Not the same toy, but it’s still the same thing

The apparent laws of physics as we see them have been more or less rewritten few times over. I’m sure we’re going to see them being tweaked a whole lot in the future as science progresses, as every generation has seen their own view and knowledge as the best possible peak. Then again, a scientist should be open for new ideas and see if they can take the scrutiny under the laws as we understand them now.

That’s a bit unnecessary opening, because what I wanted to touch upon is how video game as a sub-culture has changed, and it is solely because of how young it is in comparison. Despite electronic games’ history being a longer than most realize, the semi-modern form can be argued to solidify in the 70’s. With the 80’s and early 90’s, the sub-culture marched onwards and became part of the larger culture.

I’ve said this before, but I do feel it deservers repetition; who are we to deny the next generation of gamers to experience their own memories?

For what I and other people who mainly spent their early days with a NES think of modern gaming has weight. We’re absolutely part of the consumer crowed that need to be noticed, but we shouldn’t be the only one. Outside few selected games out there, it feels that adult games have are being produced in larger quantities than games that would be for either everybody, or that is how it seems. Walking in the stores shows a bit different tale, with loads of games targeted at kids… unsold. While we have Beyblade games warming the shelves, the same just happens to certain adult targeting games, like Lollipop Chainsaw. Looking closer shows that overall there’s very little universal games on the shelves, games that all ages could enjoy. The few games that could fall into that category, like Ducktales Remake’s physical case with the download code inside, have no relevancy in modern era. What was the target audience for that game anyway?

Shelves, however, don’t tell all there is to the story. Whenever first and second graders talk to me about games, they talk about Minecraft. It’s still up there. For ten years old and up, the games take a bit sudden change for the more violent with Grand Theft Auto, Skyrim and similar games being in there as their main form of gaming entertainment. While I always question parents giving access to R-18 games at that age, it’s up to the parenting. It would be illegal to sell those products to these children, but that’s not my concern. It’s something the seller needs to take care of.

Gaming has been going through rather eventful obstacle course. It’s like Takeshi’s Castle with every obstacle thrown in and there’s no end to it. 1976 Death Race caused controversy with its violent content of driving over gremlins, the same controversy Grand Theft Auto raised in the 90’s. Mortal Kombat and all other games, you know the drill.

#gamergate has been on a good thing with its drive towards ethical policies in game journalism. For the industry to grow and allow the consumers to experience transparency and information flow I couldn’t as a wee lad. It doesn’t matter who develops these games, as long as their practices are proper and the end product is superb. Just the like sub-culture and the practices the movement has tried to change, #gamergate has changed itself and I’m not terribly sure if the direction is right. Nevertheless, it’s still alive and kicking.

I can’t argue that gaming has been an honest business. Nintendo Power, despite being part of a lot of kid’s nostalgia, was more or less simply an engine for advertising. There was the occasional game with low score, but then you had some relatively notorious games getting high scores.

The thirty and forty something people are now in the age where the nostalgia of their youth seems to be more or less unescapable. Pixels is a result of this. I am rather interested to see how bad the movie is, but I’m not going to the theatres. It’s an Adam Sandler movie, it’ll be on telly in few years. What the movie does, thematically, is that it shows old memories in a light that certain generation enjoys. The same could be argued for the Comic book movie boom we’re enjoying now. I hope it’ll go bust relatively soon, and it seems more and more companies intend to create shared universes rather than unique pieces. Whether or not we’re going to experience a Movie Universe Boom is up to question at this point, but seeing how all these franchises that are doing are ticking down the exact same boxes from the same checklist, in twenty years we’re going to see a new generation snickering at these and wonder what the hell they were thinking. I might be wrong, but we do see all these massive Hollywood movies going at the exact same pattern. Repeating the same cycle over and over again without making any changes to the product outside what’s on the skin will oversaturate the market. When that happens, it just might screw everything up for the industry. People aren’t going to pay for same shit over and over again.

Then again, they just might if it’s well presented.

Current game developers grew up with games. They’re repeating the same things they played as kids and young adults. We’ve seen that life experiences give birth to richer games, like with Zelda. The next generation of game developers come from an era where needless bullshit politics have been shoved into entertainment. People play games to get away from those. I hope for the best, but fear for the worst as these future game developers may repeat the same errors as the current ones. As much as I hate the word, there needs to be true innovation and further steps from the norm. And of course, by developers I mean the whole industry, from funders to the illustrators. Rules of nature, become strong and change to survive, or become an obsolete form of entertainment.

Acting is always better than not doing anything at all

At this moment there are about 968 882 453 unique hostnames on the world wide web you can access. There are about 2 925 249 355 users on the on the web this year. There are about three users per Website with these numbers. Add to this all the individual sites that allow people to post their content and comment on other peoples’ content, and you’ll get web with incredible depth you’ll never be able to see in your lifetime. There are more users you will ever have to chance to discuss with, there are more content put on the Internet every second than you can read in a week. There are 9 019 Tweets made every second, 1 994 Instagram photos uploaded every second, 1 882 Tumblr posts made, 1 725 Skype calls, 48 468 Google searches, 2 388 445 email’s sent with most of them being spam and the overall traffic of the Internet is 26 976GB, all in one second. That’s helluva lot of information being passed on, read or watched. Better yet; all that keep rising all the time.

It’s almost unthinkable task to voice yourself on the world wide web, and yet people are making their living on that.

As individuals we are just one, we all know that. On any larger scale, we’re absolutely nothing, just another person walking on the streets. Yes, that goes to any one of us. When we pull things together, incredible things happen. We are able to build structures that defy the heavens, we are able to move the mountains, fly over the horizons and even reach the Moon. We are able to elect a parliament to represent the people, but only if we choose to act.

This is my extremely roundabout way of telling you we had parliament election day today, and 70% of the people with voting rights went to the polling stations. While that number is by all means better than anything less, it’s still a bit less than what I’d personally like to see.

But as said, nothing can be done if one doesn’t act. Voting in proper democratic elections is an extremely small task, but something that can have extremely large impact. Some do always argue that voting won’t change a thing. This is, of course, bullshit. One vote can make a difference, and seeing that 30% didn’t vote at all. If these uncast votes would’ve been made, you don’t know how things would’ve turned out. Ifs are worth nothing afterwards, you can only learn from them. Thou voters always seem to make the juvenile joke about how they have now gained the right to complain about who their government is screwing up.

Voting is a simple example for sure.

It is practically impossible to affect everybody on the internet, and it will only get harder with time. Then again, you don’t need to.

There are only handful of websites that cater to everybody. Even then, some of these are off limits or otherwise can’t be accessed. Sites like eBay and Amazon are worldwide services that didn’t happen overnight, although I would almost say that about Amazon. Stores are universal across the world, and when a store has almost everything you may want or need, it’s going to be successful.

Not everybody can’t be like modern day Amazon. However, the Internet is still full of possibilities that just either needs to be tapped, or a need must be created.

While creating a need sounds like come sort of corporate bullshit, it’s a legit approach in design. There are things that we are still lacking in our everyday lives, but we are not aware of them. Like with the example of pasta sauce, where people thought they knew what they wanted, but in reality they wanted it to be chunkier rather than completely runny. Some on the other hand want the pasta sauce to stick to the pasta, while some want it to just pass the pasta and be its own thing.

The Internet user is no different in this regard. We usually wonder through the exact same times day out and day in, varying never really straying off from our small circles of interest. If you have hundreds of sites you go through daily basis, that is still absolutely miniscule amount of sites that may be relative to your interest. The same applies to each and every of us. To have your website, your product to hit the general consciousness of your possible consumer base needs advertising. Positive word of mouth is the best advertising you can have on the Internet, and it best to allow the few consumer you may first have to spread the information they have willingly rather than hire some other people to spread positive information on your product. This will always come out at some point. It’s biding your time and providing good service with good products, especially so when your product is a service.

Despite the world wide web’s statistics, not everything has been invented, created or fulfilled. Often you hear someone telling you that everything has been already invented, but in actuality that’s simply largely accepted false idea. Time brings new ideas that need to be invented and created. Somebody just has to be the one acting on the possibilities.

Returning to the numbers game again, it has to be emphasized that not everybody needs to be in your consumer base, because that is practically impossible. This is vastly different from the Gamers are dead articles from last year, where the video game press attacked pre-established consumer base. GamerGate is actually an example how one person acted, and thus allowed the gears of a machine to turn. Because of that, multiple sites that either lacked or had lacking ethics policies now have re-written them and put them into action. In a sense, the consumer movement has achieved its first and foremost goals, but that doesn’t meant the movement ends there. This sort of things will require more time and careful observation to ensure that the changes stuck with the industry.

More often than not, it is better to act than wonder what would’ve come if you had acted. Y’know what they say; it’s better love and lose, than not love at all.

Then again, sometimes the action that needs to be taken is not so apparent, as well know from experiences.

Let’s finish this with a small bit of music. I’ll talk more about video games and giant robots next week.

Music of the Month; Basara + rant

It’s a late music of the month, so let’s get on with it already. Turn the bass up.

Ar Tonelico games are weird, but the music hits just the right spot with me.

It’s been surprisingly unforgiving weekend. The plans to write a larger, more elaborate entry got destroyed with turn of events that caused me to work twice as much as I usually do. It’s linked to the project post I made earlier in the week, but we can come back to that subject when we reach another deca-post.

Seems like the books I was to scan have now been lost in mail, or my friend hasn’t even sent the books. Either way, it’s a loss to those who were expecting these. Anyways, I’ve turned my head towards scanning some chapters of a more unknown series; Gekisatsu! Uchuuken.

You used to have awesome stuff with LPs. No, not Let's Plays,  Long Play Records
You used to have awesome stuff with LPs. No, not Let’s Plays, Long Play Records. This is actually a large poster

What is Gekisatsu! Uchuuken, I hear you asking. It’s comic by Hurricane Ryu, the man who later went on to be Heisei Godzilla movies suitactor. You may know him better as King Ghidorah, among others. The comic serialised in Comic Lemon People from its second issue on in 1982 and had somewhat humble beginning. Gekisatsu! Uchuuken, or just Uchuuken among friends, follows the kung-fu girl Lien Yun. Her adventures start from street brawls and escalate all the way to full blown city destroying fights against all the largest giant monster icons. The series is absolutely balls to the walls insane, using SM as its main sexploitation device and adding almost every character from the Japanese sci-fi pop culture at the time to the extent you had Lien donning a power armour that looks mistakenly similar to Macross’ Valkyrie’s FAST pack. The comic had a collected release, which is stupendously expensive and yet I’m looking for gain them. I’m sure those would have higher quality than the early Comic Lemon People issues. What made Uchuuken popular among readers, at least according to small snippets I’ve see on Pixiv and elsewhere, was the rough, high speed action combined with absolutely bombastic tokusatsu parodying from chapter to chapter. The series style improved slightly as it went on, but it does have a level of amateurish vibe to it, which will put a lot of people off. Especially when it’s 80’s stuff. That shit’s ancient in the eyes of young ones nowadays!

To fight a combination of giant monsters, you need a giant combiner of things that fight giant monsters. And Enterprise
To fight a combination of giant monsters, you need a giant combiner of things that fight giant monsters. And Enterprise

Here’s the kicker thou; Gekisatsu! Uchuuken was supposed to get a TV animation adaptation. It’s absolutely insane to think how this would have been done. It would’ve been toned down in content in order to attract younger audience, meaning removal of the sexploitation element and crafting more a family friendly approach. Still, the few paintings we have still show monsters getting slashed apart and a man standing on a machine armed with tentacles, so some of the origins would’ve been there. The adaptation might’ve been good for the series, in the end. While the comic is quite practically Reference the Comic due to its copyright infringing portrayals, the TV-series would’ve taken all these out and concentrated on the core characters and elaborated more on Lien herself, perhaps creating far more wholesome entity.

There was a record published before or after the project folded, which contains a sort of prototype to the opening music the series would have. Sadly, the instruments are very rudimentary and do no justice to the possibility the song has. The songstress carries the whole deal, really. You can listen to it on Youtube. Be sure to read the description. The rest of the LP has some similarly rudimentary tracks, but also radio drama. These radio drama bits are there to introduce the characters to us, and I admit I’m biased, but I liked what I heard. I’m intending to record the rest of the LP when I get my hands on a higher grade player, but in the meanwhile I can at least share some selected scans.


Seeing they even released a record and had announced the series, I have theorised that there may exist some sort of short video. At least few minute snippet how it could look. Japanese economy experienced a boom from 1986 to 1991, after which everything just fell down. The 90’s and 00’s are know as the Lost Decades due to this. Uchuuken’s series would have been done just a tad too early. It’s no surprise that OVA’s based on Comic Lemon People series were produced afterwards; Iczer-1, Zeorymer and Cream Lemon. It wasn’t until late 80’s a TV-series based on Comic Lemon People came to be in form of Lemon Angel. Too bad it was just a series of short music videos that carried a set of separated character and their racy slice-of-life adventures. If you want to see them out of some interest, I’m sure Youtube can help you with that as well.

Now for the bits not everybody like. You may want to ready a translation side to software for few upcoming links.

There’s some things I want to get out. #GamerGate has been seen some shit going on with it, and locally we’ve finally seen some news of it. Somewhat actual news, not just clickbait blog posts from people going with the narrative the press is making. Yet, the news we’ve seen do go with the narrative. That’s surprising, as I’ve though the local media and people would’ve taken more objective view and balance the issue’s sides, both from the journalists’ and customers’. However, this has not happened and I guess now that we’ve got the official statement from IDGA-Finland and Neogames Finland that they stand against any sort of harassment against game developers and gamers. This is great, because #GamerGate does support that exact same stance. However, the news is more or less baffling due to the fact that it calls #GamerGate out on the death threats and harassment it has directed towards game developers and gamers.

This is interesting because this is the first time I see anyone telling the movement is harassing gamers as well. I’m not sure what it tells about IDGA-Finland’s statement or the level of journalism the author of this article practices. The normal namedrops are made, and it saddens me that it is apparent that no actual research on the subject has made.

But wait! There’s a game researcher who states that the movement does not represent all the gamers out there. This second article has more balanced narrative, the little there is. The movement is still blamed on all the harassment that has been going on and has emphasize on the developers while ignoring the whole journalism side. It’s apparent that the writer has basically written what has been told to her, which makes a man sad.

It’s understandable, if you look at the movement from a distance. Because the movement is against a media, it is completely expected for the media to strike back and have that unbalanced view on the events. However, when you do have something like YLE, the Finnish equivalent of BBC, not making any research to their news, it seriously causes some amazement. On one hand this is treated as an American event, but that would mean that the journalists at YLE have even better option to do some journalistic research and see whether or not the allegations on either side are valid. I’ve had some good discussions about the movement and its goals, but most people seem to go into the press’ narrative more. Then again, often this narrative is shoddily built, but same minded people often buy to a narrative they want to see fit to their world view.

For this reason alone, I would recommend any #GamerGate supporter to keep yourself outside the comfort bubble and see the countering arguments and keep an objective view. The same should apply to everybody, really.

Games, art, objects, hate and helicopters

It often baffles me how there are people who think video games are real life. There are those who seem to equate a video game character to a real person. It’s understandable, as it seems to be the human nature to humanise and antromorphise things that are not human to be more humanlike or completely human.

I’ll cut the chase; video game characters are not people. They are not men or women, they are programmed objects. To say a game character objectifies someone raises the question why do you think something that is an actual object would do that? It would be more apt to say that it is the person viewing the object is doing the objectification. Of course, the designer and the person who does the modelling have their hands in creating the object and their take on various aspects does affect the end result. However, there’s a need to emphasize that they are modelling a human body, but a human being. Video game characters have as much humanity and everything carried with them as your general blowdoll.

Any and all people have tendency to see things where there aren’t any. Overly analysing something and anything has become a sort of cultural pass time in the Western countries. It’s no doubt part of the post-modern era of art we live in, where everything has something deeper to say. In reality, not everything has an agenda, a message or a deeper meaning but there are those who see things otherwise mostly because everything they do does have an agenda, a message and the alleged deeper meaning. This is extremely sad, as otherwise possibly great products become politically charged items, and politics is one thing consumers of the video game industry do not want to see. It always needs to be repeated, but people play games to get rid of stuff like politics, feminism and reality overall and just have fun.

Hatred has got a lot of buzz around it since the release of its trailer. This is pretty good, as Hatred clearly harks back to the era where there was no bullshit attached to the games and you’re just thrown in to play the damn game. Hell, even the logo has distinctly similar typeface to Doom.

And if somebody takes it as something more, they need to get their head checked
And if somebody takes it as something more, they need to get their head checked

As the people at Destructive knowingly are going against the rising trend of making everything comfortable and political correct, they’ve already seen fairly high amounts of criticism, a thing which definitely will only encourage them to go even more out there and show more outlandish things. It’s a motivational thing, and I’m sure this is a reaction they hoped for, despite the people having nothing much to it than what’s on the surface.
I’m sure Hatred will be described as murder simulator by people who have never tried their hands at a proper simulator in their life and can’t make a proper distinction.

The above is an example how a simulator can teach even a novice how to get a Kamov Ka-50 up and running. A proper simulator is a far cry from a game like Hatred, where the player character simply loads up the gun and walks out.

It needs to be understood shooting a gun in real life is not the same thing as ‘shooting a gun’ in games. To use a real weapon requires certain degree of knowledge how a gun works from loading to shooting. There are online sources that readily teach you how to handle a gun and take the recoil properly, whereas a game simply allows the player to use the object of a gun. Claiming that clicking the mouse button to shoot a virtual weapon is the same thing as pulling a real trigger is ridiculous claim to say the least.

Because of human nature to reflect reality into what is not real, it’s not too farfetched, and is applicable, to see people bringing their frustrations into a game environment. I assume everybody would agree that it would be better to get your more violent frustrations out through a match of Tekken rather than go to the closest BBQ line and fight people there. Because we see these objects as avatars to human life, we get all sorts of satisfactions from them even when they’re far from the original intentions.

But let’s take bit different stance and let’s consider games as form of art.

Art, essentially, is all about creating an objectification of a human. Be it paintings or sculpture, the classical arts have always portrayed humans in the ways the creator has intended. Indeed, the girls of Dead or Alive are nothing less than direct descendants of statues of Aphrodite. Who would be mad enough to begin to argue that the idolised woman and man in art could be something evil or bad? After all, shouldn’t we all strive to become the heroes from legends? There is no form of depiction that would not offend somebody or gain a claim of negatively objectifying something. I would argue that depiction of something is essentially creating an object out of the depicted thing. If you don’t like the depiction, you’re free to find all the other alternatives that are out there. Of course, objectification in itself is a matter we need to discuss at one point, but in context of this post we need to remember that no game character is a person or even a human being, but a literal object.

In modern world, especially in the West, the sentiment of What I say I right and you are a horrible person for disagreeing is dominant. This is apparent from the petition that aims to take down Hatred. The whole wall of text provided is not good to read and shows how certain parties simply don’t give a fuck about anyone else but themselves. There are numerous spots that should be discussed overall when it comes to video games, but in a petition like this they are merely opinions without proper base. Then again, the author concentrates on racism to such extent he completely seems to miss his own racism and bigotry by excluding white people from his rant. It would be more apt for him to complain how people are not equally killed in the game.

But the thing that gets my blood boil is the question What made you think this was ok? If people indeed want to take games-are-art as serious argument, then games like Hatred should not be demonised because of their subject; on the contrary, it should be celebrated for bringing such matter in front of people and make of it what they will. Art across ages has been there to be enjoyed for sure, but it has also been there to challenge with uncomfortable images and themes. Within the last thirty decades, there has been only a handful of games that concentrate on the gameplay element and bring up issues people do not want to assess. Software like Depression Quest and Gone Home may have issues worth of discussion for sure, but they’re incredibly bad games. Not only they hold the users’ hand like they’re bunch of morons but also lack any sort of replay value. Hell, Gone Home could’ve been a point-n-click adventure where the player is the kid he is reading of for some reason. THAT would have been something to note, as the player would have been put into the shoes a closet gay character and taken through the events and life the game tries to convey. Hatred, on the other hand, puts the player in control of the antagonist and asks the player to ponder why this sort events take place at time to time. As certain sources have said, games don’t need to be comfortable and should touch on difficult subjects. Hatred does this in a very visceral and brutal way to go directly to the point and its unapologetic method is very something to admire.

After all, games are all about the gameplay. We have made objects that are humans in their look in order to reflect reality to them, and perhaps this sort of unreality is the only place we can handle certain aspects of ourselves. In games, everybody and anything is idolised and perfected, much like in classical depictions of mankind.

So I have to ask, if games are art, why is the idolised depiction of things in form of actual objects something that is objected? This makes even less if you take art from the equation, as we all know entertainment should hit the notes the customers wish to hear. In either cases there exist numerous products in films, books, movies and to lesser extent, in games that handle horrible subjects directly. Only games are able to give the player the full fledged control and control the player character through those horrible deeds.

All that said, why the hell would you want to force a developer shut down their project? The developers of Hatred really do acknowledge what they’re doing, and whatever they’re stating officially is straightforward. They have something to say, and silencing them by forcing to shut down the project would be nothing less of censorship and detracting the value of game as a medium overall.

Shit, I need to drink less beer while writing rant articles.


Damion Schubert has blogged a post, which called for GamerGate supporters to form a consumer organisation. He claims that #GamerGate has come from Anonymous and 4chan’s culture of mob movement without any organization, which is not entirely true. GamerGate’s origins are far more convoluted and 4chan was only a place of discussion and GamerGate itself began as a multi-faceted movement tied to the consumers’ own motions, not to any certain website’s culture.

I’ll be straight from the get go; GamerGate has been as successful as it is because it is not organised in the fashion Schubert proposes. GamerGate, from where I as an individual see it, is a consumer movement without any common ideology or banner. There is only a goal, on which various people agree upon. Of course, there are variations how many goals people have, but one all GamerGate supporters agree on is the removal of corruption, nepotism, journalism driven by agenda, threats among other negative aspects within the video game press. All supporters are behind the ideas of journalistic integrity, open and honest debate, transparency and inclusive approach.

Organisations are for political battles. While to some GamerGate is a political battle, at its core its customer voicing their distaste on the current state of the video game press. If there would be a GamerGate organisation, it would be easy to make it into a sock puppet to play with and ultimately knock down, but it would also be something the opposition could actually stand against. To keep GamerGate as a consumer level movement requires two things; discussions on the matters on open forums, spreading the information and voting with your wallet. The Customer is god, and the customer can show some divine wrath

As GameGate is a customer driven movement, there’s no rifle that could take it down. You’d need one helluva shotgun to even try to take part of it down. Because it consists of individuals working on their own for a common goal, these individuals are completely on their own. If there exists criticism on how someone acts, that act never reflects on the rest of the people behind the movement. Engaging conversation with the customers is easy, because it’s sort of no-words communication to a large extent. The customers have voiced their distaste and want for change, and all the industry needs to do is either press yes or no. There is no middle ground here, there is no negotiating like it would be between two organisations or similar. There is no one true voice and that is strength, but it does have its detrimental qualities as well. Lack of cohesion would be one as would be the individuals Schubert calls as crackpots. However, that would be one thing GamerGate is against; exclusion. Not to mention these crackpots get things done at times, even if their behaviour might reflect negatively from time to time. All that said, you’d think a person working in game industry would know how to do customer research at this point.

Hell, I’d even argue that then industry should not have a discussion with its customers, all it needs to do is to listen and believe.

Schubert seems to regard that only an organisation could do things like vet rumours to attend conferences. The customer can do all these and then some. Being unorganised does not mean things will go unnoticed as long as there’s change. Worldwide there are movements that go unnoticed and unreported but they change things just as much. GamerGate supporters are like a hive of ants; all working towards one goal with their individual strength. The difference is how there is no queen and work is done through wallet voting and e-mail campaign, both of which have given positive results.

However Schubert is right, there is no reasonable criteria for success. Consumer movements rarely do have one, and the movement will die out when certain change is achieved that brings the wanted change, or interest is dropped. Nevertheless, this also demands the service provider to think for themselves what to do in order to fix the situation and restore the faith of the consumer. There is a clear direction, no matter how anyone will tell you otherwise. It may not be terribly cohesive, but it’s equally driving force.

Schubert has sixteen points in his post, all more or less singing the same gospel. I won’t touch all the points because of redundancy, but first of all, GAMR already exists and using pre-existing name is a humongous mistake. If an organisation wants to be taken seriously, it would need a proper name, not this hipster level garbage. While the whole organisation idea is awful, Schubert essentially suggest in creating a force that would police the movement with officer elections and leaders. While there may be need for some leading voices from time to time, it would be absolutely detrimental to the movement. Then he would suggest putting up a damn Patreon or Kickstarter for funding the movement, but this is a movement that doesn’t need one. Actually, it’s the very opposite; GamerGate is a movement that does not need funding because it’s done by not funding the opposition while voicing consumer wants.

I’m sounding like a broken record already.

The thing with GamerGate is that the industry has no idea how to handle the movement’s population, it has never had to do it before. It’s natural that they feel threatened by it and that someone would suggest in creating an entity they could handle, something they could reason and fight with. Perhaps change their modus operandi and aims, if needed.

I remind you that the video games crash of late 70’s and mid 80’s happened because the consumers did not see products worth purchasing. There was no organisation voicing the consumer distaste against the low quality of games. It didn’t help that the companies didn’t listen to the consumer voice, that is often silent and spoken in numbers and returns. Then things came crashing down. Twice. Times have changed now, and the consumers have the Internet to discuss things on message boards and in chats. Because of this, there’s no geographical limitations, there are no country borders keeping one from voicing their distaste as a customer.

I will out myself once more on GamerGate; I support it. I personally see it as a movement against all that is wrong in the industry from corruption and nepotism to breaking journalistic integrity and customer service ideals. I am making a stance with my wallet and e-mails, meaning I’ve stopped browsing sites that encourage anti-consumer ideals and enforce censorship, as in case of 4chan. While all this seems to small, like a droplet in ocean, I can assure you that the ocean is storming and all individual droplets are making a difference.

Music of the Month returns on Sunday.

Reconstructing history

This week has been a busy one, so this will most likely be the only update for the week, but perhaps that’s good. The last few days have been rather busy and awful overall, but then I just had to hear about yet another small, but camel’s back breaking, news about the Swedish national television and radio censoring the 1969 Pippi Longstocking television series. You may be asking what in the world would such a body of work have to censor, and the answer would be nothing, unless you’re uncultured.

In the original version Pippi speaks of his father as the negro king and plays Chinese by pulling her eyes back. There’s nothing wrong with these as they are, as the series is a window to its time. There is no hatred or malice behind these scenes, words or deeds. They simply are there and to extent one could argue that they are essential part in portraying the time. These two scenes have been more or less hacked now, as Pippi just speaks of his father as king and the whole playing Chinese scene is removed.

This isn’t just censorship for no good reason, this is also historical reconstruction in order to portray bodies of works in more political correct manner for the modern day. It would seem that the people spearheading this sort of thing think they’re driving understanding and tolerance, but this is essentially the very opposite of those. This is akin to hiding the black sheep from the flock under a sheet and acting like it doesn’t exist, which does not promote understanding or tolerance. It promotes censorship above all else.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn had the exact same thing done to them. All the instances of words injun and nigger were replaced with something less offensive. One needs to realize that both Lingdren and Twain use the terms as they were used in their time. It doesn’t take a genius how these elements can and should be explained to anyone. The people with power grossly underestimate children in this case, as time after time I’ve seen with my own eyes how simply explaining the differences in times and how things were is more than enough. Children do have understanding of passage of time, and under five years old don’t even recognize the terms properly. Even then the parents should do their damn jobs and raise the kids properly to realize this sort of things my themselves.

However, I’m afraid this is just another event in modern Sweden. The country has infamy regarding their immigration and how their own culture has changed. It’s no wonder the Swedish national television and radio personal would be afraid, because hurting some people’s feelings is far more horrible than staying true to the work and the time it was produced in. People should grow tougher skin and practice tolerance.

This isn’t even the first time Pippi Longstocking has seen issues with racial depiction. Pippi Longstocking theme part used to sell old curtains depicting her with her negro king father and few black kids waving leaves over her head. Rather than taking the curtain pattern with the understanding in which time the illustration was made, as well as noting that this would be very normal for a king and his family, a Swedish mother basically rioted how the curtain pattern depicted racist colonialism, where the children are Pippi’s slaves. Context check here; Pippi’s father, the Captain Ephraim Longstocking, is no colonist. He was lost at sea, found ashore in South Sea island Kurrekurredutt Isle, where he was made a fat white chief by the natives. The reason is never given, but seeing how Pippi is the world’s strongest girl and inherited her strength from the Captain, it’s safe to say that Ephraim did something remarkable enough to warrant his place. Of course, one could analyze this in many ways and I assume many people will start poking at the racist elements in there where there aren’t any. There’s a story where Pippi takes a travel to the Kurrekurredutt Isle with her friends, where she is admitted to be Princess Pippilotta, but not straight away. Her friends don’t really gain any position. With this context, the illustration becomes far less racist. One can argue, that despite the time and context, the illustration is still racist. I can’t fully agree with that notion, as there is no malice behind it. Changing Ephraim status from negro king to just king doesn’t change the fact that he is the chosen to be a king by the natives.

The outrage the Swedish mother had showed her own ignorance and intolerance. Because of her, the production of the curtains has ceased.

Hell, German theologian found Pippi Longstocking books racist. I’m not going to pull out the Nazi card here, but seeing how Tintin is called a Catholic hero but the Vatican, I see no basis to call Pippi anything but normal children’s book, that is a bit out of its time.

However, I do understand the reasons both sides had for pulling out these bits from Pippi’s history. Nevertheless, they’re driving forces are in wrong in both cases. All that said, Astrig Lidngren herself didn’t really oppose changing her works to fit the times, but seeing how many times Pippi has been refilmed and animated, there’s no reason to touch the past works anymore. If one doesn’t want the references for negro kings and Pippi playing Chinese, the more modern cartoons would fit the bill better.

Political correctness and overprotection has gone far too overboard within the last decade. It’s far too common to see people analysing events, scenes, objects and things. Often these things are driven by an agenda and profit, much like how the whole GamerGate has shown how certain sites and journalists are willing to use minorities in order to create clickbait articles and content berading matters. One example of this when Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2’s scene, where weak Dracula attacks a family to regain his strength, was judged as rape by usgamer. The accusation is still baseless and highly biased. First, vampires have always been depicted rather violent creatures without remorse, and secondly there’s no traces of rape. Just a fictional supernatural being sucking blood from his victims. Yes, there is a level of eroticism in there as with any neck licking stuff, but it’s far from being a sexual assault or trivializing it. It’s just how the writer wanted to take it,  because the topic would bring in clicks and revenue.Much like how the censorship with Pippi Longstocking, the scene was overly analysed with an intention to drive an agenda.

It’s not really enough people to grow thicker skin. Tolerance goes both ways, and if you’re being intolerant and unwilling to understand or even research behind why something is done or said they way they were, you’re doing the exact same thing you accuse opposition for doing. In equal world, the same requirements would apply to everybody in equal amounts. If you would demand me to understand your position, the same applies just as much to you. Censorship promotes the very opposition of this, and that is horrible. Tampering with history is very dangerous and often can end in disastrous results. When that censored and suppressed history gets out, and it will eventually get out, things will blow up. Gorbachev can testify on that.


This, racist? Nah, all I see is a mid-1900’s kid explaining Chinese people to her friends. It’s stereotypical for sure, but that’s all it is. Nothing more, nothing less

Mega Man fandom or a cult of worshippers?

The Mega Man fan community, on its surface, has been slowly transformed to something else. When you go the more known news site on the franchise, you’ll notice that there’ a lack of actual information worth reporting. These sites have, to a large extent, become a sort of unwilling marketers for CAPCOM’s Mega Man products that are not games. Statues with horrible sculpts, modelled helmets for outrageous prices and music CDs the hardcore fans have already owned at least once already.

And then there’s the Gunvolt and Mighty No.9. It looks like in desperation the sites are now throwing out news on games that resemble Mega Man rather than on Mega Man itself. No, the front of the fandom has become more like a fan community of games like Mega Man, except it’s not even that. It’s become a cult of Keiji Inafune and that’s something it should have avoided like a plague.

Mighty No.9 is a Mega Man game but in name only, that much is true. However, with every progressive report from users and videos put out, it’s clear that Mighty No.9 is nothing special. Some have said that it doesn’t play like a Mega Man game, and while that’s not a negative point in itself, it’s a point that hits negatively with the intended core audience. The core gameplay is already set in, and it doesn’t look all too attractive. Music is still bland based on the tracks heard thus far. Mighty No.9 is becoming a very mediocre title.

The same with Gunvolt. Inti-Creates has no strong franchise of their own. They got a lot of lift with the Mega Man Zero series and despite the games’ shortcomings and certain bad design decisions that never were corrected, they made a big name out of themselves. Looking at their game library, we see that their list of games is less than stellar. Inti-Creates has always been a company that puts out budget grade titles. There are few high budget games sprinkled here and there, but the overall sum quality of their products is seriously lacking. Gunvolt follows this suit and after spending some time with the game, it’s like Mega Man but cheaper. The game feels cheap and doesn’t elevate the status the company has one bit. The fans and core followers will argue otherwise, but that’s expected.

As the community has become more like a cult following Inafune, there’s a serious lack of reporting on the negative sides. Mighty No.9 has seen some negative points that have gone largely unreported, mainly the issues concerning with the community manager Dina Abou Karam and whether or not she will have an impact on the end product. I agree that she’s not doing her appointed job well and bringing her own bias into something that doesn’t need them, nor has the backers paid for, she needs to go. However, that’s not going to happen because Comcept doesn’t really care. This has gone far enough with Karam banning GamerGate supporters. Well, noting that she got her position via nepotism it’s not surprise she would feel threatened as GamerGate as a movement is against such corrupt events taking place. This is horrible customer service and breaks pretty much every basic rule in the book. If I had supported Mighty No.9, I would do everything to get my money back, as I would not be getting the product and service I paid for.

In perfect world Inafune would manage the community himself, but we all know that he doesn’t care. Inafune has always been a man of his own wants and interests, disregarding the consumer and other outside views. Despite CAPCOM’s inner workings being horrible with their multi-tier development approach (a game can be half-developed before it’s actually greenlit,) Inafune has always gone with his own things to the extent he has wanted. However, he is willing to put out products simply for the sake of job and because they’d sell, which is a good thing as that meets demands of the consumer. Yet, with the whole Mighty N.9 backing community basically hating the guts of their manager, Inafune doesn’t care. He has his money for a game that would have been produced despite the results of the campaign and that’s what really matters for him.

Then again, that’s exactly what the community’s front seems to promote. The Mega Man Network had an interview with Inafune, and the interview is actually worthless to read. It’s nothing but pandering and addresses no questions of importance. Questions like What is your favourite Mighty Number is kiddy tier interview crap and rest of the questions are no better. These people had the best possible situation addressing questions of the community and bringing Inafune closer to his backers by voicing their concerns, but no. Idol worship prevents this and encourages bias.

Of course, you can’t ask hard questions; you may drive the person away and never get another interview from him again, but what would that tell about the person then?

A product and service will, can’t ever, become as demanded or intended if critical feedback is not given. It doesn’t take any courage from the fan community to start addressing the issues, but they don’t care because of all the bias they have towards Inafune. Traditionally, this sort of idols are seen infallible, unable to make any mistakes and deliverers of all great. It is clear that Inafune built a team of original Mega Man developers. That would be a nice thing, if Mega Man wasn’t such a mediocre game. Mega Man 2 and 3 are completely different beasts, and then we start seeing The Pattern forming, which is only broken when Inafune is no directly involved with the games. Minakuchi Engineering made most of the GameBoy Mega Man games, and once they understood how Mega Man is wanted by the audience as opposed how developers saw it, we got Mega Man (World) IV and V, games that can be argued to be in the top 5 of the Classic series. Hell, I’ll out myself and argue that Mega Man (World) V is the best in the Classic series if nothing else but the sheer amount of work Minakuchi Engineering had to do in order to make the game stand on its own and be measured as equal to its NES brethren. However, as a side game, it’s place will always be in the second class.

Then you have the X series, which was undermined by Inafune’s favouritism towards Zero, which also reflects in the rest of the series, where his own creations (Mega Man wasn’t Inafune’s brainchild, which is a common misconception) have always seen more push.

Perhaps the worship has gone to Inafune’s head. Perhaps he has always been like that, but has managed to handle his public relations extremely well. Then again, perhaps no interviewer has ever challenged him with a tough and critical inquiry. It is a fact that Inafune has been an important part of Mega Man franchise. That can’t be denied, but it also can’t be denied that the series might’ve seen the same popularity with someone else in lead. But these are ifs, and ifs are rather pointless at this point in time. Whatever the case is, I would be glad to see the fandom, especially their fronts, addressing the pressing issues openly. There are criticism that needs to be given.

Let’s finish this with somewhat relevant mix.

Destroying what you can’t suppress

I thought that I’d leave GamerGate as a subject where it is at the moment, but the events that have taken place during the week just baffle me to no end. Especially the latest push that essentially shows how the game press has a cabal to suppress the proper issues at hand.

There are numerous sites that are effectively censoring and suppressing proper discussion on the subjects of conflicts of interest with these so-called journalists as well as the corruption that takes place. Sites like Kotaku, Destructoid and GiantBomb have been, effectively speaking, worthless in their content. The aformentioned sites and the ones connected to them on an industry level are systematically pushing their own agenda across the board. They have blacklisted and done every dirty PR trick in the book. It’s a laughable attempt at destroying the thing you can’t suppress. If they would be successful doing that, it would mean they managed to destroy the people they were making money of. It’s a self-defeating situation.

The situation with GamerGate is screwed in many ways, mainly how the customers have always been painted in negative colours across the board. Not just recently, but always. The general population has a negative view on people who play electronic games as a hobby, and thus the black painting has no effect. However, every time the news is pushed out how the gamers have done something good, that’s a plus for us. That’s a huge negative impact to the sites panning on the customers. Every time the customers put out something new that shows more of the links between developers and press, it’s the press that is put in a very bad light.

These people have everything to lose. It’s all about their reputation and careers for them, but the customer doesn’t care about those. The customer cares only about how well they are able to do their work as journalists. At this point, they are everything but. Every single person who are part of the Game Journalism Professionals should be fired. There’s no gray zone here at all; all of these people are practising rotten journalism and have conspired together against the consumers through deceit and corruption.

Discussion of this topic needs to be enforced, not quelled. It’s a travesty that certain infamous sites have began to censor the discussion. Even the Internet Hate Machine, the place that was once called the last Wild West on the Internet, seems to have gone upside down and deletes threads all around. That is not healthy.

These people have put themselves into the spotlight, and now that they are treated like the rockstars they wanted to be, they’re acting like cowards rather than facing the consequences of their actions. I don’t care about these people, but I care about their actions and their actions have been the worst.

Outside having discussions and bringing the subject forth even more than it already is, the only proper thing a customer to do is to move with their best weapon; money. All these sites and people get money as they are visited. To make press these sites to correct their misbehaviour is to diminish their revenue. Call out sites like Kotaku on their bullshit actions and spread the word of better alternatives that are willing to handle the matters in objective manner and allow free discussion. Sites like Techraptor or Gamesnosh are perfect alternatives with vastly better articles to boot. Hell, if you want some good game reviews, go follow Lord Karnage on Youtube. Their brand has not been tarnished by anything negative, and the moment they are called out on something they have done, their reaction will define them. Mailing the companies that are associated with them about the whole debacle will make a difference and refraining to support their products will hit them as well. No company wants to be associated with a brand that’s brandished with corruption.

The whole issue wasn’t even personal to begin with. However, the gaming press took all the outed information and criticism as personal attacks like bunch of juvenile kids and now have allowed the thing to grow larger. The customers have one shot to make their stand and voice their will. If these people are allowed to continue in the same fashion they’ve been doing things for a long time now, not only the customer will be further oppressed by the industry but the industry will grow very stale and rot from inside out.