There’s a horse game I play (which is aimed at the “tween” age girls, but adult horse lovers like me do play it too :P), in which they have a summer quest they do that I think is really inappropriate (and unnecessary) for the audience they are targeting. There’s a temporary character in the game that runs a pop-up beach bar, who comes across as a stoner, who gives you a drink that gives you visual disturbances and makes you pass out…
I’m probably reading more into it than was intended – but a lot of people have likewise said they find it inappropriate and alluding to date rape drugs being used, and this has been brought up to Star Stable Online and it’s still in the game, because they argue that the drink just tastes really bad, so that’s why it affects you like that. Yeah, right.
So I’ve posted about it here so I can show screen shots of the surrounding conversations with that character, and video of what happens when you drink it – so that I can bring this up to Star Stable Online, and if necessary bring it to the attention of the authorities, because child sexual abuse is a serious thing, and this is a CHILDREN’S game!!!
It annoys me because (particularly since I’m a mother) I don’t like the implication of young girls being given date rape drugs by a random stranger in a bar! All player characters in the game are young girls, you can’t play as anything else and this quest does not give the opportunity to refuse the drink. No gross tasting drink makes you see funny and pass out – that reaction implies drugs. The quest could easily be made without the visual disturbances and without the character passing out. Those elements turn it from being a funny gross drink into simulating being drugged. Again, this game is aimed at girls aged around 8-11!!!!!
The quest is titled “A dangerously unique summer drink” – what’s so dangerous if it is just an innocent gross tasting drink? If it’s drugs, that’s dangerous.
So it starts when you meet this guy who runs a bar on the beach. He talks kinda weird, he gives off a bit of a stoner vibe to me. He also comments on your outfit and says he hasn’t seen you around before – which is a common pickup line.
Then he tells you that he’s going to be teaching you to be cool….. because, you know…. roofying young girls is cool, Yo!
…. We don’t put people’s faces on milk cartons here in Australia, but from US movies/tv don’t they do that for missing people? Maybe they intended to make it mean he’s going to be used as a celebrity endorsement? But to me it’s sounding ominous that there’s something weird going on – like he’s either going to go missing, or he’ll be a “If you see this serial rapist, call the cops” type thing.
He then asks if you’re going to have a cheeky swim on the beach. Why cheeky? There are beach towels everywhere and there’s an onscreen message when you get near the water saying that you can swim with your horses. So there’s no need to be “cheeky”, swimming is normal at the beach. Does he therefore mean skinnydipping?
Then he gets you to do some innocuous beach towel fetching tasks, although he does use it all as a form of bribery to fix it so you get first go at a race…. You help me out, I’ll help you out *wink* sort of connotation.
He mentions the drink (before you go doing the towel tasks)
So before you need to drink his drink, there’s this conversation, that shows he’s either mentally unstable, part of a quirky religious cult or off his face…
Hmm… Totes a good idea to drink a strange drink from this man!
This is the drink that is supposedly so gross tasting it makes you see different colours and faint…
Don’t be shy, here have the drink that distorts your vision and makes you pass out…. just because it tastes bad though, totally no implication of drugs here! You can’t progress in the quest chain if you don’t drink the drink by the way, so you have to.
So then you drink the drink and experience the visual distortions and black out. As you see in the video
Yeah, it’s normal to repeatedly faint from a gross tasting drink, it’s totes not date rape drugs 😛
Now I can see how the game can mean all this to be innocent, but that’s not how it can be perceived. There is no need whatsoever for the visual disturbances and blacking out over the taste of a drink. With that element in the game (as well as the dialog with the character being somewhat shady) it turns it into something sinister.
In my opinion, whether intended or not, this isn’t just implying drugs, it’s implying “date rape” drugs that are used to incapacitate women so that they can be sexually assaulted or raped. Had he offered the character a joint it might not have been so bad (still not ok in a kids game though) – but he’s made her a drink that makes her unconscious – how is that not implying that he’s drugged her? Not something that should IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM be linked to a game aimed at young girls!!!!!