Political Correctness gone mad
Let's face it, video games have never really been synonymous with political correctness. Some would argue that's part of their charm, others that all games should be banned. But then, if we banned everything in the world that someone might take offense to, we would only be left with David Attenborough. So instead, I've come up with some alternatives to--hopefully--keep all the parties happy.
These video games may have made a faux pas or three when it comes to being politically correct, but as you'll see, it only takes some small tweaks to turn them into lovely, diversity-embracing games that wouldn't offend anyone. Perhaps.
Cooking Mama = Cooking Person
Cooking Mama? Cooking 'Mama'. Come on, now--all that's doing, surely, is perpetuating the stereotype that mum does all the cooking. Why not Cooking Papa? Well... then that sounds faintly Italian, which makes the whole game look like the Dolmio adverts. Which I actually happen to quite like, even though they should, by rights, be abhorrent. I mean, puppets, accents... on paper there's surely nothing worse in the whole world.
But all of this can be solved simply by calling the game 'Cooking person'. It's non-gender-specific, explains that the game will feature a person doing some cooking and actually avoids the other interpretation of the title that some could otherwise have taken to mean the game is about putting your mother in a big cauldron and turning the heat up. So basically, this is miles better.
Vagrant Story = Person of no fixed abode story
Well, it's like Jimi Hendrix sung, isn't it? "You may call him a tramp / but I know it goes a little deeper than that / he's a person of no fixed abode who makes legal yet unusually thorough use of the highway and public footpath infrastructure". They don't write songs like that any more.
And I'm sure you'll agree that the juxtaposition of such beautiful artwork on the cover and the striking yet totally P.C. title would make you give it much more than a passing glance if you saw it in a shop. Oh, but it would have to be developed and published by ConventionAcceptingAndAbidingSoft, or the deal's off. Sorry.
OutRun = OutRun (with an optional twist)
In OutRun, you drive your Ferrari (and it is a Ferrari, despite the lack of official license--just look at the prancing horse on the back) along beautiful coastal roads, with your blonde-haired girlfriend beside you in the passenger seat. You're driving, she's along for the ride. It's wish fulfilment for a lot of male gamers, but surely there should be the option to reverse the roles? Boom! There it is. I've fixed OutRun.
Mind you, I should point out that, having been born and raised in England, when I was younger I did find it strange that the girl was driving. Not only did my dad happen to do most of the driving in my family, our cars have the steering wheel on the right, see? So even with this small adjustment, somebody somewhere is still probably going to get it wrong.
Blitz = Ritz
Blitz was one of the first games I ever played. It's set during World War II's infamous German bombing raids, and sees you flying a plane above skyscrapers (wait a minute...) trying to blow them up (hang about...) so you don't crash into the tops of them (this would NEVER get made today).
But I can fix that. I've turned the skyscrapers in this Commodore VIC-20 classic orange, because I say they're on fire. You could then drop water bombs on them to put all the fire out before they burn to the ground. And instead of 'Blitz', it could be called 'Ritz' because your plane is commissioned by the Ritz hotel to make sure you save it from burning down. Same gameplay. Ish. Not sure about the landing. Or the crashing. Maybe just fly along until you run out of fuel, at which point you would crash into the skyscrapers and.... oh forget it. It's fine the way it is.
Duck Hunt = Clay Pigeon Hunt
I'm sure PETA would totally freak out if Duck Hunt was released today. The poor innocent ducks shot out of the sky for nothing but 'sport' is exactly the sort of thing they've been trying to stop for years. Yet Nintendo thought it was a great idea. Need a game to showcase the new NES light gun? Let's get them to blast some feathered fiends to kingdom come! The seal clubbing spin-off rumoured to have been in development for Wii never happened. Probably because I just made it up. But if this bloodbath got the green light, then why not?
So Clay Pigeon Hunt has all the same gameplay, all the same smartass dog giggling at your ineptitude and all of the pixel-perfect precision that SD monitors offered in the 1980s.
Pac-Man and Ms Pac-Man = Pac People
Why does 'Pac-People' sound so ridiculous? Surely 'Pac-Man' and 'Ms Pac-Man' are just as bad? Just goes to show what political correctness can do, folks. Besides, by rights it would have started off as 'Puck People', which makes it sound like it's intended for children under the age of 5 who are being persuaded to try getting into hockey but were previously scared of the puck. I don't know. These are the sorts of connotations game companies agonize over for months when naming their games.
Needless to say, the female Pac-Person would never have her legs so brazenly on show in the promotional images. And the pair would be pursued around the maze by representatives of the living-impaired community, not 'ghosts'. Never use the G-word, folks. They hate that.
Christmas NiGHTS = Non-denominational Winter Holiday NiGHTS
In Christmas NiGHTS, as your Saturn's internal clock ticks over into December, the evergreen trees become decorated with lights and baubles, the snow becomes infused with sparkles and candy canes... and it all builds up to December 24, whereupon Santa and his reindeer take to the skies. FOR SHAME.
What if you're not Christian and you don't want 'Christ' in your gamz? Well, then it's time for Non-denominational Winter Holiday NiGHTS. You know, that game where a little jester dude flies around over the snow and through non-specific hoops in a bid to restore the head of a snowman... sorry, snowperson... in order to help out two ethnically unspecified (or at the very least sufficiently diverse) children. I love that game. Reminds me of the non-denominational winter holidays of my youth.
Custer's Revenge = Censor's Revenge
There's nothing that can really be done to stop Custer's Revenge being the most un-P.C. game in the world. It's all kinds of awful. Literally all kinds. So what better way than to turn it into a game where you censor its foulness?
In Censor's Revenge, it's up to you to win enough points from pixellating the pixellated visuals in suspect places to be able to buy Custer some trousers. There's no need to free the girl--she's not even present in this version. A bonus level lets you collect up every copy of the game that ever existed and set fire to it. Bonus points are awarded if you can lobby the developers into reconsidering their stance on exploitative and moral issues raised by the game. You win when the rating is either reduced to a 'Universal C', or it's censored so extremely, the entire screen is only one completely inoffensive pixel. Wonderful.
Are some games beyond help?
It's been a laugh tweaking these examples of games that left their political correctness at the door, but sadly it's just not possible to tweak all of the games in the world. But maybe you can help? Got any politically correct game names for famous games you'd care to share? Then by all means do so in the comments.