearly not about rape or molestation. I maintain, based on looking at the Kickstarter itself, that it is, he just has a much higher threshold for it than I do. You could also make a case for it glorifying acts of violence, depending on which side of the “does this infer rape” argument you fall.
In the end though, I couldn’t stop the game from getting funded. The project had moved to its own site, and appears to be well on its way to coming out. I still maintain that the game is a trivialiation of rape and molestation, and that those supporting it are supporting that mindset. Cadice disagrees. In the following interview, Cadice speaks his mind about his project, and where he says it’s really coming from.