“I want more objective games criticism”. You often hear this phrase and other similar sentiments echoing around the internet. In its worst form, a cry for objectivity is a plea for games journalists and critics to mirror the thoughts, opinions and expectations of the person asking for objectivity. On the brighter end of the spectrum however, calls for objectivity are requests for game critics to put aside their own personal biases and try and account for tastes other than their own. In this post, I’m addressing the latter point – and I’m going to assume that, in certain instances, these objectivity-seekers have a valid point. They’re not exactly wrong – but they’re certainly inaccurate. Continue reading
If you’ve seen this wonderful video before, the title of this post is probably a complete giveaway. And you very well could have seen it, since this was a big viral hit – with good reason- er, sorry, “reson”. OK, so, you don’t need to know any context to enjoy the hell out of this video, but it helps: this is a dramatic reading of a user review submitted for a Flash game over at Newgrounds, Super PSTW Action RPG (PSTW stands for “Press Space To Win”). The game itself is a satire of traditional console RPGs. It goes through towns, battles, menus and so on, but doesn’t let you interact with it really; you press a single button and it just kind of plays itself. If you’re sceptical, click the link and try it yourself on Newgrounds, it’s actually pretty entertaining.
Honestly I feel like I’m massively overwriting something that really oughtn’t be explained. You don’t need to know anything in advance, beacuase the comedy value of terrible internet comments read dramatically trumps anything and everything else. But you know something? Go ahead – I don’t care! I’m just trying to make a point here! (Seriously, someone give the voice actor a medal. Amazing.)
Being a retro game blog, we’re always late to the party. That has its perks: now that the heat is dying down on GamerGate, perhaps we can understand it better as a cultural phenomenon, and particularly Anita Sarkeesian’s analysis of videogames, from a more objective perspective. What interests us is why the “feminists VS gamers” debate and Sarkeesian’s analysis of videogames have gained so much traction in mainstream media.
There are a number of problems with the media’s approach to these issues which we’ll get into, but let’s have a disclaimer right here. We definitely don’t endorse or intend here to defend the behaviour of the people who have, for whatever reason, decided that sending death threats and the like to other people is normal and somehow justifiable – especially over something dumb like videogames. The personal campaign waged against Sarkeesian is utterly irrelevant at best and malicious, sadistic and cruel at worst. If you don’t like the ideas someone espouses, come up with better ideas and present them, better. Personal attacks make the attacker look bad, petty, and morally and intellectually bankrupt, not the other way round. That’s why this post isn’t about criticising Sarkeesian on a personal level and instead considers Sarkeesian’s feminist approach to videogames in a specific political and cultural context. Continue reading