The Sunday Papers

By Jim Rossignol on April 7th, 2013 at 10:16 am.


Sundays are for meditating on a mountaintop. By Monday you will be an enlightened warrior, ready to use your perspicacity to fox oafish opponents in medieval China.

  • Firstly, I want all of you to visit Shut Up & Sit Down. No excuses! No, not even you Man Who Says He Can’t Play Boardgames Because Of Allergies. The site has been relaunched by former-RPSer Quintin ‘The Boy’ Smith, and bard-like RPS-contributor Brendan Caldwell. Have a read of this article for a taste of what they’re up to.
  • I missed this at GDC, but a few people said that it stood out from the developer rants session, and I can see why. RPS chum Mitu Khandaker (developer of Redshirt) on race representation in videogames: “I’m 100 per cent able and willing to identify with white male characters – I don’t need characters to look like me to identify with them. That would be really weird, right? I don’t feel alienated – I don’t need a developer to pander to me. Except… if you’re white, you’re kind of always pandered to, even if you didn’t ask to be. If you’re white, it’s not very often that you’re asked to identify with a non-white character. I’d grown up having to do something none of my white friends had ever had to do. I hadn’t even thought about that.”
  • Mike Rose compares the modern SimCity to the classic SimCity 2000, and concludes the old simulator isn’t quite as good as we remember: “One area that SimCity 2000 did model better than the new SimCity was the highways. Obviously you can’t build highways in the new SimCity and you’re forced to connect up to those that are already provided, but these rarely become clogged up. SimCity 2000′s Northenden highways were as clogged as the real thing, and showed exactly why I wouldn’t be found dead around there during peak time (although you can see from the above picture that there’s a sudden disappearance of cars partway along the highway, as if cars can just jump onto the highway and then not actually use the full length of the road – again showing that SimCity 2000 models traffic based on what is nearby, rather than logic.)”
  • A gun owner and violent game developer offers his perspective on the games and gun debate: “The NRA (an organization, which ironically, I stopped supporting because of their support for the last failed “Assault Weapons” ban), cast the first stone with their stupid casting of blame onto old video games and movies as a cause for the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School. This was a blatant misdirection and such obvious flailing designed to deflect the discussion from guns. Even folks like me groaned in disgust. The NRA made themselves look like idiots by holding up copies of GTA, Mortal Kombat, etc. But then the games media took the bait.”
  • Chris Donlan on Michael Cook’s game-making AI project: “For a few zany days last month, ANGELINA decided that the Home Secretary Theresa May was far worse a person than Bashar Al-Assad, the president of Syria.” For more on this project go here.
  • Edge Online ran a piece featuring a former LucasArts employee, discussing its rise and subsequent collapse: “We also seemed to have a knack of hiring really great people. They may have been brought on for a lower level position, but if they had a great idea for a game, and seemed to have the ability to pull it off, we were often willing to give them a chance to take it further. Of course, I remember the times that policy paid off, like Ron Gilbert and Gary Winnick designing Maniac Mansion. Or Dave Grossman and Tim Schafer starting as ‘SCUMMlets’ and moving up to project leaders/game designers.”
  • Richard writes a Bioshock 2 retrospective: “There’s more to it than raw mechanics though, and while it’s far from one of the best sequels ever made, giving it a chance reveals it as one of the smartest. Its moment of genius? New creative director Jordan “Fort Frolic” Thomas (an odd middle name, admittedly…) and team taking the original game and ruthlessly inverting all its themes. Same city, new perspective.”
  • PC Gamer publish Cara on on Porpentine’s “Twine text game revolution”: “They play with our ideas of what a text is. We think text is static, an immovable object, but they exist interlinked with the world around them. Those Fighting Fantasy books we used to stick our fingers in: those digits are keys or mouse buttons now. Those early parser text adventures are now in tabs on a browser, and text moves and is in colour and has music, sfx, and can be embedded with moving images, can respond to you, talk back, can play with that old idea that text might be flat transmission only. And the text can play tricks on us in ways we never dreamed when we were playing Acheton on a BBC Micro and thinking that there was nothing more potent than white text on black.”
  • Killscreen on Hide & Seek’s Tiny Games: “Tiny Games for funerals maybe? [Laughs.] Let me think. A few years ago, we did a project called The Boardgame Remix Kit, and one of the remixes was a Valentine’s Day-themed, two-player Monopoly variant, called Divorce. It’s kind of inappropriate. For the first half of the game, you and your partner are playing together, trying to assemble as much property as possible. Then, a game event happens that triggers the divorce, and you’re trying to end up with your share of the loot.”
  • Rab writes a beautiful piece about cultural cringe: “When Kieron Gillen proposed his manifesto for New Games Journalism, I lampooned it within the show. Not because I thought it was a bad idea. Far from it. I lampooned it because I thought it would lead bad writers to write some awful arty-farty prose about games. Which would be embarrassing, yeah? I’m ashamed of that too. I think I was cringing.”
  • Kotaku’s Kirk Hamilton on Bioshock Infinite’s violence: “…what the shit just…”
  • Minecraft’s most beautiful libraries.
  • I don’t know what this is, but it made me laugh. And that’s enough.
  • The beards of GDC.

Music this week is Crippled Black Phoenix’s Rise Up & Fight.

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377 Comments »

  1. RedViv says:

    On the things that I read before Sunday: It would be worse if Infinite were to NOT be violent. It’s the contrast that counts. The raffle wince moment is exactly what was supposed to happen. I’m with the God of Games here.

    And now, reading.

    • Smion says:

      This.
      Also, do we really want to live in a world, where “It’s like LOST!” is a recommendation?

    • Ultra Superior says:

      Reading, check.

      Music for this week, check.

      But what about video you ask? No worries, here’s one for your enjoyment -

      Ladies and gentle… er, men! Mostly.

      I GIVE YOU THE UNFORGETTABLE

      Player vs. Pain EPISODE TWO

      Girl on girl hot action !
      Shocks! Slaps! Butt cheeks!

      PAIN YELPS!

      http://youtu.be/lsfFzKaQveE

      • Eoph says:

        Ugh. I’d hoped you posted that link in some ill-conceived form of sarcasm, but you’ve edited your post to demonstrate that you actually think this shameful MTV-esque misogynistic tripe is good.

        Down with this sort of thing.

        • Ultra Superior says:

          Either your sarcasm meter is off or I am terrible at sarcasms. That might be the case, though explaining every misunderstood sarcasm is, I feel, even more tragic, than you reading CAPSLOCKED funfair announcement as anything other than sarcasm.

        • colossalstrikepackage says:

          I don’t know what UltraSup is saying – I’ve blocked sexist commenters on RPS. Makes for a much better read!

          • Ultra Superior says:

            Ok I give up.

            If I’m being blocked for sexism, then I’m really bad at sarcasm.

          • Stromko says:

            The sarcasm is very obvious to me, I don’t know what they’re on about. Even the uploader on Youtube makes it clear they’re mostly sharing it just to shame the people who created it.

      • GrassyGnoll says:

        I read about this on John’s excellent article yesterday and the reality is so much worse than I imagined, which is the reverse of the norm.

      • Branthog says:

        Wow, I’m not entirely sure what I just watched, but it sure was an offensively pandering piece of shit. Who is supposed to be the audience for that? Seriously, it’s worse than the pandering way that Battlebots show used to be presented on Comedy Central in the 90s.

    • Archipelagos says:

      I half agree with you. I think that the initial moment of violence during the raffle works very well because it’s in sharp contrast to everything else and communicates two very important points: firstly, this is a violent society, easily so, and that Booker is a man not to be trifled with.

      The problem quickly arises when the ultra-violence becomes almost non-stop. For me, that robs it of all meaning and power. You quickly go from holy crap to oh look, another person just lost their head, ho-hum. It goes from serving the story to drowning it.

      I would never argue against using violence if it serves the story but I view it as problematic when the opposite seems true. I don’t think it’s reactionary or pandering to the mainstream to ask for a more balanced use of gore.

      • RedViv says:

        Question is: What does this process of getting numb say about Booker or the player? Is this just the way things go?

        • Archipelagos says:

          I think that’s a good question. For me, the violence just became so much background noise after the first extended combat sequence (something to get through for the story); I imagine that different people will have different points at which that happens. You could argue that that says a lot about how much gamers are used to violence, so much so that we don’t even acknowledge it after a time. Sure, from one perspective that says a fair degree about the individual, but it also says an equal amount about the industry.

          As for Booker, he’s seemingly numb to the violence from the get-go. I think they get across quite well that he’s afraid for his life at certain points but that’s the extent of it. Elizabeth is much more nuanced in that regard, she actually reacts (even if that moment is slightly ruined sometimes when, seconds later, she lets you know in a chirpy voice that she’s found some money. Timing, people!)

          I think that if the intent behind the material, even partially, is to make a statement on exposure to violence and how it can be numbing, it might have worked better if Booker was the type of character to go on that journey too. It’s easier to consider the process if you witness it.

          • RedViv says:

            Fair points. I do consider the commentary from Elizabeth to be quite well utilised, making the player occasionally pick up some of the violence out of the noise, if they do not get to that themselves. A Pinkerton agent who was discharged due to his methods, a person like that is supposed to be a force to be reckoned with, after all.
            The player reaction is likely a rather subjective thing, but the game does its best to highlight what kind of things Booker is capable of, and how little he realises it due to his immense drive.

      • JackShandy says:

        That’s a fair call, but the kotaku article is really just deploring the fact that the game is dark. “More of this (happy dancing screenshot) less of this (corpses)”.

        I can see where he’s coming from, a little. So many games are set in ruins, distopias, apocalypses, it’d be nice for a game world to just be a lovely place to live, for a change. That’s not what the game’s about, of course.

        • LionsPhil says:

          I dunno, but not having played it, just going from those screens, a problem with the violence is that it’s so cartoonishly “YEAH! AWESOME, DUDEBRO!” over-the-top that it doesn’t really work as a serious contrasting counterpoint.

        • Urthman says:

          I hate ultra-gory violence, so I probably won’t play Bioshock: Infinite, but I can’t help thinking that the people who liked the charming non-violent setting and wish it wasn’t upset by all the violence are really missing the point.

          The racism at the core of the city is not some arbitrary “we need some bad guys to shoot” invention. That racism was at the real-life core of American society in that time period, and the urge to idealize that time, to look at the charming parts and ignore the way blacks and other minorities were treated is a real-life temptation.

          That sky hook to the face is Ken Levin saying, “NO! You do not get to just nostalgically enjoy this. It’s wrong to look at this time through rose-colored glasses.” Maybe you don’t agree, maybe you don’t think that’s a good theme for a game, but that is the central theme. Toning down the violence would seriously compromise that theme.

          • Branthog says:

            Don’t let the hyperbolic commentary about violence in the game get to you. The only real violence you encounter is about on-par with a saturday morning cartoon and even the decapitation is silly looking. This is not Gears of War.

          • Consumatopia says:

            That sky hook to the face is Ken Levin saying, “NO! You do not get to just nostalgically enjoy this. It’s wrong to look at this time through rose-colored glasses.”

            That makes no sense. He’s going to remind you how terrible the past was by…having you kill a bad guy with an imaginary weapon?

            If you really wanted to punch the player in the gut, how about making the player a member of the oppressed class? How about when you disobey the rules and those guards show up, they actually win the fight and take you to prison and torture you? Or have it go down like this. Replacing nostalgia with power fantasy isn’t really great progress.

        • Baines says:

          But the Kotaku article *isn’t* just deploring the game for being dark. The article is that the violence isn’t just unnecessary and gratuitous, but that it actively detracts from the game. The article then goes on explaining why, and using quotes from others also explaining why.

          The animated GIF of the crows and dead bodies was a bad choice to use; the article should have used an animated GIF of an exploding head or something, because the dead bodies comparison does give a message counter to that of the rest of the article. It’s not about light and dark.

          (Note: There is also a nice long comment by someone else in the replies that talks about the game is constrained by its generic empowered FPS designs that ignores the work and possibilities shown in other praised FPS like Thief and STALKER.)

      • i saw dasein says:

        I’m just curious–have you seen Django Unchained? That movie features some scenes of intense violence, and also about an hour or so of ultra-gory “bang-bang” shoot’em up violence. The movie still works, though, and the shoot’em up parts don’t detract from the realistic violence IMO. I think the same sort of applies to Bioshock Infinite.

        • Baines says:

          It should be noted that Tarantino has said that he had dialed back on realistic slave violence. If there was too much, people would burn out and not be in a proper state to watch the rest of the movie.

          It is also worth noting that there were people who believed Tarantino had exaggerated even the dialed back realistic violence, not realizing that there were records of such acts and worse having really happened.

    • jalf says:

      But isn’t there a difference between “the game has to be violent, and show violence because story and setting”, and “the tiniest action makes blood spray everywhere and heads explode”?

      I think you’re getting those things mixed up. Violence has to be there, to show basically how messed up the place is, sure.

      But it doesn’t have to be represented as a Tarantino film on steroids with extra ketchup splattered all over it.

      And I think it’s kind of sad if we, gamers, and the games industry can’t even *think* about violence without also thinking blood spray, gore, exploding heads and severed limbs. I think that says a lot about violence in games.

    • povu says:

      I wouldn’t mind some sort of ingame blood option that turns some of the more gruesome combat elements off (decapitations, excessive blood effects). I wouldn’t turn it off, but for people who aren’t into violent video games I think it would be a nice option.

      Because I have the feeling this is one of those games that really should be shown to non-gamer friends, and the bloodiness can get in the way of that sometimes.

      So if you’re listening Irrational, consider patching that in.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        I’m not sure it would be easy to patch out the many, many suicide animations for possession victims (in addition to all the other gore in the game, which seemed minimal to me).

    • nameless says:

      I disagreed with the Kotaku article because I think that the excessive violence was an important point to throw into the game. Booker DeWitt is not a good person, and those decapitation and possession attacks were good ways to push that idea forwards, along with other set pieces that appear as the game progresses which I won’t go into because spoilers.

      It strikes me as unlikely that a game that was designed so fastidiously in so many other areas would just give up and throw in a bunch of violence/gore with no forethought; like a lot of things that appear in this game, I’m sure this extreme gore is intentional.

      That said, I don’t think the violence was not as supported thematically compared to other things around Booker’s character. Also, killing a dude with Shock Jockey got real repetitive. If there had been a counter for ‘exploded heads,’ I’d probably have hit at least 200. I think like most things, the ideal lies somewhere in the middle: the violence had a point, but maybe don’t explode all the heads.

  2. aepervius says:

    About the racism article. I have wondered that for years. I personally don’t care about skins colors (which is if you dig enough is all racism boil down to), but it is a jaring contrast to live in a melting pot (suburb north of Paris) and to play a game where only white people are in. I think personally this was in the first decade of gaming not intentional, not even a marketing ploy to adapt to audience or anything nefarious, but just that the dev/artist drew the culture and skin color they were more acquainted with without afterthought. The more development goes east/south, the more it will be diverse.

    Nowaday on the other hand it is more jarring than ever, because often you get the feeling they put somebody of another race color as human as a token. I get the feeling that now they are aware of the problem, the marketing solution is to have the token colored (or token fgemale character in case of sexism). A solution without afterthought.

    • Mctittles says:

      Yea, it’s hard to be true to life without being “offensive”. Not only do people of the same race usually hang out together; people who are tall, short, wide, or like hot sauce tend to group as well.

      In a realistic game the only token characters would be the main characters work buddies :)

      • cowardly says:

        Really? I guess as a student, I might have a different experience, but I find that most groups, barring language barriers, tend to be quite a mix of people. As a french person of indian origin studying in the UK, my close circle is one that is quite eclectic, though mostly based on shared interests, as well as a few people who I got to know mainly because I speak french. In game worlds where language isn’t a barrier, and particularly in big cities, it seems to me relatively straightforwards for cultures to mix, or at least for skin colour not to be a factor.
        But again, it might just be that my personal experience is completely abnormal, and it’s true that developers will draw from their own life quite a bit.

        • The Random One says:

          Agreed. Before ALL MY FRIENDS CALLOUSLY ABANDONED ME when college ended, my group of friends was very diverse, with regards to ethnicity, height, and love of hot sauce.

    • karry says:

      ” I personally don’t care about skins colors (which is if you dig enough is all racism boil down to)”

      I dont believe anyone REALLY cares about just the color, but its more than just color, isnt it ? For example, given time, all sports will be black prerogative, its clear as day. First it was just basketball, then athletics, now its creeping into football. Why would a non-black person even bother playing basketball professionally at this point i have no idea.

      • DrollRemark says:

        “creeping in”?

        What the actual fuck.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        … Wow.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        a.) There were black players in the NFL before the NBA
        b.) The peak of black domination in professional American sports, believe it or not, was the 60′s and 70′s. Since that time there has been an influx of Hispanic talent in MLB and white European talent in the NBA.
        c.) I don’t know why I typed a serious reply to something that was obviously just racist trolling.

      • Lemming says:

        You need to look at it from a position of pure genetics.

        Slaves in the US were bred to be big and strong. So is it any wonder African-Americans dominate in American sports? Seems logical to me.

        It’s not a conspiracy.

        • Muzman says:

          There’s actually no good evidence for this. The prevalence of larger or stronger people among the black population is about as evenly spread as the white. Some studies of sprinters found people of West African decent had a slightly higher prevalence of fast twitch muscle fibres desirable for sprinting. This is only one factor (which is why isolating it for sprinters was the idea).

          The problem is also time. In a couple of hundred years you are unlikely to see a wild shift in genotype brought on by slavery. There’s not necessarily anything about being a slave that’s going to select for factors that make you good at basketball either. Just basic good health. Smaller, thinner people generally have a better survival rate where food is restricted and labor hard.

          The class argument is stronger; basically after a certain point whites dropped their sporting culture and chose other options (and had these other options at all). Urban black people nurtured theirs to an incredible degree and the sporting development systems took note.

          • Strangerator says:

            What you said is true, slavery itself did not exist for long enough to create selection pressure. But during the process of buying slaves, slaveowners usually imposed artificial selection (non-natural), i.e. purchasing those that looked the strongest and most athletic. Slaves bought by Europeans were typically captives of conflicts between opposing African nations, so it is possible that the captors themselves only were interested in those that would sell for a higher price. This would be a secondary source of artificial selection.

            Also, those of African descent had a different EEA for a certain length of time which produced the obvious differences of melanin as well as other minor observable features. There was some evolutionary isolation which led to these differences, however the isolation was not significant enough that separate species formed as a result. Homo sapiens of any descent are capable of reproduction with individuals from other formerly isolated populations. This does not preclude genetic differences in things like physical strength or cognitive ability, as different populations may have been pushed more strongly by natural selection to adapt in different ways. People always tend to assume that all stereotypes are bogus, and usually we try to chalk things up to cultural differences or simply to misperceptions.

            The truth of the matter is, what does it matter if races of people have genetic differences? I too believe that all men are created equal, but not in the literalist genetic sense. Rather, every individual is created as a worthy being deserving of our love. The problem leftists run into is cognitive dissonance because they are also trying to hold in their minds the notion that certain “genetic defects” should be weeded out. They rightly detect that their thinking might be at the top of a slippery slope… with “humane abortions” of those with genetic maladies being the beginnings of what quickly becomes a descent into unspeakably evil thought. Well-meaning universal healthcare laws lead eventually to cost-benefit analyses of saving peoples’ lives, which in itself is an open defiance of all life having innately equal value. So you see people scrambling around trying to deny science that points to genetic difference, be they racial traits or sexually dimorphic traits. If these people could just divorce themselves from the idea that we need to assign people a “value to society” then we’d have nothing to fear, and we could all study and celebrate our differences. But I see a lot of people these days embracing willful ignorance out of fear of being called racist. The dialogue is, therefore, stifled and artificial on both sides.

            Racism itself is quite likely of genetic origin, if you think about population isolation leading to different selection pressures. Those of a particular isolated population likely have some natural affinity for those who possess similar superficial characteristics, and by default less preference for those who do not match their natural affinity. An example of this is the harmless lunchroom groupings you see, where those of similar races tend to group together even as kids. While this is in itself not racist, it is probably the underlying problem that leads people to mentally and/or legislatively re-create the ancient population isolations, and value certain groups more or less than others.

          • welverin says:

            On The Sports Reporters way back when, John Saunders talked about how his daughter was a gifted athlete, but didn’t have the drive to go into professional sports, because there were so many other things was interested in and was not limited by wealth.

            Contrast that with Deion Sanders who saw (american) football as the way out for himself, and more importantly his mother.

          • Lemming says:

            @Strangerator Brilliant post! Furthering what you said about genetic racism, it seems perfectly logical that, given our primary function is to ensure that our genetics survive from one generation to the next, one group would be genetically racist against another – they are a challenge to the survival of a genetic strain. Like you said, built in instincts, but of course we are more than just instinct at this point in our evolution.

      • Branthog says:

        I don’t understand anything of what you just said. Are you saying that there are a lot of one race in most sports and at some level, it reaches a point where people of that same race will say “welp, sports are all filled up, I guess I gotta take my [choose race, here] ass on over to culinary school?

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      On a side note, is it weird that I was kind of annoyed the guy in Stray Dogs was an American?

    • Gap Gen says:

      I suspect it depends on the setting; different countries have different mixes of races, and further away from the big cities in Europe you tend to get more white people. I grew up with very few non-white people around me, but it’s true that in big cities you get more diversity. Plus there’s the political component, and as you say adding token characters is a move to try to balance the large number of white people in games without really addressing the problem. There’s also the issue that race means different things in different places, and different racial minorities are received differently depending on the country.

  3. Cytrom says:

    “race representation in videogames” Its the same bullshit as with the sexism debate. Most people who make vidogames are either white or japaneese asian (mosty males) and naturally there are more game characters resembling those. That does not automatically make videogames racist, sexist or other stupid “ism” you can attach to everything where its not even applicable.

    I really don’t think most people have issues with identifying themselves with any kind of race… I played as elves, orcs, animals, beasts and all kinds of human races and genders in games and it never occured to me that i couldn’t identify myself with that character just because its different than me.

    It is the very nature of almost every game not just videogames to become something else than what you are in reality (even if that avatar happens to be something similar to your real self). In football you are a red/blue whatver colored defender or attacker, in chess you are small plastic/wood etc pieces that hardly resemle anything and in videogames you can play as almost anything.. including white males (who are, as we all know are the biggest threat to mankind and everything that is good…), and if you have such a problem with dissociating your real self from a videogame character then something is wrong with YOU, not games.

    • thegooseking says:

      You start by saying that of course developers are going to make the characters the race they’re most familiar with, but then go on to talk about developers making characters who are orcs, elves or animals.

      Why should it be easier for a developer to make a character who is not even the same species than a character who is not the same race? Doesn’t that seem strange?

      • Marinetastic says:

        With fantasy characters you can make them anything you want and for the most part not have to worry about offending someone because of the way you depicted a character. No matter how well researched and written a non-white character is, someone is going to throw a hissy fit over the way they’re portrayed.

        • Mctittles says:

          One benefit of creating fantasy characters is you don’t have to make sure to “get it right”. A lot of games have black males that are just white males with black skin because they were created by a white male.

          People tend to focus on the problems of the differences in us, while ignoring the fact that it’s the differences that lead to new ideas and help us get smarter. We should be celebrating differences instead of trying to make everyone the same.

          • timethor says:

            You mean that black people aren’t just white people with a different skin colour? That there are significant inherent differences between the two groups of people, so that black guy 1 is incapable of behaving like white guy 2?

            I’m pretty sure that’s racist.

            And if you made a black guy that fully adhered to gangster rap stereotype, that would also be racist.

            And if you made a black guy who is just kind of there and doesn’t seem to have any personality at all… token black guy, racist.

            I can see why developers just go with the easy way and just use a white guy. It would help if many of the people who call for more racial representation didn’t expect a single character to somehow represent a billion different people. It can’t be done.

          • Yosharian says:

            @McTittles Wow. Just.. wow. This post is just beyond help.

          • Mctittles says:

            Yes, of course I believe people of different cultures are different in other ways than just skin color. It’s sad that the differences in people are too taboo to talk about, because knowledge is power and understanding is acceptance.

            I also believe healthy learning comes from having to interact with both other cultures and groups outside your comfort zone. Anything else is just running around a wheel to nowhere fast.

          • Mctittles says:

            @timethor “so that black guy 1 is incapable of behaving like white guy 2?”

            Isn’t it a bit arrogant to say another race is just as “capable” as a white male as if this were the top tier of capabilities?

          • timethor says:

            “A lot of games have black males that are just white males with black skin”. That comes across as saying that a black guy is not a black guy if he behaves in a certain “white” way. And thus, that “true” black guys are incapable of behaving in a “white” manner. Whatever a “white” manner is.

          • Mctittles says:

            I misunderstood. And stand corrected.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Well obviously skin color is just pigmentation, but there is often a lot more genetic stuff involved. It isn’t going to be as common for a white couple to have a black baby as easily as a blue eyed couple to have a brown eyed baby.
            How does the genetics play in society? That’s usually more a result of circumstance than genes. Black baby born in the inner city… inner city is not in his genes, it’s cultural and circumstantial. Many people can look and see and conclude, black people come from the inner city.

            We just need to be careful not sell short race (it is certainly more than skin color) but we should recognize the line between genetics and culture, because genetically the differences are mostly irrelevant, the big clashes come from seemingly opposing cultures.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Sparks, I do agree, but don’t lose sight of the idea that peoples behaviour changes depending on how society treats them, and currently, sadly, people are treated different depending on their skin colour and other race specific features.

      • Cytrom says:

        I didn’t say one is easier or better than the other. I’m saying, the creator should have creative freedom to do whatever they want, while the consumer has the ability to adapt to it.

        Whether they are willing to adapt to it or not, is entirely optional, but they have have no rights to demand for change. Its like: “you can’t put your efforts to make the game you want to make because it offends me so YOU should change your ways and do the game I (or my demographic) DEMAND instead”

        • Vorphalack says:

          ”I’m saying, the creator should have creative freedom to do whatever they want”

          But developers don’t have the freedom to do whatever they want, and you should know that by now. Games with female protagonists have a hard time getting green lit, unless the character is a sex bomb. White males dominate the list of protagonists and you are being willfully naive if you think it’s all down to developer creativity. The publishing arm of the games industry is functionally sexist and racist by controlling these kinds of issues in order to appeal to their target demographics.

          • Faxanadu says:

            That’s just completely ass backwards. Developers have all the freedom, just because you can’t get a bad game green lit, doesn’t mean your freedoms are being stomped on.

            Publishing arm of the games industry isn’t controlling anything. It’s selling what gets sold. Nobody is being evil. Except for the customer. And the customer is all of us.

            And there’s hope for all of us. When we get smarter and wealthier, racism ebbs away. When we get smarter, sex isn’t such a big deal anymore, and we can deal with big boobed heroines, maybe even demand for more gritty realism.

            What is your solution, anyway?

          • Vorphalack says:

            I suspect you wont be the last troll I block today, but good effort, almost sounded like you were serious.

          • Faxanadu says:

            Wow. I asked for your solution, and you block me. Why am I surprised. That’s the only solution you will ever have.

          • Dances to Podcasts says:

            You called games with female/other non-white male protagonists ‘bad games’. What did you expect?

          • Faxanadu says:

            I did not. I called out the excuse of “oh my game is not bad, it’s just that it has no boobs, that’s why”. That’s one messed up way to turn it around.

      • MarcP says:

        It doesn’t seem strange to me. For most people, the intuitive, baseline idea of a human being is probably going to be someone looking like them. The baseline idea of an orc is probably going to be an hulking and big-toothed green thing who likes fighting. As you say yourself, these are species, and in either case, there is no “race” consideration.

        You also have to remember human races are a purely social construct, one that isn’t as prevalent everywhere in the world as it is in English (and especially US) culture. When you don’t think of people by their ethnic background in day to day life, you’re not likely to think that way while building a video game either; so you have to make a conscious effort, and one you’re not used to, to actually think of skin colors, facial attributes and so on.

        • karry says:

          “You also have to remember human races are a purely social construct”

          Um, no, nations are social constructs, races are evolutionary biological “constructs”.

          • MarcP says:

            The idea of human races having no basis in biology has been so widely proved, demonstrated and taught it’s hard to reconciliate how do you think you can get away with a claim like that in a post-Internet world.

            I mean, you’re not even arguing you and only you know the truth and the masses don’t get it. You’re acting like your stance is the unequivocally accepted truth.

            Part of me wants to believe you’re a troll; because otherwise, the level of self delusion here makes you wonder what went so tragically wrong.

          • Ironclad says:

            you’re right and yet you are wrong: technically speaking “race” is a biological category of a subspecies in a larger group. Technically speaking, there are no human “race” groups. By which I mean: there is not enough of a biological difference between europeans, central africans, latin americans, south-east asians to group them in different races. There are cultural differences but those are just that – cultural, prone to change, and too fuzzy to use to designate a group as a “race”.

            That still happens though: because the common interpretation of the word “race” refers to little else than a person’s skin colour, and less often to the way of living in the specific culture. This meaning of the word “race” is a cultural construct, and has no biological or even anthropological significance.

          • Jamesworkshop says:

            Race (human classification)
            From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

            Race
            Classification
            Genetics and differences
            Race and genetics
            Human genetic variation
            Cross-race effect
            Race and…
            Crime
            in the United Kingdom
            in the United States
            Health
            in the United States
            Intelligence
            Race and intelligence controversy
            Sports
            Society
            Historical concepts
            Race
            in Brazil
            in the United States
            Social interpretations
            Racial profiling
            Racism
            Racialism
            The Race Question
            (UNESCO 1950)
            Related topics
            Ethnic group
            Genetics
            Human evolution
            Index
            Category
            v t e
            Anthropology

            Disciplines[show]
            Discipline Subfields[show]
            Research framework[show]
            Key theories[show]
            Key concepts[show]
            Lists[show]
            Anthropology portal
            v t e
            Race is a classification system used to categorize humans into large and distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, or social affiliation. First used to denote national affiliations, the term began to be used to relate to physical traits in the 17th century. In the early 20th century the term was often used, in a taxonomic sense, to denote genetically differentiated human populations defined by phenotype.[1][2][3]
            While biologists sometimes use the concept of race to make distinctions among fuzzy sets of traits, others in the scientific community suggest that the idea of race often is used[4] in a naive[5] or simplistic way, i.e. that among humans, race has no taxonomic significance: all living humans belong to the same species, Homo sapiens and subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens.[6][7]
            Social conceptions and groupings of races vary over time, involving folk taxonomies [8] that define essential types of individuals based on perceived traits. Scientists consider biological essentialism obsolete,[9] and generally discourage racial explanations for collective differentiation in both physical and behavioral traits.[5][10][11][12][13]
            Since the second half of the 20th century the associations of race with the ideologies and theories that grew out of the work of 19th-century anthropologists and physiologists has led to the use of the word race itself becoming problematic. Although still used in general contexts, it is now often replaced by other words which are less ambiguous and emotionally charged, such as populations, people(s), ethnic groups or communities depending on context.[14][15]

            Words can be tricky and imprecise

        • Kitsunin says:

          In regards to the consideration of races not being as prevalent elsewhere in the world, I actually have found the US to be one of the least racist places I’ve lived. You might have more extremists than elsewhere, but your average person doesn’t make any assumptions based on how you look, unlike Costa Rica (People there aren’t particularly fond of Americans, admittedly, for pretty good reason) or Taiwan (Racism against black people is fairly obvious here, though not universal or openly shown). I think a lot of racism stems from fear of the unknown, and because the US is one of the most racially diverse places, your average American doesn’t bat an eyelash at someone who looks foreign. Affirmative action, while it has its problems, also helps. Dunno about England though.

    • hello-schadenfreude says:

      “That does not automatically make videogames racist, sexist or other stupid “ism” you can attach to everything where its not even applicable.”

      Maybe that does not make videogames automatically sexist or racist, but it definitely make them ignorant about the differences that make up our world, and that’s a pity since those differences are what makes it interesting.
      And also, “stupid -isms” as you call them are ALWAYS applicable, in a sense: it’s called criticism and it’s a healthy practice.

  4. Yosharian says:

    1) Bioshock 2 is a brilliant game, and for me it was far more enjoyable than the first game. Better gameplay, more consistently good storyline, and one of the best endings in a videogame ever. Bioshock 1 is, dare I say it, overrated?

    2) I recently played through Telltale’s Walking Dead series, where I play a black guy. (white myself) I was fully aware that I was playing a black guy (It wasn’t like ‘oh he’s black? didn’t notice!’), and it didn’t stop me investing 100% in that character. I _was_ that black guy. This isn’t rocket science, a little colour doesn’t stop you investing in a main character. The real interesting discussion is in main character gender, and how it affects our investment in emotions like love/lust.

    3) I would like to voice my support for Bioshock Infinite’s violence. Yes, you smash people’s skulls. No, this isn’t out of place. It’s a first person shooter, not a merry-go-round simulator. If you don’t like it, don’t buy it, don’t play it. Stop trying to make videogames a ‘one-size-fits-all’ medium. Also, that last picture in the Kotaku article was fucking intellectually abhorrent – to imply that the image with the corpses surrounded by ravens is ‘unnecessary’ and ‘out of place’. Additionally: the penny arcade strip was really retarded, for reasons which are obvious to anyone who’s actually played the game, not gonna put details here because spoilers.

    4) Really disappointed that RPS has joined the _COMPLETE_ censorship of comments bandwagon, as if it’s a solution to the problems surrounding the sexism in videogames debate. (Deleting comments that are abusive/trolling is fine, completely removing the ability to comment is not)

    5) The problem I have with a lot of these Minecraft creations is they’re rendered, not actually built. It’s kinda lame. Like ‘Wow look at this creation that I made by telling my computer to render some designs for a few hours!’

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      RPS has curated its comment since day 1.

      • Bobka says:

        And thank you for that.

        • quijote3000 says:

          So, I have to go to reddit to comment on an article of RPS? I don’t like the way RPS is going, seriously.

          • Melliflue says:

            Why should you be allowed to comment on an RPS article? I don’t understand why you feel entitled to do so. Do you feel the same way about television and newspapers? Do you believe that you should be allowed to go on TV after a show to voice your thoughts? If you have a webcam they could do a live-stream… but why should they? Why should anyone allow you to use the platform they have built up to say whatever you want to say?

          • quijote3000 says:

            Simply, because two things:
            A) That’s the way to create a community. In a site where you can usually make comments, disabling them it’s like yelling something and running away. There is no way to exchange opinions.
            B) Because peer review can help you correct mistakes. Do you know the article about the gender divide? Most comments pointed the flaw in the statistics. Do you feel comments should be disabled too?

          • DrollRemark says:

            I don’t think a comment section is anything close to the concept of scientific peer review.

          • Melliflue says:

            A) Not all comments contribute to a community. There are a lot of comments I see that discourage me from reading the comments at all. I don’t mind RPS not giving people the opportunity to post anything. RPS rarely prevents comments, and in that particularly article it was explained at the end why John decided not to allow comments, and as he said there are plenty of other ways to have a discussion about the issue it brought up. There were other articles recently that had a similar discussion, and there are threads in the forums discussing such things, eg http://bit.ly/16FULI5.

            B) Also addressed by John in that article.
            “People called out the issues in a recent post I put on RPS about gender wage gaps, which one could describe as exaggeration. That’s a good thing to do. It, however, has no bearing on the facts that there are problems that need to be dealt with, and the line is usually employed when trying to ensure nothing is allowed to change.”

            They never deleted those comments, and if you think something is factually wrong on an article without comments then you can always write an e-mail or start a thread in the forums about it. In my experience RPS are good about correcting such things.

            However, people will often use an argument along the lines of ‘Person X made a mistake here so everything they say is invalid.’ and that is essentially what was happening with those comments.

            (Minor point: We are not peers of the writers at RPS. We do not have as much access to the games industry and don’t know as much about it. Commentors can point out errors in the writing but in this case they would be functioning more as proof-readers than as peer reviewers.)

          • quijote3000 says:

            A) That’s correct, John pointed out “plenty of other ways to have a discussion”, like… twitter or an e-mail. That’s not exactly the best way to have a discussion.

            B) “However, people will often use an argument along the lines of ‘Person X made a mistake here so everything they say is invalid.’ and that is essentially what was happening with those comments” As a matter of fact, the argument was about gender gap, and the negative comments pointed out that maybe the gender gap was simply the fact that women have applied to the gaming world later, so a brilliant female engineer is going to be paid less than another brillian male engineer, simply because he has been thirty years longer working in the field. Maybe the gender gap doesn’t have anything to do with gender. It’s not a simple lone mistake in a list of 100, it’s the basis of the argument.

            So sorry for repeating arguments by somebody else, but the collective research shows that

            http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/rss_viewer/Women_in_America.pdf

            “In it it says ‘This study leads to the unambiguous conclusion that the differences in the compensation of men and women are the result of a multitude of factors and that the raw wage gap should not be used as the basis to justify corrective action. Indeed, there may be nothing to correct. The differences in raw wages may be almost entirely the result of the individual choices being made by both male and female workers.’”

            And this is why the comments section should be on, because people make mistakes assuming things, and other people can point it out.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        Of course you do. It’s just that now you curate more, for much less.

        You know perfectly well what some people are starting to complain about. Don’t pretend you don’t.

        • Jae Armstrong says:

          Well, I personally am mystified. Do you think I might impose upon you to educate me? If it’s not too much trouble?

          Are you mad because John’s version of “Derailing for Dummies” had comments switched off? That’s extremely rare, but it’s not unheard of here.

        • AndrewC says:

          Complaints from whom? For what? Definitely interested!

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            People (including me) complaining about what they perceive are unfair removal of posts have been increasing. It’s the third one in 5 days, if I believe. This wasn’t common at all in RPS. Curation always existed, and for all the good reasons. Everyone understood it, no one complained. But now it seems it has evolved into censorship.

            To be fair RPS says they don’t have a freedom of speech policy in here. But I hope they realize that means they don’t uphold to a basic Human Right, which only reinforces the the idea of policy of censorship instead. This has never been a problem. That message exist for a long time. It’s just that now it seems, it is being enforced.

          • AndrewC says:

            You don’t have a basic human right to comment on John’s articles. Also you need to be specific about what the good reasons used to be and what the bad reasons are now.

          • Yosharian says:

            This isn’t about free speech, or human rights. It’s about what’s progressive. It’s not progressive to completely stifle discussion. Increased curation is one thing, and completely understandable given the nature of the discussion (it invites idiots and overly abusive commenting). I was led to believe that RPS was a pretty progressive place.

            It’s really misleading to go down the route of free speech/human rights, please don’t pursue that road.

          • AndrewC says:

            Oh Mario, that report is about things like countries blocking websites, or search engines skewing results. Not about John Walker blocking comments on one article out of many, many articles about sexism that did and continue to have comments enabled. A silly attempt at intimidation through links.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            Yosharian, Freedom of Speech is perfectly understood and regulated even under the charter of human rights. It’s yet another target of “your freedom ends where mine begins”. Anyone in here knows this. I’m unsure as to why you don’t. Or you just forgot.

            So, in fact, the handling of abusive, offensive, or spam content is perfectly acceptable even under the the concept of Freedom of Speech. And frankly I feel a bit annoyed you think it doesn’t. More so. The expression of Freedom of Speech isn’t used just by me, but by RPS itself, which you can see on top of the editable comment box.

            I’ll take your “progressive” and raise it a “censorship”. I’m sorry, but I have no idea what progressive means and I fear you are just feeling embarrassed about the use of Freedom of Speech and Human Rights because you don’t really understand these concepts as you should.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            AndrewC, please just actually read the report. Don’t jump to conclusions. You will be surprised.

            (BTW, that’s a bit of the problem isn’t it? We are used to hear about Freedom of Speech and Human Rights as things to do with governments and forgot that it’s actually about everyone. Including private companies opening public communication channels. A matter that report masterfully addresses. Freedom of Speech needs to be protected (and regulated of course!) at all sources of communication)

          • AndrewC says:

            Mario, what are you doing right now?

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            That’s a fair point AndrewC and I must admit it immediately made me reevaluate the term “censorship”. I’ll avoid it from now on.

            But on any case a right doesn’t make a wrong just go away. What I wish is for tempered curation of content that doesn’t involve the really bad feeling of seeing a comment being removed because I was critic of the author motivations to write an article. That, for instance, was my personal case a little over a month ago.

            Let the RPS community shred me apart. But don’t just gag select members of your community based on what you perceive to be a direct unfair attack at your credibility.

          • Yosharian says:

            Free Speech may well be a human right but I don’t believe that those rights are extended to the ability to comment on a webpage which is, basically, a piece of journalism. The comments section here at RPS is given to us, it’s a privilege, not a right. RPS could quite easily remove the comments section entirely; there are many websites which have no comment sections at all, although this is rarer in gaming press.

            I believe we should be able to comment on certain articles because I think the whole point of those articles is to encourage discussion and reflection on certain issues. I think that by removing the ability to comment on those articles, you remove the potential for people to ‘progress’ in their viewpoints by discussing things rationally. I hope that clarifies what I mean by ‘progression’. I always viewed RPS as a pretty progressive place when it comes to these kind of things, despite their inclination towards comments ‘curation’ as they call it.

            Further down one of the RPS guys says that the article is a ‘lecture’ rather than a discussion. I don’t believe there is any merit to ‘lecturing’ adults on such a complex subject.

          • Kitsunin says:

            The idea of that article was to say what RPS’s viewpoint on that subject is, and have it as a place to send people back to, in the future. It isn’t unreasonable to want that article to stand on its own, un-discussed. (Oh, I guess Kieron already said basically that further down)

            The great thing about the internet is that, by preventing people from saying things in certain places, you aren’t inherently censoring or limiting discussion, you can go somewhere else if you want to be totally free. By deleting comments which are ignorant or poorly made, I, for one, feel it can very much encourage an intelligent discussion much more that it strangles one. It can be easy to say that it isn’t worth the risk of making the discussion one sided by disallowing one viewpoint, but to that I say we just trust our RPS writers to make the right choices, and if they don’t, this won’t be the right place to have such discussions anymore.

          • MSJ says:

            RPS is removing more comments lately? Maybe it’s like TV shows like Buffy and Grimm, where the protagonists used to not kill people at all but then they start to notice the people around them are monsters the whole time. RPS just started to notice that a Problem exists and they must play their part.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            Just to clear one thing up, the right to freedom of speech and self expression only exists in relation to governments (well, not all of them). Trying to enforce free speech in other contexts can get incredibly messy. Imagine if it was illegal to hang up the phone if a telemarketer called, or if theater ushers were forbidden from stopping the audience from talking, shouting or singing.

            We all filter the speech and text we recieve constantly in our everyday lives, otherwise we wouldn’t have time to do anything but listen to others. Likewise, businesses and websites exert control over dialogue that takes place inside their place of business (or comments section in this case). That control can definitely be heavy-handed, which can often backfire, but it is completely within the organization’s right.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            “What I wish is for tempered curation of content that doesn’t involve the really bad feeling of seeing a comment being removed because I was critic of the author motivations to write an article. ”

            This becomes less and less possible as the volume of comments grows. Moderation can be impersonal, rude and sometimes indiscriminate, but when it comes to sites with hundreds of people commenting, sometimes the only thing one can do is try not to take it as a personal slight.

            I love tumblr blogs for the “ask me anything” button, it’s a great way to start a more personal dialogue even when there is a large volume of commenters.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            This is a common misconception (and I seem to think more common in North America than in Europe). Human Rights do not apply only to governments. Do research on this matter.

            In any case I’m not arguing we should sent RPS to the International Court. I’m arguing for something else entirely:

            a. That the internet was founded on principles of free speech (among others) and we have been consistently fighting for our right to speak freely, while stopping others from doing so on the basis of our own private arbitrary rules that go far beyond legitimate protection against abusive, offensive or illegal comments. There’s a clear parallel between that we accuse others of doing and what we end up doing ourselves, not realizing our grounded excuses, or our “deal with it, all your posts are belong to us” ultimately clash with what we otherwise demand others to do. Corporations, for instance, are often the target of accusations of anti freedom of speech practices by the same people that don’t think twice about deleting posts on their own public forum.

            b. The press has been historically one of the biggest contributors and beneficiary of Freedom of Speech. The Free Press on the other hand owes everything to it. It’s been because of the great strides in guaranteeing this right in modern societies that such a thing as the Free Press exists. And yet, it’s from the free press that we witness these abject arbitrary impositions on the rights for others to express themselves. What’s worse, it’s from the free press that I hear “deal with it” and “this place belongs to us”. The reader base, who feeds the site and them, isn’t even allowed a proper, constructive and non alienating response. In fact, if you question this it is because “you shit lungs every time you read a book” (sic)

            c. That deleting posts is a form of censorship when it goes beyond a matter of protecting a community from abusive or offensive comments. I’ll give you two examples on RPS I witnessed personally.

            c.1. A user commented on of the sexual discrimination posts arguing that when men can bear children, women can have equality. His post was deleted a few moments later. This was an opportunity for education. Regardless of whether this was a troll or not, the matter of fact is that on the topic of sexual discrimination, social organizations have long learned to live and deal with these opinions. I replied to him, letting him know that women don’t demand equality on the grounds of physiology. The word Equality has always been used on the context of equality of treatment and equality of rights. Women, like Men, do otherwise accept and nurture their differences. But my reply was lost to his deleted post. They did left it alone, but the context was completely lost because his post was deleted. An opinion, a thought, right or wrong, was simply deleted by an arbitrary rule. And in their eagerness, RPS actually lost more than it gained from their inexcusable action.

            c.2. On an article about Bioshock, a few weeks before it was released, the very first comment (IIRC) was made by me. In that short post I essentially suggested that the article was just link bait and useless dribble and that the talk about Bioshock would become even worse after the game launched. This post was deleted a few moments later, because of some arbitrary rule imposed by RPS (that they don’t even follow consistently). Instead of letting the community agree or disagree with me, instead of arguing with me themselves, or even use this opportunity to discuss whether certain games should or not deserve extended attention (often spurious and because of a single new 10 second video that shows nothing new) even before they are released and before people actually have an opportunity to match the hype with the reality, the post was deleted.

            This is a lengthy enough post. And I don’t feel like pursuing this topic any further. I’ve been witnessing this behavior all over the web becoming worse and worse and I learned to just expose it for what it is and then just leave it at that. Whoever reads it can make their own mind, based on their own ideas on these matters. But I hope to at least elucidate a bit more what’s really at stake and where my criticism comes from.

        • dangermouse76 says:

          We do have a free web… free to curate and free to not curate. You are intellectualizing a global argument to a macro level and it does not apply here. The signal to noise ratio in website commentary can be appalling, ( personally ) I don’t think it has gone to far here.

          Rest assured though like yourself I would complain if I thought it had.
          Respectfully.
          Dangermouse.

      • Yosharian says:

        There is a big difference between complete censorship and curation, but you’re right I didn’t make that clear in my post.

        • Vorphalack says:

          Turning off comments for one article != complete censorship, nor is it some sort of band wagon trend.

          • Yosharian says:

            Perhaps you need to brush up on the definition of censorship, cos that’s exactly what it is:

            “Censorship is the suppression of speech or other public communication which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, or inconvenient as determined by a government, media outlet, or other controlling body.”

            As for it being a bandwagon:

            PZ Meyers (noted American scientist and biologist, a frequent commenter on evolution issues and feminism) has comments turned off on his youtube videos, this has been a frequent discussion point in scientific and feminist circles, especially with the recent traffic due to his commenting on Elevatorgate and Donglegate. Related because: feminism/sexism.

            Anita Sarkeesian (commenter on sexism in videogames, noted for her series ‘Feminist Frequency’ on youtube) has recently garnered a lot of criticism for disallowing comments on her youtube videos. This has been commented on by Amazing Atheist and a bunch of other popular youtube commentators. Anita was herself mentioned in the RPS article that we are discussing.

            More broadly speaking, complete censorship of undesired comments (something RPS has never done, you’re allowed to speak your mind as long as you aren’t offensive/abusive/trolling) is something that many commentators on the sexism/feminism debate are recommending as the only way to move forward on the issue. (Commentators such as Anita Sarkeesian, Rebecca Watson, and maaany many bloggers/commenters/youtubers on this issue)

            So if it’s not a bandwagon for you, you obviously aren’t keeping up.

            As to whether it’s an actual solution or not, that’s up for discussion, but I think I’ve made my stance on it clear, anyway.

          • Vorphalack says:

            I think you need to brush up on your definition of ”complete”. One article is not the entire sexism debate.

            Also your definition of ”band wagon”. RPS did not disable comments because several other people did, they did it to stop shitposting for one reference article. It is not a band wagon trend.

          • Yosharian says:

            The censorship is complete for that particular article. Semantics, now.

            Whether or not it’s jumping on the bandwagon is perhaps a subjective interpretation, I suppose I shouldn’t have said that. Let’s agree to disagree there.

          • Fox89 says:

            You need to brush up on your definition of ‘debate’. Comments were off because that wasn’t an article designed for discussion, it was an announcement. A statement of intent. There are plenty of comment threads where this stuff can be ‘discussed’ and ‘debated’. Trying to claim RPS is somehow censoring your right to free speech because they left the comments off on one post is ridiculous.

            You want to make a point about that article? Go ahead! Just head on over to the RPS forums. You can create a whole new thread for it if you like. The great thing about freedom of speech is that there are so very many ways and places to express your opinion, if one avenue is closed to you for very reasonable reasons as are expressed in the post in question, there are still so many more left open!

          • Yosharian says:

            I don’t believe that the article was merely that, and I don’t think it’s appropriate to say ‘go off and discuss it elsewhere’. But I understand your point.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I don’t know what amuses me more, the idea that some people seem to genuinely believe that by a website not having a comments section is a breach of their freedom of speech OR the fact that the people bellyaching over the comments being turned off in that article are all blocked by me.

            Hey, guys! You are really, really cheapening the concept of freedom of speech. Which you have never had in any country in the world anyway. Oh you think you do? Go look up your local hate crime laws and tell me how free you are to incite violence against people of a different race. So now we have established that you can’t say what you want, where you want, let’s examine the idea that a website must allow you to comment on the content of every page, on the page itself. Mario, got a website? Post a link, I’ve got some things I want to write on it! Yo… how about you? Got a named house? May just graffiti my thoughts on what you house looks like just underneath. What, you don’t allow me to do that? CENSORSHIP. I was going to write that the graffiti on your house looks awful! Mario, written a letter to your wife recently, reckon I got some grammar to fix! Send it to me first, so I can “comment”.

            Or maybe you need to go away and think about things for a while.

        • Lacero says:

          John says right at the top he wants to make clear it isn’t link bait. If comments had been enabled it would’ve been link bait still, as people would have had to visit the site to comment.

          I’m aware this is not the reason they were disabled, and I’m not trying to projected my reasoning onto RPS or disagree with their valid reasons for disabling the comments, but there would have been plenty of people complaining about linkbaiting if comments were turned on just as there are now plenty of people complaining about not being able to away their opinion.

      • Melliflue says:

        And I’m glad that you do. I have an account for the comments here at RPS despite rarely posting because I like that I can block comments from certain people.

      • El Mariachi says:

        That’s not really what “curate” means. Unless you actually have gone and sought out a carefully considered collection of thematically-related comments to present here.

        • Bhazor says:

          I have to say Kotaku has an interesting approach to managing their comments. Instead of responding to them or writing angry articles about them they present a weekly “Comments of the week” to honour the most cleverest and humourific responses and threads.

          Something that rewards the good comments would be better than punishing the bad comments.

    • AndrewC says:

      1. Every game that is good gets massively over-rated. This has no effect on the quality of the game.

      2. Good for you! Are you saying that because you had no problem with a game, then there is no problem?

      3. The article was arguing about whether it needed to be a hyper violent FPS at all. Your argument is therefore circular. I am glad you had no problem with the violence, yourself, personally, though.

      4. RPS has always moderated its comments.

      5. I agree!

      • Yosharian says:

        1) Overate: To overestimate the merits of; rate too highly. That’s the meaning of overrated I’m talking about. Not sure what else I can say to that comment. This isn’t a discussion about metacritic ratings (although that’s an interesting discussion itself).

        2) I don’t see how any normal human being COULD have a problem with it, is my point.

        3) Yes, it does. It’s a first person shooter. To be realistic, it has to be violent. In real life, when you kill people, blood and guts happens. Not to mention that it’s critical to the story that Booker is a violent person.

        4) Already addressed this above, I wasn’t referring to mere curation, but the removal of the ability to comment. Which I’m sure you already knew, but I’ve made it clearer now in the original post.

        And btw, no need for the flippancy

        • AndrewC says:

          Turning off comments for that article is certainly the excuse the people the article is criticising are using to dismiss the arguments in the article. It’s a very easy way to not have to bother with the content of the article.

          Also you use the ‘if you don’t like it, don’t use it’ argument for your defence of Bioshock’s violence, then fail to use it regarding RPSs stance on misogyny and hateful, aggressive commenters. You could try using it?

          • Yosharian says:

            Turning off comments is being used as an excuse to dismiss the arguments? Who is saying this? Forgive me, because I can’t see any comments, so I can’t tell what anyone is saying about the article. That’s the whole point – discussion is stopped at the most basic level. This isn’t going forward, this is just an absense of any discussion whatsoever.

            You simplify my argument, but whatever: ‘if you don’t like it, don’t use it’ has no context within commenting on internet articles. That literally makes no sense. In fact, the only sense it makes is supporting my argument (as in, people that don’t like the comments, don’t read/use them, as opposed to censorship).

          • AndrewC says:

            If you don’t like RPS, don’t use it. Easy. That’s your argument.

            The comments have been full of the debates for months. There will be months and years more of it. Just loads and loads of comments in loads and loads of articles. One article doesn’t have comments and we’re in Soviet Russia. No, we’re not. Your argument has little weight.

            Check John Walker’s twitter feed for dozens and dozens of people dismissing him and his article, without any reference to its content (and often using the very arguments the article logically dismantles), because they had the excuse of ‘no comments’.

          • Yosharian says:

            Where did I say that I didn’t like RPS?

            I don’t use Twitter, and I’m not likely to start anytime soon.

        • dangermouse76 says:

          But you are having the debate now there is no censorship. The article is not the only channel of discussion.Unless you saying the article is symbolically the only place a discussion can be had about it’s contents.

          This is great feels like Question time don’t it. And I get to drink tea and eat Shreddies.
          Peace.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      We can turn the comments off as we see fit. As with anything else on here, it’s down to our judgement, and complaining about it won’t help. Deal with it.

      Personally I found it pretty refreshing.

      • Yosharian says:

        This is kind of a redundant thing to say.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        Yes Jim. We realize that. It’s a #dealwithit thing.

        What can I say? Best dodging line in the world. All my argumentation against it is thus completely invalid and should merit no more debate. You win by knockout. And you should also delete this thread.

        • Peter Milley says:

          Rock, Paper, Shotgun isn’t a government. The question of censorship does. Not. Apply.

          And there are so many ways to create your own soapbox on the internet. Don’t like an article? You are always free to say so on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, Reddit, YouTube, hell Pinterest for all I care. You are not being deprived of a voice. And you are not owed anything.

          • quijote3000 says:

            Saying that only government can censor, in this era is funny, actually.
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_censorship
            http://www.theroc.org/aboutroc/faq17.htm

            Just talking about games: Since apple’s Drone Strike decision, do you think any game company is going to seriously tackle serious issues in their games. No. Companies, who care about their employees, are going to actively self-censor themselves. Do you know that game about China’s repression in Tibet? Just look for it in the app store… right? But, hey, there is no goverment, so no censorship, right?

        • Kieron Gillen says:

          When I read this line of complaints I just think that you guys must shit a lung when you read a book.

          A creator gets to decide the context their own work is presented. It’s really that simple. When they want to make a singular statement that is seen by itself, they do that. John’s post is fundamentally a reference post, so everyone knows where he (and RPS) stands. You are confusing an internet journalists generally deciding they want to present their work framed by a comment thread debate and that being a right. No, it’s something the creator has specifically chosen to allow.

          In this case, it’s not open for argument – because it’s where RPS stands – and so any whining be eternally linked to a general purpose reference post is undesirable. It’s akin to you as a 18th Century guy expecting you should get to scrawl your opinion beneath the declaration of independence.

          In short: it’s our stage. We get to decide what the show is. Some are call and response. Some are lectures. There is no “right”. There is only a “right for intended purpose”.

          And as I said when Anita did it, it does seem you guys think turning off comments in one place means that she somehow managed to turn off the whole internet.

          • DiamondDog says:

            You must’ve read a book that left you with a strong compulsion to have a conversation with the author?

            People are simply expressing that desire. I completely understand your reasoning, but this isn’t a book, and having a simple avenue of communication taken away can be a little frustrating. Not end of the world stuff, admittedly.

          • Kieron Gillen says:

            That’s what’s confusing you. It’s not taken away. It’s not *given*.

          • Bhazor says:

            If I went to a lecture and the lecturer ran off stage without letting anyone ask questions then the only question I’d be asking is how strong their arguments is.

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            For the record, I actually think turning off comments is a fair thing to do.

            As for the rest of your post… I do wonder how you feel about that whole thing about the press in general. Should a newspaper gag online comments based on their own interests? Or, should the press in general, both the bastion and most distinguished subject of free speech, gag comments based on their own arbitrary rules?

            I’ll be shitting lungs all my life Kieron, if that’s what this is. Trouble is I’m talking about something you really didn’t understand yet. A pervasive problem on the internet that its distancing it from its initial values. Values that are very dear to me. It’s starting to become noticed though. Slowly. The fact an UNESCO reports brushes on this matter is a good sign to me already.

            Who knows, maybe in 10 or 20 years time, we will be here with artrite and shaky fingers including an internet freedom of speech agenda on the social issues addressed by RPS?

          • Yosharian says:

            I understand that you and the author want the article to be a reference post. I feel that it is more than that. Let’s leave it at that.

          • deathcakes says:

            If you feel it is more than that, you have a lot of avenues at your disposal to talk about the actual issues the post brought up.

          • DiamondDog says:

            “That’s what’s confusing you. It’s not taken away. It’s not *given*.”

            No, I understand what you mean. I’m just saying it’s frustrating.

            It was John’s prerogative, but it felt like a confused message. Get involved. Use your voice. But only when we let you…

            Plus you can’t be blind to the sense of community you’ve fostered here. You constantly interact and ask for opinions. It’s this very reason why it felt jarring. I find it strange that both you and John seem so surprised that your own community would want to communicate with you. Yes I know, twitter and email. I used them.

            Anyway, I feel like I’m straining my point. I didn’t like it, but it’s not my choice. End of story.

          • Rikard Peterson says:

            You must’ve read a book that left you with a strong compulsion to have a conversation with the author?

            (And other similar comments.)

            If you actually read the article in question, you’d see that John not only talks about his reasons for turning off comments for that post, but also encourages anyone who wants to comment on it to send him an e-mail. If you want a conversation with the author, that’s how you can do it! He explicitly opened up that channel of communication for discussion.

            I think we all know what kinds of comments would have been written below that article, and I certainly don’t blame RPS for not wanting that crap on their site.

          • Consumatopia says:

            A creator gets to decide the context their own work is presented. It’s really that simple.

            And everyone else can judge that choice of context by whatever standard they see fit.

            If you don’t want comments on particular topics, particular kinds of comments, or meta-comments on the fact that you don’t want these comments, that’s all within your right, and given the kinds of comments we’re talking about I’m highly sympathetic to those preferences.

            But if you’re trying to claim that there’s something inherently illogical, confused or … lungshitting… about other people having opinions on these deletions, that’s absurd. Critics will always judge the context a creator chooses just as they judge the work itself.

          • Faxanadu says:

            I instantly skipped the entire article after noticing the comments were off.

            I would never visit this site if not for the excellent comments. I almost never comment myself, afraid of ruining it with my low quality posts.

            RPS comments are not something RPS gives to me, for me, they *are* RPS.

          • AndrewC says:

            It’s rude to lie, Faxy.

          • Faxanadu says:

            See? See what I mean? I posted twice in this article, twice getting a redundant reply. Twice making the comments section worse! Truly, I am my own worst enemy. Excuse me for now, I will be gluing my fingers together.

          • Branthog says:

            I doubt most people here “shit a lung” when they read a book, because unlike a lot of what is written as content here, a well-chosen book generally has at least a certain level of quality and intelligence to it and, also, doesn’t insult its very audience with shitty labels or attacks.

            It’s cute, however, that when gaming “journalists” aren’t busy jerking each other off, they’re busy attacking (either directly or passively aggressively, amongst each other but in public forums) their audience.

          • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

            “Should a newspaper gag online comments based on their own interests? Or, should the press in general, both the bastion and most distinguished subject of free speech, gag comments based on their own arbitrary rules?”

            They already do this, all the time.

          • Muzman says:

            I do wonder how you feel about that whole thing about the press in general. Should a newspaper gag online comments based on their own interests? Or, should the press in general, both the bastion and most distinguished subject of free speech, gag comments based on their own arbitrary rules?

            Uh, they do. All the time. It’s just about mandatory in fact.
            Listen, out there somewhere is an interesting meta-debate about the future of the ‘net and whither free speech in a world where all conversation spaces are technically owned by somebody and don’t fall under public utterances anymore (if they ever did). People managing their own private space or not isn’t going to avoid this gradual compression at all. People knee jerking at every deleted comment and waving the free internet flag isn’t going to avert this. Nor would some open slather situation where people have to just endure whatever shitheads like to blather about because “Free Speech” help either.
            I find it little more than entitled high school libertarian slacktivism. Sorry, but I do. You might well have oozed your way out from under the thumb of some dictator and want to teach us a thing or two about what we’re taking for granted. Which is great, but this isn’t where that battle will be fought one way or the other.

          • WrenBoy says:

            you guys must shit a lung when you read a book

            You joke but I havent dared read a book since half my lung popped out my arsehole while reading Foucault’s Pendulum and being unable to whinge in the non existent comments about an apparent infinite loop in his Basic code.

        • Lemming says:

          But your arguments and debate are irrelevant. It’s not a democracy, it’s a privately-owned website. Freedom of Speech does not apply on the internet.

      • Midroc says:

        Come on now. Why would you purposely rouse people with a “we do what we want, deal with it” statement? You could’ve just as we’ll written “u mad? xD”.
        Also I guess it’s pretty comfortable when you only allow comments that agrees with you and your (RPS) opinions, but it makes for a pretty dull, if even existing, discussion.

        • AndrewC says:

          Look at all the comments in this very thread that are disagreeing with RPS. Look at how they exist.

          ‘dissenting opinion’ is not the same as ‘aggressively abusive commenting’.

          • quijote3000 says:

            Considering that there are people claiming that their comments were eliminated when they were just dissenting, I’d like to actually see the comments that were eliminated for “misogyny”. Maybe they HAD to be eliminated. I don’t know.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          See, THIS stuff is what’s hyperbolic and nonsensical, not us occasionally moderating comments.

          The suggestion upthread that we don’t understand why comments are valuable made me laugh, too.

          Also, downthread from here: “if you pause to think, you are a masogonistic pig”

          Where does it say that? Where does John even begin to make such assertions? It amazes me that folks are happy to accuse John of being unfair in his opinions in the same breath as making these kinds of statements.

          • Bhazor says:

            From his article

            “People are exaggerating on both sides.”

            This, and many variants on it, are all about pretending to want to bring “balance” to the argument, in order to prevent its taking place at all. It’s dishonest, based on unexplained, undefined notions of exaggeration, perhaps if pressed illustrated by a single example that likely only emphasises the faux-diffuser’s prejudice. As and when people exaggerate in any debate, it’s great to call people out on it. People called out the issues in a recent post I put on RPS about gender wage gaps, which one could describe as exaggeration. That’s a good thing to do. It, however, has no bearing on the facts that there are problems that need to be dealt with, and the line is usually employed when trying to ensure nothing is allowed to change.

            Suggesting that the people who posted links to many articles pointing out the fallacy in the gender gap article were simply trying to derail it. Again his response in the original article was an angry
            “I can’t believe people are trying to claim experience is a factor”
            (paraphrasing as the comment thread on that article has gone all funny)

          • The Random One says:

            I have seen the “people are exaggerating on both sides” argument a lot of times, Bhazor, and what you mention is very clearly not an example of it. I do believe you’re reading into that article something that wasn’t said.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @The Random One
            I agree completely that it is a terrible example but it was John’s example, not Bhazor’s. It was a very weasely worded paragraph as its phrasing was surely deliberately ambiguous. It was the only part of that article that I found annoying.

            I have no issue with RPS taking an editoral stance on anything. One of the reasons I enjoy the site is that RPS dont pull punches with their annoyance of DRM, sexist/racist aspects of gaming, etc, and in their interviews they call out producers/developers on their bullshit. I would not want that to change and enjoy John’s style in general.

            But I found John’s behaviour the past week to be weird and childish. He wrote two factually incorrect articles back to back. In both cases his mistakes were pointed out in the comments and in both cases he reacted in an unprofessional manner. He deleted the Borderlands 2 article completely, saying he was sick of people correcting him and insulted those who corrected his errors in the wage gap article, saying their factually correct statements were rubbish and elsewhere calling it a tide of hate. The comments section of the wage gap article has now also been made difficult to read.

            I dont think it would have cost much in either case to update the articles to reflect his errors. It would certainly have been more intellectually honest than either hiding evidence of his mistakes or pretending that those pointing out his mistakes were idiots probably motivated by sexism.

      • Bhazor says:

        Refreshing to insult your entire reader base for the sake of a handful of trolls? Isn’t that the exact same approach you criticise game companies for when talking about DRM?

        John’s post followed on from an article where the vast majority of negative comments came from people pointing out the flaws in the presented statistics. Like it did not take experience or hourly wage into account for the gender divide, nor did it show any historical numbers to indicate whether it was improving or not. Instead of addressing those he just wrote “Fuck off” to a troll post. Between disabling comments on that article and his bizarre Cara article (again insulting the entire reader base *and* dis-empowering the person he was supposedly defending) I’m really worried that John is destroying his own credibility. I support his views but he’s seriously not helping them.

        • Jamesworkshop says:

          It would help his case if he actually left a church that has actually sexist nonsense over things like female clergy, how does that become an issue, you read a book someone else wrote, how hard can that be?

          I very much doubt a female videogame character in skimpy clothing is really going to make me think that my sisters and my mothers vote shouldn’t be worth the same as mine, or that maybe they shouldn’t vote at all.

          Same with people that think Barbie dolls give people anorexia and then wonder why no-one trusts their mental state when they say they believe plastic dolls have mind control powers, doesn’t suggest a high opinion of females to claim even child toys are an oppressive force.

          • Lacero says:

            There are a lot of christian churches other than CoE and the catholic church. Like, lots. And lots.

          • iucounu says:

            I’m not sure you know enough about John’s religious beliefs/affiliations to be able to make that kind of statement about his church, to be honest.

        • Kadayi says:

          It’s not even clear if the original GDM survey took account of post maternity part time working, which is a huge financial factor given it’s not uncommon for female professionals to voluntarily undertake reduced hours/days during the first few years of a child’s birth to balance out having a career and managing child care.

          I’ve attempted to seek some clarification from the GDM over this (because it’s a massive oversight if it wasn’t factored in), but so far no response from them (which is kind of disappointing).

          • Shuck says:

            It’s adorable that you think such flexible work arrangements even exist in the game industry, much less that they explain the income disparity. Such arrangements don’t exist, at least in the US (and even elsewhere they’re unlikely). It’s the game industry, where positions are “Work 60+ hours a week or GTFO.” Working in the industry, based on what I’ve observed at my own workplace and others, I’d say there are two main reasons for the income disparity: women aren’t promoted the same way as men, and women are driven from the industry much more quickly than men are, thanks to hostile working conditions (so the women in the industry have, on average, less experience and thus are paid less).

          • Kadayi says:

            @Shuck

            The survey is worldwide according to the report, so how things operate in the US alone is kind of moot.

          • Bhazor says:

            Fair point, its well known the game industry has terrible work conditions.

            But that isn’t exclusive to women.

          • Randomer says:

            Shuck, I’d posit one third reason why women have lower average salaries than men: unconsciously biased starting salaries. That study is specifically geared towards hiring trends in the hard sciences, but I don’t think it is unreasonable to think that something like that might hold up in computer science as well.

            The gist is that faculty at several universities were shown a snippet of a job application for a “good, but not amazing” student. Half the faculty were told that the student was named “Jennifer” and the other half were told “John”. The applications were all identical but for the name. The study found that the male candidate was, on average, viewed to be more competent and more hireable, and was more likely to be given career mentoring. The male candidate would have received a starting salary that averaged $4000 more than the female candidate.

            And all these results were statistically consistent between male and female faculty members.

          • Shuck says:

            @Kadayi: Like I said, it’s certainly true in the US, and likely true most everywhere else as well. (It’s certainly true in every country I know about.) GDM is very US-centric so the survey results are skewed that way*, but the industry is amazingly similar worldwide, based both on my experience and what I’ve read and heard from coworkers. In countries with more labor protections, the industry simply engages in more illegal practices. Certainly for the results of this survey, part-time work wasn’t a factor.

            *Only 13 percent of respondents were from Europe (primarily from UK and Germany, then France and Poland and a few from Sweden), and it’s not clear if that data was even used at all in the gender comparisons.

            @Randomer: That’s no doubt true as well. Normally such differences would tend to disappear with experience, as salaries tend to be tied to that (and position), but if women are leaving the industry at a higher rate, lower starting salaries would multiply the salary difference. It’s unfortunate that GDM didn’t do comparisons for similar experience brackets, as that would tell us for certain.

        • vagabond says:

          What are you talking about? As far as I’m concerned John’s credibility is gone.

          I don’t disagree with a single thing he has said in the locked post, there is clearly sexism issues within both the video game industry and the surrounding fanbase that need to be addressed. I support the concept of bringing these things to people’s attention. Do it properly though.

          The stats in the other article do not even begin to prove the case he puts forward, both because
          a) there are many reasons why the figures are the way that they are
          and
          b) comparing this years figures to last years figures shows improvement in almost all categories for both $ earned and % representation.

          The post that John wrote is the kind of “here is some stuff that backs up our preconceived notions that falls apart under even basic scrutiny” that he accuses Fox News and the Daily Mail of routinely engaging in.

          The telling a troll to fuck off and the locked post are pissing everyone off because it feels like RPS are closing ranks and going “la-la-la we can’t hear you” when confronted with the fact that John wrote a terrible, indefensible article.

        • Reapy says:

          This has been exactly my beef with all of the sexism posts. I read most of all the comments and they overwhelming were angry at the blanket insults and hyperbole in the examples used. But again and again I see another sweeping post saying we all think women belong in the kitchen and out of ‘our’ games. Bullshit, total bullshit.

          I see a “how do I get my wife/gf/whatever playing games with me?” Threads alllllll the time, most people o know desperately want women playing games and to figure out how to make that happen.

          But these posts, it’s like announcing, hey our stance is that we at rps are sensationalist and choose to get angry before we think, and if you pause to think, you are a masogonistic pig. That’s how those posts have sounded to me, and the reason they continue to make me rage.

          I always enjoyed rps for a cool evaluation of gaming, full of expertise from years of experience. Honestly it is my mistake to think that that ability extends to other topics as well.

          • goblin says:

            Feminism does jack shit for equality, it is as the name suggests for promotion of womens rights. And last i checked the notion of equality should include some kind of male, and by male i don’t mean a dildo. No, not even those fleshlike ones suffice.

            Feminism (unlike humanism-check it out) is thus utterly useless from an equality perspective and does not serve any other purpose than to confuse gaming journalists that missed the revolution by a century or so.

            Anyways, thanks for all the good content RPS, and please dont use your very powerful admin rights against me.

            Edit-Replied to the wrong post but call it beginners luck.

          • cptgone says:

            i have a few friends who like board games (some of them even like pc games). all of them are male. when their girlfriends do participate, they never seem to really connect. perhaps most girls are less competitive? perhaps they prefer having a chat?

          • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

            The name is what it is because of – quite reasonable – historical reasons. Feminism is about equality for both sexes and dismissing it because of the name just shows you don’t really care about the actual issue.

            On a side note, I believe it is quite obvious that our society still favours men more than it does women, even though there exist – of course – issues where men get the short end of the stick. Get real.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          The staff at RPS are starting to lash out. They’ve had their motives questioned, and nobody likes to have their motives questioned. They’ve had their opinions criticized, and if the internet has shown us anything, it’s that people do not like having their opinions criticized. They’ve been trolled mercilessly, and obviously nobody likes being trolled on the internet.

          I can’t blame the staff for feeling the way they feel. However, I can blame them for reacting in such a childish manner — deleting posts, blocking comments on entire articles, and telling readers to Fuck Off. They may have the right to do as they please with their own website, but that doesn’t mean they’re doing the right thing.

          The whole “sexism” debate at RPS has turned into a sideshow, in no small part thanks to the way the RPS staff have treated the resulting feedback from their readership.

          • colossalstrikepackage says:

            Editing a site they created and telling trolls that their opinions are not enriching the debate sounds like a mature response to me. Shame that they had to be pushed into this corner, but if haters are going to hate, why listen to it? I for one am glad they are trying to hold back the tide. RPS used to be a really cool place before this recent burst of trolling. I’m just glad that I can block people by myself – it saves a lot of time when trying to get to the constructive/intelligent comments.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Realistically, I’ve got no problem with RPS responding to or simply removing troll comments. The problem is that the trolls aren’t the only ones affected by this. People with valid criticisms are getting shouted down, not only by RPS staff, but by RPS readers.

            Sexism is a hot-button topic, so it’s no surprise trolls and dissenters have suddenly started showing up in large numbers. If opposing opinions can’t be dealt with in a mature matter, maybe RPS should consider blocking comments altogether when they decide to post something on the subject — at least that way everyone would be equally effected.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Very much this. John’s free to soapbox on his own site, but at this rate the only people reading it are going to be the types who charge at that red rag flying and churn up the very flamewars of idiocy everyone hates. There’s nothing for anybody else there.

          I kind of doubt that’s what he or the other RPS staff want.

          • colossalstrikepackage says:

            Sounds like you’ve mixed up ‘read’ and ‘comment’ in your post. Not being able to comment doesn’t stop a person reading an article. But if that doesn’t float their boat, then I guess there are other sites to go and comment. The way I see it: RPS site, RPS rules. Actually, that’s the way it is.

          • LionsPhil says:

            No, I have not. Perhaps read my comment again, and go jerk your “RPS can do what they want on their own site” knee at someone else:

            John’s free to soapbox on his own site

      • dangermouse76 says:

        +1, out of interest do you guys have access to data that gives you a rough idea of the number of readers who comment, and those that dont.

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          It’s pretty difficult to tell, but my best estimate is between 1% and 2%.

          • dangermouse76 says:

            Cheers.And thanks for the great site.

          • cowardly says:

            And could you estimate how many comments you have to delete? Just wondering how bad it really is, because I sometimes get the feeling it’s a lot worse that we see at this end.

          • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

            Don’t mention statistics for god’s sake! Any salient point will be lost and instead be replaced with a discussion about the validity of the 1or2% and the methodology used to come up with that %age.

          • Vorphalack says:

            I intend to use these statistics to feel privileged. I am the 1 or 2 percent.

          • colossalstrikepackage says:

            And I’d be interested in seeing what percentage of the trolls are long time RPS posters, or recent ‘fans’. My guess is the latter, but if not, then time for a change. The Internet is full of nasty stuff. RPS has been one of the few decent sites with great community to boot. Long may that be.

          • Jim Rossignol says:

            We don’t actually delete all that many comments, but we tend to nuke an entire thread + replies when we do so.

            The stuff that gets deleted isn’t, as so many people seem to believe, “disagreement” but stuff that is disgusting, threatening, or directly insulting. We don’t have any interest in giving people a platform to do that stuff.

            The rest of it, such as “this site isn’t as good as it used to be”, is allowed, but occasionally challenged. Personally I spend a good part of the day grinning about just how good RPS has been, is now, and is going to be. I spent years wanted a site I actually wanted to read, and damn, this is it. Even John’s stuff!

          • dangermouse76 says:

            And it’s a pretty good %, there’s a few good characters here, even when the discussion turns into a semantic debate about the nature of opinion and truth/ fact / reality.

            It’s like people softy throwing their dictionary’s at each other.

            Anything that distracts me from trying to design a photographic website in HTML5, it should be noted I have NO coding skills at all. And youtube tutorials have lost me the last of my hair.

          • cowardly says:

            Well, that’s good to hear. I love this site, its staff, and its commenters, so it’s nice to know that it is fact, really just that great ^^
            As to those who think they’ve been curated unfairly, maybe they just happened to be downstream from one of those horrid comments?

            And hooray for John! He puts a smile on my face ^^

      • Randomer says:

        I support turning the comments off on that reference article. It’s a well written, though provoking article, and it deserves to have its message considered without being colored by all the responses in a comments section. I’m not trying to suggest that I think discussion is bad. But it has been pointed out that rude or disparaging comments have a tendency to polarize readers. For a hot-button issue like this one, why not give the readers a chance to consider the content of the article for its own merits? Then they can go to reddit or the Sunday Papers or any number of other places and discuss it to their hearts content.

        • cowardly says:

          Yes! I’ve been wanting to express that idea clearly for a while (that link is very interesting, btw), but could get the ideas straight. When an article has comments, it’s almost inevitable that someone will be flippant, snarky, or even insulting, and that tends to completely tinge the perception of the information. It would be so much better to have comments on a completely different page consistently, so that you can consider ideas, digest them, re-read them even, like you would in a book, or with a newspaper. Maybe even discuss them with a friend. And only after that dive into what is usually a maelstrom of heated opinions and emotions.

      • Branthog says:

        Yes, you can. And your audience can also respond to and criticize you. Deal with it. Until you delete them.

        Of course, on the other hand, we can all just filter out the crap we know is going to be an idiotic read either by topic or byline — which I’m sure many share with me this practice.

        Personally, I don’t see what people are so worked up about. I find a lot of this swatting at imaginary flies with all the righteousness of an angry teenager that you guys (RPS) are doing to be a pretty big put-off and when it finally reaches the tipping point, I’ll just erase RPS from my daily feed and find another source for the content. People are acting like this is the only place or the best place to get this content and neither is true. When RPS is no longer serving you the content you want, it’s time to move on and let RPS fly or fester on its own.

        PS: With regard to that article – the reason I largely don’t give a damn is the same reason I don’t give a damn (and neither do you) about sexism in the automotive industry. Or the furniture industry. Or the modeling industry. I’m not part of any of those industries and there’s nothing I can reasonably do to address sexism in any of those things. Why should I suddenly feel compelled or obligated to do so in the gaming industry, which I also am not part of? Yes, we get it – it’s bad. Nobody other than the trolls that you are constantly falling for are saying otherwise. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, just what the hell do you actually expect us to do about it, other than continuing to listen to more of your self-serving chest-puffing lectures about it?

        • Jim Rossignol says:

          Haha, that’s a great comment.

          Please do delete us from your feed, btw.

          • invisiblejesus says:

            Jim, that guy did have one important question you ignored, and I think it would be a good idea to address it more often in the future when you guys cover issues of sexism (or racism or what have you): what DO you expect us to do about it? I don’t mean in general, that’s a big topic and probably beyond what could be reasonably expected of RPS (though if you want to take it on, go for it). What I mean is, when writing on the topic I’d love to see you guys focus more on explaining the problem and then giving some kind of thought as to how to be a part of the solution. The approach at the moment seems to be to ignore those kinds of questions and instead focus on how outraged the writer is about sexism. If that’s coming from a woman then okay, she’s actually affected directly from it. If it’s from another privileged white man like myself, I’m not interested. I can get that listening to Nickelback, for crying out loud. It’s your site, like you said, but I think the tone right now is too much about a writer/writers saying “Look how angry I am about this problem! Look how upset these problems make ME!” I think you’d be doing better to back up the emotional outrage in general and focus on problem-solving; “Here’s a problem. Here is the best information we have about that problem. Here is why this problem is bad, for those of you who honestly don’t know. Here are my/our thoughts on how to help fix that problem.”

            *Edited for my embarrassingly poor grammar. WTF, self?

          • Bhazor says:

            @ Jim

            That response is basically posting a troll face. Constructive.

            1) Don’t insult anyone, whether they’re an RPS writer, reader or anyone else whether present or not. Clearly you’re welcome to explain your dissatisfaction with something, but if you can’t make your argument without resorting to insults, it simply isn’t worth making. So the comment may well be deleted. Additional to this: any replies to objectionable comments may also be wiped.

            @ invisiblejesus

            What we could do is instead of constant negativity that just stirs everyone into a flame war we could champion good stuff. We could see articles about companies and developers who get it right and should be encouraged with our moneys. Heck something like this: (http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/showthread.php?9820-Cool-badass-swanky-female-characters) could be an improvement over the constant aimless hand wringing.

          • andytt66 says:

            @invisiblejesus to my mind, the only thing that will actually help is getting more women into the games industry, which means getting more women into the IT industry as a whole

            Unfortunately, that’s a lot easier said than done. Women simply don’t go into the STEM fields as much as men. There are a load of organisations trying to change this, so consider giving one of them some support?

            The British Computer Society (www.bcs.org/) have a Specialist Group (BCSWomen) that tries to mentor and encourage girls to think of IT as a valid career path.

            (Apropos of nothing, the first result of a search for “women” on the BCS homepage leads to a blog reporting that women in the UK games industry on average earn £2000 more than men. So don’t look at that. For it is obviously a damn lie/statistic/#fuckoff)

            Another organisation trying to get girls interested in science at a young age is the Royal Institution (www.rigb.org)

            If you can get girls interested in IT, you’ll get women joining the gaming industry. When a greater percentage of the gaming industry is female, change will happen. Apologies for the UK-centric nature of the links, but I’m sure there are other such organisations in other countries. It’s a pretty worldwide issue.

          • Vorphalack says:

            ”That response is basically posting a troll face.”

            And it was a deserved trollface. Arguing that you have no mandate to oppose sexism because you are not simultaneously opposing every other form of discrimination in equal measure is one of the most stupid things I have ever read. Comments like that need mocking.

          • invisiblejesus says:

            Vorphalack, that’s not what he said. Disagree with him if you like, but he did not say that.

          • Vorphalack says:

            Ah, wrong post. He does, however, say exactly that on page 7 which is where my post was originally intended for. This is what happens when you come back to RPS at 1 am after a bottle of wine and don’t check before hitting reply.

        • Vorphalack says:

          ”Why should I suddenly feel compelled or obligated to do so in the gaming industry, which I also am not part of?”

          If you buy games then you are part of the gaming industry. You can influence the gaming industry with your purchases, assuming you have enough free will and self control to research what you are buying and not just pre-order any old crap because it had a £10 million marketing drive behind it. If you don’t believe that then you are just making excuses for your own apathy or lack of empathy.

          • Kadayi says:

            So when you buy a pint of milk or block of cheese that somehow makes you part of the dairy industry?

          • Randomer says:

            If you frequently read articles on Rock, Paper, Camembert with the goal of making informed dairy purchases, then I think it is reasonable to say that you are a participant in the dairy industry. I would label you a Knowledgeable Consumer.

          • Rikard Peterson says:

            So when you buy a pint of milk or block of cheese that somehow makes you part of the dairy industry?

            Saying that you’re a part of the industry is probably taking it one step too far (both in milk and games), but it certainly puts you in a place where you should choose to act responsibly. I buy milk from local cows rather than milk from Germany because I think it’s crazy to be shipping milk from that far away. I buy fair trade ecological bananas because we in Europe don’t have the right to pollute and take advantage of people in the other side of the world. I wish everybody acted like this, and put some thought in what they’re supporting with their money. That’d make the world a better place.

            But it’s only games! That doesn’t make the same damage as bananas. True, but it can make a different kind of damage. Games and stories have always been used (for thousands of years) to help shape our thoughts, so thinking about the stories we’re telling and the games we’re playing is important.

          • quijote3000 says:

            That means that every time I go to the supermaker, I belong to dozens of industries. Coooooooooool!

          • Kadayi says:

            @Rikard

            So I guess the next stage in this ‘saga’ is RPS (or John) telling us which companies to boycott I presume? For their many crimes against feminism and gender equality.

          • cowardly says:

            I know you’re exaggerating to make a point, but let me do this anyway : the effect of buying bananas (for the sake of milking this example until the bitter end) from exploitative producers is significantly more damaging than that of buying a video game that employs sexist/ or racist or other problematic tropes, that is obvious, if only because the effect is immediate with the bananas and only existent within a wider cultural perspective with the games.
            So boycott is a step too far. But when one buy games, one prioritises. And often, that is difficult, because there are so many good games. But say you have two great games, that you’re hesitating in between them (because you don’t have infinite monies). Well, if you know that RPS have reviewed both games and said they’re fun, but that they noted one employed some rather obvious and distasteful tropes of a problematic kind, then you might say, well, I’ll buy that other one first, and leave that one for later, or for a sale, or something (or never, if you’re so inclined).

            I’m sorry, this seems to have turned into a rambling response to the “What can we do?” question. It may not seem like much, but if consumers have a weighted response against an over-abundance of these tropes recurring in games, then we can, to a small extent, shift the balance, as it will become more profitable to not employ these tropes. Whereas if we ignore them and act as if they’re not a problem, then we’re not doing anything at all. Granted, the alternative may be only a small thing, but it’s better than nothing, right?

        • Jimbo says:

          Well put.

          RPS staff have the right to censor their readers if they feel they need to. Those readers retain the right to skip straight over anything they know full well is going to be hysterical, exasperating, rabble-rousing nonsense. It’s become plenty predictable which articles those will be lately.

          That’s Rock, Paper, Shotgun… we don’t recommend it to people anymore :(

      • derbefrier says:

        since this seems to be the place were we all complain about Johns article i just wanna say( as someone who loves to disagree with john) I didn’t think disabling comments was uncalled for and I understand why he did. i also thought it was pretty good article. It made me reconsider my position (that sexism in the industry is being blown out of proportion for the sake of page hits). I am not entirely convinced I am wrong but I am now ready to consider the possibility I could be. But I am naturally suspicious of those who claims things like this with certainty. Its just my nature I guess but we all get carried away from time to time and get that “tunnel vision” bah i am rambling now so i’ll shut up

    • blackmyron says:

      No, Bioshock 2 is overrated nowadays. It isn’t a ‘forgotten classic’ – I just finished playing it again last night, and it’s what I remembered, a single player game whose construction was pushed aside for a rather mediocre multiplayer that was obviously the main focus. What happens to Grace if you save her? Who are you, other than a one-note character called “Johnny Topside”? Why did we go from a fun little hacking puzzle game to a Farmville button masher?
      And no, Minerva’s Den didn’t save Bioshock 2 – but it’s worth playing on its own. It’s too bad you have to own Bioshock 2 to do so.

  5. Mattressi says:

    I like the Christian Allen article (pro-gun game designer, on Kotaku), but I wish he had gone a little into some of the pro-gun arguments. But maybe it’s better how it is – essentially saying “how about everyone stops trying to ban things”. As a fellow libertarian, it’s something I’ve always tried to tell people. I just don’t get the mentality of “that’s not my hobby, so I will call for it to be banned without researching it”. Many gun owners are just as guilty of this as many gamers.

    • Mctittles says:

      New York bans of soft drinks over a certain size or food with a certain type of fat are prime example of laws made from people trying to get their nose where it doesn’t belong.

      I can’t wait until I get slammed against the car and handcuffed for trying to purchase a 32oz soda.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        The justification for things like anti-junkfood or anti-smoking laws is that the cost of health care is a drain on public finances. I think a lot of the arguments in favor of those laws are hogwash, and that given a proper thorough study we’d find that longer/healthier lifespans are more of a drain on the health care system than anything, but there you go.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        You can still drink as much as you like. No one is stopping you.

        What’s happening is that the drinks companies/restaurants were previously manipulating you into drinking more than you would or should by offering sizes too large for regular human consumption. That has now been stopped. This will hopefully make people a little bit more healthy and does not affect your freedom of choice watsoever.

    • mickygor says:

      I tried raising a similar point with someone who argued for progressive taxation by saying “rich people don’t need that much money.” I think that, certainly for some of the people that argue for gun legislation, there’s a complete inability to perceive a middle ground between require and forbid.

    • Melliflue says:

      I was very impressed by the article. I did inwardly groan when he said he wanted to talk about the mental health problem but even that was addressed in a sensible way, suggesting we try more to help them. The coverage of murderers is something that does need to be changed, because in this case the evidence implies that giving a lot of exposure to a killer encourages more killings.

      Edit: For me the gun control issue is a question of ideology vs pragmatism. In an ideal world nobody would misuse guns so they wouldn’t be controlled at all. However, enough people abuse the rights to own a gun that we should consider controlling who can own guns and what kind of guns can be owned.

      • Mctittles says:

        Your stance is an interesting take and one I don’t see too often with the extremists on both sides. It makes more sense to people who have grown up around guns and used them for tools or entertainment, while pointing it at another person seems just as absurd as pointing a nail-gun at someone. The absurdity of you personally using a gun to harm someone comes up when thinking of why they would ban such a thing.
        However you are correct that some people would use a gun (or nail-gun for that matter) to hurt others so there should be a middle ground here.

      • Consumatopia says:

        “The coverage of murderers is something that does need to be changed, because in this case the evidence implies that giving a lot of exposure to a killer encourages more killings.”

        Yeah, this. The name and backstory of a spree killer is something the American media should treat the same way they treat the name of a rape victim. The Constitiution doesn’t allow us to actually ban networks from sharing that information, but norms can be powerful without the force of law, and everyone, pro- and anti-gun, ought to push for this one.

    • Axess Denyd says:

      I was tempted to think he should go into more of the pro-gun side of things too, but then I remembered how little it would actually matter. I have yet to see any anti-rights activists be convinced with statistics, logic, or anything else. I’m sure it has happened on very rare occasions, but this is one of the issues where it seems people who already have a strong opinion dig in and will not change it for anything that is not fundamentally life-altering. Just look at the comment section on Kotaku. Or most of the threads on RPS where gun ownership comes up, for that matter.

      I just think it’s too bad his game’s Kickstarter has already ended, I was about to fund it just because of the article.

      • Mattressi says:

        Yeah, that’s what I was thinking too. Unfortunately, a lot of people just won’t see to reason. Some older pro-gun people will insist, no matter what facts you present them, that video games are making children grow up to be murderers. Some anti-gun people (well, most, I’ve found) will ignore any evidence presented and insist on citing particular statistics, while ignoring others.

        which takes a relatively in-depth statistics-based look at whether banning guns would reduce the murder and/or suicide rates – ultimately, it concludes that there is no correlation between gun ownership and murder and suicide rates. I’m interested to see what anti-gun commenters on here will say to that.

        Is there any other reason to be anti-gun? If it can be shown that guns do not increase murder or suicide rates, what other reasons could there be to be anti-gun? I guess whatever motivates the “assault weapon” bans in the US (banning things like pistol groups, bayonet lugs and flash hiders, none of which aid in massacring a group of people) – fear? Some people seem to think guns (and self defence) are uncivilised? (speaking from my experiences here in Australia) Anything else?

        • Not Marvelous says:

          I come from a place *very* restrictive about gun ownership, so this may influence my judgement.

          I don’t want a gun. I never held one in my hands, rarely even seen one not on a police officer (if ever). I also do not like the idea of people around me carrying deadly weapons. For what? Self-defense? Allowing people who do not know how to act in life-threatening situations to carry guns is just incredibly irresponsible in my view. Maybe statistics will prove me wrong, but I can’t imagine myself using my *gun* to improve any possible situation. They are unwieldy, dangerous, imprecise… If I want to be able to defend myself or others, there are hundreds of ways to learn to do that without the help of guns.

          Moreover, I do not want to see guns sold as goods to anyone who cares enough to get a permit. I do not want gun and ammo manufacturers to operate in that way and make money that way.

          There are other reasons, but I am about as against gun rights as one can be. And I do not think it is related to crime or murder numbers in any relevant way.

          • Axess Denyd says:

            Well, we don’t seem to have a lot of common ground here. I think being completely insulated from guns causes a lot of the attitude, so here’s an offer:

            If you’re ever in the US, near Ohio, I’ll take you to the range and you can handle and shoot some guns, and see if your opinion changes.

            Not that I think that’s ever likely to happen, but I thought I’d put it out there.

            That said, I have about a decade’s experience in the martial arts, and while I am confident in my ability to handle many threats, guns are superior tools for a few reasons: Size no longer matters. Even when someone is trained, it is really hard for a 100 pound, 5 foot female to resist a 250lb, 6’2″ male. The gap in skill has to be INCREDIBLY large for her to successfully counter attacks. Keep in mind, too, that if you are going to defend yourself with martial arts or the like, it only works after you have hurt someone, possibly crippling or killing them. If someone advances on you and you pull a gun, they are quite likely to see it and run away, defusing the situation with no injuries, and hopefully making the aggressor reevaluate some life choices (yeah, it’s unlikely, but I am an optimist).

            There are many, many documented cases of documented gun uses in the US every year, and many more undocumented, so though you can’t imagine yourself using one to defend yourself, that doesn’t mean it does not happen.

          • Branthog says:

            I don’t own a gun. I don’t want to own a gun. I don’t care if other people do. As long as murder is illegal, why should I give a shit? I believe in allowing people the freedom to do what they wish, up to the point where it negatively directly impacts another unwilling person. That means I don’t care if you own a gun. I don’t care if you defend yourself with a gun. I only care if you attack someone.

            At any rate, my understanding is that at least in the UK, guns are restricted and the cops don’t go around with firearms on their hips and shotguns and rifles in the front cab of their police cars?

            That’s one major problem (aside from all the many, many others) with the whole “disarm society” bullshit in the US — if we’re going to disarm society, then I demand we disarm the police force. Especially considering all the incidents of abuse by police (if you want an example, just google “police taser elderly” and “police shoot unarmed” (might want to include “black” in that search, too), or google “police shoot unarmed restrained man in head at point-blank range on BART station in Oakland”. Then watch the video where an unarmed black man is restrained, face-down, by half a dozen cops, when one of them pulls out his gun, aims it at the back of the restrained man from about eighteen inches away . . . and murders him.

          • Axess Denyd says:

            That’s one major problem (aside from all the many, many others) with the whole “disarm society” bullshit in the US — if we’re going to disarm society, then I demand we disarm the police force.

            Yeah, my favorite anti-gun argument is “30 round magazines and AR-15s are only useful for killing a large number of people in a short amount of time! That’s why only the police should have them!”

            Some people find nothing wrong with that statement.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Re: AR-15s and the police, that’s a cute gotcha you’ve got there, but do you really insist that the general public be permitted to have access to every weapon that the police and military have access to?

            I mean, I agree that police violence is a problem in the US (and elsewhere). Radley Balko has a lot of good things to say about the militarization of law enforcement.

            But…am I crazy for thinking that a police SWAT team should be able to outgun a civilian? That the domestic situations in which a gun with high capacity magazine is the best defensive tool (where “best” means the best balance of effectiveness for the user and risk to everyone else) are relatively rare and should be handled primarily by professionals?

          • Not Marvelous says:

            Oh, I wholeheartedly agree with (both) your views of police, don’t get me wrong.

            But I think we’ll get nowhere with this. I just can’t see gun ownership (let alone carrying around) as a right. I wonder if there’s anything that could change my mind.

          • Axess Denyd says:

            AR-15s and the police, that’s a cute gotcha you’ve got there, but do you really insist that the general public be permitted to have access to every weapon that the police and military have access to?

            The police yes, the military, no. Heck, I’m going this weekend to shoot machine guns. Because it is my birthday and my wife loves me. http://www.machinegunshoot.com

            But…am I crazy for thinking that a police SWAT team should be able to outgun a civilian? That the domestic situations in which a gun with high capacity magazine is the best defensive tool (where “best” means the best balance of effectiveness for the user and risk to everyone else) are relatively rare and should be handled primarily by professionals?

            A police SWAT team can outgun a civilian, by virtue of there being a lot of them with highly specialized training and body armor. If they are armed with AR-15s and the criminal has, say, 30, he is not outgunning them the same way he s not outdriving them because he owns 5 Dodge Chargers and the police each only have one.

            And sure, ideally any situation could be handled by the police. But when someone is coming through the front door of my apartment (or as actually happened before, the hole in the wall they just kicked the air conditioner through), a SWAT team isn’t likely to get there in time to do much besides take a report and/or draw chalk lines.

            A standard capacity magazine is always good to have. No one ever came out of a gunfight and wished they didn’t have so many bullets with them. In fact, a larger capacity is more important for defense than for offense–an attacker will carry as many magazines as he wants, while someone defending their home will likely only have what is already in the gun. Consider that Columbine and Virginia Tech were both perpetrated by people primarily 10 round magazines. Compare it to the woman in Georgia who was chased into the attic with her two children, then finally shot him five times with a .38spl revolver, and he left the house and drove away because she threatened to shoot him again (even though she was then out of ammunition). Multiple person home invasions are also becoming more common.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Well, I guess call me crazy then, because I still think one cop ought to be able to outgun one criminal. If I were a cop, I think I would reverse Branthog’s reasoning. Disarm the police? Better disarm society first. I mean, he’s complaining about cops having pistols on their hips and big guns in their cars. Well, if everyone needs an AR-15 to defend their home, I guess the police should carry those strapped to their shoulder. Don’t even waste time with tazers–it’s a dangerous world out there, it’s kill or be killed.

            I know libertarians are pro-gun, pro-free speech, and anti-police brutality. But in reality, the first stance is incompatible with the other two. If everyone is carrying dangerous weapons, society will make sure they aren’t holding dangerous ideas, and the police will respond to every potential threat with maximum force.

            Innocent people have definitely thought to themselves “I wish that guy didn’t have so many bullets”. So much for “God made men but Colt made them equal”–now the fantasy is one person fending off multiple attackers. Of course, those multiple attackers might have AR-15s and body armor, so I guess you better exercise your Second Amendment right to 3D print a full machine gun and fill your house with deadly booby traps.

            Once you start worrying about multiple attackers, you have nothing but an absurd arms race–assuming that the attackers get the same weapons you do, and the element of surprise, then of course they’re probably going to be able to kill you. You just have to hope that the fear that you might take one or more of them out before you go down–or that the police will track them down later and hold them responsible–is enough to deter them. You can’t protect yourself, as an individual, from every possible extreme attack. But by encouraging people to do so, to arm themselves as if they’re facing zombie hordes, we make those extreme attacks more likely.

          • Axess Denyd says:

            Well, I guess call me crazy then, because I still think one cop ought to be able to outgun one criminal.

            Which is why criminals aren’t allowed to buy guns. Maybe they should start prosecuting them for trying to do so, and maybe even keep them in jail after they are found guilty of committing a crime.

            I know libertarians are pro-gun, pro-free speech, and anti-police brutality. But in reality, the first stance is incompatible with the other two. If everyone is carrying dangerous weapons, society will make sure they aren’t holding dangerous ideas, and the police will respond to every potential threat with maximum force.

            Just saying it doesn’t make it so. Libertarians don’t give a damn about what your ideas are or even what actions you take, until you start having a negative effect on other people. And police brutality has little to do with gun ownership. I don’t remember Rodney King being armed.

            Innocent people have definitely thought to themselves “I wish that guy didn’t have so many bullets”.

            A better thought would be “I will use some of my bullets on that guy.”

            So much for “God made men but Colt made them equal”–now the fantasy is one person fending off multiple attackers. Of course, those multiple attackers might have AR-15s and body armor, so I guess you better exercise your Second Amendment right to 3D print a full machine gun and fill your house with deadly booby traps.

            Yup. It’s a fantasy. You got me. Just like I have fire extinguishers because damn, I hope my house catches fire! I’ve always wanted to use one of these! When it’s documented that things happen, dismissing the possibility is not a hyper-intelligent action.

            And that’s just ridiculous, you can’t 3D print a barrel. Yet.

            Once you start worrying about multiple attackers, you have nothing but an absurd arms race–assuming that the attackers get the same weapons you do, and the element of surprise, then of course they’re probably going to be able to kill you. You just have to hope that the fear that you might take one or more of them out before you go down–or that the police will track them down later and hold them responsible–is enough to deter them. You can’t protect yourself, as an individual, from every possible extreme attack. But by encouraging people to do so, to arm themselves as if they’re facing zombie hordes, we make those extreme attacks more likely.

            Now you’re just projecting your own learned helplessness and fear onto everyone else.

            You can’t protect yourself from everything, no one has said that you can. But anyone who doesn’t do everything they can to keep themselves and their family safe is worthless.

            And are you seriously implying that if more people kept guns in their home ready to shoot intruders, intruders are more likely to target them? If there’s a world where that makes sense, I’m glad I don’t live there.

          • Mattressi says:

            Axess Denyd, I want to thank you – normally I spend a lot of time putting forth the same/similar arguments that you have. I was too tired this time. So, thank you for putting forth well-reasoned arguments in a calm manner :)

            Also, thanks to everyone else (including those with opposing views) for keeping it civil.

          • Axess Denyd says:

            @Mattressi – Thanks!

            This was surprisingly civil compared to other times I’ve tried to have the discussion here, I had pretty much decided to give up but I decided to try one last time. I probably didn’t change any minds, but at least civil conversation was had.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Which is why criminals aren’t allowed to buy guns. Maybe they should start prosecuting them for trying to do so, and maybe even keep them in jail after they are found guilty of committing a crime.

            Maybe we should check their backgrounds before we sell them guns, which the is what Democrats in Congress are proposing now. And believe me, we keep quite enough people in jail. Even conservatives are starting to realize that, thank God. So much for your your libertarianism.

            Just saying it doesn’t make it so. Libertarians don’t give a damn about what your ideas are or even what actions you take

            Sincere libertarians aren’t the primary force behind gun control. That’s why I said “I know libertarians are pro-gun, pro-free speech, and anti-police brutality.” But the NRA, as distinct from libertarians–is trying to blame video games for gun violence–because they can’t blame guns. In general, the people who favor drug legalization, free speech, and protections from police abuse aren’t the same ones who favor greater gun rights–most of my gun nut friends are also big fans of the police. People want security. They can get security by controlling weapons, or by controlling people. Libertarians would prefer neither. But that’s not acceptable to most people. My fear is that if the gun rights advocates win, then libertarians will lose on every other front. And the other fronts are more important.

            A better thought would be “I will use some of my bullets on that guy.”

            If everyone thinks that, there’s going to be a lot of bullets flying around. Besides, it’s doesn’t really do any good to shoot back at someone who accidentally shot you. Another danger here if we keep pushing this gun culture is that people not otherwise inclined to carry weapons will start doing so. When a person makes a decision whether or not to carry, they have to balance the protection that gun offers to them with the risk that they might accidentally hurt themselves or someone else. Or that their weapon will be stolen. If guns are truly everywhere, if people start open carrying AR-15s with them wherever they go, then that balance will shift and clumsy people who don’t have any business carrying a gun will start carrying.

            When it’s documented that things happen, dismissing the possibility is not a hyper-intelligent action.

            Treating every possibility as if it were a certainty is a much much less intelligent and more harmful action. Whatever action you take to prepare for a threat can itself be dangerous. If everyone arms themselves with the biggest guns to prepare for the possibility that you have to protect yourself from multiple attackers, we will live in a much more dangerous society.

            And that’s just ridiculous, you can’t 3D print a barrel. Yet.

            Given how long slow gun reform is, even with things like universal background checks that have 90% support in polls, we might as well plan ahead. And I was specifically referencing future technologies because, by its very nature, the kind of arms race you want to start is unbounded. You want to have huge guns to protect yourself from multiple invaders. Each home invader would like bigger guns to protect themselves from home owners. Pretty soon everyone’s got AR-15s, and the NRA will start demanding that everyone be able to buy actual military assault rifles–because, hey, we’ve got to protect ourselves from multiple invaders with AR-15s. And you know what I really want if I’m going to face multiple invaders? Drones. Not flying drones, I want Roombas with Guns patrolling my home. Heck, I might as well give them flame throwers–I mean, I’ve got five fire extinguishers. Oh, wait, now my home is being invaded by swarms of spider robots stealing my jewelry and teaching my kids swear words? Well, what I really need is nanotech gray goo–something that can disassemble everything. I mean, of course my gray goo has a kill switch–as soon as it leaves the boundary of home it shuts off. Sure, I could turn that switch off anytime I wanted, but you can trust me I would never do that. We’re all libertarians, so nobody else should care about my unstoppable (by anyone but me) gray goo, up to the point where it negatively directly impacts another unwilling person–i.e. well past the point when you could have prevented that negative direct impact. Oh crap, somebody else’s gray goo got into my house! Well, that’s what I got this weaponized antimatter for.

            And are you seriously implying that if more people kept guns in their home ready to shoot intruders, intruders are more likely to target them?

            Are you seriously denying that if more people buy more guns, then intruders will have more guns too and more accidents will happen? If there’s a world where that makes sense, I wish I lived there. More guns means guns are easier to buy or steal (even if only from your mom…). More guns mean that I have greater incentive to have and carry a gun–because, hey, I need to protect myself from all those other nuts. I might not want a gun but might want even less to be the only one without a gun.

            Look, I get that we haven’t convinced each other. But it’s not because there’s some fact or logic you’ve given me that I’ve ignored.

        • Consumatopia says:

          That paper makes a big deal about the UK having a higher violent crime rate than America despite restrictive gun laws. And, indeed, it’s not clear that restricting guns reduces violent crime.

          However, the UK/US example can be looked at another way–the UK has a higher violent crime rate, but a lower homicide rate than the US. It shares that situation with a number of other countries.

          Maybe guns don’t cause violent crime. But they do seem to make it more lethal. I’m curious how many countries break that pattern–are there countries with restrictive gun laws that have lower violent crime rates but higher homicide rates than the US? What’s the partial correlation between homicide and gun ownership, when controlling for overall violent crime?

          re: the guns vs. video games point Allen is making, I think this conflict is inevitable. The NRA didn’t screw up by blaming video games, it made total sense for them to do that. If “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people”, that means anyone who wants to reduce homicides but doesn’t want to control weapons will have to control people instead. So there’s a focus on mental health and violent media. It’s thought control as an alternative to gun control. This essay published shortly after Newtown made some really good points about the incompatibility of gun culture and freedom.

          EDIT: I should say, I think the ideal world would be one in which everyone could carry a gun, but few people felt the need to do so. It is not guns themselves that worry me so much as some of the culture behind them, where a person judges their own freedom by how much harm they can inflict on their neighbor.

          • Nasarius says:

            Maybe guns don’t cause violent crime. But they do seem to make it more lethal.

            “Guns make impulsive killing easy” was Carl Sagan’s summation of the issue. Just about says it all.

          • Axess Denyd says:

            Keep in mind, though, a few things.

            The UK’s violent crime rate is increasing, as is the murder rate. The US’s crime and murder rates are decreasing. The UK has implemented more restrictive gun laws, while the majority of the US has been relaxing gun laws and increasing the ease of carrying concealed weapons.

            Also, the UK’s murder rate and the US’s murder rate are impossible to compare because they are measured differently. In the US, and non-accidental, non-natural-causes death is recorded as a homicide. In the UK, it isn’t recorded as a homicide until someone has been found guilty of murder. In places like Chicago, something like 70-80% of murders go unsolved. I have a feeling that the UK homicide rate is, in reality, at least 2-3x higher than what the official statistics show.

          • Consumatopia says:

            Violence crime has been decreasing all across the US, even though some jurisdictions have adopted tighter gun laws. I think violent crime rates have more to do with demographics, economics (e.g. stimulus in the US versus austerity in the UK), and environmental factors (especially lead abatement). Just comparing the violent crime rates of jurisdictions that have banned guns to those that permit them can be misleading–high public fear of violence might push a country to support gun restrictions.

            Your point re: UK homicide statistics is well taken, though. Still, I think that differences in homicide stats, when controlled for violent crime rates, are what we should be looking at here, at least in principle (obviously the comparison is no good if the underlying numbers are cooked.) It has been difficult for either side to establish whether guns cause or prevent violent crime. But I believe the case that guns make violent crime more lethal is a stronger one.

        • Muzman says:

          It’s such a complex situation I don’t think a good statistical measure can be found. Half the reason gun promoters think they are important don’t show up in stats very often and the surveys are fairly shakey (hey they think every time a hood sees one or thinks one might be there a crime has been prevented. There is no measure for that)
          Pro-gun arguments have to argue they are vitally powerful with one hand and almost irrelevant with another. It rapidly devolves into nonsense.
          It’s the externalities that interest me. Widespread gun possession does nothing to decrease paranoia, especially among the general public. People can probably find cases where it doesn’t seem to increase it much. But in a debate where extreme outlier incidents are fuelling it in one direction or another (be it the fear of murderous home invasion or mass shooting) I think we must focus on places where guns appear in violent situations the most, not try and smooth everything out in the averages. These are places where if you can get hold of one easily you might use it just as easily. Unfortunately this is where the nation has to gudgingly acknowledge its interconnectedness. Guns used by Chicago school kids often finding their way from Indiana country gun shows Even the political terror of a militarised police force that worries so many Libertarian types (and not without cause a lot of the time) is entirely due to them facing deadly weapons on a regular basis. Entirely. Their answer is mostly “throw open the floodgates”, that’ll fix everything. Can’t say I’m convinced.

          There’s no clear metric or relationship between guns and crime. There is one between guns and gun crime however and projectile weapons have innocent bystanders. Most arguments for them I’ve encountered have very little beyond “I want them, I can have them” (not very many “I need one”s. Guess I don’t run into too many farmers), which might underline the problem: a slam dunk argument to a Libertarian. Pretty weak reason to allow the proliferation of dangerous weapons in the community to me. Oddly, most gun advocates I’ve argued with lately, when pressed acknowledge they wouldn’t mind fairly heavy restrictions and enforcement (sometimes more than I would). Exactly the sort the NRA and the government have gone out of their way to prevent from existing this past decade or so. We have more in common than we think

          • Axess Denyd says:

            Might want to check your facts. Almost no guns used in crime come from gun shows. Most of them are from theft (or if you’re in Mexico, a large percentage are supplied to drug dealers by the ATF).

            And I’m not surprised you haven’t met a lot of people who “needed” a gun and didn’t have one. If you need one and don’t have one, you die. That’s what need means.

            If you’re seeing so-called gun advocates who are in favor a a lot of restrictions, they are not really gun advocates. That’s right up there with “Sure I think slavery is wrong, but there’s no reason we shouldn’t CONTROL the negroes!” Fun fact: Gun control (in the United States) pretty much didn’t exist before slavery was abolished.

          • Muzman says:

            Guns are bought legally out of state via straw purchasers, reported stolen and sold on. So bought from gun shows where laws are more lax, and from theft at the same time.

            The next remark I don’t get. All I was saying was I haven’t met a lot of people with a decent practical need for one, just a want. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

            Your race comparison is nonsensical. The people I spoke to and the ones on the news you see often make similar arguments; we have lots of good gun laws, they say, we don’t need anymore, we just need to enforce them. This is in response to the idea that gun control advocates can’t be swayed by facts. No, such arguments by sensible people concerned with reasonable safety swayed me (somewhat). Maybe better enforcement is a better place to start rather than any hasty laws.

        • bill says:

          The gun debate in the USA (and mostly only there, as most other countries have settled the issue one way or the other years ago) is weird and endless on so many levels.

          It seems to come down mainly to the US’s huge split between urban and rural life. The experience and relationship with guns of someone living in rural USA and urban USA are essentially incomparable.

          How can there be a rational debate (even if we could ignore all the sound, fury, romanticism and entrenched positions) when they aren’t even talking about the same thing.
          - A guy in rural texas who learned to use his gun on a range, lives 1 hr from the nearest police and uses it for hunting naturally sees it as a benign, useful or protective tool.
          - A lady living in a neighbourhood where most of the kids are in gangs and most of them are carrying handguns and killing each other sees them as terrible blight on the neighborhood and lives of everyone there (including the bad guys) and probably sees them as having no positive points at all.

          I actually think it might have been possible to have a decent debate on the issue if people understood what the others were talking about. But I think it’s too late now as no-one on either side is ever going to be open enough or wait long enough before getting defensive.

          As someone from a country that seems to get by fine without guns, where i’ve almost never seen a gun, and know no-one who owns or wants to own a gun, I often find the idea that they are an essential human right to be a little strange. They don’t seem to need their own constitutional amendment any more than a right own a toaster needs one.

          Unfortunately, I think that that amendment does more harm than good. It makes everything into an issue of ‘rights’ which tends to make it all-or-nothing and black-or-white. If they were just another device then it’d be an issue of safety regulations. Governments impose safety regulations on pretty much every device on the planet.

          If the debate development process took into account the differing use-factors and approached things from a non-political non-emotional safety regulations viewpoint then it would surely be much easier to reach a sensible compromise.

    • Muzman says:

      I’m not sure why people would think his article was any good. All he said was “I like guns” and “It’s mental illness. But don’t get any of that government money involved in it because that’s always bad obv.”

      Even if you like guns it offered about zero of any worth to the whole debate.

  6. Jae Armstrong says:

    Adding to the general post-Binfinite hubbub, I think this article:

    http://peripsuche.blogspot.com/2013/03/bioshock-infinite-thematic-analysis.html

    is worth reading. It distinguishes itself from pretty much every other analysis of the game I’ve read so far in that it doesn’t analyse the game in terms of fatherhood or metacommentary or even the philosophy of physics, but rather as a piece of social commentary. It goes so far as to argue that the game doesn’t drop that angle at the end of the third act, but rather that the Booker/Elizabeth/Comstock relationship continues it in a subtler form.

    I love how much talk this game is generating. ^_^

  7. golem09 says:

    I have to say, that I’m usually opposing unneccessary violence in video games, but only when they try to be realistic. In Bioshock Infinites pixar like pop up world, the violence serves as a wonderful stark contrast to what we see (The most beautiful place on earth).
    That said, I have not done one melee execution in my first 27 hours playthrough in 1999.
    I’m not THAT fond of violence.

  8. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Well, an attempt at introducing racism into videogame debate. Thank you!

    Whether it’s about women and men, black and white, national and foreign, the one enemy is human tendency towards prejudice. You fight this, and you’ll defeated all of its many forms. But if you insist on dealing with one of its many shapes, then you achieve nothing. You are trying to hit vapor. It’s because of this we have achieved very little in hundreds of years of fighting against racial or gender prejudice, for instance.

    Racial and gender prejudice in games share a similar fate. Publishers (especially) don’t like to deal on what they perceive are risk initiatives of catering for minorities (minorities here being the people for whom these are important issues). More often than not, they don’t even think about it. They only realize they have been doing games for middle class western white males for the past decades when someone calls their attention to it. This is even more troubling… but also more revealing of the underlying prejudice that has become second-nature to our societies.

    But,

    To me the problem of race, gender or national prejudice (should I use a better word than “national”? My English is failing me here and I can’t seem to find a good substitute word) needs to be tackled in its own turf. At the social level, outside the comparatively meek and rather unimportant domain of the game industry. I do see huge value in bringing this issues wherever we feel the more comfortable. That’s the game industry, you say? Great! But I do criticize the idea of “Let’s eradicate racial and gender prejudice from the gaming industry”. That’s just sad, myopic and actually a bit troubling if this is the extent of what one wants to do to fight prejudice. But more important, this type of objective really doesn’t allow for any progress. Let the game industry be another source of discontent for prejudice. Raise awareness (let’s keep the debate on RPS), while avoiding polarizing the positions. But join the social movements.

    Act! You can’t change the world from inside your cubicle. The world isn’t going to change even if somehow you could magically eliminate prejudice from a single business industry.

    The exception is Mitu and others like her. They can really do something about it, right there. As she correctly identifies, they are who creates messages. They can act from within their business and help sanitize it. They shouldn’t need to perceive a change in their consumers sensitivity towards prejudice to act. And that’s why Mitu rant felt so important to me. At a time when the issue of racial prejudice is seeing so little debated, she raised it.

    • RedViv says:

      Little to add, as the bottom-up and top-down approach in solving social problems like these both have their merits, drawbacks, and sadly very vocal haters.
      Our power, as consumers, is to demand better of the creators, and show them where money and love/adoration are. Likewise, I don’t regard aiming for change within one’s own industry as such a fruitless goal. If that’s as far as your power reaches – good, go for it. Reach out until you touch the hands of someone in another industry, if you can. Change might spread even before that, before anyone might see it.

    • Mctittles says:

      I agree with you on you have to act if you want change. There are so many issues where people would rather sit on their lazy ass and complain about it rather than do something.

      People who complain about their jobs should read some books and work at doing what they like. People who complain about how businesses handle taxes and stuff should start their own business and teach by examples. And of course people who complain about all the problems with racism and sexism should put themselves in a position of power to set an example. You can choose the fat at the bar with your friends all night but it’s not going to change anything.

      • Mctittles says:

        If RPS really wanted to go further than just complaining they could start by taking a stand on the gross ads on their page. Some of the game ads could be bad but those “more in the web” ads are only tits and ass.

        • AndrewC says:

          Simple-minded attempts of dismissing RPS, and other strivers for equality, as hypocrites is another standard tactic. It is often successful, but not when done as ham-handedly as this fellow.

          He should study a little more, and get better before he tries again. Bless.

          • Mctittles says:

            I was merely agreeing with the OP’s point on how talk is good, but it’s not really going to do anything and offering a suggesting that they could do right now to start change.

            But go ahead…talk, argue, and push people further into their respective groups. Maybe we can get a war out of this :)

          • AndrewC says:

            Ah yes, the ‘just being a reasonable guy’ position. You’re the one scared about being arrested for drinking soda, cupcake. Everyone can read your comments.

          • Mctittles says:

            Well more annoyed than scared but yes. Suppose if you think illegal sodas are an “ok thing” then chances are we won’t be getting along in many other topics either :)

          • Branthog says:

            And lumping everyone who raises any questions in such conversations (despite their actual position about sexism — as if anyone, even the attention-seeking trolls actually endorse sexism…???) under the extremely harsh and inaccurate label of “misogynist” is another common tactic (I swear, you’d think someone would pick up a dictionary and realize that misogynist is not just a smarter-sounding word for sexist one of these days). It’s a tactic commonly employed by game journalists, but also everyone who just wants to puff out their chests, deliver a sermon, and not have anyone raise any points about it.

            You know why I don’t give a fuck anymore? Not because I’m a sexist. Not because I don’t want more games with a greater variety of characters and plots beyond just young white heterosexual male. Not because I believe a woman’s place is in the kitchen. But because anything short of “Amen, brother Walker (or whoever, at the moment)! Preach on!” followed by blowing smoke up their ass on twitter receives the label. When people support the overall sentiment, but raise any questions about its delivery or context or anything else and are somehow labeled as the very thing they are not and do not support, simply for not mindlessly polishing knobs and engaging in a round of self-congratulatory masturbation about what great people we are for writing some words about a thing — it drives those very people that support the thing away, because you’ve managed to totally shit on them for your own egotistical benefit.

        • Inverselaw says:

          Ummm, those are based on browser history. Mine are all futurist and political articles. Though in your defense I think the default for no history is tits and ass stuff.

        • Lacero says:

          I added ||outbrain.com^ to adblockplus. I’m bad I know, sorry for the ad blocking RPS but they’re terrible :(

        • cowardly says:

          I would agree with you that you have to act, but in RPS is very much acting. It’s acting in the domain that is theirs, which is journalism. So you may say that they are “complaining” and not “acting”, but I would say that it is unfortunate that you seem to dismiss words and communication as a means of action.

    • Chris D says:

      Why do you assume Mitu Khandaker is a man?

    • DiamondDog says:

      Might want to actually try reading the rant you felt was so important, and then edit your comment, Mario…

      • Kieron Gillen says:

        Yeah, I was wondering if anyone was going to correct the excitingly sweeping error.

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        Ugh! It went completely unnoticed. Don’t know why…

        Mitu is a woman. Even sadder: when you wrote that I went there and must have read it three times and still couldn’t see what it was that I was supposed to have gotten wrong. It took Karthink post to finally see it.

        Editing…

        (EDIT: Also she’s black. Way to go me! Well,… sorry. This isn’t usual of me. I apologize.)

        • DiamondDog says:

          There’s a picture of her like, right at the top! Ah well. Thank you for making me smile this morning. (not your intention, I know)

          • Mario Figueiredo says:

            I’m currently in Angola. I surf on a USB modem under a very lousy connection. During the night I do turn pictures on in my browser because that’s when I can get up to 1Mbps. But during the day, I can only muster 30-50 kbps. I do turn it on occasionally, but never thought that article would prove necessary. So I didn’t actually see that picture until I decided to look at what the hell I was doing wrong with my post :p

            Didn’t actually need it though. There’s a passage where she describes herself as “this brown girl”. That should have been enough. Unfortunately, I wasn’t paying attention.

        • karthink says:

          Man, you are on a roll here. She’s not black, her ethnicity is Indian. She’s “brown”. She even calls herself a brown girl three or four times in the article.

    • karthink says:

      Mitu Khandaker is a woman.

  9. sabrage says:

    I haven’t listened to Crippled Black Phoenix in years! I wonder if their post-200 Tons work lives up.

    • DiamondDog says:

      Justin Greaves has done a soundtrack for the horror film The Devil’s Business that’s worth checking out.

      • sabrage says:

        Is the film itself any good? Or is it another Berberian Sound Studio situation?

        • DiamondDog says:

          Erm, what was the Berberian Sound Studio situation? I loved it, anyway.

          The Devil’s Business is fine for what it is. Has a nice creepiness to it, but it’s a fairly standard low-budget British film that gets by on enthusiasm. Nothing to get excited about.

          • Adam Smith says:

            The Berberian Sound Studio situation is that Berberian Sound Studio is ace.

          • AndrewC says:

            The situation was that Berberian was sold as a Giallo influenced horror film. It was something else when you actually watched it, which always causes problems.

            Also causing problems is that horror fans can be a touch close-minded about what ‘good’ is (please see: grumpy RPS comments for similar games-related situation), so a movie being its own, different thing instead of a rigidly traditional genre entry is thus met with a lot of grump and ‘hrmph i’d rather watch the film the characters in Berberian were making, coz Berberian is boring and nothing happens’.

            Berberian is glorious. Nothing happening is *what happens*.

          • DiamondDog says:

            I see! Well I thought the trailer was pretty clear so I didn’t have any misconceptions. A couple of really proper hardcore horror fans I know sang it’s praises. Bit of a shame if some wanted it to be a plain genre film.

            Glorious is the right word anyway, Toby Jones putting in yet another great performance.

            (The Devil’s Business isn’t in the same league, really)

          • sabrage says:

            (With apologies for the lateness of this reply, RPS’s front page comments system is shit): Regardless of BSS‘s relative merit as a film, which is a discussion for another day as I think I’d need to watch it again to formulate a full opinion, I hope that we can all agree that Broadcast’s soundtrack was the best part of the film.

  10. zeekthegeek says:

    I love that the desperate EA defense force has now taken to historical revision and false equivalency to defend the new Sim City now. Thanks Mike Rose.

  11. Tinarg says:

    Does anyone think the “The 40 Most Impressive Displays of Facial Hair at GDC 2013″ article is misandric?

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      Mad people?

    • RedViv says:

      Now now, Ser Pineapples, don’t judge them. They might come from a weird country that too often worships men purely for the sake of a first impression of their beards.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Look, they put those beards out on display—they could have worn concealing scarves instead. They want to be letched at, and they’re being paid for it anyway!

      Now let’s all very loudly discuss which booth beard is the hottest and what kind of things we would like to do them.

      • I Got Pineapples says:

        Tell them to shave them filthy things. Frankly, a beard is a sign you lack the self discipline to spend a minute or so a day shaving and thus likewise lack the self discipline to avoid becoming a child molester or axe murderer and probably should be shot.

        • Branthog says:

          What an ignorant statement. A facial hair requires a lot of maintenance. Also, do you make the same statements about shaved heads? I’ve rocked a shaved head for almost two decades – not because it looks cool (in fact, it unfortunately makes me come across as more intimidating than I like), but because it saves me the time of dealing with all the trappings of hair on a daily basis.

      • Jamesworkshop says:

        I don’t want some skinny minnie beard, i wanna fully figured beard that you can really grab on too and get your arms around.

        More than a handful is not a waste!

        Shake it beardy you will not break it.

    • MaXimillion says:

      I did find it particularly well timed after yesterday’s: “No man in the field is called “daringly handsome”. None is ever introduced based on their aesthetic appeal, but rather their personal achievements.”

      • cptgone says:

        most men feel uncomfortable complementing other men on their looks, and vice-verse.

        [maybe that's cause male homosexuality is more frowned upon? or is it the testosterone making men cocky? after all, straight men are genetically programmed to compete over women (whereas women only need 'the one' for conception, and perhaps a less dazzling yet reliable one to raise the offspring with). which may also explain male preoccupation with good looks in females (gotta have all the pretty ones, to be the alpha male). or is that down to the fact that male sex drive is usually 'closer to the metal'?]

    • Branthog says:

      No, it would just be idiotically misusing and misapplying the word “misandry”, the same way people like John throw around “misogyny” inaccurately 98% of the time. I see no reason to devalue the meaning of *both* words.

      Also, no, because the answer to all of the lunatic swatting at imaginary “misogynist” flies isn’t to go around pointing at everything and saying “misandrist!”.

      • Not Marvelous says:

        Hey, it’s you again! And an openly stated opinion! Now, what made you not state it like that just two pages down the thread?

        Also, I would love to finally learn the proper meaning of the word ‘misogyny’. Don’t worry, I know a lot of other feminists, I will pass it on to them immediately.

  12. povu says:

    edit: wrong place

  13. Keirley says:

    I just don’t get Rab’s piece about violence in Infinite. I’m all for violence, even extreme violence, serving an artistic purpose (like Metro 2033 and Spec Ops: The Line) but I can’t think of a single thing that the extreme violence in Bioshock Infinite contributed to. It doesn’t seem to have a purpose.

    You could argue that it’s commenting on violence in games, but I didn’t see any evidence for that, and I feel like if we’re going to use that as an excuse to justify it’s use of extreme violence we might as well use the ‘Far Cry 3 is a satire of shooters’ to excuse all of its many failings. In other words, you can point to any problematic aspect of a shooter and excuse it by saying ‘it’s a commentary on shooters’.

    And you could argue that the extreme violence is designed to contrast the extreme beauty of Columbia, but I’d just say that that’s a rubbish artistic statement (one I don’t even think the game’s trying to make). We already *have* something that impressively contrasts the beauty of Columbia – the way it treats its black and Irish citizens. I don’t see what the ultraviolent sky hook takedowns or the shock-jokey-head-explosions add to the mix.

    • RedViv says:

      It contrasts the physical violence of the man named Booker, with the emotional violence of the man named Comstock.

      • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

        This is true.

        And yet somehow we’re supposed to (or at least strongly encouraged to) see Booker as the good guy and Comstock as the bad guy. There’s problem there somewhere. I can’t quite put it into words.

        • RedViv says:

          I think calling Booker the “good guy” only works because, in the end, such definitions are left to the victors of a struggle. History might turn the Vox into a heroic army of downtrodden, with a good cause behind it, that fought a bitter and horrible foe. Likewise, Booker’s journey ends on achieving what he realises to be/to have been/is to be his goal to begin with.

      • Keirley says:

        I think that’s a fair point, but I’m not sure I’d agree. Partly because I think that comparison is accidental, not deliberate, on the game’s part, and partly because I think the comparison itself is mistaken. Comstock is the creator of very real physical violence. He doesn’t personally go around shooting people, but he’s the origin of all the violence that takes place in Columbia. Booker is taking part in this violence, but he’s no different, and no worse, than any of the other people fighting.

        • RedViv says:

          Comstock absolved and swore off direct violence, and that did not turn him into a nicer person than Booker. That he, as a man of words, can still be the source of tremendous physical violence, is what makes him such a great antagonist (The Lord forgives everything, but I’m just a prophet… so I don’t have to.).
          And that’s just until the revelation, which possibly makes him even bigger by the sheer contrast that exists to Booker. Both are people who would be, to take up the historical perspective from above, painted as monsters of the past. Compare the depiction of Lincoln and Boothe in the game, to see Columbia’s twist on that notion.

          • Keirley says:

            But again, maybe I’m just dense, but I don’t see what sky-hook decapitations and lighting-bolt body explosions add to that. Even if the game needs violence to make its points/explore its themes (and I’d be the first to recognise that some stories do need violence to do this) it doesn’t need the level of cartoony ultraviolence it throws at you again and again.

            It just seems to be there because ‘oh awesome, head exploding’ rather than because it contributes anything meaningful to the story, or the themes it’s trying to explore.

  14. Unruly says:

    While I found the comparison between SimCity 2000 and the new SimCity, I would have liked to have seen him do the comparison between SimCity 3000 and SimCity 4 as well. I honestly wouldn’t expect SimCity 2000 to have a perfect traffic model, and would have expected it to be more like what it actually turned out to be – based on the surrounding location’s level of development. But SimCity 2000 was also a DOS game built to run on something like a 233mhz processor(probably less!) with practically no RAM by todays standards(probably around 16-32mb). Of course it isn’t going to be in the realm of a civil engineer’s wet dream of traffic modelling.

    But I would expect SimCity 3000 and 4 to model traffic, among other things, better than SimCity 2000 did. And in the same note, I would expect the new SimCity to have the best models of them all, and if it didn’t then I would consider it to be a failure in terms of whether or not it was an “improvement” as such a sequel should be. I wouldn’t buy or play a new city management game if the models used weren’t an improvement over an older version that I already owned. Which is just like how I don’t buy sequels to other games unless there’s some percieved improvement between the two.

    Basically I’m trying to say this – While the comparison was interesting I think it would have been more apt to compare the new SimCity with SimCity 4. If he wanted to go back all the way to SimCity 2000, he should have compared the new SimCity to everything between it and SimCity 2000, which would give a broad picture on how the traffic model has changed and whether or not SimCity 5 truly is the worst model of the bunch.

    *I exclude SimCity: Societies because F*** Societies, that’s why.

    • LionsPhil says:

      You’ve actually massively overshot: SC2000 targets the original 386 era at about a tenth of that speed, and is actually confused if you have as much as 32MB of RAM and thinks you don’t have enough (it’s after a spacious 4-8MB).

      • Unruly says:

        I was originally going to say a 90mhz processor, because I knew it wasn’t high at all and I couldn’t find an immediate listing of requirements online. GOG had the requirements at DX9 and a 1.4ghz CPU, which I knew was wildly off-target. So I went with the system that was the first I could call my own – a hand-me-down Pentium II 233 with 16mb of RAM. Of course, I was around 12 at the time, and SC2k was one of my favorite games, right along with SimAnt and SimFarm. Before that, I don’t remember any of our computers, though I do know we had them. I wanna say we had a 90mhz Pentium at one point, but I can’t say for sure.

        Anyways, my point still stands. I would expect every area of the modelling on a 19 year old game to fare poorly compared to its most modern successor. What I came away from that article thinking was that SC2k may have aged badly, but the fact that the new SimCity’s traffic model comes nowhere near representative of the actual town in question is even more damning because at least SC2k modeled the rush-style heavy traffic right. It just didn’t have a time system that included an hourly clock so that it could model the actual rush hour rather than just having heavy traffic 24/7. So I still say that the new SimCity fails in its representation.

        Also, he says that traffic based on the density of an area isn’t logical… That’s really all that needs to be said, to be honest.

        • LionsPhil says:

          I suspect GOG’s figures are inflated by the costs of running it under DOSBox.

          But, sure. That SC2000 ran on such hilariously low hardware by today’s standards only highlights the absurdity of the comparison: SC2000 was from an age of having to make much, much deeper simulation compromises to available computing power.

          • Unruly says:

            No doubt to that. I made a comment over at the Gamasutra article arguing against his comparison and asking why he chose SC2k specifically for it. I had to make an account over there, and they have an approval system for first time commenters that my message is stuck in right now, but if he posts a reply I’ll let people here know, so check my post here for the next couple days looking for extra replies. I’ll probably reply to my original comment with an extra link to the article and I’ll include my name in it, since Gamasutra uses your real name for their comment system.

    • Jake says:

      Yeah exactly, compare it to SimCity 4 with Rush Hour and maybe the NAM mod and then let’s see.

      • TreuloseTomate says:

        I’ve played SC4 in the past couple of weeks (deluxe edition + NAM) and found the simulation to go quite deep. Sims seem to have actual jobs and homes and the game shows you how they get to their jobs. The presentation is just not as cute as in the new SC. It’s also a challenge to build up a big and wealthy city.

    • Consumatopia says:

      I think SimCity 2000′s traffic model, crude as it is, is actually preferrable to SimCity’s much more complicated one. The crude model is at least understandable, and when a problem appears the player has some idea what trade offs are necessary to fix it. SimCity’s quirks are weird and capricious (e.g. traffic jams due to one buggy car, every car driving towards the same house).

      • Unruly says:

        I registered over at Gamasutra specifically to comment on the article.

        The reason I want to comment is because the author lambasted someone for disagreeing with him and the article and saying that older SimCity games still model better than the new one, which may very well still be true. Apparently the author is either under the impression that SC2k was actually made in the year 2000, or he’s unaware that SC3k and SC4 exist at all. Or, the more malicious route, he’s a shill who’s using SC2k simply because it’s the most recent one that will let him “disprove” the traffic modeling hate that the new game gets.

        I explained why I found his comparison flawed and how he could make a better comparison. I even asked what his reasoning was behind choosing SC2k specifically when making the comparison. I made sure to word it politely, and made it somewhat thought out. Or at least it was in my mind. I now have to wait for the comment to be approved before it will show up, but once it does I’m hoping that he responds. If he does, I’ll tell you all who I am so you’ll know which comment to read. Though I really don’t think it will be hard because, as of the comments posted right now, mine is easily 4x the length of every other person’s comment.

  15. Shadowcat says:

    OH. I must have checked the new SU&SD about 10 times since the move, and I honestly thought that Paul & Quinns hadn’t posted a single new article on the new site besides their “Welcome to the new site”. My bookmark is for the old site, so I was following the link from there every time, and I see now that they linked directly to the article rather than to the home page! D’oh. Thanks Jim :)

  16. KwisatzHaderach says:

    That creation story was fucking awesome! Thanks!

  17. Smion says:

    In light of the Binfinite violence debate, Jeff Kunzler instead asks what the fuck is wrong with Hamilton that he wants to get lost in the city of Columbia with its wonderful architecture and sweet, sweet racism:

    http://designislaw.tumblr.com/post/47313514087/bioshock-infinite-and-the-terrible-case-for-banning-all#_=_

    • Fox89 says:

      He makes a good point, which I admit didn’t really cross my mind as I was playing or reading Kirk’s article. At the same time he goes way too far though, saying Levine should be ‘ashamed of himself’ for what he depicts? I didn’t see anything that justified that in Bioshock. Yes it was depicting a horrible, horrible social structure, but nowhere was it glorifying it.

      At the end of the day and for whatever motivation: the ‘bad guys who you are trying to stop’ in Infinite were the racists.

    • JackShandy says:

      Ugh. It’s a sensible point – the sudden violence should not be the most shocking thing about the raffle – but it’s layered with hyperbolic invective. Anyone who praised BI is a “fuck, a sick fuck”. “Demented”. The idea that revolutionaries would kill the children of those in power is “an asinine, idiotic scenario”.

      • Not Marvelous says:

        Well it’s meant to be hyperbolic, to rile people up.

        Other than that – from someone who hasn’t played B:I and has no intention to if these claims are remotely correct – very good article. When you write about a serious issue, one of the worst things you can do is equate things in that manner.

        • JackShandy says:

          Yeah, to rile people up against “The Enemy” – who must be Ken Levine, I guess, or games journalists.

          Talking about this stuff like a normal human being is much more likely to produce actual communication – you know, where someone on the other side of the internet comes to understand and accept your ideas. Spewing invective is easy and fun and useless.

          • Not Marvelous says:

            I don’t understand your point. Do you think the author went overboard unintentionally, because he just can’t argue calmly? Or because he doesn’t know this simple truth, that writing like he does is just useless?

            And it’s pretty clear who the targets of his criticisms are, don’t obfuscate things like that.

          • JackShandy says:

            I believe it was intentional, I just don’t believe it will have any effect. The intention of this should be to make people reconsider their position on Bioshock Infinite, and I don’t believe anyone who’s been yelled at as a Sick Fuck is going to do that.

            The people he’s yelling at (“Kirk Hamilton, Erik Kain, Benjamin Popper, Michael Abbott, and hell, the rest of mainstream games journalism out there”) have been labelled as disgusting, arrogant pieces of trash. It’s pretty clear he’s not interested in their viewpoint, he doesn’t want to start a conversation with them, he only wants to yell at them. Why would that make them change their point of view?

            The point of the internet is communication. Articles like this preach to the choir, yell at anyone who disagrees, and completely fail to communicate.

      • I Got Pineapples says:

        It’s an interesting post but it is written in Tumblr-ese, a language that uses the same word for Person Who Holds An Opposing Viewpoint and Child Molesting Serial Killer.

    • Mman says:

      I’ve seen the writer of that blog post elsewhere and they exhibit the same style there as this blog; interesting thoughts but if someone disagrees with them it is isn’t just a difference of opinion or even that other opinions are wrong, but literally that the person who disagrees has something wrong with them as a person. There’s an interesting interpretation of things there but it’s hard to put much stock in it when the poster is so enamoured with childish ad-hominem against anyone who might not instantly agree with everything they have to say (especially when it makes up a significant part of that article).

      Edit: Even going with the article’s point I find the implication that the only answer to a bigoted society is merciless violence and destruction kind of disturbing.

    • Branthog says:

      I think the 40s and 50s are a pretty cool time and would kind of like to live in that world (superficially, at least). I think all of the Bioshock worlds are compelling and it would be delightful to check them out at the height of their pre-crumbling dystopian peaks.

      To construe that these things also mean I want to go back to a time when we smacked women around in the home, had segregation, had witch-hunts for gay people, and put Japanese-Americans in internment camps is disingenuous and absurd. That article is absurd (and written like a poorly thought-out insane person — frothing lunacy that maks John’s recent tilting-at-windmills around here seem downright calm and collected, in comparison).

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Funny that a number of non-white bloggers said they were not buying the game’s supposed anti-racist message and the whole thing seemed exploitative and used racist tropes for cheap titillation. And nobody paid attention. Maybe RPS was to busy ‘not shutting up’ about important stuff that they didn’t manage to listen.

    • Consumatopia says:

      I guess that guy wanted to play Nat Turner’s Punch Out instead? That there are serious issues at stake makes the ludicrous head-asplode spinning-blade violence worse, not better–no social revolution has ever succeeded because a lone individual, with no organization or movement, just started brutally killing policemen as soon as he perceived an injustice. You can’s separate the ultraviolence from what’s wrong with BSI’s politics–the ultraviolence is part of the politics.

  18. pertusaria says:

    Thanks for the Shut Up and Sit Down link. I don’t often get the chance to listen to podcasts, and last time I checked they weren’t doing many written articles. Happy to see that that doesn’t seem to be the case now.

  19. dangermouse76 says:

    #####This post has been censored as being inappropriately blase about the subject of free speech.
    Regards
    RPS 1984 comity #####

    The world was invented over 4.54 billion 2000 years ago by gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Jamesworkshop says:

    a tedious new mechanic involving guarding Little Sisters while they harvest Adam from corpses.

    That was my favorite part of the game, finally a game about environmental manipulation giving us a reason to actually use traps and not speed-run through every environment, Bioshock only ever pushed you forward.

    Not only that but really cemented your place in the story by doing what big daddies actually do, they are tethered to the little sisters just like how the player is.

    (illusion of choice in a game), didn’t bioshock have a theme like that….

    Gathers, big sister, big daddies very consistent idea of observe and attack, pick the location, use the right tools, cyclone trap was the highlight of the games plasmids.

    It’s a problem I’ve found with infinite, why use traps when the game is set around roller coaster skyline motion.

    The best part of bioshock 2 story wise, since “character is plot” is that bioshocks characters were all larger than life and thus the human element got missed, whereas bioshock 2 deals with newspaper journalists and jazz singers the people that were not top of the heap socially(not driven by grand ideas), the very kind of people most people will not be aware of.

    I think Elanor’s part in the game showed what was great about bioshock when you have characters that played with you in the world and didn’t just live in glass boxes, and to it’s credit the new Bioshock infinite expands on that with Elizabeth beautifully not just a summon plasmid but someone that is a permanent fixture in the world.
    Elizabeth is less combat focused but that’s not a character detriment.

    * the complaints of bioshock 2 being escort to me is hollow when the escort rides on your shoulders and never dies and doesn’t give you a game over screen and gives you the choice to kill them straight after a big daddy kill, at the cost of adam, it’s the perfect escort no poor AI, no painfully slow walking/path finding speed.

    Common mister B, don’t make me carry you.

    * litte sisters had their entire impact changed when harvesting simply by being so happy to see you at first, Jack was always scary to them, there was no treatury involved whereas as a big daddy they look to you with affection and trust and to abuse that trust especially in a game with a stronger theme with Sophia lamb of parental abuse makes it all the more effective if you harvest them.

    Approached by Player (If the player is a Rescuer) Edit
    (VO_gatherer_HAchoicegood)
    “Are we going to be together again, Daddy?”
    “Daddy! You always save me from the monsters!”
    “Daddy, are you taking me home too?”
    “I’m always safe with Daddy.”
    “I’m telling the other girls that I have the best Daddy!”
    “He’s nicer than other Daddies.”

    Approached by Player (If the player is a Harvester) Edit
    (VO_gatherer_HAchoicebad)
    “Daddy…? You’re never gonna hurt me, right?”
    “Daddy’s home! I’ve been good! Promise!”
    (gasp) “Are you gonna…?!”
    “Daddy isn’t angry, is he?”
    “I’ll be extra quiet! I won’t make you upset!”
    “Where are we going? Daddy?”

    http://bioshock.wikia.com/wiki/Little_Sister/Quotes#BioShock_2_Quotes

    Bioshock 2 is at its best when exploring the best idea of bioshock being the sister/big daddy dynamic

  21. Lemming says:

    Mike Rose compares the modern SimCity to the classic SimCity 2000

    Eh, I hate it when people write articles that seemingly exist in a time bubble in order to be contrary. The new SimCity doesn’t have to be better than SimCity 2000, it has to be better than SimCity 4. Which it isn’t.

    Why not write an article why Force Unleashed isn’t as good as Jedi Knight? (which is brave, but ultimately ropey), ignoring the brilliant Jedi Outcast? It makes no sense.

  22. I Got Pineapples says:

    The Death of Roger Ebert combined with that piece about Gillens manifesto actually got me thinking about something:

    Where are the game critics?

    Because what we’ve got at the moment are either the free advertising of the 7.5 to 10 scale or the empty ‘This Game Gives Me Feelings’ default culture writer mode of the internet blogger that needs to put out shit daily that frees you from the obligation to put together a substantial arguments.

    We seemed to have skipped at some point actually putting together a critical language and instead gone straight for the ‘artsy fartsy’ writing without having earnt the right to be ‘artsy’ let alone ‘fartsy’.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      Yeah, I’ve yet to find a games critic who manages to be both entertaining and informative on a consistent basis.

      The tedious “look at all the feelings I have” style of review is becoming disturbingly common, though it serves no purpose except to document a personal reaction.

      • I Got Pineapples says:

        Honestly, it’s just the default way the cultural commentary parts of the internet write now. Take a look at Salon or Slate, for example.

        Or any article ever on the TV Show Girls.

        Though this is essentially the same thing.

        It’s not bad, per se, and it’s based on the demands of having to publish article after article every day to fill the demands of internet content but we do need to stop pretending it’s any better than the 7.5 to 10 scale or possesses any less degree of laziness just because you’re writing about your feels.

    • Chopper says:

      If it’s game critics you want…

      http://www.gamecritics.com/sparky-clarkson/the-flaw-in-the-design

      That blog has some very good articles and the writing is of a pretty high standard all round.

  23. GyroMaster says:

    Not that anyone cares I imagine but I sort of thought this place could be my new home after Gamespy shut down but eh… too much of this business. You RPS folks are right about being able to state your opinions freely and even while I agree with most of them I frankly come to a website like this to read about games, not be preached to. I know people say that I don’t have to read articles that look like they’re gonna shake the hornet’s nest but if you think that these arguments won’t bleed over into every other section of the website you are out of your minds. Who knows, I’ve been wrong before and I certainly hope so in this case because the writing here is top-notch and often hilarious but I think I’ll go elsewhere for the time being; at least until things hit a more even keel around these parts.

  24. I Got Pineapples says:

    In regards to the race article, you know what’s interesting?

    The games I’ve actually found to be best about Race have tended to be from the Bro Game genre. The Call of Duty is practically the United Colors of Benetton in terms of protagonists who aren’t Soap. Gears of War, while admittedly still having a giant white dude for the main character, also includes Black, Asian and Women people whose character defining traits isn’t being the Black Guy, the Asian Guy and The Woman Guy. Though the Asian Guy does die, that’s more for lack of guys than anything.

    • Cytrom says:

      Yep, games that doesn’t feature at least one of each race and gender (even if the game doesn’t have that many characters) are bad racist sexist games, while those that do feature them are teaching immaculate morals and ideals, and are essential for a good game…

      • cowardly says:

        While your flippancy is amusing, it doesn’t diminish his point, if it is correct. I haven’t played those games, but it’s not entirely impossible that games that are condemnable on a number of other grounds could be good in one particular aspect. Of course, it doesn’t redeem them of their other faults ^^

    • Consumatopia says:

      It reminds me of Chef from South Park “It’s not okay to make fun of an American because they’re black, brown, or whatever, but it is okay to make fun of foreigners because they are from another country.” Replace “make fun of of” with “kill”, and I guess you’ve got those games.

    • harbinger says:

      Here is a great opinion piece about racism in Gaming Journalism: http://designislaw.tumblr.com/post/47313514087/bioshock-infinite-and-the-terrible-case-for-banning-all

      It’s not quite at the quality of writing RPS has reached, but it’s pretty good:

      “Kirk Hamilton, Erik Kain, Benjamin Popper, Michael Abbott, and hell, the rest of mainstream games journalism out there, stop embarrassing my race. You fucks, you sick fucks. I’ve never been more disgusted with games “journalism” and “criticism” in my life until lately, with the release of Bioshock: Infinite and the writing that’s followed in it’s wake.

      So, Kirk Hamilton, arrogant piece of trash that he is, likes to sit over there on his Kotaku blog, and write a long-form, idiotic piece full of animated .GIFs about how the ultra violence in Bioshock Infinite makes him sick. How he wants to spend all his time, getting “lost” and “immersed” in this world where white people wear fancy clothes, live in impressive floating cities in the sky, and brutally oppress racial minorities.

      It really goes to show how little society has progressed from the Civil Rights Movement that white people as a whole, still talk and think about race in this abstract, diluted sort of manner. That walking around and “interacting” with the denizens of Columbia is what people like Hamilton want to do more than violently, brutally tear it down. Claiming that Infinite shouldn’t have had guns in the first place, that there shouldn’t have been violence, that Bioshock: Infinite should have been some sort of god knows what, a point and click adventure? A Telltale style Walking Dead-esque mildly interactive film? Does being grossed out at violently standing up to oppressors make you feel wrong, Mr. Hamilton? Grossed out? What kind of sick, perverse desire do you have to want a non-violent experience through the floating dystopia of Columbia? Do you feel this is the way things should be, that Columbia is a place you’d feel at home in?

      I guess I should forgive you, Kirk, since both your Twitter avatar and your Kotaku profile image are separate, “classy,” overexposed photos of you sipping at liquor, as if you are some sort of “cultured” individual. The sort that think racist, oppressive societies with nice clothes are for “exploring” and “immersion” and not destroying.

      As white people, it’s quite gross, utterly disgusting, to write fancy, long-form “articles” about how Bioshock: Infinite should have been a non-violent spectacle, how the guns are the problem, how much we want to “explore” and be “immersed” in Columbia. It really is a white people thing, to just really, utterly lack any sort of decency when it comes to America’s racist history and creative interpretations and/or acknowledgements of it. You don’t, well, you just don’t sit there and rally against the violence against an establishment like Columbia. It’s demented, it’s sick, and it’s really not okay.

      It really is, however, the white-centric establishment of Games Journalism, that has utterly disgusting me in one way or another with regards to their praise and criticism of Bioshock: Infinite. Whether it be the heaping of praise, the total acceptance of the politics in Bioshock: Infinite, or the lack of, gee, I don’t know, maybe seeking out the words of a person of color about their thoughts of the use of racism in Infinite. There’s been a voice utterly shut out of mainstream discussions in Infinite, and it makes me sick to see them not being brought to the forefront.

      We hear the story of a white man with a gun blasting away at everyone that opposes him left and right, eventually turning on the oppressed classes of the Vox Populi, who eventually are equated with being as evil as Comstock and Columbia itself – an utterly shameful, gross, nauseating equation to see in 2013. Levine should be ashamed of himself, quite frankly.

      Daisy Fitzroy, leader of the Vox Populi, almost kills a young white boy, for apparently no reason, before she’s stopped by Elizabeth, a white woman, stabbing her to death. It’s like Levine almost gets the point, almost gets the major flaw in in his thinking over Infinite’s storyline, and makes up a really convenient excuse to not confront his own racist ideals.

      Bioshock: Infinite’s failings aren’t in it’s heavy use of violence, or the fact it’s a first person shooter. It’s the perversion of oppression, the creation of a world white people want to get lost and “immersed” in, instead of tearing down, the total lack of decency in regards to the views of people who have and still are the victims of racist oppression in America, and really just a general lack of empathy for the sake of entertainment.

      The fact that it inspires games journalists like Kirk Hamilton to write multiple long-form pieces rallying against the violence in Columbia only goes to show that while games journalism may happily take up the mantle of feminism and fighting misogyny, they’ll happily throw people of color under the bus for entertainment.

      There’s a very beautiful story that could have been told on Columbia, one told in blood and violence and fire and flame. Instead it’s a very gross, disgusting, inappropriate story considering the historical context and the fact we’re still living in a terribly racist, horrific society where a black man is killed every 36 hours by a police officer in America.

      To see people like Cliff Bleszinski claim it to be “true art” really goes to show how much the violent, racist oppression of other people sidelined for the sake of white-centric science fiction is nothing but entertainment to the white-dominated games subculture.”

      RPS should think about hiring this amazing writer, I think he would fit right in with the rest of the crew/Tumblr crowd.

  25. LionsPhil says:

    During the time I was in LucasArts (1982-1990) we were not allowed to touch the Star Wars licence.

    Interdasting! Almost a glimpse of that wonderful little hypothetical world where sequels are illegal.

    Also lead me to this neat little dynamic music thing. Wonder if the same guy went on to work on the iMUSE™ system that did all the cool transitions in their adventures.

  26. cptgone says:

    finally, an unbiased game dev:
    “ANGELINA’s definitely an ‘it’ rather than a ‘she’”

    • cowardly says:

      I was actually mildly confused by why the interviewer seemed to care so much about the use of “it” vs “she”. I mean, I anthropomorphise household objects all the time! I even name them. Am I actually insane and have never noticed?

    • HadToLogin says:

      Pretty sure that’s because ANGELINA is still a computer, just more advanced than others, but still stupid enough to not be counted as person.
      Not a GLaDOS or HAL. Or, more positive example, Lobsang from Baxter/Pratchett “Long Earth” (even through it wasn’t really decided if he was a reincarnated mechanic, or just a really cunning AI).

  27. kwyjibo says:

    Since when did Simon Parkin start writing in the New Yorker? Sure, he’s consigned to the Elements technology blog section, but his Notch profile is worth a read – http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/elements/2013/04/the-minecraft-creator-markus-persson-faces-life-after-fame.html

    Another good read was Auntie Pixelante’s dys4ia post-mortem. http://www.auntiepixelante.com/?p=1991 Some really good simple game design rules crammed into a tiny game which you might have missed, but appreciated unknowingly anyway.

  28. sinister agent says:

    That fictionaut story is wonderful.

  29. Branthog says:

    Wait – race representation in gaming? I am very confused, because according to game “journalists”, there is only sexism. Are to telling me there are also issues on race, homophobia, xenophobia, and ageism worth talking about?

    Because, if so, then why in the hell do we only ever see drum beating about that ONE issue and never any of these other valid ones?!

    Also, sorry, I love board games but haven.\’t played one in about 25 years, because I don’t know a single adult who would.

    • Not Marvelous says:

      Are you sure that works as a response to a number of race-related articles linked here?

      • Branthog says:

        You mean, the one?

        • Not Marvelous says:

          I was referring to at least two additional articles linked in the comments that deal with racial issues in the new Bioshock game.

          So, if you attempted to have an argument behind those fighting words, I am just informing you that it doesn’t work.

          • Branthog says:

            You can go ahead and un-puff that chest, little tiger. I was merely commenting on how the only issue we’re apparently supposed to give a fuck about (based on the prevalence of coverage and activism) is sexism. Despite that being the topic of what must be a good 95% of such articles, the other issues which are at least as important and widely-experienced in gaming (if not more) are largely and conveniently ignored.

            Great, there’s an article or two about racism, in relation to a game which intentionally and carefully provokes discussion about racism. Amazing. I guess everyone deserves a medal to be pinned on their chest for that? For such important and wide-spread issues, I would think racism, homophobia, ageism, and xenophobia would be worth talking about and advocating (if one must, at all) at a ratio of more than maybe 1:20th to that of the more popular “sexism” blithering of the last two years.

            Note that I’m not suggesting they’re worthwhile and the one overwhelmingly discussed by journalists is *not* – just wondering why we all give a fuck about one and dismiss the others, except when Ken Levine spends a hundred million dollars provoking us into talking about one or more of those other issues for a week or two?

          • Not Marvelous says:

            No, you’re pretty blatantly suggesting none of them are worthwhile, which makes this deliberate obtuseness look very silly.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      How about the WiT’s of the latest Call of Juarez and Far Cry 3 and that’s just off the top of my head. You just haven’t noticed.

    • Post-Internet Syndrome says:

      You’re not even trying, little tiger.

    • blackmyron says:

      I’ve been playing board games for the last 25 years and know plenty of people who do as well. So what was your point on that score?

    • Cruzer says:

      You don’t know anyone who would be up for a game of say Trivial Pursuit or Monopoly?

  30. Synesthesia says:

    Um, you forgot to mention Paul in the SUSD shoutout! He’s been a big part of it since day one.

  31. Det says:

    You want to include women into the staff, sure, whatever. It’s just words, words don’t really care if you have a vagina or not.
    You want to do your stupid little sexism pieces because you feel it’s important even though it has fuck all to do with whether the games I play are fun or not, fine. Your site, and you guys usually make it obvious enough which pieces are going to be filled with stupid opinion pieces concerning “are games art” or what have you.
    Now you have fucking reddit integration right on every article.
    I can’t deal with this shit. I’m out.

  32. Valvarexart says:

    If anyone is interested, I made a video response to the recent ‘mission statement’ on sexism and ‘misogyny’ by John Walker: http://youtu.be/B5RypeaelO0

    • Sam says:

      I’ll start by admitting that I had a hard time following the video. I find reading text for that type of argument far easier, nonetheless I listened through a few times and think I understood you.

      Walker’s article talks about how some commenters try to shut down or distract from the debate at hand. You appear to seize on this as him arguing that all comments that go against his view do this, in doing so you are committing a strawman fallacy. Similarly, “it seems you are insinuating..” and then you argue against what you think Walker is insinuating. But that position is not one explicitly given by Walker in the article, so again you’re arguing against a strawman of your own creation.

      You state that it doesn’t matter if advocating for feminism in the video game world is important, that because some readers do not like reading politics the articles should not be published. But remaining silent on an ongoing issue is a political stance in itself, it is saying that you do not think it’s important. It is impossible to not display some degree of politics. Should RPS ignore the wave of feminist and queer games, especially around the recent “twine revolution”?

      You state that the articles are poorly written and full of ignorance. But you don’t seem to give examples of when the articles have been ignorant. Something of the form “the article says p, but extensive well conducted research has found not-p” would be very powerful, and if you have them you should publicise them.

      Ironically you link to a series of videos that to me stand out as examples of very poor research, or perhaps wilful ignorance. I only watched the first, but noticed: equating the passive victim roles assigned to women in games and the equally stereotyped but powerful roles given to men; arguing that feminism has reached its goal once there are no sexually discriminating laws; arguing that women’s issues in the video games world should be ignored while there’s worse problems elsewhere. Not to mention it enters the most blatant ad hominem argument I think I’ve ever seen when it says Anita Sarkeesian can’t be making valid points because of how she appears in the videos.

      If that’s what you think a quality argument looks like I am very glad that RPS doesn’t publish them (incidentally, at least in the analytic philosophy tradition I don’t think you make any actual arguments in your video, just statements.)

      • Fluka says:

        Thank you.

      • blind_boy_grunt says:

        this just made my day (granted it was an uneventful one but non the less, thank you)
        plus i finally understood what a strawman is. I had looked it up but as with irony it’s a term that i never could get a good grasp off/on (?)

      • Valvarexart says:

        Thank you for your extensive response. The reason for why I chose to respond in video format was that the comments were closed on the original article, and I thought this was the best way to share my thoughts with Walker and anyone else who might be interested. I am not a native English speaker, so I really apologize if it was hard to follow or understand me in the video.
        I don’t think my own attempt to point out a strawman fallacy should be seen as a strawman fallacy in itself. I was not trying to argue against a different argument by pointing out that the responses that Walker have made to some of the most common types of comments are fairly subjective (and obviously there could be many other responses or ways of putting it than Walker has outlined), and that by ending the discussion there and victimizing himself Walker is in fact attempting to stifle discussion.
        I chose not to include any specific examples simply because that was not the purpose of my video and it would have taken a whole video series to properly analyze the articles on sexism that have been published on RPS. I could have spent the entire video examining even that single post, getting winded up over statements like “50% of gamers are women” or the use of the word misogyny, or unreferencing Ayn Rand. But really, I think that anyone who isn’t fully convinced either way, who would go through the articles would understand perfectly well what I was talking about and not need clarification. It was not my attempt to go into a full-scale attack against Walker, but rather explain my (in my opinion, though it is probably not shared with you) fairly prudent stance.

        Edit:

        As for the video you speak of in your post; firstly I was not insinuating that RPS publish articles of this type, but rather suggesting that RPS not subscribe to the same type of ideology filled with double standards, triviality and poor research (which would be obvious if you had bothered to watch the other videos). I did not promote these videos as examples of exceptional objectivity and well-conducted research, but rather as an alternative angle on the whole ideology and examples of how poor arguments hurt a debate rather than promoting it.
        I’ll attempt to respond to some of your complaints with the first video, however. “Equating the passive victim roles given to women in games and the equally stereotyped but powerful roles given to men” – a simplification on your part, but certainly a valid one. The problem is when it comes to more stereotypes than simply the oppressed one. Seeing ‘a handful of stereotypes’ as something negative only when it comes to women is an example of double standards and manipulating facts in your own favour. “Arguing that feminism has reached its goal once there are no sexually discriminating laws” – indeed he is, and I am inclined to agree that classical feminism only aimed to promote equality before the law. Everything after that is radical/neo-feminism and regardless of what you name it the goal is not equality before the law but rather preferential treatment in most cases (it can be argued that this is not the case, but an examination of feminist campaigns will quickly reveal that it is actually the case – I rest my case, though, this is opinionated and I know it). “Arguing that women’s issues in video games should be ignored while there’s worse problems elsewhere” – certainly, if using the word trivial insinuates this in your mind. “Not to mention it enters the most blatant ad hominem argument I think I’ve ever seen when it says Anita Sarkeesian can’t be making valid points because of how she appears in the videos” – I did not construe it as an ad hominem attempt to devalidate her ‘valid points’, but rather as an example of double standards and submitting to the same stereotypes that she is so fervently opposing.

  33. beeofdoom says:

    Just watched your video response, very well done, and it encapsulates my feelings as well; I hope John views it.

    The recent article about gender wage gaps was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. John’s report came across as incredibly ignorant of how wages typically progress in the software industry and, particularly given that ignorance, I found much of his language to be self-righteous vitriol.

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      The response is well made indeed. But Sam above does present some good arguments for how this response could have been made better. Although him himself on a couple of cases does ends up committing the same logical sins he accuses Valvarexart of having made. Namely, Valvarexart never said these articles shouldn’t be made and when pointing an hyperbole Valvarexart is obviously forced to follow it to its conclusion and draw an only apparent straw man. i.e. It’s John Walker that behaves and reacts as if the RPS community were out to get him, not an actual minority of commenters. For a better understanding of this, see Bhazor posts somewhere on this article.

      @Valvarexart,

      Two months ago I reckon, I had this very discussion with John Walker here on RPS on one of his articles. My main beef with his attitude is the fact John clearly is polarizing the debate and thus making no contribution to it whatsoever. This much I agree with you. I find it nearly impossible at this stage to have a conversation with him. My image of him right now is of someone who won’t listen, debate, or even look at you, if you have even the slightest dissenting opinion. It’s really sad seeing someone so obviously committed losing their credibility. He’s become intimidating, unapproachable and frankly someone I prefer to start to ignore.

      But I completely disagree with how you so quickly depicted Sarkeesian. It is true she presents data with very little research attached. I criticized this much a few times. Some of the “evidence” she presents is even wrong and could be seen as misinformation. It’s also true that she puts very little effort into debating the issue with those that really matter (the people on the other camp that need to be “converted”). But Sarkeesian is both calm and rational and despite all the little flaws that so many people like to over-emphasize, her data, her speech, her rationale, is solid and convincing. She’s not out to demoralize you like John Walker does (or embarrass you if you happen to be on his side). She’s out to EDUCATE. And that, my friend is the word that changes the world. And the attitude that can end this problem. She may not debate with a misogynist or a male chauvinist. But she is sure trying to educate them.

  34. Vinraith says:

    I swear, RPS comments are looking more and more like Youtube comments with each passing week.

  35. IndigoHawk says:

    I play games like The Walking Dead, Portal, and The Witcher and have a great time without worrying about whether the characters represent me in real life. It’s a lot of fun just playing games for what they are, enjoying unique characters for what they are, and not examining characters and games for whether they are positive or negative reflection on me as a person and whether they are making a social statement. As a luxury of majority privilege, I enjoy games as fantasy.

    People might take that the wrong way, so let me clarify that I’m not telling people to chill out or get over not having characters that represent them. People can have different attitudes towards gaming based on how gaming reflects them. I remember speaking with a woman who refused to play some of the greatest games made because the characters were predefined as male. That position seemed a bit extreme and I felt bad that she was missing out. On the other hand, it showed that if people are too underrepresented, they can be turned off everything about the industry, throwing out the good with the bad.

    Getting more diversity in games is a good step towards creating an industry where everyone can enjoy games for what they are.

  36. GoliathBro says:

    I’ve spent a lot of time playing Carl Johnson, Wei Shen and Nariko just off the top of my head, it never occurred to me to think about the differences between the race/gender of the character as opposed to myself irl. That is pretty damn silly, and I imagine it would totally ruin any chance you have at immersion. You dont do that when you’re playing an elf, surely?

    Yeah yeah, every game protagonist ever is a 30 something white male with short brown hair, and the fact that this statement has become the joke it is today is pretty reflective that we’re all a bit bored of it; but if the race or gender of a character in a game makes you not be able to identify with that character you have some pretty deep issues.

    You read a book or watch a movie or whatever, you don’t think to yourself ‘hey this character looks different to me, I better complain to someone.’…………

    • LionsPhil says:

      You say that, but there are a number of recent films that seem to have decided that they need a 30-something white male with short brown hair for the audience to relate to.

      For example, Transformers, a film about giant robots that was not about giant robots. Or the new Indiana Jones that was mostly about his idiot son.

  37. Stromko says:

    So um, I know 95% of the posts in this thread are about gender or race and everything, but really I’m just here to say I disagree with that Mike Rose fellow about what he said about SimCity 2013 vs earlier SimCities.

    Primarily I disagree with the quote that the highways rarely become backed up. This is only the case if you do not play in a developed region or do not have a highly developed city. I regularly see cars stacked up on my highway as far as the game will render them, I estimate about four city-lengths given that the road around one of my cities curves around to the arcology.

    Speaking of the arcology this was where the system really broke down. We built this awesome regional upgrade at great effort, to finally solve our apparently unsolvable shortage of citizens, and then it just made the unsolvable traffic problem so much worse. They won’t take the train, they won’t take planes, they turn their noses up at boats, the only way to get commuters into your city is by car and that one highway entrance you are given is going to be overloaded no matter what you do, given enough development of a city.

    The really insulting thing is that 90% of the vehicles I look at are just circling around and jumping back onto the highway as soon as they enter my city. The citizens of SimCity 2013 just love, love, and are absolutely addicted to, sitting in traffic and being part of traffic. Oh I should make more buses? They just make the problem worse, adding more brain-dead vehicles onto the roads to make everything grind to a standstill.

  38. harbinger says:

    I think you’ve missed the best article of the week: http://seanmalstrom.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/john-walker-the-nature-denier/

  39. 316jeremy says:

    imo the gun control issue is about people control, not guns. the govt and others need scapegoats for their agendas, and gaming is convenient

  40. Jenks says:

    Is the Rab Florence piece sarcasm without a punchline, or is he serious?

    “Why wasn’t Gears of War widely taken to task for gruesome violence? Why wasn’t Modern Warfare 2?”

    Maybe someday I can visit whatever planet he’s on. He picked literally the most controversially violent game ever, and Gears of War which received massive criticism for its violence, as his 2 examples of games which weren’t ‘taken to task?’

    It has to be some kind of unfunny sarcasm.

  41. Phantoon says:

    Congratulations, everyone. The more you debate these things into the ground, the less I care. At this point I can’t even call myself a humanist because I don’t care. It’s just “you are always wrong and here is why” all the time, forever. No one approaches this by seeking understanding, they’re here because THEIR cause is right and THEIR cause is just and THEIR cause will win.

    I no longer have the energy for any of it. I’m done. I just want to talk about video games.

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