The Unending Attack on Cyberpunk 2077 Continues

A few years ago, TJ Kirk made a video called “NUANCE IS DEAD (AND SJWs PISS ON ITS GRAVE).  In the video, he contends that one thing that is continually lost in the world of modern discourse is nuance.  The social justice community abhors nuance.  I’m convinced they throw the social justice equivalent of Holy Water at it, hoping to banish it to the 9th Dimension.  There was an article a while back called “Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds” in The New Yorker.  I saw that and realized that nowhere is a more perfect encapsulation of the world we live in than that.  Fuck the context of whatever we have a problem with.  It doesn’t matter!

Nowhere has this belief structure become more clear to me than in the unending problems that gaming journalism has with Cyberpunk 2077.  I said in my last post talking about this that the games journalism has a real problem with anything that could be fun now.  If it looks fun, they have to find a way to hate on it.  What’s baffling is why they chose this game.  Probably for the same reason as Anita Sarkeesian went after gaming in the first place.  Because it’s easy clicks.  Everybody is talking about it.  Everybody wants to respond.  Speaking of that two-bit con artist, she’s been trying to capitalize on all this too by getting CD Projekt Red to hire her on as a consultant.  Fuck that noise!

When Matt Cox wrote his context-free article about Cyberpunk 2077, I figured this would end there.  After all, why would Rock, Paper, Shotgun want to retread old ground?  Turns out, I was 100% wrong.  Now the chief of the entire publication, John Walker, is throwing his two-cents into the ring.  He decided to respond to Mike Pondsmith’s defense of Cyberpunk 2077 and by extension CD Projekt Red, with a rebuttal on what Pondsmith stated regarding why the gang called the Animals isn’t racist.  For those who don’t know, it’s because Pondsmith said it’s because they consider themselves fast, powerful, and dangerous.  The name is meant to be an analogue to the fact that they want to be more animal than human, through cybernetics and the narcotic they imbibe, “juice.”  Walker had his own take on that defense.

I love the argument that says “this can’t be racist because the imaginary people we made up made the decisions!”

Unbelievable.  That isn’t what Pondsmith said, you stupid twat!  It wasn’t the imaginary people in the game who made the decision to call themselves the Animals.  Pondsmith, as the creator of the entire FUCKING CONCEPT, made that the reason that these characters, who are mixed-race (as was made clear in another part of Pondsmith’s defense), go by this name for their gang is because of their desire to be fierce and powerful, like a wild animal that is untamed.  He’s saying that you all are taking this shit WAY out of context in order to bolster a narrative.  Guess Walker’s bullshit argument really backed that up, didn’t it?

Instead of looking at all the ways that the term Animal can be used, you immediately jump to the most racist interpretation of all.  Ever see a boxing match or an MMA fight and hear people describe the guy who is beating the living shit out of an opponent as an animal?  Calling someone an animal can describe how they are in bed.  A person who is malicious and does horrible things without remorse can be described as an animal.  Pondsmith outright told you where the context of this came from, and your refutation of that statement is – you’re wrong.  Yeah, I’m sure the guy who created this entire fucking universe that CD Projekt Red is basing this game on is wrong.  Because you say so.  Your opinion holds more weight than that of the creator of this entire IP.  The ego of this fucking retard is pretty mind-boggling.  Maybe, just maybe, you jumping to a racist interpretation of this says more about you than it does about Mike.

But it doesn’t end there, folks!  He continues by trying to make a point about those who defend what Pondsmith said.

Extraordinary work by the overnight Twitter goblins.  Those who spend most their lives screeching about “anti-white racism” suddenly changing their worldviews and believing it impossible that a person of color can make a bad argument regarding racist tropes.

Although let’s be fair to the *dozens* who genuinely didn’t understand the difference between real and imaginary people.

Fuck you, you smug, egotistical troglodyte.  First of all – where have I EVER talked about “anti-white racism”?  Please, do tell.  I’ve talked about how Black Lives Matter had its fair share of problems, back when that was a thing.  But I have said that ANYONE can be racist.  There are racists of all colors, everywhere.  Nothing about my worldview changed defending what Pondsmith said.  I just love how you follow that up with a declaration about how your opinion is the right one.  Yours.  The creator of the franchise that you are insulting?  He doesn’t know shit.  YOU are the enlightened one.  Can you see Texas up there on your high horse, you narcissistic pseudo-intellectual?

And yeah, I can tell the difference between real and imaginary people.  Unlike you, who I’m sure only spends your time with the most vivacious of intellectual peers, who you can have sniffing your farts like it’s rose oil, I have friends of all kinds.  I have salt-of-the-earth friends, pretentious pseudo-intellectual friends (though not like you.  They have personalities that don’t reek of ego), and everything in-between.  I spend time with them, outside of gaming worlds.  It’s important to me.  But hey, might as well insult the people who are socially awkward while you’re busy morally grand-standing.  I wanna punch this pretentious piece of shit so hard right in his stupid fucking face.  What an asshole.  And not in the fun way, but in the “fuck this dude” way.

I fucking love how we have two white people telling black people how to feel about this.  Meanwhile, there’s that hilarious video of the two Haitian guys singing the praises of the game and talking about how great it was to hear Creole and it was so authentic that they didn’t need subtitles.  That video is just awesome, and the genuine love and excitement that those guys have is heart-warming.  We live in this magical era where people not associated with any racial group they are defending is telling that racial group how to feel.  How fucking racist is that?  I am alone in thinking this?  Who are you, John Walker or Matt Cox, to be dictating to black people how black people should feel?  What are your black credentials?  I remember when Tim Black gave PaulsEgo his Black Card on The Drunken Peasants for his sick rap work.  Have you gotten your Black Card?  If so, can Tim Black take it back?  I don’t think you deserve it.

We live in a glorious age where people assume that they are the great divine intellect who can teach that unwashed masses that truth.  I’ve long contended that social justice is a religion, and shit like this proves me right.  The prophets of the faith are more enlightened than the people they are trying to speak for.  They can speak for you because they have the blessing of the figures of this faith.  The masses hear their words and accept it as truth.  Meanwhile, you have atheists like me who think that all of that is bullshit, and believe that all religion should go the way of the dodo.

Here’s what scares me about all this – I don’t know how much of it that CD Projekt Red takes seriously.  From what I’ve seen, it seems like they’re standing their ground.  I love that.  I hope that’s the case, because we need more creative people willing to defend their creation from the ego-jobs like these two cocksuckers at Rock, Paper, Shotgun.  But I don’t know if they will keep doing so.  Or if they will start fearing the worst from all the negative coverage and bow to it.  I hope not.  I really fucking do.

Until next time, a quote,

“Mike Pondsmith is gonna be so upset when he finds out he’s oppressing himself.” – Justin Whang

Peace out,

Maverick

Advertisements

Your Article Leans on Click-Bait and Unimaginative Rebuttals (A response to Matt Cox)

Anytime there’s a video game that’s getting a ton of good press and the people are really excited for, you can pretty much set your clock to the fact that the social justice crowd infesting games journalism is gonna find some nit-picky bullshit to rag on it for.  It happens without fail.  They ragged on Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order because the protagonist is white.  That’s it.  No other reason.  Just “why not a black person?”  Oh I’m sorry, a “person of color.”  But you know that doesn’t mean any ethnicity with these people than black.  You’ll see my point being made in the very article I’m responding to.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun decided to step up to the plate with the game that damn-near broke the Internet when a wild Keanu Reeves appeared in the trailer and on stage to pimp out the release date.  This article is click-bait.  I know that that term gets bandied about, but when we go through this, you’ll see.  There’s no good arguments.  There’s no proof of concept.  Just opinions that prey on social justice to get people’s clicking fingers going.  Here’s a link to the article, now let’s talk about it.

At some point, Cyberpunk 2077 has to evolve from a visually impressive – yes Keanu, even breathtaking – world and into something more interesting. I want more than meat and gun oil: I want moral dilemmas and a thoughtful exploration of transhumanism.

Yeah, and CD Projekt Red has said that that will be in the game.  But that isn’t how you build up hype for one.  You do that with compelling gameplay and videos that get people wanting to throw money at pre-orders.  I guess you have to take the studio at their word that they are going to be going to some pretty hardcore stuff as per the genre it is named for.  And I have no reason to doubt them, given their pedigree.

More importantly, I want the game not to lean on racial stereotypes. After CD Projekt Red’s latest E3 demo, I’m concerned on both fronts.

I have seen the face of Cyberpunk, and it’s got blemishes.

And here we go.  Let’s see what this guy is bitching about.

We choose from one of three backgrounds. The developer guiding us through our demo mulls over a life spent on the streets, or being ex-corporation (corpo, in cyberlingo). This comes into effect straight away, as our corporate history greys out a street background conversation option. It doesn’t really matter, though. The “poor man” we’ve accosted directs us to the Voodoo Boys anyway.

They’re a hacker group “obsessed with transcendence” – or sublimation, if you’re into your Iain M Banks – and fixated on uploading themselves to cyberspace.

Alright.  That sounds kinda cool.  I can dig this new gang.  What’s your problem, exactly?

Now Placide is in our head too. He tells us we have to go check out a van that’s being guarded by some hired muscle: meatheads, he calls them. “Animals”, he calls them next. It’s their faction name, it turns out, and they’re obsessed with juice. The nature of the juice was not specified.

I’d later ask quest director Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz if the factions are more nuanced than they appear. So far, they’ve all been defined by one fixation: juice for the Animals, uploading themselves for the Voodoo Boys. He told me that nuance would appear over the course of the game, and that the Animals would appear again under different circumstances. He didn’t give me any examples of that nuance, mind.

What are you expecting?  A full break-down during a demo?  The dude is here to give you the basics so you are on the same page.  And these characters sound pretty fucking cool.  We have an extreme net-runner gang, and a gang who likes some narcotic called “juice.”  Alright.  That’s a good set-up.  That gets you into the mindset of knowing what you’re dealing with.  And then the nuances come after.  That’s not him dodging you.  That’s him giving you what you need for what you see.  Fucking moron.

Also, why is Animals in quotations?  Are you trying to make a point?  You didn’t put the Voodoo Boys in quotations.  I’m assuming this will come back into play later.

I asked Tomaszkiewicz for examples of quests that explored the kinds of questions I’m interested in. Questions less like “how many people can I chop to bits at once with my Nanowire”, and more “what are these cranial augmentations doing to my identity”. He gestured towards transgression as a theme, and the city as an antagonist that “grinds people up and spits them out”. It’s understandable that he didn’t want to talk about specifics, but frustrating that he couldn’t point to anything more interesting.

Oh, you poor dear.  They aren’t telling you what you find interesting.  And now you’re making big assertions about an entire game based on your own perspective.  Not to mention that you don’t even give this guy the benefit of the doubt that there will be something more interesting down the line.  You sound like a petulant child who isn’t being told he can have ice cream at the store.

I’m also increasingly concerned about Cyberpunk’s handling of non-white cultures. Last year’s Gamescom demo drew criticism for its clumsy and inauthentic presentation of a Latino character, and I’m not convinced the Voodoo Boys are a step in the right direction.

Wait, are they talking about Jackie?  That dude is awesome!  He’s strong, capable, knows Night City, and loyal to his friend V.  Is your version of a good Latino character someone who is weak, incompetent, doesn’t know shit about anything, and disloyal to their friend?  Wow.  That’s fucking racist.

Then – because again, we’re very strong – we rip the turret off its base and turn it on the Animals. At this point, I feel increasingly uncomfortable that we’re shooting at predominantly black people labelled as animals.

They’re not labelled as animals, dumbass!  That’s their gang title!  You don’t call the Cryps or the Bloods something other than that, because then your ass is getting fucking shot.  This isn’t a racial slur.  It’s a fucking gang affiliation that goes back to the source material of this game.  The pen-and-paper RPG.  I get that games journalists abhor context like the plague, but that doesn’t stop it from existing.

He told me that most of the city were mixed race, but the backstory for this particular area concerned most people being immigrants from Haiti. By itself, that would be fine. But near the end of the demo, we meet a white man in a suit and tie who gives us the information we need. He also tells us the Voodoo Boys are going to turn on us the moment we’ve done their dirty work – and is immediately proved right.

So, the fact that a bunch of criminals turn on you after you do their dirty work for them makes them a bad representation of black people?  Is that what I’m too assume from this?  You do know that they are a gang, right?  As in, they do illegal activities for profit.  I give that there is a larger goal that they aspire to, but at the end of the day, they’re crooks doing crooked things for money.  What’s the problem with the fact that they are disloyal to you, an outsider?  That strikes me as gang mentality.  I’ve been pretty tight with some people in bad business, and distrust of those outside is nothing new.  If this was a white gang, would it surprise you?  Man, the soft racism of lowered expectations.

It was hard to suppress excitement at last years demo. I had to fight to remind myself of the artifice, to look past the intricate bombast and see the sporadic wall destruction and implausible drowning animations. We’ve still seen only another small slice of a game that will be dozens of hours long, but after this year’s inconsistent combat and questionable representation, my expectations have been tempered.

Well good for you.  But because I’m not a prude who can’t get my head out of my ass, I’m stoked as fuck for it.  This article was just you wanting to bitch and have everyone click on it.  This wasn’t news.  It was a fucking opinion piece.  Games journalism now is pretty much nothing but opinion pieces.  I get the feeling that your publication doesn’t classify it under that, though.

Until next time, a quote,

“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” – H.L Mencken

Peace out,

Maverick