I recently graduated from college with a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Public Communication. The second part is basically a really fancy way of saying PR. I know how to run good PR and bad PR. I know how to craft a narrative. One of my classes opened with the Professor (one of the few in my department I respect) giving us an assignment. We, the class, were given a fictional organization to represent. It was a pro-cencoroship, hard-right Christian non-profit. We had to do their PR for them. The idea of this class was – if we could represent them, we could represent anyone. I represented the shit out of them, even though I hated that group with every bit of passion I could espouse. With that in mind, I have to say something to a game developer named Tim Schafer – what were you thinking?! What you did tonight was perhaps one of the stupidest moves I have ever seen, and you had better believe that it’s going to bite you in the ass. I know that you all need some context. Let’s talk about it.
At the Game Developer’s Conference Awards, Tim Schafer decided to give a little speech. In it, he had this little nugget of wisdom –
Yeah, that really happened. Tim Schafer, a video game developer who has products that he wants to market, decided to insult minorities and women. He decided to basically say that all the people in the #NotYourShield movement are sock puppets, and that their opinion deserves no respect. How old is this guy, again? The last time I saw something this stupid with a sock puppet, it involved that little worm Onision. And both of those people showed the exact same level of maturity. After having done this, Twitter exploded. The reaction has been met with frustration, anger, and in my and many other cases – humor. We got a good laugh out of it. Let’s talk about this.
Tim, I’m going to address you directly – you’re an idiot. For real, this was a VERY stupid move on your part, and you had better believe that you are going to pay for it down the road. Why? Where do I begin? First – do you REALLY want to shit on women and minority gamers? Is that really a smart idea? These are people who could buy your products, Tim. What’s more, these are people who talk! Already, Twitter is lighting up with reactions. These people are going to spread the word that you are a sexist and racist bigot who has said that all the women and minorities who disagree with you are nothing but sock puppets. Does that sounds like a smart thing to say?
Next – that was so utterly immature, man. I’m really trying to wrap my head around what would compel you to do something this asinine. You are already getting something of a reputation for starting and not finishing projects, and now you want to add this to your resume? Short-sighted doesn’t even begin to cover it. If you want a career in a medium as public and as critical as gaming, shitting on your audience sounds like the last thing you want to do. Gamers are critical in the third degree and that critical nature has sunk the reputation of more companies than one. EA has born some of the worst of it, in recent memory. Bioware is working as hard as they can to rebuild theirs. Brianna Wu’s game was rightfully attacked for the lackluster schlock that it is. Do you really think that you are above it?
Lastly – why did you do this at a developer’s conference? There are people in the industry there, Tim! You know what that means?! That means that this is going to hurt them too. Nobody in the audience laughed, man. There were some awkward chuckles, and people who were making noises of discontent. Your little bit at the end, saying that it’s not your fault that people say what your sock puppet says didn’t help. You have turned something that is supposed to be respected into an immature game that nobody will take seriously. For real, this event is going to suffer a loss of credibility for this. So not only have you made yourself look bad, but you’ve made other developers and an entire conference look bad. This was really stupid!
Following the release of the letter to Kotaku and Polygon that Mark Kern wrote, other developers are coming out in support of what he said. The tide of the culture war that has been raging is starting to turn, as the SJW side is looking more and more immature. You were in a hit-piece that ABC did on GamerGate, which they recently admitted was nothing more than click-bait. Things are starting to change. The lies of your side are becoming more known. Kotaku, Polygon, and everyone associated with this whole mess on the media’s side is going to suffer for what’s happened. Do you really want your credibility, such as it is, to die with them?
This was a stupid move, Tim. It’s going to hurt you. It was immature, asinine, and what’s more – nobody there thought it was funny. That should have sent you a message. I know that you are going to get on your high-horse and claim that you are in the right, but the lack of anything but uncomfortable laughter should be telling of which way the river flows. I guess we’ll see how it all turns out.
Until next time, a quote,
“Tim… You fucked up there. All you did was make yourself look like the misogynists you claim to be against. You seem to have forgotten one tiny little detail…
Without us, your games won’t sell. Without us, you’ll wind up taking a HUGE loss in profits. You kinda need gamers to play your games, and most of those on your side have admitted to hating video games.” -Shadow Paint Lisa