Politically Correct role-playing games? Wait. Let’s talk about this for a bit...
When I was a teen, it was still possible to pee into colossal flower beds beautifully spelling out the name of your home town, without ending up on YouTube less than half an hour later, and it was possible to play an evil priest of Arioch in Stormbringer, sacrificing innocent human farmers and infants to your villainous god, without being issued an arrest warrant or slammed into the loony bin. Just take a look at these 1988 Iron Maiden lyrics––
I am He – the Bornless One
The Fallen Angel watching you
Babylon, the Scarlet Whore
I’ll infiltrate your gratitude
Don’t you dare to save your son
Kill him now and save the young ones
Be the mother of a birth strangled babe
Be the devil’s own – Lucifer’s my name!
Those were the days, right? We had to endure through the Satanic Panic of the eighties, but teenagers today are going through something else entirely – something that didn’t get a catchy name yet – let’s call it a “Political Correctness Steamroller”.
I don’t know, but maybe I actually liked society better before it became just one big worldwide social data farm...
No Thank You, Evil is cool and rather cute while the kids are 7 or 8, but I don’t think these kids will be allowed to play Stormbringer nine years from now, or listen to Iron Maiden for that matter. I’m not even sure RPGNow would carry Stormbringer today. Even Of Mice and Men: the Role-Playing Game wouldn’t make the cut, because, you know, Lennie kills a woman. Les Misérables: the Role-Playing Game would be banned too, because 11-year-old Gavroche is shot dead at the end. Child soldiers? Child murder? We couldn’t stand for that, no sir. Go sell this crap elsewhere.
Sooner or later, in games and in fiction, we won’t be able to “kill” anything but generic, nonhuman robots and zombies. No living thing – and especially not animals. An excellent novel about thirteenth-century German and French crusaders hunting and killing lions in the Holy Land won’t stand a chance of getting published. It’s frightening, in a way.
But the “No Evil” trend actually started back in 1989 when AD&D 2E removed all demons, devils, assassins, and psionics. Psionics are evil, apparently. Charles Xavier is an evil mastermind of the mind.
Nowadays, if one freethinker parent chooses to let his teenage kid play an evil priest of Arioch, that kid will obviously brag about it to his friends, word will get around, the other kids’ parents will soon learn about it, disapprove, and put this matter up on Facebook. Half a million parents will then righteously “like” that denunciation.
Is Gen X doomed because it used to play evil characters and love Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden? Absolutely not. It is doomed because a bunch of frat boys in New York and Hong Kong fucked up the economy on a global scale. There is that worldwide social data farm, and then there is also the world-encompassing financial sandbox.
Evil didn’t do that. “Good boys” did.