Twitter is the worst social media platform out there, not because of the features or user interface, no, it’s the worst social media platform because it seems to attract the very worst of humanity. Twitter is a toxic cesspool, one that both the media and corporations seem to adore. On its own, this wouldn’t be a concern but let us be honest here, games media is biased.
Agree With My Views Or Else
Gatekeeping is a real issue in the industry with the development side, the media, and the community. Having a viewpoint that differentiates means that you aren’t welcome anymore. There is undeniably a clique in the media that are actively trying to remove anyone that doesn’t have the same mindset as them, just recently the manager for Double Fine Productions’ social accounts blocked several people from the industry, all of whom don’t happen to agree with their viewpoints.
I myself, who has yet to see any real success in my endeavours in the video game industry, was turned down from several websites. I wasn’t rejected because of my writing skill, which to be honest is mediocre at best, but rather because I didn’t align with the culture they wanted to promote. Granted, this wasn’t always the reason I was rejected but this was the most common thread. I’m aware that I’m coming off like a scorned lover but surely this is cause for concern?
Video games media is essentially a hive-minded clique that protects their own and is out for the blood of anyone that thinks differently. A simple joke like “Ah. Peace and quiet. #ADayWithoutAWoman” was enough for the games media to get out their pitchforks, stab a friend in the back and try to ruin someone’s livelihood but racist remarks are branded as a joke and being taken out of context when it’s from one of their own.
Yes, some of the tweets are old and yes people can absolutely change, but the first reaction from the media was to defend Danny O’Dwyer. They defended him for putting out content far worse than Colin Moriarty ever did and yet when he posted a tame joke about women the industry moved in unison to have him removed. In fact most of the big media outlets, personalities/influencers and publishers still go on to act as if Colin doesn’t exist, Danny on the other hand continues to work with major publishers like PlayStation, Microsoft and Bethesda.
It can be seen in the lower echelons of the media, those who attack journalists like Sophia Narwitz for having opinions that don’t fit their idea of what a trans person should be, all the way to the top where the likes of Jason Schreier, who blocks anyone that has a different opinion or dares to question him. These people and it pains me to call them that, are more than happy to attack anyone that disagrees with them but don’t seem to like having the tables turned on them. Laura Kate Dale lied about a comedian making transphobic remarks about her, something which the likes of Kotaku and others jumped on calling the comedian a transphobe without doing any research. The repercussions of this? There were none.
Things only get worse from here though, games media doesn’t like it when you call out their bullshi…erm, I mean mistakes or when you make fun of them. Employees from the likes of IGN, Gamespot, Kinda Funny and more took offence at a satiric article from Hard-Drive titled “IGN Writer Excited to Start Playing Game He Just Finished Reviewing”, most of whom are more than happy to poke fun at gamers, game developers and pretty much everything else. It’s part of the victim mentality that so many of those in the games media seem to have and love.
Criticism of a member of the games media is harassment and “dog-pilling” and yet they do the very same thing. The very same people that preach morality are the same ones that make up lies to push their agenda, the very same ones that send their followers after people that they don’t agree with and the very same ones that put out vitriolic attacks. Granted, the video gaming community does often attract the worst of humanity, many of whom go way overboard when voicing their opinions but that doesn’t give the media a pass for their actions. They are supposed to be the ones that are composed enough to be in the spotlight.
The games media cover for each other by sweeping misdeeds under the rug, they attack those they don’t agree with and seek to destroy the careers of those who don’t have the same political ideals as them. They do these things whilst assuring people that there’s no clique in the video game media.
Growing up in middle-class South Africa meant that I’ve always been exposed to diversity. My school was diverse, all the way from primary school to high school, the community I lived in was diverse, and the environment I worked in was diverse. It’s nothing like the diversity I see from the video game industry though. Diversity in the video game industry is people of different races, sexual orientations and gender, which is great, but they pretty much all think the same.
This leads to pandering from corporations because they know that they can score easy points with the media. Diversity should lead us to great stories told from different perspectives but sadly this is rarely the case. Instead, we end up with the same kind of stories we’ve always been told but with a minority protagonist, which more often than not means a white female (because that’s a minority now). This isn’t a bad thing as it has led to some really good games like Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Horizon: Zero Dawn.
Having female and minority protagonists is important because representation is important but this isn’t the only form of diversity that should be pursued and yet it is. If you look at the creators and writers of video games you’ll notice that there isn’t really much diversity there so we don’t get many diverse stories, instead, we get surface levels of diversity (again, this on its own isn’t a bad thing). We’ve yet to see many games, especially in the AAA space, tell culturally diverse stories. Growing up I was told stories about the Zulu culture and King Shaka, about Afrikaners and the Great Trek, these were captivating as I got to hear stories about vastly different cultures.
Having diversity in creators will lead to more diverse stories, instead what we end up with is pandering and disingenuous marketing. One only needs to look at the Ubisoft approach to gaming to see both of these in action. Both Assassin’s Creed Odyssey and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla used the male character variants in the marketing and yet the female character was canon in both games. For Valhalla Ubisoft still insists that both genders are canon yet the male variant is constantly referred to with female pronouns. Ubisoft does this because they know it will score points with the games media.
This is where the crux of the issue lies, diversity in gaming is essentially pandering for positive attention. Yes, it has led to more representation in gaming and that’s great but that’s pretty much all we get. Everything is surface level, there’s nothing beneath all of it. The same studios that preach morality and promote diversity are the same ones that tell you they don’t want their games to make a political statement and the same ones that change all their logos in pride month except in Arabic and Asian regions.
Representation has improved a great deal in video games, some would argue that not enough has happened but those are often the same people that claim minorities shouldn’t be killed or be evil. You probably read that thought surely nobody would say something that stupid. That’s where you’re wrong. Naughty Dog, arguably the most woke video game developer in the world, is apparently not inclusive enough. Why? Well because black characters are killed and none of them has a happy ending in The Last of Us series. That’s right, Naughty Dog is “anti-black” for killing black characters and not giving them a happy ending…in a series where almost every character you meet is either killed or put through a world of pain.
The “Boycott Genshin” hashtag was trending on Twitter due to developers miHoYo making one of the enemies tribal, which many took to mean that they were mocking Native American culture. There are two things we need to take from this. The first is that if you see a tribal enemy and your first thought is that’s Native American, maybe you’re the problem here. The second is why doesn’t anyone have a problem when Vikings are the enemy, is it because they’re white? It’s fine to make enemies that have been inspired by Viking culture and lore because it’s white right? We live in a world where it’s okay to openly be openly racist to white people. Why is this okay?
We’ve normalized hate against white people, white men and men. The term straight white male is now an insult, we’re constantly told that all men are rapists and sexists and when you call people out for that it’s regarded as harassment or we’re told not to take it seriously because it’s a joke. All this hate is being directed at a group of people and when they retaliate it becomes an issue. All of this hate is spewed out and people wonder why men don’t want to have a discussion about these issues. If you disagree with the PC crowd you get called a bigot, sexist, homophobe, fascist and if you’re a white male then you get called a Nazi.
Men are called pigs and developers, mainly American ones, have decided that we have sexualised female characters for long enough. Their solution, make female characters less attractive to appear more realistic and tone down their feminine features. Which is fair, wanting characters that look more in line with what most normal women look like is fine, wanting different body types is not a bad thing either, asking why female characters are showing so much skin in a video game is also fine. The problem lies with where the lines are drawn. Mortal Kombat 11 has female characters covering up more skin and some truly horrible character renders but the male characters don’t seem to be affected by these changes.
A former developer at Insomniac Games criticized the studio for wanting to give Rivet a more feminine look and claimed that those that wanted her to have a more feminine look were all white males. This comes after they decided to praise their own work on Spider-Man’s nipples and the impact Rivet would have with the Furry community. Sony also seems to have a problem when it comes to attractive women or anime characters showing too much skin. Devil May Cry V was censored, only on PlayStation, and virtually all games that have an anime art style have been censored. The most recent example of this is Doki Doki Literature Club Plus!, which was censored to remove blood, once again this only applied to the PlayStation version of the game.
It’s almost as if traditionally feminine features are considered unnatural by the media and that any character that has these features is automatically weak. There’s no need to beat around the bush here, the politically correct crowd want to remove everything they don’t like. The industry only really cares about diversity when it suits whatever agenda they have. Raji, a game developed by an Indian studio with an Indian designer and telling an empowering story with Indian mythos, was pretty much ignored by the media. Why? It met all the criteria and it actually had a diverse team behind it. There was simply nothing to gain from shining a light on the game.
This doesn’t stop at games, however. We’re now told that body-shaming is no longer tolerated and rightly so but this only applies to women. Plus-sized women are referred to as queens but plus-sized men? Nope, they’re disgusting, unless they’re part of the LGBTQ community, if men are short they’re ridiculed too. It’s a double standard. I’m not going to say that men are the only victims in the industry but I’m also not going to stay silent when the woke crowd try to warp the world to suit their twisted views.
What Do We Do From Here?
The only thing that can bring about change is getting more diverse voices at the higher levels of the industry. This isn’t exactly an easy task because of gatekeeping and because for every Sophia Narwitz, there are another 5 more One Angry Gamer-like idiots. It’s also easy to say vote with your wallets but we all know that’s not going to work. For so many of us, gaming is an escape, it allows us to forget about our troubles and go on adventures or have a great time with friends. Voting with our wallets would mean that a great deal of us would lose that and I’m certainly not willing to. The best we can do then is to call out the bullshit when we see it, we need to stop accepting it. Twitter is a vocal minority, one that has had its own way for far too long.