Dante's Inferno Twitter Contest Ignites Controversy


Posted July 25, 2009 - By Jake Gaskill

Dante's Inferno Twitter Contest Controversy Heats Up

One of the year’s hottest upcoming titles is undoubtedly EA’s hellish action game Dante’s Inferno. Fittingly, EA has also managed to cause one of the most heated debates of Comic-Con 09, but it only partly has to do with the game itself.

See, EA decided to hold a “Sin to Win” contest to promote its upcoming game. The theme for the first round of the contest was the sin of lust, one of the nine circles of hell depicted in the classic poem and its game adaptation. To enter the contest, EA asked Comic-Con attendees to “commit acts of lust” in the form of taking a picture with one of the countless, scantily clad booth-babes scattered through the convention, and then Tweeting the picture to the Inferno developers' Twitter account, @danteteam.

Sounds innocent enough, and it seems to fit well within the theme of the game and the established traditions of Comic-Con and similar conventions (taking pictures with booth-babes is one of the oldest and most revered of all gaming convention traditions). However, as Mashable reports, quite a few people took offense to the contest, with many calling it “sexist”, “misogynistic”, and tantamount to “sexual harassment.”

In response to all the unexpected criticism, EA then issued an apology via Twitpic, saying:

“’Commit acts of lust’ is simply a  tongue-in-cheek way to say take pictures with costumed reps…We apologize for any confusion and offense that resulted from our choice of wording…and we hope you’ll agree with us that it was all done in the spirit of the good natured fun of Comic-Con.”
Several things about this whole ordeal are just ridiculous. First, I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to objectify a “booth-babe,” especially when she is busting out of a skin-tight leather bustier and twirling a devil tail in her hand. Her job is to catch the eyes of passersby, and that’s the job she signed up to do. Second, thousands upon thousands of people take photos posing with booth-babes. Just because some of those people then send the photo via Twitter doesn’t instantaneously make it something more sinister (nor does the requirement of Twittering the picture suggest people should act in inappropriate ways). And third, the majority of people who say they aren’t going to buy the game now because of this whole contest nonsense probably aren’t part of the game’s target demographic anyway (plus, if they thought this was offensive, I can’t imagine how they would have reacted to some of the stuff rumored to be in the this game).
What’s your take on this whole Dante’s Inferno Twitter contest hoopla? Anyone here participate in the contest?

Dante's Inferno Twitter Contest Ignites Controversy


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