The visual novel, titled The Super Patriotic Dating Simulator, stars Elodie, a beautiful American teenager who’s also a CIA super spy. She’s been tasked with infiltrating ISIS and killing high-ranking male members, and uses it as an opportunity to explore her sexuality vis a vis her targets — like you do.
The male harem includes the leader of ISIS, simply called The Caliph, the organization’s brand manager, and a suicide bomber with the strap of his vest hanging coquettishly off one shoulder. If the dialogue on the Kickstarter page is any indication, they’re all ridiculously oblivious to Elodie’s real agenda as she cheerfully murders her way through their ranks.
My favorite line in the description might be this one: “Just remember the #1 rule of the CIA: always ask for consent.” I appreciate that, because sexual assault might have pushed this game about fucking terrorists into a place I’m not comfortable with. There are lines, damn it.
The creator is adamant the game isn’t about mocking or denigrating Islam — quite the opposite. Karlee Esmailli, an Iranian-American developer and Head of Accounts for Cards Against Humanity, says in the game’s description that it’s about dismantling stereotypes of Middle Eastern people held in the popular American consciousness:
[ISIS] is universally disavowed by Muslims – they are not a representative depiction of Islam. And yet, Americans tend to use [ISIS] as the face of Islam and the middle east, and that terrifies me because they literally can’t tell us apart and think we deserve to die. The Super Patriotic Dating Simulator is a satire about this American perception. It’s a satire of the dehumanizing, inaccurate, atrocious politics of American perception of middle eastern people. It’s a desperate plea that we recognize how harmful that perception is.
But as hard as this game is trolling ISIS, it’s trolling visual novels just as much. The Kickstarter page shows character bios for Elodie’s potential paramours, complete with likes, dislikes, and dick size — I’m reminded of the character bios for dating sim Huniepop (also funded on Kickstarter) which gave the female lovers’ cup size and level of libido. The men have surprisingly diverse interests, including sailing, horseback riding, and, in the case of suicide bomber Omar, “demanding respect” (um, not in that studded Hot Topic belt you don’t).
The Kickstarter closes on August 25. Esmaillli says in the FAQ the game will be coming out for Windows, Mac, and Linux. She also implies the development team will try and get it on Steam. I guess it’s a good thing Steam has said it won’t be taking down controversial games, because an ISIS dating sim, satirical or not, might be too much for users to handle.