vrap

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vrap last won the day on November 2 2014

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  1. Devolver will sell games on G2A but can't guarantee the keys we provide them will work unless G2A purchases the $500,000 Devolver Shield. — Devolver Digital (@devolverdigital) April 21, 2017
  2. The recent Gearbox-G2A-TotalBiscuit debacle (reported on excellently at Vice’s Waypoint by Patrick Klepek over a series of news articles here, here and here) that was the result of a deal struck to officially distribute Bulletstorm via G2A, was in the offing for the longest time. It had to happen, because the legitimate online price-race (one that has now cooled, to be frank, after several online retailers have, or are in the process of, shutting down shop) drives a portion of consumers to find the best available price every time, and every time they are caught unawares by the illegitimate practices of various services such as Cdkeys, Kinguin and the titular G2A, it is principally because of the way we are being sold games, and because of a lack of consumer education. Therefore, such a burst of activity around this topic has been a good refresher and reminder to gamers that not all is above the board with these cd-key shops. Of course, by now it should be so very clear to all of us that anything that has the word “keys” plastered to it is morally bankrupt in the general view of the retail establishment. But it isn’t, and won’t be, not until the system changes – and that change will probably be to the worse. The thing is, the framing of Gearbox’s brush with the Bad Guys was largely from the point of view of the scorned developer, as with the help of TotalBiscuit, Gearbox navigated the situation deftly and swiftly, which had the unfortunate side effect of distorting the crux of the issue, and perhaps side-stepping other relevant questions of digital distribution that absolutely led into the intended (or unintended) result of blending questions of legitimacy with illegitimacy, and proper practice with improper practice. Again, this is not to discount all the egregious instances of the morally bankrupt enterprise of G2A sabotaging developers – Natural Selection 2 developers Unknown Worlds suffered from such offenses as early as 2013 – especially by allowing credit card fraud to blossom. But it seems that in their willingness to jump in to avow their support of Gearbox (discounting Jim Sterling, of course), a company that has a long-running consumer-unfriendly corporate policy (remember when CEO Randy Pitchford called refunds “mafia style extortion tactics”), the video games media has done us consumers something of a disservice. Gearbox is the perfect example for this topic, because of their historical position in the video games industry. To us here at The Slowdown, the company has taken the significance, and the chief position as the very symbol of the industry-wide practices of anti-consumerism, false advertising, and corporate lies – perhaps to a larger degree than any other major video game developer in the world. Because of this fact, every move that Gearbox makes seems deeply embedded in a lineage of mistakes, a constant comedy of errors; their moves and plays beg to be called out, with past mistakes always invoked together with future ones not yet made. Who, if not the caricaturish Randy Pitchford, would have greenlit the coincidental release of a Bulletstorm remaster, at three times the price, with that of Bayonetta‘s? Ars Technica’s Sam Machkovech brings up several salient points regarding the pros and cons of the way the remaster was ultimately sold, but the chief one remains that at the time of writing, the latter has successfully sold over 3x more copies than the former. That Bayonetta should be published by SEGA, again, seems to fit into a framework of karmic justice, slotting right in as a historical response to Gearbox’s abuse of their contracted funds for Aliens: Colonial Marines being allegedly spent on Borderlands. Only a company so fumbling and bumbling as Gearbox can gain goodwill from this G2A debacle, finally scoring some much-needed PR Points ™ (not yet available as a micro-transfer or as an in-game currency.) In fact, only Gearbox seems to have adept enough publicity relations staff to afford a CEO so intent on sabotaging their business, year in and year out. While Gearbox’s history of flubs may seem tangential at first, it is the company’s complete public disdain for their consumer base that serves to underline the fact that this kind of unified perception in favour of publisher conduct is ultimately untenable; instead, we must always give ourselves the chance of heaping legitimate criticism together with defense or praise. A discussion on the basis of the cult of a brand never does anyone good. Remember when Google was to not be evil? Well, they “should” be doing “the right thing” now, by dabbling here and there with military robots. Therefore, no matter how corrupt G2A’s practice in practice is, we must not allow ourselves to lump those practices together in theory with other grey-area industry practice. We must be wary of the philosophical framing of the entirety of the discussion, which seems to currently slant in the media in a way that blurs the lines of our rights as buyers and owners of video games. No matter what harm G2A have ultimately caused to the industry, these aspects of the retail of video games remain philosophically and societally problematic in today’s inter-connected world: Video game keys and retail games as “licenses,” “services,” or “subscriptions” Purchasers as “licensees” or “subscribers” Viewing the resale of legitimate purchases as “illegal” or “against the TOS” Regional restrictions on purchases Regional pricing of goods The chief problems with G2A are undeniable; indeed, they have visibly and tangibly strong-armed publishers by first birthing a problem and then offering a solution to that problem in a way that only further benefits them, and them alone. The closest analogy is the external destabilization of a region to gain access to oil. But we, as a collective, should not be lulled into accepting the aforementioned untenable consumer positions only because the current winds of PR and news paints them in a certain light, lumping them together with other issues as a pre-digested and pre-mediated package. Instead, we must be alarmed by how extremely easy it seems to muddle the lines between a) fraudulent resale and b) legitimate resale of keys. I understand that it is a terrifically grey area in practice, but in theory none of us should have any problems with it. I paid for it, it’s mine to sell or resell, right? It is a similarly slippery a slope to accidentally defend the industry practice of video game licensing simply because it is our primary platform of delivery and we are accustomed to the ease of use of Steam, Origin and uPlay. But in no way are any of these platforms ultimately philosophically acceptable practices of delivery of goods in this capitalist trade society of ours. These services are the reason this problem exists in the first place; they are the reason we have been deprived of proper ownership of our goods, of material and immaterial rights, behind the veil of words such as “service” and “subscription”. To reiterate: We must not allow ourselves to be blinded into accepting or taking a position as a “whole” or a “sum” of positions of good and evil; that way, we will lose our rights and access to the valid resale of legitimately purchased keys, and we will lose our (intellectual) legitimate position of ownership of goods. I understand fully that some of these are already lost. But there’s more still to lose: It’s perfectly clear to me that in today’s partisan world, societal, political and technological ideas are clumped together in bunches of ideas, they come in political colours, and become defensible or indefensible on the mere basis of the lines that are drawn. Whether this has been the aim of the media that contributed to this recent spur of publicity on the topic, whether it has simply been the side-effect of having to paint the stories in a certain light for clicks and views, or whether it makes the most sense to frame the discussion intellectually between only good and evil, we need remind ourselves constantly, consistently, and vigilantly, of our positions, to retain the proper accuracy of our views, and to de-bundle and de-package our viewpoints, and ultimately take ownership of what we feel is right and wrong.
  3. Stranded Review

    Note: This review was written entirely sans PR materials and research; ordinarily, we pride ourselves on diligence and copious amounts of background research, but due to the game’s clear intentions and sensibilities, chose to approach this review differently. The single worst thing about adventure games – the one aspect that is also almost wholly unique to them – is being stuck. (Worse still, in fact, is knowing when you’re badly stuck.) For players, after all, adventure games are all about progression; for developers, they are all about managing it. The genre on the whole is a curious balancing act of controlling tempo, pacing, difficulty, balance, and the flow of information. Peter Moorhead’s Stranded, then, is supposed to be “[…] a minimalist adventure game that foregoes dialogue and puzzles to focus on atmosphere, mystery, and exploration; it is both a love letter to classic point & click adventures, and an experiment with the fundamentals of the genre.“ To read the store page like the Devil does the Bible, then, according to the quote the fundamentals of adventure games are 1) dialogue, and 2) puzzles. From what I could gather, Stranded has neither of these things. Hence, it would be perfectly fair to state that Stranded is either a piss-poor adventure, or it isn’t one at all. Love letter? More like breaking up with emoji. Perhaps more intriguingly, however, one could rather say that Stranded’s chief problem – despite its admirable wishes to subvert and experiment with genre – is that it actually encapsulates the very worst features of adventure games: Poor controls; awful interface; slow speed; and a huge focus on the player fulfilling the designer’s wishes instead of their own. Stranded is “fundamental” in the sense of ‘basic’ and “experimental” if that means ‘tentative.’ Though Stranded’s Steam description cites dialogue and puzzles as integral to adventures, in fact, they are much more are about the dissemination and delivery of these two things, of controlling information flow in the form of storytelling (narration), as well as different types of building: 1) character-, 2) world-, and 3) event-building. Every adventure game, after all, is about being ‘stranded,’ if you will – just think of classic games like Monkey Island, King’s Quest, et cetera. Almost all games and game concepts, both good and bad, are introduced to us in medias res; the difference between good and bad here is often how well the introduction is done, really. So much of the very point in video games is for players to learn the ropes, their surroundings, characters, events, and so forth. In the adventure game genre, this becomes a series of gated events and actions. That’s how adventure games work: Exposition as reward for player actions (as in, solving puzzles, talking, etc.). Where does this leave Stranded, then? It is a shipwreck, an aircrash, a disaster. It is the antithesis of everything I want from an adventure game. The slow, unrelenting crawl of its protagonist; the clunky movement confined entirely to the x/y-axes; its no-interface approach, its poorly designed hotspots, its forced extra clicks of the mouse. The sins of this experiment are far too vast and numerous to even list. Stranded is opaque, oblique, meandering, and extremely limited. Lost Transmissions – Stranded OST by Stux Undoubtedly, it is also beautiful, very beautiful, and sounds fantastic (the OST, by Joe “Stux” Edwards, is available on Bandcamp, and is highly recommended listening). Every time you play Stranded, its landscape changes – that much I could gather. But even when something moderately interesting – that is, new – happened, whatever little agency I had in this little game amounted to absolutely nothing. The game has no sense of urgency, danger, or interest, nothing like The Dig, an obvious parallel, which feels like you were constantly fighting for your lives, and your survival. But perhaps this is the point. Perhaps Stranded is all about being stuck. That something so clearly ambitious, and artistic, should also be so infuriating, bland, and all-around awful, is a real head-scratcher to me. How do you even approach it? Some reviews end up investigative, focusing on finding out the ‘truth’ of a game. Some are interpretative; some are more descriptive, and some are prescriptive. Reviewing Stranded? There was nothing to be done here. No mode of review – other than simply not reviewing it – that I can think of works on this game. Discussing the game amounts to nothing, as I can not in any sense claim to have understood it. There’s nothing to interpret, and as such, nothing to say. I have only experienced Stranded, and my time with it was of irritation, annoyance, and boredom. From this experience, I have gained nothing. I’m stuck – a few Steam trading cards richer, that’s all – and I know it. Stranded is available on Steam, and from the developer’s website. Access to the game was provided for the purpose of this review.
  4. Don’t Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

    United Front Games, best known for their atmospheric Hong Kong city brawler Sleeping Dogs (2012), is rumoured to be closing down. The weight of this rumour is not slight, and deserves all the extra attention we can bring to it – true or not, at this point in time we don’t yet know for sure – because, once again, the string of events that led us here reads like yet another example of Konami-like profound executive failure. But, to start from a beginning. According to United Front producer Dan Sochan, Sleeping Dogs – which never quite lived down its reputation as a True Crime game – actually started out as the original game Black Lotus, which was then subsequently bought and slated by Activision to be the next part of their True Crime game series as True Crime: Hong Kong. After the publisher lost faith in the game’s market prospects, with Activision’s Eric Hirshberg noting in 2011 that “The finished product was not going to be at the top of that genre,” it was ultimately poached (sans the True Crime moniker) from Activision by Square Enix, who would then release the game as Sleeping Dogs in 2012. After purchasing the studio, the western branch of Square Enix, US and UK both, seemed equally enamoured with the project. Mike Fischer, US president of Square Enix, exclaimed in 2012, Obviously the game was originally True Crime: Hong Kong from Activision. I can’t speak to why they let that go. I’m not going to speculate on their behalf. All I know is, they’ve gotta be crazy. Because this game is just fantastic. Square Enix UK London general manager, Lee Singleton had also told Gamasutra that “When we first saw and got our hands on the game we fell in love with it,” describing the game as a “great big bucket of fun.” At some point – possibly when Tomb Raider, Hitman and Sleeping Dogs all three “failed” to “effectively” (Square Enix lingo, not mine) perform up to internal sales projections (classically the moment when @JimSterling noted “Mainstream videogames have officially gone wrong“) – things turned sour. It doesn’t take much of a conspiracy theorist to imagine a power struggle between Square Enix Japan and the ROW offices, so I don’t doubt corporate cultures had a clash of it. But let’s be real, projections aside: What was a once-canned game had already sold a total of 1.75 million copies in 2013, and has only added further millions to it since via Steam sales and re-releases on the newer consoles. Even disregarding these millions of sales, let’s take the game once and for all for what it was and still is: A thrilling success. After prolonged development hell, several publishers, studio migrations, and brand changes, getting a game out is a nice surprise; getting a good game out is nothing short of a miracle. Where were the Square Enix bonuses to United Front staff? The raises? The doubled budget to go all-in on a sequel that would have undoubtedly performed better than the first game in the series? Well, what United Front Games came to receive from Square Enix was a fuck you. That’s why the news of their closure stings so very much. First, they were punished with Triad Wars, an asset flip Facebook version of Sleeping Dogs (trust me on this one – I was part of the beta), and later the Early Access game SMASH+GRAB, no longer purchasable on Steam at the time of writing. Today, on the 19th of October, United Front actually announced refunds were going to be retroactively available to all purchasers. And then they were gone. Truthfully, Activision’s decision was nothing sensational at the time. They were not wrong in their prognosis – just the manner it was conducted in. They were absolutely right to assess that a new True Crime game would have meant little to the gaming world pre-launch, as the series had only just spiralled out of control with the high-stakes sequel, True Crime: New York City, flopping enormously despite its Hollywood cast and grand plans for subsequent parts. It must have been a bitter pill to swallow. The brand was tarnished, and could have easily doomed True Crime: Hong Kong to mediocre reviews from the get-go. They couldn’t have known the game was actually good, right? When the game did come out, players and critics were quickly taken in by an engagingly violent torrent of story, one that borrowed artistic direction and a touch of the absolute fearlessness of Kane & Lynch (another series that both Eidos and later Square Enix could not have misunderstood much worse) and exciting, fast-paced gameplay that displayed great understanding of how to work around the lulls and pacing problems of the Grand Theft Auto series. Despite being a mature game for a mature audience, it performed admirably in a sales space that doesn’t much care for that. After many rounds of successful, well-crafted DLC, and a console remastered “Definitive Edition” of the game, what other sensible avenue was there other than a big-budget multi-platform sequel? What could have been, if not for Square Enix’s awful decision to go with Triad Wars instead? They knew the game was good – and ultimately failed to act upon it. In the words of my partner, @nabeelburney, one just has to wonder whether the game “[…] was a mistake, or a stipulation, or an inevitability.” With Team Bondi’s Whore of the Orient cancelled, Mafia III having been in development for the longest time, and with Watch_Dogs 2 carrying only modest expectations, Sleeping Dogs II could have easily occupied, even dominated the marketplace for a good while right now. At this very juncture. I think we all expected it – especially after Triad Wars. The fact itself, that United Front Games is being closed down, is no surprise. United Front being treated with both executive malice and incompetence at two different major publishers? No surprise. The neverending depths of terrible misjudgement in the video game industry? No surprise there. The surprise is the game. For Sleeping Dogs to have beaten so many odds along the way to become a beloved game – one that deserved to become a franchise of its own, and finally shed that ugly association to True Crime – is a testament to the development team. In the eyes of history, unfortunately, Sleeping Dogs may at some point in time begin to look like a happy accident. Big players. The little engine that could. Etc etc. The elements are there. But for United Front Games, it was nothing of the sort: It was pure perseverance, dogged vision, and constant – consistent – battle. If this is truly goodbye to United Front… then I need to share this final thought: It’s entirely possible for a competent, all-new team at Square Enix to push an excellent if thoroughly corporate Sleeping Dogs II out on the basis of the first game. We, then, should never forget the very real cost at which it came to be.
  5. We’re all huge fans of the BioShock franchise here on The Slowdown, but we’ve also had our fair share of the game series. We awaited each game, lathering ourselves with collector’s editions (remember the original Big Daddy statue that would crack in half?), with nightly chats about lore and story, and even with articles written on the game here in the archives. They are some really good games. Some guy named John Lanchester once said somewhere that Bioshock “was the first game he played that had the ambitions of a novel” and I find that very damn agreeable. It’s just that no-one in particular was looking forward to The Bioshock Collection in the traditional sense. We’re not console gamers, so they just weren’t in the view, or on the horizon. The games are bygones for Ken Levine, too, who had claimed the games took such a toll on him that he thought sequels would make him “[…] lose my mind, and my marriage.” We too were arguably done with these anomalously nihilistic, brutal, and taxing video games, perhaps even with additional future games in the series, the idea of which has soured somewhat with Levine’s surprise dissolution of Irrational Games as it were in 2014. With the joint release of the remastered versions of BioShock 1 and 2 on the PC, however, I have been made a fool. I’ve been roped to care for something that was supposed to be both free and carefree. You see, when the remasters were announced, it was revealed that existing owners of BioShock 1 and 2 would receive the PC remasters for free. I was pleased to find myself among this lucky crowd. Being the sucker that I am (for free, as in free beer) I downloaded the games on Steam and then proceeded to spend two days figuring and configuring out how to make them work, tirelessly jabbing at the game’s .ini files and Nvidia’s driver panel with various concoctions and conflagrations to come to some sort of workable conclusion. Monitor out of range, resolution issues, wrong aspect ratios, popping textures and models, lighting problems, abject stuttering, poor performance and terrible configuration options – I had all that and more. Tiny FOV. Mouse acceleration. It’s amore. Suddenly, however, there was light at the end of the tunnel: An announcement of incoming fixes, promising to address almost all the major issues with the two games: General Mouse Fixes, including better Mouse Smoothing, Sensitivity and Acceleration Options in BioShock; Additional Speaker Mode Options in Audio Settings in BioShock; Improved FoV Slider Options in BioShock, BioShock 2 and Minerva’s Den; Support for 21:9 display ratios in BioShock, BioShock 2 and Minerva’s Den; General stability improvement to reduce instances of game crashes. This announcement, of course, was posted on the 20th of September. It’s now the 6th of October, with 2½ weeks of radio silence since the announcement. The BioShock Steam forums – solely dedicated to the airing of feelings of despair, anguish, and anger – are a mountain of misery caked with complaint. Had I not, uh, experienced these remasters myself, reading the forums would make me have a modicum of sympathy for the developers, Blind Squirrel. But alas, I keep saying to myself, angrily, and as if I knew it all, and so much better to boot, “These problems were already present in the original games.” I’ve muttered to myself, as well as more than one acquaintance, “Mouse acceleration is the worst feature ever implemented.” And for that I blame Blind Squirrel, 2K Games, and like whoever. Like every developer in the world. And the consoles. With a capital C. To be made to care for what you don’t care for is a terrible thing. I don’t know that I can properly enunciate just how demeaning it is to be taken hostage so, with these mounds of offense, furore, and complaint being imposed upon yourself. Why have I been subjected to all this outrage culture? Just how bad (as in evil) are these remasters?!? “No wonder they gave them out for free!,” someone cries out, imbued subsequently with that supremely particular sensation only sharp wit can bring that will almost certainly last for the rest of the person’s evening. It is such a fool’s errand and such a losing battle. Should I play now, in this half-live half-dead state the two games are in, or wait longer still for fixes that might never materialize? It makes me more than a tiny bit ill to find myself complaining about mouse acceleration out loud – it’s something that you truly want to keep to yourself in civil society, but can’t, because it just is that bad. Placing the true weight of the matters at hand on a scale – the cost (negligible, years ago), the effort (quite a bit), the potential reward (a functional game) is a joke. The only thing that is serious here is that nothing is going to give me back that little but very important portion of dignity that was stolen by these shitty remasters. It’s easy to invoke here the sunk-cost fallacy, or the escalation of commitment, but I feel this only gives a name to the problem, not the explanation: Why should I care now, given that I didn’t before? This feeling is impossible to explain away intellectually, because it is a primal response. Airing all this feels just right but a little bit sad. Perhaps I don’t even want to play the game any more – out of spite, maybe, or not. I don’t know. As the wise man once said, “Why don’t you play the original game?” I don’t know.
  6. Quote of the Day: Satoru Iwata

    So Reggie… I have a question for you. Who’s your daddy? – Satoru Iwata, Nintendo E3 2005 Conference
  7. Quote of the Day: Satoru Iwata

    </img> </img> </img> </img> </img><a href="http://www.slowdown.vg/2015/07/13/quote-of-the-day-satoru-iwata/" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>
  8. Pledge $25 or more “I pirated Maniac Mansion and Monkey Island when I was a kid and I feel bad!” This reward tier instantly absolves you of all guilt and includes the Thimbleweed Park game. All subsequent tiers also include guilt absolution. – Thimbleweed Park Kickstarter campaign reward tier
  9. </img> </img> </img> </img> </img><a href="http://www.slowdown.vg/2014/11/18/quote-of-the-day-thimbleweed-park/"class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>
  10. Quote of the Day: Ebb Software

    While most people realize that pledging [on Kickstarter] is just a pre-order in the dark, some backers feel like they are investors or game designers, working alongside the development team. If this is true and the final product doesn’t live up to the standards they’ve set up in their minds they’ll feel quite unsatisfied or worse. To avoid this type of complications, we have decided to take a different route with this campaign. We don’t want to deal with the trivial and somewhat elitist stuff like backers only forums, backers having their name in the credits, re-designing stuff in our project or going to dinner with some of the staff. […] We respect the community and are thankful for every pledge we get but we want to create the game the way we envisioned and designed it. We would also like to concentrate all our available time to development, so if you want to support us in hope to get a great game please do so. – Ebb Software, developers of Scorn
  11. Quote of the Day: Ebb Software

    </img> </img> </img> </img> </img><a href="http://www.slowdown.vg/2014/11/14/quote-of-the-day-ebb-software/"class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>
  12. Dear #gamergate

    <p>Dear #gamergate,</p> <p>I don’t know if you’ll read this letter. I have not written to you before. We have not really spoken.</p> <p>While your message to us has, more often than not, taken either the form (and I do not mean to belittle you for it; the matter at hand is far more complex than any single person can handle alone) of the shouting of a rhetorical exercise, copy-pasted from a database of talking points, full of debate gymnastics, smoke and mirrors, reflections, presumptions, conflations, agitations, and pot-kettle-black, I respect the things that you have said in earnest.</p> <p>I wish I knew what they were.</p> <p>I respect the fact that you considered video games important enough to act upon. I value your contribution to the video gaming community. I fully understand that you may feel strongly about any one particular point of contention that has arisen during #gamergate. You probably, truly, want to make things better for all of us. From this vantage point, I can even somewhat understand the sentiment of pushing forward with #gamergate in order to âcleanseâ the gaming press of its embedded flaws – personal, shared, or cultural.</p> <p><span id="more-54200"></span></p> <p>I see that you feel strongly about the matter. Perhaps you felt – at some point – that the ends justified the means.</p> <p>But we <i>must </i>focus on the strife and the suffering that this witch-hunt on women is causing. Now. There is no time to waste. Please do not do or say anything you’ll come to regret later.</p> <p>I am not saying that you are guilty of hideous criminal activity by association, or that your participation in the movement makes you a bad person outright. What you may not have realized, however, are the ways in which your presence is being both abused and misused by others, and how you may be inadvertently, unknowingly making a contribution to this abhorrent behaviour.</p> <p>Letâs ignore, for the time being, the fact that the foundational premises perpetuated by the movement are demonstrably, fundamentally false. Letâs instead look at the purported offences; letâs say that a developer really did sleep with a journalist in exchange for coverage (even though this never happened).</p> <p>Would this particular act, or situation, truly justify the means or the ends of this movement as they are now? Would this be a foundational, pivotal moment for a consumer-oriented movement in video games? How much punishment or reprimand should this really award to the parties in question? And even if there did exist âcollusionâ – letâs say, a mailing list for discussion, or a degree of combined, co-ordinated effort involved with the âGamers Are Deadâ series of articles – are these words really such an affront to your being and your principles so as to allow and legitimize bomb threats and the suffering of others?</p> <p>Even if #gamergateâs premises were all true, and if #gamergate had a foundational, solid, bulletproof agenda, I do not believe any of the people under fire would come to be removed from their positions. We may, of course, see many of them quit their jobs voluntarily, or exit the business altogether, but this is a fact that you should carefully consider, as I do believe it only affirms and reaffirms the tenor regarding #gamergate that has already been established elsewhere:</p> <p>Your participation in the movement is making private real human beings afraid, terribly afraid. Not just Twitter handles. Real people. It is making them angry, terribly angry. They are both afraid and angry that you are, actively or passively, contributing to their constant misery.</p> <p>Dear #gamergate,</p> <p>Whether or not a #gamergate member condones the harassment (clearly you do not), whether or not s/he participates in the movement <i>earnestly</i> and <i>innocently</i>, s/he remains firmly entrenched and embedded in a screaming, swelling, yelling lynchmob that is asking for the heads of innocent people, 24/7, no rest, no sleep, only fear, and then using these heads as props for the aims and goals of the movement.</p> <p>You may not be the one asking for blood outright, but youâre still watching this very real lynching from the crowd – maybe even yelling words of encouragement, maybe silently nodding from the stands.</p> <p>Maybe you even thought, for a moment, that she or he deserved it? Maybe you did. Maybe you didnât. No matter – you were still a participant. It doesn’t matter who the main executioner is; the target was already dead, having suffered a death by a thousand cuts. Maybe you never came to realize how every single new person standing in the crowd adds more fuel for the fire, more false justification to the actions of those that are perpetuating these evil, hideous acts.</p> <p>Believe you me – they see you. They want you. Without you, they have nothing. âSee, these people are siding with our actions! They too think they deserved it! We have the numbers on our side!â</p> <p>Your presence – your number! – in the movement is being used as justification for these acts. While being used as justification is not direct encouragement, it still caused people to act more; harder; faster; tougher; bolder! Even the most good-intentioned tweet – a minor criticism, or an aside – can contribute to the lynchmob mentality; by now, weâve seen how this hashtag can turn any moment into a stressful skirmish, an attack, an assault, with people upon people piling up on folks. Whatâs worse, this groundswell can take aim – in addition to the more prominent, more public targets – both actively and passively at <strong>private individuals earnestly trying to do whatâs best for video games</strong>.</p> <p>I hope that you will consider whether your participation in the #gamergate movement, whether it was a tweet, a forum post, or a comment on a blog, has at any point contributed, in some way, to the encouragement, justification, cover-up or participation in the harassment of others. In innocent suffering.</p> <p>As long as you say #gamergate does not condone harassment, #gamergate will never do a thing to stop it.</p> <p>Could you do something to stop it? Probably not. Nothing you do or say will stop these monsters.</p> <p>But you can step out yourself. You can excuse yourself, and nothing bad will come out of it. There will be no backwards steps. The points of contention, the issues that are real – ethics in journalism – they will not go away.</p> <p>What are privacy, safety, and well-being worth? Whether it was the âGamers Are Deadâ articles, or someone else that said or did something that offended you, #gamergate, offended you as a person, offended your ethics, your identity, #gamergate, I want you to consider whether all this toxic air, this in-fighting, this harassment and above all this vast, god-awful collateral damage – active and passive – on so many private persons simply doing their job is fair and okay, and whether your presence in the lynchmob is having an adverse effect on the well-being of others.</p> <p>It’s not too late to pull back and pull out.</p> <p>Please don’t do or say anything you’ll come to regret later.</p> <p>Best,<br /><a href="http://twitter.com/martynzachary" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">@martynzachary</a></p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=dJ-a5ZXB7nc:xMayYdNJM_c:D7DqB2pKExk"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?i=dJ-a5ZXB7nc:xMayYdNJM_c:D7DqB2pKExk" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=dJ-a5ZXB7nc:xMayYdNJM_c:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?i=dJ-a5ZXB7nc:xMayYdNJM_c:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=dJ-a5ZXB7nc:xMayYdNJM_c:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?i=dJ-a5ZXB7nc:xMayYdNJM_c:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=dJ-a5ZXB7nc:xMayYdNJM_c:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=dJ-a5ZXB7nc:xMayYdNJM_c:6et-BrRH4jw"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?d=6et-BrRH4jw" border="0"></img></a> </div> <a href="http://www.slowdown.vg/2014/10/16/dear-gamergate/" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>
  13. Harassment Is Not Okay

    <p>Over the past two months, many video game developers and journalists have had to wake up and go to sleep bothered, pestered, insulted, and threatened – or worse: Phil Fish, and especially women like Brianna Wu, Zoe Quinn, and Anita Sarkeesian have had great reason to be fearful of their privacy, safety, and well-being, after being targeted with threats of death.</p> <p>This is <strong>wrong</strong> and needs to stop. Period.</p> <p>No matter what you think of their allegiances, your allegiances, or my allegiances, we all know video games are far and beyond toxic enough that game developers have to <a href="http://www.polygon.com/2012/10/17/3515178/the-league-of-legends-team-of-scientists-trying-to-cure-toxic">institute specific behavioural programs</a> to combat the issue. The fact is, our favourite brand of entertainment can bring out the worst in us – especially behind nicknames, pseudonyms, and avatars.</p> <p>There exists a miserable undercurrent of hateful, racist, misanthropic, even flat-out psychopathic behaviour that goes on in the chats, the forums, and the waiting rooms of video games all the time – day in, day out. We all know this is ultimately not okay, but we let it slide. After all, it doesn’t quite invade our personal space. Ultimately, you can always tune out at the end of the day.</p> <p>For some, however, the rise of #gamergate has taken that freedom away. It has broken the walls between, and let all this toxicity in, organized, distilled, focused. I don’t think we quite realized how bad it was – not until it crept up, both with false pretences and seemingly good intentions, and allowed a full-on troll brigade into the offices, living rooms, and bedrooms of your least and most favourite journalists and developers.</p> <p>Suddenly, it has greenlighted harassment, hate speech, and pure misanthropy – with the addition of all the borderline-illegal, borderline-criminal tools that are to be found in the seedy underbelly of the internet.</p> <p>No matter what you think is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ about video game journalism and development right now, it is not okay for a private person (again: no matter who) to have their private space so profoundly molested, and so thoroughly eradicated. We need to agree on that. It is not right for a private person to suffer so much undue abuse, so much victim-blaming, victim-shaming, and so much flat-out inhuman treatment.</p> <p>No matter what you think about ‘the issue’, it is not okay for a human being to go to sleep fearful of their safety and security. Does it happen? Yes, everywhere in the world, for a multitude of reasons: war, illness, poverty, famine. Is it okay? No. It is not okay. Helping contribute to this list of suffering should make you reconsider your priorities. If you have found yourself part of a movement (like #gamergate) that aligns itself with such behaviour, then you need to reconsider your allegiances.</p> <p>You are not that person.</p> <p>As you are probably aware, the international community of video game reviewers is by all means not very large. Yet video game journalism, in its entirety, is much, much better than ever. And still, good, skilled reviewers – and reviews – are damn hard to find. What does this mean? It means that those few currently writing for you are passionate, motivated, fantastic people. People that are utterly bummed out by this troll brigade. People that were doing their best. Joyless in this already-thankless business.</p> <p>Many of us, including myself, are afraid, tired, worn out, and worst of all – emotionally burned out, tuning out, and thinking about getting out. Fear, anger, emotional bribery, constraint, enforcement, and manipulation – these are not things that <em>good</em> reviews are made of.</p> <p>Video game journalists are people too, and deserve to be treated as such. Let’s give them that. Not more, not less. Not asking for silky gloves or special treatment. Those were never on the table in the first place.</p> <p>Just people.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=TXVspQiSqhQ:VKD2qreuShI:D7DqB2pKExk"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?i=TXVspQiSqhQ:VKD2qreuShI:D7DqB2pKExk" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=TXVspQiSqhQ:VKD2qreuShI:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?i=TXVspQiSqhQ:VKD2qreuShI:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=TXVspQiSqhQ:VKD2qreuShI:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?i=TXVspQiSqhQ:VKD2qreuShI:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=TXVspQiSqhQ:VKD2qreuShI:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=TXVspQiSqhQ:VKD2qreuShI:6et-BrRH4jw"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?d=6et-BrRH4jw" border="0"></img></a> </div> <a href="http://www.slowdown.vg/2014/10/15/harassment-is-not-okay/" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>
  14. On the Rise of Youtube

    Giggle! You watch Long Plays to experience a game without playing it You watch Let’s Plays to be entertained You watch video reviews to be spoiled Thesis: None of these three things are particularly conducive to actually selling a product.
  15. On the Rise of Youtube

    <p>Giggle!</p> <ol> <li>You watch Long Plays to experience a game without playing it</li> <li>You watch Let’s Plays to be entertained</li> <li>You watch video reviews to be spoiled</li> </ol> <p>Thesis: None of these three things are particularly conducive to actually selling a product.</p> <div class="feedflare"> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=P25Tgk43VPQ:MYdVoITMTXQ:D7DqB2pKExk"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?i=P25Tgk43VPQ:MYdVoITMTXQ:D7DqB2pKExk" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=P25Tgk43VPQ:MYdVoITMTXQ:gIN9vFwOqvQ"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?i=P25Tgk43VPQ:MYdVoITMTXQ:gIN9vFwOqvQ" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=P25Tgk43VPQ:MYdVoITMTXQ:V_sGLiPBpWU"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?i=P25Tgk43VPQ:MYdVoITMTXQ:V_sGLiPBpWU" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=P25Tgk43VPQ:MYdVoITMTXQ:qj6IDK7rITs"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?d=qj6IDK7rITs" border="0"></img></a> <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?a=P25Tgk43VPQ:MYdVoITMTXQ:6et-BrRH4jw"><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~ff/slowdays/slowdown?d=6et-BrRH4jw" border="0"></img></a> </div> <a href="http://www.slowdown.vg/2014/10/14/on-the-rise-of-youtube/" class='bbc_url' rel='nofollow external'>Source</a>