Going out into the world, equipped with a Bachelor’s in Journalism and Public Communication is interesting. See, you learn both the journalism and PR side of the equation. I can do both. I want to do one or the other, but the job market fucking sucks right now, and that’s a real bummer. As I have been paying attention to what happens in the world, I have been figuring out how I would be able to look at a situation from both the journalism and PR side of the coin. I remember when Internet Aristocrat made his video on Dina Abou Karam and her affiliation with the Kickstarter-made project Mighty No. 9 (linked here). As he was also a student of journalism at one point, we had a rather similar mindset about the whole affair.
In a lot of ways, what happened with Mighty No. 9 is just depressing. Here you have the original creator of Mega Man wanting to create a spiritual successor to the franchise, since Capcom has decided that they want to give that whole series the finger and say “piss off.” This game was meant to be that. The project raised its projected amount, and even a little more, so that the game could have some DLC. That seems like a pretty big success story, right? Well, as is typical in the modern age, nothing is ever that simple. Indeed, the story of Mighty No. 9 got so much more complicated than it needed to be, all because of Dina Abou Karam. That one person has made the legacy that that game might have a complete clusterfuck from start to wherever it finishes. It proved something I have long since known about how to handle modern feminism, social justice culture, and public relations. The thing I know – if you play that game, no matter what you do, you WILL lose!
I’ll give a Cliff Notes version of what happened with Dina and Mighty No. 9. Dina was hired as the Community Manager for the project. The person who would talk to the backers and the public at large and make them stoked for the game. That sounds like a pretty good gig, doesn’t it? All you have to do is whore the game out! How difficult is that?! To someone like me, not at all. In fact, since the game’s existence was based on social media and word of mouth, all you’d have to do is keep tight with the conversations on social media and interject with things you want the public to know. In other words – get the hype train rolling. Something that Square Enix has been woefully bad at for a LONG time. Thankfully, with their latest project, they seem to be learning. The next big step for them is to give us a release date, even if tentative, for Final Fantasy XV. For real, Square, This E3, do it! It’s the PERFECT time! You can’t go wrong! I give you that piece of PR advice for free. The rest, I’d have to negotiate salary with you. (offer open)
Dina, however, decided that rather than pimp out this game that already had a ton of support, she would instead make the entire affair of her time as the Community Manager into a pulpit for her ideological differences with people. For the full story, here’s a very good article from Tech Raptor which lays it out in bulk. Needless to say, Dina did not do well there. Not only did she piss off backers, to the point that some of them wanted their money back, but she also told people to boycott the game. The stupidest business decision I have ever seen, from a person whose job it is to pimp out a game. Telling people that a game company doesn’t want their business. Then, she says that she quit, but I think she actually got fired. And on her way out the door, she spit bile all over Mighty No. 9, making them look even worse for having hired her at all.
This was a Grade-A PR fuck-up. For real, I don’t think that anyone could have done worse here. How on Earth did Dina end up where she did? Oh, right, she was hired because she had an in with the company. Well, that doesn’t make them look good, does it? Nepotism, ideological division, and bad PR. This game’s future us uncertain. Currently, it doesn’t look good. And that is a real shame, because Mighty No. 9 looks like a good game. The gameplay is smooth, the visuals are cool. It takes me back to the old Mega Man X games.
So what can we learn, here? What should we take away from what happened with Dina? The thing to take away is – do NOT play this social justice game! Don’t do it! I cannot stress enough that these people have standards that are IMPOSSIBLE to satisfy! You play that game, you’ll lose. You’ll offend somebody, because these people get butthurt so easily that they must need ointment on their derrieres, to rub on daily. They have unrealistic standards for what a video game should be, with all female characters being complete Mary Sues. No matter how you try and make those people happy, you won’t.
What’s more, you don’t have to! Recently, Anita Sarkeesian made a video where she promoted a bland, silent protagonist called The Scythean. Sarkeesian has over 200,000 followers on her YouTube account. When someone with that kind of pull promotes a game and a character in it, what do you think would happen, if their audience were gamers? Easy – they would check the game out. If Angry Joe came out today and said, “hey everybody, Mighty No. 9 is the coolest thing ever!” you know how many people would be eager for the game? Everybody! Everyone would want it. Gaming personalities can make or break a game’s reputation. Look at that business with Total Biscuit and Titan Souls. He had a casual, non-offensive comment about how a game wasn’t his cup of tea, which then set off a PR shitstorm. That’s what gaming personalities can do. Yet, when Anita Sarkeesian says that a game and a character in it are good, what happens with the sales? Virtually nothing. It’s about the same. The game is still bombing. You know what that means? That means that her audience isn’t gamers. Which means that all these SJWs who supposedly game don’t even listen when their senpai recommends a game. So they are obviously either full of shit or the kind of gamers who think that Nintendo is the greatest thing ever, like poor Movie Bob, and all those videos where he plays all the characters. Which isn’t sad at all.
Meanwhile, let’s look at what does sell – the rest of the gaming crowd. It’s good to make characters that more than one type of person can like. But don’t think that you need a character who is pleasing to everybody. After all, Grand Theft Auto V got so much hate and vitriol from the SJW crowd, and yet it is one of the highest-rated and highest-selling games of all time!
A basic rule of public relations is this – know your audience. Who wants your product, and how can you promote your product to them? That is the most fundamental thing that a PR person has to do! When I hear people like Brianna Wu say that we need games to pander to them, I look at recent events and I realize – no we don’t. We need games to be places where people don’t have to fear being ridiculed by a niche group of butthurt people. We need to not be afraid of artistic freedom and creativity. Where you can have a character like Billy, from Xenogears, who was a child prostitute to take care of his family, and it doesn’t spark some major crisis. That’s what we need. What’s more – that’s what gamers want! We want games that are good. We want games that are interesting. The lot of us can handle some pretty edgy stuff.
To the creators of Mighty No. 9, take this away from what I’ve said – do like Rocksteady. They took a M rating for their game without a worry, because they are making the game they want to make, and to hell with the ESRB. We need more of that mentality. And find a better Community Manager. For crying out loud, Dina was a disaster.
Until next time, a quote,
“Let me put it this way – when it comes to the online social justice con game, nothing ever changes. The days, weeks, and seasons of the year change, but the vindictive, fun-killing, self-righteous, circle-jerking hug-box horseshit remains the same.” -Mykeru