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You Are Jeff Bezos is almost a year old, and I continue to be floored by the response. I've heard from teachers, students, activists, and developers from all over the world about what the game means to them. The fact that it's still finding its way onto people's best-of lists just never fails to blow my mind.

To everyone who has played the game, tipped, recommended it to their friends, reported bugs, streamed it (!), drawn fanart for it (!?!): thank you. You make being eternally associated with this enormous vermin of a man almost worth it.

I'm posting today because I recently came across a concerning comment, which called out my game for including several jokes about Jeff Bezos injecting himself with young blood. Though I didn't make this connection at the time that I wrote it, the commenter rightly pointed out that this kind of joke unfortunately echoes the old anti-Semitic myth of blood libel

The facts of whether the sketchy start-up with which Peter Thiel (not Jeff Bezos) is associated is doing what it's alleged to be doing are immaterial, in my view, compared with the potential for harm. So, I've gone back through the game and replaced these lines, as well as references to vampirism. Jeff Bezos is now variously described as:

  • Gross
  • A plastinated corpse
  • A parasite
  • Excessively tanned
  • Shiny, but like, in an unappealing way

The substance of the game remains the same as it was before.  You still spend a billionaire's money, have weird unresolved sexual tension with a coffee barista, and attempt to crawl down a sewer. There are still six endings, three of which I'm told are fiendishly difficult to unlock. It's the same You Are Jeff Bezos as before, minus a few gags that weren't all that funny to begin with.

Q: Aren't you bending to censorship/censoring yourself by doing this?

A: Absolutely not. No one has asked me to change anything; this is a choice I made entirely on my own once the unfortunate implications of the joke became clear to me. If I'd made the connection when I was writing the game, I'd never have written them in the first place.

Q: But it's not anti-Semitic, it's just referencing a news story.

A: A news story that seems to be mainly hearsay, spread largely because it's a juicy ol' "the rich people are literal cryptids who prey upon children" narrative, but unfortunately still feeding into extremely harmful tropes about "Jewish elites." To be honest, I don't feel it matters what my intentions were. I'd rather do without a few jokes than play into a dangerous stereotype used by white supremacists.

Q: But if you're removing that, what's next, getting rid of [some false equivalence]?

A: Go away.

Q: It's such a small thing. Why bother to change it at all?

A: Because I can and I wanted to. I've updated the game plenty of times since its release to fix typos, factual errors, and bugs, so I don't see how this is any different.

Q: What about the game on other platforms?

A: I've already updated the game on to reflect the new version. At this time, the version on Tap is still the old one, but I'll be reaching out to the folks managing that stuff to see if we can't sneak an update in. If you've come across the game on any other sites than those, it was uploaded without my input or consent and there's not much I can do about them, sadly. (Also those unauthorized versions are buggy and don't have the secret endings anyway, so I wouldn't recommend them.)

Q: No seriously how do I unlock the secret endings

A: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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