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FEATURED VOXPOP LinksOcarina This is another article from Blistered Thumbs I wrote, back from the dead after being buried in the way-back machine. I posted this back in April of 2013, and many of the issues present seem to be prevalent right now in some cases, namely the decrees of sexism and misogony. Considering current...

A Comprehensive Guide to Dealing with Controversy in the Video Game Industry

Posted on Friday, August 29 @ 11:00:00 Eastern by Paul_Tamburro

As a turbulent and downright embarrassing week in the gaming industry comes to a close, many of you have likely found yourself bogged down in opinion pieces, inflammatory tweets and hyperbolic blog posts regarding the “Zoe Quinn controversy.”

This story started when Depression Quest developer Quinn reportedly cheated on her boyfriend with members of the gaming media, though that later escalated into a doxxing which revolves around the posting of private information online. Some claimed she did this to herself in order to “gain sympathy”. Later FEZ developer Phil Fish was also doxxed and accused of staging the hack as part of an elaborate scheme in order to… get some attention(?)

Nonetheless, it’s been a week of yet more controversies in an industry which is increasingly fond of giving us things to rant about. Here’s a comprehensive guide to dealing with unending controversy in the video game industry.

1. Does it actively concern video games? If not, then move along!

It may seem so exciting, peeking into someone’s underwear drawer and rifling through their personal stuff but aren’t we all here for, y’know, the video games? I know I am.  I never thought about how many women Shigeru Miyamoto has shagged while I was playing Super Mario Galaxy.

If I learned that Miyamoto had, say, shagged five women behind his girlfriend’s back, I’d think “Damn, Shiggy, that’s a lot of shagging you’ve been doing there,” but I’d carry on playing Super Mario Galaxy regardless because I’m in this for the video games.

2. Don’t hire a straight white guy to discuss how minorities feel.

“Minorities aren’t given a voice in this industry!” or words to that effect should never be the focal point of an article written by a straight, white guy. If you belong to an outlet that claims to support equality in the gaming industry, actions speak louder than words.

3. Don’t ever use the term “Social Justice Warrior” to describe someone, because it’s embarrassing.

Look, I get it. Everyone keeps discussing those pesky social issues when all you want to do is read about video games. However, this industry is created and enjoyed by humans and humans have stories.

Sometimes they want to tell their stories. Sometimes those stories will concern the lack of diversity in the industry or a similar topic that trigger Internet misogyny and homophobia. If you find yourself ever stumbling upon a written piece or a video where someone is tackling these issues, please do not refer to them or their supporters as “Social Justice Warriors.” Not only does the use of this term suggest that you are, by default, a “Social Injustice Warrior” which is essentially an admittance that you’re the bad guy, but it’s also incredibly embarrassing.

Indeed, every time I see the term Social Justice Warrior or its acronym SJW slung about online, I cringe with such intensity that I have to insert my fist into my mouth and bite down on it. If I see Social Justice Warrior accompanied by “White Knight” in the same sentence, my fist then travels further down my throat, forcing me to choke on my own arm... which hurts me.

4. You’re not going to change anyone’s opinion in 140 characters.

Twitter is an ever-expanding archive of the Earth’s opinions and as such when another controversy begins to rear its head in the gaming industry, people hurriedly tweet their thoughts regarding the matter until the site becomes a sea of righteousness, temerity, and ill-planned jokes. Even if you’re on the “right” side of the debate, i.e. the one that isn’t vehemently spitting out bile and setting out to systematically ruin someone’s life, your tweets are utterly inconsequential when it comes to solving the matter at hand and do nothing other than add fire to the flames.

One tweet isn’t going to alter anyone’s worldview and the loathsome imbeciles who use the site to spout their vile opinions whilst hidden behind a curtain of anonymity aren’t going to clean up their act because of you. When you tweet your opinions, all you’re doing is preaching to the converted and giving the morons more material to use in their continued campaign against common decency.

5. Go outside.

When we were growing up we were always told that we should “go outside more” whenever we sat down with our Super Nintendo, our Sega Genesis, or our PlayStation. Kids today are told they shouldn’t be playing online with their friends and that they should instead be outside kicking a ball around with them in a park somewhere.

Of course, we have always laughed at these people and their fuddy-duddy mentalities but looking back I’m pretty sure they were right. Back in my day, there was nothing better than sitting indoors, in front of the TV with a controller in hand. Video games made indoors fun but now there’s a whole bunch of people trying to make video games not fun and I think it’s about time that going outside had something of a renaissance. It seems that the “gaming community” (something which I’m increasingly embarrassed to be lumped in with, given how progressively awful it is) is too pre-occupied with pointing fingers and yelling and generally making a diabolical nuisance of itself to enjoy the very thing we’re all in this for.

Video games used to be an outlet for people to relieve their stress or to just sit back, relax, and enjoy themselves but now they’ve become this vehicle that people use to peddle their embittered worldviews, channeling their hatred of women and other such abhorrence into campaigns for “journalistic integrity” and other “issues” that they have little to no idea about.

Over the past week these campaigns have reached their nadir, with a Patreon campaign for a documentary titled ‘The Sarkeesian Effect’ in which two white guys attempt to “expose” the damaging effect those blasted Social Justice Warriors are having on the white, straight patriarchy. This campaign has attracted 92 patrons who will be donating around $2,000 a month to these dicks. On a related note, one of the campaign’s organizers previously uploaded a YouTube video on “Race Realism” in which he stated that “it makes sense to avoid the black population for your own personal safety.”

This is not-so-vaguely reminiscent of the anti-Anita Sarkeesian campaign that was set up after she launched her ‘Tropes vs. Women in Videogames’ Kickstarter, innovatively titled ‘Tropes vs. Men in Videogames’ which reached its donation goal before disappearing off the face of the Earth. The campaign’s organizers issued a few updates in which they claimed that they had given the money to charity but after Gameranx contacted the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one of its reported beneficiaries, it was revealed that no such donation had been made. Tellingly, this hoax campaign hasn’t caused nearly as much of a stir as Anita’s videos, despite Anita actually using the money she acquired from her campaign to make the videos that she said she would.

Which leads me back to my point: you should go outside. This kind of shit doesn’t happen in the great outdoors. You won’t be endlessly bombarded by anime avatars with remarkably ill-informed opinions on the “bias” of games journalism and no one out there even knows who Zoe Quinn is or why her having relations with people in the industry she resides in is emblematic of some sort of deep-seated corruption. In fact, when you step away from your Macbook and turn off your phone, it’s almost as if none of that stuff even exists and you begin to appreciate just how ridiculous it is that there are a whole host of individuals who never have and, given their lunacy, never will be gaming journalists telling those who are how they’re doing their job wrong.

In conclusion

I hope that this guide has given you the tools required to deal with controversy in the video game industry. There are plenty more tips you could add to your arsenal, such as “Don’t read comments sections of divisive topics” and “Avoid YouTube channels in which the host pitches themselves as the sole beacon of hope and truth in the gaming media” but I would assume that they’re pretty obvious.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of your week and I implore you to take heed of this guide every time you find yourself slipping into a dark hole of overblown controversy. Remember: video games are fun, but people are awful.

Tags:   culture

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