Social Justice Warriors is a Video Game That Simulates a Flamewar. Because Those Are Hard to Find in Real Life.


The cycle is familiar to anyone who spends a lot of time on the internet. You read an inflammatory (and perhaps poorly researched) article online. You see it to be specious and biased and wholly incorrect. You, in a fit of anger, scroll down to the comments section and churlishly leave an angry comment taking the author to task. The author responds in rage, citing that they are indeed correct, and it is you who are in the wrong. Pretty soon you begin dismissing the other with cliched phrases like “Your argument is invalid!” They hurl equally dismissive comment back at you. Then a third party intervenes, disagreeing with both of you.

Then a fourth, who just wants peace. Then a fifth, who cannot spell. Then a sixth, who just wants to make rape threats and attack people. It’s not long before a full-blown flamewar is in effect, people are getting doxxed, and everyone is miserable. This is how crap like Gamergate gets started.

Well, if real-life flamewars were too much pressure for you, a video game on Steam (available for $7.99) called Social Justice Warriors can now simulate them for you. The game was released about a month ago, and it is starting to gain small bits of traction here and there. It also may be providing a very valuable service to internet denizens.

The game not only simulates petty insults and poorly-thought-out ad hominem arguments, but stages it all in the D&D milieu, allowing you to act as clerics, thieves, paladins, etc. You can cast insult spells, damn people by blocking them, and try to achieve a balance between your reputation meter and your sanity meter. Your foes are all internet Trolls.

While this sounds like it may be a way of satirizing the entire phenomenon of trolling and the vitriolic reaction thereto (what are flamewars if not angered, intentionally inflamed overreaction?), it actually seems to have a greater goal in mind. Since you play as the Social Justice Warrior, and you are meant to fight Trolls, the game seems to want to teach you how to argue more concisely. This is not a game meant to glorify the smug righteousness of your average internet commenter, but teach them how to argue better. And since Trolls have such predictable behavior, it’s easy to simulate their arguments with a computer processor.

Download it, friends. Play it. And let us know what you think. Is this a service, or is this a parody?