Why We Fight? (Game OverThinker)


What? (inaudible) No I’m not doing a show about the
Overwatch dude being gay. I mean good for him, but I’m not doing a show about it. (inaudible) Well firstly because I’ve got a lot of modern gaming to catch up on it I’m
still not 100% clear on what Overwatch even actually is apart from like Team
Fortress, but with a superhero kind of Incredibles Watchmen scenario going on
and every character looks like they’re from something else but processed
through some kind of anime pop art Instagram filter. I mean exactly why is
this a big deal? (inaudible) Yes, I’m aware because video games. But still I mean like literally every single Overwatch thing I’ve ever experienced has had an
overriding aesthetic and total sensibility that can best be summed up
as Blade Runner as an upscale Los Feliz High School’s inclusivity minded prom
themes, so it just feels weird to me that there’d be that many rabid homophobes
skulking around this particular fanbase. But, mostly because anything related to
Blizzard is still inevitably still wrapped up in the fallout from being and
nonsense around the other Overwatch scandal with the player that may or may
not exist. That whole Diablo and mortal fallout it which is just exhausting to
me. Not because my particular take on it was disagreed with by some, if it wasn’t
for backlash it wouldn’t be worth doing this show honestly, but because it’s just
one version of an intractable argument that’s been unwinnable really unhaveable
for about as long as gaming has been sentient of the expectation to care
about these things where it’s a losing prospect to even attempt offering a take
that isn’t some variation on… This is gaming. And we are not afraid. (crowd cheers) Basically, every unpopular decision
backlash scandal in videogames follows the same infuriatingly predictable
formula. Step 1, a corporation will decide to do something dumb and bad motivated
solely by desire for profit because they are a corporation. Step 2, the dumb and
bad decision made for profit will then be announced by a developer and/or
celebrity with “nerd cred” and framed as an awesome not bad thing for making
happiness and not only profit, no never. Usually, it’s some big dumb spectacle
designed specifically for the joint purpose of increasing profits while
obscuring the first part of that purpose. Step 3,
internet games culture processes this announcement. Step 4, having never meaningfully decoupled the concept of gamer identity through the marketing creating constructed which originated as far back as the 1990’s. Internet games culture predictably
short-circuits and attempting to grapple with disgust at profit-driven capitalist
corporatism without meaningfully grappling with their own complicity game
identity itself being inextricable part of that same corporatism. Crumbling into a
defeated psychological heap with unspent anger and stench spewing haphazardly into a vulnerable convenient targets. (clear throat) Step 5, because the Internet is an asshole
magnification machine any reasonable response, one way or the other, is drowned
out immediately by the worst possible nastiest takes raining down not on the
appropriate target, i.e. the system the fact that gaming is a business heavily
corporatized and thus bad profit driven decisions
will happen and attaching your entire self identity to such things will hurt
you. But rather on the acceptable punching bag of the moment maybe one
developer one presenter one company some nebulous idea of an impure influence
infiltrating the medium whatever. Step 6, games journalism reports on this. (alarms going off) Step 7, everyone is wrong and so is
everyone else. If a games journalist says anything close to “ya well that does seem
like kind of a shitty thing to have announced” they are immediately accused of
having signed on to support all the worst people and opinions in gaming. Yes
even those guys and that thing. Whereas the journalists who alternately offers
that perhaps the previously identified acceptable punching bag of the moment
does not deserve summary execution via wicker man in the parking lot of the
next pax will be met with the immediate scoffing of “hey why are you defending
millionaires and corporations from consumer criticize that like they’re the
ones being picked on Mr. Scarlet Pimpernel”. Step 8, (Announcer: “Fight.”) And now it just
descends into a cluster of verbal sideways punching as we fight and argue
and name call and hem and haw about how well point taken but on the other hand
rich people always bad consumer always good is a pretty immature praxis and
does not the consumer rights framing only serve to further the machinery of
consumption and exploitation while only looking like a populist stand. But, never
mind because we’ve all got to settle up all creators versus consumers versus
journalists versus other journalists. And whose side are you on? Which side will
spider-man be on? And, oh hey didn’t even notice the bad guys getting away? You
know because they did and they pretty much always do both the top-tier
corporate scumbags and the shitty games industry system that sustains them
figured out a long time ago how to ensure that not only does the backlash
too poorly received ideas and/or outright bad actions never reach back
any further than whatever sacrificial lamb got shoved out in front with them
by constantly reinforcing this played out Randy and culty BS where it’s always
individual devs creators presenters celebrities journals whatever who need
pulling down and not this whole stupid incarnation of games culture itself. But
thanks to the corporate cultivated gamer identity strangle on our psyche we
end up factionalized and having this fight among ourselves, which also ends up
muddying and obscuring real substantive areas of debate and disagreement within
fandom important stuff we should be having instead, rather than directing our
displeasure at or trying to affect change in the area it’s really needed, i.e.
the system. And, that’s not to say we shouldn’t have passionate reactions and
arguments about things that happen or to happen in gaming. Theoretically
developers publishers players creators are all in this because we’re passionate
about games. But, when we get sucked into these cycles and this specific stupid
feedback loop again and again and again I mean it’s still about a game, but we’re
the ones getting played. Just a thought.

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