New online ‘tramp game’ sparks outrage

A new, free-to-play online game is causing ripples of outrage across the internets, thanks to its depiction of the homeless.

The French-developed Clodogame (literal translation: Trampgame) tasks players with becoming “king of the streets,” with the eventual goal being to move in to the Palace of Versailles. Players start as a penniless tramp, and must attack other homeless people, pickpocket, and steal from sweet machines, public toilets and laundrettes to reach their goal. Users can choose a pet or learn to play an instrument to maximize their success at begging, all while keeping an eye on their alcohol intake. Yeah, it’s pretty tasteful.

While I’m usually against censorship, I’ve got to say this seems pretty damn crass. I’m all for parody and satire if there’s a genuine, well-considered message behind the mocking, but this seems like controversy for controversy’s sake.

That said, I’ll admit that I’ve yet to try Clodogame out myself, so I’ll reserve my final verdict for now. Maybe I’ve finally become a humorless old grump. Jim “I hate political correctness” Sterling at Destructoid would probably suggest so – he sticks up for the game in this post, remarking:

“The game sounds pretty damn brilliant, and I wish there was an English version. Of course, some people take the Internet too seriously […]”

Hm. Meanwhile, Red Cross spokesman Jean-François Riffaud has commented:

It’s a disgrace, it’s degrading, it’s humiliating to make the homeless the butt of derision. The image portrayed is exactly the one against which we’ve been trying to fight.

I’m with Jean-François on this one, at least for the time being. If I play Clodogame and find it to be a cutting, multi-faceted piece of social satire, I may change my mind on that. Right now, the game’s exploitation of highly vulnerable people for entertainment’s sake just reminds me of Bumfights. Okay, stepping down from my soapbox now…

[Clodogame, via GamePolitics]