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WWRD: What Would Reggie Do?

October 24, 2008

I’m sure you all have heard of the LittleBigPlanet controversy? Of course you have. One of the songs in it had lyrics from the Qu’ran distinctly audible during gameplay. Clearly, this was a problem. In a post-911 world, the PC-sensitivity meters hit DEFCON 5 and some muslim gamers took it upon themselves to sit around and decide whether or not to get offended. The majority ruled ‘yes’ and they shot a letter off to Sony and Media Molecule. The media attention came swiftly and deadly, and Sony acted just as fast.

What’s my favorite part of this whole thing? The letter, originally in arabic, was translated and sent to Sony via N-sider. Hmm… Fee fi fo fum, i smell the blood of a fanman’s agenda. Muslim gamers activate their spidey-sense about a couple of Islamic lines in a song featured included in probably the cutest game that’s ever been made, and N-sider, a long-time vault of Nintendo knowledge and history, helps them notify Sony of the muslims’ inconvenience. Would i be going out on a twig if i thought there was some intent to disrupt the launch of Nintendo’s wet dream on Sony’s console by the N-siders themselves?

If there was, they succeeded. The game was recalled, pushed back a week, and the song will be patched to hell and back and hell again when the game finally sees mass release. What’s the public reaction? Mixed, as ever. But the public reactions around the circles i tread, are full of mostly Americans, most of those white. Well, let’s do what you do best, people: blow shit outta proportion. Police ourselves to police the world. Then what happens? The only people whose opinions are actually relevant to the discussion pipe in – other Muslims.

And not just any old muslims, like the ones on True Gaming who initially “asked friends online and offline” whether they felt like making this a big deal. Muslims who should actually be listened to. Like this Islamic organization. Hey, i never heard of them either, but i’ll take their word over some gamer nobodies on a and largely detached whites on American blogs. Pretty much anyone having to do with gaming is unauthorized to comment, cause they’ll either be hyper-sensitive to the issue, or cry out with some games-as-art diatribe. Admittedly, the second option there is sorta close to what the American Islamic Forum For Democracy is saying:

“Muslims cannot benefit from freedom of expression and religion and then turn around and ask that anytime their sensibilities are offended that the freedom of others be restricted.”

Yes indeedy. But we’re just squirrels in a PC world, trying to get a nut. This stuff does happen all the time. However, this gets curiouser when you figure in that Toumani Diabate also says this is quite silly. Who dat? The guy who wrote Tapha Niang. What that is? The song in question. He says, “It’s quite normal to play music and be inspired by the words of the Prophet Mohammed. It’s my way to attract and inspire people towards Islam.” Makes sense, don’t it? Unlike some of the grammar in this paragraph.

See folks, this is what happens when you use a fansite to help you inconvenience a game company of a different persuasion. And, also, when you jump the gun. Why would anyone wanna jump a gun, anyway? Damn fansites. Terrorist, fascist, communist, wife-beating fansites. Behead the lot of them!

[Yes, i’m aware that the Nsider mentioned in the initial Kotaku article isn’t, simply a forum member of the complaining site, but goddamnit i just learned that crucial piece of info before writing this and went with it anyway. Hard to find material for editorials these days. :0 ]

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