Everywhere I look, I am noticing something. Since I follow an amount of anti-SJW types one all sides of the political fence, I get exposed to lots of different ideas. I even have some SJW types who at least will talk with the opposition that I follow, such as Laci Green. I don’t want to live in an echo chamber, so I am doing my best to get as many perspective as I can. I also follow the GamerGate page on Tumblr, that still posts to this day, and that’s where I am seeing a lot of this. But on both sites, I am seeing a continuing perspective on certain games, and it has me confused.
I recently have played David Cage’s newest game, Detroit: Become Human, and I have liked it very much. Connor and Hank were by far my favorite characters, with Kara and Alice being my least. Their arc had some insane plot convenience that did take me out of the story. The game isn’t perfect. I’m the first to say that. There are flaws. The same flaws inherent in all David Cage games – wonky controls, narrative heavy in the extreme, QTEs that if you hate that stuff will get on your nerves. But for what the game is, I do like it very much.
But then I pull up my social media and it’s thing after thing about how awful this game is, how it somehow signifies the end of the world for gaming. How it is SJW-heavy and how I should hate it for that. On and on and on. What’s more, a gaming channel that I watch decided to shit on another of Cage’s games – Beyond: Two Souls, making the argument that Cage’s games have no audience. The dude is welcome to his own opinion, I am just confused about why it was so awful. Was the non-chronological order an issue? A little. I would have personally liked more of the stuff like when she was doing her infiltration mission. That shit was great! Or the mission where she was on the run facing off with the military trying to hunt her down. That mission was also great. I can look past the flaws for the things that I like in it. Am I the only one?
Then today, another person I follow on Twitter was asked if he would cover “Life is Cringe.” An obvious spin on the game Life is Strange. I have made no secret of how that was my favorite game of 2015. I have gone on about it to the point of excess, and I won’t be going on here. I am just curious what is so awful about it. The stilted dialogue? Don’t think that escaped my notice. Sure, it is a little off-putting at first. I had to adjust to it. But once I was able to quantify it as part of the universe that this game exists in, I was able to enjoy it substantially. But I do acknowledge the stilted dialogue as a flaw. Made very clear of that in my review of the first episode. So what is it, then?
People have pointed out to me that there is SJW themes at play in the game. Chloe Price, my favorite character, has been savagely ripped to pieces by the Internet. Is that the issue? Here’s the thing about me – I don’t hate a game or character with SJW parts on the merits of their existence. Not so long as the narrative or the character doesn’t make those parts the majority of the whole. It’s why I can hear her talking about keeping the gun she has out of the hands of men and not just write her character off. Because that is one small part of her overall whole.
I’m trying to get where the hate of all these things is. What are other people seeing that I am not? Or is it the reverse? Am I seeing something that everyone else is too obtuse to see? Is my ability to see nuance and not just hating something because it has elements of a movement that I personally disagree with giving me a perspective others lack? Or am I completely wrong and there is nothing of any redeemable value in any of these things?
Where did this all get started? One could say that this goes back to the review for Gone Home. A game that the games media slobbered all over the knob of like it is one of the greatest games ever. A contention that I most assuredly do not agree with, make no mistake. That game also has flaws, though I believe that people’s belief that it is nothing but a “walking simulator” is a bit overstated. I liked the previous work by that company Dear Esther.
Game after game that I enjoy, but the Internet that I follow despises. Firewatch, Beyond: Two Souls, Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, Life is Strange, Detroit: Become Human. What am I missing? I have even seen people accusing the game L.A. Noire of being in the same vein as this. WHY?! Because you spent a lot of time talking with people? You know, the most fun part of the game! Instead of that boring driving and shooting shit?! Where you analyzed crime scenes and interrogated witnesses? I loved that part. It bugged me how the less interesting parts of the game had to be there at all. I would have loved a game all about crime scenes, solving crimes, and being a detective. It could have spawned a new breed of game. Instead, it bankrupted the developer and that was it. There will never be a sequel.
Come on, you nuance-lacking mother-fuckers! Tell me what I’m missing here! Tell me where the hate comes from. Is it the simplistic gameplay? Is it the narrative focus instead of the mechanics focus? Is it the thematic elements that tie in to a culture that modern gaming is so at odds with? Tell me what it is. I genuinely am trying to figure that out. Because while there are lots of games that I really like, it starts to feel like I am the only one on my side of the fence who agrees. I’ve never actually been called an SJW for my taste in gaming, but part of me wonders if that is people’s unstated opinion. I just want clarity on what I am missing here.
Feel free to comment, whoever. I let all opinions be heard.
Until next time, a quote,
“And as I sat there, looking out into the darkness, I thought back on all the things I’d built and left unfinished. I realized something – I wasn’t sad that it was gone. I had had fun making all that stuff. I would have done it anyway. And then, somehow, I knew that when I woke up, all my work really would be destroyed.” -King, The Unfinished Swan