Oh, hey, Major. What’s that? “Don’t read on if you haven’t finished the game”? At all? Alright, got it.
You heard the man. This article contains some pretty hefty spoilers.
Neal Stapel, the adoptive parent of a 10-year old Chinese girl named Zoe, was playing Portal 2 with her on a PlayStation 3 when he heard this particular line, from Wheatley, in Chapter 8, titled “The Itch”.
Alright. So, that last test was… seriously disappointing. Apparently, being civil isn’t motivating you. So let’s try things her way, alright – fatty. Adopted fatty. Fatty, fatty, no-parents.
He contacted WBTV, a Charlotte news station.You see, Mr. Stapel hasn’t told his daughter she’s adopted yet. He and his wife are Caucasian and Zoe is of Asian descent, and they’ve never really hidden it from her, but they wanted to wait to talk about it until she was “ready”. Neal claims this particular line “pokes fun” at adopted people. Just to see if he’s right, let’s move on to the very next line, spoken by GLaDOS, in potato form. Note that this line is completely omitted by WBTV in their news broadcast, perhaps purposely.
What, exactly is wrong with being adopted?
What is Wheatley’s response? I mean, if the game’s poking fun at adopted people, surely he has a powerful and even more offensive retort?
Wha- what’s wrong with being adopted? Um… well, lack of parents, for one… and also… furthermore… nothing. Some of my best friends, actually, are orphans.
GLaDOS then says, directly to Chell:
For the record, you are adopted. And that’s terrible.
Does this sound like “poking fun” to you? This is nothing more than a joke, directed straight at Wheatley, who resorts to throwing around immature insults that he cannot even back up. It is certainly not an insult aimed at orphans. If anything, it’s an insult aimed right at people who insult orphans. Neal then says that the game: “throws the question, the most ultimate question that child is ever gonna have for you and it just throws it right in your living room.” We understand Neal’s concerns completely, but how exactly does a mere joke, that isn’t even aimed at orphans themselves, “throw the question”? How does that work? Is the child going to hear a line and then just ask the question? Just like that? Zoe says she didn’t catch the line, and to Neal, that means she’s not ready to talk about it, and he’s not going to force it. But maybe she just… didn’t catch the line?
WBTV then went on to do a second news story on the subject, serving as a response to gamers’ reactions to the story. In it, they state that they contacted Valve, to hear its response, but got nothing. This is no surprise – Valve is a busy company. I hardly think they have the time to comment on these kinds of news stories. To us, it certainly seems as if WBTV might be taking advantage of this situation – they’ve certainly gotten some publicity from it. As Shaughn Cameron said in his e-mail to WBTV: “what exactly was anyone attempting to accomplish with such a ridiculous story?”
Big thanks to jdshald for sending us the tip, and for posting the two WBTV news broadcasts on YouTube. You can find them below.