The upcoming generation is one of entitlement. I realize that saying this is both as useful and as surprising as a fart at an all you can eat bean buffet, but it is important to start with it.

Each generation has entitlement issues, I had them, my parents had them, but the thing is that the world is designed to teach you that you have to work for a living. In previous generations, you learned this through physical labor, in my generation we learned this through the fact that the world is complicated, and without a lot of education, you will have troubles with the massive number of high skilled jobs that are becoming more the norm than at any point in history in the past.

But this generation, while feeling the same entitlement at a young age as every generation before them, have not had their entitlement checked by the world. In schools, you don’t get zeroes. In youth competitions, you don’t get awards. Even getting proper marks in school is considered unhealthy competition by someone in power, apparently (I have never met a person who agreed with the idea that you shouldn’t get proper marks, and shouldn’t be allowed to fail, and yet somehow it has become a policy).

With that, we come to the idea of bullying. Bullying is exerting some power over others, and while it is a very negative thing, certainly, it helps to prepare children for a world in which not everyone or everything will be nice to them. This is an important point, because bullying has become something of an art form, or theater, in these modern times.

And now we come to the internet and video games. On the Internet, the saying goes, nobody knows you are a dog. Perhaps you think that saying is a bit silly, but it illustrates both the allure and the danger of the internet. Are you a 40 year old man posing as a 12 year old girl? That’s creepy. But more commonly, you have 12-17 year old males posing as 20 year old males, and it is this that causes one of the most common complaints, both of the internal gaming community and of those from the outside looking in.

Let’s take the MOBA (Dota 2, League of Legends, etc) communities as our example. They are, very often, malicious. There is no other word for it. Every player thinks they are the perfect player, better than any other player, and they will instantly let you know as soon as you have made a mistake. Why is that? Well, first, they are 12-17 year old males. This is not, in and of itself, telling, but each will tell you that they are 24. Second, they have never been told they AREN’T the best player in the world, except by others whom they have never met. Everyone playing a game of Dota has been called a noob at some point (even if you have only ever played one game in your whole life; it is that bad), and most of us have been told to uninstall, stick to bot games (games with computers, so you don’t “ruin” the fun of your superiors, I suppose), or told to kill yourself. And this is before they know anything about you; imagine if you are a depressed person on the edge, seeking an escape from the pain of the real world, and then are told to kill yourself?

What happens, though, and why does it happen, when they find out there is a female in their midst? That’s where you see the entitlement turned up to 12, and there are too many reasons for this. The first is that a 17 year old feels like they are owed sex (have you talked to a 17 year old anonymously these days? … … … Ignore the ramifications of that sentence, please.). So when a girl comes up, they are reminded of the fact that they are playing a video game instead of going out; in ages past, they may have been an antisocial person who would have become your usual dungeon nerd (I feel confident in my use of the term; it applies to me more than anyone else I know), but games have become too social, people have become too entitled, to let this INJUSTICE pass.

That is the core of the misogyny in the gaming community, and make no mistake; misogyny is the word. There is so much hate and vitriol, and it comes out at the drop of a hat. There is a saying that some use ironically, but that too many use sincerely, on the internet; please forgive my language, but this is a post about the idea of misogyny. On the internet, if you are discovered to be a female, the first thing you will hear, and you will hear it a lot, is “Tits or GTFO (Get the F*** out)”.

Perhaps the ramifications of this, outside of the fact that it is completely unreasonable, are missed too easily. The person saying this feels entitled. That woman, thinks the person flinging this around, owes me sight of her breasts.

So how do we cure this? Well, some games have mentioned it, sometimes subtly, sometimes overtly (the title of this post comes from a line said by a character in the Borderlands series), but we have started to see society recognize that we created this problem. We’ve been told we are special, then shown that we aren’t (At least to some extent). The next generation has been told they are special and…. Here we are.

I don’t know how to make it go away, but I definitely know that the answer is NOT “Reduce competition, remove failure, and remind everyone that the world is their burrito.” Make them earn their way in the world, like everyone else, and then maybe they will understand that everyone has problems, and the world does not OWE you anything.

Also, don’t be a dick online. Please?

Video Games, the Media, and Perceived Sexism

The article I am referencing:

I’ve posted rants before about the way that chauvinism and outright misogyny are part and parcel of online games, and one would think that focusing on the community of players would give the popular media plenty enough to do without focusing on game design itself. No, I am not going to just brush it under the carpet, here; game design often focuses on making female characters fit a mold that could really, truly, only be defined as sexist.

Recently, though, another person has stepped onto the internet and offended the wider group. People are up in arms about it, though even with a slightly level head, it is easy to see that there has been both some level of dishonesty and some level of disingenuousness. The catalyst, in this case, was a review of Dota 2 that for the most part was incredibly fair and informative. The issue taken by gamers was one line, almost offhanded, and not dwelled on by the writer himself; the line in question basically calls the game sexist. Further, for those who have played it, a screenshot of the Queen of Pain character was included as proof of this.

Now, the reviewer himself was being somewhat unfair; I would say that Luna and Legion Commander, at the least, are some of the most fair depictions of females in modern games. Add to that the fact that you are able to use custom costumes in the game and you have to understand that much of the sexism, as I mentioned in my first paragraph, is in the hands of the community more than in the hands of the game. In fact, going over most of the other characters, one finds that not only do females make up some of the most powerful and popular characters in all of Dota 2 (Anyone who tells me that a late game Drow Ranger is not in their top 5 most terrifying heroes list has not played against a late game Drow Ranger).

As I just mentioned, Drow Ranger is very formidable, and Mirana is an incredibly popular and versatile character. Legion Commander is fully armored, strength class, and is capable of going 1v1 against almost any hero in the game with only basic foresight. Luna is one of the highest damage characters in all of Dota, up there with Medusa, also a nonsexualized character, and Luna wears full armor. There isn’t even the slightest hint of cleavage.

The Templar Assassin, another formidable carry character (Carry being the term applied to a set of heroes that is expected to ‘carry’ you to victory) is nearly fully clothed, though there is some cleavage shown. She is no simpering girl, though, no character that the male characters are expected to roll over. She has powerful abilities that make her dangerous at every point in the game, from the first exchange of blows to the eventual destruction of the ancient.

Phantom Assassin, the highest single target damage carry in the entire game, is also fully clothed and armored, wearing a formidable breast plate, and carrying foreboding weaponry. She has the ability to completely change the tide of a losing game by destroying the opposing carries in 1 or 2 hits, no matter their HP. I can say with honesty, I have been in a winning position late game, feeling nigh indestructible, to be humbled by two swipes of the Phantom Assassin’s blade.

I could keep going, with heroes such as Spectre (Another carry whose ability to confuse the enemy is unmatched), Naga Siren (Her ability to control the flow of battle makes her valuable in any role), Windranger, Enchantress, Death Prophet, all powerful in their specific area. There are support females (characters whose primary purpose is not to carry you to victory, but to control the flow of the game, allowing their carries to do what they were designed to do), but they are not some passive girls, waiting for men to save them. Crystal Maiden (mentioned specifically in the offending article) has the highest damage ultimate ability in the game, and has nearly unmatched ability to control the movement of her opponents, stunning them and preventing them from fleeing. There is Lina, a character (descriptively) categorized as Nuker; everything about her is designed to do damage. Vengeful Spirit, whose primary abilities save her team from harm or initiate combat favorably for your team.

So what is the point of this rant on the females of Dota 2? Well, first, I wanted to point out that you can find flaw in anything. I can pick one character in a game (Queen of Pain, as per the article that set this off) and say that this represents everything. That is being unfair, and I think the article was being, at best, casually unfair to the developers of Dota.

The gamers, though, and their reaction, are being unfair to the reviewer. They are up in arms, some of them saying that the whole point of mentioning the sexist themes of some characters was the writer attempting “click-bait”, getting people to come read his review when they otherwise wouldn’t. That is unfair, and I think they could put down their pitchforks and torches, and say, with due respect “I think that sentence in your review was unfair. Why did you mention it?”

The thing is, for that sentence to be click-bait, it would need a bit more prominence than it has. I won’t lie, I heard about the article in question before I read it, and when I sat down to read it, I was prepared to read a diatribe about the evils of all men, the sexism of Dota 2 on full show, stripped naked for all to see. That is not what I got; what I read instead was almost a love letter to Dota, explaining patiently all that was good about it, but mentioning that it has its flaws. The line that has gamers up in arms is just that; a line. The inclusion of a picture of the Queen of Pain was likely editorial, and I would be comfortable giving the benefit of a doubt; the writer may not have intended its inclusion at all. In that way, it could be said to be click-bait.

The point is this; we all need to step back and avoid knee-jerk reactions. Many people in the comments thread of the article in question had not read it, and in protest would never read it (they won’t get my ad-revenue! All 1.5 cents of it! That’ll show ’em!!). I think if they read it and stepped back a hair, they could probably approach it with a more level head.

But like anything in the world, this issue is not purely black and white. The reviewer needn’t have included the line about sexism, but the gamers needn’t have raised their pitchforks and torches.

I think if you are looking for misogyny in game design, Dota 2 is about the last place to start looking; the female characters are for the most part fully and completely covered, and represent some of the most powerful mechanics in the game. But if you want to find a mob that will get up in arms about anything, the MOBA community is where you will look. In fact, the backlash from this article has acted like a magnifying chamber; I would never have heard of it, nor written about it, had I not come across a violent mob, and asked to what purpose were their pitchforks?

I am ok if you attack the community. I mean, it is a battle you can’t win, the community is far too large to paint with one brush. If you call them sexist, one thousand SJWs will come to the fore. If you look at them from outside, the noisy, virulent minority will be your experience.

But when a developer makes fully clothed women the most powerful characters in their game, maybe avoid calling the game sexist? There are better targets for that kind of thing. That’s all I’m really trying to say here.

Everyone Knows What You Did Last Night

Well now this is just getting silly. The email in question basically says “She is a person who has a right to privacy,” and the writer for Breibart basically claims that this is PROOF OF A MASSIVE CONSPIRACY TO COVER UP RELEVANT NEWS!

Well, there you have it, Zoe Quinn doesn’t deserve privacy because WE LIKE TO READ ALL THE LURID DETAILS OF HER SEX LIFE! (Capitals are mostly for emphasis on conspiracy). This whole thing reads like a tabloid paper. You know what? With evidence, there may be something worthwhile to read — but right now, it has mostly devolved into shit flinging. Sometimes, as below, it is professional shit flinging (or at least, professionally presented shit flinging, which is the equivalent of putting suits on the monkeys).

There is certainly something to be said for open collusion, but their evidence of a massive mailing list that controls all of gaming media consists of someone in an industry emailing someone else in the industry saying that “Hey, maybe we shouldn’t ruin this woman’s life.” And of course, as per this article (and the comments), THAT IS STEPPING OVER THE LINE! This should be illegal! HOW COULD HE SAY HE DOESN’T WANT TO RUIN HER LIFE? I WANT HER LIFE RUINED FOR MY AMUSEMENT!

Look, gaming journalism is incestuous; the only people who advertise with gaming journalists are the people who the journalists are writing about. That is a problem, and it came flying wildly to light during the Gamespot/Gerstman scandal years ago (but we got Giant Bomb out of that, so I’d say we won that round).

In any case, I do not think they are innocent… But all of the evidence I have seen of this massive conspiracy is Kyle Orland and Ben Kuchera saying, effectively, “Stop being such raging, AIDS infected cock-holes.”

If saying “Don’t ruin her life,” is completely out of bounds, why don’t want just skip the middle man and say people in the same industry aren’t allowed to talk to each other.

This isn’t me being some kind of SJW, I just think this whole thing is silly, and requires people to step back and look at it with a level head. The linked article (and there are many like it) are effectively turning gaming journalism into TMZ. Admittedly, people like tabloids, so this is making tons of people tons of money — but I do not want my gaming journalism to be a tabloid.

Do you think I am exaggerating? Taking this to an absurd length? If so, let me know if any of these statements trip your TMZ detector:


Have you seen this email from Kyle Orland? IT WILL SHOCK YOU!

BEHIND THE SCENES AT KOTAKU! Do you know how your money is being spent?!

You know what? I don’t give a flying shit about who one indie developer is sleeping with. Shit, I don’t even care if there is some group of editors colluding about how to speak about a topic, if their “massive conspiracy” is “stop being cock-holes.”

Gaming journalism isn’t all that interesting as it is; it is trailers and release dates, reviews on the side. It barely qualifies as journalism, honestly. When they have something interesting to say, then I will care about corruption.