May 18, 2011

Operation Pedopriest, the Yet Again Topical Flash Game

Revealed in the New York Times this morning, a five-year study commissioned by American Catholic Bishops has blamed the church's pedophilia problems on "the social and sexual turmoil of the 1960s and '70s." What's worse, the very expensive study also found itself unable to nail down any psychological characteristics that would help identify abusive priests in advance, and the study claims that "fewer than 5 percent of the abusive priests exhibited behavior consistent with pedophilia." How do they come to this conclusion? By radically altering the definition of pedophilia.

Operation: Pedopriest is a Flash game by Molleindustria, though honestly not one of his better ones. It's useful to have a game on this topic, but there's nothing about the system of the game that really helps to educate someone on the whole system of shuffling priests around to avoid media attention. All you really do is send around some Catholic tough guys to intimidate parents into not talking about the rape cases they witness, and divert the cops so they don't arrest anybody. As a last resort, the "deus ex machina" power lets you abduct a priest up in a helicopter to save him from arrest. You have to keep priests from getting arrested as well as possible until media attention to the problem dies down.

Not only is the game not very educational on the issue, but it's not especially fun, either. It's very difficult to keep attention away from the constantly abusive priests and get to parents before they call the police. If you try the Medium or Hard difficulty levels, you can't even see a third of the game world on-screen at once, and it's hectic enough on Easy. For a much better Molleindustria title, try Oiligarchy, which really does educate and entertain on its political topic.

The results of this study are intensely frustrating, because they wallow so deeply in denial at the cost of so much time and money. Really, less than five percent of child abusing priests are pedophiles? No, that's just because the study defines pedophile as someone with recurrent fantasies about prepubescent children, then they define prepubescent as under ten years old. Meaning that the most typical age for child abuse, around 10-13, is totally left out. Yeah, recurrent sexual fantasies about 11-year old boys and girls? That's not pedophilia, what were you thinking? My grammar is clearly falling apart I'm so frustrated by this. This report turned out to be a five-year study in ineffective propaganda.