3.25.2010

Robot Unicorn Attack: The Secret Message of HAAATE

(DISCLAIMER: This is all in good fun, and is meant to degrade into further silliness. No offense is meant as this is not meant to be taken seriously. If taken seriously, please rinse well with water and call your local poison control center immediately.)

I'd like to propose a wild theory. Because I can. Because people cried havoc and let slip the dogs of war because they thought Tinky Winky was a gay/transgendered character molding the malleable minds of small children into the shape of evil. Because one interpretation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is that it is an economic and/or political allegory. Because authorial intent is a dead, dead thing and interpretation is the name of the game. Because playing devil's advocate is just as fun as idiot's advocate.

I'd like to propose that Adult Swim's ROBOT UNICORN ATTACK game is, in fact, a terrible and amazingly subtle hateful condemnation of homosexuality. A-hah, you say, but how can you claim such an outrageous thing, O Alz? Were you not an English major? You have to support your thesis with evidence cited from the text and form plausible interpretations therewith!

Well, fear not, my fine fellows, these old essay muscles may be soft and atrophied, but I've stretched them well and flexed them fine and, despite a few aches and pains, here is what I came up with while lying in bed the other night trying to sleep and cursing my overactive brain:

Robot Unicorn Attack at first glance seems to be a perfectly normal la-dee-dah ha-ha gay-in-the-merry-definition sort of game. I mean, it's a robot unicorn frolicking across a magical landscape glittering with stars and rainbows.

Upon second glance it appears to be actually more gay-in-the-homosexual-sense-of-the-word. Rainbows have long been a symbol of the LGBT movement; purple, as mentioned in the above Tinky Winky scandal, also has associations with the queer community. The horribly catchy song that plays throughout the game is "Always" by Erasure, sung by Andy Bell who, according to the all-knowing Wikipedia, is a gay icon. The song lyrics themselves could even be interpreted to be gently encouraging open-mindedness and "coming out" with regards to queerness, with lines like "Open your eyes I see / Your eyes are open / Wear no disguise for me / Come into the open" and "There will be no shame".

All this seems harmless enough, yes? Positive, even. An excuse to juxtapose pretty unicorns and sparkles with robots that cry sad, sad tears when they explode into fireballs after impacting ground, stone, or glass star. A lark. A laugh.

WRONG. THIS GAME ACTUALLY CARRIES A SECRET, SUBTLE, AND HATEFUL MESSAGE. I shall endeavor to explain forthwith:


1) A variety of sentences pop up when you start a new game and the silhouette of the unicorn flashes across the screen. They vary from positive to negative--after all, like on the t-shirt Adult Swim sells, it may say, "CHASE YOUR DREAMS." (Although in the game instructions it tells you that you have three "wishes"/chances to chase your dreams--of getting a high score. Hmm. But you can always wish for higher as there is no upper limit--and since you can always reach higher, will you ever reach satisfaction? But let us not get into discussions of greed versus satisfaction right here.) Inspirational, yes? Until you get the message and/or read the back of the shirt, where it says, "YOU WILL FAIL." Another delightfully uplifting message is "YOU WILL DIE A FIERY DEATH."

Not very positive. Especially since the general Christian condemnation of homosexuality brings to mind how the more fanatically religious claim that homosexuals will end up in hell. Which is, you know, generally regarded as fiery. And that's not good. You will fail in a fiery death no matter how hard you chase your dreams--

2) But really, what is the robot unicorn chasing and collecting? Why, according to the game instructions, it's collecting butterfly fairies. Or you might more accurately say it is scoring fairies, because every fairy you collect ups your score. My, my. So these "dreams" actually consist of this base, vulgar, carnal desire, eh? No wonder they're bound to fail in life, die spectacularly, and wind up in a place with more brimstone and flames than harps and clouds. You can't win with an attitude like that.

3) Actually, you can't "win" at all in this game. As far as I've been able to determine, there is no final destination to reach or final fairy to acquire. You keep on playing until you die by crashing into a star, a rock, or leaping in a glorious arc to your untimely doom. The only way to win is to score high--but ultimately, whether you score high or low, your fiery fate is the same. Doom is inevitable when you are of the robot unicorn persuasion. Not precisely positive when you take the robot unicorn as a metaphor for homosexuality and/or homosexuals.

4) And think about the name! Robot Unicorn Attack. To be quite honest, when playing the game, it doesn't seem like there's much of an attack going on. I mean, the freaking unicorn is just galloping around and collecting fairies, shooting sparkles, and leaving rainbows arcing in its wake. I suppose you could assume that the unicorn is skewering the poor helpless fairies on its horn (A-hah! Which, if the robot unicorn is taken to be a representation of homosexuality, can be interpreted as homosexuality collecting and slaying innocently feminine men (according to the first Urban Dictionary definition) by presumably making them gay. Or something.) or perhaps it's because the unicorn smashes its way through the glass stars that block its path (itself surely another metaphor for something negative, for which I may or may not develop an interpretation before the end of this post). But see! Look! The unicorn, symbol of magic and purity, has been cast instead as a monster! Not just a promotion of homosexuality, but a veritable attack! How horrendous!

See? See? Doesn't it make a strange sort of subtle, suggestive, (and stupid) sense? I have presented my evidence and come to the conclusion that Robot Unicorn Attack is actually a game decrying and condemning queerness.

....

Yeah, right.

I don't believe a word of anything I've written above. I highly doubt the sort of person who would utterly condemn homosexuality in such a fashion would waste his or her time creating a flash game to convey this message in such an indirect fashion.

And if such a person did, too bad. I love the game for all the wrong reasons in that case. Like I said, the author is dead.*

One last question arises in my mind before I sign off and stop pursuing interpretation for the sake of interpretation: What then does the leaping pink dolphin mean? I have no idea. It only shows up when you're scoring relatively high. It must be Robot Unicorn Attack's attempt to be, let's see, environmentally conscious and promote awareness of the endangered Amazon Pink River Dolphin.


*Actually, I think it's best to read and interpret a text in multiple ways, including divorcing it completely from the author as well as reading it through the lens of the author's biography.

1 comment:

Matheas Michaels said...

Ha, pretty weak argument. I'm glad you seem to realize that. RUA2 FTW!!!