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

Getting Older as a Gamer

For those of you who don’t know, which is all of you, I’m a 30 year old man.  Yup, I’m a man of 30 years, and I am a gamer.  As you can imagine, this is something that isn’t easy to rectify in modern society.  My age group has all gotten older, and as they have, their interests have changed.  Which leave me being stuck wondering if I have less and less in common with everyone as the years go by.  And having fewer and fewer people to talk to.  The future doesn’t look good, from where I’m sitting.

I work at an office that is primarily women.  You know what that means?  It means that the bulk of everything that everyone talks about is mom stuff, home life stuff, and female as fuck stuff.  As you might imagine, I have ZERO dog in this.  Of any kind.  Got a ton of girly-mates, but to date only a couple of them have made the jump to have kids (because they didn’t accept that overpopulation is killing our species), and of those who remain, I have some common ground enough to talk to about other stuff.  Even the female things can be engaged with, to a point.

As I have no children, and as of this year will no longer be able have children, my reference point in this is that they exist.  And because I am a giant, they like me.  The reason why is always going to remain a mystery.  Maybe it’s because while the adults are talking about their gardens and their family vacation, the kids could swarm into my den and I’m playing games and they can talk with me about their favorite superheroes or ask me questions and I would give them candid answers.  Instead of their parents who would give them stupid answers.  Like a Jehovah’s Witness mom whose kids used to chill with me and I would give them smart people answers about things like evolution and the nature of reality.  Something their mother knew precious little about.

With no family of my own, and no personal life to speak of, I don’t have a whole lot going on.  I do my job incredibly well (too well, in my opinion.  It’s gotten REALLY boring), and then go home to my empty fridge, laptop for Internet perusal, and my TV, which is where my consoles are hooked up to.  What does this have to do with anything?  I’ll tell you.  I have no one to talk to!  Got all a hobby that I think is fun, is part of my ongoing mission to find a good story that I can sink my teeth into revel in.  But who do I have to talk to about it?  No one.  If I even tell people I work with about my hobby, then I’m a man-child.  Just some loser who never left high school.  Being a gamer as one heads into middle-age means that you are looked down upon.  There is a HUGE cultural stigma against people like me.

Granted, this is going to change.  Gaming is now a bigger industry than Hollywood.  It’s outpacing Hollywood pretty fast in terms of financial and social engagement.  It’s one of the fastest-growing industries in the world.  Sure, it has its rough spots, but overall, it is still growing.  With more and more people engaging in his hobby, in a growing time of social isolation due to anxiety at dealing with real people, it’s a virtual guarantee that I am not going to be alone in my 30’s while still gaming.  The numbers are going to keep going up.

But that’s down the road.  For right now, I’m in this place where I have absolutely no one to talk to about anything.  I have to regale people with my endless amount of knowledge that doesn’t even to the slightest degree tie in to anything I do.  My vast plethora of useless knowledge that not one single person gives one dusty fuck about.  That’s what I got.

I lead a lonely life.  While more and more people are announcing marriages and whatnot, I sit here thinking “Can’t wait for November!  Finally gonna get to see what Death Stranding is like!”  Or “April 2020!  They’ve finally announced a release date for Cyberpunk 2077!”  However, I know there is absolutely no one that I can talk to about this.  It’s just gonna be me, listening to myself.  While I keep clicking away at a keyboard where I do my job, managing over 1,500 cases.  This is my life.

In the broad scheme of things, it could be a lot worse.  But as human beings (a species that is built on connection), perhaps you can imagine what it’s like to be in a situation where you are all alone in a place that you work.  I did have a coworker who I at least could talk movies with.  She would get all mad at my thoughts on modern Disney.  Loves her some Disney in the most die-hard way ever.  I’ve never been the most popular guy wherever I go.  Trust and believe.  I’m a contrarian, jaded, nihilistic, a bit of a libertine (but I keep it classy), and reject tradition wherever I find it on the basis that it is a tradition and should be gotten rid of for that reason.

As you might expect, it goes beyond where I work.  With more and more people having babies, starting families, or just becoming busier as they get older, I realize that I am the odd man out of most engagements.  So I go back to my home and turn on whatever game I’m playing, show I’m watching, or go online and just fuck around for a while.  Anything that passes the time.  Maybe I’m just embracing whatever brand of escapism to whatever point I can in order to escape the reality that my life is headed nowhere and that I am secretly just getting older.  Wasting my intellect on a job that a trained monkey could do (I’d know.  We have a whole bunch of them running this outfit), while trying to find something better.  Or at least something that makes me feel like each day I don’t wake up and ask why I even bother.

Until next time, a quote,

“Why the hell am I still alive?” – Gene Starwind, Outlaw Star

Peace out,

Maverick

Top 10 Additional Questions About Cyberpunk 2077

Several months ago, I did a post where I asked a series of questions that were on my mind about the game, knowing full-well I would almost-certainly not get any answers.  I did try to send it to CDPR on Twitter.  But now that we’ve learned more and more about the game, with a release date out, some more stuff came to me.  In case my posts about people detracting from this game haven’t clued you in, I’m kind of obsessed about it.  This is my most-anticipated game of 2020, hands-down.  There is no other competition.  The more has come out about this game, the more hooked I have become.

A new piece of information has dropped about the game.  Apparently the install size is going to be at least 80gb.  Eighty freakin’ gigs of space needed.  To me, that spells that this game is going to be packed to the brim with content.  And this isn’t even the last of it.  There will be story DLC that adds whole new sections on to it.  This game could end up being one of the most packed with content ever, and since it’s CDPR who’s making it, you know it will be interesting content.  So now my mind is racing about all the things that could be in the game.  If you want to know what my original questions were, here’s a link to that.  Now, let’s look at 10 more.

10. Will there be a humanity tracking system in the game, like in the pen-and-paper RPG?
One of the big themes of this game’s universe is the idea of how much humanity is left when people start integrating more and more of themselves into cybernetics.  Where does the human being and the machine end?  In the original RPG, we had a system of tracking Humanity, which was something you could lose.  And if you did, you could potentially go insane.  Is something like that going to be in the game, or no?

9. Will you be able to customize your vehicles?
I actually have a lot of questions about how much we can customize.  I know that clothing shops will exist.  That’s cool.  But how much of our look can we?  We start out with a set look at the beginning, but can that be subject to change?  Bringing it back to the question at hand – can we customize vehicles?  Get our own paint jobs, maybe armor just as security, and stuff like that?  Integrate defense systems into them?  Will we get to have a garage where we can house our vehicles and do work there, or does it have to be a vendor thing?

8. Can we save Jackie?
In the last trailer, we saw a scene with V and Jackie escaping from a corpo facility, and Jackie dying in the car from a bullet.  From what I understand, in the closed-doors gameplay demo, Jackie is no longer our partner in crime.  But I loved him from the gameplay demo from last year, and I want to save my bro.  Since I plan to have a play style that leans on being quiet and smart, the hope is that I can get in and out of wherever that place was without raising the alarm, so he should be fine.  Can I save my bro-tastic bro?

7. How many businesses are scattered around that we can frequent, and is it like them just being around, or are there hub areas?
I remember back when I was on the Final Fantasy XV hype train, seeing all the little shops around, and wondering how many of them are ones I could visit.  I’m kind of wondering the same thing now.  This game has a TON of vendors selling stuff.  You even have a guy who tries to sell you a camera on the street.  How many of the places that are scattered around can I visit?  Can I get some noodles and a slice of pizza from those places?  Really hoping the record dealer is a dude whose establishment I can purchase from.  I want to have some rad tunes in my game.  Also, is this game going to have hubs where businesses are, or are you just able to run up on them at random places?

6. Are the police going to be a faction we can work with, or just a foil for the player?
I remember a press thing saying that players can’t underestimate the cops, as they are not fucking around, but are they a faction like all the rest, or just someone who we have to deal with?  I ask because it would be kind of cool to be able to pit groups against each other.  Or if there’s someone who is being a pain in the ass, being able to give info to the cops covertly to have them get them out of my hair.  What role does law enforcement play in this game?

5. Will various clothing options have their own benefits?
In the last gameplay demo released, the narrator talks about how your jacket has armor stats, along with street cred.  But will that translate to other styles?  Not sure the punk rock jacket is my style.  Was thinking of going the Deckard look from Blade Runner.  Or maybe the Turks from Final Fantasy VII.  Is each style going to have its own benefits, or is it all kind of uniform?

4. Are we ever gonna get a break-down of the weapons we can use?
In YongYea’s video of what he saw in the closed-door demo, he talked about a weapon the stealth character had that was like a razor wire, and could slice up enemies.  I asked in my previous post how it would work with a katana.  Now I’m wondering if there will ever be a point where we get to see various weapons in the game.  Or at the very least a kind of break-down of what kind of stuff we will be working with.  Nothing too detailed.  I wanna have my katana be my weapon of choice.  Really hoping combat with those is cool.  But I also heard that there will be sniper rifles in this game.  Would really like to see what Cyberpunk’s world has in respect to one of those.  That could be awesome.

3. Can you own pets?
This is something that came to me last night.  I got to thinking – it would be rad as fuck if I could have a little companion.  Get me a kitty!  Gonna name it Lizzy, after my late cat.  Then another thought came to me – if we can own pets, can we cybernetic them?  It would be rad as fuck if I could get a cyber-kitty.  What’s more, since I want to go the route of a net-runner style character, if I could have my cat help me with infiltrations.  Maybe hack doors or something.  But even if we can’t go that far, can I at least have cyber-kitty waiting for me back home?

2. Are we ever gonna get a break-down of the cybernetics in the game?
I’m not talking about a complete list.  I do want there to be some surprises.  But going into this, I’d like to have some kind of base-line of what we’re working with, and from there getting to be surprised.  We’ve seen some pretty crazy stuff, and I want to learn more about it.  Especially because, if there is a humanity system, I’d like to know what stuff I’m upgrading and be careful about planning it if there’s something I want to invest in due to my net-runner path that I want my first play-through to be.  Also, are cybernetics permanent?  Like, say I get a new mod, but it doesn’t sit well with me, am I just fucked?  The question about Humanity is what brings this to mind.  I don’t want to have each upgrade feel like me wondering if I’m making the right decision.

And my #1 question this time around is…

1. What is the loot situation going to be like in this game?
In the previous gameplay demo, V happened upon some pretty sick loot during her mission inside the Maelstrom hideout.  Here’s my question – is that something that was just for the demo, or is loot going to be a big part of the game?  Something to know about me – I scour for loot.  I really, really do.  My first playthrough of The Last of Us was so freakin’ long because I scoured so much for all the things you can find to help you in your playthrough.  So, is loot going to be a big part of the game, or was that just for the demo to help us acquaint with the various weapons we could come across?

What questions do you have?  Let me know.  I’m gonna send these to Cyberpunk 2077’s Twitter again.  We’ll see what happens.  Probably nothing, but you never know.

Until next time, a quote,

“Wake the fuck up, Samurai.  We got a city to burn.” – Johnny Silverhand, Cyberpunk 2077

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