#GamerGate: Lies, Corruption, and a New Beginning

ace attorney 09-06-14-1

This is an editorial piece. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.

For many things in life there is a simple saying that a wise old sage on twitter told me. It’s called “DoJ” or, don’t be a jerk. Want to harass someone on the internet because they differ in their viewpoint? No, don’t be a jerk. Want to proclaim that a group is (insert buzzword here) because of a small faction within it? No, don’t be a jerk. It’s simple and easy to remember. Why am I telling you this in an article about #GamerGate? DoJ is an easy solution to prevent sane people from living in a bridge. It is simple, effective, it and works – most of the time. Unfortunately, solving the problems of journalistic integrity that is central to the #GamerGate movement is not.

The problem with creating a solution to #GamerGate is that #GamerGate is abnormal. Usually, movements will have a group or a leader; #GamerGate only has individuals. Sure, there will be famous individuals like Adam Baldwin but there is no true leadership here. This increases the difficulty substantially as more voices will lead to more petty disagreements over the solution. This is what I would have said had I not been a part of #GamerGate. Gamers in general, for the past 2-3 weeks, have shown that they can band together for a cause. Obviously, the vitriolic trolls cursing like a sailor and screaming misogyny will still exist but we can just ignore them.

The solution to #GamerGate is paradoxical in a way, simple yet difficult. It is simple because the long sought after solution was probably linked by almost ever supporter. This is the SPJ (Society of Professional Journalists) code of ethics. The solution isn’t to fire every single journalist or to solely read smaller sites like ours. It is to create a code of ethics specifically for games journalism.  The SPJ code of ethics will serve as the skeleton of this new code of ethics, but it needs to be tailored specifically towards games journalism.

I will not claim or profess to make the final version of this new code of ethics. I will, however, showcase a rough draft that showcases the right direction for #GamerGate. We must make our own ethics policy the standard for future video game journalism.

My solution:

#GamerGate Code of Ethics

To be ratified immediately by any serious games media site on any side of the spectrum. If at any time these rules are broken and punishment is not given according to these rules, the site will be blacklisted by the gaming community. To add an article, as all modifications to this ethics code after finalized will be known as, the article will have to be approved by 7 appointed gamer representatives, and 3 appointed journalist representatives.

All Journalists

Must be truthful

  • All information must be sourced and verified of validity. No misrepresentation of information will be tolerated.
  • All information must be free of personal bias and political bias unless otherwise stated.
  • Article headlines must summarize the headlines without oversimplifying or “click baiting” .
  • Article images must always be relevant to the topic at hand. No exceptions.

Must Maintain Transparency

  • Any and all relationships between the subject matter of the article and the writer must be disclosed. This includes personal and monetary relationships. Failure to disclose this could lead to corruption charges.
  • Journalists must not write about subjects that they are close to (i.e. writing about a developer who you are in a relationship with (this includes monetary, personal etc.).

Must be well mannered

  • Journalists must always have a professional appearance even while being harassed.
  • Journalists must not insult (i.e. trolling) their audience in any manner.

For Reviews, Journalists should

  • State where the game came from (i.e. provided by the developer, purchased with own money etc.) Failure to disclose this could lead to corruption charges.
  • Refrain from reviewing games from developers they have close relationships with. Any and all relationships with developers should be stated at the beginning of the page. If they are not disclosed there may be corruption charges.
  • Should not accept bribes in the form of money, food, etc. in exchange for positive review scores.
  • Maintain a fair perspective in the review, i.e. not letting political or personal bias change judgement.
  • Provide reasons for the score in a clear manner.

For Editorials / Opinion pieces, Journalists should

  • Clearly state that the article is an opinion piece / editorial before the beginning of the article.
  • Have information to back their claims.
  • Provide sources for any information used to justify their opinion
  • Treat the audience with a degree of respect. No journalist should disrespect their audience and base it purely on opinion.

Failure to obey the Code:

The punishment will depend on the infraction. If a minor infraction occurs, i.e. forgetting to source information, then a writer will be put on probation. During the probationary period, after 5 more occasions of infractions, the journalist will be ousted from the site.  The probationary period will depend on the site’s own discretion.

If a major infraction, i.e. a journalist is found receiving money in the form of bribes, then the punishment will be more severe. Many of these charges will fall under the category of Corruption Charges.

Corruption Charges:

These are the highest charges against Journalists. If these charges have been found to be valid, the representatives will vote on the incident. If a majority vote of yes has been reached then the representatives will decide the punishment.

The representative system:

7 appointed gamer representatives and 3 appointed journalist representatives will be chosen in order to moderate inquiries about infractions, specifically major infractions. A majority vote is needed in order to approve of any decisions. A new representative will be chosen every 3 years. Voting will be cast on the internet.

This is just a draft. Not even a draft, this is a skeleton. It’s something to get ideas flowing. What we need to do now is create an actual ethics code so that we can stop the corruption in the industry. Until then, just read smaller sites I guess.

Editor’s Note: Satya does not harbor an unbiased or neutral opinion on #GamerGate. He has been following and actively participating in #GamerGate. This article was made on the assumption that the reader has a basic understanding of #GamerGate. If not, you can get a quick rundown via our friends at Gamesnosh here.

Hydro Ninja

About

Gamer. Audiophile. Sometimes too critical for his own good. Owns a Wii U and Gaming PC. Doesn't have a poster of Iwata/Gaben in his room (yet).

  • Erodel

    With the outbreak of #GamerGate I have been displaced from my usual feeds. NicheGamer seems like a decent website and this article solidifies that belief.

    White listed and bookmarked.

  • Phelan

    Free of biased personal opinion?
    Goodbye Siliconera

    Free of “clickbaits”
    Goodbye Kotaku, Goodbye IGN

    They can’t write about something to which they are close?
    Goodbye 90% of gaming press!

    State where did the game come from from?
    Goodbye 99% of gaming press!

    I mean it sounds nice… but I don’t see any gaming press using it.

  • Some furf

    >Clearly state that the article is an opinion piece / editorial before the beginning of the article.
    You dun goofed.

    It’s a good list. I just wonder if there might be room in there for a prohibition on attacks against an artist’s freedom to express himself. Like that mess about Dragon’s Crown having a big-breasted sorceress, or Killer is Dead’s gigolo mode being decried as misogynistic, or outrage whenever a major game doesn’t let you play as a woman. Should articles like these be against the code? Do they have a place as opinion pieces? Should journalists only be permitted to express these types of complaints on personal blogs? How would you phrase this exactly in a code of conduct? And are there any good articles we could lose if this were to be added?

  • blimble

    I think reviews should allow some personal bias but it must be kept control of, not fill the review. If things work but the person doesn’t like them that should be kept separate, do another paragraph why they personally dislike them but make sure there is one being fair and saying how and why they do work.

    I’d also say that they should try and talk about ideas ad themes in games but not say whether they are right or wrong, just how well the game puts this across. Someone may not like DoA but the idea of a fun sexy spectacle is put across well for example.

    The review score system also needs complete revision, maybe even scrapping. We all know why at this point, only 4 numbers of a 10 point scale are ever used

    It also can’t be overstated how clear something is an opinion piece must be made. And mean giant capital letters at the start not just filed under it in really small letters

  • Hydroninja9

    but thats why i think we kindof have to force the press to use it. We have already shown that Gamers have power through GamerGate and they are probably losing money and getting complaints from advertisers because of GamerGate. They are losing money and they are probably scared. So if we said “you just need to have this ethics code and all your problems will disappear” they might just get the ethics code. .

  • pieta

    ad block off. Enjoy my clicks, cuz Kotaku and Gamasutra will not. They are dead to me, my friends and all people I play online. I spoke to many people last few weeks to ensure they will not go to those sites for info. Let them rot and cry without our filthy gamer money.

  • Phelan

    “Force”

    I am affraid that’s not possible, journalists are specific group of people. Most of times they don’t like any kind of critique… and they don’t like to follow any kind of codes or laws. (those most of times do not apply to them) That’s not the problem of gaming journalism alone, no… it’s bigger problem than that.

    You see… even in EU there are bunch of ethical codes and laws which “set” high standards of journalism… erm… hmm… if I’m not mistaken there was for example resolution 1003 (or 1005 don’t remember right) of European Parliment.

    Does anynone follow it? No, of course they don’t.

    If you say that some journalist is doing something wrong you can be quite sure that he will accuse you of trying to restrict freedom of speech. That’s the usual protection formula.

    You see… how many stories did you hear about journalists who were following famous people or politicians… how many stories did you hear about journalists using illegal wiretaping? How many stories did you hear about preying on human’s tragedy. Probably a lot, right? That’s a thing, journalists every single day a break their own codes… and once week they will even break the law….

    And yet… did you see how many commercials are there in newspapers, television, radio… you see… they don’t care. Nobody cares. Journalists don’t care… marketing companies don’t care… nobody cares. GamersGate is nice idea… but it’s influence is extremly low… I know GamersGate just because you posted about it… and that’s it… nothing more. There is no power in that movement.

    Big sites like IGN, Eurogamer, Siliconera, Kotaku won’t give a single damn about it. They won’t lose single penny just because some group of good guys posted some ethical code…. there are already bunch of those… and NOBODY CARES!

    You see even that code posted here was created on base of real one. Real code for journalists! For all journalists who deal with news, sports, rumors, gaming, music… everything. What you did is nice… but it’s just writing exactly the same thing but just for gaming industry.

    Is it good? yeah it is? Will they follow? Nope. Just like they didn’t care about the real original one.

    If European Union or The United States or UN couldn’t do anything to force journalists to abide their own codes… do you think that small group of people will get any result?

    And awareness? meh… that’s BS. Most of people are not aware about single thing…. and they don’t care about it. People who are reading Kotaku, Siliconera, IGN most probably won’t hear about anything wrong. The only news they will read there is about how some “bad group” ganged “good guys”… end of the story. So most people who will read that kind of article will just side with them…. because human usually believe in things he is reading.

    You don’t believe? Hmm… take a look at some economical news… if journalist will write that something proposed by some
    politician was bad… than most probably people reading it will just acknowledge it as a simple fact…. and they will believe that in fact it was something bad.

    So yeah… the only people who will agree with you… are people reading your site.

    You can’t force anyone… the only thing you can do is BECOME THE MAJOR GAMING SITE yourself. That’s the only thing you can do. Don’t try to change system… IGN, Siliconera, Eurogamer, Kotaku will remain as they are now.

    So… create the new system… with you as one of the top players. simple as that.

  • Jay

    Reform or Revolution.

    This is the question. We can try to reform these institutions or we can try to create new ones.

    IMO, you’ll have to work on a deeper level than just creating rules. Remember, the law is a reflection of who is in charge. What you want is for the people themselves to disclose and not feel burdened about what they’re doing.

    If I have a friend in Nintendo, I’d tell it because I’d be proud to do so.

    But the fact remains that the disclosure and such should be done around a culture that is allows such a thing.

    As a partial economist (no degree so take all this with salt), my point is to look at how people are incentivized in their disclosure or you’ll have another Polygon on your hands.

  • Sorry about that. Was burning the midnight oil last night and meant to put the disclaimer at the top. Fixed now.

  • Thank you!!!

  • LeLedg

    I have to say I don’t quite agree with the fact that journos would still be allowed to give monetary contributions to devs. It’s a slippery slope that easily leads to bias through cognitive dissonance. That should not be allowed at all, like in any other field.

    Article on cognitive dissonance: http://www.ezonomics.com/whatis/cognitive_dissonance

  • Hydroninja9

    i have been thinking of making a new system based on words rather than numbers and with limited options. Options being (Masterpiece , fantastic , mediocre , horrible , 100% don’t play this game) Or maybe a simpler review system like Play , Don’t Play , Burn it.

  • Chris Gollmer

    I believe reviews are truly what links your personal opinion to someone else’s point of view and establishes a journalist/writer/blogger to consumer relationship bound to what fits a person’s taste in gaming. Personally, I’ve been trying to showcase my opinions but not have scores be fully effected unless it causes a hindrance to gameplay performance. There’s way too many opinions outside my own to have the right to say a story is awful when someone else may find it amazing or interesting and actually hinder the score because of it.

    Personally from trying to build games my own, it’s a crap ton of work. It’s hard to realize the time, dedication, passion and teamwork needed to build these titles to the normal consumer so it’s real difficult for me to even go lower then a 6 on most games from personal experiences. I hope the reviews mesh with the audience but it definitely needs to be up to the viewer/consumer to determine a game’s worth.I hope you all enjoy my reviews but also the reviews of the other Niche Gamer staff and basically make your own score from varied opinions that speak to you which I think is the best solution to getting the perfect review score. It’s why I think scores are sometimes a joke as it’s nearly impossible to not be somewhat filled with personal bias when giving an unbiased review. Made some very good pointers; I might take note of that ^_^

  • Madbrainbox

    “All information must be sourced and verified of validity. No misrepresentation of information will be tolerated.
    All information must be free of personal bias and political bias unless otherwise stated.”
    I think it would work if these conditions are obeyed.

  • I totally agree and when I finally complete the drafting of our separate ethics policy, a clause stating that Niche Gamer staff CAN NOT donate to or fund developer’s unpublished products. A retail copy is a different story, but a kickstarter, patreon, and so on is a direct conflict of interest.

  • LeLedg

    That pretty sums it up right there in my book. Good job good sir!

  • Josh Carrero

    Well, you’ve certainly caught my attention. I’m whitelisting you guys :)

  • Guest

    what got

  • Hydroninja9

    im still on the fence with this one. For me , Kickstarter seems more like a pre order. But i agree on patreon.

  • LeLedg

    Well, Kickstarters are glorified pre-orders. Problem I see with that is two-fold. First a Kickstarter means that the game will be made only depending on the level of contribution it gets whereas regardless of if you pre-order a product or not, it will be made. Also, a Kickstarter is a multi-layered contribution system which means that you can get involved in a project at a varying degree of importance. Pre-orders mostly have 2-3 layers and they tend to be pretty limited in your potential investment amount. Either you get a copy of the game, the deluxe set or the collectionner’s edition.

    Mostly what it revolves around is potential bias through being part of the reason a project gets financed or not. Personally, that’s why as a paid professional reporting on the industry, you should not be allowed to put yourself in a position that risks blurring the lines between objectivity and subjectivity.

  • cen

    even if we as gamers could create new outlets, who do you think will be working there.honestly the most reliable source is prob. finding a youtuber you remotely trust and then control him yourself from time to time by reading his blog etc. and compare it to his voiced opinions, if you want a revolution that is.

  • cen

    i very much agree with the argument that the reviewscore needs a rework. first lets discuss the good points of a score:
    -it helps to get klicks to a review and give closure to the reader
    -it is a tl:dr solution if you are too lazy you can just scroll down to the number
    -the ranking system: when you search for a good game you usually sort them by reviewscore

    the bad:
    -only 4 numbers are ever used (mostly)
    -it is very obscure how the score came to be
    -most of the time the score (seems to )strongly depends on the reviewer
    -most readers are not satisfied with the score given to their favorite game (this causes a lot of strife between reviewer and reader)

    at this point we have to determine if scores are even worth keeping around i myself would say yes.

    My proposal how to fix some of the “bad” points:
    -Most importantly use a very very transparent rating system. (i.e. make 10 different criteria every game has to fulfill and give it points in the respective area comparing it to a game that serves as a “control group”. this game has to be updated/changed/newly appointed around every 1-2years, also make one 11th criteria which can by choosen for any game freely the overall score of these points will give your average endscore, ok since you guys are smarter than i am you prob. find a lot of holes in my suggestion, but it is a starting point) A functioning system here would make 2 of the 4 bad points i came up with better, maybe 3 while keeping all of the good points intact maybe improving some.

  • Jay

    Well, there’s plenty of ways to do so…

    What I’m doing is giving just a few examples that could be expanded upon.

    Let’s say that someone creates a new partnership where instead of an artificial inflation, you have some type of stock in the company. So when you’re given a strike, it’s something that you have a few people to ask Google about.

    Maybe after six months, you and the company decide if you get a vote instead of the Machinima type deal that’s come up recently.

    It’s one way of doing it that I’ve found that may alleviate the problem but it’s not being practiced.

    All of this is experimental, but my main emphasis is that you get some form of democratic governance with other gamers to affect change. The gamers would have more say in what’s the public interest and we’d be giving less power to publishers and corporate interests in working this out.

    Is it a perfect answer? Of course not. But it’s far better than the entitled brats who seem to try to call themselves journalists when they want freebies and bloggers when they shirk public responsibility.

  • dodoking

    doesn’t the above spec allow the likes of kick-starter I mean if you specify that you have supported a game because because u think is cool and you mention that wouldn’t that be okay

  • artemisthemp

    So #GamerGate should secure that, we don’t see good review for a crappy game, because the reviewer was pay to give it a good score?

  • daggot

    you guys have earned my seal of approval I’m disabling adblock.

  • cen

    thank you for answering and sorry for my late reply the last days were hell workwise.
    i am not sure i understood you 100% so let me rewrite your statement using my words:
    1 you as an author get shares
    2 you as an author mess up
    3 aster some time you get evaluated and what?
    either:
    3.1 become a fullblown partner
    3.2 or get reliefed of your duty?

    also who decides who gets a vote the readers?

  • Jay

    Sorry, I’ve been busy myself.

    1) You are invested in the company. Instead of working FOR someone, you work WITH everyone in a different setting entirely. Maybe you like Peter and Paul’s influence and you decide on a new column with just the three of you. Just as an example, think about the Game Grumps and how they share the money 50-50. That’s a positive example of such a relationship.

    2) As a mess up, it would reflect on the company, but more people are looking at the work instead of just one editor. Think of it as an internal check. Would you want to put out an article that reflects poorly on your colleagues if the people paying your are your subscribers as well as them? Highly unlikely.

    3) The evaluation is done internally with your colleagues. Think of Valve and their way of doing business. Now granted, that is ore affected by personality, but you’re able to work on any project you want and fix the problems that others may have if you are invested in it.

    I’d say after 6 months, you could be a full blown partner so that people can assess what you do and how you do it. Pay could be decided through such a way as well. Perhaps you take longer to do articles, but they are more in depth, adding value to the site. Maybe someone else likes the journalist route and has good reviews from Asian territories to make those assessments. After everyone sits at the Round Table (think King Arthur), they can decide their pay from what they receive in wages from the revenue.

    Now if someone wants to leave that, they can go to their colleagues for a compensation instead of a mysterious third party. After studying different websites and economics for a while, I think this is the most fair assessment of what is missing right now: democracy at work. People study this, but working for someone else has its pitfalls. Could it work?

    Well, Spain has Mondragon, Italy has the Marcora Law (get 10 friends, build a co-op business) and Germany has tried this:

    https://www.techdirt.com/blog/casestudies/articles/20121008/09294420638/could-co-operatives-save-newspapers-investigative-journalism.shtml

    It’s worth a shot so it’s something to at least look into. Hopefully that answers any questions. Feel free to ask anytime, I’m more than happy to try to answer.

  • Kyle W

    Devi Ever, a games developer made a youtube video, where she claims that most of the allegations made against the games industry by #Gamergate and #notyourshield, are true-

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uBoPI5tUxsY

  • Dm Gray

    I honestly think the provision about not writing about friends can be removed.
    As long as we know about it, in the body of the article, it is *fine*
    “My friend made an awesome game I think you’ll love” is absolutely fair, even from a gaming journo. We’re nerds, we don’t need to be dry and stale about this shit.
    Now, refusing to cover competition of a friend, or writing about a friend without disclosing they are a friend, or blacklisting people you don’t like/don’t agree with, THAT is a problem.
    Honestly, I think DoJ could be the only rule and it would be fine.
    They can even write social justice pieces, keep their clickbait and promote their ideology IF THEY WEREN’T JERKS ABOUT IT.
    Being called names, being silenced, having my VERY identity as a cis-het white male used as an epithet to silence… THAT is what the problem was.

  • cen

    Thank you for answering and explaining your idea

    i think it could work but only under two very important factors, which are not given in the actuall industrie atm.
    first there need to be a divers crowd of people no sheep that just say what everybody else says (or actual situation is different)
    secondly the most money make sensational pieces thus your “best” work would be the work that has the biggest controversy.

    pretty bad of me only critisising your idea without giving an alternative. but it is a hard topic and prob without a right answer. your idea has merit but i thing the internal controlling should come from somewhere else, thought from where is the question everything you do magazins will loose money if they stop with the sensational pieces

  • MZ

    “Must Be Truthful
    All information must be sourced and verified of validity. No misrepresentation of information will be tolerated.
    All information must be free of personal bias and political bias unless otherwise stated.”…
    Maintain a fair perspective in the review, i.e. not letting political or personal bias change judgement.”

    How is this even possible? Games are by nature a subjective medium. Everyone is affected by their personal biases in their responses to a game and the types of game they like. It’s impossible to report objective so-called ‘facts’ about a game.
    Instead, like any other topic, readers should just realize this, use their own discretion, and take any so-called ‘journalism’ about anything with a grain of salt.
    “If a majority vote of yes has been reached then the representatives will decide the punishment.”

    And what punishments do you have in mind and how is this going to be enforced? Why would anyone want to be a games journalist if they can be punished by some kind of informal body like this?

  • MZ

    But if you agree artists should have freedom of expression, why can’t journalists have free speech and freedom of expression also? You should just accept any kind of ‘news article’ about anything is likely someone’s biased opinion. If you don’t care about something some journalist is complaining about, then you can just buy the game and ignore the article, and use your own right to free speech to say the journalist is being unreasonable. Why are games above critique? Journalists aren’t, as we can see here. It’s not like some random article complaining about a game will get it banned, that’s up to classification bodies in your country, which probably classified it before it was even reviewed.

  • Some furf

    While they do have the right to say whatever they want, the issue is that journalists, if they want to be seen as respectable, should act in accordance to a code of ethics with an emphasis on neutrality. Their job is to provide information about a subject, not to inject their own personal opinions and agendas into the facts. That may not be easy for some, but it should still be strived for. Failing to do so means that the reporter is not a journalist, they are a mere blogger as they are in breach of ethics.

  • MZ

    The problem is there’s not much ‘information’ to report, especially in a review. You can report a few stats like the title, supposed genre, number of copies sold, and report an interview verbatim, and try to describe the game, but you haven’t left much room for criticizing the game in any way. And really, anything someone likes or dislikes in gameplay is their ‘personal opinion’. So the article really just becomes a kind of advertisement for the game. So if journalists aren’t allowed to critique a game, the whole exercise risks becoming even more corrupt because game companies will solicit reviews knowing it’s nothing but empty publicity. And where is critique of games supposed to happen if it’s banned from game article sites? I mean, we accept there are movie critics and literary critics (and if we don’t agree with them it’s not like we have to pay attention). There’s nothing inferior about games meaning they shouldn’t get critique like books and movies. Sure, require some kind of disclaimer that it’s their ‘personal opinion’ but that was obvious anyway?

  • Some furf

    You’re coming at this from a very all or nothing point of view. Either they can voice ANY opinion, or they can’t. I don’t agree with that. I don’t know how exactly it should be phrased in a code of ethics, but I think there’s a distinction to be made between giving a fair review and inserting one’s own political beliefs and agendas into a review.

    I think the clearest way to draw this line is if a reviewer has approached a game with the intent of helping people to decide if a game is for them. That regardless of the content, message of implications the game has, they are going to tell the reader what they need to know in order to make a judgement on whether to buy it or not. There’s still room in there for opinion. Say, for example, if the reviewer thought that an RPG had a lot of needless and dull grinding, so anyone who has a low tolerance for such things should be wary. That’s opinion, but also a welcome and helpful observation.

    The wrong way to approach is seen, for example, in Jason Schrier’s coverage of Dragon’s Crown, where he criticises its exaggerated character designs, calls the sorceress’ large breasts a “lolicon fantasy” and states that characters should not be designed by teenage boys, belittling the artist and any reader who likes what they see. This was unprofessional and a case of unnecessarily injecting his own viewpoint into the writing. A reasonable way to cover this would be to point out that the game features exaggerated characters, point out the big, burly, bare-chested dwarf alongside the voluptuous sorceress and suggest that this may be of interest to readers who enjoy a bit of absurdity in their characters. No judgement on the character of the artist or the reader.

  • Jay

    “i think it could work but only under two very important factors, which are not given in the actuall industrie atm.first there need to be a divers crowd of people no sheep that just say what everybody else says (or actual situation is different)”

    People indeed have to learn a different set of skills. Working in a co-op is far different than working with other people as equals. That’s one of the reasons you see them in such a small amount, but the co-op movement overall is growing. The good news is that my area has a decent amount of people in a position to want to work this. On a global scale, I’ve no idea what the reaction may be.

    “secondly the most money make sensational pieces thus your “best” work would be the work that has the biggest controversy.”

    Decent content and community features will help far more. Promoting from within as well as allowing freedom of choice makes it a better alternative than yet another site which doesn’t let people do the kind of stories they’d like.

    Should be interesting, but I’ll have to look at this more to find out how to make a better site.

  • MZ

    Well, yes, that particular case crossed a line. But that is because the writer wasn’t even doing a proper critique, and they are just personally insulting the artist and people who like that art style in games. They just make some offhand comment that the character ‘was designed by a 14 year old boy’ instead of saying something like ‘The character looks like it was designed for/by a 14 year old boy, and this makes me uncomfortable, I wish there were games like this with different character design instead’ or something. Really the writer should have put more thought into it rather than just posting the first thing that came into their head (and basically nothing else). And yes, the follow up article is written in a condescending manner toward the artist and those who like such art styles, (I’d say it’s none of that journalist’s business to criticise people who like that kind of game art, and the fact these games exist, but he is allowed to say he personally doesn’t like it) although I can’t actually see them use the words ‘lolicon fantasy'”in the ones I found.

    But maybe that is a reason some other people would not want to play the game? If they had said something like ‘[I didn’t like the] Exaggerated sexualized character design’ would that still be unacceptable? If people don’t care about that then they can just ignore the review. The problem is your post makes it sound like they can’t critique anything like that in the game even in a more balanced manner that doesn’t insult people who like it. There’s a difference between mentioning things that are affected by their ‘political beliefs and agendas’ (which everyone has) and outright insulting artists and people who like the things they complain about. Maybe some people do want to play as a female protagonist in a game? In some games this is a stupid criticism but in others where the avatar has practically no characterization it would have been easy to put in another female character option and this is a valid thing to say they personally wish had been in it.

    Or do you see some difference between critiquing game mechanics (which is also very subjective, since ‘too much’ level grinding etc. also is up to peoples’ personal opinion), and critiquing things that are supposedly a reflection of/comment on human society outside the game, (including gender portrayals, roles, etc. potentially political undertones in game plots or the way their in-game simulations work etc.) but could be viewed as irrelevant because this is a game not real life?

  • Anbutou

    I understand where you’re coming from, and we’re not telling people they can’t have a freaking opinion, but the problem is that this current system has been so abused that games who don’t even do anything wrong get picked out at literal random and get the entire might of the gaming press thrown at them for nothing more than clicks and to silence a voice that maybe offered up a tiny bit of dissent.

    If you don’t force people to objectively speak about the title, and not about their agenda, then that’s exactly what happens.

    This isn’t to say that you can’t speak about problems a game has. You can look at a game that legitimately has issues within the review and speak about those, but these need to be objective truths. You need to be able to describe what is wrong and why it’s wrong to such a degree that there’s no way for someone to not come to the same conclusion, not make up misinformation, scream misogyny, profit.