You may remember Mark Kern from his little temper tantrum from earlier this year – a temper tantrum that may or may not have resulted in him being shown the door from the company he founded. Whether this was due to his spending all of his time shitposting rather than getting work done, or whether there were more egregious problems, who knows. All I know is that this time around, they didn’t involve a $3 Million dollar bus for what was probably the most awesome planned Speed update of all time.
Welp, he’s back and he’s declared that he’s…. no longer neutral!
Yes, previously, he was being neutral as he slammed the press, coddled idiotic conspiracy theories and then cheered on the trolls of GamerGate as they brigaded the #GDC hashtag with insults, ad hominem attacks on game developers and anime porn, among other filth. But now he’s committed to #GamerGate because some people saw that the new Deus Ex is using the term ‘mechanical apartheid’ to describe their story, and some tiny number of that thought that merited a conversation.
For what it’s worth, I think that ‘mechanical apartheid’ is an awesome starting point that’s completely appropriate for the Deus Ex I know and love, and ties directly into the time-honored tradition of using alleghory in sci-fi and geek culture to discuss tricky and controversial subjects in modern society. Where Deus Ex’ narrative was going in their previous release was reminiscent to me of how Marvel Comics used the X-Men as an alleghory for the struggle of the Gay Rights movement. In a note to KiA, the game devs discussed how that was actually their plans. But hey, it’s just the start of a conversation, and if some are offended, we could actually listen to them and see if they have something worthwhile to say, right?
Ha ha, just kidding. Instead people like Mark are just going to freak the fuck out. Once again, the outrage from the Perpetual Outrage Machine that is KiA and GG vastly outstrips the supposed outrage from the other side. Seriously, I have a fair number of supposed SJWs in my twitter feed, and saw nary a kerfuffle in casual observation. Certainly nothing that compared to KiA’s utter shitstorm, or Mark Kern’s continued meltdown into nonsensical blather.
You know that guy I was talking about over the weekend, whose hobby is to be as ridiculously thin-skinned and hyperbolic as the imaginary social justice strawmen poisoning the gaming press and industry that he’s invented in his head? Well, he’s back, and he wants to help out all you imaginary haters who want to write clickbait reviews !
A few things there, Adrian.
- Saying that a game missed an opportunity to be more diverse or inclusive is not the same thing as saying the game is racist, and claiming otherwise is being needlessly hyberbolic and alarmist.
- Saying that the world is misogynist does not necessarily mean that the game is misogynist. As one example, the recently released Mad Max is a world that has interesting and strong female characters who solve things in interesting and inspiring ways, despite the fact that the world is deeply, DEEPLY misogynist. You know who loved that film? Your old buddy, Arthur Geis. That being said, even if you believe that sexual violence is important for a story or game, how that sexual violence is handled is deeply relevant to some audiences
- If you are the sort of person who thinks that women dressing like harem girls for battle is inappropriate, then the fact that the women who rule the world are dressed in dental floss is not going to impress you. I’m going to stress, I’m not one of those people – what can I say, I came of age to my dad’s hidden stash of Vallejo books. However, it is a sizable, SIZABLE number of the people – mostly but not entirely women – and considering that the audience for RPGs is now believed to be majority women, actually giving a shit about their opinion may be worth something a designer interested in expanding the audience of their AAA game might want to, you know, at least not mock. It certainly merits a mention in a review, as it is the sort of thing that these women may choose not to buy a game over.
Oh, one more thing: I do tend to frequent more than a couple of SJW hives of scum and villainy and you know what? They’re all super-excited about the Witcher 3. Even as they discuss, criticize and explore these issues deeper, the excitement for this title has been building for weeks. Because progressive gamers are still gamers, too, they just place valuation on different things. Many of them loved the previous two Witchers as well.
It turns out that it is possible to enjoy and even love a work of art that you criticize. But Adrian knows this. His twitter feed is currently filled with criticisms of the game collected from the first day of play – opening area may be too long, and bad quest design results in lost time. Standard RPG issue of failed sense of impending objectives clashing with side objectives. A lengthy discussion of the failure of art direction driven mostly by the foliage of the game. A general sense that it’s not as polished as it should be. These are all valid topics of criticism and discussion amongst adults.
So is that social justice stuff.
Welp, I was hoping that the last post would be my last word on blocklists. However, there’ve been a couple relevant and interesting bits to share. First off, notorious libertarian legal snarkmeister Popehat has given his opinion about Why Mean Blockbots Probably Aren’t Defamatory. He does close with a couple of caveats.
I speak here of the rule of law, not the rule of feels. I understand many people feel as though BlockBot designations are defamatory. So they have that going for them, which is nice.
Meanwhile, the team that did The Block Bot (this is the Athiesm+ blockbot, not Randi’s GG blockbot) announced that Blockbot will undergo a significant rewrite, to help it deal with it’s unexpected popularity.
In this developmental stage, the following features for this new platform are being discussed:
- Facilitating the formation of more than one blocking team.
- Allowing users to opt-in or opt-out of individual blocker’s blocks.
- Creating clear policies for adding and removing blockers and admins.
- Handling appeals more consistently.
- Expanding users’ block-list choices.
- Soliciting feedback from users more effectively.
- Providing a more robust system for users to suggest blocks.
Meanwhile, Richard Dawkins (who is on the Atheism+ blocklist because, well, he’s been Richard Dawkins on twitter lately) is not impressed.