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Controversial dating sim Boyfriend Dungeon given new content warning over stalking plot

Ed Nightingale August 16, 2021
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Boyfriend Dungeon stalking character

Boyfriend Dungeon. (Kitfox Games)

The developers behind new hit dating sim Boyfriend Dungeon have agreed to amend a content warning at the start of the game.

Boyfriend Dungeon is a seemingly fun, lighthearted and queer-friendly game about dating, but there’s a more sinister edge to the plot that depicts stalking.

This is a key element in characterising the villain of the game and a content warning at the start explains this: “This game may include references to unwanted advances, stalking, and other forms of emotional manipulation. Play with care.”

Debate has been raging on social media since the release of the game on 11 August, and after criticism that the warning doesn’t go far enough Kitfox Games, the developer of Boyfriend Dungeon, has agreed to amend the text to make it clearer.

In a statement on Twitter it said: “The content warning for Boyfriend Dungeon inadequately describes the events of stalking and emotional manipulation that exist in the story. 

“We’ll update the game next week with a more accurate CW. We apologize for any hurt inflicted by our mistake. Thank you for playing!”

However, many players feel that a warning is not enough and are asking for the stalking elements to be removed or for players to be given an opt out.

This is likely due to other elements of the game that players can opt out of: they’re asked at the start whether they want to receive encouraging texts from “Mom” which could be triggering for some.

What’s more, the game was showcased at the Wholesome Direct at E3 and so some players feel the stalking theme goes against the lighthearted vibe the game appears to give off.

Other players believe the request to opt out of content goes against the message of the game and the intentions of its creators.

Kallie Plagge, who works for Nintendo, shared her views on Twitter around the idea of consent.

“One thing that really bothers me about the Boyfriend Dungeon discourse is the criticism that players “didn’t consent to” content in the game, and the way that language is being applied here,” she says.

“In this usage, ‘consent’ usually refers to boundaries around acts of physical or emotional intimacy, the violation of which is frequently assault, harassment, or abuse. It’s serious and it means something specific.

“Encountering something you don’t like or even something triggering in media is not a violation of ‘consent’. It’s a frankly gross bastardization of language to act as if that’s the case.”

She also suggested it would be impossible for developers to cover every potentially triggering piece of content.

Boyfriend Dungeon is out now on Switch and PC.

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Related topics: LGBT gaming

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