Is The Free iPhone Game of Hangman Racist?
Yup I said the R word. Now I know that us gamers usually get into a tizzy because we don’t necessarily think in those terms (see Resident Evil 5 debacle). But I’ve recently purchased an iPhone and was browsing through the new apps and games (I’m thisclose to buying Spore) and noticed the Top Free Games list.
On September 10, 2008 it read like this:
3. Cannon Challenge
4. Free Hangman
5. Labyrinth Lite
6. 21 Pro: Blackjack
9. Sol Free Solitaire
10. BreakClassic Lite
Looking through the list I saw a few mainstays that I’ve heard of but gravitated to Hangman, due to the fact that I’ve played other touch games on the iPhone and figured this one would be cool too.
Little did I know I would be faced with this graphic for the game.
Now I know that hanging means different things to different people. But is it not incentive period? School children play the game all the time with chalk on blackboards and sidewalks. You lose when you complete the body. The rating on this game is 9+ for “Frequent/Intense Cartoon or Fantasy Violence”
Seeing the gallows and a stick figure doesn’t really strike most as something to think about, but I do believe in this particular iteration of the game the graphics intensify the experience. Of note the hanging mechanism is a tree and not execution gallows.
During play when you begin missing letters, a black line stick figure appears. First the head, then torso, right arm, left arm, right leg, left leg, and then on the next miss the body goes limp.
Have we been duped all these years? I mean according to Wikipedia the first use of the game Hangman can be traced back to 1894. The KKK is known to have been lynching people (white and black) as far back as 1868, ample time for a game to be made of the act.
How does this make you feel? Should the developers Mobilityware change the imagery? Or iTunes remove the game altogether? Or should nothing be done at all, because “It’s just a game”?