(Content Warning: Talk of fat shaming, fatphobia, diet, eating disorders, and exercise)
While perusing the app store one day, I came across an app called Fat Pusher. Initially, I was intrigued by the title of the app because I was confused about what it could be, and then shocked to see a game by a developer I loved put out such a horrendous game.
Voodoo games is popular in the app store for the somewhat “mindless” games they put out. These games are great for people with anxiety, because they provide you with simple goals and tasks that can help to ease your mind. However, Voodoo really missed the mark with Fat Pusher, even though it is within the same style as many of their others.
In Fat Pusher, you play as a plus size person and your goal is to push huge blocks to lose weight, and “eating all the food for the fattest pushes ever!” Let’s unpack that for a second. By playing Fat Pusher, Voodoo reinforces the idea that food equals getting fatter implying it’s something bad, and that being fat is inherently wrong. In order to “fix yourself” you have to push yourself to the brink of exhaustion binge eat. In what world is that healthy? The game itself can be severely triggering to those of us with ED’s or that are in recovery.
The blatant fatphobia and disregard for plus size humans is evident throughout Fat Pusher. The game itself on the Apple App store has 600+ reviews and a 4.4 star rating, which means that many players are also contributing to the fat shaming app. This indicates that many consumers are unphased by the fat shaming and insensitive goal of the game itself. It seems that Voodoo made the game without really considering who it would impact, and many players are doing the same. That being said, why is no one talking about this?
Voodoo makes the kind of games that, while relaxing, are filled with ads and can be considered quite spammy. Perhaps that’s why no one is really exploring the impact of the game’s premise. The fatphobic nature of the game is being disregarded, put to the side. This complacency encourages mistreatment of fat individuals, and makes fat shaming a literal game.
Fat advocates are often criticized for pointing out mistreatment and bigotry, particularly in popular media (movies, songs, games..). But these are the places where fatphobia thrives. In order to make progress, we must keep having and speaking up about when fatphobia creeps into any forum.
Do better, Voodoo. Let’s hope no more semi-popular Fat Pusher-type games emerge after this.