RE: This Whole “Rape” Business
Now, the game is open to interpretation, and it’s pretty hard to call someone else’s interpretation “wrong” with any kind of a straight face unless your name is listed in the credits. And mine are not. There are people who saw this game and concluded that it was about the rape of six girls. At least, that’s what they saw when they played. Fine. But I don’t see it, and I’m reasonably confident that it isn’t what the designers intended. There is a whole nasty side argument going on that goes something like this:
A) This game is about rape and if you liked it you are a sick freak.
B) This game is not about rape and if you saw rape then it came from your own imagination and thus you are a sick freak.
Perhaps this game isn’t about six girls at all. Perhaps it’s just the most subtly cunning troll ever devised. “Hey, I bet I can make thousands of people call each other rapists.” I’d like if we could get through this without finding new and interesting ways to hate each other. What say you?
The original story of Lil’ Red Riding Hood – well, the old stories, I don’t think there is a singular known origin – does indeed contain rape, cannibalism, murder, and nine miles of grotesque Ye Olde Tyme Storee-Telling Nastee Business. Those of us familiar with those old tales are no doubt going to have them in mind when confronted by The Path.
This game is engorged with disturbing imagery. It sets a mood. It alludes to unsettling matters. But aside from the Story of Carmen, we don’t see sexual imagery. I can’t imagine that the designers would go to all of this trouble if that was the deepest thing they had on their minds. You can read their blog. After reading what they have to say, I’m having an extraordinarily hard time imagining them sitting down and deciding to make something as thuddingly obvious and crass as “six girls get raped, hur hur hur”. Perhaps rape and murder are mixed in there somewhere, but I can’t believe they constructed such a web of of messages, images, and ideas, only to use them as a vehicle for the most obvious possible theme.
Consider the famous painting by Picasso:
Haunting and moving when viewed alone, and turned into utter stupidity if you just write the theme of the painting right there where it will stare the viewer in the face.
Which is more likely:
1) The game is secretly and coyly and subliminally alluding to the rape which is obvious and central in the original story.
2) The game is actually a lot of complex ideas, which use the events in the original story as a metaphor for something else.
In my initial post I had a lot of thoughts on my childhood. Those old memories, and many more, were dredged up by this game. This game tapped into my childhood recollections, none of which had anything to do with rape. I don’t think the game would have hooked those ideas if it was aiming somewhere else.
So, what is it about?
I don’t think there is one overall answer. Or if there is, it would be something really broad and dull like “growing up” or “loss of innocence”. If we want something deeper, we’ll have to look at the girls individually. I’ll offer my take on each of the six girls in later posts. I don’t claim to have any special insight into the game, and I get the impression everyone sees something different when they look into The Path.
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