Operation: Pedopriest

By: Derek Yu

On: October 12th, 2007

Operation: Pedopriest

From the title of the game, you might expect that you’re playing to stop the pedophile priests, but actually, you’re playing to cover up the sexual abuse of the horny paters. This, as you can imagine, changes things quite a bit.

Quote Ian Bogost:

Paolo tells us that the game is based loosely on the BBC documentary Sex Crimes and the Vatican, which you can watch on YouTube if you want the backgrounder. The documentary is about a secret procedure for dealing with child sex abuse.

Operation: Pedopriest is definitely disturbing to play, and the cartoony graphics do little to mitigate the how awful it all feels. Which isn’t a condemnation of the game itself, mind you – I’m quite certain this is the exact reaction developer Molleindustria was going for. It does make it quite a mixed bag of gaming peanuts, though – do I even WANT to win at this?

The game mechanics are quite simple, and involve clicking “eunuchs” around to distract adults and police officers while the clergy is molesting children. When things get really bad, you can airlift a priest out of there to go hide out in the Vatican. When a certain number of priests are arrested before the given time limit runs out, it’s game over.

You know, I just figured there wasn’t enough controversy on TIGSource…

(Source: Play This Thing!)

  • David

    And the people playing this game are not virtual people. The humor they are getting out of this is not vitual humor, the indifference they show towards explicit (just because it’s stylized to be cartoony doesn’t make it non-explicit) representations of such horrific acts is not virtual indifference.

  • Oddbob

    It’s not really explicit though, more a bit silly.

  • dotslack

    As an opening statement, I don’t think it’d be wrong to say that nobody around here supports pedophilia in any way. Right? Okay, that’s out of the way.

    Now, this is a game with a message. Let’s compare the intentions of this game to the McDonald’s sim. Both involve you doing something criminal to win the game. Neither game is promoting the acts they satirize.

    The only difference between these two games is the subject matter. And if the purpose of the game is to spread a message, then this game, I’d say, does a better job. Is anything more sobering than actually witnessing (albeit stylised) children being abused? I’d think people actually get the message more acutely in this game because of the representation.

    If the developer’s aim is to make people realise just how wrong this covering up is, then I say that they’re doing a good job of it.

  • I Like Cake

    David, you aren’t even making sense. Take a look at your last post and please try to boil down whatever the fuck you’re trying to say into some kind of structured argument.

    You didn’t play the game but you’d be remiss in not playing the game that you didn’t play but the picture was enough so you didn’t have to play the game and PEOPLE ARE DYING IN DARFUR THINK FOR YOURSELVES!!!11oneone.

    I once saw a homeless man scream a more coherent monologue at a fire hydrant. I think the above poster’s comment was more along the lines that he wished you hadn’t played the game so that we didn’t have to listen to you.

    In other news, Guert, you’re a pretty reasonable guy, so here’s the scoop: There is a problem with Catholic priests in a lot of areas, where they like to molest children because they are awful, awful failures of human beings. You say that you felt sickened by the fact that you had to assist pedophiles when, in reality you’d report them.

    This is good.

    Thing is, when complaints come up about a priest, instead of having him stripped of his priesthood or criminally charged, the Vatican simply rushes him off to another diocese where he is instated as priest of a different parish (my terminology might be off, but you get the drift). Of course, they don’t tell anyone in the new parish about any controversy surrounding him and, surprise surprise, it all starts happening again when he starts molesting different children.

    Lather, rinse, repeat, as it were.

    The idea of the game is to expose how sick and disturbing it is that an institution like the Catholic church thinks saving face is more important than punishing a crime like rape. So they dress it up in bright colours and funny graphics as satire, to say, “Hey, here’s how the Catholic church feels about raping little boys.”

    Whether or not you agree with them, my point is that it’s not just sensationalism for sensationalism’s sake. It’s satire meant not to make light of the crimes, but to expose the hypocrisy of the institution that allows criminals to continue to prey on the innocent because to prosecute them would be ‘bad press.’

    Hopefully that makes a bit more sense.

  • Pita

    Umm, it is satire, I think. Just a really crappy job of it. And a pretty crappy game.

    The arguement that because games aren’t serious so this is okay is stupid. Of course raping kids isn’t okay. The mere inclusion of it makes this a very serious game. Or a humourous game with an underlying serious theme. (this is what it attempts, but, yeah, didn’t laugh)

    The light-hearted cartoonish approach certainly doesn’t make it okay or right either. What it does is serve to create the mock-approval of the subject that is essensial to satire. In a similar sense, if you weren’t rewarded for helping the raping of the kids, it wouldn’t WORK. Yes, it’s going to upset people.

    These sorts of games (or films, books, comics etc.) will make some people sick in their stomachs. If they don’t, they’re kind of failing.

    This, um, aside. I really don’t appreciate this kind of work. But I’m also the kind of person that doesn’t like horror etc. It just makes me feel ill.

  • Prio

    Look, I’m sorry, but I’m just not very upset about the possibility, or even the certainty, that some people might be insufficiently horrified — or entertained — by a simulation. Certainly I am no where, *any* where near as upset by that as by instances of real murder of real people, real rape of real people, or real genocide of real people. That is my absolute position, and I am not letting it go.

  • King-N

    Well said Pita.

  • Sergio

    Controversy GET!

  • Movius

    I didn’t like the Mcdonalds simulator, but I thought this game was much better at making it’s point.

    The difference is that the rhetoric pushed by McVideogame seemed mostly false or inflated, “you are succeeding in business, you MUST surely be commiting horrible crimes against humanity then.”

    Of course there is little debate over whethert priests raping kids and allowing this to happen or covering it up is wrong. In this regard the game promotes little more than utter contempt or disdain for the people or organisations that allow this stuff to happen.

  • Spanky

    This game seems to exist primarily to promote awareness of the BBC documentary. It is not a game you are meant to play, except once perhaps. But the entire thing seems engineered for other purposes. So in one way, it has succeeded. I didn’t know about the documentary, I play games, and heard about it through this site. As a “game” it fails because I didn’t want to play it. But, I don’t think the developers care about that.

  • PHeMoX

    *@ Lim-Dul Well yeh, of course games are not real, but they can depict reality, even in the most abstract of approaches.*

    Something that just depicts reality is not reality in the real sense, especially the more abstract things become. Games are just visualized ideas and provoked experiences, but the games themselves are never going to be anything you could consider to be truly real.

    The best comparison would be with having the thought of wanting to hurt someone because you are angry and instead of coming to this thought yourself, it was handed over to you in the form of interactivity. The difference between having that thought and actually going to hurt someone in real-life, is exactly what makes it(games) unreal.

    We don’t get arrested for fragging an opponent in games for a good reason. “D

  • haowan

    Here’s what I think, instead of being angry at this pathetic game, you should be angry with a retarded religion whose prominent members, who are designed to be respected and responsible, are starved of one of the basic natural drives, and are able to use their influence to get what they need in a completely inappropriate and damaging way.

    All this righteous indignation about this video game is far more hilarious than the game itself which is clearly not funny as everyone has already pointed out. Get a hold of yourselves.

  • TakaM

    I’m just gonna skip the moral implications and just say “all seeing eye :)”

  • Ilia Chentsov

    >I saw a paedophile disguised as a school.

    Excuse me?

  • Ilia Chentsov

    Note to Derek – make a fake description of a controversial game, fake screenshot, fake link. Have fun at those who “didn’t click”.

  • Movius

    >I saw a paedophile disguised as a school.

    Oddbob is obviously off his mash on ecstacy pipes.

  • http://www.g4g.it FireSword

    @Haowan: Religion doesn’t have nothing to do here. I am angry against any pedo, they be priest, soldier or whatever work.. and i am against bigots as you that drinks everything the tv tells you.

    I watched the bbc documentary months ago. I never eat at mcdonald (if i wanna eat sh.it i made plenty in my house-toilet) so i have a brain and don ‘t need tv or stu.pid flashgames to be a real citizen of this si.ck world.

  • Mandrake42

    @ David

    “don’t educate yourself about something that might be potentially wrong, or horrible, with the intention of trying to figure out where the truth about the matter lies, because it might upset you”.

    I never said anything of the sort.
    I know very well that pedophilia is concealed by the church and I think its terrible. Its one more thing I hate about the hypocricy of organised religion. I don’t feel it neccesary to play a game to educate me as to this injustice. Commenting that a game like this is tasteless seems redundant. My comment was simply, if a game is going to offend you, avoid it. You basically misconstrued it to read what you wanted me to be saying “Hide under a rock and remain ignorant of all nasty things”, just so you could post your epic response.

  • David


    If I misunderstood you, then I’m sorry. It very much sounded like that was what you were saying from what you wrote, but since it wasn’t, my apologies. I’ve heard that particular argument a lot, it’s one of my pet peeves :).

  • Mandrake42

    Apology accepted. I agree with you in a way, in that this kind of crime should be fought tooth and nail. I don’t mean these silly games, its the root of it that should be fought tooth and nail, not the problem these games are a symptom of. I guess where we disagree is the reaction to this game. I’m sure the creator has his reasons and perhaps they are valid. Almost everyone who has played it has expressed an element of guilt for their participation, so perhaps he has even succeeded.I simply meant I wouldn’t play it due to the fact that I already found the subject matter offensive and was surprised people were playing it going “Oh this is horrible”. Its kind like the joke of the two guys who find a brown pile in the footpath, they look at it, they sniff it, they taste it. They conclude “Its definatly shit, lucky we didn’t step in it”. I’d rather just assume it was shit and avoid it ;)

  • nullerator

    I’m not intelligent enough to understand satire, so I am disgusted by this game.

  • Mandrake42

    You are well and truly intelligent enough to understand satire and your irony is appreciated given this morass of indignation ;)

  • Rz.

    wow you guys are pussies. pedophilia is fucking awesome and priests fucking altar boys is what it’s all about. seriously, being offended by anything like this is the same as tattooing “I HAVE NO BALLS” on your forehead.
    and then “EXCEPT FOR IN MY MOUTH”

  • http://mooktown.blogspot.com/ papamook

    This game tells us that protecting those who are decadent will honor you make you a better person. I don’t feel this moral is a good thing to teach.

    precisely the aim of the game surely?

  • Mandrake42

    Derek “You know, I just figured there wasn’t enough controversy on TIGSource…”

    Bad Taste, a movie by the now famous Peter Jackson. “I’m a Derek, and Derek’s don’t run”

    Derek’s, with chainsaws or without. Not running from things since the 80’s.

  • David

    Okay, I see where you are coming from now, and I agree with pretty much everything you say. Sadly, though, there are an awful lot of people here arguing that “it’s just harmless, goofy fun”, or else saying something like “it’s not my cup of tea, but who am I to judge this game’s merits? If someone else gets a kick from it, so what?”. This discarding of common sense in the name of tolerance and “artistic expression” is what was bothering me about all this. And it’s not just this game, this game is just the latest in a movement I’ve been noticing creeping up in the indy game community to put every sick or weird game that comes along on a pedestal as something that needs to be defended from all the “oppressors of artistic expression in games”, instead of just admitting, like you say, that it looks, smells and tastes like crap, and therefore probably is.

    Hahaha, you know, that was probably more effective than anything I wrote.

  • Mandrake42

    @ David

    It is strange that we seem to have come full circle. It seems shallow that certain indie developers seem to pick subjects to base games upon that appear more based on their attention grabbing crassness than their actual intrinsic value. On this we both seem to agree. Here is to more “Everyday Shooter” and less pedophile priests. Id much rather the indie scene was remembered for its innovation rather than its indignation.

  • haowan

    Bullshit. Nobody’s holding this up as art.

  • David

    @I Like Cake

    Sorry if that was confusing. I do tend to ramble a bit. Let me try to distill what I meant.

    I thought Mandrake was saying that if you think something is wrong, and might make you feel icky, then don’t complain that is disgusting when you check to see if it really is as bad as people say and it mades you feel yuck. I was trying to point out how that is silly, since if you don’t check it out, you can neither: a) know for yourself if it is wrong or not, and b) if it is wrong, argue why. Part of being able to debate about why things are wrong is understanding and knowing something about the thing you are talking about. Otherwise you are just spouting air.

    But since that was a reply to my misunderstanding of what Mandrake was saying, my reply probably does seem pretty out there to people who understood him correctly. Sorry about that. Heck, for all I know, it still does.

  • Oddbob
  • Skaldicpoet9

    Yeah, I don’t think anyone is touting this game a some sort of great masterpiece.

    However, the game does make a statement, now, whether you think that statement was a valid one is up to you to decide.

    Games like this are meant to provoke a reaction of some sort (preferably a constructive one) that is designed to potentially affect your thinking in such a way as to incite action against a certain issue.

  • Shih Tzu

    This game = awesome

    This thread = awesome

    Seriously, people, are your satire circuits shorted out or something? A lot of you apparently need to watch more South Park.

  • Mandrake42

    @ Hoawan

    Yeah I agree no-one ever touted this as art, no-one is that crazy I would hope :)

    I’ll be honest I cant even speak as to the gameplay as I haven’t even played it. Just reading the write up was enough to make me think it wasn’t for me.

    @ Skladicpoet
    As to provoking a reaction. Well its certainly done that :)

  • I Like Cake

    Can’t we just all agree that candy is delicious?

  • haowan

    There’s some in my van.

  • http://mooktown.blogspot.com/ papamook

    # I Like Cake said 1 day later:

    Can’t we just all agree that candy is delicious?

    # haowan said 1 day later:

    There’s some in my van.

    awesome. yet wrong. yet awesome.

  • Mandrake42

    If you start offering that candy to school kids I’m outta here :P