In the recent DreamHack Hearthstone tournament, player Radu “RDU” Dima took home the $10,000 prize, but only after someone had sent him a message revealing the cards the opposing player held in their hand.
In a word, it was scandalous.
RDU took to Reddit to defend himself, explaining that he didn’t ask anyone for the information, and there wasn’t much he could gain from the knowledge he was provided anyway.
He also used the word ‘retard’ three times in his explanation.
It’s ugly, unacceptable, and symptomatic of a much bigger problem in our video game landscape: the ongoing tolerance of hate speech. Racial, homophobic and defamatory language has become so commonplace among gamers that we’ve seemingly become blind to it.
I want you to take a moment and think about the word Dima used, and imagine if any other public figure had used it in a public forum. Imagine if Eli Manning called the New England Patriots a bunch of retards after a game, or if John Kerry pulled together a press conference to say that Putin was being retarded. There’d be apologies, resignations and headlines for days.
But that’s not what our headlines are about. Plenty of sites are reporting on the cheating scandal, but I’ve not seen one of them that holds Dima to task for his choice of words. Games journalists seem all too happy to whitewash the situation, or even worse, are so comfortable with such language that it didn’t dawn on them to report on it.
Bigoted language just isn’t something we tolerate elsewhere, so why do we tolerate it in games culture?