Imagine that you’re playing a video game based on a British cartoon, and Queen Elizabeth II arrives to jump in a muddy puddle. It’s a little weird, but it’s fun in a camp way. So like this Twitch streamer, most players would probably enjoy the whimsical moment and move on. It becomes a little harder to do so, though, when the game suddenly cuts to a somber remembrance slide of the recently deceased queen. Maybe this is due to a cultural difference between the U.S. and the U.K., but I remain baffled. Are British people still in their grieving period for their former head of state after six months? Should I be giving y’all some space?
Peppa Pig is a popular British children’s cartoon that has spawned an empire of books, films, multiple theme parks, and video games. The newly released Peppa Pig: World Adventures is an adventure game in which the player explores the world as an animal they create in the series’ distinctive art style, accompanied by their family. The series is aimed towards toddlers and very young children, so it doesn’t feel too out of place when Peppa Pig shouts, “Wow! The Queen is very good at jumping in puddles!” It’s camp, but I get it. Children’s books and other media often have very basic, likable versions of historic figures because we need to indoctrinate kids early on about the goodness of our various empires and political systems. . Everyone joins Elizabeth II in the puddle-jumping action, good fun is had by all, and the London chapter closes.
That’s when the game gets uncanny. World Adventures cuts to an image of Queen Elizabeth II against a black background, complete with her lifespan (1926-2022) and the words “In Memoriam.” The image, meanwhile, is of her splattered in mud, as she and Peppa look happily at each other. Can I be honest for a second? This is an inspired interpretation of the leader of the British Commonwealth. When she’s jumping in a mud puddle with Peppa the Pig, she’s just a human like anyone else. If you ignore the public handouts she received every year or her family’s connection to slavery, you could almost believe that Lizzie is Peppa’s personal friend. Hence the touching memorial in remembrance of the people’s queen.
Just kidding. This is weird, and really jarring after such a lighthearted, playful moment in a kids’ game. Then again, maybe it’s perfectly normal for a British gaming studio to implement such a memorial for someone who loomed so large in the culture. British mourners waited in a five-mile line to pay their respects to the late queen, and London businesses were temporarily closed in remembrance. Kotaku reached out to Outright Games to ask who was responsible for Queen Elizabeth II’s cameo in World Adventures, but did not receive a statement by the time of publication.
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Gamers are already making jokes about how Peppa was the last person to see the queen alive. “Connecting the dots here,” someone tweeted in response to the game clip. “Peppa is responsible for the queen’s death.”