Nerd Of The People

Russell Michaels

Russell is inside his own mind, a comfortable yet silly place. He is also on Twitter.

Related Post Roulette

134 Responses

  1. DavidTC
    Ignored
    says:

    So, this is literally the second time in so many weeks that someone online is being criticized for being transphobic (The first being Scott Cawthon), and Russell Michaels _completely omits_ that reason for the criticism in the post.

    This is getting a little weird, isn’t it? A bit too much to be a coincidence at this point.

    Like, this post doesn’t even mention what is going on _at all_.

    What is happening is the son of the creator of D&D (Who died in 2008 and that sold D&D in 1986 and, thus, being dead, is not involved in it at all)…wait, let me explain who he is. He is operating a _different_ gaming company, one that has created a game _as a specific rebuttal_ to WotC (The actual _owners_ of D&D) supposedly watering it down or making it more liberal or something.

    This person said something seen something interpreted as transphobic while interviewing. And then appeared to doubled down when questioned about it.

    None of this is my opinion. This post is an entirely neutral post, intended to inform people of actual events going on. I’ll probably write a follow here in a few minutes about how I do feel. (Hell, maybe we can even re-litigate GamerGate.)

    I just wanted to inform people of what the _giant_ ommission in the middle of this was.

    But I thought it seems very odd how, Russell Michaels, once again, managed to write an article that talks about how the internet has a problem with someone, while managing to avoid mentioning what that problem is, or misleading people about what it is. And it’s the exact _same_ problem the internet had with Scott Cawthon!

    And once again, I feel this is because Russell is well aware that someone supposedly being transphobic wouldn’t play well here, so _deliberately_ avoids mentioning that is what the disagreement is over.Report

    • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      I thought the whole D&D dustup was about race. I mean, I’m not surprised that trans activists would get involved, but it was that fantasy races tend to have immutable characteristics, and that was deemed offensive. In fact, this ties into a conversation going on under the Movies and Guns article.

      When you say that the old D&D game was “watering it down or making it more liberal or something”, you’re acknowledging that there was a controversy before the perceived anti-trans statement.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
        Ignored
        says:

        (I have a post in moderation, if someone could release it.)

        I thought the whole D&D dustup was about race.

        The _D&D_ dustup was.

        The D&D dustup is also over. Like, an entire year ago. I have a post in moderation about that. The ‘woke’ side won that discussion. Already. It’s done. I cannot emphasize that enough.

        So I’m assuming that’s not actually what originated this post.

        And that discussion, for the record, did not look much like Gamergate. That is a…bad comparison. It was a very long-term criticism of D&D, stretching back decades, that WotC finally addressed. Yes, some of the reactionary movement against it looked _vaguely_ like GamerGate, I guess, but that a _very_ superficial comparison.

        What I am _assuming_ triggered this post is about Gary Gygax’s son being transphobic while doing an interview about a _different_ game (Obviously, as he has absolutely nothing to do with D&D and really never has.), a new one, GiantLand.

        I’m assuming that’s what we’re talking about. Who knows.

        Now, GiantLand appears, in some manner, to be a response to WotC’s update to D&D (Although it’s really just the guy trying to coast off his father’s name. See also: Trying to run off with the TSR trademark sold to WotC..), but the discussion is not even about GiantLand.

        No one is talking about GiantLand, as it literally is not out. Or even written.

        What is being currently talked about is what he said in an interview about ‘gender identity’, and then what he said on Twitter.

        Could we have some sort of rule that ‘When people write articles here, they put in some sort _bare minimum_ discussion of the events that are going on that they are supposedly talking about? Like, some sort of _Cliff Notes_ of the events under discussion, a recap of the things _not in dispute_?’

        This post manages to not even make it clear what it’s talking about. _Is_ it talking about the resolved-over-a-year-ago ‘racism in D&D’? Or is it talking about the _actual_ current thing? Who knows?!

        I mean, I’m not surprised that trans activists would get involved, but it was that fantasy races tend to have immutable characteristics, and that was deemed offensive. In fact, this ties into a conversation going on under the Movies and Guns article.

        No, there’s no trans criticism of D&D at all, as far as I know. I think there has been some _extremely_ vague criticism of ‘cursed items that sex-change you’, but, like…no, no real critism.

        Hell, there’s not even any _sexist_ criticism of the _rules_ of D&D.

        D&D is completely gender neutrality in every rule, and has since *check wiki* the third edition, released in 2000. There might be some problematic _settings_ out there, I don’t know, but not in any of the big settings.

        There’s tons of criticism of the behavior of both players and GMs in all tabletop games, but…that’s not really relevant here?

        Or maybe it is? What are we even talking about? What is the topic here? If we are going to have a discussion of politics within TTRPG, wouldn’t it be useful to have a brief summary of, for example, _what those issues currently are_?

        When you say that the old D&D game was “watering it down or making it more liberal or something”, you’re acknowledging that there was a controversy before the perceived anti-trans statement.

        Yes, I addressed that in the post in moderation.

        This was my post about unobjectionable facts that all sides should agree with, describing what has happened in an unbiased manner. And also how the facts are weirdly selective on Russell’s posts.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          The D&D dustup is also over. Like, an entire year ago. I have a post in moderation about that. The ‘woke’ side won that discussion. Already. It’s done. I cannot emphasize that enough.

          This news has not yet made it to all basements.Report

        • Pinky in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          Dustups are always about all current and previous dustups. I could (and would) say that our current gender beliefs are nonsensical, and someone would complain about something I said about voting rights two years ago.

          More broadly than that, you say that the “woke” side won, but you should know that ideological battles never end. Certainly not when people still disagree, but not even when everyone in a certain generation agrees. In a flexible game like D&D, new editions of rulebooks don’t even “win” if the players don’t like it. I mean, did Kathleen Kennedy’s vision of Star Wars win?Report

          • DavidTC in reply to Pinky
            Ignored
            says:

            More broadly than that, you say that the “woke” side won, but you should know that ideological battles never end. Certainly not when people still disagree, but not even when everyone in a certain generation agrees. In a flexible game like D&D, new editions of rulebooks don’t even “win” if the players don’t like it. I mean, did Kathleen Kennedy’s vision of Star Wars win?

            So, there are always house rules, and no one is complaining about those.

            What people were complaining about to Wizards of the Coast, that certain aspects of the D&D rules had a lot of problematic racial issues. And not just rules…drawings, and flavor text, and all sorts of things.

            And these complaints have existed for years, and Wizards of the Coast has, on an individual level, responded to a few of the more egegious smaller examples of racist text and drawings in sourcebooks and fixed them, while ignoring some of the larger issues like the Drow and other things.

            Until last year, when it said ‘Yeah, we’re just going to listen to everything you say and fix it. It might take a few years, but we’re going to make a commitment to buckle down and eventually remove [list of big things that were the majority of complaints] plus any random racist crap we stumble across in various books.’.

            That specific thing was the entire demand of the ‘woke’ side. They said ‘Please remove these specific things, and then carefully look at everything you have’, and WotC ‘Yes. We are now going to do that exact thing. First remove those things, then look carefully.’.

            So the ‘woke’ side, objectively, won. Their entire demands were met. There’s not really any other way to describe that. The other side, who said ‘This is a fantasy world and these are not real and do not change those things’ lost.

            And this has happened before…it happened with a good chuck of the _sexist_ things being removed in 3E, because WotC, having just purchased TSR, responded to the long-criticized sexism in D&D and AD&D in an identical way.

            (Again, this is all facts it would have been nice to have in the damn article! An actual summary of the history. If this is indeed what we are supposed to be talking about.)

            Will people ‘house rules’ the old Drow and old Orcs and whatnot back into D&D, as opposed to the new one? Sure. But that never was what the fight was over, it was over what the rulebooks said and showed. No one has ever pretended that people won’t play them with whatever modifications they want, the discussion is over the actual ‘current official rules’.

            And…WotC is not going to shift and, uh, start inserting new racially insensitive things in their books. Like, that’s a weird idea. There’s a difference between ‘We have left some things in this from decades ago that, looking back, we wish had been done differently but we feel we shouldn’t change things as people have gotten used to’ and ‘Hey, let’s invite some new stereotypes and insert it now, in 2021.’.

            If the idea is that tabletop gamers are going to shift to other games that have that…you should be aware that none of those games are really putting in the sort of things that D&D was criticized for, because their addition would come off as overtly racist if they didn’t have decades of historic acceptance behind them.

            You can maybe _keep_ the Drow in 2021, but you can’t _invent_ the Drow, a race of always evil creatures cursed to be dark-skinned, in 2021. (And you really can’t even keep them!)Report

    • Russell Michaels in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      Because it doesn’t matter.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Russell Michaels
        Ignored
        says:

        You just sort vaguely handwave in the direction of ‘the left’ and assert they’re Doing Things and Will Lose, huh?

        Uh…they lready won that little culture war.

        So, question since you’re here: Are you aware this happened a year ago?

        https://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/diversity-and-dnd

        The company that makes D&D, Wizards of the Coast, committed to ‘depict humanity in all its beautiful diversity by depicting characters who represent an array of ethnicities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and beliefs.’

        And basically agreed with literally every criticism of them WRT race, listing the most heavily criticized ones, and saying they were going to fix them and more. It was an explicit apology for everything D&D had been criticized for over the decades.

        Basically, the ‘woke’ people won the D&D fight. A year ago. (And the Magic fight, while we’re at it. Cards have already been pulled from play.)

        But maybe that’s not the fight you’re talking about? Maybe it’s Ernie Gygax being called out for transphobic statements?

        And…you think the nerds (As defined as, uh…fans of GiantLand, a game that isn’t out yet?) will win that one?Report

        • Russell Michaels in reply to DavidTC
          Ignored
          says:

          Companies don’t determine what the nerds do. I mentioned that in my column.Report

          • JS in reply to Russell Michaels
            Ignored
            says:

            Are you defining nerd as “People who agree 100% with Russel Michaels” because it seems like you are.Report

            • veronica d in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              Evidently I’m not a nerd.

              Of course, my first D&D game was like in 1979 or something, so … plus I was president of my High School’s computer club one year. That seems a bit nerdy. On the other hand I was into punk rock and skateboarding, which was weird actually. Like, among my skater friends, I was the only one who tended to have a copy of The Feynman Lectures on Physics (or something comparable) in my backpack. But it was cool. Among my skate rat friends I was the “smart one.” We would joke about it.

              I guess my nerd journey is a bit unusual, as I learned to “code switch” between my nerd friends and my non-nerd friends. Honestly, as much as I love debating Set Theory or whatever — which I couldn’t really do with my non-nerd friends — I found a lot of the nerd social dysfunction off-putting.

              I was in my school’s “gifted program”, and our teacher was kind of an open elitist about brain power — which fine. Whatever. He was a very good teacher and I appreciate what I learned there. However, I really had to deprogram myself from nerd elitism. It’s really toxic and I’m glad I got away from it, particularly as a queer person. Among male nerds I often sense a ton of unprocessed trauma about masculinity. On the one hand, I get it. People shouldn’t be blamed for their trauma, and being a teenage nerd sucks. The point is, I walked a similar path for a lot of years. On the other hand … it’s like, dude, this is happening in your own head and it’s awful. Stop reading the chans and stay tf away from the manosphere. It’s your mind they want to steal.Report

            • Russell Michaels in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              A diffuse hobby is not controlled by corporations. It is controlled by the fans.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      “This post is an entirely neutral post, intended to inform people of actual events going on.”

      ah-heh.

      “[M]aybe we can even re-litigate GamerGate.”

      The most amazing thing about GamerGate for me was that nobody, including Quinn, ever denied that she sucked a bunch of dicks while insisting to her then-boyfriend that monogamous fidelity was the foundation of a healthy relationship. Like, the Moral Outrage was over the notion that she got coverage out of it, like, “call her a slut if you want but how dare you call her a whore…”Report

  2. DavidTC
    Ignored
    says:

    And now for some actual thoughts, and, oddly, the first one I have: Is Russell admitting he doesn’t play TTRPGs, and yet somehow knows it is ‘outside agitators’ ‘from LA’ who are complaining? Seems sorta weird he’d been able to determine who the ‘D&D people’ are to start with?

    I am not a TTRPG person, exactly, although I have been in a few groups, and I’m in one right now. I wouldn’t position myself as an expert, but apparently that doesn’t matter, I can just vaguely handwave ‘nerd knowledge’ at it.

    Anyway, something D&D has been criticized for years over is a lot of racist stuff built into the game. A lot of the world-building is the sort of thing you get from a 50-year-old white man in the mid-80s. Nothing deliberately racist, and by all accounts, Gary Gygax was somewhat progressive for back then, but there’s a lot of…uh…cruft. Stuff like the Drow being cursed with a darker skin, or the ‘always evil races’, etc.

    This is stuff players have been working around for years, and stuff that WotC has slowly been removing. And recently, apparently due to various BLM protests last year, they announced ‘Yeah, we’re just going to get rid of all the racist cruft you’ve been complaining about for years. Just…basically all of it, a review of the entire thing, from top to bottom. A few big changes, and a lot of minor ones.’.

    So, in other words…the…uh…not-nerds won? Already. They already won. That stuff being bitched going to be gone from D&D, probably in an errata to the current edition, but maybe a new edition. WotC has finally, in 2020, taken a very clear position that it will now just remove that sort of stuff when it comes across it, without trying to come up with ways to justify it, and it’s obviously not going to get put back in later. (And yes, this happened back in mid-2020!)

    That is, in fact, why Ernie Gygax is releasing this _other game_. Why he was doing that interview in the first place. It was to satisfy the people complaining about ‘wokeism’…

    …which, uh, are a very small minority of TTRPG players. As were the ‘woke’ people demanding it go away. The people who staked out positions on either side were always very small but vocal groups. And WotC finally picked a side.

    Most TTRPG players are vaguely liberal-ism, mostly because they tend to be young and nerdy outcasts, often living in cities or on college campuses, and despite what this article seem to think, those people tend to be liberal-ism. They didn’t actually _care_ about any of this stuff, but now that’s been removed, they still don’t care but probably vaguely think it’s a good thing.

    And that’s some interesting gatekeeping going on there, where only the _conservative reactionary_ people get the term ‘nerds’? That’s…really not how tabletop gaming works. I mean, it’s _really_ not how it works.Report

    • Russell Michaels in reply to DavidTC
      Ignored
      says:

      You’re finding racism where it doesn’t exist. And the LA media bubble is the one branding gamers and nerds as the reactionaries. I didn’t do that. I merely observed it happening for the past seven or more years.Report

      • DensityDuck in reply to Russell Michaels
        Ignored
        says:

        No no, he’s accusing you of transphobia, get it straight you stupid raci–I mean, you dumb transphobe.

        You’re not wrong about entryism in the gaming scene, although I do question the extent to which it’s happening. It isn’t new for people to get very lit up about social issues and how they’re expressed in role-playing games, although the specifically Anti-Racist flavor of the criticism is a modern invention. (Here’s a historical example.)

        The problem is when people stop saying “I don’t allow that in my game” and start saying “and it shouldn’t be allowed in your game, either, and if you won’t declare that it not-allowed that means you permit and welcome it.”Report

        • Russell Michaels in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          Exactly.Report

        • Pinky in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          D&D has endured righteous panics before. The Evangelicals seemed less spiteful, but that may be due to the absence of the internet.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
          Ignored
          says:

          I’m not accusing Russell of transphobia.

          I am accusing him of deliberately misleading people with his constant vagueposts, and at this point I’m alleging he is deliberately avoiding mentioning that certain controversies involve trans rights, because, I suspect, he knows that doesn’t play well here.

          Which means, and it’s most notable here, that he often doesn’t talk about what the actual controversy is _at all_, resulting in complete nothing as a post and chaos as people try to figure it out.

          The problem is when people stop saying “I don’t allow that in my game” and start saying “and it shouldn’t be allowed in your game, either, and if you won’t declare that it not-allowed that means you permit and welcome it.”

          Yes, the massive criticisms of Ernie Gygax’s new games about the racist elements it…wait…no one’s actually criticizing his game! In fact, his game isn’t even out _to_ criticize.

          What is being criticized is public statements that are not really related to his new game at all, he just said the comments while he was supposed to be talking about his new game, and then doubled down on Twitter.

          It’s somewhat telling no one can dispute these facts. I don’t even know why anyone would _try_ to dispute the facts, they’re not in dispute anywhere _but_ this website! Everyone else is actually arguing over the comments made, not having some surreal meta-discussion caused by random vagueposting of content-less handwaves about ‘wokeness run amuck’.

          Again, a plea to the Editors: Can be we please stop allowing these sort of misleading vagueposts that are ‘complaints about controversies that are happening without actually listing any facts of them’ on this site?

          I’m not asking for ‘unbiased’ articles. I’m just asking that we, at minimum, get ‘Here is the timeline of events of things not in dispute, here the things currently being said by some relevant people, etc.’.

          This article literally doesn’t even explain _what_ controversy it’s talking about, leading a lot of people to assume it was over ‘past racist criticisms of D&D’, whereas _I_ assumed it’s over Ernie Gygax’s alleged transphobia…and honestly I think I’m right, that fits a lot better….but maybe I’m wrong. Maybe we’re actually supposed to be talking about something else.

          But the discussion here should not be a guessing game over the topic of an article!Report

          • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
            –Mahatma Gandhi

            “It’d be a lot easier to just put a stop to the content I don’t want to see.”
            –Nathuram GodseReport

            • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
              Ignored
              says:

              The change in the world I want to see is: I don’t want articles about vague handwaves about ‘controversies happening’ with no mentions or explanations of what is happening.

              It seems extremely hard for me to do that without hacking the site. I don’t want to stop _any_ articles, a discussion about ‘wokeness’ in D&D is entirely on topic here, and I love the idea. But a) we need some actual current and historical context, and b)…I don’t want to gatekeep, but perhaps the article should be by someone in the roleplaying community? Who knows the history?

              I know what you’re suggesting is ‘write articles and put them up’, but that’s not actually a solution unless I can somehow psychically predict the bad articles and get there beforehand. I didn’t know this was going to come up here! I’ve been vaguely following the Twitter, as an outsider, but…I didn’t know it would be showing up at OT.

              Also _I_ wouldn’t consider myself having enough knowledge here to write an article, having maybe a hundred total hours of tabletop experience with two erractic groups. Like I said, I’m an outsider. There are other people on this very site who I know how more experience than me…I think you’re one of them, in fact!

              I did the best I could, putting up a ‘Here are the undisputed facts that should have been in this article to give some actual context of what is happening’ post, but…seriously, those needed to be there in the actual article.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, I’m sorry that he didn’t write the article you wanted him to write.

                I’m not particularly inclined to write the article you wish he’d have written.

                If you’d like to write the article you wish he wrote, I will do everything in my power to see it published. (This may include editing grammar. It might also include sending it back and saying “expand on this paragraph” or “take out the ableist slurs”. But if it’s within the ballpark of this very essay above? I think you’d be golden.)Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Jaybird, he doesn’t want better articles written, he wants the bad people to be punished. Whether or not this results in better articles is beside the point.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The premise of guest posts:

                We believe that our political, cultural, and social discourse benefits greatly from as broad and authentic a discussions as possible and operate this site as a means of contributing to that discussion in whatever way we are able.

                You know what would contribute to an authentic discussion?

                If the people having the discussion literally knew what the topic was.

                Again, this is such a vaguepost that are _two_ possible topics. Is it about the long-criticised supposed racist implications in D&D? Is it about the recent controversy with Ernie Gygax? Is it about something else?

                Perhaps a single fact would be helpful?

                So, you know what. I am going to write a post. It won’t be about this, though, I know stuff about this topic. It will be some extremely vague topic that I don’t know anything about. Maybe some vague complaints about how the right has lost all crediblity with SCUBA divers.Report

          • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
            Ignored
            says:

            “Again, a plea to the Editors: Can be we please stop allowing these sort of misleading vagueposts that are ‘complaints about controversies that are happening without actually listing any facts of them’ on this site?”

            you are entirely welcome to not read this website if its content is not to your taste, sirReport

            • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
              Ignored
              says:

              I don’t want to tell people “if you don’t like it, leave”. That can lead to some toxic places.

              But the whole “can we prevent this stuff from happening in the first place” as a first resort rather than a “I can write the content that I want to see” thing? That’s, like, something that I would write if I were trying to parody Team Good.

              And I’d erase it thinking “nah, that’s over the top… that’s unfair to them.”Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I _did_ write the content I wanted to see. It is literally the first post on this article. That was me trying to neutrally explain what happened, so people knew what we were discussing, because it wasn’t mentioned in the article.

                The _premise_ of this site is to have an authentic discussion. Can’t really have that unless people know what controversy is being talked about enough to even Google it. Just sorta have to guess what is being discussed.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Great! Thank you for commenting! Thank you for helping create the authentic discussion you were hoping to have!

                For the record, I disagree that it’s solely about the whole transphobia thing.

                I think it’s about trying to gatekeep after the horse has been smuggled to France and been eaten while the barn, which burned down, is having its charcoal turned into art supplies.

                (Did you know that there were complaints about Dungeons not being wheelchair accessible? Well, there have since been attempts to remedy that. You can get heroes who have mobility chair miniatures or digital files to print your own here.)

                There’s all kinds of attempts to turn discussions of Matters of Taste into discussions of Matters of Morality (and the attendant resentment that follows such).Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                For the record, I disagree that it’s solely about the whole transphobia thing.

                It turns out, the controversy he’s actually talking about is this one:

                Earlier this week, the Adventurer’s League administrative team announced that players would no longer be constrained to the “PHB+1” rule that dictated character creation in previous years. This rule stated that characters could only build characters using races and subclasses found in the Player’s Handbook plus one other source of the player’s choosing.

                https://boingboing.net/2021/03/03/dd-dumps-controversial-league-play-character-creation-rule.html

                We don’t know, it could be.

                Did you know that there were complaints about Dungeons not being wheelchair accessible? Well, there have since been attempts to remedy that.

                No one was complaining about dungeons not having wheelchair accessibility.

                There were people running around on Twitter proposing house rules for combat wheelchairs and creating models of them, mostly because Critical Role had one, although such a thing had been around for a while. (Hell, Pratchett had one.)

                And other, dumber people asserting that wheelchairs were not historically accurate (?!) or some other equally dumb objection that made no sense. Basically ‘How dare anyone introduce any sort of SJW thing to the game’, because, of course, having disabled people exist is SJW or something.

                This is the sort of reactionary chuds that veronica was talking about, the people who think something existing in someone else’s game is an attack on them.

                I’m sure you’ve probably heard a different version of this story, but feel free to go to twitter and search for #CombatWheelchairReport

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                From my understanding of the arguments against Combat Wheelchairs had to do with the counter-arguments and the counter-counter-arguments and the counter-counter-counter-arguments turning the discussion into a discussion of morality.

                As such, it wasn’t about whether these things could be house ruled as much as discussions over whether Liches would be likely to make handicapable-accessible towers and comedy bits over what that work order would look like. Questions over whether the DM could see knocking the player out of the mobility chair as an option available to the big bad to whether being knocked out of the mobility chair would result in minuses for the character and which minuses would be appropriate.

                As well as the discussion over the spells “Greater Restoration”, “Regenerate”, and “Reincarnate”.

                Which, of course, turned into an argument over morality rather than personal taste.

                If it were only a discussion about whether people ought to be allowed to have house rules, I’m sure that the discussion would have been over in seconds.

                The problem, of course, is the meta-discussion. And, to some extent, the meta-meta-discussion.

                (You saw this in Gamergate too.)Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                As such, it wasn’t about whether these things could be house ruled as much as discussions over whether Liches would be likely to make handicapable-accessible towers and comedy bits over what that work order would look like.

                I repeat: No one was complaining about dungeons not having wheelchair accessibility.

                You just mentioned people _mocking_ the idea that dungeons could be wheelchair accessible, and doing a little comedy bit over it. It’s literally the opposite of someone actually complaining about the lack of ramps in dungeons.

                But, I mean, I can see why the people doing the comedy bit are happy. The impossibility of a player character being able to have that disability and function as a PC means the GM doesn’t have to consider showing the slightest bit of consideration for disabled players who might want to roleplay someone like themselves. The GM can just tell them that people in wheelchairs suck and can’t do the things people need to be able to do…in the game, they need to make sure to add! Things that people in the game need to do! Not in real life, of course! In real life people we have ramps so people in wheelchairs aren’t useless!

                Whew, that was close.

                I’m suddenly remind of the old days, before WotC hastily retconned the Drow to being gray/purple and said normal elves come in all human skin colors. But before that, if a Black person wanted to play an elf that looked like them, they could be told ‘No, those are Drow, you can’t play them as a PC, they are Always Evil. You have to be a white elf’. Because it simply wasn’t clear that there were ‘dark-skinned elves’ who were not ‘the Dark Elves’.

                But that only applies in the game, of course. In real life, people with dark skin are _not_ Always Evil. Make sure you emphasis that when explaining! We are only talking about D&D, which is has fictional universes with no connection to real life.

                Sorry, I got off topic there, I was talking about how D&D is exactly like real life and hence wheelchairs would be unable to transverse stairs.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The GM can just tell them that people in wheelchairs suck and can’t do the things people need to be able to do…in the game, they need to make sure to add! Things that people in the game need to do! Not in real life, of course! In real life people we have ramps so people in wheelchairs aren’t useless!

                I am pretty sure that the argument isn’t that “people in wheelchairs suck” as much as “if a necromancer wanted to prevent adventuring parties from getting to his lair, one thing he could do to slow some of them down is put some stairs in the tower”.

                This is not saying that people who get around with mobility chairs suck.

                There have been a handful of little discussions in the old Marvel What If? comics about what might have happened if Daredevil’s enemies knew he was blind. Not, you know, full stories but how this one or that one would have used sonic attacks to defeat Daredevil.

                This is not saying that Daredevil sucks.

                If you want to argue that the Chaotic Evil demon worshipper who is trying to open the portal at midnight during the Blood Moon and usher in a world of torment ought to have a tower with wide ramps, I think that you could easily argue that he would not, in fact, do this.

                Because he is Chaotic Evil.

                And accessibility concerns do not show up on this guy’s radar.

                Because he is Chaotic Evil.

                You could argue that.

                Like, it wouldn’t even be difficult to argue that Chaotic Evil people are Chaotic Evil.

                And suddenly it’s about the meta-issue of whether the DM is not putting ramps in the game for the player who wants to play someone with a mobility chair because the DM is chaotic evil.

                And, suddenly, you’re no longer having a discussion about the permissibility of house rules.

                But about morality.

                Freaking again.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                There’s a reason almost all the posts here hang off mine. Because I said ‘Okay, here’s what’s being talked about in this controversy we are supposedly discussing but got literally no information about.’. Although we ended up discussing the _other_ controvery instead, the long-term race one, because I explained that also.

                Maybe take that to heart as what the commentators actually _want_? Maybe some sort of rule that articles shouldn’t have ‘There is a vague controversy that I will not even provide even the names of any of the entities involved or any of the claims thereof, but I nevertheless will state my opinions on.’Report

  3. JS
    Ignored
    says:

    “Those same whiners are still complaining about GamerGate to this day. Seven years later! Get over it already. You lost. Go home. It’s over.”

    The, um, people who are still whining about GamerGate to this date are the guys who threw a huge shit fit in the first place. That wasn’t some LA Culture Bubble invading nerd space. Gamergate was the result of one developer airing his dirty laundry post-breakup (including a lie about reviews that only works if you don’t understand the linear flow of time), and a bunch of nerds jumping in on his side…

    And turning into a toxic, misogynistic stew that got a lot of OTHER gamers going “Screw those nutbags” and yelling back.

    The nerds didn’t win Gamergate. They certainly didn’t beat back the “non nerds” because it was nerds on both sides, and it was mostly about how much abject misogyny they could handle with their gaming.

    In fact, among nerds, the phrase “it’s about ethics in journalism” is deployed as a “This guy’s claims are full of crap” joke.

    How can you be a nerd and use GamerGate, of all things, and claim the nerds won?Report

    • Russell Michaels in reply to JS
      Ignored
      says:

      So, Anita’s vision is still around? Zoe is a respected developer? As is Brianna Wu? All three of them are jokes now. Anita is especially forgotten. No one gives two figs about her opinion on anything.Report

      • veronica d in reply to Russell Michaels
        Ignored
        says:

        So gamergate really was about ruining the lives of those women?Report

        • Russell Michaels in reply to veronica d
          Ignored
          says:

          Nice words you just put in my mouth. No, it was about the issues they brought up. None of them are listened to anymore by anybody.Report

          • Philip H in reply to Russell Michaels
            Ignored
            says:

            None of them are listened to anymore by anybody.

            Where I come from that’s a major component of ruining someone’s life.Report

            • Russell Michaels in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              You think GamerGate did that to them? And not their own actions? Because I think it was their own actions.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Russell Michaels
                Ignored
                says:

                Anita Sarkeesian was a lot better when she had a partnership with Jonathan McIntosh. After he stopped being her producer, the quality of her show and her takes went waaaaaaaaaay downhill.

                It’s the eternal problem of the one person who has powerful takes but insufficient charisma and the other person who has off-the-charts charisma but insufficient takes.

                Together? They were unstoppable.
                Apart? Well… they’re both kinda there now.
                Jonathan wrote about how Marvel’s upcoming movie The Eternals taps into white supremacy theories of aliens guiding ancient POCs and the last thing I heard from Anita was that she was irritated by the boob armor in The Mandalorian.Report

              • Philip H in reply to Russell Michaels
                Ignored
                says:

                Absent Gamer Gate would they have done those things?Report

              • Russell Michaels in reply to Philip H
                Ignored
                says:

                You mean burn all the bridges around? Because that’s why they have zero influence.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Philip H
              Ignored
              says:

              “Where I come from that’s a major component of ruining someone’s life.”

              bUt CaNcEl CuLtUrE IsNt ReAl YoU gUySReport

              • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                I admit that I would have preferred to hear something about how “I still listen to her! I still enjoy her Youtubes. She had a great piece on how we’ve been misreading Robocop! And, last month, she had another one about how we’ve been misreading Carrie! Zoe Quinn has a game coming out soon! She remains a trenchant cultural critic! And Brianna Wu? Her running for Congress in MA was really eye-opening! Even if you disagree with her on Star Wars, you can still appreciate how she wants anti-trust to hit Facebook!”

                You’d think that The Left would still pay attention to the valuable insights of these folks, even if The Basement-Dwelling Neckbeards no longer grace them with currency in this attention-based economy.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I still follow Quinn on Twitter, whatever that is worth. I also read her book that came out a few years ago. She’s still out there kicking around, although she seems to keep a pretty low profile these days. Of course, I don’t blame her. She went through a lot.Report

              • Russell Michaels in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                It would help if she actually updated her backers on that game she got crowdfunded, but that’s just me.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                I think that the whole “accountability” thing that resulted in that one guy committing suicide had enough backlash that she doesn’t want to stick her head out. A handful of to-that-point defenders said “what the heck” and a larger number just averted their glance and said nothing at all.

                If you feel like the community has your back, you are more willing to take risks than if you don’t feel that way.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I guess it all comes down to if she was telling the truth about the abuse. Honestly, if someone is abusing me, and if I choose to share that publicly, then my abuser isn’t a victim. They’re an abuser. I’m speaking out. That has to be okay. Victims of abuse aren’t responsible for the feelings of their abusers.

                Of course, if she was lying … well that’s a pretty big deal.

                I have no reason to think she was lying. In any event, it was a thoroughly awful situation.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                Was Eron Gjoni telling the truth about his take on the situation? If you have been in a similar situation to the one that he talked about, you might be tempted to see her version as exceptionally self-serving.

                Which, unfortunately, will color how you see the more recent situation.

                It’s unfair, I guess.Report

          • veronica d in reply to Russell Michaels
            Ignored
            says:

            The problem is this: I was there. It was about ruining their lives. I’m familiar with 4chan and how it operated. I saw the IRC chat logs. Later, people tried to deny that fact, and in turn they came up with their laughably idiotic “ethics in game journalism” thing, but no one ever believed that. It was a cover for a reactionary hate group operating from /pol.Report

      • JS in reply to Russell Michaels
        Ignored
        says:

        Oh dear god, you ARE one of the “it’s about ethics in gaming journalism” sorts.

        That explains…so much.Report

        • Russell Michaels in reply to JS
          Ignored
          says:

          And you’re someone I won’t listen to either. Nice impasse. Good day.Report

          • JS in reply to Russell Michaels
            Ignored
            says:

            Why? Because you got Gamergate completely wrong, including “who won”?

            Your synopsis sounds like with the r/KokatuInAction folks tell themselves.

            Everyone else saw it for what it was — one guy whipping up a bunch of easily riled misogynists’ to get revenge on an ex, and finding a lot of useful idiots to deflect and claim it was about “ethics in gaming journalism”.

            A chant that is a JOKE today, because it was so transparently BS then.

            You seem to think GG was some sort of victory of the nerds, rather than someone peeling back the curtain and showing how toxic some nerds can be.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              The problem with the movie Rashomon is that the Samurai’s wife’s story was undercut by the Woodcutter’s.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You’ve heard of the “argument that proves to much.” You can use Rashomon to argue that the holocaust didn’t happen. But it did happen. It was a great evil. So the Rashomon argument needs quite a few provisos. You can’t just whip it out and think you’re clever.

                In any case, GG really did originate on /pol and it was begun by hateful misogynists, and quite a few open neonazis. That’s what actually happened. Moreover, the /pol crowd is well aware of how to manipulate the Rashomon effect. Up to that point that had learned a lot running “sockpuppet” games on Tumblr and Twitter.

                In other words, the fact that GG seemed “slippery” was by design. The fact that you perpetuate that makes you their rube.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                I was also there for Gamergate.

                Part of the problem is that I was also there before Gamergate as part of the Mass Effect 3 backlash.

                So by the time that fans of any given game were being called names for not enthusiastically consuming despite getting served something significantly crappier than what they were hoping for was not a new experience for me.

                Yes, there was quite a bit of misogyny in the opening weeks of GG (and, yep, centered on Eron, Zoe, and polyamory theory) but it evolved into some whole gatekeeping thing that has more than a little overlap with comicsgate and, now, ttrpggate.

                I’m sure we’ll have some more gates in the coming years as more niche communities are discovered.Report

              • veronica d in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So wait! Are you stating as an empirical fact that the GG misogyny only lasted a few weeks? Will you stake something on that claim? — because it’s the sort of thing we could probably demonstrate one way or the other, but I’m not going to do the work if you’re just going to be slippery afterwards.

                According to this, “The Zoe Post” went up on August 16, 2014.

                https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Timeline_of_Gamergate

                It was May 12, 2015 when Wu’s cellphone number was posted on 8chan. That seems more than a few weeks. Perhaps you don’t think any misogyny was involved.

                I listened to a talk by Wu a couple years ago, long after GG, and to that day (and probably still) she has to pay a full time staffer to manage her communication, not the way a normal “social media expert” maintains a person’s image, but just to gather and document the ongoing hate she receives. That way she doesn’t have to see it so it doesn’t mess with her head. Anyway, “a few weeks” is absurdly wrong.

                I could look more, but honestly it’s exhausting and you’ll just go full weasel mode — which honestly, dude, you shouldn’t do that. GG was a hate group that originated on /pol. It was later co-opted by Brietbart. If a non-bigot got sucked into that, then it should be a learning experience for them. A lot of gaters were young dudes on the edges of the “manosphere.” That’s bad, but it’s something you can come back from.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                “So are you saying”

                Um. No.

                And quite a bit of the rest of the comment moved from there.

                I would say that GG confirmed a lot of stuff that was merely suspected previously. The “Gamers are Dead” blitz, among others.

                I’ve no doubt that Zoe and Brianna and Anita were the targets of vile misogyny for years.

                But GG was only about them to the extent that they were the faces of the new and improved whatever it is that they were trying to usher into video gaming and its environs.

                As for who “won”, it doesn’t appear to be over yet.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ve no doubt that Zoe and Brianna and Anita were the targets of vile misogyny for years.

                But GG was only about them to the extent that they were the faces of the new and improved whatever it is that they were trying to usher into video gaming and its environs.

                GG: The media looks down on gamers and thinks we’re all scum. They say we’re racist and sexist and elitist!

                Me: I mean, the constant racist and sexist slurs in online games isn’t really helping anything, but, yeah, it’s a very broad brush and they should be more careful, gamers consist of a very large group of people. Pretending they don’t is absurd and only works because the people who run everything are _extremely_ old and out of touch. In fact, it’s hard to find any young people who don’t regularly play _any_ video game, and almost impossible to find people who _never_ played video games.

                GG: But those aren’t Real Gamers.

                Me: Um, so that ‘elitist’ thing? That’s the thing right there.

                GG: Whatever, poser. The general media sucks in their criticism of us, the only True Gamers, so let’s show them by attacking this random programmer named Zoe, who has nothing to do with the media whatsoever, and wrote a text-based interaction fiction about depression! She probably slept her way into people liking it, at least that’s what this guy said. What a slut, am I right?

                Me: Uuuuuuuh…

                GG: …wait, now they’re calling us _more_ sexist?! WTF?! Quick, let’s pick another woman talking about this, Brianna, with no connection to the media, and dox her! That will shut everyone up!Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Part of the problem is that I was also there before Gamergate as part of the Mass Effect 3 backlash.

                I was part of the Mass Effect 3 backlash. One of the fans who were massively pissed off about it, and then was annoyed at the media misunderstanding the reason people were pissed. I’ve think I’ve talked about this here before…it’s entirely possible I’ve even ranted about the game itself.

                And, unrelated, I have repeatedly made the point, on this very site, that people should not be criticized for what media they enjoy, that all distinctions between ‘high brow’ and ‘low brow’ are elitist nonsense.

                Also, I believe I’ve made that point explicitly about video games, that dismissing them as fiction works is weird absurd prejudices by very old people who still, somehow, determine what we are ‘supposed’ to like.

                I don’t have a point here, I’m just making sure people remember my position on every aspect of this. Because I’m with you in this paragraph and then you veer into nonsense.

                So by the time that fans of any given game were being called names for not enthusiastically consuming despite getting served something significantly crappier than what they were hoping for was not a new experience for me.

                That wasn’t what Gamergate was, at all. Like, that’s not even what it’s claimed to be about _from the Gamergate side_. Gamergate actually was about ethics in journalism. (Did I just say that as a serious statement? I guess I did!)

                That was the claim, that games journalists were unethical, not ‘journalists do not like the fact we like specific video games’. Especially since the journalists they were talking about were games journalists, who don’t really have a problem with video games.

                And Gamergate got attacked by the media not about ‘the games they liked’, or even that they liked games at all, but about their behavior towards specific people.

                If you want to claim that the Gamergate people only acted how they did _because_ they were annoyed that people constantly looked down on them and they operate in some sort of defensive crouch…that’s a fine justification of why they were on a hair-trigger, but _they didn’t shoot at those people_, until much later, as a cover for their previous actions.

                They instead started firing randomly at some unrelated women, some for incredibly misogynist reasons.

                Which…not only is it extremely bad ‘collateral damage’ (Although I don’t know how it’s collateral damage when they are who you originally aim at and shoot at first), but considering that part of the criticism of [people who defined themselves as gamers] _by_ the media was the massive sexist that ‘gamers’ often were operating in, well…it sorta proved the media’s point for them.

                Was there also collateral damage from the media’s criticism of [people who defined themselves as gamers] onto _other_ gamers, the vast majority of whom wanted nothing to do with this crap? Yes, there was. Could the media have done better? Yes. Does this excuse the other side, who _started this_ with attacking random people? No.

                The entire situation was the fault of the reactionary troll-brained gamers who decided that a campaign of harassment would be good thing to do for fun, and then were all surprise-Pikichu-face when the media decided to take this as confirmation that gamers were trash and called them such.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                I remember a lot of parts of Gamergate.

                Some of it included stuff like Gone Home being heralded as one of the games that was the future of gaming.

                Some of it included stuff like the whole “Gamers Are Dead” media blitz written by the same people who championed games like Gone Home being the future of gaming.

                This weird incestuous group of people were mocking Gamers as a group and saying that the stuff they liked needn’t be catered to anymore because gamers were over.

                They didn’t have to be the audience anymore.

                So… yeah. It kinda did have to do with the games that were coming up and the games that went down.

                Remember Sunset? That was the game that Leigh Alexander was an official consultant on, helping herald in a new wave of games that didn’t appeal to gamers (because they didn’t have to).

                The gaming development house that made Gone Home came out with a sequel: Tacoma.

                As it turned out, it failed to make the splash that Gone Home did.

                There were a whole bunch of games that came out and gaming companies bragged about how they didn’t *WANT* bad people to buy them. (Remember Battlefield V? Cliffy B’s Lawbreakers? Oh, and Mass Effect: Andromeda?)

                Well. The bad people didn’t.

                So, from the perspective of people on Team Good, you may claim that it wasn’t about yelling about the games that this old obsolete target audience wanted to play… but, lemme tell ya, from over here?

                There was a lot of people telling me that they didn’t want entitled people to buy their stuff.

                There was a lot more to it than the media being incestuous as heck. (Though, I’ll grant, there was a *LOT* of the media being incestuous as heck going on. Did you see that Patty Hernandez is the EIC of Kotaku now? Do you see that as a good indicator or a bad one?)

                Those games didn’t fail because of the media, mind.

                I’d say that the media can boost a game but not really do a lot to squash it.

                What the media did was alienate the online portion of “gamers” while amplifying the voices of a huge number of people who didn’t buy games but liked the idea of Veggietales-kinda games being played instead of the old immoral ones and approved of the changes (without replacing the alienated buyers).

                Which resulted in Gone Home selling a bajillion copies and then… well, the next handful of years.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “There were a whole bunch of games that came out and gaming companies bragged about how they didn’t *WANT* bad people to buy them. ”

                Like, “Wolfenstein: New Colossus”, where a biiiiiig part of the marketing was “hey, how about a game where the Nazis are definitely the bad guys, I’m sure there’s some people really mad about that, wink wink”…Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Some of it included stuff like Gone Home being heralded as one of the games that was the future of gaming.

                No, you remember being told by GG people that game was wrongly heralded as the future of gaming. It never was called the future of anything, as far as I know. What people did say was ‘Hey, here’s some interesting new things that we can see being important in the future’. Which, um, they were. The atmosphere of a game, which was the main things praised in Gone Home outside of LGBT themes, has become increasingly important. (Note I am actively pretending that GamerGate didn’t have trouble with the praising of LGBT themes. I am lying to myself and everyone here.)

                And then _a bunch of crazy people_ decided journalists liking this game was a personal attack on them. Which it wasn’t. Journalist covering new things they can talk a lot about with more enthusiasm than old things is not any sort of attack on anyone, and the fact that some amount of ‘Gamers’ were completely insecure nutcases who stored their self-esteem in AAA video games is not the gaming media’s fault. (Well, it is the media’s fault, the media pandered to them for years.)

                This weird incestuous group of people were mocking Gamers as a group and saying that the stuff they liked needn’t be catered to anymore because gamers were over.

                So you think those articles were mocking, huh? Did you read any of them? I read them, and I didn’t think that.

                And, um, those people didn’t need to be catered to. I think I’ve actually had this discussion here before, but the AAA FPS games that ‘Gamers’ have identifies based on are actually nowhere near the best selling games. And they weren’t even back then. Mobile games had got 63% of all games spending in 2019. The bestseller list is full of casual games.

                The market did change, in exactly the way all those articles predicted. Or, actually, it didn’t ‘change’…that was already how the market was this entire time, it’s just some very loud people had decided the games market was all about them and what they wanted, and forced that lie on everyone for a very long time. GamerGate is when gaming journalists decided to stop playing along because they realized just how toxic the situation had become.

                There were a whole bunch of games that came out and gaming companies bragged about how they didn’t *WANT* bad people to buy them. (Remember Battlefield V? Cliffy B’s Lawbreakers? Oh, and Mass Effect: Andromeda?)

                The sole thing that ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ had to do with GamerGate is that some people decided to attack a programmer at Bioware for shitty facial animations, and Bioware said ‘please stop attacking our individual employees for what you see as problem in the game’. That was literally the entire thing that _Bioware_ did. They didn’t mention GamerGate, they didn’t say not to buy the game, they didn’t say anything at all except…well, here’s the tweet: https://twitter.com/bioware/status/843190432033005568 GamerGate has rewritten history that into that an attack on them by Bioware.

                Back on topic: I assume you think instead that people bought other comparable games instead of those two games actually created by anti-GG companies? Well, you’re right. They did!

                Let’s check which games they bought instead: Lawbreakers is an ‘hero shooter’. Well, no one came out with a successful ‘hero shooting’ around then. So the sales went to, I assume, Overwatch, basically the perfect hero shooter that defined the genre, which has been called one of the greatest video games of all time, with a massive fanbase. (I am repeating what other say, I have never played it, and do not actually play online games.) The first real competitor to Overwatch wasn’t released until 2019, Apex Legends. Note Apex Legends had to be free-to-play to make any inroads…and it only really is because Overwatch is getting old.

                So, was that Gamergate that caused people not to switch from Overwatch? Well, maybe?

                Or it just wasn’t very innovative and made some poor choices. The common criticism of Lawbreakers were: It didn’t distinguish itself from Overwatch in any real manner, it didn’t have very interesting characters, it wasn’t on XBox, which is where most of the hero shooter players were, and it wasn’t free to play like it was planned to be. The game actually did very poorly in beta, with a lot of people simply jumping out.

                I mean, I can’t prove that it wasn’t due to GamerGame, but that bare assertion seems somewhat dubious.

                As for Battlefield V, you might be right there. Although that was only a really a disappointment in sales because EA guessed wrong. It sold 7.5 million copies, more than all other Battlefield games _except_ the previous one, which sold 15 million. They just thought it would do better. They also released it a month after the massively popular Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, which in addition to being a Call of Duty, was entirely based around multiplayer, like Battlefield V mostly is. In fact, the games are very similiar and are usually seen as direct competitors. So let me concede the point: The people who made Battlefield V pissed off the ‘Gamers’ who want to buy realistic multiplayer war simulators, which was their only actual audience, resulting in worse sales, and people shifted to CoD:BO4.

                Wait. No. CoD:BO4 sales didn’t meet expectations either! Whoops. What games in that genre were people buying?

                Overwatch. Honestly, it’s Overwatch that they were all buying.

                The entire massive blockbuster Call of Duty franchise, one of the biggest AAA video game franchises in history, has made $3 billion since it started in 2010. But Overwatch, a single game released in 2016, had made $1 billion…by 2017. It’s the 7th best selling video game of all time. And those two games, the ones that supposedly failed for being anti-GG, went directly up against it, at its height of popularity. D’oh! Maybe that’s why one failed and the other didn’t do as good as hoped?

                So,…what is Overwatch, exactly? Considering that everyone in that genre, anti-GG and otherwise, seems to be losing sales to it?

                Well, a key point of it, one of the things that seems to be a large draw, that I’ve heard from players of it, is that it has incredibly interesting and varied characters. Which, remember, is why Lawbreakers failed, because it didn’t. Overwatch is probably the most cosplayed video game, of the sheer variety of characters, with personalities, and backstories and connections vaguely hinted at. It has tons of gay characters. It has female characters, tattoos, all the sorts of interesting characters that Battlefield V got critized for for being ‘unrealistic’.

                Which is, of course, exactly what all the ‘gamer is over and the industry is changing’ articles were talking about. That this constant push towards ‘realism’ and minute frame rate advances and all sorts of things that the very very vocal ‘Gamers’ were pushing for was actually nonsense. People wanted fun games. They wanted games they could see themselves in. If they wanted to play multiplayer shooters, they wanted Overwatch! Which didn’t even exist at the time.

                Or they want Apex Legends now. Which _also_ has all those things. In fact, the entire shift _to_ ‘hero shooters’ (Where you pick a single character from a large roster.) from generic protagists like the Call of Duty games, can actually be seen as part of this.

                What the media did was alienate the online portion of “gamers” while amplifying the voices of a huge number of people who didn’t buy games but liked the idea of Veggietales-kinda games being played instead of the old immoral ones and approved of the changes

                Ah, Veggietale-kinda games like the critically Gone Home, with the LGBT plot. That was very Veggietales of them, I always thought Larry’s coming-out was handled especially well on that show.

                What are you talking about? The criticism of GamerGate was that the industry was paying too much attention to stupid things instead of the new AAA titles. Not that they were rating the AAA poorly. They don’t actually rate anyone poorly, which is a common criticism of them! (Fun fact: Video game journalism is actually extremely bad, and has always been, but it’s bad _in its entirety_, not because of the GG complaints, which are almost entirely backwards nonsense. The problem is not fricking indie games randomly being given a spotlight! It’s giving good or even medium scores to rapidly-churned-out buggy messes like Fallout 76.)

                What immoral games do you think they were complaining about, anyway? Or is ‘immoral’ the opposite of ‘woke’ here? Well, could you point out a ‘non-woke’ game that was critized? Or…any game that was critized? I mean, I can think of a few weird indie games that were just so clearly out-of-bounds that they were quickly ‘canceled’, but we’re talking about AAA games here, right?

                Or are you talking about the non-gaming media?

                (without replacing the alienated buyers).

                2.7 billion people play video games. 65% of all American adults play video games. The video game industry is astonishingly large. Which is part of the reason it was incredibly stupid for gaming magazines to cater the people who claimed to be ‘Gamers’ for so long, and why we’re better off now that they’ve stopped focusing on what those people cared about (extremely high resolution and FPS and the number of shaders), and started focusing on what others wanted, like fun, or story, or an open world with a lot of possibilities in it, or all sorts of varied things.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The atmosphere of a game, which was the main things praised in Gone Home outside of LGBT themes, has become increasingly important.

                The atmosphere of games being important did not begin in 2013.

                I remember discussions about the atmosphere of Zork.

                I was one of the people who purchased Gone Home thinking that it was a creepy existential horror kinda game. I played it. At first, I didn’t think it was a game as much as an interactive visual novel. (I wrote about it here!)

                I beat it, thought it was interesting (though, granted, not for me), thought that Maribou should play it, and then I told her to play the first five minutes and she went on to beat the game in one sitting. AND SHE LOVED IT.

                I only purchased it because I thought it was one thing. From what I understand, many people did. Though it was not the thing that I thought it was, I knew someone who would enjoy the thing that it was and I passed it along.

                The derisive term “walking simulator” was created and was given as evidence of how critics of Gone Home didn’t “get it”. Here’s Salon:

                In true form, the reification of the label “walking simulator” does a better job of describing the kinds of people who create such labels than it does the games it purports to define.

                It became a thing where Gone Home was praised by a bunch of people who thought, finally!, a game for people who aren’t gamers! And the people who didn’t like it? Well, they’re gamers.

                And, suddenly, we’re having a discussion about morality instead of a discussion about matters of taste.

                So you think those articles were mocking, huh?

                Might not be the best or most accurate term. “Contemptuous” might be a better one.

                David Auerbach wrote a piece about how mind-bogglingly out-there the “Gamers Are Dead” blitz was. While his predictions of the death of Game Journalism was less than accurate, I think he did do a pretty good job of boggling at the blitz from the position of a stuffy guy who wasn’t particularly into the whole “gaming” thing and came at it from the perspective of an outsider asking “WTF?”

                And, um, those people didn’t need to be catered to.

                No, they don’t. Artists don’t need to cater to their audience. Creators don’t need to cater to the people who might buy their product.

                There is no moral imperative there whatsoever.

                Wait, are we discussing morality? Or, like, tactics/strategy?

                Because if we’re discussing something boring like tactics/strategy, I see upsides to catering to an audience. See, for example, removing John Boyega from the Chinese Star Wars posters.

                The sole thing that ‘Mass Effect: Andromeda’ had to do with GamerGate is that some people decided to attack a programmer at Bioware for shitty facial animations, and Bioware said ‘please stop attacking our individual employees for what you see as problem in the game’.

                This is one of those things where you remember different things than I remember.

                For one thing, I remember that I said “There were a whole bunch of games that came out and gaming companies bragged about how they didn’t *WANT* bad people to buy them” and you started talking about how Gamergate’s main complaint about Andromeda was facial animations?

                I remember the kerfuffle over Andromeda differently.

                Like, I also remember the people asking “what the heck” over multiple characters and a non-zero number of apologies being given by the company for the way they handled things.

                (Not apologies to “gamers”, mind.)

                I assume you think instead that people bought other comparable games instead of those two games actually created by anti-GG companies? Well, you’re right. They did!

                For what it’s worth, your post-mortem of Lawbreakers is different from Cliffy B’s.

                I have no doubt that he has reason to argue that the fault was not his own… but, for what it’s worth, he has a different take.

                If he’s not lying, it’s because he remembers things differently than you do.

                You make a point about Battlefield V:

                As for Battlefield V, you might be right there. Although that was only a really a disappointment in sales because EA guessed wrong. It sold 7.5 million copies, more than all other Battlefield games _except_ the previous one, which sold 15 million.

                But then you say this about BO:4:

                Wait. No. CoD:BO4 sales didn’t meet expectations either! Whoops.

                Wait, I thought. This doesn’t have numbers like the previous one did. Is there something being elided?

                Well, maybe.

                Black Ops 4 grossed over $500 million in worldwide retail sales within its first three days of release.

                The game was the second best selling title in US in November 2018 behind Red Dead Redemption 2.

                Apparently, it outsold BO:3. One of the criticisms of it failing to meet internal expectations was that “expectations were too high”.

                Now, of course, the free-to-play games are taking over the space once dominated by $60 games with $50 DLC.

                But comparing apples to apples is illuminating.

                BO:4 didn’t meet internal expectations. This resulted in layoffs.
                Battlefield V didn’t meet external ones. This resulted in resignations.

                What are you talking about?

                The whole “morality” argument when it comes to matters of taste. I’m complaining about a category error.

                What immoral games do you think they were complaining about, anyway?

                It ain’t the “immoral games” (though those show up).

                It’s the immoral *AUDIENCE*.

                Or is ‘immoral’ the opposite of ‘woke’ here?

                Yes. If we’re talking about the *AUDIENCE* rather than the games.

                The video game industry is astonishingly large. Which is part of the reason it was incredibly stupid for gaming magazines to cater the people who claimed to be ‘Gamers’ for so long, and why we’re better off now that they’ve stopped focusing on what those people cared about (extremely high resolution and FPS and the number of shaders), and started focusing on what others wanted, like fun, or story, or an open world with a lot of possibilities in it, or all sorts of varied things.

                I’m pretty sure that games that are fun, and have good stories, and open worlds with lots of possibilities are welcome additions to the gaming landscape as of 2015. Would that we had them when I was a kid!

                I don’t disagree (and haven’t) that the audience of video games is huge.

                As one of the single-player fans out there (never played Overwatch, never played Apex Legends, only played Mass Effect 3’s multiplayer long enough to get the points to get the best of the bad endings), I know better than to argue that games need to cater to me as much as I like to whine that there ought to be corners that cater to me as well. After Fallout 76 promised a proverbial canvas bag but delivered only a proverbial nylon one, I’m looking forward to stuff like Starfield and Ragnarok and, if I can get my hands on a PS5, Ratchet and Clank and Miles Morales.

                As someone who prefers single player, I look at the landscape and I already know that not all games are going to cater to my sensibilities.

                It’d be downright crazy of me to think that they should.

                But there are new extremely high resolutions and FPSes and shader issues. And if these issues are handled ham-handedly by the gaming companies, there are going to be a lot of tired faces out there.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “Ah, Veggietale-kinda games like the critically Gone Home, with the LGBT plot. That was very Veggietales of them”

                ah-heh. You’re seeing “Veggietales” and substituting in “Meme Cracker-Christian Theology”. Do not make this mistake.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The atmosphere of games being important did not begin in 2013.

                The last Zork game was released in 1997. Not particularly relevent to the market _16 years_ later.

                Yes, games used to have atmosphere, adventure games particularly, which is what Gone Home was. (A better comparison if you’re dredging up history is probably Myst.) And then they mostly stopped. And, no I’m sure they didn’t stop completely, the Dark Souls series had already started and thus were always somewhat atmospheric, although obviously it can be rather hard to tell that while playing Dark Souls. And I’m sure there were other examples. But the actual state of the market, in 2014, was it had spent a decade caring about frame rate and photorealisism, at least in the AAA games, and lacking in story and even moreso in atmosphere.

                Gone Home was a game that just had atmosphere and stories, which made it interesting and different from another Dragon Age.If you look, I’m sure you’ll find other games praised that did atmosphere well, because it was not common. Plus, with Gone Home, there was an interesting debate over whether it was a game or not, and no, it was not the games media demanding it be considered a game against the wishes of ‘Gamers’, it was a discussion the media had with _itself_. ‘What is a game?’

                Because, again, it was a vaguely interesting topic that wasn’t being a PR mouthpiece for game companies.

                The absolutely hilarious thing here is: Games journalism was completely broken in 2014. But the broken part wasn’t talking about a walking simulation. Or indy game designer in relationships with game magazine people. It was, as the article you linked to points out, gaming ‘journalism’ basically being a mouthpiece for gaming companies.

                Complaining ‘This walking simulator got some coverage that seems disproportional’ is an absurd, insane critism of a ‘news’ industry that should have been burned to the ground for ethical violations due to literally having no firewall between advertising and reporting.

                Which is something the actual Gamergate was pretty bad at attacking, and mostly seemed to just incidentally complain about in between their near constant attacks on women. The astonishing Driver 3 scandal, a _gigantic_ ethics violation in reporting on games, one that just showed just how broken everything was, had happened a mere decade earlier, and yet had almost entirely passed from history at that point, and Gamergate didn’t bother to ever talk about it. That would have been a thing to point at and talk about how the industry hadn’t changed, but nope.

                And, suddenly, we’re having a discussion about morality instead of a discussion about matters of taste.

                No, we aren’t. This is not a discussion that happened. There was no one out there saying that playing Gone Home was morally better than the LoTR game.

                You keep saying that, but saying that isn’t going to make it true. You basically are inventing this claim, AFAIK, Gamergate itself didn’t make it. They made a lot of completely random claims, but ‘Games journalists are calling us immoral for playing FPS instead of Gone Home’ is not one of them.

                David Auerbach wrote a piece about how mind-bogglingly out-there the “Gamers Are Dead” blitz was.

                Did you just cite something in 2014 talking about a bunch of articles written in 2014 predicting the future were wrong? And then admit it was wrong about a major thing. What?

                Well, it was wrong about another thing, too. Let’s quote the article:

                Returning to the real world, the biggest problem with all these claims is that they are demonstrably untrue. A quick glance at financials shows that “gamers” are not going anywhere. If “gamers” really are dying, no one told the marketing departments for these publications, which continue to trumpet their “gamer” demographic to advertisers.

                What was dying, as pretty much all those articles talked about, was the identity of ‘Gamers’. (This was wrong, dying implies it was currently alive.) There actually was a PEW study done the next year: ‘Some 50% of men and 48% of women play video games, while 15% of men and 6% of women say the term “gamer” describes them well.’
                https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2015/12/15/who-plays-video-games-and-identifies-as-a-gamer/

                That identity had died a decade ago. Or more. This was just the media catching up.

                Because if we’re discussing something boring like tactics/strategy, I see upsides to catering to an audience.

                The audience for video games is not ‘Gamers’. The people who play video games do not call themselves ‘Gamers’, and don’t identify as ‘Gamers’. And I don’t mean they use a different term, I mean, ‘playing video games’ is not part of their identity, any more than ‘driving a car’ or ‘eating pizza’ is.

                This is not only true now, it was true then, and arguabling for a long time before that. Nintendo introduce the Wii in 2006, intended for non-Gamers, and blew up the market. And then we got smart phone. (Which were obviously the future in 2014, even if not every phone was one yet.) If game companies want to cater to their audience, they _shouldn’t_ cater to ‘Gamers’. Every data says their audience is a lot bigger. (Like, uh, you. And me. And honestly most of the people here. Antedotes don’t prove things, but it’s weird how we don’t seem to have any ‘Gamers’ here, just a bunch of people who play video games.)

                Of course, it’s an interesting question if the audience for video game _magazines_ were Gamers. Maybe that amsll fraction of people who identify as Gamers were the audience of the magazines? So insulting them woul dbe bad…or would it?

                That market has had trouble for a while, but the problems in that market didn’t seem to get worse, and in fact seem to stablize a lot _after_ this? It’s hard to tell, all journalism has had problems as online advertising crashed, and that article you linked to isn’t wrong that vloggers were taking over the market.

                I would argue that we can see ‘Gamers are over’ as video games journalism actively _changing_ their audience. Rejecting their old one audience and getting a new, bigger one.

                I remember the kerfuffle over Andromeda differently.

                Here’s what you’re confused about: Bioware didn’t do the thing you vaguely remember them doing. They didn’t attack Gamergate. The closest thing, again, was that Tweet of ‘stop attacking individual programmers of our games’.

                Bioware did something else that caused a lot of controversy, though. They dared to have gay characters in their game released in 2017. They supposedly ‘went woke’.

                Or, rather, continue to be ‘woke’, as they’ve had gay characters in their games since 2005, including literally every Mass Effect (Even if the first one tried to no homo FemShep/Liara), so the idea this was a response to Gamergame is a bit absurd.

                And they got attacked for this by…homophobes. I have no idea who those homophobes were, but they certainly weren’t the fine upstanding Gamergate people you’re defending!

                But since you and I have now _accidentally_ implied that Gamergate attacked a game because of homophobia, you probably should clear the air and actually explain the real reason they were angry at Bioware.

                It certainly wasn’t the gay thing, Gamergate couldn’t have been on some sort of ‘anti-SJW crusade’ against depictions of gay people…or could they have been?

                For what it’s worth, your post-mortem of Lawbreakers is different from Cliffy B’s.

                Cliffy B’s take is kinda stupid, considering that Overwatch has the very things he thinks caused problems. Literally the first two characters you meet in Overwatch are LGBT.

                I do point out he talks explicitly about the problem of going up against Overwatch. Like, right there in the text. And not being on Xbox.

                Wait, I thought. This doesn’t have numbers like the previous one did. Is there something being elided?

                Yes, you’re right that CoD:BO4 was criticed for not being a real Call of Duty and instead…being the sort of game that Battlefield V was. And Overwatch was. Which made it not sell as well as people thought…because it, like Bafflefield 4, ended up actually competing with Overwatch. Whoops. (In fact, CoD:BO4 was supposed to be _more_ like Overwatch and got changed near the end of development.)

                I think you’ve decided we’re talking about Call of Duty, and we’re really not? I was merely pointing to CoD:BO4 to show how the entire market of ‘games competing with Overwatch’ did not do great, even one that was labeled as a Call of Duty! Which meant Call of Duty fanes were pissed (Because they wanted to play CoD), and Overwatch fans were, uh…still playing Overwatch. As they continued to do for several more years.

                The whole “morality” argument when it comes to matters of taste. I’m complaining about a category error.

                You keep saying that, and keep being completely unwilling to cite a single gaming magazine article that does what you’re talking about.

                Again: This isn’t even a claim that Gamergate made. As far as I’m aware. Where are you getting this from?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The last Zork game was released in 1997. Not particularly relevent to the market _16 years_ later.

                The point of my statement that people were discussing the amazing atmosphere of Zork as far back as 1979 was not to make a point about Grand Inquisitor, but to push back about the claim that Atmosphere was becoming increasingly important.

                It has been important for a while.

                And, indeed, has been a part of a bunch of games since 1979. I suppose we could argue that AAA games didn’t have these things, but niche ones did… sure. But we’re talking about Gone Home as if it were discovering this weird “atmosphere” thing.

                When… sure. It did a good job delivering on atmosphere in the way that only games that don’t have a number after the title can.

                And have. For decades now.

                Plus, with Gone Home, there was an interesting debate over whether it was a game or not, and no, it was not the games media demanding it be considered a game against the wishes of ‘Gamers’, it was a discussion the media had with _itself_. ‘What is a game?’

                And the people who took the “Against The Proposition” were portrayed as being Bad.

                I already linked to the article discussing the problematic origins of the term “walking simulator”.

                The debate was settled. It was about explaining that the people who thought it wasn’t settled were bad.

                Games journalism was completely broken in 2014.

                Oh, yeah. Everybody still laughs at the picture of Geoff Knightley holding court in front of a table of Code Red and Doritos. As if he were preparing for a session of D&D.

                Complaining ‘This walking simulator got some coverage that seems disproportional’ is an absurd, insane critism of a ‘news’ industry that should have been burned to the ground for ethical violations due to literally having no firewall between advertising and reporting.

                Oh, is that what my claim was? Jeez, I can only imagine that you’d want to push back against a claim as dishonest as that one!

                I suppose that I can appreciate that we wish that Gamergate talked about more scandals but the scandals I remember being talked about include:
                Kane and Lynch
                Geoff Knightley selling out
                GamejournoPros
                IGN’s review of Football Manager that was upset that it was a management game rather than a sports game
                Sim City (which is, more or less, the Driver 3 thing)

                I suppose I could come up with more. Do you need me to come up with more?

                There was no one out there saying that playing Gone Home was morally better than the LoTR game.

                Perhaps not. But there were people out there saying that people who hated Gone Home were in a different moral category than, say, people who hated Football Manager 2009.

                There were fun on-the-fly psych profiles made of these folks!

                Which seems to be in a different category than “if you don’t like sandbox games, don’t play sandbox games”.

                They made a lot of completely random claims, but ‘Games journalists are calling us immoral for playing FPS instead of Gone Home’ is not one of them.

                My claim is that Game Journalists were calling them “over”.

                And then, when the “gamers” pushed back, were called neckbeards, misogynists, and so on.

                Did you just cite something in 2014 talking about a bunch of articles written in 2014 predicting the future were wrong? And then admit it was wrong about a major thing. What?

                No. I didn’t.

                We were discussing how the gaming journalism was holding “gamers” in contempt and my evidence for that was the “Gamers are Dead” media blitz and my evidence for *THAT* was David Auerbach’s article asking “what the heck? Why are all of these articles doing this?”

                And that point is not refuted by pointing out that David Auerbach predicted that game journalism was going to become obsolete.

                I might be interested in looking at numbers for 2014 vs. 2020, though.

                I suppose it’d be unfair to see “Kotaku UK shutting down” as an indicator of anything. (Schreier leaving Kotaku US struck me as a bad indicator for Kotaku… Patricia Hernandez becoming EIC of Kotaku strikes me as a bad indicator as well. I suppose we’ll see what happens over the coming year. Are there numbers for the last few years? I couldn’t find anything via google about “ratings” or “hitcount” or whatever.)

                The audience for video games is not ‘Gamers’. The people who play video games do not call themselves ‘Gamers’, and don’t identify as ‘Gamers’. And I don’t mean they use a different term, I mean, ‘playing video games’ is not part of their identity, any more than ‘driving a car’ or ‘eating pizza’ is.

                I’m kind of wondering who you’re arguing with here.

                I already said “I don’t disagree (and haven’t) that the audience of video games is huge.”

                But what I will say is that there is a segment of the gaming audience does, in fact, define itself through its hobby and does, in fact, refer to itself (among other things) as “gamers”.

                Like, to the point where there was a media blitz talking about how this particular segment of the audience was “over”.

                I would argue that we can see ‘Gamers are over’ as video games journalism actively _changing_ their audience. Rejecting their old one audience and getting a new, bigger one.

                This is why I’d like to see what the numbers look like today.

                I know that Kotaku UK is in the process of shutting down. Maybe it made its audience so large that it wrote itself out of a job.

                Here’s what you’re confused about: Bioware didn’t do the thing you vaguely remember them doing.

                This is weird. I’m talking about the drama over Andromeda and you keep talking about Bioware.

                The kerfuffle over Andromeda is not limited to the situation with the young woman who claimed to be a lead designer.

                There was a *LOT* more to it than that. They include (but are not limited to!) the other stuff I talked about.

                Or, rather, continue to be ‘woke’, as they’ve had gay characters in their games since 2005, including literally every Mass Effect (Even if the first one tried to no homo FemShep/Liara), so the idea this was a response to Gamergame is a bit absurd.

                Did you know that Bioware apologized for its treatment of one of its trans characters in Andromeda? They did. It’s here. I mentioned that but didn’t link to it. That’s the link.

                That particular post about the apology mentions the patch that fixes the facial animations that were, apparently, bad enough that they needed a patch.

                Did you ever see the side-by-side? Pretty funny!

                And they got attacked for this by…homophobes. I have no idea who those homophobes were, but they certainly weren’t the fine upstanding Gamergate people you’re defending!

                They got attacked over a *LOT* of things. Some of them resulted in patches. Some of them resulted in apologies. They also got attacked over the whole “woke” thing.

                If I were them, I’d want to point out how awful the attackers over the whole “woke” thing were and imply that everybody who was criticizing the game over anything at all was doing it because they couldn’t treat the game as if it were a brothel in space.

                “What about the gameplay?”
                “You one of those homophobes that doesn’t like gay people? Not all people who play games are straight white men!”

                Cliffy B’s take is kinda stupid, considering that Overwatch has the very things he thinks caused problems. Literally the first two characters you meet in Overwatch are LGBT.

                Cliffy B’s take isn’t that “I should have had fewer LGBT characters”. It is “I shouldn’t have made such a big deal about how woke the game was but I should have let the game speak for itself”.

                Like Overwatch did.

                (There were some funny blowups over Overwatch, though. Remember when people were upset over Mei’s skins? Yeah, it happens every year. I’m not talking about the cultural appropriation of corn rows, though. I’m talking about the one where she was too skinny.)

                You’re misunderstanding the whole BO4 vs. Battlefield V thing. BO4 was not one of the games that “did not do great” against Overwatch. It did do great against Overwatch. It did not meet internal expectations.

                Which is different from the Battlefield V approach of “bad people should not buy our games” that resulted in not only the game not meeting internal expectations but not meeting external ones and resulting in executives resigning.

                That’s not only a difference in degree. It’s a difference in kind.

                You can’t blame that on Overwatch (though I understand how Battlefield V would want to.)

                You keep saying that, and keep being completely unwilling to cite a single gaming magazine article that does what you’re talking about.

                I linked to the one problematizing the people who came up with the term “walking simulator”.

                Was that not enough? What, exactly, are you looking for here?

                Again: This isn’t even a claim that Gamergate made. As far as I’m aware. Where are you getting this from?

                From someone who had a different perspective on Gamergate than the officially approved one used by Team Good.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “The point of my statement that people were discussing the amazing atmosphere of Zork as far back as 1979 was not to make a point about Grand Inquisitor, but to push back about the claim that Atmosphere was becoming increasingly important.

                It has been important for a while.”

                Like…okay, one might argue that a command-line text adventure like “Zork” has no atmosphere the player doesn’t invent for themselves, but you’re gonna tell me that things like “Myst” and “Seventh Guest” and “Resident Evil” were just twitch-and-click exercises whose only attraction was the mechanics of gameplay?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                Yeah, I was tempted to come up with a list of “atmospheric” games from each decade and then thought “I should do every 5 years” and then wondered if I could get away with every 3 years…

                But, you know.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                DD, before you make a comment as odd as that one, you might want to check if a) I explicitly mentioned Myst, and (I do) b) I was talking about a Zork before or _after_ Myst (After), and c) whether that Zork was text-based. (It wasn’t.)

                And Seventh Guest was released in 1993. I’m not sure what you think that proves. I think apparently both of you have missed ‘Games _used to_ have atmosphere and story, and then there was a dry patch where game companies got pretty bad about it before Gone Home’.

                The Resident Evil had, indeed, started out with some atmosphere, and RE3 has been praised for it. Of course, that was in 1999. And RE4 came out and got massive acclaim, which included atmosphere, in 2005.

                And _then_ RE switched gears and made RE5, more an action shooter, and the multi-part oddity that was RE6. In fact, the Resident Evil series is a good chart of the under-prioritizing of storyline and atmosphere, and how caring about those things degraded to that point in 2014, making a lot of games into mere high-res shooters, including existing series making swerves into that genre!

                For a while in gaming, atmosphere and story were both hard-to-find in games (But not impossible) and any game that managed to do them moderately well got massively praised in the gamer mags.

                Which is, of course, why Gone Home got praise…as did other games, again, I mentioned Dark Souls, and I’ll add the reboot of Tomb Raider, although that was more story-praise than atmosphere, it actually got some criticism for having weird atmosphere and thematic breakage despite clearly trying.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Atmosphere.
                You mention RE4 in 2005.

                So let’s start there.

                2006: Oblivion, Twilight Princess, Gears of War, Bully, Okami, Dead Rising
                2007: Bioshock, Assassin’s Creed, Portal, The Witcher, God of War II
                2008: Fallout 3, Dead Space, Little Big Planet, Braid
                2009: Batman Arkham Asylum, Uncharted 2, Borderlands, Bayonetta, Dragon Age Origins (if you want to argue that Borderlands doesn’t belong in there, I won’t argue back)
                2010: Mass Effect 2, Red Dead Redemption, God of War III, Alan Wake, Bioshock 2, Amnesia, Limbo, and, oh yeah, Fallout: New Vegas
                2011: Skyrim, Portal 2, Arkham City, Dark Souls, L.A. Noire, Deus Ex Human Revolution, Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dead Space 2
                2012: Far Cry 3, Journey, Dishonored, Max Payne 3, Spec Ops: The Line, Sleeping Dogs, XCom: Enemy Unknown, and even Fez
                2013: Grand Theft Auto V, The Last of Us, Arkham Origins, Dragon’s Crown (heh), Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag.

                And, yes, last but not least: Gone Home.

                There weren’t no dry spell for atmosphere.
                Not by a damn sight.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I’ll grant: The weakest two years were 2008/2009… if you didn’t like Fallout 3. If you didn’t like Batman, I imagine that that stretch was excruciating for stuff like atmosphere.

                If you *DID* like Fallout 3, you saw that year as a highlight in gaming.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Okay, I had a huge chunk of this comment typed out, listing every game, and I suddenly realized what on Earth you were talking about, so I erased it. It’s the only way you could think almost every RPG was atmospheric:

                There’s two things being referred to as atmospheric, but they’re different things. You clearly thought ‘atmospheric’ was referring to ‘atmospheric storytelling’. Which a lot of games have done, and Gone Home did do it. But Gone Home being praised as ‘atmospheric’ was also about _mood_. Music, incidental sounds, light, fog, the way things are framed in screen, how much clutter is there, where a character is placed in relation to things. Basically, things a director would be doing in a movie.

                You can do atmospheric storytelling and have no atmosphere, like Dead Rising. (The ‘run around hitting zombies with potted plants in a well-lit mall’ game was a really weird thing to see on a list as ‘atmospheric’.) In Dead Rising, there are things that have happened that you have to piece together, but it’s not creepy or joyous or anything. It’s not immersive.

                You can also have atmospheric mood without that sort of a storytelling. Although that’s much harder to come up with example with. (I might argue Cuphead?)

                And you listed a bunch of indie games, but I don’t know what your point is there. Indie games don’t say anything about where the industry is, although successful indie games say something about where the industry isn’t, but should be. And all of those were critically praised at the time by gaming magazines, exactly because they were something different.

                AAA games:
                Okami (Not actually an AAA game, but not indie, so…I’ll put it here.)
                Dark Souls, as I said.
                Bioshock was also critically acclaimed for its immersion…as I think I have also mentioned.
                So was Alan Wake, which I had totally forgotten existed. My bad. (I actually own that game…never played it.)
                Bayonetta is atmospheric (I assume, I’ve actually only seen Bayonetta 2, which is absurdly atmospheric.), even I don’t think it was praised for the atmosphere at the time? Maybe the theme got in the way?

                Wait. Bayonetta, Dark Souls, and Okami were all from Japanese studios. In fact, Hideki Kamiya directed both Okami and Bayonetta! Huh. And…Remedy, the people who make Alan Wake and are well know for atmospheric things in their games (Like, for a more modern example, in Control), is a Finnish game studio. What the heck is going on here? The only non-Indie atmospheric American-made games on that list is Bioshock! I’m not trying to make a real point there, but it is kinda weird. Apparently, American studios really didn’t care about atmosphere, whereas foreign studios just mostly didn’t care. I didn’t notice that until I had started listing them.

                Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag is, indeed, considered atmospheric. It also was released _after_ Gone Home and the praise of it, so doesn’t matter here. And it’s almost inexcusable to wrongly list that and not wrongly list Alien Isolation, an utterly terrifying game also released right around then.

                There are two other games you listed that were said to have some level of atmosphere, and were praised for it, but…honestly were a limited in what they did. Portal 2 was, I feel, almost entirely physical level design. Incredible level design. And puzzles. But I feel to be atmospheric, it would need to be more than that. And Fallout 3, which was often called atmospheric…but…I think a lot of what we thought was atmosphere was simply the shock of seeing very familiar things destroyed. It doesn’t feel immersive when I look back at it, especially since there’s no music associated with it (That’s what happens when you give people a tunable radio.), or anything besides ‘My God’.

                A lot of those games had, for lack of a better term, ‘startle reveals’. Where there is a giant reveal in some sort of scripted scene, that produced awe. A Jurassic Park ‘reveal the dinosaurs’ moment. That was almost what passed for atmospheric…you walked through a door, the music swelled, you got a cinematic view…and then got dumped back into gameplay after the required 8 seconds of emotion. That’s not atmosphere.

                But you did list one more atmospheric game: The Last of Us. And it’s even American made. And made before Gone Home.

                Two months before. And was extremely well praised for the exact same thing. In fact, if there was a darling of the gaming world during that time, it was The Last of Us, not Gone Home.

                If you want to make the argument that the American game dev industry shifted back to caring about atmosphere (And good story telling) with The Last of Us in June 2013, and HOW DARE the gaming magazines apparently not notice for an entire two months…I mean, I guess you can make that argume

                This is a very weird discussion. 2013 is the pivot for more atmosphere showing up in game…which means all these games had been in development for a year. So Gone Home and the discussion around it didn’t really impact anything.

                That said, it still meant that gaming magazines were starved for that sort of game. They had been starved for a while, heaping praise on every game that did it, which is probably why the industry had started shifting! Gone Home was just the last one that ended up there before (while?) the industry shifted.

                And, as I said in my other post, Gone Home actually got attacked that badly, out of proportion, to any other game, for its LGBT themes, not because….what even was the supposed justification of attacking it? You seem to think it had something to do with the gaming magazines promoting playing it as good and other games as bad, but as that is a completely fictitious version of events (The gaming magazines, being wholly in the pocket of game studios, were not going to and in fact never have attacked anyone for playing any game whatsoever, outside of a few troll games designed literally for that purpose. They especially wouldn’t criticize people playing the AAA shooters you seem to imagine they were attacking. The AAA shooters generate a massive part of their advertising!), what is your second choice?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                If you found even more atmospheric (NOW REDEFINED AS “MOOD”!) games, then please forgive me for overlooking even more games that would have made my point.

                I regret the error.

                As for Portal 2’s atmosphere, it came entirely from the voice acting.

                I can easily see how someone who was differently abled and had to rely on subtitles would see the game as being insufficiently atmospheric.

                I regret including those who experience some measure of hearing loss into my description of games with atmosphere.

                I regret the error.

                You seem to think it had something to do with the gaming magazines promoting playing it as good and other games as bad, but as that is a completely fictitious version of events

                No. That is not what I am saying.

                I am saying that those who said that “Gone Home” sucked were portrayed as bad.

                Not people who preferred other games. But people who bought Gone Home (perhaps thinking that it was a horror game?) and then played it and said “Nah, this game ain’t for me.”

                Or worse: “This game sucks.”

                Those people were portrayed as bad.
                Not as lacking aesthetic sense.
                Not as people who didn’t “get it”.
                But as people who were some variant of “phobic”.

                People who had a flaw.

                This is really out there for those of us who think stuff like “this is like preferring mayo to mustard”.

                “MAYONAISSE IS MADE WITH ANIMAL PRODUCTS YOU ANIMAL NAZI!!!!”

                Allow me to state for the record that I prefer mustard.

                The AAA shooters generate a massive part of their advertising!), what is your second choice?

                My first choice, ever and always, is “single-player”.

                My second choice?

                Something that ain’t.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If you found even more atmospheric (NOW REDEFINED AS “MOOD”!) games, then please forgive me for overlooking even more games that would have made my point.

                Once again, i find myself asking a question I should have asked at the start: Have you ever read any reviews of Gone Home, EVER? Like, a single one?

                Here the game reviewed at all the sites I could think of off hand:

                https://kotaku.com/gone-home-the-kotaku-review-1118218265
                https://www.cnet.com/reviews/gone-home-review/
                https://www.ign.com/articles/2013/08/15/gone-home-review
                https://www.gamespot.com/reviews/gone-home-review/1900-6413000/
                https://www.polygon.com/2013/8/15/4620172/gone-home-review-if-these-walls-could-talk
                https://www.pcgamer.com/gone-home-review/
                https://www.gamesradar.com/gone-home-review/
                https://www.gamegrin.com/reviews/gone-home-review/

                I urge you to read every single one of those, and notice how they talk about how the atmosphere is the most amazing thing ever the likes of which have never seen on this planet!

                Oh, wait, no they don’t. They all praise the atmosphere, like I said, it was something that all reviews were consistent on, in addition to praising the story. They often talking about realistic the environment is, and really making them feel like they’re in the setting of the game. They all think it’s very well done.

                And then moved on. It’s often a single sentence.

                This has now morphed into some absurd demand for me to prove that no games actually had atmosphere before that point, because people have hallucinated that’s what other people have said.

                No one said that. Not me, not them. I said, in the previous years, games ‘got bad at it’. And some of the reviews said that too. (Although they can’t criticize the state of the industry too openly.)

                And games did get bad! Exceptions existing do not disprove that. The reason we know they existed, and can think of them, is because they were exceptional. Everyone immediately thinks of Bioshock, because Bioshock did something _special_ with the atmosphere that _other games didn’t do_.

                The article that goes most in-deep about atmosphere is the last one, it dedicates a full paragraph to the atmosphere:

                The Fullbright Company’s previous work on the BioShock series really shines through in the game’s atmosphere. In the same way that Rapture’s creepy soundscape instilled a sense of dread into the player, Gone Home’s ambient sound effects evoke a similar feeling to hearing unexplained noises in your own home at night. This, combined with the sound of raindrops hammering against the house walls and an excellent soundtrack by Chris Remo, results in a truly memorable setting.

                (Hey, look. It actually _was_ very few companies who really cared about atmosphere. I had no idea this game was connected to Bioshock in any way.)

                That’s it, that’s the longest any reviews talk about the atmosphere in Gone Home.

                This is one of the many things that Gamergate (Or, rather, the precursors to them.) decided to just hallucinate was a mountain when it a molehill. And has apparently managed to rewrite history into convincing a lot of other people.

                And speaking of reviews, I _especially_ urge you to read and reread the Kotaku review, to see what people how clearly _loved_ the game talked about it. That review actually does criticize the gaming market, and talks about how ‘the game is the future’. In fact, the Kotaku review and Kotaku in general what Gamergate points to as the problem, there’s a reason they called their Reddit forum ‘KotakuInAction’. So it must be super critical of them, or at least something they like, right?

                The last couple of years have seen a number of high-profile games with women or girls anchoring the lives violent men. Although much is said about the importance of these women, in the end, the stories aren’t actually about them.

                Between the superbly written Sam and the focus on quiet, contemplative exploration, everything about Gone Home makes you wonder how the game can exist in a market that doesn’t seem to value the same things as it does—there’s no explosions or shooting, no adrenaline-pumping excitement, no gritty story of unlikely heroes. Just you, a house and its (still living) ghosts. Better yet, it’s the type of game that makes you wonder why it’s taken so long for games like this—games this personal and human—to be made and come to our attention. It’s happening more and more in recent years, to be sure.

                That’s it. Those two paragraphs are essentially the entirety of what proto-Gamergate is whining about in the review of Gone Home. Incredibly mild criticism of the types of games the industry is making (Note: No names or anything…the advertisers wouldn’t allow something like that.), and talking about how there have been more story-oriented games recently, and there will be more.

                This review is what triggered the male-fragility collapse. Imagine this sort of reaction to a criticism like ‘This movie is an original story, which is nice because the movie industry is churning out a lot of sequels. Maybe new stories will happen more’. Imagine the overreaction of an entire movement to that.

                Although it wasn’t those paragraphs, honestly. It was the paragraphs like this:

                It’s hard to keep your heart from aching as you as you hear about her struggles and difficulties navigating being a not-straight teenager without her big sister to listen to her and understand her. The personal ache I felt is partially due to the knowledge that I’ve been waiting so long for a game to feature someone like Sam—a game that was about someone that’s similar to me in a non-abstract way. Me! My background makes me a most unmarketable demographic (or so I am told). It feels embarrassing to say, but I could cry—did cry—with the relief of knowing a game like this even exists.

                But objecting to _that_ is a little too homophobic to present to the public.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Have you ever read any reviews of Gone Home, EVER? Like, a single one?

                Yeah. I remember the one that was the reason that I said “huh, this sounds really interesting… I’m going to buy it!”

                And then I played it and figured out that the target audience was Maribou and not me. (She played it and loved it, though.)

                You were the one who brought up the increasing importance of atmosphere.

                If you’d like to drop it, cool.

                As it stands, we’re in a weird place where liking a game is the moral position and disliking it is something that only bad people would do.

                Which is weird. We’re not even talking about aesthetics.

                We’re talking about morality. WHICH IS WEIRD.

                We’re not talking about threatening the game studio or phoning in a bomb threat to a restaurant they’re known to frequent or even to send the designers rude DMs.

                We’re talking about responding to the game as if it were a moral issue in and of itself.

                THAT’S WEIRD.

                In any case, here’s your next Moral Test: Fullbright is working on their next game.

                ‘”Open Roads stars actors Keri Russell and Kaitlyn Dever as a mother-daughter duo on a road trip where they learn more than they bargained for.”

                Keri Russell! I loved her in Felicity! (Wait… she’s playing the Mom? When did that happen?)

                I wonder if it will do as well as Gone Home or if it’ll be more of a Tacoma.

                Well, you’re obligated to like it. Like it or not.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                As it stands, we’re in a weird place where liking a game is the moral position and disliking it is something that only bad people would do.

                Again: The entire gaming review industry is, and was more then, in the pocket of the big studios. They have never condemned anyone for liking one of the big games (Your original claim), nor have they ever condemned anyone for disliking Gone Home (Your new claim.)

                What people, including those journalists, have pointed out is that a lot of people taking issue with their reviews of Gone Home were explicitly against the gay themes. They literally said so, most complaints about Gone Home included how ‘woke’ or ‘SJW’ it was, which appear now means _any_ story with queer characters existing within it. Firewatch is _also_ a walking sim and didn’t get anywhere near that level of hate.

                And in fact Gamergate has a long history of hating those sort of games…I point to Andromeda, again, which as I said got massively attacked for being a ‘woke’ game _before_ release…before any of the actual problems with it surfaced. (So much so you’ve imagined Bioware told them not to buy the game, which they didn’t.)

                And this isn’t ‘Don’t needlessly stick gay characters our games’…Gone Home is a new game about a queer character, and Bioware RPGs have had queer characters basically forever. It’s not they don’t want queer characters in ‘their’ games, it’s that they don’t want games with queer characters existing AT ALL.

                Now maybe your point is that ‘Gamers’ have a _right_ to dislike games with queer characters in it…and I guess they do? Maybe they even have a right to be as misogynistic as they are, although I sorta suspect they shouldn’t have the right to attack _actual women_ (usually female game devs) as much as they do.

                But other people have a right to point out their weird biases and how this discredits a movement that is _supposed_ to be caring about ethics…assuming they were due any credit to start with, which they weren’t, being started, again, to explicitly attack a random indie dev over what was clearly nonsense.

                And even more players of video games have a right to point out that Gamergate doesn’t speak for them AT ALL.

                We’re talking about responding to the game as if it were a moral issue in and of itself.

                If you made a fact check organization that _incidentally_ only went after women and gay people in politics. And you often literally criticized women and gay people for being in politics at all. And attacked people pushing policies that could help those people…you might have people start pointing out that you are, in fact, not operating a fact check organization, or anything even vaguely like it.

                They might even take ‘moral issue’ with you doing that.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m not talking about people having “rights”.

                I’m saying that we’ve gone from discussing matters of taste and matters of aesthetics to matters of morality.

                My evidence for this is stuff like the articles lambasting the people who used the term “walking simulator”.

                Gamergate went after a *LOT* of people. Not just Zoe, but also the so-called “Five Guys”. It was years before what’s-his-name at Kotaku was able to go without someone mentioning the relationship in comments. (And, then, he wrote a truly awful essay about how finding out that Witcher 3 had a second, harder-to-get, romantic option ruined the game for him.)

                There was a *LOT* of gatekeeping done by the Gamergaters. There were a *LOT* of attacks and counter-attacks. I’m not trying to paint them as angels!

                But neither am I going to agree that they were demons.

                (And as for your early claim about condemning people for liking the big games or hating the small ones, I’m pretty sure that that ain’t true. There was plenty of mockery of the people who enjoyed the games that cater to the male fantasy as well as pushback against the troglodytes who didn’t want muh hobby changed. This is, like, something that was happening at the height of the #killallmen hashtag being popular on the twitters. There was a *LOT* of dumb shit being said. Contradictions were heightened on more sides than merely Team Evil, I assure you.)Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                My evidence for this is stuff like the articles lambasting the people who used the term “walking simulator”.

                Is that why you cited that article? You do realize that Salon isn’t a gaming magazine, right? It’s Salon.

                “Opinion writer at liberal magazine writes about topic she clearly understands poorly (WTF does ‘all games are walking sims’ mean. No they aren’t!), news at 11.”

                Gamergate went after a *LOT* of people. Not just Zoe, but also the so-called “Five Guys”. It was years before what’s-his-name at Kotaku was able to go without someone mentioning the relationship in comments.

                Um…so, your theory is that Gamergate targetted a _lot_ of people for random reasons, and this is a defense of Gamergate? Or is the defense ‘Gamergate targetted men, too’? I’m not sure how either of those are defenses, but, yes. But no. Gamergate did _nominally_ attack men, but it disproportionally targetted women.

                In fact, it’s an interesting point: Zoe Quinn, being a game developer and not a journalist, couldn’t do anything unethical in journalism. Why was _she_ the focus instead of the men? And no, people posting comments on one of their articles is not anywhere near what she went through.

                You know, Jaybird, you’ve talked about Cancel Culture here a few times, about how angry mobs can go after people with no provocation, and yet seem completely unaware that Gamergate is, basically, this. It is the _embodiment_ of Cancel Culture, a massive mob that attack people (Mostly women.) for vaguely perceived slights or just being ‘woke’ and _daring_ to be located anywhere near video games. That is literally all it is. Way past any level of ‘canceling’, but that’s in there, too.

                Look up why they went after Alison Rapp, for example. She was a woman alleged near a decision to remove a slider to set a 13-year-old’s breast size in an Americanized release of a Japanese game. (Which she wasn’t in charge of that, that was Nintendo making a quite logical decision that America was less okay with sexualizing 13-year-olds than Japan, but Gamergate never let facts get in the way of harassment.) That was it, that was her offense against Gamergate, the thing that made her a target. A slight alteration in a video game, which again, she didn’t even do.

                And here’s a story by a woman who got targeted, Jennifer Allaway, a woman notable who was completely uninvolved in anything before, a sociologist doing a survey about diversity in video games: https://jezebel.com/gamergate-trolls-arent-ethics-crusaders-theyre-a-hate-1644984010

                I realized just how much I’d internalized the presumed process: if you’re even asking about equality or diversity in games, being shouted down in a traumatizing manner is now a mandatory step that you have to sit back and endure.

                See, in _your_ mind this is some sort of tit-for-tat fight, of ‘attacks and counter-attacks’. Except a good chunk of the people attacked weren’t part of it. They’d made no comment about this before, ever. They’d never attacked ‘Gamers’ in any manner, or their precious games. But they were women, and vaguely doing something with ‘diversity’ or ‘not overtly sexualizing teenagers’. That was enough to make them a target.

                And a bunch of other women got attacked for merely criticizing Gamergate…not for things like what video games they liked (Which is a completely absurd premise), but the fact they were operating massive harassment campaigns against people.

                That’s not two sides trading blows. This is essentially a group of terrorists running around attempting to destroy people, vs whoever they decided to go after.

                (And as for your early claim about condemning people for liking the big games or hating the small ones, I’m pretty sure that that ain’t true. There was plenty of mockery of the people who enjoyed the games that cater to the male fantasy as well as pushback against the troglodytes who didn’t want muh hobby changed. This is, like, something that was happening at the height of the #killallmen hashtag being popular on the twitters. There was a *LOT* of dumb shit being said. Contradictions were heightened on more sides than merely Team Evil, I assure you.)

                Oh no! Not dumb discussions on Twitter!

                Even if we imagine that there is some huge group of people on _Twitter_ who don’t like the ‘Gamers’, that’s doesn’t justify targeted attacks on completely random people.’Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Salon writes about, among other things, Popular Culture.

                There, it was dipping its toes into gaming… like it had multiple times before. Gaming journalism doesn’t have to be done by Kotaku (or it doesn’t count).

                Saying “gamergate attacked men” is not a defense of gamergate but it is a defense against the implied claim in your hypothetical “If you made a fact check organization that _incidentally_ only went after women and gay people in politics”

                They went after tons of folks. They didn’t only go after women and gay people.

                Why was _she_ the focus instead of the men?

                Because of Eron’s post as well as the shenanigans that took place at Wizardchan.

                Look up why they went after Alison Rapp, for example.

                Off the top of my head, she was the one who was the community outreach manager who was also an, ahem, escort (one who emphasized ageplay)? And was fired after her second job was publicized? That entire situation was messed up.

                I had forgotten Jennifer Alloway. Her Jezebel article left me fairly unmoved. I understand why you found it persuasive, though.

                This is essentially a group of terrorists running around attempting to destroy people, vs whoever they decided to go after.

                Mmmm. From my understanding of the last few years, Zoe’s the only Gamergate-adjacent personality with a body count.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                There, it was dipping its toes into gaming… like it had multiple times before. Gaming journalism doesn’t have to be done by Kotaku (or it doesn’t count).

                They also notable wrote it _after_ Gamergate, and pointed out a sorta shitty movement was behind the attacks on ‘walking sims’.

                You keep using people talking about Gamergate’s horrific behavior to justify Gamergate.

                They went after tons of folks. They didn’t only go after women and gay people.

                (I didn’t say they went after gay people, I said they went after _games_ with gay people. They didn’t actually go after ‘gay people’ that much, although they did end up going after a lot of _trans_ women.)

                Here’s a general list of people that Gamergate has gone after, and by ‘gone after’ I mean harassed and doxxed and threatened, not ‘posted comments on article they wrote’: Zoe Quinn, Phil Fish, Anita Sarkeesian, Brianna Wu, Randi Harper, Jenn Frank. Mattie Brice, Felicia Day, Dan Olson, Jennifer Allaway, Leigh Alexander, Natalie Walschots, Patricia Hernandez, Sarah Nyberg, Alison Rapp, and Peter Coffin.(1)

                Only three of those are men, and two are a bit odd, because Peter Coffin and Dan Olson didn’t have anything to do with Gamergate. They both were merely subject to Gamergate harassment after talking and writing articles about 8chan hosting child porn. Make of that what you will, I have no comment there. And I’m sure you’re going to argue that wasn’t part of Gamergate (Despite it being talked about on Gamergate boards and people using the hashtag and whatnot.) it was actually more about white nationalists trying to _draw in_ Gamergate, and I sorta agree, so consider them removed from that list.

                But removing them leaves us with exactly one man. Phil Fish. And, no, the so-call ‘five guys’ do not count. Those men, who supposedly were main characters, were much less harassed than Felicia Day, for example. Day merely tweeted she wasn’t going to talk about Gamergate because she was worried about being targeted by them. They then proceeded to immediately attack her on Twitter, including doxxing her by sharing what they claimed was her home address.

                But maybe it’s anyone who talks about Gamergate, right, but only women did it? Except, Chris Kluwe, former NFL player, posted an entire essay attacking Gamergate at exactly the same time, just tearing into them, as opposed to Day’s non-opinion. So what happened to him? Nothing. Almost no response. So he’s not on the list.

                Gamergate was straight up misogynistic (And, yes, homophobic and transphobic too), and it was visible in everyone and everything they targeted.

                1) Note there are two people on that list that can be legitimately criticized for some of their behavior in other aspects of their life, Randi Harper and Phil Fish, but that doesn’t make the harassment or death/rape threats justified.

                Off the top of my head, she was the one who was the community outreach manager who was also an, ahem, escort (one who emphasized ageplay)? And was fired after her second job was publicized? That entire situation was messed up.

                You just skipped right over months of attack by Gamergate for nonsensical and obviously wrong reasons. (You know, like with Zoe!) I am not blaming Nintendo, and I’m not even blaming Gamergate for what Nintendo decided to do. I’m pointing out that harassment was randomly directed at a woman they wrongly decided had made a corporate decision they didn’t like. They didn’t go after Nintendo, they didn’t go after anyone who had anything to do with anything, they went after a product marketer. Because she was a woman vaguely near this.

                Oh, and speaking of their misdirected hate, I think it’s worth summarizing _everyone_ on that list, because half had nothing to do with the gaming industry at all.

                Actual games journalists: Jenn Frank, Mattie Brice, Leigh Alexander, and Patricia Hernandez. Actual game developers: Phil Fish (The sole man), Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu. That’s seven people in the game industry or gaming media.

                The remaining seven:

                Randi Harper was a software developer for FreeBSD, which is about as unrelated to the gaming industry as you can get in the computer industry.

                Felicia Day is an actress known for being a gamer, and in gaming culture, and has had nothing but support _for_ gamers, being _in_ games, literally making a indie show about them, _and_ repeatedly portraying them in a positive light in a lot of media. It seems utterly absurd for ‘Gamers’ to attack her. But she’s a woman, and made the mistake of saying she didn’t want to be harassed by them. Thus she was.

                Two different, unrelated social scientists: Jennifer Allaway, who attempted to look at Gamergate, and Natalie Walschots, who…uh…came up with a term to discuss Gamergate that wasn’t ‘Gamergate’ at a sociology conference, so they could speak about it without being attacked by Gamergame. Gamergame found out, and did exactly that. Note this was not ‘Social scientists criticize Gamergate’, this was ‘Social scientists try to collect information on or talk amongst themselves at their conventions about Gamergate, like they would any social movement.’

                The remaining two are random people that are critical of gamers or Gamergate, and basically just social media people: Anita Sarkeesian, a slightly popular maker of Youtube video, and Sarah Nyberg, who…uh…tweeted about this?

                Huh. Why was Sarah Nyberg important enough to publicly attack? Sarkeesian did have some audience, but Nyberg is just literally just some woman with a Twitter account. Yeah, she went after them, but so did a lot of women, and she’s not really famous enough to attack…*check notes* I wonder if it matters that she’s trans? And they outed her for that?

                Hey, wait, Mattie Brice is also trans.

                Perhaps googling the story of Grace Lynn would be good idea at this point, Jaybird, if you think there isn’t massive misogyny…and a rather large amount of transphobia.

                Mmmm. From my understanding of the last few years, Zoe’s the only Gamergate-adjacent personality with a body count.

                The fact an abuser committed suicide is not on the fault of the abused. It’s sad, but it’s not their fault.

                But, oh, one bright thing about all this: Gamergate managed to _not_ harass the man’s sister (much), who reported on his death with the acknowledgement that he ‘was responsibly for causing harm’, essentially confirming Zoe’s account. (As has a lot of people.) They did go after the sister a little, but it was only some light harassment and yelling towards the sister, by Gamergame. With no doxxing or death threats before she locked her account. So yay?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m pleased that we’ve moved from “that doesn’t count” to “but they were right!” in discussing whether something happened.

                Speaking of 8chan, there was a lot of weird stuff going around with the neogaf/resetera mods when it came to the topic being discussed regarding 8chan. Were you privvy to any of that? That was weird.

                Yes, those people all got attacked by Gamergate and were all prominently involved in the whole Gamergate thing at the time. I don’t have access to a computer that will let me tackle the entire gish gallop but we can come back to this, I guess.

                I do feel bad about the Felicia Day thing.

                Sarah Nyberg This goes back to the Alison Rapp and the neogaf/resetera thing. There’s something that you’re really leaving out here. Do you know that? (Are you just hoping that I don’t know that?)

                I went back and reread his sister’s statement and… well, let me just say that I understand why you didn’t quote it in full.

                (Her stuff is unlocked, by the way.)Report

              • Brandon Berg in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                A note on the backlash to Gone Home: Several years ago I saw a game on Steam called “To the Moon,” a game which has a major plot point spoiled in the fourth paragraph of this comment. I liked the old SNES-style graphics, and it seemed thematically intriguing, so I bought it.

                About 15 minutes in, I began to suspect that it was not actually a game in any meaningful sense of the word. Another 15-30 minutes confirmed it. I was a bit annoyed at being misled, but still liked the graphics and music, and was still interested in the plot, so whatever. I decided to see it through.

                Then eventually I get to the big plot reveal, and it was that one of the main characters had Asperger’s Disease, to which my response was, “Oh, fish off!” It’s not that I have anything against people with Asperger’s Disease. I don’t want to be one of the people I’m about to complain about, but I think it’s probably more likely than not that I have or had a mild form of ASD, so it’s not about animosity.

                What I found so cringey about this was that it was coming at a time when Asperger’s Disease was, for lack of a better word, trendy. Half the Internet was going on and on about their self-diagnosed Asperger’s or other ASD. So it came off as an after-school special preaching about the issue of the month. Plus, IIRC, this came after a build up to what I expected to be a much more interesting secret, so that was the second time it fell short of my expectations, and overall left me with a negative impression of the work as a whole.

                I didn’t send the scenario writer a mean message on Twitter. I don’t think I ever even bothered to leave a negative review. But I also didn’t buy any more of their games.

                When I first heard about Gone Home, it sounded like an intriguing mystery. I never got around to playing it, but if I had, my reaction to finding out that the mystery was that the girl was a lesbian or whatever would have been “Oh, fish off!” for more or less the same reasons. If you imply that your mystery has an interesting payoff and instead give me some cringey after-school special preaching about the issue of the month, I’m not going to be happy, no matter how valid that issue is.

                But I don’t know. I didn’t play it. Maybe there was more to it than “She ran away because people were mean to her because she was a lesbian,” and…nope, I just read a plot summary and that’s exactly what it was.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t want to say that Gone Home was uninteresting. It wasn’t.

                It was more of a bait and switch.

                One of the experiences you will have while exploring “your” house is finding letters and receipts and memos and keepsakes.

                Spoilers follow:

                Early in the game, you find a rejection letter in the trash can in your dad’s study. They don’t want to buy his book. You find another letter saying that he’s behind on bills or something like that (it’s been a while). As you walk through the house, there’s this sense of foreboding and awfulness and did something bad happen and… well, you eventually find out that dad edited his book and got an advance for it and the bills aren’t a problem and your little sister is gay but it’s okay because everything is good with your family and everybody is healthy and knows that being gay is just another way to be.

                Feel relief.

                Bad? Good? It certainly subverts tropes!

                It did some interesting stuff. Like, in one of the really early rooms, you walk past a bookshelf and it has a bunch of grey, tan, brown, taupe things on it… but, in the middle of the shelf, is this brightly colored thing! You can pick it up! Well, you can’t take it with you. But you can look at it from all angles.

                And, later on in the game, you find a note somewhere that describes this thing and how it was procured.

                And you can go back and look at it and appreciate it twice as much now.

                I remember thinking that that was clever.

                It wasn’t for me. But, after I beat it, I handed it off to someone for whom it was and they *LOVED* it.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Brandon Berg
                Ignored
                says:

                But I don’t know. I didn’t play it. Maybe there was more to it than “She ran away because people were mean to her because she was a lesbian,” and…nope, I just read a plot summary and that’s exactly what it was.

                No, there’s other mysteries in the family, too. It’s reasonably good storytelling. Whether or not you want a game that is basically just storytelling plus a few small puzzles is a different question.

                What happened, oddly, is that the story was a little _too_ good. The story that is revealed about Sam via various notes and clues hits really different for gay people…in fact, gay people notice what’s going on between Sam and Lonnie well before straight people. Which resulted in ‘some talk’, even making it outside of gaming magazines. And it does manage to tell a story in a fairly non-traditional way.

                But the backlash was completely absurd…it was a $20 game that…here’s the Steam description: You arrive home after a year abroad. You expect your family to greet you, but the house is empty. Something’s not right. Where is everyone? And what’s happened here? Unravel the mystery for yourself in Gone Home, a story exploration game from The Fullbright Company.

                Gone Home is an indie game that calls itself a ‘story exploration game’. It’s exactly what it says it is. I don’t know what anyone thought they were getting for their $20.

                Same with To the Moon, BTW. And that’s $10, or now it is, at least. I’ve never really played that game, or even really heard of it, but here is the description: A story-driven experience about two doctors traversing backwards through a dying man’s memories to artificially fulfill his last wish.

                Now, I admit, I don’t know if those were the descriptions _at the time_, maybe they were misleading back then and have since been changed?

                OTOH, the main criticism of Gone Home was that it _got too much press_, all of which talked about what sort of game it was, which seems exactly backwards of a criticism of ‘People bought it expecting too much of a game and not a general exploration of a place’.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “Gone Home is an indie game that calls itself a ‘story exploration game’. It’s exactly what it says it is.”

                you sure are writing a lot of words to push a revisionist take that “Gone Home” wasn’t big news, that nobody much cared about it, that it was just some silly little bit of fluff that had no real impact whatsoever.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                i’m pleased that we’ve moved from “that doesn’t count” to “but they were right!” in discussing whether something happened.

                Your allegation was ‘there was bad behavior by the Gamegater people, but that was because they had been insulted for years by the gaming media!’

                Them being condemned after their bad behavior for their bad behavior is not really a demonstration of this.

                Again, please point out some way in which the media treated them poorly that you feels _justifies_ the Gamergate reaction.

                Yes, those people all got attacked by Gamergate and were all prominently involved in the whole Gamergate thing at the time. I don’t have access to a computer that will let me tackle the entire gish gallop but we can come back to this, I guess.

                My ‘gish gallop’ is because you keep vaguely claiming things that aren’t true, like ‘Gamergate also went after men’, so I have to produce all the documentation and lay out the events. Maybe you should make claims with _specificity_ instead that would allow me to address actual points instead of have to reiterate things everyone should already know.

                I, meanwhile, am glad you’ve completely dropped any sort of claim that Gamergate was about ethics or journalism or anything, and have instead admitted it was merely just targetted harassment. However, you are still claiming it was targetted harassment directed at critics.

                It was not. The targeted harassment vaguely happened in this order:
                1) Anita Sarkeesian (Technically this was proto-Gamergate and just folded into it after the Zoe thing started)
                2) Zoe Quinn
                3) Women (and a man!) who complained about the extreme harassment of Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian: Phil Fish, Brianna Wu, Sarah Nyberg
                4) Women who complained about the toxic atmosphere that Gamergate was creating for women in the industry and female gamers and were harassed: Jenn Frank, Mattie Brice, Felicia Day, Jennifer Allaway
                5) Women trying to study Gamergate: Jennifer Allaway, Natalie Walschots
                6) Semi-randomly, two men trying to get someone to do something about actual illegal content on 8chan: Dan Olson, Peter Coffin. I feelthat was more a ‘protect the homestead’ than a active choice.

                7) And finally, women who did start making broad generalizations about ‘Gamers’, which _you_ seem to think is the first thing, because you decided history started at this point, I guess: Leigh Alexander and Jenn Frank

                8) Oh, and almost accidentally, a female gaming journalist who _did_ have some undisclosed conflict of interest: Patricia Hernandez. (Um, congrats on finding ONE, I guess?)

                In fact, you know there’s a ton of people who should logically be on this list, on #7, but aren’t?

                Here’s the names of roughly everyone who wrote articles from August 28-Sept 10 about ‘Gamers’: Patrick O’Rourke, Arthur Chu, Tim Colwill, Dan Golding, Mike Pearl, Dr. Nerdlove, Dan Whitehead, Tim Colwill, Emanuel Maiberg, Leigh Alexander, Chris Plante, Casey Johnson, Devin Wilson, Luke Plunkett, Joseph Bernstein, Dan Whitehead, Kris Ligman, Stephen Daly, Jonathan Holmes, Graham Smith, Garrett Martin, Tom Mendelsohm, Todd VanDerWerff, Greg Costikyan, Victoria McNally, Leo Reyna, Dan Seitz, and Alex Goldman, Simon Parkin.

                Those are, roughly speaking, the list of people (Often journalists, the people that Gamergate supposedly have the most beef with!) who criticized Gamergate, all within the same week, in a way that was alleged to be coordinated attack on them. I’m not going to say it’s a complete list, but I tried to list everyone who wrote one of that flood of articles.

                I don’t want to get into what those articles were really about, or anything about them. I want you to read the list of names, and notice something. There are two names on that list that Gamergate went after. Only. Two.

                Leigh Alexander and Jenn Frank.

                And there are only four women total on that list…those two, plus Casey Johnson and Kris Ligman. (I don’t know what to make of this, but the two that weren’t attacked _have names that could be misread as male_. I don’t know that Gamergate is actually that dumb, I just found that funny.)

                Gamergate didn’t target any of those men. Not a single one, as far as I’m aware. Went after the publications, yes, complained about the men, yes. Sometimes showed up in comments to be rude, yes.

                But did not subject them to targeted harassment and doxing. No rape threats, no death threats, no hounding the men out of their homes.

                And it’s easy to say ‘It wasn’t all of Gamergate, just a few crazies who did that’, and that really isn’t my point, I disagree, but it’s not my point:

                My point is that the extreme crazies of Gamergate seem very much to hate a _type_. Only one type. Almost like the entire movement was based around hatred of that type, even supposedly only a few people took it too far.

                Sarah Nyberg This goes back to the Alison Rapp and the neogaf/resetera thing. There’s something that you’re really leaving out here. Do you know that? (Are you just hoping that I don’t know that?)

                I don’t particularly want to go into that, but both those allegations are nonsense.

                Sarah Nyberg, as she has explained, as a ‘teenage edgelord’, posted a bunch of fairly obvious lies a decade before any of this, in an attempt to shock people on 4chan, in exactly the way 4chan behaves. Lies that are easy to disprove. (For example, the police never took her computer.) Does being a 4chan asshole make her a good person? Well, not back then. I don’t know about now. I do know that a) It’s certainly not something to threaten violence over, and b) it’s probably not anything to dox her for, either.

                As for Allison Rapp: That’s complete bullshit. She wrote a thesis about how America should not pressure Japan to change laws about sexualized depictions of minors. (Which is especially funny as _America_ doesn’t have such laws.) Again, certainly not enough to threaten violence over.

                But, see, there’s an interesting thing: There appear to be a _lot_ of sexual allegations swirling around about this entire thing. Made about women. With very little evidence of any wrongdoing.

                A good deal of these claims are not anything unethical. For example the ‘Allison Rapp is an escort’. In fact, the entire thing started because of one of those claims about Zoe Quinn. Hey, I didn’t mention it before, but do you know that Brianna Wu was _falsely_ outed as trans by Gamergate? Just accused of being trans?

                Do you know what sort of people police women’s sexuality and gender like that? It’s straight out of the misogyny textbook.

                It’s actually incredibly easy to notice how misogynistic this entire thing is. They only went after women, especially trans women, they go after sex and make wild allegation with no substance and often nothing actually immoral about any of it, they actively hate women.

                Meanwhile, the men, who logically should have offended them as much or _more_ (Considering that most game developers and the people running the gaming magazines were men!) are almost completely ignored.

                I went back and reread his sister’s statement and… well, let me just say that I understand why you didn’t quote it in full.

                I didn’t quote her in full because the post was very long, so long you literally complained about a gish gallop. But here is the full relevant part of her statement: “Those who know me will know that I believe survivors and I have always done everything I can to support survivors, those suffering from mental illnesses, and those with chronic illnesses. Alec was a victim of abuse and he also spent a lifetime battling mood and personality disorders. I will not pretend that he was not also responsible for causing harm, but deep down he was a person who wanted only to offer people care and kindness. It took him a while to figure out how.”

                The thing I got from that statement is that _she thinks the allegations were true_. Which is this is same thing others have confirmed, there’s a lot of collaboration that Alec Holowka treated women in a rather horrific manner. All sorts of people came forward after Zoe Quinn, confirming how he had behaved. There’s not a huge amount of dispute there. This pretty clearly isn’t a man with false allegations against him, this is a man hit with _true_ allegations against him who killed himself when they came out.

                Maybe he’d become better, maybe he hasn’t but that doesn’t make the claims untrue.

                So I want you to think long and hard about what you’re saying here. Because your premise appears to be that women are not allowed to speak of being abused or condemn their abuser, in case their abuser is in such a bad mental state that they commit suicide?

                Is that where you are going with this?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Them being condemned after their bad behavior for their bad behavior is not really a demonstration of this.

                It’s not just their bad behavior that they were insulted for, CJ.

                It was the fact that they were fat, solitary, sexually undesirable, and virgins.

                Would that the complaints were limited to “they need to change how they treat female journalists!”

                Keep in mind: most of the nerds who played video games were used to this particular variant of critique. (See also: D&D.)

                It’s just that, previously, the media for people who enjoyed these games provided a safe haven (a “space”, if you will) rather than just another place of employment for people who would mock these dorky losers.

                My claim, then as of now, is that the behaviors that you want to limit to “Gamergate” has been building for a while and encompasses a *LOT* of stuff. Even stuff from before when you wish to plant a flag and say “IT STARTED HERE!”

                Hell, you could probably write an essay about Gamergate, as we understand it, starting in the FYAD forums at SomethingAwful.

                I, meanwhile, am glad you’ve completely dropped any sort of claim that Gamergate was about ethics or journalism or anything, and have instead admitted it was merely just targetted harassment. However, you are still claiming it was targetted harassment directed at critics.

                The whole “it’s about ethics in journalism” does kind of strike me as a bit silly as a hill.

                That said, if one wished to point to any number of lapses, there are any number of lapses to point at. There’s no shortage of lapses to point at. Like, the main defense of these lapses would have to be something like “I thought you said that it wasn’t about ethics in journalism!”

                all within the same week, in a way that was alleged to be coordinated attack on them.

                Are we using “alleged” because it’s a crime? I think it’s fairly obvious that the essays were coordinated.

                It had the result of undercutting the impact of any one essay, funnily enough. (Though there were a non-zero number of developers that got high on their own supply and hired people from that list as “consultants” for games that went on to not sell very well. Tale of Tales is the example that immediately comes to mind.)

                But anyway, starting with Anita is fine. She and Jonathan McIntosh put together an exceptionally incisive show giving a Feminist Deconstruction of video games.

                The Zoe Post and the fallout of “HEY ALL OF THESE PEOPLE KNOW EACH OTHER AND HAVE FOR YEARS!” (which, seriously, was weird.)

                The next four entries have to do with perspective…

                7? This is when you think that generalizations about “gamers” started being made? I imagine that that’s another perspective thing.

                Lemme just say “that’s your perspective… there are others.”

                8: She’s now the EIC of Kotaku. Congratulations to her!

                And you’ve deadnamed at least one person in your long list so congrats on that… but I remember a whole bunch of them screaming about the various “incels” in Gaming and then screaming that the “incels” were screaming back. (Arthur Chu is probably the most egregious case.)

                My point is that the extreme crazies of Gamergate seem very much to hate a _type_. Only one type.

                I don’t particularly want to go into that, but both those allegations are nonsense.

                Nonsense? Nyberg claimed to be X. People saying “you admitted to being an X!” and her responding “I was just kidding when I bragged about being an X!” is, at least, a situation that requires more than waving away the situation by saying “the allegation of X is nonsense.”

                As for Alison Rapp, she claimed to specialize in various forms of “play” in her second job. I suppose we could get into “your kink is okay” territory but it’s another thing that I wouldn’t want to have to defend if the topic were X and whether allegations could be dismissed as nonsense without having to deal with them further.

                I didn’t quote her in full because the post was very long, so long you literally complained about a gish gallop.

                I didn’t complain about the *POST* being a gish gallop. I complained about your shotgunning of names being a gish gallop.

                When it comes to what a person said, well, if the quote undercuts one’s point, go with a paraphrase. It’s usually a pretty good trick and, if you’re lucky, nobody will look up the original.

                So I want you to think long and hard about what you’re saying here. Because your premise appears to be that women are not allowed to speak of being abused or condemn their abuser, in case their abuser is in such a bad mental state that they commit suicide?

                Women can do whatever the hell they want. God is dead! We are free! Radically free.

                This, however, comes with the cost of others being able to say stuff like “why did she bring up this stuff that happened a decade ago?” and concluding that she just needed money and thought that she’d go to that well one more time and she didn’t want anybody to *DIE*. She just wanted to get donations and maybe get someone fired. And we shouldn’t hold that against her.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s not just their bad behavior that they were insulted for, CJ.
                It was the fact that they were fat, solitary, sexually undesirable, and virgins.

                Oh, now we’ve got this new complaint. So, your theory is that the _games industry_ was doing that? The games industry that sold games to them? Or was it just the gaming magazines?

                Oh, that wasn’t any of them, was it? That was the mass media? Weird to go after gamer magazines, then.

                I don’t care how ‘Gamers’ were treated by some ‘society’ or ‘the media’. Because they weren’t treated that way by _literally anyone_ they went after, before they went after them. Go ahead, find a single example of, for example, again, Felicia Day insulting gamers. Or any of them.

                This is when you think that generalizations about “gamers” started being made? I imagine that that’s another perspective thing.

                What you are doing is conflating two entirely different generalizations about “gamers”.

                One of them is the pop culture stereotype of basement virgin losers you just mentioned for the first time.

                And not only did the gaming industry/media _not_ promote that stereotype (That would be insane for them to do considering their audience), they actively worked against that idea, asserting that gamers could be anyone.

                And gaming industry/media did this despite “Gamers” attacking them for doing it! Gamers themselves were the strongest defenders of that stereotype! Not the parts of it you listed, they weren’t calling themselves ‘fat, solitary, sexually undesirable, and virgins’, but they were very very clear that they were a bunch of men who had dedicated their lives to games and took it incredibly seriously. They _liked_ the identity, they defended the identity, they asserted only those sort of people _were_ True Gamers at all. They just didn’t like the negative aspects of that identity that pop culture had put on it. They wanted “Gamer” as a positive identity, for them to be treated as basically the entire concept of Gamers.

                The gaming industry/media _already_ had no truck with idea, before Gamergate, as they wanted to expand their audience as wide as possible. This is what “Gamers” had been pushing back again, this is why they were pissed at the gaming industry/media.

                They weren’t pushing back against non-existent stereotype of themselves by the gaming industry/media, they were pushing back on the idea that _other_ people could be gamers, that games could be for other people besides them.The pushback towards the industry by “Gamers” was literally the opposite direction from what you seem to think it was.

                And then…Gamergate.

                And a little bit into that, a new stereotype was born,. “Gamers” were not virgin losers…they were _violent lunatics_.

                Mostly because…a very vocal group of them had started acting that way.

                And this stereotype, the gaming industry/media got on board with. Mostly because their own people were under attack, and they realized they didn’t need to pander to those people anymore.

                but I remember a whole bunch of them screaming about the various “incels” in Gaming and then screaming that the “incels” were screaming back. (Arthur Chu is probably the most egregious case.)

                Arthur Chu did have the what was perhaps the strongest attack. Here’s that specific article: https://archive.ph/9NxHy
                (Note how it doesn’t actually use the ‘gamers are over/dead’ framing, despite everyone including it in that list.)

                But he didn’t call them incels at any point. He’s written a lot of article on Gamergate, I’ve read a good chunk of them, and I don’t see him calling them incels anywhere.

                Perhaps you’re confused by the fact he _also_ talks about incels and the toxicity of the movement that calls itself that? And hence has been attacked by both Gamergame and incels on Twitter? (Not much, though, he’s a man.)

                Also, you do understand that when Chu talks about ‘incels’, he’s not calling someone a virgin, right? He’s not using that as an insult. He’s talking about an actual movement that calls _themselves_ that.

                The Zoe Post and the fallout of “HEY ALL OF THESE PEOPLE KNOW EACH OTHER AND HAVE FOR YEARS!” (which, seriously, was weird.)

                Yeah, I would think game journalists operated entirely by reading publicly available press releases and just reprinting them, like all journalists.

                Wait, that’s not how journalism works at all. Journalists are, in fact, _supposed_ to be friendly with people in the industry they are covering, and vis versa.

                Does this sometimes cause problems? Sure…just like it can for any industry and the people reporting on it, as people won’t report negatively about their friends. The DC journalism club proves this pretty well.

                But that’s a general journalism issue that there’s no real solution to, except asking people to make sure to cite conflicts of interest. Which usually happened, but Gamergate dug up a few cases where it didn’t…none of which really seemed that important or large scale.

                As an aside…this isn’t even slightly what the problem in gaming journalism was and still is. That’s the total lack of a wall between editorial and advertising. That completely swamps any ‘getting too chummy with people’.

                Are we using “alleged” because it’s a crime? I think it’s fairly obvious that the essays were coordinated.

                Okay, I have keep having to readjust when I assume you know about this. Because Gamergate has sorta given up on that claim.

                They gave it up because it’s fairly obvious there was the initiating article by Leigh Alexander that used the “‘Gamers’ are over” frame, written the morning of Aug 28, and a bunch of articles written that evening and the next few days that used the same framing. This isn’t particularly odd in journalism. An event happens and the first journalist to write about it ends up creating a frame. (A lot of the criticism by Gamergate of gaming journalism seem to be ‘acts exactly like any other journalism’.)

                The event here, in case you don’t know, was the rather serious death threats against Anita that required her to leave her house. This had already been reported on gaming sites right after it happened, it was all over the gaming media on August 27th. But then the mainstream media heard about it and sorta asked ‘What the hell is going in the gaming community? Why are there death threats all the sudden?’, and the gaming media’s responses, to deal with the sudden outside interest, started August 28th. That’s why everyone started writing articles trying to summarize what was going on, and to point out it was merely a small amount of people, not people who play video games in general. And a good chunk of them took the framing of roughly ‘the identity of Gamer has become too toxic to respect anymore’.

                Would that the complaints were limited to “they need to change how they treat female journalists!”

                Um, again, I point to examples on that list of people saying _exactly that_, and Gamergate going after them.

                Nonsense? Nyberg claimed to be X.

                …and made a other claims which were demonstrable lies in a 4chan culture that existed solely for posters to shock and outrage each other with over-the-top posts.

                As for Alison Rapp,

                …she was viciously attacked by an extremely mistargeted movement that, in her case, did happen to stumble across something she could legitimately get fired for?

                The problem with Alison Rapp isn’t that she was fired. She was fired for what seem like pretty good reasons. The problem, the reason I point her out, is to show how utterly misogynistic Gamergate is, because someone at Nintendo made a localization decision they didn’t like and they literally just went after the first pretty face they could find for that decision, despite the fact that literally any ‘research’ (By which I mean ‘reading their own computer screens to see her job title’) would have shown she wasn’t involved.

                If I burn down someone’s house because I imagined they did something I don’t like, and during this arson I realize, and expose to the public, that they are a serial killer…my arson does not retroactively become morally correct behavior.

                This, however, comes with the cost of others being able to say stuff like “why did she bring up this stuff that happened a decade ago?”

                I really wish you’d look at something beside whatever extremely selective history you’re reading.

                Because after Zoe came forward, Albertine Watson also came forward and talked about her experiences in with Holowka in the present. https://archive.is/God37 Her experiences were not as bad as Zoe’s (Although that may be because they didn’t date.), but they were still pretty bad and and proved he was a pretty abusive person _still_. Other women came forward with the same sort of things.

                It turns out, in fact, that’s why Zoe came forward. They had learned this was going on still from some other people. Holowka had privately apologized to them, a decade ago, and they had accepted it. But they realized…he was basically still acting the same way towards women, and people needed to be aware of that.

                This is almost certainly why he committed suicide…it wasn’t because of Zoe going public about his past actions, it was because of the multiple women who them came forward with _current_ complaints about him. Most of which were not huge, not the borderline illegal actions that Zoe alleged, but they did show he hadn’t really changed much at all, and a lot of women were uncomfortable working with him due to his behavior towards women in general.

                So, again, I ask: If someone is the victim of someone else, a person who privately seemed sincerely sorry for their actions and claimed to get help, but a decade later that victim then learns the person _hasn’t_ stopped…is it okay for the victim to come forward?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                Oh, now we’ve got this new complaint.

                “X happened.”
                “Not exactly. Something close to X happened but also Y happened and Z happened.”
                “SO NOW YOU HAVE A NEW COMPLAINT.”

                No. I have a different point of view on X.

                I have no doubt that the next time you say “X happened!”, I will disagree that X happened the way you describe (or the way you spin) and offer a different point of view.

                And you can accuse me of having a *NEW* complaint. Again.

                So, your theory is that the _games industry_ was doing that? The games industry that sold games to them? Or was it just the gaming magazines?

                There were personalities associated with the games industry that did this. We’ve named several already. Yes, the games industry that sold games to them.

                It was also the gaming journalism that covered the industry.

                There was a *LOT* of “incel”-adjacent discussion going on at the time of gamergate. And a *LOT* of people were partaking.

                (Quite honestly, I thought that this was a fairly uncontroversial observation. I’m surprised you disagree with it.)

                And not only did the gaming industry/media _not_ promote that stereotype (That would be insane for them to do considering their audience), they actively worked against that idea, asserting that gamers could be anyone.

                I disagree. I would say that they were saying that gamers weren’t *ONLY* that stereotype. There are other, better stereotypes you can market to!

                See the distinction?

                Wait, that’s not how journalism works at all. Journalists are, in fact, _supposed_ to be friendly with people in the industry they are covering, and vis versa.

                It wasn’t just that they were friendly. It’s that they all knew each other and had for years, going back to the FYAD days.

                And remembering some of the criticisms, it wasn’t merely that they were “friendly”, but that they were more than merely “friendly”.

                But that’s a general journalism issue that there’s no real solution to, except asking people to make sure to cite conflicts of interest. Which usually happened, but Gamergate dug up a few cases where it didn’t…none of which really seemed that important or large scale.

                There were a lot of policies that were not in place before gamergate that got put in place after gamergate.

                Not that “it’s about ethics in journalism” was a hill worth dying on, if you ask me. (I do think that “these people are actively hostile to the established audience… they should instead be catering to us!” is probably closer to the sentiment animating them. If they were unethical in the direction of catering to the “ethics in journalism” crowd, I doubt that more than a handful of principled nuts would have noticed or cared.)

                The fact that the framing essay and a huge chunk of the other essays came out *HOURS* later rather than *DAYS* indicates the coordination. If it happened over a month? Sure. That could be emergent. Over a business day? Doubt.

                …and made a other claims which were demonstrable lies in a 4chan culture that existed solely for posters to shock and outrage each other with over-the-top posts.

                While I am willing to agree that this culture existed and that most of people who were saying “I Xed!” were larping, I do think that pointing out that someone said “I Xed!” pretty much makes the accusation that they Xed credible enough on its face to require more than “that’s nonsense!” as a defense of the X claimant.

                But it’s good to know that someone can say and do harmful things, apologize, and then all is forgiven.

                We need more of that.

                The problem with Alison Rapp isn’t that she was fired. She was fired for what seem like pretty good reasons.

                On this we agree.

                I’m also a fan of privacy to a pretty strong degree and don’t like that anyone who has a public face can have their private lives brought up to their employer and have this used as a way to get the person fired.

                Seems like an awful thing to have normalized.

                For one thing, it paints a target on the backs of the weird.

                But anyway.

                I read Albertine Watson’s complaints and while that does sound unpleasant (I have had coworkers like that!), I guess the word “abuse” primed me to hear something different from what I read she experienced. (It sucks that she got taken off of a project after turning down a romantic relationship, though. That sort of thing is awful.)

                If someone is the victim of someone else, a person who privately seemed sincerely sorry for their actions and claimed to get help, but a decade later that victim then learns the person _hasn’t_ stopped…is it okay for the victim to come forward?

                Sure! But that means that it’s okay for Eron to write the Zoe post as well and notice that, huh, she’s kind of an abusive person… over years and years and years…Report

              • CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s not just their bad behavior that they were insulted for, CJ.

                I wouldn’t know. I didn’t follow Gamergate and don’t do games that require a machine. I’ve never commented on gamer-related issues anywhere, and certainly not here.

                Maybe David TC and I look alike?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Mea culpa.

                I regret the error.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                yo dave

                in the name of trying to argue Jaybird down, you’ve gone to bat for pedophiles and celebrated the suicide of a man who’d admitted to his sins and was genuinely doing the work to be a better person

                maybe you oughta think long and hard about what you’re saying here, sort of thingReport

              • DavidTC in reply to DensityDuck
                Ignored
                says:

                in the name of trying to argue Jaybird down, you’ve gone to bat for pedophiles

                Oh, you’re making that plural, huh? Perhap you’d like to explain how you think Alison Rapp would qualify for that term? Because the _actual_ seemingly ‘proven’ allegation against her is that she is an escort (It’s entirely possible she was just a model, but whatever), and that she has seemingly defended lower age of consent law in other countries via some extremely goofy idea of moral relativism.

                And, as I’ve said, Sarah Nyberg is, indeed, a liar about herself. I know that sounds crazy to people who have no idea how 4chan works, but that literally is how parts of 4chan works, where the entire premise is to shock people via what is probably best understood as elaborate roleplay/trolling. The story told is fictional. And it’s kinda weird people who have been on the internet a while don’t know that, considering that ‘lying trolls escaping from 4chan to bother rest of internet by making up dumb nonsense’ used to be a fairly regular occurrence. When they are not escaping, that’s where they live.

                And, again, literally none of this has anything to do with what was dug up on them _anyway_. Gamergate didn’t go after them because of that. Gamergate attacked them because they were a violence misogynistic mob who saw women who had wronged them. And eventually tracked down things to semi-legitimately criticize. (In a way that was wildly ironic, because at the same time they were tracking down these ‘pedophiles’ who were not, they were attacking the people who were pointing out that 8chan literally had child porn on it that it didn’t care about.)

                You know, at this point I demand we have a new post about cancel culture, because it sure is weird how _suddenly_ a bunch of people are defending ‘an angry mob of people searching incredibly hard to come up with things to try to hurt someone they disagree with on the internet’. I wonder if I should go check people’s previous opinions on this?

                celebrated the suicide of a man who’d admitted to his sins and was genuinely doing the work to be a better person

                At no point have I celebrated anyone’s suicide.

                And it really is interesting just how many people only know of Zoe’s allegations against him and not other allegations that demonstrated he was an abusive person in the present. It’s almost as if people are reading a really selective history of things

                He had not, in fact, become a better person. Maybe he was working on it, but…that doesn’t mean we should have allowed him to _continue_ to hold position of authority over women and abuse them during that process because he might someday be better!

                Everything that everyone did to Holowka was completely justified. Every single action taken by every person, as far as I can tell, and certainly Zoe’s. He reacted poorly to this, and that’s sad and I wish something else had happened, but it doesn’t make people exposing him unjust.

                …wait a second. Are you and Jaybird arguing that ‘Quinn talking about events a decade ago that literally happened to them and are still happening to others’ is digging up the past too much, at exactly THE SAME TIME you are arguing that ‘Gamergate digging up Nyberg’s troll posts from a decade ago on 4chan and misrepresenting them as real’ is fine?

                Because only one of those is a) real, and b) relevant.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                “Everything that everyone did to Holowka was completely justified. Every single action taken by every person, as far as I can tell, and certainly Zoe’s. He reacted poorly to this…

                emphasis added because

                wowReport

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                “There were some funny blowups over Overwatch, though.”

                I remember a huge thing about one of the female characters having a highlight-reel pose where she stuck her butt toward the camera, and this upset people because it was an open display of female sexuality that was playing to prurient interests, so they changed the pose to make her stick her butt not quite towards the camera but a little to the side instead.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                But we’re talking about Gone Home as if it were discovering this weird “atmosphere” thing.

                QUOTES? LINKS? Gaming magazines treated Gone Home as if it was some a pretty good version of what it was, with a good atmosphere and story. They didn’t treat it as the second coming of Christ, at least not any more than they treat random games like that. You can find the same dumbass articles written about Bioshock Infinite. It’s how reporting on media works.

                The reason you think that is because Gamegate decided that praising Gone Home _at all_ was a horrible insult.

                Both because they were trying to keep that form of game (Or any game that didn’t cater to them.) from existing at all, and also…because they are violently homophobic. I’m not going to keep dancing around that. That’s where the criticism came from. It wasn’t just a walking sim, it was one telling an LGBT story. They call it ‘SJW’ or ‘woke’, but it’s not how other people use that…it’s gay people _existing_ in games.

                I suppose I could come up with more. Do you need me to come up with more?

                No, there are plenty of gaming journalism scandals. I’ve repeatedly criticized games journalism, in this very discussion. But those weren’t anything close to the focus of Gamergame. They are things that defenders of Gamergate have attached to Gamergate, months and years later.

                So I am going to ask you to produce even the slightest evidence that Gamergate cared about any of those. At anywhere near the start. August 2014. Or September. October, even. Somewhere near it.

                Although you might want to look for ‘TheQuinnspiracy ‘, the sorta original name of Gamergate, invented by Zoe Quinn to mock them. It didn’t get start getting renamed into Gamergate until after August, August 27, when Adam Baldwin basically invented that hashtag. This, incidentally, was the day before all those articles on ‘Gamers are over’. So those articles were not talking about ‘Gamergate’, they were talking about ‘TheQuinnspiracy’. Aka, the relentless attacks on Zoe Quinn.

                To quote Ken White on all this, because he said it better than me:

                But here’s the thing: people will draw conclusions about your motives based on your timing and your chosen vehicle.

                Video game journalism has been ethically troubled for decades. There was controversy in the 1980s, when I was reading Computer Gaming World on paper like a caveman, over game magazines reviewing the same games that they were advertising. Suspicion that dollars drive game reviews have persisted, and with good reason.

                So if you choose this particular historical moment to become Seriously Concerned About Journalistic Ethics, and your timing just happens to coincide with a related pushback against women’s activism in the gaming community, and just happens to be triggered by a campaign against a particular controversial woman, and just happens to be congruent with 4chan’s declared campaign against “SJWs,” people are going to draw conclusions about you. This is especially true if your sudden fury about ethics in journalism appears to focus on the coverage of tiny indie games instead of big-money games, which is just odd. It also doesn’t help when your lists of demands for ethics reforms sound suspiciously like “apologize for hurting my feelings and only report on the things I want.”

                I would like to repeat the ‘tiny indie games’ part of that, and how odd it is to even care about reviews of those, because that’s not anywhere near where the problem is.

                I linked to the one problematizing the people who came up with the term “walking simulator”.

                Was that not enough? What, exactly, are you looking for here?.

                Uh, I am looking for something that happened in gaming journalism before Gamergate? Salon is not a gaming magazine, but, more importantly, that article is from after, and is directly criticizing Gamergate for what they did, and how they don’t get define games, not ‘people who dislike walking sims suck’.

                You seem to be taking the position that people complaining about _the horrible behavior of Gamergate_ somehow justify Gamergate. What? Time doesn’t work that way.

                Basically what is happening here is you are looking at very angry people, and then looking at article talking about how these very angry people did a lot of destructive things, and somehow coming to the conclusion that the _criticism_ of those things is what make the people angry.

                That article is clear what it’s condemning: ‘a coordinated attack on female game critics, thinly veiled as an “examination into video game journalism ethics”‘. It’s not condemning people who dislike the genre of walking sim, it’s rejecting a specific criticism of the genre from a crowd that has _already_ showed itself to be misogynistic and homophobic jackholes.

                Also…that article claims this discussion about ‘walking simulators’ happened well after Gamergate started. So your entire premise that this is one of the causes of Gamergate is rendered somewhat dubious by this very article! Although I’m not sure this is right, I’m pretty sure such games were discussed before this, but…it’s your cite.

                I’m talking about the drama over Andromeda and you keep talking about Bioware.

                Let me repeat your original statement:

                There were a whole bunch of games that came out and gaming companies bragged about how they didn’t *WANT* bad people to buy them. (Remember Battlefield V? Cliffy B’s Lawbreakers? Oh, and Mass Effect: Andromeda?)

                That’s a statement about the GAMING COMPANY that made Andromeda. Aka, Bioware, even if you don’t use their name. Your claim was that Bioware said (Or at least implied in some manner) that they didn’t want Gamergate people to buy their game.

                But they didn’t.

                The reason you thought Bioware had ‘criticised Gamergate’, is that Andromeda is on the ‘go woke and go broke’ lists that get repeated over and over, and you believed they attacked Gamergate, because…Gamergate thinks gay characters existing are an attack on it and often phrases things that way.

                The assertion here by you is that Bioware told Gamergate not to buy their game. (Thus resulting in it being a failure.)

                The assertion here by me is that Bioware never interacted with Gamergate beyond ‘Please stop personally attacking one of our employees’, which didn’t mentioned Gamergate in any manner. And while Gamergate happened be the people doing that, there’s no hint of that in Bioware’s statement. (And your conclusion cannot follow.)

                My assertion is correct, yours is not.

                Cliffy B’s take isn’t that “I should have had fewer LGBT characters”. It is “I shouldn’t have made such a big deal about how woke the game was but I should have let the game speak for itself”.

                Huh. It’s almost as if he thinks he hadn’t talked about LGBT characters in his game, his game might have flown under the radar and been more successful.

                I, again, still think he’s wrong, and that he’s trying to justify to himself that the game was good, and it was unfairly denied the market position it should have had, when in reality…it just couldn’t beat Overwatch.

                You’re misunderstanding the whole BO4 vs. Battlefield V thing.

                You know what? It’s actually incredibly easy to disprove all this nonsense, that Gamergate had anything to do with those three games not doing well, from the other direction:

                Nintendo denounced Gamergate by name in 2016, explicitly calling it ‘an online hate campaign’. Nintendo seems to still be doing strong. In fact, a large number of gaming companies have done that. Bandai Namco has too, and their genre of hardmode Soulsborne games seems like ‘Gamers’ would be exactly their target, yet those games are selling well.

                Bioware, interestingly, is not one of those companies, as far as I can tell they didn’t say anything about Gamergate until the ‘The people who are harrassing our employees need to stop’ press release.

                But you know who did criticize Gamergate? The owners of the Call of Duty studio! Whoops.

                The head of Activision Blizzard, Activision’s parent company, criticied Gamergate way back in 2014. Standing in front of everyone, at BlizzCon, a giant industry event being broadcast to everyone, designed to be reported directly in gamer mags to ‘Gamers’, he condemned ‘small group of people who have been doing really awful things. They have been making some people’s lives miserable, and they have been tarnishing our reputation as gamers’. That was at the launch of Black Ops 3, a game that seemed to do fairly well. Admittedly, he didn’t use the term ‘Gamergate’…but neither did Bioware.

                Maybe Gamergate just forgot that by 2018…although that doesn’t answer the question of why Call of Duty sales never got impacted back in 2014, at the height of Gamergate. That BlizzCon was the launch party of a Call of Duty game that went pretty well.

                That’s because what your list of games supposedly taken down by Gamergate is just very obvious cherry picking.

                The entire gaming industry had pretty serious problems with Gamergate, because Gamergate actively harassed female game devs. The industry has repeatedly expressed this dissatisfaction, with some of them willing to condemn it using the name Gamergate, and some of them just making vague statements about targeted online harassment campaigns.

                So it’s easy to claim that any particular failure is the fault of that company going against Gamergate. Because…almost everyone went against them. So any of game that fails was probably made by one of those companies.

                The idea that games published almost half a decade later that did poorly were victims of Gamergate, and not games released during the height of Gamergate, by studios literally calling out Gamergate at their industry event launch parties, and reported directly as an attack on Gamergate in every gaming magazine, is absurd.

                From someone who had a different perspective on Gamergate than the officially approved one used by Team Good.

                Yeah, you have the perspective that is constantly created to ‘clean up’ Gamergate, running around after it like running after a puppy while it pisses on everything. They’ll manage to housebreak it any day now.

                Instead of the reality-based perspective where it is/was a misogynistic- and homophobic-backlash to gaming journalists and gaming companies catering to anyone but them, the super-important young cishet white men, and basically created part of the alt-right and did create Milo Yiannopoulos, and directly lead into Trumpism.Report

              • JS in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The concept of linear time DOES confuse some people.

                “Wait, you’re saying cause has to come before effect? What weird SJW logic is this! Next you’ll say actions have consequences! The woke left, amiright?”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                The reason you think that is because Gamegate decided that praising Gone Home _at all_ was a horrible insult.

                No.

                The horrible insult was in the discussion that followed.

                Here’s how it went prior.

                “This game is good.”
                “No, that game sucks.”
                “You suck.”
                “No, you suck.”

                See? Wholesome.

                What happened with Gone Home was:

                “This game is good.”
                “No, this game sucks.”
                “You’re a sexist. You’re homophobic. You’re a bad person.”

                There was even a cartoon about the evolution of Gaming “Journalism”.

                We were no longer talking about matters of taste.
                We weren’t even talking about matters of aesthetics.

                We were talking about matters of morality and how the people who didn’t like this game were Bad.

                So I am going to ask you to produce even the slightest evidence that Gamergate cared about any of those. At anywhere near the start. August 2014. Or September. October, even. Somewhere near it.

                The “Gamers are Dead” media blitz happened in that time period.

                Would the backlash to Mass Effect 3 and “entitled gamers” be part of that? For what it’s worth, I consider it to be part of that. For me, it was seamless to transition from the “entitled” gamers to the Zoe post. Oh, of course all these people are in bed with each other. Of course they are.

                By the time it got the name “Gamergate”, it included all sorts of dynamics that all got bundled together. It wasn’t just the two-three months after Jayne tweeted.

                You seem to be taking the position that people complaining about _the horrible behavior of Gamergate_ somehow justify Gamergate. What? Time doesn’t work that way.

                No, not exactly. It’s more that the behavior of Gamergate encompasses everything from complaining about Mass Effect 3’s ending (and Bioware shutting down its forums as a result) to complaining about Kotaku being in bed with the people it was covering to GamejournoPros to the Gamers Are Over media blitz.

                There was a *LOT* of enmity between Team Good and Team Evil. And Team Good bought ink by the barrel.

                Your claim was that Bioware said (Or at least implied in some manner) that they didn’t want Gamergate people to buy their game.

                I was remembering the response to Mass Effect 3, actually. The whole “if you don’t want to respect our artistic integrity, then don’t buy our games” thing.

                Fine, I said. This is from back in 2015. They don’t want me as a customer? Then I will not give them a single cent. “NOT ONE RED CENT!”, I said.

                By the time Andromeda rolled around, they may have had inklings that that might not have been the best play out of all of the possible plays.

                Huh. It’s almost as if he thinks he hadn’t talked about LGBT characters in his game, his game might have flown under the radar and been more successful.

                No. He specifically talked about how *HE* was the focal point. I can link to what he said again, if you’d like.

                You know what? It’s actually incredibly easy to disprove all this nonsense, that Gamergate had anything to do with those three games not doing well, from the other direction:

                You are the only person who believes that the game that was the #2 selling game of the year that year did not do well. Well, you and the executives at the company.

                My position is that the game did *VERY* well. Indeed, that it was the #2 selling game that year, that only came behind Red Dead Redemption 2.

                I’m going to need to hear your argument for why the game did poorly. “The game didn’t meet internal expectations”?

                I’m not saying “those games were brought down by Gamergate”.

                I am, however, saying that there were a bunch of prominent game makers who said “bad people shouldn’t buy are games” and then, for some reason, those bad people went on to not buy the games.

                And the post-mortems of the games in question included how they built the games up prior to the games failing (including antagonism to the audience).

                “reality-based perspective”

                I wouldn’t say that at all. But I would say that that is the perspective held by the Journalists who happen to be on the side of Team Good.

                What Gamergate did, and it’s interesting, was provide a template for how to fight back against the “Mean Girls” tools used by the new and improved Gaming Journalism.

                And, weirdly enough, they were able to be picked up and used against the Mean Girls tools used elsewhere… including in politics.

                Trump was a bullet dodged. The next time we won’t be so lucky.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                No, what happened with Gone Home was:

                Gaming Magazines: This game is good. It has good atmosphere and story.

                Some Random People: This game is AMAZING. This game is the FUTURE OF ALL MANKIND.

                Some Other People: Uh, no. This game is actually kinda stupid and pointless, and doesn’t even deserves the label of ‘game’. Also the atmosphere is wrong, like it’s a horror game, despite not being one at all. So even the thing it is good at, is weird.

                Reactionary Chuds: This game is SJW! It’s LEFTIST PROPOGANDA because it has GAY PEOPLE in it.

                Gaming Magazines: *runs some opinion columns about the difference of opinion between Some Random People and Some Other People because gaming magazines need something interesting to fill time while they decides between rating the next Call of Duty 9.9 or 10.0. No conclusion to this discussion is reached, and honestly, no one cares.*

                …nothing happens for a year.

                Gamergate starts by the Reactionary Chuds

                Reactionary Chuds, looking for evidence that games journalism is bad, but not caring about the actual repeated scandals in it because they don’t care about anything except attacking women and queers: Gone Home is evidence of how horrible gaming journalism is! Remember when they said it was the most important game EVAR and then threw acid on us because we disagreed?!?!

                Everyone Else: Pretty sure that didn’t happen.

                Reactionary Chuds: And they told us they hated shooting games and we were evil for playing them.

                Everyone Else: The same gaming magazines that spent giant amount of coverage on those games? The same gaming magazines that are in the pocket of game studios? Wait, why are we talking politely to people actively harassing women online?

                Reactionary Chuds: And now _you’re_ throwing acid on us!

                My position is that the game did *VERY* well. Indeed, that it was the #2 selling game that year, that only came behind Red Dead Redemption 2.

                So your position is that a game where the studio head openly attacked Gamergate, mid-Gamergate, did very well, thus proving those other games that didn’t do well didn’t do well because of Gamergate. Gotcha. Wait, sorry, you were leaving it at implying things, without stating a claim.

                I will do the same: It sure is weird that a game by a studio that openly criticized Gamergate created the second best selling game of the year, despite being _both_ a slight playstyle shift _and_ going up against Overwatch, which crushed basically anyone else who tried.

                I’m not saying “there was a massive groundwell of support by people who hated Gamergame and anyone involved, far outnumbering the Gamergaters who gave up on it”.

                I am, however, saying that everyone else who played video games hated Gamergate, and a studio openly called them out at the game’s literal launch party in front of the press, who reported on it. And then, for some reason, they ended up with the second best selling game in the year.

                (For the record, I don’t believe that either. Games sales were completely unimpacted by Gamergate, especially _years later_, sheesh. This is honestly one of the dumbest theories ever, especially when you look at all the other games that _weren’t_ impacted and logically should have. But my implication is as implication-y as yours.)

                No. He specifically talked about how *HE* was the focal point. I can link to what he said again, if you’d like.

                Did you miss the word ‘he’ in my sentence? HE publicly talked up how the game had queer characters in it.

                And we’re back at the point: You claimed his game did badly because he attacked Gamergate. You listed him and Bioware as companies that attacked Gamergate. Bioware did not do this at all, he might have, I don’t know.

                But you didn’t quote him talking about hypothetically doing that. You quoted him talking about what he regretted, which was not ‘attacking Gamergate’.

                The thing he regrets was ‘being political’. And by political, he means ‘There are two sexual orientation: Straight and political. There are two races: White and political. There are two genders: Male and political.’

                He regrets repeatedly and loudly telling people his game had diverse characters, instead of letting is slide under the radar. Because when he said it loudly, Gamergate went after the game.

                This is something you keep glossing right past, the fact that attacks on games by Gamergate were not based on ‘Studios attacking Gamergate’ (Because Gamergate managed to immediately piss off almost _every_ studio, many of which vaguely had a few words about this.), but were instead attacked games based on ‘wokeness’, by which they mean the games admitting queer and non-white people exist and having them in the game. (Sometimes they were pissed off just because there were women.)

                And don’t think I haven’t notice you totally dropped talking about Bioware with regard to Andromeda, and now are trying to make it about Mass Effect 3. That’s because the Andromeda thing was also about Gamergate complaining about queer characters…until it finally came out and they found real things to complain about. (And then started harassing a woman over those things.)

                The “Gamers are Dead” media blitz happened in that time period.

                Um…so you are arguing that the “Gamers are Dead” media blitz is ‘any of those’, which you cut out the object of ‘those’, which was ‘actual scandals’. What are you talking about? That’s incoherent

                Again: Do you have any evidence that, at the _start_ of TheQuinnspiracy, aka, Gamergate, that anyone of them cared about ‘those’, by which I mean any of those actual gaming scandals? Yes or no?

                It’s more that the behavior of Gamergate encompasses everything from complaining about Mass Effect 3’s ending (and Bioware shutting down its forums as a result) to complaining about Kotaku being in bed with the people it was covering to GamejournoPros to the Gamers Are Over media blitz.

                Oh, no it doesn’t. You can’t retroactively make my anger at Bioware over Mass Effect 3 into part of the _alt-right harassment campaign_ that was Gamergate. I am one of the Mass Effect 3 hater. So are you. I think we’ve both decided to never buy any Bioware RPG again, because they screwed up so badly and then acted like asshats when called out. That has absolutely nothing to do with Gamergate. At all. (It literally was before Gamergate, for the most obvious thing.)

                See, there’s the problem. You think Gamergate is some generic term for ‘people annoyed at the gaming industry’. This in turn makes you think any _criticism_ of Gamergate (Which has done quite a lot of horrible things under that name.) is an attack ‘on people annoyed at the gaming industry’.

                But everyone who criticizes something doesn’t magically become the same. The people criticizing Biden from the left are not the people criticizing him from the right are not the same as the anarchists who hate any president.

                And there’s always vagueness about what is and isn’t in a movement, we can argue about whether people at a protest speak for the movement. If a BLM protest gets violent, what does that mean for BLM? Does January 6th discredit anyone besides the people there? We can’t say, it’s one of those things there’s no objective standards.

                But the thing about Gamergate, this specific movement, is we watched it form, in real time, there’s very good documented IRC logs and everything, showing how it as a complete shitshow of harassment and bigotry and some very very slight attempts to disguise that. You cannot _fix_ or _reclaim_ #gamergate.

                To quote Ken White again:

                Moreover, if you chose the label #GamerGate as your vehicle, people are going to draw conclusions. If I put a Westboro Baptist Church bumper sticker on my car, people will draw conclusions no matter how carefully I explain that their children’s choir program is awesome. That’s because the Westboro Baptist Church label is very specific. It’s not something broad like “Baptist” or “Agnostic” that you’d expect to encompass a wide range of views. #GamerGate is very specific too. The label #GamerGate has its origins in a freakout over a woman in particular, and gender issues in general. If you decide to adopt it, people are going to wonder if you mean to associate yourself with its origins, in a way they wouldn’t if you chose a broader label.

                When people complain that they are being associated with misogyny and threats for waving the #GamerGate banner, I feel (on a different scale) about the way I do when people complain that they are being misjudged for flying the Confederate battle flag. Sure, maybe it means Southern pride and heritage to some of them. But I’m not sympathetic when many see it another way based on its history. If you fly the Confederate battle flag, people may reasonably think you intend to send a message that contradicts your spoken claims of harmony and equality.

                There are people who have been duped to consider themselves part of Gamergate. Or that Gamergate refers to anything more than a movement that literally started as a form of online harassment. Please stop being one of those people.

                And you know what? I’m done talking about this, because it has sucked up a huge amount of my time, and your entire thing is some feeling that all problems with the game industry/gaming media are somehow part of Gamergate.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                So your position is that a game where the studio head openly attacked Gamergate, mid-Gamergate, did very well, thus proving those other games that didn’t do well didn’t do well because of Gamergate.

                No. My argument is that the studio that came out and said “If you don’t like it, don’t buy it” had the guy who said that resign.

                Black Ops 3, by comparison, just put a Female lead in there. That’s it. They did it. They didn’t do it and then say “if you don’t like it, don’t buy it”.

                Now, was the treatment of the audience the reason the one did poorly and the other did well?

                I would say that the sales for any video game are going to be overdetermined. Everything from the box art to the coverage of the story to the font in the ads to the reviews to the footage in the commercials to the word of mouth is going to be responsible for that number going up or down two months after the game comes out.

                But if a game doesn’t sell well, you don’t want to be the guy at the company who very publicly told people not to buy it.

                Battlefield 1, the game that came out after Battlefield V, did very well by comparison.

                For a lot of reasons, I’m sure.

                Gamergate is this weird thing. Schrödinger’s Dorks. It’s either a bunch of whiny awful people who didn’t change anything or a group of awful people who changed the course of American History. It depends on what the speaker needs it to be. Then, whammo, the waveform collapses.

                Let’s get back to Bioware, I guess. I was one of the people who did not buy Andromeda. I did not buy Andromeda because I was asked to not buy Andromeda on the old Mass Effect forums before they went bye-bye. So it is through the lens of Mass Effect that I see Andromeda.

                You see #Gamergate as being “alt-right”. There were parts of it that were, of course. Milo famously latched onto it. But much of it was the realization by a lot of the “gamers” out there that formed the core of the “gaming” audience (which, granted was *HUGE* and covered everybody from someone who played Farmville to the people who were still working on the fan patches for Bloodlines).

                But the crazy people? The people who made an identity out of gaming? There was a lot of tension between the identity gamers and the gamer journalists who covered the topics that identity gamers cared about.

                I see Gamergate as an extension of the response to Mass Effect 3. I see the way that game journalism responded to the “entitled” gamers as being repeated in the years that followed.

                They used the same scripts as they used for Mass Effect 3. These whiny, entitled gamers. Hey, they don’t have to be your audience any more.

                You don’t see how they connect.

                I do. I see the connection as pretty seamless, actually.

                your entire thing is some feeling that all problems with the game industry/gaming media are somehow part of Gamergate.

                No. Not exactly.

                It’s that the people who complain the loudest about the problems with the game industry/gaming media are painted with the broad brush of being #Gamergate. The version that Popehat is talking about.

                It’s a pretty handy tool, really. “If you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists.”

                But there are a lot of perspectives out there. Valid ones. Even of Team Good.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to DavidTC
                Ignored
                says:

                bruh

                you just wrote a 1586-word comment in reply to a 780-work post, and yet you insist that you aren’t interested in writing articles for the site

                although given how your comment starts with the bizarre assertion that Gone Home didn’t get much press I can see why you wouldn’t want your stuff on the front pageReport

              • JS in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                You know, I probably should have not digressed into the guts of Gamergate, and just pointed out this:

                The belief that the “nerds” won Gamergate, as if Gamergate was anything but nerd-on-nerd action.

                Trying to claim it was “nerds” versus “everyone else” or “versus LA liberals” or whatever is blatantly, hilariously wrong.

                And as it’s used as an example of “nerds winning”, it’s a weird example of rewriting reality.

                Beyond even ignoring inconvenient facts, it literally changed who was arguing with who over what into something entirely imaginary.Report

              • Russell Michaels in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                Except the nerds won.Report

              • JS in reply to Russell Michaels
                Ignored
                says:

                And also lost. You’re not really understanding this, are you?Report

              • Russell Michaels in reply to veronica d
                Ignored
                says:

                No, it originated on Twitter.Report

            • Russell Michaels in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              It was. The nerds won. Hearts and minds, not corporate profits. How do you not understand that?Report

            • Russell Michaels in reply to JS
              Ignored
              says:

              No, the nerds won. Keep pretending it was actually about misogyny.Report

  4. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    The whole “RPG Consent Checklist” thing is something that half makes me roll my eyes and half makes me say “eh, it’s probably a good idea to have something like this, if something like this might be an issue”.

    If you’ve never seen one, you can check it out here.

    The basic idea is that there are a bunch of things that a DM might include in a story. This sheet lets you communicate, beforehand, what you are cool with and what you would not be cool with.

    I mean, it makes sense, I guess. I’ve heard horror stories about players wanting to have sex with NPCs and I’ve even seen a DM kidnap a PC and have the mission involve the rest of the players search for her and, yep, she was naked when we found her.

    Would I want to play in a game where stuff like that happened? Heck no. In the cases where it did, the game fizzled out fairly quickly with people having other stuff to do that night until we rebooted with another game entirely.

    But I also look at the sheet and say “bugs?”

    I mean, if you’re playing a D&D game, bugs are one of the things that you’re going to find in the dungeon. (Rot Grubs are a jerk move, though.)

    Though I could easily imagine a player who is squicked by bugs and wouldn’t want the DM to rhapsodize about the teeming pile of beetles rolling down the hallway. Clicking! Clicking!

    Fantastical Racism (Dwarves referring to Elves as “Knife-Ears” or similar)? Natural disasters? Police abuse? (Like, bad guards might be a problem?)

    There’s a point at which I’d wonder if maybe board games might be a better option for everybody.

    White Wolf had this thing where they apologized for including a real life atrocity against LGBTQ+ people in their 5th edition sourcebook between affirmations of the importance of unapologetic diversity and inclusion.

    One of the things I enjoyed about 2nd Edition Vampire was little explanations about how little pop culture things were manifestations of what was *REALLY* going on with the Camarilla.

    There was a story about how a Nosferatu saved the undeath of a prominent Toreador. The Prince granted the Nosferatu a boon and the Nosferatu asked that the Toreador wear his clothing for a month. AND KIDS THAT IS HOW WE GOT GRUNGE.

    They took this basic idea of vampiric just-so stories to explain all sorts of stuff around the world. The gang turf wars that were in the headlines for a couple of years there? That’s the Anarchs vs. Sabbat. And that’s the stuff that is appropriate for a comment section.

    The Giovanni? The Cappadocians? The non-Caitiff Sabbat in general? The Tzimisce?

    All of that stuff requires a CW if you give more than the barest gloss of the stories involving those guys.

    And half of me says “well, a good Consent Checklist could take care of that”.
    And half of me says “Maybe board games would be a better play.”

    Maybe I’ve just been blessed with more good DMs than bad’uns.Report

    • veronica d in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      It mostly becomes an issue for women playing in majority male groups. It seems a fair number of women who participate in RPGs will eventually encounter some socially stunted asshat who doesn’t realize that submitting female players to their characters being raped is maybe not great … But like honestly there really are guys like that, and plenty of them. They aren’t the majority, but they exist.

      And if you have one on your group…

      The good news is they kinda stand out these days. I can usually tell pretty fast if I’m dealing with a reactionary chud.

      The issue is the sorts of people who would use a consent checklist aren’t the sort of people who really need one. So it becomes annoying and performative.Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      Cappadocians: “Hi, I’m Father Basli, this is Father Gregory, and this is the other Father Gregory.”Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      The basic idea is that there are a bunch of things that a DM might include in a story. This sheet lets you communicate, beforehand, what you are cool with and what you would not be cool with.

      Some of that stuff…almost all that ‘Relationship’ category should be…the player chooses what relationship is happening, and…uh…maybe there’s _not_ explicit sex, at all? What game _exactly_ are we playing where a character is roleplaying explicit sex?! What?

      And the list weirdly makes no distinction of things that happen to _you_, vs. just being there existing, which is very important.

      Players in a TTRPG implicitly consent to a _very wide_ range of things being done to their characters: Assault, kidnapping, even murder. Anyone who decides to play a roleplaying game is perfectly willing to put themselves in the shoes of someone attacked by bandits, that’s almost inherent in the premise.

      They probably aren’t willing to put themselves in the shoes of someone who has cancer. That’s kinda a different mental state, and something that should actually be discussed as a direction for the character to take, not something just handed to them.

      I mean, I’m all for people saying ‘I have cancer, or I have to deal with someone with cancer, in real life, and I’d prefer to not deal with it in the game at all’, and being able to check a box, it’s just the sheet seems to not distinguish between that and giving a _PC_ cancer without asking.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to DavidTC
        Ignored
        says:

        I guess I might, theoretically, agree that if every basement in the country had a stack of these forms in it, and if every DM in the country was trained in their use, and if every gamer in the country was handed one of these forms as they walked into the basement to play a game, that maybe a handful of weird and/or gross situations might be avoided.

        I mean, I have played games where the players included seduction as part of a scene (the bard was trying to talk the Police Chief into something or other).

        This can make for *AWESOME* comedy!

        SO LONG AS THE SCENE FADES TO BLACK AFTER A NATURAL 20 IS ROLLED.

        (Which is what happened. Well, we were playing Fate so it was more of an overwhelming success scoring against a mild failure but you get the point.)

        The exact same frigging mistake is being made by both the people who wrote the form as well as by Ernie. Both of them are failing to realize that not only do House Rules Exist but 90% of them are unspoken and unacknowledged and might not even exist consciously in the minds of the players.

        Remember this? This is from the beforetime when the ghosts of Christianity were still haunting the basements:

        I suppose we’d be better off if we could get the kids in that game to sign those forms.

        Just like we’d be better off if we could have gotten them to do their science homework instead of goofing off and wolfing down high fructose corn syrup.Report

        • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird
          Ignored
          says:

          The problem with trying to codify What Is Weird And Gross is that the list only gets longer.

          Like, would you consider it Weird And Gross and Needing An Entry On Consent Form to have halflings in cross-racial relationships? Because “portraying relationships between fictional people of two different heights are Actually An Expression Of Paedophilia” is a very real thing on Tumblr these days. “oh well that’s just a weird small corner of the internet” who do you think plays RPGs? Where do you think that industry’s attitudes come from?Report

          • Jaybird in reply to DensityDuck
            Ignored
            says:

            White Wolf released a couple dozen statements assuring everybody that they were diverse and inclusive and talked about how there’s no room for racism in a game that involves vampires that were embraced in the 1600’s.

            Which struck me as a lovely sentiment but…

            Well, in the same way that Ernie is saying “our game only has two genders!”, this is another bunch of people claiming jurisdiction greater than that of what words get put into the book that is ignored by everybody except the rules lawyer.Report

    • Russell Michaels in reply to Jaybird
      Ignored
      says:

      This sounds like the kind of atmosphere that no one but super leftists would enjoy.Report

  5. Damon
    Ignored
    says:

    Shesh, maybe not play with randos? I’ve been in a campaign for several years now. The DM and his wife, the DMs friend and his wife., me, and a female friend (who’s married) I met through jujitsu. We’re all 40+. This shit doesn’t come up. They most it comes up is the DM having a female NPC send me messages about wanting to meet up and buy some artifact and “adding some bonus compensation” because my character complains a lot about how we’re always question and not taking time off for some “rest and relaxation”…. It’s an inside joke.

    If the players you’re playing with are douches, don’t play with them.Report

  6. LeeEsq
    Ignored
    says:

    Social changes happen and the TTRPG world is going to be filled with people who both embrace and hate these social changes because of the demographics of TTRPG players. A lot of RPG publishers decided that going with the more liberal TTRPG makes sense for both reasons of morality and money like many other media companies. The malcontents aren’t pleased.

    I think a lot of traditional fantasy media from novels to movies to RPGs had a lot of tropes that are considered really problematic in today’s globalized world. Like the evil empire controlled by priests of a demanding authoritarian God might have been good fun when Muslims were basically a non-presence in America and everybody was all up in arms against the Ayatollahs. The Ayatollahs still suck but many more young Americans are going to know about Islam or even be friends with Muslims these days, so anything that can kind of look like it is anti-Islam is going to be not popular. There are still going to be a lot of fantasy fans of many ages into the evil empire controlled by priests though because you have a lot of the more aggressive sort of atheist in these communities. Anything that is anti-religion will be appealing to them.

    So what we have is a debate on how should modern social mores effect the gaming and fantasy community. A lot of people like atrocity gaming but many other people do not. Some people might find the evil empire of priest trope bad but be quite fond of say the stereotypical Roma tropes as just good clean fun because people are inconsistent that way.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to LeeEsq
      Ignored
      says:

      To be perfectly honest, my expectation is that the Social Cops will move on to something else soon enough.

      Oh, they’ll come back to gaming. They always do.

      But, for a while, they’ll be distracted by some other corner of pop culture/entertainment and start policing that for a while. “We need to decolonize backup dancers” or something.

      Have you ever seen Gary Gygax’s article on polearms? (Scroll down to page 50.)

      He discussed, at length, the differences between… (deep breath)
      Spears
      Lances
      Pikes
      Spetums
      Ranseurs
      Pole Axes
      Halberds
      Bardiches
      Voulges
      Lochaber Axes
      Fauchards
      Glaives
      Guisarmes
      Bill Hooks
      Military Forks
      Lucern Hammers
      Becs de Corbin
      Fauchard-Forks
      Fauchard-Guisarmes
      Glaive-Guisarmes
      Guisarme-Voulges
      and
      Bill-Guisarmes

      A few of them do 1d6.
      Some of them do 1d8.
      Some of them do 2d4.
      A couple of them do 1d10.

      The type of people who can read that list and think “dude, cool” will always be with us and we are always making more of them and basements are their natural habitat.

      While cops will also always be with us, flitting from place to place and explaining that “you’re doing it wrong!”, my money is on the cops finding somewhere else to farm for clout after the voulge vs. lucern hammer people prove to be insurmountable.

      “But we won that fight!”, the cops may say. “We won it years ago!”Report

      • Pinky in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        Yeah, I don’t know why he didn’t go into much polearm detail either. But as for policing, it costs next to nothing, so you can kind of passively harass a subject off and on, or as anything new comes up. Imagine a boot distractedly stamping on a human face forever.Report

  7. Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    I realize that I am also reminded of the time that ESPN decided to “stick to sports”.Report

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *