Drawing the Line: What’s “Wildly Offensive” to Me

by Ashley Cabeceiras
assistant arts & life editor

At the beginning of the week, The Purple & White staff received an email from game producer Allan Wu, CEO of Wutango Media. Wu asked us to check out a game his company is developing for mobile devices, to potentially write an article about it. After watching Wu’s video preview some of our staff members commented that this game proposal was “wildly offensive.” Intrigued, I decided to watch the preview video for the game and decide for myself.

The idea of the game is very simple, and similar to the popular “Temple Run” for the iPhone. Wu’s version is called “Beer Run.” In the game, a college student has just left a fraternity house after a long night of partying, and is chased by some cops down the street while avoiding obstacles such as cars, passed-out drunk people, and the corners of the ever-turning road—all the while collecting as much booze as possible. Wu plans to allow players to register whichever college they attend so that, ultimately, universities can compete against one another.

The preview video features both the original version and a modified version of “Beer Run.” The original version featured a character in Greek letters running down fraternity row. You could clearly see that all of the characters in the game had Greek affiliations, which I do find offensive. Greek life already has such a bad reputation nationwide, and many college students do not rush to avoid being looped in with that stereotype. However, from my experience, Greek life at Millsaps is nothing like the stereotypes we see in the media. Whenever I talk about Greek life, I try to show people that we are not the way society makes us seem. I don’t want people to see the Greek system in bad light though, and I don’t like that this game seems to promote that stereotype. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not saying Greeks don’t party, but we certainly aren’t the only ones doing so.

In the revised version of the game, your character is customizable. He or she does not have to be Greek, and the letters are just one of many options. The scenery too has been changed to generic dormitories and class buildings. It is only in the beginning that we see a fraternity house, which does not bear the letters of any existing fraternity or sorority. This new version of the game spreads blame to all college students, and I find that much fairer. Not all college students party, but many do.

I wonder if perhaps I should be offended by the new version as well (because I am indeed a college student, and it is indeed mocking me), but I’m just not. I don’t care if you say, “Ashley is a college student, so she probably parties too hard,” but I do care if you say, “Ashley is in a sorority, so she probably parties too hard.” To me, these are two distinctly different statements. Society looks at someone in the Greek system and usually sees a young man or woman essentially breaking Ammon’s Rule of 3 (don’t drink and drive, don’t do drugs, and don’t have reckless sex), while barely passing college, in an attempt to get a “bullshit” degree. However, society looks at a non-Greek college student, and (again, usually) sees a young man or woman going to college to get a degree so they can get a good job. They make no immediate assumptions made about GPA, lifestyle or character. He or she is just a human being. Why doesn’t that apply to Greeks as well?

I might be a young woman in a sorority, but I follow the Rule of 3, I take my GPA seriously, and I would love to meet a single person who views physics as a “bullshit” degree. I’m not here to party, to be free from my parents, or to get my “MRS” degree. I’m here to get a degree so that one day I can have a job to support myself. I joined a sorority so that while I am here I can make great friends and donate to a worthy philanthropy. If I get to party, be free and happen to meet a great guy, then that is all just bonus, but I am certainly not going to compromise my own morality for my sorority (nor would my sisters ever ask me to). If anything, my sorority further encourages me to stick to my morals steadfastly and set my personal standards even higher.

If Wu plans on producing the old version of the game, I am giving him two thumbs down. College students in Greek life do not need a game further circulating the harmful stereotype we strive to destroy. However, if Wu would like to stick to the revised game, I will be one of the first to download it. I think that the revised version is satirical and, overall, playful in nature.