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    Paranautical Activity

    Game » consists of 7 releases. Released Oct 20, 2014

    An indie action game for PC, Mac, and Linux that melds fast-paced first-person shooting with the random levels and permanent death of roguelikes.

    Developer Threatens Gabe Newell, Valve Removes Game From Steam [UPDATED]

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    patrickklepek

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    Edited By patrickklepek
    No Caption Provided

    UPDATE: Maulbeck has departed Code Avarice, the small studio behind Paranautical Activity. He's sold his stake in the company, and would receive no profits from Paranautical Activity sales in the future, according to a statement released just now.

    The move appears to be a goodwill gesture towards Valve, but it's unclear if the company will change its stance.

    Here's the statement:

    "Yesterday, Paranautical Activity released out of steam Early Access, and following some confusion about the state of the game I became frustrated with Steam, and tweeted a series of angry tweets that ended in me sarcastically saying I was going to kill Gabe Newell. A statement I obviously didn’t mean but was regardless completely unacceptable.

    As a result of my actions, Paranautical Activity, a game made by 4 or 5 people depending on who you count as team members, was removed from steam. I feel is it my responsibility to step down from Code Avarice completely so that Steam has no reason to harbor any more ill will towards the company, and maybe even if we can’t see Paranautical Activity restored, at least future Code Avarice games may be allowed onto the platform.

    I’m really, deeply sorry that my short sighted, hot tempered actions resulted in not only my own dreams and aspirations being destroyed, but those of the entire team I worked with. I’m sorry that my statements made Valve and/or Gabe uncomfortable and upset (rightfully so).

    My temper and tendency to use twitter to vent has been a consistent problem since I entered the games industry, and I just can’t do it. I don’t have the willpower necessary to be the “face” of a company. If I do continue to work in games it’ll be as an anonymous 1 of 1000 at some shitty corporation, not the most public figure of a single digit sized team.

    I’ve sold my half of Code Avarice to Travis. Given up all my rights to CA as a company, and all it’s intellectual properties. I won’t receive any money from the sale of Paranautical Activity or any future games CA develops, I won’t be consulted on business decisions, and I won’t have any hand in development.

    I’m out."

    --

    This should go without saying, but while launching your game on Steam, try to avoid death threats to Valve's founder, Gabe Newell. That's what Paranautical Activity developer Mike Maulbeck did, however, and the game has been removed from Steam.

    The voxel-based shooter has been on early access for a while now, and was finally transitioning to the regular storefront. When that change happened, Steam ran a banner promoting the game's early access status. Perhaps understandably, this set off Maulbeck.

    This began a chain reaction of angry tweets, including the following:

    Being upset at Steam is one thing. Valve and Steam are not perfect, and it'd be hard to argue otherwise. But having your game on Steam is a courtesy, not a right, and Valve is a company made of people, not robots. Which means you can't do what Maulbeck did next, and tweet that's since been deleted from his timeline. He threatened Newell. Here's a screen shot of what Maulbeck originally typed out:

    No Caption Provided

    It'd be easy to insert a joke about Newell's obsession with knives here, but it'd downplay Maulbeck's actions and trivialize a comment that, given recent events in the industry, shouldn't be. Death threats aren't okay--ever. While it's easy to believe Maulbeck was projecting loudly and irrationally in a moment of frustration, he should know better. A professional developer doesn't talk this way, and Valve has every right to terminate its relationship with Maulbeck and Paranautical Activity. Would this have been quietly dealt with privately in another kind of environment? Possibly. But we don't live in that environment right now.

    Maulbeck hasn't exactly apologized since making the comment, but he certainly seems to regret it.

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    madroxcide

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    #1  Edited By madroxcide

    wow

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    Jesus_Phish

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    I believe he (Mike) worked with another developer on this game? If that's true, then that's who I feel bad for in this situation. Valve were in the right to remove this guys game after he did what he did. Looking at the timeline of tweets as well he went from the game releasing to meltdown in less than one hour.

    Anyway. This shows once again that Twitter is horrible for everyone. They should include some sort of plug in that forces you to solve complex equations if it picks up that you're about to say anything stupid.

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    deactivated-5bb67033e3422

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    "no shit"

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    RiccochetJ

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    The thing I find amazing about all this is that somehow he thought there would be any other outcome than the one that happened.

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    BeasMeeply

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    Welcome to adulthood, sir?

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    madman356647

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    Twitter tirades claim another career.

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    splodge

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    This guy deserves some kind of award for self-sabotage.

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    Raven10

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    Yea that wasn't a smart thing to do. It's one thing to be mad at Valve for messing up the launch of a game you spent several years of your life working on. It's entirely another to trash Valve and Steam and threaten the life of the owner of that company. Even the former would normally be enough for one company to end its business relationships with the other. But threatening someone's life is not only unprofessional, but also illegal. As much as I feel for this guy for losing year's worth of work over a stupid tweet, making games is as much about knowing how to work with others as it is knowing how to draw or program.

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    Jaxboy

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    Well, his tweet name is "Murderbeck".

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    sirkibble2

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    I believe he (Mike) worked with another developer on this game? If that's true, then that's who I feel bad for in this situation. Valve were in the right to remove this guys game after he did what he did. Looking at the timeline of tweets as well he went from the game releasing to meltdown in less than one hour.

    Anyway. This shows once again that Twitter is horrible for everyone. They should include some sort of plug in that forces you to solve complex equations if it picks up that you're about to say anything stupid.

    Twitter wasn't the problem in this case.

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    KillEm_Dafoe

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    What a dumb motherfucker. Learn how to not go from 0 to 60 in the blink of an eye. There's no other way this can play out from reacting like that.

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    UltimAXE

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    The existence of Twitter continues to feel like a colossal mistake.

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    Sterling

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    #13  Edited By Sterling

    What disgusts me is that 7 people Favorited the death threat tweet.

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    rethla

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    #14  Edited By rethla

    This make me think about 12 angry men. (awesome movie)

    "This phrase, how many times have all of us used it? Probably thousands. "I could kill you for that, darling." "Junior, you do that once more and I'm gonna kill you." "Get in there, Rocky, and kill him!"... See, we say it every day. That doesn't mean we're gonna kill anyone."

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    sweep

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    #15 sweep  Moderator

    Consequences, amirite?

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    The_Nubster

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    Maulbeck's business partner must be a billion times angrier than this loudmouthed fool. Not only does he have to deal with Steam's errors, he also has to wrestle with the fact that his career has been put in jeopardy because Maulbeck can't control himself any better than a hungry toddler.

    Funnily enough, the other guy isn't having a meltdown.

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    amafi

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    I can understand being upset about the game being wrongly labelled on the storefront but that seems like the perfect example of how not to deal with that kind of frustration. Damn.

    Right now I kind of want to see the fictional version of indie game the movie where he is in the situation Team Meat found themselves in during the release of super meat boy.

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    megasoum

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    Yeah, what really sucks is the other developper working with him (who has a 2y old kid apparently) who is now out of work because his partner went all crazy on Twitter. Hopefully he'll be able to fall back on his feet quickly and find another job.

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    ultrapeanut

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    #20  Edited By ultrapeanut

    Uhhhh, chillax buddy? What on earth?

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    RenegadeDoppelganger

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    Don't say things you can't take back, even on the internet. Twitter encourages knee jerk reactions and these tweets are a prime example of why that's a bad thing. Now this guy is probably not ever going to get another one of his games on Steam because he couldn't filter himself in a public medium.

    As for Valve's reaction, I feel it's totally justified. Death threats are reprehensible behaviour, they should not be excused just because they're idle or born out of frustration, doubly so when made on the internet where you don't truly know who is on the other end of the computer.

    And holy shit, maybe don't piss off the director of the largest marketplace and online distribution center for games on the internet.

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    Some-human

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    #23  Edited By Some-human

    Really, this dudes game was being promoted by Steam on their front page and he whines that they got a small detail wrong. If he paid for the promotion and it's all contracts and stuff then he has a right to privately flip out over it with Valve, but if thats a free halloween promotion by Steam then man, what an entitled jerk.

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    D4RKSH33P

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    #24  Edited By D4RKSH33P

    But now he has free advertising on Giant Bomb...

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    Alibambam

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    @patrickklepek

    It's probably worth noting that apperantly the dev's where banning people from their steam forums in a thread where they were asking for good reviews of their game (1 day before launch). People who said they didn't like the game and said they might give a negative critic got banned. The thread has since been removed ,this might have also been a part of their game being removed

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    civid

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    @rethla said:

    This make me think about 12 angry men.

    "This phrase, how many times have all of us used it? Probably thousands. "I could kill you for that, darling." "Junior, you do that once more and I'm gonna kill you." "Get in there, Rocky, and kill him!"... See, we say it every day. That doesn't mean we're gonna kill anyone."

    That's in a bit of a different context though. I believe Fonda's character is mostly refering to people you know or have an intimate relationship with. This on the other hand was burped out in the shitstorm that is social media. So there's a difference, but still it made me think of 12 Angry Men again, which is fine by me :)

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    AssInAss

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    If only he had waited an hour when the issue was fixed and mentioned in his replies, this could have been resolved and he wouldn't have posted that.

    Like, you're a developer. You have special access to Steam representatives that work reallyfast. Sort it out through them first, and maybe if they haven't resolved it quickly, then maybe go public with the problems but death threats would definitely not even be part of that.

    Regrettable for the other developer.

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    Rowr

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    #28  Edited By Rowr

    When are you all going to realise twitter is the devil yo.

    On the bright side this should give the game some publicity when he launches it on gog...right?

    Also is it ok to start the catchphrase "yo just got twittered fool!"

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    Cogzwell

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    #29  Edited By Cogzwell

    I can't account for everyone's experiences with steam but from I've heard when Valve gets something wrong developers have been able to get in contact with them to rectify it relatively quickly. I'm curious if this guy actually went to those lengths or was just immediately acting out some frustration, weird stuff like this reminds me there are people out there who have very vocal anti-steam rhetoric (as people were commenting on another article I read) and while it makes sense to be skeptical about Valve I feel like they always end up the same way, they're always the same angry internet personality with a cartoon avatar of themselves grinning mischievously....

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    morden2261

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    It never ceases to amaze me how people repeatedly spout the most idiotic crap on Twitter and then act surprised when they get called out on it. Hey geniuses, when you write shit on the Internet it doesn't go away and whoever is most likely to be pissed off by what you said will inevitably be the one to read it.

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    CrimsonJester

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    and sadly this is all netting him more press and people looking for his game that would not have, Such a sad strange world.

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    Jesus_Phish

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    @rowr: It's available on Humble Store and Desura, but he's already managed to make a backhanded remark (probably unintentional) about those stores by mentioning since Steam removed it, the game has only sold 12 copies on those platforms, compared to the 1 copy per minute it was doing on Steam.

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    GeneralBison

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    I'm interested in this game but I don't want to support this bastard

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    chemystery

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    Really makes me want to ignore any games he works on now.

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    MichaelBach

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    I feel bad for the other developers on the team. But the guy is an adult and should act as such. Good to see threats like that having consequences. If you are not able to control your outbursts maybe you should not use instant media such as Twitter.

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    LegalBagel

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    Have to think in the context of the last two months that tweet was enough to doom him, but if I was Valve and saw any of the rest of his tweets trashing the company and the service I'd similarly have considered cutting off ties. Having your game on Steam isn't a right such that you can continually blast Valve or the people who work there and expect them to take it.

    I imagine they wouldn't do it because they don't want to look petty or vindicative, but if a client I worked with in any other professional environment had that sort of reaction, I'd end my relationship with him on the spot.

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    JorgeDoLuar

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    The saddest part about all this is that Paranautical Activity is a great game, that's been on Desura for ages, was the first of these FPS Rogue-lites like Tower of Guns, and yet they keep running into problems.

    They had the game on Greenlight, then got a publisher to pick it up, but Steam stopped them by because they wanted games that entered Greenlight to stick to it and not use publishers to "jump in front of the line".

    Some people just can't help themselves, I guess. I hope they eventually reconsider and let them publish the game. It's a good game.

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    blzzzrrttt

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    Welp, I know Mike's a bit of a hothead but this is a bit too far.

    There was an "incident" where he refused to give out Steam keys to people who had bought the game previously from a bundle which sold like 30,000+ copies (the game was in the $1 tier). He ended up giving in eventually but it got the team in a lot of hot water for his hardheaded-ness. It's a shame, Paranautical Activity is a pretty solid game and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it if given the chance.

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    chilibean_3

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    @rowr said:

    When are you all going to realise twitter is the devil yo.

    On the bright side this should give the game some publicity when he launches it on gog...right?

    Also is it ok to start the catchphrase "yo just got twittered fool!"

    Nope. The problem isn't with the tool, it's with the person using the tool. It almost always is.

    I mean, just how stupid does someone have to be to do that.

    Just how emotionally and mentally immature does someone have to be to react this way?

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    CrystaljDesign

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    @lanerobertlane: Messing up the fact that the game is a full release and not early access is a big deal and not a small detail. Imagine if you spent years of your life working toward this day of your game getting on the front page of steam and they have a banner across it that says it's not finished yet. You would be very mad.

    I'm glad valve shut this guy down, he has shown himself to be incredibly unprofessional and I hope that if he has any developer partners they are relatively unaffected by his actions.

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    julesodies

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    His game was fucked anyways. What's the chance Valve corrected its mistake in time so the developers wouldn't lose a huge amount of attention on the front page and thus sales?

    Valve needs to step up its developer support (and give us Half Life 3 ;) )

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    Lanechanger

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    Sounds about right, maybe he'll think twice about being an idiot in his next professional endeavor.

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    iamjohn

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    I don't want to say he got what he deserved, but... No wait, yes I do. What an asshole.

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    Legion_

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    #45  Edited By Legion_

    You know, I actually think it's harsh and petty to remove his game from Steam. It's so obviously just something he wrote in anger. And he wrote it on the most public place in the world. Had he written a personal e-mail like that lunatic in the Sarkeesian-case, I would understand removing the game. This however... I don't like it.

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    geirr

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    @splodge said:

    This guy deserves some kind of award for self-sabotage.

    Maybe there can be a Darwin Award for videogames.

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    FinalDasa

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    #47 FinalDasa  Moderator

    @legion_: It's pretty borderline but I don't blame Valve for reacting how they did. For one he didn't just say "I wanna kill Gabe right now", his comment was pretty clear. And even now you can check his twitter and he doesn't seem too remorseful. Also Valve is essentially taking a business perspective and eliminating a business partner they don't want anything to do with. If you're in business with a company it's probably a good idea to work with that company rather than complain on a social network.

    I don't disagree with you that his comments were out of frustration and 99% he didn't actually mean them. But in a business relationship like that you should certainly act professionally.

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    EXTomar

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    Think of it another way: What should Valve if this dev threw death threats against a some other person (reviewer, poster, etc) totally unrelated to Valve?

    I believe there is a "good behavior" clause in the EULA where either party can halt their business if they feel the other behaving badly and would reflect poorly on them by association. Valve would be in their rights to remove the game and suspend access if they saw a developer throwing around threats. This time it just happened to be against their leader.

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    deactivated-63f899c29358e

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    So Valve advertises it as an Early Access game on their front page very shortly after it is released fully, that is too bad, but an understandable mistake, since those banners probably were made before the game released. Valve would probably have fixed it within a few hours of being made aware of it...

    But of course he just had to run to twitter and act like an grade-a asshole, going so far as threatening the life of another human being. He kinda deserves to have his career ruined, too bad for the other people that worked on the game.

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    Demokk

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    @legion_ said:

    You know, I actually think it's harsh and petty to remove his game from Steam. It's so obviously just something he wrote in anger. And he wrote it on the most public place in the world. Had he written a personal e-mail like that lunatic in the Sarkeesian-case, I would understand removing the game. This however... I don't like it.

    Quite the contrary. Social media has allowed immature people with emotional outbursts to affect thousands, if not millions of people with a few clicks. "He was angry" is no justification in any case.

    This edit will also create new pages on Giant Bomb for:

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