Thursday, May 30, 2024

The message behind Boyfriend Dungeon wouldn’t work without Eric

If you’ve been paying attention to social media this week, you’ve probably stumbled upon the ‘discourse’ around Kitfox Games’ Boyfriend Dungeon – a game where you wield swords, as well as date them while trying to discover who you really are. But of course, while that alone is very intriguing for a lot of players, it’s the character Eric that has seemingly become the black heart of the discussion around Boyfriend Dungeon.

There are a lot of cool, exciting weapons – and people – for you to meet during your time at Verona Beach. One of those people is Eric, a cool and somewhat aloof young man who has an expertise in weapons. And when he says weapons, he means ‘real’ weapons – not the ones that transform and do silly things like be actual living, breathing humans. Nope, that’d be weird, apparently. He also acts like a bit of an intellectual, willing to correct you on things that didn’t need to be corrected on. Frankly, he is a bit of an annoying twerp.

Now, just because I don’t want to just throw spoilers at you 24/7, I’ll give you a brief warning that this article will spoil the end of the game. SO DON’T LOOK IF YOU DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED. And, if you haven’t already heard, we’ll be talking about stalking and harrassment in detail.

Okay, good, now that we’ve got that out of the way…

Eric often uses tactics like this to guilt you into interacting with him

Boyfriend Dungeon is about facing change and learning more about yourself, and relationships in general – whether that be friendship or romance. More importantly, it’s also about respect, boundaries and consent. Throughout your relationships with the weapons, they always do their utmost to step back when you tell them to, and they react negatively when you don’t allow them their own space too. It isn’t as easy as forcing yourself through a square peg despite being a circle, it’s about understanding the weapons you talk to and earning their trust and companionship as you explore your relationship with one another.

Someone who doesn’t understand consent or respect is Eric – and Boyfriend Dungeon doesn’t try to hide that. and put himself in the limelight. It makes people uncomfortable, and it gets even worse when he completely ignores the consent of the player to stalk them, and uses tactics like love-bombing and guilt-tripping in order to try and force you into giving him your time. He is, without a doubt, a terrible person.

It’s not at all surprising that Kitfox Games original content warning for Boyfriend Dungeon could have worded Eric’s actions better, the game and what it warns about couldn’t have worked without him. Eric is a stalker, no doubt a reply guy too, and someone who certainly triggers my fight or flight instinct, but he is vital to the game and the lessons it tries to teach to the player and protagonist: respect, trust, vulnerability and boundaries are important for any relationship to prosper.

The fact that Eric doesn’t respect you, doesn’t listen to you and is constantly ignoring the boundaries you set is there to show you the difference between how the weapons treat you and how Eric does. It’s a big red flag. He is there for a reason, as a lesson to warn you about people like him who may not always have the worst intentions, but are people who don’t deserve your time.

I do sincerely sympathize with people who were triggered by Eric and his involvement in Boyfriend Dungeon, but to get rid of him would be a mistake and completely negate the story that Kitfox Games wants to tell.

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