“Is this game SJW propaganda?” It’s a question that’s being asked almost constantly and with the frequency of every new title being released to the general public, especially if the game is themed around certain kinds of topic matter. Does the game feature an all-female cast? Well, you might raise eyebrows. Are the leads minorities? You’ll have a few question marks floating above the heads of some gamers. Does the game tackle certain religious themes or gender identity politics? You’ll likely have plenty of gamers wary of handing over their money to support such a title.
Well, Iconoclasts, the recently released platforming love-letter to the 16-bit era of 2D games like Mega Man and Metroid, is starting to raise suspicions among gamers interested in purchasing the title. The thing is, for everyone asking the simple question “Are there SJW themes in this game?” has resulted in some threads being deleted by the mods and ridicule being thrown the way of certain posters.
So what brought about the question? Well, the game apparently deals with an oppressive religious faction, and some Conservatives were worried this would be an attack against Christianity, which is a common attack vector from atheist on the Left.
After a few threads were deleted on the Steam forums for Iconoclasts, user Lonerwurld made a well-reasoned post asking the community about the game’s potential SJW themes, and whether the game was agitprop for the sociopolitical faction colloquially known as Social Justice Warriors…
“Nobody really minds a female protagonist (Metroid, Tomb Raider, etc.,), but is it a female protagonist who constantly shows off how independent she is in front of bigoted individuals surrounding her? Does she have a gay male side-kick so that she has an opposite gender to compliment her taste in boys? Is she rescuing a male prince who is somehow helpless and inept compared to her incredible abilities as a woman?
“Stuff like that might be entertaining for someone, but not everyone. It’s unfortunate we even have to ask this question, but these themes are common in indie games with female protagonists. We just want to know: is this one of those games?”
Others noted that SJW moderators would likely delete the post before it properly gets answered.
One user stated that the game supported mixed races and rejected major religions, and they felt that this made the game themed around Social Justice Warrior politics. Mithalan Mithrarin wrote…
“YES! The game is VERY pro social justice! playable female characters, abolishing relijious iconography & rejecting major religions, and dismantling the opressive governments fueled by dogmatic religion!
If you are of the Anti-SJW mindset then you best stay away from this game & anything made by Konjak!
“oh and I forgot about racial & religious prejudices and whatnot as themes in the game. also one of the party members is of mixed ancestry. So yeah, pretty SJW.”
Some users actually got offended by the term “SJW” even being used in the post, or that anyone would ask if a game has those themes. User node357 advised users to ignore or censor threads using the term “SJW” because those using the term are advocating a means of censorship, so they should be censored first…
“SJW is label used by trolls to shut down people who say things they don’t like. the simplest way to bypass the bs is to end the conversation as soon as that term is employed. it’s fake, it’s a lie, and it only functions as a means of censorship. just put it out of your mind.”
Steam user Gunrun actually did offer a reasonable response about how far the game goes when it comes to SJWism, explaining that so far it doesn’t get into gender identity politics nor does it hammer in any Tumblr-oriented fan fiction, but mostly centers around oppressive religious regimes, writing…
“The game, at least from what I’ve played (about 3 hours) is very anti organised religion, the main antagonists are all members of a religion who operates along the lines of “do what we say or get smited”. That and the first group you assist outside of your own are a bunch of people opressed by that goverment who believe in procreation and sex as the main goal of their group which if you think there is such a thing as SJWs is pretty not-SJW I guess?”
So basically, if you’re against organized religion (and it seems most rationalists are), then there isn’t too many other elements to worry about when it comes to political themes present in Iconoclasts… for now.
The game is currently available on the Steam store for $19.99.
If you’re curious about some games being themed around SJW politics, there’s actually a Steam curator group called SJW Awareness that helps inform gamers about whether or not a game is pushing political propaganda.