Portal 2 makes fun of adopted kids, angers adoptive parents

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It seems Fox News isn’t the only outlet that’s capable of completely sensationalising video-game related stories by only reporting the items that fit their agenda. North Carolina’s WBTV is apparently equally fit for half-reporting facts to suit a skewed agenda!

The latest target is Portal 2, the charming and seemingly innocuous first-person puzzler has been labelled by the station as insensitive to the adopted.

North Carolina’s Neal Stapel is athe adoptive father of a 10 year-old Chinese girl. He was playing the game with the girl when one of the game’s many jokes poked fun fun at adopted children. "Alright, fatty. Adopted fatty. Fatty, fatty, no parents," says sentient robot Wheatley, after which series antagonist GLaDOS follows with a whispered "For the record, you are adopted, and that’s terrible, but just stick with me." Stapel found this to be in poor taste; "I didn’t know what to do," he said in an interview with station. "I still don’t know what to do."

"If you’re not an adoptive parent, it’s probably not that big a deal to you," he continued. "If you are an adoptive parent, it was, literally, the worst thing I could possibly have heard.""It throws the question, the most ultimate question that child is ever going to have for you, and it just throws it right in your living room," he said. Stapel’s daughter claims she didn’t hear the joke, to which he says, "To me, that message means she’s not ready to talk about it and I’m not gonna force it."

Of course, the whole thing’s taken out of context; The game’s narrative is centred around witty, often snide banter. in this case :

Wheatley: All right, so that last test was seriously disappointing. Apparently, being civil isn’t motivating you, so, let’s try it her way, all right, fatty? Adopted… fatty! Fatty fatty no parents?
GLaDOS: And…
Wheatley: What?
GLaDOS: What exactly is wrong with being adopted?
Wheatley: What’s wrong with being adopted? Um, well, uh… Lack of parents?
GLaDOS: [to Chell] For the record, you are adopted and that’s terrible, just work with me.
Wheatley: Some of my my best friends are actually orphans…
GLaDOS: Also, look at her you moron. She’s not fat.
Wheatley: I AM NOT A MORON! Just do the test, just do the test.

Further displaying their lack of credibility, WBTV’s reporter, Brigida Mack, said the game is  "billed as educational," because "you sort of have to figure out a way to get out of every single room." she also claims that Sony distributed the game, when its retail version was in fact distributed by EA. I understand the need for sensitivity regarding children’s psyches with regards to adoption, but in this case it’s obvious; if that girl doesn’t realise she’s a little culturally different from her adoptive parents, she has bigger problems than Portal 2. It does however give me a great opportunity to end with a terrible joke, attributed to the late Tommy Cooper :

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Apparently, 1 in 5 people in the world are Chinese. And there are 5 people in my family, so it must be one of them.
It’s either my mum or my dad. Or my older brother Colin. Or my younger brother Ho-Cha-Chu.
But I think it’s Colin

Last Updated: May 19, 2011

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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