Jesus. Fucking. Christ.
Yes dude, Sunset was a failure. Get over it and move on with your life. I’m sorry that no one wanted to play your games. It sucks. It really does. But pissing and moaning about the game industry and assassinating the character of gamers isn’t going to magically turn your laughable failures into rousing successes.
I get it. You want to be praised as a great artist. Who doesn’t? Except, you don’t. Your narcissism demands that you be hailed as a genius! An innovator! It probably pisses you off that more people give a shit about Cliffy B than you. I get that. His dick is probably bigger than yours too. He made Gears of War, a game everyone loved. You made Sunset, a game no one played.
To begin a hopefully long and useful series, we will briefly glance at the gigantic elephant in the tiny games room.
Oh, great. So we are going to get an entire series of your bitching and moaning? How many of your tantrums does Gamasutra plan to publish? Do their advertisers know that they are allowing you to shit all over their prized demographic. You wouldn’t know. It’s obvious you don’t know shit about business. If you did, you’d be a successful indy/art game developer and not whining on a fourth rate website.
A peaceful oasis
The first game we released with Tale of Tales was The Endless Forest. It’s a multiplayer presentation of an idyllic forest inhabited by deer. To avoid behavior that wouldn’t fit our fantasy we decided not to include combat, competition or even chat. As a result The Endless Forest offers a relaxing experience of friendly contact between complete strangers.
I never liked multiplayer games because I’m not that competitive of a person. So the lack of combat or competition isn’t exactly a turn off for me. The lack of chat is kind of weird, but but words can be powerful and someone’s feelings might get hurt, so best not to include that.
This atmosphere of friendliness spills over into the website we set up for the players. This community has been extremely active and mostly self-governed for many years and is a haven for all. I don’t think that would have been the case if The Endless Forest contained violent interactions or competitive missions.
Except EVE Online kind of has a mostly self-governed community that has been around and sustaining for years and does include violent interactions and competitive missions. But Hell, there was a Tale in the Desert, which a non-combative MMO that has been around for years. Since 2003, I think. I don’t know, I should fact check that, but if I started fact checking than I can’t be a real video game blogger or journalist can I? But that had cooperative goals, bringing people together to craft pyramids and houses and statues and other stuff.
The point is, there is a market for non-combative, non-competitive games out there. Gamers are interested in that stuff. Especially if there is a challenge or an interesting setting to explore. Puzzle games have been around forever, most of those have no combat or competitive aspects, save for high scores. You’re not special, Michael. You didn’t do anything revolutionary or new. A game about hugging deer in a forest isn’t really making a statement about anything, so its not very good art. A Tale in the Desert makes a statement. That statement says that gamers can come together in a cooperative, non-combative game and build something together with friends and strangers. Then those same friends and strangers can get together later and blow each other to bits in the latest multiplayer shooter.
There are a wide variety of gaming experiences out there that gamers all love and are passionate for. You discard all of these because no one bought your game. It’s not that gamers aren’t interested in art games, they are just not interested in yours.
A rough environment
Much like there would be no art in a perfect world, The Endless Forest only makes sense in the context of a wider game community where bullying and harassment are rampant. And when we take a look at the kinds of games that are popular in these circles, it comes as no surprise to find a generous dose of antagonistic, aggressively competitive glorifications of violence and gore.
You don’t need to pluralize ‘glorification’, but that doesn’t matter. First off, bullying and harassment are not rampant in gaming circles. It’s there. No doubt about it. But harassment comes from a tiny subset of the culture who are usually disturbed or lacking in good, social graces. People like Randi Harper and the person that you hired to publicize your game, Leigh Alexander. Obviously, you don’t have a problem with working or engaging with bullies, as long as they are bullying the right people. The right people being the gamers that you loathe and slander, yet expect to buy your games.
And yes, most violent and aggressive anti-socials do have PCs and gaming consoles in their houses. Pretty much for the same reason they have televisions in their houses, because they are common household items. Law and Order: SVU constantly depicts gender violence and rape, but would you accuse the show producers of contributing to real life gender violence and rape? Or are they off the hook from you because they aired an episode that labelled all gamers as terrorists? Not just #GamerGate mind you, but all gamers. Is that kind of slander a form of harassment and bullying? A way for the rich and powerful in the television industry to poke at and laugh about those silly nerds?
We don’t need theories about the correlation between violent games and violent behavior. Many players of violent and antagonistic games engage in violent and antagonistic behavior.
Jesus. H. Tap Dancing. Christ.
I just did not read that.
Okay. Yes, we do. We absolutely fucking do. This is why we have people who go to college and study things. To study things. All sorts of things that tell us about the world around us and how it works and why it works. Sometimes we call these people scientists. Sometimes we call them academics.
Let’s talk about a correlation. Violence and violent crime has fallen dramatically over the past twenty years. Over the time span, both violent video games and pornography have become more available and prevalent. Now that is not causation, Micheal. That is correlation. It proves your entire argument bullshit. Because it does so, you think you can just sweep it under the rug. Well you can’t. The majority of players of violent and aggressive games, do not engage in violent and aggressive acts in the real world. A small subset of disturbed people do. Do you know why they do? Because they’re fucking disturbed! The wiring is bad. Windows is constantly updating in their brains, disallowing them to function properly! They are over the rainbow, the toys are in the attic, they howl at the moon, they are buggered, mad, witless, rabid, wacky, crazy, they are out of their right minds.
Whether violent people are attracted to games or games arouse violent emotions is irrelevant. Anyone who has ever been attacked by a gamer lynch party knows that a certain number of people who play antagonistic and violent games are aggressive, intolerant, reactionary, misogynist, and so on.
You can make the exact same claim, about any group of people. Because shitty people, will be everywhere. Shitty people tend to be aggressive, intolerant, reactionary and misogynistic. You can find them in politics, sports, gaming, sewing circles, furry conventions, atheist meet ups, liberal media, conservative media, book clubs, sex clubs, monster squads and so on. You can find these kinds of people, where ever there are people.
You weren’t attacked by a gamer lynch party. You were attacked by an internet/twitter lynch mob. It is a problem. It needs to be addressed, but blaming gamers exclusively for an internet wide phenomenon isn’t going to fix anything. But then its not about fixing anything with you, this is about attacking those that rejected your precious art.
A game industry that caters to such people is at least guilty of supplying the most horrible specimens of our societies with an excuse to feel good about themselves. But I believe it goes much further than that.
You fucking piece of shit. You worthless sack of shit. It astounds me that Gamasutra, a website that feeds off the game industry like a fucking parasite would publish an article that throws said game industry under the bus, but then, that’s Gamasutra for ya’!
You know, you should have some margin of empathy for your fellow game developers, but of course, you can’t see pass your own bruised ego can you? This argument is so narcissistic and absurd that it might be unarguable. How does one even respond to something that ridiculous? What you are saying, is that the people who made Call of Duty are responsible for Dylan Roof.
This argument was made against chess, it was bullshit then. It was made against the romantic novel, it was bullshit then. It was made against film, it was bullshit then. It was made against comic books, it was bullshit then. It was made against Metal, it was bullshit then. It was made and is still being made about video games, it is bullshit now.
The game industry actively breeds a group of belligerent hooligans for profit. And the longer this process continues, the tighter the vicious circle becomes: only violent games sell well, so only those get made, so only violent people buy games, and so on.
To the four or five people who may actually read this drivel of a blog post of mine, I implore you to contact any advertisers associated with Gamasutra, especially if they are connected with the video game industry, and email them this paragraph.
By the way, Tetris is the top selling game of all time.
A game industry that claims to support tolerance and respect is hypocritical as long as it produces and supports entertainment in which the wounding and killing of others is central to the amusement.
I’m sure that most game developers and publishers are not malicious. I don’t think they intend to provoke aggressive behavior or sexism in the real world. After all, “it’s only a game. It’s just a bit of fun.” And they can easily offload their responsibility onto each and every individual player of their games in an appropriation of the “guns don’t kill people” mentality of the American weapons lobby.
You are assuming malice on their part. This whole argument falls apart, hell the whole “article” falls apart by the simple fact that no causation has ever been found between fantasy violence and real world violence. None. Case closed, move on. Oh, and here we go.
Michael Samyn: Dylan Roof isn’t responsible for the murders he committed, the video game industry is.
Gamasutra sickens me. Michael Samyn sickens me. I have never been a #GamerGate guy. I didn’t want much to do with it. But now, I think I’m going full #GamerGate here. This isn’t an attack on video games. Michael Samyn, this is an attack on all art and culture.
Quentin Tarantino made Pulp Fiction, therefore he is responsible for every person who is murdered by a gun. That is Michael Samyn’s thinking and it is dangerous to art, to culture and to free expression. His worldview is infantile, regressive and dangerous to the causes of liberty, truth and the free exchange of ideas. It is dangerous to culture. It is dangerous to film. It is dangerous to music. It is dangerous to comedy. It is dangerous to art.
True enough, a gun does not cause murder by itself. But equally true is that the absence of a gun can prevent murder.
So can the absence of a knife, as well as a lot of other factors. The absence of high temperature for one. People have been murdering each other for a very long time, Michael. Sadly, they will continue to murder each other. The good news is, people are murdering each other a lot less than at any other point in human history. One murder is a murder too many. But human nature is damn hard thing to fight against.
We can do better
I think game developers, as creative people, probably middle class, probably intellectuals, underestimate how unstable some members of their audience are, how isolated they live, how little access they have to education and broader culture, how little context to place these games in that are so important to their sense of self. We could help these people with entertainment that demonstrates the beauty of life, the value of non-violent interactions, how much better it feels to care than to hurt, how big and diverse the world is, and so on.
Translation: “The people who didn’t buy my game are a bunch of poor, uneducated peasants who can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy.”
Michael Samyn wants an infantile culture, a gigantic, non-stop episode of Barney the Dinosaur. Meanwhile, us educated, employed and well adjusted adults who want to engage in fantasy and entertainment that might explore dangerous concepts and ideas in a safe, digital environment are just shit out of luck. If this asshole ever becomes the World Emperor of Culture, I’m finding the tallest bridge I can and checking the fuck out. I’ll be going to Hell, but it can’t be worse than that.
A game developer who claims to be a peaceful tolerant person while producing murder simulators is a hypocrite. I will not accuse them of being directly responsible for mass shootings and online harassment. But they are beyond a doubt guilty of neglecting to prevent such things.
Do you know who else called video games “murder simulators?” Jack Thompson. The guy used to put gay porn in all of his legal files that he handed over to judges. All of them. Regardless of what the case was. I don’t have anything against gay porn, there should be more of it, but there is a time and a place, Jack.
Back to you Michael, you spend an article inferring that they are responsible for mass shootings and online harassment. Then you come out and refuse to directly accuse them of such. I would actually respect you if you just flat out made the accusation. If you had the balls to state it clearly and plainly what you spent an article on pussyfooting around. Then, you accuse them of manslaughter. You say that they are guilty of neglecting to prevent murders which they could have somehow prevented, if only they made games about unicorns and ice cream.
You are a fucking coward. A nonsensical coward. Gamasutra is a website run by cowards.
Michael Samyn, you are a joke. Your philosophy is a joke. Your arguments are a joke. Your games are a joke.
Micheal, fuck you. Thank you for your opinions. Now please get on the next flight to Antarctica and leave us the fuck alone.