Just when you think you have found the pinnacle of stupidity when it comes to video game journalism it manages to hit another low. I usually do not link to these type of articles, as I don’t want to give these people the extra clicks whey want when writing this type of mindless drivel, but in this case, I will make an exception so you can experience this level of ignorance for yourself. So if you have some brain cells and time to kill you can go read the entire article here. I will be addressing some of the points he makes in the article in this blog post, I usually do not go for the lowest hanging fruit but in this case, I could not resist. So please bear with me as this is going to be a pretty long read…
“The work of video game developers distracts the world from problems which desperately need solutions.”
(1) That is the entire point of the entertainment industry is it not? Movies, Music, TV shows and Video Games. They are all forms of escapism designed for people wanting to escape their reality even if it for only a few hours. And what is wrong with that? These entertainment forms aren’t there to address the world’s issues or problems, and they are most definitely not created with the idea of finding solutions to said problems.
“The culture this feeds is fundamentally depraved, the financial outcomes are random and, ultimately, nothing of worth is produced.”
(2) Fundamentally depraved? The video game industry alone is worth over 91 billion dollars and provides jobs for over 146000 people worldwide. And in 2016 alone video game sales equaled more than $30.4 billion. Not to mention they money raised for charity using video games each year. Where a single video game charity event raised more than 2.6 million dollars in a single event. With dozens of AAA and high-quality indie titles being produced each year that provides hours and hours of entertainment. So please tell me how nothing of worth is produced? Forget to mention that didn’t you, you disingenuous asshole.
“The prospect of real change is frightening and painful to those of us with comfortable lives, so we ask for sedative and anesthetic, chased down by delightful fantasy. If I don’t like how I’m feeling, I just press the button in the middle of the controller, transporting myself back to a gentle undulation of vector synthesis and calming cobalt, overlayed with a neat colorful grid of pleasurable options.”
(3) Thanks for your concern, but most people who escape the harsh realities of the world using entertainment like video games do so to take a break from those realities. So that when they go back to those realities they can face them with renewed energy and a fresh outlook. If we had to face these realities 24/7, 365 days a year the suicide rate and depression rates would be through the roof. Having said that. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying some escapism from time to time. So fuck and your “comfortable lives” comment, you know nothing about me or anyone else who uses video games as escapism.
“You could say that games are complicit in our infatuation with escapism; at times, they also channel our inveterate partisanship and aggression towards others. Leigh Alexander has argued that mainstream games, in particular, tend to obviate nuance, establishing clear and comfortable narratives of power, justice, and truth which spill over into the ideology and rhetoric of their fanbase. Not only that, they are complicit in the maintenance of archaic power structures within society itself.”
(4) Well, that did not take you long to bring up #Gamergate did it? And then you use Leigh Alexander as your an example. The very same racist woman who wrote: “Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Gamers’ are over” basically an inflammatory hit piece on gamers and their culture. And which ended up being used as a coordinated attack against gamers everywhere with multiple publications bringing out the same type of articles. Not going to go into great detail about her and the #Gamergate movement since by now most gamers are familiar with it. But I will leave a link showcasing her dishonest dealings with the media, press and the video game industry. Which you can find here.
“Developers come to accept this behavior as normal, primarily because it is the heat from the reaction they have instigated. This type of interaction arrives with such frequency that it eventually saturates to become noise. At that point it is either habituated and finally tuned out, or the entire system is rejected and creators are forced to move on to a different medium. Here is a self-fulfilling prophecy: if you say “developers only care about money” frequently enough then it becomes true. You have created an atmosphere in which the only acceptable discourse takes place in the columns of an annual report.”
(5) No just fucken no, developers and publishers have never accepted the actions of a vast minority of gamers who act like self-entitled assholes sending death threats and being bigoted, racist, sexist assholes. The industry cannot control their fans and you cannot expect them to do so. Just like I cannot control my fans and their actions, each individual needs to be held accountable for their actions, not the entire group. It is called taking fucken responsibility and not passing the buck to someone else.
“If you’re making a game, you are competing against everything else in the world for attention, that depleted fossil fuel. This is inherently irrational behavior and it does not make sense financially: it is a lottery; there is no good reason to take part in it.”
(6) And? What is wrong with competition? More competition means better products for consumers and gamers. It means more variety and higher quality games that are getting produced as each developer and publisher try and raise the bar just a bit higher. Competition in any industry can be considered a net good, no competition means monopolies which are bad.
“Sure, you might have a chance at a microscopic amount of influence, a twitch of the needle somewhere.”
(7) Really?! Please refer to point number 2.
“A quick note before I move on to further discussion: I’ve not attempted a comprehensive or rigorous analysis of every single challenge faced by the games industry, nor am I going to offer pragmatic solutions. If those are your expectations, then I’m afraid I can’t meet them.”
(8) Sorry, your opening statement already set the bar pretty low. So whatever you would have had to say would have to be taken with a pinch of salt.
“There is a surfeit of escapism in our society. But we also are in desperate need of the “big ideas” that fiction can convey so well. It’s not just about narrative either: competition and creative collaboration can help to establish essential common ground. Interactivity is simply a very powerful creative tool: it has no specific moral implication until it is deployed.”
(9) Please see point number 3 on escapism and why people enjoy video games.
“Excessive habitual escapism, like any form of addiction, is personally and socially destructive. I do think games have a small but significant role to play in some of our culture’s worst aspects, but that certainly doesn’t mean that they are innately evil, worthless or inherently pernicious. It simply means that they are powerful, and occasionally that power shoves in the wrong way. Cumulatively, we have the ability to redirect it.”
(10) Anything and everything can be addictive in large and uncontrolled amounts, video games are no different. Is it video games fault? No. Should the blame be placed on video games or the developers? No. Any individual who finds video games addictive already had a pre-existing issue or a personality that finds things easily addictive. That is their problem not the industries.
“There are still big problems with diversity, and things are moving too slowly. Equally, I cannot imagine Robert Yang’s games, or Overwatch, or Dishonored 2, or Ultra Business Tycoon III, or Life is Strange, or Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, or Ladykiller in a Bind, or Engare, or many other games being produced – let alone gaining any kind of significant audience – in any previous era of gaming. The “touchable” and “humane” appear regularly as part of the Leftfield Collection and at other similar efforts, but there have been mainstream successes which display these qualities as well. Even Lara Croft is starting to look and behave somewhat like an actual human being these days.”
(11) Yes because forcing something if it does not move fast enough to your liking always ends up working well. As if #Gamergate is not reminder enough of this. If you want more diversity in games create that diversity yourself! Forcing other to capitulate to your demands only creates animosity on both sides. But no, let’s ram it down every single gamers throat’s till gamers like myself grow tired and start pushing back. Forcing diversity or affirmative action has never worked and never will, so stop trying.
(12) Care to mention a few? Oh, I forgot articles like these always end up harpooning the gaming industry and insulting the people who support them. And then you act surprised at all the animosity you get? Please see point number 4 for reference.
“People can exhibit horrific behavior in unregulated communities; they can also respond positively to moderation and clear rules that are fairly enforced. Valve, Riot and Blizzard have all made great strides in this area in recent years; huge social leaders like Facebook are slowly coming to terms with their responsibilities. Again, not enough, but something.”
(13) People will be people and assholes will be assholes, the sky is blue water is wet. So who will prevail over this responsibility to police social media and video games? You? We have already seen the levels of censorship being implemented on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Censorship is now being used to censor those with different opinions, by the very same people who were advocating it.
“It’s been weird to live through a time when the gaming press has been repeated slammed for corruption and clickbait controversialism. Many of the journalists I’ve dealt with have gone to exceptional lengths – even risking their careers – to avoid both. I never really understood the arguments there. One thing I do know for sure is that it is still possible for high quality games to find traction with the press independent of any cynical Ryan Holiday-esque PR machinations.”
(14) Got to love the “Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil” argument. Because I don’t see the problem and because I have not experienced the problem, therefore the problem does not exist. There is an entire website dedicated to cataloging your corrupt friend’s actions, which you can find here. But you never understood the arguments there right?
“Gaming does seem obsessed with re-inventing everything from first principles. Theories which have been around for literally centuries are handled like lighting bolts of apostasy by supporters and detractors alike. Every battle has to be re-fought. This is depressing but it might also lead us to a way out.”
(15) And why can’t we try and re-invent something or try and improve on a formula? Should we be happy with the status quo? So what if it is the most walked path, so what if it is a battle that needs to be re-fought. That is how you make progress, that is how you create new and exciting things. That is how you discover your mistakes, learn from them and move on.
[Editorial Note:] tl;dr: The purpose of video game is to put aside real life every once in a while, not to be as often portrayed by the mainstream media a replacement for reality. If you think the latter then you are entering Jack Thompson level of thinking, which is a whole different topic on itself…