Anyone out there following #gamergate?

The SJWs keep trying to make it about one woman’s sex life, and everyone else is making it about the fact that half these people sleep with each other, sponsor each other, and make money off each other, so where is the objectivity?

If a Kotaku writer is paying a designer to make a game, and sleeping with another one, and getting taken out to huge parties by a third, exactly how reliable is his 4.5 star rating of a new game? If the judges for a indy game design contest are all buddies with half the contestants, and the one that happens to be sleeping with one of the judges wins doesn’t that raise some questions as to how fair the competition was? Since it was an affair he couldn’t recuse himself, but I doubt from everything I’ve read lately that he would have anyway.

People are trying to do to gaming what they’ve tried to do to Science Fiction writing for years. Take over all the journalism and start making everything about the number of cis-males banging hot space chicks. Pretend that women have never written science fiction until the 90’s, except for two or three, and that in order for it to be good fiction it has to have a special amount of diversity in it. Doesn’t matter if your story is about time traveling to 1632, you just don’t have enough powerful women in the world and minorities are horribly underrepresented, and where are the gay people? Not that there is a quota, you just don’t have enough.

Does it really matter if Assassins Creed has a female or male protagonist? Or that xyr is white/black/yellow?

The BS with the Spider Woman alternate cover is the same thing. “They would never put Spider man in that same position” except for the fact that they do. Spiderman upside down with his ass sticking out is a classic position. And in the most recent cover form a few years ago with him the spandex sticks to his ass just like Spiderwoman’s does. So, poor research, but the research isn’t the point, it’s the outrage, it’s the Pod People scream that starts the dogpile. They want people to respond to the dog whistle and punish the “other”. Increasing their power and ability to right social “wrongs”.

Since these people are fighting for the greater good, they don’t mind stealing, lying, cheating, whatever just so long as the result is “just”. I did it for the children, or for the women, or the minorities, just makes everything ok, regardless of how underhanded it is. And ignoring how racist, misogynist, or whatever-ist it is to treat people of a certain demographic as if they are interchangeable widgets. “You need more black/brown people” but it has to be real ones, ones that act like we think they should.


Reading your post makes me think the whole thing is little more than a giant Mongolian cluster-fsck.

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How reliable are any game ratings anyway? Going all the way back to when SNES roamed the earth and those reviews were printed exclusively on the carcasses of dead trees, they’ve been bogus. Game review publishers have always been funded by ad dollars, and can only survive if they get early access to games so they can publish “exclusives” and “first looks” and reviews the minute the game is released. If they start giving truthful (bad) reviews to games, they lose early access and ads don’t get bought.

The extent of what I know about “gamergate” is the little bit that I heard on ATP, but even that was merely a segue into the more broad topic of sexism online & in various sub-industries.

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My son is following it and is outraged enough for our whole family. It’s probably justified too as people may well have based spending decisions on biased information.
And yes Viking, that pretty much sums it up.

If you were lucky, you could sometimes read between the lines and determine if it was a stinker, but only sometimes.

Edit: Er… sorry to continue off topic.
Mostly, no. I’ve read only slightly more about it than @Viking.

Reddit deleting thousands of responses and threads about it is what got me interested. It’s the cover up in some areas that got people connecting dots and pointing fingers.

Reddit admins will delete threads if there’s doxxing going on.

Also, don’t confuse deleting for removal by mods for various reasons.

From what I first picked up many places were removing all discussion of the entire topic. It seemed that there had to be a critical mass of irritated people to get it noticed.

OK I’m clueless about this whole thing apparently. Where can I read about it besides Reddit?

Right here.

It’s a total clusterfuck, yes.

I’ve been following it for a couple of weeks, getting most of my coverage from an MMA site of all places. I’ve already stopped paying attention to nearly all media related to video games so this doesn’t affect me much. I will say that it’s surprising how much of a mess it has become. About the only thing I got out of this is sheer entertainment value and the possibility that SJWs have finally created their own little world where they control everything.

So basically these young socially retarded gamers have their panties in a wad because women have dared infringe upon their space? Build a bridge and get the fuck over it.

Yeah, the main thing I see seems to be self-identified “gamers” saying stuff like, “Gaming is hostile to women? FUCK YOU I’LL RAPE YOUR FUCKING FACE FOR DARING TO SAY THAT.”

Anyone trying to hold up the “gaming journalism is corrupt because Zoe Quinn used her vagina to get better reviews on her game!!” flag is either purposefully misdirecting or ignorant.

Bwahahahaha! stop, you’re killing me here!

Like games have been reviewed with any integrity in years.

In table-top, RPGA dominates so much, that we might as well pay Wankers of the Cash every time we buy a source-book, no matter who wrote or published it. Because RPGA is bought and paid for by WotC.

I don’t look for anything remotely truthful or objective in reviews. Some reviewers will gush at anything, others will nitpick most stuff to death, others act like their favorite game is the only one that has ever existed (Traveler, anyone?), and yes, others won’t review anything without some cash stuck in their pocket.

This is why I like shopping for games in person. Most table-top are not packaged, so I can flip through it and decide if it’s worth my while. Computer games, I check out the screenshots, read the description, and decide whether it’s worth shelling out money for something that may not resemble the box in any way.

I just found out that one of my favorite games won’t play on my new system. The company is not going to give me an updated version of the game to run. Such is life.

I don’t spend money on games that I can’t afford to throw away, much like gambling (although slot machines have better odds). Because once you open the box, there is no way to get your money back, unless you take it to a store that buys games back at a fraction of the cost.

The people trying to push that that argument appear to be the ones hiding behind the curtain, it’s the SJW side that is pushing the sex scandal side. It’s like when the Democrats started talking about being “afraid” of an impeachment attempt by the Republicans, right around the same time Rand Paul was saying you can’t impeach someone who hasn’t actually broken any laws and Boner was talking about suing because it wasn’t impeachable.

In order to avoid an above board discussion of the issues the conversation is being focused on one side on the abuse and the sex “scandal”. Focus on the mean and nasties and you can avoid discussion of the actual events.

I happen to agree with this Forbes article a bit more than the one on Ars. Casey is putting an awful lot of credence behind Quin’s super sluthery busting the people at 4Chan for making Adam Baldwin start this. Not to mention her focus on how mean one side is being, like the other isn’t talking about ripping balls off or anything.


An awful lot of time is spent talking about how horrible the hate mail is. I don’t understand what that has to do with the facts. I think a lot of the push back here is people being sick of saying something and having everyone put their hands over their ears and scream “IST!!” at them. So in response the SJW is screaming victim louder, while the other side is getting more sick of it. I get really tired of being lumped into this category of female hating gamers. Why does the social justice side insist on putting large groups of people into these categories and treating them like the sins of one are the sins of all, while yelling at them for being prejudiced?

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I really don’t believe in conspiracies, per se. I do believe in parallel (and concurrent) greed and incompetency.

I do believe that there are small-scale conspiracies to cover up the greed and incompetency.

As far as I am concerned, the Forbes article may have gotten some points correct. On the other hand, I find it hard to believe that this many feminist extremists have gotten together and plotted the downfall of gaming. I find it hard to believe that this many misogynists have done something similar.

Why? Because the larger the group, the greater the hostility towards one another. Any group large enough to attempt any social change (or resist it) will be crushed and divided by the weight of its own emotional baggage and insecurities.

I’ve met hard-core feminist geeks. Most groups can’t agree on what, if anything, they are actually going to do. Those that do agree, face a shit-storm in deciding who is going to facilitate or direct that action.

The idea that “misogynerds” have had some super-secret convention where they throw darts at Playboy centerfolds and use female mannikins for paintball practice is equally absurd (not counting the hyperbole there).

You can’t have a conspiracy without agreement. And neither demographic has the social skills to manage any internal differences of opinion or individual self-aggrandizement.

That said… It is encouraging to me that the editors of so many media outlets decided that publicizing and over-analyzing one person’s (and assorted bedmates) sex life. It’s about fncking time.

Yeah, I suspect the conspiracies on either side are more fish swimming together.

In any case, it’s a mess.

I can’t say I’ve ever truly read a gaming review, that was accurate to the core. Big name titles are almost always glossed with the 8+/10 reviews and end up being absolute turds. Because of this, I tend to buy my 1-player games 6 months after the hype, to allow it some breathing time (like a fine wine) to face the sharp criticism of today’s gamers.A) It’s a hell of a lot cheaper this way. B) I can save my hard earned cash. C) I avoid the absolute crap.

IGN is notorious for terrible review schemes (according to many of their readers). I’ve often thought they had that “I was paid to write it this way” feel about them. Heck, I can still remember the review for Fallout 3 (a game I had purchased day 1 because I felt it deserved the attention). It received rave reviews and was glorified for all its wonder! There was nothing wrong with it, best game evar, etc., etc., etc. From what I understand now, I know it’s become somewhat of a pattern for Bethesda, but the game was released completely broken and people had to set it down for upwards of a month before playing again due to game-breaking bugs. A comment that was never brought up in the reviews (seriously, best game evar guyz!). Some of those bugs were so blatant, it surprised me that there was no mention of it in the review. After a month of outcry by gamers, IGN edited their initial review and revised it to include the notion of many bugs. It was just confirmation that some reviews are bought, be it in a magazine, IGN, or heck, even Yelp.

I can certainly tell you exactly what the process looks like at Ars. And maybe it’s a different process than a gaming-only publication like RPS or whatever, but I haven’t worked at any of those places so I can’t speak for them. I can only tell you about how Ars works for gaming reviews.

For a non-AAA game, like when I reviewed Elite: Dangerous, first I bought the game out of pocket, because I wanted to play it. Then I played it for about a week, and decided, “Well, I think I should review this, because that’ll give me a change to talk with David Braben!” So then I e-mailed the Frontier Developments PR person and we went back and forth a few times on some preliminary questions (like, “Can you please forward this list of my questions on to David Braben, can we do a skype call, what times would work out, etc”). Then I talked to David Braben. Then I wrote the game up and turned it in and we published it.

For big fancy stuff, usually Kyle Orland does the review because he’s our gaming guy (the exception is driving games, which are done by Jonathan Gitlin because he’s a major car & car sim fanatic). In those cases, a prerelease version is shipped in the mail (or a steam code is sent in email if applicable), along with a “reviewer’s guide.” The reviewer’s guides depth will vary depending on the publisher—sometimes it’ll be a thin document pointing out a few highlights about the game, and other times it’ll be a book.

Some games are sent with gimmicky pack-ins, some are sent in special review packages with fancy gifts. If there’s no easy way to return the gifts, Ars gives away the extras every year to readers in an annual event thingy.

Some game reviews require travel. When that’s the case, Ars pays for the travel and accommodations.

During the review process, it’s pretty normal to ask questions from the game’s PR people, but they have no input into the subsequent story (except for being the source of quotes, if applicable). We don’t provide advance copy to publishers—no one outside of the Ars edit flow sees the article or has input on the text before it runs.

There is never, ever, under any circumstances, suggestions from senior leadership (which, crazily enough, includes me) or the E-I-C on promotional stuff or swaying a story a certain way. The writing & edit staff of Ars has absolutely zero contact with the ad side of the house; we don’t know anything about what ads are running, what campaigns are happening, ad targets, ad rates, anything. And we have never been told to pull or move a story because of an ad issue.

We don’t assign ratings—just give a buy/rent/skip verdict.

So that’s external factors. Internal are a little harder to enumerate and address. However, what you’ll never see is a review that’s completely objective. There are a lot of reasons why, but one of the biggest is that it’s the reviewer’s job to describe what they thought of a game. A lot of what they feel is going to be purely subjective. There’s value in being able to contextualize their feelings—like, “I hate this stupid game mechanic, even though just as with $OTHER_GAME it works well and I understand why so many people like it”—but ultimately readers read reviews to get the reviewer’s take.

(There is a difference between writing a good review with opinions and writing an over-the-top crap review. But that gets into how your writing voice works and that’s way beyond this ever-lengthening screed’s scope.)

Some publishers punish publications that don’t play ball and take “feedback,” but fortunately Ars has tremendous backing with Condé Nast and isn’t a gaming-only site anyway. Even so, in the two years I’ve been at Ars, I’ve never been party to any PR interaction with a game publishing company or development house where they’ve tried to sway or influence the review in any way.

So, that’s my take on corruption and reviews from my inside perch.


It sounds like a fairly nasty bit of unpleasantness sparked several different kinds of forest fires and brought to light all sorts of things previously lurking in the darkness, both in terms of the seedy side of the gaming industry and how some people are jerks to other people. Bummer. Maybe something good will come out of it.

I don’t understand hostility to female gamers.

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