Social Justice Warriors the Game at PAX South: Interview with Eric Ford

Our very own Luis Angeles had a chance to speak with Eric Ford, creator of 8-bit D&D-inspired roleplaying game Social Justice Warriors and contributor to Nonadecimal Creative. Social Justice Warriors is a satirical take on meaningless internet fights and applies old school RPG elements to the “combat” between social justice warriors and internet trolls.

Players can choose among four playable characters, each with their own unique set of powers. There’s the paladin that uses the powers of Twitter to fight; the cleric who wields the power of Reddit, with the ability to summon the powers of a subreddit deity; a mage with the powers of an internet blogger; and a rogue who likes to fight dirty and then sneak back into the internet shadows.

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The fights take place in an old school head to head matchup, where players must fend off trolls. Attacks drain the opponent’s sanity, and when a player loses too much sanity they ragequit the argument and lose the game. Players have the option of using logic, a tactic Ford states is very ineffective, or by using a character’s unique and fallacious powers. The drawback to using these powers is they drain from reputation.

The game is very basic, and Ford reported that he felt its simple and concise nature of the gameplay fit well, so other than a few updates he does not have any intention to change the core gameplay.

We asked Ford where he got the inspiration for the creation of such a concept.

 So I first heard the phrase last year, there was an image circulating online that was titled ‘Social Justice Warrior journalists to avoid’ and it named journalists from a bunch of sites like Kotaku, IGN; all the big sites. And it was basically saying [to] ignore these people because they believe in these certain things, promoting feminism and such. And it seemed really weird to me since they were using that phrase as a pejorative but it really sounds so empowering. so once I looked into it more I wanted to make a game that would break that down, break down that conflict and do simple game mechanics to help people understand it a little better”

We also asked Ford where he came up with the comments that the trolls and players come up with during the duels:

“The phrases were all adapted from things people have said online. There’s no shortage of these sorts of comments in the comments sections of articles, on Twitter — you find these sort of things everywhere. Even in Youtube music videos I found comments to use.”

Ford also mentioned that he received some blowback after the release of the game:

“I released the game, and immediately people started arguing about whether it was a pro-SJW game or an anti-SJW game. And they immediately started fighting in a way that resembled the game itself. It was strange to watch. A few months after the game was released was when the GamerGate hashtag started. And that conflict tends to resemble my game.”

For those of you interested in doing your internet fights offline, you can grab the game on the Humble Store, Desura, and on Steam in about a month.

Need the juicy details? Check out the full interview below!

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Nick Bayer
Written by
Greetings Nation! The name's Nick Bayer, I'm 25 and have identified as a gamer since my father brought home Commander Keen when I was 5. I currently work as a Medical Social Worker and spend all of my free time either gaming, spending time with my beautiful fiance, or gaming with my beautiful fiance. I gradated in 2013 from Grand Valley State University with a degree in Psychology, I currently am in my final semester at Grand Valley State University for a Masters in Social Work. I mainly use PC as my gaming platform of choice, primarily enjoying the genres of RPG, action-adventure, FPS, and strategy games (Including Grand Strategy!). I also play an unhealthy amount of Dota 2. My favorites include Max Payne 2, Bioshock 1, Crusader Kings 2, The Ace Combat series (4-6), and Spec Ops: The Line. My favorite games are the ones that excel at telling wonderful stories!

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