Post-modern ideologues claim another industry: video games

Nathan

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
#1
Or I suppose the alternative title could be: Fired video games writer continues to blame everyone except herself.

I was going to post this in the article suggestions for SOTT, but that would involve an article of post-modern victim mentality that requires heavy doses of dry SOTT commentary, and I don't wish that upon anyone. Except maybe Atreides. ;)

So anyway, I follow news on storytelling in a bunch of different industries, and this story caught my attention pretty quickly. What began as bad online behavior in a discussion about video game narrative has now gripped the industry. But it's how this incident is being talked about that is the most interesting, and it suggests an industry that has been recently and rapidly influenced by post-modern types. Most especially video game journalists who have become increasingly detached from their general readership. Or former readership, I suppose.

And so, I came across this story: a video games writer, Jessica Price, recently spoke about narrative design on a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything). She then took it to Twitter and shared her thoughts there. As you all probably know, Twitter is a public platform. You don't go there to post a private diary entry.

It was during this time that a well-known member of the community and fan of her work responded to her tweets in a polite and respectful manner:

Really interesting thread to read! However, allow me to disagree *slightly*. I dont believe the issue lies in the MMORPG genre itself (as your wording seemingly suggest). I believe the issue lies in the contraints of the Living Story's narrative design...

[...]

then perhaps players would be more invested in the roleplaying aspect of that particular MMORPG. Nonetheless, I appreciate the insightful thread! (End)

Price's response:

thanks for trying to tell me what we do internally, my dude 9_9

Following this, she shared his tweet with her audience and this caption:

Today in being a female game dev: "Allow me--a person who does not work with you--explain to you how you do your job."

Followed by a strange rant:

like, the next rando asshat who attempts to explain the concept of branching dialogue to me--as if, you know, having worked in game narrative for a f**king DECADE, I have never heard of it--is getting instablocked. PSA.

Since we've got a lot of hurt manfeels today, lemme make something clear: this is my feed. I'm not on the clock here. I'm not your emotional courtesan just because I'm a dev. Don't expect me to pretend to like you here.

The attempts of fans to exert ownership over our personal lives and times are something I am hardcore about stopping. You don't own me, and I don't owe you.

The fan's response:

So much for an open discussion I guess. I meant no disrespect AT ALL. Never did. Never will. Neither did I imply I knew better. Nor has this ANYTHING to do with gender. Never did. Never will. I will retract my comment, cause obviously I'm in the wrong forum for this kind of talk.

Long story short: this blew up and everyone in the industry was soon talking about it. The next day, Price was fired, along with a male colleague who engaged in the same behavior to support her.

The CEO of ArenaNet, Mike O Brien, posted on their forum:

Recently two of our employees failed to uphold our standards of communicating with players. Their attacks on the community were unacceptable. As a result, they're no longer with the company.

I want to be clear that the statements they made do not reflect the views of ArenaNet at all. As a company we always strive to have a collaborative relationship with the Guild Wars community. We value your input. We make this game for you.

In any sane, non-hysterized world, this would be the end of it.

It wasn't.

The following day, almost every games journalism website came out in furious support of Price. Many even interviewed her at length. However, not a single website supported the developer for firing Price. There was no contrary perspective.

If you can stomach it, here's an article by Polygon, owned by far left-wing Gawker, which was quick to position Price as the victim and cast this as a gender issue. Which is crucial to their argument, since male writers are regularly fired for the very same behavior.

_polygon.com/2018/7/9/17549492/arenanet-jessica-price-guild-wars-2-writer-fired

Probably the most disturbing thing about that article is how the writer has clearly learned nothing from this, harbors no regrets, and is encouraged by an entire industry to continue to deflect responsibility and attack people over perceived slights. Not to mention this isn't the first company to fire her under less than amicable terms.

There is one reasonable portion in that article and it's a statement from the CEO. Honestly, it's almost a breath of fresh air.

While the industry's journalists criticized this, and even some game developers (e.g. "wow so the people in charge at @ArenaNet are cowardly pieces of sh*t who sell out their workers at the drop of a hat huh"), it seemed the actual community was in overwhelming support. A post on Reddit concerning the writer's departure was upvoted by 90% of voters.

I find it interesting when elements of an industry are at odds with their audience, and this alone is probably a sign that something is deeply wrong. And hey, if 90% of your audience don't agree with you, that might suggest you have a problem, and that problem is you. Marvel learned this lesson the hard way with their recent release and subsequent closure of feminist and marginalized characters in comic books. I doubt the characters themselves were even a problem, but I'd bet money on the fact they were used as mouthpieces for patronizing lectures and doctrines that rapidly alienated their readers.

You could look at Rotten Tomatoes reviews on TV and movies and find the same issue. The website separate critics from the general audience. For example, The Last Jedi received 91% by critics and 46% by audience. I find that fascinating. But of course it's the audience's fault for not liking it, right?

It's not easy to find something written about some sort of post-modern takeover of video games, probably because no one is really talking about it except those who defend it. But I did find something from Milo's typically sharp tongue:

If I were a video games journalist, I’d be terrified right now, because I’d know that, for all my shrill protestations, sneering and arrogance, my industry had just entered a death spiral entirely of its own making.

To give just one example of the hatred between gamers and the journalists who are supposed to serve them, Chris Grant, editor-in-chief of gaming news site Polygon, is blocking his own readers on Twitter by the thousand, together with journalists and academics whose opinions he doesn’t like. It’s unprecedented in an industry that ought to stick up for readers instead of sucking up to lobbyists and the powers that be.

It’s also a remarkable display of political intolerance, not to mention a serious strategic error. Grant, and others like him, have given up any pretense of wanting to engage in dialogue with alternative opinions and instead hunkered down with a small but noisy minority readership of single-issue campaigners, feminist blowhards and perpetually angry “social justice warriors” to the exclusion of the backbone of his readership.
_breitbart.com/big-hollywood/2014/09/09/an-open-letter-to-the-video-gaming-community-from-a-self-confessed-right-wing-bastard/

While the New York Times warns us that YouTube is becoming the new talk radio for the "New Far Right" -- which I suppose is code for anyone who doesn't agree with post-modern ideology -- video game journalism (which is quite simply reporting on games being released and reviewing them) has made a remarkable shift to citizen journalism on YouTube, where the audience can get what they want from people they trust. And where ideological types struggle to control the narrative.

So that's the story so far, although I won't be surprised if it gets more unhinged. Who knows, maybe the writer will attempt to sue the developer for unfair dismissal, or The Guardian will write about marginalized voices and sexism in gaming.
 
#4
Some history / background / context: Gamergate, which I believe contributed to Trump becoming President. Corrupt people using liberalism as cover for their corruption.

The Truth Perspective - Radical political correctness
Good show overall,I'd just like to point out,as someone who payed attention to gamergate at the time,it most certainly was not about neckbeards going ''no gurlz allowed''.At least not in the beggining. If memory serves it started with zoey quinn being outed as a slimeball. She slept with 5 different editors to get favorable press of her game all the while abusing her boyfriend and people found out.Then people found out that there's a sort of ''inner circle'' in gaming press where whoever is aligned with ''liberal values'' and is willing to pay up will have more press and more favorable reviews.This is roughly the point where accusations of misogyny started flying around.It was very reminiscent of what happened with clintons in that the more they tried to cover it up and show gamergate as a bunch of racist/homophobes/misogynists the more info leaked on shady backroom deals and ''relations'' between gaming press and various publishers and developers.

The reason this angered people is because when you're a small time developer,you might spend months or years developing a game to the best of your ability,because you want people to enjoy this thing you made,but because you can't ''pay to play'' you will be ignored and if you don't have the ''right mindset'' (liberal) you will be vilified,thereby ruining you chances of making it in the business.There was more to it,but that's the basic jist. I understand that the remark about neckbeards was facetious,but it was unfair and untrue.Especially when professional manipulators like Anita Sarkeesian used crowdfunding to raise over 100 G's to and I quote ''conduct research on misogyny in videogames'' and then go on to produce 3 videos in 2 years.This woman is held up as a paragon and anyone who points out that she's a con artist is a monster.


GamerGate is More Liberal Than the Average American. By a Lot.
but in any case, GamerGate isn’t conservative. It isn’t even apolitical. It’s just tired of your b******t.
 

Alejo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#5
This reminded me of a headline I saw on Firefox once that went:
"Assassins Creed Odyssey lets you be as gay as you want."

Doing another search I found the following link to a forum where it’s being discussed.
 

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#6
This reminded me of a headline I saw on Firefox once that went:
"Assassins Creed Odyssey lets you be as gay as you want."

Doing another search I found the following link to a forum where it’s being discussed.
I have trouble seeing how this relates to corruption in mainstream journalism personally, considering that games with the possibility for gay roleplaying options have been on the market since the mid 2000’s. None of them force people to be gay, and if even the option is so offensive then close-minded people are free to patronize other titles which cater solely to a “no homo” ethos like Duke Nukem or something. 😝

Related to Gamergate, I am reminded of an anecdote recounted by Candace Owens to Joe Rogan in one of his podcasts. The story goes back to when she was still considered a liberal because she was the Center of a major racialized cyber-bullying controversy awhile back. Candace started raising funds to build an investigative service that could unmask cyber bullies and trolls. About three days after the site went live and started receiving funds and entirely positive support, she was contacted by Zoe Quinn (herself largely the Center of the gamergate scandal) who said she was doing good work but then pleaded her to stop that campaign because she would be bullied and have her life ruined like Zoe allegedly did. Twenty four hours after that warning was requested Owens’ website was inundated with abusive, violent, and pornographic comments from what superficially appeared to be right wingers (names involving Trump or some kind of pornographic monicker). Candace said publicly on Twitter that, based on her interactions with Zoe, that she hasn’t suffered a day of abuse in her life (citing for example his heavily she leaned into her identity as Chief Victim of the Gamergate abuses), and that she attacked herself with her own bot or sock puppet accounts. So Candace Owens seems to think these bots were sicked on her just to get her to shut down an initiative that would have potentially unmasked the source of the trolling in Gamergate. Candace Owens is a controversial figure because of her right wing opinions, but this course of events appears to have went down before she achieved this level of notoriety. My own guess is that this opinions are her own, instead of some backer’s, since they weee formed relatively early on. Not certain, but FWIW.
 

Alejo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#7
I have trouble seeing how this relates to corruption in mainstream journalism personally, considering that games with the possibility for gay roleplaying options have been on the market since the mid 2000’s. None of them force people to be gay, and if even the option is so offensive then close-minded people are free to patronize other titles which cater solely to a “no homo” ethos like Duke Nukem or something. 😝
lol, I guess you’re right... I might’ve connected the two simply by association.

But I found it interesting that back in the early 2000’s a gay character (in games or movies) seemed to me to have been a nescesity of the narrative as the story was lived by such character and that was it. And this felt more like, forget the narrative, it’s about showing you that it’s ok to be gay! Which is true, of course, but it also feels like a progpaganda piece. So not that it was offensive, and I’m not sure how closeminded I may be.

But I do realize that It may just be me seeing a pattern where there isn’t one.

Does that make sense?
 

whitecoast

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#8
@Alejo I mean you could still be right. Depending on the way the game is being developed and marketed it could just be part of a ploy to inflame the culture war. Back in the day having gay options didn’t call for such major fanfare, and I think most people preferred it that way. The game itself seems to take place in Ancient Greece, which definitely probably had a lot more homosexuality and pederastry than most people today would be comfortable with. It’s also part of a well-established game franchise (Assasin’s Creed), so a lot of fans will have their own expectations of how it ought to pan out, etc, which will probably influence perception. (That’s what sunk Star Wars 8 more than anything imo - if it was its own standalone intellectual property with unique characters there would have been griping but nowhere near the current magnitude han’t they subverted the characters and themes of a well loved franchise).

I just hope it’s not a sub-par product for which they’ll blame mediocre sales on “homophobia” the way the new Ghost Busters blamed “misogyny”. I remember that the film Oceans’s 8 (a franchise reboot of Ocean’s 11 featuring an all-female cast) was in theatres and critics were already bemoaning the poor sales and blaming “fragile masculinity,” even though in terms of sales and audience ratings the film itself actually didn’t do too bad. It’s like they’re using film and games to put certain ideals or ideologies on trial.
 

Nathan

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
#10
Speaking of Anita Sarkeesian, here's a little video about a YouTube personality's experience with her while sharing a cyberbullying panel, which was followed by a private confrontation. (At 4:26, he explains who Anita is for people who don't know.)

It paints a rather dark picture of this person, and I honestly think Boogie (the guy being interviewed in this video) is far too kind in his opinion of her, and is frankly a bit of a pushover. Still, he speaks honestly and with a lot of sense.

 

fabric

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
#11
It's not easy to find something written about some sort of post-modern takeover of video games, probably because no one is really talking about it except those who defend it.
Sounds like the makings of a good SOTT article - you should write it!
Totally! I find that to be a very interesting angle and worth writing about. What you've got in your post is almost an article itself. I think it would a be great piece and that it would be good to get something out there. I didn't find your commentary 'dry' at all btw, in fact SoTT commentary is some of the best in the world! And SoTT original content, even better! ;-D
 

Beorn

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
#12
I second, or third, the idea of making a SOTT article about it. There is a fair bit of discussion about it but it tends to be in long form chats or podcasts.
 

Keyhole

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
#13
Yeah the topic is quite disturbing, because it demonstrates how this kind of mindset has insidiously infiltrated into multiple areas - incluing the gaming world. You should definitely format this into an article, because it needs to brutally exposed for what it really is (with no "beating around the bush" or playing nice. After all, SOTT is the best platform out there for this.
 

Nathan

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
#14
Just a quick note that when I said "dry SOTT commentary", I missed a word. I was trying to say dry humor. :)

Thanks to everyone for the encouragement. I've not written for SOTT before, but I could pull together some notes, do this properly and submit it for consideration. Perhaps with a few examples from other entertainment industries.
 

genero81

Jedi Council Member
FOTCM Member
#15
I've not written for SOTT before, but I could pull together some notes, do this properly and submit it for consideration. Perhaps with a few examples from other entertainment industries.
I have no doubt you will do an excellent job, you're a great writer.
 
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