Tentacle Bento = Tentacle Rape?

So apparently there’s a crowdfunded card game on KickStarter called Tentacle Bento, which recently surpassed and more than doubled its $13,000 fundraising goal and still has 24 days left in the campaign. Why is it so popular? Well for one thing, it’s got plenty of super cute anime girls for you to ogle, and oh yeah–it’s about (implied) tentacle rape!

Note the “implied.” That’s key for the point I’ll make in a bit.

In Tentacle Bento, a trick taking card game by Soda Pop Miniatures, you play as an alien monster disguised as a student at an all-girl university whose mission is to “get your slimy tentacles on as many of the student body as you can before time runs out.” You do so by cornering girls (who are represented by the four suits of Cute, Sexy, Sporty and Smart) in locations such as The Freshman Dorm and by laying down “Sneaky Snatch Action” cards.

I heard about the game on Twitter when @stillgray tweeted a link to this rather assertive post by Brandon at Insert Credit that pretty much dismisses the game as nothing but offensive, rape-glorification material that shouldn’t be allowed on KickStarter:

“The style is a cute, lighthearted, pastel-colored look at the wonderful world of forcing your way inside a female against her will. There are, to my mind, a lot of things wrong with this.

For one thing, rape is not cute. Amnesty International states that 1 in 3 women is molested, sexually assaulted, or otherwise beaten in her lifetime. I’ve heard many advocates say this number is low, due to under-reporting. And it’s not cute, and should never be depicted with such saccharine sweetness as Tentacle Bento does. It is terribly damaging to anyone it happens to.

The more troubling thing is how many people are supporting it without thinking about it. Or even worse, maybe they are thinking about it.”

While I’m in total agreement with Brandon’s position on rape, I can’t say I agree that Tentacle Bento is as bad as he’s making it out be–which is a shame because I had my pitchfork all cleaned up and ready to go.

After reading the KickStarter project page, watching the video and looking closely at the cards, I’ve come to the conclusion Tentacle Bento is a relatively harmless slice of tongue-in-cheek humor aimed at anime fans and yes, those weirdos with a tentacle fetish who are genuinely turned on by the idea of being sexually probed by tentacles (which, frankly, I will never understand, but if that’s your thing, hey). However, I’d wager that for most of the world tentacle rape fetish is a fringe curiosity–just one more bizzarre thing to come out of Japan, like used panties vending machines.

Like Munchkin or Killer Bunnies, this is the type of parody card game you whip out at a party to play with your nerdy friends while drinking and having a good laugh about terrible anime. Because it’s a card game, and not say, a film or videogame, if there’s any actual “rape” in this game, it exists solely in the player’s imagination. The project description and video don’t use the word “rape” either, but even as implied rape I’m not offended. There’s a major difference between the reality of being brutally raped by another human being and this breed of bizarre alien fetish porn that is the stuff of fantasies.

Looking through the comments section, I’m inclined to believe the people who are donating money to this project are not the pro-rape, women-hating, sexual assault apologists the article above would have you believe. They’re just a bunch of dorks who want a cute, funny, mildly-inappropriate card game to play–and some of them are even women.

Update 5/16 – Well, looks like KickStarter has given in to the few overly sensitive people out there crying “rape!” because the Tentacle Bento project has now been pulled–which I’m sure has a lot to do with Luke Plunkett’s hit piece for Kotaku. I’m really disappointed in KickStarter’s decision to censor this project. What will they censor next? Leisure Suit Larry?