Internet Slow Lanes and Net Neutrality : Why Gamers Should Care

inter_slow

About one month ago, numerous internet giants and companies, like Netflix and Tumblr, did a call to awareness known as Slow Internet Day to show people what they could look forward to in the future.  On May 15th, democrats voted up an FCC regulation that would allow major companies to prioritize their content by paying for faster internet service.  Now that doesn’t sound so bad, right?  It just means that the actual content that people want to see will get good service whereas unpopular stuff like child porn will go slow right?

Nope.  Think again.  The internet is unique in that all companies and organizations have an even playing field as far as speeds and tampering with that will ultimately start to slowly enforce a regulation on it.  Sure, some negative content will suffer, but at the same time upstart websites that are aspiring to overtake their larger cousins will have an extra obstacle to surmount: driving sales and ad revenue with the shitty internet connection that is left while their competitors can afford better internet.  This will maintain a distinct pecking order and help keep a ‘status quo’ on the internet.  I will allow money to dictate where the people go, rather than the current model which makes the money follow the people.  FUCK THIS SHIT!

This is a problem that I have been voicing my opinion about and writing imporant people about.  While the internet was still wondering who the fuck Zoe Quinn was, I was calling congress telling them that the proposed slow lanes were a bad fucking idea.  This is an idea that GamerGaters should really consider carefully, because if it is allowed to go through, it will murder the movement overnight.  Literally, overnight.  The worst part is, that it was voted on in May.  I received this e-mail from Pennsylvania state representative Mike Fitzpatrick about the issue:

unnamed

 

October 6, 2014

The Crotchety Old Gamer
Where he lives
Greater Philadelphia, PA

Dear Nathan,

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding your thoughts on the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) proposed “Net Neutrality” rule. Your input is a valuable part of the legislative process and I appreciate the opportunity to address your concerns.

A free and open internet is the best way to enhance commerce and encourage the free flow of ideas.  In fact, as we’ve seen in counties across the world, it can even facilitate revolutions.

On May 15, the FCC voted 3-2 to move forward with a new set of regulations with the stated goal of guaranteeing a more open internet. The FCC explains that these proposed rules are designed to prevent Internet providers from taking advantage of an unregulated system by knowingly slowing data.  At the same time, they would allow content providers to pay for a guaranteed “fast lane” of service.

Opponents of this plan are concerned that such a policy would discriminate against the content of those who cannot afford the “fast lane” service. Several lawmakers have expressed that these changes could create tremendous legal and marketplace uncertainty.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler intends to finalize the open internet rule making process before the end of this year. As Chairman Tom Wheeler stated immediately following the vote, “What we’re dealing with today is a proposal, not a final rule. We are asking for specific comment on different approached to accomplish the same goal, an open Internet.”  This month’s vote began a process that will start with a 120 day comment period.

The FCC openly encourages the public to share their views, as your remarks will help the Commission decide upon the final rules. You can submit your comments for the rule making to the FCC’s designated email on the matter: openinternet@fcc.gov. Please visitwww.fcc.gov to read more about the proposed plan.

I will continue to monitor this situation; keeping your comments and concerns in mind as it develops. If you have any questions or concerns pertaining to this or any other legislative matter, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (202) 225-4276.  For additional information, please visit my website www.fitzpatrick.house.gov. From this site you can sign up for my e-newsletter, access statements about current events or pending legislation and receive detailed information about the many services that I am privileged to provide for the 8th District of Pennsylvania. You can also connect with me on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/RepFitzpatrick, or follow me on Twitter atwww.twitter.com/RepFitzpatrick.

Sincerely,

unnamed

 

 

Mike Fitzpatrick
Member of Congress

 

Mike, you might as well have signed this letter “an out of touch old legislator who really has no idea what is going on.”  Think about it this way.  You are in your room, reading an article on your favorite low-level gaming news site and generally enjoying yourself.  Your 17-year-old little brother decides to hop onto his Xbox One and play some of the latest Call of Doody while playing his favorite teenage rage songs over Grooveshark.  Your mom is streaming the latest video posted on YouTube by Ellen Degeneres and your dad is watching the latest Rocco Siffredi porno in his office.  You go to click on a new article and you now have to wait for 20 minutes while it loads like you are in the goddamn 90’s on a 56.6k modem.

Now, yes, the family dividing up the bandwidth on their connection might be a slim example compared to the internet as a whole, but follow.  If major companies are able to buy up all the “fast lanes,” which are now voted into regulation, this means that smaller sites will really be usable since they will have a lower slice of the bandwidth and thus will be slower.  Now, I would say just log on at night, but putting in a permanent regulation that makes others move faster is outright PRIORITIZING THE GODDAMN INTERNET!  This is a load of horseshit because it means that larger companies will be able to dictate which sites you will go to just by paying for the better connections.  It almost sounds fair, but look at it like this.  In a system like this, you will be told where to go for content and forced to migrate toward major outlets simply because the connection is better.  They are using a technique of social engineer whereby they dictate the flow indirectly.

Example: there are three public water fountains in town from which the townsfolk get much-needed water for daily tasks.  We’re talking like a Roman fountain where you hold a bucket to collect water and not the standard “bubbler” as they call it in Wisconsin.  Now, the town regulates flow to these different fountains throughout the day, typically to provide water to each during necessary times of day.  One day they decide they will start sending most of the water to the fountain in the middle of town while the other two are left at a trickle.  They say, you can still go to those ones, but you will be waiting for an hour to fill one bucket, and that is without the lines that will likely form.  It makes sense, then, to go to the fountain in the middle of town to get water.  You later realize that this was part of a plan to eliminate the other two fountains in favor of one where they could watch everyone easier and limit the diversity of outlets of water, fully controlling the waterflow.  Now they can accurately tax the water.

Sure, that last bit about water taxation is my own little add-in, but if they are able to limit the internet, eliminate competitors for data-flow and get more people going to specific locations, it would open the internet to information regulation and social engineering.  They would be able to dictate where you go simply because of the excuse of “well what, they couldn’t afford the better connection!”  Quite simply, the internet needs to remain open to all so that the diversity of flow can continue, otherwise smaller ideas, which could explode into larger, more potent movements, would be allowed to founder and die.  Don’t let them use money to regulate the flow of information and, thereby, the internet.  Speak out against the slowlanes.  Call your congressmen!  Mail your senators!  Shit, these fuckers CANNOT be allowed to tamper with our connections.  They have been trying to do it with every acronym under the sun, don’t let some concept of data-darwinism be what renders the internet inviable as the pure source of free-flowing information that has toppled dictators, countered social strictures and enhanced the world.  Sure, there are horrible things on the internet, too, but are the few examples of horrible people and inhumanity an acceptable reason to allow internet regulation?  I hope you just said no.

I will be hashtagging this with #GamerGate and #NotYourShield because this is something that we should all be considering.  Afterall, our movement depends entirely on the even playing field that the internet provides.  Get rid of that and what are we?  Fight #datadarwinism.

Need a better explanation or more information?  Here is list of articles about the slow-lanes.

Time – FCC Votes to Move Forward on Internet ‘Fast Lane’

The Daily Tech – FCC’s New Fast Lanes, Slow Lanes Net “Neutrality” Plan Angers Everyone

Forbes – The Real ‘Slow Lane’ Threat to the Internet

Huffington Post – Fast Lane, Slow Lane — “No Lane” — End Game in Telecommunications


And add you voice to the support:


Open Media International – Say No To Internet Slow Lanes

Advertisements

What Inception Says About Gamers

This article will fuck with your mind.  It is a personal opinion piece that I have cited the best I can given limited intellectual resources.  I wish I still had access to something like JSTOR from college, but a membership in such a database of works would require current membership at a college.  Oh well, hopefully you enjoy my machinations anyway!

deeper

When you dream, you set yourself aside for a time and drift down into the subconscious place of your mind.  There is an element of entertainment that allows us to do something similar, and it exists in a place you’d never guess: movies.  This mechanism of reality-alteration is known as the suspension of disbelief.  It means that while you watch a movie, you accept for the duration of the film that its reality is plausible and that many of the laws that govern our day to day lives are inapplicable.  Just as with a dream, reality is set aside to allow a false reality to be experienced.  By setting aside the judgments of the ego, you allow the film to supercede even yourself, just as your dream supersedes your personal consciousness.  But there is another form of this that exists, and the location of this is even more astounding: video games.  During a videogame, you willingly set yourself aside to allow the assumed identity of the main character to be taken on.  Many of us commit horrible atrocities during this state, too, but as a movie will not correct you to become more like a main character without your permission, you will similarly not become like the characters of game realities unless you will it.  But one thing that video games do is empower their players, and through the looking glass of the suspension of disbelief, players are delivered onto the doorstep of a self that is capable of changing the fabric of reality.  Video games don’t make you a person consumed by insatiable violence, but they prepare your conscious self to deal with reality.  They don’t make us the most violent people in the world, they make us the most powerful people in the world.

Through the suspension of disbelief, we enter a dream-like state where true reality is willingly set aside.  Now, comparing a dream to a video game, we are the player and the designers; but in Inception, a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio about shared-dreaming, there is a whole structure to generating the dream-world.  In this example, consider the “subject” of the dream to be synonymous to the player in a video game.

First you have the Architect, or the level-designer.  This person generates the world that the subject finds themselves in and makes it as convincing as possible to keep the person from realizing they are asleep and waking themselves up.  They have to get the dream-world itself down to such a perfection that every aspect will be believable, and the world is hemmed in by maze-like logical loops.  In this way, Architects are also like graphics designers, and, in the beginning of the film, we see the consequences for the first Architect for inadequately recreating those graphics, that reality.

The Architect’s function allows the Extractors to do their job and pull information out of the subject’s mind.  Another primary element of the dream is the device in the briefcase.  This object is never fully understood nor explained, but it seems to be what links the dreamers and delivers the sedative that keeps them asleep and allows them to dream so interactively.  This briefcase acts as the game’s engine in that it is the background mechanical element that makes the shared-dream possible.

During the primary operation of the film, where a team convinces Cillian Murphy to dissolve his father’s multi-national corporation, several other people are called in to help sustain the veracity of this dream-world.  Several of the team’s members are called upon to act as Architects, or level designers, for each dream-level that the participants descend.

Most important is the role of the Chemist, who serves as a sort of gameplay designer.  He makes a sedative strong enough to keep the team and subject asleep for the duration of multiple dreams.  He allows them to stay engaged, even if some element of the Architects’ constructions are flawed.  It is also this sedative that brings in the threat of mortal danger during the operation, as anyone killed can now stay locked in the infinite dream-world of their own subconscious.

Now, in this film we see one element that doesn’t seem to match this analogy entirely.  The projections, or people that populate the world, are all generated from the subconscious of the player.  But in a video game, the player does add something to the game.  Without the player, every element of a game is just a piece of a perfect whole, unperturbed by outside forces.  A dimension unto itself.  Only by the player breaching the space of this game do the decisions of the player tell the game where the world will go.  Now, some of these are inconsequential alterations; like losing a few missions for killing the wrong character, as is possible during the assassination missions presented by the story arc of colluding with the Dark Brotherhood in the Elder Scrolls series.  Some of these are serious consequences, such as destroying the entire settlement of Megaton in Fallout 3.  Either way, the projection of the player’s own subconscious self through the medium of their own actions, in a sense, populates the world just as the subject of Inception.

But what of being discovered by the projections?  When the player is pulled too abruptly out of the suspension of disbelief by unrealistic elements of the game, they might begin to behave as someone who knows they are in a game reality, which does not matter.  So they might just go on a rampage, kill everyone in sight and let the cops chase them, as in Grand Theft Auto.  It doesn’t matter, and they can just revert back to a previous save once they’ve had their fill.  Just as the projections in Inception, only to (normally) have them wake back up.  At that point, the player is entertaining the conscious ego that has become bored and knows it is playing a game, rather than engaging their true self and setting aside their personal ego.  Inception sets in one more ingenious piece of the development puzzle, which takes the form of the Forger.  The Forger is a person who, through the strength of their own imagination, is able to make themselves look like a projection of the subject’s subconscious.  The Forger on the operation is then able to engage the subject directly.  The Forger functions as a game’s AI, which is created to be as intelligent as possible to create a more immersive and believable gaming experience for the player by mimicking real intelligence thereby creating a higher level of difficulty.

At this point you might be wondering what what Inception, if anything, has to do with video games and how that ties back to reality.  Freud’s idea of the subconscious mind, or unconscious mind, as represented in the film Inception, is similar to a dark cave; and this is described aptly by Joseph Cambell in his book, The Hero of a Thousand Faces.

“The unconscious sends all sorts of vapors. odd beings. terrors, and deluding images up into the mind – whether in dream, broad daylight, or insanity; for the human kingdom, beneath the floor of the comparatively neat little dwelling that we call our consciousness, goes down into unsuspected Aladdin caves. There not only jewels but also dangerous jinn abide: the inconvenient or resisted psychological powers that we have not thought or dared integrate into our lives.”

In the film Inception, Cillian Murphy faces his own subconscious after being conditioned by the team of extractors.   They implanted the suggestion that his father wanted him to live his own life and not be like he was.  Lo and behold, when Cillian Murphy gets down to his own personal subconscious (perhaps ingeniously placed in a massive, technologically advanced vault), he sees a projection of his own father telling him he was disappointed Cillian tried to be like him.

Game developers are capable of the same thing, creating a narrative that we follow through a series of twists and turns, which mimic the dark and perilous caves of our own subconscious, to come to some conclusion about the character and the events in the game.  But because of the suspension of disbelief, we have been personally identifying with the main character’s struggles.  We have followed every twist and turn, and followed along with the narrative.  And, unlike in a movie where you sit impassively denying your own self for about 2 hours, in a game you spend several days engaged with this character.  In an article on Cinemablend, they arbitrarily throw around a range of numbers at 8 – 10 hours, it’s suggested this is part of a modern trend of shortening game-lengths.  Even at that length, you are talking about a length of up to 5 times the length of an epic feature film, which means more time for the player to become engaged with the main character.

In an attempt to utilize the game’s Photo Mode to capture cinematic pictures emulating his real-life works, Ashley Gilbertson recently “embedded” himself in The Last of Us, a video game that takes place in a zombie apocalypse.  It is understandably violent in a graphic fashion.  Gilbertson says in the article:

“To be successful, a player must be the perpetrator of extreme, and highly graphic, violence. I’m interested in a more emotionally engaged type of photography, where the human reaction to a scene is what brings a story to life. That was tough inside this game. Occasionally the characters show anger, though generally they’re nonchalant about the situation they’ve found themselves in. In the end, their emotions mimicked that of the zombies they were killing.  By the time I finished this assignment, watching the carnage had became easier.  Yet, I left the experience with a sense that by familiarizing and desensitizing ourselves to violence like this can turn us into zombies. Our lack of empathy and unwillingness to engage with those involved in tragedy stems from our comfort with the trauma those people are experiencing. […] I came away from the experience having learnt a couple of things: that the work I usually do is an antidote to the type of entertainment this game represents and that I suck at video games.”

I would argue, however, that Gilbertson’s statement at the end of the article is the most revealing: he sucks at video games.  Earlier in the article he describes how the game seems to make him feel ill, the reason he has to bring it into the Time studio and have his colleague play for him, handing off the controller so the photographer could take screenshots.

This means that Gilbertson was not engaging with the characters and not giving into the suspension of disbelief.  This is understandable since he obviously does not play video games on a regular basis, so it can be assumed he won’t be able to utilize the controller effectively.  He even describes the death scene with intense detail, likely earned by frequent visits to scenes where he is eaten alive.  In that he can only blame his own inexperience with gaming and the etiquette of the controller.

But his own experience is telling about the nature of gamers and gaming: if you do not sit down and take the time to work through the struggles of the game’s characters, you will not be able to associate with that character.  If you look at how old CNN suggests modern gamers are, you’ll realize they are adults with regular jobs, kids and real-world concerns.  This means that they might sit down with a longer game and play for short periods of time.  You know, in between laundry and diaper changes.  Even if they get in 1 – 2 hours every night or two for a couple weeks, that is still the amount of time you might spend with a friend.  Shit, if CNN is to be believed in that article, most gamers play online, so they very well could be playing with friends.  But those fictional characters in that fictional narrative are still characters that you are with.  And before someone says “but you control that character!  How can you identify with a puppet of your own manipulation?” First, you might control their actions, but it is generally understood that the actions of the player are the actions of the character that you guide between cutscenes.  Add to that the dialogue that you hear, and in some cases guide, and you have a fully contextualized expression of the player’s own personal motivations.  Mass Effect is a perfect example of this.  it is a game where you choose the general concept of what you say to others, and you have to choose carefully because in some cases it will get others killed.

My point is that if you play the game and control the character, your actions are inseparable from those of the character and, therefore, the ending to the narrative is a reflection of your own unconscious decisions as they guide this character.  Whether it has multiple endings or one ending, the ending of a game forces you to confront some logical conclusion, guided by the player’s own actions, of the narrative of the game.

Coming back to Inception, Leonardo DiCaprio has a discussion with his new Architect early in the movie at a cafe during a shared dream.  During this conversation, he tells the Architect that, during a dream, you are able to get in between the process of creation and perception to achieve what he calls “genuine inspiration.”  In the film, the only way to sustain this is through shared dreaming, but I submit that this could be an accidental allegory for the video game.  When a developer creates a game, they create an interactive experience that allows you to simultaneously create/manipulate  your world and perceive/discover it.  Of course, some games are too simple for this part of the discussion; but games like Skyrim fit right in there, allowing you to decide who is right and who is wrong in a political clash that shapes the future of the world, choose which missions you complete and when.  You can even personally design the facial structure, sound, race, skills and lifestyle of your own character, features that might draw you deeper into the character.  Hell, even Massively Multiplayer Online games are taking this angle, with Sony going so far as to create Landmark, a game where players have been helping to create the world of the company’s next installment of the Everquest franchise.

The point is, we are getting to a place in video games where one can get in between creativity and perception to achieve genuine inspiration.  Just as the singer in Wallace Stevens’ The Idea of Order at Key West, gamers are getting to a place where they are just as much creating the game as they are playing it.  But what does this mean?  Well, to put it simply, if gamers are able to create the game as much as they play it, it shows that they help guide the characters in games as much as they help shape them.  It is only a short step before they are able to apply this to themselves and make their lives a product of their own actions thereby making their own lives in the image of their imaginations.  And if enough people are able to do this, they will shape the world to fit the image of the imaginations.

Don’t think this is even remotely possible?  Check out game designer Jane McGonigal on Ted Talks and how she thinks that video games will save the world.  And considering that philosophers like Renee Descartes have been using thought-experiments to test or justify various theories like the “brain-in-a-vat,” video games provide a virtual space that multiple people can interact with simultaneously.  Recently, when writers spun rhetoric in publications favored by gamers, the gamers initiated #GamerGate, probably the most successful consumer revolution ever seen.  Even now, they are in the process of altering the fate of games reporting, and that discussion started back in August.  Face it: Gamers are simultaneously the most dangerous and the most capable humans on the face of the Earth because we have be trained to shape our own world to the image of our own imaginations, and they are taught by the most effective teachers in history: game developers.

 

Labzat on the Future of Gaming and GamerGate

GG_VJ

Editor’s Note:

The work that follows does not represent The Crotchety Old Gamer, but I felt that it would be relevant to share the ideas of other gamers from around the world. This is a translated text from Labzat: a Mexican gaming blog. I have been working with these guys to get my work translated into spanish and shared with a broader audioence; and in the spirit of #NotYourShield, I thought it would be interesting to see how gamers worldwide viewed this conflict. It is a little rough at times, but I feel like we share a lot of the same views regarding the situation. The following article has been edited for coherence by myself and translated by a natural Mexican spanish-speaker. Some things may have still gotten lost in translation.

La futura industria del videojuego

Its been a couple of weeks (or more depending on when you are reading this) since the beginning of the game industry’s social media revolution, known as #GamerGate. Many already know what this was about, but now that polemic has been diluted and all that energy of change has been expended on useless discussions. I want to analyze, from my perspective of a foreign gamer (cuz I’m not in the USA), what it means and what it could (or could not) mean for the industry.

The “corruption” of the videogame press

The firs topic within #GamerGate is the corruption of the press. Let me tell you this: I don’t think there is any sign of corruption, yes they are partial but it’s not the same as corrupt. When you write about videogames or any other topic, you always make relations, maybe of friendship or love. It doesn’t matter, the point is that you always have people that you prefer over others. Every media has an editorial preference for some kind of information. For example, my blog Labzat gives preference to discourse about the game industry in México, Spain, and Latin America because it’s my interest to promote the game development in these regions. If there is a private relation between a reporter and a game developer, nobody has to care about it, that is an element of their private life, and it’s hard to say that it interferes with work. Why is that? You could easily say a certain game is “the best,” but the readers have their own voices and opinions; so if you are not objective, they will simply stop believing you and you loose your readerbase. And trust me no body that survives by writing about videogames wants to lose readers.

Where I see a true conflict of interest is in the sponsorship the big companies provide to the videogame press; you won’t care about being impartial when your income is provided, not from the traffic on your page, but from contributions paid by Microsoft or Sony to promote their games. Then you go from being a serious analytic reporter to the slut PR of a company. This produces a decline in the quality of articles: the very short space the indie developers have to promote their projects and the rising of fanboy trolls who just reinforce the idea of gaming as an antisocial activity. Yep, what they blame the whole society for is just the product of their own system. Also, this monetization model sucks because it means indie developers need to pay for reviews to get substantial attention. A couple of times, I have heard rumors in the Mexican indie scene that you have to pay to get reviews. I’m not sure if it’s true and I’ve never seen it directly; but if it is true, we are killing small studios and a lot of new perspectives on the future of gaming.
To solve this, we need to band together as a community and create a new press structure for the highly specialized sector of the infinite universe that is gaming nowadays. The press should also find new ways to monetize in order to be more independent from big companies. Trust me, much more impartial is the site that relies on Google Adsense and ads from other sectors of the gaming world than those who are branded by big companies.

The immaturity of the community and their opinion leaders

Yes, it’s true. Some gamers are just immature, aggressive guys. But don’t forget that most of the games are created with the belief they will be played by a public of 15 to 25, and I feel very conservative about this fact. Unless American teenagers at one point expressed their inconformity and arguments in a clear and polite way (something I have never seen in my life), I think it common sense to expect aggressive reactions to critics discussing videogames they love to play. In fact, I know adults that still react in a violent way.

But I care as much about the visceral actions of the masses as I care for the immature and superfluous declarations of the opinion leaders in the game industry. You can’t be a public figure (as Phil, Anita and Zoe are public figures) and talk without thinking or studying themes like sexism & harassment in a completely serious way. When I read the Phil tweet that states something like “Gamers are the worst, you should nukem them,” I should just remind him of that German dictator who said “the Jews are white collar criminals, lets persecute them.” It might sound like a joke, but declarations like this grant it a whole new level of gravity. A lot of wars have been started because of harsh and careless words.

On the topic of speaking without thinking, Anita basically seems to claim that all games which represent women in a way she dislikes are misogynistic. She sounds like a religious leader who claims her religion as indisputable truth, then sends her followers to vanquish all other religions from the earth. She just says a lot of things then blames gaming, seeing only the surface of topics. I want to see what she thinks of Shakespeare. You know, the part where Othelo kills Desdemona with his bare hands? Or how about Lady Macbeth being the evil force behind all the tragedy of Macbeth? She attacks videogames because developers are nerds who read comics, nearly anonymous to their own audience. I doubt she’d expect a truly intellectual level of discussion, but learning she was artificial and contrived, a lot more voices would likely rise.
Both sides of #GamerGate have made mistakes, but I’m optimistic because I believe that eventually the voices of the trolls and pseudo-intellectuals will vanish while the other side of the community, those without the attitude of children, begin to participate more.

The incapacity of the industry to reach a new market

The videogame industry probably grown the most in recent years; In fact, I’ll bet it’s bigger than pornography. Just imagine that. But when we read articles of the videogame press, it seems that the major industry is always on crisis mode. Like Third World countries, they have a lot of wealth while they simultaneously have a lot of economic problems. Fortunately, it’s easier to understand what is happening in the videogame industry than what goes on in the Third World. The industry is growing up thanks to the new models of distribution and the accessibility to tools to develop games.

But the ones who reap the benefits of this growth are neither the studios, the pulishers nor the gamers. So who benefits? Easy. The digital store owners. They just created a new consumption and production model. A lot of developers produce a lot of games that get distributed at a very low prices because supply is much bigger than the demand. So the gamer gets a lot of games at very low cost or free. They’ll log maybe an hour of gameplay, then forget about them. At that point, gamers don’t play games, they just store them.

When the press writes articles stating “gamers are dead,” they are writing about the gamers who play games and give them the value of a book or a movie. The ones who play to improve their skills on Street Figther, to collects pokemon: the ones who play epic adventures and share it with their loved ones because it was significant to them. It’s sad to read that we have no value to the major press or major companies because we are too few in economic impact for them. But it gets worse! They blame us for their mistakes, for their incapacity to reach the new public that Google, Apple and Steam do! We are not the problem. The problem is yours for generating shity games and reviews. We used to pay more for the games when the games were well-developed and the story, music and graphics were respectively epic, when they cared to utilize the best of technology, give us the best mechanics and polish their code lines to a blinding sheen: When they cared about the game experience. And, yes, we would buy fewer games, but paid much more for them.

It’s fair to recognize, though, that not all the fault lies with the companies, but that it is also ours. We accepted the new system of gaming, of being treated like thieves. We support incomplete games, and never complain about the laziness of developers or the ambition of CEOs. We just sat and and let the industry turn into a bunch of FPS with sepia tones and puzzles F2P. Now what can we expect for the future? I think the industry will turn into two: the massive, fashionable games and the elite games for a very specific public: mimicking the modern film industry.

Flames Rising: The Continuing Chronicle of Vivian James

GG_VJ

I am going to do this in narrative format as everyone pretty much knows everything I am going to say.  This is no longer news: it’s now just turning into an epic journey.  One that had a start in suppression and is now a roaring blaze that is scorching the internet.  This is how I am imagining the unfolding conflict between the SJW standard and the #GamerGate army.  Because, let’s face it, we are an army.  If this doesn’t appeal to you: Step One. Read my About Page. Step Two. Fuck off. Step Three. Eat a comfort twinkie. For all the rest, shit is about to get crazy.  More real gaming and reviews coming this week.  Promise ; )

“I told you fuckers, the frontline needs reinforcements!” Just hours after falling back from their home turf, the denizens of the Clover Nation were hot on seeking a new stronghold.  As Vivian determined ahead of time, planning for the fall of the Clover was necessary.  Rumors abounded long ago of SJW soldiers slowly infiltrating the nation, but now its halls, always far from sacred, had fallen and bent its knee to oppression.  Vivian watched out of the back of the MRAP as explosions rocked the places she had known in her infancy: V Plaza, Pol Street…  But now those talking on the wrong topics were silenced, exiled and worse.  The Clover Nation had long been an independent sovereignty, but the streets, where one could discuss any topic without fear of reproach, now flooded with crowds of refugees; all of them making haste for the borders before the last mines are laid.  No one knew if they’d return home, and few even cared.  Fine Young Capitalists everywhere walked away from the Clover nation as it began to silence its own people.

Vivian looked over the statistics of the initial battles.  The Axis of Social Strengthening, headed by The Peoples’ Republic of Kotaku, The Gamasutra Federation and the Ars Technica Empire, had pulled together with countless others of their kind, even pulling in international support from the America press: their words of victimization echoed in The Boston Globe and The New Yorker’s stygian type.  But not all was lost.  In fact, more and more champions broke away from their own engagements to support the cause of the rebels.  Among them one would find such fine warriors as The Hero of Canton, who earned the support of many an undecided soldier.  His words with various reporters inspired many and amplified the voice of the  Internet Aristocracy.  Even a man known as Biscuit has come out to talk about the situation and facilitate discussion in an open format. The Regal Patriarchy of Shotgun took massive losses, The Gamasutra Federation lost 224 legionnaires in its latest conflicts.  The Peoples’ Republic of Kotaku was taking strong blows, but as the leader of the Axis, it was maintaining its stranglehold.  The Polygon Primacy was also maintaining its footing, but was still sustaining border raids that tried its army’s mettle.

Amidst her strategic ruminations, the direct line buzzed.  It was Breitbart.  “The operation is a roaring success,” Bart’s voice shouted into his receiver.  Their strongholds were now under fire. “a broader audience now has factsheets on the greater issues within the movement!  I will seek…” the line cut dead before Viv could respond.

“Dammit!” Vivian roared and slammed the handset back onto its cradle.  Outside, the booming of mortar fire against the keep rocked her extemporaneous CIC within The Escapist Confederacy.  When the exodus was ordered, Vivian made sure many escaped.  Some were trapped in various harrying assaults, but the spirit of the people prevailed in so many ways, and many lives were spared.  But many more fell.  Above Viv knew that the SJW’s were pounding the fortress with withering fire.  The Confederacy wasn’t the best place to hunker down, but the convoys were reconnoitered and harried by the SJW’s.  While the main force pushed on toward the Eighth Kingdom, what was a supply bivouac became ground zero.  But why?

Throughout the embattled Confederacy fortress, lights died and electricity flipped off.  Vivian’s feeds and monitors went silent and the walls held their breath.  She listened carefully as the explosive hail winnowed her forces, but she knew they reciprocated with an untold fury.  God how she loved the gamers: her fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers.  As the dark seemed to grow confident, the lights flicked back on and hurried boots were heard on the stairs.  Vivian grabbed her Colt .45 and machete.  She loved the old blade, and it never had to reload.  A sequential order of knocks brought her guard down.  It was Archon.

“Enter.” was her relieving reply.  Archon slipped in and shut the door tightly behind him.  He rounded and cleared his throat tersely.

“I don’t mind sheltering you here, Ms James, but once the SJW barricades are torched, we have to address your exit strategy.  You have to get to the Eighth Kingdom.  They are crude, I know, but theirs is an anonymous anarchy.  Only there can you be safe.  Only there can you dig in amongst the chaos and keep the SJW’s at bay.”

“Save it, Archon.  This was only supposed to be a small operation.” Vivian’s velvet tones were clad in a terse verbal armor. “The second we can, I want to take all the readouts and final compiled information with us to the Eigth Kingdom.”  Archon stood tacitly assessing the disarray of the CIC. “Why did you come down here, anyway?  Just to be a good landlord and make sure I emptied the fridge?”  her eyes had a way of going cold and soft.

“No, I came to give you this.  It’s…”

“The list.  The same list we shared with Breitbart.  The Pros list.”

“The very one.  Make them fear our name.” Vivian looked down at the flash drive then clicked her gaze back into Archon’s.

“Get my entourage. we’re moving.”

The SJW’s were using their best doxxing and DDoS attacks and propagating their language of hatred amongst their people.  Morale is important, but more important is human decency, or so they will learn from the movement.  No one cares if more nations stand up to show their colors and alignment, not even if the Cracked States decide to put in their own thoughts of defamation or even align themselves with the very worst of the opposing forces.  No matter.  As the flames rise, more people stand up to take the places of the fallen.  More names add to the list of those disenfranchised by the din of blatant disregard.  As the mighty fall the last thing they will see is the shining light of the sun piercing downward through crumbling walls of ivory.  They call it the end.  We just call it the day the internet burned.

Why do they fear indie gaming?

GI_cover

 

In September’s issue of Game Informer the “esteemed” publication seems to be initiating its own quiet assassination concurrent with the #GamerGate wars of Twitter.  While they do not seem to have leapt on the “fuck all gamers” bandwagon with most major games reporting outlets, they do seem to be digging beneath the walls that separate major gaming from indie gaming.  Turn to the two-page spread on 31 and Behold! Matt Bertz throws down his wall-less theory of gaming entitled ‘The Mutating Meaning of the Word “Indie.”‘  I call offended and uproarious bullshit.  Indie isn’t mutating, it means just what it always has: independent.  What this should be entitled is “Why we want to destroy the meaning behind the term indie.”  Strap in, this another rant of bombastic proportions.

Bertz poses the following question in the first paragraph, which will serve as the thesis for the GI article:

“When the majority of games in the contemporary landscape are already coming from outside the walls of big publishers like Electronic Arts, Ubisoft and Activision, what does becoming indie really mean?”

I am a firm believer that within each question lie the roots of its own answer.  In my opinion, the answer Matt wants you to come out with is “When the majority of games in the contemporary landscape are already coming from outside the walls of big publishers, being ‘indie’ really has no meaning.”  He then goes on to try discrediting the term indie saying that the number and style of the projects that fall into the category “indie” that the term is no longer “useful.”  That is a charming thought but being indie is more than just “breaking away from the standard studio-publisher” model.  Sure, that is a major centerpiece for the concept, but that is not the only thing it’s contingent upon.  Going rogue in the gaming industry takes serious balls, especially in the face of major publishers that are trying to muscle into the region of indie gaming.  The simple fact is that being an indie developer means putting in countless thankless hours developing a game that will likely be swallowed up by the sea of other small titles.  Sure, indie as a genre is useless, which is why people need to stop letting Steam make them think indie just means an artistic game with hand-crafted backgrounds and a bizarre concept.  Indie isn’t a genre of gaming; it is a community of indifferent rebellion.

Bertz then takes two indie developers, Cloud Imperium Games of Star Citizen fame and Lucas Pope of Papers, Please, lays them against each other and claims a multi-million dollar company, such as Cloud Imperium, and lone developers residing in the same sphere degrades the purpose of calling something indie.  Honestly, anyone that would make this claim is just fooling themselves.  I don’t wholly blame Bertz, either.  His misconception is one born of an artistic medium still striving against its own over-bearing identity to define itself properly.  Taking an example from the music industry, Eminem has his own record label and I would call it an independent record label.  At the time of its inception, Shady Records was not a giant in the industry, but it surpassed those lofty heights.  Just because he ‘got big’, doesn’t mean he ever stopped being independent.  Likewise, when developers such as Lucas Pope or Mojang become big they don’t stop being indie developers.  Sure, indie is a genre of music, and that community defines itself with easily identifiable features: retro glasses, a taste for music no one has heard of, flannel.  But Bertz is suggesting that gaming has to take on the same restrictive reasoning.  You are defined by an easily identifiable array of elements that collaboratively structure “how indie games are supposed to be.”  The point of indie development is that there is no structure.  You can create whatever crazy fucking idea you have concocted.  Like Minecraft, possibly the most successful indie game of all time.  Even those musical miscreants labeling themselves as indies listen to a respectable variety of musical types ranging from rock to chiptunes.  Trying to label them all as the same ‘genre’ is just as useful as stating indie games are all the same ‘genre’.

I reported on a fantastic game crowdfund which found itself on IndieGoGo called X-Tactics.  This is a game that will be developed by veterans of Square-Enix, Capcom and Sega, and, as far as I know, it will be an indie game.  This is because it will be a game developed under a name and publisher separate from the major development community.  Other major developers have broken away from the gilt Alcatraz of major gaming and gone rogue.  This sort of thing happens in music all the time with supergroups of famous stars that get together to form an awesome musical entourage.  They don’t feel the need to label themselves indie, although many found independent record labels, I would speculate this is due to a lack of oppressive horseshit experienced in the gaming indusrty.  They have their own struggles with record labels and within their industry, and I am not trying to diminish their battles.   But when you look at the size of the gaming industry and its unrivaled power to crush dreams, the music industry seems positively navigable.  Lorne Lanning, creator of the Oddworld series, is another of these major names, and Oddworld is a game that deserves to call itself indie.  In his interview on VG247 he goes into exhausting detail about why major developers would ever go indie, but my favorite line is:

“I’d rather not make games than go fucking be a slave for public companies who care more about their shareholders than they do about their customers.”

Yea he really says that, and more, but saying ‘established developers going indie would similarly render it useless’ is equally quaint.  The fact is that major developers are terrified of indie developers.  Scared down to their quivering, flaccid cores of achieving the same level of irrelevance populated by Leigh Alexander and Anita Sarkeesian.  But why would they be afraid?  Here’s why:

Some people estimate that Mojang made 84.2 million USD and 66.4 million Euros from Minecraft in 2012.  Sure, they are on the Minecraft forum, but they were estimating out of nerdy interest and had no real motivation other than spontaneous curiosity.   If a fraction of that is true, it still doesn’t account for the numerous other countries that play Minecraft and how much money they’ve spent on it.  When Mojang became a money machine overnight the collective bowels of major game publishers voided into unsuitably diminutive pants.  Mojang showed that a bizarre game with a solid concept and motivation can conquer the world, and they didn’t have to pass through the close-guarded gates built by major developers.  Simply put, major developers weren’t getting a share of that money.  That millions and millions of currency of your choice, and it hurt.  If not in their pockets, somewhere deep in their dark, dusty souls.

Turning back to Berts, he goes on to attack indie from numerous angles: big budgets, large staff, companies that make both major games and indie games, and honestly he continues attempting to discredit the concept of indie games.  It is a shoddy attempt to convolute the real issue behind the conversation.  See, major publishers see everyone jumping ship for this concept of “freedom.”  More and more, major developers are leaving them, and, like a jilted ex, major publishers try to bring them back.  This article points to companies like Ubisoft, which was responsible for Valiant Hearts, and says that the “easily identifiable elements” that make these games ‘indie’ are artistic, retro features of a game that make it bizarre or deviant from the norm of gaming.  Thing is, this article tries to make it sound like indies are becoming just as independent as major developers, when really major developers are just afraid of becoming as small-time as indie.  They are afraid of the change in the industry bringing about new giants and contenders and themselves losing relevance in the swarm of rising stars.  Mostly, this is just the result of gamers becoming largely disenfranchised by major publishers, who want to make the same bullshit over and over and have us swallow their crap forever.  The fact is, funding autonomous studios to make games for you is nice, but the fact is if your game is published and distributed by someone like Sony or Ubisoft, you aren’t independent, which is the source-word of indie.  You are just following the same tired model of the studio-publisher model except that they grant you a little more freedom.  Because that is what is making money nowadays, right?  Indie games are innovative and bold in ways that major publishers don’t have the balls to be, they’re creative in ways that major distributors can’t rely on and they’re unpredictable in ways that can’t be monetized by a massive company effectively.  Indie games are indie games because they succeed by their own virtue, not under the cultivation of a major publisher, which has all the power of a totalitarian propaganda machine at its disposal.

Then again, I am reading this in Game Informer, a magazine that is commonly perused by the Mountain Dew and Doritos abusing target audience of major publishers.  Not like they would ever publish an article that is biased in favor of the people who directly profit from the sale of games created by major publishers (who publish this rag mag), rather than the sale of indie games that sell through Steam or even indiedevs’ websites.  My suggestion is to refer to “indie” games that have been incubated and published by the likes of Sony, Activision et al as subbed indies:  Independent games that are subsidized by major publishers.  Granted, people will likely not care about the distinction, as long as the game is fucking fun.  I just find it annoying when they say the label is no longer “relevant” or “useful” just because major industry gaming thinks so.  Indie games should remain indie because it keeps them from being enslaved by major companies that just want to put their dick in it and soak up profits.

Have your own crotchety thoughts on this?  Join the discussion in my Steam group, Crotchety Gamers United!

Special Report: Adam Baldwinn and InternetAristocrat talk GamerGate on Ed Morrissey Show!

EdMorrisseyShow

First, I just want to include that the views on my blog and in this article are solely those of myself and are not connected to any games reporting outlet for which I produce content.

In what feels like the first high-profile open discussion about GamerGate, Ed Morrissey stated up front that “opponents of this movement were invited to participate […] and did not respond.”  That should tell you something about how they plan to handle this situation, potentially even their confidence in their side of the discussion.  As the host of the show, Ed says also that he is playing the role of the “interested moderator.”  You can find the video on Townhall Media’s YouTube Channel.  I’ve linked it here with the exact time the GamerGate discussion picks up.  The discussion was held on the Ustream for The Ed Morrissey Show, which is featured on Hot Air.com.  He’s a video blogger and conservative grassroots journalist.  He was joined today on his program by Kevin Glass, the managing editor at Townhall.com, Internet Aristocrat, a video blogger whose Quinnspiracy video largely rallied the gamer community, and Adam Baldwinn of Firefly and The Last Ship fame.

The major points that are touched on in the 48-minute discussion were the primary arguments of the #GamerGate movement, the first of which was the ethics being displayed in gaming journalism.  Adam spoke up first saying “I’d like to focus on the most important part [which] is […] companies that are basically in business to make ad revenue providing information to gamers and for them to go to war with gamers over their complaints seems […] professionally suicidal.”  Now Adam is no longer a bystander in the GamerGate discussion and even says that he’s “tried to be neutral as he can” but that he’s clearly taken a position in this discussion.  Cinemablend released an article in late August about Adam’s contribution to The Fine Young Capitalists IndieGoGo campaign supporting women in gaming, and harassment he received in response to tweeting about his contribution.

Adam also commented on the response from major games journalists saying “it’s shocking to see the vitriol and the silence that has descended upon what could be a very productive conversation.”

And honestly, he’s right.  Just today MundaneMatt, a YouTuber whose channel was under direct assault in this controversy, ran a video about four hours ago discussing how games journos are now hiding their Patreon pledges and withdrawing from this discussion.  As for the vitriol: do I really need to reblog that same STILL GROWING list of sites I will refuse to take gaming news from henceforth?

Internet Aristocrat provides a number of eloquent and thorough monologues on GamerGate from start to finish.  He comments, while games reporters are people who like games, we would like more disclosure about their biases and their connections within the games industry.  Ed agrees saying that in the film industry movie critics like movies and go to movies, but what they really need is jounalistic distance.  That is something we are not seeing at all in games.  I have listed the ways that I have supported crowdfund campaigns and I will openly admit that I have accepted review copies of games, but the level of convolution in the games industry is showing a consistent profusion.

Ed mentions to Adam that some of the sites involved have put out disclosure rules on their websites just this week, but Adam responds saying “Well that’s all well and good, but the question now becomes enforcement […] if those policies are not enforced internally, then they’re just pieces of paper.”  And for the most part, supporters of the sites have been pointing at these as the “valid response” and that gamers need to call off the dogs.  Some people are still just lambasting gamers, saying that there is nothing to this “scandal,” labeling gamers as sadistic ‘misogynerds’ wanting only to keep down women in the industry.

But Adam continued, saying “the reason this scandal blew up and what caught my attention was the way the attack came. […] When […] the “twitter inquisition” descends upon you, that’s a tip off that there’s something there.” In my honest opinion, at this point anyone still saying that gamers are off-base is just plugging their heads in the sand and ignoring the facts.

Of course, the next element of the GamerGate discussion came out of Adam’s thoughts. “I can understand why anyone would want to protect someone who’s being attacked or harassed, coming to the defense of your friends: that’s a noble thing.  But it’s really moved beyond [the events] that catalyzed this whole thing.”  And he’s entirely right.  We mostly decry harassment, but this discussion has moved well beyond just chastising a few basement-dwelling misogynists.

The next point covered comes out of Kevin Glass who says “[online media] are maligning the term ‘gamer’ way too broadly, and they’re indicting the entire community for the actions of a smaller group of people.”  Absolutely.  That is only too true.  Adam briefly mentioned the GamerGate Blitzkrieg as I detailed in previous articles, and even seems to have been personally insulted by some things he’s read.  Kevin makes another solid point that “you go into an online community and [the abusive element] is often the loudest group of people there.”  He also says “some people seem to be trying to preserve gaming in a pure, apolitical way that might not be healthy for the game industry.”  I have to agree whole-heartedly with that as well.  As I have said in this blog’s about page and previous reviews, games are a developing art form, and the best way that we can obtaine validation for games as art is to approach broader topics with an open mind.  And many games including Heavy Rain, 4PM and Braid have done so in an entertaining and interesting way.  Even Kevin Glass admits that games like Depression Quest and Gone Home are “counter-intuitive and have socio-political messages that [gamers] aren’t really used to,” but there are approachable and entertaining ways to create amazing games with powerful statements without making them boring to play and difficult to engage but for an elite few.

Honestly, this whole conversation is a wonderful piece and I will love all of these people forever because of the stand they have made and the discussion they’ve had.  Bear in mind, the games journalists have decided to remain silent and removed themselves from the discussion.  If anything is true about social progress, removing yourself from talks guiding it exempts you entirely.  I am not sure if they realize it, but they are damning themselves by not speaking up.  So, please, watch the video and show your support.  Check it out and keep this in mind: we’ve won the first battles of GamerGate and gotten it out to a broader audience.  Now let’s finish the war.  Stay in the fight and stay strong.

There is Something Rotten in the State of Gaming

GJshitstorm

From the outset, I need to say that this article is in no way connected to any of the reporting outlets for which I produce material.  Everything published herein is a product of my independent reading and research on this topic, and can only be said to be connected to those who choose to support it.  I will present my findings as objectively as possible.  I was up until 3am last night just reading and reading and reading about this situation and I am no more decided on this than I was at the start.  I will only explore the arguments and each side’s standpoint so those who have no idea on what is going on can at least get a picture of what is going down on the internet.  Again, this is in no way connected to any Games Journalism site that I develop and produce content for outside of my own.

Figuring out where to start with this is difficult as even placing one argument above another in a list-type article could be construed as preferential.  However, since this is turning into a war between gamers and those reporting on the games we love, I will start with the gamers.  Hell, I am a gamer myself.  My biggest concern is the “Death of the Gamer” as it is being coined and the “Death of an Identity”.  On this topic I am a little upset, since I have always called myself a gamer.  I am.  I grew up playing video games and gaming has gotten me through some tough times.  I tried to walk away from it, but it is so key to the things I love that I couldn’t do it.  Across the past couple weeks, however, numerous games reporting sites have put up articles blatantly stating that the Gamer is dead.  I have filtered these through DoNotLink to avoid directing clicks to them.

‘Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience.  ‘Gamers’ are over. – Gamasutra

A Guide to Ending Gamers – Gamasutra

We Might be Witnessing the Death of an Identity – Kotaku

The Death of the “Gamers” and the Women Who “Killed” Them – Opposable Thumbs

The End of Gamers – Dan Golding

So we’re over?  That’s it?  Honestly this just seems like the most childish smear campaign ever.  Gamers will never be over.  As long as there are games, and people growing up playing them, gamers will be alive and well.  I love how they didn’t say the “death of misogyny in games” or “the cleansing of gamer culture”: They just outright attacked everyone that plays games.  It is disheartening, honestly.  I will no longer be granting these people ad revenue by directing links to their site, I will start using DoNotClick to send readers there without adding to their viewing statistics.

Now they make some valid points here.  Harassment is messed up for any reason.  If anything, people deserve to be allowed to keep some things to themselves, and their personal lives should be the big one.  So, I don’t care who it is, harassing people for any reason is insidious. If you are trying to destroy someone’s credibility, harassing them will only provide them with a wall of anger and hatred to champion a cause against.  This, in turn, only grants them a valid soapbox to stand on, especially if you end up having a serious effect in their real lives.

The most powerful accusations in this situation come from the gamers themselves, actually, and it seems to be the reason gamers are so incensed over this.  These accusations are pretty thoroughly summed up by the Internet Aristocrat, focusing primarily on Zoe Quinn.  When I first saw this guy’s video, I thought he was just another hate-mongering asshat with a silly wig; but seeing some of the evidence presented, he makes a compelling argument.  If any of what he says in his video is remotely correct, then there is definitely something really ugly hiding in games journalism.  Of course, the video also makes some leaps in logic, such as not wondering if the ZoePost Blog was entirely true and not just the rantings of a jilted ex.

Now he says a lot in there, including that Zoe Quinn has single-handedly been able to manipulate all of games journalism with the magic power of her vagina.  Now that is a tall order, but if something wasn’t true about the level of journalistic integrity being called into question, why would Kotaku and Polygon both alter their policies on Journalistic Transparency in response?

Another big name at the center of this controversy is the girl at the top left of the banner for this article.  Her name is Vivian James.  She is a character created by 4chan (note her hair adornment) to represent females in gaming.  She was adopted by The Fine Young Capitalists.  They are creating a Game Jam where female gamers submit game ideas and TFYC work with developers and artists.  These games are then sold and the proceeds go to charity.  The really bizarre thing here is that 4Chan is known for being a haven for those with anti-feminist and anti-inclusion beliefs.  VICE.com recently posted an article about Vivian where they actually defame Vivian as being created for the sole purpose of spiting feminists. I also find her initials mildly comical since they sound like a euphemistic term for a woman’s.. ehem.  You get the gist.  Personally, I like Vivian since she resembles my own wife, who plays 3DS, iPad games and loves Mountain Dew all whilst wearing hoodies.

Major internet games media has a lot to answer for, really, but if there is some element of journalistic integrity that needs to be called into question, it should be openly discussed and investigated.  Harassing people is always wrong, and my heart goes out to those that have suffered in the wake of this shitstorm, because it honestly is a shitstorm.  There are plenty of people, famous and small-time, who want to see this situation calm down and seek to peacefully support progress in the direction of an inclusive gamer culture.  Support The Fine Young Capitalists and their IndieGoGo Campaign. Contact people and tell them it is time for transparency and serious discussion about inclusive gamer culture.  But don’t let the raging flame war continue, because it is hindering progress.  I know that I will no longer be reading Kotaku, RPS, Polygon and others since I no longer know who I will be able to trust.

Some things that have come out of this, however are good.  First, The Fine Young Capitalists are at 71% of their goal.  Second, girls in gaming now have a character, albeit fabricated by 4Channers, that represents them.  Honestly, someone should inspire them to make characters representing various faces contributing to gamer culture and turn it into a webshow.  There is also a petition being signed by developers, gamers, social media outlets and others that calls for combating internet harassment.  I don’t need to tell you that is a good thing, but as long as it is enforced equally there shouldn’t be a problem.  PC Gamer tried to say it was signed to support Anita Sarkeesian, but the letter itself just states:

“We believe that everyone, no matter what gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion or disability has the right to play games, criticize games and make games without getting harassed or threatened. It is the diversity of our community that allows games to flourish.”

And they are right.  I would have signed this thing myself, but it was closed by the time I found it. (UPDATE: it has come to my attention that I did, in fact, sign this petition.  While some have said it might be a petition of the “major people” involved, the message is still one I wholly endorse. I remember sending my name in, but I also thought I was too late and not important enough anyways. My thanks to Vlak for the ) Finally, and most importantly, people are calling for gaming journalists to be held accountable for their actions.  To this measure, I will share with readers the games and campaigns that I have supported via Kickstarter and IndieGoGo.  Some I have already openly mentioned my contributions to, others not so much.  Either way, here they all are:

Elysian Shadows – I funded them worth 50$ and wrote an article about their game.

Goblin Quest – I funded them worth about 50$, but it is based in the UK, so I really gave them 30£.  I haven’t written an article on the tabletop yet, but I am considering doing so once I get my hardback copy of the book.

Beguile – I funded them worth 59$, which was about 65$ Canadian after shipping outside Canada and exchange rates applied.

Redneck Assassin – I funded them worth 15$ since I was really poor at the time.  I haven’t reviewed the game, but I plan to once it is finished.

The Fine Young Capitalists – I funded them worth 25$ and haven’t done an article on them.  I probably won’t write an article, but I think what they are trying to do is noble and pretty freaking cool.

I don’t think there is a problem with supporting campaigns that I like, especially when they’ve made so much already that my contribution is just a drop in the bucket.  From now on I will be posting how much I have contributed and whether I have a plan to do so, but sometimes it is just a spur-of-the-moment decision. And that is honestly it.  This is really all that I have to say about this topic for now, so hopefully it has been informative and gives readers that are still confused about this situation an idea of the arguments on both sides.  There will be more to come, including my own strong-armed opinions, but for now, objective discussion.  As per usual, I will be creating a topic to discuss the situation on my Steam group, Crotchety Gamers United.