To Boycott PAX Or Not To Boycott PAX?

Editor’s note: RPS will no longer be covering PAX events. We believe that the values of the company operating those events conflict with ours, and as such we can no longer endorse their actions by providing coverage of PAX events. An explanation of this can be read here. However, others argue that attending can be an effective way to respond to the company’s poor behaviour, and that being there is a way to change things from within. Nathan spoke to people on both sides of the boycott at this year’s controversial event.

To Boycott PAX Or Not To Boycott PAX? That really is the question these days, isn’t it? The saga, up to this point, has been long, turbulent, and ugly. Penny Arcade’s tangled two-headed hydra of a creative force has been at the forefront of some pretty nasty movements over the years – the Dickwolves incident, which saw Mike “Gabe” Krahulik and Jerry “Tycho” Holkins stand resolutely unapologetic over a rape joke that made many fans deeply uncomfortable (instead of saying sorry, they went and sold freaking merchandise), easily stands as the most visible. In the wake of that, similar incidents, and Krahulik acting vocally intolerant of transgender people, Gone Home developer Fullbright – who we spoke to in regards to this article – went so far as to pull out of this year’s PAX altogether. But others – many of whom absolutely abhor Penny Arcade’s oftentimes turgid stances and values – attended despite all of that. Speaking with developers behind games like Journey, Always Sometimes Monsters, and Child of Light, and other fans and critics from many walks of life, I found out why. 

Penny Arcade is one thing. Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) is another.

The two are, of course, inextricably bound by the slimy tendrils of brand synergy, but they are not wholly one-in-the-same. The principle difference? Penny Arcade is two guys. Three if you count business manager Robert Khoo, and many more if you include all of PA’s various partners and spin-offs – some of which, like the Child’s Play Charity, even do a great deal of good.

This isn’t about your Devil’s Advocate bullshit. This is about real people.

But if we’re talking sheer numbers, PAX’s hooting, hollering, romping, stomping horde positively dwarfs them all. Cramming nearly 100,000 people into comparatively phone booth-like convention centers, PAX Prime, PAX East, and – most recently – PAX Australia have grown into heaving behemoths, beacons for people of all shapes and sizes united under one common interest: games.

Which makes it all the sadder that Penny Arcade’s creators – and now, public faces – fail to take responsibility for the wriggly pink things in their mouths. Comedy is nothing without its fangs, certainly, but there’s a difference between “telling it like it is” (allegedly for the benefit of others/culture at large, if you follow the rhetoric) and bullying those society tries hardest to stifle. A very big difference.

Boys will be boys, the incredibly outdated saying goes. And in all honesty, Penny Arcade will probably be Penny Arcade. Countless gut-churning incidents followed by halfhearted “apologies” seem to suggest as much. But that’s not what those I spoke to attended PAX for in the first place. PAX is a place of the people. Gabe and Tycho’s influence can be felt, yes, but again: we’re talking 100,000 against two. You do the math. And so, even as the titanic duo’s viewpoints grow less and less relevant, PAX remains tremendously important as a point of contact between so, so, so very many voices, ideals, thoughts, hobbies, backgrounds, and – most importantly of all – human beings.

Bad, harmful messages can proliferate there, but so can incredibly powerful forces for good. So then, should we stay or should we go?

The Fullbright Company’s Steve Gaynor had already decided the jig was up: “So basically for us, dropping out of PAX was not about any isolated incident,” explained Gaynor, “but about a pattern that had been established by those guys that clearly wasn’t going to change. And as we saw at PAX Prime this year, that pattern continued. So we don’t regret our decision at all.”

The decision for any indie games company to ignore PAX is a tough one, not least because of the PR gravity of the PAX event. But Gaynor argues that it can never matter enough: “No one event is going to make or break you,” said Gaynor. “If you don’t want to support an organization by appearing at their event and associating your game with their brand, you don’t have to.” Indeed, Gone Home’s success – over 50,000 units so far – demonstrates that PAX is not crucial to indie success. Gaynor sees this as significant: “I hope that on some level we can be one example of indie success without supporting something you don’t agree with philosophically, morally, etc. That sense of helplessness and inevitability, of the assumption that you have no choice but to show at PAX if you want to have any hope of making it, just really bums me out, and I hope it goes away really soon.”

Others, however, attended the event despite their reservations, and for varied reasons: “We had a direct conversation about [possibly pulling out due to Krahulik’s trans-unfriendly diatribe] when we were putting our panel together,” admitted former Journey dev Robin Hunicke, who participated in a PAX Prime panel entitled “You Can Make Games Too.” “But you can’t move the dialogue forward if you step away from the dialogue. So we came here because we wanted to make it known that games are an art form. They’re open to a lot of different perspectives. We are an open community. We came here to tell this community that we’re open to them. We’re open to all communities. You can’t say that if you’re not here.”

“This is where the audience is, and I wanted to get the audience in and talk with them about making games,” said Adorkable Games creative director Ashley Zeldin, who spearheaded the panel. “After the whole issue that happened with Penny Arcade, I thought of pulling out. I decided not to because this conversation needs to happen here. I don’t need to agree with the organizers’ message to get a good message across to the people who are attending.”

“This is the biggest customer-facing game expo. This isn’t talking to devs. This is talking to the audience we want to reach. These people don’t all want Call of Duty 25. They want more games like Journey or Gone Home. They want more games that are different. Different genres, perspectives, types of stories, ways of telling stories.”

Game critics/writers Samantha Allen and Holly Green – who both headed up a panel called “Achieving Gender Diversity in Gaming: OK, Now What?” – agreed, noting that attending PAX and staying as far away as physically possible can work hand-in-hand so long as everyone’s on the same page about it.

“We came here, we spoke to a couple hundred people, and it was streamed [to many, many more] on Twitch,” pointed out Allen. “But I don’t think changing systems from within and without are mutually exclusive goals. I mean, every year more and more panels on gender and sexuality are showing up at PAX. Attendance is going up, too. So from within, PAX is becoming more accepting. And at the same time, on the opposite side, people like Fullbright, the Gone Home developers, saying, ‘We’re not gonna be here,’ brings the pressure from without. And I think when both those things are happening simultaneously, either the culture of the event itself is bound to change, or there’ll be even more pressure from well-known figures in the industry.”

“I think it was really good for the community for Gone Home’s developers to stand their ground,” Green added. “Even if it’s not what I did, it’s still one of those things that sends a clear message. It makes other people in the community feel better, too. We’ve all been marginalized and shoved to the back time and time again and had to just deal with it. It’s nice to see someone stand up for us for once. It felt great. I’m going to support people like that 110 percent – even if I didn’t decide to boycott PAX. I’m still going to support their decision, absolutely. It sends a very clear message.”

But even so, spreading these sorts of messages at such a colossal, wide-ranging convention is no small order. For one, many of the folks who need a more personal, face-to-face experience with difference – to stop regarding it as a looming, diabolical concept and start understanding their fellow gamers as human beings – likely won’t attend PAX, and even if they pack up their technicolor fedora dream collections and make the trip out, why would they attend panels about movements Internet hate-mongering has taught them to despise?

This, contended Always Sometimes Monsters creative director Justin Amirkhani – whose game allows you to pick your character’s gender, race, and sexual orientation and see how a brutally real world reacts – is where the strengths of our medium stand to shine brightest.

“I think making games accessible to everybody is very important in getting messages across – especially if you’re trying to [convince people],” he said, looking out from a PAX balcony into a throng of guys, gals, cosplayers, adults, kids, and just about everything else you could imagine. “I’d rather be here providing a game that gives a sort of experience so you understand these sorts of ideas better without alienating anybody. And I really like the idea of being here just in case somebody’s feeling alone or alienated. Saying, ‘No, we’re not a big fan of some of the things that are being said [by Penny Arcade],’ but I’d rather be here for people who want to learn.”

“I have found that a lot of times some people don’t want to hear me talk about the game beforehand. They just want to hop in and see what it is. Sometimes they’re hung up on the choice aspect. Sometimes they’re hung up on the situation. But sometimes those people end up playing as a lesbian couple or someone else they’d never be.”

And even panels can have a deceptively large splash radius if you know how to aim them. Zeldin and co, especially, probably deserve some sort of unreasonably hefty brain-shaped trophy.

“I titled it ‘You Can Make Games Too’ because it’s open to everybody,” explained Zeldin. “I was hoping it’d be a little bit of a catch-all. I specifically did not really make it geared toward diversity of gender, ethnicity, or sexuality because I didn’t want people who were only into that to come. I said in the pitch that people from different backgrounds like psychology or biology can come. I wanted people who had different viewpoints, and then we would kind of subliminally indoctrinate them to be more open to diversity.”

“I made sure that we had more than one woman, and then I wanted to make sure that there was no ‘token’ person. So then I brought on [Far Cry 3/Child of Light writer] Jeffrey Yohalem, and I realized [freelance designer] Michael Annetta was a great speaker and also happens to be gay. I guess the only token on the panel was [thatgamecompany engineer] John Nesky, who’s straight and white,” she laughed.

“But I liked that John pointed out that even when you see the face of the normal, there’s always something behind it,” Hunicke was quick to add. “Life is a struggle. We all have our challenges. Everyone who looks a certain way definitely doesn’t feel the same way on the inside, and they don’t get the same opportunities. As long as we can continue to tell the story that diversity is already present in the industry, then we can break the myth that PAX is filled with white guys who don’t like gay people or women. That’s just a myth. The more we do to collectively destroy that myth and bring the reality of our situation – which is that we’re all different and we’re all part of the struggle – to light, the better off the industry is. I truly, truly believe that.”

Allen, Green, and co’s panel, meanwhile, managed to just sort of appear in one of PAX’s main Twitch streams. Was it a lucky break? Absolutely. But that didn’t make it any less beneficial.

“We had a panel with multiple openly transgender women – among many others,” said Allen, proud. “Everyone in that room and watching that stream was seeing different kinds of bodies and faces within gaming culture.”

“I think that’s where the LGBQT community has managed to succeed: putting a face on things,” added fellow panelist and games writer Catherine Cai. “What’s really upsetting is that trans issues haven’t been exposed quite as much as lesbian and gay issues. It’s always been like, ‘Oh, I know someone who’s gay,’ because ten percent of the population is gay. But the transgender population is significantly smaller than that. Even someone who’s part of the LGBQT community can come in and learn something.”

Regardless, the message is clear. Green drove it home: “This isn’t about your Devil’s Advocate bullshit. This is about real people.”

But is all of this effort accomplishing anything? That’s the question of the hour, and the answer is a muddy morass of encouragement, disappointment, and – yes, once again, because common human decency is apparently far less, you know, common than you’d think – Dickwolves. Krahulik closed out PAX by suggesting that his one big regret was pulling PA’s ill-advised official Dickwolves merchandise back in the day, to the agreement of his coworkers and raucous cheers from a crowd of attendees. The scene was bile-gushingly gross, and it reopened a wound time had only just begun to heal. Krahulik later apologized, but the damage had already been done.

“After our discussion at PAX, Catherine, Holly and I were walking back to the convention center when a group of PAX Enforcers stopped us, hugged us and thanked us for the panel. ‘We feel like we’re really turning a corner this year.’ As I rode the train to the airport, I felt like we had done a good thing,” Allen told me via email after the show.

It’s been a tough journey. Sometimes it can get ugly. But I think we’ve made a lot of progress as an industry.

“I made the mistake of checking Twitter after I got through security. I read what happened. The fact that Mike said he regretted  pulling the merchandise didn’t surprise me. But the fact that the audience cheered for his expression of regret made me sick to my stomach. I felt betrayed even though I should have seen it coming. It cast a pall over my entire experience at PAX, even though I was only there in the capacity of supporting feminist and queer panels. That good feeling I had on the train? Gone.”

And yet, she, Green, and Cai don’t regret attending the show or putting on a panel. Penny Arcade’s frontmen might not be changing much, but that’s not who all of this effort is for in the first place. Not in the slightest.

“My opinion on the whole ‘to boycott or to not boycott’ issue is unchanged,” said Cai via email. “I think it’s necessary for us to be there. As Holly and Samantha both mentioned, PAX has become a bigger thing than Mike and Jerry. It’s now a huge part of the gaming community. Education and outreach is the way for us to change things, however slow that change will be. It’s important to reach out to the community and (hopefully) change the perception of people who might not otherwise have been exposed to these topics.”

“An important thing to keep in mind too is that Mike’s influence derives from the PA community. If we can be present to slowly change the perceptions of that community, then we’re chipping away at some of that influence. At the very least, there will (hopefully) be a vocal part of the PA community that will call Mike out whenever he says things that are out of line.”

Slowly. Slowly. Slooooooowly. It’s a painful realization, but a bitter pill that must be swallowed nonetheless. Change is inevitable – in all ways, in all things – so all we can do is try our hardest to push gaming and the culture surrounding it to a better place. And you wanna know the crazy deep dark secret? That actually means better, more interesting games. For everyone.

“When I first got started, I interviewed with Activision, and I knew that they were not my people,” confessed Annetta. “It was not my place. Triple-A was not for me, because it wasn’t somewhere I felt comfortable. But indie stuff, absolutely. Every small studio I’ve worked with has been fantastic and open. They see how the diversity and perspective is helpful.”

“I think change is happening more rapidly, because six years ago when I entered the industry, you couldn’t come out,” Yohalem added. “The feeling was very oppressive. But I feel like now it’s very different. Being gay in the industry is much more accepted. It’s been a tough journey. Sometimes it can get ugly. But I think we’ve made a lot of progress as an industry.”

“If we can get more artists coming in and saying, ‘I feel safe here,’ then they can tell their stories.”

The decision on whether or not to attend an event rests with individuals, and with companies, but in this case it seems like something that everyone should take a moment to consider.


  1. Random Gorilla says:

    Thank you for taking this stance. I fully support your decision.

    • Ansob says:

      Yes. This.

      • bill says:

        Exactly, a conference with these types of panels and a no booth babe policy isn’t the sort of thing RPS should be supporting:
        Extra Credits: Diversity – a film viewing and Q&A Session
        Top Women Game Characters of All Time
        Gays in Love (With Their RPG’s)
        Hey Vasquez, you ever been mistaken for a man? A discussion of military servicewomen in Video Games
        Everything We Know Is Sexist. Now What?
        Creating & Building Inclusive Communities in Tabletop/Board Gaming
        Achieving Gender Diversity in Gaming: OK, Now What?
        Press XY Presents: Right Before Your Eyes: Transitioning Within a Game Community
        Political Correctness in Gaming: Let’s Talk
        Queers in Gaming: Gamer vs Gaymer
        Gender Diversity in Games: Where Are All The Believable Female Characters?

        let’s stick to E3!

        • airmikee99 says:

          Yeah, a conference with panels like that, and a crowd of people that cheer when someone says they regret pulling merchandise that offended.

          It’s kinda like Exxon saying they care about the Alaskan coastline, or BP saying they care about the Gulf Coast, or America saying it respects the rights of all humans on the planet, or Apple espousing the virtues of an open OS. You realize that people can do one thing to please others, and say the opposite, and vice versa, right?

          • eduh says:

            Some people think that censorship isn’t really an effective way to solve any problem and that the comic strip was actually legit, so fuck them right? LETS BOYCOTT EVERYTHING THEY DO!

            That’s textbook bully mentality.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            True story: I don’t go to football matches, because I don’t like football.

            Am I bullying football?

          • bill says:

            I don’t get your point. They are doing many things to try and improve the games industry, but they said one thing that was dumb? So they are the opposite of Exxon, right?
            Or maybe it was sarcasm.

            Either way, the cheering seems to be mainly down to the usual audience crowd mentality of defending the thing you’ve emotionally invested in. I’m not sure the PA guys or PAX can be blamed for that one.

          • chargen says:

            “It’s kinda like Exxon saying they care about the Alaskan coastline”

            Haha oh holy hell! More like boycotting everything the Sierra Club does because you saw one of their directors littering.

            This was a tasteless joke that provoked a ridiculously oversized response, and a complete understandable mockery of the oversized response. These are not sexist, homophobic, hateful people.

            The thing about SocialJusticers is that you don’t go after sexist, racist, homophobic people. Those people don’t give a damn about your crusade and laugh off your attempts at shaming them. You go after largely liberally minded people (skewing white and male) who think women are intellectual equals with men, the same with black people to white people, and don’t think gay people are a sign of the apocolypse. But they don’t rage against the existence of sexism or racism enough. Or they make offensive jokes that are obviously for shock value (unless you just came through a time machine from 1992 and don’t realize that jokes exists about these things).

            These are your targets, because they exist in the same social spheres. These they aren’t arch right-winged bigots, just regular people, mostly apolitical in these matters. You are not shaming them into taking up your cause, but rather making them revolted with your obtuse herd mentality, the hypocrisy, and the unrealistic ‘purity’ that you demand of people.

            It’s self-destructive to whatever you are trying to achieve here. The only thing that this boycott is making me take a closer look at is RPS itself.

          • Shuck says:

            To the people who are saying this is not a proportionate response to a stupid joke: THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE JOKE. This has been explained, numerous times. It’s about their response to the reaction to the joke. This is where they were real bastards. This is roughly how it went:
            PA makes a joke involving rape. People respond, perhaps even being over sensitive, saying that joking about rape trivializes it and could be traumatizing to people who have survived it. They could have said, “Well, that wasn’t our intention, we were talking about how horrible events are trivialized by the quest structure of MMOs, and we used the most horrible things we could think of in the comic. Sorry if it was a trigger for anyone” and then just leaving it at that. But they didn’t. Instead their response was, essentially, “Oh, rape victims might be traumatized by mentions of it, eh? Well, fuck them if they can’t take a joke. Rape! Rape! Rape! Rape! Ha ha ha!” And every time it comes up, they manage to say, “Oh, we’re ‘sorry.’ P.S. No, we’re not. Rape! Ha ha!” So it’s that response, within the additional context of the pack of braying jackals egging them on, creating the most incredibly hostile environment for anyone for whom rape might be an issue (e.g. all women), that’s the problem. So their defenders who keep going back to the comic as something defensible – that misses the issue. Yeah, that original joke was defensible, what they did afterwards in response, not so much.

          • chargen says:

            People respond, perhaps even being over sensitive, saying that joking about rape trivializes it and could be traumatizing to people who have survived it.

            A special class of trauma that deserves such outsized consideration, while all others aren’t regarded at all. I like how you even mention that it was “over sensitive”, not that this is considered.

            Sorry if it was a trigger for anyone

            They should have apologized to this special class of citizen who, unlike the murdered and the maimed, have endured a trauma that must always must be taken seriously.

            “Well, fuck them if they can’t take a joke. Rape! Rape! Rape! Rape! Ha ha ha!” And every time it comes up, they manage to say, “Oh, we’re ‘sorry.’ P.S. No, we’re not. Rape! Ha ha!”

            Nice job dehumanizing them as well.

            So it’s that response, within the additional context of the pack of braying jackals egging them on, creating the most incredibly hostile environment for anyone for whom rape might be an issue (e.g. all women), that’s the problem.

            This is best line. They are portrayed as people for whom ‘rape is not an issue’ because they do not recognize the immunity of this class of trauma. Also you suggest women would never and have never made outrageous rape jokes, which I don’t think was supposed to be funny.

            The only thing better would be if you used the best weasel word of all : problematic. Then the conversation is over, the issue is solved, and the guilty can begin to repent.

          • bill says:

            To the people saying ‘it’s not about the joke, it’s about the response after the joke’, it has been explained many times that, while it may not have been ideal, it was understandable and they have (a) apologised for it many times , and (b) done a lot of good work and made a lot of positive comments over the years that seem to just get ignored in an attempt to brand them as some kind of evil bigots.

            The whole ‘debate’ had become a complete mess anyway. Look over the thread and you have people on both sides arguing at cross purposes. People saying it’s about the comic, people saying it’s about the transgender thing, people saying it’s about the merchandise response (and people saying it’s not about any of those – and that;s just on one side).

            Frankly, IMHO, if after over 10 years of making Penny Arcade the only 3 things we can come up with are those, then I don’t think they deserve all the vitriol. If 90% of the people commenting aren’t clear on the reason for the boycott then there’s something seriously wrong.
            They have made many many posts on positive issues, but less than a handful of ones seems enough to crucify them. It strikes me as kneejerk/bullying/bandwagon jumping/grandstanding and frankly rather unprofessional.

          • Bior37 says:

            And do you think you’ll go anywhere where you’ll find people that won’t cheer? Do you honestly believe they were cheering for “yeah we should encourage rape culture!” or is it the much more plausible “yeah, freedom of speech!’

          • Smashington says:

            What it must be like to have a life so uneventful and empty that you could get this passionate about what two nerds said at a convention. OH THE HUMANITY.

            This is my least favorite part about this site. There’s always some white knighting article about how women have it so bad or something like this about a rape joke.

            The only decision that should be made is, are you offended? Yes? Then don’t go. It’s not your job to “mobilize the troops” and manipulate other people’s opinion to back you up. Half these dumbies on this site will suck an RPS editors dong at the drop of a hat to feel accepted so of course they’re going to be on board with this ridiculous boycott.

          • skittles says:

            The problem is not whether the PAX people support or reject rape. The problem is that they are sending so many mixed messages about it. THIS is the problem. Deadpool, E3 et al, are unapologetic about what they are, that is fine. People can choose to support or reject them on that basis. However PAX is not, they are apologetic, and seem generally sincerely so. The problem is that they just can’t leave well enough alone. They try to be everyones friend, at first giving a sincere apology to those that they offended, then turning around and having a laugh with their other friends saying they regret removing the stuff. PAX or at least the two at the top, want to be in bed with both groups, when they simply can’t be. THAT is the problem everyone currently has with PAX, it is trying to be chummy with both sides of a bitter argument, a situation any other entity would try to avoid.

        • Urthman says:

          Yeah, I really don’t understand the logic where RPS boycotts PAX but continues to cover events like E3 and games like GTA, Deadpool, Leisure Suit Larry, Far Cry 3, Saints Row, Dead Island (or any game published by Deep Silver like Risen, Metro, or Sacred) that are much more sexist and misogynistic.

          The Penny Arcade guys aren’t perfect, but they’re head and shoulders above a huge chunk of the industry on gender issues. They actually do care about sexism (even if they don’t always get it) and are in a position to actually influence people who don’t currently care about sexism. I think it’s a mistake to write them off and a setback for the influence of progressive values in the games industry.

          Take a look at the comments in this article by MCFrontalot (who chooses to continue his relationship with Penny Arcade in spite of his misgivings about recent events) in which a guy claiming to have cheered with the ugly crowd when Mike Krahulik spoke about pulling the merchandise from their store writes:

          That was absolutely beautiful, and actually changed my mind about the Dickwolf shirts.
          Internet confession: I was the one who yelled “bring them back”. I didn’t do it because I hate feminists. I didn’t do it because I hate women. I did it because I felt like those shirts were a justified “fuck you” to a section of humans that were rallying, unnecessarily, against a good joke. I didn’t know how wrong I was until right now.
          Thanks for helping me straighten that out in my head.

          link to

          • heyincendiary says:

            I fully agree with this. I’ve read every entry of Jerry’s blog since I found the comic/blog in 2007. I know him better than I know some members of my family, I think. And while we hear from Krahulik less frequently, I know his hang-ups pretty well, too, from the PATV documentary. Not to say I’m their best friend or even their biggest fan, but when you spend that much time listening to an artist you start to see a bit of their soul.

            And they’re good people. Sometimes a little childish, and so I can understand Krahulik’s reaction just came from a feeling of being overcriticised. But the proof is in the pudding here: sexism and gaming’s crueler side is a constant topic on their blog posts and in their public statements. They’re no Jane McGonigal or Jade Raymond; and they’re far from perfect. But come on – like 15 freakin’ years they’ve been doing this three times a week, and they seriously offend a group of people (and maybe fuck up the response) two or three times out of 1,500, and we throw PAX to the Dickwolves? And has anybody read any of Krahulik’s blog posts following the incident? They seriously deescalated the conversation.

          • skittles says:

            No they aren’t perfect, but they do need to pick a side. You simply can’t apologise to one person saying it was in bad taste, and then say to someone else that you really want to still do it (at least in public). This is exactly what the Penny Arcade guys did. There is a segment of society that will take offense to little things, and that is fine whether to choose support that or not. However you need one single public face, every sane corporate entity knows that. All those things you mention are unapologetic about what they are, and that is fine. PAX however currently has two very public faces, both saying completely opposite things, and it really is a joke and shameful behaviour. RPS has my support in their refusal to back what are currently a couple of idiots at top who have no idea what they are saying or what they support.

        • Vinraith says:

          As much as I like RPS, their priorities do seem a little upside down these days, don’t they?

          • ix says:

            How so?

          • Vinraith says:

            The goals are laudable but the implementation seems to generally be counterproductive. The post I was replying to is as good as any example I could give, there’s a lot of cutting off their nose to spite their face going on here.

            Another example: Take the Starcraft 2 “Kerrigan’s Ass” article from awhile back. There’s a sound underlying point there, but the presentation actually served to trivialize and undermine the very point they were trying to make. This seems to happen a lot, actually.

          • Droopy The Dog says:

            Yeah, that’s covered my thoughts pretty succinctly. The approach is well meaning but their methods are pretty consistently counter productive. At least a small body of research exists now showing misguided, aggressive attempts at this sort of thing genuinely do more harm than good.

            link to

            (ignore the inflammatory title, read the article for the actual conclusions)

        • NotToBeLiked says:

          Don’t bother with arguments. They are useless against fundamentalism. Having a whole bunch of panels and policies that are very pro-women doesn’t count if another point of view is also present. Because there is only one true truth and anything else is pure EVIL.

          And fundamentalism is what the whole misogyny witch hunt here on RPS is. They have as much right to be offended as anyone else, even by something dumb. But the continuous articles that are straight out insulting and attacking everyone who doesn’t agree with the extremist points of view are disgusting. Congratulations, you are now on the same level of muslims that bomb newspapers because of a cartoon and pro life nutjobs murdering doctors. I can’t wait to see the first article on here that’s going to call for destroying people’s lives who don’t agree to the whole ‘you cant joke about rapes or anything that women dont want you to make jokes about’ dogma.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            “Congratulations, you are now on the same level of muslims that bomb newspapers because of a cartoon and pro life nutjobs murdering doctors.”

            Boycott =/= Bombing

            Do I need to explain why?

          • Machinations says:

            Care to address any of his other..cogent, I might add..points?

            Thought not. Rps has become the self righteous moral majority brigade.

          • Sheng-ji says:


            “Don’t bother with arguments. They are useless against fundamentalism. ”

            By which he infers that RPS holds a fundamentalist belief – proving a complete and utter lack of understanding of what a fundamentalist belief is.

            “Having a whole bunch of panels and policies that are very pro-women doesn’t count if another point of view is also present. ”

            The article itself presents the very strong point of view that change from within is a valid and constructive point of view. The article also states that RPS have decided that route is not for them.

            Because there is only one true truth and anything else is pure EVIL.

            “And fundamentalism is what the whole misogyny witch hunt here on RPS is.”

            Here’s a hint – fundamentalism is tied by definition to theology.

            “They have as much right to be offended as anyone else, even by something dumb. ”


            “But the continuous articles that are straight out insulting and attacking everyone who doesn’t agree with the extremist points of view are disgusting.”

            I personally don’t believe that it is disgusting to attack peoples beliefs if that belief is sexist, racist etc.

            “Congratulations, you are now on the same level of muslims that bomb newspapers because of a cartoon and pro life nutjobs murdering doctors. ”

            boycotting =/= bombing. Need I explain why?

            “I can’t wait to see the first article on here that’s going to call for destroying people’s lives who don’t agree to the whole ‘you cant joke about rapes or anything that women dont want you to make jokes about’ dogma.”

            Is this the “cogent” point you were refering to? Perhaps you need to look up the word cogent in the dictionary.

          • Smashington says:

            Watch out! We got a live one on our hands! Those pesky blog/forum warriors who get super passionate about nonsensical bullshit on the internet.

            If you’re offended by the interpretation of the joke, leave. If you don’t like someone’s opinion, don’t listen to them.

          • in_nox says:

            you are a dangerous person.

        • shagohad says:

          Regardless of where you stand on this are people not at the very least bothered that the PA guys represent you as gamers? If you think the jokes and apologies were harmless or not, they were still immature and needless and they came from people who deserve respect for the work they have done for gaming. At the very least PA should attempt to control themselves not for whatever ideaology they have around these jokes but so that when people look at gaming organizations like this they see the positive and we aren’t all left being lumped in with the truly misogynistic, homophobic, and racist gamers who will repeatedly make headlines. I am an adult now, I dont want to be associated with the kids in Cod screaming faggot over chat, I would happily associate myself with groups that have gaming charities and host panels to put forward intelligent discussion, they just slight themselves when they make those kinds of jokes which have got them in trouble.

          • Machinations says:

            How absolutely idiotic.

            There is no gamer ‘culture’ Gaming is a hobby, much like stamp collecting, yet I do not think ‘stampers’ are a culture, any more than people who like to fly kites constitute a culture.

            I understand more, now, the bed wetting histrionics about PA. It seems some people believe that ‘gamers’ is a cultural group and that we need to care about the identity of gamers and how that is represented.

            I just play games; I don’t feel any need to associate myself with other people who play games, unless they happen to be my friends.

            But for some of you, being a ‘gamer’ is a label that to you is important. Unreal.

          • Guzzleguts says:

            @ Machination: Your unwarranted insults betray an emotional reaction to this issue. Maybe it’s this that has led you to forget about the existence of a group of people who do not play games. That’s still most people, and many of them, if you talk to them, do regard ‘gamers’ as a distinct subculture. I have actually had these conversations. Now you call me an idiot, liar, crazy. Take your pick mate.

          • shagohad says:

            haha wow…ok, well Im not sure I can really understand where you are coming from, you have a you’re own website about games, and you come making very opinionated posts on articles about gaming culture… and yet you care nothing for it..

        • Jasper says:

          And they’ll probably still cover E3.

          This whole things seems like a bad parody.

        • MrSean490 says:

          I actually am a fan of the no “booth-babe” policy honestly. It’s a pretty good idea.

    • gilrain says:

      Yes. I enjoy PA. More than that though, I enjoy that my favorite hobby is slowly becoming one in which there are serious consequences for misogyny, bigotry, and intolerance. I really appreciate that my favorite gaming journalism website is helping to be the change they, and I, want to see.

      This is a powerful statement, not least because of how self-sacrificial it must be to refuse to cover such a large, pageview-generating event.

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      Me too

    • DenieD says:

      Seconded, totally support this stance and have stopped reading / watching anything associated with PAX myself… such a hate filled company doesn’t deserve my time.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Extra credits is still good. I wonder if they will make a statement about the problems.

      • bill says:

        Two controversial incidents in over 10 years of making web comics, while also writing a lot of positive posts and raising millions of dollars for sick kids does not indicate a hate-filled company.

        Please do as RPS suggested a few days back and read behind the tabloid smear-job and actually make your own mind up based on the facts.
        For example, they’ve made a number of positive posts about bullying, bad gamer behaviour, sexism in games, etc.. and tend to always stick up for the little guy.

      • silentdan says:

        “Hate-filled company?” Really? Um, perhaps I’ve just managed to miss it, but I’ve seen nothing hateful from PA, much less a pattern of hateful behavior that would justify a your characterization. Citation needed. (Also, I’d just like to say for the record that mentioning rape as an example of a truly awful thing that can happen to a person is completely different from making a trivialization of rape into a punchline, so I had no problem whatsoever with the dickwolves cartoon. The “trigger” argument is inappropriate because it diminishes other forms of severe trauma. Back in 2007, my friend’s son was shot to death. I was there when she got the news. I’ve never heard another human being make such a soul-rending sound, and I hope I never do again. Murder isn’t funny. Comic strips that mention murder without literally condoning it are fine, even if they ruin my friend’s day when she reads them and recalls the worst moment of her life. She doesn’t want the rest of us to stop enjoying our lives just because her son’s life was cut short.)

    • BobbyDylan says:

      Boycott’s aren’t taken seriously.
      link to

      • Wisq says:

        I think you mean “gamers aren’t good at boycotting games”. Which is absolutely true.

        A major gaming website deciding not to cover a particular event, though? That’s easy to adhere to, and it can get taken very seriously, depending on how much that event depends on that coverage.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          Well, your principles for boycotting are pretty weak when it’s “This game is fun but I want it to be more fun, so I’m boycotting!” Yeah right, you’ll still buy it you just hope the boycott threat will get you dedicated servers.

          (Oh guess what, it worked. Next CoD will have them, right?)

          But boycotting because of social principles is a much easier thing to stick to.

      • zal says:

        In my mind its a good thing they don’t work very well. boycotts are a weapon used to leverage social and economic pressure into coercing an entity to change (national, political, individual… it can work on many levels), regardless of the side using it, and the scope in which its being used… its still an instrument designed to inflict damage, and on the other end of the spectrum from methods that involve dialogue or understanding. Its organized ostricism, of which there’s already PLENTY to go around.

        You could say a weapon can be used for good or evil. but I think there’s a greater burden of justification if you’re trying to do good with a weapon, instead of trying to do good without one.

    • Jockie says:

      Agreed. I feel like a ‘fuck PAX we don’t need it’ is a better stance to take than “PAX has become a bigger thing than Mike and Jerry. It’s now a huge part of the gaming community. Education and outreach is the way for us to change things, however slow that change will be.”

      PAX isn’t the be-all and end all and certain elements of the gaming community are too entrenched in their bigotry to change their ways, even if the effort to educate them is commendable.

      If they all want to congregate at PAX and cheer for Rape jokes and transphobia, let them, I’d rather see others like RPS and Fullbright boycotting and marginalizing the event entirely, so it becomes irrelevant as the industry at large grows and learns to accept diversity.

      Maybe that’s a bit idealistic, but honestly I don’t think PAX is an unslayable beast whose position at the top of the game-show food chain is unassailable. There’s plenty of scope for shows that don’t have silly cavemen spouting their nonsense as figureheads.

      *Edit – removed the term twat-faced

      • RobF says:

        Also there’s more people not at Pax than there are at PAX. It’s OK to not be there, most people get by without the place.

      • sappervatueil says:

        If CA had responded to criticism a bit more gracefully, its likely they could have diffused this whole situation in a way that made everyone happy. Seems that they should have offered to host a discussion of the issues during Pax and invited people to talk about the initial comic and the reaction, and aftermath, as a community issue, face to face and as members of an audience.

        By dealing with it in this way then everyone gets to air their beef and people can apologise (if necessary) and discuss the issues in a meaningful way. Also, if there is a counterargument to be made, it can also be made face to face, by the individuals who have been subjected to criticism or scrutiny, and they should always be allowed the the chance to defend themselves if they feel the criticism is unjust.

        This could have led to a ‘progressive’ discussion of the problem, and at least would have been a demonstration of good faith by CA. Why not just embrace the controversy , but do something positive with it, something with the potential to actually change peoples minds about the issues involved, even possibly to actually lead to a change within the community or industry that everyone can feel good about.

      • bill says:

        Some people seem to have a very weird idea of what PA and PAX are like. Do they really think they are just some kind of pro-rape pro-phobia facist group/gathering?

        • bartman says:

          It’s easy to see why people might be confused on the issue, what with the making of rape jokes and selling of rape merchandising and the people cheering these things on..

          • Grygus says:

            Yeah except the whole thing blew up because it wasn’t a rape joke at all, the question was asked at the panel because the merchandise wasn’t for sale, and the people cheering were just dicks who aren’t connected to PA. But you keep on believing.

    • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

      I’m ambivalent to this, I don’t know the whole story BUT you must make it clear that RPS isn’t just a games reporting/reviewing platform it has diversified into a political(non game related) lobbying organisation.

      This in reality is sad, a journalist is there to report not preach, though an editorial view is acceptable and welcomed. I fear Mr Walker is leading his publication down a slippery slope! RPS will be marginalised as a PC rant (pun intended) rather than a game review/news site with a strong editorial line.

      • Meat Circus says:

        People come to RPS expecting “It has lots of graphics 9/10”


        Sort it out.

        • Guvornator says:

          Comment of the year.

          To put it another, more long winded and self indulgent way:

          An office in Bristol*

          RPS hive mind: OK, well, we’ve had the results of the survey back and, um, we’re a little confused. It says you don’t want opinions on this website, and if we don’t stop you’ll leave.
          Internet commentator: Yes, that’s right.
          RPS: You just want us to review and preview games.
          Internet Commentator: Indeed, too many opinions spoiling what used to be a nice, comfy gaming website.
          RPS: Ah, here’s the problem for us. You see, when we review or preview games, we’re actually giving our opinion.
          Internet Commentator: I don’t follow.
          RPS: Hmmm, ok, let’s see if I can make this simpler. When we play a game, we use our gaming experience to form an opinion on a game, which we call a review.
          Internet Commentator: Really?!
          RPS: Yes.
          Internet Commentator: I’m shocked.
          RPS: I don’t know why, every game site does.
          Internet Commentator: Gamesradar doesn’t.
          RPS: Yes it does.
          Internet Commentator: Gamespot as well?
          RPS: Yup. How did you think they got those numbers at the end?
          Internet Commentator: Wow. This is blowing my mind. But, wait. If a review is someone’s opinion, then what’s all that stuff about how Titgun 8 is demeaning to women?
          RPS: Well, that’s also an opinion. They’re both opinions.
          Internet Commentator: But one is about games
          RPS: They’re both about games.
          Internet Commentator: But one is about games, whereas the other is ABOUT games.
          RPS: So in short, you want us to write our opinions about games, but at the same time, not write our opinions about games.
          Internet Commentator: Exactly!

          *or somewhere I dunno, I just assume Bristol because PC Gamer bods.

        • merbert says:

          @ Meat Circus,

          WRONG, WRONG, WRONG.

          This is precisely why I come to RPS.

          I want and VALUE their opinions.

          If I want a “9/10” I’ll go to Gamspot or IGN.

          You Pillock.

          • Guvornator says:

            I believe Ms/Mr* Circus may be be indulging in irony…

            *That’s right, the lady is before that man. Because that’s how right on I am, mofos!!!!!!!!!!

          • Runty McTall says:

            Wow merbert, that joke *really* passed you by, huh?^

            ^ I can’t tell if we’re now trapped in some sort of sarcasm spiral but I’m assuming your comment was serious (and I can’t really see anything that suggests a joke)

      • norfolk says:

        Everything is political. To pretend that PC games aren’t – that they’re somehow free of values or cultural implications – is patently, empirically wrong.

        RPS is one of the few journalistic bastions where writers are free to explore the politics inherent in our chosen hobby. That, for me, makes them a far stronger game review/news site than any other.

        • Grey Cap says:

          I would add: anything which seems apolitical is just so entrenched in the status quo that its politics have become invisible to its audience. Thus a writer can do ‘apolitical’ reporting simply by never questioning their readers’ ideology.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            Well said.

          • norfolk says:


          • X_kot says:

            To Do List:

            * Thumbs-up Grey Cap’s comment for excellence [X]

            * Add swaths of unfamiliar account names who are easily offended by RPS to my block list [X]

            * Send a donation to RPS to tangibly support their decision [ ] (tonight!)

        • RProxyOnly says:

          Politics in gaming doesn’t belong.. it has it, but it shouldn’t.

          And it’s entirely the fault of issues like this… It isn’t RPS’s job to set an agenda.. that makes them just as bad as anyone else who has an agenda.. their agenda isn’t more worthy than someone else’s agenda.. it’s the fucking same.

          Games deal with things.. inevitable because game have to be about something.. but the boundaries are being pushed, perhaps too far, and that means the inclusion of materials that quie frankly shouldn’t be in a game where the audience cannot be controlled.. and NO, putting 18 on something is fucking pointless and a con because the compainies do this to SPECIFICALLY appeal to children.

          And now we have another sector, that should fucking know better, considering how intelligent they seem to think they are, who are specifically out to stir the shit pot RPS!.. oh sexism this, blah blah that… RPS.. that is a FUCKING AGENDA.. you no more have any right to publise your pov in a manner likely to gain ‘popular support’ than you have to start the controversy in the first place.. THAT’S NOT YOUR JOB.. and frankly I don’t trust your staff to have a balanced view of the situation in the first place considering all the other times you drop the ball.

          You are simply catering to the “-ism” crowd.. and do you know what I’m getting SICK TO FUCKING DEATH of “-ism”.. because the people/companies who use them are as hypocritical as they come and think nothing of using them or other questionable issues/materials for their own uses down the road.

          It’s pure hypocrisy from both sides of the arguement.

          • Random Gorilla says:

            Politics belongs in games, just as it belongs in music, film or any other art form.

          • Guvornator says:

            Yeah, stupid politics and agendas, no place in games, why can’t I just get on playing this game which enables me, playing an American soldier, to shot loads of Arabic and miscellaneous Muslim folks in the face. No politics or agendas here, no siree…

          • alw says:

            And now we have another sector, that should fucking know better, considering how intelligent they seem to think they are, who are specifically out to stir the shit pot RPS!.. oh sexism this, blah blah that… RPS.. that is a FUCKING AGENDA.. you no more have any right to publise your pov in a manner likely to gain ‘popular support’ than you have to start the controversy in the first place.. THAT’S NOT YOUR JOB.. and frankly I don’t trust your staff to have a balanced view of the situation in the first place considering all the other times you drop the ball.

            This is the bit that makes the least sense to me. You say “that is a FUCKING AGENDA” as though all agendas are bad or there’s no such thing as a good agenda.

            By the way, I don’t think you get to decide what their job is.

          • merbert says:

            OOOOOkaaaaaay…….but what do you REALLY think about this issue……?

          • battles_atlas says:

            Well we may be riven by the OP, but at least we can all agree that RProxyOnly’s post is total shite.

          • bartman says:

            “Politics in gaming doesn’t belong.. it has it, but it shouldn’t.”

            Why not? Games are another artistic medium, and politics have been a part of other ‘similar’ mediums before. Both writing and movie making face these issues too, and its a part of an art form evolving to meet the needs of the public. Remember how Clark Kent had to sell breakfast cereal in adverts by sitting down to breakfast with Jimmy Olsen because at one time showing him having breakfast with Lois Lane wasn’t acceptable? Times change.

          • Phendron says:

            tl;dr: why don’t you talk about gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaames

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            “Politics in gaming doesn’t belong.. ”

            The thing is that politics honestly doesn’t care where you, or any of us, think it can and can’t go. It’s already everywhere. If you don’t see it, that’s only because you’re privileged enough not to.

            Grey Cap already addressed this in maybe the most succinct comment in this whole thread so far (not that any of us are actually capable of reading this whole thread): “…anything which seems apolitical is just so entrenched in the status quo that its politics have become invisible to its audience. Thus a writer can do ‘apolitical’ reporting simply by never questioning their readers’ ideology.”

        • bill says:

          RPS should absolutely be including political issues and social issues in their content.

          But that doesn’t mean, as a lot of readers seem to assume, that everything RPS writes about political/social issues is correct.
          I’ve always disagreed with those who want RPS to be simply a games news/review site, and I’ve always supported RPS’s stances on things like women in gaming. But that doesn’t mean I have to support them on this. And not supporting them in this doesn’t mean I’m automatically in the “RPS should only write about games!” camp.

          It’s ironic, because I think RPS wrote a post only a few days ago about informed news consumption and reading the sources before you make up your mind to believe the tabloid headlines. And then they write a character assassination piece on a couple of other games bloggers and half their readers eat it up as if it is all true and PA is some kind of bastion of hate and intolerance.

          So, yes, by all means please write about the more important aspects of gaming, and please take a stand on important issues, but also please try to do your research before making a knee-jerk stand.

          • Guzzleguts says:

            They may be taking a stand, but I don’t think they’re trying to shut down the debate – we’re posting after all.
            I think that a reasoned counter-argument should be (and on RPS often is) met with more debate. The problem lies with arrogance, opinions stated as facts, usually coupled with insults. As I wrote earlier – signs of emotional rather than rational responses.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        “a journalist is there to report”

        You’ll find no agreement whatsoever on this throughout the history of journalism.

      • rivalin says:

        There’s a difference between opinion, and actively attempting to hurt people who don’t line up with your political views. RPS exemplifies a particular, rather smug lower middle class lefty attitude; that essentially, they are right about everything, and anyone who doesn’t agree with them’s opinions are simply invalid, just call them a name (racist, sexist, homophobe cisgendtranscheckyoprivilegeatastic) and that’s that.

        These are the sort of people who talk about diversity, but only the sort of diversity they like, opinions, but only those they deem “acceptable”. Does RPS have any diversity of thought at all? They scrambled to show how right on they were by hiring women writers after the “tropes vs women” blow up (pathetically transparent btw), but is there anything aside from surface diversity? Would RPS in a million years ever hire a writer who was, gasp, conservative? If not, if they specifically are only staffed by people interested their particular brand of “progressive agenda”, then I think it’s pretty appropriate that they make clear that they are a left wing activist site.

        Also a lot of backlash against “campaigns” like this is intentionally created by RPS and co, and is a reaction to the fact that they are actively trying to run political purges of gaming according to what they decide are acceptable attitudes; no democracy, no real debate, just attack or destroy anyone who doesn’t share to your views. Abusing a prominent position in gaming, one that was not given to them to help advance their pet political causes, is not something to be proud of, as much as I’m sure it makes them feel big. (RPS, you are the Matt Damon of games journalism, congrats)

        • Hahaha says:

          “They scrambled to show how right on they were by hiring women writers after the “tropes vs women” blow up”

          Ahh is that when they noticed.

        • Sparkasaurusmex says:

          You think a prominent position in gaming was GIVEN to RPS?
          I think they probably earned it by writing and gathering a lot of readers, no?

          Why do you think RPS needs to be so saintly and fair? You want them to be castrated and bland and just be another IGN, huh?

          I love how this controversy is pissing people off. Love it. Get mad, but eventually, just stop and THINK for a bit about what you’re arguing.

        • SpectralThundr says:

          Spot on. And it’s something I’ve noticed increasingly more and more since Obama’s first election. Liberals have this whole my way or the highway attitude and act like they’re God’s gift to the world and their opinion is the only “fact” of any discussion.

          • theblazeuk says:

            A fair and balanced comment straight from the No-Spin zone if ever there was one.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            Let’s not cheapen this topic any further than it has been already by turning it into a “left vs. right” debate.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Just FYI but Obama is a foreign president to RPS

          • Jad says:

            “Human Beings Liberals have this whole my way or the highway attitude and act like they’re God’s gift to the world and their opinion is the only “fact” of any discussion.”

            Corrected that for you. And if you don’t believe that about most people with a strongly-held political belief, of any ideological slant, then you are so willfully blind that I’m surprised you don’t kill yourself crossing the street everyday.

      • Machinations says:

        We want rps to be what it used to be, a site about, you know, video games, instead of a soapbox for John to bludgeon everyone who doesn’t agree with him. It seems the respect for the audience at rps is not existent. You are only as good as the audience you attract.

        • horus_lupercal says:

          “We want rps to be what it used to be, a site about, you know, video games, instead of a soapbox for John to bludgeon everyone who doesn’t agree with him. It seems the respect for the audience at rps is not existent”

          if you don’t like these articles then there’s a simple solution – don’t read them and definitely don’t comment BTL multiple times. You are aware that your numerous, and i’ve only got a quarter down this page, comments all basically saying the same thing are making articles like this more likely right? RPS had always, in the 5+ years I’ve been frequenting this blog, had articles like this from time to time and, tbh, your response seems to indicate that you didn’t actually read the article as it’s not John bludgeoning people who don’t agree with him but a discussion incorporating different points of view.

          Good journalists tend to be activists too, you might not agree with them but what you;’re asking for is “games and game only, no socio-political discussion about gaming culture just games” when this site has never been ‘just’ about games. I think your actual problem is that John has an opinion that differs from yours, if he wrote something you agreed with you wouldn’t be here demanding he never write anything you disapprove of.

      • Rapzid says:

        Mr Walker lead that horse down the slippery slope and to water a LONG time ago. He’s been trying to get it to drink ever since. You must be new around here, welcome :)

    • bill says:

      Personally, I don’t.

      While a few comments that the PA guys have made have been a bit off, I think that if you look at the larger part of their output and work it’s pretty clear that they are nice guys who generally do their best to help people.
      They sure aren’t perfect, but a lot of that comes from being closer to ‘random gamers on the Internet’ than to ‘corporate entity’.

      I’m not up to date on the details, but from what i understand PAX is a pretty progressive and welcoming Games Show compared to a lot of the others. It seems much more community driven. It has policies like ‘no booth babes’. Etc…

      Using 1 or 2 internet shitstorms as a reason to boycott it seems rather misguided to me.

      • Snidesworth says:

        Their problem is that they respond to criticism by doubling down and going on the attack instead of trying to exercise empathy and think about where that criticism is coming from. For a pair who have complained about the mocking and discrimination of nerds they regularly show a disheartening lack of consideration for others who feel demeaned and alienated by something they have said or done.

        • bill says:

          Do you really want me to link to all the hundreds of times RPS has responded to criticism by insulting the poster’s mother?

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

            I kind of do.

          • airmikee99 says:


            Screenshot or it didn’t happen.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Here is the link to all the times (a writer at) RPS insulted someone’s mother:

          • bill says:

            Really?? It’s gonna be a pain in the ass…. :-(

          • bill says:

            I tried, but neither google or rps’s search seem to index comments. And there seems to be a user called ‘your mom” which doesn’t help things either! 10 minutes is all i’m willing to devote to my holy task. So you’ll just have to trust me on it!

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Or trust me. They didn’t insult anyone’s mother.

          • Hahaha says:

            john did tell someone who was not rude in anyway and just asked a question on twitter to “fuck off”

          • bill says:

            Yes they did. Numerous times.
            I can’t say many of the commenters didn’t deserve it, but a few people who made serious and well argued responses also got met with ‘your mother’ jokes.

            I thought it was funny the first few times, but it did tend to happen rather too much.

          • jrodman says:

            You appear to be confused about the distinction between meaning and word choice.

        • Grygus says:

          And then they try empathy and apologize, but you pretend it didn’t happen and carry on portraying them as someone who didn’t try empathy and apologize. That sounds pretty fair.

        • Bior37 says:

          That happened literally ONE time and they have apologized for it over and over and over again.

    • Screwie says:

      Agreed with Random Gorilla et al!

      I admit that alongside an article which discussed improving the situation from both within and without, I was initially surprised to see you guys take the outside stance. But then as you do not typically have a big presence at PAX anyway, the other path would not be seen as a significant stand.

      So fair enough, and well done RPS for doing something.

    • Nick says:

      I second this motion, and I am glad it’s the top comment. RPS is as great now as it’s ever been. If certain members of the readership have an issue with this, they can go read the thousands of other generic gaming sites that only cover trailers and press releases. RPS covers the volatile and fascinating aspects of gaming culture, and does their part to advance it.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      Bravo, RPS. Bravo as well for a good article that gave some time to people who are choosing to stay involved and open participants’ minds. Pressure from inside and out is how things tend to change.

    • suibhne says:

      It’s not worth engaging with the rest of this discussion, but I too want to express support for your call on this, RPS. I’ve read the site for many years, since back when Kieron was a household name; in fact, I first discovered you because of looking into the old NGJ piece about EVE. But this kind of coverage and political will is exactly why you’ve become my go-to gaming site…despite the terribly inconvenient timezone difference.

    • maninahat says:

      I hadn’t a particularly strong feeling about it one way or the other, until I read the hundreds of responses to this article. It’s now clear to me why these stances should be taken. If you are one of the chimps who wrote something along the lines of “stop overreacting!”, congratulations for best illustrating the dangers of indifference and the importance of a basic bit of compassion and perspicacity.

      • SuicideKing says:


      • bill says:

        How about all the people calmly and logically pointing out that RPS’s stance on this makes no sense.
        I don’t see how it’s better to blindly support everything RPS does than the guys who blindly defend everything PA does.

        And don’t conflate a lot of the people disagreeing on this article with the ones always complaining about the articles on women in gaming. A lot of the commenters are different, and the issues are different too.
        I happen to strongly support RPS on that, and think they are wrong on this.

      • Grygus says:

        I’m not saying to stop overreacting, but I am saying that a man with over a decade of good social work in the community, including being inclusive for everyone, makes a mistake showing his ignorance, owns up to it, and apologizes publicly deserves much better treatment than to be ostracized. I might even argue that he deserves the benefit of the doubt, but I can see from the comments here that that would be asking far too much; it is clear that a lot of you don’t know much about Mike or Penny Arcade. If you did, you’d see this is an aberration, not a pattern. The rush to judgment is disheartening for those of us more familiar with PA; RPS and PA are natural allies.

      • Bior37 says:

        Nice, calling people chimps makes your point seem great, eh?

        The hundreds of posts are pointing out the flawed logic in this boycott, of which there is a lot of. It seems RPS are the ones who misunderstood the trans incident, and didn’t even bother to investigate it. Ever think those hundreds are right?

      • Stuka_JU87 says:

        I like how you used the both racist and ableist insult “chimps” with no sense of irony.

      • Lycan says:

        Ha ha :D that made my day… the very definition of “show, don’t tell” :P

        But seriously, I try to read a wide cross-section of sites. It’s not that I don’t support the (occasional) editorial on things more important than just “which new game has the best shinies” ? but, on some days, it can just get a bit much. For the record, I don’t mind if RPS boycotts (or doesn’t boycott) PAX. If they feel strongly about it, good for them. For me, I read RPS but don’t read Penny Arcade (unless an article links to them) and have never been to PAX, so the whole thing is just a bit outside my ken at the moment…

        To summarise, Joystiq and Kotaku are decent options on a day when RPS is not being it’s usual thoroughly excellent and entertaining self…

    • Sparkasaurusmex says:

      Yes, you can have the corporate flavor you desire at IGN or Gamespot

    • Jesus_Phish says:

      The guys at PA apologised for all this in the past.

      Then they make a comment believing they where wrong to remove the sale of tshirts because it was them giving in to pressure. They’re allowed do that, they’re not hurting anyone admitting they felt they made a mistake. Now the internet is up in arms again.

      The way people go on about the guys at PA, you’d swear both Mike and Gerry where asking their readership to go out and rape women and beat up trans-genders and that the entire LGBT group where the foundation of every joke that they make in their comics.

      • suibhne says:

        No, it’s really not like that. Before you go after such flagrant strawmen, you might check into the copious documentation of PA’s record on stuff like this. The fact that they have an almost unprecedentedly massive audience means, well, they have an almost unprecedentedly massive audience – and some of that audience has been keeping track of these issues with meticulous care.

        I was a PA fan for many, many years. I’m a raving leftist and civil rights activist, and I still didn’t have a problem with the dickwolves cartoon; what alienated me was PA’s consistently tonedeaf response, to that episode and more recent ones. The repeated claim that Gabe fully apologized simply isn’t accurate, and both of them (mostly Gabe, but Tycho too) continue to step into new controversies with alarming regularity. They seem absolutely determined not to learn about their audience and the extent of PA’s impact on the world around them; instead, they seem to believe the world should simply adapt to them.

        Any publicly-held company wouldn’t be able to get away with the behavior they’ve exhibited. PA is now a massively profitable, globe-spanning enterprise, and it’s perfectly okay for people to expect those guys to grow up a little. Again, it’s not their humor that’s the problem; it’s their ass-backwards community relations and their apparently knee-jerk lack of respect for anything that’s a bit outside of their worldview.

        There’s a simple approach here that would fully address these continued controversies, and it’s articulated quite well by Utah Phillips in his discussion of violence: “You’ve got to be able to put your hand in the air and acknowledge your capacity for violence, and then deal with the behavior, and have the people whose lives it’s messed with define that behavior for you.” Instead, PA always reminds of a panel discussion I saw where two rich white guys were insisting a particular American Indian caricature was “highly respectful”, and two representatives of the affected tribe were saying, “Uh, hey, we think it’s pretty damn racist” – and the white guys couldn’t bring themselves to acknowledge that disconnect for the entire 30-minute discussion. Ouch.

        • Grygus says:

          Please educate me. I follow Penny Arcade quite closely, and have no idea what this pattern of behavior is. You reference lots of documentation; excellent! Care to link any of it? I will give you “tonedeaf response,” but you know who else already gave you that? Mike did. He said that he’s sorry for everything except the Dickwolves comic itself. So you can’t include other pieces of this same event, because one really bad event isn’t a pattern, and besides he’s already admitted that he was wrong and apologized for all of it.

          So let’s see this pattern. Got anything at all? Because I could drown you in links with Penny Arcade talking about making PAX a safe place and then following up on that. They definitely fucked up, but this isn’t the norm.

          • Grygus says:

            Here is Mike’s apology, which you claim doesn’t exist. link to

          • jrodman says:

            The claim is that it’s incomplete, and doesn’t acknowledge the problem in full. I agree with this claim.

          • suibhne says:

            @Grygus: First, what the other poster said: I never claimed the apology didn’t exist, only that it was incomplete. I still believe that to the case. RPS links to one of those copious documentation sites that I mentioned (and of which you demanded evidence – so, uh, RTFA ;) ), and that site links to some of Gabe’s tweets – and those are a more significant issue here than the official posts on the PA newsfeed. Gabe consistently responded to people with what seemed to be sarcasm and even cruelty. He’s acknowledged that he can lose his temper and behave *very* inappropriately via Twitter, of which you’re no doubt aware – given that you’ve apparently followed PA for as long as I have. He has not, however, owned the *content* of what he wrote, only its tone (and then only in the most general terms).

            Second, the apology you linked is by far the most complete apology that Gabe has offered…and it came, what, two or three years after the shitstorm in question? I guess I simply disagree with you; I don’t think Gabe and Tycho should get full credit for taking that long to deal with the discomfort and even pain they caused. And I suspect we would never have gotten this particular apology – the one you’re citing as evidence that Gabe is truly contrite (several years after the event) – if people hadn’t consistently challenged Gabe and the PA crew on these issues. People like random bloggers, sure, but also highly respected industry voices like Leigh Alexander and RPS.

            So my response, in a nutshell, is that 1) the apology you link is *still* incomplete, and 2) even if it were perfect, it was articulated several years after the original controversy – and it never would have occurred without consistent pushback from folks within the industry and even outside of it. Exactly the kind of pushback that you seem to be arguing is unnecessary and/or misplaced.

    • wearedevo says:

      +1. PAX has come to represent a large, hateful element of gaming culture that needs to be walked out back and shot through the spine.

      • Jason Moyer says:

        Taking someone out back and shooting them through the spine seems like pretty hateful behavior.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          I think he was trying to tap into the sentiment that sometimes, putting an animal down is considered the kindest thing to do.

      • bill says:

        Do you have any evidence to support this claim of PAX being so evil and coming to represent such hate?

        Because it sounds like you’ve tarred and feathered and entire conference and all it’s positive points simply based on this article’s description.

        It can’t be half as bad as Tokyo Games Show.

      • HPLoveshack says:

        Wow, this is either the most obliviously hypocritical thing I’ve read in a long time or fairly biting satire of the internet “socialjustice” bandwagon.

    • Gers says:

      This is endemic of a larger scale problem I’m seeing with a lot of video game news websites.
      The about page, first line “RPS is about PC gaming – all of PC gaming”. If RPS avoids events like this because they don’t agree with their ideology they are directly interfering with that statement. It does not matter how justified or good your cause is, if it gets in the way of your job it has no place there.

      Opinions are strong on subjects like these on both sides, but letting that interfere with your reporting is not okay. If RPS doesn’t want to cover PAX because it doesn’t agree with their values they are well within their rights to do so, and I am well within my rights to go to a more professional source.

    • The Random One says:

      I, too, thank you for doing that. A small act that I hope others will follow. I’d recommend doing the same to E3, but your snarky, dismissive posts about it are probably a more fitting punishment.

      As for the people who seem to be angry about it… they’re just too easily offended and are overreacting. Don’t let them censor you!

    • in_nox says:

      So I read the comics…

      and I can’t believe this thread exists.

      1st world problems.

    • TheAncientWolf says:

      Hopefully this will set an example for all of the other SJW sites and journalists out there. It would please me greatly to see your ilk remove itself from PAX, other video game expos, and gaming as a whole. Your jobs are to report on video game news and give an inside look into the industry. If you want to whine, complain, and go on crusades against people that offended you, then take it to Tumblr.

    • Groove says:

      I’m happy that RPS is boycotting PAX because I’d earlier decided to stop reading PA over their handling of this debacle.

      The original strip was funny, possibly offensive, ultimately fine as a close-to-the-line piece of comedy.

      Their original response was terrible but I didn’t leave.

      The fact that it’s been brought up again and in such a way is too much and I don’t want to support them.

  2. iridescence says:

    In before the inevitable flamewar.

    The original joke wasn’t that bad and I think some people way over reacted to it but, yeah, the PA guys handled it in, to use a pun, a totally dickish and insensitive manner, when they could have easily just apologized and let it blow over.

    I support RPS for standing by their principles as not covering PAX probably will lose them some article writing opportunities (and in the long run money).

    • Deathmaster says:

      I fully believe in jokes having no boundaries. Repercussions for disagreeing also seem a tad sad.

      • sd4f says:

        Pretentious bleeding hearts are ruining gaming.

        • FionaSarah says:

          > ruining gaming

          Literally a thing you actually think and really just typed. I am amazed.

          • sd4f says:

            Yes, ruining gaming, because some people just want to have fun, meanwhile, others need to turn absolutely everything into some sort of rhetorical mission so that they can fulfill their crusade against being offended.

            Just look at what has happened to bioware. I used to be a big fan, but attempts to appease certain voices, by stringently shoehorning situations, into what was always an absurdity, (the ‘romances’ always felt contrived and only there for the emotionally immature) has made the games look like vehicles for radical liberalism.

            Maybe I just don’t belong to the sneering class of sophistocrats, and gaming just is no longer intended for me. I know I’d much rather do other activities that the big city denies me as gaming is just a time sink which is easy to do.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I think bioware ruined their own games all by themselves by trying to shoehorn poorly written, horribly awkward romance dialogue into their games. And in my opinion trying to titillate the less mature market with lesbians.

          • Khymus says:

            Oh fuck off back to tumblr, will you?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Me or sd4f?

          • Bedeage says:

            I’m with sd4f on this. Yes, games have often been a haven for the outsider – depressed, gay, whatever – but that’s not all they are. This LGBT fuss in gaming is a very, very crude and simplistic parallel to the same fuss taking place in broader life. Even when banded together under the LGBT banner, there really aren’t very many people with atypical sexualities or gender issues. More to the point, to the 97% of the population that are hetero-normal, none of this stuff matters any more. Why? Because most people don’t define themselves by their sexuality, or by a conscious effort to distance themselves from the rest of society.

            It’s completely tragic that some people want to have plastic surgery to remove their dicks, or to add one where there previously was not, or that people feel defined by their unusual sexuality. I have a lot of sympathy for that. On the other hand, the martyr complex the LGBT community has been developing over the years is pretty dull now, and the media-folk that continue to report without critical engagement will suffer in the long run for it.

            Ultimately there’s a whole lot more to life than whether or not you like tits, and much of the rest of the world would like the LGBT band to remember this, and to stop crying wolf. Please do not tell me to ‘check my privilege’ either, or I will be rude.

          • battles_atlas says:

            Acknowledging the existence of homosexual relationships is “radical liberalism”? I had no idea how extreme I am.

            @ Bedeage
            If you get upset at being told to ‘check your privilege’ after tossing off phrases like ‘hetero-normal’ and ‘unusual sexuality’ then you’re missing the point somewhat.

            This is your argument: “hey black man, stop going on about being black, didn’t you know that colour-normal people don’t care about race. Why? Because white people don’t define themselves by their race, or by a conscious effort to distance themselves from the rest of society.

            It’s completely tragic that some people feel defined by their unusual skin colour. I have a lot of sympathy for that. On the other hand, the martyr complex the black community has been developing over the years is pretty dull now, and the media-folk that continue to report without critical engagement will suffer in the long run for it.”

            I think more pressing than checking your privilege is checking what a deeply unpleasant argument you’re making.

          • Guzzleguts says:

            Nice post. I’ve used this type of argument myself.
            Bedeage- please don’t dismiss his post even if your first reaction is to do so. Although the topic has changed the logic of the argument has not.
            The point is that minorities have the capacity to be oppressed by a stronger majority. Geeks, as a minority, have been bullied historically by ‘norms’. They should know better than to be a part of the same cycle of hate.
            That’s not to say that to make a mistake is unforgivable, the problem in this case is PA’s reaction to their mistake being addressed.

            I’d also like to point out that to make comments like ‘martyr complex’ in regards to homosexuals is ignorant to the point of offensiveness. I consider it similar to holocaust denial. If that is your thing then maybe you do not belong here. It is still illegal to be gay in many countries, and gay people are still murdered for their sexuality. Have you not heard about developments in Russia recently? Come on, check the news.

          • sd4f says:

            You know full well that it’s not merely an acknowledment, and I’m not talking about LGBTI exclusively. The whole immature perspective of broader sexuality is a large unavoidable part of those bioware games. Keeping and maintaining these problems (such as racism, sexism, etc.) as wedge issues by well intentioned people is a huge contributing factor to the problem; it maintains division.

      • TheLoot says:

        “Say something offensive? We’ll shame and bully you. Don’t like it, go kill yourself loser! We’ll laugh about it and make another check on our moral cleansing checklist.”

        • Ergates_Antius says:

          Oh look, it’s a man made entirely of straw.

          • TheLoot says:

            I may have exaggerated, but you obviously don’t pay attention to the stuff these people actually say during their “crusades”.

          • MikoSquiz says:

            Am I totally misremembering, or were threats made against Krahulik’s family over the Dickwolves affair?

          • Big Murray says:

            You weren’t imagining it, threats were made from both sides of the argument.

            One of the most horrible things is watching both sides try to justify or excuse their side making the threats while simultaneously condemning the other side for making theirs.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Murray, this isn’t an argument between two people. When you see one “side” you are only seeing one person. Don’t lump them all together like that. There are more than two sides and there are many (most) people on each side NOT making threats.

      • HexagonalBolts says:

        The original really isn’t that offensive to me and I’m that sort of person who writes complaint letters to the guardian. For me the punchline is not ‘ha, rape’ but rather mocking how games trivialise what would be a major and difficult moral issue. Unless someone could explain some context i am unaware of?

        • c-Row says:

          Somebody with common sense! Nice to meet you.

        • boe2 says:

          No context. It has the word rape. Rape is bad! Ignore all the other comics that are way more crude!

          • mouton says:

            Funny how by ignoring the broader context – namely, numerous later comments by the PA fellows – you do exactly what you accuse people of.

          • bill says:

            But the wider context is that the REASON they reacted like that was because most of the people complaining had totally misunderstood the comic. So if we agree that the original comic wasn’t that bad, then we essentially agree with them that they were being attacked for no reason… we just disagree with how they responded to that attack.

            Though I suspect most of us would respond aggressively if we were attacked on the internet for something we didn’t feel we actually said/did.
            Exhibit A: All internet comments and forums ever.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            Bill, speak for yourself. I wouldn’t react at all. It’s the internet, dude.

          • Guzzleguts says:

            As CEO/spokesman of a major international company a degree of professionalism should be expected.
            Q: “How does it feel to be actively encouraging rape culture, pal?”
            A: “it feels pretty good. Why?”
            Doesn’t really cut it, even if you consider the original question stupid. Standards should be higher.

        • Snidesworth says:

          As iridescence said, it’s not the comic itself that’s the cause of all this trouble. The issue is that when people voiced their discomfort with the comic the response of Mike & Jerry was to ridicule and demean them rather than make any attempt to see it from their point of view.

          • RuySan says:

            Yes, but the comic didn’t trivialize rape as it was already said.if there was an issue in the first place is because many people overreact to anything with the word rape.

          • MikoSquiz says:

            I think it’s sometimes fair enough to make fun of people with stupid kneejerk reactions to things they don’t get.

          • Drinking with Skeletons says:

            I always thought the first response (the follow-up comic) was to point out that they were very far from advocating rape. They picked something horrible (rape) because for the original comic to work it had to be something terrible. The joke doesn’t work unless you use something like torture, starvation, murder, or something with equal potential to offend. Yet they packaged it in the most ridiculous way possible. Dickwolves? They didn’t paint some harrowing, fetishistic depiction of rape to speak to their twisted desires, they threw out something far beyond the realm of reality to make an absurd situation.

          • chargen says:

            It’s one of the mildest comics out there. This is pathetic.

        • battles_atlas says:

          This is pretty much where I am with this. Always supportive of John’s stance against the sexism in gaming culture, never read PA, never heard this controversy before, but that it all stemmed from that single comic strip seems pretty incredible given how innocuous it is. If you were to impose a ban against such a joke, and then apply that beyond the subject of rape to any issue which could conceivably cause offense… comedy would be dead.

          I’d find it easier to back this RPS piece if it was acknowledged that the original comic was so innocuous. I can only assume PA were dicks afterwards to sustain this for so long, but given how trivial the original spark was, I find it difficult to blame them. I’d be pretty pissed at such a reaction as well.

          That said, to then turn it into merch and rake it all up again years later for a cheap joke is really dumb.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            Except this isn’t in response to a single comic, but “…about a pattern that had been established by those guys that clearly wasn’t going to change” to quote Fullbright’s Steve Gaynor.

            Or, to put it more succinctly – RTFA.

          • battles_atlas says:

            I RTFA. It quotes someone saying this is a pattern of behaviour. If that’s enough to sway you then superdupes. Me personally, I’d like some examples, you know, to make my own mind up, but other than the link at the start there is nothing apart from the merch and joke at PAX that I already mention. The link at the start is very long, but I followed the first two responses by PA on it and they seemed completely justified in the context.

            Edit: I see John has now clarified what he was taking offence to in a post below, so it seems I’m not alone in wanting this to be made clearer.

          • battles_atlas says:

            Edit thing seems bust, probably because all the internet is here at the moment, so adding this underneath.

            I just saw the ‘Breaking it Down’ strip which predated most of the response, missed it first time i looked at the link. That strip was really fucking stupid. If John has posted that as well as the original he’d have probably prevented half the posts that have followed.

        • RaveTurned says:

          As explained by others, the issues were less around the original strip and more about PA’s reaction to criticism (which were to trivialise rape, ridicule the concerns of rape-survivors, and go out of their way to antagonise their critics further by selling merchandise in support of their stance).

          There’s a really good round-up of the full context in this article.

          • boe2 says:

            As hard as that article is trying to dramatize, PA NEVER “ridiculed” or “insulted” rape victims.

          • aldo_14 says:

            Imagine that T-Shirt – the one that, IMO, symbolizes this whole thing – said ‘Go Team Rape’ instead of a ‘Dickwolf’.

            I didn’t find the initial cartoon that offensive (can’t remember if I saw it before or after the story, though), but it’s one thing to defend it and another to attack critics – who have the same right to express complaint, and a perspective that may itself come from being a victim.

            The correct response is really just to say ‘sorry, it’s not what we meant’ or somesuch – correct, that is, unless you actively desire to antagonize and insult critics rather than address them. The ‘apology’ strip was clearly mocking; the decision to make t-shirts and establish a brand centered around explictly raping animal/monsters was beyond the pale.

            On top of that, there’s a legitimate complaint that the original strip did trivialize rape; I think it’s worth considering the response if they’d made a joke about child-abusing animals, and also considering why rape was considered suitably appropriate (y’know – why use rape? why not attack, assault, something else? why was rape considered the humerous scenario here?).

        • Werthead says:

          “For me the punchline is not ‘ha, rape’ but rather mocking how games trivialise what would be a major and difficult moral issue”

          The problem with the original joke was the trigger warning issue, i.e. that for a significant number of people use of the word ‘rape’ causes unpleasant connotations because of personal experience. One-in-eight of the population has suffered sexual abuse of some kind, and of course there’s then a significant number of their friends and family who are also not likely to be amused by it.

          In this case, using a rape joke to highlight a trivial game mechanic/real-life dissonance effect, something that people have been joking and/or debating for decades (I remember letters in BBC Micro magazines in the 1980s talking about the morality of selling slaves in ELITE), could be seen as unnecessary and in bad taste. Sometimes making such jokes is worthwhile, justifiable and arguably even necessary, even despite connotations and trigger problems, if it is making a powerful point: BRASS EYE’s child abuse episode which actually targetted the insane media coverage of the issue comes to mind. But in this case, the punchline was not really worth it.

          • Bedeage says:

            Werthead this ‘trigger warning’ thing is a sociological dead-end. Rape is a crime I’d happily see punished by enforced oestrogen pills and the payment of a ‘rape-debt’ from the perpetrator’s assets, such as they may be. It is a foul crime and society rightly despises those who commit it. Like childhood sexual abuse, the victims will spend the rest of their lives suffering the consequences.

            In verbal conversation it is relatively simple to avoid painful topics with people you know. In public discourse, in addressing the mob, it is not desirable that the speaker should address the crowd as though they all suffered from PTSD caused by rape, childhood abuse, depression, loss of a family member, various phobias etc. It probably is not possible to release anything but the most bland statements whilst avoiding all potential trigger warnings, let alone a web-comic.

            Ultimately we, as a society, do protect and accomodate minorities (at least in the UK). What should not happen is that everything be oriented around said minority.

          • The Random One says:

            Think of it this way: It is normal that all buildings have access for people with movement difficulties, because while 95% of people will not need those accesses, the 5% of people who do need that access would be greatly hindered or prevented if they are not present. Conversely, the 95% will not be hindered by their presence, at least not to the point where their access is prevented.

            Likewise, while 95% of people do not need any trigger warnings, for the 5% that do their access to media will be greatly hindered or prevented without them. Conversely, for the other 95%, they will be slightly annoyed at most. Is it not fair to mildly inconvenience 95% of the population to prevent nigh irreparable problems to the remaining 5%?

          • Bedeage says:

            Restricting freedom of speech is not the same as increasing freedom of movement. Please refine the analogy.

          • jrodman says:

            Beadage, don’t be obtuse.

            I’m with you that the ‘trigger warnings’ thing has gotten rather silly, with people expecting it to be used everywhere, especially for content that is highly unlikely to trigger any distress. But you can comprehend the point being made and discuss it, or not reply. That kind of reply isn’t worth anyone’s time, including yours.

        • kael13 says:

          Wow, finally some sense. That original comic is nowhere near as offensive as it’s made out to be.
          However, I would like to see some evidence of the comments made against trans-gender folks.
          I love all people. Except for those who get easily offended.

          • Hieronymusgoa says:

            yeah, the PA guys always seemed to me quite liberal and i can’t remember a real anti-trans thingy so far.

          • Ando says:

            Mike said on Twitter that women have vaginas. Obviously a highly controversial statement that illustrates his undying hatred for transgender individuals.

      • Gap Gen says:

        The problems most people had with the debacle were more to do with PA’s response to the joke rather than the joke itself, which is about as safe as a rape joke can get.

        In any case, of course you can make whatever jokes you want, but making jokes about people in a weaker social position than you makes you a prick (so, for example someone who makes jokes that make fun of the disabled is a bellend, whereas someone who makes jokes about politicians is not, because politicians enjoy a position of power and disabled people largely do not).

        • Meusli says:

          Yeah, this is where they went wrong.

        • MykulJaxin says:

          I believe people should do whatever they need to do to feel safe and comfortable (I don’t watch Game of Thrones because I don’t want to see dongs and people porking all the time. I have no problem with other people watching it, though- WHATEVER FLOATS THEIR BOAT). I just feel that they should be consistent with their standard. So I would naturally expect RPS to NEVER cover offensive games like Grand Theft Auto which frequently contain racist and sexist humour. Yeah, Rockstar is joking… But so was Penny Arcade?

          • Paroxysm says:

            You don’t want to see dongs? You’re now banned from RPS for homophobic behaviour!

            But seriously dongs are awesome man!

      • lizzardborn says:

        Original comic was ok. Follow up “apology” was ok-ish too.

        The problem was the dickwolf drawing on the PAX and the merchandise. They just mishandles the situation and there was very good explanation from gabe I think about how their inexperience opened the wounds.

        My opinion is that RPS should cover the events. For a change to be possible, a dialog must happen. From what I have read lately the PA guys are open to it.

      • blur says:

        I totally agree that jokes should have no boundaries, but there’s a big difference between making fun of the victim of a situation, and making fun of the situation itself.

        And as much as I dislike Kotaku and the whole Gawker network, their site Jezibel did have a great article a while back entitled How to Make a Rape Joke.

    • Darth Fez says:

      That’s essentially my view of it: you have to stand by your principles.

      ‘course time will be the real test.

      • TheLoot says:

        Yes, and don’t expect us on the other side to keep quiet either.

        • gunny1993 says:

          Stop goddamn polarizing issues, nothing gets achieved when you goddamn put people in camps. You’re just as bad as RPS when they really get rolling. Although they’re far more eloquent.

        • Darth Fez says:

          So long as your principles don’t stand in the way of you standing by your principles, my good man.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      It wasn’t the joke, nor that they didn’t turn about face and apologise for telling it – it was how they handled people who didn’t like it. It is perfectly possible to tell a joke that offends people and afterwards treat those people respectfully without compromising your (Whatever the word is, sorry English is my 3rd language). Instead,. not only were they not respectful but they were actively disrespectful, which was the big issue.

      • sd4f says:

        The original comic could have avoided all of this if they just used the word ‘canola’.

      • wu wei says:

        It’s not just about the strip.

        For me, the issue was with PA claiming they’re trying to make a safe, inclusive convention for gamers of all genders and then actively producing merchandise which lead to a group of guys calling themselves “Team Dickwolves” attending PAX events. Encouraging a group that identifies & sides with the rapists from the comic did nothing to promote the aims they claim they have for PAX.

        • DrGonzo says:

          Absolute poppycock! If I wear a tshirt with Darth Vader on it does it mean I’m siding with a genocidal racist maniac?

          • airmikee99 says:

            Comparing the fictional actions of a fictional character to the real actions of real people?


          • dahauns says:

            Whoa, Dickwolves are real now?

            I otherwise agree that their antagonistic behavior (including releasing the merchandise) in the wake of their comic was not ok – but IMO the Darth Vader argument does have some merit, even though I don’t agree with it (because of the whole context).

          • Roz says:

            Ohh dear, I really can’t get over what airmikee99 said. Hahaha.

          • Guzzleguts says:

            Vader ultimately redeemed himself, the (sigh) dickwolves have not. Sorry I broke your comparison.
            Unless, you only support pre-redemption, fascist Vader. In which case, yes you are reprehensible Nazi scum.

      • Nalum says:

        I believe the word you want is integrity.

    • trjp says:

      I’m also of the opinion that the original joke was fine – I don’t believe anyone who followed PA would have been offended by it.

      The follow-up was also very PA – if you don’t like their work (and plenty of people don’t) it would be easy to light a torch and shake a pitchfork tho – they basically told people to “chill the fuck out” and people don’t like that.

      It went a bit downhill from there, but going from 2 guys making comics for other gamers to everyone on earth scrutinizing their work as-if everyone on earth were reading their work, well, that’s a tough test which few people will pass.

      PA has done much which is positive – a charity which has done boundless good for ‘gaming’ and an Expo which rivals or exceeds many commercially-motivated gaming shows to name just 2 parts of that – but in doing so they’ve been ‘put on the spot’ and – unsurprisingly – they aren’t flawless PR experts with carefully groomed opinions.

      One day RPS may be cast into the same spotlight – hopefully all the things RPS ever said will match with what everyone on earth thinks at that point – including all the people who have no idea who the fuck you are right now.

      Good luck with that one – I respect your decision but I think you’re wrong and I also think you’re grandstanding a bit too…

      • muffinmonkey says:

        I’ve been scrolling down for what seems like hours, trying to find the person I agree with most to comment upon, I think it might be this one.

        As everyone seems to agree, the origninal comic isn’t offensive at all, really. The rape reference isn’t trivalising rape, the joke is based entirely on the fact that rape is really bad. If it had been “We get beaten every morning and in the evening we get fun consenual sex. Then it wouldn’t have made any sense.

        The reaction comic is a little bit dickish, but it’s not that bad.

        Since then, it seems to have got weird. The “pro-dickwolf” camp seem to have got pretty vitriolic, and the PA guys aren’t doing anything to calm them down. Granted, they have no particular duty to, but if they want to form a safe feeling community, it would seem wise. Instead, they seem to be intentionally feeding the rage and the bile that’s filling the anti-anti-rape group. That creeps me out, I know it must be nice for them to have so many people backing them up, but it seems creepy.

        As for RPS, I don’t come here for games news. I barely play any of the games you lot talk about. You’re proper journalists, and there aren’t that many of those left. If you don’t feel like you can support something in good conscience, then that’s your perogative. I think you could have been a little classier about it, though.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          ‘Anti-anti-rape group’? So we’re ‘pro’ rape? That’s the exact same stupid bullshit people screamed at PA which caused the vitriolic response. People DIRECTLY accused both Gabe and Tycho of ‘supporting rape’. You try doing that to someone on the street and see what their reaction is.

          • Ako says:

            Let me help you: Anti-“anti-rape” group. You’re the only one here saying it equals being pro-rape.

          • Guzzleguts says:

            Ako is right. Being anti anti-rape group doesn’t equal pro-rape. It’s a logical fallacy, hopefully not deliberate.
            One ‘side’ is so anti-rape/rape-culture/transphobia that it desires modification of language to respect these issues.
            The other is so pro- freedom of speech that it rejects the notion of editing, while questioning the true impact that words in a comic strip can have.
            Neither is pro-rape.

            There are valid point from both sides, but on my scales I weigh the feelings of vunerable people heavier than a piece of observational comedy of limited cultural worth. Just my personal opinion.

            Actually, maybe ‘team dickwolves’ tshirts are kind of pro-rape, or at least pro-rapist. I feel a bit sick.

        • battles_atlas says:

          What muffinmonkey said, almost entirely. Other than that I do think the follow up strip, before all the hysteria kicked off (according to the timeline) was dumb and totally unnecessary.

          @ RvLeshrac
          anti-anti-rape is not pro-rape in this context, clearly. He means the group that responded to the group that responded.

          • trjp says:

            I don’t know about unnecessary – I know that in a similar position I’d have made that comic tho, if someone had accused me of something completely baseless and stupid (that comic promoting rape) I’d have taken the piss.

            If you accept that idea – that the comic promotes rape (as some people have argued) – then you’re following the same line of thought that makes the media claim that ‘games contribute to shootings and violence’,

            It’s entirely possible to be anti-rape (is anyone really pro-rape other than mentalists?) and not be offended by that comic – or it’s follow-up – or the T Shirt either.

            As for the transgender stuff – I found this to be a refreshing take which agrees with my view (that someone without any experience of the issue was – at worst – a bit of an asshole about it and has since apoligised and everyone moved on?!)

            link to

            Again, as I said before, it’s about the art and the artist. PAX is the ‘art’ – Tycho and Gabe are the ‘artists’ – you have to decide whether you can accept the latter given the views of the former – entirely upto you.

            Ideally you’ll not do what certain people have been doing all day here and be an asshole about it – that would be ironic.

    • Reapy says:

      Basically this and all the reactive shit storms over a single joke are the exact reasons we can’t ever get a human view from AAA companies and instead are stuck with marketing PR speak. Would any of this be happening if PA had a PR guy filtering them? No. Not at all. So we are lending further evidence for the need to only talk to your fan base very, very carefully.

      I have read all the timelines of events and such on this dickwolves thing and I really just don’t understand how it went from a joke about MMO’s not caring about NPCs into this full on PA hates LGBT people. Rape is a word that describes an act, by using that word you do not suddenly condone it. We all have personal issues we are sensitive to and are offended to… for a long while my wife reacted to “Cancer” the way many people react to “Rape”, but she didn’t use that as an excuse to attack every person that made a cancer joke to a large audience.

      When talking to a large audience, you can’t market speak yourself to account for everyone’s personal trigger words. Your message is not polarized enough and will fall on deaf ears. RPS writes a nice article about a good game, 50 – 100 comments. RPS writes a strong stance on a topic: 600+. I’m not saying it is done for comments, merely that readership responds better to stronger stances and more extreme statements.

      Well either way I honestly don’t recall much PAX coverage here anyway, but I would hate any great PC indie games might miss some spotlight because of it.

      • trjp says:

        Rape is a word I find offensive *when used out-of-context) but it’s also a word used by people who play online games rather a lot – it arguably has it’s own meaning to them (many of them possibly don’t even know what it really means).

        We’re in danger of becoming the Mary Whitehouses of our generation here- I don’t want people using that word flippantly, but I don’t have to listen to it either. We used to say “your TV has an off button for a reason Mary” – your game has a logout, your bookmarks can be removed.

        I’m old enough to have grown to like many things which I’ve later discovered were created/portrayed by people with loathesome/disagreeable personal views. From Wagner through to finding-out Elizabeth Moss is a Scientologist – it’s something you have to deal with in life.

        Sometimes I choose to shun people’s work – mostly I try to separate the art and the artist – seldom do I shout through a megaphone that I’m BOYCOTTING EVERYTHING TO DO WITH IT!!!!!

        It’s a personal thing and this is a personal blog from a small group of like-minded people – they’ve made a choice and I respect that but by choosing to SHOUT ABOUT IT, you are grandstanding a bit!?
        “We object to a show organised by a company that is fronted by some men who once once expoused a personal view I disagree with”

        That’s not going to end well – you’ll starve to death living on a rock in a desert…

  3. Tei says:

    * deleted *

    * rewrite as a shot-text version *

    This is illogical. A overreaction to nothing. Something that happened, the internet archived, and we all tried to learn from it.

    RPS is going in a unjust crusade against the freedom of humor creators to make a humour about sensible issues. This is wrong and RPS must stop.

    • gunny1993 says:

      Either you’re making a really nice statement about how in a comment section your voice is worth nothing, or you forgot to run that through google translate.

      Edit … ahhh you got there already XD

    • Jams O'Donnell says:

      It’s not just about this one joke though — there’s a whole lot of additional context to consider.

      • Tei says:

        Its a 10rats joke. Theres nothing to be offended by it. People getting offended by it are raping common sense.

        • TheLoot says:

          I’ve been triggered! Rape! RAPE!

        • Svant says:

          Congratulations, you are an asshole. Using a rape anology on an article about how a rape joke hurt a lot of people. Yeah takes a special kind of idiot to pull that off.

          • kael13 says:

            Oh. My. God.

            How do people like you exist in society?

            Y’know what, I thought us Brits understood humour. I cannot believe how out of proportion this is being taken.
            Moral outrage is the bane of modern society.

          • airmikee99 says:

            RE: kael13

            Always hilarious when someone ends a comment about moral outrage being the end of society, after starting the same comment with ‘Oh My God, how do people like you exist in society?”

            Pot, meet kettle.

          • Sparkasaurusmex says:

            The only “bane” of modern society is time. It will soon be past society and not so modern anymore, of course by then we will have a new modern society.

            Unless you truly think people opposed to rape are going to bring down the apocalypse or something.

          • Guzzleguts says:

            moral indifference was the bane of the 1930s. Some only want to silence debate, some think issues matter.

    • Gap Gen says:

      The issue is not the joke but PA’s response to the joke. Apologising sincerely and moving on would not have resulted in the scale of the fallout we’ve seen.

      • Hahaha says:

        Don’t apologise for a joke EVER, apologise for the people that get offended.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Why? I mean, granted certain people will always be offended when you mention edgy stuff, but just because you can say anything it doesn’t mean that you’re not a prick for doing so and then making a thing about it rather than backing down.

          • Hahaha says:

            because you will be apologizing after every joke, some group will always get offended it’s the way of the world

          • The Random One says:

            When you want to make fun of a group, and you make a joke making fun of that group’s ideas, and that group feels insulted, and people associated with them feel insulted, and other groups that hold similar ideas are insulted… Never apologize. That means you succeeded.

            When make a joke that wasn’t making fun of anyone specific, and a group of people tell them that they were offended, and you like them, or you were neutral about them, or you didn’t even know they existed and your first interaction with them was them being insulted… You may have made an error. Consider that fact. Consider their stance. Then, apologize, because that is what a decent human being does when they find out they are wrong.

            Jokes do not excuse you from basic human decency.

      • kael13 says:

        Why apologise for something that is clearly not offensive to most people? These people aren’t politicians.

        • jrodman says:

          Yes, why act reasonably when you haven’t got a career and profit motive?

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      There is a difference between being a comedian and being an asshat.

    • iucounu says:

      It’s never been about the initial joke, Tei – it’s not about policing humour. It’s always, every time, about the way PA, and in particular Mike Krahulik, behave when things like this happen.

      John, below, explains this very well.

    • DrGonzo says:

      I actually agree, Also, this article seemed completely one sided. I think it’s time to stop reading this site! Over the last however many months it feels like a constant moral crusade. I really enjoyed this being a site about just the games, I’m not interested in the rest of it. I was just ignoring it, as I agreed with almost everything, but this is an irrational attempt at censorship. They can claim it’s not all they want, but the intent is to boycott them, to stop them from expressing their views. In this case, I completely disagree, and suppose the apt thing to do is boycott RPS?

    • Commissar Choy says:

      Perhaps this is a ploy to draw out RPS’s worst denizens so as to drop the most magnificent of banhammers.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        We can only hope…

      • Hahaha says:

        Apart from banning does sweet FUCK all ;)

      • Hahaha says:

        Ok the filter for this site is hillarous. vagina, vulva, clitoris, penis, cock all fine but c*nt nope can’t use that.

  4. Baktosh says:

    You might want to remove the comic strip that you’re protesting was in poor taste or at least add a trigger warning for the strip. Or, you know, you could just help propagate it. Either way…

    • glocks4interns says:

      If someone reading RPS doesn’t know what discussing a PAX boycott might entail…

  5. mouton says:


    Ok, now I can go back and read the article.

  6. boe2 says:

    Openly declaring war on Penny-Arcade, and one of the main reasons for you is them refusing to apologise for the “dickwolf incident” which was completely ridiculous to begin with.

    Sorry RPS, but you are not going to find much followers on this one. If dickwolves and apathy over transgenderness really bothers you that much you should REALLY reconsider your priorities in life. Right now, it seems like you are just trying really hard to get insulted by no matter what.

    A huge storm is coming. I hereby declare my allegiance to PA.

    • In Zod We Trust says:

      If it helps any you probably won’t be missed.

      • TheLoot says:

        Frankly, neither will the oversensitive crowd.

        • The Random One says:

          The oversensitive crowd that is raging because RPS won’t cover a convention they sort of like? Yeah, they won’t.

      • Jasper says:

        I’ll miss him. He was a voice of reason admist hysteria.

        • Guzzleguts says:

          Oh please – we don’t need this riff-raff. It’s MANY followers, not MUCH.

    • TheMick says:

      Lol huge storm is coming? You’ve been watching too many Jerry Bruckheimer movies.

      Nobody in RPS has declared war on anything (though I hope Tim Stone does just to see how he does it). If anything they’ve done the opposite by choosing to avoid coverage. Enjoy PA, you shan’t be missed.

      Edit: dammit Zod

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      An Englishman always carries an umbrella.

      • apocraphyn says:

        Shame that Nathan’s going to get soaked, but it’s his own fault. (He performed the rain dance, after all.)

      • finalfanatik says:

        Special British umbrellas with curved handles for hooking thieving urchins.

      • Ronobvious says:

        At birth, every citizen, as of right, will be issued with a British bicycle and an honest British-made umbrella. Thus assured of a mobile workforce adequately protected against the elements, this great country can go forward once more to glory!

      • Aninhumer says:

        Pfff. Maybe in the South.
        Northerners are tough enough to let ourselves get wet.

      • anark10n says:

        Umbrellas? Raincoats are a thing, you know. Far more practical. Unless, above the equator, you have storms where rain comes straight down. Which still isn’t an excuse for the amount of space an umbrella takes.

        Wait … different kind of storm.

    • Surgebuster says:

      Long time reader and supporter of this site, who just registered to be able to make the following comment:

      Rock, Paper, Shotgun should be embarrassed for taking a “stand” on this absolute non-issue. Nobody is minimising the seriousness of rape and the outrageously hyperbolic, hysterical reaction to the Dickwolves comments demeans everyone involved.

      The hypocritical condemnation of Penny Arcade is just tabloid journalism at its worst, so congratulations RPS, a three-letter acronym that may as well be TMZ for all I care. Until I (read somewhere else) that you’ve stepped away from this position, you’ve lost at least one reader.

      • Aaarrrggghhh says:

        What exactly defines an issue as a non-issue? I hear this so very often, yet I never found someone being able to give a proper explanation.

        • thedosbox says:

          “non issue” is code for something they don’t care or want to read about. It’s pretty much the attitude of those who only want to talk about how many graphics a game has.

          • Mitthrawn says:

            Or those who have common sense and can actually read a joke as intended. Get over yourselves, both commenters and RPS.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Well, Penny Arcade have made it an issue by digging in and selling merchandise on the back of it rather than simply moving on. I think it’s fair for RPS to take a position on it.

        • boe2 says:

          You act as if they sold shirts promoting rape. They didn’t
          They sold shirts with “dickwolves” on it. If anyone wants to walk around wearing that, that’s entirely their own concern.

        • kael13 says:

          They sold t-shirts mocking people who get easily offended. Which is fine. That it was taken too far by some members of the community was the reason they stopped.

          • The Random One says:

            They sold people mocking people who are easily offended? Are they next to the shirts mocking people who are rightly offended because of actions that can trigger PTSD followed by childish behaviour defendind an undefensible stance?

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        Why is this stance hypocritical? I can’t see anyway in which this conflicts with RPS behavious elsewhere.

        Is it possible you don’t actually know what hypocracy means?

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        Eh. As far as I understand it, the ‘joke’ isn’t all that funny and unnecessarily using rape (that, and I personally feel that certain subject are best treated with.. well.. caution in general). More than that, their response to comments on it show that PA are clearly not understanding of the other side also shown given their merchandise.

        Now, the comic is one thing, but the lack of empathy and understanding shown are key to me. Sure, it’s just a comic. Consider though how PA seem to have gotten defensive and protective of the dickwolves thing (as illustrated by Nathan’s example in the article). I can only conclude that PA don’t have their priorities straight, perhaps fueled by their fanbase. Which, in my opinion is sufficient reason to boycott PAX. Although trying to change PAX from within may be the better choice.

      • DrGonzo says:

        Well said! It’s also quite embarrassing to read after John’s rants against that sort of journalism.

      • Guzzleguts says:

        Just registers to make one indignant comment – but takes the time to add mass effect avatar first.

    • DenieD says:

      bah replied to the wrong bit…

    • Lambchops says:

      Tad melodramatic that. This isn’t a war, battle lines aren’t been drawn or anything, it’s just saying, y’know wouldn’t it be good if people were a bit more nice and considerate to each other.

      Last time I checked that wasn’t generally a precursor to major hostilities. You could criticise it for perhaps being ineffectual but certainly not for an incitement to things kicking off.

      • Sparkasaurusmex says:

        But boy does it piss people off!

        I’m starting to wonder what has angered more of the internet, the whole PA dickwolves debacle or RPS trying to point out problems with gender roles.

        • X_kot says:

          Yeah, the sheer volume of posts everytime something about gender dynamics is posted suggests that there is some deep-seated discomfort about addressing the issue. The “outrage about someone being outraged” baffles me until I consider that it’s just cognitive dissonance being ejaculated onto the Internet.

      • FriendlyFire says:

        Boycotting an entire convention on the grounds of disagreeing with the founders of the organization handling it is pretty much as close to war as it’s going to get in terms of journalism. How would you escalate from there?

    • kael13 says:

      I’m going to be with you on this one, I love RPS and I love the majority of their articles on gender issues and what not. But oh my god, do they need to tone down the level of white-knighting.

    • aldo_14 says:

      REALLY reconsider your priorities in life. Right now, it seems like you are just trying really hard to get insulted by no matter what.

      I think, personally, that it’s more valid to prioritize concepts of equality and fair treatment, than to blindly adhere to an internet comic getting very very rich of your blind adherence. I mean, what is your priority here, exactly?

    • GoodbyeRPS says:

      I used to tell people “if you are tired of sites like Kotaku and Joystiq being nothing but commenting on someone else’s work and calling it blogging, you should check out Rock Paper Shotgun actual enjoyable reading”.

      RPS, you can boycott if you want, its your right, fine by me.

      But I find this to be ridiculous page-baiting. The equal of a news site getting Miley Cyrus outrage views by publishing a story about how everyone is too obessed with Miley Cyrus.

      RPS gave me something entertaining to read, and articles that had meat to them.

      Penny Arcade told me it was ok to be a geek, that I should not give in to my blue collar guilt and enjoy something that is more than just a hobby, something that is ok to be a way of life, just as any “car guy” is legit, “gamer” is a legit thing to be. They make me smile, they hold charities I whole heartedly support, they support indie games that generally wouldn’t get exposure(even if they are notoriously fickle and quick to bite the hand that feeds, which is a big reason they are indie, and don’t get funding from the usual areas).

      I’m sorry but Penny Arcade trumps you. It is not even a fair fight. But that’s not the main reason I’m leaving. The main reason I”m leaving is because if you support Penny Arcade, you’re implied to automatically a bigot that the world can do without. That’s every bit as a horrible thing to say as “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”. That’s right RPS, you’re in that realm now. I don’t support people in that realm.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        What was your other username?

        • Jasper says:

          Replies like this don’t do you, or the general RPS audience, credit.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Of all the posts I made today, this is the one that does me no credit? Really? But in all seriousness I know exactly who this is, I know they will be back commenting under their usual username and have no intention of not coming back. That they won’t put posts like this to their real username speaks volumes about how much of a coward they are and makes me wonder how many of the indignant “I’m never coming back” comments are alts created to attempt place a pressure on RPS staff where that pressure doesn’t really exist…

          • Llewyn says:

            Seems like a legitimate question to me.

            Extrapolating to the RPS readership on the basis of anything Sheng-Ji posts really doesn’t do you any credit though.

          • Llewyn says:

            Edit (since I can’t): That’s not intended as a comment on the quality of Sheng-Ji’s opinions in the way it sounds, but rather a declaration that she doesn’t speak for us all. Consider ‘anything’ replaced with ‘something’.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Haha, no worries, I took it the right way and honestly, after some days I would agree with you taken the wrong way!

  7. Ergates_Antius says:

    Maybe you could have a word with former RPer Quinns. His [most excellent] current project – Shut up and Sit down – seems to feature on PA quite regularly. Don’t know if they have some kind of agreement/partnership, or if it’s just paid for/free advertising or what.

  8. greg_ritter says:

    RPS, your decision is your decision, and good for you to stand your ground. Seriously.
    >The scene was bile-gushingly gross, and it reopened a wound time had only just begun to heal.
    This is one of the biggest overreactions that I’ve seen. You do understand, that these teary-eyed words about “wound time only just begun to heal’ is about a comic strip about a creature called “dickwolf”? I may understand your problem with this strip, I can understand you problem with PAX, but I can’t understand such hack writing. You are not describing Holocaust. You are talking about dickwolfes.

  9. Alexander says:

    I fully support you guys. What I don’t like most is the way those two clowns handled the affair after the idiot joke broke out. And yes, I’m aware they’ve done some stuff to amend it, but the situation is still in need of awareness.

    (Editor’s note? who’s this mysterious editor in the shadows?)

    Also, you’re still propagating the comic through the article, you know.

    • Guvornator says:

      It’s probably Ross Atherton. RPS is nothing but late 90s PC Gamer in web form. How is Ross? I miss him.

      • frenz0rz says:

        Rossferatu! Time to dig back through the 10 years of PCG mags stashed under my bed…

        • gibb3h says:

          scan them. scan them now, I lost my entire collection when my roof leaked ; ;

      • Edgar the Peaceful says:

        I’d dearly love Ross to write for RPS. Bring back Ross on Why!

    • The Random One says:

      No one knows who the mystery editor is. That’s why they call him an editor-at-large.

  10. Flappybat says:

    In related news Penny Arcade journalist Ben Kuchera would prefer it if you buried your heads in the sand about bigotry.

    link to

    He has a point about the mainstream news obsession with negativity but is misguided in suggesting quietly ignoring bigots will make anything better.

    • Legionair says:

      You missed the point of the piece. If you have a site with 100 readers that posts an crappy piece about what ever hate filled crap they want to throw around. If a site with 10000000 readers talks about that you just spread that hate filled crap to that many more people. The point is sometimes the best thing to do is deny them battle. They thrive off pissing people off and creating waves. If you just let their hate filled crap sit in the small corner of the internet you do not feed them. See they are like trolls, or they are trolls either way don’t feed them.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I don’t think PA are genuinely just trolling, or wouldn’t care if people voted with their feet because their brand was poisoned. There’s a difference between a non-entity posting crap on /b/ and someone with a million-dollar business to maintain.

      • P.M. Gleason says:

        That’s not the way we do business on the internet anymore and it simply doesn’t meet standard.
        It was once where you’d just put the little idiot on ignore but now instead of not feeding the troll, we feed it until it bursts. I can’t say I always agree with the tactic, but it is effective.

    • P.M. Gleason says:

      I agree. I obviously have my own opinions on certain issues like transgender people and things like that, but I also realize I am a human being and I won’t sit idly by and let someone else’s dignity being trampled for no reason. I don’t care who it is or who they are, or whether or not I agree with them. I will, quite simply, not abide.

      If a person’s “crime” is that they exist, then we need to re-examine what we think justice means.

    • Bull0 says:

      Kuchera says weird things. I basically wrote him off when he gave the “GJAIF” bloke a hard time for not having a job.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      David Brothers wrote particularly well about this issue:
      link to

      In short: these stories raise racist’s voices higher than the victim of racism.

      I admit, part of the Miss America thing made me raise an eyebrow when the tweet-search story put a number by it. Was it “700 people on twitter making racist comments”. What – really? And that’s news? Enough to completely dominate the news-cycle around the event? Enough to colour all conversation? To make all the most important thing in the debate a bunch of racists’ opinions?

      In a real way: the only people who win by these stories are the racists (who get their opinions broadcast) and the people publishing the stories (free hits). Oh – and a bunch of white people get to feel good about themselves in a “Well, I’m not racist” way.

      Brothers puts it much better than I do.

      • I Got Pineapples says:

        I’ve become more and more convinced recently that the single most ugly and poisonous thing on the internet is very structure of internet journalism. The very economic model and the constant need to publish, the constant need to produce a sense of outrage and the ensuing clicks, the constant need for some sort of political comfort food to a degree that would revolt even the most hardened old media stalwart feel slightly nauseous, combined with the constant self aggrandising navel gazing of the ‘thinkpiece’ means that it’s managed to reach a point where even insitutions like the Daily Mail have every right to look down on it

        By it’s very nature it turns us into short sighted, self involved and choking on our own smugly self-righteous outrage. Every post on the likes of the Daily Caller or Slate and it’s ilk and their even more unpleasant spiritual successors, the Gawker Network, make us worse as a species and frankly anyone who has ever been involved with them should consider the point in their life where they gave up all moral credibility.

        We should burn it all to the ground and let nothing grow in it’s place.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          I’m pretty sure that RPS have publicly stated that they do not get an income based on how many people view their articles.

          • I Got Pineapples says:

            I was more referring to the whole twitter thing than anything that’s happened here.

            I am mostly kind of indifferent to this. A resounding cry of ‘Eh, this is kind of what I expected to happen, I can understand their position and accept it though I am slightly uncomfortable with the growing progressive puritan streak that’s creeping into video game journalism, I am not uncomfortable enough with it to poke this particular nest of wasps .”

            Slate and Gawker and similar, on the other hand, are a festering sore on the human soul.

  11. Thirdstar says:

    I used to come to RPS to read about PC gaming because I found RPS to be one of the last remaining bastions of such coverage.

    But this is where we must part. There’s far too much politics, censorship and agenda pushing here for my liking. Thank you for everything over the years.

    • gunny1993 says:

      [exit stage right]

      If you didn’t get that I was taking the piss out of you for being overly dramatic.

      • Lemming says:

        Overdramatic, like say, misunderstanding a joke and boycotting an event? That kind of overdramatic?

        • airmikee99 says:

          For the love of Jeff, RTFA.

          This isn’t about the joke, it’s about their reaction after people got offended to the joke.

          This isn’t about me punching you in the face, this is about my reaction after you got upset about being punched in the face.

          Is it making more sense now, or shall I find a carrot to explain it to you (or just read the fucking article)?

    • Tei says:

      Yea. I think RPS has cross a line here.

      Dragging some old flamewar from the past is bannable ofense in any forum. You just don’t do that in the Internet. We have enough shit with current shit, to let people revive old flamewars.

      • Kaira- says:

        RPS didn’t drag that flamewar back. PA did.

        • Tei says:

          No, they accidentally mentioned it on a panel. But the wolves are already trying to rape his image in public.

          • Kaira- says:

            “Accidentally”? Really? Also, PA guys have a long history of dragging their own image in mud, they don’t need anyone else’s help with that.

        • Bull0 says:

          Krahulik said he thought their business manager’s only mistake over the years was advising them to pull the DW merch, because it reopened the issue after it had died down. And then the internet got hold of that and it became “Krahulik regrets pulling the DW merch”, and everyone went fucking mental.

          • marach says:

            Pretty much this, the panel piece was a throw away item he had 10 seconds to answer, “Whats the biggest mistake I’ve made” and tbh Gabe was right it was a HUGE mistake to take it down how and when they did.

            They should have either never released it in the first place or just simply let stocks run out naturally and quietly. The yanking of it of the store reopened the whole thing after it had finally settled down.

    • Halo says:

      Some of the panels at PAX included:
      Extra Credits: Diversity – a film viewing and Q&A Session
      Top Women Game Characters of All Time
      Gays in Love (With Their RPG’s)
      Hey Vasquez, you ever been mistaken for a man? A discussion of military servicewomen in Video Games
      Everything We Know Is Sexist. Now What?
      Creating & Building Inclusive Communities in Tabletop/Board Gaming
      Achieving Gender Diversity in Gaming: OK, Now What?
      Press XY Presents: Right Before Your Eyes: Transitioning Within a Game Community
      Political Correctness in Gaming: Let’s Talk
      Queers in Gaming: Gamer vs Gaymer
      Gender Diversity in Games: Where Are All The Believable Female Characters?

      I used to come to Rock Paper Shotgun to read about gaming, too. Instead, I’m the lucky recipient of an article tagged with #sexism and #transphobia that does not reflect the reality of PAX.
      Jim Rossignol once wrote a piece analogising a website to a pub. I don’t like what the new owners have done with the place. I won’t be coming back either.

      link to

      • Deadly Habit says:

        Yup this sums up my thoughts as well. This used to be one of the last bastions of coverage about games with a bit of wit and focus on the PC AAA and niche.
        This sort of attitude coupled with all the social justice editorials that just keep going in circles repeating the same crap have worn out my patience with the site and its contributors.
        They seem to care more about PC standing for Politically Correct rather than Personal Computer.

        • TheLoot says:

          The phrase “PC Master Race” has never been more accurate.

      • boe2 says:

        Thank you for posting this. It neatly demonstrates the huge hypocrisy of RPS.

      • Thirdstar says:

        I said I wouldn’t be back but I figured I could make an exception to call RPS hypocritical in light of the information Halo posted.

      • jealouspirate says:

        Excellent point bringing up those panels. Really just shows that RPS is off base on this one by not even mentioning this.

      • Korbie says:

        Kudos for that list. It puts this boycott in new perspective: one that shows RPS’s position to be a ridiculous overreaction, and shortsighted as well. They’re willing to boycott an excellent forum for these topics because the creators of the expo have done and said some admittedly insensitive things? They’re willing to forgo potential coverage of these panels in future PAXs, effectively removing conversation about said panels on their own website amongst their own readers?

        Robin Hunicke had the right idea. “…You can’t move the dialogue forward if you step away from the dialogue.” And that’s what you’re doing, RPS. You’re stepping away.

      • Synesthesia says:

        Thank you. RPS needs a change of glasses, fast. This constant lobbyism is not the way to approach this sort of problems. IMHO, and seeing most comment threads on it, it just generates more division.

      • apocraphyn says:

        Heh, that’s entertaining. Been a while since I’ve responded seriously to one of these kinds of articles, but I’m getting immensely fed up of this too. I’m quite fond of playing PC games and many of my favourite games reside upon the platform – which is one of the main reasons I started reading this site. However, the overwhelming social justice bent has increasingly warped this place from a good website to read about games on my chosen platform, to an extremely sensitive and overreactive website based solely on championing the values of LGBT rights, issues about sexism and so forth (with maybe the occasional article about video games). Certain writers are farrrrrrr more guilty of this “political correctness gawn maaahhd” than others.

        If anything, I’m at least somewhat happy to see that there’s a lot of shared negativity towards the path the site is taking – used to be a time when these articles were full of nothing but fervent worship for the authors and their stances. They’ll ignore the criticisms of their readers as ever – it is their website to do with what they will, after all. I just wish they’d focus on posting about actual PC game related news, rather than empty hypocrisy.

        Ahh well. At least we still have Adam. I’d go as far to say that one of the main reasons I still read the site is because of his content.

      • dmastri says:

        Agreed. RPS has entertained me for years but it has gone downhill very fast. This social justice whiteknight bullshit permeates every other article. They look for and create controversy at every turn. Manufactured outrage.

        I am going to read about games now. Fuck off RPS

        • SpectralThundr says:

          It’s what people on the left do, they just can’t help themselves.

      • buckchoi says:

        Thanks. I left a little while ago but still visit when directed both other sites/forums. RPS I’m not a long time veteran but I used to visit daily. I registered, which is something I seldom do. You were my go to source. However instead of getting well written word pieces and in depth articles it turned more towards ‘here is a trailer with a paragraph or two of half pr and half wit’. Then came more sexism articles and the blocking of the comments section is when I decided to leave. It wasn’t just one thing but you lost something special, maybe that pub ideal was lost. I am sure you will still pull in numbers and be successful but do not ignore these comments. Your long time audience (lurkers or active members) are by and large not very vocal so when there are those saying calmly that they think they will go elsewhere there are many others who will simply quietly do so. Much like my beloved Thief franchise I am afraid I have lost even the hope that you will return to what made you great.

      • The Random One says:

        There’s no way that company is sexist. They give they employees a weekly seminar called “How To Treat People Of All Genders Respectfully”.
        There’s no way the police force in that company is racist. All officers go through a course called “Respecting The Culture of Minorities”.
        There’s no way that company harms the environment. Their mission statement has a part that says “To invest in and pioneer new sustainable sources of economic development.”

        Etc, etc. Did you go to any of those panels? Did you look for the reaction to them? Does any of those panels of gender turn out to have a male majority? Did any of them have queer people on them? How much space did they get? How much space did they get compared to other panels?

    • MasterDex says:


      I have no problem with a gaming site that opens the floor to the discussion of a topic such as sexim in games, etc. However, I do have a problem digesting the “You’re a deplorable human being and you should feel guilty for the opinions you hold” sentiment that has been bandied about here for the past year or so.

      We get it, RPS. You want an industry devoid of the freedom of expression. Have at it then. Fight the power and all that. Continue to pick all the wrong battles in your fight against all that isn’t PC and Everybody-Friendly.

      In the meantime, I’ll be moving on to somewhere else – a place where any discussion of sexism or equality is brought to bear in an intelligent and balanced manner, instead of the pointless diatribes that have become so commonplace here. Your crusade hurts the cause more than helps. If you read this message, take one thing from it – Pick Your Battles.

      • gunny1993 says:

        When you find that magical place on the internet that isn’t terribly polarized please tell me.

        (You could also simply not read these articles, i mean you being this dramatic about the issue is exactly what they’re doing)

        • MasterDex says:

          If I do find such a place, I won’t be around here to let you know.

          You’re right though, I could just avoid these articles. The thing is that I used to enjoy reading RPS but then this backwards crusade began and it started to infect all the other articles. So I come to articles like this and say my piece, in the hopes that someone at RPS, as they read my comments and all the comments that fly with mine and think “You know what? Maybe we’re approaching this in the wrong manner.”

          Clearly that isn’t happening so, as the straw that broke the camel’s back, this will be the last article I read or reply to on RPS. Am I being dramatic? Perhaps. Then again, I don’t really care. It’s not for being dramatic that I have chosen to stop visiting RPS.

        • Korbie says:

          I’ve found the A.V. Club’s Gameological Society to be a welcoming place, any time I’ve ever strayed away from their TV Club.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          I personally used to ignore those topics, yes. Thing is, now things have gone a step further (and a step too far, IMO): RPS is going to stop covering dozens of interesting conferences, new and original indie games, and much more, all on the basis of two people being associated with the event. I don’t particularly enjoy many of the articles that are related to this whole sexism/LGBT thing that RPS has been putting out of late, but I could ignore them. Now they’re affecting the rest of the site, so you CANNOT ignore them anymore because they are effectively removing genuinely interesting (and, may I add, entirely unrelated to PA outside of being presented at their expo, one of the few indie-friendly ones out there) content.

          Ignore PA, ignore PAR, fine. Ignoring PAX is punishing the very people RPS claims to support.

          Oh, and on that note, I hope RPS also stops promoting Humble Bundles because Child’s Play is also a Penny Arcade thing and Humble almost invariably donates to them.

          • The Random One says:

            Ah, Child’s Play. The only large charity that was not created by thinking “How can we solve this societal issue?” or “What problem should we try to tackle with our ability to raise money and awareness?” but rather “What’s the best way we can look good so we have something to throw in our critics’ faces?”

      • Random Gorilla says:

        Did you actually read the article? RPS said ‘here’s our stance and here’s the opinions of some people who disagree with us’. If that’s not opening the subject up for debate then I don’t know what is.

        • MasterDex says:

          I did actually read the article. I used my eyes and mind and all! Did you? What RPS said was “We don’t agree with PA (in reality, it’s more like we don’t agree with the opinions that our fellow crusaders claim that PA hold) so we’re going to boycott them.

          And, in return, I said I’m going to boycott them, not just for this but because this is just the latest in a long line of bullshit from RPS. Comprende? Do I need to elaborate further?

    • Gap Gen says:

      Note that disagreeing with something or refusing to publish it on your site isn’t censorship.

    • Bluenose says:

      I’m with the others who have had enough of this nonsense by RPS. I come for the games, not the right on lectures. No fan of PA myself, but this kind of moral prancing by RPS is tiresome. PCG magazine have been at it of late too and I finally stopped subscribing after 10 years.

  12. TheLoot says:

    Good. We don’t need the proliferation of PC BS to continue. Take your toys, go home, and shut up. I am done with this moral-crusade bullying.

    I guess it’s true; the UK knows nothing of free will, free thought, and free speech. Toe the line or we’ll throw you in jail for offending someone’s dainty feelings.

    • gunny1993 says:

      This post is the equivalent of going to someones’ house to tell them you don’t want to be around them. -_-

      • glocks4interns says:

        This post is saying they’re not going to go to PA’s house any more. Not really the same thing.

        • Hahaha says:

          No, they are talking about this site.

          RPS keeps telling people that they are a public face and they need to change the way they act but they don’t look at themselves.

    • Ergates_Antius says:

      What the cocking fuck are you talking about?

    • Snidesworth says:

      What bullying is going on here? RPS is stating that they won’t be covering PAX any more, covering the reason why and the response of various groups to the issue. Criticism is not bullying.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Oh no, poor Penny Arcade. I’m sure they’ll cry themselves to sleep because people didn’t like the fact that they insulted transgender people and said they wouldn’t go to their show. The mean LGBT community should go away and leave the highly influential wealthy people alone.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      True story: I don’t go to football matches, because I don’t like football.

      Am I bullying football?

    • moocow says:

      It’s interesting you consider them not covering PAX bullying. Personally I’d consider the following comments a bullying, delusional victim complex, but that’s just me:

      19/09/2013 at 14:09 TheLoot says:
      Usually being a “survivor” implies that you’ve gotten through whatever event you reference and can go on with your life. Rape survivors are apparently incapable of that, and demand special treatment, as if rape is the worst thing that can happen (no, murder is because you don’t live through it).

      TheLoot says:
      Basically, if you dare disagree with someone’s idea of their sexuality even the slightest bit, you are a terrible monster who should go jump off a bridge, after watching your family get tortured and mutilated. I’m paraphrasing them, but the gist is there.

      19/09/2013 at 13:24 TheLoot says:
      I’ve been triggered! Rape! RAPE!

      19/09/2013 at 13:37 TheLoot says:
      No. The decided factor is what you are born with, and what your DNA says you are. Those are constants, and, bluntly, any thoughts of the opposite are pushing the boundaries of mental illness. But, it’s sexuality, so it has to be accepted no matter what.

      19/09/2013 at 14:14 TheLoot says:
      Caucasian-hating, straight-shaming and misandry are ALWAYS relevant, apparently.

    • iainl says:

      buh-bye then. Have fun wherever you go. Just please stick with your plan not to come back here.

  13. db1331 says:

    And shit like this makes me want to stop coming to RPS. Jesus Christ. A guy made a joke about a wolf covered in dicks raping someone in an MMO. THE HORROR. I saw somewhere else where someone posted every PA strip they could find with the word “Rape” in it. There was over a dozen, most of which could be deemed way more offensive than the Dickwolves strip. But this is the only one people care about. I’m glad PA decided not to bend over backwards to the “THIS OFFENDS ME!” crowd. In my opinion, they were way more civil about it than they should have been. In short:

    • Kaira- says:

      It’s not just the joke, but the reactions to it. Someone said they felt offended by said strip, and then it all blew up with PA’s response. Someone has made a pretty good timeline of events happening on tumblr: link to

    • glocks4interns says:

      It isn’t the joke it was the response from PA to criticism which was to say “fuck you who cares about rape jokes?”

      • boe2 says:

        Is there ANY other correct response then? Really, get the hell off the internet if you are THAT easily offended.

        • iridescence says:

          Correct response is just to give a quick apology and move on. Even just saying nothing would be much better than what they did. They made a harmless joke which some people took the wrong way. It happens to all of us. Keeping it going and making every effort to be even more offensive about it is what makes them assholes, not the original comic.

          If you’re out with people and someone takes offense to a joke you make, do you mutter an apology, or keep repeating the joke adding in more things designed to bait and upset the offended person even more? If the answer is the latter than you’re a huge asshole.

          • TheLoot says:

            You don’t apologize if you feel you have nothing to apologize for.

          • Snargelfargen says:

            You also don’t double down on what you said and try to piss people off even more. Really, this is a simple story about one man on twitter who simply must have the last word in every argument.

            The trans-phobic comments exchange was another great example. It’s actually pretty funny how the issue escalates. Krahulik seemingly just can’t help himself. I’ve seen other public gaming figures say much more odious things, but none of them were as persistent or as inflammatory in their replies.

          • SpectralThundr says:

            Apologize for what? Dickwolves? Is there anything that doesn’t upset the precious little bleeding heart libs or what?

        • Gap Gen says:

          There’s a difference between being some random from 4Chan and being someone with a highly popular website.

          • MasterDex says:

            Sure there is – Money and Fame. Beyond that? Nothing other than the differences that make us unique. The guy on the golden throne has as much right to his opinions as the guy sitting on the broken chair.

          • The_Great_Skratsby says:

            Course he is free to have his views and opinion. That doesn’t make him exempt from criticism, like anyone else naturally.

      • Solidstate89 says:

        That’s the only proper response. If you found the comic offensive, stop reading the fucking comic. It begins and ends there.

        • Stardreamer says:

          It’s no kind of response at all. If you don’t like Slavery then just don’t buy slaves? No, that shit needed to end, and it (mostly) did. Rape jokes are harmful to rape victims and just plain distasteful to everyone else with functioning empathy. How can the act of forcibly removing the dignity of a female be considered funny? It’s not just some knee-jerk Outrage reflex you’re seeing here, it’s a thoughtful and considered response to something that can be considered harmful.

          Just ignore it? We’re better people than that.

    • db1331 says:

      Here you go. Here is a comic they did about a game where you create your own virtual women and then rape them. The name of the game is “3D Rape Machine.” How was this strip not offensive to those who claim to be so hurt by the Dickwolves strip?

      link to

      • P.M. Gleason says:

        All of nobody read their idiotic strip back then, and in addition, it was likely in response to one of the many rape simulators that were popping up around then through 2009, mainly from Japan.

        • boe2 says:

          people didn’t read PA in 2007? Japan was having an influx of rape simulators then?

          Wow, just…wow. Ask yourself if you are defending the right side if this is what it takes.

        • sirflimflam says:

          Are you for real? You’re seriously trying to suggest that nobody read Penny Arcade in 2007?

    • ScruffyLemming says:

      I was going to post this exact video, so thanks for saving me the trouble. The question on my mind is why post this article now? The whole Dickwolves thing was years ago right? Are people still angry over one tasteless joke?
      If its because of the tweets a few months back where Mike was accused of being hateful toward transgendered people. I read Mikes post here: and to be frank, I think that he acted the same way many people would act after being insulted for no reason, and unlike many people he very quickly issued a full written apology for anyone that he had accidentally insulted. This crusade of sorts against PA seems to me to be an excuse for people to show off how open minded they are. They have found an organisation to vilify and are proudly pointing their fingers and shouting about how evil those guys are and how pure and righteous they themselves are. Its all very FOX newsish.

      • Gap Gen says:

        They commented on it in the most recent PAX, which is why the issue came up again. And for devs, it’s a question of associating yourself with a brand – it’s similar to, say, a company dropping sponsorship for a sportsperson found taking drugs. You’re not saying that you’re morally pure, but that associating yourself with drug use is harmful for your own brand.

        • ScruffyLemming says:

          Actually I believe a fan brought it up during a Q&A session with them and they basically said that it was all a big clusterfuck that they would rather not dredge up again. But hey this kind of journalism doesn’t really need facts to get in the way of its faux moral outrage.

          • marach says:

            Heres what happend in basic form
            PA manager: OK then whats the biggest mistake I’ve ever made
            Gabe: Hmmm I don’t know… Making us pull the Dickwolves merch when you did.
            Audience member: Will you bring back the Dickwolves merch then?
            PA as a whole: NO!

            Thats it. Somehow that got twisted into Gabe being evil, rather than people remembering that them pulling the merch restarted the damn backlash in the first place and it could have been better handled by just letting it quietly cease to exist. For certain people they seem to have taken it as PA is evil and mysoginistic (while among other things helping fund the “women in gaming” conventions…) and so on.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          Give me an expo where indies can come and show off their games with any sort of visibility and without costing an absurd amount of cash.

    • The_Great_Skratsby says:

      The problem is how they acted like insufferable assholes after the comic.

  14. Jason Moyer says:

    I don’t understand how anyone can be offended by something as completely and utterly bland as Penny Arcade. It’s not offensive, it’s not particularly funny, it’s just…there.

    • Erinduck says:

      No, I’m pretty sure making a rape joke and then selling rape joke merchandise specifically to spite the people who were offended is pretty fucking offensive.

      • c-Row says:

        Maybe the people who got offended should have realized that it’s merely a comic strip in the first place.

        • Rizlar says:

          Whether or not there was cause for offense initially, iirc it was the ensuing fiasco that made PA come across as absolute tossers.

      • Hahaha says:

        Sounds like good marketing

    • newguy2012 says:

      This is a really big debacle over nothing, blocking one of the biggest events in the industry over this??!

    • Rizlar says:

      Agree insofar as Penny Arcade is dry as fuck. It’s just not at all interesting. Ah well.

      But I can respect RPS’s position and this article was an interesting read.

  15. InternetBatman says:

    Good. I stopped reading them (occasionally click by habit) a few months ago. It wasn’t just this or that. It was their declaration that used games are immoral that really did it for me. Also Ben Kuchera’s useless screed on PA report. You want assholes making games because they’re tough, oh wait, Phil Fish just quit.

  16. biggergun says:

    A videogame blog fighting sexism, racism and all the world injustices by heroically not covering PAX. Wow. I fully support your decision, gentlemen, and applaud your readiness to endure these terrible hardships, all for a chance to advance the cause of social justice further. You, RPS, just made my day.

    • MarcP says:

      Good thing there is that long piece about PAX to remind people like me who aren’t that much into gaming news PAX is a thing. Because the best way to boycott something is free publicity.

  17. Hahaha says:


  18. Distec says:

    “and Krahulik acting vocally intolerant of transgendered people”


    The whole Dickwolf/Transgender saga with PA has gone for so long now that it’s possible I’ve overlooked something, but when did he ever display this alleged intolerance? I remember an argument about gender roles and the appropriateness of “Penis=Male”, and I’m sure that rubbed some people the wrong way. But considering there was hardly any unanimous agreement in RPS’ own comments section regarding that, don’t you think you’re pushing it.

    PA handled the situation very poorly. But honestly, I have no problem with the dicks, the wolves, or the merch. I think that Mike K is a bit socially inept, but he is not the transphobic, rape-condoning cretin that articles like this make him out to be. I know RPS has no reason to temper its expressions of opinion or pretend to be objective, but the language in this piece betrays a mind made up long ago regarding PA.


    • Hahaha says:

      “Penis=Male” that is a fucking good classification though isn’t it.

      • Sheng-ji says:

        Does that mean that an accident which chops your penis off actually changes your gender?

        • Hahaha says:

          Shall we go deeper?

          If you can produce sperm you are male, if you can birth a child you are a woman.

          How come people are so against GM crops ;)

          • Sheng-ji says:

            So once through the menopause, a woman becomes genderless – gotcha!

            Here’s a tip, the next step involves Y-Chromosomes and I have the answer to that one too ;)

          • Hahaha says:

            You may want to read up on menopause

          • MasterDex says:

            @Sheng-Ji: What do you call the end of a usb cable? A male connector? The end it goes into? Female!

            Now, I wonder why that is. Oh right, because it makes complete sense. If you have a dick, you were born a boy, will – aside from pumping your body full of estrogen and getting plastic surgery – grow to become a man. With a dick. That is specifically designed to fit into a woman.

            If you believe you were supposed to be born a girl, have the mind of a woman or fancy people of the same sex then that’s your business. I wholeheartedly wish you luck and happiness in life. But please, please, please try not to subvert the reality with your own opinion of the world. Male humans have a penis and females have a vagina and they are designed to work in concert with each other for the propagation of the species. Any divergences are simply that: divergences from the norm. That’s not to say they’re bad, but they’re not the norm.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Hahaha – Ooops, yes – my bad! But my point remains that what you have just said means that people who, for whatever reason cannot have children are not females. Look my point is, when you get down to it, defining gender is never simple, even if you think it should be.

            @Masterdex – I acknowledge freely that people who feel that society defines them as the wrong gender are “not the norm”, so please think about the following 2 points:

            1) When your ancesters started developing bigger brains, they were “not the norm” either.

            2) Cystic Fibrosis is a genetic disease, a mutation and most certainly “not the norm”. Is it OK to tell people with the condition that because “normal” people don’t have problems breathing that we shouldn’t give them bronchodilators. Would you smoke around someone with Cystic Fibrosis?

          • Hahaha says:

            True trying to do it with single things will most likely never work.

          • MasterDex says:

            To respond to your points:

            1) Considering that the growth of the brain and its power occurred over a very long period of time, I’d be tempted to say yes. However, considering that the world is still filled with morons, I’ll have to say no – same as it ever was. What are you suggesting with this? That in the future, all men will want to be women or want to be with other men? That all women will want to be men or want to sleep with other women? That’ll be great for the survival of the human race.

            2) Being not of the norm does not mean that you should be ignored or ostracized and I never said it did. You attempt – horribly – to construe the meaning and intention of my comment to make your own point.

            The point of my comment was to show that male and female have a meaning and political correctness isn’t going to change that.

            link to
            link to

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Masterdex – My first statement didn’t really have a yes or no answer, so I don’t understand why you said yes to it – The road to humanity was fraught with mutations which made the individual who had that mutation suffer greatly. Humanity hasn’t stopped evolving, this genetics stuff is that process happening generation by generation. You know when I said these were things to think about, that’s what I intended for you to do. Think about them.

            Now I’ve inferred into your indignation about my second point that you would be happy to give someone suffering from CF special consideration to make their life more comfortable – so why do people make such a big deal about giving people who feel uncomfortable about there gender to any level the same consideration?

          • Rizlar says:

            Sheng-ji = hero.

          • MasterDex says:

            To your first point, I actually said no but feel free to not read my comment fully.

            To your second point, I say that you are trying to marry two completely different topics. Helping somone with a disease, whether it be through a mutation or not, is worlds apart from a crusade intended to silence anyone and anything that could possibly offend anyone or anything.

            The former is being a decent human being, the same decent human being that would step in to help a gay man or woman who was being bullied or beaten, the same decent human being that would stand up for a woman’s right to equal pay and opportunity, the same decent human being….- get the picture?

            The latter is just an organized attempt to kill free speech. Sure, you’re free to criticize people but that’s not what I see happening. Instead I see people holding their world-view aloft as though it were the only one worthy enough to hold and then attempting to force others into holding that same view lest they be ostracized from the community/society.

            There’s a link to a Stephen Fry video on youtube somewhere on the front page. Watch it.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            “To your first point, I actually said no but feel free to not read my comment fully.”

            So… you don’t accept that humans evolve through random mutations, the randomness inevitably meaning some mutations are not helpful to the individual bearing them.

            “Helping somone with a disease, whether it be through a mutation or not”, is worlds apart from a crusade intended to silence anyone and anything that could possibly offend anyone or anything.

            The former is being a decent human being, the same decent human being that would step in to help a gay man or woman who was being bullied or beaten, the same decent human being that would stand up for a woman’s right to equal pay and opportunity, the same decent human being….- get the picture?”

            No, because I don’t get why you distuinguish some magical difference between one persons suffering and another – born with a mucus problem then you get my sympathy – born into the wrong gender, accept the riddicule, freak.

            Why would I not stand up to bullying of people with gender issues? Let me quote you ” the same decent human being that would step in to help a gay man or woman who was being bullied or beaten, the same decent human being that would stand up for a woman’s right to equal pay and opportunity, the same decent human being…”

            Do you see – I perceive bullying of people with gender issues and I am standing up for them. I see people saying “Hur Dur male = Penis, female = vagina” and I think to myself, no, that’s not nice. I then tell people that it’s not nice and I try, in my own special way to explain why. People with gender issues don’t decide to have them – they are born that way. Unless you accept that, our dialogue will end, here.

            “There’s a link to a Stephen Fry video on youtube somewhere on the front page. Watch it.”

            Oh, I know Stephen Fry’s opinion on “Male = Penis, Female = Vagina”. It matches mine.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I need to edit my above post – I said standing up for them – I mean’t standing up to them – as in I am standing up to the bullies.

          • MasterDex says:

            Please do continue to put words in my mouth to push your agenda. The fact of the matter is that you’re trying to claim male and female do not have the meaning that they do, and then crying offense at me because I’m telling you that the definitions of male and female are quite clear.

            You then go on to make the incredulous claim that someone suffering from cystic Fibrosis is on the same level as a transgendered person who got offended that someone said women have vaginas. Do you really not see how ridiculous it is to draw equality between those two things. One is most definitely suffering and the other, while involving a person of a marginalized group, is no more than the anger of an oversensitive person.

            And really, still having comprehension problems with my response to that first point? Let me make it more clear:

            Mutations are mutations, when the human brain was evolving, those who were smarter may not have been the norm but that is no different to today since, as you demonstrate, intelligence is a rather rare trait amongst humans. Transgender people and gay people and any other group of people can rail against the fact that they are not the norm but that won’t change that they are not the norm. They can fight for equal rights and I’ll back them up in that regard but that still won’t mean the world is going to acquiesce to each of their demands just as I can only dream that morons will never take a position of power or influence.

            “I see people saying “Hur Dur male = Penis, female = vagina” and I think to myself, no, that’s not nice.”

            I see people saying a male has a penis and a female has a vagina. In other words, saying what those words mean. And guess what? That’s what they mean. That’s not nice, hah! Get over your self-righteous indignation and pick up a damned dictionary. The “Hur Dur” you add is far more offensive than saying a male has a penis and a female has a vagina – as is claiming that not equating someone with a disease and an upset transgender person is the same as transphobia.

            The point of all this will be lost on you, I fear. If you had the ability to comprehend what’s being said, this conversation wouldn’t have gone on.

            Feel free to continue to twist my comment into something more malleable for your uses though. I’ll just sit back and laugh.

          • MasterDex says:

            By the way, Stephen Fry disagrees with you.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            “Please do continue to put words in my mouth to push your agenda.”

            Agenda? What agenda?

            “The fact of the matter is that you’re trying to claim male and female do not have the meaning that they do, ”

            No, I’m trying to claim that male and female don’t mean what you say they do – that the issue is more nuanced than what tackle you have in you underwear.

            “and then crying offense at me”

            I haven’t claimed to be offended at one little thing anyone has said.

            “You then go on to make the incredulous claim that someone suffering from cystic Fibrosis is on the same level as a transgendered person”

            So you believe that there is some sliding scale to being treated unfairly as a result of a condition you were born with.

            “who got offended that someone said women have vaginas.”

            No, I wasn’t restricting myself to a small group of people with gender issues.

            ” Do you really not see how ridiculous it is to draw equality between those two things. One is most definitely suffering and the other, while involving a person of a marginalized group, is no more than the anger of an oversensitive person.”

            Do you think they are lying then when they claim that every day they suffer because they are “wrong” and that there is no place from them in society. Do you deny the high rate of depression and suicide among them? Is there a linear sliding scale of suffering or is it perhaps more nuanced?

            “Mutations are mutations, when the human brain was evolving, those who were smarter may not have been the norm but that is no different to today since, as you demonstrate, intelligence is a rather rare trait amongst humans.”

            Yes, I’m stupid, glad you slipped that in – I agree with you (mostly because my phD in AI design focused quite heavily on the concept that there is literally no intelligence in any animal that has ever existed. We Chinese room everything)

            “but that still won’t mean the world is going to acquiesce to each of their demands.”

            I think their demand is that their condition is recognised and treated with the same seriousness as any other condition, that the effect it has on their lives is acknowledged and that they don’t have to live in shame of even their most beloved family for fear of ridicule and a lack of understanding. Is that OK with you?

            “I see people saying “Hur Dur male = Penis, female = vagina” and I think to myself, no, that’s not nice.”

            “I see people saying a male has a penis and a female has a vagina. In other words, saying what those words mean. And guess what? That’s what they mean.”

            The people with both sets of genitalia prove you wrong or at the very least, prove that the current definition is not good enough.

            ” That’s not nice, hah! Get over your self-righteous indignation and pick up a damned dictionary. ”

            Me saying that I don’t think something is nice is not the same as righteous indignation. I don’t need to pick up a dictionary, thank-you, the dictionary does not say “penis=male/vagina=female”

            “The “Hur Dur” you add is far more offensive than saying a male has a penis and a female has a vagina ”

            So, if I say that you are offended, will I be putting words into your mouth. It’s just that I never said I was offended but you drew that conclusion and you told me about how offended I was.

            – “as is claiming that not equating someone with a disease and an upset transgender person is the same as transphobia.”

            I get it, you don’t respect how difficult life is for someone for whom their gender is incorrect.You think they are overly sensitive and because they are a tiny minority shouldn’t express their feelings. You certainly won’t admit that they have a serious disease with life ruining repercussions. That is why I am disgusted by your attitude.

          • MasterDex says:

            I’m definitely laughing here. Seriously, you have a PhD in AI and you can’t manage to read a comment without inventing a rake of bullshit that you assign to me? And then wonder why I question your intelligence?

            I’m not going to bother making a long response as it would only get longer as you assign me even more outrageous qualities. I suspect were we to continue this “discussion”, by the end, I’d have become a baby-eating, donkey-fucking, mother-beating nazi terrorist that believes ever woman should wear hijabs or burqas.

            I will say this however: People who were born with both sets of genitalia need not fret about whether they are male and female. I have invented a new word – Hermaphrodite.

            …..oh wait, I didn’t just invent that, it’s been around for over a millennium.

            Did you know there are hermaphrodite USB cables!–1230273942_Durable_Double_Interface_Magnet_Ring_Hermaphrodite_Connector_Long_USB_Cable

            We should all rail against the insensitivity of the wiring companies who don’t recognize that male and female have a meaning totally different to the meaning they are believed to have. DOWN WITH BIGOT WIRING COMPANIES!

          • Sheng-ji says:

            “I’m definitely laughing here.”

            May I quote you below where people are questioning my ability to tell a joke?

            “I’m not going to bother making a long response as it would only get longer”

            Fair point.

            “I’d have become a baby-eating, donkey-fucking, mother-beating nazi terrorist that believes ever woman should wear hijabs or burqas.”

            Let me quote someone that I had a “discussion” with recently: “Please do continue to put words in my mouth to push your agenda.”

            I will say this however: People who were born with both sets of genitalia need not fret about whether they are male and female. I have invented a new word – Hermaphrodite.

            …..oh wait, I didn’t just invent that, it’s been around for over a millennium.

            Right, but then we have an issue that no country recognises hermaphrodite as a legal gender – want a birth certificate, it’s going to have either “male” or “female” printed on it. There are literally no other options available – so do you understand how people’s problems can start from an early age.

            “stuff about USB cables”

            Let me quote someone I had a “discussion” with recently: “you are trying to marry two completely different topics”

        • TheLoot says:

          No. The decided factor is what you are born with, and what your DNA says you are. Those are constants, and, bluntly, any thoughts of the opposite are pushing the boundaries of mental illness. But, it’s sexuality, so it has to be accepted no matter what.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Do you not believe then that some people with a particular shaped chromosome is in fact a different gender than the chromosome shape would suggest? What I’m asking is if you understand that some people have a Y shaped chromosome without the SRY gene. Do you understand the concept of genetic drift? Do you accept that some people are born with other genetic mutations, for example pale skin or a third nipple – if so, why would you not accept that process of mutation happening to the genes which determine gender.

            FYI – please don’t take my use of the scientific term mutation in the common, gaming sense of the word – each and every single one of us is a mutant in reality!

          • TheLoot says:

            Not sure why I can’t reply to your comment, Sheng-ji.

            How about this. How about we simplify things and stop using complicated biology ideas to try to justify things.
            The genitals you are born with define your sex. That is what nature has given you, that is what nature intended you to be. I don’t see how anyone can argue with a simple concept such as that.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            So people with androgen insensitivity, who are genetically male, but develop physically as females. What about them then?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            So….. you believe that “nature” has sentience, thought processes and that humans were created by this entity – let’s refer to it as a god, for arguments sake – for a “purpose”.

            And surprisingly, you want to toss rational though out the window to make life simpler for yourself.

            And yet people are born every year with both sets of genitals.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            “I don’t see how anyone can argue with a simple concept such as that.”
            They can argue against it because it’s a concept based in ignorance.

            How about we simplify things and stop using complicated biology ideas to try to justify things.
            Yes, we wouldn’t want any nasty facts getting in the way of your beliefs.

          • Reapy says:

            I think we know enough about the world and our psychology to be able to say pretty convincingly that gender identity is more complex than gentiles you were born with.

            However, common usage of the world man and woman implies penis and vagina. Becoming angry at a person using those words in that context to a general audience is quite an overreaction. That reaction might be appropriate on a website or forum that is dedicated to gender studies and identity, but in the general english speaking populace, the words male and man and female and woman are synonyms.

      • db1331 says:

        Seriously. The guy said if you are born with a penis, you are a male. If you are born with a vagina, you are a female. FUCK THIS ASSHOLE!

        • TheLoot says:

          And… that’s wrong?

          • boe2 says:

            It’s not wrong, he’s just demonstrating how ridiculous RPS is being by blowing that quote WAAAAAY out of context and acting like PA just slaughtered an entire daycare center.

          • Aaarrrggghhh says:

            Yes, as any geneticist would confess.

          • db1331 says:

            Believe it or not, some people seem to think so.

        • P.M. Gleason says:

          It’s hilarious to read that people think this isn’t offensive to anybody because they don’t know anything about it. I don’t expect you to–this is something most people are completely ignorant of, and hell, I don’t even expect you to care. It’s just a bit of pedantry that forces me to leave you a little breadcrumb:


          I don’t even expect you to click that. It’s easier to just stew in your own hatred and, ironically, your own sense of hurt offense.

          “I’m offended that you’re offended. It’s stupid that you’re boycotting something for being offended, which offends me, so I’m boycotting you, which isn’t stupid!”

      • Cytrom says:

        Man that’s so sexist! Women should have the right to have penises!

      • elderman says:

        It’s a clear classification, but it’s not very accurate.

        This isn’t very games related, but the point, HaHa and MasterDex and TheLoot is among the things I know about men and women that I meet, their biological sex is very rarely one of them. I never see most people I meet naked, but I identify their gender through social clues. Their biological sex actually isn’t directly relevant to their gender.

        I bet this is true for you, too.

        I was definitely never a gender studies major, but I believe this is a way of looking at things called constructivism. You may find it overly complicated, but it turns into a more practically useful, nuanced, accurate, and precise way of thinking and talking about gender in human beings.

        • Hahaha says:

          No it dosen’t. “the man who gave birth” wasn’t a man it was a woman.

          • elderman says:

            This doesn’t contradict what I was saying. I can rewrite my comment and replace “biological sex” with “experience with childbirth” and “naked” with “give birth”.

            You haven’t read and understood my comment.

            Gender is not the same thing as biological sex and both are more interesting than a simple dichotomy.

      • MrMud says:

        This is a largely outdated view of gender by modern science.
        Most scientists focusing on the biology and physchology of gender will tell you that gender is a complex issue.
        This is a fairly good introductory piece on why it is complex:
        link to

    • TheLoot says:

      Basically, if you dare disagree with someone’s idea of their sexuality even the slightest bit, you are a terrible monster who should go jump off a bridge, after watching your family get tortured and mutilated. I’m paraphrasing them, but the gist is there.

      • biggergun says:

        I always loved how this mirrors victorian outlook on sexuality – same stance, same methods, the only thing that changed is the definition of normal.

        Disclamer: I fully support LBGT. It is easily offended hypocrites I cannot stand.

    • belgand says:

      From what I recall the transgender issue seemed to be that there was some issue with a game designed to teach people with vaginas how to masturbate. They used the term “woman” in this context. Someone then complained that this was not acceptable as not all women have vaginas and, as far as I recall, that it ought to have some penises in there as well. This was primarily an issue where they chose to take a very rigid interpretation of terminology and seems like they were sort of missing the point. It was designed to be about sex, not gender. For the vast majority of people these are aligned pretty well and as a result a large number of people aren’t even aware that they are not precisely synonymous as they are commonly used as such.

      So somehow Gabe got involved in this and responded that he didn’t understand what the problem was since, as far as he knows, women have vaginas. He wasn’t trying to be transphobic, he just wasn’t familiar with the more technical difference between sex and gender. When people started criticizing him on this as if he should obviously know this and that even saying such a thing was an indication of being transphobic he started to push back and respond in a more hostile fashion.

      That’s pretty much the problem and one that could have been handled better by both sides if there had been more communication and less recrimination. Just because something is obvious to you doesn’t mean it’s obvious and well-known to everyone else.

      • ResonanceCascade says:

        That’s what I recall happening as well (though I generally tend to just ignore minor twitter controversies, this one stuck out in my mind as being particularly preposterous). He was wrong about transgendered people, but in the full context of the discussion, it’s easy to see where he was coming from. Saying this was all blown out of proportion is kind of like saying “the big bang was when the universe expanded a bit.”

        • ResonanceCascade says:

          Also, since the edit button is failing me, by “minor twitter controversies” I mean to say “EVERY twitter controversy.”

      • harbinger says:

        Yep, the article was on Kotaku by fellow “games journalist”, hack and famous clickbaiter “Patricia Hernandez”: link to

        Then he *dared* say these awful, awful things on Twitter: link to
        What people took offense with was “I seriously believe women have vaginas.”

        • harbinger says:

          Which is of course a perfectly valid thing to say, if you look up the definition of “woman” in the Oxford Dictionaries you get:
          “an adult human female”
          If you look up “woman” in Merriam Webster you get: link to
          “an adult female human being”

          This using of words as they were intended to be used is somehow very controversial with Social Justice Warriors.

          After being berated by them for days, of course, he later unnecessarily apologized for ever saying that and donated $20.000 for a “trans” charity: link to

          But oviously this hasn’t stopped the social justice train from rolling on.

        • RobF says:

          I love how you put Patricia’s name in quotes there. Very classy, man.

          She’s a good writer. You should probably listen to her more.

          • harbinger says:

            What are you trying to imply that I did by putting her name in quotes? Claim that that isn’t her real name? It was for emphasis. The quotes around “gaming journalist” were meant pejoratively.

            And yes, she’s truly enrichment for the entire craft: link to
            But I’m not very surprised to hear you say that considering some of the articles that try to pass off as “journalism” on this site.

          • RobF says:

            That’s not in any way weird or creepy at all there, Harbinger. “Well done” you.

          • harbinger says:

            It wasn’t made by me, nor are most of the other pictures I posted. You’d be surprised to know that I’m probably not the only one on the entirety of the Internet holding those opinions and Kotaku doesn’t exactly have a great reputation in general.
            But I see you’ve apparently abandoned your previous argument.

          • RobF says:

            Where do you see that? Do you really think that in showing me a picture of a collection of perfectly reasonable articles that you’ve somehow managed to convince me that me thinking Patricia is a good writer is entirely wrong?

            And no, it doesn’t surprise me to find out the internet is full of weird and creepy people who do really weird and creepy things when it comes to women on the internet. That doesn’t surprise me at all. I’ve seen a small fraction of some of the things my fellow devs have to endure and I’ve seen a fraction of what women writers on the internet endue, I can’t imagine what it must be like to put up with shit like this where that image is merely a tiny tip on an otherwise massive iceberg that’s not made of ice but purest shit.

          • harbinger says:

            Oh, I should have known. Obviously pointing out a large number of articles that a bad writer wrote on a site that is mostly out for Clickbait on the Gawker network is a sign of MISOGYNY!!!

            On the other hand, all the Tumblr people out there obsessing over every single thing Penny Arcade has said during a time-span of 3 years, as well as the many “threats” and “death threats” they received by progressives and collecting photos and tweets are obviously totally great, they’re white men after all – these people are probably just doing a public service:
            link to
            link to
            It finally happened. The original timeline became too big to edit in Tumblr.”

          • RobF says:

            Still weird and creepy, man. Keep those links flowing, dude! You’re doing good work on behalf of all weird and creepy people across the globe. They’ll thank you for it.

    • williambraski says:

      Hey, RPS! Why not try and write a real article on the topics of misogyny and gender portrayal in gaming? I mean it would require you to actually go after the big dogs. This whole article is simply meant to draw in eyeballs. I doubt the folks at RPS have the stones to tackle this topic with any serious intent. They’d risk losing too much access at the studios and developers.

      This is a gang up on the Internet’s favorite target of the moment. Hot on the heels of their most recent event.

      I’d like the folks that are certain Mike and Jerry are pro-rape to provide some real evidence. Words do not cut it. Show me what they have done to actually enable raping or how they’re an impediment to forward progress of society recognizing gender and sexual identity inequality?

      You can’t. Because they have done literally nothing to impede the forward progress in gender and sexual identity causes. They’ve done literally nothing that anyone with half a brain could mistake as being pro-rape. All they’ve done is hurt a few folks feelings.

      Oh, and bring hundreds of thousands of gamers together to celebrate their passion. Oh, and build a multi-million dollar charity that gives sick kids some happiness.

      Match up words with reality. Guarantee the PA lot have done a fair bit more to affect the advance of social change with their efforts than the shrieking hordes of the Internet. This is pandering to the vocal minority in an effort to look like good guys.

  19. Rollin says:

    Pretty sure most people come to RPS to read about games and couldn’t care less about transgender dickwolves. The only effect this will have is that people will go read another gaming new site to find out about PAX and grow disinterested with RPS which seems to be becoming a LGBQT politics blog.

    • J-snukk says:

      I recommend, especially for their videos.

    • Squiffy says:

      You say that like it’s a bad thing. Supporting and representing LGBQT viewpoints, in gaming at least, generally translates to Egalitarianism, and I can’t see how that’s anything but positive.

    • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

      “Pretty sure most people come to RPS to read about games and couldn’t care less about transgender dickwolves.”

      AMAZING TRUE FACT: People can care about more than one thing at a time

      I can pretty much guarantee there’s a line you wouldn’t let games or game culture cross. I don’t know what it is. Anti-semitism? Pedophilia? Peeing on your mum? Assuming you aren’t an emotionless husk that’s been totally hollowed out by pop culture, there’s something important to you or in your life you wouldn’t let games tell you is worthless. But because that specific thing hasn’t come up for you personally, it’s stupid for people to care about things other than games? Is that it? Because that’s a short hop away from “it’s stupid for people to care about things that don’t personally affect me.”

      Video games aren’t some walled-off fortress of man cave-itude for all of us, you know. I’m not actually a different person when I play a game, and I don’t want to be. Games present fantasies, but they’re real things existing in the real world, made and consumed by real people, and those real people are the friends, family, and strangers I go and interact with when I’m not playing games.

      • MarcP says:

        “I can pretty much guarantee there’s a line you wouldn’t let games or game culture cross.”

        And you’d be wrong. Some of us value freedom of speech and expression over anything.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          “Freedom of expression” doesn’t mean no one has a right to be upset about what you say.
          And being upset about something doesn’t mean you’re against the freedom to express it.

          ^ Consider putting this somewhere prominent in your home where you can read it every morning.

          But, OK, yeah, just in case there actually isn’t any thing or principle in your life of any real worth to you, good luck with that, and let’s never speak to each other again.

          • MarcP says:

            You are making an argument entirely unrelated to anything in my post, be it the quoted part or my own reply.

            While it would be indeed best for your sake we never speak again if you have to resort to these schoolyard tactics to address a simple argument, I believe I’ll keep enjoying pointing out the flaws in your logic as much as you seem to enjoy making logically flawed points.

          • GunnerMcCaffrey says:


            ““Freedom of expression” doesn’t mean no one has a right to be upset about what you say.
            And being upset about something doesn’t mean you’re against the freedom to express it.”

            Please, point out the flaw in my logic there. If it exists, I’ll be happy to know it.

      • gibb3h says:

        I have to ask myself why games should be different to any other media, I’m sure there are any number of films covering these topics (though, hopefully not many covering peeing on my mother)

    • Kaira- says:

      “RPS which seems to be becoming a LGBQT politics blog.”

      But that’s wrong. Idiotic, AND wrong. Show me how many LGBQT articles there have been in the last 3 months compared to any games articles, and then reconsider what you’re saying. Also, consider this – if you have a modern mouse, it has mousewheel. You don’t have to click every article. Just scroll past. Easy as that.

  20. JS says:

    Wow! Talk about a massive overreaction to a couple of harmless jokes.

  21. Cutter888 says:

    I don’t know if I misread something, or if the article was deliberately vague, but what exactly is making these companies pull out of pax? I feel like PA has done something horrible that I’ve missed.

    • J-snukk says:

      Pretty much my reaction, I read the timeline and everything and clicked on most of the links and my prevailing thought was: ‘meh’.

    • greg_ritter says:

      The thing is – PA done nothing. They just didn’t answer seriously to a groupthink crowd of “i am offended” people.

      • Cutter888 says:

        Don’t tell me this is STILL about the dickwolves incident.

        • MasterDex says:

          It’s still about the dickwolves.

        • greg_ritter says:

          To be fair, Krahulic kinda dropped the ball on this with his apologies. Either apologise or not, half-ass way doesn’t work.

    • boe2 says:

      PA did nothing wrong. It’s RPS being extremely butthurt and deciding to fight out their vetos with PA on the frontpage instead of writing bout games.

      • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

        They are writing about PAX. PAX is a game conference. They are writing about games.

        RPS writes about game culture as well as games themselves. Deal with it. It’s why so many of us like it here. If you just want scores for AMOUNT OF GRAPHICS and NUMBERS OF GIBS then run along to IGN.

    • Gap Gen says:

      The initial joke wasn’t the issue. The issue was that PA have repeatedly said disparaging things about the LGBT community and refused to admit they were wrong, instead releasing merchandise off the back of it. (And it’s not like PA are hardcore conservatives, they have said some positive things about the arbitrary nature of gender in society before). I think it’s mainly an issue of lack of self-awareness and inability to step back and see that what they say has an impact in the community, rather digging in and inflaming the situation. I imagine if it had been limited to the initial comic then it wouldn’t have concerned RPS or anyone else considering a boycott.

      • Hahaha says:

        And why can you not like something and say bad things about it?

        seriously people bitch about groups all the FUCKING TIME for example pikeys/chavs but I haven’t once seen RPS stand up for them why is that? this whole stance couldn’t have anything to do with RPS being a male driven blog since it’s inception and they suddenly realised (someone told them that fact) so they are now doing an about face.

        • Gap Gen says:

          Is that a problem in gaming, particularly?

          • Hahaha says:

            Yes, I would say it’s been running for just as long as sexism in gaming (Yes not on the same level but still bad)

        • ix says:

          Heaven forbid an RPS writer should attempt to grow as a person, of course.

  22. Jorum says:

    PA need to come to terms with they are now longer just two guys and a web comic and have become very large and influential company and event promoters. That means you can’t behave like everything is personal opinion and creative freedom. You have to be mature and actually listen to people and act like adults.
    Personally I didn’t find the dickwolves strip offensive, but their reaction to people who had valid criticism was childish, petty and seriously unprofessional.
    They don’t appear to have learnt the lesson very well. Or rather they learn lessons and say will be different in future and then go and do something similar again which is kind of childish.

    • TheLoot says:

      They don’t, actually. That’s the beauty of being a free-thinking person. You don’t have to act like others demand you do. You tell them to Eff off, and go about your business.

      • Zimdictive says:

        You’re not educated to a particularly high standard in political theory or political philosophy, I take it? Scratch that, you’re probably just not very highly educated. Because your comment would appear ridiculous in front of a whole range of even undergraduates from various disciplines from psychology to economics. But hey, at least you’ll never been in charge of anything of any real importance.

        • Hahaha says:

          Maybe you lot are the problem, ever got off your high horse long enough for that?

        • c-Row says:

          Calling people “not very highly educated” after reading one single post by them on the internet tells a lot about your own education, too.

          • Gap Gen says:

            I agree; it’s probably not helpful to insult someone’s intelligence if you want to persuade them that they’re wrong, even if implying that criticism is censorship is basic false equivalence.

          • iainl says:

            Feel free to go read any other post the guy’s ever made on the site, if you’d like confirmation, then. Although you’d also see how many times he’s announced he’s flouncing, and he’s not managed to even manage that yet.

        • GunnerMcCaffrey says:

          Please don’t help. “Ah, you couldn’t possibly agree with me because you’re an uneducated pleb” makes you- and everyone taking the same position on this as you- seem like a bellend.

        • Bull0 says:

          You don’t resolve conflicts by insulting people, you alienate them and in so doing entrench them further. Counter-productive. Be the bigger person.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I mean, sure, legally I can call you a prick and wish death on your family (as long as I don’t threaten to kill them personally or advocate that others do it, which would constitute a crime). It would be unkind to do so, but I’m perfectly within my rights to call your a flaming asshat. It wouldn’t be very nice if I said that everything you, TheLoot, stand for is a pile of shit and you should probably just stop breathing until you cease to live, but it is my right as a citizen of a liberal democracy to do so. You see the distinction? There’s a difference between the legality of saying “you, personally, are a cancer on humanity” and the ethics of making the personal choice to do so without remorse.

      • Jorum says:

        OK to be clearer then. Yes there is difference between what you *have* to do, and what you *should* do if you don’t want to be kind of jerks (and potential self-damaging) .

        As a commercial organisation they should be careful with brand image because bad feelings and stinks can domino-effect a long way.

        More importantly they are a prominent voice in the gaming world. A world which sadly is already suffering from large numbers of very vocal arseholes and bigots. Even sadder is that it seems to be growing trend that bigoted behaviour is seen as OK, ignorable, or even a badge of honour belonging.
        I would therefore suggest that people who want to be big players in this world have certain amount of moral imperative to set a higher example and to try to steer their chosen community towards better things.

        TLDR: there are hundreds of thousands of horrible little fuckers in “gamer” community. So massively prominent voices in the community also acting kinda dickish isn’t gonna help at all.

        • FriendlyFire says:

          So basically we criticize game publishers who filter anything they say through a huge PR firm because what comes out is so sanitized and information-free that it’s useless, but we also criticize people who don’t go through such motions because they might sometimes offend some people.

          Seems like you just can’t win and should just shut up about everything.

    • MarcP says:

      Replace “PA” with “RPS” in your post, change nothing else, and it is just as accurate.

  23. Legionair says:

    Asking for an apology to Art is a passive aggressive away for asking for censorship. Is you think other wise you are the problem. I support them in not apologizing. That is their right as artist to do what they want. Yes the whole thing about the t-shirts was a crappy way of supporting their right to free speech. In a perfect world they would say sorry that the joke offended and that hey will still do jokes about what ever they want as artist. When they take the fight out of the art world and start doing dumb crap like selling t-shirts that have to subtle of a message for activists to get then you have an issue.

    • Tei says:


    • Kaira- says:

      “Asking for an apology to Art is a passive aggressive away for asking for censorship”

      Except it isn’t. Seriously, what kind of definition of “censorship” do you people use? And you speak of “free speech” in the same post without realizing the irony.

      • Legionair says:

        The point of asking for the Apology is to make the artist feel as if their right to express a point of view was wrong and to make them not want to express that kind of point of view in the future. This is why it is passive aggressive Censorship. I am not sure why my use of Censorship and free speech is ironic. For fun Definition of Censorship: is the suppression of speech or other public communication. While this is not the definition of free speech I find it may favorite explanation of it. Free speech is not your right to say what you want. It is your right to put up with what other people have to say. So while the people complaining did not live by this, PA did not either with what the did in response to those peoples express of anger at what they did.

        • Kaira- says:

          Demanding apology is not in any way or form censorship. You demanding such things to end is – using your way of words – censorship. This is the irony that has apparently flown right past you.

          • Legionair says:

            In no way shape or form did I say they could not ask for an apology. That is their right to ask for whatever they want. I am using my right to express that I dislike that they are asking. Again saying I do not like that they did something is very far away from saying that I do not think they should do it. Do not spend so much time fight people you will start treating everyone with a dissenting option to your own as a hostile combatant.

          • airmikee99 says:

            “In no way shape or form did I say they could not ask for an apology.”

            Yes, you did, twice.

          • Legionair says:

            Please show me the line in any of my posts that say they cannot ask for an apology. You cannot because all i said was that asking for the apology was censorship. You chose to infer that I feel they should not be allowed to ask from what I said to help make your point trying to discredit my point of view.

  24. Glottis1 says:

    I am suprised this wasn’t written by Walker.

    • greg_ritter says:

      That was my first thought too.

      • Irishphnx says:

        Nah, read Grayson’s HM2 and Cyberpunk 2077, take something to clean the bad taste out of your mouth though, hes got a hard-on for being a beacon of progressiveness in games media.

        • iainl says:

          Of course, one man’s “hard-on for being a beacon of progressiveness in games media” is another’s “not being a complete arsehole”, but there you are.

    • Wurstwaffel says:

      Having read Grayson’s passive aggressive interview with the Hotline Miami guys about their clever use of an implied fake rape scene for dramatic effect I’m not too surprised.

    • mondomau says:

      It almost certainly was, in a way.

    • airmikee99 says:

      If you dislike the writers here so much, why are you here?

      Or do you think you get to complain about things you don’t like, but RPS doesn’t?

      Seriously, if you don’t like what you read here, go read one of the hundreds of other gaming websites.

  25. Nova says:

    But you will cover news/announcements emerging from PAX?

  26. pOcHa says:

    …i think this site should just be renamed to Fahrenheit 451

    • wu wei says:

      So PA are free to say what they want but RPS are compelled to cover them whether they agree with them or not?

      I think you’re holding the wrong end of the fascism stick there.

      • pOcHa says:

        oh, they can bitch and moan about it all they like, alright (as they already keep incessantly doing) – I’ll just skip those texts (more and more it seems this days – already looking for site with a little less LBGT lobbyist politics / feminism dick envy)

        but if a gaming site refuses to cover a gaming event – then they have decided in my name what I should like or not (and that stick has a torch on the other end, no two ways about it)

        • airmikee99 says:

          If your decision making process is so wrapped up in what a gaming website decides to cover, then your problems go way beyond a gaming websites decisions on what to cover or not.

          I hope you get the help you need.

          • pOcHa says:

            you obviously haven’t read the book, and your attempt at a condescending tone would be utterly laughable if your post wasn’t so pityingly dim witted, a pathetic excuse for a retort really – instead of trying to discredit me, how about sharing a real opinion about the actual subject, if you got any that is (besides the obvious blind fanboyism)…

            so let me break it out for you in simpler terms: I make my own opinions based on information I get, and when a primary source of my gaming information (already over opinionated as it is, but it’s their prerogative) refuses to provide any information at all about something gaming related – then that is an all out censorship, pure and simple

            if you don’t like a book, then write a bad review about it, and someone might refuse to read it based on that – but if you burn the book, then you are preventing everyone else from making their own decision about it, making your own a totalitarian one

          • jrodman says:

            I read Fahrenheit 451. I also understood it.

            It was a simple fairy tale in science fiction clothing about a technological yet backwards society in which some force more enamored with stability than knowledge had ended up banning books entirely, as a form of restricting free exchange of ideas and learning.

            A single website choosing to not write about a single topic, would, in Farenheit 451 terms, be like a single writer of a single line of books choosing not to write about a single subject. That’s pretty different from banning all books for everyone forever.

            Can you see the difference?

            If Rock Paper Shotgun chooses not to write about PAX, they’re not telling you what you have to think about PAX, they’re saying what THEY think about this situation. If you can’t distinguish between others presenting their views and you having your own views controlled, then you have a lot more in common with the people in Fahrenheit 451 who couldn’t handle the idea of books, than the ones who were reading them.

          • pOcHa says:

            @jrodman: burning of just one book is just as bad as all of them, there are no gradations that lessen any the severity of that act

            and it’s not “some force”, but a very specific one, and very much related to this site’s issues – reread the fire chief’s talk when he visits at the house (I’m afraid that the gist of it would just sound racist, and get taken out of context anyway)

            and your logic is inverted, as I am not concerned about too much information (RPS views), but their decision to not report about PAX at all (the withholding of information) – although they have rectified this somewhat in their newer (sort of) apology post

            they took a stand, which was very commendable, but they did it atop a burning pile of books, which was highly unprofessional (they are reporters and journalist, after all) – and they just got burned in the process, loosing readers to more available sources of information (the apologetic follow up piece was just a dishonest attempt at damage control)

            but thank you at least for not being a dismissing hipster as airmikee99

          • jrodman says:

            Firstly, irrelevantly, on your straw-man topic:

            NO, burning a single book is *not* as bad as establishing a totalitarian state that burns all books and makes it illegal for anyone to read ever again.


            No books are being burned here. They’re just not covering the event.

            There is NO withholding of information. You are delusional. What happens at PAX on the show floor is not a trade secret that only RPS can unlock. Many other people will cover it. This is an open society and a trade show that anyone can attend, not some science fiction fantasy of yours.

          • pOcHa says:

            @jrodman: it is called an allegory, and it is explaining the reference to the book i mentioned, which obviously you haven’t read after all (or failed to fully grasp and comprehend) – it all starts by refusing to cover a single event (which opens up a precedent for others)

            and they have already admitted their fault, and (kind of) apologized for it, promising to cover the PAX gaming news after all – it was a very real concern (no imaginary straw-man tactics), have you even read any of those two posts you rabid fanboy (what or whom exactly are you still so fervently defending here?)

            and your over-generalizations aside, i still like RPS for the most part, and don’t want to have to go to other sources just because they recently started to tend to cater to the loudest minority in the comments section (there are many more like me who are a long time readers which do not get the immature urge to participate in every bad puns related or FACE-SOMETHING stupid threads)…

        • airmikee99 says:

          RE pOcHa

          No, I’ve read the book, your allegory just really, really sucks.

  27. Phoenix says:

    Oh jesus christ… Really? A boycott? This is ridiculous. Oh no, a guy doesn’t agree with you about transgenders or what’s an acceptable joke. Stop the presses. Literally, apparently.

    • boe2 says:

      It’s not even a disagreement, it’s apathy vs transgenders
      “You have no specific opinion about transgender people, you are the spawn of satan”

  28. WarderDragon says:

    This is just one of the many reasons I like RPS. Taking a stand makes you pretty great in my book.

  29. Hahaha says:

    What’s green and mouldy and sits in the corner? a dead baby

    What’s the difference between a porsche and a dead baby? I don’t have a dead baby in the garage

    What’s the difference between a truck full of dead babies and a truck full of bowling balls? I can use a pitch fork for the babies.

    mcmillen is here today due to his dad baby stuff

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I take it you’ve not recently lost a child then.


      For every Tom Vassel in this world, there is a scrote like you.

      • Hahaha says:

        I guess you have never played binding of issac.

        Did you get offended when superman broke his back riding a horse?

        I’m making a joke your calling me abuse things….. your in the wrong this time

        • Sheng-ji says:

          What? It was a joke – Oh dear did I offend you?

          • Hahaha says:

            Might as well use the rules of the forum for the comment section as well, no?

            You could never offend me but if the rules say to be excellent calling someone an arsehole is not that is it?

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I made a joke for you – I tried to make you laugh! How is that not being excellent to you?

            Oh, do put your money where your mouth is – tell me your real name and enough personal details about yourself and I will find a way to offend you. I will dig deep into those childhood issues my friend and I will expose them to ridicule in front of the whole internet.

          • Hahaha says:

            Calling someone an “asshole” is not a joke though is it….

            “For every Tom Vassel in this world, there is a scrote like you.”

            That was mildly amusing

            You need to work on when things are appropriate to say, I believe you to be the person who in real life would go up to a cripple and start taking the piss.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Well… I do call myself a cripple and take the piss out of myself, what with having no legs and all, so…

            Anyway, just because you don’t get my joke doesn’t make it any less of a joke – my intention was to make people laugh and I believe I succeeded.

            I don’t think your dead baby quotes are jokes, but I’m assuming you think they are funny and will make someone, somewhere laugh.

          • Hahaha says:

            Ummm no that was just you using an insult

            “I take it you’ve not recently lost a child then.


            For every Tom Vassel in this world, there is a scrote like you.”

            That’s your post

            First we have the question – “I take it you’ve not recently lost a child then.”
            Then the insult for posting said jokes – “Asshole”
            And finaly your joke – “For every Tom Vassel in this world, there is a scrote like you.”

            Please try and keep up with what your writing, thank you.

          • Hahaha says:

            Also Sheng-ji where is your butthurt over the suicide tip you seem quite focused on what YOU think is right and wrong.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Where did I say I was “butthurt”? Where did I say that what you wrote was “wrong”?

            All I did was call you an asshole to make people laugh. I pointed out that you wouldn’t have made those jokes if you had recently lost a child because they are pretty fucking offensive to people who have lost babies. I linked this to Tom Vassel being a superb individual who I think almost everybody should aspire to be a little more like as someone who would be pretty disgusted with your “jokes”.

            I’m done with you now – I feel like I am perhaps bullying a teenager with learning disabilities and that would make me an asshole.

          • Hahaha says:

            Your attempt at digging your way out of calling me an arsehole are highly amusing please don’t stop

          • Hahaha says:

            Could you also post some more of your one word jokes because they are amazing and need to be shown to some stand ups

          • Hahaha says:

            Almost forgot could you explain why calling someone an asshole is funny but if I called you a c*nt (filtered to bock…really) it would be an insult?

          • Pliqu3011 says:

            I think you don’t really understand the concept of humor, do you have problems with misattribution maybe? (serious question, not meant as an insult)
            Hahaha’s jokes may have disturbing content, but they have the typical “smart/unexpected twist”, which makes them funny (to some). This is humor.
            Calling someone an “asshole” however is not, it’s just an insult. There is nothing clever in it, there’s no pun, no hyperbole,… It’s simply not humor (fans of the Big Bang Theory etc. might disagree though). Therefore saying “AHA, you’re offended now so you’re a hypocrite!” makes absolutely no sense.

            Also, walking away calling Hahaha a “teenager with learning disabilities” is just… weak.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            That wasn’t a joke – I am genuinely concerned that I am dealing with someone at a vulnerable age with cognitive problems which is why I have literally cut all contact with that person despite having multiple conversations with them over the site.

            By the way, I watched a comedy show last night and a comedian you may have heard of used the exact same “joke” I did, i.e he watched someone making a prick of themselves in public, turned to the camera and said “asshole”.

            The audience laughed.

            Turns out that your definition of a joke isn’t perfect. Turns out that a joke is anything that makes people laugh – including sarcasm, mime and any other type of comedy that has been labelled as the “lowest form of wit”, even one word!

          • Sheng-ji says:

            Editing isn’t working so consider this the edit to my above post – I know you didn’t strictly define what a joke was, but you did say that calling someone an asshole is not a joke – I’m saying that in the context it was. I wrote asshole because I knew it would make people laugh. Maybe it’s not literally a “joke” but humerus entertainment.. whatever.

          • SkittleDiddler says:

            You seem to get offended by a lot of stuff, Sheng-ji. Maybe the internet isn’t the right place for you.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            What offended me again?

          • Hahaha says:

            At least my humour doesn’t stoop to just plain insulting people ;)

          • Hahaha says:

            And sheng-ji just because I think your a stuck up twat….. my nursery school teacher got arrested for abuse so go and roger yourself ;)

          • Sheng-ji says:

            OK – what you just said – either it’s true or a lie.

            If it’s true, my god, I’m so sorry – please forget everything I wrote – I would never use something like that to score points over someone on the internet . I would question though why you are telling me this – you don’t know me and I did just write that I was going to use personal information about you to ridicule you in public! Anyway, I hope nothing bad happened to your family, what a nightmare. Listen, I may have acted like a dick before but if there’s anything I can do or say to help, let me know – I’m actually a decent sort.

            If it was a lie, then you have just proven everything I wrote about you previously – but only you will ever know.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            By the way – me doing or saying anything to help includes never speaking to you again – whatever you need!

          • Hahaha says:

            No lie and it was years ago

    • Wauffles says:

      Hahaha! Lol some ppl get offended by stuff like this but i guess were too sick to care ;)

      good thing theres some ppl left here who aren’t pussys, tell it like it is lol!

      • Hahaha says:

        Growing up on the internet broke me XD….. apparently

        • Wauffles says:

          Ah, you actually are a moron, then.

          • Hahaha says:

            Apparently so

            “What’s the worst thing about being a clown? washing the blood out afterwards.”

            “What’s the best thing about having a blind, deaf and dumb daughter?
            You know it will ALWAYS be your little secret. “

  30. Paroxysm says:

    You can not cover all the community events, independent game developers, large studios and other shenanigans all you want, it’s your choice. It comes off as pretty petty though. Has a gay or trans person ever been attacked at PAX? Has anyone been denied involvement? Everyone is welcome and if you don’t like something someone said, talk to them about it. Neither of you may change your stance but what does that matter? A community as large and varied as ours will never be united on any subject the best we can hope for is to at least be informed of others positions.

    Dickwolves? Bad taste it may be, but it’s still not a joke about rape.

    Belief that a trans persons gender is defined by their biological gender? It’s an area totally open to discussion. Many trends in the language used to discuss this area of gender are really quite new and fluid. Let’s talk about it! Maybe with some of the many trans, gay or even straight people on the PAXAus floor where nobody gave a shit because we were all thereto celebrate together.

    Do what you want. Your position gets no support from me but it’s not like you need it. If you’ve bowed out though feel free to shut up about it. You’ve had two articles in the last few hours with major factual errors in the headlines. Get the games right before you spend hours writing this dreck which brings nothing to the discussion other than moral posturing on your part. You get no accolades for your stance. The site will simply lack some coverage.

    • shadowmarth says:

      Couldn’t have said it better. The real kicker is that this is SHOCKINGLY coming RIGHT AFTER PAX. Which they covered. Startlingly moral of you to wait till after the con on an issue as stale as this. And let’s get into what they’ll be missing! PAX is an amazing place to see indie games you might not otherwise see, which thrive on the PC! And you’re shutting it out because of a joke some dudes made and didn’t apologize about adequately.

      Just do your jobs.

  31. sdancer says:

    Oh dear goat, people are still going on about the dickwolves? Are you crying yourselves to sleep over Jane Austen novels? Are you really that obsessed about absolutely milking dry that kind of non-issue?

    It’s about as stupid as people giving the C-A-D guy heat about the whole miscarriage thing, in a storyline that wasn’t even remotely making fun of the thing.

    If you have an axe to grind, go ahead and grind it, but don’t hide behind some idiot fake reason! You don’t like Mike and Jerry? Fine! Don’t like them. But be honest about it.

    • Aaarrrggghhh says:

      “You don’t like Mike and Jerry? Fine! Don’t like them. But be honest about it.”

      I don’t know if we read different articles but for me it is very clear that this happens due to the “not liking” their stance towards different topics.

      PS: Still asking myself what kind of criteria an issue has to have to be a valid non-issue. Any help would be highly appreciated.

      • sdancer says:

        Going out and saying “rape is cool” → issue.

        Pointing out the ridiculous limitations common in computer game quests → non-issue.

        You are now enlightened.

    • Koozer says:

      That CAD thing was just so badly done. The miscarriage just comes out of nowhere in the storyline of a comic about videogame jokes. His reason? He wanted to see if he could do it. Of course you can bloody well do it, doing it well with sensitivity and nuance is the hard part.

  32. c-Row says:

    I already predict a huge number of deleted comments of non-excellence within the next few hours…

    • TheLoot says:

      Considering the threat of censorship PROUDLY displayed above the comment box, I think you’re correct. Don’t have to argue with someone if you just shut them up!

      • Ansob says:

        You have absolutely nothing of worth to say anyway (as demonstrated, what, 12 or 15 times so far on this page), so they may as well save us an infinitesimal amount of bandwidth. :)

        • Mitthrawn says:

          I am really close to just never opening RPS again. I came here when the site first opened (I think mid 2007, if I remember correctly). At the time, it was one of the few sites directly devoted to PC gaming. And it was awesome. It was funny, and unexpected, and clearly written by grown ups. It was passionate too, and fun.

          Over the last year, it seems as though all the fun has been drained out of RPS. WIT are still good, but the other articles all have a huge veneer of New Journalism on them, the whole “well what I had for breakfast the entire year when I was sixteen was honey nut cheerios because I loved that bee and also here’s a launch trailer for Gone Home.” And it grates more and more. I don’t care, just tell me about the games, have some creativity, do something cool in games and then post about it, tell me what you think- ABOUT GAMES, etc.

          This is exacerbated by the increasingly monotone drone about sexism and feminist issues in games. Again, like many other commenters, I have no problem with equality and egalitarianism, no rational person would. And I don’t have a problem with Messrs Nathan and John having their own LGBT and feminist games blog. But that’s not what I’m here for.

          I’m here for games and games journalism. For instance, 25 new games were released through Greenlight yesterday, and RPS hasn’t yet covered that. Clearly they are too busy with this bizarre pompous flamewar to actually, you know, cover games and games stories.

          The problem is not with the LGBT stuff. Its that that stuff is invading the game stuff, which was here first. I feel like the LGBT stuff is a like a trojan horse- well you really like games NOW FEEL SORRY FOR LIKING THIS GAME… okay here’s some screenshots of assassin’s creed FEEL TERRIBLE ABOUT SKULLGIRLS EXPLOITATIVE ART STYLE. (and btw, where is your condemnation of bigger companies? Seriously, you go after an indie fighting game? When you take on Capcom, a company that can then take away previews, dev interviews, and early review copies, then ill take your stance on fighting games seriously).

          It just feels like two very different sites. One that’s about games and playing games, and the other that’s just super negative and about how terrible we are for laughing at dickwolves and not caring enough about LGBT issues. And then they go, “well you can always leave.” Or you could stop being dicks and just write about games, like you did for like the past five years without this bullshit.

          • LennyLeonardo says:

            They always wrote about this stuff. It’s just that they publish more articles than they used to.

          • jrodman says:

            “I’m all for egalitarianism and equality, I just don’t want to hear about it.”

  33. int says:

    Pax vobiscum.

  34. Hahaha says:


  35. altum videtur says:

    I would REALLY like to hear someone other than Grayson talk about such matters.
    Every time I see a sentence from him, I slash my wrists and paint the walls with infinite doom for humanity.
    Doom, I say!
    But it’s a fine thing RPS is talking about these things and caring. Just maybe their main voice in such matters is REALLYFUCKINGGRATINGILLMURDERYOURDEATHAPAINOFMANYPARTSBORNINTOFLAMECIRCLEOFBLOODDARKGODSGIVEMESHELTER

    I can appreciate Grayson’s writing on other matters. But, try as I might, I cannot shake this rather unpleasant feeling of “white knightery is afoot” when reading his commentary on social injustice.

    • Hahaha says:

      Remember kids its down the street and not across and yes Sheng-ji before you get buthurt I have had someone I know commit suicide recently and guess what I still think that saying is funny.

    • gunny1993 says:

      This is why real debates have chairs, it stops people just getting snowballed by their own arguments making them seem borderline insane.

      • altum videtur says:


        FYI, I stole all the insane from Krieg.
        He’s wonderful.

    • Lemming says:

      Slash your wrists? Way to offend all the suicidals!

  36. J-snukk says:

    Am I the only one who feels somewhat bullied by the kind of attitudes shown in this article and the initial responses to the comic, which in my opinion were the cause of the issue, not the comic itself? It can feel like I must automatically be a bad person if I ever enjoy or am even indifferent to a comment/ joke that a few in a certain community may take offence to? Furthermore, why do I feel so scared to even post the opinion that I feel bullied lest I am instantly branded a sexist or a transphobe or something of the sort? Please don’t take this as me saying that there’s some clandestine conspiracy to end free speech or any such hyperbolic nonsense, I just think people are over reacting in a very big way and are causing themselves their own offence by being determined to find it wherever they can and ignoring other and larger issues (including those within the same sphere (misogyny and such)).

    I apologise if my writing is a bit dodgy in this post, but I’ve tried to structure it carefully to avoid perpetuating the cycle of bile

    • Spoon Of Doom says:

      I know what you mean. I considered joining the discussion on this article because I don’t think RPS’ decision is the best, but the tone and behaviour of the comment section (and sometimes articles themselves) has become quite hostile and accusing, so that you have to word every sentence very, very carefully to not be attacked. And even then someone will find a way to misunderstand your comment and use it as proof that you are just either a white knight who deserves to die or a morally bankrupt bigot who deserves to die, depending on what you wrote and who reacted to it. Sometimes you can get both reactions with the same words.
      It feels like if you don’t immediately pick up the torch and pitchforks for either side of the polarized discussion, you’re not being vigilant enough and therefore fought by both. I have since decided that it’s best not to get involved, because most of the time there is no reasonable discussion of the topic; just two sides screaming (at best) semi-coherently at each other.

    • Bookbuster says:

      J-snukk – I’m going to make the assumption that you’re a dude.

      I mean this in the nicest possible way, and not as a condemnation of you, but the experience you are describing – the feelings of being bullied, of being scared to post what your true thoughts and feelings are, of being made to feel bad for who and what you are – may be a novel one for you, but for a good chunk of the population, that is every day life.

      Those are the sorts of feelings many queer people are made to have every day, when people compare them to pedophiles or misgender them or refuse to grant them the same rights as straight folks, or even use the word ‘gay’ as an insult. They are the sorts of feelings many women and girls have when daring to speak about gender issues on the internet while being identifiably female, along the dread and weariness of knowing what will follow will be an avalanche of outright misogyny and even threats, none of which they’re supposed to take seriously because it’s all a big joke, am I right?. The sorts of feelings described by Whitney Hills when she talks about being a female game developer. And, yes, that’s what was felt by those who complained about the original dickwolves strip had when Mike turned around and attacked them and their concerns in an incredibly public fashion – and encouraged others to do the same.

      Think about what you’re feeling now, and think about how uncommon that is for you. That is what privilege is. Consider that, and consider the possibility that you’re feeling bad because people aren’t always letting you ignore the fact that some of the things you find funny (and accuse those other people of overreacting to) make other people feel bad, and you, being the decent chap you likely are, don’t actually like to make other people’s lives suckier.

      • Moth Bones says:

        Yup, this.

      • harbinger says:

        You know you could have summed this up as “Check your privilege – cis scum!”
        link to

        • Bookbuster says:

          I’m happy to have a serious discussion on how the patriarchy hurts men as well as women, by creating an ideal of what it is to be male that is dependent on, amongst other things, a capacity for violence and resolving disputes through aggressive means. Or that says that men who want to be caregivers are incompetent (or worse) because raising kids and helping the infirm are women’s roles, and there has to be reason why things are that way.

          But I doubt you’d be interested in having one.

          • harbinger says:

            I am sorry that I fail to acknowledge the ominous “patriarchy” as the overlying cause of all of the world’s problems within Feminism, just as I don’t acknowledge “capitalism” as the sole source of all the world’s problems within Marxism.
            I am really sorry that I don’t see the world purely in black and white and try to victimize a whole group of people because an ideology tells me to and would rather look at specific problems separately and get to the root of their cause based on things like scientific methods instead of engaging in hyperbole and victimhood.

            And I am sorry that people like you are only willing to discuss anything based on those terms.

      • agentjr says:

        I really want to thank you for posting this comment. As a straight white male, I struggled intensely to even begin understanding my own privilege and the current form of sexism and oppression; but a comment like this is exactly what pushed me past that first, most difficult barrier to overcome. You succinctly describe the issue without belittling your audience and acknowledging that we all are trying to do our best. I may have to steal it for future discussions.

        I would also like to add that just like being any oppressed group, being privileged is NOT YOUR FAULT. It is a result of the society we are born into and the brainwashing we are all subject to from birth. This brainwashing is painful and extremely difficult to undo, and it is a constant battle to keep yourself strong in the face of the majority telling you that you’re wrong. It is, however, infinitely rewarding to be able to peel back some of the layers of deception and get a feeling for what’s really going on.

        Maybe I’m just rambling, but the point I want to get at is that I have been where you are. It’s a battle, but one damn well worth fighting.

  37. Hahaha says:

    About the time someone told them they have no woman writers.

  38. Cytrom says:


    That is all.

  39. TsunamiWombat says:

    Lets all hop on the waaambulance and ride this gravy train to clickbait town!

    Disgusting. No, not PA. You. If I wanted to be talked down to someone in a morally superior tone i’d cross over into the living room and speak to my Mum. She’s right 90% of the time more than you and even she isn’t so fart-smellingly sanctimonious about it.

    • Zimdictive says:

      Is TsunamiWombat perchance a white middle-class first-world heterosexual professional male who hasn’t been discriminated against a day in his life? I think he might be! Oh, I’m sure he has “lots of gay friends”.

      • TsunamiWombat says:

        Overweight, check your thin privilege.

        Male, check your “gets to escape burning buildings, sinking ships, and doesn’t have to get drafted” privilege.

        WESTERN male, check your “allowed to be wrong about anything ever and allowed to express emotions other than stoic grunts” privilege.

        Depressive, check your “don’t have to take medication to endure basic social interaction” privilege.

        Go chew on a rock with your “I don’t like white males ergo they have all the advantages and no problems” bullshit.

        PS: Gr8 B8 M8

      • Pliqu3011 says:

        And this is relevant to his comment or the article because?

        • TheLoot says:

          Caucasian-hating, straight-shaming and misandry are ALWAYS relevant, apparently.

          • MasterDex says:

            Well, you are on RPS. What did you expect? PC gaming news?

      • ZackRoyer says:

        “white middle-class first-world heterosexual professional male who hasn’t been discriminated against a day in his life?” This is more discriminating that Hitler itself. Or discrimination can’t happen to the other side? I’m white yes, and I got to a school where black people were majority. I Suffered a LOT of discrimination. Don’t say that “white people don’t get discriminated”, because you already are discriminating someone with that sentence. Your entire comment discriminate: White people, Middle-class people, Heterosexual people, People who work…

        • Zimdictive says:

          I’m sorry but you missed the point. I was describing the socio-economic group which is the absolutely least likely to face any kind of discrimination. My point being that these people who are the least likely to have ever experienced that which they are so vocally and ignorantly passing judgement on.

          And (@TsunamiWombat) I’d add that being “overweight” and “depressed” are normalised in the extreme in most first-world societies now (English speaking ones all the more so) that claiming to be either is not really a pass to claiming any real degree of discrimination. You don’t get doctors denying either exist or illegally refusing to treat them (for instance, as experienced by many transgendered individuals), or the law of the land withholding rights considered irrefutable to others for having them (homosexual individuals). Claiming so makes you look all the more ignorant. And that male thing, well, I’m sorry, but I laughed. I’m male, and I don’t expect anyone is going to call me up for the draft any time soon. Claiming that this (non)possibility meant I’d experienced discrimination would make me look like a deluded fool (and that’s putting it nicely).

          • Motsew says:

            Those utterly and incomprehensibly evil Doctor’s, how dare they refuse to mutilate the genitals of a mentally ill person.

    • airmikee99 says:

      Why don’t you get your mum’s opinion on rape jokes? I wonder what she would have to say about the topic, and if she’s right 90% of the time, would you listen to her opinion when it turns out she agrees with RPS? Doubtful.

  40. Edgar the Peaceful says:

    I don’t find rape funny in any context, and find the casual metaphorical use of the word distasteful. So, bravo.

  41. finalfanatik says:

    Thank you RPS for letting me know your stance on PAX, as is your right as owners of this site. I really don’t understand why people keep telling you what you can and can’t post…

    If anything, a disclaimer on your bias is refreshing when compared to other news sources (see yesterday’s article on media…)

  42. Jomini says:


  43. daphne says:

    I think this might be relevant, I’m not sure if the article acknowledges this development or not:
    link to

    • kimded says:

      I think that article say alot about this whole situation and someone who is living with mistakes he has made all the time digging himself deeper and deeper.

    • Lambchops says:

      Hmmm, if the reason he regretted pulling the merchandise was that he didn’t want to bring the whole thing up again then it seems strange he didn’t learn the lesson of this “biggest regret” by . . . well . . . bringing the whole thing up again, yet again. I guess people can do illogical things when put on the spot but at best it shows that he’s not particularly adept at applying things he has learned and at worst it’s a desperate attempt to backtrack and make excuses instead of apologising and once and for all drawing a line under the whole episode.

      • Koozer says:

        The main thing to learn from this whole debacle is that PA really, really need a better PR department.

    • Misnomer says:

      So in addition to this list of panels posted above (that I am reposting here), this article seems to suggest that RPS is really really trying hard to get upset at something here. What change could they actually achive with this boycott? This appears to be a boycott for the sake of a boycott.

      “Some of the panels at PAX included:
      Extra Credits: Diversity – a film viewing and Q&A Session
      Top Women Game Characters of All Time
      Gays in Love (With Their RPG’s)
      Hey Vasquez, you ever been mistaken for a man? A discussion of military servicewomen in Video Games
      Everything We Know Is Sexist. Now What?
      Creating & Building Inclusive Communities in Tabletop/Board Gaming
      Achieving Gender Diversity in Gaming: OK, Now What?
      Press XY Presents: Right Before Your Eyes: Transitioning Within a Game Community
      Political Correctness in Gaming: Let’s Talk
      Queers in Gaming: Gamer vs Gaymer
      Gender Diversity in Games: Where Are All The Believable Female Characters?”

  44. Zimdictive says:

    I liked RPS a lot before it took these stances. I like it all the more for taking them. And if there really are such people here that would depart because of RPS’ good sense and moral measure, then I feel all the better for them not being here. It feels… cleansing. Hopefully they’ll depart from the forums, too.

    • Llewyn says:

      Sadly they never depart, they just crop up in thread after thread telling everyone how much RPS has declined and that they’re never going to read it again. Most of the poor sods don’t even manage to survive a couple of hours before coming back to add more comments, and if you make a note of their names you’ll see them ‘leaving’ again the next time RPS tackles anything controversial around gaming.

      Got to feel sorry for them really.

      • kael13 says:

        I’m not going anywhere. I still think this article is pretentious tosh, however.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          Same here. I’m sticking around because I respect RPS’s more rational work on other topics, like payola and DRM.

          Hoping that those with differing viewpoints will “go away” is the definition of snobbishness.

    • bill says:

      Personally, I don’t see it as a case of supporting RPS or not supporting RPS. It depends on the issue.
      On the issue of women’s portrayal in gaming they are perfectly right, and I’ll support them all the way.
      On this issue they are wrong, and I’ll say so.
      I’m not going to stop reading RPS because of it though.

    • MasterDex says:

      I don’t believe any of us that have stated we’re done with RPS – even those who have returned – are leaving because of RPS’ “good sense and moral measure.

      I believe many are leaving because the RPS writers seem to believe that their ubiquitous “good sense and moral measure” is the only such “good” sense and morality to have.

      I believe many are leaving because when they challenge that notion, they get a torrent of abuse from “THE GOOD AND PROPER PEOPLE OF THE INTERNET WHO HOLD NO PREJUDICE AND COMMIT NO SIN”. They get labelled as misogynists, bigots, racists, sexists, homophobes, etc, etc, etc or worse: straight white males – as if that were something to be ashamed of.

      Of course, I don’t speak for everyone so what do I know? One thing I am sure of, however, is that once I’m done with this article, I won’t be back, because frankly, when I visit a site about gaming news, I do so to read about games, not to be chastised for being born a straight white male or holding opinions different to the writers.

      • Zimdictive says:


      • Triplanetary says:

        They get labelled as misogynists, bigots, racists, sexists, homophobes

        Ah, the classic “I said a racist/misogynistic/homophobic thing and got called a racist/misogynist/homophobe, waah waah I’m the victim here” whine. None of the RPS editors want you to be ashamed of being a straight white male. Many of them are themselves straight white males. Take your insecurities elsewhere. Oh wait, you’re already doing that. Good.

  45. gunny1993 says:

    Either I’m missing something or you don’t understand hypocrisy.

    ‘The practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform.’

    They seem to be pretty consistent on this stuff.

    • MarcP says:

      Right. It’s not as if certain writers on this site have expressed support for game piracy while ranting about ad blockers.

      • gunny1993 says:

        And I often eat turkey although I dislike chaffinch.

        • MarcP says:

          It becomes hard to make fun at you basing your morality system on an inability to abstract and construct mental concepts when said failure is in itself more hilarious than anything anyone could say.

        • gunny1993 says:

          And how exactly do you know what my moral opinions are and how I came to them?

          Also the abstraction works as Piracy and adblock are not the same thing, they CAN are related, but they are intrinsically related.

          One is taking something that is not yours by both law and moral right, the other is removing something that is not yours. Although would probably take a very well though out and worded argument to not appear hypocritical.

        • gunny1993 says:

          Actuality fuck that, I can’t imagine it being possible to not be hypocritical whilst supporting piracy and speaking out against adblock.

        • SuicideKing says:

          Well, it’d be hypocritical if you had to log in to Steam just to read RPS and would have to compulsorily see ads…

          IIRC RPS has usually been against DRM and not in support of piracy per se.

          It’s also sort of odd to compare both because you’re supposed to be paying for the thing you pirate, but even when you DO see an ad on a website you’re not paying the website with your own money, and the site’s up for free but it needs some revenue stream to remain free.

    • Erinduck says:

      Because I’m not a fucking murder survivor.

      • TheLoot says:

        Usually being a “survivor” implies that you’ve gotten through whatever event you reference and can go on with your life. Rape survivors are apparently incapable of that, and demand special treatment, as if rape is the worst thing that can happen (no, murder is because you don’t live through it).

      • gunny1993 says:

        Wow …. do you guys go around to people with PTSD and just shout at their faces telling them how they should man the fuck up.

        Really, I don’t care much for these RPS articles but that’s just disgusting.

      • SuicideKing says:

        What the fuck? Are you two (TheLoot and his mate before him) 15 years old and angry?

        The rape vs murder debate appears extremely flawed and seems to be a favorite tactic to defend rape.

    • Hahaha says:

      Damn to slow…..

      You need to add survivor to both rape and murder because apparently this only effects the person involved.

    • gunny1993 says:

      1: If you read the article you would know their problem isn’t with the joke.

      2: It’s not hypocritical because they’re not saying jokes about murder is bad. (If that is indeed what they’re saying). Their issues are generally with gender inequality or whatever, thus, not hypocritical.

      If i were to say to a rapist: You should stop raping because I don’t like it, but ignore a murderer it’s not hypocritical … it’s just fucking weird.

      Whether their views are justified is another issue.

  46. Dariune says:

    Come on RPS you used to be so much better than this.

    You used to be all about games, game related crusades and dissecting what was right and wrong in a multitude of gaming scenarios.

    Recently you have been releasing large amounts of similar articles on AAA games which practically scream “advertisement”, your political articles are all very similar. Mostly encouraging even higher PC laws and all incredibly feminist (I believe in equal rights I just don’t like your tone or repetitive strategy on the subject) and you guys seem angry ALL the time.

    I am also very close to ditching RPS, one of my favorite magazines, and looking elsewhere for my PC gaming news.

    Yes yes I know, I won’t be missed.

  47. John Walker says:

    Let me clear up people’s confusion.

    This is not because of the Dickwolves strip. The punchline was not about rape, and the use of the word “rape” was to emphasise the point of their joke – that our motivations in MMOs are entirely contrary to the stated motivations in the MMOs. Whether they should have used that word remains the debate, but not the motivating factor here. (And let’s be clear – PA are welcome to be as offensive as they wish in their strip. Just as others are welcome to be as offended as they wish in response.)

    It is because of an ongoing, long-term, and apparently engrained attitude of intolerance and discrimination from PA. As others have said – it wasn’t the Dickwolves strip, it was their reaction to people’s response to the Dickwolves strip that was problematic. Their ongoing reaction. And indeed so much else.

    We absolutely in NO WAY wish to censor Penny Arcade, and more to the point, nor could we. If they wanted to exclusively publish strips about rape and bullying the transgendered, that would be their right. And we, in response, would equally have the right to condemn it.

    That is our position. Penny Arcade has the freedom to publish and express whatever views they wish. We have no desire to take away that freedom. We do, however, have our own views that directly contrast with theirs. We believe that Penny Arcade and its creators are doing harm to the gaming community, and RPS wishes not to endorse that which does harm. So, as is our right, we are choosing not to endorse them. As they have the freedom to express their views, we do too. That’s all this is.

    • WarderDragon says:

      I think it’s perfectly reasonable, and I applaud you for sticking to that stance. However, I doubt your explanation will do much – as far as fanbases go, I’ve found PA’s to be particularily rabid in jumping to their defense.

      • Cutter888 says:

        I don’t believe I’m being rabid in my defense of PA, more in the morals I believe to be right, such as free speech.

        Basically I see it as this, PA posted a comic, it was meant to be (and is) a joke, some people kicked up about a fuss about it, PA obviously believed it was a joke, but were bullied into giving an apology for something which they believed they had no reason to apologise for. It was half arsed, as anything would be that you didn’t really believe in, further fuss was then kicked up because of the said half arsed response.

        I don’t know what was expected, you’re backing people into a corner until you get a response they should never have had to give, and then complaining that it wasn’t the response you wanted.

        • airmikee99 says:

          Even if your defense of free speech is a double standard? If you truly believe in free speech then PA is free to make stupid jokes, people are free to be offended by said stupid jokes, PA is free to give a half assed apology, and people are free to be offended by said half assed apology.

          You’re not defending free speech, you’re defending PA.

          • Cutter888 says:

            I guess you could say I’m defending PA’s right to free speech, and not requiring to answer to people for making a joke, so you are correct.

          • airmikee99 says:

            Just as long as you’re fine with the knowledge that you are NOT defending free speech, you’re defending PA’s right to free speech while ignoring the right to free speech of RPS and people that were offended.

          • Cutter888 says:

            I don’t believe I once stated they could not have that have view point, but that I did not understand it.

          • Lemming says:

            Right to free speech is not the same thing as ‘right to be offended’. Yes, you have the right to be offended. If you’re offended, be offended. The rest of us don’t need to be involved. It doesn’t give you the right to influence policy. ‘hurt feelings’ are not an argument.

          • Llewyn says:

            So the right to free speech doesn’t extend to expressing how someone is offended? They should do that quietly and privately, presumably.

        • WarderDragon says:

          Free speech isn’t remotely threatened here. In fact, it is celebrated! The PA guys have made a long series of statements which were, quite frankly, awful. But no one has suggested taking away their rights to make those statements. Instead, RPS decided that they couldn’t in good conscience condone those kinds of statements, so they used their own free speech to proclaim that they wouldn’t cover any PAX events. What’s the problem?

          • Cutter888 says:

            I guess, as stated to the comment above, my problem is that this is a joke they should never have had to apologise for in the first place. And yes, I’m aware free speech works both ways, and you’re welcome to oppose some half arsed apology, which it undoubtedly was, but if it was forced out of the person in the first place, I don’t see what you’re trying to achieve, was more my point than the freedom of speech!

          • Seth_Keta says:

            The shocking truth about someone in a position of influence over a fairly large number of people is that we tend to hold them to higher standards. For example, how would we react if a well known actor or politician made a statement and displayed an attitude similar to what was displayed here? Quite simply, their actions would be condoned and people would surrender their support.

            This isn’t an argument about freedom of speech. It never has been, and it never will be. Using freedom of speech as a defense in this instance is ignorant of the true issues at play. This argument is about expecting someone in a position of influence to hold themselves to a higher standard and further social growth in a positive direction, rather than stymie it.

            If someone decides to withdraw support, they are not seeking to stymie PA’s freedom of speech. They are sending a message that they hold PA to a higher standard, one that PA have clearly stated that they are not interested in achieving. Do many people like them for that exact reason? Perhaps, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is required to do so. The weird thing about opinions is that they’re not all the same. They’re also not black and white, or absolute if you prefer that term instead. No one side is in the right, or in the wrong. It is a grey area that we must respect.

            In essence, or TDLR if you prefer: Do not defend someone’s freedom of speech, when it is not being threatened, while actually threatening another party’s freedom of speech and inferring they don’t deserve it.

          • skittles says:

            @Cutter888, I would agree that it wasn’t a joke they had to apologise for. The problem is they DID apologise. At that point they should’ve left it alone and shut up. However they simply keep returning to the issue themselves, the latest stink being of course because of “I think removing dickwolves tshirt was a mistake”. PA needs to grow a few brain cells and learn to stop talking. It has nothing to do with free-speech and everything to do with the double-standards they are continually showing.

        • RaveTurned says:

          Freedom of speech applies to PA’s speech, and to critics of PA’s speech.

          Freedom of speech also includes freedom to choose not to speak. PA could have chosen to not follow up on their original strip and move on. Their decision to make an incendiary non-apology instead was their own.

          In this case, RPS has chosen not to speak about PAX events in future. That is their right also.

        • brian1121 says:

          Popehat breaks down the consequences of speech here: link to

          Because you hold people accountable for what they say does not mean you are against free speech. And hiding behind freedom of speech to defend yourself after you’ve made an asshole of yourself makes you, well, an even bigger asshole.

          • Cutter888 says:

            An interesting read, but while some may deem PAs actions as dickish, I’m not simply putting down any response to them as chilling. In a lot of respects I agree given with how much they went back and forth on what they were trying to say, instead of just sticking to their guns with the follow up comic, I still stand by the fact that the initial comic does not make them assholes (and in fact, don’t believe the follow up comic was either, as much as it rubbed salt in the wound, it was used to illustrate that the previous comic was simply a joke) and did not require them to apologise. This is obviously my opinion, and I do think after talking about this with a friend that the best course of action would have simply been to apologise for any offence, but say they still stand by their comic as a joke.

          • KenAtPopehat says:

            Ugh, those guys are awful.

        • KenAtPopehat says:

          “Bullied” — like “lynch mob” and “inquisition” and so forth — are words that people use deceitfully to try to separate speech-consequences from speech.

          The comic was speech. PA doubling and quadrupling down when criticized was speech. The criticism was speech. The criticism of the doubling and quadrupling is speech.

          The criticism was only “bullying” if you water the word down to make it mean nothing. If criticizing the comic was “bullying,” then surely “Team Dickwolves” was bullying.

          PA has a right to make comics that some people find offensive. PA has a right to ridicule people who find its comics offensive. PA has a right to encourage others to ridicule people who find its comics offensive.

          What PA does not have is a right to be free of people criticizing or shunning them for that speech.

          There is no rational or coherent or principled view of speech that results in “PA should feel free to speak but PA’s critics should just shut up.”

        • MrGerbils says:

          Basically I see it as this, PA posted a comic, it was meant to be (and is) a joke, some people kicked up about a fuss about it, PA obviously believed it was a joke, and turned around to spite those who were offended, and decided to proudly rub salt in to the wound. Even to the point of making t-shirt merchandise which they encouraged their fans to wear, to make sure those who were offended would feel oppressed while at the convention.

          Then people complained about that response, as is their right with free speech, and now here you are making a ton of posts complaining that they shouldn’t have complained. I don’t understand what YOUR goal is here?

          RPS thinks these guys are assholes, and are using their public forum to say so. Anything you say in response is clearly not a defense of freespeech, but instead a half assed attempt to only defend PA. This is made crystal clear by the way you glossed over the real problem with PA’s response to the dickwolves comic (the shirts, et all) and just talked about his half assed apology. Half assed apologies are whatever, who cares. What is downright offensive is the aggression and bullying they exhibited towards those who took offense.

          • Runty McTall says:

            I don’t want this comment to be taken too strongly as taking a side against you in this as, quite honestly, I haven’t really made up my mind what I think about it and I suspect it would take a huge amount of reading to really understand what was said by everyone, to everyone, in order to place everyone’s behaviour in the context required to really judge it.

            That said, I find it interesting that people assume that the PA guys weren’t “bullied” or “couldn’t be bullied” or some such variation. If you put yourself in their place – they are individuals who wrote a comic and got probably tens, hundreds or maybe thousands of people publicly telling them that they had done serious wrong. Now, they made their comic out in public so obviously you open yourself up to public responses but I can imagine that receiving a flood of vitriol (and no doubt some very respectfully articulated requests for clarification/retraction too, which sadly likely got drowned out) in an open forum can be very intimidating and distressing, especially since many people attacking them now say some variant of “it’s not about the comic”.

            Well, if the comic is acceptable, then in all seriousness, how would you react if people either took what you’d written the wrong way (thinking it trivialises rape when in fact it appears to mock games designers who might trivialise a matter as serious as rape in their quest design) and vigorously attacked you or understood it but believed that your very mention of the word rape was sufficient evidence that you were a fundamentally bad person and so, again, felt compelled to publicly attack you?

            Even with (or maybe especially because of*) your own horde of supporters jumping in, I can only imagine that this would be a hugely stressful situation to be in. Essentially everyone else can slink back to anonymity if they wish to but these guys are publicly being taken to task, rightly or wrongly. That can only warp your own behaviour.

            So, definitely in concept, to me it is possible for a group of people taking an extreme viewpoint or reacting excessively to something they’ve misunderstood can engage in behaviour that is not inappropriately termed bullying. Beyond that, in this particular case, from what little I have managed to read around the subject, I’ve already come across people making veiled (and not so veiled) threats against them and their families. That goes way across the line.

            Again, I’ve not read enough to form a strong opinion one way or another and maybe they’ve said or done things I entirely disagree with but I find it really weird that nobody seems to have viewed their actions through the prism of people who suddenly found themselves strongly publicly attacked and shamed for a comic that even many of their attackers now said wasn’t the issue. If you don’t have a heart of iron (and I think Mike in particular has written before about having anxiety issues?) then this will surely increase the odds that you will lash back in return.

            * feeling responsible for what your supporters say and do and trying to keep track of it all and decide when to step in if people ostensibly supporting you go to far and such like must also be highly stressful.

            PS. Ken, if that really is you from Pope Hat, although I respectfully disagree with you on this, I would like to say that I have very much enjoyed your coverage of the Prenda Law stuff and I recommend that everyone here check it out for some laughs at some truly weird legal shenanigannings.

        • harbinger says:

          I see this notion of “criticism” being fair game and “free speech” cropping up in this kind of discussion a lot lately, but not all criticism is created equal. Subjective criticisms on the basis of a product not being up to standards and based on the inherent qualities of a product itself are fair game. Disagreeing with someone’s opinion and pointing out (preferably fairly and calmly) why you think they are wrong is too.

          But what we are often seeing is a more insidious sort of criticism that tends to get right to its goal more often than not. It is an appeal to morals, a general shaming of creators by calling them “14 year old boys”, “sexists”, “sexist pigs”, “misogynists” and worse (and calling their work “sexist”, “offensive”, “problematic”, “inconsiderate” and any number of things) by the gaming media at large, for you see there is not much solid defense for said implications, just as there wasn’t for being labeled a “witch”. This sort of criticism claims moral superiority over its victims and further often claims their works are somehow universally harmful for society in some unproven way. It’s a sort of moral inquisition for all that they believe is right looking to hand out judgment.

          Penny Arcade has stood out against this before and yet again has gathered the ire of many for it, for they said the unspeakable: link to
          “It’s very weird to pull up a story about a game with frankly visionary art and hear why it shouldn’t exist, or to hear what I supposedly fantasize about, or what kind of power I supposedly revere, and any attempt to defend oneself from these psychotic projections or to assert that creators may create is evidence of a dark seed sprouting in the heart. It’s an incredible state of affairs. They’re not censors, though – oh, no no. You’ll understand it eventually; what you need to do is censor yourself.”

          That this kind of tactics is being used against them, simply proves that they were right.
          Just look at some of the past articles that RPS did, analyze what they were trying to do.

          For instance the late Hotline Miami 2 article almost resembles an interrogation where the interrogator tries to find the smallest of fault in the motivations of his victim, find that dark seed in their heart, questioning and prodding at every step, demanding explanations for him to be able to pass out his final judgment over said individuals: link to
          (I also found it funny how the comments were closed off and then curated, because they were going against the implied intentions of the author, truly a sign of the open mind.)

          Or as how someone else rather well-spoken on said matters put it in the past:
          “Any fairminded person with journalistic experience will admit that during this war official censorship has not been particularly irksome. We have not been subjected to the kind of totalitarian ‘co-ordination’ that it might have been reasonable to expect. The press has some justified grievances, but on the whole the Government has behaved well and has been surprisingly tolerant of minority opinions. The sinister fact about literary censorship in England is that it is largely voluntary.

          Unpopular ideas can be silenced, and inconvenient facts kept dark, without the need for any official ban. Anyone who has lived long in a foreign country will know of instances of sensational items of news — things which on their own merits would get the big headlines-being kept right out of the British press, not because the Government intervened but because of a general tacit agreement that ‘it wouldn’t do’ to mention that particular fact. So far as the daily newspapers go, this is easy to understand. The British press is extremely centralised, and most of it is owned by wealth