GamerGate and Why I’m Distancing Myself From It.

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Yeah, that’s right, I’m getting off this crazy train, I’ve had enough. The past few weeks have been interesting (depressing?)  to say the least, but overall, I’m done with this movement. How far can it really go? And honestly, other than a few advertisers and some web pages updating their ethics policies, what more is there that can be done? The longer I watch this thing, the more I see of just two sides just spinning their tires and not making any headway to talk with one another to really understand why they don’t like/agree with one another. Worse still, both sides are getting increasingly volatile to one another.

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Game Journalists and Criticism: Grow up for God’s Sake

I tend not to get to worked up about games journalism anymore, there’s no point in it. It’s fundamentally broken in just too many ways to count. It’s frustrating to wade through so many worthless articles and reviews that it fries your brain cells and makes you wonder what editor was sleeping underneath his/her desk when they allowed said to be published. Sure, not all game journalists are bad, but there’s not very many good ones either.

Reading this reddit post is so ridiculous for me. The redditor in question who posted this article basically feels hurt that the post went viral, and that it puts real issues that game journalists deal with in an overly simplified manner, boo freaking hoo. You can take any serious issue, and spin it into a simple thing. 

The ABCs of Game Journalism is a very snark post, and that’s the point. I don’t think the person who posted on reddit really gets that there are OTHER posts there that are ABCs of other things: Marriage, 80’s action movies, Sales, etc.

The reason that post went viral is because of how true it is. I’m going to just go through this reddit post and dissect the guys faultyness in posting this (Italicized is the redditor, Bold is my response):

Yes. The games press lives in expensive cities. Why? That is where the industry is. The symbiotic link. The source for new material. Some can move away. Many do not.

There really isn’t a such a need to live in these areas anymore, most of the news is online and can be snatched from so many other sites you can spin your own preview without having actually played the game, which I’m sure some random journalist does.

Yes. The games press is friendly with PR and Marketing. They are the gatekeepers to the games industry. The games press are the gatekeepers to their readership. A good work relationship benefits both parties.

And that is the biggest problem to the readership. Unless the press universally demands that they get access without having to be cozy to the PR and Marketing, it will only get worse. Do I need to even bring up Mass Effect 3, and how the press was so protective over the game? And that anyone, EVEN people who had legitimate gripes with the game were labeled entitled? I don’t hear of movie critics having to be cozy to movie studios for the next private screening of (insert film/unnecessary sequel here).

Yes. Sites do depend on ad clicks to survive. Free content needs a method of monetization. Responsible and good editorial will know their readership. They will put out good content. It will be read.

How many times do I have to hear a cry fest over people using AdBlock? If a reader chooses to keep obtrusive, distracting ads off of their page, that is their right, and choice, quit trying to make people feel bad about that.

Yes. Some sites abuse agendas. Social responsibility is important. Going too far can be risky. Some sites benefit from this. Some race to the bottom of quality. Depends on editorial staff.

I’m not going to argue this one, the SJW craze really burned me out from paying much attention to game webpages anymore. You either where supportive of the crusade of how old video games (that were based on gameplay, not on story) were misogynist, or you’re a rape apologist. But if some web pages want to say they’re all for equality, yet post garbage that is often unrelated to games, and then still preach that some game makers are sexist pigs, you’re a hypocrite (see Kotaku).

Yes. A lot of games writers are terrible. Unmannered. Unprofessional. Can’t write. Can’t plan. Can’t edit. Some move on to editorial. Some editors are still terrible. Many are not.

Been seeing/saying this for years, moving on.

Yes. For many the endgame is the industry. Most keep writing in other methods. Very few actually develop.

And this is why the distrust stays so strong with the gaming press. It’s not too rare to see well known individuals in the press often going to work for a game company as their PR, or writer, etc.. It’s great they find a better paying job, but it’s sometimes gigantic proof for some of crooked practice that we see all too often in the real world (Senators are often a rotating door of lobbyists for companies).

(Had to break this next paragraph up, same format as before)

Yes. Compensation in games journalism is typically poor. Competition is extreme. Man from previous writeup left games writing for corporate copywriting. Now does games writing as hobby. Now paid more than he could have if he stayed. Other games writers not so lucky.

That was obviously a smart man. I think people who review or do game writing as a hobby are often people who enjoy it more, and can be far more objective than a guy who has to put in at least 20 hours into a game by sundown who still has three more games to finish and review

Quoted from Ben Kuchera formerly of Penny-Arcade Report on news of termination: “My career options are 1) Have a senior position at an online publication focused on games and technology or 2) Walmart greeter.”

This a quote taken completely out of context on TWEETS. I’m pretty sure that Kuchera was kidding on his two options. He worked for Ars Technica, which is a good site, why he left that is beyond me. Penny Arcade Report had promise, but it devolved into just another web page of worthless posts and click baits. Kuchera is rarely a good writer either. 

Quoted from Kris Ligman formerly of GamaSutra on news of termination: “Twenty-seven years old and all the marketable skills of a three-legged mule. Goodnight.”

Which brings me to a point that I’m going to repeat, that’s not our fault or issue, that’s yours pal.

A lot of skilled people in games journalism could do things outside of games writing. Many do not.

That is their choice, and probably to their detriment.

Picture this: a job having lackluster pay and no direct marketable skill development that’s occasionally enjoyable. Everyone wants this job. That’s games journalism.

How does games journalism improve from here? How does free content profit when adblock exists? How does compelling content compete when lazy copy can convert? How can press members have social responsibility without it overtaking editorial? How can writers be paid more when the market does not support it?

These are the problems plaguing the industry. Not personal vendettas. Not petty issues. Actual problems. We need to find a balance.

To the audience: how do we solve this?

To the author: WE, THE READERSHIP, DON’T. THAT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY. This goes right back to the point I said I’d repeat myself on, that we are not responsible for the problems that plague the gaming press, and passing the responsibility to us is lazy, cheap, easy, and unprofessional.

Gamers just want honest reviews, not tainted by PR speak, and fancy words that press try to use to make their review sound glossier than before. We don’t mind a preview spread that talks about an upcoming game, but quit acting like it’s the second coming of Christ when it’s only getting an 8/10. Quit trying to make every game, including indie games (that five years ago would have been completely forgotten in five minutes of their release) as being “Bold, Daring, FRESH”, when half the time it’s just them using sprite work and animations that PALE in comparison to games from the NEO GEO.

If the press is so concerned over their plight, it is THEIR responsibility to make a better life and profession for themselves, it is not the readership’s job to help with that. 

And quit crying about your real life issues, we don’t come to your site for that, we come to read about games. I don’t know why they think we want more than that.

SJWs and Gaming Journalists: Ice Skating Uphill

Note: I have no qualms with people having strong moral convictions, opinions, and viewpoints, and sticking with them. And I’m more than likely digging myself in a hole for this post, at least I’m willing to do anything once.

In a recent bid to get more page clicks and say, “HEY GUYZ! WE HAVE VALUEZ!” Rock Paper Shotgun “boldly” declared they’d no longer attend PAX. The reason? Not for a comic that is years old where both parties handled the situation poorly, nope. It was all because of people that were agreeing with Penny Arcade’s host for regretting removing merchandise and people taking the situation out of complete context, cheering ensued. And the social justice warriors and game journalists lost their minds. And I’m sick to death of this. 

Let’s take a look at PAX’s panels this year alone:

Extra Credits: Diversity – a film viewing and Q&A Session

Top Women Game Characters of All Time

Gays in Love (With Their RPG’s)

Hey Vasquez, you ever been mistaken for a man? A discussion of military servicewomen in Video Games

Everything We Know Is Sexist. Now What?

Creating & Building Inclusive Communities in Tabletop/Board Gaming

Achieving Gender Diversity in Gaming: OK, Now What?

Press XY Presents: Right Before Your Eyes: Transitioning Within a Game Community

Political Correctness in Gaming: Let’s Talk

Queers in Gaming: Gamer vs Gaymer

Gender Diversity in Games: Where Are All The Believable Female Characters?

Does that look like an environment that’s hateful? Doesn’t look like it. Sure, PA often has put it’s foot in it’s mouth, but that’s because they’re imperfect, EVERYONE is. Surprise people, when everyone told you that you were a pretty pretty snowflake with no imperfections, they were wrong. YOU WILL SAY SOMETHING YOU WILL REGRET, YOU WILL SCREW SOMETHING UP, NO ONE IS PERFECT. What do you do? APOLOGIZE, which is what PA did. Whether that apology was whole hear-ted is debatable to some. But nobody pays attention to an apology on the internet anymore. 

Game journalists must be thanking their respective God for Anita Sarkeesian’s Tropes VS. Women series, because it’s given them new purpose other than to write about video games. Game journalists for years were running around trying to get everyone who didn’t care to realize all that time they and other gamers haven’t wasted their lives playing video games all day, they’re “art connoisseurs”. That constant beating of the drum that “games are art! TAKE US SERIOUSLY!” burnt out like the Hindenburg. Here came Tropes VS. Women to save the day.

Sarkeesian’s series initially rubbed me the wrong way, but after watching it a few times, I see the potential in it (there’s still plenty in it should it keep going), but the discussion has gone off a cliff. It’s no longer about discussing the gender roles in games, and how to improve them, no, now a ton of sites are going full Social Justice Warrior and going on a good ‘ol fashioned witch hunt. It doesn’t take much to find any gaming site talk about misogyny in some game in the past two months. I’ve seen a page say Spyro (a child’s game) is sexist because it has no female dragons to rescue, yeah, we’ve gone full stupid now. 

This is an unfortunate turn of events. The Social Justice Warrior trend is a money maker for web pages. I don’t think for a second that a number of these sites actually care about progressive change, but would rather court SJWs in an attempt to get those clicks to their page. This current trend is a gold mine, all one has to do is look for any sort of “sexy” imagery in a game and label it sexist and BOOM!!! The page clicks flow in. SJWs give the journalists a pat on the head for being a good servant and the naive gamer who doesn’t agree with them comes to the game’s (or in some cases the game maker’s) defense and the stories comments gets flooded with everyone biting each other’s head off.

But in all this discussion, it’s funny I barely hear any large backlash against the recently released GTA V. Here’s a series that’s got everything for a social justice warrior to get mad at. But the game is given a free pass because of it’s immediately obvious social commentary, all the sexism and misogyny is given a simple wave of the hand. But if you dare show someone being sexy in a game for fun, you’re crossing the line and you’re then labeled as some sort of pig. 

The SJW trend in game journalism has me in complete and utter contempt for the gaming press as a whole. I feel no need for going to gaming new sites anymore. Reddit’s r/games is rife with this stuff as well. And here’s where it really comes crumbling down, by constantly trying to tell people they’re “rape apologists” or they’re “sexist” for disagreeing with a sometimes piss poor straw-man argument, you turn off all attempts at a level headed discussion and lose the war. Some will say good riddance to someone not willing to listen to why they’re not a good person, but then they miss the point.

Now this doesn’t mean that I don’t think that women shouldn’t be represented better in the industry or in games themselves, they absolutely should. And this also doesn’t mean that I think all journalists are just doing this for click bait. People should be given fair treatment no matter their race, sex, or belief. I may not agree with some progressive viewpoints, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go into a rage over those views that differ mine. I don’t think some SJWs understand that. There’s a whole big world full of people beyond the internet, and there are people that are not going to agree with other’s views, some completely unwilling to listen to them, and they’re going to have to accept that and move on.

Want all genders to be given fair treatment? Present the message in a clear, non-antagonistic manner and as the saying goes, kill it with kindness, that actually works. Don’t insult game developers and call them a bunch of man children for putting in something they think is sexy, you’re not winning them over. You’re ultimately WASTING YOUR TIME trying to fight with immature people over XBOX Live for sending you messages calling you a faggot or telling the 13 year old who constantly shouts in his mic because “you made him lose”. Those people are a lost cause. The same goes for the people who’ve been sending death threats on Twitter over slight tweaks to multiplayer, they don’t care about what it does to those people recieving the bitter end of it. Constantly giving attention to these people is not helping the problem, it only gives them a spotlight.

Game Journalist Adventures: Making a fool of yourself, Ben Kuchera edition

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A few days ago, Game “Journalist” Ben Kuchera, tried to defame and call out Forbes’ writer Eric Kain for an article he posted on a NEW Super NIntendo game called Nightmare Busters that’s about to be released. Accordingly, the game was NEVER released. The article talked about how the game could be played by emulation for years, and that for some time, that has been the only means of playing it.

Kuchera went on a twitter rant calling Kain out. Kain has since updated and changed the article to apologize for any sort of implication of support to piracy. That’s not good enough for him, and decides to go even further digging at him.

First, let me set the stage for you. Forbes has pretty much been considered an outsider in the gaming press, one need only type in “Mass Effect 3 Forbes” on a Google search, and you’ll see what I mean. Heck, I discussed that debacle last year. It was even revised and published on Learn To Counter’s web page. It appears that Forbes actually engages into better discussions on game journalism and games than most outlets do on the internet. Of course, when you criticize and question the capabilities of the gaming press, you strike quite the nerve with them.

Second, let me say this: Emulation to me is not what I consider a hefty crime, despite the law of the land. Emulation is a way of preserving game history for when we can no longer play games of old on systems that are on the verge of death. We’re at the cusp of hundreds of games being completely forgotten or being labeled “irrelevant” because of “dated” mechanics. The gaming industry is hardly interested in preserving older games unless they can repackage them at an even higher price with “HD” textures.

People who make these emulators do this out of their passion for gaming. Hundreds of hours have been poured into developing these things. How else could we emulate the Neo-Geo?, the Turbo Graphix 16?, Sega CD?, The Commodore 64? Or even DOS-Games that have been long dormant or forgotten? or the deep search results of abandonware? There are many games where emulation is the ONLY feasible way someone can experience hundreds of classic games. Kuchera even wrote about the BSNES emulator! Where was the outrage to that article?!

So called journalists can discredit emulation all they want, but don’t tell me that they haven’t used it for their classic games articles. They’ve used Youtube videos for a number of their pieces. Where do you think people have probably recorded those videos from? I highly doubt every single video was done with a video capture card.

Kuchera has called out bad journalism or bad practices by journalists in the past, but he’s being just as bad as the people he’s called out, especially with changing his Twitter header to a “Deal With It” image.

Penny Arcade should be ashamed to have a journalist on their web page who is just as hypocritical as the rest of them in the field.

For more on this, go to Something Awful’s post on it. and a nice image of "magic" twitter deletion.

UPDATE: Something else I want to bring up as well, is in regards to Twitter. I’m sure that game journalists will proclaim that their Twitter is a more of a personal thing and not part of their professional side, I beg to differ with that. When you’re in the public spotlight, your attitude should stay as professional as possible. Kuchera’s posts in this matter are a prime example of what you shouldn’t say or act as.

Is there anything wrong with saying you didn’t like something? Or updating your day to day routines on there? Not at all. But don’t think that if you’ve posted stupid things on these social networks that it won’t come back to haunt you or that it won’t put you in your place. It most assuredly will.

Game Journalist Adventures - Rhetorical Questions

IGN’s Colin Campbell provided an article recently asking the question, “Why Do People Hate EA?” 

Now, let that sink in for a minute. A game journalist website is wondering why an established company who has a shady record of terrible business practices gets so much hate. I’m NOT going to link to this article because I don’t think it deserves anymore “hits” than it already has. Yeah, this article is clearly a trap, and I’m more than willing to dive head first into it to tear it apart:

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Game Journalist Adventures: Maturity in Gaming

Well, here I thought I’d never get to use this title theme again, but knowing our often silly game journalists, they prove me wrong again. Yes, some one decided to talk about something that honestly, is just as dead a subject as games being art. Apparently, there’s some sort of social endemic to gaming, and it has to be addressed! Games aren’t mature enough!! Let’s just inspect this nonsense a little more.

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Separate Ways: The divide between the Player, and The Journalist

This past month has been a very interesting month in gaming. The Mass Effect 3 controversy didn’t just open the door on the state of the relationship between the player and the game critic, it drove a full speed sports car through it. The gap is far and wide, and it’s not looking to get any better…

 A very vocal amount of gamers have given their opinion, with valid reasons for disliking the ending to ME3. Instead of just raging on forums, some tried to contribute to charity to show their dedication. Others sent 100s of cupcakes in 3 different colors, all the same flavor. The results are in, gamers don’t like the ending. So what was the reaction from the press?

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Game Journalist Adventures - Buzz words

(A title I’ll be keeping when I want to do a rant on gaming journalists or gaming news in general)

Reading through some of the posts on multiple websites with regard to Mass Effect 3’s ending has got me a bit, well, irritated. No, I really don’t care about the ending anymore, because I had the sneaking suspicion that the game was NOT going to live up to expectations that were set up even before the first game was coming out. But the message that game journalists are sending to gamers has really started to bother me.

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