The Sunday Papers

Sundays are for doing Sunday Papers, though my record of proving that true has been poor so far in 2018. Apologies for that. I return today with a selection of the best games writing from the past fortnight, and I think it’s a great haul.

You’ve probably heard of outsourcing being used in the creation of videogames, but the practice is more widespread than you likely realised. This article by Michael Thomsen is fascinating, talking to outsourcing companies about the work they do and specifically charting how Horizon: Zero Dawn was made with the help of 18 different companies.

In China, a job in the games industry is seen as a path to a white-collar career, not a form of self-destruction. All of the current employees I spoke to were happy with their working conditions. Days start between 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., and most leave around 6:00 p.m. or 7:00 p.m., though some stay late to socialize or play games from the company’s research library. There is overtime, sometimes a lot of it. When it’s done because a client has moved a deadline up or added new requirements to an existing contract, they’ll typically pay the overages. If it’s the result of the team running behind schedule, Virtuos says it offers employees paid days off after the project’s over to make up for the extra hours. Lulu Zhang, who worked for two years at Virtuos’s Shanghai office before getting hired as a concept artist at Creative Assembly in England, told me she always felt fairly paid. She described the working conditions as “not necessarily the best in the industry, but quite acceptable.” Though she left the company in 2013, she still remembers her time there fondly. “Without Virtuos, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she told me over email.

I’ve still never played a Yakuza game – I’m now holding out for them to come to PC – but I was fascinated to read about the process of translating them from their original Japanese. Good translations are always more than swapping the words out, and this interview gets into the challenges of converting humour and cultural references for a new audience.

One of the perfect examples is, [in Yakuza 0] Majima encounters this…did you play the substory where he goes to infiltrate a cult? In that substory, one of the options he has is to crack a pun, in order to get this girl to snap out of her cult tendencies. So in Japanese, that pun is “futon ga futon da”, which means “a futon is a futon” or, “a futon flies.” It’s a pun on words. It’s basically a “why did the chicken cross the road” kind of joke.

If we literally translated that, it wouldn’t work. If we put in “why did the chicken cross the road?” it’s not much of a pun; it doesn’t feel in line with Majima’s character.

Paul Ford mixes eulogy and operating system history in this wonderful article, The Sixth Stage of Grief is Retro-Computing. It’s hard to pick a single quote which encapsulates the whole article, which is nostalgic, heartfelt, occasionally biting, and packed with interesting detail. But this is good:

This is Windows. It is a layer above an operating system called MS-DOS. It was made by a company in Seattle. It changed the world economy by being all things to all people. You can no longer be all things to all people when it comes to computers, but Microsoft keeps trying. Windows is an accurate representation of what people expect from computers, which on one hand is fascinating and the other is a tragedy.

‘When the AI fights itself’ is one of RPS’s favourite subjects, and so I’m excited to learn Monster Hunter World’s fauna enjoys a good scrap among themselves. Rich Stanton at Kotaku has written in praise of the way these intra-monster squabbles can affect your hunt.

As this all suggests, the magic of the monsters fighting each other is the unpredictability. Sometimes you’ll be cruising on a hunt when all of a sudden a bigger and fiercer monster takes an interest in your prey, and the hunt’s danger level shifts way up. Other times you’ll be getting a kicking and then a wildcard pops up, not only doing damage that will help out the hunting crew but distracting a nasty monster long enough for everyone to heal and get ready for round two.

Alex Wiltshire, also of this parish, wrote in Eurogamer last week about how genres form. Using PUBG and Fortnite as the starting point, Alex picks at when a game stops having clones and starts having genremates, and which Fortnite qualifies as.

No matter how strong the idea, it generally takes a single game to make it explode. Once that exemplar appears, others rush to replicate it and accusations of cloning abound. For the first-person shooter, it was Doom. The market was awash with ‘Doom-clones’ during the mid ’90s, until the genre became known as the FPS. That’s despite the fact that Doom wasn’t the first FPS by a long shot, but it was the first to capture a profound sense of being in an all-out action world, using lighting, sound and complexity of geometry to such effect that it’s still a delight to play today. Many games followed it to recapture and build on the magic: Dark Forces, Duke Nukem, Chex Quest.

So you want to compete with Steam. How do you do that? Game developer Lars Doucet runs through the challenges of taking on Valve’s behemoth, explains why you probably shouldn’t bother, and lays out what he argues are the only way to compete if you’re really determined. I also get a lot of emails about new digital storefronts, but after the first couple of emails they tend to disappear…

Unfortunately, you can’t just build a better mousetrap, because you’ll be absolutely murdered by Steam’s impenetrable network effects. Even if every aspect of your service is better than Steam’s in every possible way, you’re still up against the massive inertia of everybody already having huge libraries full of games on Steam. Their credit cards are registered on Steam, their friends all play on Steam, and most importantly, all the developers, and therefore all the games, are on Steam.

In Death By A Thousand Paper Cuts, Thea Miller paints a picture of how women are discouraged from becoming more ingrained in the Magic: The Gathering community. As with most sexism, it’s not through big, overt acts, but lots of little differences. An interesting read if you run or attend gaming events of any kind, I think.

Women in Magic have a marked lack of social capital, which is the interpersonal relationships, networks, resources, and other social assets of a society or group that can be used to gain advantage and mobility. Moreover, women are also disproportionately subjected to unwanted and unpleasant microaggressions: the seemingly small, indirect, subtle, or unintentional acts of discrimination against members of a marginalized group. In the opening fictional narrative, the narrator takes all the steps that her male counterparts do in order to learn the game she loves. However, the repeated, unwanted, intrusive behaviors from the male player base keep her from ever fully fitting in and developing the skills, resources, and community that would allow her to perform at the levels of her male peers.

Around 5 years ago developer Rusty Moyher was diagnosed with a repetitive strain injury. The only way to stop the pain is to not use his hands, but that hasn’t stopped him making games. In Coding Without A Keystroke, Sam Machkovech talks to Moyher and tells the story of how he rigged voice recognition software and a head tracker so he could still code and draw pixel art for his new game Dig Dog.

The word “slap” hits the return key once; “two slap” hits it twice. Say “camel” before saying a phrase like “this is variable” out loud, and it’ll be parsed like so: “thisIsVariable.” Open-faced brackets can be typed by saying “lack” (for < ) and "rack" (for >). For a sample of exactly how this works, Moyher was kind enough to provide video of an average coding session, embedded below.

Laura Michet is no longer the editor-in-chief of Zam.com, having ascended the corporate ladder, and as a farewell she “put 25 pages of Zam article content into a predictive keyboard and used it to write a manifesto about the current state of videogames.”

Games rarely criticized nostalgia, oft cheering wildly for nonsensical storytelling. I’ve felt hatred, possibly crying, lol. Your game seems correct when Ubisoft implants a good videogame in the game. If the writing is possible, we have the right to do it.

A story about Matthew Broderick and some other guy.

Music this week is, if I’m honest, still the live performance by The Roots I linked a couple of weeks ago. But here’s the latest Fever Ray video too.

46 Comments

  1. LearningToSmile says:

    If you only have time to read one article, read “The Sixth Stage of Grief is Retro-Computing”.

    Wow.

  2. Vodka, Crisps, Plutonium says:

    Let’s be fair: outsourcing art/3d-modelling has started to flourish only relatively recently, since the last generation, when the amount of texture painting and other busywork has quadrupled, as compared to PS2-era, when it was still manageable to make all the assets for a project of any scale in-house, without hiring +100 staff.

    And every wildly booming industry, freshly presented to the labour market, will go through same stages:
    1) Mind-blowing working conditions (high demand, low supply of qualified candidates; Atari-era in US)
    2) Saturation (exponential growth of supply, candidates’ overall qualification increases through competition between each other for dwindling amount of job offers)
    3) Abuse of power (working conditions are not getting improved or become worse, large pool of candidates dictates employer’s frivolity; EA, Activision in late 2000s)
    4) Control of Employer’s power via legislation/labor-unions.

    I don’t know the statistics, but China seems to get their people in a lot of trouble whenever their market reaches that third stage, judging by many related articles, revealing some horror stories regarding the working conditions within several established industries.
    If somebody from China can correct these assumptions – I’d love to hear your story.

    • Shuck says:

      Actually, China is pretty infamous for having some monstrously abusive labor conditions – there’s still virtual (and in some cases, actual) slavery going on. Even white-collar jobs aren’t entirely immune from that. (I’ve heard horror stories from some Chinese tech companies.) Some high-profile companies that get bad foreign press have made some changes (to keep their foreign partners), but that’s rare. So it’s rather ironic that the working conditions there are better than in US (and other) game companies. (This is true for both Western and Eastern game companies – I’ve worked with Korean developers who tell horror stories of the work culture there, and similar things seem to be true in Japan as well.) Traditionally, in the US at least, workers have been brainwashed into thinking themselves lucky to have game development jobs, so abusive working conditions were normalized.

      • phroggiepuddles says:

        This is very true for any “artistic” career… its seen as cool and desirable so the financial payoff is vastly demonished. I once went for a job interview in the games industry as a project manager, after 3 hours of interviews they knocked me back – and out of curiosity i asked what the salary was worth… it was a frikkin joke, barely half what I’d expect coming from IT to games.

  3. Hodge says:

    “Using PUBG and Fortnite as the starting point…”

    What is this ‘PUBG’ you speak of?

    • Premium User Badge

      Don Reba says:

      I’ve seen people come up with their own names for Plunkbat and hope they take hold. It might be what Graham is doing here.

  4. kwyjibo says:

    This weekend, check out Eschaton: Darkening Twilight.

    link to youtube.com

    It’s a 1997 Quake movie made by Hugh Hancock, who died last week. He did a reddit AMA recently too on his VR projects

    link to reddit.com

  5. Sargonite says:

    One thing that might help me to switch away from Steam is a new storefront offering me free copies of every game on its service that I already own on Steam; even better if it imports the general progress stats (hours played, achievements, screenshots, etc). I could stand to lose the lesser-known games I got from random bundles, but I hate having my library split across multiple storefronts and I don’t want to have to re-buy games.

    I’m sure this would be a technical, possibly legal, maybe even economic nightmare though. So for now I’ll just hope that big devs start looking at Itch.io more seriously, even though I know they never will. Itch.io is fantastic!

    • juan_h says:

      GOG does something of this sort from time to time. They call it GOG Connect, and it generally coincides with one of their big sales. There’s usually about a dozen games each time and if you own bought one or more of them on Steam then you can add them to your GOG library for free. Because of the limited selection of games (and because my Steam library isn’t all that big to begin with) I have only added two games to my GOG account this way in the last year or two.

  6. Turkey says:

    I think the Battle Royale gold rush might be over before it’s even started. The LoL and the DOTA 2 of the genre have already been established.

    Unless you’re Blizzard or you throw a Battlefield at it, you’re probably not going to shake those two.

  7. Viroso says:

    Great article on Eurogamer about what’s lost in a game when we approach photorealism, it discusses specifically the Shadow of the Colossus PS4 remake.

    link to eurogamer.net

  8. malkav11 says:

    “Even if every aspect of your service is better than Steam’s in every possible way, you’re still up against the massive inertia of everybody already having huge libraries full of games on Steam. ”

    Yep, this. But also literally none of the “competitors” have tried having every aspect of their service being better than Steam’s in every possible way, and most of them start off by being massively worse than Steam in most respects. The only way they gain any traction is by being operated by a developer or publisher who simply refuse to sell their games through Steam, which isn’t really competing with Steam so much as taking away options from the consumer.

    I mean, if you look at the list of extant competitors towards the bottom of the article, you’re looking at:
    GOG – possibly the only genuine Steam competitor in that they sell games, and not Steam keys, and not just their own published games and they have an actual market niche (no DRM, retro stuff) but still fundamentally unlikely to ever unseat Steam due to the no-DRM thing that sets them apart also being a nonstarter for a lot of the big players in the industry.
    Origin: sells EA games and that’s about it. And is real bad at it.
    Battle.net: sells Blizzard games and Destiny and that’s about it.
    Amazon: pretty much sells keys for other services (mainly Steam) and hasn’t been super relevant for that in quite a while – they were trying to compete with big sales and stuff at one time but must have backburnered or stopped that program.
    Tencent: I guess these guys are big in China? I don’t think they’re relevant in the rest of the world but I could be wrong.
    Humble: as far as I can tell, they mostly just sell keys for other services (i.e., Steam), and mostly through bundles. But they do have the slight edge that you sometimes also get DRM free versions that I would probably care about more if I didn’t like having all my games in one place (i.e. my Steam library).
    Itch: Itch is weird because it’s not really a Steam competitor per se (as far as I can tell there’s minimal game overlap and if something is on both you can probably get a Steam key from Itch) but they definitely do have their own super indie niche. And also like, apparently don’t really care about making money, which is always helpful.

    There’s also a couple folks not mentioned, like uPlay and Rockstar Social Club, but that’s basically Origin except for Ubisoft or Rockstar.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      GOG is cool, it’s the only place offering something truly different with their packaged downloads and extras (including fun stuff like old hintbooks which they somehow got the rights to). They occupy a very strong niche.

      Itch was cool and exciting before Steam Direct, now it’s going to struggle.

      Otherwise, I don’t really see a reason to compete with Steam. Developers like it, the vast majority of customers like it. Their 30% fee is fair unless you’re already a huge publisher with your own infrastructure and accounting department and everything. Maybe you can find other niches like GOG did, but competing directly makes little sense.

      • KenTWOu says:

        I don’t really see a reason to compete with Steam. Developers like it…

        They don’t really like it anymore, because it’s over saturated, so Steam marketing doesn’t help and it’s harder to be noticeable there, user review system does more harm than good, content delivery system is out dated, etc… So their 30% fee is even more questionable now.

      • Premium User Badge

        Don Reba says:

        Their 30% fee is fair unless you’re already a huge publisher with your own infrastructure and accounting department and everything.

        I don’t see how it is fair, unless it costs Valve millions of dollars to host a game.

    • baud001 says:

      Origins sells non-EA games: some Lego games, all three Witcher games, indies like Banner Saga, Steamwolrd Heist, Trine.

      But I don’t think they’re selling a lot of those non-EA games and I completely agree with everything else you said.

      • malkav11 says:

        It’s such a tiny percentage of their library (which isn’t exactly huge to begin with) that I don’t feel like it constitutes an actual attempt at competition. But you are correct that it does technically exist.

  9. KenTWOu says:

    GDC put itself in a no-win situation with its Bushnell award by Dean Takahashi

    When the Game Developers Conference decided to drop its Pioneer Award for Nolan Bushnell, who some call the father of video games and the former CEO of Atari, I had some mixed emotions. The same goes for many in the game industry who offered reactions to the decision. I think that the interesting thing about the reactions isn’t necessarily where you stand, but the thought process and conversations that lead you to your conclusion on whether it was right to take away the honor.

    • upupup says:

      What a weak decision. The reward is for being a pioneer of the industry, full stop. They acknowledge him to be a pioneer by their standards, therefore he deserves the award. Nothing else matters.
      An award is an acknowledgement of the achievements for which it is awarded, not a moral celebration of them. The only reason to withdraw it would be if the person in question turns out to be a fraud or a cheater, which is not the case here.

  10. SaintAn says:

    Don’t forget that Steam also has tricked people into making mods exclusive to their platform. Buy Divinity OS 2 from GOG for example and you miss out on all the mods people uploaded to Steam and nowhere else, which is nearly all of that games mods, so you’re getting a far inferior version of the game. It forces you to pirate mods if you can, which ends up being a mess.

    They also made features like screenshot sharing to your friends exclusive to Steam games. They removed the ability to share screenshots with your friends on your activity feed from Steam. It may not sound like much to must people, but to people like me that love taking lots of screenshots it’s devastating. Playing a game that doesn’t allow me to share screnshots on Steam makes me feel disconnected and alone while playing. When playing a game on Steam with the ability to share screenshots, it makes me feel connected to others even in singleplayer games.

    Steam is a horrible horrible system that is strangling the life out of PC gaming and refusing to let anything new grow. It’s a weed.

    • SaintAn says:

      Also, Steam Workshop is killing Nexus, Mod DB, and other mod sites. If you look at a lot of games with workshop support you’ll notice the popular mod sites are barebones for those games.

      • Alberto says:

        Could we please stop using the expression “X is killing Y”?

        Everything on the internet (and the world itself) is in constant reshuffle, rise and fall. Due to many, many reasons. Things are popular, then something new changes or improves the old thing, and the process starts again.

        Cinema didn’t kill theatre. Radio didn’t kill newspapers. Television didn’t kill cinema. Internet didn’t kill television.

        Surely, many modders prefer the user to access their mods with one single click. Some others will keep using external sites for their own reasons.

        But please, stop using “X is killing Y”. You Millenials are killing the language!

    • Fleko81 says:

      I have no doubt I am coming from this from a less informed perspective than many, but I do struggle when steam is painted as the face of all evil like this. As a very casual ‘dad gamer’ steam is the key reason why I have reconnected with PC gaming over the last couple of years and, unscientifically and anecdotally, based on a limited sample size of friends and colleagues this is also the case with many others.

      I have no doubt it has flaws (for something which delivers products on the bleeding edge of software development the mobile app is AWFUL) and there are always problems around pseudo-monopolies, but I have ploughed £100s very cheerfully into developers pockets (impulse buys/ huge backlog) I would not have if it hadn’t been because of steam. I have got the gog and itch client and absolutely dip into them, but steam makes things easy for me and I don’t feel guilty for this.

      I am always genuinely interested in other perspectives and, as I say at the top, particularly from those who are more informed than me about wider issues,but from a personal perspective steam has been nothing but positive for me and PC gaming.

      • upupup says:

        I mean no offence by this, but if you’re self-admittedly only a casual user who doesn’t see a problem with Steam’s monopoly, than it should be obvious that you are working from a position of ignorance rather than insight.

        Steam is built around being a closed environment and throwing up barriers of entry to going to another shop, thereby expanding its monopoly. You’re not experiencing this as a problem as a casual user because you don’t have any alternatives to compare it with, due to the way Steam works ensuring that they are inferior products; lacking patches, lacking mods, lacking multiplayer, and so on. This is not a good thing for you as a consumer and puts Steam in a position where it can abuse its power.

        • Fleko81 says:

          I appreciate that point and don’t take offense,though (through ignorance or otherwise) I approach it slightly differently and do I believe speak for some others in this respect.

          The original poster made the comment that steam is nothing but a bad thing for developers but I would maintain a huge amount of return has been made by them via steam that would not otherwise have been. Not quite the same but analagoulsy I would use the example of one of my family’s amazon businesses – on the one hand can be viewed as an ‘evil corporate storefront’ but for my family personally a lifeline to enable them access to a market that didn’t exist before.

          In that respect I have some elements of empathy with the devs in the steam scenario (though happy to be challenged on that).

          As I consumer (which i have better experience of) it has opened up a world to me that, again, a couple of years ago I simply didn’t have easy access to. I feel absolutely spoiled for choice with my steam library, ignoring every new interesting title that comes out weekly, and from the posts about back logs that appear in almost every comments section I am pretty sure this is the more common sentiment than people feeling starved of interesting (or cheap!) New games.
          I am not posting this to antagonize or be a flag bearer for corporatisation, but whilst I accept some aspects of steam are not great, and some aspects very definitely rub up against some peoples’ social and political views, it still absolutely can be a great thing for producer and consumer alike.

          • upupup says:

            No worries, if I came across a bit strongly it’s because I’ve been active in the industry since long before Steam existed and seen its effect on it. While I recognise some of the positive effects that it’s had, I also see the many downsides to it and don’t like the direction it has pulled the industry into, which I feel rather strongly about.

            The original post didn’t mention developers, but you’re right that their role in this is worth discussing since they are also harmed by it. For smaller developers, the prominence of Steam is not a good thing as its closed structure forces them to focus all their attention on Steam rather than being able to diversify through releasing their games elsewhere, thereby making them less reliant on Steam. In this way, rather than creating new markets it is cutting you off from them. To compare it to Amazon, it would be as if Amazon was the only viable way for you to have a chance at doing your business in a profitable manner; no retail, no setting up your own shop, no alternatives, nothing. All the tools Steam provides for developers are geared towards this end, requiring them to develop their own if they want to release elsewhere, which takes time and money that a small team can’t justify to themselves because the alternatives are far too small to be worth it.

            This harms customers elsewhere who frequently get inferior products stripped of features, if they get anything at all. It also harms Steam customers who are denied an alternative if they are unsatisfied with Steam, leaving them vulnerable as consumers. Without alternatives, Steam can set whatever terms it wants and treat both customers and developers as it pleases, without needing to fear losing them to competitors. GOG is too small and retail also incorporates Steam; it’s a situation that’s ripe for abuse.

            To give an example: the rating of a game is an important factor for less well-known games to draw in customers and they are determined by the amount of positive and negative reviews. It used to be that all reviews were counted equally, but at one point Steam changed it so that only the reviews from games bought on Steam counted towards the rating that you see while browsing the store, while giving a separate score in a stab on the store page that includes them. The argument for it was that Steam couldn’t vouch for the legitimacy of non Steam-bought keys, which was also added as a note to this rating to suggest that it was illegitimate, yet this also accounts for retail bought games and keys handed out by developers, such as for kickstarters. The result was that games that relied on those sales suddenly looked far less popular then they actually were and drew less traffic, favouring the games bought through Steam that were more profitable for Steam itself. There are more examples than that, but the idea is that Steam is abusing its market position, which is a bad thing for everyone else.

            The design behind Steam is that of a closed environment that people and games enter but do not leave. There are a lot of ‘soft’ measures in place towards this end. Artificial barriers like this, however, are unnecessary in digital product and only there to push down competition. As a casual user you won’t notice this because the downsides to the convenience that Steam presents have slowly been normalized; the lack of control over your product, the inability to shop equally everywhere, etc. This eroding of consumer rights is a very bad thing and it results in treating games, an artistic medium with so much untapped potential, as throwaway trash to be consumed en masse. This is not how it needs to and we can even have the convenience of Steam without these downsides if it were an open store. That it’s not this way is not out of need, but out of greed.

          • Fleko81 says:

            Thanks for taking the time to reply. Really interesting insight – as you mentiom for the level of my involvement in the industry and medium steam will more than serve its purpose but i can appreciate the wider concerns. On behalf of the internet also apologies for having such a civilised debate -i will try insulting your mother earlier on in the exchange next time to reset the balance…

    • GeoX says:

      I think the idea that steam “tricked” anyone into anything would be an extremely difficult proposition to defend.

      • malkav11 says:

        “Tricked” them by offering a turnkey fully integrated mod solution, the horror.

        • upupup says:

          Steam Workshop wants to be a closed environment that obstructs sharing your work with non-Steam users. We’ve already seen their end-goal behind this in their attempts at monetizing the work of modders and is also anathema to what makes modding worthwhile; freely sharing work and ideas. It’s not at all a positive development, despite the short-term convenience of it making it seem otherwise.

      • SaintAn says:

        Whatever you say, corporation worshiper.

        • GeoX says:

          Why am I unsurprised that you’re incapable of coming up with a cogent response?

          • Premium User Badge

            syllopsium says:

            If mods are Steam exclusive it really does create a problem. Immediately in that it skews the market, and forces people to choose a DRM based solution.

            Longer term in that if Steam ever dies, or if e.g. a free engine re-implementation becomes available, presumably all the mods will be unavailable.

            Yes, for here and now Steam is fine, but it’s important to consider more than that.

          • GeoX says:

            That is fair enough. But SaintAn’s hyperbolic rhetoric is just silly.

  11. LennyLeonardo says:

    Monster Hunter World is so great. I find it hard to capitalise on the monster rumbles because it’s so fun to just sit back and watch.

  12. Cederic says:

    “play games from the company’s research library”

    Oh, awesome. I don’t have a Steam account, I have an extensive personal research library.

  13. tasteful says:

    “Your game seems correct when Ubisoft implants a good videogame in the game.”

    i have found this to be true

  14. Neutrino says:

    I have to disagree with you on Death by a Thousand Paper Cuts. I found it just another blinkered reiteration of feminist canon of the type that categorizes being asked whether you’re new as a ‘microaggression’ which basically boils down to the claim that anything that anyone says or does that doesn’t make a woman feel awesome about herself is a form of covert sexism or microagression, and that we should all be hand-wringingly concerned about that and try to fix it for the poor dears.

    Reality check. Most men don’t go through life being bigged up or having their egos boosted by every other bloke they meet either. Quite the contrary in fact, men are generally highly competetive with each other. How on earth do we manage? How come we aren’t all sobbing in the lavatory on Monday morning after being slighted by a collegue?

    I can only answer this by saying that men and women are different and that the truth is that the covert sexism and microaggression world view is nothing more than insecure women not understanding the extent which they are insecure, with the result that it skews their perception of the world around them so that instead of recognising their own insecurities for what they are, they instead see their environment as hostile, unreasonable and aggressive.

    That so many women see their environment as hostile and unfair is actually rather ironic, because quite a few men have actually been fired from their jobs for nothing more than disagreeing with this feminist viewpoint in the way that I just have, (disagreed that is, not fired… yet).

    • Not Marvelous says:

      Honestly, who could have guessed that such a penetrating piece of social insight can be found in a gaming website’s comment section, of all places?

    • punkass says:

      On the contrary, I found the piece pretty insightful.

      I was pleasantly surprised at how many women there were when I finally went along to a live Magic event in London. They tended to stick together, forming their own support networks. At first I thought this was a bit stand offish, but then, after listening to the absolute bullshit they had to put up from, admittedly, a minority of players, I totally understood it.

      The absolute worst guy I heard was so patronising, offering all kinds of advice and all the small talk quoted in the article. You could tell he was loving lording his experience over the girl he was playing. No consciousness of how she was taking this ‘friendly chat’.

      Of course, she won, and he flew into a rage. She acted with such dignity, but he got in a huff and refused to congratulate her. Instead, he insisted over and over again that she had only won because he had messed up, that she had no agency in it, and that he would have kicked her ass if he only had made a few different plays.

      Obviously it’s unfair to tar all players with this guys brush. Even more obviously, I feel so sorry for this mini-me uber-mensch, desperate for cards to provide his feelings of self worth. But there are enough people like this, or on this scale, to make women have second thoughts about joining in.

      I like nerdy hobbies. That means meeting lots of nerds. Good nerds are the best, filled with joy at what their hobbies bring them. But it also means bad nerds, who use knowledge to get revenge on the world for their social anxiety. And as they’re often very anxious about women, women often get the worst of it.

    • upupup says:

      I disagree that what is shown is a difference between how women and men act, as I’ve seen the same patterns of behaviour that she describes by women against men in environments that they dominated and also by both women and men, together, against other women and men. That´s because what she is describing is not about being a man or a woman, but about being an outsider, for whatever reason you are defined as one. You can get a similar response coming to party where everyone knows each other, visiting a small town or trying to mingle with the other parents at the playgrounds when you’re the only father there. Yes, this is discrimination, discrimination that can get very unpleasant, but discrimination typical to forming a group identity, rather than something targeted specifically at women.
      In the case of the author that can be being a woman in a group that identifies as being male, but also putting effort into your appearance in a group where no status is derived from this and has the opposite effect by making it look as if you’re trying to present yourself as better than others in a game that disregards how you look, leading to a reaction opposite to what she was expecting – being given status due to taking care of your appearance, as is more usual.

      This is also why there is resistance against her goals, as rather than the noble act that she perceives it as being, it is experienced by them as an outsider or a smaller group of them demanding to be given power, respect and status that they feel they are due within the larger group in a way that does not match the group identity. This prolongs the problem as rather than being viewed as trying to find acceptance, it is taken as an attempt to seize authority and therefore hostile to the identity of the group.

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