Editorial: How We Got The PAX Post Wrong

Another member of this odd profession of games journalism made a point to me yesterday. He said that in RPS’s statement about PAX, we had caused ourselves to become the news. Well, we’re okay with becoming the news, but it’s true that the statement misdirected the story, and what should have been the 2,500 words of arguments primarily in favour of attending PAX became a single sentence against at the start. The discussion was lost.

We fucked up. We said what we wanted to. We said it at the wrong time. We said it in the wrong place.

The discussion over Penny Arcade and PAX is a very complicated one, as Nathan’s excellent piece demonstrated well. In adding our editor’s note at the top, we destroyed that nuance, and it’s entirely understandable that most people stopped reading there. It created an unhelpful discussion, polarised readers, and wasn’t productive.

The reality is, Penny Arcade and the people who run it are complex. They are responsible for the millions of dollars raised through Child’s Play, they advocate a number of forward-thinking matters. They also say and do incredibly stupid and spiteful things, and add negative voices to the already shouted negativity toward women and trans* people in the gaming community. Yes, they also apologise between incidents.

RPS, as a site, is routinely criticised for allowing our opinions and feelings and anger and joy to be seen on the site. But that’s our policy. It’s how we’ve always operated, and will continue to operate. Our editorial line is the line of the individuals who write the words. When RPS writes that we don’t want to go to PAX any more because we find it too icky, we’re some guys expressing our personal feelings. But of course what we’re perceived as is Major Gaming Site RPS Boycotts PAX.

It’s vital to us that we never lose the core of honesty that runs through RPS. We’ve never given a shit if telling our truth loses us readers, and we know we’ve driven people away with our occasional posts on political matters within the gaming world. We’re okay with that. We’d rather lose readers than not fight for what we believe in. FAR rather. And yes, we’re barraged with mad conspiracy theories, accusations of all manner of elaborate corruption far too complicated for us to even consider, and told that we should sit down and shut up and just post the trailers. We’re not going to, we will always campaign for equality, and that’s okay.

But yesterday’s introduction to a great article by one of our brilliant writers didn’t achieve our aims. It made a complicated, difficult issue into something black and white, and of course alienated people in doing so. Worst of all, it led people to not read Nathan’s article, which presented both sides of the discussion in detail. That was not our intention.

To be clear: We’re not going to go to PAX, because as a bunch of people, we just don’t want to. To us, it doesn’t feel like the right thing to do. It’s not “declaring war” or anything else so hyperbolic. It’s not a fight we’re taking to their door. We’re just doing what we think is the right thing, as we usually strive to do. We aren’t going to ignore gaming news that happens to come out of PAX – we’re just not going to be going there for RPS, we’re not going to take part in, be a part of, the event. Declaring our position regarding PAX felt like the thing we should do when publishing that article, but it turns out that wasn’t helpful at all.

And here’s a crucial thing: Our opinions change. We’ll keep listening to people, be argued with, and hear people point out why they think we’re wrong. When we make an opening sentence statement like yesterday’s, we not only set ourselves up to look like fools or hypocrites if we change our minds, but we also make a statement saying we’re not prepared to. And that’s not okay. It’s crucial that we constantly keep our minds open to arguments, and are willing to change, and are open and honest about doing so.

So sorry for handling it so badly. As Nathan’s piece said, the important thing is that you take time to consider your own position in the matter, not ours.


Top comments

  1. Anthile says:

    RePtilianS. Wake up, sheeple.
  1. Zunt says:

    And that is how rational people deal with their inevitable mistakes. Cheers John.

    • wild_quinine says:

      I think John is correct about what polarized the article. The ‘should we, shouldn’t we’ nature of the boycott debate was undermined pretty much directly by a top-posted statement of intent.

      But an outstanding issue for me is that PAX is a major gaming event, and I don’t agree that journalists should stop covering the news because they disagree with the people making it.

      • Kitsunin says:

        But if they don’t want to support PAX, wouldn’t it be incredibly hypocritical to cover PAX? While there certainly is news that comes from PAX, you can’t avoid giving something attention while reporting on it. I understand that if you want all of the news this isn’t good for you as a consumer, but I think that beliefs are more important than that. There are certainly plenty of other places that do cover PAX, in any case.

        • wild_quinine says:

          “But if they don’t want to support PAX, wouldn’t it be incredibly hypocritical to cover PAX?”

          No, and this is a silly argument. I didn’t support the war in Iraq, but that doesn’t mean I wanted all news coverage of it to cease. I don’t support the Conservative Party, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to read about current affairs. I don’t support sexism, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to read RPS commentary on sex and gender issues.

          • Wut The Melon says:

            It could be argued that the ‘success’ of the Iraq war was not dependent on media coverage (rather the opposite, actually, as media coverage probably played a part in its being perceived as a failure), meaning that not covering the Iraq war would hardly be a statement against it. Whereas PAX, like any convention, is basically a marketing device meaning that it is very much dependent on media coverage.

            So I think not going to/not covering PAX is a valid way of showing that you do not want to support PAX. Though, as Nathan wrote, there are also different ways to do that.

        • jonahcutter says:

          Absolutely not.

          Journalists cover things they don’t agree with all the time. In fact, I’d argue, that dynamic is fundamental to -good- journalism.


          “We aren’t going to ignore gaming news that happens to come out of PAX – we’re just not going to be going there for RPS, we’re not going to take part in, be a part of, the event.”

          is where I think they’re going wrong.

          They’re not covering the event as RPS (as journalists) because they find it “icky” (as people). As journalists, when they find something “icky” in their field is when they should become most intent on covering it.

          Matt Taibbi doesn’t avoid covering Wall Street because he finds its behavior abhorrent. He covers it precisely because he does. And he focuses his coverage in a way that highlights his stance on the issues raised (hint… hint… RPS).

          • GepardenK says:

            Not the same as Pax and similar events depend on media coverage of their games in order to be successful. If RPS cover the games on Pax when they dont agree with Pax then that would be like joining a parade for a political party you dont agree with.

            Sure RPS can still cover pax from the outside as an event, but to actually attendt it and cover games would be hypocritical given what RPS thinks about pax

          • jonahcutter says:


            That’s what the last sentence was about.

          • Nim says:

            You are making a fallancy by claiming that the games at PAX belong to PAX or Penny Arcade or being developed by PAX or Penny Arcade. This is not the case. Developers unaffiliated with Penny Arcade are showing off their games during an expo organized by Penny Arcade and these are the ones who will be suffer because of this boycott.

          • GepardenK says:


            RPS will still cover the games of course, just not through Pax as the middle man. Pax depends on games wanting to come to their expo for media coverage. If RPS attended the expo to cover the games there then they would directly be sponsing Pax, which again would be hypocritical of RPS given their stance towards Pax.

          • Synesthesia says:

            Yeah, i stand in this side of the court. If there is a problem with pax, talk about it. Read up, and write an article. The PAX disasterpiece was very poorly investigated. It clearly showed most you know about krahoulik and friends was taken from twitter feeds. I’m sorry, but that is not good enough.

            A dialog is needed if we are going to solve these problems. Is what they are doing icky? Do you absolutely want it to change? Then it is a responsability as a major news source to speak about it.

            To be clear. I am 100% behind rps’s motives. Specially this:

            “It’s vital to us that we never lose the core of honesty that runs through RPS. We’ve never given a shit if telling our truth loses us readers, and we know we’ve driven people away with our occasional posts on political matters within the gaming world. We’re okay with that. We’d rather lose readers than not fight for what we believe in. FAR rather. And yes, we’re barraged with mad conspiracy theories, accusations of all manner of elaborate corruption far too complicated for us to even consider, and told that we should sit down and shut up and just post the trailers. We’re not going to, we will always campaign for equality, and that’s okay.”

            Please, by all means, do it. But investigate. Don’t just scream misoginy because a game has jiggly bosoms. Dont tag transphobia because somebody (as most people, i imagine), doesnt still quite see the difference between genre and biological sex. Believe it or not, most of us are on the same side here.

          • Kitsunin says:

            The big thing some of you are not realizing is that if everyone just forgot PAX existed, PAX would cease to exist. That type of event relies on publicity to succeed, and cannot without it, so publicity, regardless of which type, is likely to give more attention, business, and success, to PAX, whereas something like Wall Street or a war is going to function exactly the same regardless of how many people know about it.

            I don’t mean to say it’s wrong to cover PAX if you don’t agree with them, but if you don’t want to support them you need to be incredibly careful about the way you do, and I see refusing to cover it as a perfectly valid way of refusing your support.

      • Arkanos says:

        Article quotes are fun!

        “We aren’t going to ignore gaming news that happens to come out of PAX”

        • wild_quinine says:

          I did miss that, entirely my fault. I have no problem at all with them simply not attending, if they think they can cover the news without doing so – and to be honest, they probably can.

      • killias2 says:

        I don’t understand how they can boycott PAX while going to the other conferences. I have a hard, hard time believing that the first conference to ban booth babes is somehow the worst, most misogynistic conference out there and it’s all “icky” filth that must be avoided at all costs.

        You know, I love RPS. I largely agree with RPS. I think the status of women in gaming is more-or-less reprehensible. Nonetheless, I think this is a bit ridiculous. PA isn’t icky or dangerous. Gabe/Mike is sort of an idiot who shoots his mouth off without thinking about repercussions. But, sober and in the light of day, I have a hard time believing that either Mike or Tycho/Jerry are on the wrong side of things. For example, when Mike walked into the transexual mess (before apologizing), he was defending a game.. that was designed to help women feel more comfortable masturbating. OMG THIS WOMAN HATER MUST BE PUT TO DEATH!

        I think, sometimes, the radicals in this movement mistake ignorance for hatred, or a lack of tact for sexism. Mike is such an easy target because he’s not part of the seemingly monolithic blowback against discussing women in gaming. There’s no ideology here. There’s really no content at all. It’s seemingly been easy to make PA a target for campaigners when they’re hardly the ones making things the way they are. On the whole, PA is closer to RPS on this issue than to most of the “hardcore” gamers and the game-makers, who see TNA as being a basic part of the industry. But Mike is an asshole, so let’s just focus on him, right!

        And now RPS has wrapped itself up in this mess and is almost certain to contradict itself (just wait until it goes to the next Booth Babe filled Convention and we get to hear how it’s different for some reason). In any case, I’m sure this kind of move will help to further purge RPS’ ranks of anyone with a slightly different opinion, serving to make sure this site becomes an echo chamber, which will further reduce the impact RPS is trying to have.

        But whatever. Do what you need to do. Chances are, I’ll just forget about this all and move on. But I really don’t respect this decision, even as I generally respect the spotlight you all shine on women’s issues in gaming.

        • machineageproductions says:

          “But whatever. Do what you need to do. Chances are, I’ll just forget about this all and move on. But I really don’t respect this decision, even as I generally respect the spotlight you all shine on women’s issues in gaming.”

          That’s just it.

          You can forget. You can just drop it and move on. Women in gaming? They can’t. They’re faced with this every day. Professionals are harassed, threatened, and cajoled at every turn. They’ve been pushed out of work by hostile environments. Fans are discouraged from bringing their fandom public. Victims are afraid to go to shows like PAX.

          But at the end of the day, you can just forget about it and walk away.

          That’s why it isn’t a bad decision. It’s just one of many non-issues for you, and one you choose to invest the .5 seconds to make a statement about.

          • killias2 says:

            “That’s just it.

            You can forget. You can just drop it and move on. Women in gaming? They can’t. They’re faced with this every day. Professionals are harassed, threatened, and cajoled at every turn. They’ve been pushed out of work by hostile environments. Fans are discouraged from bringing their fandom public. Victims are afraid to go to shows like PAX.”

            I’m with you up until the point at which this somehow becomes about PAX. Again, PAX is the only Convention without booth babes. The fact that Mike overreacted to the overreaction about a comic strip where rape wasn’t the punchline doesn’t make PAX a dangerous place to be. That’s just ridiculous.

            Listen, women in gaming is an important issue. I AGREE with you there. I’m not like the legions of assholes that think a flash game about beating up Anita Sarkeesian is anything but disgusting and revolting.

            What I’m saying is that PA is more-or-less an easy whipping boy on this issue. We can all ruffle our feathers about Mike being an idiot here and there. It’s really easy to argue with someone who basically admits that they’re wrong. It’s really easy to argue about sexism with someone who basically already has your perspective. What it isn’t is productive. RPS is boycotting the only convention that bans booth babes because one of the two primary people involved occasionally says stupid stuff on twitter before apologizing. That doesn’t do anything to change anything, and, like I said above, it’ll just further purify RPS’s audience, making sure only converts hear RPS’s message.

            Is RPS’s policy now that they won’t attend conventions if anyone involved ever says stupid things about gender relations? Of course not. And that’s also a problem. There’s really no “there” there when it comes to this abrupt policy shift. It’s just another beating for the easy whipping boy (TAKE IT WHIPPING BOY: link to penny-arcade.com) without any thought of what this policy shift would actually mean if it were applied semi-consistently, which it won’t be. It’s poorly thought out through and through, and I really think it represents some of the worst of the pro-women-in-gaming movement.

        • Ubik2000 says:

          Yes. Agree strongly. I’ve found RPS’s actions here disappointing, and I agree 100% with their stated stance on gender issues in games. But by bringing this debate to the floors in such a flawed way, it has done nothing to encourage discussion, it’s just set up yet another array of polarized factions. Or perhaps just given those opposing factions another front to fight on.

          Which is VASTLY disappointing – I expect RPS to be part of the solution. And when groups that largely agree start fragmenting and turning on each other (I think you’re right that RPS and PA share more positions than not), it sets up an argument in favor of ideological purity that I find especially distasteful (shades of the modern US Republican party).

          • killias2 says:

            Yeah, the chase for purity is really obvious here. I’d maybe be a bit more okay with it if it was at least consistent.

            link to rockpapershotgun.com – Two years after this, and I’ve yet to see a policy change on E3. But that’s different, right? They just have scantily clad women employed as objects to sell products. But at least one of the organizers didn’t say something stupid on Twitter before apologizing!

            I like that you point out that RPS should be part of the solution here. Instead of this series of missteps.. what if RPS, I don’t know, tried to talk with the people over at Penny-Arcade? What if they did some journalism? Wouldn’t a dialogue be interesting here?

            Instead, we have this drive for purity where one of the web’s most gender conscious gaming websites somehow boycotts the only gaming convention without boothbabes. It’s stupid. The whole thing is stupid.

          • Ubik2000 says:

            I would very much welcome John doing an interview with the PA guys about this issue. I think that would be a much better way of addressing their concerns than….whatever this is. And I think that would go a long way towards digging into RPS’s (and others’) concerns. Mike has said some dumb things, and he’s admitted as much and apologized. I don’t follow the Twitter as closely as I am perhaps expected to, but I thought his post-PAX post cleared the air sufficiently. Obviously others disagree.

            And yes – there do seem to be much more deserving targets of this ire than PA. At the very least, they are willing to engage in discussion on these topics (even if it’s dumb, foot-in-mouth statements). Whoever runs E3 could give a shit, obviously.

          • Ragnar says:

            I too would love to see an interview between RPS and PA.

            I feel that boycotting PAX is a mistake. I think it’s a great event, and my personal experience was that it introduced me to people different from myself, people I wouldn’t have associated with otherwise, and showed that we all have much in common. If anything, I would encourage minorities to flood PAX and show everyone that we’re far more similar than we are different.

            I feel that boycotting PAX because of Mike’s actions is like boycotting The Simpsons because of Fox News – completely different entities under the same owner. It does put pressure on PA, but that’s not RPS’s stated goal, so…?

            I honestly don’t think Mike means to be a dick, he just doesn’t seem to understand (or want to?) that he’s being a dick. Would an RPS interview fix that? Doubtful. But it can only help.

          • killias2 says:

            Well RPS, what do you say? INTERVIEW PENNY ARCADE!

      • SpectralThundr says:

        Their whole reason for wanting to boycott in the first place was misguided. Pax doesn’t equal PA. There’s a ton of LBGT friendly and related panels and people forget the PA guys have made personal donations to LBGT causes in the past.

        All this was was a knee jerk reaction by the usual thought police types who have a habit of getting offended at just about anything at the drop of a hat. Remember kids, Social justice warriors, never once.

    • Caddrel says:

      John, Nathan, and whoever else is wrapped up in this; the problem isn’t that the article was written badly. It’s that you’re ignorant of the issues themselves and how to discuss them. Rather than continuing to do damage to your own cause, stick to what you know in the future.

      If it really matters that much to you, stop writing **** and do some real journalism on it.

      • Jeremy says:

        This implies two things: 1) That their stance proves they don’t understand the issue. 2) They have some kind of “cause”.

        Neither of these are true.

    • BruceFnLee says:

      Rational? This whole thing is remarkably unprofessional. Literally “i’m not going to do my job because I don’t want to. If you have a problem with that, too bad. I will now write crap articles about why I won’t do my job.”

      • mouton says:

        This kind of sounds as if you employed them.

        • airmikee99 says:

          Usually, the customer is always right. But in those cases, the customer is paying for something.

          Maybe he thinks that being a blog reader entitles him to editorial and philosophical control over the blog writer?

      • jrodman says:

        Bruce Fn Lee: Your job is to make me a sandwich. Why aren’t you doing your job?

      • iridescence says:

        Yeah, unless you’re paying them/have a contract with them, you have no right to tell them what their job is. They can cover what they want. even if their ridiculous for not covering something is as ridiculous as “we don’t like your face!” that’s their prerogative. I normally don’t like using “If you don’t like it find something better” but in this case it applies.

    • Kurshuk says:

      I think you guys are pretty freakin awesome.

      I started reading RPS a couple years ago and at first I was really confused why simple words like color were mispelled. I couldn’t believe that people used puns still. I couldn’t believe you had an opinion of your own. That the words on the page weren’t the same recycled words over and over.

      I went back to other gaming ‘journalism’ and it frustrated me so badly I came back. (Even with the puns.)

      I like how the RPS writers are people. With opinions. With mistakes.

      Because I see a lot of people making mistakes, but hardly any stepping up to take responsibility.

      RPS is the only journalism I trust.

      • dglenny says:

        “RPS is the only journalism I trust.”

        Yes. I don’t always agree with the writers here (*cough* Dear Esther *cough*) but I trust their integrity and candor absolutely.

        Now if only they could tempt Jonathan Nash or Reader Millington here as well…

    • IAmUnaware says:

      Of course, if we’re applying the same standards to RPS that RPS is applying to Penny Arcade, then this is all meaningless because whatever you said first is the only thing that matters and it’s the only opinion or statement you can ever have on a matter FOREVER.

      The trans* thing is a great example of this. Mike Krahulik said some ignorant-ass things, but then he talked to some actual trans people and also a lot of other people and got himself educated and apologized and in general his ass is less ignorant now. But it doesn’t matter, because at one point he said something stupid. Think about this: If everybody were to judge you not by who you are and what you do and what you say now but instead only by the stupidest and worst and most ignorant of your thoughts and actions from your past, how would that make you look? Who among us was born so perfect and wise as to come out looking good in this kind of evaluation?

      Right this second in the “MORE FROM THE WEB” bar below the article and above the comments there are links to five articles and three of them are about judging female celebrities for daring to look not quite exactly ideal (indeed, how DARE they try their hair blonde!). This shit is gross and RPS needs to be rid of it. Assuming that they get their shit together and remove the ads, should I continue to pretend that they’re there? Shall I judge RPS for every problem it has ever had even after the problems are fixed, policies changed, and apologies made? Is that really the standard we want to be imposing?

      • airmikee99 says:

        So words that are actually spoken by someone hold the same weight as ads from a third party portraying sites made by fourth parties? I wonder if you hold that standard to yourself, do you feel responsible whenever someone you work with says something? Or is it only in cases where you happen to disagree with what has been said that you look for minor, subtle connections to words other people said to hold against the original speaker?

    • Distec says:

      I still don’t agree with the reasons for not covering PAX, nor do I fully understand what it’s supposed to achieve.

      That said, I do appreciate that RPS realizes how contentious this issue has been and understood what people took issue with in the last newspost. I don’t agree with everything that’s written here on the social side of gaming, but pieces like this do get my respect and keep me as a reader.

      So thank you for stepping up!

  2. Llewyn says:

    John, I’m no fan of yours at all – because of how you write, not what you write about – but I have to say that this is a splendidly-written piece, in both the points you make and the way you make them. Up with this sort of thing!

    • sinister agent says:

      I am also no fan of yours John, not because of what you write about but because of your big stupid flappy ears. Like a jerboa or something.

      • Llewyn says:

        By all the gods, he has big stupid flappy ears too? I’m sorry John, I thought there might be a way back for us but I didn’t know about the ears.

        • Morlock says:

          I find the article so-so, I enjoy John’s writing, I find the words passable, the use of consonants excellent. I LOVE John’s ears, I find his tan to be a 3 out of 10, his voice gets an A-, his opinions four stars (4.2 to be precise)! I detest John’s hands, but he compensates with his use of accusative objects.

          • jrodman says:

            Can you sum that up into a single score? (NOT AN AVERAGE)

          • skorpeyon says:

            It’s a little ironic that, while I do not agree with this story, nor the previous story it references as to what the issues are, etc. THIS kind of comment is precisely why I read RPS. Even if I disagree with the information posted at the top of the page, scrolling down to the comments almost always makes me smile.

          • alw says:

            John has ALL OF THE SCORES. Everyone else has to be content with a 0 until we manufacture some more.

      • Savage Henry says:

        I’m also not a fan of yours, John. Not because of your writing style, your opinions or your flappy ears, but because I didn’t get a hug off you at Rezzed last year.

        (You’re not as bad as Kieron Gillen, though. Fucker swanned past me like he was Ted Danson or something.)

        • Premium User Badge

          particlese says:

          Nor am I a fan of John — not because of his writing style, opinions, flappy ears, or being a miser of hugs, but because I have little idea who writes which articles around here. I know the names, I know there’s an American and an occasional woman in their midst, and I know Jim and John get flamed more in the comments, but the articles steal the show.

          This article is no exception, methinks. The previous one seemed rambling and took forever to get to one of the points made early on (that PA and PAX are separate entities; surely not “the” point?), but this was good.

          • PoLLeNSKi says:

            I am a fan of John, I am not however a fan of Ted Danson – he did not know my name despite evidence put forward suggesting the converse.

            Kieron shmieron.

    • tnzk says:

      I too am no fan of John’s writing. But I am a fan of this article. Stout, controlled, and concise — but without pandering to the culture of nice — this is everything John’s editorials on important matters should aspire to be.

      If you kept going this way John, you’d probably fast track yourself to the best damn video game journalist bar none.

  3. Echo Black says:

    I tried to stick with this site for a while after it turned to embrace what is (in my opinion) tumblr-style, inane SJW drama. It has gotten to a point where when I think of RPS, I think of that stuff, and it’s really getting in the way of me enjoying reading the site. So, things being as they are, I think it’s time for me to stop coming here for good. I’ll miss the comments, I guess

    Anyone has recommendations for some other PC sites, hopefully with a laser-focus on PC gaming news and none on drama?

    • Sheng-ji says:

      link to uk.ign.com

      This may be exactly what you want

      • Echo Black says:

        I can’t tell if you’re being snarky or not. Is UK IGN better than the regular one somehow?

        • Ny24 says:

          Of course he’s being snarky. Or you think that mindless, stupid, flat games journalism is actually great, then that’s okay too of course.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          I’m not being snarky in the slightest – I can only speak for Ign pc uk because that is where I used to go before I discovered RPS, but I found them informative, providers of excellent content and my only criticism is that there is a blandness to the writing, it all reads like press releases.

          And yes, I am well aware that I have just lost literally any respect I ever had with a lot of people here – Shrugs –

          Also 3 red lights podcast (XBox ign uk) is excellent too.

          • Echo Black says:

            Will try to give them a shot, thanks. As for the Xbox site, I’ll pass

          • Jeremy says:

            Sheng-ji, how dare you support something that a sector of gamers despise! Next you’ll probably tell us how much you love Olive Garden…

          • Ragnar says:

            Echo, you may like Eurogamer.net and USgamer.net, though they are not PC exclusive like RPS.

          • DasBlob says:

            Followed the link to UK IGN, read two random articles, found them informative and well written.
            The comments on their site are… just comments, though.

        • Jay says:

          If you want anything beyond hastily rewritten press releases and reviews and features designed to placate readers and advertisers, you’re going to get some strong opinions, not all of which you’re going to agree with. If that’s not for you, that’s fine, but you rarely get one without the other.

          • gwathdring says:

            PCGames N is neither as editorial-like as RPS nor as bland as IGN and company. It has it’s own voice, it feels like people are writing it and have opinions, but it’s pretty much just news.

            I like it a lot! I love RPS, but PCGamesN is where I go for news. RPS is where I go for RPS.

            link to pcgamesn.com

    • Gap Gen says:

      Can you just avoid the artices you don’t want to read? I skim over and ignore at least half of what goes on this site simply because it’s about games I’m not interested in.

      • Echo Black says:

        It’s difficult for me – As I said, the SJW stuff has polluted my opinion of the site to such a degree that I have quite a lot of trouble simply “ignoring what I don’t like”. I DID manage to do that for quite a while prior to recent events, though

        • Gap Gen says:

          Personally, I think this stuff *is* important – games don’t exist in a complete vacuum, and I think it’s fair for RPS to editorialise from time to time. But sure, you have a right to read what you want.

          • SpectralThundr says:

            There’s a difference between doing it from time to time and on nearly every opinion piece on the site as of late. Which is why it comes off as “SJW” type crap to a number of people. Especially given the fact that the PA guys support the LBGT community and have done so for a while now.

            John and sequentially RPS’s tirade on all this in the first place is a total knee jerk reaction and in a ton of ways completely out of context to reality.

        • jrodman says:

          Honestly if you have to use terms like “SJW” then I think the problem isn’t with the site.
          But best luck.

        • airmikee99 says:

          “I have quite a lot of trouble simply “ignoring what I don’t like””

          May I suggest the book, “Ten Easy Steps to Learning Self Control”?

          • PoLLeNSKi says:

            When you read things you don’t liek there’s an easy solution:

            A gun, some bullets and a killing spree.

            …and in the game?

        • battles_atlas says:

          Can someone tell me what the three letter acronym is for citizens of a democracy that resent the obligation to have a clue what the fuck is going on? WCIJBLATHF – “WHY CAN’T I JUST BE LEFT ALONE TO HAVE FUN?” – is a bit long winded.

    • Lars Westergren says:

      As long as people have opinions on things, there are going to be other people who disagree with them, and then you get drama. I think if your aim is “0% drama” you are just going to end up with sites that just repost press releases.

      • Echo Black says:

        Lars, I want to avoid this specific kind of drama, not ALL drama and clashing viewpoints

        • Ansob says:

          What specific kind of drama? People pointing out that games are sexist and “gamer culture” is misogynist bullshit and that all that really ought to change considering we’re in the year 2013?

          • RavenGlenn says:

            Or you know…people could just grow up. My ex-wife is an indie-dev. Everyone keeps telling her how anti-woman the industry is. You know what she tells them? To shove off. She’s doing just fine for herself and has a ton of connections with males in the industry.

            She also understands that scantily-clad women has nothing to do with sexism, misogyny, or any other blanket term you want to throw down. Gaming is a form of art and yes, sexualizing the human form IS a part of art. Unless you can tell me that art museums are misogynistic and sexist due to their many portraits of naked women while barely having any naked men…then you are ridiculous.

            Keep in mind too that the greatest works of art have most men standing tall, proud, puffed up, and dressed in what the people of the time viewed as ‘badass’ while women were usually scantily-clad or naked. Or at the very least had their curves and features accented.

            This isn’t sexism or misogyny. It’s playing into human nature and what the viewers find attractive.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            @Ravenglenn – “Unless you can tell me that art museums are misogynistic and sexist due to their many portraits of naked women while barely having any naked men…then you are ridiculous.”

            Sorry, are you seriously trying to argue that the great artistic cultures from history were not sexist in anyway what-so-ever?

          • jrodman says:

            Art museums lack in pictures / sculptures of naked men? Wow, I must go to some really special art museums.

          • Randomer says:

            Fine, RavenGlenn. Then how about instead of calling it misogynist, I instead call it tired and overplayed. I’m tired of games where women, as a rule, have larger breasts than personalities. I’m tired of games where token women are given cliched roles to fulfill/actualize the male protagonist. And I’m also tired of games where hypermasculinized dude-bros gangbang the bad guys and then fist-bump. Are all these things bad in and of themselves? No. But when the grand majority of games fit these archetypes, it’s BORING.

            So I just want people to make interesting games. I will pay people money to be able to play the interesting games they make. I guess it just so happens that my definition of an “interesting” game happens to meet modern feminist standards.

          • JimmyG says:

            @RavenGlenn: All art museums do is confirm that sexism has been the norm through documented human history, across cultures. I’d be lying if I said my body didn’t have a rigid biological reaction to sexually arousing stimuli, but that’s not the moment sexism begins. Sexism begins when we let this reaction affect the way we treat, perceive, or represent women. So it’s your final, fatalistic line about sexist representation being immutable “human nature” that really bothers me.

            The last fifty thousand years of human history have been about overcoming the bounds of our nature, for better or for worse. We do all kinds of things that defy “human nature.” We fly, we sacrifice ourselves for assorted causes, we experience and even value empathy — and hundreds of other things that ignore or conflict with so-called biological rules or imperatives.

            If we can do all of that on a daily basis, I think we can make good videogames without kowtowing to the spectre of some everpresent ur-boner. Don’t you?

          • The Random One says:

            Wow, Raven. Did you really pull a “my black friend says this isn’t racist so it’s cool”?

            If you ex-wife hasn’t found any misogyny, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It only means she hasn’t found any. Many other women (and men) did say they found misogyny, and it takes only one black swam to prove not all swans are white.

          • Lemming says:

            @Randomer: “Then how about instead of calling it misogynist, I instead call it tired and overplayed. I’m tired of games where women, as a rule, have larger breasts than personalities”

            At least that sounds like a valid criticism, as opposed to a lazy soundbyte, which misogyny and sexism are fast becoming. My worry is those words are starting to lose their meaning, and that’s only going to have the opposite of their intended effect to call things out on it when required.

        • LionsPhil says:

          Rough heuristic: is the comment count over 100?
          Is it not because it’s some very exciting new game?
          Keep scrolling.

          • Premium User Badge

            particlese says:

            Heh…that’s almost exactly how I decide whether or not to read more than the first few root comments. That probably makes me a horrible person, but I’d otherwise never get to work on time…stupid lazy America and its “oh, let’s wake up at noon” time zones. :\

        • thedosbox says:

          Does your scroll wheel not work? Though to be honest, if you’re only interested in the press releases, gametrailers might be a better site.

      • fitzroy_doll says:

        Exactly. Many people seem to want games to be divorced from all other human culture and exist in some sort of issue-less, featureless continuous present-tense, but that’s not the reality, nor should it be. Games are part of culture, and culture is messy, directionless and full of competing opinions and agendas. Even if you only read press releases, the wider context is there.

    • stoopiduk says:

      The worst thing about RPS is how it forces you to read articles on topics that you do not enjoy. I can’t remember the last time a review on this site didn’t mention drama-fuelled issues, it’s ridiculous; it’s like being in secondary school again, except everyone’s grown up beyond the point of making dramatic exits for attention, based on poorly thought out arguments.

      Oh, wait.

    • Zorganist says:

      I totally support this. Barely a day now goes by without someone on RPS mentioning the Stanford Jazz Workshop, and it’s becoming completely unacceptable. Minus one reader more.

      • Shadowcat says:

        Does that make Penny Arcade the forces of Glam Pop?

      • Maritz says:

        You may joke, but I still haven’t worked out what SJW stands for in the context of this story. Am I being thicker than usual today?

        • Ansob says:

          It stands for “social justice warrior,” and is most often a derogatory acronym used by people who don’t like hearing about sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. to dismiss people who bring up those issues.

          (Because you see, if you care about those issues you’re just an angry, misguided, bra-burning political correctness crusader who wants to destroy gaming.)

          • Nest says:

            I thought it stood for “Social Justice Werewolf” because they were otherwise normal people in their day to day lives, but would suddenly undergo a monstrous transformation into a snarling, hateful rage-beast once they were on tumblr or the comments section of any online article which is even remotely connected to queer/gender/racial issues.

          • SpectralThundr says:

            It has less to do about not wanting to hear about sexism, racism what have you, then wanting those topics to be discussed in the right way rather than jumping on the SJW bandwagon like most of the liberal/ tumblr/reddit crowd seem to love to do these days.

            You folks have an obvious agenda and you’ll push it regardless of the medium, all based on your feelings rather than common sense and facts.

        • Aninhumer says:

          Social Justice Warrior
          It is a somewhat perplexing term used to malign people who oppose bigotry on the internet.

        • Lambchops says:

          The fact I managed to figure out what it stood for has made me question my desire to read comments threads!

        • Grover says:

          A pejorative term for an individual who repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet, often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way, for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation. A social justice warrior, or SJW, does not necessarily strongly believe all that they say, or even care about the groups they are fighting on behalf of. They typically repeat points from whoever is the most popular blogger or commenter of the moment, hoping that they will “get SJ points” and become popular in return. They are very sure to adopt stances that are “correct” in their social circle.

          The SJW’s favorite activity of all is to dogpile. Their favorite websites to frequent are Livejournal and Tumblr. They do not have relevant favorite real-world places, because SJWs are primarily civil rights activists only online.

          A social justice warrior reads an essay about a form of internal misogyny where women and girls insult stereotypical feminine activities and characteristics in order to boost themselves over other women.

          The SJW absorbs this and later complains in response to a Huffington Post article about a 10-year-old feminist’s letter, because the 10-year-old called the color pink “prissy”.

          Commnter: “I don’t like getting manicures. It’s too prissy.”

          SJW: “Oh my god, how fucking dare you use that word, you disgusting sexist piece of shit!”

          • jrodman says:

            Do you honestly believe this caricature exists? How would you ever know if it was accurate with these weird qualifications like not caring about social justice in their daily life?

          • Groove says:

            That is a really comprehensive strawman you’ve built there.

          • machineageproductions says:

            “often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way”

            Have you ever heard of an appeal to motive fallacy?

            link to rationalwiki.org

            Consider thinking through your arguments and attacks before accusing others of ill-thought-out arguments.

          • SyrusRayne says:

            Guys, guys. Lay off him a bit, that’s just copied from the Urban Dictionary page. I doubt he really believes that nonsense.

          • Wisq says:

            Well what do you expect to happen when you repost stuff from UrbanDictionary, don’t credit your sources, and aren’t mindful of Poe’s law?

        • chargen says:

          Have you seen that college movie from the 90’s, PCU? There’s a group in it called the “Causeheads” who will protest against anything they see as an injustice at the drop of a hat, and they see it everywhere. That’s the broad generalization of the “SJW”, though they particularly gravitate towards anything they perceive as remotely racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic, the latter three more than the first.

          When confronted about their bizarre behavior they retort that anyone who sees an issue with their methods or fixations must be a staunch supporter of racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia. They refer to them selves as the only Decent Human Beings. Avoid at all costs.

        • harbinger says:

          This was also pretty good: link to youtube.com

        • gwathdring says:

          Everytime I hear “Social Justice Warrior” used in a derogatory fashion I start snickering. I mean … I’m a big proponent of sarcasm. So I “get” it. But … I mean “Knight in Shining Armor/White Knight” has more of an exaggerated sarcastic kick to it. Calling someone a social justice warrior when what you mean is “obnoxious prick” is silly. Being a social justice warrior sounds good. I want social justice. Don’t you want social justice?

          Naturally the point is that people who say “SJW” have a different idea of what real social justice is. But what they SAY is that they think social justice is stupid. When that’s the best rhetoric your side can come up with–“Screw Social Justice and the Warrior’s Thereof,” you should start reconsidering the validity of your complaints. You have to ask yourself “are we the baddies?”

          • Lemming says:

            It only sounds good if you’re unaware of similar terms along the same lines. ‘Armchair warrior’ and ‘weekend warrior’ are in the same vein, so for me at least it immediately conjures a negative image.

          • gwathdring says:

            My tongue is firmly glued to the walls of my mouth.

            Even so I already stipulated that I “get” it, but I like talking about social psychology stuff so I’m going to blather boldly onward even though this is utterly unnecessary and tangential! :)

            The underlying takeaway is that dismissing people’s opinions with a catchy phrase is poor rhetoric. It can, however, be effective. Propoganda works. When it’s good. Which is why we should also add that the process is made even more silly when you provide the opposition with a term that’s easy to reclaim and wear with pride. White Knight is a really good one; it’s tangential. It’s not related to the issue at all except within the context of propaganda tactics. This makes it hard to reclaim it. You aren’t proud to be a White Knight because that term has either NO relation to the issue or a strictly negative one. Social Justice Warrior can be taken as a term … but it can also be taken at face value without losing relevance to the conversation. Thus it’s easily reclaimed. See the difference?

            Another nice example of this in my home country is Obamacare and Reaganomics. This is putting all of your negativity-eggs in the basket that sentiment about to person will send your message for you or that you are so in the “right” and it’s so obvious all you need to do is make a buzzword–any buzzword–that keeps the matter on everyone’s tongues and minds. This is quite frequently a grievous tactical error, and even when it works it tends to work for reasons other than the soundness of the principle.

            Further, as someone pointed out amusingly further up, saying “SJW” makes it all the more laughable. The only people who know what you’re talking about are people familiar with the term–and propaganda tends to be less effective on them as they tend to have already made up their mind. It then becomes nothing but hollering bluntly at people rather than either presenting sound criticism OR using propaganda to effectively rally undecided or indirectly involved members of the audience.

            Finally, while I made the point facetiously … sarcasm is fun and it can be quite effective. But sarcasm tends to lose most of it’s staying power when it becomes redundant. Thus when you pull out the same, tired, sarcastic line over and over like some sort of magic spell it tends to fizzle and barely produce a spark. Sarcasm is a blunt instrument and like most blunt instruments wounding your opponent with it requires a great deal more strength or skill than using a similarly sized sharp edge. Your example of Weekend Warrior falls utterly flat becasue it does not always have a negative context; in my experience it ranges from negative to neutral to positive, hovering mostly around neutral–someone who does outdoor and sporty things on the weekends but very little during the week because they’re so busy with work. It’s more a jocular post-materialist sentiment than a sarcastic ridicule in my experience. Clearly your experience varies–but that only serves to illustrate my point about the weakness of things like Social Justice Warrior. It is not evocative enough to have consistent connotation.

    • harbinger says:

      You could try those, they keep it to the news and try to not inject too much personal bias:
      link to pcgamesn.com
      link to truepcgaming.com

      • harbinger says:

        There’s also PCGamer: link to pcgamer.com
        But they’ve started with the same kind of nonsense lately and some of their reviews and pieces have been rather… weak, especially lately.

        That’s probably the largest problem for a lot of people, there aren’t many, if any alternatives out there without the agenda pushing and the same kind and amount of content or they’ll all be long gone onto greener pastures.
        link to pixelprospector.com

      • Minttunator says:

        I’d like to second the suggestion for PCGamesN:
        link to pcgamesn.com
        It’s a fairly new site, but seems like a decent one – in fact I replaced RPS with this on my Speed Dial.

        PC Gamer is surprisingly okay for news, but I think their reviews are mostly just horrible.

    • bluebomberman says:

      I’ve had similar feelings, Echo Black.

      My problem, which I guess I failed to convey properly in previous comments in UBISoftSilenceGate, is that RPS – and specifically John Walker – let their emotions override professionalism and fair journalism.

      Hence, an editorial note that obliterated the great article by Nathan Grayson. Writing “The Silence” posts, in which you choose to focus on a game company’s refusal to comment over the actual problem you’re purportedly trying to address. Unearthing a dead bloody torso every six months. I’m sure I can come up with more.

      Yes, I find the torso statue disgusting. Yes, I believe there’s a widespread amount of sexism and ugly hatred in the industry and the community. Yes, I believe the big publishers are two-faced and spew constant BS. Yes, I find the Penny Arcade duo to be pretty unsavory people.

      And yet I’m sick of coming to this site, of continuing to lose respect for John Walker and by extension RPS. All the anger, the preaching, the refusal to let us think for ourselves, however wrong and misguided we may be.

      I know for a fact that this site and specifically John Walker can do good journalism; his Ouya KIckstarter fund article is exactly the kind of stuff you guys should be writing about. The best journalism lay bare the facts and let the reader come to the most logical conclusions; they don’t slap us silly with opinions.

      But as it stands I think RPS has lost sense of how to approach the issues and write about them properly. And it’s painful to come here expecting to see another self-righteous response to something instead of giving us a chance to discover what the correct position should be.

      The Penny Arcade duo are really close to squandering the credibility they’ve built up over the years; sadly, RPS is close to doing the same. Just being indignant isn’t enough; you have to try to be constructive, and to approach these sensitive issues with enough caution to understand that you want to cause more good than harm.

    • xcession says:

      I like RPS’s “SJW” articles, but I do get fatigued by the number of causes clamouring for my attention. I care about equality and gender issues. I also care about oil exploitation in Africa, the lack of good schools in my area, overpopulation, green energy, famine and a whole host of other things that I can change (and many that I can’t) that demand my attention on almost an hourly basis, day in, day out thanks to the ever-presence of social media.

      There aren’t enough hours in the day to give them all their due attention, so when I eventually crash into bed and bring up RPS on the iPad for a bit of escapism, it can be rather depressing to find gaming awash with politics too.

      And the point is that I don’t have to read the articles to feel anxious. Just knowing something contains a serious subject I probably ought to care about, but wanting to switch off, is conflict enough to make me fret and I don’t like that constant worry.

      I don’t really know what my point in all this is. I guess I’m saying that not wanting to read about gender issues in gaming isn’t the same as not caring about them, deeply. Its naive of anything to think gaming is any way separate from IRL, but I do miss the 90s – my teenage years – reading PC Gamer and using games as pure escapism without even a hint of social politics creeping in (that I recall, at least).

      • Stardreamer says:

        I think that’s the price we pay for being adults now. It is nice to have places where we can switch off our brains a bit and wallow in our personal joys but often we don’t get to because people are suffering and that demands attention. And hey, it’s not as if there’s a socio-politically driven post every week now, is there? I think you’ll find that RPS talks about games – just games – more than 80% of the time, making it hard to see what your complaint is?

        • xcession says:

          My complaint (observation) isn’t that RPS are always posting about gender politics – I don’t believe they are – it’s that when other people suggest they don’t want to read about gender politics, they get so quickly shot down by people concluding they’re either shallow, stupid, or bigoted.

          If the readership of RPS were allowed to say “I care a lot about what you’re writing about, but I didn’t come here to read it from you” without getting judgemental responses, the comment section of this site would be so much more pleasant.

          • jrodman says:

            Do you read those comments? They usually *are* shallow, stupid, or bigoted.

            That doesn’t mean that you can’t write an intelligent one, as you demonstrate.

          • Stardreamer says:

            The main problem with saying “I don’t want to read these articles” is that these people can do so quite happily all by themselves without bothering anybody else with their whines. I do it all the time for news about MMOs – I’m also not here posting under articles about MMOs about how I hate MMOs.

            Tha majority of people who make posts of this nature seem to feel justified in asking for removal of the offending thing, and they often aren’t as polite as you when doing so.

          • xcession says:

            I see what you’re saying, but the difference with your MMO example is that you have never, nor will ever, care about MMOs, nor does it matter to the world or those around you whether you care about MMOs.

            Equality isn’t something where differing opinion is so easily accepted. You can ignore MMOs without any sense of guilt or social pressure. No one will judge you for not wanting to read about MMOs. You’re not finding yourself morally obliged by your own conscience to read about MMOs, you just absolutely do not care.

            It’s harder to switch off a social conscience, so harder to avoid the fatigue of having it overworked.

          • Stardreamer says:

            Yes, that’s different. However that doesn’t make any difference to the fundamental point of what I said: that these articles can be avoided. It’s a very rare article that hasn’t revealed it’s socio-political leanings by the time you get to the “Read the rest of this entry” link.

            And even if that crops up unexpectedly mid-article, there’s nothing that forces people to continue reading or forces them to comment about it, or forces them to be jerks as they do so.

          • xcession says:

            Point taken, but the crux of what I’m saying is that there *is* something forcing me to read beyond the “Read more” of the socio-political articles, namely my own conscience. Just the act of skim-reading a headline is often enough to flick the thermostat of my attention and before I know it, it’s 1am and I’m lying in bed fuming about how PA handled the Dickwolves scandal, when all I wanted was to give my conscience some much-needed rest and disengage my brain.

            Perhaps I just shouldn’t read RPS in bed, but you get my drift :P

          • alw says:

            Just a thought, but maybe it’s because, assuming you don’t want to read a certain type of article, you can just skip past it. If instead you type a reponse to say that you don’t want to read them, it probably comes across more as “I don’t want you to post these articles”.

          • Groove says:

            Very well put Mr cession. Everyone, that’s how you argue against politics in games articles. Personally I appreciate the politics and believe it’s important that we don’t lose them, but his is a point I can wholeheartedly respect.

          • Stardreamer says:

            I concur. Very nicely argued, xcession. And believe it or not but I agree. It can be quite difficult to walk on by, and sometimes you just want to free your brain from the hassle.

            I wouldn’t say there’s much RPS should do about that – they’ve got the balance well enough for my liking, but I do see your point.

        • chargen says:

          Because “people are suffering” and so complaining about the size of boobs in fighting games will end their suffering? The Skullgirls article was about “people suffering”?

          There is a lot of real suffering out there, with many different and complex causes, but almost none of it is caused by the disproportionate number of male heroes in video games. The people aided by these diatribes are the speaker and those who agree with him, who can all feel better about themselves for having heard what they already believed.

          • Groove says:

            Read about the experience of women at video game conventions, their treatment is appauling. Casual sexism in games feeds into that and the combined, unrestrained culture has an end product of actual human suffering.

            Personally I want us to get a handle on this before my daughter is old enough to experience any of it.

            Also, since you mentioned Skullgirls, the whole game is so stylish in general, I think it’s a real shame that the characters are as smutty as they are. Even toning back the shots of characters pants would let it be presented as an extreme art style, as it is it’s fairly embarresing.

    • mouton says:

      Complain about drama. Make “I quit and never return” post.


      • Jeremy says:

        Make snide “good riddance” comment.

      • P.M. Gleason says:

        That’s the most hilarious part. The reactions which are almost exactly the same as the content in the article, just polarized.

        “I don’t want to read about how sensitive you are to other people! You hurt my feelings!” kind of thing.
        “How dare you boycott something you don’t agree with! I’m going to boycott this site!”

        It’s just a fat load of stupid all around I suppose. But the entire point of the post was to inform readers that there won’t be any PAX coverage, and naturally they had to say why. What do you expect?
        It’s the same as this article. It just shows good editing (or a lack thereof on the original editor’s part).

    • Spider Jerusalem says:

      here you are then: link to reddit.com

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Oh stop being so fucking histrionic, if you want gaming sites that don’t cover social issues in gaming then you’re spoiled for choice.

    • verte says:

      Thank you for this question and answers! I’ve added PCGamesN, PC Gamer, Eurogamer & IGN PC sites to my bookmarks and will try them to choose the best. No more SJW drama, at least I hope so :)

  4. kael13 says:

    Hmmm… We’ll see. I did read the entire article yesterday and I still felt it was heavily accusing Penny Arcade of being in the wrong.
    Rationality is always preferable, but I really think yesterday’s piece did more harm than good.

    I may go away for a while and come back, I don’t really know.

  5. merc-ai says:

    Thumbs up for this follow-up post!

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      I agree! Bloody hell there’s a lot of negativity in these comments. I love RPS. Christ, this is a thousand times better than any other PC gaming site, the philosophy for personal involvement is the reason I read this site as opposed to the philosophy of attempting to make things as falsely distanced as possible and reducing a game down to a score out of ten at the end. If people don’t like that style then read somewhere else. If you don’t agree with the stance on LGBT then I should expect you are more than welcome to politely provide an excellent counter-argument in the comments and persuade all of us with your incredible opinion.

  6. Engonge says:

    I would like a filter on this site to hide posts about misogny, prejudice, racism etc. It’s not like the criticism of this stuff is not getting screen time or anything. They’re on everywhere 24/7. I am here to escape from all that bullcrap. That’s why I play games in the first place.

    • Llewyn says:

      See Sheng-ji’s reply to Echo Black above. If you’re coming here to “escape from all that bullcrap” then you’re choosing to come to the wrong place.

    • John Walker says:

      You already have a magical filter. It’s called a scroll wheel!

      But then again, thinking campaigning against prejudice is “bullcrap” probably means RPS isn’t the site for you.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        In all seriousness, would you consider offering people a refund if we read an article that we don’t like/agree with/believe? I think that would go a long way towards making everyone happy.
        Oh and can we start earning money per comment now? I feel like us commenters are doing most of the work here. You wrote less than half this page’s content you know.
        And isn’t it time you instigated a voting system for which topics to cover? Democracy and all that.

        • Groove says:

          My PC came with a refund dispensing slot. Whenever I don’t like an article I press a button on the front and this little tray opens. There’s nothing in the tray, which is great, because that’s what I paid.

          • Gap Gen says:

            That’s actually just the tray that collects the money you throw at the screen when you buy something.

          • Groove says:

            I’ve been using the internet wrong for years, I’m such a fool.

            This explains why Amazon never deliver me anything and why my feet are covered in coins.

          • Savage Henry says:

            Groove, I think that’s the DVD tray.

          • jrodman says:

            DOOvdeh player!

          • Groove says:

            I look forward to when my daughter will one day ask me what the floppy drive slot was for. I’ll tell her it was the USB slot before they made them smaller. They’re much better these days sweetie.

      • analydilatedcorporatestyle says:

        I like a strong editorial opinion and in general fully agree with RPS take on all things to do with PC. However I don’t like it when an editorial opinion becomes the news and an editorial opinion is what drives the news.

        This snub was done with the intention to highlight differences of opinion between the heads of two organisations. RPS knew what the repercussions of their actions would be. While I agree with RPS perceived ‘crusade’ I think this was wholly unprofessional and immature. Though the damage of your actions may seem imperceptible short term, long term I foresee a sea change in peoples impression of RPS. I would advise you MR Walker to tread a careful line as you may see a hit on the balance sheet. Advertisers may not want to be associated with an overly politicised website.

        Keep up the fight but don’t shoot yourself in the foot, to achieve your aims you need to be viewed as good journalists, not crackpot crusaders, IMO.

    • Dariune says:

      The problem is you would be filtered out of many games articles too. Many many articles supposedly about a game will feature a poorly shoehorned opinion of how the game is misogynistic or prejudice in some way.

      • RaveTurned says:

        Man, these articles written by games critics are supposed to be about games, but they also have criticism in them. Outrageous!

        • Dariune says:

          I think you might have missed my point somewhat.

          • RaveTurned says:

            The point you seemed to be making was that discussion of the way a game might exhibit or otherwise deal with prejudice does not belong inside articles “supposedly about [the] game”. Now to me that stuff represents valid criticism of a creative work, so it belongs as much as discussions of how impressive the game’s graphics are, how well it runs or how its mechanics work together to form an interesting experience.

            If I read you wrong and that wasn’t what you were trying to say, would you care to elaborate on what your point actually was?

      • John Walker says:

        I enthusiastically invite you to protect yourself against such atrocities in future by no longer reading the site.

        • VictorGrunn says:

          “And here’s a crucial thing: Our opinions change. We’ll keep listening to people, be argued with, and hear people point out why they think we’re wrong.”

          And then, right in the comments thread within moments, people complaining about the tone and content of RPS get told to fuck off and stop reading the site pretty well immediately by John Walker himself.

          So much for ‘we’ll keep listening to people’ or ‘hear people point out why they think we’re wrong’. If you mean that, you should at the very least make an effort to engage people who have some criticisms of your tone, even if ultimately your response is that you’re not going to change your style or content.

          But diving for the “fuck off, if you don’t agree with us then to hell with you, we don’t want you here!” that quick? *That* should have been in the OP here. Not some nonsense about how you strive to be open-minded and discuss things with your readers when they disagree.

          • Sheng-ji says:

            I think that only applies to constructive, well thought out and reasonable arguments and criticism.

          • RaveTurned says:

            If someone’s main issue with the site is that they don’t want criticism of games with their games journalism, it should be pretty clear that RPS isn’t what they’re looking for. What more is there to say other than “you’re probably in the wrong place”?

            Other sites are and will always be available.

          • John Walker says:

            Let me make this clear for you: If people complain that we discuss matters of equality, then they simply need to find another website to read. We’re not changing that. We may change our minds on how we approach it, but we aren’t changing our mind on not being prejudiced aresholes. So, bearing this in mind, those who incessantly comment on RPS to tell us to stop writing about equality are invited to find another website to read. That seems pretty reasonable to me.

          • Dariune says:

            But my complaint and criticism has never been that you fight sexism but the way you approach it.

            And for that I am told to leave?

          • Groove says:

            “many articles supposedly about a game will feature a poorly shoehorned opinion of how the game is misogynistic or prejudice in some way”

            Is the critiscism of how they approach it that they mention issues of discrimination in games in the reviews of those games? If so then where else would they put it? Mentioning it when talking about the game seems like the natural place for it.

          • VictorGrunn says:


            “I think that only applies to constructive, well thought out and reasonable arguments and criticism.”

            Which people may well give if given the opportunity to. Do you really think an instantaneous response of “get lost” at some pretty mild-mannered complaining is anything close to reflecting the spirit of the post?

            I’m not even complaining if there’s a zero tolerance for dissent on these subjects. Hey, if that’s the attitude the people at RPS want to maintain, go for it. Seriously and sincerely. But in that case, don’t make an article about how you’re open to changing your mind and you value dissent and all that, because it’s rubbish.


            “If someone’s main issue with the site is that they don’t want criticism of games with their games journalism,”

            Come on, that’s being way too broad and you know it. Their problem isn’t with ‘criticism’ broadly – it’s with a particular focus and kind of criticism. You’re making it sound like people are upset at reading any game criticism, period.

            Now, if you want to say, ‘Well RPS is going to talk about these things all the time and that’s that, we don’t want to hear any reasons why they shouldn’t or why their opinions are wrong’, again, *fine*. But also again: then let’s ditch this open-minded, ‘persuade us with your arguments’ line, because it’s not true.

            John Walker,

            “Let me make this clear for you: If people complain that we discuss matters of equality, then they simply need to find another website to read. We’re not changing that. ”

            Great, John. Let me quote something from you again:

            “And here’s a crucial thing: Our opinions change. We’ll keep listening to people, be argued with, and hear people point out why they think we’re wrong. When we make an opening sentence statement like yesterday’s, we not only set ourselves up to look like fools or hypocrites if we change our minds, but we also make a statement saying we’re not prepared to. And that’s not okay. It’s crucial that we constantly keep our minds open to arguments, and are willing to change, and are open and honest about doing so.”

            See that? In light of what you just said, the quoted portion happens to be a complete load of crap. No, you’re not going to listen. You don’t want to be argued with, and you’re quite sick of people pointing out why they think you’re wrong. When it comes to this issue, if they disagree with you – whether with your opinions, or even your approach to the matter – you want them to leave, thanks. Get lost, fuck off, don’t let the virtual RPS door hit your ass on the way out, etc.

            That’s all. I’m not even saying you’re not right to do exactly that. But your words right in your comments section conflict with your post. Unless you get into nice legalese with it and say ‘We’ll listen to people, be argued with, we may even change our minds. Except when it comes to the opinions we have on the very thing I’m talking about now, or how we approach that or spread the message or whatever. Disagree with THAT and we don’t want to hear about it.’

          • Sheng-ji says:

            “Many many articles supposedly about a game will feature a poorly shoehorned opinion of how the game is misogynistic or prejudice in some way.”

            Obviously your opening gambit, which boils down to “RPS writers are shit” didn’t make John want to listen to anything you have to say, and seeing as how you already used the “I’m not coming to your site anymore” threat yesterday, I fail to see why anyone would? Clearly you can’t stick to your own ultimatums.

          • Hmm-Hmm. says:

            Dariune: No you’re not ‘told to leave’.

            But, as the article above states, RPS will continue doing what they do because they want to. So if you have issues, sure, feel free to give feedback, but keep in mind that it is up to them to decide what to do with it.

            So John was probably just trying to say that if you don’t like it, well, it may be wisest to go try to find a place more to your liking.

          • Hahaha says:

            So john what was up with the first years (read YEARS) of the site just being MEN? you guys aren’t progressive in the slightest.

          • John Walker says:

            Dariune: Perhaps your imagined version of your comment was more reasonable, and deserved a more reasonable response. What you actually posted was a snide remark that aimlessly and unconstructively criticised us for mentioning matters of equality when they come up in gaming stories. So you got the response you got.

          • RaveTurned says:


            So are you saying some kinds of criticism should be allowed on the site and some should not? I’d disagree with that stance. To ask a professional games critic to withhold some subset of their criticism that happens to fall inside some arbitrary exclusion zone is to ask them to not do their job to the fullest extent of their ability. I don’t come to RPS for content that’s half-arsed or deliberately sanitised, and I expect that’s not what the RPS team want to produce either.

          • Synesthesia says:

            To be fair, only one article comes to mind with that problem, the skullgirls one. Really? Jiggling boobies? The #onereasonwhy was shoehorned there like… like… does someone have a simile for me?

        • Dariune says:

          Yes because I clearly stated that I felt they were atrocities.

          You stated that you value the opinions of your readers and yet, whenever I see someone give an opinion which differs from yours, when you do reply, you tell them to fuck off.

          Not really that constructive. You might not agree with me, but that doesn’t invalidate my comment.

          • diamondmx says:

            You will find the only opinions they openly attack are the people who opine that RPS should stop having opinions. It’s understandable that’s not an opinion they’re going to give much credit to.

          • cpt_freakout says:

            Dariune – you also have the problem of delivery you’re attributing to RPS. Re-read that first comment of yours, to which John and others responded. Does it say anything constructive at all? You might think it does, but all it says is you’re tired of articles which include political opinions, and that they should be filtered. If the case is that you’ve given up on trying to debate, then why bother posting in the first place? You’re only perpetuating what you’re perceiving to be wrong about these articles, and that’s basically doing nothing at all.

            I too, have some reservations on the approach, but that’s a simple matter of difference, which I respect, and which RPS has so far respected. What they don’t tolerate is stuff like “this article is dumb where r our vidyagaem newz and why are you not reporting on misandry” which is absolutely pointless to put up with because there is no discussion to be had.

          • Dariune says:

            I have never stated that RPS should stop having opinions so I am not sure where you got that.

            Yes, taken as a comment on it’s own my comment was less than constructive. But I was replying to the filter comment. And IMO many articles about games on RPS tend ot shoe horn in a quick jube about sexism where no issue exists.

            I have often commented on their articles and I have always said that I completely agree with the fight to make things equal. But I have also stated that RPS are not always constructive in their approach to the subject.

            The attitude that everyone who disagrees with their approach must be completely against the idea and is therefore sexist themselves often comes across (Though I appreciate that is likely not the intent).

          • SuicideKing says:

            I think you missed the point where John writes:

            “It’s vital to us that we never lose the core of honesty that runs through RPS. We’ve never given a shit if telling our truth loses us readers, and we know we’ve driven people away with our occasional posts on political matters within the gaming world. We’re okay with that. We’d rather lose readers than not fight for what we believe in. FAR rather. And yes, we’re barraged with mad conspiracy theories, accusations of all manner of elaborate corruption far too complicated for us to even consider, and told that we should sit down and shut up and just post the trailers. We’re not going to, we will always campaign for equality, and that’s okay.”

        • Dariune says:

          But John mine was a response to an existing comment and was written with the previous comment as context.

          I heartily agree with the mission to remove sexism in all media (Not just games) but I feel that many of your articles about games tends to moan about sexism where it just does not exist.

          My fear being that political correctness would go to far.

          So I apolagise if my comment upset you. It was obviously not communicated well. But In my humble opinion there is a valid point behind it.

          • Stardreamer says:

            But you’re not really making a point. You simply disagree with some of what is being labeled as Sexism. You you want RPS to acknowledge…what? That they’re wrong and you are right?

            John can be a bit of a Crusader on these issues but as he’s admirably demonstrated today, he’s never above being told he’s in the wrong – he just expects a bit of respect and intelligence when that occurs.

            And don’t mistake his Mea Culpa today as him about to u-turn on the Sexism stuff either. Your failure to see the problems he discusses might be YOUR problem rather than his.

          • Dariune says:

            Or it could be that they are taking the wrong approach? No? Is that not a possibility? At all?

            My point is clear. Of course I might be wrong. I am one person in a sea of differing opinions. But I see no issue with me giving my opinion just because it differs from RPS’s.

            I am very pro equality and was actually quite stoked when RPS took up the mantle. But IMO they do as much damage to the subject as good these days.

            So yes I have considered that I might just not see what they see. I have also considered that I might be right. Where as you give the impression that you just want to argue with anyone disagreeing with RPS.

          • Stardreamer says:

            Couldn’t resist, could you? Little swipe at me at the end there. Classy. That’s the kind of thing that doesn’t win Hearts and Minds, you know. It just puts people’s hackles up. Want to be a part of a discussion? Want your opinion respected? Avoid attacks like that or the one that John himself picked up on.

          • mouton says:

            It was my impression that you made quite a blanket statement which could be easily read as “discussing inequality is bad”, especially in highly charged discussions like these. If you wanted to discuss actual approaches, I suppose you probably should have been more specific.

          • Dariune says:

            @mouton Fair enough. I am actually going to back down here because I think I am communicating my point pretty poorly. (Or my point is wrong)

            @StarDreamer I was hardly insulting you mate. You have been jumping on everything I have said.

      • Gap Gen says:

        I have an active interest in avoiding stuff that is creepy in that sense (to the extent that I stopped watching Dr Who because Moffat has some weird-ass gender ideas that seep into his work), so I like that sort of thing. But granted, if you’re have conservative social values then maybe RPS isn’t for you.

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        I honestly wonder why you don’t band together with the rest of the vocal minority and start your own website?

        To quote internet superhero TotalBiscuit “anyone can make a website”

    • Ninja Foodstuff says:

      Hmm. Also can you make a filter for me that hides all this games stuff? I’d rather just play them and come here just to read about the issues surrounding them.

    • Prolar Bear says:

      I think that many games have something to say about the real world and do not exist in a vacuum. You can’t really avoid any of this stuff if you want better gaming culture and better games.

      • Groove says:

        Exactly. If a game review mentions sexism it won’t be a ‘shoehorned in opinion piece’, it will be because the game addresses issues of sexism or is itself sexist.

      • harbinger says:

        “games do not exist in a vacuum”

        What the fuck does that even mean? Every time someone says it I get flashbacks to and imagine the empty phrases politicians usually make when they talk about banning or censoring games with further laws. Something like talking about “murder simulators” and “killer games” or when they are trying to pass new laws to censor and police the Internet further and they say something like “the Internet can’t remain a legal vacuum”.
        link to maimer.net

        There were dozens of people using that phrase in the other article and there’s already 2-3 using it in this one.

        GTA V just released and is so far proving to be the most profitable entertainment product ever made (it was also the second most expensive entertainment product ever made).
        There are are literally billions of “gamers” around the globe: link to newzoo.com and I bet a lot of those people have families and friends too, there are various laws, restrictions, age ratings, retail chains and increasingly more opinion pieces of “gaming” even in popular media around the world.

        What exactly would imply to you that “gaming exists in a vacuum” somehow?

        • Groove says:

          It means that gaming is part of the real world, and social issues are a part of that. It’s mainly a response to the idea that games should just be fun diversions and shouldn’t tackle real world issues. It’s also a point for all art, in that you need to think about what you’re saying in a broader context.

          It’s not anything to do with sales numbers.

          • harbinger says:

            “It means that gaming is part of the real world”
            Games were always “part of the real world”, just as the Internet was never a “legal vacuum”. They are moreso now that about 20% of the population of earth are playing them, at least in some capacity.

            “to the idea that games should just be fun diversions and shouldn’t tackle real world issues”
            What exactly is wrong with that? When I play games I mostly want to have fun and be entertained, I also love to play CoOp or Multiplayer with friends.

            I have different expectations for games, books or movies and generally prefer the games that try to offer good gameplay mechanics over those that are trying to make a point. Although I guess there are different types of games.

            “It’s also a point for all art, in that you need to think about what you’re saying in a broader context.”
            I’m pretty sure that’s not the point of all art, art can also be inherently pointless, be “just for fun” and any number of other things. Monetary values and breadth of audience also shouldn’t be underestimated in regards to motivations.

            It just kinda seems like an empty phrase that is meant to confuse and stave off diferent opinions and criticism to me.

          • SuicideKing says:

            @harbinger: You’re implying that games have no influence from the real world? Nor do they send out a message? Or communicate certain ideas? Or reinforce certain beliefs? Or encourage specific types of behaviour?

            “Just for fun” is fine as long is it doesn’t stop being fun for someone else.

            In any case, 20% of the world’s population is 1.4 billion people.

          • harbinger says:

            Other than the popularity and general fandom, what kind of messages is Super Mario trying to convey? Or Super Meat Boy, Mario Kart, Doom, Dungeon Keeper, Theme Hospital, Terraria, Left4Dead and so on.
            As long as the game is good gameplay-wise I can subscribe to the John Carmack kind of game-design perfectly fine: “Story in a game is like a story in a porn movie. It’s expected to be there, but it’s not that important.”

            ““Just for fun” is fine as long is it doesn’t stop being fun for someone else.”
            Why? I don’t like Social games, nor Mobile games, nor do I play many console games. I don’t like sports games or any number of other games, yet I don’t demand that they specifically cater to my specific needs since I realize that other people probably like them a lot (or they wouldn’t buy them in the first place).

            In any case, 20% of the world’s population is 1.4 billion people.”
            I know, look at the Newzoo article above.

          • Aninhumer says:

            Other than the popularity and general fandom, what kind of messages is Super Mario trying to convey? Or Super Meat Boy, Mario Kart, Doom and so on.

            Well sure, if you choose mostly abstract games with no story, then they have less relation to real life. And even within those, I could point to the negative portrayal of the princess in Super Mario. Of course, most games these days do have a story, and often one which relates closely to real life, and not surprisingly these games both reflect and influence our perspective on the world. And sometimes that means that issues of bigotry are highly relevant to discussions of those games.

            EDIT: You added some more games to your list, so I’ll add a few more points on their cultural relevance.
            Theme Hospital: A satirical critique of the commercialisation of medicine.
            Left4Dead: Zombies have long been used in various formats to highlight issues by removing the societal framework that hides them. For a better example just look at The Walking Dead.

            If these are your examples of games with “no message” then I think you really need to learn more about the nature of subjective media.

          • harbinger says:

            Negative portrayal of the princess, in what way?
            Do you think when Nintendo set out to make Super Mario in 1985 they were laughing manically about how they will be able to oppress women or did you just say that because you saw it in a YouTube video?
            Don’t you think it might be a lot more likely that they used the plot as a MacGuffin to drive the actual gameplay and they didn’t try to insert any sort of message that some people are trying to interpret into it?

            I’m also not sure what you mean by influencing your perspective of the world, games are largely entertainment and not educational material, they shouldn’t really be used as such unless they are expressly made for that purpose. I’d put a “citation needed” behind that, and I’d hardly call forcefully inserting specific political messages into said games “relevant”, I don’t think that kind of checklist design makes for good games.
            If games would primarily be there to teach people their morals and values I’d think that society would already be pretty fucked anyway.

            What societal issues did Left4Dead highlight, I guess other than maybe the diversity with the main protagonists?

          • Aninhumer says:

            “Do you think when Nintendo set out to make Super Mario in 1985 they were laughing manically about how they will be able to oppress women”

            Just because Nintendo did not intend to convey that message does not mean that they did not, and to suggest otherwise betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of subjective media. How a work is interpreted by those who experience it is far more important than speculation about what the artist “meant”.

            “I’m also not sure what you mean by influencing your perspective of the world, games are largely entertainment and not educational material.”

            Again the purpose (entertainment) is irrelevant. The fact remains that people are influenced by what they experience. I’m not suggesting that people see one helpless princess, and immediately think all women are helpless. The effect is a far more subtle normalisation of these kind of opinions, and it is well understood by many fields of study. I don’t really feel the need to cite the fact that an entire spectrum of humanities subjects exist.

        • Aninhumer says:

          A lot of people are making arguments like “This site is about games, so these issues aren’t relevant”. These arguments are implicitly claiming that games are not a cultural construct which reflect and influence people’s opinions. When people say “games don’t exist in a vacuum”, they are challenging this assumption.

          • chargen says:

            Games are not a cultural construct which reflect and influence people’s opinions. Even with a blast of hundreds of millions of dollars in sales firing them into the stratosphere, they fail to make as much of a cultural impact or enter the cultural consciousness as much as cheap b-movies do. This is with the exception of game-journalism-reading gamers of course, but they are an insignificantly-sized, young, hedonistic, and apolitical group.

            And thank you Google Chrome, for reminding me that “gamers” is not a word. You’re god damn right.

          • gwathdring says:

            Bitterness about how gaming is treated by our collective non-gaming media institutions does not change that games are creative works which people consume. Everything we consume effects our outlook–especially things we consume for hours and hours every week on top of time we spend reading about those things and commenting about them in forums with other people who spend hours consuming the same things.

            Do you honestly believe that becasue gaming isn’t as “respected” as cinema, it has not influence and no responsibility to to mind it’s influence? That seems incredibly silly to me.

        • Prolar Bear says:

          I didn’t mean to stave off criticism, frankly. I simply think that, as Groove said, games have the potential to make a real-world point like art.
          Art surely can be pointless and just for fun, but in my opinion art is at its best and most relevant when it’s not self referential and has something more to itself other than mere stylistic exercise. 20th century art definitely has a stronger emphasis on meaning, be it implicit or explicit.
          This is why I said games do not exist in a vacuum: you can get “empty”, in terms of meaning or narrative, games like simulators or multiplayer shooters (that doesn’t mean they’re bad games, mind you), but you can also get more narrative-driven, artistic experiences. This fringe of gaming is mostly based on innovation on a mechanical level, andor meaningful storytelling.

          When I play games I mostly want to have fun and be entertained
          That’s totally fine, but, at least the way I see it, RPS is a site that focuses on the cultural side of the games industry. Entertainment can take a backseat here, at times. Nobody said that pure entertainment is wrong, this is more about pushing the boundaries of a medium and encouraging discussion (be it about mainstream or indie gaming, social issues or game mechanics).
          If you don’t like it, then it’s simply a matter of different strokes for different folks.

    • Tyrmot says:

      Hahahaha! Very goo- oh. Really?

      You already have a filter between yourself and the world, it’s called your mind. Suggest you try using it.

    • Deadly Habit says:

      There is the de-walker greasemonkey script which removes all of walker’s posts on here
      link to userscripts.org

    • n_simone says:

      I wrote this script back when the whole social justice drama started to eat up RPS:

      link to userscripts.org

      It can filter posts by author name. It used to be useful, but since the content of RPS has shifted more towards the tumblr-esque drama I’ve moved to other sites. Maybe it will be of help to you.

      If you are wondering, I was brought back by Reddit’s reporting on this matter.

      • SuicideKing says:

        I think i need to write a script that prevents me from reading the venom some people spew out in the comments.

        • n_simone says:

          The problem with filtering comments is that it would need to be keyword based, but that kind of system is dumb as it may well filter out good, relevant discussion of the offending topics.

          I actually tried to add that type of functionality to de-walker, but the biggest problem was that filtering comments would completely mess out the formatting of the comment system.

          • PoLLeNSKi says:

            Can you write me a script that adds comments by John Walker to all the blogs I read?

      • Ninja Foodstuff says:

        Nothing weird about that at all.

  7. Ny24 says:

    I don’t think you made a mistake, it’s rather cool that you post about the existing struggles, be it the political ones in the industry or personal ones in your own company. And you do it in your own way, and thats okay too and exactly why I like this site. Nowadays, if I have a problem with something in real life, I have stopped thinking about what Superman or Chuch Norris would do, I just think about what RPS would do.

  8. Dariune says:

    Yesterday I had ditched RPS. I spent an hour yesterday evening browsing other sites and /r/games instead because the RPS attitude towards valid topics has been, IMO destructive and arrogant.

    My brother txted me to check this article out (He knows I used to be a huge fan of this site above all others) and although my opinion of RPS’s recent attitude on equal rights, PAX and so on is unchanged I am really impressed by this post. Very admirable.

    • oceanclub says:

      “Yesterday I had ditched RPS. I spent an hour yesterday evening browsing other sites”

      I’m sure the RPS team were devastated.

      My thoughts go out to them and their families at this difficult time. No flowers, donations to charities aiding sexual minorities.


      • kael13 says:

        If half, or even a third of your readership disappears overnight because of a badly written article, that’s something to be concerned about.

        • Stardreamer says:

          Don’t flatter them. I very much doubt the moaners represent half or even a third of RPS’ readership. Or that the majority of whatever percentage they do represent will stay gone or even leave in the first place.

          All mouth, no trousers…

          • Dariune says:

            How exactly does this bear any relevance to what I said?

            All mouth and no trousers? What does that even mean in this context?

          • Bull0 says:

            In this context, it means you Ran Away Forever yesterday but you’re back today, so you don’t have the conviction to keep to your word. “Trousers” would be an artful euphemism for balls. Hope this helps.

          • Dariune says:

            Not really.

            I came back because I was told about this article. I stayed because I respected the article. Both are pretty rational to be honest. You guys just seen upset that I don’t agree with EVERYTHING that RPS says. I’m sure you will get over it though.

          • Bull0 says:

            On the contrary, I’m not upset about anything; I just thought I’d enjoy explaining what “All mouth no trousers” meant.

          • Stardreamer says:

            “Rational” would have been not rage-quitting in the first place. Just sayin’

          • Bull0 says:

            Also that.

          • Dariune says:

            I don’t recall rage quitting … I recall going else where to read stuff because I wasn’t getting what I wanted from RPS.

            Assumptions are great aren’t they?

          • machineageproductions says:

            Seriously. Every time someone says “girls are people, too!” around here, a hundred dewds swear they won’t read the site again. If they weren’t bluffing, that means RPS was possibly the single most viewed page on the web back in its “not standing up for victims” heyday.

          • oceanclub says:

            Let’s remember some of people who came to comment said they had never, in 5 years, commented before. So, absolutely no loss whatsoever to the world of gaming discussion.


        • airmikee99 says:

          Yet a majority of the people that said they were leaving yesterday are still here, yourself included.

          • Ragnar says:

            Guys, let’s not be dicks here, ok? Why are we ganging up and bullying this guy? If we do this we’re no better than Mike.

      • Dariune says:

        Yes because that was clearly what my message was all about.

        When people who agree with RPS feel alienated by their articles then there is potentially an issue no?

        I realise I am just one person but I doubt I am the only person.

        Your post however was completely irrelevant to mine.

        • SpectralThundr says:

          And they wonder why they get labeled with the term SJW. It’s funny to me how the people who are always going on about equality and rights etc. are the same people who can’t wait to toss out vitrol should not everyone agree with them on their quite narrow view of how the real world actually is and how it works.

          It’s as almost as if they live in this fantasy world where it’s still 1950, slavery is still alive and well and women can’t vote or work.

    • SuicideKing says:

      “yesterday i ditched RPS”

      And…nobody noticed.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Dear Dariune,

      Please ditch RPS again, permanently.

      Lots of love,

      – Everyone who still reads RPS. xx

      • Dariune says:

        I don’t think I deserved that, especially after backing down.

        But each to their own I guess.

    • gwathdring says:

      Holy shit, guys. Come on, this post wasn’t “I HATE RPS BECAUSE GENDER CRAP I”M LEAVING THXBY.”

      But you had to jump on them like a pack of rugby-playing werewolves anyway becasue they were unhappy with their RPS experience. Look, I love the site and I like that they want to be pro-social. Sometimes the approach has struck me as off-kilter, too, despite me being one of the people that roams the comments trying to hammer home how important this stuff is when people try to dismiss it.

      And while I hate this kind of angry, pile-on response to anything but explicit bigotry–I at least *understand* it when people come in here and just write about how they’re never reading RPS again because it dares to mention things other than game mechanics. This fellow did not come in here and just write about how they’re never reading RPS again becasue it dares to mention things other than game mechanics.

      So back the hell off and maybe apologize. Christ.

      • dE says:

        This is RPS. The comment sections on these topics are all out war. Pick one of two sides. There is no middleground. It’s impossible to agree with the message and disagree with the way it was delivered, doing so means you disagree with the message entirely. You’re the enemy. It’s impossible to question data and how it was gathered without denying the message. You’re the enemy. Not charging when others do, means you’re a silent collaborator. You’re the enemy. Not agreeing on all points means you’re disagreeing with all of them. You’re the enemy.

        That was hyperbole, cynism and sarcasm but pretty much describe how these toxic comment pools feel like. And that feeling shouts “Friendly Fire” and “Collateral Damage”. Broad sweeping hammer swings with no regard for who it may hit. And there’s the irony. Came last, curiously enough.

      • Dariune says:

        Thanks man. I appreciate I wasn’t particularly ellouquent but in this particular comment I was actually trying to say “Thanks for this post, it’s admirable.” and not “Never coming back!”

        Been a really unpleasent experience all in all.

        • The Random One says:

          That was a shameful display. Dariune, you deserved none of that. Please accept my apologies in place of those of people who dare not step off their high horses.

  9. GernauMorat says:

    Mistakes happen, but this sort of acknowledgement is rare. Good for RPS

  10. Le_Bossu says:

    So essentially what you’re saying is that “We screwed up. Our original opinion still stands, but we reacted emotionally and in a poorly thought out fashion and that doesn’t represent what we really feel.”

    How is this different to the PA mea culpa and the fact that they have specifically apologized for how they handled the fallout of that issue (angry comments, merchandising, etc.).

    What is it exactly that differentiates them from you?

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Because they don’t learn from their mistakes and clearly apologise only to hide their still abhorrent views.

      • greg_ritter says:

        How exactly their views are abhorrent?

        • MuscleHorse says:

          Just saying that ‘they made a comic about rape’ isn’t going far enough. Their behaviour around the issue was the real crime.
          link to debacle.tumblr.com
          ‘Mike, responding in Shakesville’s comments, posts links to bestiality and pedophilia jokes in Penny Arcade comics. When other commenters object, he responds with sarcasm.’
          They’re a couple of immature pricks.

          • Le_Bossu says:

            Says the person calling them ‘immature pricks’.

            And yet, they are both able to recognize and address their mistakes and adjust their behaviour based on this. Kind of exactly the opposite of what immaturity means. Though I would certainly call them emotional, impulsive and stubborn.

            I’d also love to see how you, or RPS, actually justify labeling them abhorent. Or how Krahulik’s comments as a person reflect the values of the company as a group and an entity.

            Perhaps I’ve missed some element of the debate along the way but there’s no way I can see you doing that in a rational fashion. While they may actually be guilty of poor judgement I still fail to see any ecvidence of bigotry or any other failing worth justifying any sort of organized boycott.

            You don’t like what they said? Chances are you’re reacting to either what you think they meant or something you read devoid of context. Anyone who has actually read or listened to their comments on the issue should easily be able to realize that this has been blown way out of proportion by people who seem to want to be offended.

            P.S. Just reread the sixth slave comic. Their strips are very hit and miss but thats actually a good one. Not only have you clearly missed teh humour, you fail to see this about rape, just as much as it is about slavery, i.e. not at all. The joke is directed at apathetic players who don’t actually care about the morality of their ‘hero’. Rape in the strip is clearly portrayed as a bad thing and the player as a bad person for not caring about it. “But…but…they used the word ‘rape’.” And thats pretty much all you’ve got to say about what started this whole thing with everything since equally distorted beyond its initial form and meaning.

          • MuscleHorse says:

            ‘And yet, they are both able to recognize and address their mistakes and adjust their behaviour based on this. Kind of exactly the opposite of what immaturity means. Though I would certainly call them emotional, impulsive and stubborn.’

            Except they don’t. They apologise one moment, then say ‘I regret pulling the dickwolves shirt from the store’ at their conference, to rapturous applause. They only apologise to serve themselves. They’re completely lacking in self-awareness and constantly show themselves to be meanspirited, nasty people. Not to mention, their comic is painfully unfunny.

            I wouldn’t say calling a couple of immature pricks is immature in itself. Or are you offended by my swearing in my reaction to your defence of a couple of victim-blamers?

          • Le_Bossu says:

            I understand now. You, and the others (RPG et al) are having a hard time understanding that the comment about regretting pulling the merchandise doesn’t invalidate the apology for unintentionally hurting people.

            1. They made the Dickwolves merch as a reaction to the backlash to the comic.
            2. They pull the merch due to the backlash.
            3. They think pulling it simply because of a backlash they themselves didn’t see as justifiable had been a mistake.
            4. People equate this with them saying “We didn’t mean it when we said we didn’t intend to upset or hurt people”.

            You can almost guarantee that people saying “That’s exactly what they’re doing” also missed the point of the initial sixth slave strip, as the above poster clearly did. Gotta love that knee-jerk reactionary spirit. Strange that those who see themselves as being so liberal and progressive in their support of LGBT rights are acting in the same fashion narrow, irrational, reflexive way as actual homophobes tend to.

          • mickygor says:

            Taken out of context, the quote is terrible, yes. However, read the following sentence and you’ll see that he regretted the timing of removing the merchandise, nothing else. Just like this article regrets the timing of the previous one.

          • gwathdring says:

            The Some Clarification post seemed quite contrite and reasonable. It mentioned regretting pulling the merchandise becasue pulling the merchandise just stirred the pot all over again. It also added that they sincerely regret and apologize for the followup comic, their behavior following the followup comic, the existence of the merchandise, and so forth. The post makes it clear he doesn’t regret the initial comic and still feels they were treated unfairly for it … but that their response was terrible and they shouldn’t have done pretty much *any* of the things they did in the aftermath–including pulling the merchandise once they’d already been stupid enough to make it and leave it up for long enough to let things quiet down.

            And maybe that sentiment is misplaced! Maybe pulling the merchandise was a good thing. But when the audience applauded and someone shouted they should bring the merch back, they responded that they would absolutely NOT do that–as the post clarifies, that’s the point. They don’t want to stir this up anymore because however they feel about the initial comic and the initial outcry, they feel bad for hurting people and they feel worse for continuing to hurt people by keeping the fires burning.

            If your cynical hat is stapled firmly to your scalp, you can say the post was just a PR move and screw PA. I’m not a big fan of PA in any case so I don’t have much of an opinion on their comic or general conduct other than that it’s not my thing most of the time. Have at them if you will. But some perspective is in order–you can disagree with what they did and how they handled it … but you can’t pin the crowd’s reaction entirely on them and given how confidently they’ve pissed people off without apology in the past, I’m sure their apology is sincere.

            It’s worth noting that they continue to cause kerfluffle’s like this. It’s worth criticizing PA. But let’s criticize them with integrity, with open ears and without all the shouting.

    • yesterdayisawadeer says:

      Exactly my thoughts.

    • MiniMatt says:

      Not really. The screw up was in placing an RPS stance at the beginning of an article detailing the stances of various other folks in the industry.

      The screw up was in violating the inverted pyramid “rule” of journalism.

    • Gap Gen says:

      Answer: The actual content of the opinions being defended.

      • Ragnar says:

        While that’s certainly true – easier to defend why you messed up in advocating equality than why you messed up in failing to stop offending minorities – I found this part strangely ironic and applicable:

        “When RPS writes that we don’t want to go to PAX any more because we find it too icky, we’re some guys expressing our personal feelings. But of course what we’re perceived as is Major Gaming Site RPS Boycotts PAX.”

        I find it ironic because when Mike lashes out at critics on twitter, thus digging himself a deeper hole, he’d just some guy being defensive and expressing his personal feelings. But of course what it’s perceived as is Penny Arcade is Intolerant of Minorities – Boycott PAX Now!

  11. greg_ritter says:

    I can certainly understand your reasoning for not going to PAX, I just thought that Nathan’s piece was bad and full of overreactions and strong words. Thank you, mr. Walker, this piece is much better. Keep fighting for your integrity, I wish you the best.

  12. pabswikk says:

    This is a mature and well-thought out article and apology. Thanks RPS, you could have handled this a lot worse, and I really appreciate that you’ve responded so well to criticism.

  13. Pete says:

    This is actually genius. You wrote this apology at the same time as the original article, didn’t you? As a demonstration of “here is how to do an apology”. In the game of games journalism, RPS remains several moves ahead.

    (Also, I like your non-freedom-of-speech policy for comments)

  14. ZHsquad says:

    I must be doing something wrong. I didn’t see a problem with the article. Oh well. Guess I just don’t like reading between the lines all the time.

    • brulleks says:

      Neither did I, but perhaps we’re both here because we happen to appreciate reading RPS’ stance on such issues. I certainly appreciated this article, regardless of the previous one.

      I’m of the opinion that whoever runs a website is entitled to put whatever the hell they want on it, whether I happen to like it or not. There are many, many out there whose quality of opinion I’d consider far more deserving of criticism, even ostracisation. RPS is just a fairly liberal site that comments on gaming and its social influence. It’s hardly reactionary.

      It’s far more harmful to close one’s eyes and block one’s ears to potentially socially damaging material in any media than it is to offer an opinion on it. It doesn’t exist in isolation – it is always saying something about how we live, and how we could live.

      • merbert says:

        Well said sir, totally concur with everything you said.

      • Ragnar says:

        I, too, like reading RPS’s stance on such issues. But I can certainly see how putting “RPS boycotts X” at the beginning of an article about whether it is right or wrong to boycott X is a problem.

        Not only does it state RPS’s answer before even delving into the question, let alone giving the reader time to make up their mind – which rather goes against RPS’s general approach, akin to putting a great big X/10 score at the beginning of a game review – but it also takes the focus away from the article and onto RPS’s stance. As stated previously, RPS creates and becomes the news rather than reporting it.

  15. Prolar Bear says:

    I think Nathan’s article was hyperbolic in places, but valid as it presented both sides of the equation. In any case cheers for the honesty!

  16. Lobotomist says:

    Heh…and I thought RPS is jealous about success of PA. And trying to find excuse to drag them trough mud and open war, before a big event PA has and RPS doesnt.

    Seriously boycotting large event contender site organizes, because in one of they comics they had a joke about NPC that was raped (by evil NPC mob , not by reader or protagonist)

    And than since its definitely not enough to justify boycott (no mater how skillfully you envelop it in debate) they go on claiming that PA are generally vocally intolerant of transgender people ?! (without giving examples of this transgressions)

    I dont know guys…I love you so much. But this sounds so shallow.

    And if you are taking humanitarian banner – I can tell you there are much bigger transgressions around us.
    So lets focus – shall we ?

    • Jay says:

      You’re about to go for the “starving children in Africa” defense, aren’t you? Or maybe an interesting variant? I know, a gaming blog discussing issues relating to gaming, how very dare they.

      The transgender stuff was the subject of a twitstorm a little while back and is easily searchable with the slightest bit of effort. Here, for example: link to borderhouseblog.com

      • Lobotomist says:

        Still not seeing it. Can you please bring me one statement they made that was insulting, but that was not taken out of content or was a reaction to reaction.

        I am really fed up with this “moral” verbal police , while in our back yard people are starving, killed by bombs and monitored.

        Especially when clear line could be drawn to simple business rivalry

        • jrodman says:

          Sounds like you’ve already made up your mind!

        • airmikee99 says:

          So you only care about starving, bombed on people, not the ones who are bullied every day for being female or transgender? The elementary school children that are committing suicide because they’ve been picked on don’t matter, but if they had been hungry or had their house blown up by a bomb, then you’d care about them?

        • alw says:

          I am really fed up with this “moral” verbal police , while in our back yard people are starving, killed by bombs and monitored.

          And while people are starving, being bombed etc, you’re typing away to tell people how wrong they are to type stuff about things that don’t matter while people are starving, being bombed etc?

          • jrodman says:

            He’s saying that he is the verbal police and he’s very tired of these amateurs muscling in on his territory.

      • Eddy9000 says:

        It’s called “argument from Hitler” and could be seen as a variant of ‘Godwin’s Law’. Although the ‘starving children in Africa argument’ does have a nice ring to it.

      • SpectralThundr says:

        PA and their staff have donated to LGBT causes in the past. Yet somehow because a few people got their panties all bunched up over a comic that has been taken so far out of context to begin with it’s not even funny, they somehow are ANTI LGBT now? C’mon anyone with half an ounce of common sense realizes how ridiculous RPS has been in this whole situation.

        • airmikee99 says:

          And nothing says equality like letting rich people buy their way out of tight situations. Good thing he has all that money to pay his way out of his idiotic comments, otherwise we might actually have to do something about it.

          • Ragnar says:

            You mean like apologize? He did that. Yes, the initial comic apology was not sincere, but the twitter and PAX apologies were. And he’ll make a mistake again, and apologize for it again, as normal people do.

            This is why most large companies have PR departments that everything must go through, but is that really a good solution?

          • Kadayi says:

            I’m not entirely sure what the PA guys really can do at this point to make amends. Dudes hardly the sharpest knife in the kitchen draw tbh, but they’ve apologized and given money to charities etc as a Mea Culpa, but seemingly they’re still accountable for something. Because boycott. Short of the guy eating bullet or setting himself on fire I’m not entirely sure what he/they need to do exactly to get back into peoples good graces?

          • gwathdring says:


            Consistently do better in the future. Apologies are great, they show that you’re interested in doing better. But while I’d rather have people who recognize their failings than people who don’t, if you consistently cause your audience a great deal of upset one way or the other, there’s a point where how willing you are to do better stops mattering. Whether it’s truly in your control or not, it remains that you time-and-again cause a lot of people a lot of upset. In such a case, it’s hard to expect people to trust you not to upset them again in the future and thus to respect your learning process.

            So the best thing they can do is avoid these kind of situations in the future. If they cannot either because their audience is too messed up or they’re too messed up … then that’s it. No good graces for them. It happens.

          • Ragnar says:

            I think I understand where you’re coming from. There was the comic, the merchandise, the twitter mess, and the recent statement that prompted a (reprehensible) cheer from the audience. You can view at it as a pattern of behavior, or as 4-5 mistakes over 3 years for which they’ve apologized. Personally, I think the worst thing was the audience cheer, which is 1) out of PA’s control and 2) really not representative of PAX attendees.

            If you are offended by the comic or the twitter statements, by all means speak out (politely and reasonably, please) and stop reading the comic or stop following Mike on twitter. But I see boycotting PAX is a mistake, because it’s largely filled with welcoming, inviting people, it has interesting panels that promote inclusiveness and understanding, and having minorities / social activists boycott PAX only makes PAX worse.

      • Ragnar says:

        I find the borderhouseblog link to be pretty biased in it’s portrayal of events. Go to link to twitter.com and scroll down to June 7th and read it for yourself.

        TL:DR version:
        Mike says something stupid, out of ignorance -> people point out that he’s wrong -> Mike explains and further illustrates his ignorance -> a conversation begins on why he’s wrong -> people attack Mike, conversation is put on life support -> Mike tries (and fails) to dig himself out -> attacks continue, conversation dies -> Mike defends himself and digs a deeper hole.

        Is Mike a bad guy, or a hateful guy? Reading his words and the responses he received, I don’t think so. He’s just a guy who tried to be funny, accidentally offended people out of ignorance, then lost his temper and responded to personal attacks against him rather than just shutting up. I feel more embarrassed for the people who attacked him. When have personal attacks ever caused anyone to change their mind, or to learn something new?

        I can empathize with those he offended, but I can just as easily empathize with him. I could have made the same mistake, and have certainly been guilty of not shutting up in the past. And I don’t hate anyone (aside from possibly bigots). But then I’m not a public figure, and no one blogs about something stupid I said at lunch or decides to boycott my parties.

    • Gap Gen says:

      “because in one of they comics they had a joke about NPC that was raped (by evil NPC mob , not by reader or protagonist)”

      It’s actually not the comic, but the way PA handled the criticism of the comic, as I think the article might have said.

      • SkittleDiddler says:

        It’s rather sad that people have to keep pointing that out.

      • Ragnar says:

        Well, it actually was the comic, since it started the whole mess, but the comic was the least of it.

        Comic offends people – a simple misunderstanding, nothing to see here, move along.
        Defensive response to offended people further offends people – uh oh, we have a problem.

    • wu wei says:

      Reframing… appealing to emotion… straw manning… relative privation…

      Are you deliberately trying to see how many fallacies you can cram into one comment?

  17. InternetBatman says:

    I think we need to focus on another of Nathan’s errors. Distracting text boxes in the article. That is the real controversy here, and it must not be ignored.

    Besides that, I think this is great. This might have finally made a large portion of the belligerent commenters who only ever respond to gender politics posts on Sunday comments leave.

  18. Clavus says:

    That sounds a lot more reasonable. Cheers RPS.

  19. MuscleHorse says:

    I felt the placing of the note at the beginning of the article was odd considering what followed, but it was a well written and well thought out piece.
    I’m constantly surprised and saddened when people get upset with you chaps for simply stating the obvious: that things must change.

  20. Freud says:

    I think violent overreactions to jokes/views is how the main stream tries to dictate the public discussion today. Shame people into being silent or agreeing. It’s surprisingly effective.

  21. BPongo says:

    This bit?

    “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.”

    Sounds fine to me.

    • jrodman says:

      They’re saying that putting their own stance at the top short circuited the thinking about the various possible reactions below.

      You know, how people read the first few sentences and move on to the next article sort of thing.

      • BPongo says:

        The people that said they would boycott RPS, the people John said would be happy if they left, you mean those people?

  22. DotCom616 says:

    All’s well when it ends well and everyone gets to feel like they’re so much better than everyone else.

    link to youtube.com pretty much sums up this lovely new trend in gaming “journalism”

  23. Dingbatwhirr says:

    The main thing which makes me prefer RPS over other gaming sites is how human it seems.

    The writers are clearly human. Humans have opinions.

    To use a very British analogy, I always think of RPS as being a bit like going to the pub with some friends who are very into gaming. If they just said “there is a new trailer out for X. Watch it.” I would get bored. I want to hear their opinions, whether I agree or not. Even when they say something really ‘out there’ which I vehemently disagree with, I’m still secretly pleased, because it engages the side of my brain which loves to debate and argue (I am studying philosophy after all – it comes with the job…). And you don’t just get the gaming news, you also get the peripheral moral quandaries et al (e.g. women’s role in the gaming industry etc).

    I’d never thought about the PAX situation before really, but your previous article really made me engage with the issues involved and, being the sort of namby-pamby liberal who is actually rather keen on all that equality ‘bullcrap’ (as I believe another commenter called it) it opened my eyes to a few arguments which brought me round to your point of view. In short, it did a good job of presenting both fact and opinion at the same time, which is why I love RPS.

    Yes, the introduction may have been too black and white, and I love the fact that this article exists, but it’s going to take more than someone else’s opinions to scare me away from something. I feel it is my duty to read the facts, read the opinion, then see if I agree, not scan the introduction then take to the comments.

    Keep up the good work RPS – you’ll have to try harder than that to offend me…

    • Mbaya says:

      Seems my comment was eaten but this post sums up my views very well, thanks.

      For me, RPS seems to be a bit less about the games and more about the people that create, enjoy or even dislike games. I tend to go out of my way to post something on articles that tackle issues in the industry as even if I don’t agree with the side RPS falls on, I get to learn more about the situation at hand, re-evaluate my opinions and engage in an interesting debate.

      I like RPS being RPS and not ‘Just another PC Gaming Website’.

      I also respect Nathan’s article, while I feel the summary at the start perhaps did more harm than good – I found the article itself took into account that Penny Arcade are free to do what they wish or that change can come from within or from outside. That seemed quite fair.

    • Ragnar says:

      I like that about RPS too. But at the same rate, that’s basically how PA works. Their comics and posts are just two guys chatting and drawing over a pint. Then one of the PA guys gets drunk and acts like an ass. He apologizes for it the next day, but then a few months later it happens again.

  24. John Walker says:

    While it’s abundantly clear in the post above, I want to repeat: we’re not shutting up on matters we believe are important. And we simply do not care if people don’t read the site because of that. Good heavens, our lives would be so much lovelier if we didn’t have to read the whining from people who lack perspicacity on such an extraordinary level that they’re willing to publicly state their opposition to a desire for equality.

    As we’ve said a billion times, such posts represent maybe 2% of what appears on RPS, despite the ridiculous hyperbolic cries of those who pretend it’s “taking over” or whatever ludicrous statement is made. I think it’s a shame they don’t make up far more of what we post.

    If there’s any doubt left, I point people here: link to rockpapershotgun.com

    • dmastri says:

      I like to think the majority of us are all for equality. The problem is, like yesterday, articles are written with an agenda and bias. Fishing for controversy. You and Nathan are the most culpable. It makes it impossible to have a fair and balanced debate.

      Take Nathan’s Hotline Miami rape interview. It was an all out assault/interrogation. There was no discussion.

      Or his preview on that cyber game by the witcher folks where he attacked the guy over how they portrayed a female character with a barrage of aggressive questioning.

      Being outraged over inequality is noble but it needs to be genuine. When you fish for controversy it erodes credibility and dilutes the message.

      • Ansob says:

        You just replied to a post where John Walker goes “we’re not going to stop having opinions” with “the problem is that you have opinions.”

        Pressing people on the shitty things they do isn’t “fishing for controversy,” it’s something journalists are supposed to do.

        • SkittleDiddler says:

          You’re misconstruing his point, which is that Walker and company go out of their way to aggressively court controversy by demonizing and bullying the “other side” instead of engaging them in a balanced debate.

          • P.M. Gleason says:

            I can agree with this. I’ve only begun commenting lately but I’ve been reading RPS for years.

            A lot of the issues, particularly with games that haven’t even been released, stem on the author of the article or interview making assumptions based on pre-conceived notions from other narratives.
            When it comes to a narrative, like CDR’s Cyberpunk trailers and things like that, you have to shut up and listen or at least play it before making an analysis.

            Art reflects life. Life is a freaking ugly thing sometimes. If it serves a point, then it may be used effectively.

          • gwathdring says:

            @ Gleason

            Over in the forums we’re having a discussion about GTA with respect to this sort of thing: “Art reflects life. Life is a freaking ugly thing sometimes. If it serves a point, then it may be used effectively.”

            Here was one of my posts:

            “I need a reason to accept unpleasantness in my entertainment. “It’s not serious about it” isn’t a reason. That doesn’t always stop it from being unpleasant. Why am I putting up with this? What is the game giving me in return that it couldn’t give me without the unpleasantness?”

            Realism also isn’t a reason. It’s a description. Why am I putting up with this? What is the game giving me in exchange for reiterating the negative attitudes and stigmas of the world? What is the game doing to differentiate it from the same boring, obnoxious imagery I see over and over in bad movies and advertisement billboards? It doesn’t always matter if you personally perceive this or that feature as “sexist” or whatever–that doesn’t change how I perceive the media I consume or how John Walker perceives the media he consumes or how Nathan Grayson perceives the media he consumes. You’re starting with the idea that it doesn’t bother you–or that maybe you even like it–and then moving on from there to say that pursuing their personal discomfort on their personal website is an *attack* or *adgenda* with respect to gaming at large.

            I’m not always a fan of Walker’s approach and I feel like sometimes Walker misses the point of this or that. We’re different people with different opinions. But I want to stress that something not looking bad to you or something being realistic and life being a piece of shit sometimes … all of that? It’s relevant when you and Walker have a discussion or when you and I have a discussion. It’s not relevant when Walker is writing *his* article.

      • Gap Gen says:

        Articles don’t need to be balanced if their conclusion is that one argument is incorrect. What should RPS say – “some people say that sexism in gaming is bad and should be openly discouraged, other people say that girls have cooties and can’t play in the treehouse, we’re weaksauce nothings so have no editorial stance”?

      • Kadayi says:

        Indeed. Also the constant and ceaseless pandering to ‘EA are evil’ crowd with dubious asides regarding most AAA publishers/developers gets kind of wearing as well: -.

        link to rockpapershotgun.com

        ‘Anyhow, you can now get your hands on the demo version of FIFA Foot-To-Ball 14, if you’ll only install Origin’.

        If only you’ll install Origin? Really? Could you just not say ‘now available on Origin?’ No instead you have to play off that whole ‘Origin is spyware’ fear mongering like some Fox News commentator, and you do it all the time with alarming regularity. How about an investigative article consulting some actual technical experts as to whether Origin is in fact Spyware John? Maybe finally put that bugbear to rest? Because lets not forget you’re the same site that banged the drum about how terrible Ubisoft Always on DRM was at every given opportunity a good 14 months after they had actually removed it from new releases. You were just too busy being collectively righteously indignant at Ubisoft to have noticed. The very fact that even not a single Ubisoft article doesn’t go by without some one posting in the comments about how they’re not buying X game because of ‘Ubis oppressive DRM policy’ even now is comedic given it’s a mythology you were in large part responsible for perpetuating after the fact, and people buying into the fiction, because they believed you knew what you were talking about.

        Please do be critical of games, please do be critical of practices and please do be critical of issues, but please also quit playing to the crowd with what you think think they want to hear. I go to a fair few gaming news websites, and yet I don’t see anyone else feeling the need to undermine the integrity of a publisher/developer of a title with largely baseless assertions all the time.

      • NathanH says:

        “I like to think the majority of us are all for equality”

        This is probably a little too ambitious. In my experience the majority are broadly in favour of equality until it inconveniences them too much, where “too much” varies between people. I don’t think it’s a particularly unreasonable position to be honest.

      • P.Funk says:

        “It makes it impossible to have a fair and balanced debate.”

        This is the biggest pile of nonsense in the modern discourse. I mean, you’re using a tagline from Fox News to justify complaining about people having strong views on an issue for which you wish they wouldn’t.

        When it comes to issues of blatant moral certainty you cannot help but be biased because thats what an opinion is, a bias. Bias is not necessarily a bad thing, its just some nonsense news agencies try to tell you they don’t have so you won’t believe the sometimes true accusations of bias against them.

        The ultimate goal in journalism should be to avoid all fallacies while exposing the truth. However, any intelligent student of the real world will understand that truth is subjective, as much as facts that feed it are in many respects not. Equality though is not a substance. Its not a matter of physical certitude. It is a concept, a bias in favour of one interpretation of human value along or against certain lines of self or imposed identity, ie. gender, race, socio-economic background.

        At a certain point you take a stand. You say “this is how we feel” and even then you have to look at the context. RPS decides they won’t give PAX their presence because they’re uncomfortable with them right now. If a news agency were to say they wouldn’t allow their journalists to be embedded with US forces in a war zone for instance because they feel they’re being manipulated or that their presence might legitimize propagandized news and a control of the press you shouldn’t fault them for this stance or their need to explain it.

        I don’t come to RPS for unbiased journalism, because I think that’s overrated. The mistake is in assuming that you can only absorb unbiased reportage. A smarter man would accept it readily and absorb all points of view to synthesize his own view, rather than expecting a homogenized version of events to allow you a comfy position to spectate the issue from.

        Contemporary attitudes about “fair and balanced” in general are just something I could rail against all day, but that goes beyond the scope of this comment… so far. ;)

        • SpectralThundr says:

          No I think he’s pretty spot on. Most of the comments from those who see no issue with going after PA, Pax, or whatever else for conceived notions that may or may not be true due to how badly the entirety of this situation have been blown out of proportion by those who can’t wait to fight the good fight for the sake of it, certainly do push the view that if you aren’t upset at PA, or Mike or whoever, you’re against equality.

          That’s a morally empty argument to make to begin with.

    • Gwyddelig says:


      FWIW, on this I agree. RPS has been pretty clear on this point for some time now so people know where the door is if they don’t like the content. Also, FWIW, in general your stance is one I absolutely support.

      That said, your stance on PAX seems to me to thow the baby out with the bathwater (though Nathan had some interesting things to say on the in/out pressure). I think everyone is now of the opinion that the original strip, while edgy and uncomfortable is not the main issue. I’d have to say (straight, white, male so chuck it out the window if you like) that in the overwhelming bulk of popular discourse, gender and sex are analogous. Now, I can hold that fact in my head while being aware that for a small minority this is not so and that is also valid. Gender=Sex shorthand is used by all sorts of people all the time and so long as we all accept that this is a general rather than an absolute I do not see it as something to drag anyone over the coals about. Certainly no grounds to accuse them of transphobia. Because if PA are transphopic then pretty much the whole world is. That’s a trifle harsh on people IMO.

      This was a video game aimed at women. There is only so far the makers of games can be expected to cover every base surely? – save perhaps where the express intention of a game is to explore these things in great depth.

      In the round, the reaction and counter reaction seem to be driving this more than the “genesis” events themselves and that makes me uncomfortable with some of the strong language you (corporately) have employed.

      PS – on HM2 I agree entirely with RPS – the female has no agency at all whereas at very least the male enemies can and do fight back with lethal force.

    • Kurumi says:

      “Good heavens, our lives would be so much lovelier if we didn’t have to read the whining from people who lack perspicacity on such an extraordinary level that they’re willing to publicly state their opposition to a desire for equality.”

      John, here is your problem and the reason for much of the backlash. Many of us are strongly in favour of equality and we still don’t agree with your stance on PA. You automatically assume we are bigots because we don’t share your opinion, and that’s incredibly patronising and condescending. There are many reasons to disagree with RPS’ take on PA and you simply put people who don’t subscribe to your view into the bigot box. That’s why people are angry, not because you “have opinions”.

      • Crea says:

        Precisely this. A lot of us fundamentally disagree with the core implication here, namely that PA are some kind of force for bigotry. Not disagreeing with the right to find these issues important and speak about them, if you want.

        • airmikee99 says:

          If it looks, sounds, and acts like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

          If it keeps making inappropriate, rude, and sexist comments, it’s probably an inappropriate, rude, sexist.

          Making a joke that’s inappropriate, rude, or sexist is forgivable.
          Apologizing for that joke is admirable.
          Making another inappropriate, rude, or sexist joke after apologizing for the last inappropriate, rude, or sexist joke weakens the last apology.
          Doing it again means the apologies have been bullshit, and you’re dealing with an inappropriate, rude, sexist, no ‘probably’ about it.

          • Crea says:

            But then we differ on the interpretation of the original comments, see?

          • Kurumi says:

            “Making a joke that’s inappropriate, rude, or sexist is forgivable.”

            Those things are completely subjective. I didn’t find the original PA strip to be any of those things. I found it funny. I think you have to be incredibly peevish to think that even warranted an apology. That doesn’t mean I’m sexist or bigoted or a rape apologist. I’m baffled at rape being treated as if it’s the one thing too sacred to joke about. Do you similarly campaign against jokes about murder, assault or physical violence?

          • jrodman says:

            Kurumi, i think nearly everyone in gaming agrees with you about the initial comic. Where we seem to have more varied opinions is about all the things that happened later.

          • airmikee99 says:

            Crea, Kurumi,

            Why are you guys stuck on the first joke? THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE FIRST JOKE, as I said in my comment, this is about the apology, followed by a repetition of the inappropriate joke, followed by another apology, and followed by another inappropriate joke.

            If the joke were appropriate and nothing to be ashamed about, WHY DID HE APOLOGIZE? If he doesn’t mean it, don’t say it. If he means it, he shouldn’t be repeating the behavior in the future.

          • Asurmen says:

            Airmike, just because someone apologizes doesn’t necessarily they didn’t think the joke was inappropriate, nor does making the same mistake (debqtable whether it wqs the same mistake) mean the initial apology wasn’t sincere.

      • Gwyddelig says:

        Strong stands appear to have been taken at RPS Towers on this and in the main (obviously the whole DickWolves merchandise issue is odious – it’s one thing to make a borderline joke but quite another to glory in it), the actual events – certainly the Casi Belli – do not appear (IMO-YMMV) to merit such strong words/actions.

        This is coming from someone who welcomes RPS shining a light on misogyny and gender issues in gaming culture.

      • Dariune says:

        ^ This. Wish I had said this.

      • Synesthesia says:

        This, so much this. Exactly what i was about to quote. Why is every word of dissent against the extremely poor way you are approaching this subject makes it a madman against equality? What the hell?

    • Don Reba says:

      Good heavens, our lives would be so much lovelier if we didn’t have to read the whining from people who lack perspicacity on such an extraordinary level that they’re willing to publicly state their opposition to a desire for equality

      Can’t have British humour without British self-righteousness, I suppose.

    • RHGillen says:

      “Promote equality”. How quaint. I am all for promoting equality, yet I don’t agree with the contents of many of the RPS articles on that very subject.

      John, I know you probably fashion your beliefs and opinions as well informed and incredibly nuanced, so much more so than your opposition, but I challenge you to go find a dozen posters on these two articles who oppose equality. Hell, how about just three? Scratch that, I won’t make you go hunt anything down, I challenge you to define, without ambiguity, what equality entails and how it applies within the context of gaming coverage. I suppose you must view yourself as the authority on the definition of equality and therefore are in a position to espouse your various opinions that are intrinsically more credible than those that disagree with you. Because, well, it’s just so SIMPLE! Right? You and RPS are the guys FOR equality, and the ones that disagree with the content in those articles are against it! They don’t want social equality! Of course, you’re ready to present your mathematical proof of what social equality is and how it applies to video games, right? Is everything in your worldview so simple and straight forward? I’d almost think you’re a reincarnation of George Bush. The other guys are just the axis of evil. Silly me. Hell, I must be against equality just for coming out with a critique of you. Oh and I’ll continue to read the website, not that you care, but I like the games coverage. But I do have an urge to point out bullshit when I see it.

      Does equality mean getting rid of the overt sexualization of women in all video games? Or just most? I’d be interested in hearing the direct outcome you propose and how we meet this “equality”, because I’m all for equality too! But I believe in having a niche out there for everyone and that includes over the top fantasy games like Dragon’s Crown. So what’s the “end goal” you envision for achieving equality in video gaming (the actual GAMES – not the industry). Do we eliminate over the top sexualization, or simply increase the sexualization of men? At what quota has equality been achieved? By the way, do you believe men and women at large find the same traits attractive and appealing in other genders? A whole circle of women I know love the show Sons of Anarchy and find some of the men in that show irresistibly sexy. Strange – they’re not walking around scantily clad. Yet I’ve seen on this site and others some notion that the equivalent sexualization of men would entail throwing them into speedos. Of course, that might work, since you can find commercials like this: link to youtube.com

      Would having more of the above in video games lead us to your end goal? What -is- your aim and how to achieve equality? Because frankly I find it absurd and infantile of you to imply there is one group for equality (whatever that means) and that those that disagree with some of your positions and opinions are on the opposite spectrum of it. Nope, wrong, wrong, wrong, and I would love for you to lay out a very concrete, explicit argument that suggests otherwise. I don’t think you will, or at best, you’ll do some more hand waving and dancing around the actual concrete implementation of equality. Usually it’s easy – gay marriage rights, voting rights, sit where you want on the bus, not face discrimination and harassment in the work place. All positions that have been pinpointed and laid out with crystal clarity. But with gaming? I’ve read hundreds of comments on these articles, and the majority of your “equality” articles and I usually focus on the opinions promoting “equality” to better understand what this means. Yet I’m still grasping at what their end goal is, what their concrete suggestions are, what video games should end up being like to no longer be so unequal. Does Mario need to become trans-aware or save a male prince? Does cleavage need to be toned down and eliminated? Or do men need to be thrown out there as greater sexual objects? Because frankly I see so many different opinions from “pro equality” writers that I’m not exactly sure what the movement is suggesting! Is a game like Dragon’s Crown not supposed to exist, even if to fill a certain niche? I don’t like the entire modern military shooter sphere, so I don’t participate in it. I think it promotes a violent and warlike culture that solves problems through military might and is a lot more culturally and socially relevant than the size of an animated character’s breast in a fantasy video game. But that’s just me. I still think each of these niches have their rightful place for the group of people that want to play them. I don’t expect women will at any point be equally as interested and invested in Call of Duty in the same way I don’t expect men will be at any point equally as interested and invested in romantic comedies. And sure, more games targeted to women, or gays, etc, is fine. I’m all for expanding the market and creating content and niches for everyone. But I’m not on board with tearing down games like Dragon’s Crown. Sorry John, no matter what you say or what you convince yourself of, that doesn’t mean I’m not for “equality” any less than you.

      This all ultimately points me to this one obvious conclusion: there is not a consensus on social equality when it comes to something like this and there probably never will be. People’s opinions and beliefs are far more nuanced and to wave them off as wrong and act so absolutist about it really belies a primitive understanding of well, seemingly everything. And that’s why I’d be perfectly happy without your articles – not because I don’t like articles on equality, I just don’t find them particularly insightful or nuanced. Not that I would be expecting that on a site dedicated to gaming. And sorry if I came across as condescending, I was just taking pointers from your posts.

      • airmikee99 says:

        “there is not a consensus on social equality when it comes to something like this and there probably never will be.”

        There are still plenty of people that think we should dial back Women’s Suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement. Social equality shouldn’t be based on consensus because that would leave the majority in charge of what ‘equality’ means, and that would leave the minorities being less than equal, which is exactly where we find ourselves now.

        Giving up and not doing anything to change the problem isn’t going to solve the problem. Keeping attention focused on fixing the problem will go a long way towards fixing the problem.

        • RHGillen says:

          See, there are more words without much behind them. I didn’t suggest we need consensus, did I? Not even close. The point is specifically made for John and some of his words in comment sections, portraying “social equality” as something so clear cut, that “working for equality” or promoting it means something specific. I completely disagree with being critical of Dragon’s Crown is at all promoting or working toward equality. Yet I am a big proponent of equality for everyone, equal opportunity, equal rights, and equal treatment, free from discrimination and harassment. So yeah, the gaming culture can be abhorrent, I’m only talking about video games as artifacts in themselves.

          An idea like “equal legal rights” is clear cut because you can actually point to specific laws. Promoting gay marriage is clear cut. Ending harassment is clear cut. Equivalent gender relations in say, a bar setting, would be a much more difficult rope to walk and I would love to see someone suggest how we re-organize the social structure of a bar scene to be an equal experience for all genders and demographics.

          I read through almost all of the comments in the other article and did not see more than a couple I might construe as “opposing equality” while overwhelming numbers saying they disagreed with this being a topic on the site. John is the one building a straw man here, as if the two positions are those for social equality and those against. I completely agree with having games targeted to women, gays, trans, and games that target everyone or some subset of everyone (does Tetris target anyone in particular)? And everything in between. I do not look for homogeneous experiences for that must broadly appeal to everyone. So I am very supportive of covering games that appeal to these other demographics but I don’t agree with tearing down games that appeal to a specific demographic. There are so many video games out there that RPS only covers a mere fraction of them, and I don’t consider negative coverage of games to be particularly constructive or a path toward promoting equality. I should have every right to complain and bitch about John’s positions and opinions, without expecting to be characterized as someone against equality. Or, if I am, I’m just going to call the bullshit what it is.

          Also, I always smirk when someone comes and pretends something is a fallacy. As if you can simply state it and it becomes true! Ah, well, no, wrong! Whew, I’m glad I said that. Do tell, where is the fallacy? Shall I begin to quote John? I’m perfectly willing to, though I would prefer that he respond, since it is his words and opinions I am being critical of.

          • jrodman says:

            The fallacy of the beard is that if something does not have well defined borders or boundaries that it is not definable / not useful.
            I said appears, because I couldn’t really tell if that’s what you were driving at. You still seem to have elements of it?

            But your main thrust seems to be that because we should encourage variety of target demographics, we shouldn’t be concerned about the vast majority of games targeting a single demographic, and being often fairly hostile to others. That seems only theoretically plausible and actively disingenuous in the current field.

            Please explain if I misunderstand.

          • RHGillen says:

            First note: I actually don’t disagree with discussing these topics on gaming websites, or writing articles about them. I disagree with John’s portrayal of it being a case of those that want to promote equality, and those that want to hide from it. Because I -disagree- with what John believes promoting equality entails.

            For one, there are a huge number of games that target all demographics. Why do I believe this? Well, those are often the kinds of games I play and I am swamped in seemingly an unending count of them. I know this site is a PC gaming site so it has a fairly narrow view of the whole spectrum. I spend a lot of my time playing Nintendo games. You know, the Marios, Donkey Kongs, Pikmins, Metroids, etc. Or various Bioware games where I’ve made my character female, or MMOs, puzzle games, etc. I kind of stay away from the super macho military violence sphere and that entire gaming community. Not out of some moral outrage over these games being primarily targeted to men, often at the expense of targeting women, but because frankly I find them uninteresting. I wouldn’t believe for a second that there is single super hardcore gaming woman that has a lack of games to play. But I would support more content targeted to them, I think that is always a plus. I am so overwhelmed by the number of games now that I can’t even keep track of their mere existence. Neither can RPS. Or anyone on this website. It’s such a massive, gargantuan industry that the number of games being churned out across all platforms is too much for any one site to track. Not even aggregate review sites track even half of games being released. I won’t dispute that a large segment of games are targeted to men, and I would argue that part of this is the nature of those games – military shooters with tough guys, over the top violence, and yes, many men wanting to buy games with sexually explicit or suggestive imagery.

            But when I look at a game like Dragon’s Crown, it’s not a big blockbuster title, it’s not seeinga huge, worldwide release and it’s not somehow preventing other games from existing. Grand Theft Auto IV lets you pick up and have sex with female prostitutes. Yet you can find articles on this site about the series and hoping it comes to PC. But oh no, Dragon’s Crown, their breasts are large and exaggerated! That is much worse than being able to, through game play, frequent strip clubs, bludgeon women to death and have sex with prostitutes in the GTA series. How about we see some seriously critical front page articles lambasting Grand Theft Auto? Maybe I’ve missed them. Either way, I think they would be ill placed, and that part of the appeal in that series is the illicit, morally questionable fabric of the game. From a male perspective. And perhaps this is systemic of men in general, after all, it is a gender that commits the most illicit, morally questionable crimes out there. But that’s an entirely different discussion altogether.

            I don’t think pointing out that a lot of games are targeted to men is constructive. One, because I don’t picture it will change that fact – there is a market for them and the money will speak. GTA is not going anywhere, and I am sure when GTA V comes out on PC eventually, RPS will not only review it, but give it a positive review that may even help it sell copies! I would rather see RPS more often promoting inclusive games than detracting from ones they see as sexist because of an exaggerated portrayal of women or lack thereof.

            Short summary: Disagreeing with John or RPS’s vision of what promoting equality in games entails does not mean a person is against promoting equality. I am not at all advocating that these things don’t see discussion. My critique is most specifically against John and his choice of arguments.

          • jrodman says:

            I think you are against promoting equality and/or inclusion. I think you are actively saying it’s OK if some classes of games exclude some players as a class, due to your ideas about socialized gender role expectations.

            I accept that there is room for disagreement and discussion here, but right now I have to go to work. so this short thing is all I’m offering right now.

          • RHGillen says:

            Ok, then I’ll keep it simple: I think you are so overwhelmingly wrong and incorrect about your suppositions, that I’m not sure you can offer what I could consider fruitful discussion or debate. You’d be right to suppose that I support maintaining niches within the gaming industry, because I support niches in literature, movies, television, and pornography. I don’t picture gaming as an industry any different than other forms of media – it has grown so large that every group should be able to find material that is targeted specifically to them, to a larger subset of them, or everyone at once. I play very few “uninclusive” games myself, in fact the Mass Effect series is probably the most male centric series I play. I would be even willing to bet I probably play fewer than every RPS writer and most posters in the comments section, considering I by and large play the “kiddy” and family friendly titles. Of course, someone might construe a game like Fez as sexist but I’ve actually forgotten whether the main character even has a gender.

            So, unless you’re actually going to offer an opinion or opposing view that isn’t one supposing something of me that is categorically wrong, I’d suggest there’s nothing to gain from our conversing.

          • jrodman says:

            Hah, instead of admitting you’re unwilling to reconsider your position, paint the other person as doing so!

      • jrodman says:

        This appears to be an elaborate fallacy of the beard.

    • F33bs says:

      That’s the thing, Walker. Most of us here already agree with RPS on matters of equality, as you can see from the multitude of responses saying just that. Nobody wants RPS not to cover the issue, we just want you to cover the issue FAIRLY.

      You can’t call yourself a journalist if you can’t manage to cover an issue fairly, pure and simple. Manipulating statistics without even reading them, not even interviewing members of the community that you villify, editorializing on topics you haven’t researched, etc are the hallmarks of TABLOIDS. RPS is well-respected because of the quality of thinking AND writing that goes on here. But the intelligence level has taken a rapid descent into pure, unadulterated adolescent rage sometimes and that’s a shame. You simply don’t hold yourselves to the standard you once set.

  25. Alexander says:

    Please don’t repeat that Editor’s note crap. I thought you guys were in this together, not stalking each other’s articles for spelling errors.
    When one of you makes a statement he doesn’t need the others to babysit him.
    Also, in the Twitter section you don’t have Nathan’s twitter. You monsters.
    Thanks and cheerios.

  26. cpt_freakout says:

    A much needed clear-up, as well as being an honest response. Cheers! Perhaps you’re already going through this, Mr. Walker, but I still think that Mr. Grayson’s writing, even when showing a clear interest in balancing the discussion, was underlined by an accusatory black-and-white tone, which is what might have put off many. I mean, subtitling the ‘RPS Feature’ thing with “Penny Arcade vs the People” makes it sound outright like the judgement includes All of Us, which is, once again, something that might have ticked some in the wrong direction.

    My only suggestion would be for him to really think through that type of writing; I’m not saying adopt a mild, conciliatory tone, but that rhetoric requires much more than maxims and liberal-sounding commonplaces to be truly a tool for debunking a rancid ideology. You can never, ever assume that your opponent is devoid of intelligence, or that his or her arguments can be simply brushed aside according to their incompatibility with your moral. The two PA guys might stand for something you think is wrong (and I’m right there with you), but that doesn’t immediately mean you’re right: self-criticism means defining your rhetoric by a ‘positive’ (self-fashioned with the aid of knowledge you acquire on the issues) standard, instead of it just tagging along being defined by what it’s against or what it’s not, which in the long run is self-defeating because its form and content are lacking and dependent on something else.

    Anyway, I love this site, keep it up! ;D

  27. rockman29 says:

    This deserves more than a million gold stars *tears*

  28. Glottis1 says:

    Good thing RPS crew can admit when they have made a mistake. I dont have problem with with all these political stories in itself, but in the delivery.

    • jrodman says:

      That seems like a very big reach on a comment that could be read many ways.

  29. Shiny says:

    “It’s not “declaring war” or anything else so hyperbolic”

    You knew what you were doing and how it would play it out. I’ve put up with the site’s revolting insertion of its smarmy, moralistic politics into games for one reason – because the site covers interesting games. That’s not enough of a reason anymore. Bye.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I’m unsure you’re using the word “revolting” properly there. I think “revolting” in this case would refer to something distasteful or repugnant, such as bigotry or hate speech. Perhaps I’m mistaking it with another context.

  30. Brinx says:

    Having been a silent reader here for a while, I now just felt, I had something to write about this.

    First: The main reason I read RPS (and also the main reason I quit reading other gaming sites) is your attitude towards the issues you care about. (Those being the issues I care about too.) A perfect example for this is the article about Misogyny and sexism John linked to in responding to a comment above. I am sure that the people who don’t want to read about those issues can just skip the articles or (if it’s just too much for them) go to another site. For me personally it’s very important that there is a site that covers these issues.

    Second: I completely understand and support your decision to boycott PAX. The arguments for doing so are valid and made abundantly clear in the article.

    Third: I am a little bit disappointed by this reaction to the criticism though. (Although I haven’t read the whole comment section under the original article.) You have to understand (And I’m actually quite sure you do.) that issues of sexism, homophobia, transphobia, racism, etc. are political issues. So your decision to boycott PAX is a political decision. Even when you write that this is only your personal decision it doesn’t make that decision any less political. And here’s the thing: It is okay for a gaming site to take a political stance and frankly it is refreshing to read articles that do so.

    That’s all from me. I’m not a native speaker, but I still hope everything has become clear.

    • cpt_freakout says:


      However, this commitment needs even more time to grow. I think it’s great, and I think it will be good for the little piece of gaming that is influenced in any way by RPS.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think that was mainly John arguing that RPS doesn’t have an institutional stance, but rather the combined personal stances of its writers, and that personal opinions can be and are political. Which is fair enough in of itself, although of course by running a fairly high-profile blog RPS has some responsibility for what it says (much as Penny Arcade does).

      • The Random One says:

        Agreed. I love RPS, but John et al can’t just keep flipping the switch between “serious journalism site” and “goofy blog I run with some friends lol”. Otherwise the Silence articles are moot, because why should you expect Ubisoft and Deep Silver to respond to a goofy blog? RPS shows up on Steam’s news feed to millions of people, and while goofy blog works for the articles’ style, it doesn’t work for its corporate policies. (Also not having half your writing staff listed makes you look sloppy.) (But if tomorrow the main page title is “Rock Paper Shotgun: a goofy blog I run with my friends lol” I’ll forgive you.)

        • P.Funk says:

          “…but John et al can’t just keep flipping the switch between “serious journalism site” and “goofy blog I run with some friends lol”.”

          Why not? I have an issue with the sense that you cannot be serious about certain issues while still retaining that joie de vivre. I get drunk with my friends, we play computer games, cook food, yell at the hockey game, talk about ridiculous shit and yes even get serious about serious things. If people happened to like listening to us, like thousands of people maybe, then maybe we’d actually be conscious about our seriousness and still enjoy our pointlessness equally.

  31. Ansob says:

    But of course what we’re perceived as is Major Gaming Site RPS Boycotts PAX.

    Wasn’t this the entire point of boycotting PAX? What’s the force of your personal dislike if it’s not also RPS using its position in the games journo industry to put pressure on PA for the shitty things they’ve done?

    It’d be nice if this article made it 100% clear that RPS is, in fact, boycotting PAX and thinks PA have done wrong, because this sort of feels like you’re going back on the – laudable – position you were adopting yesterday with regards to PA.

    (Yes, I know, it’s probably not meant to come across as that, but it does to me!)

  32. Ein0r says:

    I dont get why the last PAX post was understood wrong. You told your readers that you wont go to Pax because of several reasons and you named some of them. I dont know what was wrong with it? It wasnt an article of Journalism anyway, although you showed some facts. It was just one big pile of personal statement and you tried to justify your oppinion.
    Many people were upset because they have the image that the boycott is inacceptable, especially because you want to be taken serious as journalists. It would be the same as if German media would stop to report about British and American news just because they dont like how those two countries handle things, and the issue that got that ball rolling would have been the GCHQ and NSA data scandal.

    If you dont like something then report about it in a negative way, to warn people, to open your readers eyes, to arouse attention on a specific case. But stopping to attend/report is like giving up, especially for reporters. not attending at all feels as if reporter are knowingly turning a blind eye on the issue.

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think the problem being mentioned here is that the first paragraph overshadowed an article about *other* people responding to the issue. It wasn’t supposed to be a piece solely devoted to RPS’s response to it.

    • airmikee99 says:

      ” I dont know what was wrong with it?”

      Nothing except the serious lack of reading comprehension skills found within a majority of our species.

  33. Rollin says:

    As an indoctrinated RPS-er I have learnt to respond to apologies like this with moral outrage and boycotting, because it’s not sincere and tells people who disagree with it to leave.

    Also the F-word is in the article and I think that should be censored because it’s sexist.

  34. Bishop99999999 says:

    From a JW post above
    “Good heavens, our lives would be so much lovelier if we didn’t have to read the whining from people who lack perspicacity on such an extraordinarily level that they’re willing to publicly state their opposition to a desire for equality.”

    You need to understand something very important: you cannot use a good cause as an excuse for your own personally rotten behavior. People here aren’t angry because of your stance, they’re angry because of your attitude. You cannot claim someone is “against equality” just because they don’t fall in lockstep with your own beliefs. That is immature and ultimately self-defeating for LGBT rights. Similarly, if you were truly interested in a conversation on the topic, you would be foolish to turn your backs on Penny Arcade. They have facilitated numerous such panels and events and have personally donated thousands to LGBT causes as a direct response to criticism. That is incredibly magnanimous of them, and your response to their actions is to take your ball and go home. I’m not saying you still can’t criticize their speech, but your “all or nothing” attitude is selfish.

    We’re not pro-rape, pro-discrimination, or pro-tying damsels to train tracks. We’re just a disappointed that RPS is so closed minded.

    • John Walker says:

      Please stop trying to speak for some imagined united group! Speak for yourself.

      And, oddly enough, I was not addressing people who simply disagree with us. I was addressing people who openly state their hatred for reading articles that promote equality. I mean, that’s what I wrote and all.

      I also dispute whether it’s magnanimous to try to make a problem go away by throwing money at a charity.

      • Bishop99999999 says:

        You are not promoting equality. You are condemning non-conformity with a very specific position on LGBT issues. Your inability to thank PA for their donation speaks volumes about your “willingness to talk”. And none of those people were “against equality”. They simply didn’t appreciate your uncompromising and abrasive attitude.

        Look, I understand that you feel that you’re fighting the “good fight”. For that very reason you need to be very self-aware, and understand that it’s much easier to forgive yourself for being insulting and argumentative when you think it’s all for a good cause.

        • Heimdall2061 says:

          I would like to add that the people Bishop refers to are not an “imagined group.” I agree wholeheartedly. This group contains at least two people of like mind.

        • HexagonalBolts says:

          Bishop your own post now is sounding rather like you are on an astoundingly high high-horse, are master of all positions on LGBT and rather abrasive. If you really believe in something passionately I think you might do better to kindly explain how you think the site could improve rather than angrily claim ‘you are wrong and unpleasant’.

        • kael13 says:

          I would upvote Bishop, if I could, as s/he has so eloquently expressed my own similar opinion as well.

        • Groove says:

          “Your inability to thank PA for their donation speaks volumes about your “willingness to talk”.”

          He made the point that the PA donation is a gesture that’s meant to silence the issue by throwing money at it. If it’s a hollow and self serving gesture why would he thank them for it?

          It sounds like something out of the house of commons, where not calling a proven thief and liar a ‘honourable gentleman’ would be such a great disrespect that it would silence the issue.

          • jalf says:

            He made the point that the PA donation is a gesture that’s meant to silence the issue by throwing money at it. If it’s a hollow and self serving gesture why would he thank them for it?

            Well, the alternative seems to be a fairly close-minded judgment that brings us back to the tired old “PA is evil and therefore anything good they do can be safely ignored” stance. Their donations to charity don’t count because it is only done to shut up their critics. And their apologies don’t count for the same reason.

            You’re free to feel that way, but it does bring up the question of whether there is anything at all they can do that would make you reconsider your stance towards them. It does seem like their actual actions are fairly irrelevant then, and you’ve just decided that you hate them.

      • Kadayi says:

        Childs Play was not a response/appeasement to the criticism. It’s been in place for a long time.

        • Groove says:

          Childs Play isn’t the charity in question. During the scandal they donated money to specific LBGT charities to show people how they were sympathetic.

          Childs Play is the prime example of the good work that they have done. It’s also a reason why, personally, I don’t want anything to do with PA but I don’t wish them any ill. I just want them to change and be more understanding.

          • Kadayi says:

            And how would you measure that change exactly? By what metric? When do you determine that ‘yes they have changed’? The most you can do is hope that’s someone has changed, but there’s no way to be 100% certain. From what I can tell they have apologized for what they’ve done, and acknowledged that things were mishandled. I can’t see what more they can do beyond that in truth.

  35. MarcP says:

    “and told that we should sit down and shut up and just post the trailers”

    Comments asking you to please stop posting trailers if you hate them so much seem more prevalent lately, but what do I know.

    Props for this article, whether it’s sincere or not it’s a reasonable and reasoned voice in this discussion. Something that is missing from most social justice articles, and likely the biggest reason for the reactions you get.

  36. Anzcm says:

    These/those people at this/that gaming-related site are the good guys on an Internet of dicks. We should continue to support them because the good things they do far outweigh the bad.

  37. Nim says:

    What I would like to see is an explanation of what values RPS feel the Penny Arcade Company possess, what your own values are, and how these clash. The previous article gave me a very strong impression that there is a strong undercurrent of phobia and harassment at the Penny Arcade Expo against sexual minorities, women and other vulnerable groups such as rape victims which I cannot under any circumstance believe exists, seeing what events and discussions are taking place at PAX that highlight these groups. I got this impression after reading each interviewed person’s reply why they were / not were attending PAX in light of this aggressive culture present.

    Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulic, being the source of the penny arcade and the front men for PAX, seem to get the full blame for this toxic culture. The entire Dickwolves saga and how its been handled by all sides is an embarrassment, but my sympathies lie with the guys who received rape and death threats against themselves and their family members. I can understand that their response to this whole mess was less than dignified after receiving such letters, as I do not believe I myself would have reacted much better under such circumstances. The previous article completely omitted this.

    Additionally it was mentioned that Krahulic’s big regret was taking dickwolves merchandize away from the store to cheers from the public. Lacking context entirely, it read like PA, its staff and the entire audience favoured rape which obviously is not the case. When the context is ignored and a single statement is extracted out a longer conversion you can give almost anything the angle you desire and this is something tabloid journalism often favours because it generates publicity. I think you should be better than this, considering what you posted about Video game violence in mainstream media earlier this week.

    That merchandise statement together with John Walker’s comment that Jerry and Mike exercise an ongoing ingrained attitude of intolerance and discrimination against exposed minorities, the strong undercurrent in the article that PAX possess a toxic culture and no benefit of doubt at all being given to the creators suggest to me an outright demonification of Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulic.

    I want balanced discussions here at RPS where each side in a conflict is given fair due to claim their points, not polarized pieces which almost directly attack two individuals who have done considerable good for the entire industry and the minorities which seem to be under attack at PAX, although you wouldn’t know if from reading that article.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I suspect that publishing things that people saw happen at PAX without being able to provide evidence (or even with direct evidence) would lead to legal threats being issued.

      • Premium User Badge

        zapatapon says:

        Well that’s a rather comfortable statement to make. Are you ‘suspecting’ such things only because they would fit well with your own vision, or have you actually heard or read testimonies of some people afraid to recount some ‘incidents’ they witnessed at PAX?

        Just to be clear, this is not intended as a snide comment. As someone who thinks that criticism against PA is well-deserved, but has gone here overboard on the hyperbolic side, I would be ready to change my opinion based on more concrete reports about the reality of the ‘toxic atmosphere’ at PAX. I have a hard time believing that, assuming multiple such incidents have happened, none of it would surface on the internet.

        • Sheng-ji says:

          I was at PAX and I saw stuff related to this that I would not publish even under the veil of anonymity that the RPS comments board provides:

          1) Because I saw it, I have no proof, no evidence.

          2) Talking about specific incidents would divert away from the actual argument into tit for tat about those individual incidents.

          3) I am scared by libel law and the carefully worded disclaimer I signed – I have worked too hard to provide a comfortable life for my family to have it all taken away to support RPS in this.

          4) I want to go back next year to promote my next game

          • Nim says:

            Sorry Sheng-Ji but that’s not good enough for me. You are anonymous to me, you could be anyone on the internet. You say you were at PAX, that you are a game-developer who have seen something questionable occur, that you have signed a disclaimer (almost sounds like a NDA from your post) but I have no way of knowing if all of this is true. You won’t say who did what when to whom and why and no proof of any sort that this has taken place has been provided to me. Someone did something to someone else in some form somewhen at PAX that you find unacceptable. How do you expect to convince someone who has not been there in person with such arguments? The burden lies on the accusers to provide proof. Maybe RPS really should go to PAX and do some proper investigative journalism!

    • Gap Gen says:

      I think the problem with the issue is that PA is run as the mouthpiece for two individuals who rose from relative internet obscurity to be gaming celebrities of sorts. So there’s no corporate line (much as John is arguing happens at RPS). People tweet stupid stuff all the time and make reprehensible comments, and the world keeps turning. But with power comes responsibility as Batman said*, and the issue with PA is not that they’re all-out bigots, but that they lack the professionalism and corporate responsibility that comes with being so influential. I don’t believe PA has a stated agenda to marginalise rape victims and transgender people, but rather the two people in charge of the company say things without thinking and then act defensively in the face of criticism – which is a very human and understandable thing to do, but when you’re that influential you really don’t have the luxury of just being another asshole on the internet. It’s like how politicians are judged more heavily than you’d judge people you know – they’ve somewhat chosen to be in the public eye and as a result have more onus to avoid saying certain things.

      *Yes I know.

      • jrodman says:

        I don’t think it’s so much the defensiveness in the face of error, but rather the deliberate antagonizing afterwards.

  38. Kadayi says:


  39. TheGrinningMan says:

    The “great article by a brilliant writer” was full of out-of-context incidents (explained by MC Fronalot at link to plus.google.com ), vague accusations (“countless gut-churning incidents,”), and needless hyperbole of the sort that would make a Breitbart.com op-ed look level-headed (“Penny Arcade’s tangled two-headed hydra of a creative force”) . I am completely in favor of RPS actually caring about gaming culture and its flaws, make no mistake, but the fact remains that Grayson’s article represents an ugly low point for RPS’s otherwise excellent coverage of these issues.

    • Gap Gen says:

      That’s an excellent article, but I should point out that Nathan actually made the same point, if you read his article in its entirety and not just the editorial note at the start. Nathan interviewed people who believed that staying to fight the notion that PAX is unfriendly to women and LGBT issues is important, and said as much.

      • SpectralThundr says:

        How are they offensive to women and GLBT folks when PAX actually has panels involving said people on topics of equality of woman and minorites in gaming?

        You people rallying against PA are actually rallying against the very causes you supposedly support in the first place. It’s so comical to watch.

  40. Jack_Dandy says:

    “And here’s a crucial thing: Our opinions change. We’ll keep listening to people, be argued with, and hear people point out why they think we’re wrong”

    You forget the “…and delete any dissenting opinion from the comments section” part.

    • horus_lupercal says:

      “You forget the “…and delete any dissenting opinion from the comments section” part.”

      Really? I just skimmed the comment section from the previousa rticle and there were plenty of dissenting comments, including comments belittling rape survivors, there. There may have been some comments deleted but to claim that any dissenting comment is deleted is plain incorrect.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Those were really horrible comments, the one’s about rape survivors. I really never imagined i’d read stuff like that in our community.

    • VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      …and delete any dissenting opinion from the comments section

      You haven’t been reading the comments to this piece or the previous PAX piece, have you? Piles and piles of dissenting opinion, often very strongly stated.

      • Kadayi says:

        I’m sure the edit beavers will be working their way through them eventually.

        • airmikee99 says:

          When do they start deleting dissent? Because it’s all still there in yesterdays article, and it’s all still here in todays article. So comments haven’t been deleted while the articles are still fresh, if they wait until the article is no longer being read, why does it matter if comments are being deleted?

          I’m sure you’re just pissed off that RPS doesn’t support your bigotry.

    • Gap Gen says:

      It actually says that on every page, just above the comment box.

      • SuicideKing says:

        Which is very funny, since most people complain about this, despite at least having read the notice once.

    • Jack_Dandy says:

      It’s only because the article generated 1000+ responses.
      He couldn’t possibly “moderate” them all. Why’d you think he even made THIS article? Nothing more than damage control since a shitload of people got pissed at the original one.

      In smaller political articles, most conflicting opinions are simply deleted and the poster muted.

      • SuicideKing says:

        “We do not have a freedom of speech policy here. If we find your post offensive, or just don’t like it, it may get deleted. Complaining about it won’t change anything.”

        Deal with it?

        Note: If this appears to be actively defending RPS, well, yes, it is, because heck, if you’re going to actively attack them (aggressively and/or without reason), I/we/someone has to balance it out.

      • Gap Gen says:

        That’s not true. RPS doesn’t delete all dissenting comments. But if they contain things that RPS finds distasteful (which includes sexism, I suspect) then they might be deleted. I suppose the alternative is to start a tumblr and post opinions there.

        • Kadayi says:

          Please. I’ve gone back to threads and seen entire sections removed before. There’s no accountability or record.

          • airmikee99 says:

            Please, provide some evidence to back up your claim.

            Otherwise you’re just dripping bullshit from your keyboard.

          • ffordesoon says:

            I’d imagine that’s because saying anything about why a given comment got deleted is A) time-consuming, and B) just makes you want to read the comment to see what was so bad.

            I’ve had comments deleted before, Kadayi. Sometimes it was because what I said was mean. Sometimes it was because I was joining a debate that was going nowhere productive. Both of those reasons were inferred after the fact; I still don’t know why at least a couple of them were deleted. That doesn’t bother me, because it’s not my website.

    • alw says:

      If that were true, there would be no dissenting opinions in the comments. There pretty obviously are, so pretty obviously you’re full of it.

  41. Archer666 says:

    Cheers, nice piece. I respect your opinion but will continue attending PAX.

  42. Engonge says:

    Yes, people have the right to complain about how they are alienated in the “gaming” community.
    But scores of people die in syria everyday. They get to complain more.

    Stop talking like its the gravest situation on earth, its not. People fucking die everyday. But somehow discrimanatory attitude towards lgbt is more important than human lives. Thats why this is bullcrap, thats why you are hypocrats. You are so lost in your liberal, social justice fantasies that you have no idea where your priorities should lie.
    If you are going to talk about something serious, talk about this. If not, just stop acting like the knights of aequitas.

    • Llewyn says:

      You’re right! There are lots of grave issues in the world! So why do you want a blog to waste time writing about games? Why are you trying to waste time reading about games? Why are you wasting even more time commenting on a games blog writing about issues around gaming, when you could be out doing something constructive for the people of Syria?

      • Engonge says:

        The whole point was getting your priorities straight and hypocrisy. But you are so worked up about answering you missed the point completely I’m afraid. I choose to argue about none of it, but if one serious subject is to be talked about, I’d rather talk about life than socially unacceptable situations.

        I live in Turkey, each week just my neighbourhood sends truck loads of clothes and food to the eastern part of our country where almost 500,000 Syrians live. I am going there personally for the 4th time on 20th of October.

        So you see, when you act like an asshole and assume everyone just sits on their butt, sometimes you may be wrong and also an asshole

        • Sheng-ji says:

          But even Syria is not the worst problem this world has, why would you waste your precious time sending these clothes to them when you could be helping to cure diseases in Africa?

          • Machinations says:

            What are you doing Sheng? You earlier in the comments state that you have witnessed many abhorrent (my word) acts at PAX, but you are *afraid* to name them – even under cover of anonymity. If things are so bad, allude to them obliquely; give some kind of anecdote. Instead, you simply throw out an accusation, without specifics.

            Now thats the kind of dedication that changes the world, amirite?

          • RHGillen says:

            I’m not sure whether civil war and disease rank differently on the “serious matters to worry about” scale.

            I’d say there’s a point in between the ‘let’s blow every perceived injustice completely out of proportion’ and the ‘let’s ignore lesser injustices because there’s much worse out there’ that people try to fit in between. For example, I believe providing a comfortable environment and culture is a noble cause. If a person, or organization, somehow impugns on that cause, what is the appropriate action? In this case, RPS believes a boycott is. Some agree, and some disagree. I happen to disagree. If a country bombs your towns, well, the appropriate action is probably to start a war. If someone is rude to me, I ignore them. If someone spits on me, well, the reaction will probably be different than ignoring them.

            I’m really only stating the obvious here, but I think RPS’s reaction and being critical of it or insinuating it is an overreaction is a perfectly reasonable and legitimate point of view. I also think it is perfectly reasonable to believe RPS is doing exactly the right thing and their actions are of the appropriate magnitude. Personally I don’t believe boycotting leads to any form of understanding or reconciliation. I believe boycotting is in general a hostile mode of action that should be used when an individual or group is participating in such overwhelmingly unsavory behavior that a hostile boycott that has the intent of getting the other side to capitulate – not out of understanding -, but out of fear of economic loss or threat of their well being would be justified. I don’t think that is at all useful or justified in this instance. I do not agree with the US boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics, by the way. But I am sure there are plenty that did. I disagree with RPS here, but I can’t imagine boycotting them over this.

          • SpectralThundr says:

            And after people’s lives I would think making sure we don’t melt down again financially would be higher on the list as well, before pushing forth social agendas in video games.

            It’s a shame that those on the left are only concerned with feelings rather than more important on the list priorities.

        • Llewyn says:

          Highlighting why what you write is nonsensical is not being an asshole. However

          You are a waste of oxygen. I hope you die in a pit alone.

          is being an asshole.

      • Engonge says:

        It has a name so I must be wrong? Thats quite an argument you got there.. I am quite impressed.

        • airmikee99 says:

          Yes, 100% correct. There are always bigger problems to worry about, who cares if women and transgenders feel bullied, who cares about people dying in Syria, the sun is eventually going to explode and destroy the planet, so why bother doing anything about anything, right?

          If you don’t like it, maybe you should use arguments that aren’t so easily dismissed and ignored because they’re.. well….. stupid.

          • Engonge says:

            I meant as in immediate problems the world faces, and syria was an example.

            You exaggerating my example is not in anyway helping you, on the contrary it shows how weak, loose minded, primitive you are. You are a waste of oxygen. I hope you die in a pit alone.

            I am sorry for not being pretentious as you are and being honest. Obviously you dont deserve honesty, have fun in that fantasy world of yours, pretending to care about anything by clicking, sharing, twitting, posting about it.

          • airmikee99 says:

            Ah, back to ad hominem.. you’re just full of fallacy today, aren’t you?

            *Note, I said your argument was stupid, not you. But I guess being weak and primitive has left me able to distinguish between the speaker and what was spoken, hopefully I can evolve to your level so I don’t have to worry about such petty nuances.

        • Synesthesia says:

          But wait, eventually we will all go extinct, and the universe will end in entropic heat, so that sgotta be more important right?

        • alw says:

          No, your argument makes no sense, THAT’S why you’re wrong..

        • Eddy9000 says:

          No, you’re wrong because your argument follows a very obvious logical fallacy. That this logical fallacy has a name is neither here nor there, although it does help us summarise why you are wrong a bit more succinctly.

    • Gap Gen says:

      And, of course, Operation Barbarossa killed far more people than Syria, so clearly Syria is not an important problem either. Or what the other commenters said.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Because the 7 billion people on the planet can’t multi-task.

      Because all parts of a car try to carry out fuel combustion.

      Because all parts of the computer show you this web page.

      Because fins and legs don’t achieve the same basic goal.

      Because you make sense.

  43. Sinderlin says:

    To all those complaining about RPS’s coverage of gender and LGBT equality:

    I care deeply for these issues because one of my most avid gamer friends is gay, another one is trans and my gamer sister is, well, a woman. And right now there are many games that act like those people I love and care about don’t exist. They give your character a bunch of romance options if the character is straight and male but women only get a dweeb like Anomen and same sex romances are completely left out.

    Then there are those games that show a lot of stuff that makes me uncomfortable when I’m trying to recommend them to one of those people or when I’m talking about it with them. We are not Social Justice Warriors. We are people who care about each other and happen to share a hobby that routinely makes us uncomfortable because so many people in this industry behave like my little circle of gamer friends and family is a fairy tale that a bunch of over zealous “radical feminists” made up. No! These people are real and their discomfort is real! We are not trying to push an agenda. We are trying to enable each other to enjoy great games.

    So when I read a post about gender and LGBT issues on RPS I’m glad that there are people in this industry striving for change and I’m very grateful to the RPS writing staff for providing me and my friends with news to discuss. And yes, sometimes we’re just glad to get a warning: This game may make you uncomfortable.

    Because it’s not just showing abuse of women that makes us uncomfortable, it’s the fact that these things suddenly show up in a game we had a lot of fun with so far. Imagine watching a fun little romantic comedy with your wife/girlfriend and suddenly, without any warning or indication in the film’s tone so far, the female protagonist is raped by one of her dates.

    Getting blind sided like this by something you just want to enjoy and did thoroughly enjoy so far is just messed up. So we appreciate when the RPS staff points out in their WITs: “This game might shock you”.

    If these things detract from your enjoyment of gaming news I can only say to you: Sucks to be you. There are people out there who come to RPS for these little warnings and their solidarity. Why should RPS stop caring about these people just so you can get a service (just the gaming news) that plenty of other sites already provide.

    So I bid you farewell. And maybe we will see each other again when you’ve met your first of those mythical creatures: The gaming non-male. [edit: should read “the gaming non-(straight and cis-gendered male)”]

    • Hahaha says:

      “So I bid you farewell. And maybe we will see each other again when you’ve met your first of those mythical creatures: The gaming non-male.”

      Jesus, your more of the problem than you think… Woman gamers aren’t mythical creatures

      • Sinderlin says:

        Do you know and understand the concept of sarcasm?

        • Hahaha says:

          Nope and what the hell is this

          “Because it’s not just showing abuse of women that makes us uncomfortable, it’s the fact that these things suddenly show up in a game we had a lot of fun with so far. Imagine watching a fun little romantic comedy with your wife/girlfriend and suddenly, without any warning or indication in the film’s tone so far, the female protagonist is raped by one of her dates.”

          • Sinderlin says:

            “Getting blind sided like this by something you just want to enjoy and did thoroughly enjoy so far is just messed up.”

            The very next sentence in the very next paragraph.

          • Bull0 says:

            You ruined his point by putting it in context :( that’s cheating

          • Sinderlin says:

            I’m very sorry, but I can’t help it. People lacking proper reading skills are my pet peeves.

    • Archer666 says:

      As a dude that likes other dudes, I have zero problems with being under-represented in video games. As long as the game is enjoyable, can make me think and doesn’t try to pander to my preferences too much or cram things into it that dont fit, I’m fine.

      • Sinderlin says:

        That’s good for you. Really, this time there’s no sarcasm or snark intended.

        But I know for a fact that not every dude who’s into dudes thinks like you and for those people RPS is a welcome source of input on the issues that matter to them.

        • SpectralThundr says:

          So should we have gay and black quota representation in games now? Else game developers aren’t promoting equality right?

      • Gap Gen says:

        Equally, there’s a difference between being under-represented and being marginalised or made to feel unwelcome by a community. I think it’s important that the issues are raised, because otherwise it’s all to easy for that sort of attitude to become casually accepted.

      • houldendub says:

        I tried to write something much more in depth, but I feel like I can’t get my sentiments into words, so without wanting to be mis-quoted or put my opinion in the wrong way, I’ll just put what I had at the start of this. I like you. Probably mainly because you’re not yelling at us screaming “Muh representation!”, it’s refreshing and nice to see someone with a much more zen attitude to it all.

        I share your sentiments. I’m guilty of being a straight white male so I’m guessing my opinion means jack-all, I also have no problem whatsoever with people who don’t share my sexuality or sex being represented in any form of art, it makes no sense not to in this day and age. But I just don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

        • Sinderlin says:

          May I inquire about your definition of “shoving down your throat”

          Because from reading a lot of the comments on this post I get the impression that merely pointing out the many issues in an industry/art from ripe with them already constitutes “shoving it down your collective throats”.

          Here’s the deal: You don’t get a limit on issues reported per week since (especially the triple A) industry is limitless in its capacity for exploitation, degradation and marginalization. So if you don’t want to hear about it as often as you do either do it like the monkeys who see nothing, hear nothing and speak nothing or help us to reduce the number of incidents/issues in the industry.

          • houldendub says:

            Eh, it’s not really just news on the matter. There’s no magic force making me click on these articles, they just intrigue me. The games don’t help really either (y’know, the reason why we’re all here in the end haha), Mass Effect 3 being a very nice example; The homosexual guy in it, just, didn’t stop going on about him being gay. I get it dude, I got the message from the first line of dialogue you said to me very clearly, you’re homosexual. Every time I went and saw him it was all about his ex-husband, with the game making a point to mention his past lover was a bloke. Which, as I say, is absolutely fine and dandy for this character to be gay, but hell, my sentiment to it is really “who cares?” or “good for you”, I’m sure that would be the line everybody would take if I kept on about being a straight white male. Whereas it actually kinda works in games like Gone Home, where the game is built around the question of “why?”, it’s about finding out the reasons of why things have happened and such. I didn’t personally enjoy the game but I thought that bit (which the internet seemingly got up in arms over) was the only thing well done.

            I guess, hell, I dunno, there’s nothing special about homosexuals. There, I said it. We’re all human beings, I’d love for us to all be treated the same and vice versa, I won’t get in the way and I’ll do what I care to do to improve the situation. There’s only so much I can do as one person though, and getting upset on the internet isn’t a good way of helping, it just looks a bit childish; much akin to death-threats coming from MLP fans. I don’t have the one solution to sort it all out, I don’t think any of us who come from an outside perspective do, and we’d be fools to say otherwise.

            There’s a lot of subjects in the world of videogames that should see more reporting on as well. I can kinda see where people are coming from, a lot of sites only seem to deal with 2 things: videogames, and sex within videogames; yet they get to do it because it falls under the “gaming culture” title. For instance, a site that’s rigorously defended it’s stance on one side of the politics of gaming and reported on it many times, has failed to report on the gaming comments from Nick Clegg regarding GTA5 that came out today. That’s gaming culture, is it not? It’s a part of the culture of games, yet I’ve only seen it reported by a single publication (the last people I thought I’d see that kind of article from), The Guardian. I’m not saying “don’t report on it” at all, I’m saying if you’re gonna use the “it falls under gaming culture” proviso, report on other parts of gaming culture as well.

            I’m always open for discussion though :)

      • gwathdring says:

        Do bear in mind the first word of the “under-represented” compound. Many people feel like, given how many games and characters there are and the relative relevance of this or that facet of identity, they are disproportionately rejected out of hand the assumption being other gamers are more important than they are.

        Also bear in mind that as a heterosexual white male, I don’t always want to be uselessly pandered to *either*. I don’t want game companies to assume that I care more about having someone like me represented than having an interesting game with interesting characters. I don’t want game companies to cram a love interest into everything even when it doesn’t serve the story–let alone cram the exact same relationship dynamic into every game. Games pander to what they think people like me want in games all the time. It gets annoying to ME, you can bet that it gets annoying to people with markedly different identities whether or not it happens to bother you.

        What that ultimately means is not that we need a strict quota that makes everything all perfectly demographically sound. What it means is we need to tear out artificial constraints. We need writers to be able to write characters they care about and protagonists they want to write–not have higher-ups tell them that gay or female characters don’t sell well enough. Minorities are by definition harder to find than non-minorities. Sure. But that doesn’t stop me from knowing people of many national origins, races, religions, orientations, gender-identities, and so forth. And when I play games .. the variety I experience in my day-to-day life starts to crumble. Sometimes people forget how big numbers like 1%, 4%, 6%, 10% are. Throw in numbers like 30%, 26% … quotas utterly aside the variety of video game protagonists is kind of depressing.

  44. toastius says:

    The one thing I would like to see changed about RPS’s editorial style is a little less stridency. Not the passion, not the opinion, but the creeping, tabloid-esque assumption in much of the editorialising that telegraphs “we are Right and they are Wrong”.

    To (attempt to) be clear, I am not advocating wishy-washy moral relativism, and again, I am not questioning *what* is covered. I would just prefer to see more of the editorial content couched in a way that acknowledges that we are all fallible, and combines a clear moral sense with an understanding that the issue – any issue – is inevitably more complex than the author initially comprehends.

    When editorials meet this bar, they come across (to me at least) as thoughtful, compelling and motivating. When they miss it, I find the unjustified self-assurance unpleasant, hectoring and ultimately unconvincing. It’s also, IME, this latter type of journalism that most frequently over-reaches in its arguments and presentation, and finds itself needing to issue apologies.

    Trust those who seek the truth, doubt those who claim to have found it.

    • TheGrinningMan says:

      I only partially agree. RPS does need to realize that not everybody they disagree with is necessarily bigoted, and that even among those of us who care about progress, there is plenty of room for civil disagreement. So, as a general rule of thumb, you’re right.

      But there are times where one side really is just plain wrong. You don’t have to feign “neutrality” when dealing with creationists, flat-earthers, or austerian economists — to do so is to fall victim to the Golden Mean fallacy. (link to en.wikipedia.org )

      • Bull0 says:

        I’m still waiting for RPS’ creationism debunk article. Maybe KG and Rab can do it – in the form of a video where they make toy dinosaurs have make-up sex

        I’d actually pay a lot of money for this

      • toastius says:

        I’m not asking for neutrality, feigned or otherwise – this is about editorial content, which is expected to take a clear position. Rather, I’m asking for editorial content which is sufficiently self-aware to recognise its own fallibility, and to frame itself with that in mind – not because I’m trying to marginalise its opinion, but rather because I feel it’s self-marginalizing by not doing so. I’m making this criticism because I *agree* with the message, and I feel that the delivery is undermining it.

        • jrodman says:

          I think you’re suggesting the tone is not always on-point. Or that you’d prefer a different tone.

          It’s hard to say which it is, from any particular individual perspective.

          I assume they run articles by each other? That would seems to be the correct step to take. Not sure what else you can do.

        • TheGrinningMan says:

          It seems I misread your comment, then. My apologies.

          • toastius says:

            At least partially down to my poor wording. Apology unneeded/accepted as desired, and please accept one of mine in return :)

        • P.M. Gleason says:

          Basically, you expect them to take a clear position on an issue, but you want the delivery to be ambiguous and self-degrading to the point where you feel they may or may not actually believe the words being written?

          This is one of the most confusing comments I’ve read on this site. Nobody likes passive language, particularly when used to frame an argument on a relatively volatile subject. That’s, like, Rhetoric 101.

          • RHGillen says:

            Do you prefer when politicians are unyielding, with a holier-than-thou attitude on whatever position they take? And if I said buying and playing anything in the Grand Theft Auto series helps support violent culture, sexism and absolving of criminal behavior, then insisted this was true and that anyone that disagreed was wrong and supporting those things, would you prefer that opinion to a more nuanced one? Perhaps if I mentioned how I enjoy playing the series, but have reservations regarding how some things are depicted and used to entertain in such a way that may make some people uncomfortable? Is RPS going to be boycotting GTA V when it arrives on PC? A lot more people are going to be influenced by the content of that series than anything PA tweets about.

            I think a lot of us appreciate nuanced positions. I’m completely OK with RPS boycotting PAX. I don’t agree with it. But what I don’t like is the portrayal in several of the comments that they are on the side of right and equality and opponents of their article or decision are not or somehow blocking the promotion of equality. I prefer a “we believe PA is wrong, this is why” without demonizing those that say “I don’t believe PA is as bad as you portray, or that you should boycott PAX, this is why”. I prefer my politicians not to take extreme, hard line positions that attempt to draw a line down the middle and I prefer the same from journalists. John has some comments that I feel do just that – draw a line down the middle. You don’t have to disparage or discredit your own opinions to avoid adopting a “well, I’m right and THAT’S THAT” type of opinion.

  45. Cockles says:

    There are a few comments on these articles whereby people state there intention to “leave” and stop reading in response to your attitude. I will do the opposite, so to speak, and appluad the fact that you are taking a stance for something you believe in.

    It’s good that recognise you are in a position of priviledge purely in the world of gaming, purely through being male, and are empathetic to those who are not. You could have lacked the self-awareness to recognise this and reacted differently, maybe bury your head in the sand and ignore the issue, or perhaps just become hostile to those who think there is something wrong with encouraging prejudice. I also applaud your openness to being wrong, making mistakes and changing approaches/opinions.

    This is good site to read about games so keep doing what you do.

    • Hahaha says:

      They did exactly that for the first years of the site and they seem to be ignoring that fact now.

  46. MrBlooDeck says:

    What an elaborate parody of PA’s reaction to the original comic!

    I enjoyed the original article at least, it promoted a lot of debate, some good, some bad (not in terms of their opinions but in terms of their actual arguments since a lot of people just ended up being inflammatory) which is a whole lot more interesting than the announcement of another sequel/Deus Ex Human Revolution trailer.

  47. Stardreamer says:

    I’ve been a reader and commenter here for several years now. There are RPS writers no longer posting here that I greatly miss – people who cannot be simply ‘replaced’. But in general the quality of the site has always remained high.

    What I have noticed in my time here is the cancerous rise of a very voluble section of the commenters moaning and whingeing about every article they don’t like, who wield their a-politicism as a club and generally aren’t averse to disparaging the writers. Some of the comments from yesterday were complete over-reactions, some were more-of-the-same hateful garbage, while others seemed determined to prosetlyise their own ignorance and lack of empathy as worthwhile human goals. I find nothing objectionable in the articles, but often despair at the comments beneath.

    I saw nothing wrong with yesterday’s post. Opinions were stated. Positions were made very clear. The uproar that followed was well out of proportion for the crime, many people demonstrably having not read much of Nathan’s article at all. Reading comprehension fails abounded. Such is the internet, you may say. But it never used to be like this here. Or at least not as bad.

    I look forward to no longer seeing some of these reactionary buffoons around the place any more, now that they’ve stated their desires to seek new pastures.

    • BruceFnLee says:

      “What I have noticed in my time here is the cancerous rise of a very voluble section of the commenters moaning and whingeing about every article they don’t like”

      Do you not realize that this is now essentially what RPS itself is doing? Whining about words?

      • SuicideKing says:

        And that’s different from what you’re doing, how?

        • RedViv says:

          “Stop using words to whine about words,” he worded his whining about words.

    • SuicideKing says:

      I’ve only been here for a year (or less?), but i feel the same way…

      Same thing about the article, didn’t find it troubling. Interestingly, the comment about PA fans being rabid was pretty much spot on, it seems.

      • Spudder says:

        As far as rabid PA fans go, I’d suggest a look at the forums before we say too much.
        link to forums.penny-arcade.com
        There’s a thread about this, where the thread is split 50/50 for people making fun of the OP for being silly, and the other half is agreeing with RPS.

        I know it’s only the forum, and not representative on the entire fan-base, but the PA forums are *stellar* with social issues in general, and (especially for the internet) LGBT people. I’d say that post quality there beats the comments here hands-down.

  48. BruceFnLee says:

    Okay, this is officially ridiculous in my eyes. Words. We are talking about not covering a PC gaming event because of being offended by words. It’s absurd and asinine, no matter how much you try to convince us that it’s what needs to be done.

    If you guys are so offended by WORDS, whatever those words may be, that you’re unable to do your job and report on PC gaming, then it is YOUR problem, not ours, yet you’re making it our problem.

    I’m in complete agreement that there’s misogyny and other problems in gaming, but this is a) not your job and b) hindering your performance. RPS is slipping hard.

    • SuicideKing says:

      Well, your post here, and much of the hate and negativity towards RPS and its writers so far have been because of Words and the promise of a Lack of Words in the future about a particular topic.

      So today we have confirmed that words offend people. Let us celebrate with a bottle of wine and a game of rock, paper, shotgun.

    • Brigand says:

      “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
      Has that been beaten into you your whole life perchance? You commented like three times within minutes of yourself ranting about the “WORDS!” like some delusional doomsayer, as if words can’t convey meaning or opinion. It was just bizarre.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      I love it when people tell self employed people what their job is.

      • stahlwerk says:

        In the comment section of a moderately successful blog, no less.

      • Bull0 says:

        I just assumed he’s the new editor. I mean, he says they’re “slipping hard” – he’s clearly got the report sitting right on his desk in front of him

    • Groove says:


      • Lambchops says:

        What would you do
        If my heart was torn in two
        More than words to show you feel
        That your love for me is real
        What would you say
        If I took those words away
        Then you couldn’t make things new
        Just by saying I love you

        As Westlife once sang.

        • Bull0 says:


          • Lambchops says:

            Sticks and stones may break your bones but terrible pop covers will rend your soul.

            As the saying goes.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Don’t bring me down,


    • Eddy9000 says:

      Words are symbolic representations of meaning, it is obviously not the squiggles themselves that we are arguing over or the noise these squiggles make when our brain codes them into a series of soundwaves through our mouths, it is the meaning and associated practices that these words represent which is the issue at stake.

      All language is referential, political and transformative.

      As for the bit of your post where you seem to think it’s okay to tell writers on their own website how to do their job, I’m afraid I have nothing useful to say about that and any comment I try to make just descends into hurtful and personally insulting rhetoric; the RPS team could spend a week posting about wig fashions in 1780’s Paris and it still wouldn’t be your place to tell them they shouldn’t. Here’s an idea, go and set up your own shitty little website that does nothing but say how games play and what they look like and all of the 3 boring, ignorant friends you’ve managed to scrape together by giving away the chocolate bars from your packed lunch at school can read it and pretend that women, gay men, ethnic minorites and trans people just smile and coninue happily when they switch on a computer game or read a game related story on a website and come across at best yet another white straight male power figure or at worst an outright resentment of their existence that echoes the various abuses they have endured throughout their life.

      Oh look what you made me do there, I really didn’t want to go off at you but I couldn’t control myself. Your fault.

    • P.M. Gleason says:

      Fine, then. Go speak for yourself. – Words

  49. Hungry Hungarian says:

    I agree that Nathan’s article is well-written and it’s unfortunate it’s been overshadowed by the editorial gaffe, because the article is nuanced enough that it could have encouraged thoughtful discussion yesterday. Oh well. In any case, what stuck with me after reading his article was the agreement, from all the aggrieved parties Nathan interviewed, that whether you choose to work the issue from within (attend) or without (boycott), you’re helping the cause. It’s good to see respect between members of a social movement when they discuss each others’ seemingly-at-odds tactics, rather than the all-too-common infighting.

    I was at this year’s PAX, and I attended the panel mentioned in Nathan’s article (Achieving Gender Diversity in Gaming: OK, Now What?) and other panels that discussed gender issues in gaming. As a straight white male, I don’t have any skin in the game, but I was happy to see PAX host so many talks on the subject. The panels and the audience had a really good vibe, and it made me feel that Mike and Jerry’s hearts must be in the right place, despite the fact that they’re undermining the message of those panels by perpetuating the Controversy.

    I hope RPS will reconsider its PAX boycott. I think Nathan can do a lot of good by reporting from the inside, and amplifying the positive messages presented at the panels. I think he should even consider getting behind the mic at a panel next year!

    • spleendamage says:

      This is so exactly spot on, but take it further.
      It also would be such a weird thing to voluntarily stop covering something you disagree with, when that’s precisely your opportunity to shine light on the issues.

      In repressive regimes, they usually restrict the rights of journalists so the powers that be don’t look bad as a result of having their activities revealed to the general populace. It typically isn’t the journalists opting just not to cover the issues from the inside because they disagree.