Freshman Year Video Game Challenges Victim Blaming

The new video game that deconstructs victim blaming. Trigger warning.

Programmer and game designer Nina Freeman is using video games to tell deeply personal stories. Her latest, Freshman Year, is a short, groundbreaking work that tells the story of sexual assault and questions victim blaming.

It’s a brilliant way to tackle the supremely gross tendency society has to scrutinize the actions of the sexually assaulted rather than those of his or her predator. By making the game a first person experience, players can decide whether or not to wear a short skirt, if they’d like to have a bunch of drinks at the bar or none at all and whether they’d like to head to the bar alone or with a friend. No matter the choices, the outcome is always the same. The main character, Nina, is sexually assaulted by the bouncer of the bar.

The game ultimately teaches players that the only blame to place after a sexual assault is on the assaulter.

Freeman does an excellent job conveying the panic and frustration that comes with being a victim. The constant checking of the phone, the towering frame of the assaulter above you in the frame, the flashing images of his hand on your waist as your dig around in your purse for your phone, and the numb, scared aftermath. It’s heavy stuff— and a brave and innovative approach on Freeman’s part.

“Please be aware that this game depicts scenarios that may be distressing to people who have experienced abuse,” she warns on the site. Check out Freshman Year here.


Seventy-five years ago, on January 27, 1945, the Soviet Army liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp operated by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland.

Auschwitz was the deadliest of Nazi Germany's 20 concentration camps. From 1940 to 1945 of the 1.3 million prisoners sent to Auschwitz, 1.1 million died. That figure includes 960,000 Jews, 74,000 non-Jewish Poles, 21,000 Roma, 15,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and up to 15,000 other Europeans.

The vast majority of the inmates were murdered in the gas chambers while others died of starvation, disease, exhaustion, and executions.

Keep Reading
via Barry Schapiro / Twitter

The phrase "stay in your lane" is usually lobbed at celebrities who talk about politics on Twitter by people who disagree with them. People in the sports world will often get a "stick to sports" when they try to have an opinion that lies outside of the field of play.

Keep Reading
via Stu Hansen / Twitter

In a move that feels like the subject line of a spam email or the premise of a bad '80s movie, online shopping mogul Yusaku Maezawa is giving away money as a social experiment.

Maezawa will give ¥1 million yen ($9,130) to 1,000 followers who retweeted his January 1st post announcing the giveaway. The deadline to retweet was Tuesday, January 7.

Keep Reading