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The Stick of Truth is one of the rare instances of a licensed game done exactly right.
Thief offers up moments of stealthy satisfaction, but not nearly enough of them to make up for its many rough edges, bland level designs, and god-awful plot.
It's easy to imagine a big-budget game tackling slavery with the subtlety of a hammer, but Freedom Cry is an emotional triumph...with some ethical issues.
With the week nearing its end, it turns out no topic is too controversial for these two.
Yes, save me from Friday work boredom!
You guys need some dumb theme music stat!
Heh, speaking of Totoro, in the Japanese version, Tatsuo was voiced by Shigesato Itoi, creator or Earthbound.
Heh, speaking of Totoro, in the Japanese version, Tatsuo was voiced by Shigesato Itoi, creator or Earthbound.
The dick wolves comic for those who missed it. http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2010/08/11 Is it really that offensive?
I don't understand the indignation at Mike or Penny Arcade over the Dickwolf thing. I followed the whole saga when it happened and while I agree they were a little disrespectful (little being the operative word) to those that felt offended by the comic, I feel strongly that the comic was not offensive or disrespectful.
Comedy should NEVER have to shy away from saying things that might offend, unless the joke is maliciously designed to offend a minority or group then everything is fair game! Comedy should not be censored just because some people are over sensitive, it is part of comedies job to shine a light on the most horrible parts of human nature. The South Park people do it better than anybody. And I am offended that anyone thinks it would be OK to censor that. Not to mention the joke in question was aimed at the arbitrary nature of good deeds in an RPG and not rape at all!
It is the censorship of humour angle that Jerry and Mike were fighting against and it has been twisted into portraying them as being misogynistic and having a desire to offend victims of rape. And to be quite honest, I find that characterization FAR more offensive than anything they have said or done.And comments about boycotting PAX because of this unfair characterization is absurd and offensive in it's own right.
@scorched: It is not.
It is the censorship of humour angle that Jerry and Mike were fighting against and it has been twisted into portraying them as being misogynistic and having a desire to offend victims of rape. And to be quite honest, I find that characterization FAR more offensive than anything they have said or done.
And comments about boycotting PAX because of this unfair characterization is absurd and offensive in it's own right.
Most people haven't wanted to censor them, though. Mike seems to imply that everyone who have criticised him want to censor him, but criticism isn't censorship. "Free speech" doesn't free you from negative criticism for your behavior, either. In regards to, "the comic isn't about rape at all" that's true, but it included it in a humorous fashion. Overreactions or no, it's not hard to understand in any capacity how it might offend people (especially when they are actual rape survivors.) Alex is pretty much spot on in his description of it.
Myself specifically, I find the occasional rape humor in PA rather disgusting, but I would have since moved on and went "eh, okay." Instead, Mike attacked everyone who criticised him, whether they were reasonable or not, and that just sort of spiraled out into this trainwreck of him saying really stupid things (not to mention other dumb things he's said, such as that transphobia debacle.) Mike just won't let this die, either. People basically stopped talking about Dickwolves anymore either, and it just started up again because he brought it up. Alex is right. He really needs to stop poking the hornet's nest cause he's just making things worse.
I'm not gonna judge people for going. That's your right, go ahead and enjoy it. This probably is on the low spectrum of "things that could morally compromise a person for going to." Regardless, I feel really uncomfortable about going now, as a fan. I also think that saying it's "offensive" for a fan or a company (such as Fullbright Company) choosing to not want anything to do with Penny Arcade or PAX is completely ludicrous.
I'm glad you guys got this up on iTunes! I'll be able to listen to it on my commute without much effort on my part.
It's distasteful for sure, and it's not hard to see how some people could be offended.
Honestly I think Mike's behavior on the matter has been much more offensive than the thing that started it all in the first place.
I have heard the comments Alex made before from others and while it has merit I think it misunderstands what people often mean when talking about others attempting to censor something.
"Censorship" is an attempt of suppression of speech/expression which those that are attempting suppress consider objectionable. Conventionally that means by a governing body, but the context of the intent should be clear.So yes, obviously the critics were not trying to "censor" by means of passing laws that said Penny Arcade cannot make jokes about rape!But some of them were attempting to suppress what they found objectionable. The way PA acted to some critics was in response to the most absurd indignation towards the comic and the humour. And if you were following, some of it was a ridiculous over reaction to what is AT WORST a joke with poor taste!
And to be honest while I can fully understand anyone finding the original comic uncomfortable if they have been victims of sexual assault, I find any actual outrage at the comic to be absurd. I have been a victim of several things in my life, none of which I care to discuss here. And jokes that simply mention the existence of victims of those things do not offend me.
If we were to scrub comedy of everything that mentions something that might offend someone who was a victim of anything, there would be little left but jokes about airplane food! I would understand if the joke was about laughing at rape victims, but that is not even close to the case here.
And while it is not my responsibility to defend Mike, I do not think he attacked "everyone" that criticized him. Was he a dick to some critics? Sure. Could he have handled it better? No doubt. Does that make portraying him as a misogynist or someone who enjoys mocking rape victims fair? No it does not.
Should we talk about having no interest in what the guys says going forward because of it? Little ridiculous if you ask me. Should we boycott all his future endeavors? Rather unreasonable response in my opinion, especially as it relates to PAX!
And as for Mike bringing it up and "poking the hornet's nest", did you read his clarification post? They mentioned it in the podcast but I feel they hardly did it justice. It was as respectful and apologetic as one can get for dragging it back up.
Some people act as if they intentionally made fun of rape victims and stand for it being OK to make fun of rape victims. The portrayal of them by some of their critics is far more offensive than anything they did (and I already admitted Mike was a little belligerent at times). But some of the criticism amounts to an obnoxious attempt to suppress humour just because they find it a little offensive.
@parabolee: Boycotting something isn't inherently censorship. It just means that you don't wish to have anything to do with it anymore. They can say/do whatever they want, but I don't have to contribute money to them for it. I don't think it's "unreasonable" for me to stop contributing page hits or pay money towards someone that I don't like. That isn't censorship. It means I don't want to listen to him anymore, and I don't want to associate with him in any form.
Another apology doesn't mean that Mike didn't keep poking the hornet's nest. He willingly let it become a "thing" again, people got mad, he apologized again. He's apologized multiple times now at this point. He can elect to just stop talking about it anymore. Then he won't have to keep apologizing. It's that simple.
You keep saying some people have been unreasonable. Sure, that's true of both sides. That doesn't address the people who have been perfectly mature and well-spoken about it which there are more than plenty of.
I further restate, criticism is not censorship. Criticism doesn't necessarily denote any attempts to suppress something. It's just simply criticism. Anyone who wants to contribute to an artistic medium has to accept and be prepared for criticism, and throwing a fit when you get it ain't gonna endear any reasonable person to your cause.
I think it bears pointing out that boycotting and criticism may exhort people to stop what they are doing, but suggesting that maybe someone or a group should change their attitudes or self censor in future is not inherently the same as censorship in the present.
The important question is that if a work of offensive comedy isn't funny does it automatically get a pass because it occurs under the auspice of comedy; and what ratio of the audience has to find it funny/ not funny or offensive before you have to consider the latter.
Penny arcade itself seems to consist of crappy, simplistic, observational humour, it's single ply thin veneer of absurdism failing to save it from being the videogame derived webcomic equivalent of Michael Macintyre's standup.
I also don't think given their success that any boycotting of penny arcade could ever be successful enough to be considered censorship through financial damage, that and it just seems weird to me try and say a business shouldn't be boycotted because they produce cultural works rather than coffee. None of this taking into account that the web comic portion of Penny Arcade could exist even if the larger affluent body didn't.
Censorship isn't always wrong either so this becomes an extra weird debate when people don't define their terms, and invoke a societal narrative meant to make us think of book burners and corrupt politicians, rather than laws to prevent the persecution of minorities within society.
I also don't think given their success that any boycotting of penny arcade could ever be successful enough to be considered censorship through financial damage, that and it just seems weird to me try and say a business shouldn't be boycotted because they produce work protected under the auspices of artistry rather than coffee.
Censorship isn't always wrong either so this becomes an extra weird debate when people don't define their terms and invoke a societal narrative meant to make us think of bok burners and corrupt politicians, rather than laws to prevent modern day pogroms.
When I think of censorship, I think of the ability of any organization (whether gov't, or company, or publisher) that holds power over a group to restrict what they do or say for whatever reason.
The people offended have no power over Penny Arcade, or Mike. I have no power over him. I cannot and will not "force" him to change his behavior. Like you said, we likely do not have the capability to force a change in behavior through financial damage even if organized. All I, and anyone else, can really do is criticise him and encourage him to change his behavior. Whether he does or doesn't is entirely up to him.
It's funny when people say that criticism is suppression and therefore censorship. Then that limits people's right to criticism, so isn't that in itself inherently a form of suppression and censorship?
In know criticism in and of itself is not censorship, however some of the over the top moral outrage and organised boycotts of PA, do amount to an attempt to suppress expression.There was some great intelligent discussion and articles around the controversy when it happened, and I think that should be not only welcomed but applauded. But I did not see Mike attacking anyone writing that stuff. And had he done that I would have been against it.
What annoys me is the unjust moral indignation aimed at PA, not only over the original comic but simply because Mike acted a little dickish to some of the critics. Which to be fair was because of how absurd some of the criticism was in the first place.I find discussion about boycotting PAX over this whole thing absurd. And I find the people that over react that way over an utter-non-controversy serve only to undermine criticism of actually offensive things.The fact that Alex and Patrick would talk with any seriousness over a consideration of boycotting PAX over this is very disappointing. I expect better from them, there are both smart people. Especially Patrick (no offense Alex). Are they both going to boycott Fez 2 because Phil Fish says obnoxious things to his critics sometimes? And if you read the article Mike posted, he made the apology because he did not intend to "make it a thing" again, and as a clarification to his intent because news outlets were making it into a big controversy again.Should we (metaphorically) hang him for accidentally dragging it back up? Boycott him even for then apologizing for the mistake and clarifying his intent, especially when his clarification is so non-offensive? To me the criticism of the guy just does not seem proportionate to his mistakes.
@parabolee: Alex and Patrick also have issues with other things Mike has done in the past. It's not ALL just about the Dickwolves thing.
I mean, really Mike may not have attacked all critics but just the way he handled it was all gross and is enough reason for me to not want to have anything to do with him anymore.
I mean, people objected to the comic, then him and Jer responded very sarcastically. Then later Mike brings up all the comics they've done in the past making fun of topics like bestiality and pedophilia, as if that somehow makes him better and not worse.
In response to the offended, Mike snidely mocks trigger warnings in an un-related post (when people had been asking him at the time to put them on comics about rape from then on) and then they put up the Dickwolf shirt. Finally they cave and drop the merchandise. Mike jokes about "feeling good" about perpetuating rape culture and then just mocks the idea of it in general. People wonder why anyone already not fond of him feel worse.
Then you add in his unacceptable trans-phobic comments that he only gave a non-apology about and many other questionable things he/PA have done.... yeah.
I can't even stress enough how Phil Fish being childish to critics isn't at all comparable to someone making a comic with rape in it, and then proceeding to mock rape culture, trigger warnings, and just generally other rather disgusting behavior. It's not the same in the slightest.
Patrick's characterization of the PAX issue as "It's no big deal for me to stop going, but we owe it to the fans to be there and cover the event" seems both a bit disingenuous and to miss the larger point.
Maybe an all-expenses-paid trip to Seattle isn't a big deal to you guys, fine, but it sure sounded like you had a lot of fun at the show. Turning around and saying it has no draw for you and you attend only to fulfill the obligation you feel to be there for your fans just doesn't seem accurate. I can imagine that this year in particular was an important time to be around all the friends you have in the industry (maybe I'm way off base here, I don't mean to imply any direct access to your feelings on anything that went down this year). You're allowed to have fun there and anyone who would think less of you for doing so is a dummy.
However, the idea that you have to be there for your fans seems to be putting the cart before the horse. Your fans are there because you are there. Your presence is a draw for people like me and directly benefits the PA organization. It legitimizes their place within this industry and effectively boosts the signal for every offensive pronouncement their organization makes. If you feel like your attendance at PAX goes against some beliefs you hold, saying you're just there for the fans seems like a cop-out. I like and support Giant Bomb because I always feel like what I'm hearing here is a strong, independent and heart-felt voice. You don't seem like the kind of organization that would compromise your beliefs to make your fans happy, That's why you have so many fans and I count myself among them.
Man, Silent Hill 4 is such a great game, specifically because of how the room is indeed your safe place to take shelter from the madness. But then about halfway in even the room isn't safe anymore, and it's like pulling the rug from beneath your feet. I can still remember how damned creeped out I was when I returned to the room only to find a bunch of crying baby faces on a wall...
Plus, the victim ghosts are some of the scariest enemy encounters I've ever faced in a video game. Though I say this as someone who unfortunately doesn't have access to the PC library of horror games.
When @patrickklepek said "people aren't trying to sensor you" I believe he believes that, but it's not true in the pennyarcade incident. People want to boycott PAX, but the glaring dissonance is Patrick mentioning their decision to support PAX, but then claiming there's no attempt being made at censorship. That's what a boycott is: they want the man-in-charge to either step down, get fired, or apologize thoroughly. If he apologizes, that's censorship, in that it's saying "good, glad to know you realize you can't say things like that."
I'd love your response to this, Patrick.
As a regular PA reader for the better part of a decade, and as an attendee at the very first PAX East, watching Mike grapple with his public persona has been extremely distressing, and not the least bit surprising. He's been quite forthright about how vengeful and petty he can be in certain situations, and demonstrated it clearly last year in his exchange with Ocean Marketing; only in that case the target clearly deserved all the abuse they received.
@development: Speaking only for myself, I want Mike to grow the fuck up, quit hollering about censorship whenever people call out his objectionable bullshit, and get past this self-inflicted controversy; the dude's a cartoonist, no one is asking him to be well-spoken, just to stop driving people away with the things that come out of his mouth.
I'm not Patrick but my thoughts on boycotting are this:
If you got to a nitty gritty and discarded the legal definition of censorship, pretty much anything and everything could be censorship. Being considerate and asking people not to say things that are hurtful could be considered censorship. I think that people are beating the word into the dirt and really over-thinking personal boycotts in that regard.
I remember back in early 2000's a Texas editorial said something along the lines of: "Such action is as legal as choosing not to buy French wine. The fact that someone has a right to speak their mind doesn't mean another person has to listen."
Sure, people are choosing not to engage with PA or PAX while Mike is associated, but that's like saying that "you're doing something wrong because you don't want to avoid someone you don't like." I mean, saying people can't "boycott" anything Mike Krahulik has anything to do with... what's the alternative? Forcing them to associate with something they don't like anymore? How is that any better? I've been boycotting Orson Scott Card, for example, (who is arguably much worse than Mike) and I wouldn't dare say that my boycott is censorship. It's just that I refuse to associate or enable a homophobic fuck like him. Just like I don't want to associate with or enable a total childish ass like Mike.
People keep saying that it's bad for people unhappy with Mike to boycott things involved with him. So what's an acceptable alternative?
Sure, people are choosing not to engage with PA or PAX while Mike is associated, but that's like saying that "you're doing something wrong because you want to avoid someone you don't like." I mean, saying people can't "boycott" anything Mike Krahulik has anything to do with... what's the alternative? Forcing them to associate with something they don't like anymore? How is that any better? I've been boycotting Orson Scott Card, for example, (who is arguably much worse than Mike) and I wouldn't dare say that my boycott is censorship. It's just that I refuse to associate or enable a homophobic fuck like him. Just like I don't want to associate with or enable a total childish ass like Mike.
Can anyone tell me how much PAX "controversy" (can't in all seriousness call it that) discussion is there in this one?
I can't really stand to listen to more sanctimonious hollier-than-thou attitudes from what I've presumed in the past must be rational people who think for themselves. I suppose it's easier to just accept the current trend of "social justice" idiocy that's permeating games press, going against it is tougher. I'll try to presume you're rational human beings for a bit longer, still love you guys.
OK, listened to it. My only gripe is all the Orwellian newspeak Patrick seems to have picked up ("inclusiveness", "safe", "problematic", "dangerous jokes")
As if anyone is really on any level threatened at PAX. It's a gaming convention, not a goddamn gangland gathering, that has done so much to promote indie games, different games that we enjoy so much, more than any other organization in all likelihood. It doesn't deserve the vitriol, and in my opinion neither does Mike.
And criticism is different than censorship, you're right, but when criticism is backed by hundreds of voices shouting for something to be stopped, it becomes de facto censorship. Even if the original intent wasn't censoring, there are too many sycophants on the internet.
I do appreciate the dialogue, however, that's why the Hotline Miami conversation didn't annoy me as much.
Also, the ultra-violence of Hotline Miami appears less distasteful because we are so used to it, from all media. Violence in media doesn't make you violent (like sexual imagery in media doesn't make you a rapist), however exposition to something in a medium makes you desensitized to THAT thing in THAT medium. We have a media that views dudes as disposable, so killing them in a video game by the hundreds no one bats an eyelash. And I don't think they should, I'm no Jack Thompson.
Okay so maybe not to you, but that's kind of the point. If some people found it offensive, that's up to them. It's the reaction to people finding that offensive that was more offensive to more people, and then further reactions down the line, for various reasons.
I'm not offended by rape jokes, I just find them kind of cheap and easy. I sometimes use them, usually in the context of mocking the casual use of rape that is kind of enshrined in a lot of modern culture, including gaming culture. "Oh, we totally got raped last night." The internet thing is to kind of jump to the furthest most extreme form of saying even the most mundane thing. It's the Aristocrats-isation of all expression, and I'm kind of tired of it.
In the original Penny Arcade strip, it's not a figurative rape, it's a reference to an actual rape, and to me the joke is not about that rape. The rape is scene-setting for the actual joke, the lack of emotional involvement people have in MMORPG NPCs. I'm not offended by it, but I can see why people would be offended by dick-wolves, which they clearly designed to be an amusing turn of phrase built on rape-humour.
Here's the thing for me. If Mike and Jerry were really felt that the joke was fine and stood alone without needing explanation, they wouldn't have gone out and explained it in such a condescending way. Clearly the joke was kind of dumb and cheap, and I feel like their response should have been something along the lines of "We apologise if you were offended by our dumb joke, but we feel in the context of the comic, the joke is not mocking rape victims." To address it in another strip, breaking the fourth wall to more or less say "If you're offended, it's your fault, and we're calling you out on it," that's kind of a dick move.
Do they really think so highly of the idea of a dick-wolf, and the image of this bestial rape, that they would rather attack those offended by it than admit it's not really that great of a fucking joke in the first place?
Comedy works when it applies pressure upwards. When you start mocking people far beneath your station, you're on shaky ground.
As much as I enjoy this show I had to turn this one off because of all the penny arcade stuff. Listening to people pass judgement on Mike, while reaping the benefits of all the work he and Jerry have done with PAX, acting like PAX is somehow unsafe now, it just feels underhanded.
Use your keyboard!
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