No Time To Play

Weekly Links #34

by on Sep.02, 2014, under News, Opinion

This is another short week. The biggest news, of course, is that the overgrown boys of gaming — you know, those who take pride in the size of their virtual, um, guns; those the big publishers still target exclusively — have crossed every imaginable limit. It’s not the first time Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency fame has taken flak for pointing out the frightening amount of misogyny in gaming. But this time one of the drooling baboons has ventured into the criminal realm, driving Ms. Sarkeesian to leave home and seek police protection from direct and credible threats.

Just to make it clear: I like games with big guns too. And I’m not above seeking a bit of eye candy every time I can. Maybe that makes me a little sexist; maybe all men are, just a little. But what this guy did? It’s not just literally against the law. It casts a dark shadow over both gaming and real men — you know, those who show a minimum of respect towards the other half of the world’s population.

If you can’t do that, then get the fuck out. Just… out. There’s no place in civilized society for violent bigots. And societal standards are already way too low as it is.

In news that relate to game development proper, Retro Remakes has an article well worth reading about color in games. Apparently, if a shooter isn’t brown then it must be blue or orange. Still just one color, as if AAA art directors had tinted glasses welded over their eyes. And at least if they were rose-colored…

I complained about it before. On two occasions at least. And it’s not like my own work is perfect — the buildings in Attack Vector are various combinations of grays, with a single one being brown. Could have done better. No, really. But even so, the pixel art I cobbled together over a couple of weekends, using a meager 16-color palette, is somehow more varied than that churned out by the many pro artists of a large, well-funded game studio over months of development.

How come?

In related news, Shamus Young (who’s also complained about color in videogames at least once) explains what made Silent Hill 2 great, and why focusing on the monsters is missing the point. That’s something I myself struggled to explain to a fellow budding writer. Because you see, it’s about something all the arts have in common, namely theme. Ask a young game designer what their game is about; they’re likely to answer, “oh, it’s a first person shooter featuring a ninja who uses throwing stars and whatnot instead of guns”. If pressed, they might quickly think of a story in which the protagonist goes on a rampage after being left for dead during a mission. Whereas Chris Crawford would tell you, “it’s a game about betrayal and the importance of subtlety”. And that, you see, is something that can drive every little design decision, making for a game that feels whole, and getting you out of tough choices.

(Exercise for my older readers: can you think of a famous work of fiction whose theme is betrayal?)

Last but not least, a site called US Gamer treats us to a retrospective of LucasArts’ early days. I’ve read about their early titles before, but not like that, with interviews and whatnot. And you know, those people say a lot of things that warm my heart. About going with the flow; heeding the platform’s limitations instead of fighting them; approaching game design from various directions; and, yes, having your games stand for something. But perhaps the most important lesson was that those people had the freedom to work on what they felt passionate about instead of chasing the latest market fads. Which often led to them creating those fads everybody else chased. And there’s no best way to stay ahead.

Sadly that’s all I had for today. Until next time.

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Weekly Links #34 by Felix Pleศ™oianu is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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9 Comments for this entry

  • Nightwrath

    If we are at scandals and controversy topic, perhaps you should also mention the ‘other’ scandal of the latest weeks which is called ‘gamergate’ ๐Ÿ™‚

    (I will not mention the name of the protagonist, since it is not very clear where it starts and where it ends the whole thing, however I must say that the only things I find disturbing is the amount of censorship regarding this topic, as well as the rather strange and aggressive behavior from all sides in question)

  • Felix
    Felix

    I didn’t follow the gamergate scandal, and it’s been well-covered elsewhere. But I’ll say this: when someone is being bullied, threatened and humiliated, you DON’T get to complain that they’re not being calm and polite. We’re not robots. STOP blaming the victim. As for videogame journalists… Did anyone still think they’re in any way ethical? Ha ha ha, no. Not when you have to be very careful what you write about games if you want to keep receiving free review copies and invitations to events. So let’s stop pretending.

  • Nightwrath

    Since ‘gamergate’ is still very hot and it leads to some weird behavior from people who should know better… let’s add something else here ๐Ÿ™‚

    I am not going to comment on the initial issue regarding the developer in question, nor talk about ‘gaming journalism’ (which is in a ‘lol’ state), however lately the bully seems to have changed sides.

    People are mad, I get that – and when this happens poeple are starting to point fingers. What happens when they point in the wrong direction? Because of a few deranged trolls we have a whole shitstorm over the heads of some people that do not deserve this.

    I read articles that blame gamers for everything. This is a very disturbing generalisation.
    Ok, perhaps some people doing stupid things on the internet may be gamers. But the ‘all gamers are evil’ articles hit more than just a few trolls. Heck, my wife is a gamer because she plays CandyCrush thing. I guess she is a bully right now?

    One of those guys compared the gamers with ISIS. He actually said ISIS are better than gamers. Wait, what? So, Felix – do you behead people in your spare time? ๐Ÿ™‚

    This is not about being inpolite anymore, this is already a stupid behavior and making more innocent victims in the process.

  • Felix
    Felix

    Invoking the #notAllGamers argument? Seriously?

    By all means, go take a walk through Ferentari after dark. After all, not all Gypsies are criminals. I’m not even being sarcastic. You really can’t blame all members of a group for the crimes of a few.

    But can you chance it?

    That’s how gamers are seen right now. You know you’re a good guy. I know you’re a good guy. But someone who just met you in WoW, waiting for a raid? To them, you could easily be one of those trolls who make people afraid to read YouTube comments.

    No, it’s not fair. But you can’t blame people for being cautious after being burned again and again. And that’s why I’m taking a stand.

  • Nightwrath

    Except that bitching on the internet is not exactly the same thing as going through a rough neighbourhood at night.

    I know, I know – threats on the internet are awful. But the cruel reality is that people who want to harm you will not waste time to write ‘love letters’ to you on the internet. They usually get to the ‘doing it’ part. Quietly. And no, they don’t need to give you a heads-up.

    And here… we get to the next point. Do you know how easily you find out information on someone who gives his or her real name on the internet? Do you remember the ‘real id’ scandal involving Blizzard? Just by knowing someone’s name and perhaps one or two other details you can find out the most creepy details from their lives on the internet.

    I am more afraid of the people who do not say anything but know all about you (and can potentially harm you for real) than the losers who say stupid things on Twitter.

    And no, please do not blame gamers. Half of them are women, by the way – so that would make you a mysoginistic pig of some sorts ๐Ÿ˜›

  • Felix
    Felix

    Oh? Online threats aren’t serious? Funny how the police thinks otherwise. It’s a crime to threaten people for a reason, you know. And YEAH, exactly: the fact that someone can find out everything about you from the Internet — real name, address, everything — is precisely why such threats are potentially far more dangerous than just some kid venting.

    Last but not least, did you miss the part where the whole problem is female gamers being insulted, humiliated and threatened? I know they exist. The problem is those (few) male gamers who are doing their level best to drive them out of gaming. Those who identify themselves with gaming. Those who make everyone else not want to be called a gamer anymore…

  • Nightwrath

    Stupid question: how do you know those trolls are gamers? Or even male ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Felix
    Felix

    Feel free to explain their behavior assuming they aren’t.

  • Nightwrath

    I do not think I need to explain the stupid behavior of some human beings since I do not feel they represent me. However, I am just very cautious before accusing someone. That part – you cannot easily take back.

    And no, being angry is not always an excuse.

    Until we have some kind of proof that a ‘white male gamer who lives in the basement’ is the guilty party – we cannot easily jump in ‘the hate train’.

    The part with ‘innocent until…’ should be applied here as well.

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