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Game Professionals, Gamers, and Becoming Mainstream

Just some thoughts on last summer, and some hope for the future.

I write this now not out of a sense of duty, nor because I want to change things, but for the very selfish reason of getting it out of my system, so I can move on. Video Game Culture, in the summer of 2014, when it was truly on the precipice of becoming genuinely mainstream, got embroiled in a bitter conflict which dragged down the whole lot of us. In a very real sense, we lost the battle, and i use “we” inclusively for anyone who is a professional of, or anyone who plays what is made by, or anyone who reads about, the Game Industry.

We lost because there is in place a de facto censorship as a result of all these events. *Alot* of people are unfree to say what they think. It’s most definitely not the gamers who are most affected by this, although i’m sure they are feeling the sting too. It is without question most damaging to those whose livelihoods depend on Video Games, and by this i mean of course the Game Professionals. Developers, writers, publishers, if u in any way make your living via the wonderful thing that is Video Games, you have my deepest sympathy for your great loss.

The griefers, the less than one percent who issued violent threats, stirred chaos, then sat back and watched the anarchy, effectively won. By silencing the professionals. They won. Accept that. But it was, to be sure, a Pyrrhic victory. For those professionals out there who now find themselves, in one way or another, silenced by all of this: i urge you to not give up hope, keep working in games, and bide your time. Now is the worst time to speak up, and really sometimes it’s good to just step back, take a deep breath, look at how good things actually are for you, and finally to just move on.

Because I’m kind of sick of it. I really like playing games. I enjoy reading about them almost as much. I think about them almost all the time, when I am not paying attention to my other responsibilities. I would like to read about something other than this cyberwar many people keep going on about. I realize writing about it is also contributing one more thing for people to read about, but how else can I tell people to move on?

Which clumsily segues me to my last point: I want to read about something else. I want to read more about VR, like that awesome history over at The Verge, or any coverage of it from Sony/Facebook, or just anything about it. Because that, NOT this, is the future of video games. It’s sad really, that the re-birth of VR (and in the form of Video Games, no less!) had to be tainted by this cyberwar. But I dunno, I think it’s just a temporal coincidence, maybe the taint is not so bad. Anyway, More Stuff on VR please? Let’s talk about motion sickness vs simulator sickness, let’s talk new control schemes and interfaces, let’s see lots of demos.

And please, for the love of Games, if u r a woman with the skills, please make a VR game that puts all the manly man stuff to shame, because while I’ll certainly play some of that manly stuff, I do want something else to fill my time.

....

And finally. I wanted to end there, but I just had to give a brief talk about logic. There are three related fallacies that deserve special attention given recent events: The genetic fallacy, Ad hominem, and Tu quoque. I assume everyone is familiar with Ad hominem. Tu quoque is a special case of Ad hominem, and roughly translates to “You, too.” It occurs when someone retorts that their detractor is guilty of the same thing, which is why it is a form of Ad hominem. Ad hominem is, in turn, a special case of the genetic fallacy. The Genetic Fallacy is general enough that it has a modern English name (maybe there’s a Latin version, but i don’t know it), and it can be found all over the place. It states that the source of an argument is unrelated to the argument itself. So a disreputable source is not alone enough to dismantle an argument’s validity. Robin might not like what the Joker says, but Joker’s villainy is not enough to debunk his comic logic; if Robin is to debunk it, he must do so on other grounds than the fact that it came from Joker. I use fictional examples because anything real world might be too close to home for some people. I realize that human culture is a highly complex and nuanced thing, and that formalized logic cannot always do the job. This last summer, for example, formal logic would not have helped one bit. I bring it up here only in hopes that you be wary of these fallacies in your own work, and in the work of others. Here’s to the future!

-Richard

 

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