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Worth Reading: 09/06/2013

It's all about sports games and sasquatches this week, though there's probably some other stuff in here, too.

Is it strange to dread the release of a new game? Next week, we’ll see the release of Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs, the sequel to what I would consider, easily, the scariest game ever made.

One anticipates a new Amnesia with a mixture of fear, loathing, and excitement. I remember the first time I tried playing Amnesia. My wife and I were visiting her family in Omaha, Nebraska for Thanksgiving, and an afternoon of drinking had put everyone in bed rather early. I wasn’t ready to call it quits, though, so I snuck a beer upstairs, loaded up this “Amnesia thing” on my MacBook (yes, Amnesia will run on just about anything), and spent maybe 20 minutes with it before deciding this was neither the time nor the place to begin engaging with a game like this. Click!

I didn’t come back to Amnesia until several years later, and I cannot remember what prompted me to return. Maybe the sequel had been announced? I’m not sure. It doesn’t really matter, but when I crossed the finishing line, I wanted someone to tap me on the shoulder and hand me a t-shirt that said “congratulations, you finished Amnesia.” On second thought, had anyone tapped me on the shoulder when the credits rolled on Amnesia, I might have stabbed them with a pen.

Someone on Tumblr asked me what the appeal of horror was, and wondered why it never did anything for them. I gave them two answers.

One, horror is akin to comedy, and if you consider what it might be like to explain why a joke is funny to someone, it suddenly makes way more sense. (This is what I find so remarkable about the Cards Against Humanity guys, actually. Listening to them break down why cards do and don’t work scratches an intellectual itch for comedic structure that I didn’t know I had.)

Two, horror reacts to what you, the viewer, bring to the table. It preys and exploits your weaknesses, whether it’s a childhood experience that left a lingering impression (i.e. I’ve never felt comfortable in water I cannot see the bottom of, so Jaws slayed me) or an irrational reaction (i.e. alien abductions continue to drive me up the wall). Each person is different, though some of the best horror recognizes universal fears and is able to gain a wider audience. Consider why Paranormal Activity works. We’ve all heard bumps in the night, but what if those bumps in the night were caused by something? A creaky door now becomes...menacing.

The question has given me much to consider, and I’ll have to think about it for a larger piece when I’ve finally played through both Outlast and Amensia: A Machine for Pigs. Too bad there’s not a time machine to let me skip forward two weeks in my life, and know the deed is truly done.

Hey, You Should Play This

And You Should Read These, Too

Sports games are weird. They sell millions of copies year after year on the promise that advancement has been made. I’m not one to judge whether that happens or not, as I’m barely able to keep up with TV football, let alone apply that tiny bit of knowledge to actually playing a game simulating it. It’s especially weird when the non-sports writers among us find ourselves being pitched on the new edition of X Sports Game 2014. Totilo highlights the absurdity of what’s happening, and breaks down why it’s interesting with appreciable detail.

"For two years, I've been privy to a pair of semi-public teardowns of the previous year's EA Sports games. They've happened each of the last two springs as part of a press preview of the fall's big games from EA. Since we're in the midst of EA Sports' big 2013 sports releases—NCAA Football 14 and Madden 25 have now been released; NHL 14 and FIFA 14 are still forthcoming—I thought it'd be a good time to tell you about what I've come to look forward to as two of the weirdest hours of my year as a video game reporter.P

I leave these two-hour sessions amused, impressed and a bit bewildered. It's commendable that game developers are iterating on the finest details of their games, spotting old flaws and fixing them. But it's weird, right? It's weird that this happens—that the same game has to be monkeyed with year after year to... make it better? Make it different enough to sell again?"

Simon Parkin writes a new story, Patrick Klepek links to the new story. It’s been heartening to see more games writing in The New Yorker, and Parkin goes down a rabbit hole that I’d wish more games writers would, myself included. There are so many people doing so many different things with games, and most stories go terribly unnoticed. Here, Parkin talks to the people obsessed with finding sasquatch in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, people who are unwilling to face the reality of hard data to continue the search for “truth”--their version of the truth, anyway. Makes me think I should return to that feature on Resident Evil 1.5 that I've been kicking around.

"In 2004, Rob Silver was driving his truck through Back o Beyond when he caught sight of something in the thicket. “Out of the corner of the television screen I saw a large, tall, dark figure,' he said. 'It happened twice, both times during that first year. To this day, I’ve not come across the creature again.' Earlier this year, Kaleb Krimmel, a teen-ager from Michigan, had a similar experience. 'I have seen strange figures in the fog before, but pedestrians can sometimes appear in weird places,” he said. 'While this sort of computer error describes most of my encounters, this time was different. I was in Back o Beyond, walking up a hill. It was foggy out, but behind some plants I clearly saw a giant black figure. I aimed my camera to take a picture, but by the time I steadied the viewfinder it was gone.'"

If You Click It, It Will Play

Like it or Not, Crowdfunding Isn't Going Away

Tweets That Make You Go "Hmmmmmm"

I want to hit my head with a hammer so I can play Wind Waker again for the first time. That's a rational thought, right?

— BenKuchera (@BenKuchera) September 6, 2013

As I've gained a larger audience, I've paid more attention to how my words affect people. That's not censorship, it's responsibility.

— Max Scoville (@MaxScoville) September 4, 2013

Listening to Jesse regail a story of how some snooty "old gaming media" types looked down on him until he told them his sub numbers.

— Totalbiscuit (@Totalbiscuit) September 5, 2013

A Series of Responses to Mike Krahulik's Recent Comments

Oh, And This Other Stuff

Patrick Klepek on Google+
77 Comments
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Posted by Morningstar

Keep em coming!

Edited by csl316

I like the Max Scoville tweet. Granted, his Hawaiian shirts usually do most of the talking, anyway.

Edited by KoolAid

When it comes to this whole penny arcade business, I'm honestly starting to feel that the media should shoulder some of the blame for how big this mess has gotten, especially in this last case. I feel that PAX "quote" was taken way out of context. If the guy even says the word dickwolf, it's a headline.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not saying mistakes weren't made in the past. And some bad shit went down. And as far as the journalists go, some people seem to be about page views and some people seem to actually care about doing the right thing (like Patrick.)

I guess what I'm trying to say is… is there a controversy over what Mike said at PAX and that's the story? Or was the controversy created by the story about what Mike said at PAX? Because it feels like the second one to me. And that feels really dishonest… and bad.

Edited by Shingro

I remain very unconvinced a man drawing a comic that implies rape happens off camera to a dude actively endangers real women. It reminds me of when people said that rap music was causing 'youth violence' despite all numbers pointing to youth violence going down year over year.

To quote Henry Rollins on the matter "I'd like to see a statistic that shows how many people go out and shoot someone because they heard a song" similarly I'd very much like to see the study or studies that show that a rape joke on the internet (and honestly, rape was pretty far off the spotlight in that) translates into real life harm.)

(and yeah they do respond overly harshly, but I take any online person doing so with a grain of salt knowing they savagery they face every day)

Posted by Shivoa

I've heard enough game designers talk about how free2play binds game design and is a slippery slope to simply pushing gambling without a real win state (but that doesn't matter for the addictive loop as you can fake the win without paying out real coins for the same rush) to not consider it a viable future for the industry. At some point then studies start to show the links to traditional gambling and countries that don't take kindly to gambling (especially where the odds are obfuscated etc) will start to regulate with a heavy hand. So anyone who is going on the merry dance in that direction is free to reap what they sow. If your plans to fund a game is to find whales rather than generating a reasonable income from many players then you're looking for people to trick, because your game is not worth tens of thousands of dollars to anyone.

Posted by jimmyfenix

I might be in the minority but i like Max.

Oh man before i knew mods existed i thought big foot in GTA was real. 11 year old me was torn when i found out it was a mod of the pc version :(

Posted by GorillaMoPena

I can't even imagine how much money EA Sports is losing to the NBA by not releasing a game for all of these years. These leagues want a full priced game.

It will be a weird test if their take time off ground up sports game rebuild can put a dent into NBA 2K

Posted by Gordy

@koolaid said:

If the guy even says the word dickwolf, it's a headline.

Well yeah, because it happened back in fucking 2010 but he can't grow up and learn from it. He just has to keep stoking the fire every year.

Posted by brownsfantb

@shingro said:

I remain very unconvinced a man drawing a comic that implies rape happens off camera to a dude actively endangers real women. It reminds me of when people said that rap music was causing 'youth violence' despite all numbers pointing to youth violence going down year over year.

To quote Henry Rollins on the matter "I'd like to see a statistic that shows how many people go out and shoot someone because they heard a song" similarly I'd very much like to see the study or studies that show that a rape joke on the internet (and honestly, rape was pretty far off the spotlight in that) translates into real life harm.)

(and yeah they do respond overly harshly, but I take any online person doing so with a grain of salt knowing they savagery they face every day)

The issue wasn't the joke in the comic itself. It was PA's overreaction to some people taking offense at the joke. If they had just left the detractors alone, none of this would have happened. I think the problem was that they just didn't understand why this joke got people so upset when there had been so many jokes in the past that were just as offensive.

Posted by Sergio

I'm not a fan of MC Frontalot's music - nothing personal, just not my thing - but he has the most accurate portrayal of how things unfolded compared to the others, especially those foaming at the mouth against PA and PAX. They whitewash those who were against the original comic, absolving them of any fault, and claim it was simple criticism, when it wasn't.

MC Frontalot acknowledges that he doesn't know how many cheered or their reason for cheering, while everyone else has claimed "the crowd" or "the audience" cheered. I was at the Q&A, and those statements aren't accurate, and is projecting their belief based on background noise on a video. In the comments, the person who shouted "bring them back" explains his reasoning and seems to regret shouting it.

So as much as people like to falsely claim PAX is toxic and don't want to support it, I will continue to support it as long as I can because I know it isn't. If you decide to not attend and show your game at PAX, that's your choice, but you've most likely lost a sale to me and others if you're a small independent developer.

Posted by Sergio

@shingro said:

I remain very unconvinced a man drawing a comic that implies rape happens off camera to a dude actively endangers real women. It reminds me of when people said that rap music was causing 'youth violence' despite all numbers pointing to youth violence going down year over year.

To quote Henry Rollins on the matter "I'd like to see a statistic that shows how many people go out and shoot someone because they heard a song" similarly I'd very much like to see the study or studies that show that a rape joke on the internet (and honestly, rape was pretty far off the spotlight in that) translates into real life harm.)

(and yeah they do respond overly harshly, but I take any online person doing so with a grain of salt knowing they savagery they face every day)

The issue wasn't the joke in the comic itself. It was PA's overreaction to some people taking offense at the joke. If they had just left the detractors alone, none of this would have happened. I think the problem was that they just didn't understand why this joke got people so upset when there had been so many jokes in the past that were just as offensive.

It wasn't an "overreaction to some people taking offense at the joke", it was an overreaction to people overreacting about the joke and claiming it was something that it wasn't. The absurdity would have been easier to point out if they had latched onto the fact that the hero of the comic was brown and claim the comic was racist culture instead of rape culture.

I agree they should have ignored those people instead of engaging them. Instead of making a precision strike, many others were caught in the crossfire and became collateral damage. I think they eventually realized this when they pulled that merchandise.

I don't absolve them of that mistake, but I can understand why they may have initially reacted the way they did. Apparently, only one side of this argument feels people should show some empathy towards how they may have felt, and fuck how Mike may have felt.

Edited by seveword

RANT

All this shit about Penny Arcade has led me in one direction and then another. There is really only one conclusion that I can come to, in every situation.

You, as a free-thinking human being, have the right to be offended by any damn thing you choose. In a nation, society, or group that values or guarantees free speech, you can choose, completely at your own volition, to get seriously pissed off at anything you want. Literally anything. No one can tell you otherwise. If Penny Arcade pisses you off, it pisses you off. If the Boston Red Sox piss you off, then they piss you off. If kittens, sunshine and rainbows make you hate the planet, then goddammnit, hate until the flesh falls from your bones. Even if you believe every single thing that you've ever been told and get angry whenever Pavlov rings that bell, do it. Fake outrage is better that nothing. Stir that bullshit till the cows come home.

My only asterisk at the end of that binding non-legal contract is that you, as a stirrer of bullshit, better be damn well ready to accept your words and actions as your own. If you don't like PA, then go ahead, don't like them. But you better be prepared for the consequences of that, i.e. recognizing that people who do like them aren't gonna be kosher with your stance. All of this is applied to the power of 10 quadropheniazillian when dealing with people on the intranets.

Don't try and claim any moral high ground in whatever shitstorm you end up in, whether you're (hypothetically) condemning a murderer or (hypothetically) defending freedom of speech. Good and bad are as follows: a four letter word and a three letter word, respectively. That's it. If enough people believe something enough to effect a change, then something changes. If it doesn't, it doesn't.

This amount of bullshit hasn't come because of a comic strip, or a shirt, or any media report. It's come from people going "you're right" and "you're wrong." If I give you my math test and it says 8 x 3 = 83, then yeah, you can prove that I'm wrong. If I say that I can fly by flapping my arms real hard, then yeah, you can prove that I'm wrong. But if I say that I don't think that that comic was in any way offensive, then I am not wrong. Neither am I right. Likewise, if that guy's responses piss me off, then someone who wasn't pissed off isn't wrong, and neither are they right. Stop conflating fact with opinion, and the human race would (in my completely non-ironic factual opinion) be better off.

So, for the SparkNotes crowd, here's the TL;DR version:

  • If you don't like it, fuck those guys.
  • If you do like it, fuck those other guys.
  • If you don't care, fuck 'em all.
  • No one is right when it comes to opinions.
  • No one is wrong when it comes to opinions.

Seriously, humans. Come on.

END RANT

Posted by ThePickle

That GAF posts pretty much nails it for me too. But dude goldfish don't actually have short attention spans.

When talking about sports games, most people care about two things: gameplay and updated rosters, in that order. People are making Tecmo Bowl roms with 2013 NFL rosters. Because Madden isn't all that fun but I still want to play as Adrian Peterson. People in the United States of America are actually playing a soccer game because it's better designed and more enjoyable than the football game, even though most of them couldn't name any of the starters on a team in FIFA, but could give you their passionate opinion on the staying power of the read option.

Posted by Drewlysses

The Zen of Design article really struck the biggest chord for me; basically, nothing is going to get better at PAX if every feminist, trans, and other person who feels threatened leaves and lets the douchebags take over. I'd like to see more panels about these issues at the actual convention, more people talking about why Mike's comments are a problem, even demonstrations and protests if that's necessary. There needs to be presence rather than a complete retreat. The gaming public needs to keep having an ongoing dialogue about this stuff if it's ever going to get beyond the hordes of misogynistic morons who have co-opted the cause of "free speech" to say whatever bullshit they like.

Edited by courage_wolf

I am kind of upset about this anti PAX sentiment going around the internet. People talking about pulling out of PAX and boycotting PAX are certainly entitled to do that and if they feel uncomfortable going to PAX they probably should not attend. But this whole "burn it down" attitude I have seen some people express makes me mad. I don't read Penny Arcade as I don't find it particularly clever or funny, I don't buy their stuff or go to their panels. The only interaction I have with them each year is buying a ticket to their show. To me the only thing PAX has to do with Penny Arcade is that it sports their name. I go to PAX to play new games, discover indie games I have not heard of, play games of all sorts with new people, go to panels for developers and personalities I like and generally just have a good time. PAX is the only video game industry show I have the opportunity to go to and it is one of the highlights of my year. I suspect many people share similar sentiments and the show has developed a great community around it. The people who are calling for boycotts of PAX and the people on Giant Bomb who are calling on the guys to stop attending or even start their own competing convention seem extremely misguided. PAX is about much more than Penny Arcade and it is very easy to miss Penny Arcade completely. I am going to be selfish and say that I don't want the people complaining about Penny Arcade to destroy PAX because one guy is being an ass. Tens of thousands of people come together multiple times a year to make PAX one of the best events available to people interested in video games, if you don't want to be a part of it that is your choice, but I don't want you trying to ruin the experience for the rest of us. PAX belongs to the community much more than it belongs to Penny Arcade.

Posted by benu302000

The post by MC Frontalot is fantastic.

Edited by OneManX

I read the strip... chuckled and moved on... but judging by some of the flack over the last few YEARS! I am either the worst person ever, or the best?

Edited by Kowalo

First time I've heard of Hippocampal. Looks strange in a good way.

Posted by Efesell

I've no issue with Krahulik, but the dude should really not be allowed near twitter.

Posted by Deusoma

It's disappointing to me that the whole "dickwolves" thing continues to be an issue, but then I guess that's the nature of Internet drama, isn't it? Like Dracula, it never really dies.

Posted by sissylion

The Total War community manger is named "Craig Laycock" and I am struggling to think of a better last name

Posted by bybeach

Mr. Frontalot is a pretty intelligent guy. I wasn't aware of this whole mess, and satirizing many video games as shallow as the first cartoon was said to do, is completely justified. And it went over as lead with some people. And it gets worse from there. Seen that road been down that road bye-bye!

I saw the first dickwolf cartoon, and to tell the truth it blew by me. A lot of PA humor, especially lately, blows by me, though oddly enough I got the Visit to New York City (dead prostitute in garbage can) and the Commercial Airlines Pilot (on heroin stuck up his...A recently discussed issue on the Bombast), real well.

My experience when people do not understand each other very well, there is going to be perception problems, and the suspicion of agenda versus honest thinking. I have no solution for it except either to deal with it as a learning individual or run away from it because it will stab you whether you deserved it or not. Both are valid.

Now the t-shirts..wow! I guess there is also putting your foot in it.

Posted by groverat

Dear Mike Krahulik,

I'm glad you're growing up. It's great. However, could you please just shut the fuck up the next time you have something controversial to say relating to a disadvantaged/powerless group? Just do not talk about any group that isn't very powerful and privileged in a negative way ever.

This isn't because you're a unique genius that others just. don't. get., it's because you're still growing up and those of us who are still growing up need to be very careful with our words. And I do mean our.

I thought you learned that lesson before. Now I'm reading another blog post in which you claim to have re-learned it after apparently forgetting.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Just shut the fuck up on issues relating to the oppressed/underprivileged. You're out of tokens.

- groverat

Posted by MoonwalkSA

MC Frontalot's post pretty much totally summarizes what I think about the whole issue, though I barely read the comic anymore (not moral protest so much as declining interest) and I'm not nearly as attached to Mike and Jerry themselves. A really eloquent summary that acknowledges the immature, reactionary idiots that came from both sides without also trying to shut down well-reasoned or well-meaning arguments from those same broad sides.

And he's right that these days, almost all the blame lies with the sorts of asshole PA fans who go out of their way to show off dickwolf shirts, cheer at Mike's statement at the panel for the wrong reasons, and generally be utterly unhelpful and exclusionary to people who are already victims (essentially, being stupid bullies who are hiding behind the excuse of defending a thing they like from criticism). Where it gets complicated and a little weird is the fact that those sorts of fans create the need for Mike and Jerry to get over their own humility - that is, they need to realize how famous they are and how many manchildren will hang on their words like fucking gospel, regardless of how right or wrong those words might be. It's admirable that they want to try to stay "just a couple of normal guys" despite how huge they've gotten, but at some point their fame necessitates a greater level of public responsibility.

Ultimately, though, PAX is so much fucking bigger than penny arcade or mike and jerry or really anything else associated with the PA brand aside maybe from Child's Play. It's pretty much the second-biggest thing in gaming next to E3, and unlike E3, it's actually made for fans rather than just corporate announcements and press. I think it would be better for everyone if it continued to branch off into its own beast without being burdened by garbage like misogynist PA fans and Mike's regular public fuckups. I understand why someone from a marginalized group might want to avoid it, but I also don't think there's any real hypocrisy or dissonance involved in attending the convention while still opposing things like Mike's twitter statements and the dickwolf shirts.

It is still possible to enjoy problematic things for their good aspects while remaining wholly opposed to the bad aspects, so long as you stay aware and informed. Especially so when the most problematic aspect is merely the creator (and some fans) of a thing rather than the thing itself.

@patrickklepek I didn't see it in there, so you might also want to draw attention to Mike's clarification of his "regret" statement (http://www.penny-arcade.com/2013/09/04/some-clarification). It's rather middling as an overall apology, but he does make it clear that he regrets pulling the shirts because it re-ignited more outrage, not because he still supports the idea of the shirts.

Posted by Chuddy

The blogosphere really ruined the american psyche with trigger warnings and cistransnormophilliobias.

Posted by groverat

@chuddy said:

The blogosphere really ruined the american psyche with trigger warnings and cistransnormophilliobias.

Life was so much simpler when homosexuals, rape victims, and trans/queer folks were just shoved to the side, ignored, ridiculed, blamed, and bullied.

GET AWAY FROM MY BUBBLE!

Posted by vucub88

I think when it comes to "Krahulik" issue people keep getting hung up on the fact that the Dickwolves strip was a long time ago and thus shouldn't really be an issue anymore. If you look at the situation closely, you'll notice that it stopped being about that specific strip and the comic in general fairly quickly. It is about the way he has acted and the way he has made people feel with comments regarding the situation and that he continues to make other comments that alienate various underrepresented groups. In addition, his actions can bring real harm to people because there is a group forming around his foolish comments who have no concern for the feelings of people who fear rape and find jokes about it to be in poor taste. This dehumanizes these people and it's kind of the same way entire frats get to the point that raping girls is just a casual pastime. I know that may seem hyperbolic but sadly its harsh reality that we live with and when we ignore or act like the problem isn't that big or our concern, we become complicit in it.

Posted by Sergio

Not only does it seem hyperbolic. It is hyperbolic. PA has stated from the beginning they are not pro-rape. The comic itself was anti-rape. I can empathize with people who may suffer PTSD from just the mention of rape, but this comic does not contribute to rape culture as people have said.

There are some crazy people who have taken up this cause who do contribute when they threaten people with rape. No one in PA, and many others who thought this was overblown from the beginning, support that. Mike is not their keeper. Even if Mike were to apologize and tell them to step down, the craziest of the crazy won't. They'll think Mike is being forced to say these things, and they'll continue acting this terrible.

No one is complicit. The crazies who act out this way are responsible for their own actions.

Posted by WobibrosfordApe

@sergio: So in your opinion Mike has said nothing insensitive and the dickwolves shirts were an a-ok idea?

Alrighty.

Edited by Shingro

@brownsfantb said:

@shingro said:

I remain very unconvinced a man drawing a comic that implies rape happens off camera to a dude actively endangers real women. It reminds me of when people said that rap music was causing 'youth violence' despite all numbers pointing to youth violence going down year over year.

To quote Henry Rollins on the matter "I'd like to see a statistic that shows how many people go out and shoot someone because they heard a song" similarly I'd very much like to see the study or studies that show that a rape joke on the internet (and honestly, rape was pretty far off the spotlight in that) translates into real life harm.)

(and yeah they do respond overly harshly, but I take any online person doing so with a grain of salt knowing they savagery they face every day)

The issue wasn't the joke in the comic itself. It was PA's overreaction to some people taking offense at the joke. If they had just left the detractors alone, none of this would have happened. I think the problem was that they just didn't understand why this joke got people so upset when there had been so many jokes in the past that were just as offensive.

It seems like one of the problems is no one really has authority over 'the issue.' I guarantee I've seen *plenty* of arguments, some in patrick's links/twitter saying "This promotes rape culture which directly harms women" yet no one seems be either inclined to "Show their work" so to speak. It's all very emotionally charged arguing and savagery, and that stuff tends to fall into the "well it's okay if I misrepresent these things because THEY'RE bad/theproblem/jerks" As a dude who was around to read the news posts and the follow up comic it was never as cut and dry as "THEY IMMEDIATELY MADE FUN OF ALL THE RAPE SURVIVORS" There was a lot of savagery directed at them, their posts seemed a little shell shocked and confused, I wouldn't be surprised considering their personalities that Gabe at least responded badly privately, and we know he responded unwisely publicly (he needs a few 'are you sure?' locks on his twitter) there was a bizarre psudo-apology/defense comic? Then the shirts and references were pulled, I seem to remember there was at least one heart to heart post from one of them saying 'someone told me "I want to take my kids to pax and not have them see that" and I kinda get that' somewhere before they pulled those shirts. It was all very strange.

I understand it got WAY out of hand, I get that there were extreme people on the internet that took the opportunity to harass and bully people (on BOTH sides, your ideals/objective DO NOT make you incapable of being a jerk 'because they deserve it') It's well documented Gabe particularly tends to respond to pain/savagery with sarcasm, mocking and his own brand of savagery. So we have two sides reacting emotionally and totally willing to get out the accusatory and emotional knives. On top of that there's a way for BOTH people to view themselves as infallibly 'in the right'

Though there's stuff on both sides, there's no reason that that debacle tumblr 'summery' needs to be reposting large pictures of @rapefatchicks and related twitter handle's stupid harassment comments like those extremists reflect on Penny Arcade 'because the icon has penis paws makes it a dickwolf.' There's a lot of people in this business trying to shock other people and get them reacting in a fast and visceral way. Allow me to be as clear as possible

THIS IS NOT HELPING ANYONE. GETTING PEOPLE RILED IS NOT WHAT THE SITUATION NEEDS.

Regardless of how you feel about it and how things shook out it's not NEARLY as cut and dry many are painting it. That's a serious bummer because there's an (another) important rational discussion on what we can and can't do on the internet here. To say nothing of convicting two dudes who even in their scandles tend to do the right thing eventually. Those shirts did get pulled, Gabe donated stacks of cash to trans charities., That's not automatic absolvement, but it implies to me that their hearts aren't blackened rocks that only desire the tears of the oppressed. They feel WAY far away from 'boycott and crush their works' to me. They seem like very 'normal' dudes with maybe a few impulse control issues and a big ass microphone. Feels a lot like people are glossing over the complicated and weird parts to the whole situation. That doesn't surprise me at all.

What does surprise me is that @patrickklepek seems totally willing to participate. I always kinda had him pegged as a guy who would be willing to get people talking and exploring what happened. Investigative you know? Present both sides if the issue got complicated and messy regardless of his own feelings, but man.

Those links are pretty seriously one sided. Don't get me wrong, I'm not sure I'd be able to do any better. Hell, I'd probably have been even WORSE and not presented the token "Gosh they sure are assholes but they still do nice things for people" link as an olive branch.

I know he has opinions, but I had hoped the journalistic part of him would let him hold that emotional part at bay enough to not take such direct sides on his Giantbomb platform. I know he reads the sane and rational objections to stuff like the Dragon's Crown hubub, I know he's smart enough to parse and find logical problems, it just doesn't seem to matter much (enough? Dunno who am I to say?) I know it's irrational, but I sorta expected him to be above that.

That neogaf post starts with some decent analysis, but does have some serious logic problems. If someone tells you something makes them uncomfortable and you go ahead and do it anyway, or do it louder and harder it *can* be for a separate reason, you don't automatically HAVE to hate the person who told you, you just have to feel that their concern is less important then your own concern. Making it into "There's only one answer, they HATE RAPE SURVIVORS" is exactly the sort of demonization of the other side 'because they deserve it' that's my own personal hated thing, because it's a twisted knife in the heart of trying to have a real discussion and achieve some real peace and solutions. This was a very human problem of people and communication, treat everyone involved like they are people.

a bummer, serious serious bummer. I wouldn't say that the PA guys handled the situation well, but the level of hatred they're getting is way out of scope with the complicated and bizarre nature of the 'crime.'

For whatever it's worth, those are my feelings, and those are my few cents, tossed into the pool of 3 year old internet drama over a gaming comic. I don't know if it was important for anyone to hear, but it was important to me to say. God only knows why.

So uh, I guess thanks GB for letting me say it.

Posted by PandaBear
Posted by Humanity

@pandabear: TotalBiscuit is one of many YouTube personalities that use a crummy shtick persona and thousands of people eat it up. I think his is something like Annoyed Gamer or Angry Gamer or something.

Edited by CakeTeleporter

@pandabear: Totalbiscuit is a youtube guy who does something similar to quicklooks.

It's a false equivalency though, quality of subscribers, in real value to advertisers and relative ignorance of what they are viewing and in general may well be vastly different.

I don't like Totalbiscuit anyway, although mainly this is because his videos are often tedious, heavy on repetition and often low on information for all those other sins. That and he has no idea what he is talking about with regards to warhammer 40k so when I watched a few of his videos a few years ago, him talking about Space Marine was a painful experience.

There are some cool people and things on youtube but popularity is often decided by a plurality of seeming idiots; especially for the really popular channels.

Of course the real issue is that for all that for one content creator to judge another based on subscribers, and not the quality of what they produce, is fucked.

Posted by lowpolybroccoli

"Here is my joke."

"um actually that makes me and some other people feel pretty uncomfortable?"

"Now that I know this I shall continue making the joke."

Posted by Nekroskop
Posted by atomic_dumpling

@deusoma said:

It's disappointing to me that the whole "dickwolves" thing continues to be an issue, but then I guess that's the nature of Internet drama, isn't it? Like Dracula, it never really dies.

It generates clicks for minimal effort, so desperate writers will go to that well again and again, just like the sexism FAD. I can't really blame them -- the video game business is pretty boring these days as the 360/PS3 cycle fizzles out. I hope the upcoming console Scharmützel will put a damper on these "hot topics", at least for a while.

Posted by nsmb2_mario

They have the incredibly insulting anti-harassment policies at PAX, about how you shouldn't be a rapist on the show floor, but still the complaints come endlessly that they don't listen to the poor victims of so-called rape culture (a term appropriated from prison lingo, and which is pretty asinine in my opinion). The PA guys have not learned their lesson because all this phooey about the Dickwolves and women having vaginas should be ignored entirely. Don't egg on the detracts, don't try and appease them, they are childish. It doesn't matter if you give them a hundred panels to talk about imaginary problems non-related to gaming or shower them with millions of dollars in excess of what you raise for charity, you give them an inch, they will take a mile.

I don't even like Penny Arcade, but good God this controversy is pathetic.

Posted by paulunga

Sometimes I hate the internet and other human beings. Reading about the whole dickwolf rape culture thing is one of those times.

Posted by Parsnip

Max Scoville should rather talk about his shirts affecting people instead.

I'm just saying.

Posted by KentonClay

Every time someone makes the following argument...

"If we all agree that saying 'games turn people into murderers' is stupid, why can't we all agree that saying 'games can make people sexist' is stupid?"

... a sociologist cries.

Posted by ErikSchroder

I agree with Ben Kuchera - I really want to relive The Wind Waker for the first time again. Part of me wants to play the HD version as soon as it comes out, but some other part wants to wait a few years.

Posted by Turambar

@sergio: So in your opinion Mike has said nothing insensitive and the dickwolves shirts were an a-ok idea?

Alrighty.

The idea that "dickwolves" are somehow a go to symbol of the glorification of rape-culture is completely absurd. You realize that, right?

Posted by Sen0r_Awes0me

@shingro: Talking about the articles as "one-sided" is really problematic. Those all people with a spectrum of thoughts and concerns about where this has gone. I really shouldn't be approached as conflict of two clashing sides, because that disenfranchaises a lot of peoples' opinions on the matter and forces everyone into one of two hyperbolic camps whose either end goals or extreme apathy are not clear or shared by most of us.

The idea of bringing statistics of "how many people where offended" or the size of response to this in order to judge or justify where change has to happen is literally marginalization of people. It is the same response to schools addressing bullying. It took a lot of numbers and harsh statistics and injuries and deaths for national response to bullying in school to start mobilizing, followed by an immediate rush to find new statistics for improvement to say they are swiftly addressing the problem. Everyone is defensive in a numbers game and too much time focusing on sizing-each-other-up can kill any kind of dialogue.

Posted by Hassun
Edited by nsmb2_mario

Every time someone makes the following argument...

"If we all agree that saying 'games turn people into murderers' is stupid, why can't we all agree that saying 'games can make people sexist' is stupid?"

... a sociologist cries.

So games do make people sexist, but they don't make them violent? Solid logic.

Posted by Cataphract1014

Putting RG3's giant face as the link to an article is a surefire way to get me to click it.

Posted by Ax23000

EVERYONE IS CRAZY. That is all.

Posted by MoonwalkSA

@kentonclay said:

Every time someone makes the following argument...

"If we all agree that saying 'games turn people into murderers' is stupid, why can't we all agree that saying 'games can make people sexist' is stupid?"

... a sociologist cries.

So games do make people sexist, but they don't make them violent? Solid logic.

It actually is. People internalize ideas about violence and ideas about gender (and interactions with the opposite sex, attitudes towards other people, et cetera) in completely different ways. The human brain isn't just some simple input-output number machine, it uses different rules for different concepts.

Edited by nsmb2_mario

@moonwalksa: Not buying the discrepancy without sources.

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