The Very Best Of RPS 2012: Campaigns

At RPS our knickers are almost permanently in a twist. And that’s because we operate in an industry that’s worryingly busy with pantie-bunching nonsense. We’re also not the sort of site that likes to stay quiet about such things, and whole-heartedly believes that by making a fuss you can make a difference. Sometimes we have, sometimes we haven’t, but we’ve tended to have an opinion either way.

(I’m feeling somewhat self-conscious about this one, as this is John writing here, and this tends to be my department. So putting a bunch of my posts and calling them the “very best” seems a little gauche. However, at the same time, this is the work that I look back on and feel most proud of, so I’ll indulge myself. And Nathan gets in on the action too, so I’m not alone. I’m also very conscious that I’ll have forgotten a bunch of articles that should be in here, most likely ones by others too, since we don’t have a universal tag for such things. Trying to remember what we got cross about over the last 12 months, and then find the relevant post from the 4,071 articles we’ve posted this year, gets a bit tricky. So please do leave suggestions in the comments.)

Thought: Do We Own Our Steam Games?

It’s long been a frustration of John’s that we all operate under the pretense that we own the media we buy. With disclaimers on everything from books to music, games to movies, explaining that we’re at best paying to borrow the content for a bit, with no rights over it, ownership appears to be delusion. This becomes all too apparent when our lack of rights is demonstrated to us, as happened to reader Gimperial when his entire Steam collection was wiped, and he was not told why. When we tried to ask Valve why we were ignored, but mysteriously the next day his account was restored. So John spoke to gaming lawyer Jas Purewal to ask what the law says about all this, and inevitably the answer is unclear.

Ubisoft Asking DRM Questions – Here Are Some Answers

It’s not really possible to discern how much of our ranting and raging played a part in Ubisoft’s impressive change of heart about DRM this year. But as the most vociferous and incessant campaigners, RPS allows itself to believe it at least made some difference to the debate. 2012 was the year Ubi’s attitude finally began to change, although it didn’t start well. Anno 2070’s DRM was ghastly, but somehow an Ubi spokesperson claimed it was working as intended. Two days later this was contradicted, but it seemed like it was going to be another year of the same old. Come February things were still pretty bad, with the always-on DRM meaning a bunch of their games simply wouldn’t be playable for a few days as they changed servers. A server migration that ended up taking out games they hadn’t even warned it would. The farce was reaching a peak, but the internal machinations of Ubi meant that we still couldn’t get close to talking to someone responsible about the mess.

Come March, something changed. Ubi’s digital boss Chris Early told Eurogamer he’d “like to see the need for DRM to go away”. The need, of course, not the DRM. But it was a crack in a window. Frustrated that we still couldn’t speak to Ubi ourselves, John wrote what boiled down to an open letter to the publisher, explaining why DRM was hurting them, hurting sales, and hurting customers, and that simply honouring customers rather than treating them like potential criminals might be the way forward.

It was six months later that the message seemed to get through. Speaking exclusively to RPS, Ubi’s worldwide director for online, Stephanie Perotti, came to RPS offering to explain their plans to scrap their always-on DRM altogether. While John certainly didn’t get them an easy time, it really does seem to have marked a real turn-around for Ubisoft, and while they still manage to find ways to arse up the online portions of their big titles, the single-player versions are always there to play. And that’s fantastic.

Teachers Blame Violent Games For, Um, Everything

One way you can be sure to get RPS worked up is to announce that games are damaging people in some way, and then provide no evidence for the claim. Back in April 2012, it was a body of UK teachers who made some outrageously inaccurate claims, supported by evidence they, er, hadn’t yet started collecting. Using only anecdotal claims, and not even attempting to demonstrate their representing a trend, this was apparently enough to attempt to scare teachers and parents into believing games were causing their children to become axe murderers. As is ever the case, and as is stated in John’s article dissecting the madly veering claims in the speech, “RPS is extremely concerned about any possible negative effect of violent gaming on children.” We really are. Especially when they’re then also blamed for “Obesity, social exclusion, loneliness, physical fitness, sedentary solitary lives,” all without a scrap of evidence. And when it’s teachers’ unions behaving in such a poorly educated and ignorant way, we get very upset. Because as this piece says, “By dumping everything on gaming, the real reasons a child may be lonely, excluded, or unwell goes unrecognised, and that child goes unhelped.”

Why The Problem With Diablo Isn’t Diablo

The other big DRM story of 2012 was Diablo III. As was so obviously predictable, forcing the single-player version of the game to require a permanent online connection was always going to lead to misery for players. And of course it did, with the servers barely functional for the first couple of weeks, and then an ongoing issue in the months after. An interesting concern about this, however, is what happens once such issues are fixed. Nathan argued that we must never forget, and never forgive, such egregious stupidity, because to do so is to accept defeat in the fight against such practices.

Tropes Vs. Women In Video Games Vs. The Internet

June this year was one of the ugliest times for the gaming community we’ve seen. After March’s ghastly display of hate toward a woman who worked for BioWare, it was hard to imagine how it could get more disgusting. But the response to Anita Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter project to create a series of videos exploring the tropes of the representation of women in games topped everything. John wrote about the horror that was occurring, and argued against the stupidest and laziest responses the campaign was receiving. And most of all, to ask the gaming community to stop pretending this behaviour is from a small few on some forum elsewhere, and thus renouncing ourselves from responsibility, but instead to own this, to accept it has infected our world, and to fight it.

How The Daily Mail Uses Tragedy To Spread Gaming Fear

Another RPS anger-trigger is the means by which the mainstream press so frequently attempt to take a tragedy and use it to sell papers by spreading fear. And when this crosses our boundaries, we’re damn well going to say something about it. Despicable papers like the Daily Mail repeatedly take brutal, horrendous tragedy and lie about the involvement of computer games. And we don’t get angry because of our pwecious gwames, we get angry because they’re manipulating the deaths of children to sell their paper, and they’ve picked an angle that means it’s in our remit to scream about it. This happened in September this year when so very sadly a 14 year old killed himself, and the Mail contorted the story past breaking point to imply that readers’ children who played games were likely to follow him.

#1ReasonWhy We Are All Responsible

After a year that was peppered with quite repulsively sexist and misogynistic arguments, a social dam burst and in November Twitter became filled with the hashtag #1ReasonWhy. It was focused on why there aren’t more women in the games industry, but quickly blossomed to be a place for people to vent their experiences of sexism and misogyny in both the industry and in experiencing the industry. Nathan’s response to this was a beautiful piece, primarily speaking to male readers, arguing why this wasn’t someone else’s argument, someone else’s problem, but everyone’s.

Hijinks! Square Enix Say: Threaten ‘Hits’ On Your Friends!

This one went fast. From receiving an astonishing press release, to seeing the entire campaign scrapped, only about three hours passed. Square, who had already courted controversy by their moronic Hitman nuns trailer, managed to undo all good will they’d earned this year by possibly the most immediately obviously stupid advertising campaign we’ve ever seen. A Hitman Facebook promotion that allowed you to threaten to murder you friends was an idea so outstandingly stupid that it’s impossible to understand how it ever left a boardroom. But to do this with the ability to attach spiteful, bullying reasons for the threat, such as their “small tits” or “tiny penis”, beggared all belief. Having to read the press release three times before he could believe it really said what it said, John then ran the Facebook app and saw it really was what it said, and then found the bullying terms within. Posting about this on the site saw a huge international response, with just about every gaming site on the internet linking to the story, forcing Square into rapid action. The campaign was scrapped, the website pulled, and presumably a vast amount of money wasted by a publisher struggling to stay afloat. An ugly affair for everyone.

Why Aren’t We Discussing Videogame Violence?

As mentioned above, a repeated refrain in all our violence coverage is that we want to know of its dangers more than anyone else. We have no desire to defend games against evidenced negatives, and constantly seek to learn about potential concerns. Nathan took this notion to the next level, as he began the conversation about whether we have personal experience of effects of playing violent games – whether we should be having that conversation amongst ourselves. In a balanced, level-headed piece this holiday, he asked those questions, and the response has been quite bewildering. So much fear, anger, hate and derision in response to being asked to talk about something – it couldn’t really reveal the need for the discussion more clearly, and it’s one that will carry over into 2013.


  1. thepaleking says:

    2012: The Year of Easy Targets.

    • sinister agent says:

      The fact that the incredibly vocal all-purpose fuckwit contingent of the videogame audience has finally become an easy target is well worthy of celebration. I’ve been waiting for this time for most of my life.

    • Freddybear says:

      One might hope that they’ve got it out of their system. But no doubt the next whine from the Perpetually Offended Class will spawn yet another longwinded rant about why we aren’t discussing the thing that everybody’s just really really tired of hearing about. We just want to get back to ogling the latest example of boob physics while blasting bad guys to goo.

      • Meat Circus says:

        Standard rule of political messaging: it’s when people start complaining about it that you know the message is getting through.

        2012 seems like it was a major turning point for gamer perception of fuckwittery and bigotry in their midst.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          The increasingly vocal pushback against RPS’ articles has been fascinating to watch, especially since so many try to frame the debate (be it drm, sexism, violence) as unnecessary. Unnecessary because the authors have a hidden agenda, or the issue doesn’t affect the life of the average gamer or any of a dozen other reasons. RPS’ commenters and gaming at large don’t care so hard that they have to tell the whole world about it.

          • Freddybear says:

            Well if we weren’t being accused of being rapists for enjoying a bit of eye candy in the games we play we wouldn’t push back against it, would we?

          • The Random One says:

            So if you’re accused of being complicit of rape culture because you support things with a tenuous connection to it it’s unfair, but when people who are constantly opressed by it point out that a multitude of things with tenuous connections collectively hinder efforts to destroy it they are making an issue where there isn’t none.

            How about instead you think about why people who don’t share your worldview might make that connection?

          • Snargelfargen says:

            @Freddybear That’s pretty out there dude.You do realize it is possible to look at something critically, and discuss it’s flaws while still enjoying it? Step back, and look at the issue from somebody else’s point of view.

            If you take criticism of a hobby you enjoy as a personal attack, instead of an opportunity to learn more about that hobby (and other people) you are going to spend way too much time and energy making angry internet comments.

          • Prime says:

            Well if we weren’t being accused of being rapists for enjoying a bit of eye candy in the games we play we wouldn’t push back against it, would we?

            Oh, please. Spare us. Used to be we could have intelligent debate ’round these here parts without morons employing grotesque over-simplifications as some kind of hysterical defence against reason.

          • LeonardNimoysHead says:

            The amount of strawmen arguments people are using in replies against you shows how unprepared much of this opposition is to counter these arguments, and how little they have to go on besides an appeal that only the majority matters (however they choose to define it). Unfortunately, for major headway in these sorts of things, you usually have to wait for people to start dying and let the new paradigm refill the ranks. That’s worrying, since most of these arrogant shits are in their 20s and 30s.

          • Jenks says:

            You could be replying to someone on either side of the argument.

          • b546537 says:

            My perception is it was about the only game a few of them actually all played to some degree tbh.

        • aepervius says:

          was that “rule” studied and demonstrated with hard science ? because in my experience this is not true, people first initially complain a bit, then ignore the message until it becomes too obnoxious, at which point they complain permanentely or leaves the activity (on the net it tends to be the first) ETA and then changfes comes with generation replacement and old guard dying out, NOT with the discussion.

          • kdh says:

            was that “rule” studied and demonstrated with hard science?

            Is any sociological rule demonstrable with hard science?

      • HVO-Jetfire says:

        “We just want to get back to ogling the latest example of boob physics while blasting bad guys to goo.”

        Then go ahead and do that, and please leave those who want to talk about where else games can go in peace. It’s not about banning sexy ladies and headshots, it’s about exploring where else videogames can go, and eliminating the vicious harassment of those who want to do it.

        • Freddybear says:

          Well then, go ahead. Talk about where games can go. Don’t call us rapists because we download nude skins for Titan Quest or compare us to Ted Bundy because we enjoy blasting Sectoids into goo.

          • Meat Circus says:

            You download nudie skins for Titan Quest you should expect to be judged.

            I’m doing it right now.

          • HVO-Jetfire says:

            No one (with any sense, anyway) is calling you a rapist for downloading a nude skin – although personally it seems kind of odd. Please don’t make this a spiral into reductio ad absurdum. The same week an Indian girl died after being gang-raped and thrown off a bus isn’t the time to use that word flippantly.

            *really you shouldn’t ever use ‘rape’ flippantly, but it might be in especially poor taste now.

          • LeonardNimoysHead says:

            It doesn’t matter what the hell we do. You’re going to interject into our discussion and attack strawman arguments that nobody but yourself is saying because you feel that you have a worthwhile opinion: that only the majority matters — only *your conception* of what the majority is matters..

          • distrocto says:

            I believe that was over two weeks ago, if you want to look at numbers there’s also ~150 thousand people who die every day (22 thousand of which are children), 2300 people who go missing every day in the US alone, over 40 people are stabbed in Great Britain every day. As you get older you hopefully learn to not be personally affected and emotional about every one of those. A lot of people constrain themselves to the cases the local media in general chooses to make some money off of and sensationalize so they can have their few moments of consternation and then move on.

            For that matter, I’m curious if the people who did that played video games and got inspired by them to do it, that’s probably what was behind the attack and sudden outburst of violence.

          • lurkalisk says:

            HVO-Jetfire, You already went directly into reductio ad absurdum. After all, it’s a rare occasion I see someone viciously harassed for wanting to see where games go. Also, every time is the time to use any word flippantly, if one is so inclined, elsewise we wouldn’t use them (in case you weren’t aware, rape occurs many times a day, and often in utterly horrifying circumstances).

            I’m on your side of this thing, really, but I’m embarrassed to say so, the way you argue it.

        • Kadayi says:


          Isn’t half the problem though that RPS articles are all big on the condemnation, but kind of lacking when it actually comes to discussing the actual possibility space of the medium?

          Instead were treated to endless rounds of windmill tilting by a site that deliberately choose to eschew any real ability to impact industry change, namely by putting a score on things and getting themselves listed on metacritic Vs preaching to the choir with every ‘this is terrible/outrageous/stampy feet’ article. It’s not a case of needing to change players perceptions, it’s a case of needed to change publisher & developer perceptions, and that’s only going to occur when you engage with direct feedback that impacts things like metacritic and has a bearing on broader perception beyond the confines of the sites readership.

      • Taidan says:

        Introspection is always good. If starts to turn to censorship, that’s when we start the fight.

    • Jennifer says:

      the first time I contacted prophetharry I was doubting not knowing that he was my last solution, I was for more than 15 years fooled by other traditional healers that they would cast the love spells for me to bring back my lover but all was to no success, until when I was told about by a friend of mine that he is a spell doctor of wonders then I had to contact him, and after 3 days my lover returned home to reconcile with me, we are back now I’m so happy.
      Jennifer, Greece

  2. Axyl says:

    No love for the (much needed) No Oceans campaign? Still.. LOVED RPS this last year. Here’s to an equally-if-not-better 2013! :D

    • Unaco says:

      No #NoOceans?! Sacrebleu! Also missing ‘Stop/Start It’.

    • rapchee says:

      yeah i’m disappointed too that there was no follow-up for that

      • jezcentral says:

        I think that “No oceans”, like “Why the **** are Steam not selling certain games in the UK when they are in the shops” came from the previous year.

        EDIT: Not that they aren’t still important or have been resolved.

        • Axyl says:

          I’m pretty sure there was another drive for No Oceans this year. Around the time of Dishonoured’s release if memory serves. :)

  3. killias2 says:

    “One way you can be sure to get RPS worked up is to announce that games are damaging people in some way, and then provide no evidence for the claim.”

    Unless you want to write a moralizing, contentless editorial on the same subject.. then it’s just thought-provoking, right?


    • Tasloi says:

      2012, the rise of socially conscious trolling as I saw someone else phrase it.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        2012, the year ‘trolling’ became so meaningless an accusation that it bordered on complimentary.

        • The Random One says:

          2012, the year where people accused of being trolls for having different opinions (for better or for worse) eventually outnumbered actual trolls that pretend to have controversial opinions to make people angry.

          Can’t say if that’s a good thing or not.

          • sinister agent says:

            2012, the year where I posted this comment and wondered if there’s any bombay mix left downstairs.

          • Tasloi says:

            I believe the quote had more to do with everything surrounding said different opinion. Knowingly throwing around contradictions, hypocrisy, hyperbole, simplistic binaries, etc. That’s pretty much been a rule rather than an exception in the “debates” i’ve followed this year. So yes, I think it’s an apt description.

          • Kadayi says:

            Let’s not forget the innumerable ‘shill’ commentary when someone doesn’t subscribe to the present torch and pitchforks group think

        • I Got Pineapples says:

          Now to, be fair, randomnly accusing people of misogyny (Or homophobia or racism or what have you. Just don’t use Cis. It doesn’t work if people have to look it up) on grounds that sound vaguely plausible is the best form trolling ever.

          It positions you as the good guy, let’s you claim your trolling target is even more misogynist if they say they’re not and sometimes you can actually get people to come and join in who don’t realise you’re trolling.

          Of course, you wouldn’t know that would you.


      • Delusibeta says:

        I blame Something Awful. It seems that’s what goons seems to have started specialising in, from my completely outside perspective because I ain’t paying ten bucks for a forum account.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          eh, having been an SA member for quite a while, a lot of it has to do with politically incorrect jokes simply getting old and unfunny.

          SA’s average member is older now than they were 10 years ago, and they’ve been around for a while. Most of the people still making overtly offensive jokes just aren’t that funny and unfortunately have ignorant or hateful beliefs to back it up. Dumb jokes are a lot less funny coming from people who actually take them seriously.

          All that said, mocking some of the crazier social justice people has been fair game lately.

      • I Got Pineapples says:


        2012 is the year I became alientated from causes I believe in, causes I actually gave up a few years of my life to support, simply because the people on my side had become so smug and obnoxious about it.

        We’ve started to get the social justice version of the neck beardy be-fedora’d libertarian atheist redditor as the dominant form of debate on the internet and they are no less fucking awful when I agree with them and with the added cavet we’re not allowed to lay the boot into them without being seen as against what they’re advocating.

        2012 was the year doing the right thing became the province of the awful.

        • SubparFiddle says:

          Analysis of your meta-analysis has led me to my final meta-meta-analysis that we’re all the same person, forever trapped in a loop struggling for some sense of enlightenment. Your post is as much about self-image as the people you describe. And of course I’ve now entered into this strange loop; blasted! I can already feel the neck beard coming in! :(

          • I Got Pineapples says:


            It’s pretty much about self-image.

            It’s the same reason I call myself an agnostic rather than an atheist, despite being an atheist.

            Because being an atheist lumps me in with ‘those people’.

            So when ‘those people’ decided they were going to reeeeeaallly care about gender issues and racism and so on in the delightful way ‘those people…actually, let’s just call them wankers tend to care about those things….

            It’s a bit of a blow to the old ego. It leads to self-analsysis: Am I that awful? Was I ever that convinced there was some special progressive of the year award I was going to win? When I thought I was trying to engage in thougthful debate, was I mostly just yelling at people and trying to stir up a lynch mob?

            I don’t like self-analysis.

            I’m a terrible person in so many other ways, I don’t want to be poking at this.

          • jrodman says:

            Its not that hard. Just disassociate yourself in other ways, not your beliefs.

  4. Meat Circus says:

    And then you picked a game of the year that is a bit racist.


    • The Random One says:

      Congratulations! This years’ GOTY is just a bit racist!

      Alternative response: But it’s SATIRE, man, you just don’t get it

      • Consumatopia says:

        I’m usually in the twisted-panties bunch, but I thought that interview was fairly convincing that the game really was intended as satire from the start. It turned out as deeply flawed, basically pointless satire, but I’m pretty sure that the kind of circular thought processes Yohalem displayed in that interview have been cycling in his head for the entire life of that game’s development process. In other words, he was speaking nonsense, but it was, I believe, sincere nonsense.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          Yeah, I was convinced too. His arguments made sense. It was a good interview too. Very well handled.

          It’s always refreshing to see how RPS treats pure game articles. It’s a shame they are going this editorial path when they are much better at just speaking of the damn games.

    • Rise / Run says:

      Yes, I wonder how many folks were a bit disappointed by that (I’m raising my hand). Especially nicely book-ended with the [also disappointing] interview with the writer. It’s not just SATIRE, it’s ART.

      • Archipelagos says:

        The writer’s responses (excuses) were mind-numbingly awful and veered right into ironic racism.

    • Inglourious Badger says:

      We’re cool with the violence and rape though, right?

    • realitysconcierge says:

      I can say that I feel the same way unfortunately.

    • Archipelagos says:

      I was just about to say the same thing. Not good RPS, not good.

    • Shooop says:


    • Kadayi says:

      My perception is it was about the only game a few of them actually all played to some degree tbh.

  5. Yosharian says:

    I don’t buy some of these, but I respect that you’re trying something a bit more cerebral than the other sites I frequent.

  6. D3xter says:

    Oh RPS, self-congratulating yourself for all the moralising hissy-fits you’ve had during the entire year is just so you.

    Although there were some worthy causes among those that actually had something to do with games.

    • Hoaxfish says:

      I would like to nominate all my own comments for 2012 comments of the year, including this one I just wrote.

    • Herkimer says:

      Things you don’t agree with != “moralizing hissy-fits.”

      • aepervius says:

        i agreed with some if not most of the “fits” but some DID come out as fits.

        • maninahat says:

          I can’t say I have a problem with the occasional fit.

          I think there is too much of an expectation for writers to stay emotionally detached from the subject, especially over issues that should prompt an emotional responses. Also, there is an assumption that being passionate means you can’t form a fair, coherent opinions, even though RPS articles show that to be untrue.

  7. TehK says:

    One of the more important reasons I’m reading RPS! Keep it up for our consumer rights and against misogyny or sexism in gaming, and against DRM and always-online-nonsense.

    Also #nooceans

  8. Ryan Huggins says:

    Both the “Do we own games on Steam” and the article about women and tropes are good reads and important things we should worry/think about it our day and age.

  9. Uthred says:

    The self congratulatory smugness of the piece is wrapped of by this wonderful bit of irony – “Teachers Blame Violent Games For, Um, Everything”, “How The Daily Mail Uses Tragedy To Spread Gaming Fear” -> “Why Aren’t We Discussing Videogame Violence?” Because trying to tie a discussion of how videogame violence affects us (which all valid studies have shown the answer to be “not at all”) into a well publicised tragedy is totally classy and entirely different from the practice you decry in the first two articles.

    It’s interesting to note how as the year progressed the quality of the editorials on RPS dropped until we’ve reached the current point where each new editorial seems to go out of its way to court controversey and the discourse becomes increasingly shrill. There definitely are things that need to be addressed in gaming, but post “Doritosgate” RPS has become increasingly strident while simultaneously becoming decreasingly relevant. Thoughtless pieces like Natahn’s on Violence or John’s poorly framed and thought out deconstruction on racism in Farcry 3 (based on a wildly disingenous and misunderstood use of the noble savage) are almost parodies of earlier better written pieces.

    Hopefully in 2013 we’ll see more gaming articles mixed in with the editorials (the gaming diaries may be hard to do but are infinitely preferable to poorly researched, emotionally maniuplative yellow journalism editorials) and the editorials themselves given a little more thought. Though its much more likely that we’ll see the current shrillness continue and RPS becoming the libreal gaming equivalent to the Sun, or in other words, another Kotaku.

    • thedosbox says:

      There’s a difference betwen asking “Why aren’t we discussing videogame violence” and the use of violence in games to sell tabloid newspapers.

      Anyhow, I’m a little perturbed by use of a woman’s pair of knickers in the picture. Shouldn’t it be a men’s pair? Preferably with stains of dubious origin.

      • Uthred says:

        Yeah, because its not as if the article in any way generated traffic for the site

        • The Random One says:

          Naturally in order to remain neutral all of RPS articles must be screened so that they don’t ever get any clicks

          Stay tuned to Nathan’s upcoming analysis of paragraph lenght in Ulysses, and how it might be tenuously linked to the lack of checkpoints in GTAIV

          Related: link to

          • Uthred says:

            Because clearly the only two choices available are one of two extremes, perhaps you should spare some of your concern for that middle you so gleefully excluded

          • The Random One says:

            The middle between articles that get clicks (and thus are obviously written just to get that sweet ad money) as you mentioned and the articles that don’t get clicks as I mentioned?

            I think it would be very difficult to write an article that gets only half-clicks.

          • Uthred says:

            How delightfully and deliberately obtuse

          • jrodman says:

            There’s a huge gap between tabloids making knowingly inflaming claims (false I may add) in order to sell papers/views, vs a games site legitimately raising a topic for discussion even though it is a contentious one.

            One of these two is disingenuous.

            Your comment was written so as to imply that this is a trait they share. For that you were mocked.

        • sinister agent says:

          If you object to someone else exploiting the death of children to make a quick buck, you’re not allowed to write anything about it in case people read it. Gotcha.

          • Uthred says:

            You can write about it of course, you just probably shouldnt do the same thing.

          • The Random One says:

            By that logic if I say that a guy who thinks governments are wiretapping all of our online communication to deliver that data to our space lizard overlords is absolutely insane, I automatically lose all rights to speak against any sort of online tracking because I’m doing precisely the same as the space lizard guy.

            There are many people who try to connect videogames and violence in a spurious manner to direct public opinion in a way consistent with their own; they are deplorable. That does not mean we should never look for any connection between videogames and violence, it means we should do it right.

          • Uthred says:

            There is no connection between videogames and violence, theres not a single legitimate study that has found a link. What makes you think random games journalists and commenters are somehow more qualified to talk about this than actual experts? This area is rife with controversy and contrary to peoples “common sense” feeling that theres some causal link theres no evidence of said link. Writing an article about it, when the author cant have been ignorant of either of those facts, makes it seem like little more than (extremely successful) click baiting

          • jrodman says:

            Except of course that’s not what the article was about.

            The article was raising the question of why there is so much violence in games. You seem to be straw manning the article.

      • Inglourious Badger says:

        @dosbox – Who’s to say they don’t belong to a man? They presumably belong to a member of the Hivemind. My guess is John

      • Mario Figueiredo says:

        Yeah. There’s a difference. Where there isn’t a difference is in the methods used by both RPS and tabloids to approach the subject.

    • Haplo says:

      Augh. It’s always the fuckin’ same. These topics can’t be discussed at all because the moment you mention violence in games you get the VIOLENCE ISN’T HARMFUL crowd who shut down the entire bloody conversation.

      We get it! Seriously, RPS said in that same bloody article that there are no scientific proofs to link violence to real world crimes. Here’s the thing: that space between headline and comment box- the space with the words- contains something, and you should probably read it.

      Here’s the thing- I know violence won’t turn me into a killer. I know if I load up Dishonored I won’t start stabbing knives through throats or whatever because of it.

      That doesn’t mean any and all questioning of violence in video games is invalid! This doesn’t make it -untouchable-. The fact of the matter is that right now video game content is basically the equivalent of having 95% of movies made be action movies. If that were the case for movies, plenty of people would be wondering what the hell.

      It’s not about making games less violent to turn us into killers or whatever, it’s actually about questioning things that do not go questioned, so instead of calling them hacks I laud RPS for having the courage to ask the forbidden bloody questions.

      • realitysconcierge says:

        Exactly this. Why is it that the majority of video game core mechanics revolve around violence?

      • stiffkittin says:

        Hear, hear. The more you like something the more you should question it and demand improvement. Those who try shutting down these discussions just make gamers as a whole look bad.

        Great point about the statistical breakdown of genres. I’m hopeful the increasing spotlight on independent and experimental titles, along with the resurgent popularity of cheap pc gaming, will help attenuate this unbalance in the coming decade.

      • Chandos says:

        I think the industry is still catering to a crowd of people who have the emotional maturity of a teenager, despite the actual demographics having diverged from that for a long while now. The healthy thing would be for the industry mainstream to evolve in a way where violent and non-violent can co-exist and co-define the industry. While co-existence has been achieved to an extent, it is not at a stage of being able to co-define yet.

        So maybe when people start questioning violence, the audience feel like they are going after that one thing that defines gaming better than anything else and start perceiving the whole argument as an attack on games. Seriously, if you wanted to pick the largest common denominator for all gaming content to date, what safer bet is there other than violence?

        The main benefit of a discussion on the subject is to show content producers that there is a segment of the audience who are ready (starving, in fact) for something other than violence. Thank you, RPS, for representing me and not just the majority.

      • Uthred says:

        “asking the forbidden questions”? Come on

        • Nogo says:

          So you didn’t just make that post about how questioning game violence is only ever click-bait?

          • Uthred says:

            click bait != forbidden questions, self aggrandising bullshit like referring to controversial topics as “forbidden questions” helps nobody

          • Nogo says:

            Was just trying to point out that you’re actively stifling discussion, so ya, you’re forbidding these questions from being asked because you don’t agree they’re relevant or you claim they’re being asked incorrectly.

      • newprince says:

        Yup. That crowd clearly didn’t read the article. Get beyond the unproven link to violence and it becomes much easier to start the introspection. I love video games that happen to be violent, but why do so many happen to be violent? Would I enjoy more video games being made that weren’t violent? I think it’s worth examining, or, as the article did, at least call for the examination.

        • Uthred says:

          Is there really much there to examine though? There’s so many of them because they sell well, market forces are the reason. As to why people enjoy them (and therefore demand them)? I just dont see that being discussed meaningfully in this type of discussion space

          • Pasco says:

            Fucking hell Uthred, ‘invisible hand of the market’, ‘the truth is somewhere in the middle’, go peddle your meaningless liberal pandering somewhere else.

      • jhng says:

        I concur — there are two separate questions.

        The first is scientific and asks what effect games, and violence in games, has on our behaviour. Important, but not something that can usefully be discussed in the absence of quality research.

        The second is critical and sociological and asks why games place enormous dependence on representations of violence and how far this intrinsic to the medium, or an expression of our cultural milieu, or an historical accident. This question can be usefully chewed over by critics and generic Internetman and so it is good to see RPS leading some articles on the theme.

    • DrGhostman says:

      You put that all really well.

      Only about a year ago I thought RPS was the best damn website in video games, hilarious joke pieces mocking the differences between Crysis 1 and Crysis 2 analyzed as if it were toms hardware.

      Now this new direction it has taken amounts to a bunch of tangential posts talking about a flavor of the week sexism/violence/racism rants. I want my ENTERTAINMENT blog back… this other stuff is just downer pedantics.

      Johns response to all the criticism is also similarly childish – “o theres no such thing as objectivity… i’m an emotional creature etc..”

      Looking for a new website now… sob. Done with RPS. bye.

    • Kadayi says:

      Backslapping is in this year.

  10. Rig says:

    I’d love to see an article in response to this – link to

    • Snargelfargen says:

      I think it would be really hard to reply to that article without getting overly personal.

    • subedii says:

      Not sure there’s really much to say about that article that hasn’t really already been said about 100 times over by now.

      Bear in mind, this is just one person’s personal interpretation of his post, and I can’t claim to be an expert on anything here. But since you’re asking for opinions…

      The issue in his case is that he’s always been looking for an escape from reality, he’s been using games as an escape and coping system to avoid real life issues whenever they crop up. He drops out of society and fills his time with games to take his mind off of everything, his situation gets worse. Eventually it gets so bad that he he decides action HAS to be taken. He does so with renewed vigour, his situation starts to improve. And then he either slows down over time or hits another perceived roadblock and retreats back down the same path. Rinse-repeat.

      Even now, having said all this, he still says he’s in that “cycle”. I’ve heard it sometimes referred to as “the pressure cooker”, that situation where you don’t take action outside of your comfort zone unless the situation has gotten really critically. You act and that temporarily relieves the pressure, then you go back to their previous state instead of working towards a necessary and actual solution. And you allow the pressure to build again.

      It’s been said before, but gaming in his situation is a symptom of a much more ingrained issue. And a core indicator of this is that even now he feels that he can’t give it up, even if he believes his situation will improve. You could potentially argue that gaming is simply that addictive, but the more rational assessment is that he does not want to be without his escapism because he can’t cope with the way his real life is now, he has terrible regrets for his past, and he doesn’t really have any hope for the future. Gaming takes his mind away from all of that.

      It’s quite possible that in order to get his life back into some semblance of balance he’d need to stop gaming completely because that’s his means of escaping his problems. But before that, he is in desperate need of counseling in order to address and help him with his underlying issues. He needs advice (yes, likely from a mental health professional, there’s no shame in that), he needs the support of friends, and personally I’d say he needs to get out and do sociable things or other constructive activities more in the outside world.

      Right now fear and depression have him locked down enough that he doesn’t even see the point in trying, and the only way he understands to make that sensation go away is not to address his problems and fight them until he’s won, but to immerse himself in escapism.

  11. Radiant says:

    Something completely absent from this list was Florences cricket bat swing [and the subsequent meltdown]. Did RPS not comment on that?

    • D3xter says:

      Not very much outside of some of their own personal blogs, it presumably had not enough moral outrage potential and too much to do with how the actual gaming industry operates. People might get the wrong idea seeing an article titled “Why Aren’t We Discussing Videogame Violence?” adorned with commercials for ARMA III and DayZ.

      • John Walker says:

        It’s odd that you missed the 1200 words I wrote on it. Especially since you commented on it:

        link to

        • D3xter says:

          Oh I did read that, unfortunately it wasn’t as much of a piece about exploring the issue and introspection as the original was (or the long and rather wonderful rant I linked to) as it was about acknowledging that “there was a thing” almost a week after everyone else picked up on it and mentioning that most of what you state is your own personal opinion and not that of RPS.

          For what it’s worth I appreciate some of the Blog posts till they started to back-pedal somewhat and a lot of the articles about DRM, Steam, No-Oceans (bought Scribblenauts Unlimited, got to wait till February to play) even if I think they aren’t going far enough and asking the right questions. Would possibly even welcome ones about “violent games” or Modern Military Shooters if they aren’t reactionary and don’t come in the wake of a huge wave of “let’s put the blame for on video games”. But most of the other pieces that don’t directly deal with games seem awfully one-sided, agenda-driven and opinionated and are riddled with inaccuracies due to personal bias.

          • John Walker says:

            Opinion Pieces In Opinionated Shocker.

          • D3xter says:

            Even Opinion pieces will do better without misdirection, inaccuracies, appeal to emotion and by acknowledging other viewpoints, making concessions and keeping a calm tone addressing your reader whereas you don’t call anyone “gobshites” or similar for not firmly agreeing with you, otherwise you’ve just got Fox News with a different agenda and viewpoint instead of a place where you can go to gain valuable information and insight on something.

            I don’t know, maybe that’s something you are actually going for and reveling in.

          • Eddy9000 says:

            ^^Perhaps take your own advice when making comments instead of throwing around accusations of dishonesty and agenda whenever your own opinion is challenged.

          • Prime says:

            Well said, Eddy. D3xter’s own bash-RPS agenda couldn’t be any more prominent if it was heralded by flashing neon.

        • Baines says:

          I think, just as I thought at the time, that RPS did drop the ball by not covering the issue at first. And the reasons given for why RPS didn’t cover it didn’t hold up.

          It was, or at least should have been, a major gaming news story. But the game news sites in general don’t seem to like to shine a light to long upon themselves. Maybe once a year someone will say something, whether it is an EGM editorial on compensation or a Gamespot statement on copying images, but then the backlash hits (whether it be other game journalists getting mad at Hsu for bringing up the issue, or readers pointing out that Gamespot had been stealing uncredited images from Japanese sources for years) and the whole industry goes silent again after a week or two. Until the next year, when the next similar scandal briefly hits.

    • Isair says:

      They briefly mentioned it after a few thousand people got mad at them for not mentioning it. I think their reasoning was that the story wasn’t directly related to gaming.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        yep, it was games journalism, marketing, honesty, knee-jerks, a bit of legal threats, but not the actual games.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Still seems a bit silly to me as it’s still about something happening within the gaming industry.

          But hey, it’s a blog, they can ignore whatever they want.

      • Godwhacker says:

        “Briefly mentioned”? That’s your problem? You’re having a go at them because they didn’t write article after article on the subject?

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          Of course. You conveniently ignored the rest of his statement that actually describes the reason. “Briefly mentioned” isn’t the operative thought on that comment, pal.

          Anyways, The Florence Nightingale debacle was directly linked to Eurogamer. What made me personally uncomfortable with the whole thing was that, despite repeated assertions of RPS complete editorial independence, it can easily be constructed as this one piece of news having to wait for a resolution by Eurogamer to finally be posted on RPS.

  12. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    I have nothing against RPS exploring all these issues, but for me the only ones that I concern myself with are the DRM-related ones.

    • sinister agent says:

      It’s been an interesting year for DRM, so this is hardly unreasonable. There mere fact that it still exists when it’s so patently fucking stupid and bad for everyone is interesting enough, really.

      • tobecooper says:

        They’re protecting their preciousssses.
        Though, I think it is getting better. All the hardcore DRM schemes are mostly dead – limited machine activation is rare, always online never really took off. Now, the problem is everyone and their mother want a gaming client which is annoying, but bearable.

      • jhng says:

        “Patently fucking stupid”

        I see what you did there ;-)

  13. Freud says:

    About ownership of games in online stores: Early last year Direct2drive was bought by Gamefly and all accounts moved there. In the move, several of the games I bought were lost and probably will never be available to me (Football manager 2011 is one of them).

    If I was willing to spend a lot of time and effort, it’s possible I could get some compensation but it’s not worth it to me.

    • sinister agent says:

      I find it annoying enough that I can’t even play the games I bought from Directthing now without signing up for gamefly’s shitty wanking club. Well, unless I yet again pirate the games that I’ve paid for, of course. D2D wasn’t great, but it let you download your games and play them without all the fucking about installing pointless bullshit, so it was a damn sight better than gamefly. And it had a name that distinguished itself from the trillion other generic places that just shoved “game” in front of a random word.

  14. dE says:

    If there is one thing I could wish for: Keep the passive aggressive stance out of the articles.
    I always end up sad when an important topic, like those in these articles, get railroaded towards flamewars by the author – simply because the articles tone seemingly had to be passive aggresive, smug and most of all a binary friend/foe point of view. This approach isn’t enlightening people, it’s pushing them towards extremes they don’t belong in. And something of a self fulfilling prophecy.
    Which in my opinion, is why these topics spiral into one huge Blocklist Suggestion – and most of my blocklist entries stem from the comment sections from these articles.

    To clarify:
    By all means, slam these topics into peoples faces. It needs to be talked about. BUT, please don’t make it a binary issue, as extremes are never helpful.

    • Uthred says:

      This is an excellent point, too often the editorials are framed where you cant disagree with the manner in which its been presented or discussed without being slammed for being against the issue at hand. Which is ridiculous.

    • Lambchops says:

      “please don’t make it a binary issue, as extremes are never helpful.”

      Um . . . rarely ever perhaps?

      (sorry, couldn’t resist!)

    • Koozer says:

      Got any examples?

      • Snargelfargen says:

        dE is referring to one specific article by Walker talking about, ironically, the state of the debate about sexism in the gaming community. At one point he talked about his frustration with gobshite apologists for sexism, and invited them to out themselves in the comments, with the caveat that he would ignore anything they said. Hilariously, hundreds of commenters did just that. The comments thread grew to a ridiculous size, and the discussion got really outlandish. Some MRA guys even turned up and started talking about a secret conspiracy of women taking over the world.

        I apologize if I got some details wrong. My memory is a bit fuzzy and I couldn’t find the article in question.

      • elfbarf says:

        How about John’s lovely article where he claimed that you were a “spoilt, privileged gobshite apologist ” if you disagreed with him and the video he posted?

    • Prime says:

      You’re giving a lot of credit to the author’s power to sway his/her readership here, much more than I think is actually present. I seriously doubt that there is any thought given by any node of the RPS hivemind towards presenting an argument/opinion piece in a such a way as to increase the likelihood of flame-wars. Nor do I think it’s an unintended effect.

      My own theory is that over the year RPS has attracted a crowd of people more likely to hold polarised opinions – either genuinely or for their own amusement. Most of us can avoid flaming no matter the argument. Shame it’s not a universal talent.

      • newprince says:

        That’s a bit of an elitist theory. ‘They started letting in the crazies after I showed up’ is a tired internet argument.

        • Prime says:

          I don’t see what’s elitist about that. Is being able to hold a civil conversation now elitist? Is wanting a reduction of vehement idiocy elitist? Fine, then I’m elitist. Also, your version of what I said isn’t quite the same as mine. There were crazies here before I arrived, for instance. But I’m not the only one to have noticed that the quality of commenting has decreased as the years have worn by and the site has become more popular. Less unique ideas, more ego vs ego and lazy meme-trading. Disparage my theory as a tired internet argument if you like but, well, it seems to be what has happened.

          • Delusibeta says:

            Well, it is a tired internet argument. “Comment quality is inversely proportional to a website’s popularity.” It’s practically a law of the internet at this point. Literally every website I’ve ever used where there’s some form of comment section has at least one person moaning that the comments had declined in quality and it was better in the good old days. That said, there probably is a grain of truth in that.

          • Lambchops says:

            “lazy meme trading”


          • Prime says:

            Heh. Actually not what I was picking on, Lambchops. Those kinds of memes do get a little tiresome but they’re essentially harmless.

            No, I use the term to refer to any idea that gets picked up verbatim, usually something apposite they’ve read on another site, and then expressed on another site without any further thinking or development of their own to back it up. If you watch arguments develop you’ll see new memes – arguments/counter-arguments – drop in at certain times, particularly for the big ones that don’t ever really get resolved. I spent a lot of time in the last big sexism debate fighting some particulalry obnoxious repeating memes, being expressed over and over again by random, unconnected individuals, wasting everybody’s time.

    • John Walker says:

      While the pattern you claim simply isn’t the case (ie. I could find plenty of earlier examples of what you mistakenly believe changed late this year), what you’re more significantly misunderstanding is that we care.

      Of course our polemics are going to be emotional, because we’re people with emotions. When I see organised hate against the innocent, or outright lies being spread by media, it makes me very angry. As this is my site, that I co-own, I have the freedom to express my anger as I see fit. We are not – thank God – beholden to some idiotic pretense at “objectivity” at RPS, and when it comes to matters that are just plain gross and wrong, we’ll call them that. People who disagree are of course welcome to politely do so, and we welcome intelligent attempts to change our minds. But we will not shy away from pointing out that which is disgusting because a person might not like it being labelled as such.

      While the more readers we get, the more money we can potentially earn, none of us at RPS finds that a motivation to abandon our principles. We would far rather passionately express what we see as truth and lose readers, than homogenise and dilute our opinion for the sake of appeasing a less savoury audience.

      • Uthred says:

        It seems odd that you feel being objective is always a compromise, unless I’m mis-reading you?

        • John Walker says:

          Being “objective” is simply self-delusion. Aspiring toward its impossible non-existence is what makes so much writing so unutterably tedious.

          • Uthred says:

            Surely theres a suitable middle ground where the author presents both sides of an argument without hamstringing his own opinion? It seems rash to throw out the idea of objectivity entirely because its something that can never be reached

          • newprince says:

            Exactly! No one should claim they’re trying to be objective in an opinion piece: it’s oil and water.

          • John Walker says:

            I’m not sure I can really see a need to present the “other side” of the debate when it comes to being abusive toward others, or lying in the press.

            “Of course, some would argue that threatening to rape women is just a way of expressing one’s self…” Yeah, no.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            An article attempting to faithfully represent both “sides” would be really funny, but I’m scared to think how many people would take it at face value.

          • Uthred says:

            Yes clearly some “sides” dont need representation because all right thinking people should find their viewpoint repugnant. However thats not always the case and you seem to have a blanket dislike of objectivity, not just in cases where one side is unashamedly unredeemable

          • jrodman says:

            Perhaps this is a cultural divide. Historically the British press has not put too much value in the idea of “objective” writing, while some other quarters think it is of paramount importance.

            The United States is an interesting case study. We claim (cultural values) to value objectivity, and cloak our media in a veneer of it, but don’t actually deliver at all. The net result is that it is far more two-faced and useless a medium of idea sharing.

            Unless you can show me some shining examples that don’t fall prey to these problems, I’ll take the “damn objectivity” viewpoint anyday.

      • Chandos says:

        This is a comment on your personal style, John. While I greatly enjoy the content of the site and agree with most of your opinion pieces, I find that your writing style can at times be exceedingly inflammatory and consequently distracting from the points you advocate for. If you really care for the causes you champion, some emotional restraint could go a long way towards serving them better. Just saying.

        • Snargelfargen says:

          While Walker is brutally honest in expressing his opinion, many commenters take his statements rather too personally as well. I think a lot of the debate over issues such as sexism in gaming is coloured by people identifying with their hobbies. When part of one’s indivuality is bound up in an activity or group, it becomes hard to seperate criticism of that thing with criticism of oneself.

          • subedii says:

            I generally agree with both of these posts.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            Yeah, I get that as well. On the other hand, it’s good to see opinion pieces, though.

        • newprince says:

          But why? If he says, “**** sexism,” I honestly believe he wants sexism to go away. Should he temper this to “This whole sexism thing is starting to get on my nerves. I mean, I know some people love it still, and that’s all well and good, but I am personally opposed to it”? Why should he censor his views if they are strong and logically laid out? There’s not always two sides to a story, and sometimes even pointing to the other side is to give a false equivalence where it isn’t deserved. That’s an illusion of objectivity.

          • Chandos says:

            It is less about objectivity and more about engagement. Social change is helped when you manage to engage the people whose opinions you wish to change. Otherwise it’s just preaching to the choir. And the funny thing about engaging people is that it does not go well when they feel insulted right off the bat. I’m not saying he should change his opinions to avoid offending people. But the reality of social interactions, be they face-to-face or in an online forum, is that you have to deal with other people, and you have to work with them if you want to change the way they see the world. I know this goes counter to our contemporary culture of debate where the louder (or more passionate, if you will) person is declared the winner in the public opinion, but at the end of the day we have to ask ourselves what we want to achieve in a debate: a genuine dialogue or a reaffirmation of our own views?

          • John Walker says:

            I think my motivation is often not to change the minds of those who vehemently disagree, but to attempt to embolden the choir to start singing louder at them.

          • Delusibeta says:

            @John Walker: The problem is Rule 19 of the internet: in other words anti-sexists getting louder usually results in the sexists increasing their volume and vice-versa. Look at Anita Sarkeesian’s stuff this year for an example. Pretty much the only reason why her Kickstarter succeeded was because of the noise the sexists made resulted in an equally loud noise (and in this case, pots of money) from the anti-sexists. In return, pretty much any commentary by the anti-sexists attracts a pot of bile from sexists, and round and round we go. Indeed, the residual glow from aforementioned argument is pretty much the only reason why anyone mentions her at any end-of-year lists (that, and grumbling about a lack of any videos being released. Incidentally, I’ll be happy to bet £10 that there will be a bunch of refund requests once the first episode gets released on the grounds of it being sub-par. Basing your analysis of anything by “tropes” is usually a bad idea).

            I suppose in part it’s ye olde Greater Internet Fuckwad Theorem in action, but there’s plenty of Facebook-derived evidence that suggests that “anonymity” isn’t a necessary component for people being fuckwads (although in these cases any relevant employer can find out they’ve employed a fuckwad and can choose to fire aforementioned fuckwad for gross misconduct). However, the problem I suspect is greater than simply “video gamers” or even “users of the internet”. After all, we had a bunch of American politicians this year coming out with stuff like “if it’s legitimate rape, women have ways of shutting [the fetus] down” (and proceeding to all lose their re-election campaigns, thankfully). I wouldn’t be too surprised if you’ll find a UK MP saying similar nonsense. I think that the fact that they got elected in the first place is indicative of a greater, cultural problem.

          • I Got Pineapples says:

            Yeah. That’s kinda my prediction about the Sarkeesian thing.

            I mean, I kicked in a couple of bucks because the response to it was so unpleasent.

            But it’s not going to be very good.

            It’s going to be a series of short videos about sexism in games by a grad student.

            That unironically uses the word tropes.

            I have been exposed to similar things by similar people before.

            And….it’s not going to be good.

            And like those things, I’m going to have to pretend it’s good.

            We all are.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            I really don’t think we should pretend something’s good just because it makes a poor arguement for something we care about. It’s only going to hurt in the long term when a better piece of genuinely convincing work comes along but gets rejected out of hand by those who need it most as “another crazy sexism piece”, based on all the crappy stuff people were pretending to like about the same issue.

            It is however difficult in the short term as you try to tread the turbulent middle ground of “this argument is pretty weak, but that doesn’t actually mean I don’t think sexism is a problem”. Some people take a lot of explaining to understand that simple premise, and some never do seem to.

          • Chandos says:

            “I think my motivation is often not to change the minds of those who vehemently disagree, but to attempt to embolden the choir to start singing louder at them.”

            This is where I do not agree with your methods (which kinda remind me of Richard Dawkins and his militant/fundamentalist atheism arguments). While the polarization of an audience might gain you some ground early on with the easily influenced, the ambivalent or the undecided, it unfortunately also calcifies the problem on the opposite side of the spectrum, making people get entrenched deeper in their beliefs. I much prefer the dialogue seeking RPS, but I’m just a reader, and not the owner.

      • mcol says:

        I find it odd that you find objectivity so much of an issue, isn’t that a central tenet of journalism? ok granted something of an optimistic central tenet these days.
        My point is though I am a great believer in proper old fashioned journalism whereby it is possible to lead the audience through carefully researched difficult controversial subjects without trying to suggest the reader adopts a certain viewpoint. That is quite different from a separate opinion piece.
        You seem unable to make that distinction, and seem so angry about it as well, which is seriously off putting for me as a single reader.

        Stuff like this: “We do not have a freedom of speech policy here. If we find your post offensive, or just don’t like it, it may get deleted. Complaining about it won’t change anything.” sum sit up nicely really. It suggests quite aggressively that only certain opinions are welcome because as you say, it’s MY site.
        You have no interest in challenging those different views, you only wish to censor and indoctrinate with your own view as an almost moral authority. Those with different views are openly challenged to change your mind, but are often dismissed with no actual engagement at all.

        I take all these subjects mentioned seriously, as so many others, I just like to be informed by good objective journalism so I can further draw my own opinions.

        I like it here, I come just for the gaming news though (call me old fashioned), I wish you continued success for 2013 I genuinely mean that, but in all honesty I do find these self congratulatory topics a major turn off. I guess I don’t have the stomach for it. I won’t be marching behind the red flag of RPS any time soon, but I’m very grateful that the site exists.

        That’s just my view, I hope I’ve been able to explain it politely enough for you.

        • John Walker says:

          Your assumption that we consider differing opinions as offensive enough to be deleted is pretty damned offensive, funnily enough.

          That’s obviously not what we’re suggesting, and clearly disagreeing voices are given space, as is clear from any comments thread you choose to read. What we will not tolerate is racist, homophobic or sexist bilge being posted instead of informed or even ill-informed opinion. We will not play host to vile hatred, so we delete it. For example: Someone capable of explaining why they might hate women/gay people/other races without resorting to insults and grotesque language would be left on the site.

        • subedii says:

          Well all those effectively are editorials. They are opinion pieces.

          Although to be honest (and as an aside), the idea of “objective journalism” in general is something that while it’s often best to spire to when doing pure reporting, is in no way possible. “Old fashioned” journalism or not, bias has been a part of reporting as long as journalism has existed, right down to the choice of what stories are and are not covered. And with many it’s not effectively possible to do a decent job of reporting information without making presumptions about the audience that will be receiving it and their background / background knowledge.

        • newprince says:

          You have rose-tinted glasses about good old journalism, my friend. What was ‘the other side’ in the Watergate scandal? Good journalism investigates, challenges assumptions, and highlights and elucidates (or at least sets the reader upon the path of ) truth. Truth doesn’t always have two sides. Sometimes it is loud, definitive, and only one conclusion can be drawn.

          Furthermore, opinion pieces are by their very nature subjective. The author can and should take his/her time to logically back up his/her assertions, but the notion that they have to maintain some imaginary objective standard or restrain their tone is ludicrous.

          Also, RPS’ policy on comments is the same on the entire internet. You do not have freedom of speech because you are not in the public square, you are on someone else’s site. If it’s your site and you wish not to moderate comments, well… good luck with that.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        “People who disagree are of course welcome to politely do so”

        Quod licet Iovi, non licet bovi.

        • Mario Figueiredo says:

          I had to go look. Was unfamiliar with it. But it’s indeed a good summary. The presence of double-standards is notorious on these opinion-making editorials of RPS. Unless by “politely” John includes the possibility of any of us calling him gobshit.

      • dE says:

        Odd way of putting words in my mouth. I won’t bother correcting that (except one), as everyone interested enough can just happily scroll up and read what I really said. The one I want to correct, as it might have been merely misread by you: I have not asked of you or the staff that you dilute your opinion. In fact, I want you to have strong opinions about this. My point is a different one, best summed up by the saying: We reap what we sow. You plant conflict, you will get conflict.

        Thank you for the clarification.
        It’s a bit disappointing that you’re thus harming the good work of many that want to make progress on these issues, but alas, it’s your choice. You obviously believe that shouting matches can solve problems, to quote one of your comments “but to attempt to embolden the choir to start singing louder at them”.
        But it’s not like I don’t see where your point is coming from. It’s just that I consider it a rather harmful one, sadly towards those you set out to empower in the first place.

      • jhng says:

        Hooray for John’s anger!

        I am all for a bit of challenge and activism on RPS. For next year: I’d like to see more push on no oceans and more push on corporate fuckwittery wherever it may be found (and especially where they fuck over the player experience for the sake of misguided attempts to squeeze out extra pennies).

    • bigjig says:

      I totally agree. I don’t have a problem with these issues getting raised but the underlying “US VS THEM”, either totally agree with us or you’re the spawn of satan attitude that often comes through is not only pathetic, it doesn’t promote intelligent discussion in the slightest.

  15. Jimbo says:

    So where’s the list of ones that made a difference?

    • The Random One says:

      It’s inside your own heart.

      EDIT: I just remembered that the article on the Hitman facebook murder thing might have been the most succesful campaign by RPS ever, since it 1) got pulled off 2) so quickly that by the time most of the other game sites tried to report on it it was no longer accessible and they had to link to RPS and 3) Squeenix apologized 4) by MAKING A PUN.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Yeah! Effecting social change is really easy or it shouldn’t be attempted at all!

      • Jimbo says:


      • Gap Gen says:

        Dunno, what were you expecting? An article on sexism in gaming fixing sexism in gaming? Granted, stuff like campaigning Ubisoft to drop its DRM can have more tangible results, but I think it’s a little unfair to expect an article on a widespread social issue to produce measurable change in the community.

        • Jimbo says:

          The opening paragraph claims that some of these ‘campaigns’ have made a difference. Which ones? Apparently the Hitman one did… in so far as they were the first ones to spot an inevitably-doomed marketing campaign. The rest made about as much difference as No Oceans as far as I can tell.

          It’s good -but nothing new- that these issues are being discussed, but let’s not get carried away with how much difference has actually been made to anything. This time next year games are still going to be about shooting everybody in the face, games (and game marketing) are still going to treat women as walking tits, the Daily Mail will still be sensationalist and I don’t think anybody would be surprised if Ubisoft continue to flip-flop on their DRM policy. What these stories do achieve is to generate a lot of controversy and traffic.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Ah, sorry; apparently I skimmed the post and missed that sentence. My bad.

        • Kadayi says:

          Indeed. Ubi changed their DRM policy from ‘always on’ a good year before the interview was written. The war was already over, it’s just that the gaming press weren’t paying attention. All anyone needed to do what see how their releases were going to know that they’d dropped it.

          • benkc says:

            I’ve seen this posted a couple times, but it doesn’t make any sense. Sure, they perhaps SAID that they weren’t going to use always-on DRM that long ago, but they kept doing it. I sure remember that the one Ubisoft game I bought during that time — on release day — required an active internet connection to play single player, despite claims that Ubisoft had made to the contrary leading up to the game.

            If they say that they’ve changed their mind on always-on DRM, but they keep doing it, then they haven’t actually changed their mind.

  16. draglikepull says:

    “I disagree with what you’re saying. Therefore, no one else wants to hear about it either. And you’re making it up for attention.”

    When people say things like that, they’re saying a lot more about themself than they are about the content they’re trying to criticise.

    • Dominic White says:

      Exactly. If you’re really disinterested in a subject, then you’re unlikely to read the article, or even post in the comments section. Commenting loudly and regularly at how you are VERY SURE that you are NOT INTERESTED and STOP SAYING THINGS THAT MAKE ME FEEL BAD ABOUT MYSELF probably suggests that you’ve got issues.

      • Prime says:

        Yeah, RPS seems to have become a moth to a flame for many of these…people. Rather than disagreeing and moving on it becomes all about telling everyone who can hear that RPS is throwing “hissy-fits” framed in such a way as to make anyone who disagrees with them the bad guys. It’s a very common right-wing technique – kill an argument by discrediting the people/person who raised it. Then, sprinkle in a few suggestions that being told to do anything other than what you personally desire – no matter the outcome of your desires – is somehow an abuse of personhood and you can then have a pop at those who agree with the argument too.

        RPS used to be a great place to come for intelligent discussion. Nowadays you’re just as likely to spend a day battling in vain to keep the debate out of logical absurdity and/or defending yourself from ridiculous accusations. A great shame.

    • Jimbo says:

      Except most of it is for attention, because that’s exactly how this business model works. That’s why it never comes across as a genuine ‘Let’s talk about this’ and instead comes across as ‘Look at how upset I am about this! I’m way more upset about it than your average upset person! I AM PARALYSED BY THE SADNESS!’ click bait.

      I’m not going to take somebody’s ‘concern’ about violence in video games seriously when I’m reading it on a page covered in ads for violent video games. Ads which pay that person’s wages. It’s easy (and totally meaningless) to have principles if they stop as soon as it might cost you something. Stop making a living from marketing violent video games and I’ll take your ‘concern’ about them a little more seriously.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I do note that you’ve commented on this thread multiple times, bringing more clicks to the site. Not that there’s anything wrong with it (I’m doing it too); just sayin’.

      • Prime says:

        1) Adverts on this site are handled by Eurogamer, Not RPS. RPS have no control over what appears, other than to nay-say anything they find particularly objectionable.

        2) RPS is NOT saying that violence in video-games is wrong. It is NOT them declaring their principles against violent game content, not in any way shape or form. They just wanted to DISCUSS IT because it’s such a huge, dominating part of the hobby that they love.

        Does that make it clear for you, Jimbo? Now please quit trying to accuse them of hyprocrisy that isn’t there and recognise that, actually, these people writing these words are sincere, genuine, caring people – just like you and me – and really do care about what they write about.

        • Jimbo says:

          The writers have control over where they work, and I’d imagine the owners of RPS have ultimate control over who handles their advertising. They can’t just absolve responsibility by passing it on to somebody else to handle. Not that they’re actually trying to do that, I’m just sayin’ that would not be a legitimate defence.

          It was an article of handwringing, navel-gazing and prevarication that went nowhere at all. I don’t think trying to start a conversation on violence in gaming counts as a ‘campaign’, because that conversation has been on-going since the dawn of time. I honestly have no idea what anybody expected the comments to look like; there is nothing to be said on the topic that hasn’t been said a million times before. The eye-rolling / ‘STFU already’ response was inevitable. Gamers aren’t suddenly going to come to a new consensus (the old consensus being ‘don’t be silly’) because the author has an anecdote (of dubious relevance) about feeling a bit sad after a school shooting.

          If anybody *is* genuinely concerned that violence in video games may cause or otherwise facilitate actual violence, or have other harmful effects on gamers, then the responsible thing to do would be to pull support for video games containing violence until they have fully satisfied themselves that isn’t the case. Until then their proclamations of concern will ring hollow to me. Fortunately, nobody actually does believe that to be the case and the real reasons for writing articles like this are much less serious (rabble rousing > easy hits).

  17. Zwebbie says:

    Question to regular commenters: is it just me, or has the RPS comment section become angrier over the years? Regardless of whether Internet angriness is justified or not, it’s so draining to read…

    • stahlwerk says:

      Signal and noise both increase with amplification. Learn to love the block button, and don’t feed trolls.

    • f1x says:

      Internet angryness has increased overall, and RPS even being one of the places where it dosnt reach the top, is also contaminated by it

      Why is people so angry behind their keyboards? thats something I don’t really understand, at some point I thought it was just a thing about “over-passion” for games but now I’m starting to think it is just some sort of disease

      Anyway, the level here is still aceptable, if you go to IGN comments section (to mention one example at random) then you will see something… more raw…

    • elfbarf says:

      I’ve noticed a significant decrease in the amount of pun threads. Obviously, this is what is causing all of the anger.

    • DiamondDog says:

      I don’t know about angrier, but it seems there is a much shorter leap from a normal discussion to the absurd bullshit that things degenerate into. As soon as someone rocks up to an argument with a watertight point that seems to address the issue, the response isn’t “OK, I was wrong”, instead some ridiculous and convoluted theory is constructed that shifts the debate so they are on firm footing again.

      Basically, there are a shit load of ego’s on RPS. No-one seems to like admitting they are wrong.

      That’s why I thought the way Nathan ended his violence article was great. He’d laid out his thoughts and opinions, then said have at it. No pointless ultimatum, no passive aggressive insults and no needless grandstanding.

      You can challenge people to think without kicking sand in their eye.

      • Jimbo says:

        Could you tell me what his opinion on the topic at hand was then? I read the article and still had no idea.

        I got that IRL shootings make him sad (irrelevant) and that he thinks that there should be more non-violent games for the sake of thematic variety (I agree, but still irrelevant). As for the effects of exposure to game violence, as far as I could tell his position is that he believes it (or enough of it) has some unspecified negative effect on the player, up to but ‘probably not’ including causing them to be more likely to commit actual violence, and that we should ‘be aware’ in case this unspecified negative effect happens to us. OK thanks, I’ll be sure to look out for that! Baffling.

        • DiamondDog says:

          So you have no idea what his points were… and then proceed to write a paragraph about them?

          Besides, my point was more the way he opened the topic up for discussion rather than just typing out an angry rant.

          • Jimbo says:

            Yes, a paragraph spelling out how he didn’t even offer a coherent opinion on the subject we apparently really need to discuss.

            He isn’t challenging the consensus that video game violence doesn’t lead to IRL violence, so what is this unspecified negative effect we all need to be aware of? I have no idea. Are we supposed to chuck out dubious anecdotes of our own until we conjure up something to blame games for? What conversation is he even encouraging us to have? What is this vague problem that needs solving which has made this conversation so urgent all of a sudden?

        • Nogo says:

          That’s a pretty fair reading but you seem to frame it as some sort of argumentative essay when it’s just an introduction to “a followup piece in which I’ll take a very close look at the places where games and violence have intersected with my life. From blissful, naive childhood all the way up to right now.” And ya, “the whole exercise will be inherently biased.”

          I had a similar experience where someone spurred me to think “wow, I spend a lot of my free time maiming virtual analogues of my fellow man. That seems a bit f’ed up.” So I’m glad one of my favorite sites is giving a space to this kind of discussion, despite a solid conclusion being all but impossible. It’s fine if you don’t want to join in, but frankly I’m interested to get a better understanding about those weird moments where violent games I love suddenly feel a bit wrong for no clear reason.

    • subedii says:

      RPS has become more popular. More people visit it. And the people who shout loudest are generally the angriest.

      Happens with all sites. c.f. Youtube.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Yes, this was my thought. Much like how you get a lot of 1* reviews because people who are content with a product don’t review much, but people who lost their eyebrows trying to plug in their new toaster will probably be more keen to share their dislike of unintended hair removal.

  18. stahlwerk says:

    Congratulations on a year well campaigned.

    There were some recent developments with the MOH:WARF “memorial” weapon-sales backlash, I hope we’ll see less of this sort of tasteless tie-in in 2013. I like to think that you guys as one of gaming’s most read blog really can make a difference in this weird industry. A well adjusted moral compass never hurt anyone.

    • The Random One says:

      You say that the fact that the WARFACE real weapons tie-in was shut down is evidence that things are improving, I say that the fact they did it in the first place and thought no one would find it objectionable is evidence of how far we’ve fallen.

  19. newprince says:

    Look, I honestly do want to have an open discussion of game violence and what it means. But in reality, I live in America. We banned alcohol, for Jeezum’s sakes. The brutal nature of our reactionary culture fed by our ADHD media is such that all moderate, well-reasoned debate is replaced by hyperbole and grandstanding by the usual pundits. The only ‘honest’ debate ever heard comes from satire. So, no, I don’t want to start up this discussion, because as soon as this fiscal debate doesn’t get resolved, we’ll see a bipartisan bill on banning the sale of violent video games, with ‘expert’ witnesses Jack Thompson and Tipper Gore.

    And as a sidenote, our lawmakers are currently discussing how to avoid the mandatory ‘defense’ (i.e. militaristic, ACTUAL MONEY SPENT TO KILL FOREIGN PEOPLE) budget cuts, while keeping all the stuff about cutting Social Security benefits for elderly women. Yeah, that’s a Congress I trust to look into violent video games.

    • Prime says:

      I think that just makes it all the more important that you keep trying to have that proper, reasoned debate? Giving up just because you think you’ll get shouted down by idiots is letting the idiots win.

      • newprince says:

        Okay, let’s buy into your suggestion. What forum do you even have it take place in where people will notice it?

        • Prime says:

          If the answer was that easy do you think there’d be a problem in the first place? Besides, I’m not American. You are bound to know your own country better than I do.

          • newprince says:

            … all right. Not sure why you commented in the first place then. Like I said, I’d love to have the discussion, but there’s only two equally unhelpful venues to have it take place: one where we’re essentially preaching to the converted and no one in the larger American culture will notice (as on this site, which by the way I would still enjoy), or to try to have the discussion take place in fora where we have no control and will quickly get the discussion dictated to us, like network/cable news or their various outlets. Can you imagine an MSNBC/Fox special on video game violence where there’s a moderate voice NOT getting shouted down? I can’t. Just look at their ‘special and vital discussions’ on race in America. They all devolve into shouting matches and talking points. These discussions never change the landscape or allow people to question their assumptions; it just gives them a platform to furiously defend their positions.

          • Nate says:

            newprince: “one where we’re essentially preaching to the converted and no one in the larger American culture will notice (as on this site, which by the way I would still enjoy)”

            I guess I see the call for conversation on this topic as something other than “preaching to the converted.” Don’t get me wrong, rallying the troops isn’t as useless as some people argue, but personally I’m not fond of that kind of echo chamber, and I wouldn’t have taken part if I thought that was what was going on.

            The point of talking about video game violence on RPS is so that we can talk about it WITHOUT feeling like it’s a Very Important Political Discussion, because we all know that those are shouting matches, where the main tactic is to deny any personal doubt. Those kind of conversations are just not useful for actually figuring things out.

          • Rikard Peterson says:

            Well, the point of preaching to the choir is to get the choir thinking, and equipping the people in it with facts and arguments for when they meet their non-chorist friends. That’s where actual convincing is more likely to happen.

        • Wedge says:

          A new country, for starters. And by that, I mean founding one.

          • Gap Gen says:

            Yes, there’s scope for leaving the oppressive homeland and striking out. There’s a recently discovered continent across the Atlantic where people speak different languages, eat strange foods and hold annual ceremonies where they redistribute their wealth throughout their tribe. It seems more economically backward than the USA, but these strange people are nonetheless a proud race with long-standing traditions. Even if they are godless heathens, they seem intrigued by the strange, overweight foreigners and their MacDonald outposts.

        • Gap Gen says:

          The 99% rallies seemed pretty effective, assuming that people continue to revive the movement. The USA turning into a Charles Dickens novel is worthy of protest, and it seemed like a genuine movement, even if it didn’t get the crowds out like the Shah did back in 1979. The USA is a democratic country, and if there were a genuine movement for something, it’d happen. The realisation that socialism is not the same as Stalinism could be one of those.

          • Delusibeta says:

            Disagree, it seems that the Occupy X movements have been dismissed by everyone except the conservative media, who uses it as an excuse to ramp up the rhetoric. The main reason for the Democrat’s success in this year’s US election is partly them being far better at getting people into voting booths, partly demographic changes that favour the Democrats and partly the Republicans believing wholly and completely in the conservative media’s version of “the truth”, failing to make any independent investigations and getting surprised that (and I apologise for getting this old chestnut out again) reality has a liberal bias (at least from the point of view of Fox News).

          • Gap Gen says:

            Well, if the 99% movement is anything, it’s the seed of a shift towards redistributive government spending (i.e. mild socialism) rather than an end in itself. My guess is that if it can successfully build resentment towards the rich, then it would be a major step towards a new social dynamic in the USA, where people have generally believed that opportunity to succeed is always there if you want it hard enough (even though this is less and less true in recent times).

    • Herkimer says:

      ” So, no, I don’t want to start up this discussion, because as soon as this fiscal debate doesn’t get resolved, we’ll see a bipartisan bill on banning the sale of violent video games, with ‘expert’ witnesses Jack Thompson and Tipper Gore.”

      Probably not.

  20. cheesetruncheon says:

    I feel like I should say something.

    Every time I do I realise that no matter what I say I’m going to be completely ignored or shamed for having contrary opinions, no matter how well read I am, no matter how much I articulate my point. No matter how much I sympathise with the opposing view point.

    Anyway, I’m not a fan of RPS any more this article has reminded me that the soap-boxing has become too much for me to handle.

    The editors come off as being too smug and arrogant and some of the articles are quite frankly on the same journalistic level as Kotaku.

    I’m done.

    Happy New Year,

    Good Luck in the future, I won’t be here.

    • The Random One says:

      Happy New Year to you too!

    • elderman says:

      I don’t know you from Adam (heck, maybe you are Adam, in which case ‘hi Adam’), but what a shame RPS has made you feel this way. It’s strange you feel so alienated, though. I’ve searched the site and couldn’t find a controversial topic on which you’d weighed in. There is a lot of Internet shoutiness sometimes, but that’s not all there is, and you can choose whom to read and where you pitch in. In my experience, you can mostly avoid the shoutiness.

    • Dominic White says:

      If you honestly find yourself feeling alienated and unsafe around a site BECAUSE it’s actively championing inclusion and making the internet a safer place to be, then you might want to start with the introspection sooner rather than later.

      • Tasloi says:

        Consider yourself shamed cheesetruncheon!

      • cheesetruncheon says:

        You see, this is a problem, I spent time trying to create a mature and courteous way of informing the writers and community of RPS how I currently feel about the direction the site is going in and that I don’t think I’ll be a reader for the coming year. I received a few very appreciated ‘nice’ comments (unless the one was sarcastic and my sarcastometer is on the brink) but you responded the way I knew somebody would.

        You attempted to shame me without knowing to which issues I hold opinions I thought would only get me flamed, and you did so in the most appallingly hypocritical way possible by telling me I have no desire to be Inclusive and that I should be more introspective.

        Let me tell you this before I get into anything else, I think everybody should always be introspective, always question their beliefs and their behaviour, the second we stop being Introspective is the second we stop bettering ourselves and is the second we start justifying obscene things in our life and accept mediocrity.

        My next point of call is this idea of inclusivity, since you essentially asked, I believe that we should try to get as many people to love gaming as much as we do as possible, hell a few years ago I sat down and taught my 7 year old little sister how to play Super Mario World so that we’d have something of similar interest in our lives. But it’s still ok to question the audiences coming in, it’s ok to think that maybe the new members of the audience might not love a franchise the way you do, maybe they might ask for things that will detract from the next instalment and it’s ok to be afraid of that, it’s not ok to be overly aggressive or violent about it, but it’s ok to express concern.

        But I think it’s such a contradiction to mention inclusivity in a statement intended to drive a person away, to make someone who is having problems with a site they’ve enjoyed for years feel like they don’t belong for their opinions is just horrible but that’s just what’s wrong with commenting, and a lot of articles, here and everywhere else on the internet they all preach Inclusivity while demonising those that disagree.

        It’s heartbreaking to see the video game community tear itself apart like it is, but it is.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          cheesetruncheon, in all honesty, the only really touchy issues I recall coming up consistently on RPS are questions about the nature of virtual violence, and statements against misogyny. I could be forgetting something, and I’m not trying to shame you, especially since I don’t know where you think RPS has gone beyond the pale. But can you understand that it might, without your saying anything specific, seem to some people like your problem is with asking those questions or being against misogyny? That was certainly my first instinct to your vague (though thoughtful) wording.

          If that isn’t the case, I apologize.

          If that is the case, well, I just honestly don’t understand how that could be equated with gaming communities “tearing themselves apart.” I’m old enough to see how so much more welcoming gaming communities are than they once were, and how the art has benefited from all the new voices. Shouldn’t that continue?

          But, again, I might be misreading you.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            An alternative interpretation could be that he doesn’t so much disagree with discussing those issues so much as the way it’s been done. He calls it soap boxing and I have to admit these things have felt a little bit ham fisted at times.

            Also, it’s a trap to assume that disagreeing with a poorly worded statement against misogyny is a sign of being misogynistic themselves. Some people just can’t stand a poorly wrought argument no matter what the opinion behind it.

      • I Got Pineapples says:

        Yeah. That was honestly a little shitty there, man.

        Cheesetruncheon wrote a genuinely thoughtful, heartfelt piece there.

        And then you were a smug asshole about it.

    • F3ck says:

      As one of RPS’ least important commenters I’d like to say: c’mon…where ya goin’?

      As an American who consumes inordinate amounts of caffeine and sugar and prone to vacillating mood swings I urge you to reconsider…

      …you may miss it.

  21. Wedge says:

    I’m disappointed in trying to bring up that violence nonsense again. Discussing “violence in video games” is the biggest waste of time ever. We already know everything, we don’t need to do more studies. Hell it’s just fucking common sense. Unbalanced people exposed to games, or anything else can feed on it. Anyone that isn’t a nutter is fine. It’s not hard to figure this out just based on observing, I don’t know, the current ratio of existing humans to crazy killers. There’s no fucking discussion to be had here.

    The only discussion has to do with how we treat mental health issues in general, which has fuck all place on a gaming forum. Not that there’s any relevant place for the discussion to happen, unfortunately. Not in a country where health care and medications are primarily matters of profit instead of science.

    • elderman says:

      How about if the discussion isn’t about how violence in games engenders violence in the real world but just about violence in games? About games. Just games. Like we might talk about the graphics or the controls or story or the characters or the lighting or the politics or the sex or the speed or the music or anything else. There’s always more to talk about for an enthusiast; you never know everything. I don’t get why you’d think it’s more of a waste of time to talk about this side of games than any other part of a game.

      • newprince says:

        Good point. The article was saying just that. Like, hey, I realized (nearly) all the games I like involve murdering people in horrible ways. Weird.

        I think it’s okay to have that discussion and explore that. No one’s taking our games away, relax. But, as I said earlier, I just want to have the discussion: I have no delusions that it would change anything in the zeitgeist.

    • Herkimer says:

      “We already know everything, we don’t need to do more studies. ”


    • onegreatturtle says:

      Except that rational people kill in cold blood (including mass killers), and by laying the blame on “crazy nutters” you are manufacturing a group of societal outsiders to shift the blame on, exonerating media from responsibility and having any effect on those who consume it (and why would we consume media if it had no effect on us?), and insulting anyone struggling with mental health in the same package.

      • Arren says:

        Thank you.

        (EDIT: I’m not sure mass killers qualify as “rational”, but your greater point about othering needs to be made.)

      • All is Well says:

        Doesn’t the phrase “in cold blood” imply rationality? I mean, isn’t murder in cold blood the same as rationally planned and executed murder?
        Not trying to criticize, mind you, I’m just curious.

  22. mr.ioes says:

    Am I the only one that doesn’t buy Ubisoft’s promises? They’ll stick to online DRM no matter what. Far Cry 3s’ DRM is as good as it will get.

    I’d wish your Do & Don’t-articles would start some campaign amongst publishers.

    • Snargelfargen says:

      Eh, UBI’s about-face was disappointing in that they changed their policies in response to outside pressure without showing they understood why DRM was problematic in the first place. DRM will no doubt be back in some form because upper management will still be trying to solve the wrong problem:
      “Why are people stealing our game?”
      instead of:
      “How do we package and present a superior, better selling product?”

      The first question doesn’t rock the boat, and shifts blame away from the people marketing the product.

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        I suspect they changed in response to their bottom line.

        However, we don’t know. We have no idea what happened there. One thing I’ve been really hoping for is an article that draws on some sources within Ubi to explain how that entire discussion and policy change happened. You know, finding sources, doing research, that sort of thing. Actual journalism. Not pontificating from behind your desk, like the articles above. That’s not journalism. Not to little old fashioned me, at least.

    • AlienMind says:

      No, I am also one of the people not believing in anything a game company says about it’s game until it runs before my very own eyes. This has a history of being lied to for decades, lastly with Guild Wars 2 and the “Item Progression”.

  23. Hoaxfish says:

    All these “look what we wrote this year” articles seem very self-congratulatory, both on RPS and other sites. They also seem like some of the worst articles given the way they’re basically a bunch of links to other content (something which the tag navigation already handles).

    I’m all for “end of year” awards etc, but that’s mostly about other people’s stuff, not your own. It also works in a better way, since you can compare multiple sites to see what content really gets recognised as “best in show” across the industry.

    • newprince says:

      So it’s strange and uncool to promote the things you work on in your occupation?

      Maybe a new reader was unaware that these things all existed. And might, you know, want a link to all of them to read at their leisure.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        A new reader could just as easily want to see stuff from 2011, or earlier. To look backwards like this is probably a poor way for a reader to assess the future of the site since by the time you’re reading the original articles (if you didn’t at the time) you’ll often lack context or comparative work on other sites, and there’s no guarantee the site is consistent rather than evolving. Google is usually a better tool to look back on the industry, and simply reading the site as new articles arrive is usually a better taste of the site’s current state.

        As to self-promotion, it’s fine on a CV, or a portfolio, but these articles basically amount to reporting on your own reporting (with obvious bias). It’s a form of navel-gazing out loud without really building on the issues. Some of the better “year round-up” articles take a direct look back at the issues, how they were reported by multiple opinions, rather than the approach that specific site took in campaigning on those issues (a fairly insular approach to a yearly review).

        I know this time of year is a low ebb for stories, and most people are 95% holidaying, but I feel this sits in the same area as the whole Doritogate thing… RPS felt that story wasn’t really about gaming, because it was really reporting about reporting, and they only reluctantly covered it because of that.

    • Prime says:

      It’s an “End of Year Review”, Hoaxfish. Loads of news sites do this, right across all media, looking back at their past 12 months, making it hard to believe that you’ve never come across this type of thing before.

      Can we shoot this ‘self-congratulatory’ thing in the head, please? It’s very clearly not RPS out, cap-in-hand, seeking plaudits and praise: they’re simply looking back at their highlights of the year, as they’ve done over the last few days with every other type of article they do.

      • Hoaxfish says:

        Just rolling back to 2011, there’s:

        1. An article by Kieron Gillen looking at the year’s games – “The Player (Who Is Gillen) Of Games 2011”
        2. A full round-up of links to every Gaming Made Me (just links for navigation, no real commentary to mess it up) – “Gaming Made Us”
        3. The advent calender, and a discussion of games which didn’t quite make it – “The Games of Christmas ’11: Day 25 26” (much like this year’s honorable mentions)
        4. A couple of reposted articles from the past (including some from 2007) – “ErotiSim: Sex & The Sims”
        5. A couple of articles compiling the gaming diaries (though each set gets its own article, rather than this year’s single collection) – “The ‘Complete’ A Smurf In Terraria”

        Frankly, the approach is much more restrained and direct (no “best of” helps I guess), or playful for the Kieron article.

        This sort of round-up isn’t new to me, but that doesn’t mean I think it’s worthwhile in a lot of cases (any more than reality TV). In many cases I would happily accept them simply admitting they don’t have anything better to report on, or the willingness to write during the holiday.

        Again, reporting on the actual year’s events directly, rather than a round-about route of reporting on how they reported on it seems better personally. Rather like the mainstream news reports directly on the year’s celebrity deaths, but manages to avoid simply showing footage of their reporters reporting at the time the people died.

        I guess I felt like bringing this up specifically for this article because it kinda reads as “best opinions we’ve had this year about other people being wrong”, but it’s not exactly like those opinions/issues were exclusive to RPS.

        • Prime says:

          It seems like you want to pin some kind of ego-centrism on them? Exhibit A: the phrase “best of…”, m’lud! Yes, clearly they’re raving narcissists.

  24. mpk says:

    Just like The Dude, RPS abides.

  25. Bitter says:

    If you want to know why there was a largely negative reaction to the latest article about video game violence, start with the title: “Why aren’t we discussing video game violence?”

    We’ve been discussing video game violence since the dawn of the World Wide Web. The article author knew this, but still picked a title that pretends the ongoing discussion has never happened, like it’s some dark secret no one will utter aloud. When you lead with a title that suggests no one is discussing something, it’s basically telling everyone who reads it, “I’m ignoring everything that’s come before on this topic.” And there isn’t much that people hate more than being ignored.

    After a title that causes knee-jerk indignation through its choice of words and presentation, we move on to a connection to the tragedy in Newtown, which no one sane has associated with video game violence. It simply didn’t enter the discussion until the NRA brought it up using references so dated that some were from the 1990s (they couldn’t find a movie newer than “Natural Born Killers”?). So you’re adding to your audience’s negative reaction when you use as evidence for the necessity of this discussion a recent tragedy that has nothing to do with the topic.

    The rest of the article has its points, but a central theme that comes across is, “It seems completely intuitive that video game violence has an effect on us, therefore it must be so.” The author suggests we ignore what’s been said by everyone else – like policy makers and studies – and look inside ourselves to judge how it’s affected us.

    In other words: Ignore the other discussions that have occurred on this subject, even though the title complains that there isn’t a discussion about this subject. Be introspective instead! And you’ll surely find something, because the point of the essay is that you must be affected in some way. So if you don’t find something there must be something wrong with you.

    Whether those takeaways were intended or not, they’re what I took away from it. The choice of words, the points made, all of the presentation took me there. And that’s why I thought the article was rubbish, even if I am hopeful that any follow-up articles will be put together better.

    So no, the response to the article is not “bewildering”. You wrote something, and if the effect wasn’t what you intended, it means you used the wrong words. It’s communication 101. If a response is unusual, look at what might be unusual in an otherwise run-of-the-mill essay about our responsibilities as gamers.

    • RobF says:

      This is pretty much entirely why the last piece rubbed me up the wrong way. I’m hoping the upcoming part pulls things back into perspective a tad because, yeah, all that.

    • Arren says:

      I must say that although I didn’t read the article this way at first, these points are all sound and have made me somewhat rueful of my initial support for the article.

      (The several most egregious responses, however, still stand as exemplars of something far worse in gaming culture than soapboxing.)

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      I was trying to put my finger on why it bugged me and this pretty much sums it up. So thanks for that.

    • All is Well says:

      I suspect you might have misunderstood the intention of Nathans article, Bitter.
      I think the ‘we’ in the title is supposed to be read “gamers, as a community” rather than “society at large”. The question of violence in games is indeed brought up time and time again, but never, it seems, by anyone who actually plays games, unless it is to defend gaming from outside criticism. The discussion exists, sure, but mainly outside the gaming community. The fact that Nathan himself explicitly mentions discussing violence with “outsiders” (“taking up the tower shield”, as it were) suggests that he is aware of this, and wants to have a different discussion, with the ones who feel fine shooting/stabbing/generally murdering virtual people, and not with shouty politicians.

      As for the “central theme” (which I don’t think is the central theme at all, rather a supporting argument, but it doesn’t matter), I think you are misrepresenting Nathans argument. I think the argument he is trying to make is something along the lines of “Humans are typically affected by that which they experience. We, as humans, experience violence in video games. A lot. Therefore it might be so that we are affected by violence in video games.” (see paragraph 7&8 in the article)
      He contradicts himself somewhat when he first says that it is impossible for violence not to affect us and then says that we should examine the effect – if any – violence has on us, but I think the most charitable reading would be one that admits the possibility of it having no effect whatsoever. (par.8&9)
      The method he suggests is (in the case of examining ourselves) indeed introspection, but the only policy makers and studies he suggests we ignore are the ones who are making obviously unfounded claims against video game violence, so that we, instead of defending ourselves and our hobby, can rationally examine whether or not there might be a problem with all this violence.(par.7)
      Nowhere does Nathan suggest that not being affected by violence is abnormal.

      All in all, I agree with RPS in that it is bewildering for an article that is simply trying to say “Hey everyone, if we could just stop being so damn defensive for a moment, don’t you think there might be something off about all this killing we’re doing? Could we talk about that?” to receive so much hate. I mean, what’s wrong with a little critical analysis? What is so problematic, if there are indeed no negative consequences?

      I do agree with you, however, that the connection to the Newport shooting was unfortunate and unnecessary. Making those kinds of connections tend to inflame and counteract exactly the type of mature discussion the article is proposing.

      • Bitter says:

        I did get a feel for that meaning, but only after reading it more than once. My post was specifically to address the bewilderment at why people might not immediately see the intended point of the article and could get distracted by parts of the essay that weren’t supposed to be the important bits.

        Nothing against Nathan – just constructive criticism of the way the essay was laid out, and an explanation of why I had a negative reaction to it. More consideration/editing on follow-ups might keep the discussion more focused (since it sounds like he intends a follow-up or three).

        • All is Well says:

          In that case I would like to apologize, I thought what you posted was more or less your interpretation of the article, not specific reasons as to why it might be misinterpreted. Cheers and a happy new year!

    • Jimbo says:

      Well said.

    • BooleanBob says:

      I found this post so cogent and insightful that I’m now experiencing anxiety about my own ability to communicate. RPS got the discussion they deserved with this one; it’s no good blaming the discussion for it.

    • derbefrier says:

      This is the internet, people don’t want to debate. they want a soapbox where they can declare their views are right and without fault and everyone else is too stupid to understand(well it would be unfair not to say the entire media isn’t guilty of this these days). This is the tone of most of these types of articles and when challenged with well made rebuttals they are usually ignored while the easy targets are pounced on because hey it feeds your ego right? I’ve never seen an article exploring the possibility that maybe the over sexualization of women in video games or what some have perceived as racism is Far Cry 3 could in fact have no damaging affect on society, why not? Why does RPS seem to always take the side of the supposed “victims” without really looking into it ? Most of these articles rely on overly emotional responses rather than logical thinking and a open mind. Don’t you at least owe it to yourselves to fully understand the debate before blindly picking sides based on public opinion I mean isn’t that the very definition of what people like to commonly refer to as a “sheep”?

      bleh I rambled on a bit there oh well hopefully that makes sense my brain works faster than I can type a lot of the time.

      • RobF says:

        I dunno, man. Why do you think that is?

      • ffordesoon says:

        I’m impressed. It takes a fair amount of gumption to imply that there are “two sides” to a story with people in it who could reasonably be described as “victims.”

        I suppose I can see how your comment could apply to a few of these articles, but let’s get one thing straight: Anita Sarkeesian was a victim of vicious harassment. There are not “two sides” to harassment, no matter who’s doing it. “Two sides” implies that neither side is entirely in the wrong. That was not the case with the Anita Sarkeesian incident. Even if her videos are complete shit (and I wouldn’t know, because I’ve never watched one), and even if she’s exactly as much of a fringe lunatic as everyone who hates her claims, she didn’t and doesn’t deserve to be harassed for it, or for any other reason. Harassment is universally Not Okay. Doesn’t matter who’s being harassed or why. Period.

  26. JoeGuy says:

    2012 is probably the year I just stopped giving a fu#$.

    I grew up respectful & understanding of peoples differences, gender, religious belief. race, social standing and sexuality. I don’t care who you are as long as you are sound and decent person. I personally didn’t even know what discrimination was growing up except some of the Irish and Northern Irish people had an attitude toward each other and you argued over “Oh they support such and such a football team” when I was growing up.

    It just feels tough trying to be a calm, socially conscious critical thinker online nowadays without just thinking we’re outnumbered on the internet and I can never feel like gamers will be taken seriously unless it’s on a person by person basis and that’s depressing as christ.

    • Lambchops says:

      An attitude towards each other might qualify as understatement of the year!

      But yeah, I get where you are coming from. I’ll challenge intolerant behaviour if I feel I should but there comes a point when you can’t solve all of the world’s ills all the time and just have to get on with your own stuff, whatever that happens to be.

  27. Nate says:

    RPS/John: “the response has been quite bewildering. So much fear, anger, hate and derision in response to being asked to talk about something”

    Are we reading the same comments section? I’m not all the way through that thread, but I’ve got it open right now, and what I see is a lot of people doing just what was asked about: discussing video game violence.

    If the discussion is sometimes sophomoric, I think the best way to see that is to realize that it’s full of video game players who are actually typing ENTIRE PARAGRAPHS, sometimes MUILTIPLE PARAGRAPHS, on the internet! It’s going to be sophomoric. But the effort is definitely there.

    Unless you’re talking about a bunch of deleted comments, which I wouldn’t know about.

  28. Eddy9000 says:

    I think the main source of defensiveness against discussing the content of video games is that the content of games (usually violent content) is used by detractors to infer direct effects on people’s behaviour. As people are right to point out studies of the direct effects of media on behaviour have shown extremely weak correlation (although there are some studies that do show direct effects of media on attitudes). However there is a consensus in cultural studies and literary theory that the media both reflects and informs social attitudes which allow certain practices to happen, and for this reason analysis of game content and challenging content that represents marginalising and harmful attitudes such as sexism and racism and the harmful practices these allow is a worthy pursuit. It is interesting for example to consider why so many AAA releases involve killing other people, how this reflects cultural attitudes, what it says about society.. it is certainly a worthwhile pursuit to consider what role games might have in challenging harmful social attitudes and how we as games consumers can be a part of this. Thinking about these things doesn’t mean endorsing the bogus idea that violent games directly make people violent.

  29. Fatikis says:

    I love the sexist white knights that flock towards any female with any opinion and agree with her. A female said the gaming industry is sexist! Maybe if we agree with her she will love us!

    Sexism will happen. That doesn’t mean it should be tolerated, but it is simply a fact of life. Until we only have a single gender race there will be sexism.

    There is a difference between stopping real sexism and trying intentionally be specially offended by a vulgar comment.

    Now lets get a few things out of the way. Referring to your genitals. Not inherently sexist. General biology. People have genitals. Referring to someone else genitals is also not inherently sexist.

    Vulgar perhaps. However not sexist. Could it be sexist? Yes, if a particular gendered individual was targeting only individuals of a different gender that would be sexism.

    This is your first lesson in sexism.

    Just because a member of one sex refers to their genitals and you are another sex does not mean sexism. It is vulgar. If you have been on the internet for more than 5minutes you are aware this kind of people do not restrict their vulgarity based on gender.

    Someone on the internet said they are ‘gunna rape you’ well it happens constantly. It isn’t sexist when a guy posts that to another guy on a youtube comment. No? So is it sexist when someone posts it to a female? The answer is no. It is in most instances a gender neutral comment. Could it be sexist? Yes, if someone is specifically targeting the members of the opposite gender yes that is probably sexist.

    Is it inappropriate? Yes, in all reality is is probably the opposite of sexist considering I know the kind of person that says this and they will say it to anyone and everyone regardless of their gender.

    When a male says ‘suck on my genitals’ to a male is it sexist? No, so when they say it to a female it is also not sexist unless they are intentionally being sexist. That does not mean you should do this. I’m not defending people who do this, but it is not sexist. It is a gender neutral insult. Some people may take it personally, but frankly for one of these trolls to not say it to a specific gender would actually be sexist.

    Notice how I said “people” in that last sentence and not females. It is a thing some PEOPLE might take personally. Not just females or males. There is no need to even bring up the gender of the person offended. It is an offensive statement specifying gender is unnecessary.

    There are genuine instances of sexism in the world. There is no need to start trying to find things to call sexist.

    Now in games themselves:

    Is rescuing a princess sexist?
    No, unless you think rescuing a prince is sexist? Some people need to be rescued. Having characters have genders and act in certain ways is not sexist. It isn’t like Nintendo was constantly creating a different female character for you to rescued all who acted identical.

    Same damn princess. The needing to save Princess Peach was due to her personality and maybe Bowsers obsession with her. I don’t remember her ever saying she needed to be saved because she is a girl and can’t save herself.

    And lets talk about Toad. You have to save him a hell of a lot more times than Princess Peach. Is it sexist that he couldn’t save himself?

    And this was more than 10 years ago. Now, I see Princess Peach throws turtle shells at carts. And she has her own game. This was Nintendo trying to reach out and say ‘Hey we know all women don’t need defending. Peach can hold her own but sometimes everyone needs help.”

    So your next lesson is having characters act a certain way is not sexist. It is called characterization. So this girl is a drunk party girl. Do drunk party girls exist? Yes, not sexist. Now if someone made every girl in a game a drunk party girl it might be sexist. But having a drunk party guy is never viewed as sexist.

    I want you to go up to Samus the favorite game hero of my childhood and tell her that games are sexist. She likely would ignore you because she would be too busy kicking ass.

    I could rant for hours about how you are wrong, but you will come back with your standard responses and likely insult me as being ignorant or sexist so really elaborating anymore is pointless.

    There are real instances of sexism in the world. You don’t need to go out of your way to try to pretend games are so that you can feel offended.

    • Prime says:

      Wow. Just…wow. I’ve never seen so many incorrect assumptions stacked together like this before. It’s almost art. Bat-shit insane…but kinda beautiful too.

      • Fatikis says:

        ^What a well thought out and intelligent response.
        I clearly see it your way now.

        How could I not with the amazing argument you proposed?

        • Prime says:

          I could rant for hours about how you are wrong, but you will come back with your standard responses and likely insult me as being ignorant or sexist so really elaborating anymore is pointless.

          Pointless for me as well. The above quote tells everyone with a functioning brain very clearly that you didn’t come here for argument or to be convinced of anything so drop the sarcasm. This is self-righteous, arrogant, patronising flame-bait, pure and simple. I chose not to respond to it on any other level than the abstract because that’s all it’s worth. More than it was worth, actually, but I’m feeling generous today.

          • Arren says:


            Wall o’ text != “a well thought out and intelligent response”.

            But don’t let that stop you from patting yourself on the back and giving staggeringly clueless “lessons in sexism”, Fatikis. Thanks for being the laughingstock of the moment.

        • Lambchops says:

          But you’ve basically made the argument that if I said the phrase “suck my cock” to 99 girls and one bloke then I could be legitimately aggrieved if someone called me a sexist (but not, of course if they called me an utter pillock). This is clearly a bit silly and I have to admit I stopped reading after that for fear my brAin would strangle itself in dismay.

      • Snargelfargen says:

        The screed is offensive, but also really depressing. Like I want to call the guy a mean name, but all I can come up with is stuff like “has difficulty establishing meaningful relationships” and wondering where he’d end up in the DSM IV.


    • Shooop says:

      You really haven’t been Mr. Up-On-Current-Events have you?

      Sarkeesian was getting death and rape threats directly aimed at her gender. Now do you have something actually intelligent to say or are you going to keep posturing and being an inconceivable moron?

      • Fatikis says:

        Does it matter that Sarkeesian was getting death and rape threats?
        I mean I’m sure sexist individuals have now targeted her.
        That does not mean that she was correct in what she said.
        That is just simply foolish. She was threatened therefor her initial position was correct.

        Does that make any point I made invalid?
        How about take time to think and read before you start throwing the insults?

        I’ve received plenty of death and rape threats from the internet. Heck, I’d say I’m threatened once a week.

        That means the internet is a seriously messed up place for EVERYONE. Not based on gender.

      • Fatikis says:

        It is time to start calling things what they are.

        It is horrible vulgarity of the internet we should be fighting.
        Not breaking it down to a debate about sexism.

        It is a mentality and attitude we should be fighting for everyone on the internet.
        Not narrowing things to an idiotic gender basis.

        Adding in genders only confuses and overcomplicates a simple issue.

        • Arren says:

          “Adding in genders only confuses and overcomplicates a simple issue.”

          You have absolutely no fucking idea what you’re talking about. Lecture on, Professor Dumbass!

        • Snargelfargen says:

          “It is time to start calling things what they are.”


          You have difficulty empathizing with others. To compensate, you put a lot of effort into observing and establishing rules for social behaviour. This is helpful, but occasionally results in hostile reactions from some people. The attention is not unwelcome.

          You are not actually qualified to hold forth on anything related to sexism insofar as your “rules” only make sense to you and nobody else.

          Edit: Also, I think I’m being a bit of an arsehole, sorry

      • distrocto says:

        YouTube comments != death/rape threats

        Something she as someone being on the Internet for longer than a few days probably knew.
        You’d think she’d have contacted the authorities if there were any substantial threats to her well-being whatsoever, which I’m not aware of, but anyone under actual credible threat would have done.

        For that matter every site that posted a story about the KickStarter sourced it back to her own Blog (and didn’t bother to check the facts any further or question any of her assertions in any way whatsoever), which was motivated by the fuckton of money she was just about to make for a few YouTube videos riding the sexism in gaming bandwagon (which were set to come out in August and still haven’t over four months later, because she’s apparently busy travelling around the world with said money).

    • ffordesoon says:

      I genuinely do not understand what you are talking about.

    • njursten says:

      But what if “suck my cock” comments are more common for women to receive than men?

      Also, the existance of one or two strong female characters doesn’t really help if the norm is females having to be rescued.

    • UncleLou says:

      Stopped reading after the first paragraph. “White Knight”, really? It’s the Pavlov’s dog response everytime the topic is brought up. Gave you another chance, and you continued with tiresome pseudo-sarcasm. Weak.

  30. PopeRatzo says:

    The earnest pearl-clutching and leaping to the fainting couches is the least interesting and affecting part of RPS.

    Especially since many of the same issues can be (and have been) dealt with from within the other elements of RPS journalism.

    The only way to promote “good speech” in games is for there to be some good games with “good speech”. Hand-wringing about all the “bad speech” has never worked and can never work.

    Also, when talking about violence and misogyny, why do the indie games seem to always get a pass? For example, Hotline:Miami’s hip indie/alternative music and “retro” (ie “bad”) graphics seems to have completely inoculated the game against any discussion of how deplorable the moral universe it creates.

    Far Cry 3 = Evil, but Hotline: Miami = hip, funny, happening.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      I think, on the whole, we’re a bit generous to Indie gaming both in terms of game quality and intellectually.

    • RobF says:

      Except it really hasn’t isolated Hotline Miami from anything. One of the constant recurring themes in discussions of Hotline Miami *is* the way it treats violence, the way it asks and succeeds in getting the player to partake in the violence. Both the Wot I Think and the RPS verdict explicitly discuss this.

      “This is absolutely honest that extreme violence is an entertainment. It doesn’t try to mask its black heart.” – Alec Meer, on RPS, on Hotline Miami.

      But! There’s very different motivations here anyway between Hotline Miami and how it treats violence in a Cronenberg-y sort of way and Far Cry 3 and its inept attempts at satire that mean it falls, massively (clearly unintentionally), more into the realms of straight to video-not-quite-nasty-but-not-great, y’know? It’s not just whether there is a moral vacuum or what have you, it’s also the why it’s there, what it’s trying to achieve. HM wants to make you grubby, it wants you to be dirty, knee deep in the blood of your victims and have all the conflicted emotions from yay, I’m so good at this game right down to the dirty, dirty shit I just killed an entire house full of people for why did I do that again reasons.

      The two things, whilst both containing violence, couldn’t be further apart from each other. And yeah, Hotline Miami hasn’t been shielded from anything – the discussion around the game is different for what should be seriously obvious reasons and most definitely not because it’s an indie game.

  31. MOKKA says:

    All those things are truly worthy to be discussed. But, as it is shown here, trying to discuss these things in a reasonable and intelligent manner is like eating soup with a fork.

  32. Mario Figueiredo says:

    Ah… I thought this was about game campaigns. But it’s about meta game campaigns after all. Just a minute while I put on my I Care makeup and do my best First World Problems impersonation.

    • F3ck says:

      I know right?

      My first thought was “finally, an article I sincerely give a shit about; let us talk campaigns” …but alas, it was not to be…

      Also, isn’t the whole Best/Worst of ____ just kind of a lazy rehashing of shit that already happened?

  33. Stellar Duck says:

    What a depressing comments thread.

    Thank you for 2012 Jim, Alec, John, Nathan and Adam (no ranked order!), and thank you to all your brilliant contributors like Tim Stone, Cara Ellison, Richard Cobbett, Leigh Alexander, Rab Florence and many more whose names I sadly can’t recall. I’m sorry to you guys.

    It’s been a brilliant year with many thoughtful, silly, punny, provoking post and I’ve enjoyed all of it.

    And I’d especially like to thank you for the articles mentioned in this round up. Thanks for being a beacon in a world of petty, hostile and self centered people who flock to scream down any discussion that get’s too uncomfortable.

    I greatly look forward to the next 12 months. Adam, finish that Crusader King 2 diary!

    • Premium User Badge

      gritz says:


    • dangermouse76 says:

      + 1 . It almost seems ( some not all but some – to cover my arse ) people are trying to find differences with each other. At New year to.

      Bad internet, bad internet.
      Enjoyed RPS guys keep it up, have a good new year.

    • Kadayi says:

      Neckbeard hilarity

    • PopeRatzo says:

      “Scream down”? That sounds like an easy way to end discussion. Accuse them of “screaming down” opinion (even though I haven’t seen any all-caps comments here).

      The discussion is worth having. The “OMG, we’ve enjoyed playing Far Cry 3 so what does that make US?” is moral cosplay. A self-indulgent flip-side of the white man’s burden for undergrads.

      And the willingness to completely give indie gaming a pass (ie, Hotline:Miami) when it comes to the moral universe it often creates, sucks a lot of gravity out of the discussion.

      I love the writers of FPS for everything they do, including the breast-beating (Mash X to breast beat, by the way). I love the comment writers for reminding all of us where we are.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I most certainly did not give Hotline Miami a pass. As I’ve explained elsewhere I’ve no interest in the game as it’s offends my aesthetic senses. I find it’s a quite abhorent game, as do I FarCry 3. That one I did buy and play about half of before quitting in disgust. I had hoped for a mature game that was aware of what it was doing. That wasn’t what I got. And I’m quite in disagreement with it’s selection for GOTY here on RPS, but I don’t control how they think. I do think it’s a bit daft of them to select it though.

        As for screaming down, I don’t know if you’ve read the comment thread on any post dealing with sexism? They get swarmed by assholes pretending that the problem doesn’t exist and drooling invective all over the place, building straw effigies the likes of which are seldom seen, accusing people of whiteknighting and making the thread a miserable place.

        Anita Sarkeesian, for instance, have a quite shoddy project with her tropes videos and I think it could be done much better than she is proposing to do and I think that could be in interesting and worthwhile discussion to have. But we can’t. That well is poisoned by assholes throwing a fit that this “girl!” dares! DARES! to question representation of women in games.

        As for violence in games, I think you’re wilfully misrepresenting what Nathan wrote. Arguing that games aren’t permeated by violence is folly. That leads me to think it’s worth looking at and talking about why that is. As others have mention, if 95% of movies were about killing dudes someone would raise an eyebrow. I reckon it’s worth raising that eyebrow with games. But no, we can’t, says the angry man in the comment thread. Games are sacred and can never be looked at critically.

        This: “The discussion is worth having. The “OMG, we’ve enjoyed playing Far Cry 3 so what does that make US?” is moral cosplay. A self-indulgent flip-side of the white man’s burden for undergrads.” is screaming down the discussion, by the way, by way of dismissing any argument, in this case one nobody made as wrong instead of engaging it. You may think there need to be caps to scream down a discussion but I disagree. Just constant strawmanning, misdirection, hyperbole, snideness and use of snarky phrases like “white man’s burden for undergrads”. I imagine you are talking about Johns FarCry 3 posts in this case, but it makes little difference. It’s still an attempt to dismiss any discussion outright and pretend it didn’t happen.

  34. gnargle says:

    Tropes vs Women is a stupid concept because Sarkeesian has very little knowledge of what she’s actually trying to argue. She’s scattershot and focuses on the little things – like there being too many maids in a game set in, pretty much, Victorian England – instead of aiming for the huge targets like the appaling Lara Croft rape debacle or Hitman’s unacceptable advertising.
    Although there is of course fault on both sides, since instead of trying to point this out, the internet instead rampaged against Anita herself, instead of the shoddily-put-together campaign. (The fact it was a kickstarter is also laughable considering she obviously already has professional equipment and had to admit, after releasing a photo of her with a stack of games she’d ‘bought’ for the project, that she already owned half of them).
    Just out of interest, has she released any of the videos yet? I know her deadline was September but I haven’t heard anything. I’d be interested to see if she’s improved at all since her terrible Bayonetta video.

    • I Got Pineapples says:

      That’s the thing I honestly find weird about it all. Her stuff I’ve seen has been weak enough that If the crazy he-man woman haters club had just ignored her she would have faded into oblivion all on her own.


      You just had to wait 5 minutes, guys and you would’ve got what you wanted.

      • elderman says:

        I have to say I agree. I thought her videos weren’t terribly good examples of feminist media analysis, and in general I like that kind of thing.

  35. MDefender says:

    The juxtaposition of the tropes vs. women parapgraph and the two “videogames blamed for everything” segments is strikingly ironic. Mate, even if you hold no respect for the comment pages and breadth of discussion on the internet at large, you can at least pretend to respect your own.

    • jorygriffis says:

      I guess I understand the point you’re trying to make, but for that point to make any sense at all you’d have to deliberately misinterpret every article in question. Buddy, it ain’t workin’.

  36. Puffycheeks288 says:

    I like how this post is about other people’s posts yet it still comes along as a unique piece. Very well done.

  37. F3ck says:

    …on DRM:

    Am I the only one who actually buys his games, but cracks them too?
    (I know I’m not alone – but I do it a lot)
    I’d say I have cracks for half of these bad boys…

    …as someone who never co-op/multiplay I will not abide Always On Anything…ever.

    • jorygriffis says:

      Yeah, I totally do, too. I don’t pirate any games, but I hate DRM enough to disable it whenever I can.

      • F3ck says:

        Some of them are almost unnoticeable, others are infuriatingly intrusive…

        …seems everyone wins (well, nobody outright loses) this way…

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I don’t care one bit about DRM. I find the whole anti-DRM discussion often brushing the hypocritical. DRM riddled games are by far and large the greatest sellers on computer history. Meanwhile I personally don’t care. DRM has affected my gaming as much as any bugged game out there.

      I do mind though always-online DRM in the context of single-player games. I won’t buy. Like I didn’t buy Diablo III, the sequel to one of my all-time favorite games. There’s plenty of other stuff to play out there. This type of DRM is scaring the living daylights of me and I hope it doesn’t stick. Ubisoft decision didn’t impress me one bit. Diablo III sold like water in the desert, although we will never know how much of that was for single-players…

    • Mario Figueiredo says:

      I don’t care one bit about DRM. I find the whole anti-DRM discussion often brushing the hypocritical. DRM riddled games are by far and large the greatest sellers on computer history. Meanwhile I personally don’t care. DRM has affected my gaming as much as any other bugged game out there.

      I do mind though always-online DRM in the context of single-player games.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        This time last year I didn’t care either, I guess I understood the arguments but didn’t really empathise with people making them – then I had 3 games in a row, at a time when I was jobless and those games took a month of saving every penny I could – which didn’t work because of DRM screwups! I also moved away from the town and away from optical broadband. Anything which is “always on” quite simply cannot maintain a good enough connection for me to be able to play. I think Ubi’s recent driver game disconnected like a metronome every 1 minute, thus quitting the game on me which was really frustrating and obviously made the game unplayable.

        This year for me is the year I got the problem with DRM and why pirates should not get a better service than me who paid full price for games.

      • F3ck says:

        Speaking as one who pays for his games and only ever SP campaigns (though, I often take up a decidedly anti-multiplayer position – concerned it might somehow contaminate/bleed the SP experience – when it might just be none of my business) this is the only DRM I care about…

        …and I only know how much better my games are without it…what a difference a .dll makes…

      • Kadayi says:

        How many single player games have always on DRM these days? Ubisoft quit with that a considerable amount of time ago (way before the RPS interview in fact).It boggles my mind that people who are supposedly ‘passionate’ about DRM, really don’t pay much attention to these sorts of sea changes when it comes to what publishers actually release.

        • F3ck says:

          …I would submit that any software that is forced to run concurrently with my game is most unwelcome – and will be circumvented in whichever way is most convenient.

          …but that’s just me.

  38. jorygriffis says:

    It bums me out when the discourse in these kinds of threads inevitably turn into structural arguments about “logic” and “evidence”, where people’s actual experiences are overruled by big words and fancy Latin terminology somebody learned in college. I agree that it’s important for there to be consistent and thorough rationale behind a person’s actions and opinions, but more often than not I feel like that kind of “debate” just distracts from the actual point, which (if you’ll excuse me for saying so) is “You Should Think Carefully About How You Treat Other People. If Possible, All Of The Time, Please.” Or perhaps more didactically and over-simply, “Don’t Be An Asshole”.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Hey, those big words and Latin terminology cost me a lot of money. I had to work nights to pay off those student loans. If I don’t use them here, then where?

  39. remoteDefecator says:

    Can you guys stop with the navel-gazing and get back to games journalism please? I mean, LOOK at the front page. There isn’t a single *news* story on it.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Funny that, what with it being December the 31st and every game developer worth writing about has done nothing worth writing about for the last week.

      • Droopy The Dog says:

        Speaking of which, can we get a best of RPS’ headline puns 2012 article in the new year deadzone? There were some classics that certainly deseve more reflection upon. Reading them drunkenly later will only make them seem more hillarious.

    • jhng says:

      It is holiday season for the hivemind as well, you know.

      Part of the reasoning behind the various year-end summations and retrospectives is, I think, so that they can stop working their arses off for one week a year — not unreasonable given that almost everyone else will have downed tools as well.

      Anyway, I enjoy looking back on some of the issues and things that have been covered.

  40. Droopy The Dog says:

    It’s just occured to me that the headline image doesn’t look like a stock photo. I’m now trying to imagine how on earth you ever ask someone “Can I borrow you knickers? I need to take a picture for my gaming blog article.” Because, bravo, it takes a stauncher man than I to go that far for the perfect header image.

    • Smion says:

      Of course somebody who has a Prisoner avatar in the forums, like Mr. Rossignol does, is so cool, he almost can’t save himself from all the ladies who want to donate their undergarments and of course the rest of them, right? That’s how it works in reality, doesn’t it? Anyone?

    • Gorf says:

      eh?I’m pretty sure it wasnt a completely random person chosen from the street…..taking a pair of the wifes/gf’s knickers out of the drawer for a photo doesnt require that much commitment. Failing that shops also sell them.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      How do you know the knickers are borrowed? Men like to feel pretty sometimes too, you know.

  41. dangermouse76 says:

    What I would love is say once a month have a live stream from the RPS site that takes issues or a prominent news from the comments threads and invites a number of those most vocal from differing or opposing points of view to have a live debate about the subject in hand.

    The comment system ( for me personally ) can be ( but not always ) too truncated a form to carry the nuance of people trying to succinctly put across their argument to others.

    Inevitably misinterpretation of things left out of an argument, or the way in which a thought is condensed into a sentence can at times lead to the debate turning into back and forth about semantics or at worst abuse of the other posters. Carrying the subject away from it’s self.

    I think a proper live discussion with interested parties would be more entertaining, easier to follow, and would ( hopefully ) guide discussion in a more respectful direction; in terms of tone and ease of understanding.

    Think about it RPS, this could be a good thing.

    Happy New Year everyone.


  42. Moth Bones says:

    Bravo RPS, and many of its commenters, for acknowledging that computer games do not exist in a vacuum and for taking on issues that lesser sites might deem too tricky to deal with. Your reward is a fine community full of thoughtful gamers.

  43. wsworin says:

    Congrats on another great year RPS! Always loved your articles and your willingness to just post whatever you felt like posting. That’s a great standard to keep, and you should be proud! :)

  44. newprince says:

    I find it weird that people don’t want any introspection along with their gaming news. Aren’t there like 5,000 other sites that don’t even mention feminism and show the latest trailer of Tits McGee?

  45. wodin says:

    I do hope Political correctness doesn’t start to go to far to be honest..

  46. gujamari says:

    If you think Jane`s story is impressive…, three weeks-ago my girlfriend actually earned $4426 putting in eighteen hours a week in their apartment and there friend’s mother`s neighbour has been doing this for six months and earnt more than $4426 in their spare time on their computer. apply the advice from this address,

  47. SashaWAYNE says:

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