A timeline of corruption

Reddit user sir_roflcopter has created a very good illustrative example of just what we are so pissed off about regarding #gamergate. A timeline of bullshit going back to 2001, that serves as a wonderful example to what we have been saying for a while now. This shit has been going on for a long time and it has to stop.

This timeline purposely avoids mentioning direct #gamergate issues so it can stand alone as a record that this type of shady behaviour has been going on for a very long time, not just since the Quinn/Sarkessian/GG debacle first reared it’s head.

Here’s the timeline. It shows interesting things that many of us in the gaming community already knew but might have forgotten about. For instance, when I was just getting started in the industry I remember being stoked for Driv3r, only to be disappointed with the game that was released. I had completely forgotten about the review controversy that surrounded this decidedly mediocre title 10 years ago. It’s no different from the Gamespot Kane & Lynch scandal from a few years ago (an event which caused the inception of Giant Bomb), it shows how publishers and their favoured journalists are too cozy with each other and too eager to scratch each other’s backs with gifts and generous reviews.

#gamergate has brought this problem to the surface, but the core has been rotten for some time now.

Screenshot_1Well that was money well spent


Early Access Journalism

The title for this post came from an astute observation made by a user on the /r/KotakuInAction subreddit. He/She hit the figurative nail right on the head.

People complain about Steam’s Early Access programme. Without going too much in to it, it’s fair enough for some of the complaints. The system definitely could do with an overhaul in an attempt to mitigate the deluge of shit titles that can appear on there, take money, then disappear in to the ether. It’s got issues, for sure, but I still like that it exists, as it’s furnished my game collection with some real gems over the years. If you are willing to do your homework and be aware of what Early Access actually is, you won’t easily fall foul of it’s downsides, but I agree that they exist.

This shit, on the other hand, is something I do not agree with, and it’s coming from a website that used to have my admiration and respect. They don’t any more, and not just because of this, but because of the way they have conducted themselves in this whole hot mess that is #gamergate.

We need money pls

That right there is the gaming industry ‘journalism’ equivalent of Early Access, except it’s not about getting involved with in dev titles, it’s about playing in to the bullshit rhetoric that the big sites are currently engaged in. Rock, Paper, Shotgun is asking for your money to enable you to take part in an enhanced subscription programme to their website, that will let you read opined pieces about, whatever they fucking want. That’s right, allow the floodgates to open and throw objectivity to the wind completely. They aren’t even trying to hide it any more. This is dangerous for a couple of reasons:

  1. It reinforces the idea that what the popular gaming media is doing right now is acceptable. It isn’t. You cannot continue to call yourselves journalists when you cannot even do the due diligence to remain impartial and objective.
  2. It creates a Fox News style echo chamber for uninformed and ignorant morons to push their agenda and silence dissent. Something we’ve seen a lot of the past month, particularly on the sites that were involved in the GameJournoPros email group scandal (I use the term scandal loosely, nobody has been held to task for that yet) and even on Wikipedia.
  3. It encourages the gaming media to continue treating their demographic like shit, as they have been all month. If they can not only get people to mirror their opinions in editorialised ‘Supporter’ pieces but also get revenue from them at the same time, the idea will be adopted by other corrupt media establishments.

What happened to RPS? It used to be one of the only places I could go for decent game news and light hearted discussion. Now it’s selling screen space to the masses, their masses, the masses that support the corruption. It’s a dangerous precedent to set.

We don’t need this shit, and nobody asked for it. It’s clear that RPS has lost some sponsors in the wake of #gamergate and is having to come up with new ways to raise capital. Unlike The Escapist, who saw the problem and acted on it, they remain stalwart in the face of accusations that they are corrupt, they don’t acknowledge it, they bury their heads in the sand.

It will be interesting to see if this opens up further and gets to the point where they allow these ‘Supporters’ to write their own pieces (think Fox News ‘contributors’) or how they deal with subscription holders who don’t echo the brainwashed masses in the comments sections. Then again I fully expect that anyone who has a Supporter subscription and doesn’t toe the line set by the editors will quickly see their articles or comments censored, removed, or put so far to the bottom of the pile that nobody ever sees them.

Yeah, you can’t even write that off as paranoia any more because that is exactly what is happening all over the Internet.


Alright fuck it, I’ll throw in on this #gamergate business

In 1983 I was three years old, that’s when it all began.

One evening in the top floor of a small flat in North Lanarkshire a man brought home a new fangled computer system and introduced it to his young son. It was powerful (for the time), it was fast (again, for the time), it was sleek! (it was beige), and it could play these new things called video games. Of course video games weren’t exactly new by then, Spacewar! was a relic of the sixties and Pong was a belligerent ten year old at that point, but nonetheless they were new to me. And they blew my fucking mind.

“Hello I’m Pong. Give me your goddamn money.”

My dad gets the credit for turning me into a gamer. I don’t know if he’d be proud of that or not but he should be because it’s the one and only thing that’s been a constant part of me since that day. I was born during the golden age of arcade video games, when everything was new and awesome and cost about 10p to play. Or you get the home C64 version for £3.99, or a random cassette for 99p from the bargain bin and who gives a fuck about instructions we’ll figure it out later. The real OG bedroom coders, they would repro their code in magazines so you could run it at home for free, or the demo tape you got free with Zzap!64 that month would have some random ass madness that of course couldn’t be completed but was so fun to play that it didn’t really matter.

Apparently Earth is under attack from space goats.

The UK was not affected as much as the States during the videogame market crash of ’83, or if it was, it completely passed me by at the time. All I remember are the games man, like Ghostbusters, what a rush it was trying to get between that bastard Stay Puft’s legs without being squashed, you knew that if you could just do that you’d get to showdown with Zuul. Automan (based on that weird TV show with Chuck Wagner) which was ludicrously difficult and I don’t remember ever finishing it, but it still rocked. The First Steps With The Mr. Men educational games my parents blindsided me with (I struggle to remember what I learned from them other than ‘Ghostbusters is more fun Mum’). The stuff I played when I was a kid has stuck with me all these years. The stuff I played as I grew up and started to learn things about the world has stuck with me all these years. I forget birthdays, I forget to say thank you, I forget sometimes that life shouldn’t be taken so seriously all the time and I forget to be a good person but I never forget a game I’ve played or the emotional response it had from me at the time. I have grown up with video games and they are a part of my very being, I mean just look at what I had to guide me:

Ice cream is in the other direction there Tubbs

Through countless worlds I’ve travelled, and I have touched many lives in both good ways and ill. I have killed, been killed, and been reborn millions of times. I have saved princesses, been saved by princesses, averted nuclear wars, destroyed entire civilisations, and burned thine harvest down. I have run in terror, and charged with gallantry in my heart. I have won and lost, and occasionally drawn. I have made wonderful friends, and bitter enemies and I would not have it any other way. I have been on the fringe, and I have hidden in my hole. I have seen and heard things that have made me cry, made me angry, made me happy, made me horny, made me question, made me feel. I have experienced countless lifetimes and hours of entertainment as an enjoyable hobby for over 30 years now because it makes me feel good.

And you motherfuckers want to burn it all down.

Enough storytime, I’m pissed off and I haven’t posted anything on here for ages so I’m going to indulge myself here for a while.

Friggin, GamerGate man, it’s getting me down and I felt like I should talk about it. But first off I’ll make it clear that I’m not disparaging the movement, I’m firmly behind it. The real it I mean. The movement that calls for tighter regulation, increased transparency and proven objectivity in the video gaming industry’s dirty little notsecret – The top level and yet quite clearly corrupt journalistic-cum-blogger SocialJusticeWarrior types that dominate a fair part of the market and whom appear to be pushing their own kind of distorted ideology that they must fight tooth and nail to protect. I frigging hate that expression by the way, SJW, but it’s the accepted parlance and I shall not deviate. But I’m not wasting keypresses summarising this shit AGAIN, it’s been done to death already. It’s all over the place. The net has been cast wide and some truly fucked up shit has been dragged back to shore.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about and don’t care then the rest of this might bore you so bail now, I’ll allow it. Plus you won’t get any of the really funny jokes I’ll be making or understand any of the image macros. If you don’t know but really want to go down the rabbit hole then just head to /r/KotakuInAction, there are plenty of summary threads and new developments there. I won’t apologise for the obvious bias, I’ve already said I support the idea. Also, I ain’t gonna promise to be all nice about it because I’m angry and this is a blog not an article and I’m a dude with an opinion not a journalist. See how I can make that distinction?


The whole controversy has been going on for over a month now and the information and the drama shifts and changes every single day. It’s detractors will try to convince you that anyone involved in support for #gamergate is a sexist, misogynist basement dwelling nerd who is only interested in stifling discussion and oppressing those poor souls online (read: radical feminists and other SJW’s with a very loose connection to reality) who are offended by seemingly everything. Honestly some of these people make fundamentalist Christians seem like calm and reasoned scholars.

What the movement actually wants has nothing to do with males or females or how anyone is represented in forms of art and entertainment – that’s just the smokescreen these people are creating to try and discredit it. It’s purely about sorting out SHITHOUSE tactics, obvious collusion with the clear intent to push a specific agenda, and infantile behaviour in a corrupt division of the industry. It’s also an attempt to point out how utterly moronic it is to just censor stuff indiscriminatingly because it doesn’t fit in with your world view. Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean it cannot be discussed. The censorship train has been ploughing full steam ahead on this, with numerous examples of pro-GG threads and articles being systematically deleted from boards and websites all over the Internet, as the SocJus clique attempts to win the war by just burying their head in the sand, obfuscating the truth or flat out attacking people left and right in the hope that attrition will win the battle for them. How are you supposed to defend yourself and your hobby against people who are so firmly entrenched in their own victimhood status that they require you to tag any posts you make with shit like this:

I wish this was fake

Yes that is real and no it isn’t a joke. This is from a typical SJW tumblr account, now it doesn’t really have anything to do with #gamergate directly, but it serves as a good example of the kind of people who are on the other side of the movement. This is an adult male who is so deeply offended by various innocuous remarks on the Internet that he requires you to tag everything you post meticulously so that he doesn’t see stuff that will cause him anxiety. Yeah, that’s right, he doesn’t like you making fun of Bendedict Cumberbatch or Sonic the Hedgehog. If you don’t adhere to his ridiculous tagging standards then he will “probably unfollow you”. OH FUCKING NOES MY POOR HEART CAN’T TAKE IT. These are the types of people who are, unfortunately, making strides in their attempt to distort what #gamergate is actually about. And it’s hell trying to reason with these people.

In fact you cannot reason with them, because they have already decided that you are not worth redemption. You are a demon to them if you support the movement, because they have already decided that it’s actually all about them. Any rebuttal or attempt to reason on your part is summarily ignored or made fun of, or they just fucking doxx you and attempt to ruin your life. People have been actually fired from their jobs over this whole affair because they refused to fall in line with this rambling mob of lunatics. The same mob that calls for justice for all but is totally cool with sending unsheathed hypodermic needles with mystery liquids in them to supporters of the #gamergate movement. That’s not made up either, that shit actually happened!

It doesn’t show any sign of stopping either and I’m really not sure who is winning this fight. It seems like every day there is more lunacy added to the mix like the recent Emma Watson/4chan hoax which completely blew my mind. The actress delivered a very well spoken and thought out speech at the UN regarding equality for all. Men, women, gophers, everyone, and was then subjected to a hoax threat that claimed it would release nude pictures of her. The hoax of course, was purported by the SJW crowd pretending to be a PR media company. Yeah that’s right, to push their own agenda to try and get 4chan shut down they targeted an innocent girl who was merely trying to appeal to reason. Equality isn’t about getting one side’s voice heard, it’s about applying the same standards to everyone regardless of if you have a penis or a vagina. Don’t you realise that by behaving in this reprehensible way, you seriously weaken your argument by engaging in behaviour that you supposedly rally against – you become a hypocrite. You wont even consent to debate about the topic! Is your position so weak that it cannot be subjected to rational debate and discourse?

Yeah I’m a male and I said vagina, guess I must hate all women now because: reasons

It’s fucking madness, and it’s spreading and bleeding across borders. It isn’t even just about gaming any more, or the false assertion that all gamers are misogynist assholes,  it’s about control and censorship of the Internet on a grand scale, #gamergate just helped bring it to the surface. The goal of the SJW crowd seems to be to get rid of anything that could even remotely be deemed offensive so that a small minority do not have their special snowflake status hurt in any way.

Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn were the catalyst for this whole thing, and I’m not going to hide my disdain for these people and the horrendous way they conduct themselves at the expense of others. But it’s got nothing to do with what’s between your legs ladies, that’s not why you annoy me, it’s because you clearly cannot accept any kind of rational discourse on the matter without resorting to name calling, shit slinging, and bullying tactics. Granted, you may not be the worst in the group in terms of how much hate you spew but your tacit complicity in the whole matter is very evident. You do nothing to stop the ridiculous claims made by these assholes in support of your twisted ideology and you refuse to back down on your rhetoric, despite it being picked through with a fine toothed comb by many and proven to be bullshit. Anita, you cannot even CITE YOUR GODDAMN SOURCES properly whilst making wildly inaccurate claims about games, developers and the industry in general and how they treat women in your series of videos on the subject. Hint: citing your own biased videos and linking to paywalled journals that don’t even discuss the subject you are involved in is not professional behaviour. The horde of corrupt journalists rallying to your cause are making a mockery of the gaming press and should be ashamed to call themselves journalists since they fail at even the basic level of fact checking and assume everything you and Zoe say has to be true. You are part of the problem, you are not in any way aiding the solution. Oh and Zoe, you have time and again shown that your feminist ideals can and will be thrown under the bus when it comes to personal gain. If there’s cash to be had, your ideals become second to your shrewd business sense. You moan about being objectified, and that is a real issue and deserves to be discussed, rationally, but then you go and do a nude photoshoot for Suicide Girls?? What?? I’m not saying a feminist cannot take pride in her body, but to rally against this kind of thing and then take part in it is just batshit insane.

The face of the ‘Do what I say, not what I do’ campaign. Pictured here not nude.

Urgh. For those who identify as gamers, you really look like you hate the industry and the people who comprise it. You tell us that the video game industry, and the products themselves are inherently sexist and that they oppress women. I’ve worked in this industry for a decade now. I’ve been involved with lots of projects and I’ve been to many meetings. I have never, not once in ten years, ever picked up on anything that could even remotely be construed as some kind of conspiracy to keep female characters down or out of games. Not ever. Not once. We are not a bunch of unshaven, pit stained Neanderthals sitting around boardroom desks trying to figure out how to objectify females in the next title. We aren’t cutting female characters out of games or re-skinning them with the express purpose to trample over women’s rights. We aren’t doing the things you assert in your videos and rambling twitter feeds. We’re trying to make art and entertainment and to allow people to escape from the real world for a while. What is so wrong with that?

I would do a call to reason and beg you ladies to use your pseudo-celebrity status to try and mitigate this nonsense but I know that would be a pointless endeavour. It is highly in your favour to perpetuate the drama, since the drama translates to page views and income for you and your cronies. If you were going to grow a conscience and attempt to bring some objectivity to this debate you would have done it by now, but you haven’t because: money. You are reprehensible human beings and I cannot find the good in you no matter how hard I look. I firmly support equality for ALL human beings, regardless of gender, race or creed, I just cannot understand why you don’t exhibit the same compassion when you claim to be campaigning for social rights. You are all hypocrites and you have a lot to learn about objectivity and presenting sound arguments.

This post may come off as a bit of a disjointed mess because it’s emotionally charged, I’m too lazy to restructure stuff, and it’s been written over two days, but I had to get something out before it made my brain explode. This has been bothering me for weeks and probably will for weeks to come, but I feel that bit better for getting it off my chest. I won’t pretend to be perfect and know all the answers, but I’m smart enough and conscientious enough to spot that lunatics spewing vitriol and misinformation is not good for anyone. I see the phrase cognitive dissonance being thrown around a lot on reddit and other places with regards to these people, but I don’t believe that’s the problem. These folk are not conflicted, there is no dichotomy with regards to how they feel and how they behave. They know exactly what they are doing and they are being assholes about it because they ARE assholes.

I play video games and I don’t hate women. These two things are not mutually exclusive. I support the need for increased objectivity and transparency in the gaming press, this does not make me a monster or in any way trample on your rights. I hope #gamergate continues to gain traction and I hope that it results in some changes being made, but I won’t hold my breath.

Thanks for reading. Game on.


The healing power of videogames and animals


This is a story about Loki the Cat and the mental health benefits of videogames and animals. This kind of ties in with my previous post about the Souls series of games and was directly inspired by this reddit post.

I have felt remarkably better the past couple weeks. Of course I’ve still had plenty to fret about and I am by no means ‘content’ (whatever the fuck that means these days) but I have definitely noticed a mellowing out.

It’s because of Dark Souls II but more specifically, it’s about videogame experiences that have the power to make you rethink your own life.

When I first started playing the Souls games it was December 2010 and it was just me and our cat, Loki. He was there with me the whole time I played Demon’s Souls.

Here he is hanging out in the fridge, for some reason.

LOKI FRIDGE“All of this is mine, K asshole?”

He sat with me every single night on the couch, spurring me on with his little cat nods and blinks whenever he saw I was getting stressed. Then when exhaustion took over and I stopped playing, he’d curl up next to me and sleep. Well either that or tear lamp shades to pieces and then wear them as some sort of defiant protest against lighting accessories:

loki lampHail to the king of Lamp

He was my travelling companion in this strange and troubling land. Whenever it got too real I would put down the controller and wrestle with him for a while. He always won.

Two years later and I’m in a new flat, playing Dark Souls and him and me him are there again, couch locked, just hanging like bros. He went missing about a month or so after moving in to the new place. We looked for him every night for a month and a half, in the process finding a pregnant stray cat that had been abandoned which we ended up adopting.

After fruitless searching and a huge poster campaign I get a call one day from the vicar that operated the church near our house. He had found Loki, who was at death’s door on the floor of the church after not eating or drinking for over a month. We got him to the vet and he fought all he could but died 3 days later. Dark Souls would be the last game he would ever witness me play and complete.

There’s a bit more to Loki’s story that I’m not going to go in to in this post as it isn’t relevant, but suffice to say his disappearance and subsequent re-emergence a month and a half later were very, very suspicious. This wasn’t just a simple case of a cat wandering off, there was something more nefarious going on and I still believe to this day that foul play was involved. It was after he died that I realised I was depressed. I know now that I’d been depressed long before that, but his death brought it to the surface and forced me to confront it. But I digress.

Now I’m playing DS2 and Loki is gone, and it feels like I need him there to get me through it. But now we have Shodan (the cat we found who is a carbon copy of Loki in both looks and temperament, only female) and a new puppy who loves it when I rage and hurl the controller across the room so I am not alone.

Every time I down a boss for the first time I think of Loki and those long nights years ago, it makes me sad. But then I look at the faces of our other animals and I’m spurred on again.

When I play these games I’m not myself any more. I’m a traveller in a  foreign land. I’m not a depressed thirty-something with an unsatisfying life, I am a lone warrior with a purpose and a reason to fight. The animals that accompany me on these journeys are not mere pets, they are my familiars, my totems, my friends.

The memories I have of Loki will never go away and even though I get sad when I think about him, I also smile when I remember how he was always by my side when I needed him the most. When I know I can escape to a world where my life can be whatever I want it to be, and that those trusty beasts are ready to come along for the ride, it reminds me that life can be good and that happiness is attainable.