The Sunday Papers

By Alec Meer on June 23rd, 2013 at 2:36 pm.

Sundays are for letting someone who’s never compiled it before compile RPS’s much-loved recommended reading column. Jim is busy showing his game to intimidatingly large crowds at Rezzed, John is interviewing famous developers on stage at Rezzed, Adam is just nipping out for a cigarette at Rezzed and Nathan is impressing people with his enormous hair at Rezzed. Thus, it falls to me to briefly move a slumbering six-week-old baby off my lap in order to share some of the most notable games-related writing from the week just gone by with you.

  • While Penny Arcade artist and founder Mike ‘Gabriel’ Krahulik is no stranger to controversy, his latest stream of Twitter ignorance towards trans folk, apparently provoked by death threats but coming off the back of his refusing to condemn a (later revised) PAX panel which appeared to shrug off bigotry in games as just a bit of fun, caused a chain of events which finally made Goliath flinch. There was a lot of powerful writing on the subject of PA’s long history of controversies and their responsibilities to their army of devotees, but most likely candidate for smoking pistol is The Fullbright Company’s decision to pull Gone Home from PAX. The notoriously unrepentant Krahulik finally offered an apology, a pledge to stop declaring that gender is defined only by genitalia and, later, a $20,000 donation to The Trevor Project. After years of escalating rather than placating when challenged, it’s a big step for Penny Arcade. They’ve done amazing things with PAX and especially Child’s Play, but their name was beginning to take on less positive associations. Hopefully he’s truly reassessing his attitudes rather than just detoxifying his brand, though given that he’s neglected to explain why he was wrong, I do wonder whether Krahulik’s amends will enlighten the fans who were convinced that his former aggression was fine, even heroic.
  • On Gamasutra, Valve designer Adam ‘Minerva’ Foster on the making of that wonderfully elaborate Portal 2 ARG. “Yes, the first the world ever saw of this eagerly anticipated game was filtered through a 2400bps US Robotics modem from 1987, connected to an old PC in my kitchen.”
  • The dilemma of quitting your day job if you’re an indie developer. “I could write another thousand words on why you should just jump already. That you won’t know yourself until you just do it. But that’s for those afraid of heights. You’re a jumper.” One thing I noticed at Rezzed yesterday was just how many people I’ve known for some time are now making not just a living, but huge success, out of having really committed to making their own games at the expense of all other work. In so many cases, it was a risk well-worth taking. It’s very much on my mind too, shall we say.
  • Kotaku’s harrowing piece on the casual and sometimes aggressive sexism still rife at E3, including from members of big name studios, reveals that the scale of the rot goes far beyond the hate ghettos on Reddit and 4chan. Gamasutra offers more still.
  • Eurogamer ruminates on what’s fast becoming the essential conflict at the heart of higher-budget games: systems versus stories. “The thing that games have above all other media is interaction, which is to say that games have systems. Systems that dictate the rules of a fictional world. Systems that allow the audience to prod the world and feel it push back. Systems are what make games into games, rather than movies with joypads. Yet many games, often those at the high-cost, high-risk end of the AAA scale, have become fixated on the idea that the future of games as a creative force lies in using various cinematic techniques to add narrative context on top of proven gameplay systems.” While years ago I was embarrassingly on record as banging on about how story is everything, I long ago crossed the Rubicon: give me an FTL over a BioShock any day.
  • That Kieron guy sent us this link to a tour through early Psygnosis (RIP) box art. Wonderful, lurid, lavish, often completely irrelevant – so evocative of a certain time in gaming, back when it was a far more nerdly province than it is today. I miss that kind of game packaging so much. See also the original X-COM’s entirely unrelated box art.
  • What if the creator of Vesper.5 went Full Molydeux?
  • Eurogamer again, as Tom ‘Tom Bramwell’ Bramwell attempts to play devil’s advocate regarding Microsoft’s flip-flopping DRM policy for its upcoming Xbone. “The thing that is genuinely sad about the rollback of Xbox One’s policies is that it has drawn even more attention to the absence at E3 of any startling new creative thinking from the people using it to make games.” Much as Microsoft’s approach to it was characteristically consumer-unfriendly, I do entirely sympathise with the idea that their PS4-influenced change of heart does keep us stuck in the physical media dark ages for that much longer.
  • Can eSports make you cry? I must confess I’ve never gone anywhere near eSports, but enough people I know are highly caught up in the drama and the commentary to have put to bed any lingering suspicions I might have that it can never be the equal of ‘real’ sports as a spectator activity.
  • Polygon’s just-begun, ongoing attempt to chronicle a full year in the making of Hidden Path’s tower defence sequel Defense Grid 2 is an uncommonly ambitious endeavour, likely to offer some brilliant insights into game dev.

Soundtrack this week is Bowie & Moroder’s Cat People:

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305 Comments »

  1. Michael Fogg says:

    I’d have to defend Gabe on this one. It is not feasible every time we mention a large category, like, say, ‘men’ or ‘women’ to take into account a very small fraction within it (trans folks). Such an attitude does not marginalize said minority in any way. It’s like saying something like ‘Marines like hamburgers’. In fact, some Marines are vegetarians, but nobody is obliged to take that small exception into account every time the eating habits of Marines are discussed. Of course, some LBGT activists would like us indeed to remember about transsexual people every time gender is mentioned, but that is taking it too far, even if for merely practical reasons.

    • AndrewC says:

      Well, his tweets went on to say that transgenders don’t exist, so your example is a little off. Perhaps if your example was saying ‘vegetarians don’t exist’ it would be more accurate.

      • Lemming says:

        Not that I can see. He said women have vaginas. He’s 100% correct. transgenders are transgender. They don’t magically become something they weren’t before, and while some may be offended that you point that out in general (it’d be insensitive if you specifically targeted a transgender person with that fact), it’s incorrect to demonise someone for making that statement. There’s some parallel here between alchemists and turning lead into gold, I’m sure.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Gender ≠ Sex. If everyone thinks you’re a woman, you act like a woman, call yourself a woman, look like a woman outwardly, but you have a penis, then you’re not really a man are you? You’d without a doubt be male (Unless you were a hermaphrodite), but that doesn’t necessarily determine your gender. It’s a bit unclear where to draw the line when it comes to gender (Unlike sex) but it’s definitely not correct to give a statement like “If you have a vagina, you’re a woman. If you’re a woman, you have a vagina.”

          Edit: Man, it’s looking like this is something I would need to reply to everyone. Maybe it’s just a semantics problem…people not realizing there is a difference between -the words- woman and female in the first place.

          • vondas says:

            “Man, it’s looking like this is something I would need to reply to everyone. Maybe it’s just a semantics problem…people not realizing there is a difference between -the words- woman and female in the first place.”

            I think the problem is more that words have more than one meaning. Hell, I don’t even think of “female” as applied to human beings most of the time – to me it’s more of an animal thing, though that’s because the equivalent term in my language is applied to animals and would be rather blase to apply to human beings. So yeah, women can be women in biological, gender-cultural or whatever other sense. That is how words work, and I am not sure why it is considered justified to attack people for not using the exact same dictionary as yourself.

            To be fair though, this is a misunderstanding that both sides appear to be doing their level best to perpetuate and inflame. Please stop for the sake of the rest of us.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          From what I can tell, no-one demonised him for making the statement, it was his reaction which was to bully the person who complained that is the problem.

          • Kandon Arc says:

            The death threats and twitter abuse started after that. Let’s try and remember that it wasn’t calm and rational responses that set Gabe off.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Did the people he bullied issue death threats to him? I mean the specific people he was abusive to , not a group they represented.

          • harbinger says:

            It’s funny that in the case of Anita Sarkeesian these so-called death threats (and I don’t think in either case that angry YouTube or Twitter comments quite qualify as such) were a big deal while in this case they are being brushed aside as “oh, that also happened too”.

        • ScottTFrazer says:

          “He said women have vaginas. He’s 100% correct.”

          Except of course when he isn’t, which is estimated to about 1 in 5,000 women, just for this syndrome alone:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M%C3%BCllerian_agenesis

      • Archonsod says:

        Which is still valid, scientifically speaking all women do indeed have vaginas, hermaphrodites aside (though even then, they’re skewed to one gender or the other),. Transgenderism is purely a mental construct as much as vegetarianism is; I don’t eat meat but I still have the canines, forward facing eyes and digestive system evolved to handle animal tissue which make me a predator. I may feel like a woman but I still have the genitals, organs and body structure of a man. People might get upset when your definition of them doesn’t match with their mental definition of themselves, but expecting the rest of the world to conform to your own mentality is a big ask (and funnily enough, often one of the reasons we declare people insane).

        • Zimdictive says:

          I’m supposing you’re not from a scientific background. Firstly, no scientist will claim anything is “purely a mental construct” – we do not have sufficient knowledge of psychology or neurology to make this claim. In fact, for this very reason, some psychologists will deliberately shy away from claiming ANYTHING at all is “a mental construct”. See: behaviourism. You might have heard of it; it’s the most influential branch of psychology and originally a reaction to psychoanalytic pseudo-science. Secondly, I can tell you’re no biologist. Humans are better adapted to consume plant matter than meat – when was the last time you saw a non-human animal having to cook their meat before eating it? Or a human lay into a hunk of raw meat without ending up in the hospital? Conversely, I would assume you see a lot of humans eating raw plant matter. Thirdly, I think most transgendered individuals would describe it as a little more than a “feeling”, and the DSM has a little more to say on it than that, too. Lastly, “funnily enough”, “we” (and here I am referring to educated medical professionals – not you) haven’t declared anyone “insane” for longer than you’ve been alive. Now please don’t preach any more of your insufferable ignorance.

          • overthere says:

            Not going to dive into the people should be more mindful of others on the internet argument but if any of you RPS guys fancy a good introduction to a wider view on gender there’s a great talk at:
            http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2013/05/my-ted-talk-understanding-the-complexities-of-gender/
            and article at:
            http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2012/03/the-genderbread-person-v2-0/

            Hope that’s of interest / enlightening to some of you.

          • aepervius says:

            We are not better adapted at eating either vegetable or meat, we are omnivore. And where the heck did you get we can’t eat raw meat ? We can eat raw meat perfectely fine. Ever heard of steak tartar ? The reason we cook meat , is to make it easier to disgest (and safer !) just like we cook wheat or various vegetable. We can eat them raw but digesting them cooked is far easier and safer for both food category.

            ETA: and next time you state somebody is not a biologist, pelase avoid obviously wrong statement like ” Or a human lay into a hunk of raw meat without ending up in the hospital?”

          • Bhazor says:

            @ Zimdactive

            Ever heard of sushi? Ever tried to eat uncooked rice or grass?

          • KDR_11k says:

            We cook meat to decontaminate it, there are some nasty parasites, especially in pork.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            When you refer to psychoanalysis as “psuedo-science” and claim that humans can’t eat raw meat, it’s hard to take seriously the rest of what you’re saying.

        • Coming Second says:

          My dad doesn’t eat meat. Not because it’s a lifestyle choice, but because it gives him an upset tummy. He might have canines, but “designed” to be an omnivore he ain’t.

          People who bring evolutionary psychology into it and come out with stuff like “you may feel this way but that’s not what you are”, like anyone who doesn’t fit into a black or white definition of gender is basically faking it or is mentally ill, always make me edgy. It’s more or less what was said of homosexuals 50 years ago.

      • Echo_Hotel says:

        I feel you may be misinterpreting him a bit.
        In a fair and accepting society there are Males and Females, whether you go with what you got or pick one later on just male and female.
        Be what you want to be but it’s a binary choice “Trans-” is not a gender it’s a state, when you are done “Trans”-ing you should expect to be treated as a normal person BECAUSE YOU ARE.
        But lets face reality, nobody wants to be normal anymore it’s all about labels now and what special treatment those labels can get you.
        Speaking as someone with moderate to severe mental illness I don’t go flaunting that around everywhere, I just want to get through life happily like everyone else and I imagine that’s how people who change their gender feel as well.

    • timethor says:

      My main issue is that having a different definition of a common term (woman, in this case) is apparently enough to get you called scum that should die (yes, I know this is the internet and every opinion will get you insulted, but still). There is not some grand governing body which decides what a word means. The closest thing, a dictionary, actually agrees with Gabe’s definition: “the female human being”. And I’ve had a lot of people tell me that “male/female” applies to biological sex.

      Now, some professor in gender studies might have come up with a different definition of woman, one that includes transwomen, and that definition might be popular in some circles, but that doesn’t mean that anyone using a different definition is automatically subhuman transphobic scum that deserves to die.

      For instance, in my native dutch the distinction of female/woman doesn’t exist. They’re the same word. “vrouw”. So people calling the biological sex “female” and the social gender “woman” makes me go “eh… I see what you mean, but I find your definitions awkward.”. When ~99.9% of people fall into clear categories, you don’t change the definition of the categories just to shoe-horn in the remaining 0.01%. Yes, a transwoman should just be treated as a normal woman, but that doesn’t mean that she IS a normal woman. Because (almost) none of the biological features of womanhood are present, and I find a binary gender-classification based on a multi-dimensional spectrum of behaviour ridiculous. Gender roles were supposed to be a bad thing, and here we have people claiming that your gender should be decided based on which role you take..

      • iucounu says:

        Any argument including an appeal to dictionary definitions is bankrupt from the start. What matters is being civil and polite to people, especially when it costs you absolutely nothing.

        • lordcooper says:

          I agree with your second sentence. The first, I take issue with. What if I suddenly decide (and convince a significant minority of people) that polite means ‘needlessly violent’. You’d be fully within your rights to point out that isn’t what the words definition, and you did not mean that I should punch people on sight.

          • iucounu says:

            Well, dictionaries are descriptive and not prescriptive (*starts lexicographical flame war*.) Meanings shift over time. If I say ‘I’m gay’ in 2013 then referring to your 1913 edition of the OED isn’t really going to give you the right impression. People standing up in Parliament to argue against marriage equality on the grounds that their *dictionary* doesn’t sanction it strike me as entirely absurd – more so than those saying the same things based on some book of scripture.

        • Lemming says:

          You’re right, and in this case Gabe made his statement as a basic fact, he wasn’t targeting transgenders. It was the militant liberal brigade that jumped on him like a pack of wolves and twisted his words to imply that.

      • tigerfort says:

        Trans rights aren’t about “claiming that your gender should be decided based on which role you take”, they’re about classifying people on the basis of how they want to be classified. Traditional gender roles have nothing to do with it.

        I’d also love it if people stopped talking about “the biological features of womanhood” and similar bullshit. What “biological features”? A vagina? We can build those using surgery. The ability to get pregnant? Just because someone was born with a full set of female genitalia doesn’t mean they can do that without medical assistance. Specific chromosomes? Please go and talk to someone who actually understands human genetics. Yes, when you were 13 your teacher said “XY male genitals, XX female genitals”, but it’s actually much messier than that – those are the two most common arrangements, but they’re far from the only possibilities.

        I find a binary gender-classification based on a multi-dimensional spectrum of behaviour ridiculous.

        You’re presumably equally vehemently opposed to binary classification into “dead” and “alive”? Because there’s a lot of multi-dimensional complexity of behaviour there, too. (Vegetative state? Brain death? Heart stopped beating 35 seconds ago?)

        • timethor says:

          Yes, dead/alive is a very messy way of defining things. I won’t call people necrophobic scum for saying dead people don’t have any brain activity, though. And I won’t call a healthy adult “dead” just because she wants to be classified that way.

          • tigerfort says:

            You might want to also consider the other paragraphs.

            As for the point I think you’re trying to make here, lets try swapping some words in your original post for their equivalents in my example:

            When ~99.9% of people fall into clear categories, you don’t change the definition of the categories just to shoe-horn in the remaining 0.01%. Yes, a person breathing through a respirator should just be treated as alive, but that doesn’t mean that she IS alive.

            Why not?

          • Jim9137 says:

            Considering that definition of “dead” is a pretty big question in ethics of medicine (consider the case of a coma patient or a patient with severe brain damage), I’m not sure what kind of charming point you were trying to make. And yes, declaring people ‘dead’ tends to be matter of definition, especially since you can at times be clinicallyy dead for hours before suddenly deciding hey, chills.

            Because what would humans else be, in their rickety shacks of definition, but than imperfect, bigoted species?

          • timethor says:

            @the point: when dealing with messy classifications, we should strike a balance between respecting the fact that different people can have different definitions, while not completely throwing any “objective” classifications out of the window.

            Some people may call a vegetative or brain-dead person dead, while others may call him alive, and yet a third may say they are neither and fall into their own category. But I’m clearly alive, my cremated grandpa is clearly dead. If I want to be classified as dead, it completely removes all descriptive power from the words “alive” and “dead”.

            If a person is biologically male, but dresses/behaves/looks like (takes the gender role of) a woman, some may call him a woman, some may call him a man, and some (me!) may say she falls into a category often described as women in trivial situations (e.g. “my new colleague is a woman”) but more accurately as transwoman when it’s relevant (e.g. “my new girlfriend is a transwoman”). But a person who is biologically male and also dresses/behaves/looks like a man is clearly a man. If he wants to be described as a woman, it completely removes all descriptive power from the words “man” and “woman”.

          • Kadayi says:

            @tigerfort

            Reliance on any kind of prop to maintain a state is a bit of a sticking point really.If the only thing that’s keeping a brain dead coma patient ‘alive’ is a respirator forcing air into their lungs…they’re not really the one defining their state.

            @timethor

            I think what’s most interesting about this whole affair is that in large part it has to do with the appearance of things. From a purely biological perspective not matter how much surgery a man undertakes in order to transform themselves into a women, they’re never going to be able to menstruate, conceive or give birth naturally to a child. The means and mechanisms simply aren’t there at this point in time. All that can be achieved is the outward illusion of womanhood, but the rest is unavailable at present. Now the counterpoint is that people would say ‘well not all women can conceive’ which is a fair observation and an unfortunate truth for some, but from the perspective of possibility those that are biologically born as female have or had (in the case of post menopausal females) the potential to conceive. That is the distinction.

      • j3w3l says:

        The issue isn’t the use or definition of terms it is the adherence to dichotomies. Very little human physiology and behavior is neatly devided into 2 neat categories. Gender is remarkable divers, even sex(anatomical) is more varied then you would think.

        It of course isn’t sexist or misogynistic to think or even spout nonsense like this and as such the reaction is a little overboard. What it is though is ignorance… Ignorance and power is a bad mix.

        Along the same discussion, Jim Sterling, a well renown as shat with a penchant for passing off people has recently recanted a lot of his sexist ideas. He did a wonderful interview over at a site called gaming for woman (or something like that). It’s nice to certain high profile gamers becoming more modern in their views. It will probably take Gabe a little longer though.

    • bill says:

      I haven’t followed it all in detail, but from brief impressions I also didn’t really see where the problem was. (and this is from someone who is usually totally pro supporting this kind of thing).

      From what I’ve seen of them they strike me as pretty nice honest regular guys, who react like most of us would react when attacked – rather than employing the usual corporate doublespeak and evasions that we’re more used to receiving from companies.

      Immature at times, certainly. Mean or discriminatory – not that i can determine.

      I thought the last fuss was blown out of all proportion too.

      Then again, I may have missed something.

      • iucounu says:

        Krahulik’s default reaction whenever he’s criticized about something appears to be going on the attack, to the extent that I believe Holkins had a plaque made for his desk saying DO NOT ENGAGE. He doesn’t deal with this stuff well.

        • flang says:

          He was sent death threats. That’s not your everyday vanilla-style “criticism.” Do you not see fighting back as pretty rational in that sense?

          • The Random One says:

            Nope. If I was receiving death threats I’d either ignore them or use whatever media I used to say whatever caused people to send me death threats to mock the people send me death threats. I wouldn’t debase myself to their level.

            Of course, that’s not a concern Krakulik needs to have, as he’s on the lowest possible level by default.

      • Shuck says:

        When the P.A. guys do occasionally say something stupid, they then double down on it, vociferously, getting defensive very aggressively. Then they do get mean. I don’t know that I’d call them “nice.”

        • SanguineAngel says:

          Good lord, it’s not exactly unusual though, is it? Sure, it’s not a good reaction to have but when people feel attacked they frequently do become hyper-defensive. I mean you see it around here all the bloomin time – and I certainly see it in every walk of my life. Whilst I /try/ to not do that myself, I can most definitely empathise with that very natural reaction.

          • Reapy says:

            Their ‘mistake’ is they are still pretending it is the internet in 1995 where you can say whatever you want and be anonymous. Now their readership and opinions are so vast that the ‘gaming press’ hangs on their every virtual word and their audience is vast enough to encompass pretty much every minority/variant out there.

            So despite wanting to ‘be free’ to talk like you are amongst friends/at home (eg just speaking to get a point across, not dressing it up) they unfortunately are suffering the consequences of not speaking like ‘MR PR.’ Which is kind of funny how one the one hand we want everyone to stop double speak and talk plainly, then rip them to shreds when they do.

    • MuscleHorse says:

      As AndrewC has pointed out, yes, what he said was transphobic. There’s no defending it.

      I don’t know why anyone is surprised, it’s not like this is the first time they’ve come out with similar immature comments.

      • jalf says:

        Is it? Phobic, from phobia, would be about “fear of” something, wouldn’t it?
        Where do you see fear, or for that matter, disgust or hatred?

        What he said was dumb, immature and offensive, sure, but the “transphobia” angle just seems like the internet has already decided to vilify him, so damnit, that’s what they’re gonna do.

        He he said that he hates trans people? That he fears them? That he wants to avoid them? That they aren’t real people, that they should just go back to where they came from?
        Maybe, but if so, not that I’ve seen. I’ve seen him object quite loudly to some of the terminology and labels used by trans people, and I’ve seen him quite simply be unaware of how trans people feel, identify themselves and live.

        But that is called “ignorance”, not “transphobia”. Ignorance is still a bad thing, so why not call him out for that?

        I haven’t really seen anything from him that doesn’t fit what he said in his apology:

        hate lots of people it’s true. But I’ve never hated anyone for their sexual orientation or their gender situation. I don’t hate people for superficial shit like that. I hate people for the way they act and I intend to keep doing that.

        Have you? Where did he imply that he hated someone for “their gender situation”?

        Not that any of it matters. The internet has made up its mind (see the comments below, attacking him for having the audacity to make a pretty sizeable donation to a charity. Perhaps that is in fact a horrible evil scam of a charity organization which eats children. But is there any evidence that he knew that? Does a person who gives 20,000 to what he *thinks* is a legitimate charity deserve to be attacked if it turns out that the charity isn’t as charitable as he thought it was?
        I mean, in my world, giving $20,000 to a charity is kind of a nice gesture, even if the giver is ignorant about the minutiae of how the charity has screwed up in the past.

        It doesn’t really matter what he does or says, does it? The Internet knows. The Internet judges. And when the internet has picked a side, all other concerns are thrown out the window.

        • iucounu says:

          The Greek root of the word is irrelevant. We’re all used to talking about homophobia (whence transphobia is derived) as if it implies fear and/or hatred.

          I don’t really know if Krahulik is transphobic however you cash that word out, but his actions were offensive, rude and hostile, and even his apology was rather bumptious.

          • jalf says:

            Offensive rude and hostile, sure, but that’s quite different from “transphobic” (a distinction he made in his apology as well).

            There is a major difference between just being an asshole, and actually specifically hating a minority because of the traits that distinguish them from the majority.

          • aepervius says:

            I am sorry you are wrong. We are not using homophobia thrown around for ignorance. Look it up. Homophobia is usually used in corcumstance where the person use slurs and hateful speech against homosexual persons. NOT when they say something out of ignorance.

          • The Random One says:

            @jalf: There’s also a big difference between killing black people because you hate black people and killing black people because you read on the newspaper that most violent crime are caused by black people, but I’m thinking the latter would also be considered a hate crime.

          • Universal Quitter says:

            I think you have two points they’re not really getting:

            A) In modern society, being called a Racist, homophobe, or anything in that ballpark, is pretty much the worst thing that can be said of a person, aside from child molester, rapist, and murderer, so the label should be thrown around VERY CAREFULLY. Those are words that should NOT be used every time you want to wag a self-righteous finger at someone.

            B) Saying something racist at some point in your life does not make you a racist. Saying something homophobic does not make you a homophobe. Those are words that refer to lifestyles and ideals, not making mistakes or being wrong about something. The same thing applies to transgendered people and the world around them.

            My 2 pence – Personally, I think it’s a pretty shitty move to say something that seems to bother a ton of people, and not really feel bad about it. That seems like a huge character flaw. That being said, the drive to label people as racist or phobic seems to often be more motivated by the need to hate or attack a person, and less to do with actually stopping those behaviors, or an awareness of their effect on your fellow human beings.

            Basically, at a certain point, going “My God, what a terrible transphobe! He should apologize and have his career ruined forever” can come across as a bit disingenuous and affected. As an ostensible member of the LGBT community, let me say this loud and clear:

            STOP WHITE KNIGHTING US

      • frymaster says:

        It wasn’t so much transphobic as trans-oblivious. This all started with

        I should have walked away from my computer at this point and played with my dog but instead I put on my asshole hat and went to work. I said if you use the word “cis” don’t bother tweeting me. This brought back another twitter argument from a week or so ago in which I defended a game about female masturbation. This game only included vaginas which I thought was reasonable given the point of the game was to teach women how to masturbate. It was pointed out to me that not all women have vaginas and I will admit right here in front of everyone that this came as a big shock to me. Some people called the game exclusionary because it did not take into account the existence of transexuals. I said I think a game about female masturbation that only has vaginas made sense because women have vaginas and men have a penis.

        It seems clear that this stemmed purely from a lack of knowledge, not wilful contempt.

        • AndrewC says:

          So ignorance is an excuse? The behaviour is the same.

          ‘I’m sorry officer, but it’s just that I was ignorant?’

          It is nice to split hairs about intent, and I can even agree that such hair splitting can negate some of the more personal attacks on PA, but it changes nothing about the behaviour.

          And, furthermore it is an attitude that denies personal responsibility. He is a public figure writing publically about subjects he is strongly ignorant about and how dare anyone call him out for being ignorant? How about he has a responsibility to know what he is talking about?

          • frymaster says:

            Except he wasn’t aware he was ignorant. He already “knew” female=woman=vagina, therefore the presence of people claiming otherwise was, to him, like someone claiming the sky is green and the grass blue.

            I am pretty damn certain that about 90% of the people I interact with do not have a more nuanced view than “man=male=penis” and “woman=female=vagina”. This is a problem, but I don’t think it’s because of wilful ignorance or refusal to pay attention or whatever amongst the 90%.

            This all stems from people trying to read some political statement about transgender politics into a statement from someone who knows nothing about transgender politics. The entire premise is flawed.

          • AndrewC says:

            So the more ignorant you are, the less offensive your words are? This is an exceptional line of reasoning. Students should definitely appeal their low marks on the defence of being ignorant.

            Again: the intent behind the words is certainly an interesting debate. The actual words are the problem though.

          • suibhne says:

            Sure, I get that impression as well – but his response was then to double down and attack in kind, rather than recognize his ignorance and ask questions about the world beyond his current awareness. In a larger sense, his response was to respond only as himself rather than as a “leader” of a multimillion-dollar, multimillion-follower brand. At some point, I think these guys need to grow up. (Actually, I think Tycho somewhat has, but Gabe still has a long way to go.)

            I’m troubled that people are defending him, really. YES, criticism of him was waaaaay over-violent. I get that! Really, I do. But we wouldn’t put up with this kind of public response or comportment from a corporate CEO or the head of a big nonprofit institution. I know Gabe’s an artist, but he’s *also* voluntarily accepted, even cultivated roles more like the first two I mentioned. It’s time he accepted the responsibilities that go with them.

        • belgand says:

          Precisely this. It’s not an issue about transphobia, but language use and how that often differs among different communities. If we look at the game at the root of this and say “this is a game about masturbating vaginas” it’s pretty cut-and-dried (or so I hope…). It used the term “woman” because there is a reasonable assumption that most women have a vagina, but also because for the vast majority of people “woman” is not a term of gender, but sex. This was, apparently, the fashion in which Gabe was using it as well. Not to exclude anyone who is transgendered, but because making a game about masturbating vaginas and throwing some penises in there seems rather counter-intuitive. Then you don’t have a vagina masturbating game, but just a game about anyone and everyone jerking off. It wasn’t trying to exclude transwomen, it was just excluding anyone without a vagina. So the game was predicated based on sex and Gabe responded in kind not knowing that his remarks would be interpreted by people to whom “woman” is a term primarily used to refer to gender and not sex.

          It’s a semantic issue and everyone got their non-gender-specific undergarments in a bunch over it rather than understanding the intent that was trying to be conveyed.

    • iucounu says:

      “It is not feasible every time we mention a large category, like, say, ‘men’ or ‘women’ to take into account a very small fraction within it (trans folks). Such an attitude does not marginalize said minority in any way.”

      Um, so you’re saying failing to take in to account small fractions of categories in no way marginalizes those fractions? Isn’t that kind of a direct contradiction?

      Look, here’s how to deal with this sort of thing. If you say something like ‘all women have vaginas’ and then someone who identifies as a woman but doesn’t have a vagina says, hey, I’m an exception to that generalisation, then the way to react is to say, oh, sorry, yes, there are exceptions I guess. Sorry, vegetarian Marines. Be polite to people and describe their gender the way they themselves identify. don’t act like a total dick and say things like, ‘Oh, I’m Batman, then. Call me Batman.’

      • BTA says:

        It wouldn’t have been as bad if he didn’t react so horribly, yeah. His reaction was to start mocking trans people and to block anyone who called him cis while trying to explain how he was misunderstanding what being trans meant.

        What’s worse is that this was apparently started over something he said two weeks ago (that I didn’t hear about till after all this happened) so it’s clear that he’s not exactly learning. Of course, that’s blatantly clear from that e-mail exchange as well.

        • Lambchops says:

          Yeah, this really.

          If I happened to make some generalisation that a transgender person felt upset about (which is probably a relatively likely thing for me to do having, to the best of my knowledge, never met anyone who defined themselves in that fashion) and they called me out on it my response wouldn’t be to go on the defensive but instead would be to apologise and say that I’d try to avoid making such generalisations in the future. If they continued to badger me, then I’d just ignore them, unreasonable people who can’t accept an apology exist regardless of gender and they only make themselves look stupid.

          To go on the defensive (quite often in an offensive manner) just isn’t an admirable response. But hey, some people are like that, I’ve come across plenty of people who can’t accept responsibility for their words/actions and just like those apology non-acceptors they’re ultimately the ones who are making themselves look silly.

          • jalf says:

            About the PA thing, the only person who came out of it looking good in my opinion, is MIke Krahulik. He said something stupid born out of ignorance rather than bigotry or hatred, admitted he was wrong, apologized in what I thought was a remarkably honest fashion.

            He’s not the one sending death threats. He’s not the one reacting to an unconditional apology with “well, the jury is still out”, or other bullshit. He’s not the one calling it an “absurd misfire” when the other party published a personal email conversation with a friend. He’s not the one trying to wave away an apology with “that’s probably just for business reasons or to save his brand”.

            He, and Penny Arcade as a whole, has done and said a lot of bullshit, but in this particular episode, I find it hard to join in with the mob so eager to vilify him, no matter that it’s definitely the cool thing to do these days.

            I guess twitter “conversations” like this pretty much summarize it:

            https://twitter.com/mystery_butt/status/347796096422121472
            https://twitter.com/cwgabriel/status/347797477572882432
            https://twitter.com/mystery_butt/status/347797643948339201
            Because apparently, other people can be wrong and accuse him of something he didn’t do without having to apologize afterwards, because he’s an ass and part of Penny Arcade. Apparently, apologies are only ever supposed to flow in one direction.

      • Michael Fogg says:

        The thing here is that somebody made a game and said ‘I made this game to help women practice masturbation’. Then somebody said, ‘Hey, I’m a woman and I can’t use it! [for reason of transsexuality/not having a vagina] Stop this discrimination!’. But in fact, as Gabe and others pointed out, there is no discrimination here. A product cannot be required to be ‘fit for purpose’ for all and any fraction of the public. And definitely no ill intent or will to marginalise or discriminate against. Such a malicious intent cannot be inferred solely from the fact that the product/statement in question is not 100% suited for any given population group.

        • FriendlyNeighbourhoodMurderer says:

          Exactly. Is it disrespect to people without arms, if I make a new keyboard and tell on my website that it’s really good for typing? Of course not, but you can find ill intent in any message if you look hard enough.
          Maybe some people need to look inwards, instead of inventing reasons why they should think other people disrespect them.

        • iucounu says:

          I think I must have missed the bit where Krahulik tweeted “there is no discrimination here. A product cannot be required to be ‘fit for purpose’ for all and any fraction of the public. And definitely no ill intent or will to marginalise or discriminate against. Such a malicious intent cannot be inferred solely from the fact that the product/statement in question is not 100% suited for any given population group.”

          Actually, he started from the premise that all women have vaginas, and therefore anyone claiming otherwise was simply wrong. I don’t see how that wasn’t ‘marginalising’ them. And then he started saying stuff like, OH I’M BATMAN THEN, laying on the puerile sarcasm, and generally being a dickhead, not making lengthy, lawyerly arguments about product accessibility and language.

          • Lemming says:

            All women do have vaginas. Not all people who identify as women have vaginas. That’s different.

          • iucounu says:

            Sure, OK. For me, that’s the same thing. If you identify yourself as a woman, I’m basically happy to go along to that whatever your anatomy. I’m not going to go around loudly telling you your sense of your own gender is some kind of a mistake on your part. That seems like the behaviour of a boor and an oaf.

          • Bhazor says:

            It was a game about female masturbation. It is literally all about vaginas.

          • aepervius says:

            “Sure, OK. For me, that’s the same thing. If you identify yourself as a woman, I’m basically happy to go along to that whatever your anatomy.”

            Which is the whole problem here. The difference between politesss and reality. One can be polite and speak to the person as the gender they see themselves. But one is not obligated for the purpose of *sexuality* to see them as women, especially if they still have penis.

            Remember the game was about female masturbation. And people were protesting the absence of penis masturbation (aka no vagina).

            In other word , to something about a sexual thematic, people wanted to add a gender thematic.

            The way I see it, he had the right position (about sexuality) with the wrong justification, was wrong about gender, and stutbornly stayed there. And then he exploded off in answer to internet hate.

            My advice to him would be to skip the whole and simply ignore rather than react.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            From what I can tell, he was trying to express that same opinion but expressed it quickly, simply and in typical Gabe style. No malice or bigotry intended. Perhaps not the greatest expression of thought but not everyone has that skill.

            Then, as people do, things got ugly and Mike/Gabe reacted in a totally understandable but ill advised manner and people got entrenched. A lot of people still seem to be entrenched.

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          It’s pretty much a replay of Dickwolves, where it began with Stupid Tumblr Shit, or Stupid Blog Shit in the case of Dickwolves, which is something everyone involved should be embarrassed about. Then it kind of escalated to an ugly place from there that looks even uglier if you don’t know about Stupid Tumblr Shit.

        • JackShandy says:

          You’re pointing to the original point of offense. There’s nothing wrong with that part. When you’re as big as Penny Arcade, it’s very hard to avoid offending someone somewhere accidentally. The way you deal with those accidents is to say “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know. No offense intended.” The problem here is that he reacted to the criticism by going on the attack. Accidentally offending people with some joke or comic is bound to happen, but going on to attack anyone who was offended is above and beyond acceptable levels of dickishness.

          • SanguineAngel says:

            Yeah but to be totally fair, /everyone/ involved was acting to the same level of awfulness as far as I can see. Two wrongs don’t make a right but it’s not all on him

      • Jimbo says:

        The Batman argument is childish and not a great fit, but not entirely without merit. I’d like to be identified as tall, dark and handsome but unfortunately my being none of those things seems to prevent it.

        An individual can refer to themselves however they like for all I care, but they don’t get to dictate how everybody else should identify them. You don’t become a man or woman as a result of surgery any more than you become Batman by putting on a Batman costume. It’s not something we get to choose. If people want to convince themselves it is, they’re free to do so.

        • The Random One says:

          I’d also like to be identified as tall, dark and handsome. Converserly, transexual women wouldn’t like to be identified as women. They already do, and can’t stop it even if they wanted. Clearly you understand the difference?

    • thedosbox says:

      I’d have to defend Gabe on this one.

      I suggest you read the Financialpost article. The issue isn’t just his tweets and response to this incident. As the author of that article notes, I’ve basically ignored PA since the dickwolves thing.

      • Oasx says:

        The Dickwolves thing was a joke, a completely harmless and inoffensive comic panel that was blown up to huge proportions, apparently because you are not allowed to use the word rape, not even when mentioning how bad it is. It was handled poorly from PA, but i think most people would have a hard time staying calm in such a ludicrous circumstance.

        • Laketown says:

          Would they? I don’t know, an apology after getting all that shit and not ever mentioning it again would’ve been fine. It’s all because Gabe can’t let things go.

          I’m transsexual and I don’t think he’s bigoted (he was merely misinformed). The reason everyone jumped on his shit? non apologies, twitter escalation, etc. It was the same with that Ocean Marketing guy; escalated it to the point where people were targeting his family and shit. This is nothing new for Gabe and is why he should stop using Twitter if he literally can’t handle it.

        • Nogo says:

          That’s kind of the point though. If the figureheads of PA can’t be professional in public, or even consistent with their stated philosophy of inclusion, then maybe it’s not wise trusting them with your money or endorsement.

          But ultimately PA is just showing how unfit they are in a serious discussion about games, which is a shame considering their legacy. It’d be nice if they could grow and mature like the industry around them, but things like this show they may be incapable or unwilling.

      • WrenBoy says:

        Im not a fan of PA so this is the first Ive heard of the dickwolves strip and the reactions to it. I would agree that PAs reaction ignored the critisism and that they came off looking like assholes.

        At the same time dont trigger warnings seem a little weird? Surely rape is not unique in its ability to traumatise. In the context of games I havent noticed any concern for soldiers suffering from PSTD despite an abundance of graphically violent war themed games.

        To me it seems a meaningless internet convention, a little like spelling god as g-d.

        • Haplo says:

          Trigger warnings are perfectly fine for the context they were created for. They were created in close-knit online communities which double as support groups as well as anything, where it is inevitable that a person knows someone who had suffered a traumatic event. In this case, trigger warnings exist to create a safe place that lets the community-goers know and control the potentially painful content of something before they read or watch it.

          • WrenBoy says:

            That is perfectly reasonable and not at all weird.

            At the same time, its similarly unreasonable to expect communities with broader audience to behave with the same specificity.

          • Haplo says:

            It is. Smaller communities have the level of intimacy where you know even specific or unique triggers, similar to how a family member knows you can’t eat [x/y/z]. Larger communities obviously have problems implementing that system.

            Ultimately if you wanted to incorporate at least the broadest triggers into a larger community, that itself would be possible. The media does it in its own way (“Footage may disturb some viewers” disclaimers for example).

          • WrenBoy says:

            TV has “Footage may disturb some viewers”, the Internet has NSFW. Probably something significant there.

          • aepervius says:

            That disclaimer is not to protect people, but rather to avoid the flood of angry mail that the parents would send if their kids saw the footage. So I am not sure it is a good example. The NSFW is a much better example.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @aepervius
            Assuming your interpretation of the TV warning is correct, I would say that makes it the better example.

            Apart from the very specific example given above trigger warnings are just a question of following convention. A convention which, if not followed, results in a stream of angry messages.

            If trigger warning fans took their warnings seriously they wouldnt restrict themselves to rape but would give a more general warning, much like the useless TV warning.

        • aepervius says:

          The worst is that the rape thingy was only a by-side of the joke. Basically the joke was after saving 5 slaves in a RPG, the other slaves were left to hang dry. So , they could have made the same joke with “but every night they whip us” instead of a dickwolf joke , and nobody would have reacted.

          No scratch that. BDSM people would probably have protested.

        • Muzman says:

          Tangentially, G-d is not an internet thing. It’s a Jewish thing (although not all sects care about it.)

          • WrenBoy says:

            It may well have originated with a jewish sect but some time ago its usage was reasonably common in internet forums regardless of religous beliefs. Hence an internet thing.

          • Muzman says:

            Mm, out of deference or habit from hanging out with Jewish people (and zealous Christians sometimes pick it up since they like their Deuteronomy as well ), so a Jewish thing.

    • dE says:

      /* potential repost, comment section ate the post twice while sending it */

      If you think about it in absolute categories, you’re already doing it wrong, to be honest. Gender is a normadescriptive category with implied social implications. Your marine example isn’t exactly relevant, it may seem similar but it’s a different issue entirely. Gender is about identity. Denying someones identity or saying it is too insignificant to be acted upon, attacks their very being. It’s what is most succesful at hurting people.

      Why do you think we have so many insults based on identity, on gender? /* there was a bunch of gender and identity based insults as examples here, but maybe that’s what got the post eaten alive, so they’re out */. They’re all based around attacks on identity and gender, on social representations of concepts. But even those are arguably less harmful than the simple negligence out of convenience and disinterest. They at least acknowledge someone on some level. What’s more harmful is the complete disregard. Here, it’s not even an issue, a person is deemed too insignificant to be of interest. The person vanishes from sight. You’re literally saying “You do not exist”. It may not be born from ill will, but denying someones existence is amongst the most harmful things you can do to a person, short of physically attacking them. While everyone is supposed to be unique, what people crave for is affirmation and confirmation. Which, on a sidenote, is why people go batshit crazy when they’re ignored.

      Here is some food for thought, in direct response to your comment that says “It is not feasible every time we mention a large category, like, say, ‘men’ or ‘women’ to take into account a very small fraction within it (trans folks)”. That food being:
      Think about the phrase “Many Men Online Role-Playing Girls, MMORPG for short”. Why is that a thing, if the fraction of gender bending is too small to matter? You don’t have to be transgender to experiment with your gender. Doesn’t that question the sheer notion of gender as a category though?

      • Michael Fogg says:

        But there surely must be limits to this self-identification? Have you heard of ‘otherkin’? There are folks on the internet who self-identify as, say, a Dolphin-princess from the planet Vanoosh. We must be very careful then not to unwitingly insult, in anything we say or do, the vanooshian dolphin folk.

        The issue in not as clean cut as you make it look, I’m afraid. A person does not have infallible knowledge about their inner workings. If a person has cancer, they often cannot reliably tell what’s wrong and what’s the best course of treatment. They’d better see an oncologist. A scientifical and empirical apprach is in order to reliably judge these matters, not 100% subjectivity. There is the issue for example, that some transsexuals are not in fact afflicted with medical transgenderism, but rather have a kind of fetish that makes them desire to transform their bodies into that of the opposite gender (most often F to M). This is the reason some radfem circles only accept ‘women born women’ into their ranks, as a way to keep out people whom they see as having an unusual fetish for the female body.

        So what I’m trying to say is that it’s good not to be judgemental in these complex matters and not form Twitter pitchfork mobs when somebody makes an ungentle/ignorant statement.

        • dE says:

          So what I’m trying to say is that it’s good not to be judgemental in these complex matters and not form Twitter pitchfork mobs when somebody makes an ungentle/ignorant statement.

          If that is the core of your message, that’s fair. I have called out John Walker on some of those Pitchfork Agendas in the past, as I don’t agree with that approach. Alas, your words made it sound quite a bit differently, perhaps I misunderstood them in translation.

          Nonetheless, about the points you raised:
          I think what you say boils down to an idea of making more and more categories and that not seeming feasible. Whereas I question the need for the category to begin with. For example, the more important category to me is “being”. That’s not auto-exclusive to people. Why is it in any way, shape or form important to know which sex a person was born with?

        • Nogo says:

          My personal limit is when academic and scientific communities acknowledge a trend and potential mechanism. Both of these are well established for LGBTQ issues to the point where we have laws recognizing and protecting them.

          As soon as otherkin meets this scrutiny I will openly recognize and support these people. Until then I’ll just ignore it because it doesn’t affect me.

      • Taidan says:

        Does that mean I can be angry at the pub that threw me out the other night for wandering into the ladies toilets? I mean, in all my drunken glory, I’d decided for those 5 minutes that I wanted to be a woman…

        • WrenBoy says:

          If you mistook the sinks for urinals Id say they were within their rights.

        • dE says:

          Yes, absolutely. I’m dead serious here. It should not be an issue, but it IS an issue because of said normadescriptive categories. I see what you tried to do there but what you see as an argument for categories, I see as an argument against them.

          • Taidan says:

            In that case, I’m fully in agreement with you, and I hope the whole of society moves that way. It’s an amazing excuse to perv on women in swimming-pool changing rooms.

          • WrenBoy says:

            Stay classy, Taidan.

          • dE says:

            You’d still be an outcast just as much as now, because your words make it seem like you see women as sex objects to “perv on”. Both examples you came up with, are based upon sexism and objectification. Which are results of the normadescriptive categories you cling to.

          • Bhazor says:

            @dE

            No they’re the results of his heterosexuality. Why you trying to impinge on his heterosexual rights to find the opposite sex attractive? More to the point why do you object to women’s rights not to be perved on by men by entering a gender defined space?

          • Taidan says:

            @WrenBoy and dE: Prime examples of the sort of abuse us homosexual women have to endure all of the time.

          • dE says:

            @Bhazor: That’s some serious mal-intent word twisting going on here. Are you doing this intentionally? There is a difference between finding someone attractive and objectifying that person. There is an even bigger difference between your second question and what I actually wrote:
            In an environment where people are not objectified based on gender, meeting someone of a different sex in the toilet, is equivalent to meeting someone of the same sex. It’s the same awkward mutual violation of privacy. As we do not yet have a society that got over gender, the same situation will have a different subtone.

            @Taidan: Nice try. But seriously: Please do attempt to at least try arguments next time.

          • Taidan says:

            Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realize you were the gatekeeper of the LBGT world.

            So, how do I get in? Written test? Interview? Hazing ritual?

          • Koozer says:

            Pretty sure the first step is creating a Tumblr account.

          • dE says:

            And never have I said I were. May I further suggest you, Taidan, base your attacks on actual comments made, for a change? The delusional element in your post isn’t even a strawman anymore.

    • Oathbreaker says:

      Women have vaginas. Men have penises. Some exceptions apply. Good luck to all.

    • The Random One says:

      At the end of it all it warms my heart to see that most RPS commenters started to explain their position through a metaphor and then started arguing about the metaphor instead.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      My basic thought on this is that the trans community has done itself a disservice by alienating a bunch of people over something which is inevitable and will not go away. They claim to just want to be treated normally, but it IS normal to marginalize things which make up such a small portion of the whole. It simply is not part of normal human thought processes to include tiny fractional groups into the day to day parlance, and the demands to do so come off as insecure and childish.

      Not every single life choice deserves its own special little status as on par with normal human categories. It is a fool’s battle.

      • dE says:

        The concept of normal in its current understanding, is an invention of the 19th century and also part of the nation funding process. It’s a cultural construct that was introduced through institutions, as means to control and increase the efficiency and obedience of the populace.
        Michel Foucault points that out in his works about normalization (Discipline and Punishment) if you want to read up on it. Since it is a key topic of many social sciences, you’ve got a pretty good chance to find open access articles on the matter.

        • Joshua Northey says:

          That is frankly unadulterated horseshit that shows little-to-no understanding of actual human history or pre-19th century literature. Foucault is a defunct and most meaningless branch of ethical thought.

          • dE says:

            Yep, you heard it here first folks, angry internet commenter dismantles one of the most influencal persons for social and human sciences, not by use of arguments or proof but by invoking the internet powerword “It’s horseshit, blablablabla”.

    • MajorManiac says:

      For me, there is an interesting aspect of this discussion that no one has mentioned.

      Since when did it become necessary to offend no-one? To be clear I’m not siding with the accused, but are we honestly living in a world where everyone -must- be happy all the time.

    • LIVELIKE21 says:

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    • Sard says:

      Longest vagina discussion I’ve ever seen

  2. Soulstrider says:

    Sigh all this PA drama is so annoying. People overreact way to damn much.

    • AndrewC says:

      Could you clarify? Are you saying PA shouldn’t be pushing their agendas on things they don’t agree with, or that no-one should disagree with PA?

      • Soulstrider says:

        I am saying people are being way over sensitive and interpreting everything in the wrong way.

        • Ansob says:

          Sorry, but how exactly do you interpret “I think having a vagina makes you a woman” as not transphobic?

          • Belsameth says:

            Because, biologically, you are.

          • Soulstrider says:

            No idea, I honestly can’t see anything remotely transphobic in that sentence which is one of the reasons I am amazed by all the drama. I don’t see any kind of condemnation of trangenders in that sentence

          • I Got Pineapples says:

            Guys. Don’t do that. It’s just going to end badly and end up with people digging themselves a terrible internet hole.

          • Kandon Arc says:

            The same way the statement “humans have two arms” doesn’t make you intolerant of amputees.

          • Kitsunin says:

            @Belsameth
            I think you’re confusing female with woman. If you have a vagina, you’re a female, biologically, but it doesn’t automatically make you a woman. There’s nothing wrong with generally assuming such a thing, as it’s usually the case, but there’s a difference between gender and sex…
            @Kandon Arc
            No, it doesn’t, but if you said that directly to an amputee, possibly even around one, knowing he’s there, it’d be like passive-aggressively saying he isn’t a human because he doesn’t have two arms.

          • BTA says:

            It should be noted that he was saying this in relation to an incident where he was transphobic a few weeks ago. It’s not being taken out of context; people already tried to explain the difference between sex and gender to him.

          • RedViv says:

            “Biologically”, Belsameth? Do tell what the workings of the brain are then, if not biology, with the usual amounts of chemistry and electricity in it? If your sex (read: physical attributes) do not match what your brain is programmed for in terms of gender (read: what you actually feel like), then it is very much biological. To deny that such cases exist is, if not directly purposefully transphobic (but still being so if you dig your heels in like Gabe did in his “asshole mode”), at least bloody ignorant.

          • Aperger94 says:

            @RedViv
            might as well say that it’s a Physics problem then, since the electric pulses of the nerves are caused by electromagnetism.

          • RedViv says:

            True, true.

          • DiamondDog says:

            “I honestly can’t see anything remotely transphobic”

            It’s just plain ignorance, the same as saying you think a relationship is defined as being between a man and a woman. You’re denying the existence of an entire group of people.

            The whole thing is a bit of a mess to pick through, but for me it comes down to the fact that the PA guys seem to react to this stuff in such an aggressive way. I don’t care if they’re just regular dudes that make mistakes, they’re in a position of immense responsibility. Imagine if you’re transgender, a huge fan of PA, and you hear Mike basically dismiss your existence. Pretty unpleasant.

            I don’t think this suddenly makes them monsters, they just need to learn to listen and not push back so hard when they put a foot wrong. Having said that, I can understand why some would want to wash their hands of them, as the Fullbright Company have.

          • Foosnark says:

            @Kandon Arc

            The same way the statement “humans have two arms” doesn’t make you intolerant of amputees.

            The difference is, people don’t go up to amputees and tell them “you have one arm, so stop pretending to be a human.”

            Genitalia do not define a person’s gender. A man who has an unfortunate accident and loses his masculine equipment does not suddenly become not a man because of some dictionary definition. So why, if there’s an exception in the case of accidents, should there not be an exception in the case of accidentally being born with the wrong gear?

          • WrenBoy says:

            @Foosnark

            Similarly, even having a dick doesnt guarantee that you are a man:

            http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57588060/chinese-man-goes-to-hospital-finds-out-hes-woman-with-ovarian-cyst/

            Of course, in light of the current discussion, its a bit harsh to deny they guy his masculinity just cause he has a pair of ovaries.

          • Soulstrider says:

            @Foosnark

            Can’t follow that logic, what decides your sex is your primary and secondary sexual characteristics, you may not like them and for that you can change your sex and change to have those characteristics, which I think it’s the point of doing a sex-change operation.

          • Vinraith says:

            If you actually want to change the way people think about this topic, may I suggest that changing the meaning of commonly used terms, then demonizing people for not using the term the way you’ve defined it, is not an effective means to starting a productive dialog?

            All this approach does is convince people to avoid the subject entirely, for fear of offending people (and getting burned at the stake) for making what appears to be a completely innocent statement.

          • WrenBoy says:

            @Vinraith
            Were the common meaning of the word changed it would clearly suit the trans community and would be reasonably consistent with their identity.

            Whether screaming intolerence at those who still use the common usage is a fair or wise strategy to change the meaning of the word is another story.

          • The Random One says:

            So what do you suggest be done, Vinraith? Should the trans community come up with new terms, which will not only give the idea that they are not ‘real’ women/men but will not be accepted by the mainstream? Or should they maybe just give up and let people use language that excludes them on the basis that you don’t want to be impolite to them?

            Considering that transexuals can be literally murdered for being transexuals, I don’t think ‘being kind to people on twitter’ should be high on their list of priorities.

          • harbinger says:

            I’m sorry but the term “man” and “woman” have rather clear definitions in most largest dictionaries like the Oxford Dictionaries and Merriam Webster as “an adult male human” or “an adult human female”.

            Just because you feel this is unfair and would like to change it doesn’t give you the right to attack people that are applying said definitions correctly and sex/gender is also used interchangeably outside of “social studies” discourses.
            Seeing as this was caused by an even more ridiculous article that was saying a game about female masturbation is “exclusionary” because it doesn’t include penises makes this issue ever more stupid:
            http://kotaku.com/a-game-that-wants-to-teach-women-how-to-masturbate-511971045

            I’m rather open to people doing whatever they like with their bodies, change sex, implant fake teeth or a tail, paint all blue and call themselves whatever they like… but that doesn’t change the basic biological fact that women are born with a womb and ovaries and are able to birth children and men are born with a penis and testicles and are able to fertilize women to that effect (and every single one discussing here today is on this world due to that) and they both have their specific set of chromosomes.
            At least when the doctor turns towards you and says “it’s a baby boy” or “it’s a wonderful baby girl” I hope you don’t go up in flames at him in an equal way and accuse him of being transphobic.

        • bill says:

          Seems about right. But then that’s the internet for you.

  3. HVO-Jetfire says:

    Gabe: “I hate lots of people it’s true. But I’ve never hated anyone for their sexual orientation or their gender situation. I don’t hate people for superficial shit like that.”

    First lesson for this statement? Sexual orientation and gender situation is way, way more than “superficial shit” for many.

    • Belsameth says:

      Yes it is but, as a reason to hate somebody it *is* superficial.

      • HVO-Jetfire says:

        Sure, but if someone says to you, “this isn’t superficial shit to me, this is important to me,” you shouldn’t brush it off. Gabe’s defining the importance of issues to others solely by his own definitions of what’s important to him.

        • Lemming says:

          But if it’s important to them, it’s just important to them. It’s wrong to expect everyone to hold their views to your standard. sexual orientation is superficial shit to many, it isn’t to some. Some of those that it’snot superficial for are the very people who hate homosexuals and transgenders. Isn’t it better to see it as superficial? Isn’t that a much healthier outlook? I’d be inclined to think so.

          • AndrewC says:

            If it is wrong to hold others to your view, how would you interpret PAs attitude of denying transgenderism?

          • Lemming says:

            @AndrewC

            Loaded question. They didn’t deny transgenderism any more than they denied the sky is blue just by not mentioning it.

          • iucounu says:

            At the risk of sounding pompous, privilege makes all kinds of stuff superficial. It’s really easy to see stuff as meaningless if it isn’t the sort of stuff that causes problems for you.

          • AndrewC says:

            No, actually they did. Aggressively.

          • wengart says:

            No, they didn’t. Some people went all white knight on a game because they used women to mean female. The PA dude defended the game’s right to just show women how to masturbate, and then the internet shit on him.

            Newsflash: Unless you are somehow connected to the transgender subculture women and female are understood as interchangeable words. At worst he is being ignorant which, given the context of twitter and the internet shitting on him, I don’t see as a problem with.

          • Stellar Duck says:

            wengart, you are scum.

            If he was ignorant the proper response would be ‘Aha! I didn’t know that. Can anyone educate me on what is going on?’

            That’s the only fucking response to being ignorant. Everything else makes you willful ignorant and scum.

            Newsflash: I have no connection to the transgendered community. I’m just trying to be a decent human being. Unlike you.

          • Koozer says:

            “wengart, you are scum.”

            “I’m just trying to be a decent human being.”

            Okay.

          • The Random One says:

            Calling out scum is pretty decent if you ask me.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Wrong reply. Apologies.

  4. Aperger94 says:

    I still like the Dickwolves strip.

    • kwyjibo says:

      My biggest problem with PA (my only problem) is that they’re just not fucking funny.

      The dickwolves strip for example, would be a lot more effective if the guy they neglected to save was Princess Peach. Same joke, added punch.

      • Aperger94 says:

        Nah, the joke was about arbitrary headcounts in rpg, it wouldn’t make any sense with Mario characters

        • Bugamn says:

          Was going to write something like that. How would Peach make it any funnier?

        • kwyjibo says:

          Whether or not its a Mario character is irrelevant.

          That the player would turn down a sexually available female clearly accentuates that the only thing they care about is the emotionless objective.

          • Aperger94 says:

            You lost me.

          • iucounu says:

            Me too. For the record, I thought the Dickwolves strip was a funny piece of hyperbole about the moral bankruptcy of RPG quests, rather than a slam on rape victims; though if it had been my joke and lots of rape victims had complained they were offended or hurt by it my reaction would probably have been to apologise rather than to double down on it and accuse them of being oversensitive.

          • ffordesoon says:

            I don’t…. what?

            Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sort of seems like you’re saying a woman who has been raped is automatically “sexually available.” Which is a pretty horrific opinion to have, so I hope I’m misinterpreting you.

            And why Princess Peach specifically? Why not just “a sexy girl,” if your only point was that a sexy girl would be funnier? I mean, it wouldn’t be, because – for many people – it would cross the line into tastelessness. Like it or not, a rape joke with the woman as the victim is something most people consider automatically unfunny, whereas a dude getting raped is still generally considered acceptable comedic fodder. Not saying that’s fair, but that’s how it is. So no, that would not have been considered funnier.

          • kwyjibo says:

            “You lost me”?

            “Me too. For the record, I thought the Dickwolves strip was a funny piece of hyperbole about the moral bankruptcy of RPG quests”

            The moral bankruptcy of RPG quests would be so much more pronounced if the victim was a damsel in distress. You’re taking the tropes expectations, and inverting them.

            I really thought this was really simple and obvious. Go look at the fruitfucker, ha ha, the fruitfucker, ha ha.

          • kwyjibo says:

            “Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sort of seems like you’re saying a woman who has been raped is automatically “sexually available.” Which is a pretty horrific opinion to have, so I hope I’m misinterpreting you.”

            Look at the fruitfucker. Stop making comments.

            The damsel in distress is well established trope. There’s a video on it if you do not understand. You may have seen films or read stories where the guy gets the girl.

            Having the guy ignore the girl, because it was an optional sidequest, would have made the joke more powerful by playing off readers’ expectations.

            I’m really surprised that I’ve had to spell this out. It’s not exactly Stewart Lee levels of metacomedy.

          • aepervius says:

            “kwyjibo says:

            Whether or not its a Mario character is irrelevant.

            That the player would turn down a sexually available female clearly accentuates that the only thing they care about is the emotionless objective.”

            You don’t get the joke at all, right ?

            In many MMORPG there is this kind of mission “saves 5 slaves”. But usually since MANY people work in the same instance, to make it easier designer put say 10 slaves on low refresh timer, so that 2 or 3 people can do the querst at the same time.

            The joke was not about rape, they could have changed the rape by dickwolf, by say, “we get our feet, back and hand burned down by firewolf every night” and it would be the same joke : In the end the player refuse to save more than his quote of slave because he needed only 5 for the quest, be damn the other slave”.

            DO you get it now ? Do you udnerstand that the rape by dickwolf was just a trick to show that the slave had a miserable life and the player refused to save them because it was not part of the quest ?

            CHanging it to peach would make the joke incomprehensible.

            I wodner how many people don’t get that joke by judging the reaction.

          • kwyjibo says:

            No aepervius, I explained it above your reply already.

            “In the end the player refuse to save more than his quote of slave because he needed only 5 for the quest, be damn the other slave”.

            And that joke would have been made ever more poignant had the slave been a stereotypical damsel in distress. Because then you’re playing even more against expectation.

            If the victim were a fucking heavily armoured paladin, it wouldn’t work, regardless of the situation. Can you read, or do I need to actually draw the panels?

          • Napalm Sushi says:

            OK, let me try.

            The joke is that these kind of RPG characters are presented by their games as paragons of moral virtue, justice and altruism, but in practice they often paradoxically inherit a player’s own cold and selfish drives. For the joke to work, the act of rescuing more slaves than are necessary for the completion of the quest must carry no promise of personal benefit (including sexual/romantic gratitude) for either the player or the character, because the point of the joke is that, according to the narrative that the game is trying to weave, these are supposed to be the kind of characters that would choose to do the morally right thing regardless of the reward.

      • sinister agent says:

        Same here. I’ve never understood how they’ve become so influential when they’re almost never funny. That they semi-fequently act like tiresome, unpleasant kids only makes it stranger.

        • iucounu says:

          Middle-period PA was often very funny. Recently, the hit rate is much, much lower than it used to be, and (until this last camel-paralysing straw hit) I’d only check it every couple of weeks.

        • LionsPhil says:

          I’m going to hazard a guess that they’re popular as a comedy webcomic because a large number of people think they are funny.

          • The Random One says:

            I agree with you.

            I will also hazard a guess that most people think they are funny because when they were first becoming popular gaming culture was still a bit on the fringe, and the few internet things that were about gaming were too self-reliant to speak to the average gamer without having them becoming painfully aware of how much they were entrenched in the subculture. By being broader on their approach, while still espousing a point of view most hardcore gamers identified with, it was then seen as the sole example of the potencial of gaming subculture.

            Now, years later, gaming subculture has fractured, Stuff of Real Importance has subsided discussion about whether or not the latest JRPG was shit, and video games are mainstream, but PA is still riding on the inertial push of their early rise to power.

            tl;dr People think it’s funny because ten years ago they wished really hard it was, and haven’t been able to come to the fact that it isn’t since.

      • Lemming says:

        Yeah you didn’t understand the joke at all.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        You need to more tolerant of people who make terrible comics. The PA guys have feelings too.

  5. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    *Reads about E3*

    Why do people have to be so creepy and rapey? :(

    • Aperger94 says:

      add enough people together and the creepyness pile up

      • Raiyan 1.0 says:

        The stories just seem strengthen the anachronistic socially backward stereotype of male gamers.

        • Shuck says:

          Or game developers and game press, specifically. I mean, you’d expect some mouth-breathing 16-year-old Xboxer to be a little monster, but when professionals start acting like this, it’s another thing entirely.

        • aepervius says:

          AS I pointed out in another forum, it is the same for other technological oriented conference. Did you go to an auto show ? Booth girl, “babe” in skimpy outfit on auto. Corn & Wheat Harvester and farmer implement show ? Same things. Heck I was in a book show in frankfurt and *some* stands had what I would call women in skimpy outfit too. Although I admit it was very rare. And every year we distribute creeps warning to our female colleague going in conferences and shows. Yes that is that sad.

          It is the whole society and the tech conference things which attract such creeps. It is not specific to gamers sadly. If it was it would be more easy to solve rather than change the whole male thingy overall.

      • Tasloi says:

        True. As a woman in the kotaku article puts it: “It’s like walking into a shark tank and you don’t know which ones are the shark.”. I’ve seen women get groped at music festivals. At a racing event i’ve seen a guy enjoying a drink with friends one moment only to get beat to the ground by a random passerby the next. Those are just 2 random examples. Welcome to life, some people just don’t care. I doubt this will ever change either.

        • Shuck says:

          E3 is a professional, industry event, though. Everyone there is a game developer/marketer or in the game press. It’s not a party where people get to go crazy. There’s no excuse for this.

          • Tasloi says:

            I don’t think a party is an excuse for this type of behavior either. I’m simply saying any gathering of people has this risk. The more people the more risk. It being a professional event doesn’t make it an exception. At best it’s a factor of decreased risk.

    • timethor says:

      Too many people who think that they can get away with it.

      The story where the security guard was fired on the spot acts as a deterrent. The many stories of anonymous women who got harassed by anonymous men may only give people ideas. I can understand the victims being shocked into silence at the time it happens, and them withholding the names from the reporter/readers for legal reasons, but I hope at least some of the victims complained to the perpetrators / the perpetrator’s boss / their own boss / E3 security / the cops, instead of only sharing an anonymous story with us readers. We can’t do anything about it, but the victim herself can, as the woman who got the guard fired showed.

    • Taidan says:

      Somebody got raped at E3? Jesus, I didn’t read about that, that’s horrible.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      That Kotaku article annoys me because it’s basically lumping multiple, not really comparable things into the general umbrella of rapiness. From the first paragraph:

      “You might not have heard about the security guard that groped a journalist at this year’s E3. Or the writer who gave a PR woman his business card by slipping it in her dress. Or the women presumed to be booth babes simply because of the way they looked.”

      Right there you have 3 completely distinct things that happened which aren’t really comparable to each other on the “inappropriate ways to treat women” scale. Groping someone without their permission? 100% rapey. Trying to pick someone up by sticking a business card in their dress? Creepy, awkward, disrespectful, not in any way something I’d do or endorse in that particular social setting, but hardly rapey. Thinking someone is a booth babe because they’re female and wearing provocative clothing? Awkward, somewhat disrespectful (although frankly, I find the shock that people experience when they present themselves a certain way and are predictably reacted to to be highly disingenuous), not really creepy much less rapey.

      • AndrewC says:

        So you agree that they are all ‘inappropriate ways to treat people’. Jolly good. Leave it at that, don’t make excuses for any of them, and then you won’t look like you are excusing disgusting behaviour because it isn’t directly going to lead to rape in 30 seconds.

      • The Random One says:

        I don’t know. If groping someone is 100% rapey, shoving your business card down their dress has to be at leas 35% rapey.

  6. DrScuttles says:

    Psygnosis box art was wonderful. It’s not included in the link, but the art for Shadow Of The Beast 2 was always my favourite with those weird biomechanical frog things bounding happily into the great unknown.
    Thinking about it, I reckon Zeno Clash is the closest I’ve seen a 3D game recreate that kind of setting. With the added benefit of kicking people in the bum.

  7. BTA says:

    What Gabe was saying was horrible, and it’s clear he still doesn’t get it. He’s essentially trying to define people by his own set of rules (and furthermore, his own unique definitions for certain terms) and getting unreasonably mad about the fact that no one agrees.

    On top of that, what I’ve picked up from Twitter is that the charity was apparently a pretty bad choice as it doesn’t have a great reputation at the moment. Apparently it’s known for giving out awards to some actually pretty harmful celebrity “allies”… over actual LGBT role models.

    • ohtorialumna says:

      I hear stories of trans* youth calling the Trevor Project hotline and getting laughed at. So yeah, I’d rather him have thrown that $20,000 (which is in and of itself a cynical move, thinking that throwing money at a related charity will make the problem go away) at an organization that actually serves us, rather than at a higher-profile organization that, at best, can’t allocate much of its resources to trans* issues.

      • Aperger94 says:

        Do you have a source for that?
        (also, why the asterisk near tans?)

        • RedViv says:

          The asterisk is to symbolise that it’s meant in regards to the entire spectrum of not binary matching gender identities, whereas transgender usually refers to only the female/male mismatch. Trans* includes those, agender, fluid, non-binary, bigender, and so on.

        • ohtorialumna says:

          Don’t have a direct source, sorry–it’s hearsay. I am innately mistrustful of most of the large LGBT organizations, as there is a long history of excluding trans* and bisexual people, starting with Stonewall.

          The asterisk is sort of like globbing, it’s intended to prevent assumption of a single narrative or identity attached to the term “trans”. It’s overbroad in some respects but at this point I’d rather be overbroad than under.

          EDIT: RedViv says it better than me.

  8. strange_headache says:

    Reading the PA debacle, this Monty Python sketch immediately came to mind:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFBOQzSk14c

  9. Yosharian says:

    “Affirmative action is demonised and derided even though it is economically rational, proven to make better workplaces for all, and deeply intuitive once you understand the structural benefits to being a straight caucasian man. Demonising and deriding affirmative action is a conservative political act. Demonising and deriding affirmative action imagines that ‘talent’ is measured in a neutral way and that a job interview process is a level playing field – both notions were utterly destroyed by the time the second World War came to a close. ”

    Nah I don’t buy that

    ‘economically rational’ it’s economically rational to employ the best person for the job

    ‘proven to make better workplaces for all’ I would be annoyed at best if someone was my co-worker merely because they had breasts, or a different colour skin. Chances are most people are more than annoyed by it. I don’t see how it makes a better workplace for all.

    ‘structural benefits to being a straight caucasian man’ is a reason for closer monitoring of the interview process to ensure equality, NOT the sledgehammer that is affirmative action.

    ‘conservative political act’ straw man/misdirection, address the issue not surrounding issues, btw I consider myself a socialist if anything

    ‘imagines that talent is measured in a neutral way’ it should be, if it isn’t, then no amount of AA is going to fix the problem, steps should be taken to destroy the root of the problem

    ‘job interview process is a level playing field’ IRONY! AA itself makes certain that the process is NOT a level playing field!

    ‘Second World War’ unclear why this is relevant

    http://kotaku.com/the-creepy-side-of-e3-513484271

    ^ I also don’t buy that this is a ‘gamer’ problem. This is a problem between men and women, and E3 is just the canvas this particular shambles happens to be drawn on.

    Touchy Security Guard: a lonely guy driven a bit too far by his illusions of power – nothing to do with gaming

    Four Groping Hands: a bunch of smart-ass execs who think that the money in their wallets and bank accounts gives them the right to touch up a woman – nothing to do with gaming

    Are You A Booth Babe: booth babes aren’t a gaming issue, they are a PR / advertising issue. The people in charge of booth babes aren’t gamers, they are PR execs. – nothing to do with gaming. Note: I abhore the use of sex to sell things in general, and might actually consider attending these type of venues if they were to disappear.

    Not How You Give A Business Card: read comment for ‘Four Groping Hands’ – nothing to do with gaming

    Creep Shot: happens far, far more often than people realise, has absolutely nothing to do with gaming but is more of a spin-off issue from booth babes and also a societal problem. Also, photographing someone in that manner probably violates their Right To Privacy, meaning they should be arrested for breaking the law – nothing to do with gaming

    The Worst Kind Of ‘Pickup-Artist’: PUA has nothing to do with gaming, furthermore these guys aren’t really PUAs, they’re just assholes (not the same thing, despite what you might read on the internet).

    • BTA says:

      What exactly don’t you agree with? All of it? (I’m genuinely curious, not trying to be confrontational.)

    • pakoito says:

      Given the rest of the news this week, my general opinion is that journos are very not in touch with reality and instead enclosed in their safety circles that echo their opinions in a feedback loop.

      If they knew how men *outside* gaming behave or didn’t want to push an agenda, that article wouldn’t exist.

      • Yosharian says:

        I think a lot of the issues that people raise in these articles are genuine problems, being touched up by a security guard is pretty horrible. I just don’t see how this is a gaming problem. Everyone seems to use these kind of events as justification for ‘SEXISM IN GAMING!!!11′. It just stinks of bullshit to me.

        If a security guard at a concert beat me up, I wouldn’t start posting on my blog about how the music industry endorses violence. I would report the guy to the police, and that’d be the end of that. And I’d probably re-enroll at the martial arts club I used to go to a year or so ago.

        That said I don’t think it’s a case of an ‘agenda’ as such.

        • pakoito says:

          Given than half of the Sunday Papers is about non-videogame issues, I wouldn’t say so. As RPS said, it’s their blog and they can do whatever they want with it. I’m still here and I support them, but that doesn’t me we shouldn’t recognize what they’re doing.

          • BAshment says:

            Don’t forget that the original article is on kotaku. This kind of shoddy tabloid style Sensationalism is typical of them. Yosharian is definatly on point with his comments on the issue.

        • ohtorialumna says:

          E3 is a gaming industry conference. It is a professional space for professionals in the industry.

          Even without that formality, it’s a large gathering of representatives of companies and studios involved in the game industry, and their behavior is a reflection on the attitudes and mindsets of the companies they represent. And it’s especially atrocious when things like the rape “joke” happen during a presentation by one of the biggest companies in not just video games, but in computer software in general.

          So yes. Sexist things that happen at E3 are reflections of the general mindset of the video game industry. Which is a part of gaming as a hobby.

          And the solution is not to place the onus on the victim to defend herself from “inevitable” harassment, but on the perpetrator to prevent the harassment (or worse) from taking place at all.

          • Yosharian says:

            “their behavior is a reflection on the attitudes and mindsets of the companies they represent”

            You haven’t proven that. Behaviour of individuals is generally a reflection on their attitude and mindset, and it takes evidence to prove that they are being influenced on a total level by their companies.

            “Sexist things that happen at E3 are reflections of the general mindset of the video game industry.”

            You haven’t proven that. Sexist things that happen at E3 are generally reflections of the mindsets of individuals.

            “Which is a part of gaming as a hobby.”

            Slippery slope fallacy. I have been ‘gaming as a hobby’ (bleurgh) since I was a kid. Never been to an event like E3, generally don’t care about them, they have nothing to do with gaming.

          • Nogo says:

            You might wanna go through your own posts playing the “you haven’t proven that” game.

          • Yosharian says:

            Updated above statement. Furthermore, say that specifically about any of my comments and I will attempt to provide further justification for them, otherwise your comment is just a lazy dismissal.

          • ohtorialumna says:

            Oh no, these people aren’t being shaped by company policy. It is absolutely their own, individual, decisions to behave like this.

            But these aren’t isolated individuals, and they aren’t decisions made in isolation from a patriarchal culture. Taken together they produce a hostile environment for anyone outside of their very narrow demographic. This is the problem, not policy, but a culture that tacitly condones the harassment of women.

            It’s a “gaming” problem because there are people who work in, promote, and play video games who are all making these individual decisions.

          • Yosharian says:

            “But these aren’t isolated individuals, and they aren’t decisions made in isolation from a patriarchal culture.”

            I don’t think it’s as simple as ‘influenced by the patriarchy!’ It’s a lot of complex factors coming together in an environment where women are being degraded, because they’re being used to sell a product. Factors such as men don’t know how to approach women anymore, for example. Another factor might be that PUA is misunderstood by a lot of men as ‘be an asshole and women will drop their skirts’. Also, the whole ‘boys’ club’ aspect of industry generally is not restricted to gaming industries.

            “Taken together they produce a hostile environment for anyone outside of their very narrow demographic.”

            No doubt that it’s a hostile environment for women, but that’s due to booth babes and other aspects. It’s not gaming culture which produces this environment, if it exists. Also, there’s always a bit of hostility to people who are seen as ‘outsiders’ to any culture. White people liking hip hop for example. It doesn’t mean there’s a concerted effort to marginalise those people, rather it’s a natural reaction to whats seen as outsiders coming in on your turf. There’s no malice in it, for the vast majority of people. The minority produce the events in the Kotaku article, and they get the press for the whole group. It’s not legit.

            “This is the problem, not policy, but a culture that tacitly condones the harassment of women.”

            Whose culture? Patriarchal culture? Gaming culture? Industry culture? Event culture? You fail to specify which culture, because it’s easy and a lazy copout to just hazily attribute it to some mysterious culture. You also attribute too much to a ‘culture’, implying some vast conspiracy of which we are all a part. This is a complex issue and you attempt to simplify it, to make it black and white, and paint gaming culture as the culprit. I’m not buying it.

            Anyway, to assume that you meant gamer culture, what about the incident where the gamer intervenes and insists that the photographer removes the offending image from his camera? Is this the work of a culture which ‘tacitly condones’?

            What about the instant firing of the security guy who behaved inappropriately? Oh we can’t attribute that to gamer culture? Oh right, funny how that works.

            “It’s a “gaming” problem because there are people who work in, promote, and play video games who are all making these individual decisions.”

            Just as my earlier example was a ‘music industry’ problem because the person who beat me up was a ‘music industry’ employee? These are lazy, throwaway associations. The fact that (SOME) of these people work in, promote and play video games has very little to do with their decision making when it comes to these unpleasant incidents.

            You are like the politician who blames video games for the latest teen school murder spree.

      • Raiyan 1.0 says:

        And why should they be okay with it? If nobody complains, the status quo remains unchanged.

        • Yosharian says:

          I can’t speak for the other guy but I’m not ok with it.

        • pakoito says:

          They are two different issues: one is the act itself of the -ism/-phobia, which I’m not okay with. The other one is journalist lying or shaping reality to get their points across, which is what I’m criticizing.

          Journos, as celebrities, have power that they often use or abuse, but it’s less recognized because it’d been themselves who denounced it and as I said, echo chamber.

    • Upper Class Twit says:

      Well that was a startling rational comment that I happen to agree with entirely. Huh. Its strange cause I remember disliking you for some vague reason. Maybe your opinion on Nu-XCOM.

      Well, regardless, its nice to see some rationality in this here sexism debate. Not much of that lately.

    • AndrewC says:

      What is your logic here? That it happens everywhere else therefore it is not a gaming problem?

      No, the thing that happens everywhere also happens in gaming, therefore it is also a gaming problem.

      Where is it proven that it is to do with gaming? That it is at E3.

      Also, politically speaking, arguing that it happens everywhere therefore it is not our specific problem to solve when it is in our community is a classic denial of responsibility and silencing tactic.

      • Yosharian says:

        “What is your logic here? That it happens everywhere else therefore it is not a gaming problem?”

        What you imply here is that gamers should not care about it. That is not what I am saying. I am saying that the problems described in the Kotaku article are nothing to do with gaming; i.e. they’re not caused by gamers in general or gamer culture in general.

        I think that any rational, caring human being should care about these issues, obviously.

        “No, the thing that happens everywhere also happens in gaming, therefore it is also a gaming problem.”

        See above.

        “Where is it proven that it is to do with gaming? That it is at E3.”

        E3 doesn’t represent gaming, it’s a giant advertising event where companies gather to sell products to the media. E3 isn’t gaming. They want you to think it is.

        Gaming is a bunch of kids gathering round a Playstation at breaktime in the sixth form common room to play a Tekken 3 tournament, everyone gasping in awe at the guy who can pull off the 6 hit King combo. Gaming isn’t booth babes with their false pasted-on smiles trying to hawk shitty triple A games to bored, tired journos and obsessive neckbeards desperately photographing the biggest tits and ass for their internet blogs/youtube channels.

        Action Points on youtube has quite a few decent videos on this subject.

        “Also, politically speaking, arguing that it happens everywhere therefore it is not our specific problem to solve when it is in our community is a classic denial of responsibility and silencing tactic.”

        1) It’s everyone’s responsibility to solve, on a case by case basis.

        2) I’m addressing the blaming of gaming culture and gamers for these events, nothing more.

        • The Random One says:

          E3, like Penny Arcade, may not be truly representative of gaming, but that does not change the fact that they both 1) try to set themselves up as the representatives of gaming, and 2) are recognized as such (or at least as average examples) by people who are not part of the hobby.

          Furthermore, it seems strange to draw a line beyond which things don’t have anything to do with gaming and thus we shouldn’t care about. Except you already said this isn’t what you meant, so what was your point exactly?

          • Yosharian says:

            1) & 2) irrelevant

            My point was that it’s not gaming culture’s that’s at fault for these things. That is all.

    • harbinger says:

      The other thing which is a recurring theme in these articles to keep in mind is that in every single one of them there is only one side to said stories ever being presented. In this case for instance it might’ve been a good idea to talk to the people that are accused of being horrible monsters and hearing their side of the events but the writer either doesn’t even get the idea of doing a simple thing called “fact checking” or it wouldn’t fit in the basic narrative and point it was trying to make.

      What weight am I supposed to put on an article that basically starts by saying it is a re-narration of a re-narration from possibly drunk people at a few parties and deliberately avoids naming any names?

  10. Kandon Arc says:

    Considering they’ve apologised, I think it’s only fair to stop twisting the knife for PA. When it comes to games, there seems to be very high standards of tolerance concerning LGBT issues and if anyone falls below them there is an extremely vicious counterattack. It would be nice if people stopped the war mentality. Also by donating $20k, they’ve probably done more for the trans cause than all the tumblr warriors attacking them combined.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      While I as a straight male don’t have a right to tell marginalised groups how to feel and, being a transperson is very difficult so they have a right to be angry about this sort of shit, I think we do need to occasionally acknowledge that some people are reacting to this as much out of the mastubatory joy of having a great big social outrage hard on and nothing is ever really going to make it right with those people.

      • choconutjoe says:

        I suspect this sort of thing might be a side-effect of ‘purity leftism’: http://mattbruenig.com/2012/05/10/purity-leftism/

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          That’s pretty close to the heart of it. It’s protest and activism as a public performance that manifests in a perpetual demand for deeper levels of doctrinal purity to prove that you are, in fact, the best progressive because not only are you offended by what the previous person was offended by, you’re also offended by this thing and are offended by the other persons lack of offense at this thing.

          So, for example, you go from ‘I am offended by the way women are dealt with in the game industry’ to the creepy gender essentialism of ‘Men with tits’

          Which is problematic because it doesn’t provide a space to go ‘You are getting offended over something kind of stupid’ because it creates a space where your offense is always just and righteous and your greatest sin is not being offended enough.

          Now I’m not saying there should be a space for that because it can be too easily used to dismiss complaints but at the same time the fact there isn’t a space for that is just as problematic because it allows those involved to dismiss any criticism , which in turn allows for Stupid Tumblr Shit.

    • nopol10 says:

      Tumblr warriors is a cute name

  11. Tasloi says:

    I really don’t see the leap from either description of the PA panel to endorsing misogyny and other prejudices in games. Talk about reaching. I saw the original description a couple days ago and thought it was an interesting discussion to be had.

    • benjamin says:

      Agreed, the irony is that the over-reaction it generated is the very thing the panel is about!

      Ah well, welcome to the internet I guess!

      • TaylanK says:

        It’s not just Gabe. I remember Tycho posting a similarly insensitive post… come to think of it, I think it was about the infamous fetish nun trailer of Hitman. Never read another PA strip since then. So I guess it is an accumulation of things over time, rather than this one single panel.

        I also remember Tycho mentioning in one of his posts that he comes from a very religious family, so some of that conservatism is lingering about him I guess.

        • benjamin says:

          Being religious myself it’s not his conservatives values that bother me but his expression of them. Not only is his language crude it also ignores the biblical proverb: “A soft answer turns away wrath”. When talking about sensitive issues it pays to be gracious and tactful though I struggle with both and can sympathies if he does too.

        • seventh_wave says:

          Aside from the fact that Tycho has gone on record as saying that he’s an atheist, (occasionally) watches gay pornography, has used psychoactive drugs and is in favour of both drug decriminalisation and marriage equality you would be entirely correct in your assessment of his “lingering conservatism”. Which is to say not at all. While people may disagree with his statements regarding issues such as Hitman’s nuns or Dragon’s Crown (I do so at least in part) it is hardly correct to describe him as or imply that he is (socially) conservative.

          • The Random One says:

            Ah, yes, the old American-bourne phallacy that there are two sides to the political spectrum, conservative and liberal, and each human being on the planet is to some depth into one of them. Being against the death penaly begets being in favour of abortion, being against big government begets being against stricter gun control, etc.

            In the real world, people’s thoughts on many topics are defined by several things and they may not fit closely in one box. Just because one watches gay porn doesn’t mean they can’t have a residue of their conservative parent’s “hate all who are different” feeling, and they just internalized gay people aren’t different but haven’t gone as far with trans*, or muslims, or whatever have you.

            Not saying this is the specific case, as I think the PA guys’ assholitude is entirely of their own doing, but to a non-American saying “he cannot be conservative, he uses drugs and watches gay porn” is just silly.

          • seventh_wave says:

            @The Random One (can’t reply directly to your post for some reason)

            First of all, you are assuming I am American. You’ll have to settle for German / South African I’m afraid.
            Second, I was not saying that because somebody watches gay porn and does drugs they cannot be conservative.
            You might have noticed my use of “(socially)” in order to indicate that somebody may be socially progressive but fiscally (or otherwise) conservative. This alone should give you a very clear indication that I allowed for the fact that things might not be as binary as that. What I WAS in fact saying, is that Tycho has a pretty clear track record on voicing support for socially PROGRESSIVE causes.

            Direct quote from PA site: “If my son came home from high school one day and told me tearfully, haltingly, that he was double gay, I would love him twice as much.” (http://penny-arcade.com/2012/10/05)

            He also vocally supported David Gaider for the following blog post: http://social.bioware.com/forum/1/topic/304/index/6661775&lf=8

            To reiterate, I was not saying that engaging in certain actions automatically puts you in a corresponding political camp. I was saying that I would have a very hard time buying the notion that Tycho is (socially) conservative.

  12. Kollega says:

    After reading some of what people had to say, the following thought occured to me: what would PA founders think if they saw that in Russia, LGBT people are being persecuted and even hunted down by gangs just because of them being different? What would they think when there’s someone’s actual life at stake, gay/bi/trans or not?

    As i’ve said to my friend, i think they simply don’t realize that they’re now celebrities, and if they say offensive things, they’ll be called out on it.

    • The Random One says:

      Aye. This is like the “I don’t care about races, so I’m not racist” argument that ignores that, just because you’re not racist, it doesn’t mean other people aren’t, and that people of colour have it worse because of that, so maybe you should care about races.

      • Fred S. says:

        Why should I care? Any time I try to care I’m told that I couldn’t possibly understand, and my own position borne out of my own experience is automatically denigrated (can I use that word?) since I am not a member of whatever persecuted grievance group is under discussion. So any nebulous “caring” that I might undertake is purely that, just some nebulous feeling, or maybe a bit of self-righteousness based on my ability to use the right words even though, as I said, I couldn’t possibly understand what they really mean.

  13. Zetetic says:

    “Mike Krahulik” and “Gabe” refer to the same individual, for anyone else struggling to remember who these people are.

  14. thedosbox says:

    I love all the white knights coming to Gabe’s rescue. Hint: he’s not going to give you free passes to PAX.

  15. tigerfort says:

    So “treating them as a woman” doesn’t include using the correct pronouns and terms of address for a woman?

    Also, can I just say how much I admire your ability to determine people’s DNA on sight, and ask whether it’s purchasable as an upgrade somewhere? Relatedly, please go and learn some biology; even physical gender at birth is a lot more complex than you seem to think. You can be born with two X chromosomes and a penis (or with both a penis and a vagina, or with neither).

    What’s so “extreme” about using someone’s pronouns of choice, anyway?

    (ETA: Which was written as a reply to a comment that now seems to have vanished, which is presumably why it ended up here.)

  16. Taidan says:

    Yay for the Psygnosis art link. As somebody who spent far too much time playing those titles as a teenager, I can’t get enough of it.

    Boo for putting major effort into trying to pick a fight with PA over a what is essentially a semantic argument. (And yes, a few predictably thoughtless replies after an extremely antagonistic vocal minority has pestered the guy with severe provocations and death threats. We all know how easy it is to push that guy’s buttons, congratulations scumbags.)

    Request: If you’re going to link Kotaku, please namecheck the author involved, lest I accidentally click a link for one of their lesser writers and subsequently have to endure the horror contained within. They have a few good writers over there, but they also employ a couple of lesser-types whose entire journalistic skillset consists on the ability to write a sensationalist headline and lead-in paragraph, and little else besides.

  17. FhnuZoag says:

    Stuff like the Eurogamer systems-vs-story article just annoy me. Why does there have to be a vs? Why is there such resentment that one or the other exists? Why can’t people just realise that we don’t have to compromise and only have one or the other, that we can actually have *both*?

    I like both story and systems games. XCOM and The Walking Dead were the two favourite games of the year last year, and it’s awesome that games are a medium where both can exist. The article declares that:

    Only when games accept that unique strength, take pride in it, and stop borrowing the clothes of others, will they truly achieve their potential as the only truly new creative medium of the last 100 years.

    But observe that people don’t demand this of film, or of novels, or any other art form. No, achieving the potential of the medium is not a matter of having individual works tick all the boxes (and only those boxes) unique to it. It’s just a matter of creators making creative work, and if you are tired of the formulaic big budget scripted action game, then that’s the issue, not that there’s too much story. If you don’t like Bioshock, then you don’t like Bioshock. That is all.

    • Kentauroi says:

      Yeah I’m of the same opinion. The two games I’ve been playing recently are Super Hexagon and The Last of Us, and despite being polar opposites I love them both. I really don’t see a need to devalue storytelling in games just because it’s present in other mediums as well as games. I understand how the urge to be ‘cinematic’ sometimes hamstrings games, but the problem isn’t the focus on telling a story, it’s trying to tell a story through cutscenes completely detached from what happens in the preceding gameplay.

      Gameplay is an integral part of games, but at the same time that’s an incredible tool for story telling. Think about whether Spec Ops The Line’s story could’ve delivered the same impact that it did if you weren’t the one who instigated all those events by playing. Would TWD have worked half as well if you weren’t the person choosing these dialogue options? I’m pretty sure the scene in the woods near the end of episode 3 of TWD wouldn’t of been half as powerful if you weren’t the one to do it (or having to tell someone else to do it).

      The danger of ‘cinematic’ storytelling in games is if you lock your story into cutscenes while everything outside of that cutscene is a designated gameplay area. For me, great storytelling experiences in games use the gameplay mechanics instead of, or in conjuction with, non-interactive experiences such as cutscenes to tell their tales.

      You know how in film there’s that advice for telling stories “Show, don’t tell”? Games require a different permutation in the “Do, don’t show” sense. You shouldn’t tell your story by non-interactive means, and have the gameplay be the connecting elements between plot points. Instead they should tell their story through their gameplay mechanics whenever possible, so the player feels like an active participant in the plot rather than just the part of the protagonist’s brain that takes over when the shooting starts.

    • DXN says:

      I completely agree. It’s such a false distinction to me. Interactive and non-interactive parts of a game both go together to build up ‘the game’ that is also ‘the story’.

      Also, I think people overestimate how much input they have into systems. I mean, when you play a game of FTL or Far Cry or whatever, you aren’t writing the story, nor are you writing individual anecdotes. At most you’re guiding how different story pieces, provided by the game author, go together. It’s the game maker who provides all the things that make your mouse and keyboard inputs into something meaningful. So you’re not like the director or the writer — you’re more like the stunt man, or at most, the Action Scene Coordinator.

      As I’ve said before and will probably keep banging on about for years to come, I really think it’s the labels we’re using – “game” and “story” – that throws this discussion off, and I wish we had a better word that describes something that’s a mix of the two. I like “interactive fiction”.

    • WrenBoy says:

      To be fair I think you are cherry picking there. He never said it had to either or:

      I’m all for better stories and stronger writing in games – God knows we need it – but let’s not lose sight of what makes games unique in our rush to narrative validation.

      Other media certainly are judged by standards unique to that medium. Critisism of literature and cinema judge different things.

      Systems and interactivity are what make games unique. It shouldnt be annoying to desire them to focus on this at least as much as cinematic narrative.

    • ffordesoon says:

      This, exactly.

      It’s like saying movies shouldn’t have title cards because then they’re trying to be books, or that comic books shouldn’t have pages where it’s just prose around a single illustration, for the same reason, or that spoken-word stuff with music under it isn’t real music because it’s trying to be poetry. It’s taking tools out of the artist’s toolbox for the sake of striving for some pure ideal of gaming that’s entirely subjective anyway.

      That said, I quite liked the article on the whole, and in particular appreciated that he went out of his way to say that games where you are told a story are perfectly fine and always going to exist. I’ve read plenty of these sorts of articles, and those points are rarely allowed for.

      I also think that he is right about some things. For example, the idea that “cinematic” is always a compliment is utter bullshit. There was a great line by Tom Francis in his Bioshock Infinite review: “It feels like a game made by people who know how to make films, and decided to make something else.” That, to me, is when “cinematic” is a good quality to have.

      When it’s a bad quality is when the game’s literally trying to be a movie. It’s not using the tools of cinema to its own ends; it’s just saying, “Hey, remember Aliens? That was pretty great, huh?” It’s the difference between a movie that’s actually funny and one of those godawful “Remember this meme!? Remember this scene!? Remember this!?” parody movies like Epic Movie.

      Which is not to say that those sorts of games should go away. There are good ones – Naughty Dog’s own Uncharted series is a prime example. Airplane! is also a parody movie, and it’s fantastic. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that sort of movie/game hybrid existing, as long as it’s done well. But I do find the ubiquity of that form very troubling. It is, to me, akin to sixty percent of the movies released each year being bad or barely tolerable parody movies, with another ten percent being great parody movies, and the remaining thirty percent being, you know, movies.

      The key flaw of Whitehead’s article, in my opinion, is that he uses The Last Of Us, a game which does feel like a game to which the Francis quote is applicable. It’s a game which uses the tools of cinema to its advantage, not Uncharted With Zombies. It’s the sort of game where you do feel like you’re “playing a movie,” not because control is constantly being wrested away from you, but because all the systems interact with the narrative in such a way that it feels like playing as a character in a really awesome movie. So far in my playthrough, there hasn’t been a single moment where I felt like an actor being yelled at by a director because he went slightly off-script, as in Uncharted. It feels instead like Joel and I are experiencing the story together, and we have different reactions to things, but his reaction doesn’t invalidate mine, and mine doesn’t invalidate his. Which is astonishing.

    • Wulfram says:

      We can have both as a medium. But individual games do benefit from making a clear choice as to which they prioritise.

      The Walking Dead benefited from deciding that it’s gameplay existed to serve the story, XCOM benefited from deciding that it’s story existed to serve the gameplay.

    • Laurentius says:

      I think the point is different of this Eurogamer articele, is more about where moneys goes and why is that. Sure FTL gets its gameplay across within resources constraint just fine, so does Minecraft or SuperHexagon. And that’s okay that small indie games exists but i think it’s telling why generally games like Bioshock or Last of Us gets enormous budgets. For example game that basicly could have been an indie minimalistic puzzler (Narbacular Drop) with Valve’s budget was transform into absolut classic – Portal. I am not saying FTL should be automaticle remade as an AAA title, but one can wonder what if games like Gunpoint or Uplink were made with budgets matching Bioshock or Last of Us.

      • FhnuZoag says:

        I dunno, though. I might suggest that if Gunpoint or FTL was made with a AAA budget, then they might potentially be less good games. In film, for example, it is also the case that the money goes to the giant action blockbusters, and it would be somewhat silly to imagine, say, a huge-budget CGI’ed up version of Groundhog Day.

        • Laurentius says:

          But are really Portal and Portal 2 a bad games ? It’s just that games that want to bring some new or clever or interesting gameplay elements and mechanics rarly can atract big budgets (or even medium ones), while “i have this story to tell but it can be FPS or TPP or whatever it doesn’t really matter that much” are swimming in $.

        • Malibu Stacey says:

          Exactly, more money does not automatically equal a better end product.
          Taking the movie example, look at something like Primer. This movie is one of the best movies I’ve ever seen & yet it had a budget of around $7000 (no that’s not a typo, it cost roughly seven thousand US dollars to make) and had a production crew of five people. Having watched this movie multiple times I cannot for the life of me think of how more money would’ve made this movie any better.
          This is one example, there are dozens more if not hundreds of similar examples.
          The problem here is that people are approaching the whole concept like it’s a factory pumping out something.

      • Malibu Stacey says:

        But then you have to ask, how much of the experience is derived from the ‘minimalist’ visuals of games like FTL, Gunpoint, Uplink, Minecraft et al?
        Would FTL be a ‘better’ game if it was rendered in 3D?
        Would Uplink be more or less immersive if it used Matrix style visuals and/or an Assassins Creed style third-person avatar who uses the requisite computer MacGuffin?

        • Laurentius says:

          See, I don’t belive that Portal or Civilization would be better games with minimalistic approach. Nor do i belive that interesting gameplay concepts and mechanics married with budget that would allow bringing more robust story and graphics would cause some diminishing effects on those games.

  18. dangermouse76 says:

    Christmas lemmings YES !
    Also Psygnosis seem to have had an office in the village of Stonehouse Gloucestershire where I grew up who new.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ze9diDhqpfY

    I’m off to find the Lemmings sound track.

  19. Alsier says:

    Regardless of how I feel about the subject matter being referenced, I can acknowledge Gabe lacked tact in his handling of the situation, and hasn’t displayed the level of tolerance that would indicate a full-time PR hireling in the past. My grievance here is that I don’t feel like the conversation is necessarily a fair one; there’s a lot of emotional violence surrounding issues like these, and it feels like you have to fall firmly into the “hate him” or “love him” camp to find anyone who won’t just flame you.

    If you think he’s only mildly off-base, you wind up being flamed by people who think that violently charged words and personal attacks are the only acceptable solution. If you think he’s way the hell in the wrong but disagree with how the community handles it (me!) and seems to bait reactions out of him and then attack him for those, you get flamed by BOTH sides.

    When RPS links to these sorts of things (regardless of how those journalists address the topic), and uses strongly negative wording in the blurb without actually providing a well-reasoned discussion about the topic, it really makes me feel like there’s a lack of mature and professional journalism at play. Yes, this is The Sunday Papers and you’re not necessarily required to actually address the matter yourself, fine.

    However, as an avid fan, I would really appreciate – from an intellectual AND an emotional standpoint – a more involved conversation that isn’t so firmly “he did wrong” without any further discussion of exactly how flawed discussions in the gaming community are regarding violently emotionally charged topics like Transgendered individuals. Otherwise, it winds up feeling like I’ve had my time wasted by people (you, Gabe, other journalists, the entire goddamn community) only interested in black-and-white in a world that’s a billion shades of grey and full of assholes on both sides of every conversation.

    For the record, the linked articles weren’t trash; I just hate how no one ever discusses how direly the gaming community needs a guide on interpersonal interactions and how to avoid escalating the emotional context in these discussions to antagonism immediately.

    • Kadayi says:

      Personally I don’t even get why it’s in the Sunday papers, beyond ‘gamez jurnalizms’ endless penchant for navel gazing. Every time there’s a ‘bit of drama’ or controversy that’s frankly blown out of all proportion like the whole Eurogamer farce a while back: -

      Full time TV personality/comedy dude gives ups what was an occasional games writing gig in a fit of pique having written poorly worded article that fueled atypical corruption paranoia torches and pitchforks brigade attack upon the professional integrity of pretty much everyone else writing in the gaming press (people for whom it’s actually a career, not a side line). Internet declares him a universal hero. Week or two later buoyed by this universal acclaim same said writer openly wishes death upon Pete Molyneux for having the outright temerity to Kickstart a game. Internet suddenly not so sure about that one….

      No doubt once Rezzed is out the way, we’ll be treated to at least three in depth articles as to how RPS is accommodating to all genders, why Gabe is a terrible man and a trans*misogynist, and how people should boycott all PA events until he does the decent thing and sets himself on fire and or eats a bag of wolf dicks (or both at the same time). Personally I’m moist with anticipation for all three.

      • LaunchJC says:

        Well Kadayi the thing is, everyone knows that you’ll appear below every article that doesn’t adhere to your narrow perception of what gaming journalism entails beating the same old tired drum. Hell the rare time I see who I presume to be you posting on NeoGAF its in a thread related to anything John Walker’s written where you’ll continue to shit on anything he writes and proclaim RPS to be not-as-good-as-everyone-thinks.

        So, why are you still here?

        • MarcP says:

          “So, why are you still here?”

          Perhaps he’s a masochist, or likes to hate RPS. Or perhaps he’s here for the same reason I am: RPS can do some excellent writing about video games when they decide to actually write about video games. in that aspect, they’re far above the vast ocean of mediocrity that is every other big profile video game website.

          There’s really little alternative in the english-speaking world for decent video game journalism. Or is there? Feel free to point out examples, if you’re correct you might just get rid of at least one person you don’t want around.

        • Kadayi says:

          @LaunchJC

          You’re obviously not reading all of my GAF posts if that’s what you’ve derived. In all honestly what does any of this stuff to do with Gabe from PA have to do with games exactly? It’s frankly peripheral nonsense, that’s good for a bit of earnest handwringing, condemnation and ‘we’re better than that’ backslapping.

          As regards JW. I think he used to be pretty good at doing reviews, but unfortunately now he’s moved into ‘issues’ and more often than not I don’t find his arguments that compelling or persuasive, vs ill conceived & highly prone to confirmation bias that borders on the conspiratorial at times. The tune he plays of the downtrodden gamer, and the tyrannical evil (and lets not forget misogynistic) publishers goes down well with a certain crowd who prefer simple explanations for everything, but I guess living in the real world of complexity I’m less inclined to drink the Kool -Aid and bring my pitchfork to the party (my bad). However he’s only one part of the RPS. I’ve a lot of time for much else that gets written here by the other members.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            For example a collection of the week’s more general game industry-related stories which interested Alec Meer?

          • Kadayi says:

            Sometimes. It all entirely depends on what one views as ‘industry’. Personally I’m interested in the evolution of the medium, but have zero interest in ‘he said/she said’ tangential activities, because whose dissing who in the playground of the internet means jack at the end of the day.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            Hmm, fair enough. I guess many people believe “tangential” (or non-formal) issues such as bigotry have an effect on the “evolution of the medium”, but if you’re not interested, you’re not interested. What that says about you is, I’d say, a separate discussion.

          • Kadayi says:

            @LennyLeonardo

            Demonstrate an actual influence and perhaps I might choose to care. But I can’t subscribe to conclusions that haven’t been thoroughly examined with respect to their voracity. Any good representation should hold up to scrutiny.

            I mean can you actually prove that ‘many people care’ to me? Or is that not really just a case of wishful thinking on your part? After all in your attempt to somehow diminish my opinion (as you seem to be trying to do), it suits your purposes to boldly state that, but from a factual perspective it’s pure conjecture on your part entirely.

          • ffordesoon says:

            @Kadayi:

            Well, depending on your definition of “many,” one could argue that the vast comment threads that pop up on every vaguely nerdy website every time these issues are discussed would seem to indicate that many people care a great deal.

            But, given that “It’s the internet!” is your (non-)argument, I somehow doubt such evidence is compelling to you. I would imagine that the only way you’d care is if whatever number of people is “many” to you marched up to your doorstep and asked you in a very loud voice to care. And even then, I have doubts, since you clearly do care enough about this issue to constantly write long comments talking about how much you don’t care about it.

          • Kadayi says:

            @ffordesoon

            Actually I’d go with a broad poll across a wide demographic. Personally I don’t trust *internet noise* as a measure of anything all that much because in my experience you’ll often uncover that there’s generally a vocal minority of basement dwellers at the heart of matters who make it their sole life mission to stir things up across several websites which generates the illusion of mass concern.

            Gaming press corruption accusations for instance are a great one for kicking the hornets nest. Everyone’s absolutely convinced that the shameful hypocrisy is about to be revealed, and they’re eager to share their proof with everyone where ever they can: -

            Fanatic: ‘See, see they worked for X publisher once…they’re a shill’
            Gullible reader: ‘OMG that bastard!!’ *gets pitchfork*
            Skeptic: ‘hold up but they marked that publishers last game a 6/10. It was one of the lowest scores the game received..surely if they were a shill they’d have given it a 9/10 or a 10/10 no?’
            Fanatic ‘No, you’re just not seeing the truth…..’ *heads to next site to post revelations*

  20. Fred S. says:

    This whole shaming and shunning business can only end when the last two people shun each other because they don’t agree on which shoes go with which pants.

  21. Michael Fogg says:

    Psygnosis covers were splendid, but I suspect some of them were just licensed or downright pirated images from pulp covers or other similar sources – one of the pics in that gallery (the petrified dinosaur) was used as a sleeve by 70s rock group Blue Oyster Cult.

  22. food says:

    Thanks for linking a decent kotaku and gama article.

    Reading about massive shitlords, then watching smaller, denser shitlords rush to defend them is better than the Sunday Funnies. I will always miss Gary Larson, but this will suffice in it’s place.

  23. Ooops says:

    I’m smelling witch hunt. So, “all women have vaginas”… What is wrong with that sentence? I know some people are born with the wrong sex. I sympathize and I’m fully aware of the cross they have to bear, both within society and because of the long medical road ahead. It is my understanding that in order to solve this problem, three phases are necessary
    1) psychological counselling (mainly to make sure that the patient is indeed transgender and is not suffering from a psychological problem that would make him/her thing he/she is transgender when in fact he/she is not (I’m using he/she because I know transgender is something that occurs for both sexes, not because I’m assigning to genders to an individual)
    2) hormonal therapy
    3) genitalia operation.

    So, women in general have vaginas, and the unfortunate few who don’t will have one, provided they have access to the above-mentioned treatment. Part of their identity is still linked to (the desire of) a vagina. I also know some transgenders will not desire going so far as the third phase, but here we are talking about a minority within a minority (as far as I know).

    Anyway, aside from the above-mentioned standpoint, could we also consider ignorance before we cry “wolf” or, more accurately “transphobia”? Speaking of ignorance, it speaks millions that Chrome’s spelling corrector is right now underlining in red every occurence of transphobia and transgender as I type!

  24. There says:

    I’ve just registered to tell you how much I appreciate your articles but also your stances on social issues in the gaming industry. These matters to me and my gamer and non-gamer friends, men or women, cis or trans, gay or straight or everything in between these book-end labels, and it’s good to see you and other writers discussing it. I never comment because just scrolling through what’s up there is often both disheartening and infuriating –I can’t imagine what *you* feel like– but I’m part of what I hope is a silent majority and felt it was time to speak up too even if I feel really silly doing it. Thank you. What you’re doing and saying is important.

    • lewismistreated says:

      Hear hear.Please do keep it up, in spite (and indeed, because) of the wailing.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      Best comment on this subject in this particular post. Thanks!

    • MarcP says:

      Sometimes I wonder about this elusive silent majority. Surely it can’t be people agreeing with RPS values, seeing as comment threads in any social justice blog post have about a half-half split between circlejerking and taking turns shitting on the one guy per specific comment thread who dares express a different opinion.

      Taking your post at face value, just about the only explanation I could find would be a silent majority that shares RPS values but strongly disagrees with the hateful aggression coming from the typical RPS commenter (who is also pro-RPS). Which is kind of a fun assumption to make because, of course, those guys are always looking for validation and are eager to immediately reply to posts like yours with a “preach on, brother” or similar thoughts.

      • Eddy9000 says:

        Jim has said that only 1-2% of RPS readers post comments, I would kind of assume that the majority of these agree with RPS’s tradition of treating games as a mature medium having social impact and raising awareness of areas in which games marginalise groups of people, y’know, because they keep reading RPS. Also I would also like to agree with the original commenter because he has made a statement that reflects my own views, how would you recommend I do this in a way that you could find authentic and not ‘circlejerking’?

        • ffordesoon says:

          Well, suddenly decide that your views are wrong, of course. If you did that, you would win the respect of an arrogant internet stranger. Because betraying your ideals for the sake of looking cool in front of someone you don’t know who talks as if he is an authority on a thing is in no way circlejerking. Circlejerking would be expressing your honest opinion.

          Obviously.

        • Zakski says:

          I read most if not all RPS all comments and I by and large agree with their policy despite rarely voicing my own opinion. This whole PA problem has left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth because as always on the Internet there are a lot of emotional arguments being made and anger thrown about. Definitions and word usage are agreed upon by weight of numbers or social consensus and can drift in time. For instance all those lamentable Americans trying to use the combination of letters “LEGOS” or that hill once probably defined only one elevated piece of land rather than being a type of land that it is now. I guess what I am trying to say is that taken on their own, to most people women and men are two clear concrete sets. To try to introduce fuzzy notions that this is not the case through force on the Internet is stupidity at its finest. To throw about statements about people dying in russia and asking why I don’t care I would like to point out that caring about something is very different from being willing or able to act upon it. And finally attacking someone on the Internet because they attacked you because of some perceived slight would not be news if the person was some 8-bit lightweight rather than a multi gb personality and would not have ended with an apology and a charity donation.

        • Kadayi says:

          I’m not sure what’s more troubling, the presumption of an echo chamber or the presumption that there’s a shared perspective.

      • Lanfranc says:

        I for one think the “RPS policy” is basically correct, but frequently very awkwardly expressed. And I would wish they’d try more to separate their editorial material from their news (i.e. “journalism”).

        • There says:

          Well, I come here because I want real people with character, values, personal tastes, opinions, bias. I want writers who make connections, scratch beyond the surface and don’t always go easy on their readers. I want people who explain, detail, argue when they feel it’s necessary but won’t when they feel there’s nothing to explain because this is not up to interpretation or there’s nothing to justify. I want people who contradict themselves. I want people who think and make me think, in addition to make me want to play or not play games. I want people I agree or disagree with. That *is* journalism for me and thank god it still exists and this is why I think RPS is very good. It’s not just ‘news’ or articles and reviews masquerading as ‘just’ news.

  25. Zorn says:

    I miss Destruction Derby so much. I miss Psygnosis so much. I got goosebumps everytime their intro played in a game. So many time has passed in their games when visiting a severely ill friend, that made it back from the brink of death in his early teens. This is one of the good memories from the time, playing together, laughing, the brighter days.

  26. elderman says:

    I’ve read ideas similar to the ones in the Eurogamer Systems vs Stories article before. I think Jonathan Blow has articulated similar things in some of his talks, for example. The conclusion Dan Whitehead reaches in his piece disappoints me, though. I would prefer he think harder about why this argument matters.

    The interest in computer games isn’t that they’re a ‘new creative medium’ or ‘story generators’. I don’t play games because the medium is new just like I don’t read because the medium is centuries old; and people are so creative we make stories out of everything — we don’t need games for that.

    Games have helped me become a better, more iterative problem-solver, they’ve helped me make friends, and they’ve given me a motive to learn more about computers and also to communicate more online, to name a few of the positive roles games have played in my life. Without being sure of anything, I have an instinct that what’s unique about computer games to me is how they’re tied to computers and engineering. I’ve learned engineering thought patterns and made digital technology my friend. I think maybe at their best games help us think about the role of machines and of science in our lives.

    I think this idea of what’s best in computer games is story-vs-systems agnostic.

    That may be a load of crap, though I think I believe it, but anyway to be convincing to me, the argument about what makes a good computer game has to think a little harder about both personal experience and societal impact.

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      “People are so creative we make stories out of everything — we don’t need games for that.”

      This is an interesting point, but to me it means the opposite: people need to tell stories all the time, at every available opportunity. It’s not optional. Therefore it’s kind of repressive to want gamemakers to leave off storytelling.

      There’s certainly room for systems-focused approaches too, but storytelling is so integral to the human experience that the medium would be incomplete without it. Oh, and also even shit stories are important. We mustn’t forget that.

      In fact, I’d say that a shit story told enthusiastically by a fool by a fireside on the solstice is more effective than a good story mumbled by a professor. I guess that’s another debate though.

      • elderman says:

        I like that perspective, too: stories are everywhere, so of course stories are in games.

        I don’t think it clarifies Dan Whitehead’s dichotomy, though (which to be fair is one I’ve heard successful game designers use). He values story telling, too, and he prefers those amateur fireside stories and wants games that make players into that enthusiastic fool. (Hmm, did you by any chance celebrate a pagan festival this weekend, LennyLeonardo?)

        He’s really writing against games taking inspiration from the story-telling approach of cinema… but here’s a thing: he values games that encourage the player to fill in their own story. (I like the way the roguelike Crawl does this and am also liking Portal for this reason, too) Similarly, the way I understand it (never been a film student), the art of editing a movie is the heart of the cinematic creative process, and it’s about juxtaposing images to encourage the viewer to fill in implied narrative.

        I think the game Storyteller plays with the similarity of these two ideas, putting the player into the role of the editor, with the gameplay mechanic being to compose and juxtapose images to create an implied narrative.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          Oh yeah, that’s really interesting. I guess it’s true that when a developer obeys their impulse to tell a story while making the game, they could be denying the player their impulse to tell a story while playing it. Goodness-blimey it’s a fascinating debate (sometimes).

          And no, unfortunately I didn’t do any paganning this weekend, but when I write stories I do aspire to be that fireside fool, and not the mumbling professor. Not sure how well I do, but nevs.

        • cunningmunki says:

          I agree, Dan’s point is that too many games have become more like interactive films, and less like games, in an attempt to tell compelling and believable stories. The problem is that these studios seem to forget that Films and TV series tell stories to a passive viewer, and playing games is not a passive experience. So, in a vain attempt to marry the two techniques, they just stick in long cutscenes, or turn cutscenes into QTEs to try and keep up the pretence that you’re still playing the game.

          And it’s a real shame when you find this approach in games which just don’t need it, because they’ve already found effective ways to tell good stories through actually playing the game. The new Tomb Raider and latest Far Cry spring to mind as recent examples where cutscenes and QTEs are forced into the game, purely as a storytelling mechanic, when both games already employ existing, time-tested, methods of effective storytelling via exploration. The result is that, for varying lengths of time, the player becomes a passive observer of the story, and is jolted out of the game. Both have excellent games systems, and both have an exploration mechanic, but shoehorning in the cutscenes (a little more seamlessly, in Tomb Raider’s case, admittedly) has spoiled both games for me, and I don’t think I’ll ever finish either because I’m sick of having my control taken away from me.

          It’s incredible to think that it’s been 15 years since Half-Life proved that scripted sequences could be included into an action game without taking control away from the player, whilst still telling a compelling story. Yet developers are still using cinematic cut-scenes and childish QTEs.

          • elderman says:

            Could this possibly be an issue of games designed for console vs games designed for the PC? I don’t play any recent AAA games, so I just don’t know what they’re like, but aren’t Tomb Raider and Far Cry designed to play on the console with a controller. Maybe there’s something different, more passive, or more social, about that experience?

            I don’t mind narrative-focused games, I mostly play systems-focused games, and I don’t make games (much) myself, so this only seems interesting to me as a way of thinking in the abstract about what’s best in the form. Cinematic games pose no problem and no attraction for me.

    • Kadayi says:

      Terrible article is terrible. There’s an ongoing discussion about it in the RPS forums, which is worth a visit.

  27. Fred S. says:

    Maybe some wiki designer could do the world a service by creating a site where representatives of identity groups could post information about their preferred linguistic constructions and euphemisms for whatever it is that they consider themselves to be. The resulting wiki wars would be a source of endless entertainment as well.

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