Welcome to the Playpen, our space for ferrety banter and whimsical snippets of things that aren't quite long enough for articles (although they might be) but that caught your eye anyway.

at 02:27 on 08-09-2014, Michal
it's like trying to protest Israeli government actions and letting neo-Nazis share a platform with you.

Or in more Ferretbrain-relevant terms, like expressing your dissatisfaction with the way the Hugo Awards are run by throwing your lot in with Larry Correia & the sad puppy slate.
at 02:01 on 08-09-2014, Daniel F
Sure, I think all of that makes sense. As you say, it did come up with ME3. As I said, it's tapped into much wider frustration. So the way it comes off to me is that dissatisfaction with gaming media has been percolating for a long time, and in this case, a somewhat misogynistic original protest and an incredibly quick, univocal, and dismissive response from media outlets were the spark needed for that dissatisfaction to become a general protest.

You're absolutely right about not becoming entangled with hate movements; but I suppose I'm not sure that's what GamerGate is. Moreover, it seems like a nasty silencing move, to me, to say "You should not criticise journalism right now because hate groups are also criticising it." The word 'GamerGate' is not a slogan in itself, and it's hardly an inherently offensive term. If you want to force real change in games journalism, you need to tap into a strong vein of public support, don't you? In practical terms, I think "You can criticise gaming journalism but don't affiliate yourself with GamerGate" comes off as "You can't criticise gaming journalism". It's just too polarised. Whether you use the term or not, criticising gaming journalism right now will be interpreted as GamerGate.

I suppose I'm inclined to be generous because GamerGate is where those criticisms are being made and it seems like the best chance of getting them addressed that has existed for some time; and because there have been a few credible efforts to disassociate GamerGate from the hateful voices within it.

Argh. Sorry. This conversation probably isn't going anywhere good.
at 14:04 on 07-09-2014, Arthur B
@Daniel F - Wasn't meaning to suggest that objections to the state of game journalism were illegitimate just because they were old, I was more emphasising the fact that that isn't a new discussion. It comes up perennially and is a regular side dish in other gaming controversies. (For instance, in the Mass Effect 3 debacle lots of people noted a decided disconnect between the attitude of many games journalists and the response of the fanbase to the ending.)

The point I wanted to make was that GamerGate didn't invent objecting to games journalism. Literally the only thing novel about GamerGate is that it was inspired by a grumpy man's one-sided account of a messy breakup.

If you want to present credible criticism of games journalism, the last thing you want to do is get entangled in this GamerGate stuff. To use a potentially inflammatory example, it's like trying to protest Israeli government actions and letting neo-Nazis share a platform with you. There might be good reasons for you to object to what you are objecting to, but unless you distance yourself from extremist dickwads your good points are going to be overshadowed by the fact that you are sharing a platform with actual hate groups. And if you use their slogans (ike "GamerGate"), you're opening up your platform to them.
at 12:42 on 07-09-2014, Jamie Johnston
... if you want something to counter people talking shit about how it's a spontaneous protest against game journalism corruption rather than an organised harassment campaign against individuals, here's something.

As it happens I used that storify for exactly that purpose yesterday! Alas, there are always people (not on this site, I think) who will resort to extreme mental gymnastics rather than change their minds. In this case the response, as far as I could decipher it, was that all those IRC screen-shots must have been fabricated by Quinn! o_o
at 12:06 on 07-09-2014, Daniel F
...dangit, just realised that made it sound like I have sympathy with attacks on women developers and journalists. I don't mean that. I mean that I sympathise with "games media are awful and we should push them to be less awful".
at 12:02 on 07-09-2014, Daniel F
Right, but I'm wary of using "it's not new" as an excuse to delegitimise protest. It's absolutely the case that the GamerGate protest was touched off by this Quinn business, and that was filled with everything you just described; but to the extent that the movement now has a life of its own, it's because there is more going on with it than just hatred of female promiscuity.

That's what I find most interesting about it, and where I find room for sympathy. I don't think GamerGate would be what it is if it hadn't tapped into a much wider feeling of frustration. Harassment of female video game pundits has happened before, but without leading to this much fury directed at the entire field of online games journalism. What's made it a wider protest this time? Why have a handful of attacks on women in gaming led to a massive outpouring of discontent with online games media?
at 09:44 on 07-09-2014, Arthur B
Games journalism being in cahoots with the industry to retain favourable access to previews and review copies, and more generally entertainment journalism being in cahoots with the relevant entertainment industry for similar benefits, is as old as the hills and the resultant terrible quality of journalism is well known. (There's a Zappa quote to the effect that music journalism consists of people who can't write interviewing people who can't talk for people who can't read.) Criticism of this state of affairs is fair, valid, and not new.

GamerGate, however, the specific hashtag and associated outpouring, isn't just wrapped up with and helped along by vile garbage, it was specifically spawned by said garbage using vague notions of journalistic integrity as a stick to beat women with. Witness the fact that, to my knowledge anyway, there's barely anyone on the pro-GamerGate side who is able to discuss the issue without alluding to the Zoe Quinn saga.
at 03:32 on 07-09-2014, Daniel F
I don't think anyone regularly reading this page is likely to have much sympathy for GamerGate nonsense, but if you want something to counter people talking shit about how it's a spontaneous protest against game journalism corruption rather than an organised harassment campaign against individuals, here's something.

I suppose I'll be daring and say that I'm not without sympathy for the gaming protest.

It's beyond question that sexism/misogyny played a major role in getting this whole protest started, and that there's still a nasty current of hate running through it; but it seems to me that it's also difficult to deny that games journalism is terrible. As much as I dislike the 'gamer' identity, the GamerGate protest does seem to have a legitimate point about online gaming media being in bed with developers.

The difficulty I have is that legitimate protest is wrapped up with and indeed helped along by a lot of vile garbage. The protest itself is so diverse and multivocal that it's nigh-impossible to generalise about the people carrying it out. It's not just 4Chan, is it? It's a movement that started in a quite sexist place, and which still incorporates a substantial contingent of people who seem to view it as an opportunity to strike back at a 'social justice warrior' strawman: but neither of those points mean that the movement is wrong about gaming journalism. GamerGate has the power it does precisely because it's right about journalism.
at 23:07 on 06-09-2014, James D
So, the Pathologic remake kickstarter is off to a good start. I admit, I'm pretty excited.
at 19:51 on 06-09-2014, Arthur B
So it turns out that Zoe Quinn has been monitoring and documenting the 4Chan "GamerGate" harassment army's IRC channels for weeks and caught them planning all kinds of shit.

I don't think anyone regularly reading this page is likely to have much sympathy for GamerGate nonsense, but if you want something to counter people talking shit about how it's a spontaneous protest against game journalism corruption rather than an organised harassment campaign against individuals, here's something.
at 04:53 on 04-09-2014, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Yeah, I was talking about the movie. I rewatched it a little while ago, and I just started to notice some affinities between it and the generic concept of New Weird. We've got the bugs, of course, but we've also got the teeming exotic urban environment of the Interzone, with peoples and beings mixing, interacting, and merging. We've got all manner of social and sexual transgressions. We've even got the horror aspect with Cronenberg's focus on sex, transformation, and human grotesquerie. (Seriously, the entire movie is just seething in malignant organicy.) There's nothing in the movie that can be argued in sf terms, and it also leaves the possibility that everything is in Bill Lee's head easily arguable, but there's a fair amount of material.

Honestly, this is one of those "brainstorm at 2 AM" ideas. The big difference with Blade Runner is that the latter appeared just as cyberpunk was getting underway and immediately influenced the subgenre, while New Weird began to appear about a decade after Naked Lunch. 'Course, a number of the initial wave of New Weird authors were publishing material they'd written in the 1990s (or earlier) that sat in desk drawers/untranslated before Perdido Street Station showed there was a market for these books, so Cronenberg's influence is not out of the question for some.
at 03:38 on 04-09-2014, James D
Oh duh, I misread Alisdair's original post as being about Naked Lunch the book, not the Cronenberg movie.

Honestly, I don't think there's a single movie that encapsulates the pseudo-archaic "look" of New Weird like Blade Runner does for cyberpunk. Maybe The City of Lost Children?
at 23:45 on 03-09-2014, Arthur B
Well, as a literary inspiration rather than a cinematic one, I'd say that Viriconium is more like what Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? is to cyberpunk. ;)
at 22:56 on 03-09-2014, James D
I'd say the title of "the New Weird's Blade Runner" goes to M John Harrison's Viriconium series, if anything. It has the focus on a single richly-described fictional urban setting; the mixture of fantasy, sci-fi, and horror; the dream-like atmosphere; the post-modern aspirations; the vivid, bordering on purple sensory descriptions; the focus on characters and individual scenes rather than a driving plot as the primary source of interest.

Of course, M John Harrison is a much better author than any of the New Weird types, at least from what I've read.
at 10:41 on 03-09-2014, Arthur B
You mean like how Blade Runner synthesised a lot of the influences on cyberpunk into an aesthetic which cyberpunk subsequently latched onto and ran with?

I mean, I get what you're saying with the bugs, but I don't recall much New Weird with an actual 1950s beat aesthetic (or, for that matter, genuine Weird on a Burroughs scale).
at 05:04 on 03-09-2014, Alasdair Czyrnyj
Topic question: Is David Cronenberg's Naked Lunch to the New Weird what Ridley Scott's Blade Runner is to cyberpunk?
at 20:14 on 31-08-2014, Arthur B
Not typically a fan of Let's Plays, but this one of Hopkins FBI is completely hilarious, mainly thanks to the source material's bizarre mixture of high-quality graphics for 1998 applied appallingly badly, goofy dialogue, and ridiculously gruesome violence that's completely inappropriate tothe otherwise cartoonish tone of the game.
at 19:05 on 30-08-2014, Fishing in the Mud
Maybe he'll grow up and do a real comic one day.
at 09:31 on 30-08-2014, Adrienne
Wow. The really depressing thing about that is that some of his art is actually really good. He's got a young-Foglios vibe going on, and his sense of color on the covers is excellent. What a waste.
at 03:37 on 30-08-2014, Michal
Some of the anatomy in that comic is absolutely terrifying.
at 01:37 on 30-08-2014, Arthur B
I guess it's because he's a Nice Good Guy he can give you purely platonic, friendly hugs three times better than those jerks who can only hug you with two arms.
at 01:10 on 30-08-2014, Melanie
Wait, why is there a portrait of himself(?) with six arms? (There's also an uncropped version on his facebook.)

Did he draw himself as a Hindu god.
at 17:25 on 29-08-2014, Arthur B
Well, obviously by definition he's a feminist, he's protecting women.

at 17:13 on 29-08-2014, Kit
Also, way to spectacularly, repeatedly and obstinately miss the point about what Nice Guy has come to represent, Mr. I'm-a-Good-Guy-let-me-explain-not-a-Nice-Guy-a-GOOD-Guy-like-authentic-and-honest-and-brave-and-did-I-mention-I'm-a-Good-Guy-already?

And I bet he thinks he's a feminist, too.