PAX, short-hand for Penny Arcade Expo, is a video game festival that features many types of video games which allows for independent developers such as The Full Bright Company higher visibility. According to the creators of Gone Home, their game was accepted into PAX's Indie Megabooth earlier this month but the developers have since decided to pull out due to what they say are transphobic statements and views from the convention's organizers.
Penny Arcade is a webcomic that details two guys' experience as video game fans. They are no stranger to controversy, having made previous comics involving rape as the punchline and then proceding to follow-up with comments that mocked trigger warnings- textual warnings about sensitive content typically displayed on the internet.
Mike Krahulik, one of the comic's creators and writers had most recently tweeted various transgender insensitive tweets such as this:
He has recently made an attempt at apologizing on Penny Arcade's blog in which he posted a long e-mail chain in which he writes, "I hate the idea that because I think boys and girls have different parts I am 'transphobic' that pisses me off it makes me angry and so I lash out."
This was the final straw for the Gone Home team. "This morning we stopped pushing those long-held reservations about Jerry and Mike [the PAX organizers] into the back of our minds," said Co-founder of The Full Bright Company, Steve Gaynor, via an article he posted on his website, "we talked to each other and did a simple show of hands-- do any of us feel comfortable presenting Gone Home at PAX? No hands went up." They decided that social issues and business ethics were much more important to their company's values.
Krahulik has since posted another apology on his blog where he writes, "I'm very good at being a jerk. It's sort of my superpower. When it comes to Penny Arcade it has served me well but it's not okay when I make a bunch of people who are already marginalized feel like shit." He encourages people to support Penny Arcade which is a big supporter of the charity Child's Play. "I like drawing comics and playing video games. I'll keep my mouth shut when it comes to all the other stuff."
Gone Home is a yet to be released independently developed video game that labels itself as a "story exploration video game." Ripped straight from 1995, the trailer brings its viewers through a house with such interactive items like a Trapper Keeper, X-Files episodes recorded on VHS tapes, and cassette tapes that appear to play Riot Grrrl music which acts as the video game's soundtrack. It is scheduled for release in 2013 on PC, Mac, and Linux.