Your Rage-Bait is So Painfully Obvious (A response to VG24/7)

I’ve talked at length about the fact that journalism at this point is a tired old whore who will tell you whatever she thinks you need to hear in order to pay her for services.  In the online sphere, that means whatever gets peoples click fingers going.  And games journalism is basically the king of whoring out whatever for those clicks.  All the clicks are needed.  Sure, it means their integrity basically doesn’t exist, but it functions, so there’s that.  Now it seems that they’re stepping up their game in order to get the clicks coming even faster.  After all, article after article has come out demonizing gamers and those who are critical of gaming and they get attention.  Which means more clicks.

Which brings us to an article saying that game developers need to stop listening to fans.  An article whose goal is so clear – rage-baiting.  They want to get people’s rage going, which will get responses, which in turn will get clicks.  It’s not even subtle what they’re doing.  But, this topic is stupid enough for me to take the time to really go into it.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s talk about it.

Don’t get mad, there’s a bit of hyperbole in that headline

Pathetic attempt to take shots at themselves for their deliberate choice make a title that is rage-bait.  Please.  You knew what you were doing, and it worked.  People are talking about it.  I’m talking about it.  But I’m not gonna take the bait.  I’m actually gonna respond to the stupidity on display in a constructive way.

BioWare has a lot to answer for, basically. Mass Effect 3 feels like ground zero for toxic fan entitlement. I’m sure the developer was just trying to do the right thing, but it changed the ending of its game due to negative feedback, bending its creative vision to pander to the baying masses.

You know, this point might have SOME level of a decent argument if it weren’t for the fact that stuff came out about the ending to Mass Effect 3.  See, EA was pressuring Bioware HARD to get the game out in 2012.  A console generation was coming to an end and they didn’t want to have to compete.  Not to mention that the time frame they were aiming for put them ahead of the competition.  As such, Bioware had the ending written by one guy and they accepted the first draft as the final one.  For a studio who had had teams of writers working on all the parts of the game to mesh everything with player choice, it strikes me as a little odd that you’re defending a game that had a bad ending that Bioware knew was bad.

This wasn’t people making them compromise their vision that they thought out and truly believed was the best.  It was EA doing what EA does and forcing Bioware to compromise their vision, which in turn had them redo the ending to try and save face.  Granted, I hate the revision, but at the very lease I see where it’s coming from.  Your point would be better if Neil Druckmann took out India lesbian from the sequel to The Last of Us: Part II because of all the conservatives railing about it.  And this isn’t even the end of the false-equivalence.

Things are often cut or changed. Some things don’t work. Some things work better than expected and are expanded upon. Nobody wants to release a bad game. Nobody wants the ending of their critically-acclaimed sci-fi trilogy to be ill-received.

Well, Bioware made a really bad decision in letting themselves get bought out by EA.  Game companies make bad decisions all the time.  But EA put their boot down and Bioware was stuck.  I have some level of sympathy for what happened to Mass Effect 3.  Since every other part was so carefully crated to accommodate all the decisions the player made, can you not see why people would be so upset that the ending totally throws everything in the trash?  I can’t be the only one who notices this.

Part of the issue here is how our industry feeds into this entitlement. Whether it’s PlayStation saying it’s “for the players” or it’s Xbox head Phil Spencer saying stuff like, “Games and gamers together now have the sheer magnitude to be a significant unifying force for the world,” whatever that means, our industry goes out of its way to say the customer is always right.

Um…are the basics of supply and demand just an illusion to you?  The customer is always right.  If you want to have an industry thrive where the goal is entertainment, then you have to entertain.  It’s pretty simple.  You entertain the masses and they buy your product.  If you start giving them sub-standard products, they won’t buy them anymore.  One of the products that gaming sells is narratives.  So if you have a product built on narrative quality with understandable narrative rules that the universe you created follows, and you finish the series by basically shitting on the rules and making it so that the cornerstone of your franchise – player choice – is thrown out the airlock, what makes you think that critical feedback will be positive?

This wasn’t a case of fans not getting some deeper meaning.  We know now that Bioware was in a corner so they just threw something together at the last minute.  Makes me wonder what could have happened if Bioware had been given the time and the game would have come out in 2013.

Metal Gear Solid 4 – the worst game in the series – was a game for the fans. People hated Metal Gear Solid 2 at launch because it forced you to play as floppy-haired newcomer, Raiden, instead of Solid Snake. Metal Gear Solid 4 put players back in Snake’s sneaking boots, but the game was basically an extended bit of fan service.

Dude, that wasn’t the fans’ fault.  It was Konami’s.  Are you just completely unaware of the ugly relationship between Kojima and Konami?  It destroyed his last project.  Konami wanted MGS4.  Kojima never wanted to make a sequel after 1.  His being forced to do so was consistently the studio he was tied with forcing his hand.  It’s why he’s cut loose so hard for his next project, to make it something so radically different.  That game was Kojima just putting something out there to please his benefactors, they wanted it to just be fan service, the video game.

Elsewhere in the Bad Place, some gamers actually petitioned Obama to get DmC pulled from shelves because they wanted a traditional Capcom sequel and not the Ninja Theory reimagining: “Dear Mr. Obama: As a consumer to the Video Game Industry there is one Video Game that has caused a lot of controversy over the past few month’s,” the petition said, grammatical errors and all. “The name of the game is DmC: Devil May Cry made by Ninja Theory and Capcom.

Yeah, there is the cringe-y shit like that.  But there are also petitions to get rid of Rotten Tomatoes for shitting on DC movies.  You know, because they have almost-universally sucked.  Two good movies in an ocean of shit.  That’s impressively bad.  This shit is everywhere.  You notice, it didn’t work.  The game was still published like always.  It’s just that a sequel was never made because the company who owned the IP decided to take it back and Ninja Theory has gone indie because they didn’t want to deal with publishers.  What’s your point?

Then there’s Mass Effect: Andromeda, a game taken down by gifs. Development focus was on creating worlds and learning how to use an entirely new engine that isn’t well-suited to RPG development. As such, the facial animations suffered and people took the piss in gifs. Back in the day, it was a given that RPGs didn’t look as nice as other games because of the scope. Nowadays, everything looks nice because developers want their games to look good in screens, rather than communicate what makes the games special. BioWare’s next game, Anthem, looked incredible, at the expense of everything else. It appeared to be a direct reaction to that negative feedback – those viral gifs of goofy character expressions.

There is a LOT to unpack here.  Mass Effect: Andromeda was not destroyed because of the bad facial animations and the gliches.  It was destroyed partially by that, but more because the story was poorly written.  The characters were terrible.  The voice acting was bad.  There were political messages blatantly shoved in there just for fan outrage because Bioware does that now.  It’s weird.  It was a bad game.  There were stories about that too that you could easily have found if you knew what research is.  But you don’t.  You just find the biggest click-bait articles and parrot their talking points.

The development team behind that game couldn’t make the engine work for what they wanted to do.  There was no set path for the game months before it came out!  Months of work and people didn’t know what the fuck they were making.  A problem which, by the way, Anthem suffered from.  That game had no clear vision for what it was trying to be.  That big, beautiful demo released at E3 a couple years ago was made from whole-cloth and reflected NOTHING of the final product.  The game was a victim of false-advertising and EA’s bullshit.

Why is this guy so incapable of knowing the context of ANYTHING?  It’s bizarre.  Oh right, this is all click-bait.  It’s rage-bait.  It’s meant to get people riled up.  I forgot for a bit there.

Look at any online game community and there’s always someone complaining about how their character isn’t strong enough, or how the character who can counter their hero is too strong. There will be dozens of posts about how their favourite weapon doesn’t do enough damage, or how another weapon is OP. There will also be another player somewhere typing out the exact opposite.

Wait, what?  How is people bitching about a narrative in a game equivalent to a game having balancing issues?  That isn’t a creative freedom issue.  It’s a gameplay one.  And if your goal is to have a game be marketable online to masses, you have to balance it.  Otherwise, it isn’t fair to other players.  How does this tie in at ALL to your points made above?  Narrative creative freedom is one thing, but this is basic game design stuff.  Companies need feedback fro stuff like this.  Otherwise the game will suffer for it.

There’s a quote that’s often attributed to Henry Ford around the dawn of commercial motor vehicles: “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” People are generally afraid of change. New ideas always get a bit of pushback – it makes me worry whether this environment of fan feedback development is holding back triple-A game development from reaching its true potential.

What true potential?  You haven’t defined anything.  You’ve just taken talking points that other articles have had and put them in your article, and act like your point has been made for you.  Generally, gamers like change.  We want games to be new and unique.  New IPs instead of the same old games made over and over again.  It’s why Indie titles get lots of attention now.  It’s why you have AAA developers working for Sony pushing narrative boundaries.  Because people are saying we want something good.  And generally they are.  Sony especially has a pedigree of quality to their work in the last few years that is really refreshing.  Games that push narrative boundaries, but never to the point where you break them.  Push as far as you can, then let the dust settle from the outrage communities and see what happens.

See, plenty of people were noisy about the lesbian relationship in Neil Druckmann’s latest project.  Hell, the social justice crowd came out against it because it’s almost a guarantee that India lesbian is dead by the time we get to where the gameplay portion of the demo at last year’s E3 picks up.  But they will still play this game because the first entry was amazing and the gameplay in this one looks slick as fuck.

Making a product for the masses means you have to take a measured approach if you’re gonna push boundaries.  Push them too far, and you drive people away.  That’s how it is with ALL entertainment.  Movies, TV shows, anime, whatever.  It all has the same rule – do new things, but don’t make new things a total aside.  You expand things over time.  Fan feedback isn’t killing that.  But since the writer of this article was just trolling for clicks anyway, it isn’t like he cares.

Until next time, a quote,

“People tend to blame the news for spreading all this fear.  As if there’s no market for it.” – Doug Stanhope

Peace out,

Maverick

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Game Developers Should Unionize

Time was, I worked at Walmart.  I stocked shelves at night.  It was, hands-down, the worst job I’ve ever had.  Nothing else even comes close.  During training, we had a whole day devoted to the group I was hired with getting a big education in why unions are bad, and those who work for unions are bad, and how we are so much better off because we don’t have a union.  Orwellian as fuck, but that’s how it goes at Walmart.  The corporation is pure evil, so what else did you expect?  Not sad that I lost that job.

Story after story is coming out about how AAA-game publishers are forcing those who work for them into some of the worst working conditions I’ve ever heard.  From the 100-hour work weeks that was uncovered at Rockstar, to the Bioware nightmare while Anthem was in development.  Activision Blizzard treating testers in a way that is subhuman.  EA as well, but EA is so evil that it defies comprehension.

While we’re on that, did you hear the thing about the guy at EA who is just absolutely baffled, for 25 years, why people think that EA is full of “bad guys”?  That just blows my mind.  This dude has seen how the company treats their employees.  He’s seen how they will lay people off when the money isn’t coming in enough instead of treating their employees like they care.  Or how EA treats their consumers as nothing more than cash machines instead of actually trying to give them a quality product.  How about the thing where they try and defend lootboxes as “surprise mechanics” and make a point about how they are part of the pioneering spirit of EA?  This dude can see all that, but is totally baffled as to why people think that EA is full of scum-fucks.  Maybe this dude is so out of touch, but I refuse to buy it.

Apologies for the digression, but that was too good not to talk about.  EA is one of the most evil companies ever.  It hurts me inside that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order looks so good.  Part of me is wondering how EA is going to secretly screw everyone over.  They said no lootboxes, but maybe there is some other “surprise mechanics” in the game.  Fuck EA.

Even CD Projekt Red isn’t immune from this.  There was an expose published about the development of The Witcher 3 and what hell it was for those who were involved.  The company has promised that that kind of thing is not going to happen again.  We’ll see.  I’m always skeptical.  Blame the fact that these companies have a reputation for being liars and treating people like crap.

Which is why I genuinely do believe that game developers, testers, all of those groups should unionize.  It’s LONG since time that they did so.  As we have seen with the lootboxes fiasco, these companies won’t learn from the horrible things they do and will just make excuses.  Hell, there was an article where one head of a company was laughing at the idea of them unionizing.  Since these companies can’t be trusted to do the right thing on their own, it’s time for those who are stuck in this nightmare to step up and band together.

Naturally, there’s the thought about what companies would do if this were to actually happen.  The answer is pretty obvious – not hire anyone associated with the union.  They’d outright tell people that if they unionize, they’ll just fire them and never hire them again.  They know how many people are desperate for a job and would accept their ultimatum of staying out of the union to keep their job.  Gotta love a profession where people live under a constant threat of having no income if they don’t tow the corporate line.  Or with the testers, being treated less than human and paid virtually nothing.

The only way this would work is if enough developers/testers were to get together all at once and make this happen.  It can’t just be a couple of people.  It has to be a large effort.  But it needs to happen.  It should have happened so many years ago.  With gaming getting bigger and bigger, employees need the protection a union brings.  That way these companies can’t pull the bullshit that they do.  There are so many stories of the work environments, the stress levels, the burnout, even suicides in connection to how awful it is.  It’s high time for those in this profession to band together and actually look out for one-another.

What would this mean for gamers?  Several things.  For starters, yearly releases would be a thing of the past.  Less crunch would mean that things would have to be paced out.  Games would be on CDPR time – coming out when they’re done.  Given how unfathomably impatient gamers are (I admit that I am an impatient man myself.  But I accept when there are delays because I want things to come out perfect), this could have a lot of people bitching and moaning about the delays.  They’d have to suck it up and deal.

Because we never see the people who makes games, it’s hard for people to understand the human cost.  In this age of apathy, plenty of people probably don’t care.  It never ceases to amaze me how easy it is for people to rationalize not caring about what happens to other people.  With homeless people, it’s just fantastic.  Part of me wants America to just ditch the pretense of empathy and just kill the homeless.  It’s painfully obvious how little people care.  I had to overhear two coworkers talking about how awful it is that they are everywhere.  What would they prefer?  The way I see it, nobody cares, so let’s stop pretending.

Sorry, another digression.  AAA gaming needs to change.  It needed to change years ago, but now more than ever, it’s time for the people being exploited by corporations who treat them like cattle to band together and step up to them.  They would fight tooth and nail against them.  They’d fire, threaten, and make life hell for those who do this.  But in the end, they could succeed.

Part of me is hoping that AAA gaming is gonna have a collapse.  EA is a company that I would LOVE to see brought to heel.  People lament the idea of EA collapsing.  Not me.  I think it’s a great idea.  Maybe one or two of these companies need to topple in order for the rest to learn that they can’t keep being as greedy and scum-sucking as they are in order to survive.  A man can hope.

Until next time, a quote,

“It’s been a day of firsts.” – Lt. Richard Winters, Band of Brothers

Peace out,

Maverick

Your Comprehension of History is Laughable (A response to Extra Credits)

Something I have always hated is people who look back at history and don’t learn shit from it.  Combine that with people who believe that entertainment somehow will “normalize” a societal value, and you have a good amount of stupid that one can pick apart.  Which is where Extra Credits comes in.  I’d heard of these guys around, but never really seen much of their content.  But this video has been making the rounds lately, and I just had to respond.  It’s so fucking stupid.  They talk about how we shouldn’t have Nazis in video games anymore because it normalizes them.  Oh boy.  I’ll have the video on here so you can see it with me, then we’ll talk about it.

Alright.  We start with little Billy playing his game, when suddenly he is a Nazi in multiplayer!  Now, this is a game centered in World War II, and in multiplayer that means that someone has to play the opposing side.  That’s how it works.  And most people wouldn’t even think about it.  You’re thinking about taking out the people you’re against in the game.  You wanna do better in the game than the other side.  Would you rather the Allied forces kill each other?  There’s some meta commentary about the nature of warfare.

Apparently, this is bad on so many levels.  Let’s hear it.  The dude starts off saying that by having it so you can play as the Germans in a World War II focused multiplayer game, you’re alluding to the fact that German soldiers are on the same level as the Allied ones.  Um…what?  That is INSANE levels of reaching to make your point.  Nobody is saying that, dude.  Nobody.  Find me someone who says that who isn’t a white nationalist.  It’s saying that when you have two sides in a game squaring off against each other, you typically have them as the enemy they are fighting so that it fits.  Otherwise you’re having allies kill each other.  Is what you want?  Want Americans to kill each other in-game?

Man, people say that I overthink things.  This dude makes me look like a fucking amateur in this department, because this is some quality overthinking.  It doesn’t matter if the game tells you that the person you’re playing as was forced into military service for Germany during World War II.  Hell, that was pretty much all men at that time, so yeah.  It’s how the game works.  What proof do you have that playing as a Nazi in a game does any real damage?!

The narrator goes on to then say we need to stop forcing people to play as terrorists in games like Counter Strike.  What is the rationale this time?  Here the dude goes into more details.  See, people have been hurt by terrorists and Nazis.  Not even gonna talk about those still alive who were hurt by the Nazis, because the amount of Holocaust survivors goes down every year.  There are very few left, if any at all by this point.  It’s been almost 80 years since the war ended.  So the amount of people hurting because of this is a VERY small number.  As for those hurt by terrorism, it’s weird to hear this coming from an American.  Yeah, 9/11, but fuck that.  You wanna talk about those hurt by terrorism, Europe has a MUCH bigger leg to stand on at this point.  Radical Islam has been killing so many people there over the last few years that it’s almost commonplace at this point.  Kinda like mass shootings here in the US.

His argument is that nobody should be part of an ideology they don’t like without their permission.  So then don’t play the game.  Nobody’s holding a gun to your head.  It ain’t like the game is making you swear allegiance to the Nazi party.  It’s a skin for your character to fight the other side.  It’s just a place-holder, which you said you’re against, but the one argument you’ve made so far is just bullshit.  If they are so abhorred by the idea of playing as a German soldier in a game where the goal is to be better than the opposing team, with nothing political involved save what skin you have on, what’s the problem?

Finally, we get to the meat of his argument, and it’s so fucking stupid.  By having it so you can play as a Nazi in a video game, we “normalize it”.  It becomes just another part of life.  That Nazis stop being super bad, and just become “meh.”  Then he asks if we’re ignoring history with this statement and says the answer is no.  Um, fuck yeah you are!  This is blatantly ignoring history.  And because you’re almost-certainly an American, I’m not surprised.  It’s not exactly a mystery that American education doesn’t even do the most basic of stacking up against other developed nations.  Education in this country is a fucking joke.

The Nazi party isn’t something that just came from the ether.  They didn’t just come out of nowhere and say “let’s start killing Jews, homos, and gypsies!”  No, there is a long and ugly history.  Like the Treaty of Versailles, which was an egregious document that destroyed the German economy.  Then there was the burning of the Reichstag, which galvanized the German people.  Then there’s the fact that, historically speaking, blaming Jews for people’s problems has a LONG history.  During the Black Death, whole communities of Jews were killed, because people thought they were bringing the plague.  Mostly because they weren’t getting sick nearly as much, partly because of their social isolation and partly because they had more standards of cleanliness than other people of the time.

So when this dude says that the concept of Nazism is being “normalized” by playing CoD: World War II and being on the Nazi team, I’m left to wonder something – what the fuck is he talking about?  The dude goes off on this tangent of how if it’s normalized, you might go to Nazi websites and read their ideas and become radicalized.  What?!  This is so fucking stupid.  Like some kid who is raised in typical, accepting and pro-diversity America is just gonna go “you know, I looked at Nazism, and I think it’s a good fit.”  Let’s totally ignore that white nationalism ideas are typically taught by families who are racist as fuck.  That you don’t just go onto a website and believe an ideology.  That wanting to become a Nazi is WAY more complicated than “I played a video game and was a Nazi in it, so now I’m gonna become one in real life!”  Jack Thompson 2.0.  Well, maybe 3 or 4.0, at this point.

The dude then says one of the dumbest thing I’ve EVER heard.  That after playing over a thousand hours of CS: Go, you’re gonna be celebrating terrorism!  Are you fucking kidding me.  What fantasy world does this delusional fuck live in?  What absolutely bonkers fucking reality does this intellectually-vapid moron live in where he can think that all it takes to become a terrorist is seeing in a fucking video game?!  Never mind that terrorism as we know it today almost-exclusively comes from a very violent and very bigoted religion that is pretty popular, worldwide.  Granted, there are plenty of people who subscribe to a much less radical version of that religion and just want to live in peace.  Good for them.  But the more radical element of that religion has a pretty big stake in terrorism as we understand it.  I don’t hear a lot of these games praising Allah.  So what is your proof of this, troglodyte?

So we get to the moron’s solution to his intellectually-insipid non-issue that exists only in his vacant mind – make PvP just training exercises or color everyone red and blue, a la Halo.  He then makes the argument that people who claim that needing to have Nazis or terrorists in games multiplayer for historical accuracy is stupid because it isn’t historical.  A guy who literally ignores ALL of history associated with EITHER of the groups he is decrying in games is telling me that people arguing for historicity is bullshit.  Um…pot, kettle on the line!

The rest of the video is just him restating what he already talked about.  This is stupid.  This is so fucking stupid.  This is the Anita Sarkeesian argument that violence against women in video games normalizes violence against women in real life.  There’s no measurable difference between these arguments.  Meanwhile, there is a lot of history for both sides that we as a society could learn from and not repeat.  But this stupid fuck wouldn’t even know where to begin on that.  It’s clear that he is historically illiterate.

Until next time, a quote,

“Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, while those who do learn from history are doomed to watch other people repeat it.” – Anonymous

Peace out,

Maverick

Disney is Pure Evil (Spider-Man Edition)

There’s this perception of Disney as this big family-friendly company.  They care about the children.  They care about being progressive and values and all that other shit.  It’s the ultimate lie that they spend inordinate amounts of money to maintain.  However, for those who have any amount of perspective and aren’t complete saps, they can see the truth – that all that family-friendly, progressive values shtick is just bullshit.  That this company is as ruthless and evil as any other.  All they care about is the money people pay them.  The fact that people can’t see thru this and even defend them is simply beyond me.

Of course, it helps that they have a huge media empire who does nothing but kiss their ass.  And that the media in general is nothing but a whore who will turn whatever tricks will get them clicks.  There’s no bottom there.  It’s what destroyed Gawker, after all.  So we see articles doing nothing but trumpeting how Disney is so great after they use progressive values to get cheap marketing points.  Did you hear that Ariel is gonna be played by a black chick in the new live-action (mostly CG) The Little Mermaid movie?!  Well that’s so progressive of them.  A black mermaid!  Never mind that it’s gonna be a cheap cash-grab, like all the rest of their cheap cash-grab movies that have ALL sucked!  Without a single exception!

But of course, Disney doesn’t care.  They make money like gangbusters on this shit.  It pours in..  All from idiots who just want to feel that nostalgia again.  Because that’s the culture we live in.  Moron who want to idolize movies from their youth.  You know, instead of just watching those movies that had heart and talent and were good and not watching the new ones that are “progressive” and boring and phoned-in piles of shit.  Because it’s a cartoon, after all.  Now we get to see the version for grown-ups.  You know, with terrible modern Disney jokes, and performances by ethnically-fitting actors/actresses who couldn’t act their way out of a paper bag.  Sure, they shit on the legacy of other people like Robin Williams by having Will Smith phone in every song he does.  He sounds so fucking medicated in every single he sings in that shit-tastic Aladdin remake.

Meanwhile, we have Tom Holland who is the actor portraying the current Spider-Man is open to being a gay Spider-Man, saying that the MCU needs more gay characters.  News flash, Tommy-boy, ain’t gonna happen.  Know why?  Because Disney doesn’t wanna lose that precious China cheddar.  And guess what, China has a rule – no ghosts and no gays.  So unless the gay character can have their gayness edited out of a movie, Disney will never, EVER touch it.  I refuse to believe that this guy is so stupid that he isn’t aware of this.  But he wins progressive points with the media who does nothing but kiss the ass of that line of thinking.  That’s why he said that.  Most actors/actresses are aware that Hollywood is nothing but evil corporate monoliths.  So yeah.

I talked before about the fact that Disney, as a corporation, is petty and absurd in the extreme.  If you have a little cake-decorating business in Guyana where you print sugar images on cakes, and you print Disney characters. even if no one outside the people in your town know who you are, Disney’s lawyers will find you and sue your ass into oblivion.  That’s the company who talks about how “family” they are.  They will fuck up ANYONE who uses their intellectual properties without their signature notarized on their ass.  But it seems that this actually gets worse.

See, there’s a dad whose son died.  The kid was a huge Spider-Man fan.  Naturally, because this dad wanted his son to be remembered, he wanted to put his favorite superhero on his son’s grave.  What a sweet thing to do in a horribly tragic situation.  Or it would be, if Disney didn’t swoop in like the evil Nosferatu mother-fuckers that they are and say “nope!  Can’t do that, or we will sue your ass!”  That’s right, Disney’s lawyers came down from on high and told this guy he can’t do that.  Can’t put his son’s favorite superhero on his fucking grave.  Because it violates their intellectual property.  Wait, I’m sorry.  I meant to say that they “want to preserve the magic of the character.”  Yeah, that’s something a fucking lawyer wrote.

I’m convinced that after you obtain a certain amount of money, your morals just stop existing.  It has to be that way.  Otherwise, how can you tell a grieving father that if he puts his son’s favorite superhero on his fucking grave, you’re gonna sue him for copyright infringement.  As you might imagine, the media who is busy kissing Disney’s ass ain’t said shit about this.  Of course not.  They’re too busy yelling at idiots who are mad about Ariel being a black chick or telling Tom Holland how “woke” he is.  Because if the media was capable of talking about anything like the fact that Disney is the most petty, pathetic, malicious company in existence and really took a hard look at what scum-fucks run that monkey farm, what a wonderful world it would be.  The media doing its job.  There’s a funny thought, eh?

Fuck Disney.  Fuck them so hard.  Avengers: Endgame is where I’m tuning out of the MCU.  I do mean to see it, one of these days.  Now that that is done, and they are laying the franchise and the best people in it to rest, it’s a good time to just sit back and watch as Disney does to Marvel what they’ve done to Pixar and Star Wars – milk it until the cow runs dry and the creative energy long since departs.

Who are the defenders of this?  Who?  I wonder if the media who’s busy kissing Disney’s ass is gonna try and spin this.  Probably not.  There’s no possible way you could make Disney look good in this disgusting, amoral nightmare that they have become.  Makes me wonder what Stan Lee would think.  A company who is spitting in the face of a grieving father.  Lee wanted everyone to love his superheroes.  To be able to express that in their own way.  Sure, he was a consummate company man, but I’d like to think that even this is a bridge too far.

This company is fucking dead to me.  They buy company after company, owning more and more media and turning more and more of it into family-friendly shit.  I remember when Miyazaki put out his magnum opus, Princess Mononoke.  Disney owned the distribution rights to Studio Ghibli’s work, but this film wasn’t like the others he made.  This one was violent in the extreme.  So Disney asked if they could make some cuts to the movie, to get rid of the more violent stuff.  Miyazaki sent the head of Disney a katana with a note – no cuts.  I wonder if ANYONE who is associated with that company would have those kind of balls now.  A man can hope.

Until next time, a quote,

“Disney, fuck you with a capital F!” – ItsAGundam

Peace out,

Maverick

The Movement You Never Let Die (A response to A. Khaled)

Does anyone remember 2014?  I do.  Vaguely. I mean, it was an okay year.  I remember losing a relationship and having to look like a total bitch moving back home.  Graduated from college.  That’s about it as far as personal things go.  Though there was something else that happened.  A big movement of online activism against corruption in games journalism that had very limited results because online movements rarely have much success.  That movement was called GamerGate.  Not gonna get into the long and storied history.  Just type in InternetAristocrat GamerGate on YouTube and you’ll find a big compilation of his entire documentation of it as it was happening.

But another thing I remember is that the movement died in 2014.  It burned bright and had lots of people on it, but then it petered out and life resumed with games journalism being just as bought and paid for as they’ve always been.  You know who doesn’t know that it died?  Games journalism!  After all, every time they want to easily smear detractors without having to actually make good arguments, they just throw the word GamerGate into the article and boom!  Instant clicks.  It’s easy, it’s stupid, and those who do it are part of a wonderful world of people who don’t have a single journalistic ethics bone in their body.

Which brings us to today’s piece.  An article written by a guy who wants him to have some of that SWEET click-bait-y goodness to his article, which is about as content-free as his contemporaries.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s talk about it.

If Gamergate was ever consistent at something, it’s that they’ve mastered the manipulation of the news cycle to their advantage by fabricating controversies predicated on an overarching conspiracy by “the left”, or “SJWs”, to perverse their entertainment.

Let’s not even get into how GamerGate is dead and has been since 2015 at the LATEST.  I wanna ignore that for the juicier bit in this article.  Their implication with this accusation is that everyone who thinks that the Cyberpunk 2077 controversies are bullshit is right-wing.  That’s what they meant to say.  If there’s one thing that games journalism was ever consistent at, it’s using a buzzword to vilify their detractors so as to not have to actually respond to them in a serious way.

But it was the “Gamergate” crowd who fabricated a controversy?  Not you all for finding whatever you could latch onto with this game and running with it?  Okay.  Sure, let’s go with that.  It wasn’t you and yours who made all this shit up.  It’s everyone else.  Why not?

Cyberpunk 2077 headlined Gamergate’s concerns as E3 just concluded, and it’s all for reasons not entirely unfamiliar.

*puts on tin-foil hat*

The tale started as everyone knows it did — Keanu Reeves in an unprecedented gesture walked into the Xbox E3 2019 briefing stage, and with him, he brought along the promise that Cyberpunk 2077 was indeed going to be the game everyone was bedazzled by last year.

Yeah, that shit was pretty cool.  Your point…?

After the dust of the impressive announcement settled, CDPR released screenshots of the game taken on its PC version, and one of them included a an advertisement poster of a trans woman with her dick visibly bulging upwards through her apparel used to sell soda— it’s important to point out the controversy wasn’t strictly stoked by progressives, or even the LGBT+ community specifically, but it was more of a broad observation that if CDPR screwed up their PR campaign about the game previously, that it was quite indicative of a troubling trend in Cyberpunk 2077’s marketing that it doesn’t relish in the body-altering experience some trans people go through, and rather criticizes it without realizing how ironic that looks in retrospect. CDPR used problematic imagery to sell a game supposed to critique said problematic imagery — something was off.

Um…no.  There’s nothing off.  The world of Night City is one of corporate consumerism gone horribly wrong.  It’s a world where people modify themselves into oblivion in order to chase an ideal of absolute beauty.  It’s why we saw the trailer last year with the woman who had no mouth, because it was a cybernetic appendage she could put on.  In this world, if you can use something to sell to people, you do.  Whatever that thing is.

Here’s the thing about cyberpunk as a genre – it’s set in a future near enough to ours to have the cultural issues, but far enough to be believable about the technology involved.  You see in this world that people are able to alter themselves to insane degrees.  Last year, we saw a gang who took modification to such an extreme that they wanted to turn into machines themselves.  This is a world where you can have whatever kind of body you want, so long as you have the money to pay for it.  Not to mention that in this universe, the more you enhance yourself with cybernetics, the less human you are.  Humanity is an actual measure in the pen-and-paper RPG.

Now, imagine that you are a person who doesn’t feel comfortable in your own body in this universe?  Instead of having to go through intense hormonal treatments, you can augment your body however you wish.  You can even finish your transition with your sex drive and potential intact.  This is the world of Cyberpunk 2077.  With this in mind, think about the fact that there are corporations who will do whatever it takes to sell their stuff to everyone and anyone who is buying.  Why exactly is it that you wouldn’t exploit trans people the way you would everyone else?

But that’s called “context,” which is a term I know you games journalist types fear like the fucking plague.  If you all could have any amount of nuance in what you talk about, what a wonderful world it would be.  But then you wouldn’t get as many of the almighty clicks.  Because nuance doesn’t make a good article.  Nuance makes people uncomfortable.  Yourself included.  Having to think critically about things is more difficult.  In this age of apathy, you can’t have things be too hard.  Especially not when you have an ideological ax to grind.

A good gauge for the profile of a controversy is usually to type a neutral search term on YouTube and see if the first result pertains any closely to the terms being searched, or has it conversely been flooded by an algorithmically exploitative fit of rage and outcry.

An “exploitative fit of rage and outcry”?  Really?  It’s especially weird when YongYea’s video is there.  I’ve seen him get worked up, but rage and outcry?  No.  When one of the AAA-gaming companies does some exploitative thing of their consumers, I’ve seen him get pretty skived about that.  And I’ve never seen Cleanprincegaming get raged about anything.  Do you even watch the videos you’re denouncing, or is that too much context for your uniquely-lazy ass?

The content of the analysis isn’t necessarily misleading — outlets like Kotaku, Polygon and Rock Paper Shotgun have all came out in mild reservations against the problematic depiction of Haitians and trans people in the trailer.

As is ALWAYS the case when these kinds of articles come out, it’s always just some mild criticism that people blow WAY out of proportion.  Never mind that it was people calling this game racist, CD Projekt Red racist and alt-right (a buzzword that has lost all reason), and the creator of Rock Paper Shotgun saying that Mike Pondsmith is making terrible arguments to defend racism.  But yeah, it was us who started this.  It was all of us “right-wing” people (anyone who can prove I’m right-wing, give it your best shot.  I’m an unapologetic liberal.  But Khaled here couldn’t handle that nuance either.  No, all detractors must be cut from the same cloth, lest they actually have an opinion worth listening to).

This was the same bullshit back in 2012 when Anita Sarkeesian stuck her ugly head into gaming.  “She’s just making commentary, guys!  It’s not like she’s trying to ban video games!  She doesn’t want to change anything.”  Years later, with her non-profit dying and as she desperately is trying to latch on to gaming companies, a lot of change has happened.  Mostly because you all, games “journalists” (I feign to even ironically call you all that.  You wouldn’t know the first thing about good journalism.  If Edward R. Murrow could see what the field has become) took the banner and ran with it.  Game companies saw that every major news outlet was saying the same thing, and believed that your view was the consensus.

They never did nothin’!  It was those mean “alt-right” people!  They are the ones who made this a big issue!  Our criticism was so mile that it might as well have not even been there! *rolls eyes*

What that however was spun into, is this preposterous notion that the writer of the story in question was out to smear the game as part of a “larger agenda” targeting freedom of artistic expression — never mind that Gamergate contends heavily with the conceit that video games are art at all — when the pointed critique was more about the game’s thematic inconsistency, rather than its ineffectual portrayal of Haitians as having a natural inclination to commit crime, or trans people as… whatever the hell that poster’s artist thought they were.

This is what I love about people who do articles like this.  You can just bullshit your way through whatever narrative you want, with no worry about contradiction.  See, back in the day, when you printed bullshit, you had to defend yourself.  And if you couldn’t do that, you had to print a retraction.  But this is 5th Estate journalism.  Online journalism.  Where you can spin a narrative out of whole cloth and nobody bats an eye.

People weren’t accusing the writer of the Rock Paper Shotgun article of trying to smear the game as part of a “larger agenda.”  We were accusing him of smearing the game for clicks.  It was a hit-piece, designed to get people’s click fingers going.  There’s that nuance again.  Fucking up the narrative.

Also, where did ANYONE ever say that the game is depicting Haitians as having a “natural inclination to commit crime”?  The fact that the Voodoo Boys gang is primarily made up of Haitians is inconsequential.  That’s like saying that Cryps and the Bloods are primarily made up of black people so black people are inclined to crime.  No, it’s just gangs who have these ethnic groups affiliated with them.

To the last point you made – the article was saying that trans people are able to be exploited just like anyone else!  How is that so hard to understand?  Do you not get how corporate marketing works?  If corporations think that there is a market to exploit, they will!  Look at how Disney talks about how much they LOVE diversity, but you don’t see any openly gay characters in their big movies?  Why’s that?  Gee, it’s almost like a major market that they want to appeal to has strict rules regarding depiction of homosexuality.  That’s weird, right?  I wonder who that could be… *cough*China!*cough*  Or how Netflix made a reality TV show where they give two unemployed people a job and make their lives hell, only for them to find out it was all a gag.  Showing that Netflix really does abhor the working class and has no problem fucking with them for laughs.

Corporations will exploit whoever, wherever, and whenever they can.  If there’s a market to exploit, you better believe that those bastards have their fingers in the pie, ready to exploit the ever-loving fuck out of whoever it is.  What is so hard to get about this?  What part of that nuance did you social justice types miss?

“Is it so difficult to accept that Cyberpunk 2077’s world is the kind in which, people in general, regardless of race, just, kill each other for all kinds of fucked up reasons” says YongYea in his video commenting on the issue;

There’s one person who gets the nuance of it.  It’s so weird that people are going after YongYea.  A very safe content creator.  I watch his stuff and I like it.  But I acknowledge that he’s safe, as far as advertising and whatnot goes.  And it’s weird to me that he’s being lumped in as a part of some GamerGate conspiracy.  A man who has talked about how he has no problem with diversity in gaming and how he just wants it to be done with a deft hand.  He’s some right-wing caricature now?  That’s so weird, to me.

It’sAGundam also echoed similar sentiments, he further added a political dimension to the debate by complaining that “People are trying to interject their own politics and personal beliefs in a god damn video game based in a far-off dystopian future.”

I watch Gundam as well, and I don’t actually agree with him that no politics should be in gaming.  I just think that it should be done with a deft hand and not feel out of place in the world one is trying to create.  The problem is that so often, it isn’t done that way.  Besides, his videos are never meant to be taken too seriously.  He’s in it for the performance of it.  To be entertaining.  So is YongYea.  What’s your beef?

LegacyKillaHD went as far as to say the original Rock Paper Shotgun article was a “hit piece”; and the tone of the rest of the videos follows accordingly.

It was a hit-piece, designed to get people’s click fingers twitchy.

What this has been furthered by is a defensive response by the creator of the IP CDPR’s game is based on, Mike Pondsmith, who has deflected accusations of racial inadequacies by advising that people dish it out to their racist uncles in a thanksgiving dinner, promoted the view that “the Animals” as a gang name for a predominantly-colored group is one of endearment,

What?!  A term of endearment?  No, you stupid fuck!  He said that the Animals call themselves that because they want to be powerful, strong, dangerous, akin to a wild animal.  Hence the name.  What weapons-grade bullshit is that?  Also, you have to keep the focus on the fact that black people are a part of this gang?  When Pondsmith said that this gang is ethnically-diverse, it means that it has all kinds of people in it!  Why can none of you ethnically-void hacks even speak about what he said with any amount of truth?!  I don’t get why there isn’t a single one of you fucks who can do this.

And the bit about how, if you want to help with racism, actually tell your racist uncle off at Thanksgiving was funny.  I still laugh. That’s called a joke.  Guess that’s too much for Khaled to process.

It would be really hard to take away from Mike Pondsmith’s own interpretation of what CDPR has been making for the last few years since he’s more closely aligned with the project than pretty much anyone outside of the company, but what appears to have happened, is that Gamergate is taking Mike Pondsmith as a token black creative

If ANYONE is token-izing Pondsmith, it’s you!  We aren’t saying that CDPR can’t be racist because a black person says so.  We’re saying that Pondsmith, the creator of this IP, has explained where this perspective comes from.  And his interpretation of it has more legitimacy than your stupid-ass, nuance-lacking, unrepentantly-biased reporting of it!  You all are the ones who are saying that he’s a token, but just like any good far-right Christian, you try to lay that at the feet of your detractors.  Because you have no good argument for your point of view.  Just one based on your own opinions, indefensible in reality.

Gamergate dressing him with authoritative authorship serves a two-fold purpose: For one, it allows them to come out in stern opposition of criticism which they paint as stifling creators’ freedom of artistic expression, but it also permits them to shift the narrative away from the creative leads and portray the conflict as “PC culture” gone berserk. In both cases, the final outcome is heavily contrived, and is barely based in any grounding of truth or reality — it’s just yet another attempt by Gamergate to capitalize on the current popularity of a video game by painting its criticism as sacrilegious and unduly.

These people live in a fantasy world.  People were accusing Rock Paper Shotgun and those who followed of trying to smear a game, a company, and the creator of the entire franchise, all for the purpose of getting clicks.  That’s where this began and ended.  But no.  You can’t accept that.  To do so would mean you have to look critically at your own medium.  Oh no!  To actually look at the ethically-void hellscape that modern games journalism is critically, I don’t think any of you would survive.  Then you’d have to wonder if you are not making the entire concept of journalism a dead venture, where only the fastest to report on whatever scandalous thing gets those precious clicks and precious ad revenue.

But you’re right about one thing – this is heavily contrived.  You’ve contrived a narrative that you can spin without any worry of any amount of opposition, where I’m sure the comments section is gonna be one giant circle-jerk.  In the process, you’re also gonna prove a lot of points people have made about your industry, but still.

Furthermore, when “artistic freedom” is brought, it is only done in service of Gamergate’s ideological inclinations, rather than any impartial appeal to creativity no matter what part of the political spectrum it hails from. When BattleTech introduced the option for a gender-neutral pronoun, no such defense was invoked, and the backlash was instead directed towards the developers — who might I remind, should have retained full artistic control over their IP. The precedent for “creator over fan voice” just does not bear out.

This is the great thing about being able to smear people with a broad brush.  You don’t have to even bother trying to be honest about something.  Instead, you just say that all people in a group who you made up (because GamerGate is dead) all think the way that you tell your readership that they do.

Meanwhile, I don’t give a fuck about gender-neutral options.  Never heard a word from YongYea, LegacyKilla, Upper Echelon Gaming, or even ItsAGundam.  You took some loud minority of right-wing assholes being assholes (or maybe trolls being trolls.  Everyone likes to forget they exist), and paint ALL of us us as thinking just like they do.  You can have your opinions all day, Khaled, but you can’t have your own facts.  Sorry to say.

It’s even more so the case when the call to collective action is intermittently placed along Patreon links when the authors of such ludicrous claims are already a comfortable level above the majority of their audience on both a financial, and a social level.

There we go!  The other shoe drops.  You are mad that people make money off their work.  You’re made that people choose to pay content creators that they like money.  Never mind that the whole reason Patreon has grown is because YouTube is now basically a unmonetized hellscape where making any money at all is next to impossible.  So many channels who aren’t right-wing, but have honest opinions about what’s happening in the world get demonetized because their content ruffles feathers.

This is how the article ends, and it’s so fucking blatant what Khaled is actually angry about.  So he has to smear everyone.  Defaming whoever he doesn’t like all because they were mean to people in his industry and painted him and his out to be opportunistic bottom-feeders who wouldn’t know ethics if it reached up and bit them in the ass.

Until next time, a quote,

“Our history will be what we make of it.  And if there are any historians 50 or 100 years from now, and there should be preserved the kinescopes of one week of all three networks, they will there fine – recorded in black and white and in color – evidence of decadence, escapism, and insulation from the realities in which we live.” – Edward R Murrow

Peace out,

Maverick

Won’t Someone PLEASE Think of the Billionaires?! (A response to the ESA and Owen S Good)

For those of you who didn’t know, the AAA gaming industry is ruled primarily by companies who couldn’t give one shit about the gamers they are supposed to represent, and instead care only about the bottom line.  Now granted, all companies want to make money.  I’m not saying that making money is bad.  But there’s been this trend of predatory microtransactions that has been growing and growing within gaming, and the players not stopping themselves from taking part in it.  As it has grown, the industry has been getting better and better at refining the predatory nature of these microtransactions, creating loot boxes.  Oh, I’m sorry, “surprise mechanics.”  Lootboxes is a derogatory term created by the people who don’t understand that this isn’t EXACTLY like a slot machine.  EA told the UK Parliament that!  So naturally, it has to be true.

Enter the ESA, a company that exists exclusively as shills for the AAA gaming publishers.  They are industry lobbyists, by definition.  So naturally, when the US introduced a bill that is gaining bipartisan support, followed closely by the UK, the ESA decided that they were finally going to comment on this.  What you are about to read is madness.  In the strictest sense, it is madness.  Let’s get a load of this response.

“This legislation is flawed and riddled with inaccuracies. It does not reflect how video games work nor how our industry strives to deliver innovative and compelling entertainment experiences to our audiences,” ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis said in a statement released Thursday, May 23.

How out of touch are these people?  Who likes these things?!  I mean it, who is it who likes this shit?  I can’t tell you the last time I sat down to play a game and thought – you know what, I want some gambling equivalent to be able to get the content I should have gotten with the $60 price tag of my game!  Fuck that noise!

And do tell me, ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis, how is this gambling bullshit helping innovation?  The games that feature this stuff the heaviest suck!  Anthem was trash!  Fallout 76 was trash!  Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 is trash!  And don’t even get me started on what sports games have become.  Thank Groj I never got into that shit.  The games that are featuring this stuff the heaviest are the biggest pieces of shit ever put to pixels.  You aren’t delivering “innovative and compelling entertainment experiences to our audiences.”  You’re delivering corporate cash-grabs to please investors.  Find me a game where lootboxes feature prominently as a microtransaction that isn’t shit.  Find it for me, please.

“The impact of this bill would be far-reaching and ultimately prove harmful to the player experience, not to mention the more than 220,000 Americans employed by the video game industry.

This, right here, is what got my attention with this statement they issued.  So this is a tacit admission that when the cash-cow for these AAA gaming companies dries up, they’re just gonna fire employees.  Massively downsize, but still have the same expectations.  Turn into even more crushing monoliths with deadlines crunches, 100-hour work weeks, and people killing themselves because of the stress.  Gotta love the ESA.  They outright say that they are corporate pieces of shit.  I love these lobbying firms and how they own it.  At least with these guys, they don’t try to couch it in some kind of euphemism.  It’s all right there in the open.

We encourage the bill’s co-sponsors to work with us to raise awareness about the tools and information in place that keep the control of video game play and in-game spending in parents’ hands rather than in the government’s.”

Or, ESA CEO Stanley Pierre-Louis, the gaming industry could clean up its act before governments have to get involved!  My generation understands the predatory nature of these practices, but my generation is just now having kids.  The youth of today who are at risk of these gambling practices are being raised by people who are just removed enough to not understand this stuff.  The AAA gaming companies had EVERY opportunity to walk this back, try and make it not as bad as it is, but no!  They decided that instead they are going to make it worse.  Like how 2K just released their latest NBA game that has in-game advertisements that you cannot skip!  So you don’t want to clean up your act, and instead want to just use your platform to turn gaming into a giant money machine for you.

I agree that it would be great if the industry could regulate this shit instead of government.  There is a slippery slope here that I do worry about.  But you didn’t!  And now, because the companies that you represent are the greediest bunch of scum-fucks on the face of the planet, we have governments deciding that SOMEBODY should do something to fix the problem.  That’s on you, dumbass!

But if you think that was some REALLY bad corporate shilling, wait ’til you get a load of this!  I’ve long contended that sites like Polygon are just proxies for the industry, given that they spend so much money on their sites for ads, but it seems I didn’t realize how right I was.  A guy by the name of Owen S. Good is actually writing an article defending the lootboxes practice.  Oh boy, this should be good.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s get into this.

How else are those billion-dollar licenses paid?

That’s the tagline.  What goes under the headline as a hook.  Um…how the fuck is it my problem how these corrupt AAA gaming companies pay for sports licenses?  They turned the games into yearly piles of shit, riddled with microtransactions, where the servers are only on for two years after launch, to force you to buy the next game and do this dance all over again.  I don’t care how these companies pay for the licenses.  Maybe they shouldn’t.  Or maybe they should slow down the releases and actually make a good product.  Man, we haven’t even started an I’m annoyed.

If passed in anything close to its proposed form, Sen. Josh Hawley’s anti-microtransaction legislation will punish, if not obliterate, a staple genre of video gaming for offenses it never really committed.

Does the industry’s dick taste good?  I ask because this article is clearly sucking it.

That may be fine with you. You may not like sports or their games, you may hate Electronic Arts because everyone else does. But this is the feeling I get when I read the text of the proposed “Protecting Children from Abusive Games Act,” because it goes well beyond what actually got everyone angry — Star Wars Battlefront 2’s original loot boxes. The list of no-nos the bill proscribes cover all the ways in which licensed team sports video games now make a lot, if not most of their money.

Awww!  The poor dears.  The poor multi-billion dollar dears.  I’m sure they’re just hurting inside thinking of how they aren’t making enough billions of dollars!  Man, I feel so bad for them.  Don’t all of you?!  I mean, then they can’t buy that expensive yacht they wanted!  I’ve never had a yacht, but that expensive one does sound nice.  I feel so bad that these companies aren’t gonna be able to exploit children and people who are prone to gambling in order to make billions of dollars.

Hawley’s bill has a broad reach and broadly defined terms, but it isn’t ignorant of the video games marketplace. It has carve-outs for widely accepted things like MMO subscription fees or premium cosmetics (provided they aren’t awarded at random in a loot box, I guess). It goes so far as to exclude charging for extra difficulty modes. And none of these things should be prohibited, in law or practice.

Um…yeah, they should.  They should ALL be destroyed.  I mean, you can have your MMO subscription fees.  Whatever.  But premium cosmetics.  That should be in the game.  Extra difficulty modes?  That should be in the game!  You’re arguing to sell half-finished games, dude!  What the fuck?!

So Hawley probably thinks he’s leaving publishers DLC or microtransaction options; that’s probably why he so glibly dismissed hypotheticals about outlawing loot boxes and pay-to-win transactions, declaring they wouldn’t kill an industry that “can design games that don’t rely on gambling directed at children.”

Yeah, they can!  The gaming industry was doing that for years!  Tens of years!  And they were still making money hand over fist!  This is a multi-billion dollar industry on game sales ALONE!  What is your fucking counter-argument?!

But for sports video games so reliant on ultimate team modes, that is easier said than done, if it can be done. FIFA Ultimate Team, which Hawley acknowledges is square in his bill’s crosshairs, delivers an estimated $800 million (as of 2017, probably more today) to EA’s “live services” revenue, which in its most recent fiscal year was $2.2 billion. You don’t get those kinds of dollar figures selling extra soccer kits and ball designs.

Those poor billionaires.  They aren’t making enough money, everybody!  Don’t you feel bad?!  Owen wants you to feel bad!  Naughty gamer who doesn’t think that companies should take advantage of people.

I don’t point this out to cheerlead for someone’s P&L sheet or consider it the civic duty of gamers to do so, either.

Though you are cheerleading extraordinarily well.

Hawley, in last week’s interview with Kotaku, lumped in “pay-to-win transactions” with the gambling bogeyman because he says they condition or exploit addictive behavior in kids, too. To me it’s more revealing that he justified banning them as “a microtransaction that’s not necessarily expected,” and describes hearing from constituents who are more upset at their children using their credit cards, not loot boxes or the gambling behavior alleged.

Yeah, fuck those parents who don’t understand the predatory nature of what these AAA gaming companies are doing.  Morons.  Let’s instead defend the companies doing it, instead of trying to promote that they control their greedy actions without the government getting involved, you stead say that everything is above board and how people are just being haters.  I’m so glad to see that Polygon is finally wearing what absolute industry hacks they are on their sleeve.  It’s very enlightening.

This confirms, in my mind, the hatred that games media has for Cyberpunk 2077.  Of course they hate it.  It’s popular.  It’s making money hand-over-fist without even being out.  It has NO microtransactions.  It has NO lootboxes.  It is consumer-friendly in the extreme, and made by a company who joined in the chorus of those making fun of companies like EA for saying that single-player games are dead.

I wonder how much the ESA and all the sport game-making companies paid for that little plug?

Until next time, a quote,

“You reap what you sow.  You have heard of this, no?” – Imad ad-Din, Kingdom of Heaven

Peace out,

Maverick

Media Collusion Never Dies, Cyberpunk 2077 Edition

Back in 2014, when the #Quinnspiracy tag first came up, people started to uncover some shade-y connection between game journalists and developers.  Lots of stuff was uncovered.  Right before #GamerGate became a thing, there was a series of articles that all dropped in unison.  They were all about the same thing – gamers are dead.  The fact that they all dropped at the same time, and were all about the same thing, it was impossible not to wonder if all these media outlets had colluded to do this.  If it was all part of a big conspiracy.

At the time that the unmistakable proof of collusion was coming out, the whole thing was dismissed by the apologists for the industry as a witch hunt and that nothing had been proven.  It was later on that a series of chat lots from Crash Override Network (CON) were released showing that yes-indeed it was all orchestrated and that everyone in GamerGate who had been talking about this was 100% vindicated.

What does all of this have to do with today?  I mean, that was 5 years ago.  Who cares about it?  Well, let me tell you.  See, we have a new target of media collusion.  One of the strangest targets I’ve ever seen.  A video game and the company behind it, both of which are well-loved and the former of which has everyone very excited for.  I’m talking, of course, about Cyberpunk 2077 and the company who made it, CD Projekt Red.

After the E3 2019 press conference where they definitively stole the show with Keanu Reeves, along with a closed-doors gameplay demo, there was an article written by Rock, Paper, Shotgun that quite blatantly accused the game and its developer of racism.  I did a response to that article (blatant shilling!  Click here!), and it was a beautiful combination of complete click-bait, and an unapologetic hit-piece.  It was so absurd that Mike Pondsmith, creator of the Cyberpunk 2020 IP came out and wrote a response on Reddit defending both the game and the company, along with making a poignant point about people telling him what he should be offended by and how insulting that is.

What followed was the company’s founder coming out and attacking Pondsmith for his rebuttal, along with those who defended the game and the response.  From there, more and more articles were coming out.  Each one eager to demonize the game and the Polish developer.  From more about racism, to how the game is transphobic, and also sexist.  They hit all the talking points.  Some of the Internet’s attentive people started to wonder – why all this?  Why now?

The obvious answer is that this is a game that is incredibly popular.  The Internet couldn’t love it or the production company who is making it more right now.  CD Projekt Red is pulling out all the stops to make a game people want to play, and making their purchase worth every penny.  They set themselves apart from the rank and file AAA companies and lead by example in making something that isn’t like anything else, and without all the predatory practices that the other companies are becoming increasingly notorious for, and which more and more governments are taking steps to legislate against.  All the major developers must be shivering a little.

For something to be this big and this popular, if you are a “news” website that wants to get easy clicks, the obvious solution is to go after a game that everyone wants, so they will click on your article.  It’s cheap, easy, integrity-free “journalism” that so many of the biggest trash fires like BuzzFeed are notorious for.  Given that they all read like hit-pieces, it isn’t a stretch to make the accusation.

However, what if the connections go deeper?  Just like with how the accusations of collusion for #GamerGate started as just conjecture, here it is conjecture as well.  I saw a very interesting video from a YouTuber I hadn’t heard of until it popped on my feed (linked here) showing that the major gaming “news” outlets and their financial collections to the direct competitor of the PC game marketplace that CD Projekt Red owns, GoG.  They all have tangential connections to their newest direct competitor, Epic Games.

So imagine the surprise when Polygon, Kotaku, and Rock, Paper, Shotgun all go after this game all at once.  I do have to make very clear that this is all conjecture.  There is no proof.  But when there is a history of collusion between games media companies, does it make you perk up and at least have to wonder if we’re seeing this all coming back to roost?  It does to me.  In fact, that’s the most reasonable thing I’ve heard thus far.

It’s never been a secret that games media is bought and sold by the ads that AAA developers put on their site.  These outlets have ZERO journalistic integrity.  Everyone has gone after the fact that they never give any majorly-anticipated game bad reviews, unless they don’t pay them well enough.  The story of Gamespot getting rid of the guy for giving a bad review of the sequel of Cane and Lynch is notorious.  These companies have their nose buried so far up the ass of the companies they are supposed to give good coverage about, for better or worse, that the idea of a corporate overlord commanding all their subsidiaries to attack this latest project that is already raking them in a ton of cash doesn’t sound so far-fetched, does it?

What do you think?  Is all of this just opportunistic and integrity-free “journalists” writing hit-pieces for the purpose of getting the almighty clicks, or is there something far more nefarious?  The speculation behind this interests me.  If it wasn’t for the fact that we’ve seen these companies do this shit before, I might be more inclined to just shrug this off as people putting on the tin-foil hats.  They only have themselves to blame.

Until next time, a quote,

“I’m not mad!  I’m the only sane one left!” – Manuel, Mass Effect

Peace out,

Maverick