Thursday, October 03, 2013

Tanto Cuore

Andrew asked me yesterday if I'd ever played the game Tanto Cuore. I told him that I had, and I thought it was a mediocre Dominion clone with a potential offensive theme and Andrew responded that he thought I'd find the theme appealing. My first reaction to that was to be a little offended that Andrew would think I'd like something that I've said was potentially offensive. Thinking about it more though... There are plenty of games with potentially offensive themes that lots of people like, especially with how easily offended some people can be.

Dungeon Lords, for example, is a game where you take the role of an evil overlord and need to build a dungeon filled with traps and monsters in order to kill off a party of good adventurers. It's very tongue in cheek, but at the core it's all about being a very evil person.

Grand Theft Auto is a game about stealing cars, murdering people, and all sorts of other terrible things. But behind the glossy theme it's an open world game with quests, exploration, leveling up, and achievements. All things I really, really like. I wouldn't be at all surprised if someone thought I was a fan of the game. It turns out I haven't played any of the games since the very first one and even that one I didn't play very much. I'm not sure why, really. I've never felt the urge to pick it up. Maybe the theme does keep me from playing it? There are lots of games I want to play that don't involve murdering hookers, after all. And really, I'd hope anyone who thought I'd like the game would think I'd like it for the open world exploration and achievements, and not for the murder and torture.

Tanto Cuore is a game where you take the role of a rich man who is the 'master of a house' and you're building a deck out of cards representing anime maids. The currency used in the game is love and you use it to 'hire' maid cards which work like actions and victory points in Dominion. So there's this big pool of women dressed up like French maids just waiting for a 'master of a house' to show up and offer her some love and she'll run off with him to do whatever he wants. Beyond the theme it is really just a Dominion clone. Draw a hand, play an action, use your money to buy a new card. Repeat until the game ends by some preset condition and then compare the contents of your decks to see who has the most points to win. One of the cards you could buy was a 'bad habit' card, which you gave to another player and was worth -2 points. Because his maids are misbehaving, see, and that's not a good thing. So when I played the game as a 2 player game it devolved into just buying these cards for each other, which wasn't very interesting.

Now, on the one hand, I do like attractive animated women. I just posted about outfits for my Final Fantasy XIV character, after all! If someone wants to dress up in a French maid outfit, all the power to them. On the other hand it doesn't feel like this game is depicting voluntary maids at all. We've herded all the maids into one spot and now, as the man in the game, we're offering them love to employ them. I don't know that I buy the theory that Grand Theft Auto trains murderers and thieves, but I think this game might well be training misogynists. Which is why I said the theme was potentially offensive. And I think is why it bothers me that Andrew thinks I'd find it appealing. Perhaps worse, I did buy this game without looking at any reviews. Partially because of the art when I saw it for sale at WBC a few years ago, and partially because it was at the start of the deck building game bandwagon and I wanted to play more of them. So maybe I did find it appealing? Maybe I still do? And maybe that makes me a terrible person. Heck, I liked playing Princess Maker 2... And that game had you raising your (adopted) daughter by sending her to work in a sleazy bar, had you buy buxomize pills for her, and one of the endings involved you marrying her!

I don't want to be a terrible person.

1 comment:

John Corrado said...

You can like terrible things without being a terrible person, as long as A) you recognize what makes it terrible; B) you are okay with other people avoiding it because they think it's terrible; and C) you do not insist that everything must include that terrible thing because you like that terrible thing.

I think you hit all those points, so you're fine.