SocJus Against the Protein World: What Happens When an Unstoppable, Bitchy Force Meets an Immovable, Buff Object?

Good morning, brothers and sisters, welcome to the fourth, fifth or sixth irregular meeting of the Brotherhood of Laugh at Stupid Shit SJWs Do; I can’t remember how many of these I’ve done, now.

Today’s tale of imagined controversy comes to us courtesy of Protein World, a fitness supplement supplier based in the UK who would probably have remained otherwise indistinguishable from their many competitors were it not for the fact that their Twitter account is apparently manned by a stone cold boss, as we’ll see later.

To start us off though, let’s take a look at the advert that has caused so many jimmies to become rustled and, as a fun game, try and guess what the problem is, this time:

Too easy. It's all the yellow, right?

Too easy. It’s all the yellow, right?

Apparently, one Harriet Johnson saw this relatively innocuous, as far as fitness ads go, poster doing the old ‘get ready for Summer’ schtick and proceeded to completely shit the bed and, true to SJW form, post a passive-aggressive jab at Protein World on Twitter.

Because, as a barrister according to her Twitter, Ms Johnson obviously knows that the best way to begin a dialogue and address your grievances is by acting like a petulant child in public.

Feel free to send me some bikini shots and I'll let u kno, babe :^)

Feel free to send me some bikini shots and I’ll let u kno, babe :^)

Where this story deviates from the norm, however, is the way in which Protein World chose to respond. If you know anything about outrage culture then you should be familiar with how this particular song and dance usually goes: Moron gets offended; company tries to perform damage control before capitulating entirely, pulling the ‘offensive’ material and bending over backwards to accommodate people who were never their customers in the first place.

Protein World, or at least whoever is in charge of the company Twitter account, chose a different tac:

♪ Mmm whatcha say ♪

♪ Mmm whatcha say ♪

This instantly set the Twittersphere ablaze, as armies from both sides of the ongoing internet slapfight rushed to congratulate and chastise the company. All that protein really must have strengthened their constitution, though, because they still refused to back down.

This led to an interesting and seldom-seen quandary: Since SJWs and the moral panic mob in general’s only weapon is stamping their feet and shouting as loud as they can, what happens when that doesn’t work? Well, apparently the answer is they go straight to Defcon 1 and start vandalising property and marshaling assaults on the Protein World offices. I am not joking:

The Suffragettes would be proud.

The Suffragettes would be proud.

Right makes might, but having a hammer also helps.

Right makes might, but having a hammer also helps.

Never let it be said I'm not willing to get my own hands dirty.

Never let it be said I’m not willing to get my own hands dirty.

If this doesn’t provide clear-cut evidence of how insane these people are, then I don’t know what will.

It’s this kind of ‘ends justify the means’ mentality that compels me to write about the authoritarian madness poisoning the left so much, because despite most of them being too spineless to do anything beyond talk shit on Twitter, it only takes one special special snowflake with the right screw loose to decide to take it to the next level and shoot a Beatl- I mean torch an office.

The chances of this actually happening are extremely slim, I’m not trying to say otherwise, but it is a very real possibility when you create the kind of cult-like mentality that SocJus is building, where you have people saying and doing the craziest shit imaginable, up to and including actual, criminal activity, and they literally don’t think anything of it because, in their minds, they’re on the ‘right side of history’ and so everything is permitted.

Still do a runner when they cops show up, though, don’t they; such brave little revolutionaries.

Here’s a thought experiment I’d like to pose to anyone who thinks that the actions being taken/encouraged to be taken against Protein World are justified: Since you’re so rabidly progressive I’m going to assume you’re also in favour of abortion.

Don’t get me wrong, I am too, but what I’m more interested in is this: what do you think of the Christians who protest abortion clinics, up to and including smashing them up and firebombing them?

I’m willing to bet that you think that’s crazy, because it is, but here’s the thing: what you are doing is exactly the same. Contrary to what progressives try to claim, the Christian aversion to abortion has nothing to do with controlling women, which should be obvious but when you’re dealing with imagined agents of the patriarchy everything becomes an attempt to control women.

No, it is my understanding that Christians, in the main, oppose abortion because it is their belief that an unborn child is still a child. In other words, abortion to them is no different to murdering a fully grown child.

Card-carrying members of the Patriarchy, every one.

Card-carrying members of the Patriarchy, every one.

Now, ask yourself: Do you oppose killing children?

I’m going to guess that was a ‘yes’ as well, unless you’re a proper psycho, and here is where it gets interesting. Obviously, unborn fetuses are not children –as Bill Hicks famously put it ‘you’re not a human being until you’re in my phonebook’– but for the purposes of this exercise we are discarding facts and logic: Christians believe that unborn fetuses are children, and that therefore to abort is to kill a child.

Now, imagine what most people would do if they found a place that was, unequivocally, murdering children on a daily basis with full government approval. Hell, it would be immoral not to act, right?

[Dramatic Recreation]

[Dramatic Recreation]

So how does any of this apply to you and your dumbass crusade? Well, it’s the exact same thing: You believe that these ads are in some way harmful to women and that, because women are incapable of agency (your logic, not mine) and therefore must be protected at all costs, it’s the moral thing to do to vandalise their advertising with your SocJus bullshit and to post the company address online to encourage people ransack their offices.

You are committing unambiguously immoral acts because, in your eyes, the target is a deserving one so you can therefore act with complete impunity.

You have absolutely no scientific, legal or factual backing for what you are doing: you’re simply doing it because it feels like the right thing to do, based on the morals you were raised to uphold and the narrative you have later swallowed.

The castration of, as it turns out, completely innocent men is a small price to pay.

The castration of, as it turns out, completely innocent men is a small price to pay.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with Protein World’s ad. As I said earlier, the ‘beach body’ schtick has been a marketing gimmick for as long as I can remember and, while I generally don’t submit to the will of tradition for the sake of tradition, it is a completely harmless trope, if you are capable of rational thought and not a prisoner to your erratic emotions.

That you think otherwise speaks only to your complete lack of self-awareness and the chronic entitlement that leads you to constantly demand the world kowtow to your irrational and ever-changing whims.

In short: If you can’t look at a billboard displaying a fit, in shape person without feeling inferior then that is your problem, not society’s.

Now, before you run to call me a hypocrite because I’ve previously denounced gossip magazines and their deplorable cellulite-shaming bullshit, do not kid yourself by thinking this is in anyway comparable.

Protein World is a fitness company, being anorexic is not healthy, the model in the advert is not anorexic, she is just in good shape. Yes, the ad is promoting a weight loss collection, but try to remember some people actually are interested in losing weight and that, yes, there are healthy methods of achieving this.

When I see ads like that I take them as a reminder to stick to my exercise regime; they strengthen my resolve, but I don’t start running up to every fat person I see on the subway platform and demand they drop and give me twenty because, unlike knee-jerk reactionaries, I don’t believe the entire world should march to the beat of my drum.

I’ve said this so many times already that I’m beginning to bore myself but it bears repeating: If you want to be dumpy & average all your life then go ahead –there’s no shame in it, it’s called ‘average’ for a reason– but don’t try to project your own complacency onto those of us who strive to better ourselves, and even derive pleasure from it.

Although I'm sure I'd also derive pleasure from eating a block of cheese like hand-fruit.

Although I’m sure I’d also derive pleasure from eating a block of cheese like hand-fruit.

I seriously do not care if a fat person wants to be fat, as long as they accept the consequences of their actions and don’t try to pass the buck or demand the world change to suit their needs, alone. Furthermore, no one is stopping you from going to the beach, no matter what size you are –and incidentally this constant belief anyone gives a shit what you do as an individual is hilariously narcissistic– so either go or don’t; life will carry on the same for everyone else, either way.

If you are worried you won’t be able to enjoy yourself because people will look at you and judge you then that’s on you, but I would add that –especially since this new trend of fit-shaming has come into fashion– people also judge the shit out of really buff or skinny people, (‘gymrat,’ ‘anorexic bitch,’ ‘dudebro,’ etc.) it is in fact what you are doing right now, and they by and large don’t give a shit, at least not outwardly, because they are secure enough in themselves to know that what other people think of them affects them in precisely zero ways.

As is almost always the case, all of this comes down to projection: People assume that they are being judged/attacked by the rest of the world while remaining blissfully ignorant to all the judging/attacking they are doing by acting out in this way.

Ads are not a personal attack against you or your way of life –if they were then I’d need to phone up OfCom every time a Tampax advert came on the telly because it was attack on my not having a vagina– if an ad doesn’t cater to you then do what every other functioning human in the world does: Disregard it and get on with your day.

Contrary to popular belief, popular amongst idiots I mean, not everything needs a hashtag campaign to topple the patriarchy, and I would have thought that, being a fucking barrister, Harriet Johnson would have known that, but apparently not.

As for me, personally? I’d rather be at the beach looking buff than be in danger of getting harpooned by a Japanese whaling crew, but hey: to each their own.

P90X? More like P90SEX AMIRITE! Seriously, it's been a long time.

P90X? More like P90SEX AMIRITE! Seriously, it’s been a long time.

UPDATE: While reading a Guardian article –my first mistake– about how people are now going to have an actual, honest-to-God protest over this shitshow, I happened across this comment by quite possibly the stupidest woman on the planet, which I now feel compelled to gift onto you all.

A problem shared is a problem halved, after all. Enjoy.

Fucking Morons

Posted in Advice, Current Affairs, Fitness, The World at Large., Top Tips for Living Well | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

#CHANGETHECOVER: Another Victory for Censorship; Another Nail in the Coffin of Artistic Freedom

Censorship. Censorship never changes.

Hot on the heels of Milo Manara’s Spider-Woman variant debacle last year, the social justice crowd are back at it again, showing that they’re very much equal opportunities when it comes to badgering bewildered artists by this time targeting DC.

So what imagined crime has rustled their jimmies, now? It’s only the ever-present boogeyman of our time: Rape Culture. A variant cover for Batgirl #41, featuring our heroine being held hostage by the Joker in an obvious homage to The Killing Joke, has received criticism from progressive nutbars on Tumblr for the sin of depicting Batgirl in a vulnerable fashion and, of course, alluding to sexual assault. Because there is nothing in this world that these people cannot twist around and turn into a rape issue.

I can joke all I want, mind you, because today DC went and fucking caved in to their demands that the cover be pulled.

Before we go any further, here’s the proposed cover that has now been scrapped:

BG-Cv41-Joker-variant-solicitation-68d7fAs you can see, it is clearly deviant and must be purged –you’ve probably committed at least three rapes, yourself, since looking at it– but why did the artist, Rafael Abuquerque, choose this particular composition? I’ll let him explain:

My Batgirl variant cover artwork was designed to pay homage to a comic that I really admire, and I know is a favorite of many readers. ‘The Killing Joke’ is part of Batgirl’s canon and artistically, I couldn’t avoid portraying the traumatic relationship between Barbara Gordon and the Joker.”

Seems pretty straightforward to me. It’s also worth noting that this variant is part of a series featuring The Joker to mark his 75th anniversary, though admittedly this is the only one to not do so in a light-hearted manner. Given the pair’s infamous and dark past, however, I can think of nothing more appropriate than to reference the most defining moment in their shared history.

Fuck that, though, the cover might be triggering to some people, whether they’re actually victims of anything or not, and that is problematic and therefore it must be removed from the public consciousness, comrade. Never mind the fact that it may also help victims of abuse cope with their trauma, that’s inconvenient to the narrative: block and move on.

Pictured: The 'wrong kind' of abuse victim, apparently.

Pictured: The ‘wrong kind’ of abuse victim, apparently.

Here’s what I love most about this kind of hand-wringing behaviour: I can guarantee you with one-hundred percent certainty that if the variant cover had featured The Joker and Batgirl in a comedic fashion, like the other variants, SJW spaghetti would still have been flying everywhere as they pissed and moaned that it was making a mockery of abuse victims or glorifying Stockholm Syndrome by not acknowledging Batgirl’s valiant struggle in overcoming her trauma.

There really is no way to win when you’re dealing with professional victims, and while DC may believe they’ve done the right thing by capitulating to their histrionic demands, I promise this will not be the last we hear from them; just like making Thor a woman wasn’t enough, they had to go that extra mile and inject a bit of SocJus propaganda in there while they were at it.

Truly compelling prose; Thor fans must be so pleased.

Truly compelling prose; Thor fans must be so pleased.

All you do when you make concessions like this is open the floodgates to every puritan with an axe to grind. What are you going to do when they start demanding you remove all scenes of Batgirl getting injured, because it encourages violence against women? Any gay characters in your series? They can’t get hurt; encourages homophobia.

I understand DC wanting to grow their audience and tap into new revenue streams, but what they will undoubtedly come to realise is that the majority of the most vocal dissenters in incidents like this are not their audience. They never were, and they never will be. They are parasites who move from community to community in order to, as Internet Aristocrat famously put it, ‘shit them up’ by demanding things be changed to cater to their specific whims while at the same time never investing anything worthwhile into that community.

We’ve seen it in atheism, we’ve seen it in gaming, film, music, books…it’s really nothing new. Social Justice is just McCarthyism with a new coat of paint. It’s the Comics Code Authority, it’s the Hays Code, it’s the PMRC…these people have been doing this for forever and a day, and the culture of unfaltering political correctness we’ve allowed to permeate in our society –creating the kind of culture that allows a British paedophile to escape prosecution because he claims Islam taught him women are worthless— has allowed them to gain a real foothold in almost every facet of our daily lives.

You name it, and I guarantee there’s a progressive in that sector trying to fuck it up and make it a nightmare to be in.

Don't think I'll be forgetting this any time soon.

Don’t think I’ll be forgetting this any time soon.

So while stories about comic books might seem insignificant, especially when compared to what I just linked, and I wouldn’t blame you for thinking I’m blowing this out of proportion, remember that from little vindictive acorns grow big, fuck-off fascist trees. Nothing good is going to come of this: the more ground you give, the more they’re going to take.

One day we’re going to wake up and wonder what happened to all the cool shit artists used to create, now they’re only allowed to paint in shades of grey and have to burn all their work once it’s finished.

Anyway, let’s carry on with the retardation rodeo: Some people, including the writer of the Batgirl whom I already showed, above, have complained that the variant clashes with the light-hearted tone of the series’ new direction, which is probably true, but here’s the thing: It’s a variant cover, not the official cover of Batgirl #41. No one was being forced to buy or look at that cover if they didn’t want to, it would have existed purely for collectors who wished to commemorate the anniversary of one of the greatest fictional villains of all time.

With that in mind, it is a pretty perfect piece of art: It’s a truly terrifying composition and Albuquerque has done an impeccable job of capturing both fear and malice in a relatively simple image. Nothing about it glorifies or makes light of abuse, but when you’re dealing with people to whom context may as well be a foreign word, I guess that doesn’t matter.

Even if your only knowledge of The Joker comes from watching the Batman films, as I assume is the case for many of the misinformed morons championing this campaign, then you’re probably unaware of how dark and disturbed a character he actually is. Even Heath Ledger’s lauded portrayal –regarded by many as being so dark it was cited as a contributing factor in his suicide– barely scratched the surface of how depraved the character can really be.

CAF4ChaUQAAfWLW.jpg large

In truth, we’ll probably never see a film, game or cartoon adaptation of the true Joker because the moral outrage it would cause would pale #ChangeTheCover’s antics into insignificance.

Comics are the only place where The Joker can truly be himself.

This is what really pisses me off about these fuckwits who arrive late to the party, pretend they’ve been here since the beginning and then start to get salty when they discover things that upset them. If they actually knew the subject material then surely they’d know what a pivotal moment this was in Batgirl’s history, and what a fitting tribute the VC is.

The Joker is not supposed to be a likeable character. He is insane, amoral, vicious and unpredictable; the complete antithesis to Batman’s character. People who actually appreciate complexity in their stories and understand that comics are more than just a series of pretty pictures to gawk at understand this about the character, and so when he commits unspeakably horrible acts we understand they are not supposed to make us comfortable as readers, but are instead meant to build a rich lore for a complex character.

These people didn’t bat an eyelid when Bane broke Batman’s back, they didn’t mourn the brutal death of Jason Todd, so don’t ever fucking try to tell me they give two shits about wanting to elevate an art form when they attempt to neuter it in this way. All they want is to control it and mould it to fit their sterile agenda.

Dead dudes? Pfft, good riddance. #KillAllMen

Dead dudes? Pfft, good riddance. #KillAllMen

If these people were even remotely sincere in their wishes for comics and video games to grow up and advance as a medium then why would they, at every turn, try to stamp out any kind of material that is even remotely challenging to the consumer? That’s the exact opposite of maturity: it’s fucking infantilisation of the audience; shielding them from anything uncomfortable and pretending the world is never a horrible place to live in.

It’s this attitude that now has professors openly and unabashedly saying they are against students having the right to express themselves, and that they should instead attend college and university so that they can be ‘indoctrinated’ –their words, not mine- into the correct way of viewing the world.

Again, you might think I’m attempting to link a bunch of unrelated points together –what the fuck does academia have to do with comic books?– to make this seem like a bigger issue than it is, but the reality is The Killing Joke has existed for 25 years, with it’s extremely dark and controversial history. It is not alone in this respect, so why is it only now that suddenly, more and more, we are seeing these social justice slacktivists hitting out against them? Because colleges are pumping them out by the truckload, gender studies degree firmly in hand, ready to smash the patriarchy by consistently portraying themselves as weak-minded victims who are completely incapable of accepting any form of criticism.

And it’s fucking working.

These are genuinely unsettling precedents, and if we don’t use every opportunity to fight back, then eventually we really won’t need works of fiction because we’ll be living in one, penned by George fucking Orwell.

And on that note, I’ll leave you with the words of the late, great Christopher Hitchens, on the misguided notion that censorship’s true goal is to protect anyone:

Posted in Art, Censorship, Comics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Today’s Article What Made Me Fuming: “Get That Fantasy out of My Fantasy Genre!”

I’m trying out a new concept to get me publishing shit on this blog more often, largely inspired by the wonderful Sargon of Akkad’s This Week in Stupid series. Basically, whenever I find a news article or opinion piece that takes a shit on my brain I’ll do a write-up of all the reasons why it’s utterly retarded and a reflection of the sorry state of modern Western society.

Okay, pre-amble over, today’s article written by a complete fuckwit is…

Realistic Superheroes headerPrinted in the Huffington Post, this article is the latest in a long line of ‘fit-shaming’ articles I’ve seen crop up regarding what I’m going to have to go all-out Fox News on and refer to as The War on Not Being A Dribbling Hambeast.

So, apparently have started a campaign to help those struggling with the eating disorder understand that a beergut maybe isn’t the worst thing in the world, and at the very least is preferable to vomiting three or four times a day. That’s definitely a noble goal on the face of it, eating disorders are a serious problem and certainly nothing to scoff at, so what’s my problem?

Well, this particular campaign has focused entirely on depictions of men and women in comic books. The depictions of women in comic books, in particular, have been the source of much criticism for a long time now, especially those drawn by people like Rob Liefeld who draw waists so impossibly small you wonder if he didn’t just forget to finish the drawing. This is, in fact, a very real possibility with Rob Liefeld, but for the most part women are almost always drawn with at least mildly unrealistic proportions, in comic books. Men usually are as well, mind you, but apparently that’s not really an issue judging by the headline; find somewhere else to cry your privileged tears, MRAs.

Go cry into Cap's horrifically deformed chest, losers.

Go cry into Cap’s horrifically deformed chest, losers.

I’ve still not mentioned the problem, have I? In fact, so far I think I’ve probably done a better job of championing this campaign. Well, okay, maybe I can get to my point by first addressing a direct quote from a representative of

“Our hope is that when viewers see these superheroes visualized in such a manner that they can identify with, they may feel better about themselves and realize the futility of any comparison between themselves and the fictional universes of Marvel and DC Comics.”

Okay, first of all, fuck you for reminding me I’ll never be Batman. Second of all, fuck you twice: when I read comics I don’t want to be reminded of real life, I want the fantasy and escapism that fiction is designed to provide.

Thirdly, fuck you again: I don’t have a beergut like the men in your dipshit campaign because I actually exercise and monitor my diet. I’m sorry that most average people lack this kind of discipline, but I don’t see why we should be encouraging their slide into mediocrity and patting them on the back for being too lazy to be the best they can be.

I assume your campaign is targeted at people you want to actually gain weight –which is why I’m confused you think they’d relate to these flabby depictions, but whatever– but why you’d do that by swapping one undesirable bodybuild for another is beyond me. People who are already skinny are in a great position to start working out and put on good, healthy weight, so why are you instead encouraging them to pig out and get fat?

I’ll be honest, I see this as a symptom of an irritating attitude I’ve grown increasingly weary of in this participation-trophy culture that’s taking over modern society, where we’re raising a generation of children to believe that they don’t even need to try their best: just turning up is now apparently worthy of a pat on the back.

Now I have literally seen everything

Just look at the fucking pride on their black faces.

No, fuck that. How about instead we teach kids that failure is okay as long as we learn from it. You know, kind of like Batman already did.

What the fuck kind of message do you think you’re sending to kids by telling them not to shoot for the stars, but instead reach for the lowest possible hanging fruit and just do the bare minimum they can be bothered doing? What good do you think can come of encouraging this kind of mediocrity?

Don’t misunderstand me, I know that average is the best most of us can hope for, and funnily enough the vast majority of us resigned to that long before you stuck your oar in, that’s precisely why we have things like comics: they’re an escape into extraordinary worlds where even normal people can get bitten by a spider and suddenly become a hero instead of dying from radiation poisoning. The entire point of fantasy is to distract us from reality, not fucking remind us of it.

Even fucking children understand that these things are not meant to be real life: I watched Aladdin at least fifty times growing up, not once did I ever expect I would grow up to be an Arabian street urchin, and I don’t remember reading about a string of drowned children after they saw Finding Nemo and wanted to be fish.

So why do you feel the need to patronise grown fucking adults by going ‘psst, you see these fictional superheroes, designed to be the embodiment of physical perfection? They’re not actually real and they never could be. Okay, have fun.’

Great job, assholes, maybe your next campaign can be going into Santa’s Grotto and pulling off the dude’s beard, you fucking monsters.



Returning to a point I touched on a moment ago: Do you know why Superman is an impossible ideal? Because that is literally what he was designed to be. He was inspired by Samson and Hercules, themselves fictional embodiments of the unattainable male ideal*. But even if you didn’t know that, he’s called fucking SUPER man. Clue’s in the name, retards.

This is the problem I constantly run into when dealing with Social Justice fuckwits and idiotic campaigns like this: They make the assumption that everyone is as stupid as them and can’t distinguish between the real world and what they read in a book or see on a television screen.

Or maybe I’m giving the human race too much credit: Maybe I was the only one who was aware, while watching Avengers Assemble, that it wasn’t a lack of benching that meant I wasn’t fifteen feet tall like The Hulk.

This is why friends don't let friends skip Leg Day.

This is why friends don’t let friends skip Leg Day.

Furthermore, amongst the many, many reasons the campaign is stupid is that it somehow manages to be even more unrealistic than the unrealistic ideals it’s attempting to discredit. Yes, super powers aren’t even remotely real, so maybe you shouldn’t have picked Batman and Iron Man as two of your examples, because they don’t have any. They are, in fact, just buff dudes.

So let’s conduct a quick experiment. Bruce Wayne was trained by the League of Shadows and spends every night of his life running across rooftops and battering fuck out of criminals, except on bank holidays. With that regimen in mind, which real-life human being do you think he should resemble:

comparison realistic superheroesNow, the purpose of this exercise wasn’t to make fun of James Corden, but to point out that calling these bodies ‘unrealistic’ is utter nonsense. The TAS design of Batman is one of the more ridiculously proportioned, and yet GSP almost perfectly fits the bill, even going so far as to have considerably more developed traps than Bats.

Don’t feed me this shit about unrealistic body types when what you really mean is ‘figures that require exercise/actually caring about your body’. As I say, this isn’t about fat-shaming or anything like that, but despite what Tumblrinas likes to play make-believe about, let’s not pretend that being overweight is actually a good thing.

I smoked for six years, and I only quit because they jacked up the tax and because I was out of breath taking a shit, but I never once conned myself into believing that the stuff I was putting inside my body wasn’t killing me. I just didn’t care, because everybody dies. Why  certain groups have suddenly decided to start demonising fitness at a time when a large part of the Western world is in the sweaty grips of an unprecedented obesity crisis is utterly beyond me.

This is the same reason that I oppose the government constantly tightening the rules on alcohol prices and multi-buy deals: It’s not just because I miss getting twenty-four cans of Tennent’s for a tenner, but also because it’s completely two-faced so long as you can still sell gigantic cakes of Galaxy for £2 and get buy-one-get-one-free deals on microwave dinners that are literally dripping with fat.

Look, I’m not saying we should all be built like Tom Hardy, I understand that it takes an extreme level of work and dedication to maintain that kind of figure –a kind of devotion that most people don’t possess because, as I say, the majority of us are content with just being average– but that does not mean for one second that we should start to celebrate laziness and discourage people from striving for self-improvement.

If you want to be overweight that’s fine, I honestly don’t care, but don’t fucking dare denigrate the people who put blood, sweat and tears into pushing their bodies to their limits and being the best they can possibly be, and more than that don’t even shame those of us who work out, casually, just to stay trim and fit.

This new wave of fit-shaming, and I’m determined to shoehorn that into common parlance, reminds me of the people who boast about the fact they don’t read books, as though ignorance is something to be proud of. Again, if you don’t wanna read, I’m not gonna force you, but don’t act as if your voluntary idiocy is any sort of achievement.

Likewise, if you’d rather laze on the couch eating Doritos and watching The Chase, that’s your call, but realise that in doing so you forfeit your right to insult ‘gym-rats’ and anyone else who actually enjoys working out and reaps the rewards of doing so.

I think I’ve rambled enough here, so in closing I’d just say that while I think’s goals are admirable, they are way off target. Might I suggest, instead of attacking works of art based in fantasy, you instead go after the real-world gossip magazines that publicly shame real-life women for having the gall to put on a few pounds?

Wk-22-Now-Cover.1-gifAlso, one last aside: as utterly deplorable as I find those magazines, I would point out they wouldn’t exist if someone wasn’t buying them. Just some food for thought.

Have a great fucking day.

*Sorry to any Biblical scholars who believed that long hair could really give you magic powers.

Posted in Advice, Current Affairs, The World at Large., Top Tips for Living Well | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Highlights & Massive Shites: Gaming in 2014 (The Good)

Howdy y’all, remember when I used to moan about video games all the time, instead of video games journalism? Let’s do that again.

2014 was a pretty bare bones year for me in terms of new releases, so I really struggled to pull this list together. There either weren’t enough new games coming out that I was interested in or I was too busy working through the massive backlog I’ve accrued ever since the best second-hand store ever opened up the road from me, so what you see here will not only comprise the best and worst of new games I played this year, but pretty much all the new games I played, period.

Anyway, let’s get this show on the road, I’ll start with the good because that’s nicer, I guess, but also because I’m still trying to think of a third new game I played and hated in 2014.

Dangan Ronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc

Danganronpa_featureI’ve never been able to write about a visual novel game in one of these lists before because I always find out about them about three years after the fact, but since the internet has been abuzz with this game -courtesy of several fan translations before it was officially localised outside of Japan- I managed to only be slightly behind the curve this time around, which is about the best you can ever hope for, when you’re me (in 2015 I’m finally planning to check out that Game of Thrones thing.)

Anyway, my schedule aside, I can’t decide if Dangan Ronpa is a really easy or really difficult game to review, because the genre it belongs to will throw up an instant barrier to most normal people, straight out the gate. Basically, if you’re not familiar with visual novel style games, you spend approximately seventy to eighty percent of your time in them reading conversations between various characters with little to no player interaction bar hitting a button to advance the text on screen.

It’s a pretty hard concept to make sound appealing, I’ve always found, since you’re essentially just describing reading a manga with a CD on in the background, or watching an anime with no animation budget, if you prefer, but if you can get into the swing of it visual novel games can become as engrossing as, well, an actual novel. In all honesty, I’ve only played three so far, but with each one I’ve found myself sitting up until 6am because I had to see what would happen next; something that’s extremely rare in terms of story for any other genre of game I play.

Speaking of story, I should probably actually discuss that, since it’s what we’re here for: without giving too much away, Dangan Ronpa’s plot revolves around students who become trapped inside a high school and are coerced into murdering each other in order to secure their freedom as well as various different prizes. If you’re familiar with the short story And Then There Were None or the surprisingly brilliant movie adaptation of Clue, it’s extremely similar, and the fact I love both of those probably goes a long way toward why I enjoyed Dangan Ronpa so much.

The only catch, aside from the whole murdering another human being thing, is that the murderer must evade capture by the other students in order to win, which is where the gameplay elements come in.

After a murder is committed, you can investigate the crime scene for evidence, as well as interrogate other students, looking for inconsistencies in their alibis or for clues that might hint at who the real culprit is, all of which gets added into a file for the class trial, where all of the students face off against each other; hurling and refuting allegations in order to try and reveal the murderer.

The class trial section is the most gameplay-intensive portion of the game, and the only part where it’s actually possible to fail, (the trial won’t commence until you’ve discovered all possible evidence, as far as I can tell,) but even then your input is limited and you have to really go out of your way to fuck it up.

Gameplay during the trial stage is split into three basic modes. In one stage, you use ‘Truth Bullets’, which are made of the evidence you’ve acquired during your investigation, to destroy any statements being said which you believe contradict the facts. This is the only area I had a real problem with in the game, because there were one or two occasions when I knew why one character was full of shit, but I couldn’t figure out the combination of bullets and statements the game wanted me to use to arrive at the conclusion. This only happened once or twice, though, so it was hardly a deal-breaker and pretty much a problem that’s inevitable if you don’t want players trying to brute-force the game.

Another stage of the trial has you essentially play a shooter version of hangman to deduce a keyword that is relevant to the case, that can then be used to challenge another student’s statement. It’s pretty straightforward, although it took me until the final trial to realise you have to shoot the missing letters in the order that they occur in the word. So…PROTIP, I guess.

Once you catch another student in the midst of a lie, you enter into the third gameplay stage where you have to swat down their excuses via a little rhythm game which involves hitting one button to reload your Truth Bullets and another to fire at all the lies appearing on screen. The rhythm gradually picks up pace and your opponent can occasionally blind you, but I don’t think I ever lost one of these encounters so they’re really nothing too taxing. It is kind of a strange gameplay mechanic in contrast to the rest of the game, I guess, but it works well and is fun enough to never become a pain.

Danganronpa-Trigger-Happy-Havoc-PS-Vita-Oct-Media-Announcement-Screenshot-1The final part of the trial simply involves all students selecting who they believe to be the murderer and if they’re correct you’re rewarded with a short cutscene where that student is killed in a ridiculously elaborate fashion by Monokuma, the robot bear who’s holding you all hostage (I mentioned the robot bear, before, right?)

As I said, I find it difficult to make Dangan Ronpa sound appealing in writing, because so much of what makes it brilliant is the story and the characters who, despite looking like the most cliched anime tropes imaginable, are all surprisingly well written, to the point that I actually found myself empathising with the majority of them and being genuinely gutted when some of them turned out to be the murderer, especially because the game goes to great lengths to make their motives believable without falling back on deus ex machina; although the fact that it’s all there in front of you meant I did occasionally figure out the murderer before the trial had even started. Or maybe that’s just all those years of watching Jonathan Creek and Poirot finally paying off, who knows.

Anyhoo, if visual novel games aren’t your thing, then I really can’t recommend Dangan Ronpa as an ambassador, because the gameplay, while enjoyable, isn’t even remotely challenging and really only serves to break up the story sections because otherwise it would literally just be a visual novel. If you are into this genre, though, Dangan Ronpa definitely does enough different to stand out from the crowd and is well worth your time.

As an aside, if you are interested in getting into visual novels, and more specifically murder mystery types, then I’d recommend Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors as a more suitable point of entry; it’s almost identical in concept to Dangan Ronpa, but a lot lighter on the dialogue and even more basic in terms of gameplay. Plus it’s pretty old now so you can probably pick it up for super cheap.

Super Mario 3D World

super-mario-3d-world-GIANTThe main problem I always had with the Wii -stay with me, I promise I’m going somewhere with this- was that I felt the Wiimote never naturally integrated into normal games in a way that made leisurely play feasible. I know people like to make jokes about gamers being fat and lazy but fuck you: I work out three times a week because I want to stay in shape; when I play video games it’s because I want to relax and enjoy myself.

I’m not just talking about stuff like WiiFit, either: even though I made fun of it at the time I can get why people would want/benefit from it, but I never once felt that stuff like Super Mario Galaxy or Metroid Prime: Corruption were improved by forcing me to swing my controller around, and in fact, even though Corruption had some neat motion control functions, overall I felt it hampered my enjoyment of those games because I couldn’t just get comfy and enjoy my journey; I was constantly having to shake my arms about or hold the controller out in front of me and twist it in awkward ways.

I’ve beat this horse to death a million times, I know, but the reason I bring it up is because the thing I love about the WiiU is that its gimmicks, even in flagship titles, are largely optional, but even when I choose to use them, blowing into a controller or tapping a touch screen is a lot more seamless than doing my best impression of an epileptic fit.

Which brings me to Super Mario 3D World (seamless transition.)

3D World is probably the first Mario game I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed since Super Mario 64. Although I have a soft spot for Sunshine, it came out around the time I was beginning to burn out on Nintendo and their penchant for rehashing their big name IPs, and on repeat playthroughs I only ever make it past the first few worlds before getting bored.

On the other hand, I don’t know if I’m just softening with age, but Super Mario 3D World has been the most fun I’ve had with a video game in a long time. Actually that’s not quite right, it would be more accurate to say that 3D World has made me happier than any other game in recent memory. I don’t know if it’s the colourful worlds, which look indescribably beautiful in HD, the amazing music or the gleeful energy that Mario and his gang display as the scamper about the stages, but I seriously couldn’t stop smiling while I was playing.

The game effortlessly exudes charm in a way that all the snarky, bootleg Joss Whedon dialogue popularised in most AAA games couldn’t even dream of matching, though the gameplay itself is fairly standard fare for more recent Mario games: there are no star objectives but there are green stars to collect in every level, as well as stickers and the goal of hitting the top of the flagpole at the end of every level, for the particularly OCD completionists.

One of the things that impressed me most with 3D World is the variety in the levels. Even though, in the grand scheme of the Mario universe, there isn’t much new here in terms of enemies and locations, the methods of getting through each level vary wildly: The traditional platforming is frequently broken up with time trial levels, auto-scrollers, environment manipulation and riding on the back of the Loch Ness Monster.

Even if all of the ideas aren’t necessarily new, in and of themselves, the game mixes things up frequently enough that you feel compelled to keep playing just to see what you’ll get to do next, and the aforementioned collectibles means there’s also adequate reason to go back and play previous levels so all in all, I can’t recommend this game enough. If you’re a WiiU owner and you somehow haven’t yet picked this up, go and do it. Or I’ll hit you. Maybe not that last part, but I do think you’d like the game.


You my boy, Toad. You my boy.

Oh, and of course there are the Captain Toad levels, which despite being a gimmick on par with an iPhone game, I found so enjoyable that I played through entire worlds as fast as I could just so I could get to my next encounter with the greedy little treasure-hunting bastard. I love him so much.

Far Cry 4

farcry4I can’t remember why I never wrote a best & worst list the year Far Cry 3 came out, but I always regretted it because it is easily one of my favourite games of all time. As well as being the best unofficial Rambo game ever made, (and also incidentally infinitely better than the official Rambo game which was also shat out in 2014,) the thing I really loved about Far Cry 3 was that everything you did served a functional purpose.

I mentioned this as well in my review for The Darkness II, where every skill you can unlock is actually useful, but Far Cry 3 goes much, much further in that many of the skills you unlock are actually essential, depending on how you choose to play the game. Far Cry further expands on this with hunting, which allows you to craft various pouches to carry more ammo, weapons etc, and capturing radio towers and enemy bases, which allow for further exploration and fast travel, respectively.

As opposed to most games which would only reward you with a trophy/achievement, for these things, Far Cry gives you actual gameplay incentives to complete them, which certainly made scrabbling around in the dirt trying to remember what the fuck a tapir looks like feel a lot more worthwhile.

The thing I really admired about the game, and it’s successor, is that all of this is left up to the player, for the most part: you’re taught how to hunt, hijack radio signals and capture outposts, but after that the game essentially pats you on the arse and sends you off on your way to do more at your leisure, if you want to and, more importantly, how you want to.

A lot, and I mean a lot, of games boast about the freedom they afford the player to do things their way, Peter Molyneux in particular loves beating that drum to everyone’s amusement, but in action adventure games, you almost always find that freedom boils down to approaching things in one of two ways: either stealth or action, and each choice will have an pre-determined, optimised path tailor-made for that strategy.

Far Cry 3 & 4 have none of this.

If you want to take over an outpost without getting caught or raising any alarms, then you do it however you want. Find a vantage point and use a sniper rifle to take out targets, sneak inside the base from any direction, disable the alarms, and use a bow, throwing knives and stealth takedowns to silently dispatch every enemy or, in the case of Far Cry 4, just throw bait inside the base and wait for a bear to run in and wipe out everyone for you.

Bears have the added bonus of being masters of stealth.

Bears have the added bonus of being masters of stealth.

That’s still only a fraction of the options at your disposal, I’m really not exaggerating when I say you can use almost any strategy you can think of with the weapons and tools provided, although it does admittedly get a bit preposterous because enemies will only become alerted to your presence if they can directly see you, which can lead to ridiculous situations where you are blowing up soldiers left right and centre with explosive arrows, right in front of their allies, and they still won’t raise an alarm to call for backup unless they actually see you.

Occasional silliness aside, the freedom afforded, in Far Cry 4 especially, makes it a fantastic water cooler game, where everyone you speak to will have a different story about how they achieved certain goals, or just random shit that happened to them while they were playing. For example, at one point I ambushed an enemy convoy by using my map to determine what route they’d take, taking a shortcut through the mountains to get ahead of them, then laying C4 out on the road and just waiting for them to pass.

I didn’t have to do anything to trigger the event, there was no objective marker saying I had to be at the spot I chose and I didn’t fail the event if I didn’t specifically use C4. In fact, later in the game I opted for the brute force option and instead blew up the first truck, hijacked the second and used it to chase down and blow up the final truck. Whatever method you prefer, the fact I was allowed to choose my own strategy honestly felt amazing; there’s an indescribable satisfaction in watching a plan you’ve put together entirely by yourself reap rewards, as opposed to having the game railroad you into a pre-determined outcome, which is where Far Cry 4’s story falls flat, for me.

While I appreciate that by it’s very nature, a pre-written story can’t have the same fluidity as the rest of an open-world game, Far Cry 4’s story has a moral choice system that’s about on par with Fable III, where no matter what choice you make you’ll be told you’re a horrible person, no matter how stupid one, or both of the choices are.

One particularly egregious example occurs when you’re given the choice to either destroy or seize an opium plantation, and if you go with the option of not turning into the next Pablo Escobar, your supposedly progressive ally flies off the handle saying the money from trafficking drugs could have built schools or hospitals. Now, throughout the game, I was able to find enough treasure hidden around Kryat to completely refurbish my house, including installing a bloody helicopter pad, yet you’re telling me they couldn’t hock this shit to museums or the black market and make their fortune that way? This was the same woman telling me she didn’t give a shit about tradition, so she should have no scruples about selling historical artifacts, right?

This is really the crux of my issue with the story: your two main allies, Sabal and Amita are far less likeable or relatable than any of the villains; in fact I’d go so far as to call them a pair of pricks. I’m not sure if this was intentional to try and make some statement about the nature of justice or the ends justifying the means, but I found it incredibly frustrating as the player to be constantly getting shit on by my allies because they were forcing me to make their horrible decisions on their behalf.

Pagan Min on the other hand, the charismatic villain of the game, was actually by and far the most likeable and relatable character in the entire game, for me, and not even in the way that Heath Ledger’s Joker was endearing, as you might expect at the outset of the story.


That I find this man the most relatable says something bad. Either about me or the writers; I can’t be sure.

Without spoiling anything, once Min’s character arc comes full circle, you finally understand why he is the way he is and does what he does, a moment that also comes for his generals, Noore and Depleur, (the latter to an lesser extent, I admit,) but it never comes for the people you’re actually supposed to be helping win the war. It wound me up to the point that, if there had been an option at any point after the opium fields to join Pagan Min and crush the rebels I’d have jumped at the opportunity, but as it was, all I could do was let him leave Kryat alive.

That’s one point of credit I will give the game’s story: you’re occasionally given the choice to spare a character you’ve been ordered to kill, which is good because I had no desire to kill any of them, but for a game that affords so much freedom in every other aspect even this option still feels extremely restricted in ways that it wouldn’t have taken great pains to fix.

The game technically has six endings, by my count, but they all result in the exact same open-ended final scene where, rather than showing you any distinctive repercussions of your choices, like the Infamous series, you’re instead presented with a slightly different conversation and then plonked back into the game world, post-credits, to finish off whatever activities you hadn’t completed.

This is by no means a deal breaker, by any stretch of the imagination, but for a series that previously set a precedent in video game storytelling, the plot is probably the weakest aspect of Far Cry 4, although I will grant that Pagan Min is much more my kind of antagonist. All in all though, the game is definitely worth the hype and whether you played 3 or not, there is a huge amount here to enjoy.

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25 Obvious Drawbacks to Being a Blinkered Eunuch: An open letter to #FullMcIntosh

I realise I’m not exactly on the ball with this, but you have to understand I’ve spent the last week on my deathbed, suffering from an unrelentingly mild cold.

Anyway, my martyrdom aside, sometime last week, Jonathan ‘#FullMcIntosh’ McIntosh, king of the cuckolds and sexless lapdog of Anita Sarkeesian, released a video called ’25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Male’. I understand it was based on an article he’d previously written for one of the axis of evil sites, probably Kotaku or something, shit I don’t know. I’m still not firing on all cylinders, do your own god damn research.

What I will do is link you to two excellent videos I’ve seen, here & here, made in response to, and which both contain, the original video, because I’ll be damned if I’m giving this dickless lunatic any more traffic.

As for me, I’m going old school and writing a response based on the transcript of the video, because listening to my voice is a punishment no one should have to endure unless absolutely necessary.

So, watch the videos or read my response or do both, but let’s all share a laugh at the batshit insanity that is the Bay Area SJW Machine, grinding into full-on White Knight Mode.

[As usual, the original points are in italics, while my responses will be in bold. Or maybe it’s usually the other way round. Fuck if I know.]

  1. I can choose to remain completely oblivious, or indifferent to the harassment that many women face in gaming spaces.

It’s less indifference and more that I rarely actually see it happening.

Certainly, I have seen shitposting responded to in kind with shitposting, but I can happily go on record and state that I have never seen a woman being flat-out harassed in a gaming space, purely for being a woman.

That’s not to excuse the harassment that I have seen, but merely to point out that there are usually other factors in play and that they are not always gender exclusive.

In fact, the one and only time I do remember a woman being criticised for her gender was because she felt the need to bring it up in literally every post she made. Every time she was criticised for saying something utterly retarded, she would reply with ‘it’s just because I’m a woman, isn’t it!’ like some gender-swapped fucking Ali G sketch; almost as though she was using her gender as a shield from legitimate criticism and, shit, why does that sound so familiar…

This is one of my all-time favourite images.

This is one of my all-time favourite images.

  1. I am never told that video games or the surrounding culture is not intended for me because I am male.

No, but I have been accused of being a poser, not just in gaming but in other communities, because my tastes don’t match the status quot of whatever group I’m currently engaging.

For example, I was called a hipster for reading Naruto, in spite of the fact that I also read a lot of obscure/niche manga, (as well as a wealth of yaoi and shojo titles. It’s almost as though I just read what interests me, regardless of demographics…) purely because the self-appointed arbiter of tastes in this particular debate had decided that anyone who liked Naruto couldn’t be a ‘real manga fan.’

Once again, this is not a gender issue but more a problem that stems from the elitist assholes that always spring up in every community, who appoint themselves as gatekeepers of that particular hobby or interest and will use any reason to try and shut you and anyone else they deem unworthy out of it.

Here’s the thing, though: Most normal people really don’t give a shit, we just wanna do our thing in peace, and if you’re cool with that then we’re cool with you.

  1. I can publicly post my username, gamertag or contact information online without having to fear being stalked or sexually harassed because of my gender.

Whether you’ve a cock or a minge, this is generally an inadvisable thing to do.

Here’s a fun fact: I used to have some very basic, but potentially identifiable, personal information on my YouTube profile, right up until I got in an argument with a fundamentalist Muslim in the comments section of a video and he started saying stuff like ‘man is the most dangerous beast of all, they should be wiped from the Earth.’ Now, I don’t know if he was for real, or if he was just fucking with me, but it put the shits up me enough to take down absolutely any and all information from my page.

If you truly believe that there are no negative repercussions for a guy making his info publicly available then I recommend heading over to Encyclopedia Dramatica and checking out the trolling section; you’ll discover that trolls are actually very equal opportunities when it comes to making the lives of internet famewhores a living hell.

All that being said, any man who still disagrees is more than welcome to send their bank details/PIN my way.

  1. I will never be asked to “prove my gaming cred” simply because of my gender.

I suspect that this is only really an issue because a lot of the people this video was in defence of have repeatedly proven that they in fact have no ‘gamer cred’. Anita Sarkeesian, in particular, has demonstrated on several occasions, when she isn’t just flat-out admitting it, that she knows absolutely nothing about video games yet still somehow considers herself equipped to complain about them.

Let me be perfectly clear: I don’t care who you are, criticising from a position of ignorance is never going to win you friends. Or, as I less eloquently put it on Twitter: Sarkeesian is a critic of video games in the same way that I’d be a critic of mechanics if I walked into a garage and told a grease monkey he was holding that spanner like a cunt.

  1. If I enthusiastically express my fondness for video games no one will automatically assume I’m faking my interest just to “get attention” from other gamers.

I won’t necessarily assume that, but I will find you fucking annoying, regardless. Before GamerGate kicked off, I was actually pretty tight-lipped about my passion for gaming, outside of contexts where I considered it appropriate to talk about it, because I realised something the majority of hobbyists struggle to grasp: Not everyone gives a shit.

The thing is I can think of very few situations where it would be necessary to actually make this assertion. If you’re in a game-orientated space, most people are going to assume you’re there because you like games;  enthusiastically expressing your fondness for games in this environment would be like standing up in a pub and screaming ‘I LOVE PINTS’; pointless at best, needless attention-seeking at worst.

If it’s not a game-orientated space, then why are you ‘enthusiastically expressing’ your love for gaming, at all? That’s like standing up in the pub and screaming ‘I LOVE BEARS’, which I’ve been repeatedly asked to stop doing by the duty manager of at least three different Wetherspoon’s.

Again, though, in terms of the specific kind of women I know this video is referring to, I think an apt analogy is that of the one guy everyone knew in high school who had had, like, just absolutely all of the sex.

Every Monday morning he’d strut in and tell you -in the most vividly graphic detail that an adolescent mind who’s actual knowledge of sex was based entirely upon stolen glances at Eurotrash when mum and dad left the Sky remote unsupervised can provide- about the latest girl they’d slept with, who almost always went to a school conveniently just outside the social reach of anyone who might poke holes in this lofty tale.

Essentially, what I’m saying is that people who have to constantly big up how totally into something they are are usually the ones who have the least actual experience with what they’re talking about, because the people with a genuine interest in the topic at hand are too busy engaging in that activity to wax lyrical about it.

Or if I can be even more succinct: If you want to know how into guitars someone is, don’t ask how many guitars they own or who they think the best guitarist is: just take a look at their fingertips. That’ll tell you everything you need to know.

  1. I can look at practically any gaming website, show, or magazine and see the voices of people of my own gender widely represented.

Maybe this is my White Male Privilege™ talking, but I honestly don’t get why this matters, because when I’m reading the review for a game all I really want to know is whether or not it’s a fun game, and how it shapes up compared to other games in the same genre.

By all means, throw in a bit of personal feelings, but since no one is me but me, whether you’re a man or a woman, anything you say based on your own personal prejudices will be largely irrelevant to me, as far as game reviews go.

If I’m looking for advice on poppers or cock-rings then, yeah, I’d probably want to stick exclusively to the views of men but, in matters of a unisex hobby like gaming, all I need you to tell me is whether or not the game works and if it’s entertaining.

That this is apparently a problem says a lot more about you than it does about me, to be honest.

  1. When I go to a gaming event or convention, I can be relatively certain that I won’t be harassed, groped, propositioned or catcalled by total strangers.

Well, I’ve never been to one, so I can’t claim to speak from any kind of experience, but as I understand it almost every modern con has a zero-tolerance anti-harassment policy in place to stamp out behaviour like this. In fact, I recall reading that even if you’re just being a creeper to people as part of your character, you’ll still get your arse kicked to the kerb if you refuse to stop.

If I could say one thing, though, and I realise this could be seen as defending the aggressor or victim-blaming and I should probably put up trigger warnings or some shit but fuck it: This year I’ve worked a lot a of comic marts and conventions as part of my new job, and I’ve met a lot of lovely people. I’ve also met some right fucking herberts, but a lot of them aren’t weird for the sake of it, they’re just the stereotypically socially maladjusted young men who gravitate towards geek culture, and they’re actually still really nice guys, they just have no idea how to talk to someone and not sound insane and, yes, this probably will be exacerbated when they are placed in the vicinity of an attractive woman in a latex mini-skirt and fuck-me boots.

Like I say, I’m not excusing inappropriate behaviour, all I’m saying is that people are often too quick to attribute malice or otherwise lascivious intent to the actions of someone who honestly just doesn’t know any better; much of what I’ve seen and heard labelled as harassment is actually just social awkwardness created by people who have no idea how to normally interact with anyone, man or woman.

(And before someone jumps down my throat, no I’m not including groping in that caveat, but like I say there is security on-hand to deal with anything of that kind of nature.)

  1. I will never be asked or expected to speak for all other gamers who share my gender.

I really, really don’t get this one. No one asked Anita Sarkeesian to speak on behalf of all female gamers, in fact I’d bet my balls to a barndance that the majority of them wish she’d shut her fucking mouth and stop claiming to.

  1. I can be sure that my gaming performance (good or bad) won’t be attributed to or reflect on my gender as a whole.

The 14 year old boy who called me a cocksucking homo for no-scoping him in CoD says otherwise.

  1. My gaming ability will never be called into question based on unrelated natural biological functions.

Okay, that one’s true, because I had no problem no-scoping him again, later on, while I was fucking his mum.

  1. I can be relatively sure my thoughts about video games won’t be dismissed or attacked based solely on my tone of voice, even if I speak in an aggressive, obnoxious, crude or flippant manner.

I’ve actually been told on numerous occasions that people find my writing style condescending and abrasive to the point that they want to punch me in the face. So, nope, you don’t get to claim talking like a passive-aggressive arsehole as the sole domain of the vagina, either.

  1. I can openly say that my favorite games are casual, odd, non-violent, artistic, or cute without fear that my opinions will reinforce a stereotype that “men are not real gamers.”

What are you, five years old? Who gives a shit what some random thinks about your taste in games? Who are you saying this to, actually? I’ve wondered that about a lot of this, because you talk like there’s some sort of interview process to get a position as a gamer.

Again, if you’re so insecure that you spend this much time worrying about what other people think of you because you like Cooking Mama then might I suggest that your problems lie within.

  1. When purchasing most major video games in a store, chances are I will not be asked if (or assumed to be) buying it for a wife, daughter or girlfriend.

Only because they can tell by looking at me that I’m going to die alone.

Seriously, though, I would take this banal small talk any day over GAME trying to shove ‘disc insurance’ down my throat or beating me over the head with the pre-order catalogue every time I go in.

Also, I love that ‘or assumed to be’ in brackets, there, as though you have absolutely any way of knowing who the person ringing up your copy of GTA V thinks you’re buying it for, assuming they care at all, which they most likely don’t because they’re probably more concerned with whether or not they’ll still have a job next week.

Moreover, though, this point is complete and utter bullshit, because you know damn well that if I was to go into a store and buy the latest iteration of Just Dance –one of the best-selling current video game series– the cashier would not in a million years assume I was buying it for myself.

They would be mistaken.

  1. The vast majority of game studios, past and present, have been led and populated primarily by people of my own gender and as such most of their products have been specifically designed to cater to my demographic.

There are several problems that I have with this, but the main one is the presumption that all men apparently think alike. This is obviously not true, because if it was there would only be one type of video game, instead of thousands of different genres spanning almost every conceivable interest you can think of.

More than that, though, I don’t know if I should find it insulting or just intellectually dishonest for you to imply that just because a man makes something I have to enjoy it.

There isn’t just a demographic called ‘Men’ into which absolutely every male-orientated product is poured. This determination to reduce an entire half of the species down to their base biological components is genuinely fucking freaky, and it’s freakier still that you seem completely oblivious of this fact.

Then again, you are the same people who regularly try to claim I hate things just because they are made by women, even though that would technically mean I have to hate myself, so maybe I’m expecting too much of you to assume that even you have any idea what you’re on about.

  1. I can walk into any gaming store and see images of my gender widely represented as powerful heroes, dastardly villains and non-playable characters alike.

Okay, I actually looked up the Top 10 best-selling PS4 games on Play to test this theory, because I don’t know who’s actually still using brick and mortar stores in 2014. Here’s a selection of the representation I am currently receiving as a straight white male, courtesy of AAA marketing:

Pictured: Patriarchy in Action

Pictured: Patriarchy in Action

Well shit, four out of the eight games in the Top 10 (2 spaces are occupied by a spare controller and a camera peripheral) feature either a woman, non-white man or dead-eyed burlap effigy as the focal point of their covers. How about that?

Alright, I admit I’m being disingenuous here, AAA gaming does have a disproportionate number of male protagonists, but my rebuttal to that is two-fold:

I: Men make up the majority of AAA game sales and

II: Who gives a shit?

Seriously, why do you care what is between the legs of the faceless cypher you are piloting around the latest Battlefield? And before you say I’m arguing from a position of privilege, I welcome you to slap as many titties on Assassin’s Creed as you like, make them a giant rolling ball of titties for all I care –a Katamammary, if you will- as long as you make the game fun and not a broken pile of micro-transactions and shoehorned-in online play.

  1. I will almost always have the option to play a character of my gender, as most protagonists or heroes will be male by default.

Again, not only is this only really true of the AAA market, which has grown stagnant for numerous reasons, it’s not even really the case there, when a large portion of modern games allow you to create your own character.

Such oppression.

Such oppression.

Even with that, I’m still not fully clear on why this is necessarily seen as a benefit, given that a big part of a hobby like gaming is escapism: when I play video games I don’t necessarily want to be me. In truth, being the weeaboo fucktard that I am, I will always jump at the option to play as any kind of Asian-looking race whenever I can, so by your logic I should be every bit as up in arms as you that, to date, only one game has catered to my very specific fantasy of being Lee Byung-Hun.

No, in reality, I will play any game as any character provided that either the character or the game is good; ideally both, but it was only the fact that I found Nilin to be a genuinely engaging character that I suffered through the crushing mediocrity of Remember Me.

Also, I’m really still not getting this ‘I can only play as what I am’ mentality; do you think that race of tiger-people in Skyrim was put in there to cater to all the cats that would be playing the game?

The most under-represented demographic of all.

The most under-represented demographic of all.

  1. I do not have to carefully navigate my engagement with online communities or gaming spaces in order to avoid or mitigate the possibility of being harassed because of my gender.

Even by the especially low standards by which I judge this tripe, this statement is exceptionally nebulous. I’m really not sure how to refute this one because I’m not entirely sure what it’s trying to say.

What I think it might mean is either that you’re repeating the thing about personal information or you’re saying that if you talk shit online you might end up getting shit on in return.

My advice would be to not act like a dick online, personally, but I know that’s something you people really seem to struggle with.

  1. I probably never think about hiding my real-life gender online through my gamer-name, my avatar choice, or by muting voice-chat, out of fear of harassment resulting from my being male.

Actually, this was pretty true up until GamerGate started. I had never felt the need to disguise who I was online until SJWs started doxxing us and sending more vocal members syringes, knives and dead animals in the post; and that’s when they’re not busy getting people fired from their jobs for drawing satirical webcomics.

So I guess in that respect you guys have actually achieved some modicum of equality.

Congratulations, I guess?

  1. When I enter an online game, I can be relatively sure I won’t be attacked or harassed when and if my real-life gender is made public

No, I’ll just be called a shitfucking niggertit for getting sniped for the twelfth god damn time in a row in TF2 and costing my team the match and it’s not my fault if my connection is shit, you guys, fuck this I’m going outside.

  1. If I am trash-talked or verbally berated while playing online, it will not be because I am male nor will my gender be invoked as an insult.

Christ on ice skates, would you morons stop taking this shit so god damn personally. Do you know how many times in my life I’ve been called a poof because I don’t like football, or because I wear tight clothes and have a ridiculously high-pitched nasally voice that sounds halfway between Brian Molko and Lily Savage?

I don’t take it personally, though, because I know I’m straight, and therefore I know that these people are only saying this to me to try and piss me off -because even though it’s 2014 they’re still labouring under the pretense that being gay is somehow an insult- whereas if they wanted to personally attack me they’d go after one of my many legitimate physical and/or character flaws.

What I’m getting at is that people are always going to talk smack online, and by flipping your shit every time they have a pop at you, all you are doing is giving them exactly what they want. This is schoolyard psychology: the absolute best thing you can do with these people is acquiesce to their claims, because it leaves them nowhere to run and, honestly, it’s fun to watch them get all salty when their weak-arse trolling backfires on them.

That’s why now, when someone in the YouTube comments calls me a faggot because I listen to Slipknot, rather than waste time calling them an idiot -valid an observation though that may be- I instead ask them what bearing my love for cock has on me thinking that Iowa is a really good album. If I’m in a particularly go-fuck-yourself mood, I’ll occasionally start flirting with them just to really shit them up.

Honestly, I implore you to give it a go next time someone is trying to wind you up: Just agree with everything they say and see how long it takes them to throw an absolute wobbler and ragequit.

  1. While playing online with people I don’t know I won’t be interrogated about the size and shape of my real-life body parts, nor will I be pressured to share intimate details about my sex life for the pleasure of other players.

Not only do I not deny that this happens, I have actual documented evidence of it. Unfortunately, that evidence also proves that normal male gamers think the guys who engage in this kind of stuff are fucking losers.

[Maybe also worth noting that the particular damsel in that video doesn’t take any of the guy’s shit, and holds her own pretty well, as opposed to running off to Twitter and begging for Patreon donations. Just some food for thought.]

  1. Complete strangers generally do not send me unsolicited images of their genitalia or demand to see me naked on the basis of being a male gamer.

I’m surprised I’ve lasted this long, but I’m afraid I finally have to play the Welcome to the Internet™ card, here. Once more, I’m not excusing this behaviour, but nor am I accepting that it only exists within the gaming community, and nor am I accepting that it is a one-way street.

I have received a shit-ton of nudey photos from ladies in my time on the internets, some unsolicited, though I wasn’t complaining, and generally speaking I’ll whip the old soldier out for any adult who asks to see it because, at the end of the day, it’s just a cock.

I know that people like to pretend that this is the sign of society’s decaying moral fibre, but the reality is the only reason we haven’t been doing it before now is because we didn’t have the technology.

Need proof? Did you think it was all time-travellers who were sending those grainy polaroids into Reader’s Wives?

Anyway, this is just something that we’re going to have to deal with as we adapt to this new digital social media age, and whether unexpected schlongs in your inbox really is endemic to online interaction or the result of a few relatively isolated cases, it’s just one of the unfortunate downsides to online anonymity.

That being said, just like our justice system undoubtedly occasionally lets a guilty man go, I will take that any day over one with a 100% conviction rate that regularly marches innocent people to their death.

  1. In multiplayer games I can be pretty sure that conversations between other players will not focus on speculation about my “attractiveness” or “sexual availability” in real-life.

I feel like I’ve already covered this point. If I didn’t know better I’d say y’all were just padding the fuck out of this list to get it up to a nice, round, marketable figure.

  1. If I choose to point out sexism in gaming, my observations will not be seen as self-serving, and will therefore be perceived as more credible and worthy of respect than those of my female counterparts, even if they are saying the exact same thing.

Yes, that is why websites like Kotaku and Polygon are held in such high esteem and hacks -sorry- ‘journalists’ like Ben Kuchera aren’t regularly called out for their yellow journalism, bullying tactics and downright hypocritical horseshit.

Here’s the long and short of it: No one points out sexism in gaming without an agenda, because to accuse anything of sexism is to fire a warning shot straight into a crowd of protesters; you’ve marched into a debate on race relations with your Klan outfit on; you’re a forty year old guy at a karaoke bar in torn blue jeans and a leather jacket.

We all know you’re here to sing Bon Jovi.

If you want to have a conversation about the genuine problems that do exist in AAA gaming, or even if you want to ask why certain conventions are still adhered to, I am happy to have that debate, but what #FullMcIntosh and his gang do is not simply ask or try to foster discussion.

They preach a totalitarian viewpoint from their Twitter pulpit, with highly abrasive language, unfounded accusations and outright lies, deliberately trying to provoke a reaction from people so they can then turn around and brand anyone who tries to point this out as unbelievers, as enemies of change.

This is why nobody wants to hear what any of you have to say -as well as the fact that it’s all ill-informed bullshit, sourced from the delusional wonderland of your own sick mind- but mainly because there’s absolutely no point in arguing with someone who has made it clear they have no intention of ever changing their stance on a given issue.

  1. Because it was created by a straight white man, this checklist will likely be taken more seriously than if it had been written by virtually any female gamer.

Bullshit. If you want to read some extremely logical, well-written thoughts on gamer culture go read Lizzy F’s stuff; that lady has more video game knowledge in her pinky-finger than you fucks do in your collective Bay Area hivemind.

Okay, that about wraps it up, I think. If you made it all the way to the end of another one of my overly long tirades about vidya then well done; just three more stamps on your loyalty card and you can redeem your free erotically charged haiku from yours truly.

Reach for the stars, baby.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gaming, The World at Large. | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

On the ‘Death’ of #GamerGate

I’ve been seeing a lot of hullabaloo in the last few days regarding the death of GamerGate; detractors loudly cheering that the witch is finally dead despite trending statistics suggesting that it’s still going, strong as ever.

My God...what a bloodbath.

My God…what a bloodbath.

Here’s the thing: Even if your latest string of laughably biased hit pieces had had any effect on us, GamerGate will never die.

The thing people still haven’t grasped is that GamerGate is not a battle, not in the traditional sense anyway, it’s a mindset: It reflects the general consensus of a large part of the gaming community that games media in it’s current form has had its day. We come from all walks of life, despite your claims to the contrary, and we’re all tired of watching you spin your lunatic narrative, in bold defiance of evidence and basic common sense.

At first, we tried asking for answers, we tried to get both sides of every story, but these agenda-driven, exploitative websites have made it clear, for the most part, that they are uninterested in being even-handed and utterly unrepentant for their more abhorrent behaviours, so we’ve decided to move on to greener pastures; to sites where free discussion is allowed and both sides of the story are reported on, not just the one that suits whatever the current groupthink is in GJP.

"This is a discussion focused site, but if you write anything we disagree with you're gone."

“We are a discussion focused site, but if you say anything we disagree with you’re gone.”

We’ve never told people not to visit the sites we’re leaving behind, but we have put out blacklists explaining why WE aren’t going there anymore and we HAVE e-mailed advertisers simply to tell them why we’re leaving and, in some cases why we, personally, can’t buy their products for as long as they support certain publications, because that kind of data is valuable for any company, (if I was funneling millions into marketing every year, I’d want to know my ads were reaching the right people.)

[Quick sidenote, directly to journalists who are salty about this, particularly in regard to our more recent focus on Gawker Media in the wake of Sam Biddle’s rather off-colour remarks about bullying: What we’re doing here is absolutely no different to what Ben Kuchera did to Erik Kain, (remember, when he, in his own words, attempted to hurt Kain’s career, based on a personal vendetta,) so don’t get your panties in a bunch when your own tools are used against you, just because we wield them more effectively than you. I know hypocrisy is what you’re very best at in the world, but all it does is feed us more proof of your sanctimonious bullshit.]

This is the important part, though: we’ve moved on, but we haven’t settled down. If sites like Niche Gamer suddenly start launching baseless attacks at their audience, or anyone else for that matter, we’ll try a ‘dude, WTF’ once, maybe twice, then abandon the site and find a new one.

Because we, as consumers, are beholden to no one but ourselves.

If Based Milo turned around tomorrow and said ‘Fuck you stinking gamers, you’re all paedophiles’ and meant it, we’d cut him loose; if it turned out that IA had been using his boosted popularity to somehow fund a hidden Patreon account and he admitted he’d been scamming us all along, we wouldn’t wax lyrical about how he had our best interests at heart and it was all a big misunderstanding, we’d kick his ass to the fucking curb.

This is the difference between us and you, the sycophants who spend all day blowing smoke up each others arses to make sure you’re covered when you need to make yet another career move from Polygon to Kotaku to RPS to wherever; only ever showing hostility to those members of your fold who refuse to join in on the circle-jerk.

Our single allegiance is to the spirit of GamerGate which, when you strip it down to its core, is that professionals, in any capacity, and the companies that they represent should be accountable for their actions. We’re not here to build new idols in the shape of the old gods, this isn’t an out with the old in with the new deal; we’re simply saying ‘you no longer cater to us, so we’re not coming here anymore’.

That’s why GamerGate will never die and that’s why you have consistently failed to kill it: because the name doesn’t matter, what matters is the idea, and you can’t kill an idea, not without forcing thousands of people to suddenly, simultaneously change how they think.

Even once the hashtag peters out, and it probably will, when we eventually lose interest and go back to life as normal, so long as we hold onto that single unshakeable ideal, and continue to believe that truth and accountability are more important than fairweather friends and your feels, GamerGate will live forever.

And, to paraphrase Old God Jim Sterling, that’s what really scares you, isn’t it? That you can’t control us, because we think for ourselves.

Because if there’s one thing you absolutely detest, it’s free thought.

Posted in Current Affairs, Gaming, The World at Large., Top Tips for Living Well | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Attention, Games Journalists: Mum & Dad are Finally Coming Home, and They are PISSED

h5WqpM1It’s the little things in life that really make you smile, you know?

The above is an e-mail sent by Intel to one of the #GamerGate supporters who have been part of Operation Disrespectful Nod: A co-ordinated campaign to target the advertisers of gaming websites who pushed the original slew of ‘Gamers are Dead’ hit pieces, and have continued to just generally be antagonistic fuckwits in the weeks, following.

People have been e-mailing the advertisers to let them know they’re not particularly thrilled at being called racist, misogynistic white guys when they are often none of those things, and that they cannot in good conscience continue to buy that advertiser’s goods or services so long as they support a publication which perpetuates these stereotypes.

In some circles (i.e. people with access to a dictionary,) this is known as a ‘boycott’, to some journos and seemingly the majority of anti-GG supporters, it’s censorship.

Matt Lees Spin it Again

Bull. Shit.

You wanna talk censorship? Censorship is making the simple mention of a topic a bannable offense on your site. Censorship is editing comments on forums to remove dissenting opinions against your one-sided hit pieces. Censorship is Ben fucking Kuchera attempting to bully another editor for a website he has nothing to do with into shutting down rational discussions because he doesn’t like what is being discussed.

Seriously, go fuck yourself, Ben.

Seriously, go fuck yourself, Ben.

What censorship is not is consumers exercising their right to withdraw their own custom from companies which support something they disagree with.

As far as I’m aware, GamerGate has never officially pressured or threatened other people who continue to buy goods and services from these companies [I say ‘officially’ purely to negate the inevitable examples of trolls being trolls, which have nowt to do with GG]: all we have done is state why we, personally, aren’t giving them our custom.

It’s sort of like how we’ve never actually tried to silence people like Leigh Alexander. Quite the opposite, in fact: We’ve went out of our way to make everyone very much aware of all the lovely things she’s said.

I'm sure she's really just misunderstood...

I’m sure she’s really just misunderstood…

GamerGate is not about censorship, and never has been. It is about consumers being allowed to have their voices heard. If you don’t like what we say, that’s fine: challenge us on it. But please, when we present you with the evidence that backs up our argument, at least have the balls to accept you’re wrong instead of just running the fuck away.

I don't care if you hand-embroider it onto a lacey throw pillow or carve it into a dead horse's arse: 2+2 still equals 4.

I don’t care if you hand-embroider it onto a lacey throw pillow or carve it into a dead horse’s arse: 2+2 still equals 4.

"It's not proof unless I agree with it!"

“It’s not proof unless I agree with it!”

Trying to call this recent victory for GG an act of censorship further shows how utterly delusional these people are: they literally cannot process anything that doesn’t gel with their rigidly held worldview, to the point where they have to completely change the meaning of words to suit their own warped needs.

Then again, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised: They’ve been calling video games misogynistic for years when they clearly have no fucking idea what the word means.

I've got such a hate-boner for dames, right now. UNFF.

Pictured: Dumb Mini-Game. Not Pictured: Hatred of Women.

The most annoying thing about this, though, is that the people who are saying going after advertisers is too much are acting as though that was our first port of call; completely ignoring all the paths we tried to take before now. We tried to discuss it on forums, the threads were locked; we tried to talk to you on Twitter, we were blocked; we tried presenting differing viewpoints on your articles, our comments were deleted.

At this point, all I can really say is this: You could have stopped this. You could have ended this any time you wanted, all you had to do was admit you fucked up and put a new ethics policy in place, like The Escapist did –notice how popular based Archon has been since coming up with the world-beating idea to actually listen to his audience?– and agree to be completely transparent in your dealings with devs/publishers and all of this would have been over.

You refused.

Instead, you have attempted to silence us at every single turn when, if you actually had any conviction in your beliefs, logically granting us the basic courtesy to let us have our say would have been your best option. After all, if you had been correct in your assertion that we were just a vocal minority, all in the wrong, we’d have been quickly eclipsed by a weight of evidence that exists to contradict us.

If you had just done that, all this could have been over and done with within a week, but in reality you knew no such evidence existed to shut us down –while we have ever increasing mountains of proof to corroborate all the shady shit you’ve been getting up to– which is why you instead chose to lock the doors and sling shit at us from atop your ivory towers.

At every juncture we have been roundly told to fuck off: you have tried to rob of us our voice, and then our identity, and you really thought we’d just give up and go away? You left us no other choice but to go for the money, the lifeblood of your websites, and so that is what we did.

Because we are gamers, and we play to win.

How the anti-GG crowd have reacted to this new development only further solidifies my original theory for why a lot of the games journalists have acted in the abhorrent way they have, during GamerGate, as well as how many of them have conducted themselves for years (again, fuck Ben Kuchera).

I don’t mean the ones with a political axe to grind, we all know what their game is, but the ones who have been consistently and disproportionately hostile to anyone who has approached them, politely or otherwise; seemingly for no rational reason.

Yeah, I'm never letting this one go.

Yeah, I’m never letting this one go.

A lot, if not the majority, of these people have no prior professional experience as journalists, academic or otherwise: they’re literally just bloggers who kept at it and eventually caught a break; you trace most of them back to their roots I guarantee that’s what you’ll find. Because of this, they haven’t gone through any of the formal training that a real journalist would have to in order not to do any of the stupid shit they have been doing.

As many people have pointed out, if these journos publicly conducted themselves the way they do in almost any other profession they’d be claiming unemployment within a week, and rightly so. You try going into your work tomorrow and telling your customers to go fuck themselves, see how long you last.

Sadly this is not what has happened in games journalism: They’ve been left to their own devices for years, and they’ve grown accustomed to a certain way of working that, while completely unprofessional and often highly unethical, they were allowed to get away with and so they never questioned it and eventually became completely comfortable with it. Honestly, I can’t say I blame them entirely: if any of us were being given free games all the time and getting flown to shit like E3, would we complain?

Of course, over time that indulgence has bled into outright corruption, as it so often does, but there’s also the factor that a lot of these guys are just plain lazy and don’t wanna change how they work: imposing standards means that their output will be held up to a level of rigor it never was before and that means they’ll need to work a lot harder.

After all, what’s harder: Meticulously researching a reasoned article that cites references supporting both sides of an issue, or shitting out a lunatic fluff piece about how kissing your wife as part of a tutorial on stealth will teach players to associate murder with romance?

If I had a penny for every time I've went to kiss a woman and accidentally snapped her neck, instead, I'd apparently be Zach Gage.

If I had a penny for every time I’ve went to kiss a woman and accidentally snapped her neck, instead, I’d apparently be Zach Gage.

That’s the real reason so many of them are pissed off, and it hasn’t got a damn thing to do with misogyny: They’re pissed because while their parents have been away they’ve just been fucking up the house and eating whatever the hell they want, staying up late to watch TV and having crazy parties with all their dumbass friends…well now the parents have come home, and they want to enforce structure and ways of behaving and so, naturally, the bratty entitled journalists the industry has nurtured are throwing a shit fit and chucking all their toys out of the pram.

Honestly, I know they’ve used that analogy about gamers, but it makes so much more sense when you apply it to the attitudes these guys have been displaying for almost two month, now. Irrational completely disproportionate outburts, saying grossly offensive things just to provoke a reaction…they’re acting like gobby teenagers, right down to the, ‘I HATE YOU, YOU’RE NOT MY REAL AUDIENCE,’ articles they’ve all been throwing up.

Honestly, at this point they’re about one step from posting their top ten Linkin Park songs on their fucking Deadjournals.

TL;DR: These people don’t want to be professional because it’s never been asked of them before. It’s essentially the difference between someone who earns a million dollars and someone who is given it: the person who earned it will most likely invest it wisely in order to accrue more wealth, because they understand the value of every dollar they earn, whereas someone who just gets thrown a pile of money and told to go nuts will almost always fritter it away on gaudy, transparent displays of wealth like a fancy car or a Rolex until all the money has gone and then they quietly disappear back into the mediocrity from whence they came and where they probably belong.

Posted in Advice, Current Affairs, Gaming | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Let Me Tell You Why I’m Right: The Fallacy of the ‘Gaming Boys Club’ Mentality

A couple of weeks ago, I ended an article about the gender disparity in gaming by citing a study that claims women now make up the biggest demographic of gamers in the world.

I hereby retract that claim.

I’ve since discovered two extremely interesting Youtube videos debunking the stats, which highlight the difference between what the study considered a ‘gamer’ and what a gamer actually is.

In reality, the study was essentially running through the street and grabbing any woman with an iPhone in her hand, or who was leaning next to a Gamestop, and throwing them into the stats calling them gamers.

In the least elitist way possible, just playing a round of Angry Birds while you wait for the bus does not make you a gamer; no more than picking up a guitar and strumming out a single chord makes you a guitarist.

That isn’t to denigrate games like Angry Birds or Bejeweled or Farmville: Truth be told I’ve played all of them, obsessively, in the past. In fact, during my edgy fuck-the-world phase, I dedicated two months of my life to turning my Farmville farm into a giant Nazi flag, complete with isometric eagle pattern. I can’t begin to describe to you the amount of planning, preparation and scheduling that went into doing something this god damn stupid.

I'd love to tell you I wasn't kinda proud of this, but...

I’d love to tell you I wasn’t kinda proud of this, but…

The point is, the study’s findings were not an accurate representation of the demographics which comprise core gamers; that is, people for whom gaming is more than just a way to kill five minutes, and is in fact a big part of their identity, something they engage in on a near-daily basis and frequently discuss with others, online and in real life, often leading to heated debates on hot-button issues.

And that group? Well, I admittedly don’t have any stats to back this up, but from anecdotal evidence I’ve gathered, that group is mostly made up of young to middle-aged males.

So what does this mean? That there are no girls? Nope, there are of course still girls who play the same games as the core demographic, and there are hardcore gamers who are female, it’s just that they happen to comprise a much smaller percentage of the gaming community than that study claims they do.

Why is that? Honestly, I don’t know, I can’t speak for all women anymore than I can speak for all men, but if I had to hazard a guess it would be because traditionally, gaming was a geeky hobby, and society perceives anything geeky to be the realm of boys.

That isn’t to say this is right, it absolutely is not, and it isn’t to say that there are no geeky girls or girls who would have an interest in tech and gaming, if society would allow them that luxury.

Notice I’m saying society, by the way, not the gaming community.

Here’s a fun anecdote for you: I actually have a keen interest in hairdressing, I think the work some stylists do is absolutely incredible, and at one point I briefly considered going to study hairdressing at college.

My friends responded to this by saying they wouldn’t speak to me anymore. Why? Because I was a straight guy who wanted to do a girly activity.

My friends were obviously just taking the piss, in truth I don’t think they’d give a shit what I was doing so long as I didn’t moan about it all the time, but their response is society’s general attitude to a male pursuing a career in a female-driven industry just like it is when a female does the same in a male-driven industry, which gaming and tech undeniably is.

Again, I said society, because I’m sure Nicky Clarke didn’t get his dick grabbed constantly when he was learning hairdressing just like most women who are actually in tech and gaming, and not just studying it from the sidelines and losing their shit at every perceived slight on womynkind, will tell you that they never had problems being a woman in that industry…until these hipster academics and moral crusaders came along and made it a problem.

I’d like to quote from that article I just linked, because it’s a fantastic read and really opened my eyes up to a lot of the damage these people are causing with their never-ending march towards ‘gender equality’:

“I came to the Open Source world because I liked being part of a community where my ideas, my skills and my experience mattered, not my boobs. That’s changed, and it’s changed at the hands of the people who say they want a community where ideas, skills and experience matter more than boobs.”

If you read the whole article, it’s astounding to read how this woman was never treated differently by her peers or seen as anything other than an equal, until these people entered the industry and started lecturing her about not being a proper woman and not emphasising her femininity.

These are the people we are now seeing trying to tear games apart. They are a fucking cancer that has infiltrated any other number of other social groups (look up Atheism+ and how well that went,) and always, always end up harming the overall industry or movement, far more than they ever manage to help it.

And why is this? Because they are more interested in what makes us different than what binds us together. Instead of all coming together as gamers, they want to see us segregated into camps: White Male Gamers, Female Gamer, Black Gamer, LGBT Gamer. They don’t want any crossover and, moreover, I have my suspicions that they’d ideally like to push that first group out altogether.

Why? Well, someone much smarter than me could probably give you an erudite and well-researched answer, but I personally suspect they just have too much fucking time on their hands and no real wars left to fight.

This isn’t new, by the way, these fuckers have tried shit like this before:

That’s late music legend and just all-round awesome guy, Frank Zappa, testifying before congress, against the Parents Music Resource Center, whom you may know better today as the people responsible for this:

Parental_Advisory_label.svgYep, that was their handy work, and you may remember it making precisely fuck all difference to music and who bought it, it just made the creative process more difficult, as artists were constantly chastised for their lyrical output and constantly had barriers thrown up between them and their audience which, while easy enough to overcome, still created a completely unnecessary nuisance.

Another point Zappa very eloquently highlights in the video is that so much of what they are rallying against is completely open to interpretation: it’s not his fault if Tipper Gore listens to a song and thinks about S&M; that’s on her.

This is similar to what I talked about in my previous article, but it’s also related to the point I swear we’re getting towards with this article: The Gaming Boys Club.

In a Telegraph article written by an infuriatingly thick-skulled woman called Helen Lewis, (sorry Helen, you were cool when we talked on Twitter, but some of your antics since have coloured my views on you, significantly,) there’s constantly mention of girls coming to take away boys games. Over and over, this article beats you over the head with this concept.

Here’s why it’s bullshit.

Do you know how many football games exist in the world? Fucking hundreds; maybe even thousands. Why do I bring this up? Well, because I hate football, and I have absolutely zero interest in football games (with the exception of World Cup Italia 90 and Fifa 98, because both were ridiculously easy to win.) I also have absolutely zero interest in racing games, beat ’em ups, strategy games, simulation games…y’know, thinking about it, there are probably more genres that I don’t like than I do.

How many games do I own? Real games, not iPhone stuff?

Well over 400.

Despite having little to no interest in most of the genres I listed above, throughout my twenty-plus years of gaming, through the Mega Drive, N64, Dreamcast, PS2, Gamecube, PS3 and now WiiU and Steam, amongst many handhelds and others, I have amassed a frankly shameful library of video games.

If I can manage to build a collection this big, with all of the genre prejudices I have, then why are these people, allegedly, coming to take them away?

Why can’t we all get along? [Spoiler: It’s not because of gamers.]

I touched on this point in my last article, but it’s really the crux of how fucking dumb this Boys Club shit is: There is enough room in video games for there to be games about absolutely anything you want without you having to detract from what already exists.

You don’t have to tear down the establishment and start saying games can’t do this, that or the next thing anymore, especially when the entire industry was built on those tropes and principles; it just doesn’t work that way. What you can do is make the games you want to see, and seem to think there’s such a huge market for, and if they sell well then congratulations: you are now a part of the game industry, we welcome you with open arms!

As I pointed out previously, this is the exact opposite of what these people want.

This is why I made the example about football games, before. At no point in my life have I ever said, ‘they need to stop making football games and start making more visual novel games, because that’s what I like.’ Never said that, even though in an ideal world I would love it if there were more visual novel games getting made, or if at the very least I could get the final game in the Nonary trilogy, but I recognise that there simply isn’t a big enough market, in the west at least, to warrant this.

This, right here, is my fucking jam.

This, right here, is my fucking jam. (Also, not the diverse cast of characters. lol only kidding, if you care about that I guarentee you went straight to Alice’s boobs and cried ‘sexist!’.)

There is a huge market for football games, as evidenced by the fact that EA have gotten away with releasing almost the exact same version of FIFA for the past decade and people still eat that shit up.

I don’t get angry about this, and I don’t post articles online saying how football culture needs to die in our society: it doesn’t interest me, it doesn’t represent me, so I don’t get worked up about it.

I am in the minority, and the market reflects that. It really is that fucking simple.

So why, as I’ve suggested umpteen times, don’t these people who are campaigning for forced diversity –I’m pretty sure they used to have that in South Africa a while ago, incidentally, can’t remember how that turned out though– just make their own games, if they’re so sure it’s what we need? Hell, it only took two guys to make Super Meat Boy and that game sold gangbusters, it’s not like you need to hire a giant team and a million dollar budget to make it in the industry, so why don’t they go for it?

Well, as those videos I linked in the beginning addressed, it’s most likely because they know as well as everyone else that the demographic that these social justice campaigners are pushing for simply doesn’t exist.

While I still stand by my assertion that objectification and sexualisation are relative to the individual, I did also concede that the majority of games, in the AAA industry, anyway, are aimed towards young teen to middle-aged men: because that’s who the market is.

Just like you’re unlikely to get a DDR section in any of the FIFA games, or an FPS section in Guitar Hero, these games are being made this way because that’s how the market is, or is perceived to be. You don’t make games for an audience that doesn’t exist, unless you want to end up fucking broke and living on a street corner.

Now, as I have repeatedly stated, I would love to see the market shift towards more diversity in games, because I’m honestly tired of all the shooters and Aryan champions that adorn the covers of most video games, and I’m sick of great writing like Portal being the exception rather than the rule, but that is a change that has to come naturally; you can’t force it, you just fucking can’t.

If you start forcing women into gaming, just to make up quotas, women who don’t necessarily want to be there, or who are only there because they’ve been told by some higher authority that they need to challenge the patriarchy, then all you’re going to succeed in doing is pissing off A) The women who are already working in the industry and who care more about their work than their genitalia, B) The male devs who now need to worry about getting fired for saying something completely innocuous that upsets a woman more interested in her personal agenda than her job and C) The existing community who is suddenly being told they are rotten scum for buying and enjoying the games they’ve always bought and enjoyed because those were the games that were getting made.

In other words, you are going to piss off every single existing person in the market, and you are going to fucking kill it.

As I said at the beginning, and have re-stated throughout, there are women in gaming, both players and creators, and we treat them absolutely no differently from anyone else, because, at the end of the day, we just want to play fucking games.

For these people, these SJW’s (dammit, nearly went the whole article without using it,) this isn’t enough. They need to constantly make a song and dance of the fact that they are women, or in other ways an under-represented minority –although as #NotYourShield demonstrated with hilarious results, the people speaking on behalf of these minorities often don’t represent their interests, in the slightest– and they want to constantly shift the focus from what they can do, to simply what they biologically are.

No: Shut the fuck up.

You wanna game, then pick up the controller and play. You wanna create, sit down at the computer and start coding; pick up a pencil and start sketching out concept art. You know, do the things that the women currently in the industry did to get there, instead of constantly whining about how oppressed they are.

That’s how you get more women into the world of gaming, by destroying society’s misconceptions of the type of people who comprise the tech industry or have an interest in it, not fucking re-enforcing them. How you really don’t do it is by constantly painting the industry in question as a ‘cathedral of misogyny’ and making any women just entering the arena constantly fear for their safety and making them believe that their ideas, somehow, won’t be valued as much as a male opinion when it simply isn’t true.

If you treat gamers with respect, they will return the favour; if you call us ‘misogynerds’ or ‘worse than ISIS’ then, surprise surprise, we’ll get pissed and call you a dick.

All that ‘us vs them’ attitude serves to do is make anyone who was interested in joining the community less likely to do so, and it pisses off the existing community because you are painting them with stereotypes that, while perhaps representative of a small minority of assholes –the same asshole quota that exists in every single subset of humanity on the planet– are absolutely not exemplary of the overall community.

I guarantee you, if you come in with no preconceptions and just wanna game, you will never feel more welcome than you do in our community, fuck what those fearmongers say, and the simple reason for that is the majority of gamers, the real ones, have spent their entire lives dealing with alienation and being painted as the outcasts; for many of us, it’s the main reason we turned to gaming in the first place, so we don’t make a habit of snapping at strangers, except when they turn around and start writing bullshit articles that try to paint us as the exclusionary ones.

This is one of the main aspects that that fucking Telegraph article completely misrepresents: it tries to suggest that we’re somehow proud of our outcast status. Yeah, absolutely, I fucking loved being spat on on my way home from school, or slapped on the back of the head outside class just because I was wearing a Slipknot hoody. Being an outcast is a fucking brilliant laugh, you should all give it a try, sometime.

Nah, sorry, fuck that, it’s all bullshit, as is the idea we’re hostile to outside influences who express an interest in our hobby. If you look at the Christina Hoff Sommers video I linked above, you will notice that the comments section is filled with an outpouring of adoration and plaudits, my own included, from people who are genuinely grateful just to be talked to as equals, for a change.

When Milo Yiannopoulos first took an interest in GamerGate and decided to stream his first ever video game experience, the community flocked to his Twitch channel to suggest what games to play and just generally have a good time watching this n00b get his first taste of video games; an experience he clearly enjoyed since he is now taking advice on how to build his own gaming PC rig so he can get into the more hardware-intensive stuff.

Does any of that sound like the ‘toxic community’ completely abrasive towards outsiders, to you?

As I’ve said before, we don’t care who you are: if you’ve got a genuine interest, if you’ve got the skills to pay the bills or even if you’re just looking to learn, come on in, and I’ll thrash you at Gitaroo Man.

Because the games are all that matter. The games are all that have ever mattered.


Posted in Advice, Current Affairs, Gaming, The World at Large. | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Boob Plates & Buffoons: My Interview with an SJW

During the ongoing #GamerGate shitstorm –and I’d like to take this opportunity to say how proud I am of the community I am a part of that we’ve not just rolled over and taken this shit like in the past– I was directed toward a blog post on Deviant Art, written by a designer on the game Divinity: Original Sin regarding their frustrations at being instructed to change a female character design because it was considered sexist, not by another member of the design team, but by games journalists who have taken it upon themselves to get outraged on the behalf of everyone else in the world whom they consider to be suffering from oppression.

That might sound like a noble goal, to the uninitiated, but the method of striking out against this oppression, generally employed by these hacks, is to just attack whatever they don’t like and try to pressure them to change it. And if the developers refuse? Blacklist and smear them everywhere possible.

I recommend reading the whole blog post just to get a feel for the absolute lunacy on display on the part of these moral crusaders who think it their duty to protect the unwashed masses from the corruption of a woman’s bare mid-riff, or you can read my old post about the MPAA which basically details the same thing in the world of cinema, but to really sample this bullshit first-hand, you need to get down in the trenches and speak to the foot soldiers who buy into this crap.

So that’s exactly what I did.

I went into the comments on that blog post and picked out, at random, one of the comments attacking the author of the blog with all of the predictable, broken arguments I’m used to seeing, and decided I would take them to task on the matter, and see if they could clear a few simple things up for me.

I present the results to you now, beginning with his opening rebuttal of the blog post, and I apologise in advance for the amount I have to repeat myself as the person being questioned consistently refused to answer even the most basic of questions.

Anyway, without further ado, go Team Retard!

B – Opposition

i – Me

Men can be sexualized in adverts and sometimes in games, but in videogames women are disproportionately sexualized to the point that it’s rare and note worthy for one not to be, and that creates a backlash. The backlash is perfectly justified and long overdue and part of a broader backlash against industry bullshit. It’s unfortunate that some artists are upset by the backlash but it wouldn’t be there if women weren’t overtly sexualized so often.

To quote Jim Sterling, if we’re going to dress women in underwear men should be dressed in underwear too. There should be nothing men can wear that women can’t in these games, and if sexualized imagery is going to be used both sexes should be sexualized.

But hey that’s just my opinion as a cis white male of privilege who recognizes that there’s an inequality in the way women and men are represented.

That’s an utterly ridiculous thing to say. There are some outfits that are designed with gender in mind, and that’s absolutely fine.

There are some games that sexualise the women, and they are still extremely powerful, positive female gaming icons (Bayonetta being the best example of this.)

Likewise, there are some games that completely play down the femininity of the character in question, and they can still be an extremely positive female gaming icon (The Boss from MGS3 being the best example of this, to my mind.)

This isn’t a mutually exclusive thing: We can have both kinds of women represented in games, along with a myriad of other tropes, just like there are plenty of examples of hapless sap men in gaming and other media (look at every single sitcom husband, ever, they’re almost always berated by their much smarter wives,) but there are also plenty examples of extremely refined powerful men.

This is what we call variety, and it’s a good thing, and it’s exactly what these faux-progressives want to destroy.

They don’t care about the context, to them Bayonetta will never be okay because it depicts a sexualised woman (nevermind the fact that she displays her sexuality with confidence and power,) Dragon’s Crown will never be okay just because of a pair of ludicrously sized bouncing breasts (completely ignorant of the fact that most other characters in the game, male and female, are even more ridiculously proportioned).

These people just want to push their own agenda, and they don’t care if it stifles and chokes all creativity out of the community, so long as they can have their way.

I’m all for progressiveness, I’m all for diversity and more women, ethnic and religious minorites, LGBT people making games and working in their development, because ultimately they will bring different perspectives to the table which will potentially lead to different outcomes and therefore gaming as a whole will be more likely to get a lot of cool new IP’s.

What these people are campaigning for isn’t diversity: it’s a rigidly controlled, committee-designed procession of by-the-numbers shit, and any game that doesn’t march in absolute lockstep will be decried and blacklisted by their cabal of agenda-driven ‘journalists’.

It’s not ridiculous at all, it’s an observation of fact. Armor designed to show off cleavage ass and midriffs and characters designed to pose provocatively are designed for sexual appeal, females are disproportionately sexualized and it’s an observable phenomina.

And all the bare chests, rippling abs and perfectly carved lats constantly on display on male characters in every single fantasy game…you don’t think they might cause issues for men suffering from body confidence? When’s the last time you say a fatass guy as the main character in a game, who was clumsy and incompetent?

I have over a hundred PS3 games in my library, and I guarantee you I could point to ones that display exactly what you describe, and just as many that don’t. ANYTHING is an observable phenomena if you want to go looking for it and cherry-pick your examples.

Armour designed to accentuate the gender of the wearer does not necessarily equal sexualisation; that a woman has breasts is no great surprise nor mystery. It’s a massive insult to every artist out there to imply the only reason they gave their character armour that exposes her cleavage was for sex appeal. Who do you think you are to speak the minds of every single one of these artists, in such absolutes?

“rippling abs and perfectly carved lats constantly on display on male characters ”
That’s rarely done for sex appeal in videogames, though that is done for sex appeal in a fair amount of movies and daytime TV shows. In videogames it’s generally a male power fantasy, you’re comparing two completely different things, and you know the difference.

Congratulations, you just wiped the opinions of all straight women and gay male gamers off the table. Or are you telling me that those two massive sections of the community are completely incapable of lustful thoughts?

The reality is that the ‘male power fantasy’ is completely relative; it’s just the loaded argument for everyone who wants to skew the debate. It’s not every single man’s fantasy to be a meathead jock built like a brick shithouse, in fact a lot of us started playing games to get away from the exact type of Gears of War alpha male assholes who now comprise most console shooter characters, these days. Once again, you are making massive, sweeping generalisations on an entire group of people, what exactly do you think gives you this authority?

And again, you are deciding upon the intentions of EVERY SINGLE CREATIVE DIRECTOR IN THE INDUSTRY when you say what the purpose of designing a character in a certain way is. The reality is you have no idea why they do these things, you’re just choosing the option that best suits your narrative.

That is, unless you have incontrovertible proof of every single designer saying, ‘we make men muscly because it is a power fantasy that is only designed to appeal to straight white men, and we make all the chicks half-naked so they can jack off to them,’ in which case I am more than happy to apologise to you.

Ok well what you’re saying is stupid for many reasons but you don’t merit a thoughtful reply.

So I’ll just leave it at this, females are overwhelmingly disproportionately sexualized in videogames, and they are designed for that explicit purpose. There is a clear difference between a power fantasy character and a sexual fantasy character, the Barbarian in Diablo 2 wasn’t a shirtless muscle tank for sex appeal he was a shirtless muscle tank so that you could feel like a bad ass playing him, further your argument is stupid because there are a disproportionate number of male characters fully clad out in armor and shit, even if there are occasional sexualized males it’s rare in videogames and females are disproportionately sexualized, and that’s an obvious and self evident fact that can not be denied in good faith unless you are driven to blindness by some ideological agenda.

[Here he inserts a Jimquisitition episode on the objectification of men. I’ve made no secret of being a fan of Jim’s work, in the past, but there are several points in this video where I feel he is off the mark, which I’ll address shortly. Oh also, for some reason I didn’t notice the link the first time, possibly because I was a bit drunk at this point, so it takes another reply before I address it. – Rob]

Every single thing you just said is based on relative observation. There wasn’t a single fact.

Well done on being another blind moron who eats up the narrative you’re fed.

You’re definitely helping society move towards a more open and equal frontier! Congrats!

You’re the blind moron eating up what you’re fed,  what I said is irrefutable and based on self evident observations, the video was just to drive home the point. People have been complaining about this sort of thing for decades.

“You’re definitely helping”
You’re an idiot.

Sorry, I just noticed you linked the JQ episode in your previous post, so my reply is no longer accurate, but I’m leaving it there because I don’t want to appear to be deleting my comments and running from my mistakes.

That still doesn’t make you correct, however, in your assertion that ALL women are designed to appeal to men, or that ALL men are designed to appeal to men. (Brace yourselves, wall of text incoming.)

Jim cherry picks examples in the video –I don’t understand why he chose Nathan Drake as an example of an alpha male, given that he is a actually a pretty broken, mentally unstable and hypocritical character who is constantly shit on and berated by his allies and enemies, alike; in no way synonymous with the concept of society’s ideal– that suit the point he’s trying to make, and I’ve written at length, myself, about how ridiculous it was that the Remember Me devs struggled to get Nilin as the protagonist in their game, but that refers to the mainstream, it does not refer to all of gaming.

Everyone knows that the AAA industry is currently consuming itself because they’re stamping down every single unique idea in order to turn all of their properties into bland, homogenised sludge. All you have to do is look at games like Dead Space 3 and it’s shoehorned in co-op mode and micro-transactions, or the Tomb Raider reboot getting a multiplayer that nobody asked for to see how clueless these publishers are, to push this shit on a public that largely doesn’t want it (reflected by the fact that both DS3 and TR failed to meet their initial, utterly ridiculous sales targets).

So yes, I do freely admit that 90% of games in the AAA are tailor-made to appeal to what that industry perceives to be their only demographic, teenage boys, but the thing is, you might have noticed most of the community actually makes fun of those games; we all take the piss out of CoD and it’s Team-America-played-straight approach to storytelling, as well as gaming’s preposterously swelling roster of grizzled space marines. We know that it’s dumb, it doesn’t appeal to us, but we still play some of those games because they are good games.

You don’t have to like or relate to a game’s protagonist to enjoy a game: I didn’t enjoy Gears of War because I could relate to Marcus Fenix and his band of gloomy men; I enjoyed it in spite of that.

What we are discussing in regards to Divinity: Original Sin, in regards to Dragon’s Crown, is pretty much the exact same thing that is happening in the AAA industry, but in the exact opposite direction: These people going after niche projects, smaller studios, and pressuring them to change their output to suit their agenda, because they know that a larger publisher like EA would slap that shit down in a second.

As I said in my very first comment to you, if these people want to see these changes in the industry, then they should make the games themselves. What they should absolutely not do is go to studios and start demanding they change existing work to suit them, and then throw an utter shit fit and slander them in the press when they, understandably, refuse to comply.

In other words, become the change they want to see in others, but that would take work, and the people we’re talking about don’t actually want the industry to become more progressive, what they want is to control it and bend it to their will.

I’ve said in the past that I will happily play a game about a black trans amputee with rocket boosters strapped to their stumps, provided it’s a good game. I am in no way about stifling creativity, but that is EXACTLY what these specific people are doing. They are trying to censor art, how can you be okay with that?

TL;DR: AAA gaming is mostly targeted at young men, but that doesn’t mean that all men are automatically happy with that, and it absolutely does not excuse SJW’s going after smaller studios and attacking them for pursuing the creative direction they choose to pursue, for whatever reason.

“no evidence”
It’s self evident that female characters are disproportionately sexualized, no reasonable person can in good faith argue the contrary.

Again, sexualisation is relative, as is the male power fantasy.

Just because I see a woman in a skimpy outfit doesn’t mean I am automatically attracted to her. The human brain is not so simplistic and to imply it is is both ignorant and belittling.

Just because a game has a body-beautiful, strong man in the lead, that does not mean I automatically relate to him (in reality, I personally relate more to the broken, ugly male protagonists –Garcia Fucking Hotspur, Max Payne, Travis Touchdown– who are woefully few and far between in games; don’t see me constantly bitching about that, though, do you?).

You are trying to apply objective fact to a subjective media, I’m afraid art doesn’t work that way.

Actually let me put that to you: go and look at the work of Michaelangelo (or any classic and prolific artist). You may notice that almost all of the men he depicts are extremely muscular and well built, and that both the women and men are often nude.

By applying your logic to the work of Michaelangelo we can call it all sexist: It plays into the male power fantasy by having all men displayed as strong and powerful (one of them is touching fingers with God, for crying out loud!) and it turns women into sexual objects by putting them in skimpy outfits (low-cut tops, no sleeves etc) or often no outfits at all! Salacious or what!

Clearly all of Michaelangelo’s work was created only to appeal to men, (and that only men can therefore enjoy it,) and we should raise him from the grave and demand he go back and put clothes on all those poor women and basically stop being such an objectifying, patriarchy-enabling asshole.

“relative observation”
It is self evident that the depictions of males and females in videogames is disproportionate, stop engaging in sophistry to try to deny this.

“sexualisation is relative, as is the male power fantasy”
Spare me your facile sophistry.

“doesn’t mean I am automatically attracted”
Whether you are automatically attracted or not isn’t relevant to the issue.

A male character designed to be a power fantasy can be ugly by mainstream standards, the point in making the Diablo 2 Barbarian a shirtless brute wasn’t to make him attractive it was to impress upon the gamer that he is a strong powerful savage badass. And female characters, especially playable characters, are as Jim Sterling pointed out, pretty much always inoffensively attractive by mainstream standards.

“does not mean I automatically relate to him”
Whether you can relate is irrelevant to the point.

Actually ALL of those points are relevant because you are implying that these characters are made to cater specifically to me, as a straight white man. According to you, I am the exact demographic that all of these games are designed for, so therefore they should all appeal to me in every single regard, going by your logic.

I am telling you that they do not, what does that tell you?

That it is fucking relative.

How many times must we dance around this issue?

Also, would you please, for the love of God, stop quoting Jim Sterling as though he is infallible. I love Jim, and have been a fan of his work for a while, but that doesn’t mean he’s right about everything he says.

He makes some salient points in that video, but he also gets stuff wrong, too, mainly by cherry picking examples to bolster his point whilst ignoring things that would contradict it, as well as only focusing on the AAA industry which, as we’ve already established, everyone knows is in the process of killing itself with stagnation and recycling of the same old tropes.

That’s why so many developers are fleeing that sinking ship and starting smaller, independent studios (Tim Schafer, Keiji Inafune, Ken Levine) so that they can have creative control over their projects again, and make the games they want to make; not the games that the publisher’s idiot focus groups have decided everybody wants. It doesn’t automatically mean those games will be good, but there’s obviously a reason these auteur developers have fled the security of the AAA bubble.

But here’s the thing: NONE of this excuses what the actual topic of the blog we’re having this stupid little internet spat on was about: We’re not talking about keeping women out of games, or making sure they remain as little more than eyecandy: we are talking about the censorship of EXISTING work.

If I saw an article about how a dev was forced to change their design of a character to make them more sexy, and I am well aware there are plenty of examples of that exact thing happening, I would be just as pissed off as I am about them being forced to cover her up. The former makes our industry look juvenile and dumb, but the latter, censoring legitimate art, is every bit as despicable.

Both of these issues are a problem, in that they stifle creative freedom, but they are not mutually exclusive.

Another nice argumentum verbosium but no I haven’t argued that they’re made to cater specifically to you, you’re just an individual, corporations could care less about you unless you represent a large enough demographic to bother making things for. Now maybe you want to pretend that females are never dressed or posed provocatively for sex appeal or pretend that it’s not done any more than it is with men, but the opposite is self evident, your engaging in facile sophistry and you don’t merit any more thoughtful response than this.

Man, you must be giving a buttload of traffic today.

So basically your argument boils down to even though I exactly fit the demographic you are describing I am not in that demographic? I mean that’s pretty much what you just said: All games are designed for straight white men, but I, as a straight white man, am not having any games designed with me in mind.

Yep, that makes perfect sense, you’re a clever cookie.

And actually, if you refer to my very first comment you’ll see that I’ve never claimed that sexualisation doesn’t exist, once; what I said was that making a character attractive or having her dress a certain way does not AUTOMATICALLY sexually objectify her, every single time. Just because a woman is dressed provocatively, or has sex appeal, does not mean it is her single defining feature as a character, and it does not mean that she was designed with those traits solely in mind. (Again, Bayonetta is the perfect example of this.)

There is a difference between a character being confident in their sexuality and that character being sexually objectified; just because every member of the audience will not necessarily be able to discern that does not make it any less true.

But I tell you what, I’m not going to bother replying to you again, until you address the point I have repeatedly made throughout our time together, which is that the issue we’re talking about here isn’t about sexualisation in video games, but the censoring of an artist’s work under the pretense of sexism.

That is what the blog post was about, and I am yet to hear you create a credible defense as to why you think that such censorship is acceptable.

Thesaurus? Did you need to look something up?

“I exactly fit the demographic you are describing”
Not if the demographic is mainstream male gamers who are attracted to protruding butts and cleavage and have fantasies of being powerful, and you’re not in it.

Okay, I’ve given you umpteen chances to answer my simple question, now, and you have neglected to do so.

I don’t know if you’re just trolling me or you’re being wilfully ignorant because you know you don’t have any good answer, but so long as you refuse to address my point I see no reason to continue this.

Have a nice evening.

You don’t merit as much attention as you’re demanding. I didn’t see fit to read past the part I answered.

And that was it. I stuck true to my word and haven’t replied since, because at this point I honestly wasn’t sure if he was trolling me or not. If not, then he is clearly employing what I believe is referred to in debate circles as the ‘la la la I can’t hear you’ gambit.

So there you have it, I’m not likely to be replacing Jonathan Ross any time soon but hopefully some of you found this interesting to read, and dissect the mind of one of those people.

I have a few closing thoughts that I’ve compiled from other places if you want to hear more of my word vomit, if not feel free to skip down to the comments and let me know if you agree or disagree or just generally what your thoughts are on the matter; I like to think I’m more open to rational discourse than this dipshit was.

Closing Thoughts AKA Let Me Tell You Why I’m Right

This is just some blue-sky thinking from me, but has anyone ever asked these people shitting all over games for being sexist/homophobic/rape-simulators etc why they don’t just make their own game?

Like, if there’s such a big market out there for these hypothetical games –and I don’t mean games with female protagonists, there absolutely is a market for those; I’m referring to these weak, neutered, politically correct games the SJW’s seem determined to turn all existing properties into– then why don’t they put their money where there mouth is, hire a dev team, and make the games?

Why wasn’t Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter to raise money to make the kind of games she’d like to see in the industry? Why was it instead to fund a series of videos telling us how horrible everything that already exists is?*

That’s like if, instead of coming up with Sonic to challenge Mario, Sega just called Nintendo racist for exploiting Italian stereotypes and tried to shut down their whole company.

This is basic market forces shit: if people don’t like multiplayer games being forced on them, over and over, then some may choose to adapt and learn to enjoy multiplayer but others, like myself who have absolutely zero interest in online multiplayer for a variety of reasons, will just stop buying the games.

There are already plenty of games out there that suit my needs, I don’t believe I’ve ever tried to deny that, so if the market doesn’t want to cater to me anymore then that’s their call; if they don’t want my money that’s no skin off my back.

This same logic ties back into GamerGate: If these idiots at Kotaku et al. were really right and we were just a vocal minority of entitled misogynists who want women out of games, then we wouldn’t be buying games that women have an active role in creating.

If they really, genuinely want more inclusivity and fair representation in games, then fucking make those games, because the reality is, we really don’t give a shit who makes them: if they’re good we’re gonna play them. If they want to make the character female or black or gay or trans or whatever, and it’s a good game, we’ll play them.

As I said before, the main reason I support diversity in gaming development is because different perspectives lead to different ideas and more exciting games: The reason Japan spawns insane shit like Katamari Damacy is because their culture is so wildly different from our own they come up with ideas that we never would.

It’s similar to how Transformers: Age of Extinction is the highest-grossing film of all time in China whereas in the west we all openly mock Michael Bay, while admittedly still lining his pockets, for being a creatively bankrupt tosser. As the person interviewed in the article says, growing up in China they had never seen anything like Transformers before; they seemed magical.

That’s why I love and support diversity in gaming, because I want to feel that magic again, like the first time I turned on We <3 Katamari and fed a Sumo Wrestler until he was the size of a school.

That’s why GamerGate is fighting to root out these people who want to try and force the market’s hand; to censor and stifle the creative aspects of the industry and force them to cater to the whims of a militant group of fringe lunatics who believe anyone who doesn’t march in lockstep with their ideology should be purged from the industry.

Because ironically, they have become exactly what they constantly try to demonise gamers for being.

[* I know that the answer is, ‘because they don’t want to affect real progress, they just want to bitch and moan,’ but has anyone ever asked them to see the excuse they give?]


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Internet Apocalypse 2014 Followup or: Why It’s Not Technically Lying if You Just Don’t Talk About It

Objective Motherfucker Do You Speak itAnd this is how they do it. This is how they start to spin it in their favour, and make it all about the bold, defiant gaming press standing up against the ‘pouting, obstinate children’ that dared to question them.

That’s a screengrab from a Polygon article that went up yesterday, I wasn’t going to link to the actual site because I was loathe to give them my own traffic, never mind encouraging others to do the same, but in the interests of giving access to both sides of the story, you can find it here.

I actually do recommend reading it, and cross-referencing it with the last article I wrote, as well as the links I provided at the end. You may notice some curious omissions.

Most curious is the fact that, following this statement:

“Good, positive and kind action happened this week, too. Progress, while not always as loud as repression, is being made in games culture.”

Absolutely no mention was made of The Fine Young Capitalists indiegogo campaign to get more women developing video games. You know, the campaign that Zoe Quinn sabotaged and got shut down; the one that we ‘obstinate children’ have been promoting and supporting, almost entirely on our own, because no one in the mainstream press seems willing to give them the time of day.

Why might that be? Well, one commenter on my last article suggested that TFYC might be a scam. They didn’t provide any evidence why this may be the case, but I suppose it’s something you should consider, as you should with literally every single other crowd-funding project.

No, I think the reason that TFYC didn’t get a mention is because of things like this:


That was Samantha Allen, contributor for The Daily Beast, letting me know exactly how she feels about TFYC project, and those who are supporting it.

Back to the Polygon article, though, also curious by virtue of omission is the fact that, while giving a rundown of all the horrible things gamers have been saying to industry figures –and there have been horrible things said, I am absolutely not denying that– the article felt no need to point out that industry figures haven’t exactly been playing with kid gloves, either.

Let’s take a look at some of that ‘open-armed, love and compassion’ Polygon claims that the gaming press have been using this past week:

tumblr_nal0uu6FSi1ricadfo1_1280Can you feel the love in the room? Sorry, Max, I hate to keep dragging you into this. Let’s see if I can find you some company…Oh wait, here we go:

c1DXd94That there’s Devin Faraci, a writer for Badass Digest, who prides himself on his ‘reputation as a loud, uncompromising and honest voice,’ which apparently extends to him comparing gamers –and he does say gamers, as in all of us; there’s no singling out of just the dickheads who are doing the harassment– as worse than ISIS. You know, the terrorist group who fucking execute people.

Now, I can write that one off at least as intentional rhetoric, being used by a man who is used to using exaggeration for effect. I can’t be too hard on Faraci for doing something I’ve been known to do myself in the past, not quite to the level of painting hundreds of thousands of people as terrorists, but you know I can get what he was going for.

This one, though, not so much:

1408593379329Adam Atomic, there, showing that he’s more than happy to game Youtube’s broken copyright system to fuck over TotalBiscuit, whom you may recall, from my last article, was completely diplomatic in his assessment of the situation.

Didn’t stop from people fucking with him, though, did it (no mention of that in the Polygon article, either); it didn’t stop any number of big-mouth developers, actually –hi, Phil Fish– from running their mouths, and going so far as telling a man who claimed he was sexually harassed by a female developer to fuck off.

Phil Fish Tact and GraceAll of that was curiously absent from the article. Throughout it all, there wasn’t a single mention or hint that the industry/press side of things had maybe acted in a less than professional manner, there was no mention of the female developer who spoke out anonymously about how easy it is to get blacklisted in the industry if you don’t chime with their agenda. No, it was all pretty one-sided, as far as Polygon are concerned: there is a clear enemy in all of this, and that’s what they want their readers to know.

Well, I like to think I’m a bit more even-handed in my approach to these things, so now that I’ve done a bit of name-and-shame on the press side of things, let me talk about the abuse of Anita Sarkeesian, and all that other stuff the Polygon article brings up.

The people who have threatened Sarkeesian, repeatedly, amongst others in the industry –men and women alike– the people who phone in fake bomb threats and hack peoples websites: Fuck them all.

I don’t care what side you are fighting for, you don’t win a war of ideals with threats and intimidation: you do it with facts, and by being reasonable. Resorting to the kind of vile shit that Anita puts up with doesn’t help anyone or anything that you might think it does, all it does is give the other side more ammunition to pile into articles like Polygon’s, but here’s the most crucial thing, the thing these articles always, ALWAYS omit: those people? The rape and death threat people? They don’t speak for all of us.

It’s funny how, when the media reports on any reasonable grievances the community may have, they’re dismissed as the bleats of a ‘particularly vocal minority,’ and yet when some fucking sociopath threatens to rape a woman with a knife, it is suddenly the work of the gamer hivemind collective. We’re all hanging out in one big warehouse, with hundreds of pinboards and loads of red string, all co-ordinating these attacks together so that, what? What do you think we want? To scare women?

If I wanted to scare a woman then I’d take my top off.

Now, the article admittedly doesn’t come right out and say that the people threatening Anita represent all gamers, but given how heavy the bias is throughout the entire article, given how they don’t concede even a single inch of ground in regard to the notion that maybe some members of the press have acted inappropriately, or with their own interests in mind, just like Anita’s attackers, and given their closing statement which paints a very clear ‘us versus them’ narrative in the mind of the reader, it’s extremely obvious to anyone who’s heard both sides of the stories what their plan really is.

They know fine well that they’ve fucked up, here, that all of their dirty little secrets that they’d tried to bury are bubbling up to the surface, and they know that it’s eventually going to bring an end to the lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed. No more developer parties, no more free shit, no more lining your pockets in exchange for your journalistic integrity: all of it is going to come to an end, eventually.

It might not happen this time, especially now that the narrative machine has spun itself into total overdrive and started pumping out shit like this at Polygon, but they’ve got a glimpse of the future, and they know what’s coming, and like any other dictator watching their empire fall around them, they’re going to do every last thing they can to cling onto it, even if it means painting their own community, the community they claim to care so much about, as a bunch of psychopathic rapists.

If I’m being totally realistic, I don’t expect anything to change, after this. There have been a few small victories, like Kotaku writers no longer being allowed to fund Patreons for their developer friends, but too many people have too much money invested in the narrative that they’ve already spun to quit on it now.

And that’s all it comes down to, really: money. The people at the top, who fund the sites…they don’t give a shit about social justice or being progressive, they just care about what gets them clicks; they’d probably promote fucking horses if they thought it would be more profitable than milking the SJW angle, but internet activism is what sells at the moment, and all the writers are more than happy to be paid for the opportunity to spin their tangled web of self-serving bullshit.

Really, if they cared at all about equality, then they’d report on sexual assault allegations against women just like they do about men (although, in an ideal world, they wouldn’t be reporting on either.) They would report on a forum of lonely, mentally unhinged men being harassed just like they reported on the woman who was, allegedly, harassed by them. Of course, in doing so, they’d have to admit it was their fault the forum got harassed in the first place.

If they were really an objective news source, sites like Kotaku would have came out in condemnation of people like Adria Richards, who used her position of power to enforce her own extreme-feminist agenda and make an innocent man lose his job, before being fired herself after it turned out she was, in fact, just a nutbar. Instead, they gave her a soapbox; they made her into a martyr. (Full Disclosure: That link actually goes to an article on Jezebel, a sister site of Kotaku; both Gawker-owned. Just wanted to make that clear.)

As for me, I don’t make any money off of this, (although I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t super exciting to watch my traffic bar spike the last couple of days,) I’m just a dumbass gamer who’d like to play video games.

So why do I care so much? About sites like Kotaku and their little circlejerk of other websites and writers? Can’t I just ignore them and go elsewhere?

Well, if I can highlight another part from that Polygon screenshot up there, it should serve as an ample diving board:

“The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, __________ as an organization.”

This, this right here is absolutely everything that I have a problem with. This is the only thing I really, truly have a problem with, in fact.

If it’s your personal opinion, go post it on your personal blog, like I do; no one should be getting paid just to have an opinion.

A news website is supposed to be objective, and they know that a little disclaimer isn’t going to stop most of their readerbase from taking what they say as gospel, but there they’ve got their little cop-out warning to absolve them of any liability when people who take the time to inform themselves on both sides of an argument quite rightly hit back, saying that all they’re doing is spewing their own bullshit agenda, and bringing harm to innocent parties in the process.

This leaves us –‘us’ in this case referring to those who don’t wish to partake in the regurgitation of disinformation– in a catch 22: we can’t go onto those sites to tell people in the comments precisely how much shit the author is full of, because that’ll drive up their traffic –and they’ll just delete any evidence that contradicts their agenda, anyway– but if we just let this go on, then they’ll continue spewing their biased rhetoric to a naive general public who will continue to believe that anyone who speaks out against Polygon or anyone else in this shit show is just a stubborn little brat that doesn’t want to share his toys.

Let me tell you something, as one of those stubborn little brats: I wish everyone in the world was a gamer. I really, genuinely, honest to based god, do.

I wish that I wasn’t just limited to talking about video games in real life with the people in G-Force when I buy shit from them. I would love to argue about video games in the pub the same way the rest of my friends do about football; I would love to have a conversation with an older person about video games that didn’t start with me explaining why they’re not all just murder simulators; I’d love to have a girlfriend who was super into Final Fantasy, and who I could argue with over the merits of a turn-based battle system versus the more Western hack-and-slash.

I want all of that, but it’s never going to happen as long as the outside world continues to perceive gamers as a bunch of over-sensitive manchildren, not because we are, but because the gaming press keeps telling everyone that we are, EVEN WHEN THEY KNOW IT’S NOT TRUE.

[UPDATE: On 30/08/14 the co-founder of The Escapist, posting as Archon, released a statement in the forums, in response to recent events. You can read it here, but be very wary of all the nebulous language used, and remember that, while this does seem promising, until any real actual changes are put into effect, this should be treated as little more than hollow posturing; it certainly isn’t a victory, by any stretch of the imagination. When the Publisher’s Note mentioned goes up, I’ll link to that to; hopefully it will shed more light on what their exact plan of action is. Cheers.]

[UPDATE: The Publisher’s Note is up, go check it out.]

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