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FEATURED VOXPOP oblivion437     In all the talk of graphical downgrades no one seems much preoccupied with 'why?'.  Why build something and then proceed to tear it down, piece by piece, in the hope that ever more diminished expectations about the final product won't be severe enough to...

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Not News: Gamespot Still Sucks
Posted on Sunday, January 11 2015 @ 17:35:14 Eastern

At 8:09AM on January 11 Emanuel Maiberg posted a blurb to Gamespot's newsfeed which indicated via headline that Baldur's Gate III is in development with Beamdog at the helm.

Here's the headline as it appears :

New Baldur's Gate Game In Development
"We are interested in doing a Baldur's Gate III," Beamdog said.

Here's the article:
New Baldur's Gate Game In Development

Give it a quick read, it's short, but note the important thing...

At no point in the entire interview does Oster say, nor does Maiberg actually claim, that Baldur's Gate III is in development.  Quite the opposite.  The headline is pure, unadulterated clickbait.  I'm aware that editors sometimes impose these changes but if I were in Maiberg's shoes I'd be uncomfortable working at a publication which did that to something of mine.

This is, of course, leaving to one side the question of why anyone would actually be interested in what Beamdog would do with Baldur's Gate III given what they've done to Baldur's Gate.  You can literally get everything they're offering, better than they're offering, for less.  No, really, you can get Baldur's Gate 1 and 2 for less than the price of either 'enhanced' edition and free tools will produce all of the same benefits (such as being able to choose all the class, race and kit types from II in I, and so on) while having superior configuration options and no content arbitrarily injected into the game which does not belong.

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A Valuable Analysis of SJW Culture
Posted on Friday, January 2 2015 @ 10:30:14 Eastern

The author is unknown and the piece is untitled.  I found it via a reddit thread.

It reminds me of another essay, the author known and the piece titled, it being "The Sociology of the Ayn Rand Cult" by Murray Rothbard.  Rothbard was a former member and that, combined with his training as a social scientist gave him keen perception into its nature.  The overlap here, and with the Steven Fishman testimony given after his break with the Church of Scientology all have several shocking things in common.  The Fishman Deposition provides a look at cult belief from the inside; Fishman was, at that time, still a true believer.

Make of it what you will but for me the pattern is obvious - SJWs are a cult and a unique one in that they have no real leader.  It's true their ideas are the fermented remains of obsolete sloganeering from over a century ago and can be traced to specific writers but the present movement is a new phenomenon in that it lacks any central leadership but possesses all the same attributes of cults past.  It possesses a vacuous ahistorical doctrine which can neither be directly refuted nor even meaningfully engaged with in any way; it must either be accepted or rejected.  Any direct apprehension of it is a battleground and a fight is always in the offing.  Its members blindly devote themselves to the group in increasing intensity and their conviction is inversely proportional to their understanding.  The most important element of the question, however, is its esoteric doctrine.  The origins of esoteric doctrine (εσοτερικα) date to the Pythagorean society and what recent scholarship has uncovered about its less savory side.  The esoteric doctrine, the society's true beliefs, were kept out of public view while a separate, mundane, doctrine, the exoteric (εξοτερικα) doctrine was the organization's outer face.  SJWs use the modern version of this, what Nicholas Shackel calls Motte and Bailey doctrines.  The Motte, in this case, is the commonplace rhetoric about concern for the underprivileged and the needy, caring about those who suffer from things like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder not accidentally stumbling upon content which might cause flashbacks and so on.  The Bailey is where the truth lies - a lust for power and a desire to savage others out of a need to be vindicated by righteous destruction - whether one's own or others.  Pretending to care about PTSD victims' needs is a justification for imposing speech codes of their own design.  When the operation in the Bailey has light shining on it (you're violating other people's right to free speech!) they retreat to the Motte (free speech doesn't insulate you from criticism and trauma victims count!) in order to regain the Bailey (imposing speech codes, running people out of their jobs, publicly humiliating people who disagree with them).  Again the bizarre thing is that such a sophisticated and devious rhetorical strategy, it caught gamers completely off guard, has been successfully propounded and so completely developed in the absence of central leadership.  Its presence is likely a forging out of the crucible of the internet itself; it's a product of things like Usenet sharpening, cleansing, stripping away and hardening the rhetoric of participators in every sort of political discussion.  It fully embraces the possibilities of base rhetoric in an environment which promises that noble rhetoric may yet ascend to new heights unseen in the past.

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A Brief Summary of Gamergate
Posted on Friday, December 26 2014 @ 11:16:51 Eastern

    Gamergate in summary: several hungry people are fighting over slices of pizza sitting on a table.  What follows is an attempt to describe them and the basic outline of events.
    First up is the hashtag twitter group itself.  It consists of roughly fifty thousand members but has no leadership or central governing authority at all.  They have no official code of ethics or even a unified set of goals beyond bringing increased transparency to a field, games journalism, they view as highly corrupt.  Politically they are all over the map but available evidence (such as users posting their politicalcompass score on twitter) suggests that the great bulk of gamergate supporters skew left-liberal to left-libertarian orientation.  This stands in stark contrast to repeated accusation that most are right wing authoritarians.  The sheer diversity of its membership (practically every possible combination of political values, ethnicity, sexual orientation, nationality and so on) puts many common statements reiterated by its opponents endlessly in a rather strange light.  Due to their position and nature they can be considered the 'counter culture' of gaming but that term is rather more of an umbrella.  There are reactionaries as well as liberals among them.
    Second are the journalists under fire for alleged collusion, conflict of interest, lack of journalistic ethics, poor writing, inadequate research and other bad behavior.  The instances of such are too numerous to document handily.  One could peruse Slower than Slow, Thicker than Thick[1] or the Kotaku in Action[2] subreddit or go to this timeline[3] which goes back to 1995.  As Razorfist observed[4] it's a remarkable example of rhetorical sleight-of-hand that has perfidious behavior perpetrated mostly by men mostly for the benefit of other venal men somehow turned into a women's issue.  More on that later.
    Third is the group of journalists not actually involved in such activity but caught in the larger tide of resentment brought about by the morally bankrupt misdeeds of their peers.  But since these people, like moderate Gamergate supporters or opponents without hands in cookie jars, don't make good ad copy they're not much talked about by anyone.
    Fourth is a group of apparently left wing hustlers, radicals, con artists, pseudo-academics, cod philosophers, political gamesmen and so on who are desperate to let the second group get away with their deflection in order to use the situation to their own ends.  If the situation were reversed and joining the most severe fire eating lunatics out to destroy the current incarnation of the gaming press was to the benefit of the causes they ostensibly support then it can be said without doubt that this bunch would be sweetening their coffee with gasoline every morning.  They want everyone to keep talking about the individuals early reaction centered around so that the actual recipients of justified ire never have to face the music[5].
    Fifth is an as-yet unidentified group, most likely Goons, responsible for most of the harassment surrounding the whole mess.  Whether any particular claim of harassment is false there has yet to be conclusive evidence linking documented harassment to any particular faction on the table.  While the counter culture would most certainly like these people to go away it's curious that the games media has turned a heavy mill out of letting it happen and posting lurid stories of the damage done.  As David Auerbach notes in his article for Slate[6], the entire situation has turned into a troll's paradise.
    Sixth is the rogue's gallery around whom the original heat coalesced.  Their primary skill or talent, whatever side they were on, was to draw attention to themselves and keep eyes on their work.  The work was often shoddy[7] and poorly prepared.
    Who's in the right?  Well, looking at the reaction among press boosters to John Bain's VGA win, Boogie's ban from Neogaf, or the attempt to shut down Fredrick Brennan's imageboards I suppose the reader might not be sure but the right answer is probably the side that is not wishing violence upon a man who is undergoing treatment for cancer, silencing anyone who is even neutral then lying about it, or trying to destroy the livelihood of a handicapped person by slandering them and cutting them off from their patrons in such a fashion as also disrupts the projects of numerous other creators.  Probably.


Sources:
[1] - http://loltaku.tumblr.com - the writer, Chris, also has a blog about game design, http://thefeelofavideogame.tumblr.com and both are worthwhile.
[2] - http://reddit.com/r/kotakuinaction -
[3] - http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/355300/The-Dirty-History-of-Games-Journalism/ - It's far from an exhaustive source, containing only some of the more noteworthy highlights with independent documentation via archive.today links.  It goes back to 1995 but problems of collusion and payola actually go back further than that; there was a bit of a dustup in the 1980s about computer software magazines having ads for products reviewed in the magazine.
[4] - https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmirOw7JCi82dEgcwvinojsmzSij9qpF8 - the relevant video is number seven, "Gamergate".  The first in the series is now nearly two years old and the video maker has been writing and commenting on the issue for some time longer than that.
[5] - http://blogjob.com/oneangrygamer/2014/10/gamergate-destructoid-corruption-and-ruined-careers/ - GameJournoPros is one of the casualties in the fighting but not one to be mourned; it was, like all secret communication groups, a nest of bad behavior which flourished in the dark.
[6] http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/bitwise/2014/10/how_to_end_gamergate_a_divide_and_conquer_plan.html - "How to End Gamergate" - A somewhat satirical essay demonstrating how games journalists can simultaneously repair their shattered credibility and bring the situation back to normal.  Definitely worth a read and, for what it's worth, Slate has reformed its affiliate policies along the lines Auerbach suggests so people are listening.
[7] - Jim81Jim aka Internet Aristocrat is responsible for the denied, though not debunked, 'sex for favors' claims.  His work, no longer available, was what much of the chamber drama obsession centered around.  It can be fairly said to have done more damage to the progression of the larger conversation than just about anything else and in the long run has given more cover to corruption than it could ever have exposed.

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Bandai Namco Issues DMCA Complaint Against Dark Souls Modder
Posted on Monday, December 22 2014 @ 15:48:26 Eastern

In a post on NeoGAF Peter "Durante" Thoman announced Bandai Namco has issued a DMCA complaint to Dropbox forcing the takedown of DSFix, the most popular mod for the PC version of Dark Souls, from their service.  The claim appears absur...   read more...

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The Search for Optimal Bake Time
Posted on Wednesday, December 17 2014 @ 14:36:19 Eastern

Something percolating in my mind for a while now is the question of an 'optimal' development time for a given game.  If a game is given too little time in the oven, or if the post-production work is rushed, the resulting game is unfinish...   read more...

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Dark Souls Steamworks Migration Available, Masochists Rejoice by Screaming in Pain
Posted on Monday, December 15 2014 @ 08:33:53 Eastern

The announcement turned out to be that the Steamworks version is available today.  Check the game's forum page from your library and look for the pinned thread for instructions on how to migrate from GFWL to Steamworks and enjoy the game wit...   read more...

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Dark Souls Steam Migration Delayed but on Track?
Posted on Sunday, December 14 2014 @ 07:03:34 Eastern

November came and went without Namco Bandai's promised Steam migration but an announcement on the 25th of did say news was forthcoming.  Later an announcement was made that information would be revealed 'soon' and that the migration ...   read more...

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The Witcher 3 Has Been Delayed to May 19
Posted on Monday, December 8 2014 @ 17:45:28 Eastern

David Thier's reaction here.

My reaction here.

EDIT: For some crazy reason I thought the Forbes piece was written by Paul Tassi.  I was tired when I wrote this post....   read more...

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InXile Files Trademarks for 'Van Buren' and 'Meantime'
Posted on Monday, December 8 2014 @ 17:19:36 Eastern

PC Gamer has the scoop and credits RPG Codex as their source.

For those not in the know, Meantime was an aborted followup to Wasteland and Van Buren was the internal codename for the version of Fallout 3 Black Isle almost got to make.&...   read more...

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GoG Winter Sale In Swing!
Posted on Thursday, December 4 2014 @ 16:12:55 Eastern

GoG is running their annual winter sale.  Scope that stuff out if you're looking for something good.  It runs until the 15th of December....   read more...

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