Saturday Waffling (April 4th, 2015)
This edition of Saturday Waffling is brought to you by Nathan Brownback, one of my backers on Patreon, who has picked the indisputably worthy Alexandria-Arlington Coalition for the Homeless as his link of choice, the sort of choice that I assume would get him dismissed as a “sjw” by certain people.
Speaking of those people.
So, yesterday I used the #gamergate hashtag on Twitter to ask about an argument made by supporters of the movement that puzzled me, namely the one that suggests that contributing to a Kickstarter for something and then reviewing it is a conflict of interest, since there does not seem to be any comparable view that buying something in a store and reviewing it creates a conflict of interest. (The answer seems, unsurprisingly, to be that the argument is stupid beyond belief, with multiple people arguing that not only is supporting a Kickstarter or a Patreon a conflict of interest, but that receiving free review copies of things is not.)
In any case, based on twenty minutes or so of mildly adversarial engagement entirely over this point, here’s some highlights of the tweets I got.
(That one got fifteen retweets and forty-five favorites)
(I’m reasonably certain that was meant to be threatening.)
(Landwhales being misogynist fuckhead for “overweight women”)
(Warning: explicit image)
Frankly, I can only imagine the stream of shit that women get from these assholes. Actually, I don’t have to imagine, because we know the answer to this: they get SWATted, which is, and I am not making this up, the practice of placing fraudulent police calls alleging hostage situations at people’s houses so that SWAT teams get sent in. Which, let’s be clear, given the nature of a SWAT team, should really be considered attempted murder.
In any case, this seems a fantastic time to announce that the Super Nintendo Project, starting two weeks from Monday, is a magickal ritual intended to destroy Gamergate.
Relatedly, the overall games list (subject to change, but not expected to be subject to much change). I’ll be tackling the project by year, so the first run will cover the 1991 games, at which point it’ll break for another round of A Brief Treatise on the Rules of Thrones. Games in parentheses will be covered via guest post – I have the guest posts lined up, and I couldn’t be more excited about how they’re going to help flesh out this project, which is, along with the tail end of The Bojeffries Saga chapter of Last War in Albion, currently delightedly occupying my mind.
Super Mario World
Final Fantasy II
Super Ghouls’n Ghosts/Super Castlevania IV
Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past
Mario Paint/Super Scope 6/Battle Clash [Assuming technological feasibility]
Super Mario Kart
(Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest)
Spider-Man and the X-Men in Arcade’s Revenge
The Lost Vikings
Super Mario All-Stars
Super Street Fighter II Turbo: Hyper Fighting
(The Secret of Mana)
Mega Man X
The Illusion of Gaia
(Final Fantasy III)
Donkey Kong Country
Mega Man X3
(Super Mario RPG)
Super Mario 64
So, for discussion… who wants to argue with me over the list, I suppose? Or Gamergate. But really, what is there to argue about there?
April 4, 2015 @ 12:07 am
I like a lot of these games. Looking forward to it.
April 4, 2015 @ 12:34 am
It would be kind of hilarious that the slightest questioning of any aspect of gamergate (and to a normal person, your tweet looked like a genuine question) is seen as a heinous attack on everything they believe, if it weren't for the fact that what these people do has real consequences.
April 4, 2015 @ 12:35 am
(It also looked like a genuine question to me, incidentally, but I found a normal person to give a second opinion.)
April 4, 2015 @ 12:47 am
Glad to read your aspirations to do something unique with the Super Nintendo Project, which shouldn't have come as a surprise after what I've read of the previous project. Though I'll have to read it through my fingers and comment through my teeth, as Nintendo's output is the only body of work I can get more het up about than Lambert and Moffat era Doctor Who.
As you clearly know your goals for this project better than I, I'm not really sure how I could argue over this list other than lamenting about my favourite title not to make the cut (Panel de Pon/Tetris Attack) or nominating an obscure gem to get my hipster on (Unirally).
The only thing I might say is that I wouldn't mind if the Super Scope games proved technologically infeasible, as I don't think there's much interesting to say of either other than "How did a company with decades of experience as a toymaker put out such a misguided peripheral?" or "The tech is like the inverse of the Wiimote pointer. So that's something". Whereas Mario Paint is an immensely important and influential software suite more than worthy of a full entry.
Plus it'll save you, like, six AAs.
April 4, 2015 @ 1:22 am
I've managed to mostly avoid gamergate but from what you've posted here it seems that it's sort of like the Weeping Angels (although infinitely more depressing) in so much as anything that contains the concept of gamergate becomes gamergate. In my ideal world they'd get parcelled off in a C.V.E. that normal people could look at every now and then.
Never owned a SNES but did have an N64 so looking forward to the last game on the schedule & hoping you run it beyond the list.
April 4, 2015 @ 2:06 am
Pft. Everyone knows that Phil is just making up these tweets for attention. Or those tweets are secret feminists trying to make the honourable #gamergate movement look bad.
April 4, 2015 @ 2:25 am
Good luck, the regular Nintendo Project didn't have the alchemical chops to exorcise the gators. Burned me out for a lil while.
April 4, 2015 @ 2:50 am
Wow, no argument Phil. Over Gamegate that is.
As for the games, looks cool, I'm not a computer gamer at all so it will be genuinely interesting to read something I know very little about.
April 4, 2015 @ 3:51 am
Actually it's about ethics in facial hair grooming
April 4, 2015 @ 4:11 am
Hoohoo boy I am excited for this. Mario 64 wouldn't be a tease for a Nintendo 64 Project, would it? I've never been much of a Nintendo guy myself (a Playstation Project would be more my speed), so no suggestions other than maybe including one of the latter Final Fantasies?
April 4, 2015 @ 6:08 am
I have never played any of these games because I did not have a Super Nintendo (except for Star Fox and Doom, which I played on PC).
I will read every post.
As for the GamerGaters, that's just unreal. I mean, what horrible, horrible human beings.
April 4, 2015 @ 7:21 am
Hear, hear Eric re: GamerGaters. The term brings to mind the idea of Gatekeepers which I equally despise. Since you posted Phil that this series of essays would be a magickal working to take down GamerGate I am hyper excited!
In many ways I have been the object of such bile and taunts above as a so-called committed "sjw", so thanks for posting the results of a simple question – I so look forwards to how this project is approached.
April 4, 2015 @ 7:22 am
I remember playing Lemmings on the PC?
April 4, 2015 @ 9:31 am
Yeah, they're not exactly real good about the difference between being a fan who actively supports a project and being an investor who has a financial interest in the success of a project.
The most they've done is kick up a fuss that many web sites have instituted rules which mandate disclosure if the crowd-funded amount exceeds a certain amount. So donating a small amount to a game doesn't even warrant a disclosure, because it's no different than paying $120 for the Special Deluxe Super Fanboy Version of Halo 5, which is something some reviewers do because they're hardcore fans of the franchises they cover.
I really don't want to go too deep into the whole thing because it's quite literally a waste of time and effort. It largely boils down to "if we disagree with your opinion, we will try to find a reason to pretend it's unethical". If some people complain and get a Batgirl cover changed, then this is horrible censorship which must be stopped. If another group complains and gets EA to change content in the latest Battlefield game mocking the Tea Party, then that's okay, because REASONS!!! Using a hashtag to urge a company to change a cover is a very bad thing. Using a hashtag to organize an e-mail campaign against advertisers to put game review sites who put forth certain liberal opinions out of business is a-okay, because they're consumers.
April 4, 2015 @ 1:06 pm
Very much looking forward to the Super Nintendo Project and all that it represents – it's reassuring to know that we can rely on our friendly neighborhood psychochronographer to banish the darkness within subcultures.
I have to say the "Airport" tweet made me chuckle, though – if only because it kinda resembles your writing style when taking something down. (That said, the prospect of writers with Phil Sandifer-level eloquence on the side of Gamergate is… concerning)
April 4, 2015 @ 2:40 pm
If it helps any I preordered a hobby game in the days before crowdfunding because that is how hex and chit wargames got made mostly. Enough people preorder over a timespan and thing is made. I then gave it an in depth review and had many issues but gave it the middle OK score on my 3 point scale. Fans of the company rode me hard over it. But even those dummies at least had the sense not to call it a conflict of interest. Buying a thing isn't a conflict. Kick starters really aren't charity. They are preorder programs masquerading as charity. Same with patreon and the like. You are paying for thing or tipping for thing so producer of thing is likely to keep making thing at the speed you want thing. I don't patreon since I hate my job and why do I want to give people money to make things they clearly love doing and have a passion for? (However I don't turn ad blocks on nor whine if they aren't outputting as much as I may like. Though honestly people shouldn't do this anyhow. Much less the nonsense the gaters and tumblr sjw embarrassments to the progressive movement do..) while I do think sometimes you are talking out your butt Phil you don't even remotely deserve the abuse these asshats are throwing your way
April 4, 2015 @ 6:33 pm
I engaged a couple of Gamergaters in conversation way back when the thing was just getting started in August/September. For the most part, in one-on-one discussion with me things were reasonably civil, and our conversations were polite and pointedly not full of people assuming the worst about everyone else. Even back then, I felt the "movement" itself was fairly toxic, but that many, if not most, of the individuals involved in it were misguided at worst.
I've no idea how many of the folks I conversed with back then are still involved with GG, but any hope I may have once held that cooler heads would prevail and that the movement might have evolved into something that, while I may have personally disagreed with, wasn't a toxic boil on the face of pop culture evaporated by early October. By that point, it was patently clear that the driving voices were more concerned with circling the wagons and aggressively punishing anyone (but especially women) who dared criticize, or even question, their little clique. If it wasn't to start with, it's become a perfect encapsulation of every one of my worst suspicions about Internet culture.
April 5, 2015 @ 1:49 am
There's a lot of good eggs in the mix, although the thing I find they all have in common is an attitude that their opinion should be reflected in the vast majority of press. They tend to be the sort who get a bit too worked up about reviews which don't match their opinion of the product.
And they tend to be the sort who think reviews should be "objective", which isn't a totally absolute term to most of them, but the sense that it's unfair to call out a game like Bayonetta for its portrayal of women because that's "not important" to whether or not the game is fun.
April 5, 2015 @ 2:27 am
I'm sorry, have I stepped into a horrifying mirror universe where up is down, evil is good, and rainbow pubic hair isn't the best? Or, in topical terms, not so much a happy trail as it is a star road.
April 5, 2015 @ 9:42 am
Yes! I was obsessed with both SimCity and Lemmings when I was in 5th/6th grade, so I'm so glad to see some cross-over games. I didn't have a gaming system other than the GameGear, but I loved my computer games at the library.
April 5, 2015 @ 10:56 am
Yeah – one of the many problems with the cries for ethics in games journalism is the historical fact that what actually gets the fans riled up is a blockbuster which they haven't yet played not getting perfect scores across the board.
April 5, 2015 @ 11:00 am
Looking forward to Lost Vikings and ChronoTrigger 🙂
April 5, 2015 @ 11:01 am
The Rainbow Road level of SuperMario Kart won't seem the same after that comment – yet somehow more awesome.
April 5, 2015 @ 11:04 am