A few weeks ago, we once again suspended events in response to the growing local prevalence of the omicron strain of COVID-19. At this moment, our tentative plans is to resume events, as well as our normal hours, on January 28th, though we will continue to limit occupancy of our retail space to 5 customers at a time. January’s events are back on the calendar, and we will add February’s next week if things still look to be on track. There are two notable changes, however: 1) we’re now requiring KN95 masks or better to play in events, as well as proof of vaccination; and 2) for the time being, we’re limiting event attendance to 16 players instead of 32, with an eye toward raising that limit as soon as possible. We apologize for the inconvenience this suspension presented to anybody, but we didn’t see any other safe option. We look forward to gaming with everyone again soon!
As a response to the growing local prevalence of the omicron strain of COVID-19, Redcap’s Corner is suspending all events and all usage of our event space until further notice, effective today. Additionally, we’ll be closing at 8pm every night and limiting store occupancy to 5 customers at a time. We apologize for the inconvenience this presents anybody, but COVID cases have exploded throughout the city and this is the only way I know to keep our staff and customers safe. Over the next few days, we’ll be putting a tentative end date on this suspension, but we expect it to last no more than a few weeks. Please stay safe! We’ll game again soon.
PAX Unplugged was this past weekend, once again in our own backyard, and once again we chose not to attend. We’re often asked why we don’t participate, and I understand why this might be a confusing position for the city’s oldest and largest game shop to take, so–despite largely keeping quiet about it in years past–I’ve decided to share our position. About a decade ago, one of the owners of Penny Arcade and founders of PAX, Mike Krahulik, made it very clear he was an indefensible bully. I’m not going to go into too much detail about his specific behaviour, because it’s well documented (here, here, and here, for instance), but he spent years crusading in support of a rape joke and made numerous transphobic comments. He subsequently issued a number of half-hearted apologies, most of which he later recanted, ultimately resulting in his 2014 new year’s resolution, after which point he has mostly kept quiet.
This is all old news, and he apologized, so why should anyone care? There are a few reasons why I still care, and still opt out of the biggest convention related to our industry on the East coast, despite being able to throw a stone at it.
Krahulik’s resolution isn’t really an apology at all. It’s introspective, sure, but it’s also pretty honest about the fact that most of that introspection is the result of his realization that he’s become a liability to the business he helped create, not because he cares about the people he hurt or even that he hurt them. He only uses the word “sorry” once, and it’s to say “I’m sorry for the things I’ve said but I’ve never apologized for who I am.” Well, he still hasn’t. Maybe he implied that he’s sorry for who he is, but he didn’t say it, and being sorry for the things he’s said (or even for who he is) isn’t the same as being sorry that he abused his platform and hurt people, repeatedly and intentionally. It’s true that he’s been much less controversial since 2014, but he’s also just been much quieter. It seems pretty clear to me that the early 2010s taught him that voicing unpopular opinions was bad for business, and I haven’t seen any evidence that he actually has changed or atoned for the harm he caused, other than a $20,000 donation to the Trevor Project many years back–the go-to “make it go away” tactic for wealthy and influential people. A one-time donation, followed by a transparent self-serving apology, then silence, doesn’t entitle anyone to absolution, and until his regret gives way to remorse and his silence gives way to support, I can’t see that he’s made right by the world.
PAX Unplugged didn’t exist until 2017. It had no Penny Arcade legacy that would be messy to disentangle from it. Reedpop started a new show, focused on a different (but related) industry, and decided to associate it with Penny Arcade, despite its history. As far as I can tell, Penny Arcade (and Krahulik specifically) don’t take a terribly active role in the shows anymore, but Reedpop has kept their legacy attached to the name associated with all shows, and even added it to this one. It could, and should, have been rebranded, and Unplugged could and should have had nothing to do with Penny Arcade in the first place. This is exactly the sort of enabling that Krahulik’s partners spent the early 2010s engaged in, quiet consent and endorsement, and I don’t feel comfortable doing the same.
I should note that I, Benn Roe, the owner of Redcap’s, did attend PAX Unplugged in 2017 in order to help run the show’s Pathfinder tables, but I did so out of ignorance. I don’t have a background or any significant interest in video gaming, I’ve never been a reader of Penny Arcade, and that whole world just flew under my radar. After Krahulik’s behaviour was brought to my attention in 2017 or 2018, I made the decision no longer to attend the show, and to keep my business away from theirs. I have also occasionally ventured down there to meet with manufacturers while they’re in the city. I don’t begrudge anybody their decision to attend, and the last thing I want to do is spoil anyone’s good time or make people feel bad for taking to the tabletop in Philadelphia, which is why we’ve quietly sat out previous years. People should feel free to disagree with me here, and support the people and organizations they want to support. I only took the time to write any of this as a means of explaining why we, and specifically I, choose to sit the show out each year. The show is obviously good for gaming in Philadelphia, and–by extension–for business at Redcap’s, whether we want to be involved or not. I know our failure to capitalize on that is ultimately poor business-sense, but it’s the only decision I currently feel comfortable making.
I invite discussion, especially if I’ve missed or misinterpreted anything. I hope everyone who attended enjoyed the show!
As construction of our ramp continues, we’ve been forced to adapt in some relatively un-ideal ways. At the moment our entrance looks like this, and is not safe to use.
At least through Tuesday, if you’re playing in on one of our events, you will need to enter the store through the back. To do so, you’ll need to meet us on Warren Street, a small side street that runs between 39th Street and Baring Street.
There you’ll find a little black gate next to the Fencing Academy’s enclosed parking area. Half an hour before each event starts, a member of our staff will be at that gate to check vaccination cards and escort attendees through the alley and courtyard to the back entrance of our store.
We are having concrete poured on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, in an effort to finish construction of our new entrance ramp, and will not be open for events or in-store shopping. We will still be offering local delivery both days, and we’re going to try to offer curbside pick-up, but I would call ahead before stopping by, just in case that isn’t possible. Sorry for the inconvenience! We hope it will all be worth it in the end.