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Games Journalism, or The Day Kotaku Made Me Optimistic About Video Games

UnbrokenEvaUnbrokenEva HIGH ON THE WIREBUT I WON'T TRIP ITRegistered User regular
I've had a theory for a while now that the reason we've seen so much more hideous misogyny out of video game culture recently was paradoxically a cause for optimism. I saw it as a combination of people paying more attention to the problems with the industry, and people who didn't want the industry to move forward realizing deep down that they were on the losing side and railing against what they felt was their hobby/culture leaving them behind.

Today I saw a couple articles that made me feel pretty damn good about where things were headed, and as we haven't had a GAMES JOURNALISM thread in a while, wanted to talk about them with you folks:

http://kotaku.com/why-i-cried-at-gdc-466130411
It's a lot. It's a lot. It's a lot. I feel incredibly vulnerable. And yet this year, it seemed all right to be vulnerable, or at least it felt that when I came to look at the games industry this time, I felt that I stood at the rim of a world that was beginning to prize vulnerability, authenticity. Maybe I cried a lot because I felt I could, because people were listening.

I'm curled in my room; it's been an unusual three days since I last had a drink, but I needed it, after GDC. I needed to take a break from drinking. Maybe more than that, for the first time in the day-in-day-out years I have spent feverishly arched over this tiny keyboard in the service of video games, I didn't feel I needed to drink. I needed instead to sit here and search for the words to talk about why this year GDC made me feel exhilarated and overwhelmed and mostly really, really glad to be in video games again. Kirk, one of my dearest friends and a person who has seen me cry a lot, had the words.

...

I always lose my voice every GDC; I always took it as a sign I need to talk less and listen more. That's still true, and it is my ongoing quest, but I can talk less now because I am heard more. It is okay not to control all the manifold interactions I have engaged with this week. Games are becoming a place where there is more room for expression and vulnerability and not just the fantasy of power. Games can be about people sometimes, and not just the avatars that sometimes protect us from the pain of being people.

Sometimes it is okay to feel I have no power, because I think I can be mostly safe here, eventually. I remembered that I love games. I cry because I’m happy.


http://kotaku.com/and-then-the-video-game-industry-woke-up-464888949
The 2013 Game Developers Conference is over. The chatter of the show floor has faded, the bathroom lines have evaporated, and the various stacked hangovers have worn off. The week still feels like something of a blur, but squint your eyes just so, filter out the noise and the music and the glowing laptop monitors, and a theme starts to take shape: Change is in the air. Change for the better.

...

I attended my first conference in 2010 and, upon leaving, I remember remarking as to how it felt as though there were two GDCs: The optimistic, artistic indie GDC and the conservative, money-minded corporate GDC. Game designer Jesse Schell may have summed up the divide most pithily upon his departure at the end of last week:
Goodbye, #GDC13 ... Every time I smell corporate fear and unrealistic indie optimism, I'll think of you.

That distinction remains in effect four years later, even while it's feeling like the indies have taken over a bigger-than-ever chunk of the mainstream. Independent and progressive developers are indeed always optimistic at GDC, and as an optimistic, indie-minded sort, I tend to favor their viewpoint. But this year, I was surprised to find a solid core of pragmatism at the heart of a lot of the wide-eyed optimism. "We can do better, we can be more inclusive, we can be less violent and more interesting, and we can make more money as a result."

...

Inclusivity, gender inclusivity in particular, was also a running theme at this year's GDC, far more so than in previous years. That's fitting, given that the industry has seen so much discussion of the topic over the past year or so. Early in the week at the narrative summit, Halo: Reach writer Tom Abernathy gave a talk arguing that more and more players are tired of not seeing themselves reflected in their games, and that increasing diversity wasn't just worthwhile from a moral perspective, it was good business sense. It was a familiar refrain, but still a valuable one: Sure, it may be widely held that games with female protagonists make less money, but does that line of thinking even make sense?

...

So, yeah, it's not all about making games a socially progressive artform. The week when game developers dream the biggest still has to compete with the other 51. But this year, it didn't feel entirely like a dream. It felt like some people—many people, even—have woken up.
haha one of the pending comments already says "pussy ass bitch". oh, you people, don't you understand games have left you behind?

Posts

  • UnbrokenEvaUnbrokenEva HIGH ON THE WIRE BUT I WON'T TRIP ITRegistered User regular
    the people fighting this attempt at progress sure are giving it their all, though.

    Last week Rock Paper Shotgun had Cara Ellison, a frequent guest contributor of theirs handle their news posts for the week. I thought she did an excellent job, she's got a bit of a gonzo journalism style and her articles were a lot of fun. A vocal segment of their commenters did not agree, however, and things got particularly heated when she had the gall to put a picture that she was in at the end of an interview as a joke, leading to this apology from John Walker:
    We made a mistake. It’s important as a website that readers can trust that we are up front when this happens, and willing to admit to our failings, and promise to address them. And as recently as last week, Rock, Paper, Shotgun let a woman write an article. We would like to apologise to our readers for any offence caused.

    Perhaps what makes what’s becoming known as #PeaSoupGate so serious an error on our part was the apparent subterfuge used in the run up to this article. The author and – we now confess – woman, Cara Ellison, had been writing articles for us for a few months in advance of this particular piece. And with no appropriate warning, the article finished with an image revealing that Cara was in fact female. Clearly many readers were upset, and we now hope to redress the balance over this unfortunate incident.

    The piece, an interview with someone else we have since discovered to also be a woman, Rhianna Pratchett, finished with a picture of Ellison in the foreground, with a pot of pea soup in the background. What is so particularly problematic with this picture is that rather than containing the face of a man, as readers trust to expect, it seems we published what is identifiably a picture of a woman.

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/03/27/rock-paper-shotgun-apologies-for-using-female-writers/

  • YaYaYaYa Decent. Registered User regular
    I hate to say it, but this seems overly optimistic considering the current climate

    it is changing, though, but this sort of rhetoric seems to be declaring victory before the real fight's even started

  • MachwingMachwing It looks like a harmless old computer, doesn't it? Left in this cave to rot ... or to flower!Registered User regular
    edited April 2013
    Insert Credit is basically dead now (unless you follow the podcast, and even then, it's sorta irregular)

    :'(

    Machwing on
    l3icwZV.png
  • UnbrokenEvaUnbrokenEva HIGH ON THE WIRE BUT I WON'T TRIP ITRegistered User regular
    YaYa wrote: »
    I hate to say it, but this seems overly optimistic considering the current climate

    it is changing, though, but this sort of rhetoric seems to be declaring victory before the real fight's even started

    RPS' take on it is a bit more cautious in it's optimism, though they come to a similar conclusion to Alexander & Hamilton:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/04/03/gdc-2013-a-worrisome-hopeful-contradiction/
    And yet, even in light of all sorts of back steps, side steps, and face-palm-worthy face-plants, I do think this year’s GDC represented forward motion. We still have all kinds of mountains to tear down, but we’re making real, tangible progress both in terms of what we create and who feels like they’re welcome at the table when we consume it. The real takeaway here? Now is not the time for pats on the back. The gaming industry has momentum. So let’s keep pushing. It’s a shame that GDC only brings this many brilliant people into the same building once per year, but eh, walls are overrated. So let’s bust them down year ’round.

    I'm surprised by how positive the rhetoric is as well, but after seeing it from multiple sources I'm willing to accept that folks at GDC had experiences that haven't fully trickled out into the community at large.

  • YaYaYaYa Decent. Registered User regular
    see, that's the sort of rhetoric I can get behind

    I bet a man wrote it

  • YaYaYaYa Decent. Registered User regular
    oh god please nobody hurt me

  • UnbrokenEvaUnbrokenEva HIGH ON THE WIRE BUT I WON'T TRIP ITRegistered User regular
    ban YaYa

  • StericaSterica Yes Registered User, Moderator mod
    While more people are aware of it, I don't think it's nearly enough.

    Not enough to think of claiming any sort of victory. Though more awareness is heartening.

    YL9WnCY.png
  • DJ EebsDJ Eebs Moderator, Administrator admin
    the rock paper shotgun comments are often worse than kotaku's

    it's a stunning combination of PC elitism and staggering misogyny!

  • UnbrokenEvaUnbrokenEva HIGH ON THE WIRE BUT I WON'T TRIP ITRegistered User regular
    I love the site, but I am increasingly depressed by the community

  • MorivethMoriveth BREAKDOWN BREAKDOWN BREAKDOWN BREAKDOWNRegistered User regular
    I think Evil Avatar is run by smug douchebags

    I mean they're not games journalism, just games news, but any time they add some kind of editorial comment to an article it usually makes my blood boil with its smugness

    Also the stupid Metal Jesus Rocks thing they do is fucking duuuumb

  • UnbrokenEvaUnbrokenEva HIGH ON THE WIRE BUT I WON'T TRIP ITRegistered User regular
    I don't think anyone's saying we won

    things are moving in a positive direction and that's a cause for optimism

    but it's only going to keep getting better if we continue to call out all of the misogynist shitbirds in the industry and gaming community

  • YaYaYaYa Decent. Registered User regular
    Moriveth wrote: »
    I think Evil Avatar is run by smug douchebags

    I mean they're not games journalism, just games news, but any time they add some kind of editorial comment to an article it usually makes my blood boil with its smugness

    Also the stupid Metal Jesus Rocks thing they do is fucking duuuumb

    the day I stopped reading EA was when I realized that I got angry every time pointed my browser there

    I have since taken up meditation and yoga and see the world as one whole that was fractured, which I work every day to repair through thought and deed

  • DJ EebsDJ Eebs Moderator, Administrator admin
    I think it's a good site, but I've been visiting less and less lately. Mostly the vague PC MASTER RACE undertones of the whole thing, I guess. But I don't think I can hate a site that has so many dudes that loved City of Heroes behind it

  • MorivethMoriveth BREAKDOWN BREAKDOWN BREAKDOWN BREAKDOWNRegistered User regular
    YaYa wrote: »
    Moriveth wrote: »
    I think Evil Avatar is run by smug douchebags

    I mean they're not games journalism, just games news, but any time they add some kind of editorial comment to an article it usually makes my blood boil with its smugness

    Also the stupid Metal Jesus Rocks thing they do is fucking duuuumb

    the day I stopped reading EA was when I realized that I got angry every time pointed my browser there

    I have since taken up meditation and yoga and see the world as one whole that was fractured, which I work every day to repair through thought and deed

    I just go there for news since they're generally good on the news tip

    But any time they editorialize I see nothing but blood

  • LockedOnTargetLockedOnTarget Registered User regular
    As obnoxious as she can be, I still really like Leigh Alexander.

  • MorivethMoriveth BREAKDOWN BREAKDOWN BREAKDOWN BREAKDOWNRegistered User regular
    As obnoxious as she can be, I still really like Leigh Alexander.

    I mainly just think she's an annoying drunk. But so is Johnny V and I think he's okay too when sober.

  • AntimatterAntimatter Devo Was Right Gates of SteelRegistered User regular
    here's Leigh on a board gaming review site
    NSFW, no nudity, but titillating art
    http://www.shutupshow.com/post/46008277753/review-tease

  • Mortal SkyMortal Sky queer punk hedge witchRegistered User regular
    Oh geez that board game sounds like a lot to handle

  • UnbrokenEvaUnbrokenEva HIGH ON THE WIRE BUT I WON'T TRIP ITRegistered User regular
  • UnbrokenEvaUnbrokenEva HIGH ON THE WIRE BUT I WON'T TRIP ITRegistered User regular
    the rock paper shotgun comments are often worse than kotaku's

    it's a stunning combination of PC elitism and staggering misogyny!

    looks like they've decided to address those folks thoroughly and directly (the misogynists, not the PC elitists), including a point-by-point explanation of what sort of comments are not welcome there and why

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2013/04/06/misogyny-sexism-and-why-rps-isnt-shutting-up/
    CONCLUSION

    We’re going to keep banging this drum. And we will bang the drums against racism, transphobia and homophobia. The concerted efforts from both pissed off individuals, and organised groups from elsewhere on the internet, will not be effective. The vast majority of our readers are in favour of this coverage, and even if they weren’t, we’d continue. This matters, and we give one hell of a damn about it. We want to see gaming a place of equality, both in its creation, creations, and coverage.

    We do not believe that in any resulting greater equality anyone will suffer. Gamers will not lose out. Call Of Duty will still be released every November, with angry soldier men shouting “FUCK!” as they shoot down a helicopter. That isn’t going to go away. Instead we fight for greater variety in those resulting games. And we fight for safer, more friendly spaces in which they can be created. And we fight for a media that celebrates equality, and discourages cruelty and inequality. When anything gets in the way of that, we’re going to say so.

    Such coverage will continue to be a tiny, tiny fraction of what we write about. RPS will continue to be primarily about the games themselves, as it always has been. Still no one’s rights will be infringed by our writing about inequality. And we will carry on. We aren’t going to be bullied into silence, or shamed into shyness. And if you don’t want that, then we implore you to scroll past or read another site.

    I envision a future where the gaming world is balanced. Where this shared pursuit no longer alienates half of the population, but is equally embracing. This year’s GDC was one of optimism, a recognition that change is already well under way, and a belief that it is a gathering pace. It is to this that RPS looks, and it’s going to be great! There’s lots of work to be done, there are obstacles to combat along the way, but it’s worth it. We’re getting there.

  • BogeyBogey I'm back, baby! Santa Monica, CAModerator mod
    We've been using the Giant Bomb thread for this type of stuff for a long time now.

    Fitocracy: Join us in the SE++ group!
    XBox LIVE: Bogestrom | Destiny
    PSN: Bogestrom
This discussion has been closed.