Gamespot doing literal propaganda for the US Army

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not_a_bumblebee

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This just sucks and I hope the GiantBomb staff weigh in on how much this sucks.

It's really sickening that a site that in a way birthed Giant Bomb and is now kinda a sister site is straight up helping recruit for the US Army. This has to be some kind of violation or some shit. If not it's tasteless as hell.

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Gundato

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Think the violations were more or less cleared up by military/government twitch channels not being allowed to ban people for asking about war crimes and needing to tone back on the prize scams.

Aside from that: it definitely gets murky in terms of advertisement but I would assume having a military person is the same as having a dev in terms of being implicitly disclosed. Although I would hope gamespot is getting a sack of cash and would need to disclose that it is sponsored.

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LandHawk

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#3  Edited By LandHawk

Gross.

EDIT: Aaaaand it's gone, which means they somehow weren't prepared for a negative reaction. That's even more mind-boggling than them doing it in the first place.

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poobumbutt

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Huh. Ew.

I, uh, don't really know what else to say. "Fuck this", I guess?

Can't wait for the chat to be filled with people asking the Staff Sergeant how many civvies he's killed and stuff, just like the last time.

Once more: Ew.

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bruno0091

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I’m guessing Gamespot editors didn’t get a lot of choice in the matter, and I wouldn’t expect the Giant Bomb team to bad mouth a site owned by their parent company publicly, no matter what they may think privately.

Not a fan personally, but this, I’m sure, was a deal done way above the pay grades of those participating.

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BoccKob

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Huh. I guess they've got a war planned in the next few years.

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plan6

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@bruno0091: I’m sure marketing people made that deal and didn’t listen to anyone who said “This is going to land like a soggy turd.”

Been that guy a few times, something you just decide to be right later.

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hkr

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It is incredibly disgusting and has done irreparable harm to everything the fine folks at CBSi editorial have worked to build up over the last few years.

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chaser324

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#9 chaser324  Moderator

The military has always loved these recruitment initiatives targeting gamers with everything from magazine ads to convention booths, but it's nice to see folks finally refusing to tolerate it.

I think the Army's move into esports and Twitch streaming (along with a sickeningly kawaii Twitter account) earlier this year really served to make people take notice of just how gross these things have always been.

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Humanity

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#10  Edited By Humanity

I'm pretty sure no one from on up actually asked anyoneworking at GameSpot what they thought about this. That said.. like ehh it's the National Guard..

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kcin

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@bocckob said:

Huh. I guess they've got a war planned in the next few years.

Recruitment offices and on-site recruitment efforts have been effectively halted by the pandemic, so they've made a conscious effort to redirect it virtually. Compound the effects of the pandemic with depressed recruitment numbers (they actually missed their 2018 and 2019 goals, and most who sign up now are just children of previous recruits), and the desperation felt through these games-oriented efforts starts making more sense. People don't want to join the military of their own volition anymore, and they can't hold space in which to convince stray kids to do it.

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plan6

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Its so weird that no young folks want to sign up for the third decade of the forever war.

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lanerobertlane

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What gets me, is that the tweet wasn't marked as advertorial, and made to look like it was editorial in nature, or at least as if the editorial team endorsed it. Could you imagine the shit storm of the "told you they were paid shills" if it was something like "Here's the top 5 Battle Royals of all time (presented by Tim Sweeney)" without saying that Epic Games paid for the post.

Pretty sure not marking it as paid for is against some rules and means that people who didn't realise it was an advert would think it was the editorial team's opinions and will take the heat for what was a paid promotion that should never have happened. Selling the military to kids is gross.

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doctordonkey

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Pretty awful time to come out and say "Hey, come fight and die for this fucked up nation" after everything that happened and continues to happen this year.

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not_a_bumblebee

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@kcin: We are talking about peoples lives not used cars.

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development

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#16 development  Online

Even more fucked when you realize that people that live in the countries we’re meddling in actively use Gamespot and will see this.

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Fear_the_Booboo

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I won’t say this is not fucked because it is. What surprises me is that I feel this is not the first time I see this? Hell I remember seeing ads for America’s Army with a « Do it for real » tag on gamespot in the 360 era, but I might be mistaken. Also I know this more than just a banner ads but ad revenue not being what it used to be, it’s just expected imo for them to turn to sponsored content like this. At the end of the day any publicity for the army is bad, I’m just surprised that particular one is the one that made so many angry but then again I might be misremembering stuff.

I don’t think any editor had much to say on the matter, I hope those to blame do get the blame. I do think it’s endemic of a bigger issue and I’d understand if anyone at GB or Gamespot refrain from talking about it out of fear of losing their jobs though.

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hkr

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I won’t say this is not fucked because it is. What surprises me is that I feel this is not the first time I see this? Hell I remember seeing ads for America’s Army with a « Do it for real » tag on gamespot in the 360 era, but I might be mistaken. Also I know this more than just a banner ads but ad revenue not being what it used to be, it’s just expected imo for them to turn to sponsored content like this. At the end of the day any publicity for the army is bad, I’m just surprised that particular one is the one that made so many angry but then again I might be misremembering stuff.

I don’t think any editor had much to say on the matter, I hope those to blame do get the blame. I do think it’s endemic of a bigger issue and I’d understand if anyone at GB or Gamespot refrain from talking about it out of fear of losing their jobs though.

I would say that it's mostly due to the fact that in 2020 the National Guard are in our streets and caving our heads in for protesting.

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navster15

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@fear_the_booboo: But Giant Bomb was founded specifically upon an act of sales overreach on Gamespot editorial. And that was over a review score. This is about aiding and abetting the deaths of both foreign innocents as well as their own troops by sending them to die in unending war. I would expect this site, given the principles it was built on, to have something to say about this.

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kcin

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@kcin: We are talking about peoples lives not used cars.

I have no idea what part of my post made you think I am sympathetic to the military.

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Humanity

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To piggy back on this topic a little - what are people’s thoughts on modern day military in the United States, mainly it’s necessity and size?

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ToughShed

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#22  Edited By ToughShed

They deleted it all quick already. Yeah it really sucks.

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Onemanarmyy

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huh. It's pretty wild that they both agreed to doing this & linking to their site, but also are very eager to pull this offline. Did the money come through?

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DrDarkStryfe

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Editorial was pretty fast to denounce this. It sucks that they got tossed under the bus like this in a move that was clearly out of their hands.

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The_Nubster

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@kcin: We are talking about peoples lives not used cars.

They were explaining why we are beginning to see this sort of thing, not endorsing it. Understanding why is incredibly important in pushing back.

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BaconHound

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I'm not sure I understand why there's so much outrage around this. It's marketing, and to me, this comes across as an ad just like any other. "Be all that you can be" ads have been around for as long as I can remember. Would it be different if it were a paid spot during CBS prime time? Or a page in a magazine? Ignore it, block it, whatever... and move on.

I feel like I'm not in the loop on something. It says "Presented by," which is a pretty clear indication that it's an ad. I haven't followed Gamespot in over a decade - is this the first time they've done this type of promotion? Or is it because it's the Army?

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fugoy

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I'm not sure I understand why there's so much outrage around this. It's marketing

Marketing the military to children is plenty reason for outrage

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ToughShed

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I'm not sure I understand why there's so much outrage around this. It's marketing, and to me, this comes across as an ad just like any other.

lol its just the same to you?

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insomniak08

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@baconhound: Yes it is specifically because it is the military.

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BaconHound

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Well okay, I guess. Thanks for explaining, but I still don't see what all the fuss is about. Video games are not (and never have been) strictly for children. That's a stigma that video game enthusiasts have been fighting for decades.

And yes, it's just an ad. I don't like ads either. I'm not a fan of any kind of marketing really, but I don't see anything particularly despicable about this. Recruiting ads have been around for a long, long time, and this is just a new way of delivering the same message.

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petesix0

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@baconhound: Expecting absolutely all people across all age groups to know that "Brought to you by" means "Paid Promotion" is a bit of a tough sell. I looked around and saw the video the original tweet contained(Or at least it seemed to be that, you can search for it like I did), I don't remember seeing "Ad" "Advertisement" or "We signed a commercial agreement to share our brand to make our client seem cool".

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insomniak08

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Recruiting ads have been around for a long, long time, and this is just a new way of delivering the same message.

You are so fucking close to understanding the issue

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MezZa

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Can't say I'm surprised. Small Town life made me pretty much despise recruiters and their tactics. The military has always been pretty gross when it comes to recruiting. From recruiters hanging out in high school gym class and in the recreational areas during lunch sessions, to them trolling Walmart looking for young employees to bug. When I was in college they actually approached me while I was stocking shelves asking me if I was still in high school. I said no, to which they assumed that meant I wasn't in school at all and started harping on me asking if I thought my parents were proud of me right now. I simply told them that I'm pretty sure they were considering I was going to college and that I'm working to pay off my debt. He instantly lost the angle of guilting and shaming the young Walmart employee to try and encourage me into military life so he just bailed without saying anything else.

It was only a matter of time until they realized kids are watching gaming streams and other things on twitch nowadays. Glad to see people speaking out against it though. Not an appropriate place for this at all.

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SethMode

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@baconhound: I'd argue that the military shouldn't be advertising at all.

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csl316

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As someone that entered adulthood with Keith David + Godsmack telling me to join the marines, it's clear that recruiters know how to target an audience.

With that being said, I'm surprised to see the backlash here. Maybe it means that younger folks might be less gullible than my generation was.

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SethMode

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@csl316: It seems like maybe each generation gets a little better? I'm 37 and at one point when I wasn't sure what I wanted to do after college my own mother recommended I join the military, and I graduated in 2005 so a little bit of date math can tell you how insane THAT was.

If I had kids, I'd be like the Rico parents from Starship Troopers and basically forbidding my children from enlisting.

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mikewhy

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@baconhound: Surely you can see the difference between a pre-roll, randomized ad, and something more integrated like what GameSpot announced.

And yeah, no military should be advertising.

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BaconHound

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A few points and then I'll bow out, because I can see that we disagree.

I watched the video that was posted and I don't recall anything overt about joining the military. It was just a guy talking mostly about a Star Wars game. The video was "presented by" the National Guard which is nothing new. It's been awhile since we've seen any football, but I'd wager there have been halftime shows "presented by" the Army or Navy where a bunch of broadcasters talk about the game in progress and NOT the military. How is this different?

Our military is completely voluntary. Ads for military service are, to me, on par with ads for technical colleges or other career services. It's an option that people can pursue if they choose. Would you prefer a ban on military ads but a period of mandatory service for every citizen?

So anyway, yeah, it's just an ad. As I pointed out, I don't like ads. I use an ad blocker and I rarely watch television or listen to the radio. However, I understand that ads - ads that are far more inappropriate IMO for alcohol, prescription medicine, firearms, etc - are out there. On the occasion that I do see an ad, I don't get angry about it, I just ignore it. I guess that's why this is all so puzzling to me.

In a way, this ad worked perfectly because here we all are talking about it.

I hope you all have a good day.

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cikame

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I'm from the UK and am surprised at the lack of patriotism here :P, i thought you guys supported and loved your military.

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colourful_hippie

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But what were Staff Sergeant Murray's highlights from Gamescom?! I must know!

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dizzie_lizzie

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As was stated previously - now is not a great time to be promoting a group that actively is coming into our towns and hurting people for protesting violence and hate in this country. Promoting the military is never great, and it's exceptionally tone deaf given the current times in the US.

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csl316

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#42  Edited By csl316

@cikame: We're supposed to, especially after 9/11. Any critique was met with "what, you support the terrorists? " But as the years dragged on we really just got tired of it all.

Especially when you look at what we spend on the military vs. what we could be spending on programs domestically.

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AdamALC

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#43  Edited By AdamALC

A violation of what? There have been armed forces advertisements for decades, hell they made a game not to long ago that was covered by this web site while the American military was drone striking at will. So really them saying anything would be hypocrisy.

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BrainScratch

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I know it's not the exact same thing as GameSpot's, but Giant Bomb isn't necessarily guilt free on this one either.

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not_a_bumblebee

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#45  Edited By not_a_bumblebee

@kcin: Sorry for misinterpreting your post.

I know it is mostly projection on my part but why I love Giant Bomb is that despite being owned by Viacom they have that Punk DIY vibe that a lot of game sites lack. Makes me think that they absolutely would bite the hand that feeds them if the other one is doing something shitty like promoting the US Army.

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Gundato

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#46  Edited By Gundato

Yeah.... I don't like it but I also can't really get too worked up. Peak whataboutism but also pertinent.

Yeah, I really don't like influencers platforming military influencers. it is an insidious and well documented tactic (why does that sound familiar?) but... it has been going on for decades.

Its publicly known that the us military works with a lot of movies. Over simplifying but usually if you make sure to establish that the military aren't the bad guys (so make sure the rogue general gets their comeuppance, etc) you can have tanks and jets and shit. I don't like that the A-Team movie went out of their way to establish the army as great people but I don't hold it against them for wanting to save some cash and get Rocket Raccoon in a tank. Very curious how The Boys plays out but can already see inklings of "the soldiers are great. It is just these super powered terrorists who aren't" in the trailers.

So in that sense, this isn't really any different from running a twitch ad or an outlet covering Medal of Honor. It is a lot creepier because it is influencers but frigging bounty paper towels are using twitch folk to sell paper towels. We live in a fucked up world even before you turn on the news and see what new hell.

But I promised some whataboutism and I am gonna deliver. I have a REALLY hard time getting up in arms about letting the military (effectively a bad company) advertise when so much air time is still given to a company headed by an asshole who platforms animal cruelty (Gearbox), games developed by and for straight up white supremacists (Triternion), companies that have a history of targeting hate groups (THQ Nordic), and companies that are vomiting qanon levels of conspiracy bullshit in so many of their games (Ubi. hey, that is why a malicious group with a very public but effective playbook sounded so familiar!).

Sure The News is covered to varying degrees but I would be shocked if GB and the rest aren't covering Ubi Forward next week (?). Maybe we'll get another "this makes me uncomfortable" but audiences want to see the latest games and outlets aren't going to ignore them because they more or less can't. And if you are too grumpy about effectively platforming hate groups: "They are so negative. Ugh, I am sick of these youtubers who hate everything. Where is my boy xxx_420_JustBlazeIt_6969 who always loves everything and talks in a goofy voice?"

So like I said, it is definitely whataboutism but I have a hard time getting too grumpy at one shady org spending good cash to get a spotlight when so many other shady groups get free airtime everyday.

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NameRedacted

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#47  Edited By NameRedacted

With the disruption in live sporting events, the US Military has had to get "creative" with its advertising. The US military spends an INSANE amount of money (especially with the NFL) on advertising for professional and NCAA (IIRC) sports.

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ToughShed

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#48  Edited By ToughShed

@gundato said:

Yeah.... I don't like it but I also can't really get too worked up. Peak whataboutism but also pertinent.

Yeah, I really don't like influencers platforming military influencers. it is an insidious and well documented tactic (why does that sound familiar?) but... it has been going on for decades.

...

So like I said, it is definitely whataboutism but I have a hard time getting too grumpy at one shady org spending good cash to get a spotlight when so many other shady groups get free airtime everyday.

lol at thinking you are making some point here man. As most normal people have learned of how the US military works with CoD and whitewashes their war crimes for example, they have rejected that and been offended by it. So what "whataboutism" do you possibly think you're making here? This is obviously a growing issue for a lot of people and awareness is growing. You think you're make some genius point here but you're really just doing cover for US military propaganda by trying to dissuade people from caring.

As someone who tries to be a good activist and spread awareness, your attitude towards people learning is part of the problem.

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ToughShed

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#49  Edited By ToughShed
@baconhound said:

I watched the video that was posted and I don't recall anything overt about joining the military. It was just a guy talking mostly about a Star Wars game.

well you really nailed this one lol. i think he just loves games and wanted to talk about his favs!

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Gundato

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@toughshed: I am glad so many people are entertaining you and giving you some laughs. Sounds like you could really use them

Look, take a step back, catch your breath, and decide if you want to have a conversation. Because right now you are just plugging your ears, building strawmen by ignoring what anyone else is saying, and acting like a complete jerk

This is a very nuanced issue that is representative of greater problems in advertisement and gaming. If you aren't comfortable discussing this then that is fine. There are a lot of topics I actively avoid for that reason. But actively trying to stop others is willful ignorance and message shaping that, if I were a real a-hole, I would compare to propaganda used by certain very shady organizations.