Archive for the ‘Polygon’ Category

Perfect Dark to make a Perfect return?! (Rumor)

March 8, 2015

I’m still really surprised people care about Conker, I don’t and probably will not ever understand the appeal behind the character. He’s literally a perversion of the cute little video game/ Cartoon characters I grew up with. Apparently there were talks of a Conker  reboot at some point but insomniac  studios turned down that idea. What I find SUPER interesting is the bit at the end of this quote-

“However, Insomniac turned MS down too. Apparently MS wanted Conker to hit store shelves by the end of 2015, and Insomiac refused because of the short dev cycle. MS wanted Conker out the door really quickly, because they wanted to reintroduce audiences to a bunch of older IPs that MS were planning on rebooting for 2016-17, like Perfect Dark and Banjo.” (source)

I hope they avoid this look, you're just asking for trouble.

                   I hope they avoid this look…

All though this is all speculation based on conjecture just the mere MENTION of a Perfect Dark reboot has got my eyebrows waggling like crazy. A modern Perfect Dark would be amazing and could possibly erase the memory of Perfect Dark: Zero. I’m seriously hoping this rumor has some kind of truth to it. We’ve already heard the rumors of a new Banjo/Kazooie game so maybe there’s some truth to all this.

Now that I think about it, how would Perfect Dark fare in today’s shooter saturated market? how could they distinguish it from all the dark and edgy futuristic shooters that are out now? This would be an excellent chance to showcase Joanna Dark as a strong, capable female character.Both camps could  win if a new Perfect Dark were to be released, Polygon and Anita Sarkeesian get another character to possible rag or not rag on for clicks and controversy and the rest of us who don’t care about all that get a new adventure set in the world of Perfect Dark.

I seriously hope this is all true..not the Conker bit, no, thank you!

That GamerGate inspired episode of Law and Order is out…and just as awful as expected.

February 12, 2015

Zoe Quinn/Brianna Wu Proxy-“These guys, they just can’t stand women in gaming!”
-Detective-“What did they do to you?”
Zoe Quinn/Brianna Wu Proxy- “They leveled up”

Wow, I really don’t know what better word to describe the cringe fest of an episode Law and Order: SVU’s “Intimidation Game” was. It has everything from Ice-T using gamer jargon, awkward pale white dudes  as gamers, First person shooter dissing, damsel(s) in distress and of course a guy in a fedora wearing a bow-tie( I kid you not).

Screenshot 2015-02-12 15.07.24

I mean, really I’m not making this stuff up. From Ice-T spouting explanations for “camping” and what “FPS” meant to how bewildered Mariska hargitay looked the whole episode. it’s totally difficult to keep yourself from laughing at first. However, the laughter turns to consternation and shock when things quickly escalate and the Anita Sarkeesian Proxy, Raina Punjabi, is at first threatened, doxxed ,swatted and eventually kidnapped by a mysterious group of individuals that are an obvious analogy to the real world internet  group “Anonymous”.

Screenshot 2015-02-12 14.00.42

Except that Anonymous has never kidnapped, beaten or sexually assaulted anyone. The “Intimidation Game” is a macabre perspective on the current headlining issues in the gaming media. Since the producers of Special Victims Unit know that making an episode that centered around the very real but online threats that people like Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarkeesian have received would not be as gripping for their audience, they just  went ahead and portrayed these issues in a much darker and EXTREME light. I mean seriously, The episode ends in a Mexican standoff on a rooftop between the police and  two “Gamers” who go off on how women and “social justice warriors” are ruining video games while the camera literally switches to a first person perspective like it was a scene from a low budget Call of Duty clone. It looks as ridiculous as it sounds, trust me.

Screenshot 2015-02-12 13.35.53

There are some saying that they can not wait to see “GamerGater tears” over this episode as if this something to be championing as a “blow” to GamerGate. What people like that don’t realize,  is that this episode of Law and Order has set ALL of us and our favorite hobby back to almost mid 90’s level of mockery. Be you Anti, Pro or whatever side of GamerGate you’re on, no one has won and we’ve all come out of this looking exactly how the media has always portrayed us as, losers.

If you can’t bear to watch the full episode (I can’t blame you) you can watch a supercut version posted below. Let me know what you think.

How GamerGate lost the Media War

February 5, 2015

A strange game. The only winning move is not to play“- Joshua, Wargames, 1983

So recently, I found out that one of my favorite detective television shows, Law and Order:Special Victims Unit  would be airing an episode based off the events of Gamergate. The episode, titled “The Intimidation Game” will feature a story about a woman who is about to launch her first online game, of course she receives threats and harassment from men online. Another part of the episode has a female employee assaulted at gamer convention. The episode details can be found here.

As much as I love Special Victims Unit , I know how these episodes that are based off of real life events play out, usually from a one sided perspective that demonizes the perpetrators. Be they a pop star accused of touching children(an episode based off the Micheal Jackson allegations) or a radio shock Jock who’s fan goes off and does something stupid all so that he could end up on the Shock Jock’s show (clearly based off Howard Stern and the controversy that used to surround the infamous Howard Stern Show). The opposing “party” gets persecuted  straight to hell by the detectives, in a ploy to show the audience how evil or screwed up they are. “ The Intimidation Game” will most likely be no different. Gamers are going to be portrayed as nothing more than woman hating mongrels that will stop at nothing to impede the progress of women into their “boys club”.

Which is what brings me to why I gave this post it’s title and why I used the quote from Wargames. At this point, as a person who has watched the Gamergate issue erupt and turn gamer against gamer and gamer against journalists  I have to say that it’s over, in the court of public opinion, Gamergate and what it stands for has been mangled so badly that there’s absolutely that I feel that there’s no way to turn it around and here’s why.

“Anyone can steer the ship, but it takes a leader to chart the course”. John C. Maxwell 

This is my biggest gripe and why I felt that pro-Gamergate side took such a beating, there was no “leader” per say or even a spokesperson. On a topic that has the likes of Anita Sarkeesian and media outlets like Polygon constantly beating the public over their collective heads through generalizations, disingenuous reporting or just plain bashing. It doesn’t help your cause when you don’t have a figurehead that’s at the forefront to at least explain where you’re coming from and refute some of the claims your opponents are throwing out at you.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen someone ask “What’s Gamergate all about?” and immediately receive a cut and paste response that you’d see from the comments section of Polygon. Labeling anyone that dare stand with Gamergate as a “Fedora wearing, basement dwelling white male that hates anything that deals with Gays, Transexuals and Women and their involvement in video games”.

I can’t tell you the countless times I, as a Nigerian born, 28 year-old, non whitenon fedora wearing male would have to then reiterate and explain that yes, there are extremists but those extremists do not represent Gamergate or gamers at all. However as I’ve come to learn, those efforts are almost as futile as arguing with someone that  only watches Fox News and wholeheartedly believes that every person that associates with Islam is automatically a terrorist. Yes that’s how bad it’s gotten and probably the best way I can drive my point home.

When the only explanations that people read or hear about are coming from your opponents side of the argument it’s easy to form a bias. There are plenty of people who talked about Gamergater that were Youtubers, bloggers and writers. There are no shortage of Gamergate defenders but with little to no organization any formation of a front was quickly brushed aside and ignored.

An example would be the #Notyourshield sub movement of gamers who were tired of the gaming media using women and minorities to deflect and essentially shield themselves from any kind of criticism that could be slung their way by feigning support of both groups. Another example, when Christina Hoff Sommers aka “The Factual Feminists” released a video titled “Are video games sexist” that criticized the gaming media and it’s motives for suddenly moving against it’s perceived audience. Like #Notyourshield  Ms.Sommers was immediately written off, described  as a conservative who only  wanted to gain the favor of embattled male gamers.

Battling against a biased media.

“Something I’ve often noticed is the willingness to shame anyone that doesn’t agree with Ms. Sarkeesian or any of the issues that she speaks of. While we know that disagreement is a common aspect in society, the problem becomes apparent when you’re not just disagreed with, but you’re shamed for disagreeing.” – From:The Culture of Infallibility that surrounds Anita Sarkeesian

The day that ‘The Colbert Report‘ had Anita Sarkeesian on as a guest, was the day the final nail had been struck into the GamerGate coffin. The masses who are not as “plugged in” as those of us were treated to a big helping dose of that classic Sarkeesian bias. Being a gamer and watching someone like Anita Sarkeesian go on national television and call gaming a “Boys Club” was cringe worthy. The whole interview took me back to the days when career activists like Jack Thompson or politicians like Joe Lieberman would routinely appear on news circuits to complain about video games. This time however, the games and developers aren’t the ones under siege but the people who play them as well. The fact that so few people see the parallels between now and then is bothersome.

Back when Thompson and Leiberman were on their media tear, there wasn’t much of a voice to oppose them,  the ones that were loud enough to gain the public’s attention were disregarded. Now in the age of Anita, we are seeing the same thing take hold. People have been blinded by the gross misappropriation of  gamers, by misappropriation I mean the instant dismissal that all gamers are social awkward basement dwelling and have no idea of social context and what it means to be a productive member of society. With television shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “King of the Nerds” the image of people who are gamers or are involved with gaming hasn’t really progressed in the eye of the general public. EVEN THOUGH there are more gamers NOW than ever before in the history of the medium.

End Game

There were several missteps in Gamergate, in the world of Public Relations, getting out ahead of the news, especially if that news could be damaging to you or your client is essential. Inaction leaves you open to attacks from your opponent. Your opponent can now twist your image in anyway that they please. This has been the literal case with GamerGate, Polygon pushes out an article about Anita being harassed and it’s immediately tied to GamerGate, no investigation done, no real research that connects anything to anyone.

Yet with the way the gaming media has set this up, every single time someone is attacked online for speaking about anything that has to do with women in gaming, it’s Gamergate no if ands or buts.Controversy brings comments and clicks and with those two, revenue. Gaming has always been a besieged medium, from angry parents to “activists” and Politicians, there has always been someone there who wants a piece of that proverbial pie and honestly, who can stop them?

Anyway, thank you for giving this piece a read, I’ve been stewing over it for some time now and trying to find a way to put what’s on my mind to paper. Please share your thoughts and let me know you know how you feel. Do you think Gamegate is lost? or do you think there’s still a chance to properly get the word out?

Race in Videogames: It’s not just one group of people that suffers from tropes.

November 17, 2014

You know,
With all the coverage women have received in gaming,from sexism to objectification I sometimes think to myself “At least you have characters that are somewhat varied representations of your gender”.

I mean female gamers have Samus and Lara Croft(reboot) Claire Redfield ,on one end and zany characters like  Bayonetta, Princess Peach, Lightning so on and so forth.All these characters, regardless of what you think, have some kind of variance to their personality or demeanor. Critics  can pick and choose  from a veritable laundry list of female protagonists   which they feel are objectified or which characters are too “sexy”.On the other coin What do gamers who aren’t white or female have? If you’re black, different variations of Barrett from Final Fantasy 7 or Augustus Cole from Gears of War, what I call the “Cookie Cutter” Stereotype. From CJ from San Andreas to “Big Bo” Roy Boateng from Binary Domain. We’ve all seen these stereotypes of black men in  videogames, loud brash men that half the time sound like they had just moved from Detroit and had a stint at a comedy club.Now don’t get it twisted, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a Black character portrayed as “Boisterous”  and loud and funny. The problem I take up with is when that stereotypical character becomes the only representation of Africans and African Americans in videogames.

First off let me say that there are  African/African American characters represented in games that at least have been distinctive. An example would lie in Assassin’s Creed’s Adéwalé , A former slave from Trinidad. Adewale is featured in the DLC “Freedom Cry” but even then Freedom Cry  is DLC, it’s not part of the main campaign and can be passed up if the player doesn’t want to buy it. Basically regulating Adewale and his story as a “sidequest” lessening the importance of the character and his story. Another Assassin’s Creed game “Liberation” featured another  black protagonist, this time a woman, Aveline de Grandpré, unfortunately, Aveline’s game was initially released on the PlayStation Vita and later ported as an HD up conversion for other consoles but by that time, gamers had already moved on and Aveline and her story have basically faded away into obscurity as that “One Assassin’s Creed game on the Vita”

Aveline, Assassin’s Creed:Liberation

The pool of protagonists that women of color is even smaller. When I say protagonist, I mean the main character of the game. Not a side kick like Alyx Vance from Half life 2.I mean a woman that is a protagonist in her own game that isnt oversexualized  or fetishized . Nilin Cartier Wells from “Remember Me” is probably one of few women of color in recent memory that was of mixed race AND that was a main character in a game the other character being Aveline.

“Nilin, Remember Me”

I sometimes wonder to myself, why doesn’t anyone ever talk about any of this? why doesn’t anyone question why we’re so underrepresented and  portrayed like that in video games? why isn’t polygon writing ten articles a day about the lack of racial diversity or miss/under representation of people of color in gaming?

Then I realize something, it’s not “sexy” it won’t get websites like Polygon a massive amount of clicks, not like their daily posts about women, gaming and what developers are doing wrong.Those topics draw in hundreds of commentators, all arguing over who is right and what someone else is doing wrong. Then I start to think again and wonder why more people like myself aren’t talking about this, especially since this is a time where people are demanding that there be some kind of equal representation in gaming.

Then it hit me.

Just a few months ago a Micheal Brown was shot dead  by the police in Ferguson Missouri.  A few months later, another young black youth, 22-year-old Darrien Hunt was shot six times in the back by the police in Utah. A few weeks ago, an irate caller called in to C-Span and  said that “Republicans hate the nigger Obama” on live television.

I’m torn,

On one end there are far more serious injustices to be concerned about and to be rallied against in the real world. At the same time, in the hobby that I love, I’d for once would like to see more characters that moved beyond the typical “Giant, Funny Black Guy that sounds like he was on Sanford and Son in the 70’s” and it’s time to start a dialogue about it.