GameCritics’ Brad Gallaway recently reviewed Beat Cop for the Nintendo Switch. The pixelated indie game originally came out back in 2017 on PC. Pixel Crow’s irreverent, politically incorrect title was ported to the Nintendo Switch back on March 5th, 2019, hence GameCritics’ review. Gallaway, however, did not come away bemused with Pixel Crow’s title, and after reviewing it he took to Twitter to call on the publisher, 11 Bit Studios, and the platform holder, Nintendo, to pull the game from distribution and ban it from the eShop.
The tweet went live on March 30th, 209, which you can read below.
A full @GameCritics update is coming later today, but for now I Do Not Review the indie switch title Beat Cop. It’s full of unacceptably racist and sexist content. @11bitstudios should be ashamed and @NintendoAmerica should remove it from the eShop. https://t.co/hcuhTGxxG3 pic.twitter.com/M0Bavd3kaa
— Brad Gallaway (@bradgallaway) March 30, 2019
While the tweet itself might seem harmless, the issue here is that Gallaway is a verified Twitter user, which gives him clout over other normal users.
We’ve seen how these sort of activist movements can slowly pick up steam over time and eventually result in people getting fired or products removed from storefronts. It just recently happened with the indie game Rape Day, where journalists made the game trend, which led to politicians getting involved, and eventually they imposed enough pressure on Valve to ban the game from Steam. The exact same thing also happened to the game Dirty Chinese Restaurant, which also got pulled just before its release.
Gallaway’s tweet didn’t just come out of the blue, though.
The GameCritics review was a precursor to Gallaway’s pointed activism to get the game removed or censored. In the review he complained about cops joking about females wearing makeup, as well as criticized the game for the officers having to arrest multiple black perpetrators for committing crimes. Here are his closing statements from the diatribe masked as a review…
“The premise of being a cop on patrol is fine and creating an homage to television the ’80s could be great, but both of those things can be done without the unacceptable, inappropriate content that’s front and center in Beat Cop. If the game was critiquing something or offering commentary, then perhaps a case could be made, but there’s no such attempt here, it’s just indulging in the content.
“I’ve got zero tolerance for racism and sexism, and it has no place in modern game creation. Developer Pixel Crow should be ashamed for creating this stuff, and publisher 11 Bit Studios should be embarrassed for supporting it. A formal apology and some patches cleaning these things up would be the absolute least they could do.”
Gallaway was essentially perturbed that the cops act like normal people, flaws and all. Some of them have marital or relationship issues, not all of them get along with others, and the game doesn’t shy away from the gritty realism of human interaction, which sometimes includes uncouth language and behavior.
You can see what the actual gameplay and dialogue is like with the commentary-free Let’s Play video below from Generic Gaming.
Of course, since the game wasn’t preaching Social Justice Warrior platitudes and deconstructing this behavior as “bad”, Gallaway felt the game either needs to be censored or banned.
Gallaway’s tweets were spotted by the designer of the game, Maciej Miasik from Pixel Crow, who lives in Warsaw, Poland.
Miasik shared the tweets on Kotaku In Action. Quite naturally people asked why the developer felt the game was “racist” and “sexist” and what made the game journalists so triggered. Miasik responded, saying…
“I made a game that doesn’t follow current trends. That was enough to be avoided by most of the US press and YouTubers. The game took a lot of flak from usual suspects but players seem to like it (83% positive on Steam). But the fact that the game is considered problematic definitely affected the sales and overall exposure.”
A similar thing also happened to Weappy Studio’s This Is The Police, which received some critically low scores from some outlets because they felt it wasn’t political enough and didn’t demonize the police enough. This social activism from the game journalists was chronicled in a thread from back in August, 2016 over on Kotaku In Action.
Miasik, however, wasn’t really pleased with a game journalist attempting to use a call-to-action for censorship just because they didn’t like the game’s content. I did reach out to ask him about the situation and explained…
“Well, this is especially for someone who grew up in the 80s in the communist country and still remembers the times when how the world was officially described was very different to how it really was. For some reason, there are people now in supposedly free countries (with constitutionally protected free speech) that think the reality can be changed if we change the way the reality can be described. We wanted the game to be as close to the 80s era as we remembered it and this is now used against us. I respect anyone’s right to dislike our game but prohibiting others from making their own opinions is a different matter. It doesn’t matter that this guy probably thinks that he’s are a noble social justice warrior, but in reality, he’s just a noble totalitarian, exactly as our communist rulers were.”
Gallaway’s tweet is still slowly gaining attention after he originally published it on Saturday afternoon. So right now it’s too early to tell if 11 Bit Studios will ignore the feedback or if Nintendo will address it, but depending on what the general reaction will be like from the Social Justice community by the time Monday rolls around will determine whether or not either company will respond to Gallaway’s request.
It might seem like an insignificant thing, but we’ve seen time and time again how game journalists will advocate for the censorship of certain titles, and companies are oftentimes more than willing to kowtow to their demands. In fact, journalists demanded that THQ Nordic apologize for partaking in an AMA on 8chan, and the CEO issued a public apology to journalists for interacting with gamers on the imageboard.
Let’s also not forget that game journalists bullied GOG.com into apologizing for tweeting out an image of Terry Crews being part of the PC Master Race. They also bullied GOG.com into apologizing for tweeting out an image of Postal 2 with a gravestone of games journalism on it. And later they bullied GOG.com into firing their marketing specialist for using the hashtag #WontBeErased.
So a lot of this depends on which journalists bully the publishers, and whether or not the publishers bend the knee to their demands.
Hopefully 11 Bit Studios and Nintendo stand firm and allow the free market to continue to dictate what they want to play, rather than social media activists. If you’re interested in Beat Cop you can learn more by either visiting the Steam store page or the Nintendo eShop portal.
(Thanks for the news tip Blaugast)