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So I finally bit the bullet and disabled comments on all my artwork. I had been thinking about doing it for a while now, and after conducting a poll and seeing an overwhelming support of doing it, I decided to finally act upon it. Deviations I submit will no longer have comments. Journals and my FrontPage will because I can’t disable those (trust me, I would’ve disabled my FrontPage comment section YEARS ago if I could. That place is a cesspool).

The reasons for disabling comments are pretty simple. I get a lot of hate on the internet and it’s negatively affecting me. I am, I admit, a special case. I likely get more hate than most “famous” DA users do, and as such I have to tailor my needs specifically. I also have been growing very wary about how toxic the DA community can be at times. DA doesn’t police new accounts and it’s very easy for trolls to perpetuate their activities. Blocking doesn’t really DO anything as anyone can just create a new account to get around it. Reporting is slow and doesn’t usually resolve problems. And more often than not people are far more willing to tell you what you did wrong, than what you did right.

I’ve been growing kinda distrustful of comments in general across MANY platforms, not just DA. The more I see how comments can be used as an abusive system, the less I’m in favor of them. This has been something that’s been festering inside me for a while now.

Of course there is likely going to be a backlash against this practice. Disabling comments sends the message that you don’t want feedback or criticism. And I’m already known as the poster-boy for “can’t handle criticism” on the internet. Others might object because it’s seen as “censoring” their voice, from people who do not understand what censorship actually means. Not allowing you to comment on a work of art, is not censorship as long as you’re allowed to comment on it in SOME public form/forum on the internet. And guess what? Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlets are designed for JUST THAT PURPOSE. So while you may not be able to comment HERE, you can still have a voice and express your opinions ELSEWHERE.

At any rate... that’s what happened today. I am not leaving Deviant Art, but this is likely the starting point of me migrating away from the communities and just focusing on making art and comics for fun and entertainment, free of the nagging belittling comments that permeate everyday life for me here. While I have every intention of improving my artwork over time, forcing myself to get better for the sake of getting better is not a belief I hold, and I would much rather make art that’s fun and entertaining for me (warts and all), than striving for perfection and making art that’s technically nice but utterly soulless.
  • Mood: Angsty
  • Listening to: I'm Blue - Eiffel 65
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Doctor Who (10th Doctor)
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Subway Sandwiches
  • Drinking: Green tea. Hot.
Vivian James was created by 4chan as part of designing a character for The Fine Young Capitalist’s video game contest thanks to the amount of money they donated to the group. However, despite her original intent of being a video game character, she was quickly adopted by many GamerGate people as a sort of spiritual mascot for their cause. She appears in pro-GamerGate memes, user icons, fanart, etc.

While many don’t want to admit that she’s their mascot, if enough people keep using her to symbolize their struggles and as meme shorthand for their cause... I’m sorry but that’s pretty much the definition of a mascot.

A mascot is any person, animal, or object used to represent a group with a common public identity.

And it’s this reason people need to understand that as a mascot she can represent many things that aren’t part of her loosely defined “character.” Mickey Mouse, for example, is often used as a mascot or symbol for Disney in a lot of parody work. He’s often depicted out of character to further whatever the point is trying to be made about Disney. It’s not a shot at Mickey Mouse, it’s a shot at Disney themselves.

So yeah... all this hatred of the past couple comics featuring Vivian James seem to be centered around nitpicky semantics and people’s unwillingness to see how their cause is portrayed by those outside of the group. I got news for ya, GamerGate people... your cause is NOT looked highly upon. And if THIS much anger and hatred is created just by having a mediocre webcomic artist poking fun at a fictional character loosely associated with your group... that’s a BAD sign.

It’s funny how a group that tries so hard to preach the idea of “ethics” seems to have no problem mocking and dog-piling obscene amounts of hatred and vile content on anyone who even APPEARS to oppose them. I’ve always said that I respect the CONCEPT behind GamerGate, but that I don’t actually believe they’re capable of fulfilling it. And with this latest show of harassment and malicious attacks, I think i’m pretty right in believing that.

In the past 48 hours I’ve endured a torrent of hateful messages being sent to me on twitter, death threats, people wishing I’d commit suicide, parody comics (which ironically bemoan me sexualizing Vivian by using a sexy female version of my bear character?), nasty e-mails, and about a gazillion balloon puns (because a decade ago I use to draw inflation artwork therefor it’s an easy way to make fun of me now).

You wanna know why GamerGate has a bad reputation? This is why. I wish the actual people who want GamerGate to be successful luck... cuz from where I sit, ya got a LONG way to go.
  • Mood: Stumped
  • Listening to: R.E.M. - I am Superman
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Doctor Who (12th Doctor)
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Mac + Cheese
  • Drinking: Chamomile tea. Hot.
JollyJack made this cute comic
So, You're A Cuddly Toy by jollyjack

Sadly what confuses me are people writing up “Shots Fired!” comments under the artwork. That makes no sense to me. Is it because he draws “sexy” things and people just assume that I’m against “sexy” things cuz I make feminist-slanting comics from time to time? If that’s their beef, then they’re idiots and lack simple comprehension skills necessary to form accurate conclusions based on things I’ve said. Especially since I’ve said that not only do I like sexy artwork and characters, but that I like JJ’s work and have no issues with it what-so-ever. Anyway... ENJOY THE CUTE CARTOON!

Sam Pepper
So there’s this YouTuber named Sam Pepper who does viral prank videos. Recently he did a series of videos where he pinched the butts of various people, both men and women. In the videos it appears unprovoked and very invasive of random strangers personal boundaries. The people react negatively (naturally) and some even try to attack him back.

These videos have caught the ire of a lot of people online as being just generally offensive behavior that shouldn’t be laughed at. It is, essentially, harassment videos. Sam Pepper, of course, came up with the response that he was just doing a “social experiment” and that these people (mostly women) were just actors who all signed and agreed to be in the videos.

Now... if that is true, then it raises a couple problems... mainly being that this “social experiment” he claims he’s doing recently doesn’t excuse the hundreds of OTHER videos in which he asks random strangers (mostly women) to do something with him, such as impromptu make-out sessions, to kisses, etc. And if it’s false, then it just shows him as being a really unsympathetic asshole who’s willing to harass strangers for pageviews on his channel. So either way it’s not looking good for Sam Pepper.

Many people have responded to him, including the vlog brothers who promptly made a statement that he is not welcome back to VidCon. Prank videos, by their nature, are designed to catch unsuspecting people off guard and to watch their (usually) hilarious reactions to the odd situations they’re put in. But what Sam Pepper is doing is violating people’s consent or forcing himself onto random strangers who likely go-with-the-flow because they’re nervous and a camera is on them. There’s a big difference between the guy who pretends his car is empty to get reactions from McDonalds workers, and a guy who approaches random women and forces them to kiss him on camera against their will. One is funny, the other is harassment.

And since the public outcry over his videos, a number of women have come forward to add their testimonies to the fact that they were unwantedly touched or harassed by him. One allegation even being that he conned women into sending him nude photos. You can read more of it here: www.buzzfeed.com/ryanhatesthis…

Overall, this whole thing is a mess in it’s own right, and it’s not looking good for Pepper. I personally don’t agree with the types of prank videos he does, and I sincerely don’t agree with the idea of groping or touching someone against there will for lulz. The fact that he can’t seem to realize that his actions are bad is the worse part about all of this. That’s the sort of thing we need to stop... people thinking that it’s OK to do this sort of stuff because of “who they are.”

That’s my take on this whole situation...

Emma Watson
Emma Watson is a feminist and she gave a very stirring speech on why she is one. It was a great speech and it got a lot of press. It was also followed by the threats by 4chan to harass Emma Watson for being a feminist by leaking nude photos of her. Given the recent string of harassment against women for standing up for a cause lately, this naturally got a lot of media attention.

Except... the threats weren’t real. They weren’t made by 4chan. They were made by a media company called Rantic Marketing which make viral websites designed to expose the negative actions 4chan often takes against celebrities...

Except... THAT wasn’t real EITHER. Rantic Marketing is actually a front for a team of hoaxers called SocialVEVO. They create these fake stories and websites to capitalize on page views before the general public figures out the truth.

So we’ve got some sort of “Hoax-ception” going on here. Crazy shit. www.themarysue.com/emma-watson…

Despite all that, Emma Watson’s speech is still great and you should read up on it if you haven’t already. Her speech was the inspiration for the #HeforShe hashtag that’s been getting popular on twitter recently and is designed at getting men and boys to become advocates for inequalities faced by women and girls around the world. www.cbsnews.com/news/emma-wats…
  • Mood: Bewildered
  • Listening to: R.E.M. - I am Superman
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Doctor Who (11th Doctor)
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Potato Skins
  • Drinking: Chamomile tea. Hot.
UNNECESSARY NECESSARY PREFACE!
I'm well aware that not all of 4chan is "evil" and that not all people who participate or visit 4chan are "evil" either. This journal uses large sweeping generalizations because that's helpful for having a larger discussion. I'm not interested in minutia, I'm interested in the big picture here. And sadly, even if you love 4chan, it has a reputation which precedes it and you cannot deny that. So please, don't comment here with "But not ALL 4chan is bad!" remarks, ok? I know. I understand.

****

So here’s the latest that I’ve been able to discover about the GamerGate movement. Apparently 4chan and other like-minded websites have been “compromised.” Mods are now banning or deleting threads and discussions about GamerGate. This, naturally, has led many to assume that 4chan is “under control” by Social Justice Warriors (SJW for short) and a lot of people are leaving 4chan now to find other websites (or possibly start their own).

PS: I do not think that 4chan will ever actually "go-away" and this is likely just a temporary thing happening there. Either the site will bounce back and be as awful and deplorable as it's always been, or people will branch off and make their own versions of 4chan which will be even worse. So yeah, despite all this "doom and gloom" I don't think anything really significant is gonna happen in regards to 4chan. Sorry.

Of course that means the creator of 4chan has been under attack for becoming a SJW himself, which is delicious irony in my opinion (though I don’t envy what he’s likely enduring from the scum of the internet).

Amid this mass migration away from 4chan there has been ONE lone voice of reason for the GamerGate people. EscapistMagazine.com Their forums have been left untouched and uncensored for GamerGate discussion, leading many to believe it’s the last best vestige of home for rational conversations.


However, recently Escapistmagazine.com has come under fire from DDOS attacks. Specifically targeting the GamerGate threads and forum posts. For a while this weekend, the website was temporarily downed.

Naturally, what’s the first response from “rational” people? To assume that some SJW attacked The Escapist to try and “silence” the brave bold GamerGate people. Which, honestly, I gotta say is a load of hogwash IMO. The term SJW is so friggin’ vague these days, you can apply that term to pretty much ANYONE. And unlike GamerGate, which holds meetings and chat sessions to decide how to best proceed forward as a group... SJW’s don’t do that. Not to my knowledge anyway, and apparently I’M a SJW!

Now there’s a lot of theories about what happened, most of them pointing a finger at SJW’s (how convenient GG’s got an enemy now eh?), but my money is on a 3rd party just trying to disrupt things for the lulz. I mean, GamerGate started off of 4chan originally and 4chan itself is kinda known for trolling themselves. I wouldn’t put it past someone doing it just to stir the pot and watch the “hilarity” ensue.

But still, yeah, this is... fun times. I gotta admit it’s kinda fun watching the GamerGate people act all paranoid and suspicious of anyone who even mentions their cause’s name. It would be absolutely hilarious if not for the damaging effects this could actually have on ACTUAL social justice and progress in our country (sorry guys this is mostly an American affair). Social Justice in and of itself is not a demonizing cause. Yeah sure a couple of people on tumblr can go a LITTLE too overboard with their want for inclusivity, sure, but when you get right down to it the concept of social justice is just that... social justice: Wanting justice in our society due to social inequalities and issues.

I’m honestly terrified of what this could mean in the long run. Large groups of angry people banded together to rid their “hobbies” of social issues and equality? Not a happy prospect in my opinion. Social Justice is about equality. It’s about what’s right and fixing longstanding issues in our culture and society. Flatly DISMISSING anyone who wants to see more women in games, or want to see less all-white-grizzled-male leads in AAA titles? That’s not progress. That’s the opposite of progress. That’s stagnation. That’s maintaining the status-quo and keeping things right where they are, ignoring everyone else in the world who wants to participate unless they march step with your tune.

I dunno about you, but that’s not a future of games I want to see. And if that makes me a “SJW” then so be it.
  • Mood: Nervous
  • Listening to: R.E.M. - I am Superman
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Doctor Who (10th Doctor)
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: McDonalds
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
I’m trying out inkblazers.com right now for hosting some of my comics. Right now I’ve got a couple of the SYAC strips up (eventually hope to have most if not all of them up there). Inkblazers seems to work best for chapter based on-going series that are designed for print rather than single strip web comics, though. It does have a lot going for it in terms of web design and cultivating fans and watchers, so that’s a big plus. If you do more story oriented comics, strongly recommend it as a good starting place to gaining a fanbase and hosting your comics.

Here’s my page: www.inkblazers.com/manga-and-c…

So while inkblazers might not be the BEST site for SYAC, I am thinking it might be a good place to post Formera or Alex Ze Pirate. I would like to get back into writing both of those series eventually, and they are mostly formatted already for the site (with chapters, covers, and etc). So yeah, will likely have more stuff of mine going up there soon too. I’ll try to keep y’all posted.


PS: I’m gonna be trying tapastic.com eventually too. I’ll keep ya posted on that when the time comes.
  • Mood: Optimism
  • Listening to: R.E.M. - I am Superman
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Doctor Who (12th Doctor)
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: McDonalds Junkfood
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
I don’t like it.

Not good enough for ya? Ugh... alright...

See, I’m not really a fan of Smash Bros to begin with. Back in the day (N64) I was and even LOVED the much improved Melee on the Gamecube. But since then the series has sort of plateaued for me. Brawl was pretty much the same game as Melee just with more characters, and by the looks of the upcoming Wii-U and 3DS version it’s just more of the same.

I’m also just not fond of fighting games in general. I lived through the 90’s when fighting games were ALL THE RAGE and pretty much EVERYTHING was a fighting game both at home and in the arcades. There’s only so much enjoyment I can get out of beating people up again, and again, and again, and again. The rosters change, but the gameplay is essentially the same thing.

Which brings me to another reason I’m not fond of Smash Bros. The rosters. Because right now it’s looking like Smash Bros is the Nintendo equivalent of an EA sports title. Minimal to no gameplay change, and a roster update that looks more like it should be DLC instead of a full priced game. And Smash Bros isn’t the only Nintendo game to do that. Pokemon does it. The revitalized 2-D sidescrolling Mario games do it too. Updating the roster with characters I won’t likely use is not enough to make me spend money on something.

And finally there’s just the gameplay itself. Repetitive, boring, and unappealing to me. I don’t like fighting games. I don’t like competing with other people. I don’t like intense battles and competition in general really. Add in the mix Masahiro Sakurai’s weird unintuitive control fetish and god-awfully designed menus ripped right from Kid Icarus: Uprising and yeah... not interested at all.

I played the demo. I found the controls awful and unintuitive (3 jump buttons, really?). The gameplay was also remarkably SLOW for what normally is such an intense fighting experience. Aside from button mashing and looking at Nintendo nostalgic characters I like, what’s the appeal for me?

Now then...

Having said all that... you should NOT take my criticisms to heart. My issues are MY issues, not yours. My disenjoyment of the franchise and games should do NOTHING to stop you from enjoying the game. Do not let my criticism and uninterest affect your judgement. And if it does, stop for a second and rethink things. Enjoy the game all you want. Play the crap out of it. Get amazingly good at it. Have FUN with it. Do whatever you want with it.

Just don’t bother me about not liking it, ok?

We can’t ALL like the same stuff, after all. There’s bound to be some games or titles that we’re not going to see eye-to-eye on. And that’s OK. That’s part of being a grown mature adult: acknowledging that we’re all slightly different in our interests and quirks and that it’s OK and doesn’t ruin or affect your enjoyments or interests in the slightest.

Sooooo yeah. That’s my thoughts on Smash Bros. I was told by someone that I apparently “hate” Mario, Link and other Nintendo characters because I’m not enthusiastic about Smash Bros... which is complete BS as anyone who knows me and my history with Nintendo can attest too. I LOVE Nintendo. I just don’t LOVE Smash Bros, Ok?
  • Mood: Pestered
  • Listening to: I'm Blue - Eiffel 65
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Doctor Who (10th Doctor)
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: McDonalds Junkfood
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Hey guys, just wondering if anyone here on DA has had any success or luck with different webcomic hosting websites like these:

tapastic.com/
www.patreon.com/

Or if you can recommend something else?
  • Mood: Speechless
  • Listening to: I'm Blue - Eiffel 65
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Doctor Who
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cheeseburgers
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Where Have I Been?
Working, mostly. I have a day job so my free time working on things like SYAC, NSYAC, Alex Ze Pirate, and etc have been severely cut short. It’s hard to justify working on your free hobbies when you need to pay rent, you know?

That said I actually HAVE been working quite a bit on artwork... it’s just not stuff I’m allowed to post on DA yet. Keyword being “yet.” I’m sure sometime down the road I’ll get permission to do so and y’all will see a torrent of new artwork from me. But for the moment it will have to wait. Sorry.

Are You Leaving Again?
No I am not. Apparently there’s been a rumor going around (started by an artist for the Bravest Warriors comic of all people) that I’ve “quit” making art due to some depressing tweets I made a few days back. Rest assured I am not going anywhere, I was merely expressing my emotions and my feelings to my fans on twitter. While I have been feeling pretty dead inside when it comes to making artwork, I am not giving it up, nor am I leaving anything.

Is This Why You’ve Been Making Lots of Journals and Tweets?
Yes. I may not be posting artwork on DA much lately, but I can still write. I’m actually a very fast writer and I formulate my thoughts long before I begin so writing lengthy journals actually is a breeze for me. It allows me to keep posting something rather than nothing at all. I know some people don’t like seeing so many journals or torrents of tweets from me, but too bad. I’m gonna keep doing it cuz I like doing it and I don’t want this account to be viewed as “dead.”

Anything Else Going On We Should Know About?
I’m working on moving my 3 main websites (SYAC, Alex Ze Pirate, and Andy’sArtwork) to new servers soon, which is another reason why I haven’t updated them in a long while. There’s a lot of stuff to move and I don’t get much time to work on it, so it’s been a very slow process. But yeah, that’s something else I’m doing and it contributes to why no new content has been produced for any of those sites lately along with, you know, having a day job.
  • Mood: Speechless
  • Listening to: I'm Blue - Eiffel 65
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: Doctor Who
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cheeseburgers
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
I’m genuinely curious. What exactly is it you fear would happen to gaming/comics/geek culture if feminism DID actually have it’s way and take everything over? I’m serious, I am curious as to what exactly about feminism or hell, even humanism, is so “scary” and what people seem to think will happen if they accept it.

I genuinely want to know, so please tell me in the comments below. I won’t block or ban anyone for speaking their mind, and I’d like to urge my fans to NOT argue with, criticize, or demonize any opinions expressed below please. I want honest answers here.
  • Mood: Approval
  • Listening to: I'm Blue - Eiffel 65
  • Reading: Twitter
  • Watching: AVGN: The Movie
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cheeseburgers
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
So the news this morning was that Notch, creator of the wildly successful Minecraft, not only sold Mojang to Microsoft, but he’s also stepping down from Mojang. Microsoft acquired the company for 2.5 BILLION dollars. You can read his post and what it’ll mean to the future of Mojang here: mojang.com/2014/09/yes-were-be…

However, that’s only one part of the story. Notch stepping down from Mojang is a little more complicated. He mentioned that he’s realized that he’s becoming a symbol for people, not a person, and as a result he gets drawn into a lot of debate or blamed for things he never said or did. He cited this video as a good example of what his life has become recently:



I watched the This is Phil Fish video on YouTube and started to realize I didn’t have the connection to my fans I thought I had. I’ve become a symbol. I don’t want to be a symbol, responsible for something huge that I don’t understand, that I don’t want to work on, that keeps coming back to me. I’m not an entrepreneur. I’m not a CEO. I’m a nerdy computer programmer who likes to have opinions on Twitter.

Source - notch.net/2014/09/im-leaving-m…
Alt Source - pastebin.com/n1qTeikM


With all the recent turmoil in the games industry, and professionals leaving for various reasons (usually harassment), it’s quite a blow that Notch is stepping down. Granted it’s true he hasn’t actually been responsible for Minecraft for quite some time (Jens is currently leading it), but his desire to get out of the limelight and seek a more normal life is one that I think many of us can sympathize with. I know I can.

I’m sure a lot of people don’t want to think about this as being about harassment, but since Notch explicitly cites the incident with Phil Fish and the corresponding video about “being a symbol not a person” it’s kinda hard NOT to. And you can see him venting his frustration of the situation too prior to all this happening:

Anyone want to buy my share of Mojang so I can move on with my life? Getting hate for trying to do the right thing is not my gig.
Source - twitter.com/notch/status/47876…


So yeah... I think what stressed Notch out is the same thing that’s stressing ALL of the video game professionals recently. The ongoing torrent of harassments online, the inability to sympathize and see big name devs/artists/people AS other human beings, and the need to use people as symbols for a greater injustice. In the past couple months we’ve lost SO MANY independent developers and professionals in the industry due to this sort of thing. And while I know some people will say “good riddance to them!” I can’t help but feel like we’re shooting ourselves in the foot for letting this happen.

And now with Microsoft buying Minecraft, they’ve effectively become THE GATEKEEPERS for how EVERYONE ON THE PLANET will get to experience Minecraft from now on. If Microsoft wanted to, they could easily just say “sorry you can’t play this on any other device besides our own” and shut off millions of fans and limit the scope of players. MAYBE Microsoft will do better with the license, but given Microsoft’s track record I am not hopeful. And just think of how much good that 2.5 Billion dollars could’ve done if put towards pretty much ANYTHING ELSE in the games industry.

So... yeah... we lost another one. *slow claps.* How many more will it take before we stop and realize what we’re doing to our favorite hobby and all of the people who work in it?
  • Mood: Gloomy
  • Listening to: I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding)
  • Watching: AVGN: The Movie
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cheeseburgers
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
If nothing else, this film should be heralded as a milestone in what independent filmmakers can do thanks to social media and YouTube. The fact that this movie EXISTS at all is an amazing achievement, and it’s pretty clear that James Rolfe put a LOT of time and effort into making it. Some things work, others don’t, but overall it’s definitely an achievement for him.

The “story” centers around a company producing ET2 (a sequel to the atari 2600 game ET which caused the video game crash), playing on the trends that gamers like to play bad games ironically by cynically pandering to them with an even WORSE game to make a profit. That’s already kinda meta in and of itself, but per usual AVGN standards, it gets even weirder.

Wanting to prove that the ET burial legend is just a myth, the AVGN teams up with a new nerd protege and a geek girl financing the trip for the company that is marketing ET2. They accidentally get roped into a secret plot involving Area 52’s Roswell coverup which coincidentally ties in with the production of the atari 2600 game ET.

What I liked
I liked the production values and the clear attention to catering to his fans. There are barf gags, F-bombs, winking nods to B-movie plots/tropes/FX, and in the end he DOES review the game (finally!). The acting is delightfully cheesy, and it’s pretty clear everyone is onboard with the silly storyline. I never felt any of the actors were “bad” actors.

James Rolfe has always been a HUGE supporter of incredibly cheesy effects and sci-fi costumes and the like. He purposefully includes shots of what are obviously toys or people dressed in cardboard robot suits. If you’re ok with B-movie appreciation stuff like that, you’ll find a lot to enjoy here. In some ways it almost mirrors “The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra” in that it’s purposefully TRYING to make things look fake. But even still, there are genuine FX moments and James seems to know precisely when to use good effects and when to use bad effects.

What I didn’t like
This is mostly nitpicky stuff, so please don’t take this section too seriously. One of the things that rubbed me the wrong way was the upholding of outdated stereotypes of girl-phobic gamers. One of the things the Nerd mentions is part of his “geek creed” is “no girls.” It feels weird here because in NONE of his other AVGN videos is this sort of “rule” present. I can accept taking on a new nerd protege, thus giving the Nerd someone to talk to, but this weird “geek creed” mentality came out of left field.

Also, while it’s understandable that this world is “strange” given the many things the Nerd has encountered over the years, the movie plays everything straight for so long that when the weirdness starts creeping in it feels a little... off at times. I think it might’ve helped to have more weird game related stuff at the beginning of the movie to balance out the absolute bonkers stuff that happens at the end of the movie.

There’s also this strange explanation for how the universe works that is played up as a conspiracy theory originally, but then is revealed as 100% true by the end. I wouldn’t have minded so much but the movie literally STOPS to reveal this exposition.

Conclusion
I think it’s still definitely worth your time. If you love the AVGN or any of the work he’s produced over the years, you’ll know what to expect and get from this too. It’s campy. It’s cheesy. It pokes fun at obvious movie tropes and cliches. It’s low-budget but in all the right places. The story is a bit of a mess at times, but it’s also just so much fun you can ignore and forgive a few minor faults. And the music is kick-ass.

I’ve heard some people complain that it’s not “as funny” as his older work, and while that might be true, I think it’s still pretty consistent with where the Nerd has been going lately. He started off as absolute rage filled anger, but gradually over time he has mellowed out a bit and been a lot more even-handed with his reviews. The same goes here, and if you’re OK with that I think you’ll still enjoy it. Definitely check it out.

Personally, I enjoyed the hell out of it. It made me laugh and I was smiling the whole way through. And it just made me happy that James Rolfe was able to finally realize his dream of making a movie too.

One side note. It’s pretty clear a lot of the game footage and references to ET have been changed due to the fact they couldn’t get the licensing rights to characters in Stephen Spielberg’s ET. As a result, a lot of the movie deals with a “green” alien and the game is called Ee-Tee. While he can get away with showing footage of games for a webshow, you just can’t claim “free speech” with a big budget movie like this. It’s a weird and disappointing change, but unfortunately understandable.

You can rent it now on Viemo for $4.99 or buy it as a digital download for $9.99 here: vimeo.com/ondemand/avgn
Currently he is looking into other outlets for distribution (possibly itunes) and a Blu-Ray and DVD version (with bonus features and extras) is also in the works.
  • Mood: Pride
  • Listening to: I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding)
  • Watching: AVGN: The Movie
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cheeseburgers
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
This is a reposting of a tangent I went off on over on Twitter the other day (with some extra clarification added to make it a little more cohesive). I felt that in the wake of all this GamerGate/Feminism/Women in games/comics/geek culture stuff going on that I should at least talk about men’s relationship to it all. So here ya go!

Gendered Insults
It's not that harassment of men doesn't happen, it's that women are far more likely to get harassed and have it be gendered and much worse (source: time.com/3305466/male-female-h… ). I've never been harassed because I'm a man. But nearly every one of my female colleagues have been harassed because they're women. Men don't get harassed the same way as women. Their insults are usually directed at opinions, not their gender. Women, on the other hand, usually get BOTH.

It also seems like there's more harassment now than before, but that's because there are more women IN those geek stratus and we have more social media outlets to point it out when it crops up.

SIDENOTE: Comic and sci-fi cons use to smell a lot different before women started showing up in droves.

It's a shame that so many people view standing up for women's rights as "you're a man who believes women are weak and need protecting." Seems like anytime I make a feminist statement of any sort I get this criticism. However, I actually think that women are generally remarkably strong, given how much shit they have to deal with just in every day life. Women don’t need “saving,” but it doesn’t hurt to stand up in support every now and then.

Men’s roles are changing
I think discussing "where men belong" in current our society is a worthwhile discussion. Especially since so many men feel "emasculated." I think re-thinking what it means to be "a man" and what it means to be "masculine" are really interesting ideas worth discussing. Here is actually a very good video that goes into that a little bit: "A Guy Named Joe" www.youtube.com/watch?v=rP-bIY…

That is also why I initially loved the Brony movement. Because it was challenging societal norms about masculinity. Men were realizing it was OK to watch "girly" things and that it didn't affect their "masculinity" one iota. It was a very progressive thing.... which sadly devolved into the same "me vs them" defensive mentality that is currently infecting and hurting the rest of geek culture. I love what Bronies started out as and what they represented socially... but I am not very happy with how they are presenting themselves socially now.

History Repeats Itself
One last thing to remember: Men feeling emasculated in society is nothing new. We've already done this dance back in the 1950-70's. When men returned home from WWII and found women very unwilling to give up their new roles as the dominant family bread-winners, they had a hard time adjusting. History repeats itself and what's going on in the geek strata right now is very much a delayed version of something that happened in normal society nearly 60 years ago.

SIDENOTE: I've mentioned it before but the movie "Duel" is about raw masculine strength actively challenging and threatening a modern everyday man. It’s a great suspense movie in it’s own right, but underneath it all there is a lot of symbolism and themes about grappling with masculinity in a modern-feminist world. The man’s wife berates him on the phone, the radio plays a talk show featuring a guy upset about not fitting in because his wife works, any help he tries to get to get away from the trucker is thwarted, and in the end he has to “man up” and “deal” with his problems head-on. It’s a great film and one that I think is VERY relevant to geek culture right now.

I think that geek culture (and esp gaming culture) is in the midst of a huge cultural shift that has many questioning their identity within. This has sadly resulted in many lashing out at people attempting to make progressive change, and wanting to maintain the way things were when it made sense to them. But in the end, they’re gonna have to deal with the change and how they deal with that is going to determine who gets to move forward.
  • Mood: Sympathy
  • Listening to: I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding)
  • Watching: Atop The 4th Wall
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cheeseburgers
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
I’m not in favor of it.

I have desperately been trying to keep an open mind about the movement, but the more I’ve seen of how that movement acts I just can’t in good conscience root for it. I thank all the people who were willing to give me a second chance and send me links to positive things the movement is trying to do... but ultimately the whole genesis of the movement seems to be to harass women OUT of the gaming industry, and the mountain of proof piling up is pretty damn damning.

Like I said in my last journal, I do honestly believe there ARE people in the GG community who DO believe 100% in the goals of the group and who are absolutely LOVELY and WONDERFUL people. But the more I see of how the GG movement was started, how they speak to each other, how they plan to attack and target specific individuals... I kinda feel like those wonderful people are being used, or at the very least duped. And that bothers me a lot.

It’s particularly telling when you bring up issues about ACTUAL corruption in the games industry, as the GG movement seems to be very good at dismissing those issues and saying they’re “saving it for later.” That just baffles the hell out of me because it implies you’re not able to do more than 1 thing at a time. Likewise it bothers me because journalists are generally the lower tier and least paid of the industry professionals. Shit trickles downhill, so it would make MORE sense to ME to attack stuff at the top and work your way down, than trying to slowly climb UP a slippery slope. Not to mention I’ve yet to hear a good explanation for why “fixing journalism” will somehow fix all the problems in the games industry itself, you know like how EA holds sequels to a franchise for ransom if people don’t buy their intentionally shitty new release. Seriously, the amount of consumer unfriendly bullshit companies try to pull over our eyes is astounding and we should be doing something about THAT because THAT actually affects our WALLETS.

And also, despite so many people in the GG movement claiming to not condone harassment or trolling, or even saying that Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian don’t matter to them anymore... the trolling of Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian has not stopped or slowed down. It’s STILL going on, in some cases stronger than ever. If you truly believe that your movement is for good and you don’t condone harassment, then it is incumbent upon you to denounce people trolling Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian EVEN IF YOU HATE THEM.

There’s also the issue that most game journalism press is actually enthusiastic press, not something akin to The New York Times which have much higher standards. Enthusiastic press are stories and opinions written BY enthusiasts FOR enthusiasts. When you read a game journalist’s column or blog post, you are acknowledging that you BOTH have something in common here: your love of video games. And a lot of the news and leaks that we get come from journalists being friends with devs and people working in the industry. Restricting that, or even restricting freelance writers, from writing about the things you want to read is... backwards to me. Even more astounding is when people are demanding individuals like MovieBob be removed from his position on The Escapist, which makes no sense to me since HE'S NOT A JOURNALIST.

And then of course there’s the dog-piling mentality of the movement. See, the thing is, sometimes you need to be critical of things you like. That’s a perfectly OK thing to have. But ANY time I even remotely poked fun at GG or suggested feminism isn’t ALL THAT BAD, I got dog-piled on with a torrent of hateful messages and responses. Until I clarified things better and then suddenly most of them turned to apologies. Attacking people like that is NOT a good way to get people on your side. I’m a cartoonist. My goal is to make fun of stuff and laugh about things, but I can’t do that when a hundred people, most sending me insults, slurs, and content to fill a dozen TomPrestonBingo cards, keep shouting the moment I twitch a finger.

And then there's the conspiracy theory level nonsense. Seriously, within seconds of just joking about GG the other day I had a guy analyze my twitter account, discovered that I reblog a lot of MovieBob stuff (because I have like 10 people I actually follow so naturally those 10 get a good chunk of my reblogs) and determined that I was a SJW hack who's entire goal was trying to "derail the conversation." The truth of the matter was that I used a hashtag I didn't realize was part of the "enemy attack" and thus got (once again) dog-piled on for trying to "stall" the movement with my tweet. Seriously.

So I am sorry, GamerGate people. I tried my best to see the positive side to things in your cause, but the negative keeps outweighing them. I am not denying that there is likely SOME corruption in the industry. Of course there probably is. I just don’t think it’s a “problem” in the same way some people seem to think it will, and “fixing” it will not magically make EA and other developers better companies.
  • Mood: Sympathy
  • Listening to: I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding)
  • Watching: Atop The 4th Wall
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cheeseburgers
  • Drinking: Decaf. Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Last night I said something incredibly stupid on twitter about GamerGate. You see, someone had decided to send child pornography pictures to Anita Sarkeesian through twitter, and I made a comment equating the act to GamerGate sympathizers. That was incredibly wrong of me to do and it was quickly pointed out to me how wrong it really was. I rightly apologized and then something happened that I’ve never had happen to me in my 10 years of being on the internet... people didn’t dwell on my mistake and actually started to provide me with lots of helpful information about GamerGate! That really took me by surprise since I am so use to having every slip-up and mistake held against me forever. It was enough to make me realize that perhaps I have been wrong about the GamerGate movement being created to silence women in gaming.

And that’s why I’m going to apologize for the last couple of journals here on DA too. All last month it has been absolutely terrible to be a woman in the games industry. There have been so many attacks and accusations and harassment, it’s hard to look at things with an unbiased eye. And, if I may be so bold, I think my emotions of the situation got the better of me and that my last journal WAS a tad condescending. I still stand by the belief that saying “Not all ___” is a ridiculous thing to do, but after speaking with many people about the intents of GamerGate it was pretty clear to me that a lot of people are doing it because of trolls trying to derail the group by firing at both sides.

I do personally think that GamerGate has the best intentions in mind. The goal of wanting better ethics and journalistic integrity in gaming media IS a noble cause, to be sure. I am, sadly, still on the fence about how people are trying to effect change, however. This write up about the recent issues is actually a very good read and I suggest everyone at least read it once: medium.com/@upstreamism/to-fai… but there is one part of this I wanted to copy/paste here to make a point.

More than once, I was pointed to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics or the “10 Absolutes of Reuters Journalism” as a baseline for reform. Those codes were written primarily to uphold the reliability of news reportage, but not everything published in the gaming press is news reportage. That’s because, historically, games journalism grew out of what’s called the enthusiast press — meaning that it was (and still is) written primarily by gaming enthusiasts, for other gaming enthusiasts. When you write for an enthusiast press, though, you’ve already thrown out some measure of objectivity, since it’s assumed that you and your reader already agree that games are worth your time, money and interest.

I think that’s part of the reason a lot of the GamerGate controversy is a little unfocused. A lot of people are crying “corruption” and “ethics” without seemingly understanding why those broad things don’t necessarily apply to current games journalism as neatly as they would if this were, say, The New York Times. Coupled with the ongoing harassment of Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn, and you can understand why it’s sometimes hard to pin down what exactly people in support of GamerGate actually want.

Here’s where I propose something. Instead of attacking current game journalistic sites and outlets for their supposed lack of transparency and corruption, maybe instead you should band together and make your own gaming journalistic site that upholds those beliefs you think they don’t. Prove to the industry that what you’re doing truly is noble and that you can report on gaming culture without all the corruption and ethical lapses. In my opinion that would be something I could definitely get behind and support as a noble cause, and it would be fairly easy to do too if the right people got together and set it up.

And it’s important that GamerGate people who genuinely believe there is something noble in their quest DO something positive right now, because things are starting to look a little worse for their cause. Zoe Quinn, the person whom all of this started as a result of, has been lurking in the 4chan IRC chats and recording what’s been going on there... and the news is rather discouraging to anyone who believed in GamerGate as a positive movement.

The logs in question seem to indicate that a lot of GamerGate was created by 4chan users as a way of kicking out women and SJW’s from the gaming industry, with planned attacks, multiple fake accounts to make the cause seem bigger, and plans to specifically target key individuals. Remember how I said the sudden support from 4chan for The Fine Young Capitals looked like a planned attempt to spurn Zoe Quinn and make it seem like the movement was on the side of progress? Yeah... that kinda looks like I was right from the way these documents talk. You can read some of the key bits from Zoe’s own storify page here: storify.com/strictmachine/game…

Of course her being the person dropping the bomb has generated some backlash, and a lot of GamerGate supporters are quick to point out that she was cherry picking key bits (though that’s still not very encouraging since they’re also not denying those things were said). So in the interest of full disclosure, if you want to read more you can read these key parts that show where she got her info from: imgur.com/a/Mfh61 or (if you’re bold enough) you can actually read the chat logs themselves here: archive.today/Ler4O

Before I close this off I would like to reiterate that I do genuinely believe there ARE good members of the GamerGate movement that DO have noble intentions and are being downright upstanding in the wake of all this. Many of the GamerGate supporters that I’ve spoken to have been very strongly in support of anti-harassment and will call out those they feel are attacking unjustly. So I know that there are good people in the group.

Last night I made a huge mistake. I apologized for it and vowed to look at the GamerGate movement with a more open mind. I was even starting to get behind the movement a lot more than I originally had... but then this morning Zoe Quinn dropped a bomb that almost completely shattered all that newfound good will I was amassing. So here is hoping that the people who DO want change can actually rise above this and prove that this IS a movement worth saving. To those individuals I say “Keep your chin up. Stay strong! And peace out.”
  • Mood: Sympathy
  • Listening to: I Need Your Love (feat. Ellie Goulding)
  • Watching: Atop The 4th Wall
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Eating: Cheeseburgers
  • Drinking: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
So I guess my last journal kinda annoyed a few people who were upset at being generally labeled “gamers” when talking about the extremists who are using the term for their own causes: ie: #GamerGate. I’m not going to apologize for writing the journal that way, though. If you don’t want to be associated with those bigots and your first reaction is to personally vindicate yourself from the herd instead of, you know, fighting the main source of the problem... them I’m sorry but that negative version of “gamer” that you’re trying so hard to avoid being associated with IS how you are being perceived by the greater non-gamer entrenched world.

THEY don’t care that you “only want to play games that are fun,” because what they’re SEEING (and reporting on) is a hoard mentality of angry people rallying against women in gaming and harassing them to unreal levels. No matter how much you try to distance yourself or think that this is all just a vocal minority... that vocal minority is speaking so loudly that THEY are the only ones being HEARD right now. By distancing yourself from it and pretending like it doesn’t affect you, you’re basically giving them a free wide open space to spew their hateful bile everywhere where everyone else can see it.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”
~Desmond Tutu

So yeah... I’m sorry guys but that negative label of the angry gamer rallying against social justice? That IS how you are being perceived no matter how much you may try to deny or dismiss it. Maybe, instead of trying to save your own skin you should be, I dunno, confronting the problem at it’s source? How many times am I going to have to come out and write a new journal explaining how the concept of “not all ____” is just a dismissal of any actual involvement with what really matters? I am so sick and tired of people trying to distance themselves rather than admit “ya know what? These people are giving my preferred hobby a bad name. Maybe I should do something so people who matter know that they are not the vocal majority?”

And if you’re looking for answers on HOW to combat it? Write articles. Write journals. Respond to tweets explaining why things like #GamerGate is stupid and degrading. Make videos. Spread the word. Basically CONFRONT the problem instead of sitting here in a journal saying “I’m not part of their movement therefor I’m not part of the problem!”

It actually takes WORK to fix these things, you know?
  • Mood: Angsty
  • Watching: Atop The 4th Wall
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Drinking: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
Over the past several weeks gamers have been whining incessantly about” journalistic integrity” over the supposed “scandalous” incident involving Zoe Quinn which may or may not have actually happened at all.

Zoe Quinn was accused of sleeping with journalists to get positive reviews for her game... which wasn’t true. While it’s entirely possible that she did sleep with games reviewers while cheating on her current boyfriend, there’s no real evidence that that translated into positive attention for her game. And frankly, that’s not really any of our business is it? A person’s personal sex life isn’t anything WE, gamers, should be concerned with.

But weather or not you believe the rumors, the thing that gamers seem to want NOW is to “rid games journalism of corruption,” which begs the question... what corruption? I understand that there’s this idea that if a game journalist donates money to a game on, say, Patreon, that it MIGHT be seen as a “conflict of interests.” But honestly that sounds pretty far of a stretch in my opinion.

Game journalists work in the industry of video games. They meet other creators and people working in the industry of video games. They make friends and colleagues within the industry. If you know someone in the industry, you’ll likely have a better chance getting the job you want than some random person off the street. This is called “networking.” This is, in pretty much EVERY OTHER FIELD, a perfectly NORMAL and expected thing to do. Hell, in the comics industry it use to be the NORM for companies to ONLY hire people who were friends with other people in the industry.

So it kinda makes me raise an eyebrow when gamers start gnashing their teeth over this concept and claiming that it’s somehow “tainted” the “integrity” of games journalism. That journalists now should fully disclose their support of ANY game project that might pique their fancy. And ESPECIALLY for those in the independent scene, where networking and having friends to relay your story to the masses is actually done out of KINDNESS.

Gamers are saying they want to “remove corruption” but from where I sit it looks more or less like they want “control.” Game journalism wasn’t and isn’t corrupt. The only thing things like #GamerGate will do is impose incredibly restrictive regulations and rules, which will in turn severely restrict the types of games YOU will hear about, while also pushing out a LOT of potential new voices and commentators. GamerGate will not “save” the industry, if anything it’s gonna send it faster towards it’s doom by being MORE exclusionary and less inclusive.

Gamers want to keep YOU out of their territory by making things harder and more difficult for you to get in. THAT is what all of this nonsense amounts to.
  • Mood: Angsty
  • Watching: Atop The 4th Wall
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Drinking: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
PewDiePie is closing comments on his YouTube videos. In his opinion the disconnect between YouTube personality and fans is too great, and most YouTube comments are worthless spamming, hating, or just plain garbage. While he has turned off comments before in protest of certain things, this time around he says comments are gone for good on all future videos uploaded to YouTube. You can watch his video describing this new change here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_hHKl…

What interests me about this, however, is the way in which people are reacting to it. A lot of people are saying “good!” or “YouTube comments are terrible, so I totally understand why he’d do that!” Which is a little surprising to me... because of Anita Sarkeesian.

Now we’ve talked about Anita Sarkeesian before. She makes feminist videos dissecting tropes about women in gaming. As a result of her doing this, she’s gotten ungodly amounts of backlash and hatred. Since her videos are meant to be educational, not an open discussion, she disabled comments to get rid of the often bile, filthy, disgusting rape and sexist remarks YouTube users send her. In my opinion that’s always been a GOOD thing. It made sense to me, and you could still critique her video or write up your opinion on the internet anyway...

Yet a LOT of people disagree with me on that, saying that she’s “unable to handle criticism” and that she’s OBLIGATED to keep comments on because of the nature of her videos.

So that’s why this recent change with PewDiePie makes me cock my head and look at this with a furrowed brow. It’s OK for PewDiePie, some even considering it to be a noble cause, to disable comments... but NOT for Anita Sarkeesian? I had one person say “It’s his own YouTube channel he can do whatever he wants,” yet that’s a phrase I’ve NEVER heard anyone say about Anita’s videos.

Now please, I am not trying to start a fight. I’m merely pointing out this kinda weird disconnect. Anita is “unpopular” whereas PewDiePie is one of THE most popular “let’s play” channels on YouTube. From where I sit it seems more likely the reason people are mad at Anita for disabling comments is because they WANT an open channel directly to her videos to spew their vile sexist, rape filled, disgusting bile.

Again, this is not a journal in support of Anita Sarkeesian. Merely an unbiased observation about the strange way people JUSTIFY their reactions to people on the internet. You don’t have to like Anita to realize that this is kinda... wrong?

Anyway, that’s just something that cropped up in my mind today. Hope you found it interesting. Please don’t spam this journal with “the truth about Anita Sarkeesian!” links or discussions. That’s not what this journal is about so please don’t waste my (or my fans) times being butthurt that I mentioned her name. Ok? Ok!
  • Mood: Angsty
  • Watching: Atop The 4th Wall
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Drinking: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
What’s been going on this week?

Phil Fish was DOXXED (for standing up for Zoe Quinn) and all his personal information was leaked onto the internet, including SSI info, home address, bank records, etc. As a result, Phil decided to leave gaming forever and is now selling off the IP rights to FEZ and Polytron. Link: www.gamespot.com/articles/phil…

Meanwhile 4chan/Reddit have decided that Phil Fish WASN’T hacked and that he faked the whole thing because... ? 4chan also called the FBI on Phil because they believe fake hacking your own account is a “federal offense.” Gotta love how 4channers are more willing to make up and believe a conspiracy theory than admit they made a mistake... Link (warning: conspiracy theory level nonsense): i1.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/o…

Zoe Quinn, a female independent game developer who made a game called Depression Quest, got harassed by an ex-boyfriend who decided to post nasty things about her and accuse her of using her influences in the “sacred” world of games journalism to get positive reviews through sexual favors with reviewers. An accusation that was later proved false (shocks of shocks!) since the reviewer for Kotaku in question never actually reviewed her game. Link: kotaku.com/in-recent-days-ive-…

She was also accused of actively trying to take down “The Fine Young Capitalists” despite the fact that she’s using proceeds from her games to be donated to struggling women indi and queer devs and is trying to patch up her mistake with TFYC (though they haven’t responded to her e-mails yet). twitter.com/TheQuinnspiracy/st…

Both Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian were forced to flee their homes because their home addresses are publicly known now and assholes on the internet were threatening to break into their homes to rape/murder them. So... yeah. If you honestly think “it’s just the internet, ignore the haters, they can’t possibly do anything to you in real life” is still true, you’re just deluding yourself. Anita Story Link: www.polygon.com/2014/8/27/6075… Zoe Quinn Story Link: twitter.com/TheQuinnspiracy/st…

And finally actor Adam Baldwin (currently starring in the new TNT tv-series “The Last Ship”) has fallen on the “I-hate-Zoe-Quinn” bandwagon and is actively spreading the leaked nude photos of her around online and is harassing her on twitter. Link: twitter.com/TheQuinnspiracy/st…

Meanwhile Joss Whedon (director of The Avengers) and Tim Schafer both took the side of Anita Sarkeesian on twitter. Link: www.themarysue.com/joss-whedon…
  • Mood: Frustrated
  • Watching: Atop The 4th Wall
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Drinking: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.
In the wake of some truly disgusting activity in the gaming industry right now, I’ve been grappling with a moral dilemma concerning what I would recommend young artists do with their chosen career paths.

Phil Fish Hacked
Phil Fish, the creator of FEZ, is pretty much universally hated by people online. Recently he spoke out in favor of Zoe Quinn, creator of Depression Quest, who was herself under fire from internet thought police for “corrupting” games journalism’s integrity by sleeping with journalists to get favorable reviews of her game (allegations which later proved to be untrue). Because he spoke out in favor of Zoe Quinn, Phil found himself under a massive internet attack, wherein hackers compromised his SSI, passwords, Polytron's PayPal account, and other sensitive data.

In the wake of the attack, Phil Fish is now selling off the rights to FEZ and to Polytron. He left with this rather depressing twitter message: “I am done. I want out. RUN AWAY. Just don't do it. Give up your dreams. They are actually nightmares. Nothing is worth this. To every aspiring game developer out there: Don't. give up. It's not worth it. This is your audience. This is videogames."

The Moral Dilemma
Which brings us to the moral dilemma I mentioned earlier... Why bother? Why would ANYONE want to work in an industry where THIS is the result? Phil Fish is just one of hundreds of industry professionals “bullied” out of the industry by gamers. Many more, mostly women interestingly enough, are sent death threats, rape threats, bomb threats, had their personal information stolen, posted, hacked, etc. simply for speaking their mind. Anita Sarkeesian is a feminist blogger who made YouTube videos criticizing gaming for the depictions of women. She wasn’t writing up laws to take games away. She’s not “censoring” video games. She’s not trying to lock video games up or take them away... and yet she’s THE figurehead right now for how vitriolic, vindictive, and violent gamers can be to criticism.

It's weird... gamers WANT to be taken seriously... until someone tries to take them seriously and point out potential flaws in the industry. Then they just wanna get rid of that person. And it’s not just gaming either, you see this sort of thing in many other mediums as well, including comics. I’ve been the subject of many hateful campaigns, including doxxing attacks (which are illegal by the way). All because I, a comics artist, made some cartoons and posted them FOR FREE on the internet about feminism or gaming culture.

So if this is the average result of “doing what you love” on the internet... why bother? Why should ANYONE want to put themselves in a position where they could risk having THIS level of shit and hate lobbied against them? How can I, in good conscience, recommend a new artist to put themselves willingly through this sort of nonsense?

That’s what I’m grappling with right now... I honestly don’t know if I could possibly recommend becoming a comic artist or a game designer in good faith anymore... because this is the norm now. Enduring shirt storms, flare ups, hacking attacks, and possible real life dangers of being attacked or harmed... just because you draw a comic or make a video game? That’s almost masochistic when you think about it.

What Can Be Done
Unfortunately the only solution to fixing this problem and making the environment safer for everyone is to have people endure the shitstorms and MAKE it safer for everyone eventually. By speaking out, and taking the risk of becoming a target, you can help effect change and make a difference. That’s the other side to this dilemma. If we don’t have people standing up and bearing the brunt of the storm, no one else will eventually come to their aid or take up the call. But to take up the call you have to be prepared to endure some really MASSIVE shit which can potentially ruin your life so again... is it worth it?

I think in the end it is... but I don’t know if I’m one of those people who can endure. I don’t want to discourage young artists from trying to make a living doing what they love... but at the same time I can’t honestly recommend putting them in a position that might possibly leave them mentally scarred for life due to ongoing harassment.

I honestly would like some opinions about this topic because I am very confused and worried about the future of... well... comics and gaming and all the things I hold so dear. I want them to improve and get better and be welcomed and inviting for everyone... but I don’t know anymore about how awful and nasty the internet is to some of these people.
  • Mood: Pity
  • Watching: Atop The 4th Wall
  • Playing: Marvel Puzzle Quest
  • Drinking: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.

Personally I think this is the best one of the series so far. Be warned though, not safe for work. I like the points she brings up, and she even offers how it should be done right with examples.

I agree with her closing points too. It’s funny how we’re perfectly willing to suspend disbelief when it comes to health regeneration, invisible walls, quest markers, super powers, crazy game mechanics etc... but when it comes to treating women as... well... women... why do we have to keep coming up with excuses to give it a pass? In all honesty.. why do so many games even NEED these depictions in them? Take them out and I guarantee you that the games would play and feel pretty much exactly the same.

And that’s my last bit of criticism too. Most of the games listed are rated M... but they’re not mature by any stretch of the imagination. Watchdogs, GTA, Red Dead Redemption, Hitman etc are immature games. But because they’re dressed up with “swearing” and “violence” and “blood” and “sex” we’re led to believe that they’re mature. It’s like a kid puffing out his chest to appear more masculine. No matter how tough he might act, he’s still just a kid. That’s what these games are.

And I think the way to address it is to look at things much more abstractly. Like the game she shows at the end of the video “Papo and Yo” which abstracts the domestic violence caused by alcoholism into symbols, caricatures, and escapist imagery. You don’t have to depict things exactly as they would look to get across the same meaning. And it’s here where I think a lot of indi-developers really shine through with their games. Games that the giant gaming industry would NEVER make, sadly.

OBLIGATORY “BE NICE” STATEMENT
Anyway... I’m done discussing Anita Sarkeesian herself. I don’t give a shit if you think she “scammed” anyone, or if you hate her opinions, or think she’s the most evil person on the planet or any of that tired, worn out, pointless, stupid rhetoric. I’m interested in what she has to say, not about her herself. And this is why I’ll listen to her videos and offer my own take (like I just did) rather than trying to debunk her or prove her “wrong” about something. I would appreciate it if anyone reading this journal would do the same. If you’re gonna start a long rant about how you hate her and how you can’t listen to her, or feel the need to pepper the comments section with “counter” youtube videos... please don’t. Please leave. Come back some other time. I honestly and genuinely don’t want to hear it. Also, please don’t harass my readers either. Don’t respond to 20 different people all with the same info just because you can’t stand Anita and feel like ANY positive feedback about her is awful and bla bla bla bla bla. Just... stop being jerks ok?
  • Mood: Annoyed
  • Watching: Doctor Who
  • Playing: The Legend of Zelda (NES)
  • Drinking: Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.