Close your eyes. Imagine we lived in a world where everything happened in a vacuum, sortof. So, you release a game you made, make some posts about it, but are not able to see the responses to them. You are not able to see other people’s opinions of your or your game. What a world this could be. If only.
But, you take the good, you take the bad, you take it all and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life. Developers need to see responses, sometimes they’re constructive, most of the time they’re not. But, for that small fraction, you must see it.
Now what does that have to do with the title? Nothing. So let’s move forward into the crux.
If you were a lobbyist for Gay Marriage, you’d want all the support you can get, you’d want to make sure that this injustice is gone, that there is no more issues with regards the rights of Gay Couples as opposed to straight couples. Right? Everyone is welcome to help you fight your battle. Really? Everyone?
“KKK supports gay marriages, burns a cross on the lawn of anti-gay marriage lobbyists”. Not everyone should voice their opinions, especially if they truly care about the outcome. This has been touched upon in a South Park Episode before. Sometimes it’s not just about the amount of voices, but the voices themselves. A Hated Group or person can ruin a valid cause, unbeknownst to it. They’re trying to help. They want to help fight the injustice in the world, especially on such a controversial subject.
But here’s the problem, people hate you. You may have the most valid opinions in the world, the most unique insight into a situation, the best arguments against the injustice, and be an all around voice for the downtrodden. But none of that matters when everyone hates you.
If everyone hates you, or a vast majority hate you, no matter what you say, you have harmed the discussion. I know you don’t mean to, but you do.
Of course, I’m not talking about the KKK in this scenario. In the South Park episode previously mentioned, the town is arguing about how their Flag is racist or not racist. Some say it should be changed because it’s racist, and others say it’s apart of culture. This is not a cut and dry issue. Cultural Significance over Offence or Offence over Cultural Significance isn’t an easy choice. It’s easy to just say change the flag. But, that flag has existed a long time, if you acknowledge that it’s racist and everyone does that then it ceases to have it’s original meaning and instead becomes an old idea. If you get rid of the flag, you’re destroying a part of history in order to be politically correcct. Tricky Shit guys. But, then the shit hits the fan when the KKK come out as being pro keeping the flag under the pretense that it is culturally significant. The original group don’t want to be associated with the KKK as it diminishes their argument. It is foolish for a group people hates to come out on a stance they believe in for this reason. It diminishes the entire argument.
Now let’s move off South Park and the KKK. The reason I bring this up, is because Phil Fish diminish things by speaking out. No offence to Phil Fish, but a hell of a lot of people hate him. Holy shit do a lot of people hate him. And with this, a lot of people like to argue with him, spite him, troll him, threaten him, and all around fuck with him. This is fine ( well not really, because it’s just caustic internet bullshit drama). The issue occurs not when Phil says something arbitrary, or innocuous, but when Phil says something with great meaning. The issue is, though what Phil said on a subject or stance is entirely valid, the fact that he was the one who said it can ruin the sentiment. This happened with his post about Youtubers using his Gameplay Footage. Fuck Phil Fish, he has no right to money because we’re using his game without his permission. Except, he has a valid point. It’s a valid point, but sort of a hot topic still. Who owns the gameplay? The Player or the Game Creator? But, because Phil said it, it get’s shit on. And that’s the issue.
I mention this, because of Zoe Quinn. Zoe Quinn is the creator of Depression Quest (an interactive choose your own adventure style website about depression and it’s effects, outcomes and a message about how it’s not too late for people). It’s fairly innocuous, it’s free. It’s arguably not a game. It’s on Steam. Here’s where the shit hits the fan. A Woman has the audacity to make a not-game and get it on Steam and put it up for free? She must be taken down a peg. So, of course she gets rape threats, death threats, hacked on social media, the whole shebang. Because gurlz don’t make games and shouldn’t be on the internet. They should be making sandwiches and being subservient to guys. Then a bunch of posts from an ex boyfriend saying that she screwed around with prominent names in Gaming Journalism, with the implication being made by the internet that she did this for special favours, good reviews and promotion of her game. The internet paints the picture of a manipulative harlot who’s not afraid to do what she has to to get to the top. Except, this isn’t House Of Cards, where Zoe is Frank Underwood. This isn’t a world of naive people who instantly see sex as a transaction like money for goods and can be tricked into doing their bidding, where only Zoe has an agenda, and everyone else is just there to be manipulated. That’s not how the world is. Everyone has an agenda. Fucking EVERYONE. This isn’t someone plugging their game for profit. This is a free game, these are just names in gaming journalism. Things just happen. This is a jilted ex, a prominent name in feminism in gaming, and the anonymous people of the internet who wanted chaos, saw conspiracy and screamed and pissed and moaned about censorship.
The stance which Zoe firmly stands on (and rightly so, though I guess in some ways I’m being a bit hypocritical, apologies for that) is that she is entitled to her privacy. Which is true. Her private life is her private life. This is all valid. She shouldn’t have to be the only one accountable for the accused actions, also true. She is being targeted because she is female, arguably true. As far as I’m concerned her entire stance is solid. In fact many game developers have came out to back up her stance, to help fight the trolls, etc. Alot of great names, trying to help out a fellow gamedev. Rami of Vlambeer, Adam Saltzman of Flixel/Canabalt and … Phil Fish.
They’re all right, don’t get me wrong. They’re all doing what is right. They are fighting for privacy, for feminism, for equality and for the hypocrisy and sheer sexism within the games industry.
But, one of these things is not like the other. Sadly, I must harken back to South Park and the KKK (and by all means I don’t mean to actively compare Phil Fish to the KKK in terms of anything but how much people hate them both). Phil Fish diminishes the argument. Phil Fish feeds the trolls. He gives them reason to keep fighting. To Keep Arguing. To Keep abusing him and Zoe. He is a fuel to a fire.
That is the issue. You can’t fight trolls with something they hate. They’ll just keep coming. They’ll be angrier.
The only way for Phil Fish to help Zoe Quinn is to completely derail the trolls. He must be the Dark Knight. He must draw them back to him. He can take it, he must take it. He must derail them, or go silent. Those are his two best options. Because, what he’s doing now isn’t helping.
I like Phil Fish. He represents a guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and his voice on the internet. That is compelling to me. I don’t hate him. But many people do. You can’t change someones mind about hate. As seen in the video “This is Phil Fish”: if Phil Fish isn’t an asshole then I’m the asshole, and that just can’t be true. There’s the problem.
I have no problem with Zoe Quinn. Her Game was free, no problem. Her game helped people understand an issue. She is a strong voice for feminism in gaming, and a strong bringer together of Indie Devs (she set up a huge Google Doc full of Devs and their Expertise and what they’ve worked on and it’s a really cool project). Her private life is not my business. She in no way brings women in gaming back with any of these scandals and gossip. Women in gaming are a group, she is a member. She is an active member, her private life has no impact. Slut-shaming is abhorrent(as close as to what I think is going on, unless there’s another word) and bears no relevance to her impact in gaming. She’s not going away any time soon.
I have a problem with mob mentality, witchhunts,doxing, bitching about someone who has no impact on your life except in the most insignificant way possible and alot of other things. Nepotism is everywhere, don’t delude yourself to thinking that is a valid point for anything. Most people have jobs because of nepotism. Most people you probably like were in some way favoured and brought to the fore in front of more “worthy” people because they knew the right people.
There is no mass conspiracy. Occam’s Razor dudes.
Special Favours for Sex sounds incredibly messy and unreliable. Most people can separate work them for private them (ProJared’s review of the AVGN game does not mince words even though he is good friends with AVGN for example).
Let me start this post, first of all by pointing out that I am a gamer myself. And quite an aggressive one myself. I let my opinions be known, often and loudly. I pissed and moaned about The Fullbright Company having the audacity to charge 20 dollars for an interactive tumblr blog written by a 13 year old whose parents just don’t understand. I didn’t piss and moan at them now. And I think that’s sort of where the issue lies.
My problem was not with Gone Home’s game strictly (though it’s subject matter to me goes well into the realm of deep for deep sake pandering to game journalists, with those who understood the game giving it great scores for it’s subject matter and the rest just sort of playing along. Plus price doesn’t come into account with Reviewer cos lol free gayums), but with it’s price. Why? I’m an entitled piece of shit. 20 dollars in a world where Steam has amazing games going down to the price of a bar of chocolate, where Humble Bundle has 5 games going for that price. I am an entitled piece of shit I tells ya.
Currently I have 347 games on Steam, I have played maybe 50 of them. That is what the devaluing of games is doing. I have maybe spent abit over 200 euro total on all the games I have, Steam trading cards, Humble Bundles, Bundlestars, Tower Bundle, indie royale. These combined make me an entitled little shit. And leave devs in the lurch.
Word of mouth for games is vital. And I’m sure these bundles help contribute to that a bit. But for every 1,000 people who buy the bundle your game is in, what do you think are the odds they either got it for your game or played your game after getting it? I’d say fairly low.
I buy because it’s a deal. I wait. I snipe the price of games because “They’ll go down by 75% in a Steam Sale I bet”. And if they don’t: “It’s still too expensive”. I will probably not get your game if it isn’t on sale, couponed, an irish made game, Octodad, or in a bundle. Everything else is trash in my eyes. Everything else is worthless and overpriced by Devs who think what they made is God’s gift to the indie gaming scene. Fuck those entitled assholes. I’m not going to pay 15 dollars for your game. I can get 15 Humble Bundles for that price. Oh, your game in the Steam Sale? 75% off or GTFO. 75% off, okay you got a deal.
Install the game, play that shit for days while on Skype with friends and having 50 tabs in chrome open, 5 of which are fully buffered videos. The game crashes. Man fuck those shitty devs. Their game crashes, can’t even make a stable game. Did they even test it? UGGGGHHHH!! Everyone must know.
What just happened? I played that game for days, no problem. I loved it, it was awesome. Then one bad experience. Fuck that game. Blast it on twitter. Complain, tell people not to get it. The devs don’t give a shit.
What didn’t I do? Tell the devs the game crashed in a professional and discreet way. If I did that, with a screenshot, for a new game they might go “Thanks” then a patch might come in. They might just create a new patch, or put up a blog post saying the issues been dealt with.
But how often do gamers relay their issues properly to people who actually care or can do something about it? Rarely. Why? Gamers are not very nice people.
As mentioned in Puppygame’s(http://www.puppygames.net/blog/?p=1574) rant: Gamers are not very nice people. As I’ve mentioned: I’m an entitled little shit. And what’s even worse: there’s very little games companies can even do about it.
Let’s go back to the points I made about Gone Home and how I sort of publicly slammed it. Let’s say the Fullbright Company or it’s devs or whoever saw this tweet or post. They get angry and decide to reply. What happens? I post a screencap on reddit: “Fullbright Company can’t take criticism, curse customer”. Comments are unleashed, gamers who normally don’t two shits feel vindicated in their hatred of the Fullbright Company and Gone Home. They are assholes who can’t take criticism, they attack customers. Fuck those guys.
Then what happens? If the post on reddit gets big enough, the Fullbright Company might issue a statement, insisting that they were merely responding to unjust and hurtful attacks. The community doesn’t accept their statement.
Then what? Fucking Kotaku comes out with a post that is just meant to stir shit probably titled: “Gone Home Dev, Punches Orphan Child and Blinds him, Seeks Kickstarter for Hospital Fees”. And that’s when the shit really hits the fan.
Why? I don’t fully know but I can take a guess: People like when other people hate the things they hate. That’s as simple as it gets. Because, gamers are not very nice people.
So, who wins in this scenario? The fucking games journalists, and me. I get mad reddit karma for bringing this shit to fruition, and the journos get free clicks because of shit stirring. Who else? If they’re lucky, maybe the Fullbright Company. All publicity is good publicity as they say. That’s complete horseshit. But, what it may mean for the Fullbright Company is a thing I like to call: Hate Sales. And then there’s the Spite Sales
Hate Sales, are when someone with no prior knowledge of something sees the shit stirring Kotaku post or the original reddit thread and wants to follow up on it. Similar to how you might hear an off the cuff fact made in a TV show and see if it holds precedence. You see if the game is as bad as people make it out to be. And that’s a sale right there. Not necessarily a well intentioned one but a sale none the less. It happens, trust me. I’ve on occasion bought terrible games because of how bad people say they are just to see if they’re as bad as people say they are. In this case, All Publicity is Good Publicity.
Spite Sales, are when someone with some prior knowledge of something sees the shit stirring Kotaku post or the original reddit thread, sees past all the vitriol and circlejerking going on in the threads and attempts to help out the Devs who are being screwed in this situation. This is a kindhearted soul, possibly a fellow game developer who understands that the Fullbright Company’s reply is either inane or being twisted. They buy the game, possibly for the second time, give it a good review, and hope they can somehow slow down the anger and hate.
In both these cases the company gets a sale, but the damage has been done. It would take a windfall of sales to bring them out of the gameshitting people are doing. They’ve lost so much. Because they replied. They didn’t bait a troll. They communicated with a customer. And look where it got them.
This shit happens all the time. Tommy Refenes got baited and trolled on reddit while trying to offer genuine support for a customer having issues with Super Meat Boy. The fact that Phil Fish exists pisses off most gamers. Zoe Quinn can’t even release a free game about Depression made in Twine without having her entire private live dragged into public, receive death and rape threats on a daily basis.
How could you say gamers are nice people? We are entitled little shits.
PS: That fullbright company didn’t actually happen, and wouldn’t but could with literally any dev. I didn’t completely trash Gone Home.
The puppygames article is a great read(check it out here: Link to article). Well worth a look. I meant to be more close to it, but my direction didn’t synch as much as I’d like. But still: The points stand. Steams practices make it nigh on impossible to sell except super low and many, customers aren’t as valuable and incur more cost per person, arguing with customers makes you infamous (look at Amy’s Baking Company or Phil Fish), all press is good press -but not necessarily good for your health.
Their post should make you strongly consider whether games is a career you wish to do on your own. It wouldn’t suit me on my own personally. I’d argue too much. I’m too much of an entitled little shit.
You are all worthless.
Starting this post I don’t exactly know how to explain how this thought process came about. But I viewed some of the posts on r/TwoXChromosones and some of the comments and got the gist of what was going on with the whole thing. One post in particular was about the The one female coder showcased on HBO’s Silicon Valley.
In the one of the later episodes of Season 1 the group go to Tech Crunch Disrupt and the Canadian and the Indian guy bump into what is neither showcased as a female coder or a marketer. But on the ground floor of what is shown to be a very male dominated atmosphere. She asks both the Canadian and Indian guy at separate times if they know Java and whether they can fix a bug in their code(her Startups). Both of which oblige for different bugs at different times.
From my point of view, before the episode completed and the plot was resolved, at the time of these requests for help by the female I was watching for a sort of ruse going on. Whether it was some sort of trust gaining excercise on her part and whether she was a female femme fatale character trying to steal Pied Piper’s Codebase somehow. But nope, she wasn’t flirting to get them to do it, or promising sex or anything else. It was purely a person asking for code help. If she was a male this wouldn’t even be a thing. I had made assumptions about her character. If a character is introduced and thrown into the fore of two main characters asking for help and both of them obliging. Said person must have alterior motives. But NO! This time it was purely on the characters. They could have said no, done nothing, and not made it sexual. The two naive nerds seduced by the femme fatale. Typical. The two naive nerds trying to exchange niceties for sexual advancement. Less typical. I’d call it the dark side of the supposed friendzoned.
As the episode develops further it transpires that the woman is purely on the social media side of her respective business and does not code. The Indian Guy was turned on by the code, and it’s complexities and nuances and thinking that it was the woman who wrote it (she gave no indication of such, except for being at a Tech Startup Conference), when in fact it was the Canadian Guy. Boom, and in one fell swoop the sole apparent female coder of a show about Silicon Valley was sent to the sidelines as a social media marketer. Assumptions were given. Male Response to Damsels are given.
The whole fiasco within the episode can get you thinking. For one thing, if I was at a tech conference I previously and ignorantly would have made the opposite assumption that the Indian and Canadian guy made in the show. I would have assumed any woman at a tech conference was in the social media marketing side and not the code side . I had no reason to think otherwise. Until I was proven wrong so massively and quickly. Luckily assumptions can be changed and adapted. I now aim to make no assumptions about anyone. If only there were others who followed this:
At an interview I was at for a Developer Job, one of the fellow interviewees was talking about how she was at this tech careers conference style thing(you know with company stalls and things like that). She was saying that she was going around to a few of the companies, and went over to this Certain Company Booth, and was asking about things like some of the programming questions or interview questions or employment prerequisites for applying to a certain company (Let’s say it’s fairly huge and has it’s finger in everything and is not the typical company you’d think of) to which the recruiter/booth guy replied: “Well we’re mostly about programming and engineering questions”. Entirely ignoring the line of genuinely honest questioning because he perceived her to be a Business Student/Grad as opposed to a CS Grad because she was a female.
I cannot even imagine how I would react in a similar situation. I can’t imagine being put in a similar situation. I suppose that is just privilege. But she just had to politely correct the booth tech guy and managed to just grin and bear it. Somehow she didn’t flip her shit at the whole thing.
The whole story really does give the image of the Little Rascals’ He-Man Woman Haters Club and the No Gurls Allowed nature of the tech industry . To think that in your prospective entry into the world of work in Tech that you’d be so quickly brushed off as unimportant or misguided must be very disheartening. It’s almost like females in tech have to prove themselves more just for the same opportunities. Almost like they’ve to brand themselves a certain way just to avoid being brushed off.
Conversely I could wear a suit and ask the question and be answered, wear a tracksuit and be answered. No personal branding required. It’s a cruel world we live in.
I suppose the only solution to this problem is for those in this Boyz Club to open their fucking minds. There is no simple solution to this issue. Nor can I offer anything more to solve this. But it’s worth thinking about. I hope anyone reading this can think about it. Being open is so very important to every single industry. The opinions and prejudices of any one engineer in a tech company should not be able or allowed to make someone have to explain themselves.
I don’t know how to end blog posts. Just think about the whole thing.
Just a quick edit as I found the link, and feel it’s much more relevant and useful than anything that I say. Here is an open letter on feminism in tech: Open Letter on Feminism in Tech . In it is mentioned:
“We’re constantly asked ‘if you write any code’ when speaking about technical topics and giving technical presentations, despite just having given a talk on writing code. We’ve been harassed at these same conferences in person and online about our gender, looks, and technical expertise.”
This is sort of what I was trying to touch on abit, but I can’t formulate it properly nor have I ever experienced it to explain it properly. But, I know it happens. The tech industry is totally fucked. Things really do need to change. But, I’m not fully sure where. Responses to complaints, criticisms and an improvement in diversity would help. But there’s so much more to be done about the whole thing. But give that link a read. It’s worth it for the viewpoint.