An opinion columnist named Anastasia Wythe has written a thoughtful article about Yandere Simulator: http://www.gamemoir.com/lgbt-gender/yandere-sim-abuse
I enjoyed the article. It was very eloquently written; Anastasia certainly has a way with words, and articulated her thoughts very well. She did a fine job of describing the game’s mechanics in a neutral and accurate way, demonstrating that she researched the game thoroughly before writing an article. That’s journalistic integrity! As you might expect, I didn’t agree with every word, but I certainly don’t think it’s a bad article. It’s her opinion, and she’s entitled to it.
I don’t think it can be said that Yandere Simulator “sanitizes” harassment, suicide, or sexual exploitation. The player is punished harshly for being caught performing unethical actions. If the player chooses to eliminate their rivals through bullying, the player will have to witness the psychological effects of bullying firsthand. The player is rewarded for taking panty shots, but the game’s characters will express disgust and anger if they catch the protagonist doing so, and if an authority figure witnesses this behavior, the result is an instant game over.
Yandere Simulator’s objective is not to “reveal a new look” or “present a new perspective” or “explore the psychology” of anime tropes; the game’s only goal is to provide enjoyable gameplay and lots of replayability, along with unusual themes, uncommon scenarios, and unorthodox methods. Yandere Simulator is not intended to be satire, but it is certainly tongue-in-cheek at times (have you seen the easter egg that makes a toaster appear in the protagonist’s mouth?) and certainly isn’t meant to be taken seriously. One day in the future, I might eventually make a game about the social issues I feel strongest about (crime prevention and public safety), but Yandere Simulator is not meant to carry a serious message.
It’s true that Yandere Simulator “trivializes” significant social problems. However, it is necessary for video games to over-simplify certain aspects of reality that would be too complex to program, or simply aren’t fun when portrayed realistically. “Super Mario Bros” trivializes jumping; Mario doesn’t bend his knees before he jumps, and he can jump four times his own height. Grand Theft Auto trivializes murder – something far more abhorrent than bullying. Video games must simplify many aspects of reality; everything from physical limitations to the wanton deconstruction of human lives. If video games can trivialize everything from jumping to murder, I can’t see a reason why social issues would be an exception.
I’m extremely relieved to hear Anastasia say that she feels developers have the right to create the games they wish to create, as this is one of my most strongly held beliefs. I’m very pleased to know that Anastasia would never ask a developer to remove a feature that she personally finds distasteful. As long as she doesn’t suggest or advocate censorship, I don’t see a problem.
In a forum post, Anastasia suggested an interesting idea; the idea that students should behave differently after the death of a suicidal student. This is logical; if you bullied someone until they took their own life, you might be less likely to bully someone else in the future. It would just be weird if Yandere-chan was able to repeatedly convince students to bully people, even after those students learned firsthand that bullying can make them responsible for a person’s death. As a gameplay mechanic, this would prevent the player from abusing/exploiting one method to effortlessly beat the game. Also, having students talk about recent events (such as suicides) would make the game world feel more “alive”. In the end, I gained a few potential ideas that might improve the game!
While Anastasia’s article was critical of the game, it was also respectful, so I appreciated it.
I’m interested in hearing what you think, too! Do you personally believe that Yandere Simulator takes anything too far? (I’m not going to cut any features from the game because someone finds those features to be distasteful, but I still want to hear your opinions on the matter anyway.)