Open Thread

This last weekend was the Thanksgiving weekend in Canada (we celebrate it properly, in October, contra our neighbours to the south), so I was of course offline for its duration.

And I had intended to post some articles tonight…but instead I will spend the evening consoling my wife over the sudden and wholly unexpected passing of her grandfather. I might have more to say about the good Mr. Fred Whitford in due time, for he was a genuinely great person in many respects and will be sorely missed by his family and friends. But for now, I’m going to leave you all with the above Dragon Age: Inquisition gameplay video. Drink it in, and in particular enjoy the many very obvious ways in which it demonstrates an interface and gameplay model that have been designed from the ground up for the PC.

#PCGamingIsDead? I think not.

The First Age of Update: I’m going to close comments on this thread. It’s sapping too much of my energy and time.

35 Responses

  1. Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

    Sorry for you loss, WtF.

    PC gaming can’t die, as the PS4 and Xbone are actually both PCs, albeit shitty ones. Porting arguments abound. I hope one day interoperability will be a main design principle of the major platforms. That would go easy on the devs and make more games available to more people.

    On a similar subject, what’s up with all the death threats on game dev people recently? I don’t remember anything like that happening before. It seems to be a highly charged, heated subject from what I’ve read, though always interesting. I think we’re soon to get a Justice +1 Compassion -1 on whoever Tweeted the threat. The book will be thrown at some pathetic sociopath who will give a fake apology before being dragged away in irons. Muahahahaaaa…

  2. Sergorn says:

    Dang, really sorry to hear that 🙁 My condoleances.

  3. WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

    Sorry for you loss, WtF.
    Dang, really sorry to hear that 🙁 My condoleances.

    Thanks, guys. My wife is pretty shaken up about it; we spent last night deep-diving my photo archives looking for photos of Freddie (as everyone called him). Might put together a slide show.

    PC gaming can’t die, as the PS4 and Xbone are actually both PCs, albeit shitty ones. Porting arguments abound. I hope one day interoperability will be a main design principle of the major platforms. That would go easy on the devs and make more games available to more people.

    That kind of seems to be the direction Microsoft is taking things, at least. And certainly engines like Unity, engines that are cross-platform “out of the box”, make it easier to build games that support interoperability.

    On a similar subject, what’s up with all the death threats on game dev people recently? I don’t remember anything like that happening before. It seems to be a highly charged, heated subject from what I’ve read, though always interesting. I think we’re soon to get a Justice +1 Compassion -1 on whoever Tweeted the threat. The book will be thrown at some pathetic sociopath who will give a fake apology before being dragged away in irons. Muahahahaaaa…

    Yeah, that’s…interesting. It kind of ties into the ongoing #GamerGate saga, and my thoughts on it are varied. (If you’re behind on what #GamerGate is, might I suggest checking out TechRaptor’s fairly balaced take on it? Blogger Daddy Warpig also has some interesting comments on the phenomenon.)

    On the one hand, it’s wholly unacceptable that anyone — man or woman — should be forced from his or her home by threats. Indeed, it’s unacceptable that anyone should be subject to a torrential barrage of threats of any sort, merely because s/he articulated an opinion that others do not particularly care for.

    On the other hand, one notes that this sort of thing isn’t exactly uncommon in the gaming space. Currently, a few female developers and commentators seem to be the focus of much of the vitriol, but it was only last year that gamers were issuing death threats against Call of Duty developers…for the “crime” of tweaking the performance of a fan-favourite firearm in Black Ops:

    “The DSR fire time was 0.2 seconds. It’s now 0.4 seconds. The rechamber time was 1.0 seconds. It’s now 1.1 seconds.”

    For that? Death threats. One also notes that tactics like doxing and swatting are unfortunately not unheard of in situations like these.

    On a third hand (ask my wife), one is reminded of the tendency of campus radicals to storm presentations by speakers with whom they disagree, shouting them down and/or crashing the stage/podium in an attempt to silence a dissenting opinion. The discourse of this day and age…isn’t really discourse at all, anymore, or so it seems. Instead, the object seems to be to shut down any opinions but one’s own by any means, via any tactic. And we should none of us be surprised that since this sort of thing happens often enough in real life, its online expression is even more vitriolic and vile. Because tweeting things at people, or leaving nasty comments on YouTube, takes much less effort — and is way more anonymous — than getting in someone’s face personally, physically.

    On yet another hand, particular to the fact that the current targets of ire are female developers and commentators, one notes that the sort of abuse being heaped on Anita Sarkeesian (to take one example) is not a new phenomenon in the online space. Conservative women — Live Action’s Lila Rose comes to mind — receive constant torrents of abuse and threats on social media and in comment forms, and then from many of the self-same self-identified progressives who are leaping to defend Sarkeesian et. al. Not that #GamerGate is a particularly (or exclusively) conservative phenomenon; many of its proponents self-identify as liberal. But there is a bit of a sense of “the shoe” being “on the other foot” in play here.

    Not that this excuses the abuse or makes it in any way acceptable.

    And not that this is all that #GamerGate seems to be about, though this is certainly an ugly outcropping of the movement…or possibly is. I’m not sure how much actual relationship there is between the #GamerGate proponents who are arguing (rightly) for increased journalistic integrity in the gaming-focused media, and the people spewing hate at whoever is the target of the week. The #GamerGate phenomenon is only about two months old (it started in August, more or less), whereas the history of gamers pouring out vile online abuse on those with whom they disagree is much, much older than that.

    • RACapowski says:

      I clicked on TechRaptor’s coverage of the issue. It included the phrase “epically dunked.” I question its impartiality.

      (More seriously: While threats of death and sexual violence are depressingly rife on the internet and I do have a few reservations about game journalism is conducted, all in all, I think I’d rather be counted with the folks who believe that the threats are a problem and that we need to start cleaning them up rather than those who treat them as a fact of life and claim we all need just to buck up.)

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        I clicked on TechRaptor’s coverage of the issue. It included the phrase “epically dunked.” I question its impartiality.

        I don’t recall stating that they were impartial. Too, let’s face it…the gaming press by and large does not write all that prosaically. (See: Kotaku.) But this is a handy illustration of the somewhat corrupted nature of modern discourse; there’s little desire to engage with a differing point of view, so some means of dismissing or rejecting the validity of same is employed.

        I think I’d rather be counted with the folks who believe that the threats are a problem and that we need to start cleaning them up rather than those who treat them as a fact of life and claim we all need just to buck up.

        But which side is that? As noted above, it’s not difficult to find examples of both pro- and anti-GamerGate individuals engaging in despicable acts of online abuse. Nor is it difficult to find examples of both pro- and anti-GamerGate individuals decrying the abuse being poured out from “the other side” whilst ignoring or downplaying the abuse being poured out from “their side”. (Assuming, of course, that any of the abusers do in fact legitimately speak for “their side”, whatever that is.)

        And like as not, I do somewhat count myself among the camp of those who feel that this sort of thing will continue to happen, and that a measure of personal resilience is required. Because that’s how you deal with bullies; you present an unattractive or non-easy target.

        It would be ideal, I agree, if nobody ever engaged in threatening or abusive behaviour online. But that’s utopian thinking. And like every other utopian ideal, it can only be realized in real life through the use of force, massive regulatory regimes, and significant limitations being placed on the type and scope of online interactions in which people can engage.

        To my mind, that’s a cost that’s too high, especially since much of the threatening behaviour is (as noted above) essentially empty and hollow. That’s not to say that it isn’t ugly…but it is to say that it’s also largely the province of cowards who feel emboldened only by their online anonymity.

        Not, of course, that their probable (likely!) cowardice makes their words any easier to stomach, of course.

      • RACapowski says:

        For some reason, the system isn’t allowing me to reply to WTFDragon’s post below directly, so I’ll just reply below my original post.

        >I don’t recall stating that they were impartial.

        That was meant half-jokingly, but you mentioned TechRaptor’s post as being “fairly balanced” above. I can’t gather from your reply whether you believe TechRaptor’s account is a good antidote to Kotaku’s perceived lack of prosaicness or just another example of it. Speaking seriously, though, I did find the recommended coverage by TechRaptor to be too recursive and rabbit-holey with links (not to metion a bit rah-rah presumptive that the reader is already on the pro-GamerGate side) to be an effective primer on the situation. I don’t know whether or not the last sentence in your first paragraph is accusing me of just looking for a reason to dismiss a pro-GamerGate argument, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that an argument be efficiently & effectively constructed. (That goes double if your side is calling for & trying to provide a better alternative to existing media coverage.)

        As for the rest of your argument: I can’t agree with you that the split between those who view the threats as a legitimate problem and those claiming that they’re negligible and need to be tolerated is 50-50 on both sides. Most of the mainstream gaming sites labeled as problematic by GamerGaters (Kotaku, Polygon, Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer) have issued statements on GamerGate calling for an end to the abuse. Read the articles on those sites detailing the threats against Sarkeesian & Quinn, and you can find loads of comments from pro-GamerGate posters deriding the articles as “clickbait” and non-newsworthy. The article Leigh Alexander wrote on Gamasutra in the wake of the initial threats – the one that spent much of its length bemoaning how destructive the threats were to the world of games, and that received positive feedback from a variety of outlets – is widely cited by GamerGate as evidence of collusion between gaming sites; there could be no other way, after all, that such a sentiment could receive such widespread support. The posts deemed objectionable from the GamesJournosPros game-journalist mailing list concerned a possible joint statement from gaming outlets decrying online abuse, etc. While I don’t doubt that there are bad apples on both sides, I think it’s quite evident, if you’ve been paying attention as this thing has unfolded, that the anti-Gamergate side in general believes that the threats are a serious issue and action should taken to prevent them in the future, and the pro-Gamergate side in general wants things to be left alone.

        Of course, as you say, nothing is going to bring a complete stop to threatening behavior online. Claiming, though, that we should never engage in any behavior to improve matters is self-defeating; it’s letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. (Which is fine, of course, for those who desire only the status quo and want neither the perfect nor the good.) It doesn’t have to entail “massive regulatory regimes”; it can start with just what’s been done recently, a publicly-voiced expectation from major voices & outlets in the industry that this sort of behavior is not welcome and improved moderation policies on game discussion sites. No, it’s not going to stop some of the most determined people, but it does improve the general discussion climate, cuts down on the self-perpetuating torrent of anger that feeds the worst people, and gives the targets of these campaigns some counterbalancing support.

        (I mean, look at your own site: I imagine the requirement that you register an e-mail address to post is meant, as it is elsewhere, to cut down on spammers & other troublemakers. No, it’s not going to stop some of the most determined people, but it helps, and all of us who want to hold a genuine conversation can do so just fine. I’m not arguing for a national e-mail registration system or anything like that, of course, but I am saying: small steps can help.)

        Even if none of the threats are acted upon, they reflect horribly on gaming in general, at a time when it’s garnering attention for some titles that showcase the medium’s ability to explore certain aspects of life in a unique way and deliver remarkable experiences. The bad behavior is contributing to a serious image problem, and even if we can’t heal the world, we can start – for our own good – to at least clean up our own backyard.

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        For some reason, the system isn’t allowing me to reply to WTFDragon’s post below directly, so I’ll just reply below my original post.

        Nested comments; I only allow so much depth to the nesting. Otherwise things get kind of squished and unreadable.

        I’ll dignify the remainder of your comment with a reply, but not right now. It has been an absurdly long day at this end, and I’m good only for watching movies at this point.

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        That was meant half-jokingly, but you mentioned TechRaptor’s post as being “fairly balanced” above. I can’t gather from your reply whether you believe TechRaptor’s account is a good antidote to Kotaku’s perceived lack of prosaicness or just another example of it.

        That wouldn’t be an accurate way to put it. My point was more that I can find, at TechRaptor and a handful of other sites, an actual analysis of the two sides of this ongoing debate. This is a recent, excellent example, about as concise a rundown as one could ask for of both the pro- and anti-GamerGate positions.

        Whereas on other sites, there’s not really any engagement or discussion…just incresingly desperate-seeming (and profanity-laced) attempts to pigeonhole the pro-GamerGate side as haters and misogynists, nothing more or else. There’s no attempt at discussion; shouting down the other side is the order of the day.

        I like dialogue, so for the most part I’m with TechRaptor and their ilk more than I am with Kotaku, Gamasutra, Polygon, and other similar-minded sites. Because at least there’s dialogue there.

        Speaking seriously, though, I did find the recommended coverage by TechRaptor to be too recursive and rabbit-holey with links (not to metion a bit rah-rah presumptive that the reader is already on the pro-GamerGate side) to be an effective primer on the situation.

        TechRaptor has said a fair bit about GamerGate, and they do link to their previous comments on the matter. It’s not an uncommon practice; I do it too, because I hate repeating myself. But distaste for this is simply a criticism of form, rather than of content.

        You’re probably correct in that they make assumptions about the reader’s stance, and that their assumptions in this repsect do tend toward thinking that the reader is not overtly in opposition to GamerGate. But what’s wrong with this assumption? And can one not find its opposite on anti-GamerGate sites? This is simply a criticism of tone, rather than of content.

        I don’t know whether or not the last sentence in your first paragraph is accusing me of just looking for a reason to dismiss a pro-GamerGate argument, but I don’t think it’s too much to ask that an argument be efficiently & effectively constructed. (That goes double if your side is calling for & trying to provide a better alternative to existing media coverage.)

        Well, you do seem eager to find reasons to dismiss the article (and the site, more broadly) and seem to be focusing on things not particularly related to its content and the points made therein. Two more examples are noted above.

        As for the efficient and effective construction of arguments, I’d argue that the folks at TechRaptor do a lot better than, say, Max Read at Gawker. Unless we are measuring the effectiveness of an argument by the quantity of profanity and name-calling that is crammed into its paragraphs, that is.

        As for the rest of your argument: I can’t agree with you that the split between those who view the threats as a legitimate problem and those claiming that they’re negligible and need to be tolerated is 50-50 on both sides.

        Good! It is out of such disagreements that discussion can happen. Or at least this used to be the case, before people realized that it was easier to tweet “Fuck you” at someone rather than to cram a substantive rebuttal into 140 characters.

        Most of the mainstream gaming sites labeled as problematic by GamerGaters (Kotaku, Polygon, Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer) have issued statements on GamerGate calling for an end to the abuse.

        And here’s one from the GamerGate side. I could probably find more, time permitting, but…well, note the operative word there.

        Read the articles on those sites detailing the threats against Sarkeesian & Quinn, and you can find loads of comments from pro-GamerGate posters deriding the articles as “clickbait” and non-newsworthy.

        I’ve read quite a lot surrounding this issue; I follow literal hundreds of gaming websites via RSS, so I’ve seen this debate play out from the very moment that Leigh Alexander’s article — and four or five others that were akin to it, at sites other than Gamasutra — hit the feeds.

        The article Leigh Alexander wrote on Gamasutra in the wake of the initial threats — the one that spent much of its length bemoaning how destructive the threats were to the world of games, and that received positive feedback from a variety of outlets — is widely cited by GamerGate as evidence of collusion between gaming sites; there could be no other way, after all, that such a sentiment could receive such widespread support. The posts deemed objectionable from the GamesJournosPros game-journalist mailing list concerned a possible joint statement from gaming outlets decrying online abuse, etc.

        I remember seeing each and every article cited in the “gamers are over” case when each was published; I read nearly all of them.

        Here’s the original:

        And here’s a few more:

        Publication dates are all August 28th or 29th, the same day as Alexander’s piece. That could just be a coincidence, I agree, but if so, it’s the sort of coincidence that would get rejected for a B-grade action movie script for being too hard for the audience to accept.

        Now, that said, some of the sentiment behind the articles does indeed deserve widespread support. Because it doesn’t matter who the target of abuse in the gaming community is; the abuse itself shouldn’t be happening in the first place. And that’s true whether it’s someone threatening Zoe Quinn because the nigh-unplayable Depression Quest got way more accolades than it deserved, or someone threatening developers at Treyarch because they nerfed some gun in whatever the latest Call of Duty is.

        Still…Kotaku, Polygon, Badassdigest, and others all publishing articles on the theme of “gamers” being “over” as an identity group on — or not a day after — Leigh Alexander’s piece on the same topic at Gamasutra is the sort of thing which is exceedingly difficult to accept as pure, mere coincidence.

        To say nothing of the fact that Alexander’s piece was itself rather insulting to certain demographics. It’s one thing to decry a culture that, yes, often resorts to crass (and worse) insults…but doing so with crass insults and name-calling is not an effective method for that, don’t you think?

        And then the other stuff came to light. There was the issue with Zoe Quinn urging for — and nearly succeeding in — disrupting this game development charity for women. There was the Patreon issue. There was — yes — GameJournoPros and the attendant topical collusion it enabled (I’m suddenly reminded of the odd synchronicity of articles concerning gamer entitlement around the time that the ending of Mass Effect 3 was a hot-button issue. And belatedly, I’m a bit upset with myself that I bought in to that mentality.).

        The point being: I saw this all play out, both sides, in what was essentially real-time. And like as not, the pro-GamerGate side has a point about this stuff: there’s a significant gulf in thinking between the people who write at many gaming media websites and the people who play games, who line up to buy games at midnight and give the latest Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto week-one sales figures that are most easily expressed in billions (or large fractions thereof).

        While I don’t doubt that there are bad apples on both sides, I think it’s quite evident, if you’ve been paying attention as this thing has unfolded, that the anti-Gamergate side in general believes that the threats are a serious issue and action should taken to prevent them in the future, and the pro-Gamergate side in general wants things to be left alone.

        It depends a bit on how you define what “the pro-GamerGate side” is, I suppose. TechRaptor is broadly opposed to online threats, whether directed at pro- or anti-GamerGaters. Probably other sites that are pro-GamerGate (or at least neutral toward it) are as well; I could probably find more examples, time permitting, but…well, note the operative word there.

        Equally, we need to remember that a person tweeting out a threat with the #GamerGate hashtag attached doesn’t necessarily mean that the person speaks for GamerGate in any substantive capacity…any more than someone tweeting out a threat with #FuckGamerGate attached speaks for the anti-GamerGate side in any substantive capacity. Haters on both sides will happily glom onto these labels out of convenience, because the topics and tags trend globally.

        Of course, as you say, nothing is going to bring a complete stop to threatening behavior online.

        Nope. Online abuse is hugely prevalent; 40% of adults online have experienced it (44% of men, actually, and 37% of women), 75% have seen it happen to someone else, and about 66% of such abuse is carried out through social media channels. (I’ve been a victim myself; even had a fellow Dragon take a run at me because of my religious views. I believe the term of art he used was “medieval motherfucker”.)

        To be fair, social media as a medium is very conducive to abuse, and in fact enables it. I made this example above, but let’s look again at Twitter: you get 140 characters to say what you want to say. And yes, you can fire off multiple tweets, but let’s be realistic: the medium of Twitter is such that you say what you want to say in one tweet; follow-up tweets are far less likely to be read (or, at least, given much attention).

        And what’s easier? Cramming a substantive rebuttal into 140 characters, minus whatever the other user’s handle consumes (up to 16 characters) and, possibly, a shortened URL (another 15-20 characters)? Or tweeting an insult (which needs as little as 8 characters, or less if you opt to forego the proper spelling of “you”)?

        Claiming, though, that we should never engage in any behavior to improve matters is self-defeating; it’s letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. (Which is fine, of course, for those who desire only the status quo and want neither the perfect nor the good.) It doesn’t have to entail “massive regulatory regimes”; it can start with just what’s been done recently, a publicly-voiced expectation from major voices & outlets in the industry that this sort of behavior is not welcome and improved moderation policies on game discussion sites. No, it’s not going to stop some of the most determined people, but it does improve the general discussion climate, cuts down on the self-perpetuating torrent of anger that feeds the worst people, and gives the targets of these campaigns some counterbalancing support.

        Maybe. That would not seem to be my observation…nor are matters helped by the fact that a lot of the sites that are ostensibly against “this sort of behaviour” are nevertheless willing to openly admit that they intend to publicly treat the other side with “the contempt and flippancy that it deserves”, who dismiss e.g. Intel as being “run by craven idiots”, and who half-joke that Adobe and other advertisers who pull their adds in response to pressure from GamerGaters “share an important core value with Gamergate: Misogyny.” (And then correct that to “cynicism”.)

        This is not useful criticism, is not conducive to discussion, and certainly is not language intended to win friends and allies.

        I mean, look at your own site: I imagine the requirement that you register an e-mail address to post is meant, as it is elsewhere, to cut down on spammers & other troublemakers.

        Well…I can’t really help how WordPress has set up comment forms, but yes, in general, comment forms do tend to require email addresses to be entered. Although, to be fair, it’s not exactly an anti-spam mechanism; there’s no verification step (I don’t check to see if the address is a valid one, nor does the site software itself), and most anti-spam technologies use different techniques to ferret out the junk. (Akismet, the in-built service WordPress uses, is kind of a cloud-based solution; it’s connected to a database of spam comment patterns accumulated from every WordPress blog that uses the service. The filtering rules it computes are automatically shared with same. It mostly targets link and trackback spam.)

        No, it’s not going to stop some of the most determined people, but it helps, and all of us who want to hold a genuine conversation can do so just fine. I’m not arguing for a national e-mail registration system or anything like that, of course, but I am saying: small steps can help.)

        Okay, but how can we apply that in the global context? I mean, consider the backlash against YouTube when the “no more anonymous comments” policy was rolled out. Intended as an anti-trolling measure, it barely lasted half a year, and was roundly lambasted by privacy advocates during its brief life.

        And frankly, if I could find a system that didn’t require a user to use an email address, I’d opt to use it. It wouldn’t really affect my anti-spam capabilities, after all. And I try to give people the option to post comments by other means (e.g. a Twitter or Facebook account…the latter of which isn’t going to be particularly anonymous, but the former of which certainly can be with relative ease).

        Even if none of the threats are acted upon, they reflect horribly on gaming in general, at a time when it’s garnering attention for some titles that showcase the medium’s ability to explore certain aspects of life in a unique way and deliver remarkable experiences. The bad behavior is contributing to a serious image problem, and even if we can’t heal the world, we can start – for our own good – to at least clean up our own backyard.

        To a point, maybe. But: how?

        As noted above, it’s all well and good that various outlets are publishing pieces decrying all of this nonsense and virtiol, but…well, decrying this nonsense and vitriol isn’t a new thing, is it? It has been done before. And the way some publications are handling it — same message, twice the snark! — is not going to help matters.

        Too, let’s face it: you and I might never tweet a threat or crude comment at someone on Twitter, or leave a nasty comment on Facebook or YouTube, but we are (I hope and trust) men of some virtue. Or even of some Virtue, this being an Ultima fansite. But it would, unfortunately, be a mistake to assume that we can map our positive moral and ethical qualities on to others, or to expect them to be able to consistently — or even occasionally — comport therewith.

        So, again: how? I can certainly think of many potential solutions to the problem, but none of these are without significant issues of their own. (Massive violations of privacy rights are about the best-case scenario, in fact.)

      • RACapowski says:

        You’ve written a bit of a digest down there, so I think it’s best if I go topic by topic:

        – TechRaptor: If you’re using phrasing like “epically dunked” and “hate speech mind vomiting fire hose,” as TechRaptor does in his “The Ceaseless March of GamerGate” article, you’re clearly not going for any definition of “balanced.” There’s no “dialogue” in those terms, as you put it; I can’t see how they’d be classified as anything but “shouting down.” The “rabbit-hole” aspect to which I refer is not a matter of quoting; TechRaptor has over forty-five links in that article alone, and they’re usually not in support of points he’s already making – you have to visit those links in many cases just to understand what he’s talking about. That’s an unreasonable expectation to put on a reader. Yes, the article you linked in your previous reply is considerably improved in readability, but it’s not representative of his GamerGate content, and I’d argue that the only way one could brand his writing on the subject as a balanced introduction to the issue is if they’ve…well, lost a bit of perspective on the issue themselves.

        (As “looking for reasons to dismiss the site”: I’m giving him a chance by reading his stuff, but I just don’t find in most cases that he makes a good or accessible argument.)

        – Timing in response to the Leigh Alexander article: Yeah: with internet journalism, we live in an age where stories are covered very quickly. You cite the “over two days” time span for the release of those articles as evidence of collusion, but two days is an _eternity_ in today’s news cycle, particularly considering how hot the story (or, rather, the story of the _response_ to the story) was when it first broke. Yes, journalists hopped on a buzzword (or buzzphrase, I suppose) to refer to discomfort with the nasty part of the culture that emerged in response to the Quinn story and the backwards attitude it represented; journalists have a tendency to hop on buzzwords in any field. But the idea that there’s no way multiple observers could’ve come to the conclusion that the nature of much of the whole storm at Quinn was toxic, hewed to an outdated stereotype, and represented a larger problem: hey, I browsed a good deal of social media at the time the story broke – the #burgersandfries tags, the arguments for the Quinn story being evidence of a big journalistic conspiracy, all of it, trying to get a handle on what was going on – and I’m honestly not surprised that the collective media response to all of it was “ehhhhhhhhhhhh.” (Or, more specifically, that it was part of a backlash to industry trends & changes that have been developing for months & years now. I’m a fan, not a journalist, but even I could spot in the railing against Depression Quest & Quinn retreads of territory covered in the “Is Gone Home a game?” debate that took place several months ago – and I don’t even care much for Gone Home.)

        – What do we do “on a global scale” about the threats: I don’t know what to say here that I haven’t already said. I think setting “global” as the necessary bar for success is another example of the “perfect being the enemy of the good” pitfall I mentioned. I don’t think that public decrying of the threats by prominent individuals and institutions in the hobby and stronger moderation policies on major discussion sites are a doomsday scenario.

        – Depression Quest nigh-unplayable/we need more positive coverage of Call of Duty/etc.: Without getting into the respective worthiness of these viewpoints: a) there are ways to get these concerns across that do not involve threatening/doxxing/etc. participants in the debate, supporting those who threaten/doxx/etc. participants in the debate, or dismissing concerns regarding the threats/doxxing etc., and b) these concerns are not more important that the well-being of those being stalked and attacked. “Yes, but Depression Quest/Call of Duty/etc.” is not a valid rebuttal to the idea that we need to create a healthier environment in our subculture here. (And yes, as you’ve noted, we’ve all suffered “crass insults and name-calling” on the internet, but the threatening behavior at issue has at this point escalated beyond MMO griefing.)

        To put it more in terms of the discussion we’re having: I initially expressed concern regarding the threats, and the response I’ve gotten has in part been, well, what about the gaming media not representing this fannish viewpoint, and what about this game sucking? Yeah, but…well, they’re only video games. People are more important. I feel that anyone who doesn’t _get_ that has lost perspective. (And going from a completely mercenary standpoint concerned only with the health of the gaming industry: letting the worst among us control the debates makes the industry look horrible.)

        This’ll probably be my last word on this subject here, but I gotta go back to my initial comment: though I do share a few of the pro-GamerGate concerns, I have to be on the side that recognizes the threats as a problem rather as something to be glossed over. And the people I’ve encountered who don’t understand why death threats and mass harassment are garnering more attention & concern than the dissatisfaction with video game coverage in whose name said threats & harassment have been issued are…well, to be honest, I haven’t encountered one who wasn’t on the pro-GamerGate side. (And this seems to be a disturbingly prevalent mindset on the pro-GamerGate side, I have to say.) I’d rather go with the folks who have recognizably human priorities.

      • RACapowski says:

        Sorry, one more thing: I’ve been turning over in my head your comment dismissing my concerns over TechRaptor’s arguments as a preoccupation with “form” – how my issues with the invective he used and what it signified were missing “the real point” – and I think it crystallizes nicely why your side isn’t getting the coverage it wants, and why the more I read from the pro-GamerGate side, the more I’m repulsed. That is: You guys don’t understand that what you consider dismissable and not “the real story” in the whole GamerGate mess speaks more loudly, and says more about your side’s priorities, than anything else you’re saying. Your comments claiming that anyone with reservations about phrasing like “epically dunked” and “hate speech mind vomiting fire hose” has to be looking for reasons to dismiss an argument, and that they aren’t really important next to what that author is saying he wants to see in games writing. The little cartoon character in the corner of the image TechRaptor chose to represent the pro-GamerGate side, the one with the unimpressed, bored look on her face saying “can we play video games already?” – “yeah, I know people are suffering, but can’t they _shut up_ and let me get back to _games_, the _important stuff_?”. Your “yes, but what about Call of Duty coverage?” rebuttal to my concerns about physical threats and massive harassment. I’ve said it once, but it bears repeating, since based on your arguments, you guys aren’t getting it: People are more important than games. This is a through-line to which every layperson can relate, and it’s why the other side is on the front page of the New York Times and the top page of Newsweek. Until you guys realize that, you’re not going to make many significant in-roads – but once you _do_ realize that, I don’t think you’re going to be on the pro-GamerGate side anymore.

      • Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

        I couple of problems with the latest comments here. First the judicious use of terms like “our side”, “your side”, etc. Even in the most organized of groups, such as the major political parties, there is considerable internal dissent. There is no hive mind…yet…so referring to GamerGate as a discrete group of like-minded individuals is unhelpful until they have a manifesto, formal membership procedures, or start wearing uniforms and establish a chain of command. It’s just a bunch of random people using a hashtag. There are no sides, just a lot of people with different opinions.

        My other problem is with the use of the word “journalism” and “journalist” with respect to articles on gaming sites covering this issue. I don’t have time to count and give you specific numbers, but nearly every one I’ve read is a blog post, or described more conservatively an editorial. In other words, some random person posting their lengthy opinion about the subject, potentially with zero research or qualifications.

        An actual journalist, in theory, would offer no opinion at all, and do their best to research the facts and compose turns of phrase that offer a balanced view of the available information in order to minimize the risk readers would attempt to infer their opinion. Granted, this isn’t an easy task, but from what I’ve seen not too many online “journalists” are even trying. I think readers consciously recognizing the difference between a post simply reporting facts and a long-winded opinion piece would go a long way toward finding resolution, as the latter, while interesting, is nearly always inflammatory to someone.

        The problem with online gaming journalism is the same as with all other areas of journalism. First there’s not enough of it; most news outlets run more editorial content than straight news. Second, the way the news is presented is either poorly researched (finding other people’s crap online, quoting the AP, no requirement for two independently verifiable sources, etc.) or presented with an obvious bias. If you want a picture of online gaming journalism, think of Fox News and CNN, but even shittier, and with and endless stream of comments running the gamut of thoughtful to indescribable madness.

        So my bottom line is that 1) GamerGate is not an identity or group, 2) Online gaming journalism is mediocre at best, and 3) If you cause or threaten to cause harm to someone online you’re a broken little shit in need of repair at the nearest prison.

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        I think I’m going to digest your response in parts, if only because breaking it up thusly will sort of break up the wall of text. Sort of.

        Anyhow, here goes:

        TechRaptor: If you’re using phrasing like “epically dunked” and “hate speech mind vomiting fire hose,” as TechRaptor does in his “The Ceaseless March of GamerGate” article, you’re clearly not going for any definition of “balanced.” There’s no “dialogue” in those terms, as you put it; I can’t see how they’d be classified as anything but “shouting down.”

        Allow me to cite just a few articles here…

        There are many more examples I could cite; this was just 30 seconds worth of research. But let’s take note of a few things: Certainly there’s no balance to be found here; GamerGate is roundly portrayed as misogynistic at its core, its concerns over ethics dismissed as a sideshow. The opposite possibility: that it is primarily a movement concerned with ethics, and that hateful people who neither represent or speak for it have glommed on to its hashtags because they trend globally, is not even entertained. There’s no dialogue here either; there is profanity, name-calling, shaming language, and other forms of shouting down.

        Now, if TechRaptor can be dismissed on the basis you outline, then so can all of the above.

        The “rabbit-hole” aspect to which I refer is not a matter of quoting; TechRaptor has over forty-five links in that article alone, and they’re usually not in support of points he’s already making — you have to visit those links in many cases just to understand what he’s talking about.

        I really don’t know how to respond to this outside of being snarky. So there’s additional reading to do…so what?

        That’s an unreasonable expectation to put on a reader.

        Reading more is an unreasonable expectation to put on a reader? Exactly how much reading is too much, if the aim is to learn about a differing perspective and not simply see it mocked and derided?

        Yes, the article you linked in your previous reply is considerably improved in readability, but it’s not representative of his GamerGate content, and I’d argue that the only way one could brand his writing on the subject as a balanced introduction to the issue is if they’ve…well, lost a bit of perspective on the issue themselves.

        I do feel that I’m losing perspective, actually, though more because I have had to consider the spectrum of those who oppose GamerGate, and consider their actions toward GamerGate and its supporters…and I have come away from that feeling as though they are at best a pack of hypocrites, and at worst no better than the hateful thing they supposedly oppose.

        (As “looking for reasons to dismiss the site”: I’m giving him a chance by reading his stuff, but I just don’t find in most cases that he makes a good or accessible argument.)

        To date, you haven’t actually said anything about anything other than the word choice and tone of the articles at TechRaptor. The content and arguments made have not come up once. You have not once engaged with ideas, only with style and grammar.

        This does not seem to be the hallmark of someone giving someone else a chance. Quite the opposite, actually.

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        Timing in response to the Leigh Alexander article: Yeah: with internet journalism, we live in an age where stories are covered very quickly. You cite the “over two days” time span for the release of those articles as evidence of collusion, but two days is an _eternity_ in today’s news cycle, particularly considering how hot the story (or, rather, the story of the _response_ to the story) was when it first broke.

        Actually, it’s more like 24 hours…36 at the most, and even then that seems oddly generous. Which, granted, is still a fair chunk of time…but it’s still more than a little weird that this all was written and published within the window in which it was. Articles of this nature don’t just get dashed off in a couple of hours and published straightaway. There’s a process to these things: articles are drafted, reviewed, edited, re-submitted…etc.

        Yes, journalists hopped on a buzzword (or buzzphrase, I suppose) to refer to discomfort with the nasty part of the culture that emerged in response to the Quinn story and the backwards attitude it represented; journalists have a tendency to hop on buzzwords in any field. But the idea that there’s no way multiple observers could’ve come to the conclusion that the nature of much of the whole storm at Quinn was toxic, hewed to an outdated stereotype, and represented a larger problem: hey, I browsed a good deal of social media at the time the story broke – the #burgersandfries tags, the arguments for the Quinn story being evidence of a big journalistic conspiracy, all of it, trying to get a handle on what was going on – and I’m honestly not surprised that the collective media response to all of it was “ehhhhhhhhhhhh.” (Or, more specifically, that it was part of a backlash to industry trends & changes that have been developing for months & years now. I’m a fan, not a journalist, but even I could spot in the railing against Depression Quest & Quinn retreads of territory covered in the “Is Gone Home a game?” debate that took place several months ago – and I don’t even care much for Gone Home.)

        I’ve been part of timed releases myself…mostly PR-type stuff. The articles, at the time they came out, felt a lot like that. There was a uniformity to them; they didn’t seem like the independent, spontaneous follow-on reportage you’re talking about.

        Chiefly, though, there was a uniform hostility to what I suppose are now called “core gamers”…and, arguably secondarily, male gamers. And it’s not that I don’t get that men and women “game” in approximately equal overall numbers…but there’s more to the picture than just that largely uninformative statistic:

        • Most “core” gamers — heavy and light — are predominantly male; “casual” gamers predominantly female.
        • 56% of gamers are “casual” gamers, 24% are “light” “core”, and 20% are “heavy” “core”
        • Despite being the smallest, “heavy” “core” gamers spend more total time playing games, and spend more money doing so, than “casual” gamers.
        • And even in the casual (well…mobile) space, men were more likely to spend money — and spend it more often — than women.

        All of which is to say that…if nothing else, the “gamers are dead” meme was just that, a meme, and then a not particularly truthful one. Because yes, there are different categories of gamers, and yes, both men and women game. But the biggest piece of the market, in terms of those who will spend money and spend it more often, is core gamers, and (more broadly) male gamers. So isolating these groups in particular and dismissing them as “over”…was erroneous, a factually indefensible position.

        And this relates to e.g. the response to Gone Home and Depression Quest as well, the questioning of whether these were even games, and suchlike. Eh, I don’t think questioning whether they are actually games or not is particularly helpful or constructive…but their being held up (by some) as masterworks is certainly questionable. It’s indicative of a rift in thinking and ideology between the gaming press (or, well, much of it) and “core” gamers…the ones who spend the most money on games, and play more games for longer durations. Because games like Gone Home and Depression Quest aren’t for these gamers, and don’t appeal to them at all.

        And maybe people could have been fine with that difference of opinion. Probably not, because Internet, but…if that had been the only issue, it probably wouldn’t have exploded into the conflagration we are now seeing. But it wasn’t. Multiple authors writing at multiple publications had to go that extra step of declaring the people who spend the most on games, who play more games for more hours than any other category of gamer, “over”.

        Which is like proclaiming the death of PC gaming. It’s not true, isn’t going to be true any time soon, and as such is really only good for starting a (virtual) riot.

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        What do we do “on a global scale” about the threats: I don’t know what to say here that I haven’t already said. I think setting “global” as the necessary bar for success is another example of the “perfect being the enemy of the good” pitfall I mentioned. I don’t think that public decrying of the threats by prominent individuals and institutions in the hobby and stronger moderation policies on major discussion sites are a doomsday scenario.

        Probably not. Though certainly moderation policies can be applied abusively or in an overly-politicized fashion. And I say that as one who serves, actively and at present, as a forum moderator. Objectivity is difficult; not everyone opts to maintain it in the face of contentious issues.

        Depression Quest nigh-unplayable/we need more positive coverage of Call of Duty/etc.: Without getting into the respective worthiness of these viewpoints: a) there are ways to get these concerns across that do not involve threatening/doxxing/etc. participants in the debate, supporting those who threaten/doxx/etc. participants in the debate, or dismissing concerns regarding the threats/doxxing etc., and b) these concerns are not more important that the well-being of those being stalked and attacked. “Yes, but Depression Quest/Call of Duty/etc.” is not a valid rebuttal to the idea that we need to create a healthier environment in our subculture here. (And yes, as you’ve noted, we’ve all suffered “crass insults and name-calling” on the internet, but the threatening behavior at issue has at this point escalated beyond MMO griefing.)

        I’ve never said I disagree that the culture could be healthier. I’ve only wondered at what methodology would be effective in realizing this vision.

        Also, you either misread — or didn’t read — my actual statement pertaining to Call of Duty. Frankly, I don’t care for the game myself, and don’t care if any specific iteration of that series reviews well or not…though I would hope it gets reviewed fairly, at least.

        This is what I said: “there’s a significant gulf in thinking between the people who write at many gaming media websites and the people who play games, who line up to buy games at midnight and give the latest Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto week-one sales figures that are most easily expressed in billions (or large fractions thereof).” That is: there’s a significant gulf between the gaming press (or much of it) and the people upon whom the gaming industry continues to depend financially, for whom it invests the most money on development and from whom it receives the most sales. And it’s actually worse than a mere difference of opinion; the gaming press (or much of it) is actively disdainful of and openly hostile toward these “core” gamers.

        And that’s a problem, one that people are correct to highlight.

        To put it more in terms of the discussion we’re having: I initially expressed concern regarding the threats, and the response I’ve gotten has in part been, well, what about the gaming media not representing this fannish viewpoint, and what about this game sucking? Yeah, but…well, they’re only video games. People are more important. I feel that anyone who doesn’t _get_ that has lost perspective. (And going from a completely mercenary standpoint concerned only with the health of the gaming industry: letting the worst among us control the debates makes the industry look horrible.)

        You’re failing to consider another possibility, which is that those to whom GamerGate is opposed — on, yes, grounds of ethics, standards, and suchlike — are seeking to disqualify rather than engage with the ideas GamerGate is putting forth, and that they are using the fact that people who are not formally affiliated with GamerGate, but who will opportunistically glom on to a trending hashtag, are spewing vile things. It’s convenient to do this, because it lets them treat the ethics concerns as the sideshow, and the insults as the main show.

        And the insults and threats are definitely of concern, don’t get me wrong.

        But they aren’t the point of GamerGate. From the GamerGate standpoint, they are the sideshow, the distraction from the main topic. And I can’t blame GamerGate proponents from not wanting to get dragged off topic, especially into that particular quagmire. Because fundamentally, GamerGate proponents don’t support that sort of thing, don’t condone or endorse it. Indeed, GamerGate proponents have been working pretty hard to opposes the threat-slingers and the doxers; GamerGate supporters even flooded 8chan to stop someone from doxing Zoe Quinn. And then on top of that, they did that fundraiser for the anti-bullying charity.

        And how was that all portrayed? I seem to recall that terms like “weaponizing charity” were thrown around, and, well…the 8chan story didn’t get any play at all in most of the gaming press. I’m not sure why; you’d think that GamerGate proponents rallying to protect Zoe Quinn would be a big deal…if the press were at least somewhat objective, at least. On the other hand, their silence on the matter makes sense if they’re trying to push a particular narrative, one in which GamerGate necessarily plays the role of the villain.

        This’ll probably be my last word on this subject here, but I gotta go back to my initial comment: though I do share a few of the pro-GamerGate concerns, I have to be on the side that recognizes the threats as a problem rather as something to be glossed over. And the people I’ve encountered who don’t understand why death threats and mass harassment are garnering more attention & concern than the dissatisfaction with video game coverage in whose name said threats & harassment have been issued are…well, to be honest, I haven’t encountered one who wasn’t on the pro-GamerGate side. (And this seems to be a disturbingly prevalent mindset on the pro-GamerGate side, I have to say.) I’d rather go with the folks who have recognizably human priorities.

        Quite.

        It would seem that some (many?) of those who oppose GamerGate also engage in threats and mass harassment, but strangely this side of the story isn’t garnering the same sort of attention and concern, even when directed at pro-GamerGate women. Which is…disturbing, to be honest. Because it’s not even a case of the anti-GamerGate side downplaying the matter in an attempt to not get pulled off topic; this stuff isn’t being discussed at all.

        Why is that? Why is mass harassment by GamerGate supporters hot news and the supposed real issue, but mass harassment by GamerGate opponents neither news nor a discussed issue at all? This is logically incoherent.

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        Sorry, one more thing: I’ve been turning over in my head your comment dismissing my concerns over TechRaptor’s arguments as a preoccupation with “form” – how my issues with the invective he used and what it signified were missing “the real point” – and I think it crystallizes nicely why your side isn’t getting the coverage it wants, and why the more I read from the pro-GamerGate side, the more I’m repulsed.

        “Side? I am on nobody’s side, little orc…because nobody is on my side.”

        But I do have to say that the more I read of the anti-GamerGate side, the more I find myself repulsed thereby. So I guess in some respects we are applying the same analytical framework to the issue, even if we are reaching opposite conclusions.

        And it’s stuff like this and this, where someone tries to strike a neutral stance and then interviews representatives of the two sides that appear to be credible witnesses for their respective causes, that I find particularly compelling. Because I read these interviews — both are comprised of the same series of questions posed to a pro-GamerGate and an anti-GamerGate individual — and what I see is a pro-GamerGate individual who mostly comes across as a well-spoken, reasonable person who can consider the other side’s view to some extent, and an anti-GamerGate person who isn’t particularly interested in the substance of the other side’s arguments and makes every possible attempt to disqualify, dismiss, and otherwise avoid engagement with what the other side is saying.

        And I see the same thing from Sam Biddle and Max Read at Gawker, Bibble calling for the bullying of nerds and Read publishing a swear-laden “official” statement on the Intel advertising issue which basically amounts to calling Intel and everyone who works there bad names, and I think: “this is supposed to be the side of right?”

        That is: You guys don;t understand that what you consider dismissable and not “the real story” in the whole GamerGate mess speaks more loudly, and says more about your side’s priorities, than anything else you’re saying.

        Again, not my side specifically. I don’t identify as for or against GamerGate. Kindly don’t impute things to me that are untrue.

        But I will note that the assumption inherent in your statement here — that the people slinging insults under the GamerGate label are representative of the movement as a whole — isn’t necessarily correct. Not that the optics aren’t bad; they certainly are. But it’s almost trivial to find headlines which basically state something to the effect of “GamerGate isn’t about ethics, it’s about misogyny”; this despite that fact that there are numerous female GamerGate proponents (who, variously, get lambasted as Stepford wives, sock puppets, and worse), and despite the fact that — as I’ve noted numerous times — just because someone uses a hashtag, it doesn’t necessarily follow that s/he speaks with authority for the movement that hashtag represents.

        The abuse is terrible. It should stop. But the anti-GamerGate side should also stop using it as a convenient excuse to disqualify and not entertain the legitimate criticisms of the GamerGate side.

        And, also as noted before, it isn’t as though the threats, harassment, and abuse flow in but one direction. And the abuse being directed at GamerGate proponents isn’t even being treated as “dismissable”; it’s being treated as though it doesn’t exist at all.

        Your comments claiming that anyone with reservations about phrasing like “epically dunked” and “hate speech mind vomiting fire hose” has to be looking for reasons to dismiss an argument, and that they aren’t really important next to what that author is saying he wants to see in games writing.

        And when someone writes “Intel is run by craven idiots. It employs pusillanimous morons. It lacks integrity.” in support of the anti-GamerGate argument…is that what we want to see in games writing?

        The little cartoon character in the corner of the image TechRaptor chose to represent the pro-GamerGate side, the one with the unimpressed, bored look on her face saying “can we play video games already?” – “yeah, I know people are suffering, but can’t they _shut up_ and let me get back to _games_, the _important stuff_?”.

        Well…why can’t we? Can we not all just shut up and game already, rather than slinging around insults and worse?

        Your “yes, but what about Call of Duty coverage?” rebuttal to my concerns about physical threats and massive harassment.

        That…isn’t what I said. Nor is it even particularly close to what I said. You either did not read my actual statement, or you are being deliberately dishonest in your re-statement of it here.

        I’ve said it once, but it bears repeating, since based on your arguments, you guys aren’t getting it: People are more important than games.

        But does this mean that discussing the legitimate issues that GamerGate is raising needs to be put on hold pending the cessation of online threats and abuse? And if so, then is this not also true of the anti-GamerGate crowd, many of whom will happily insult, harass, dox, and call for the death of GamerGate supporters?

        And what about the GamerGate Harassment Patrol? This is a pro-GamerGate Twitter…watchdog, I guess you could call it, which basically exists to stop harassers and doxers in their tracks. Their record for getting Twitter accounts suspended for launching doxing attacks is something like 15 seconds, I think…and that particular case might even have been someone who was trying to dox an anti-GamerGater.

        Full disclosure: The above link is to Brietbart, so I’ll understand if you choose to dismiss it at the source rather than consider the content of the article therein. Would that I could provide another link to a less obviously partisan source, but in some respects it’s telling — don’t you think? — that one has to dive into overtly partisan sources in order to find coverage of these things at all?

        This is a through-line to which every layperson can relate, and it’s why the other side is on the front page of the New York Times and the top page of Newsweek.

        This is certainly one explanation. But then, neither of those sources can be said to be particularly neutral. Newsweek, in particular, is every bit as partisan as Brietbart, so it’s not expected that it would focus on giving GamerGate as much negative coverage as possible.

        Until you guys realize that, you’re not going to make many significant in-roads – but once you _do_ realize that, I don’t think you’re going to be on the pro-GamerGate side anymore.

        Heh…well, I doubt I’ll be joining ranks with Quinn, Kuchera, or Sarkeesian either.

        But again, I’m on nobody’s side here save my own.

  4. Kirinn says:

    This is sad news. 🙁 My condolences to you both.

    It’s also tremendously sad how anyone can be so mean at, for example, an excellent researcher and presenter like Sarkeesian who works hard to make a positive difference. Of course, talk is cheap either way; the most virtuous thing to do is to offer direct support to anyone being hounded so viciously.

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      I prefer to find what is positive where it exists.

      I’m reluctant to support Sarkeesian for the most part, and I disagree with her on most issues. She does raise some valid points about the sexual objectification of women in some games, but even in this respect it seems the waters are muddied. As an example, I’ve been noticing reviews of Bayonetta 2 lately, and there seems to be a debate as to whether the game portrays its heroine in a sexist, objectified way or in a sex-positive way. Whereas the hookers in GTA5 are obviously just objects. There’s a point there, but a measure of caution is still warranted; the tropes Sarkeesian points out are not universal to all games in all genres.

      On the other hand, I think the #GamerGaters have some valid points about journalism and integrity in the gaming press, which are unfortunately being drowned out by the hate and vitriol. Which is unfortunate, both because it is hate and vitriol, and because really…whether or not #GamerGate was a thing, the hate and vitriol would happen. Sarkeesian, for example, has been publishing videos for a lot longer than two months, and has received torrents of abuse after each new entry in her series. And so legitimate concerns are being sidelined by the carnival of stupid that are these death threats and whatnot.

      • Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

        I pretty much agree with you on all points. I’ve had some “discussions” on Gamasutra about it, and to be honest the water’s almost too hot for my time constraints. Some guy really pissed me off, putting words in my mouth, and I had to resort to point by point correction and rebuttal. In retrospect, I don’t have time for that shit so I’m staying out. It’s almost like debating abortion people get so incensed. Codex folk generally seem to be a little less fly-off-the-handle thankfully.

        I think the root problem is the same as with all forms of bigotry. Everyone is slightly bigoted about one thing or another; it’s human nature. Enlightened folk attempt to compensate and keep it in check, while the lesser among us embrace it and amplify it, even intentionally passing it on to their children.

        When videos like Anita’s show up, there is a lot of eye rolling all around. Some of her points are valid, because bigotry is real and its symptoms do appear in all forms of media. The problem is when bigotry is characterized as being pandemic in a medium with the implication being that as adults we can’t differentiate between aesthetics, satire and truly mean-spirited, bigoted material. The ability to separate imagery and content that titillates our baser natures from our beliefs, morals, ethics and sense of responsibility to society and ultimate civilization is part of what makes us adults, and why we have an age-based rating system for games and film. Videos like Anita’s imply that we actually can’t enjoy irreverent entertainment because neither we nor the content providers can handle anything other than a 1:1 representation of modern day values.

        An example would be a camera pan from foot to head of a beautiful woman wearing skin-tight black leather and bearing an AK-47 in a film. Sexist? It’s emphasizing her sex, and the clothing isn’t realistic for a combat scenario. So, yes, it is misrepresenting her character based on her sex for the express purpose of titillating the male audience. It’s is our understanding of this that makes it acceptable. A child would think, “Well this is how women are…all women should be dressed in a way that causes sexual arousal.”

        Another example would be Tarantino’s intentionally excessive use of the “N word” is his films. An adult understands there are multiple levels of purpose here, and that it is in fact not designed to imply that racism is a good thing or that we should run around dropping “N bombs” all day long.

        So there is actual bigotry present in entertainment media (whether placed consciously or unconsciously), parody of bigotry, bigotry for the sake of entertaining our baser natures knowing the target audience are morally well-equipped adults, and finally there are perfectly innocent characterizations that are incorrectly interpreted as bigoted by the paranoid.

        The sad thing is that we have women being jailed and stoned to death for being raped in the middle east, and the hot topic is polygonal representations of females in video games. People are fucking crazy.

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        The sad thing is that we have women being jailed and stoned to death for being raped in the middle east, and the hot topic is polygonal representations of females in video games. People are fucking crazy.

        This. Quite a lot of this.

        You know, I read stories about female Kurdish fighters saving their last bullet for themselves in case ISIS overruns their positions; self-slaughter is preferential in their minds (and I can’t say I fault them for the thinking) to capture by ISIS and the attendant gang rape/torture/sex slavery that is likely to result.

        And then I wonder why I’m supposed to be so upset that I can see Bayonetta’s butt cheeks.

        Even these death and rape threats being leveled against female game developers…yeah, they’re bad. They’re really bad. But I suspect that even given (and perhaps in spite of) their graphic nature and the doxing that has occurred, the threats are themselves hollow.

        You know, I can recall some months ago…there was a conservative blogger, a woman, who became briefly (in?)famous on Twitter for something she wrote about…something. Probably President Obama or abortion (or both?), but I can’t remember the particulars. Actually, no, I think it was abortion she had written about, because one fine progressive specimen of the male persuasion tweeted at her that she’d probably change her pro-life stance if she were to end up impregnated post-rape. And he then offered, rather graphically, to facilitate same.

        Her reply was along the lines of “Come and get me, big man. I’ll bring my ‘rape whistle’.” Attached to which was a picture of her posing with an AR-16. Honestly, I doubt that this rape-threatening interloper was ever serious in his threat…but even if he had been, no doubt he’d have been given some pause by the thought of going up against an armed target.

        And that’s the sort of thing that I wish the likes of Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu would do. Fleeing their homes cedes the victory to the asshats and their vitriol. Bullies don’t work at a very sophisticated level; if the target cries or runs, that’s a win. And a tactic that results in a win will be used again.

        But if the target comes about and indicates readiness to engage, that’s…troublesome. Because deep down, most bullies are rather cowardly, and don’t want to engage a hard target.

        “Yup, that’s my address. And here’s the shotgun collection in the basement. This one’s my favourite. Pop on by and I’ll show it to you.”

      • Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

        “You know, I read stories about female Kurdish fighters saving their last bullet for themselves in case ISIS overruns their positions; self-slaughter is preferential in their minds (and I can’t say I fault them for the thinking) to capture by ISIS and the attendant gang rape/torture/sex slavery that is likely to result.”

        I’m sorry to have read that. Makes me pine for asteroid strikes of yore. Unfortunately as Mr. Eastwood once stated, “Deserve ain’t got nothing to do with it.” Things just roll on unimpeded without justice for the perpetrators and often not even a remembrance of the injustice or its victims.

        As far as defending oneself from potentially violent creepers on the Internet, there’s nothing 3,251 feet per second, towels and bleach won’t cure. Cue Duke Nuk’em quotes. 🙂

        Being serious though, I’m shocked at the lack of media surrounding any ongoing investigations, particularly Twitter and ISP subpoenas to identify and eventually arrest and prosecute suspects. Under U.S. terroristic threat laws (I think they’re just state laws at the moment), online death threats are a serious matter. I hope law enforcement won’t wait until someone’s house is broken in to (or worse) before extradition or tasking U.S. Marshals. Plenty of U.S. laws are bullshit, but threatening to kill someone isn’t one of them.

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        I’m not sure just what sort of investigation gets done. I know that the threats have been documented and reported, but I’ve not heard tell of many arrests. None, in fact.

        In fact, outside of Weev, I can’t think of any instance where online trolling and bullying resulted in serious jail time for the perpetrator.

      • Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

        Maybe the WtF Blog could publish any info on such investigations or arrests. As much as I abhor bullying, I don’t think that should be a legal matter. More of a public shaming and correction through community outreach.

        The death threats on the other hand really need to be acted on. The only gray area there is if they were meant as parody or farce. For example my post here on Gamasutra:

        http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/227735/Driven_from_her_home_dev_speaks_out_against_harassment_irresponsibility.php#comment255226

        I think it’s pretty clear that I’m not threatening Gamergate folk with death. That being said, some idiot could think I was and report me (or at least ban my comment/account). People have this odd tendency to either go too far or not far enough (the “common sense” problem).

      • Micro Magic says:

        I didn’t know about this gamergate thing until this thread. Then I read about it today here:

        http://blogs.reuters.com/jackshafer/2014/10/17/gamergate-we-now-know-what-evil-lurks-in-the-heart-of-man-or-trolls/

        I guess it’s not isolated to gaming. Apparently female journalists are just harassed more than male journalists.

      • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

        I guess it’s not isolated to gaming. Apparently female journalists are just harassed more than male journalists.

        It’s a bit more complicated than that.

        You’re correct as a matter of category; female journalists do receive more abuse online — or at least via Twitter, though the results probably map to other social media services — according to this English study. That being said, the same study found that it is men, overall, who both dish out and receive more online abuse than do women. Male celebrities, in particular, tend to be prime targets, with Piers Morgan capturing the largest volume of abuse. And I’ll note that Piers Morgan could easily fit into both the category of celebrity or the category of journalist; indeed, he seems to be more the latter than the former these days…had he been lumped into the journalism category, he’d have single-handedly pushed men into the “most abused” spot there.

        Another interesting finding from the study: about 40% of abuse directed at women came from other women, even though about 75% of those found to disseminate online abuse are men.

        Anyhow…neither side of this debate is covering itself with glory. On one hand, there seems to be a real desire to associate GamerGate with every possible vile and hateful thing that gets tweeted against a female game developer, female game journalist, or female gaming culture critic…the idea, I suppose, being to paint the movement as lacking legitimacy because of its association with the aforementioned bile. I’m not really a fan of the whole “guilt by association” thing myself, and my early exposure to GamerGate came by way of TechRaptor and Daddy Warpig — articulate, intelligent sources who plead the case for journalistic integrity very well and don’t stoop to slinging abuse around.

        That said, there has been some vile stuff tweeted/posted by people who claim association with GamerGate, or who at least see fit to use the hashtag. I find it…a bit difficult to take seriously anyone who claims that it is these people who speak for the movement, in much the same way that I find it difficult to take seriously anyone who claims that Young Earth Creationists speak for all Christians in matters of science. (That, and it’s not hard to find examples of anti-GamerGaters being vile and doxing those with whom they disagree; are these people the main voice of the larger anti-GamerGate movement too?)

        And as noted, too…it’s not like this sort of vile abuse wasn’t a phenomenon before August of this year. And even if everybody stopped using the GamerGate label and hashtag(s) tomorrow, online abuse would still exist. And it would continue to flow in every conceivable direction, too: men to women, men to men, women to women, women to men, conservatives to progressives, progressives to conservatives, religious people to other religious people, religious people to non-religious people, non-religious people to religious people, and non-religious people to other non-religious people.

        As ever, the sane thing to do seems to be to plead the Entish position:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7F9R5gT9DAU

  5. cor2879 says:

    I think PC gaming is getting ready for a major resurgence, if anything. The new Steam Boxes could very well change the gaming landscape. Personally I’ve been very disappointed with the games that have so far been available on the Xbox One, and since it’s not backwards compatible, it’s actually inferior to the 360 in a lot of ways just because the 360 has such a huge library of games to draw on. Obviously this could change over time, but in the past year I’ve played my 360 a lot more than the Xbox One.

    On the other hand, it’s highly unlikely that Steam boxes will ever have this problem. They are PCs, and will always play games built for PCs. If there’s a compatibility issue, there’s likely a way around it.

    Also there’s a lot of talk about being able to develop for the PC (Windows), Phone (Windows Phone), and Television (Xbox) with one code base. I see the likely end of this being that at some point the ‘Xbox’ will just be running a flavor of Windows and will essentially be a true PC running PC games.

    • Micro Magic says:

      PC GAMING MASTER RACE!

      Apparently the ps4 and xbone having architecture similar to a PC. Making PC ports much easier than they’ve been in the past. What I’m assuming we’ll see are “exclusives” like GTA 5. Rockstar stated GTA 5 wouldn’t be released for PC, ever. Now it has a release date for PC some months after it’s released for ps4 and xbone.

      Publishers/developers will -say- their games are exclusive to a particular console. But they’ll eventually release those titles for PC because it makes no sense to deny a PC release. The money made by a dev/pub is only on new copies for console games. And we all know how much the industry hates used games. Because Steam doesn’t allow for used games, when a game goes on 70-80% discount the dev/pub still gets paid for the game. So therefore the existence of residual income goes from 0% to 100%.

      It simply isn’t economic to deny a PC release anymore. If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense.

  6. Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

    Since this is the RIOT, I’ll milk it. What do ya’ll think about my take on Star Trek Enterprise’s title theme sequence? As much as I loved Enterprise, that title theme was shit distilled so fine no tank could confine it.

    http://youtu.be/vQo5hqnziK8

    This just may have saved the show and given it a full seven seasons (or not). 🙂

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      I just can’t get behind Enterprise. They shoulda gone straight into the Romulan War, and then resolved that two seasons later. Then they could have brought in the Zindi, or…whatever. Whoever.

      It was just not a well-executed show. I watched the pilot, and decided on the merits of the jelly-rubbing scene alone that this was an unserious attempt to continue the Trek franchise.

      • Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

        Blasphemy! All Star Trek is worth watching. Except those shit J.J. films. And the one with the whales… 🙂

        Enterprise, which I enjoyed, is nevertheless a bit of a tragedy in that it could have been so much better. I watched all the extras that came with the Blu-ray release and it gives you a lot of insight into what happened behind the scenes. It would appear that half the fault was with the creators and the other half with CBS, who wouldn’t let them do what they wanted to. For example, initially the entire first season was to take place on Earth while they were building Enterprise. The creators wanted it to be more “prequel” and CBS wanted it to be more futuristic and were scared by the prequel concept.

        Were I able to re-do it, I’d have the first 13 episodes of season one split between Earth and Vulcan, focusing on building up the characters who would eventually come together on the ship and the politics (local and between Earth and Vulcan) leading up to a successful but harrowing first flight.

        Episodes 14 – 26 would take place mostly on Enterprise and consist of stand-alone stories with no major story arc. These 13 episodes would also involve all the technological bugs being ironed out, including transporter malfunctions.

        Season two would introduce the temporal cold war and contain the Zindi story arc.

        Season three would end with the resolution of the temporal cold war arc.

        Season four could have started the Romulan war as you proposed.

        As far as the decon scene, I think they included that specifically to set the show apart, as they wanted it to be different from the beginning. It was a bit shocking simply because Star Trek isn’t known for hypersexualization, so we weren’t expecting anything like that.

        If you’re not going to watch it and are a fan of the original series, you might want to just watch season four. Manny Coto was in charge and is a big fan of TOS. The whole season is basically a love letter to it, with the exception of the final episode which he didn’t write.

        I’m watching TOS now. After that I’ll have seen every episode of every series…and cry. At least I still have all the films to go through.

    • WtF Dragon WtF Dragon says:

      Albeit your take on the title theme is good.

      • Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

        I won’t start on the actual title theme; we all know it is bad. Even “Beautiful Day” by U2, the song they used during production, wasn’t great. They needed a song that was original and introspective, beautiful and innocent with dangerous turns. A shame they didn’t pay more respect to the theme song when creating it. Any personal suggestions for a proper one?

  7. Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

    In case you missed it (I did until today), check this trailer out:

    http://indiegamemag.com/hatred-building-a-game-on-it-has-consequences/

    • Yeah, saw that game a while ago. It’s…not to my interest. Though it certainly fits the definition of “high concept”…

      • Sanctimonia Sanctimonia says:

        It’s not something I have a huge desire to play, although I find the idea entertaining. For me it is a statement about violence in games, and to a lesser degree in real life, as it strips away the veneer of excuses for why it’s okay to kill a person in a video game. We enjoy killing people in video games, because they’re the “bad guy”. Is it less enjoyable when they’re the “good guy” or “neutral guy”? I think it puts a magnifying glass on what we’ve been doing in gaming for a long time, even holding back on what’s already been done.

        A year or so ago I’d contemplated making a 3D, side-scrolling platformer with a protagonist much like Alucard from SotN called “Total Predation” where your vampiric goal was to cause the extinction of humans. It was going to have a population counter showing how many people were still left on the planet and update like a “score” when you caused deaths (0 = you win). I was considering stages/areas where you would infiltrate a military base and make the computer launch nuclear missiles, and other levels that could let you release biological and chemical weapons. I thought it would be an interesting and disturbing take on SotN, with better graphics and a bit of Contra. I chose Sylph of course because it seemed more easily achievable.

  8. Micro Magic says:

    Shenmue was inspired by Ultima.

    I’m having a hell of a time posting this but here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tu86tlnFLVE#t=8m44s

    An interview with Yu Suzuki where he says his inspiration for Shenmue came from his love of Apple and Mac RPG and adventure titles. He name drops Ultima and Wizadry specifically. It makes quite a good deal of sense considering he focused on world building so heavily. You could basically interact with any item in Shenmue no matter how mundane. Of course, it wasn’t nearly at the level of Ultima 7, but it was still the fact you could pick up an orange or move a painting whenever you felt like it.

    A few other similarities include talking to every NPC in the game, day/night sequences, NPC scheduling, and dynamic weather.

    I’ve never seen it mentioned before so I figured I’d post it somewhere and perhaps have it added to inspired works.