It’s only a few days until one of my favorite events of the year arrives: the Game Developers Conference. Once a year, the whole industry convenes in my city to talk about the craft of making video games, and if you’re ever able to attend, make sure you do.
Since next week will be so hectic, there probably won’t be a Worth Reading next Friday. I know, I know--this feature just started and it’s already taking a break, but I’ll make it up to you. Somehow.
Mostly, I’ve been consumed by the aftermath of my reporting on the fighting game community from earlier this week, when I watched parts of Capcom’s Cross Assault reality show, and witnessed a heated conversation about whether sexual harassment is a problem. Since then, I’ve been talking with members of the community about my story, and working towards opening a dialogue that will hopefully result in another piece soon.
Until then, let’s get this weekend started, shall we?
Hey, You Should Play This:
- Proteus by Ed Key and David Kanaga
Hey, it’s not a platformer! The thing is, explaining Proteus is...difficult. You’re on an island, and there’s music. The more you explore the island, the more music there is. There’s frogs, and those frogs make music. It’s not a game about mechanics, it’s an experience rooted in exploration. The more you search, the more you’ll discover. Perhaps Johann Sebastian Joust designer Doug Wilson puts it best: “Proteus is like: an indie Wind Waker, with dashes of Boards of Canada, James Turrell, Carl Sagan.” Proteus just launched its Minecraft-esque paid beta, and right now, it’ll only cost you $7.50 to get in. Recommended. You can watch an old trailer for Proteus over here. Ribbit.
Also, You Should Read This:
- "Hurtful Speech: Time to Take a Good Look in the Mirror" by Tom Cannon of Shoryuken
I knew the response from the fighting game community would be very emotional. It’s understandable, as the community experiences enormous scrutiny, one they feel they may not deserve, especially since the comments of one man do not represent the views of all. I can help shine a line on what’s happening, but I’m not a member of that community, and it’s up to members of that community to help change the tone. Tom “Inkblot” Cannon has been a commanding voice since the conversation began, and his latest editorial is welcomed for its thoughtful introspection.
“So, it’s time to stand up. If we continue to let the worst elements in the scene speak for us or excuse their bad behavior, we deserve whatever criticism we get. It’s everyone’s responsibility: the players, the content producers, the tournament organizers, and the fans. We need to be just as serious about the way we treat each other and how we reach out to others online as we are about the game. This isn’t about killing the hype or white-washing the scene. We can be just as loud, excited and hype without belittling entire classes of people. ”It’s ok, we’re all friends”, and “I’m just joking” aren’t valid excuses.”
Many video games have one operating rule: be fun. If every game was a realistic simulation of the situation it’s portraying, many games would probably lose much of that. An anonymous writer going by the pseudonym of “W” is both a player of video games and a private military contractor who’s spent this entire adult life in the military. More than anyone, W knows how much games like Call of Duty and Battlefield 3 do not represent the reality of war, even if we’re all fully aware of that the fact, too. W knows war on a level most of us will never, ever understand, and listening to W ruminate on the psychology of a soldier, a psychology that also defines him, makes for fascinating reading.
“When I spoke about it to my friend years later, he recalled how pissed he was at losing the insurgent, and how bad he felt afterwards about it. He’d had his professional pride tarnished. I asked him if he ever thought about the woman and her kid and he just looked at me blankly.
He didn’t even remember they were there.
This is a serious issue that needs to be addressed in videogames. How would you feel if you accidentally killed an innocent child in a game? If the words “MISSION FAILED” appeared, but then disappeared after a few seconds, leaving you to continue as normal with no repercussions. Any normal person would feel guilty, but that’s my point. Combat troops are not normal people.”