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Phil Fish, Gamer Fury, and the awful price of progress

Phil Fish, Gamer Fury, and the awful price of progress

Tue 30 Jul 2013 2:35pm GMT / 10:35am EDT / 7:35am PDT
MediaSocial

How last week's nastiness is the byproduct of one of the industry's most positive trends

A pair of events from the last week have conspired to shine a spotlight on a very ugly side of the gaming industry. First, the antagonistic relationship between Fez developer Phil Fish, his critics, and the gaming press reached new lows, prompting Fish to publicly state he was getting out of gaming entirely, cancelling the sequel to his indie hit in the process. Second, a Call of Duty: Black Ops II patch reduced the damage or rate of fire on a handful of the multiplayer mode's guns, and Treyarch's design director David Vonderhaar subsequently found himself and his family subjected to abuse and threats over Twitter. That prompted writer Andy Kelly to set up a Tumblr dubbed "Gamer Fury", preserving the ugliest specimens and generally undermining whatever faith in humankind you had left.

But as foul and depressing as these events have been, they are a byproduct of advancements the industry has been championing for years. Social media is a powerful force now, both in the world at large and gaming in specific. It is the natural evolution of the Internet and an empowering technology, one that tears down walls and lets creators communicate with their audience directly.

At the same time, gamers can have their voices heard like never before. They can interact not just with their favorite developers, but with their fellow gamers. They can band together and crowdfund the sort of games they want to play, instead of picking and choosing from the games publishers thought would sell by the million. They can more easily form powerful communities around the games they play, creating meaningful relationships with their fellow fans. At their best, those communities can use their influence to make the world a better place, marshalling their resources for disaster relief, raising money for cancer research in memory of a fellow player, making medical breakthroughs of their own, or coming to the aid of a stranger under attack.

Social media has also changed the way the gaming press works, especially as it pertains to indie developers. Interviews are requested through Facebook, comments sought through Twitter. Developers are more accessible than ever before, and the diversifying industry that social media has facilitated means more opportunity for content that isn't filtered through the gatekeepers at major publishers. And just as the developers have more direct communication with their audiences, game journalists are similarly more accessible to theirs. Everything is pushing all of us out of our silos and into a more open field.

"Technology that empowers cannot discriminate. It cannot pick and choose which people are worthy of empowerment..."

These are all ultimately positive developments, but there is a cost to them. Technology that empowers cannot discriminate. It cannot pick and choose which people are worthy of empowerment because so much of its value is in eliminating the hurdles and gatekeepers that existed to make those judgments in the first place. The same tools that enable people to create feel-good stories like Caine's Arcade or the Molydeux GameJam also enable those who find fun in spreading misery. They enable the hateful to organize campaigns of intimidation, to indulge their worst selves, to engage in deplorable behavior from the supposed anonymity of a user name.

As long as we have the benefits of these tools, we will have drawbacks to go with them. We can try to restrict the tools, but this undermines their usefulness while only addressing a symptom of the problem. We can appeal to people's better selves and encourage them to treat each other with dignity and respect in all matters (and we do, if the flood of editorials about this very subject are anything to go by), but those who would be open to this message are likely not the ones causing problems in the first place.

I see no way to curtail the negativity in the industry and on social media, but this is not to say it is in any way acceptable. It is the awful price that must be paid if we want to keep the progress we have made. What we need to do is recognize that this toll, steep as it is, has already been paid. Now it's just up to us to make the most of what it has purchased, to use these tools to their utmost potential to make it worth all the bile, spite, and suffering that come with them.

33 Comments

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

390 211 0.5
Some of those posts shown on Tumblr show signs of some very disturbed people.

Posted:A year ago

#1

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
I think Phil Fish would have done better with simply reserving his comments and feelings towards what others say and simply focused on making Fez2. Its sad to see a bunch of sad, loser morons, get the best of him, or let ignorant comments from stupid people get to him. It would have been prudent to simply ignore the comments and simply produce games. But I see him now he is just a crybaby with anger managment issues.

Look I really wish Phil made a Fez2, however social media is something I have issues with. In terms of privacy. But there are alternatives, facebook provides many privacy setting that has allowed me to control how I share my content and how people can interact with me. I put my twitter account as private. But in many instances even though I own a facebook and twitter account I hardly use them for any public announcements or rants.

And while this article isnt strictly about Phil Fish, It does touch on topics regarding social media that Ive thought about. If privacy is a concern on facebook why post stuff you dont want people to see, and if twitter becomes a problem for you, simply deactivate it or dont have a twitter in the first place.

At the end of the day the other option is simply not using the social media networks for personal expression and keep things objective. Making public personal statements of how you feel often ends up badly in my expirience so I try not to express anything personal about myself or how i feel in my post. Ill probably put a quote from someone I liked or an opinion about a movie... thought pacific rim was awsome.... and thats it.

Making personal statements about my life or personal feelings often puts me in an uncomforatible situation. Mentioning things about my personal life, such as relationships, job, family or feelings towards a touchy topic, such as opinions towards another religion or a court case like the George Zimmerman trial are often things I refrain from giving my opinion on in public.

For everything you say there is a difference of opinion and its hard to battle against the entire world. I can talk with friends and stuff about how I think, but I refrain from making any personal announcements about how I feel. I usually keep my facebook to simply keep in touch with people often using my inbox for anything I want to say to a specific person. Unless its a very objective post like a happy birthday or a simple hi, I dont make any personal statements. And I hardly use my twitter account, I dont see the point of it unless its used for business or marketting purposes, such as announcing news, events and stuff of that nature. In another note I may keep a twitter account to follow other people and be up to date with there happenings, without me posting anything.

Phil Fish has fallen victim to all the social media bullshit. And as the proffesional person he should be, it should not have been that way. It sucks that he let a few dumbass comments change the very course of his life.... twitter changed his life.... or

he is a very disturbed person with seriouse personal and or psychological issues.... the guy is always angry.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Rick Lopez on 30th July 2013 4:48pm

Posted:A year ago

#2

Ken McFarlane Artist

9 33 3.7
Popular Comment
Fish made his bed with this; by acting unprofessionally through out the development of his game, through twitter and his "your games suck" blunder when referring to Japanese developers at a conference and finally, let's not forget the classic "suck on my dick, choke on it!" Line as well.

By acting in this way Fish opened up himself to people to act in similar manners towards him, rather than take it on the chin and reply to Marcus Beer (regardless of his actions in the first place) in a tongue and cheek way or an utterly professional one, he decide to cry about it and complain about people being mean to him all the time. A look through his actions and every sensationalist story ever reported about him shows him in worse light compared to other developers by far.

Hopefully with Fish out the way a new Indie developer can rise up to capture people's attention, not take 5 years making a game and not act unprofessional when representing himself or his company.

Now let's hope the wind has blown all this Fish business out of the way so that we can get on with what we do (making awesome games) and Fish can go do whatever it is he does when not being on twitter.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Ken McFarlane on 30th July 2013 5:17pm

Posted:A year ago

#3

Adam Jordan Community Management/Moderation

119 70 0.6
I think this is a very good promotion as to why Community Managers and Community Management Teams are more important than ever.

No one deserves to have that sort of abuse thrown at them but as someone whom has done Community Management and is quite willing to throw himself back into that sort of job, I can certainly say that there are people out there willing to deal with this kind of attitude upon a daily basis.

Not everyone is cut out for heavy criticism or social interaction...that's not a bad thing but when that kind of person is thrown into the pit like Fish was, this is the kind of result that will happen.

Of course it is a two way street as well, gamers in the most recent years have become more vocal, they have new and more direct methods and at the end of the day, feedback whether it is positive or negative is needed...the problem is, the gaming community do not understand the difference between constructive criticism and downright abuse.

The ones throwing out abuse do not understand how much they are hurting their fellow community, again as someone who has tried to teach communities, I always mention that constructive criticism (whether positive or negative) will help more than just throwing out abuse or insulting the developers' talents. Kudos to guys like David Vonderharr who not only took the abuse on the chin but somehow picked out the relevant and helpful info/feedback and used it to help his team.

At the end of the day, for me I have tough skin and was pretty much prepared for this kind of line of work, this is why I want to promote how vital and important Community Teams are within the gaming industry. Insults and threats mean nothing to me, I dealt with someone on the phone the other day who loved to remind me how much she thought I had a small brain and how pathetic it was that I couldn't comprehend a simple request, she further threatened to find out who I was, hunt me down and take a steak knife to my genitals if I didn't offer her a refund....the call was being listened in on at the time by a senior member of staff who took over the call but she was amazed at how cool, calm and reserved I was with the situation.

My point is, Fish could have handled his own situation better but I understand how the situation blew up this much, it's why I will always promote a Community Team where they are needed and they are always needed to be that front line defence between the community and the developers (In other words, it should be optional for a developer to interact with the community, not a necessity)

Posted:A year ago

#4

Caleb Hale Journalist

156 231 1.5
Social media gives more power than ever to hordes of socially inept people to make death threats over minor game changes and antagonize small developers out of the business. It's a sign you've opened the floodgates, not that you're necessarily having a positive impact in the exchange of ideas about video games.

Posted:A year ago

#5

Richard Vaught Studying B.A. in Game Design, University of Advancing Technology

37 66 1.8
A while back I was having a discussion with another student developer. We were talking about elements of a games design at the time, but it is equally applicable here. In a normal society, the society will police itself, to a degree, deciding what it will and will not tolerate. A normal society is able to do this because it has methods for enforcing socially acceptable behavior. In short, if someone walks up to you while you are out on your Sunday walk and begins to talk trash, you have the option of beating some sense into him, calling the police and having him arrested for harassment, or simply walking away and ignoring him.

The internet though, affords no such agency to the society that inhabits it. We are not able to beat sense into people, or (in most cases) bring legal charges against them. There is no way to shun them, ignore them, or otherwise disabuse them of the notion that their behavior is acceptable. In short, the internet society has no workable means to police itself. It is all bark, no bite.

I am certainly not in favor of having the government get there hands any deeper into the internet, being the meddlesome little turds that they are, but at the same time, we need to have some teeth in our social media, something that allows the societies that form to police themselves and deal with the troublemakers.

I don't particularly care about the incident between Fish and Beer. In fact, the only time I DO care about Fish and Beer is when it is on my plate or in my mug. It was a case of someone making an asshole comment and getting an asshole response. Was it mature? No. However, maturity is not something that I have come to expect from modern society in general, so it is not really a surprise. I do hate that we lost a damn fine developer. I don't care about his personal life, but FEZ was a brilliant game, and I hate to see that kind of talent wasted in a pointless mud slinging contest.

One other thing to note. I have seen a LOT of self-righteous and sanctimonious crap being spewed by people on both sides of the fence. So much so that I almost feel it necessary to dig my big rubber boots out of the closet to keep from getting filth all over me. before anyone says "If I were in his place...", just take a minute and ask yourself if you have ever BEEN in his place. If the answer is no, shut up. Your ignorant self-righteousness is no more mature than Fish telling people to choke on his *&^*. If, on the other hand, you are siding with Beer and saying that he had a right to do all that he did, feel free to shut up as well. Freedom of the press is not equal to entitlement of the press. They do not have a right to information, simply the freedom to ask and be ignored like everyone else.

In regards to the OP. No, this is not a side affect of the open communication that the internet affords, any more than late night drunken prank calls are a bi-product of telephones. It is a bi-product of parents not teaching their kids not to be little scumbags;not teaching them that every creature deserves to be treated with common courtesy, dignity, and respect. If people would show a tad more courtesy and respect instead of immaturity and self-entitlement, incidents like this would not occur. The internet just makes it easier, but what we see happening is simply a minor symptom of a much larger social issue.

Posted:A year ago

#6

James Ingrams Writer

215 85 0.4
The web has been around a while now, and, if anything, things are getting worse! I find it funny that the "classic" games on any machine, from Ultima VII on PC, to Mario on Nintendo, etc were all released in a market where there was no web!

Posted:A year ago

#7

Tameem Antoniades Creative Director & Co-founder, Ninja Theory Ltd

196 164 0.8
Popular Comment
So death threats, rape threats, racist and homophobic hate is just a fact of life on social media and we should roll over and embrace it? I'm glad there are those that understand that these things constitute criminal behaviour and that it is not to be confused with free speech.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Tameem Antoniades on 30th July 2013 6:08pm

Posted:A year ago

#8

Rick Lopez Illustrator, Graphic Designer

1,269 941 0.7
Id simply opt to not use social media to express personal feelings and issues im having. Freedom of expression is a nice privalage to have, but it doesnt mean you have to feel the need to use it all the time. I find that sometimes it bolds well to simply ignore idiotic, moronic, uneducated and ignorant comments from sad, ignorant and immature people, than add more wood to the fire. Sometimes as with the case of Phil Fish, you end up sinking to their level of ineptitud. At times its good to be reserved about anything you have to say in social media websites. To be bent outta shape over whatever idiotic thing someone across the world says is pretty dumb. This guy let comments on twitter change the course of his life... I can hardly feel sorry for him... pretty dumb move if you ask me.

Posted:A year ago

#9

Morgan King Animator

48 92 1.9
I hope we haven't heard the last from Mr. Fish. His candor and passion has been a strong and individual voice the industry all-too-often lacks. So much of 'professionalism' is just dehumanizing, pandering corporate-speak that says as little as possible.

Posted:A year ago

#10

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
Contrary to what some people think, this is not entirely new. Anyone who has spent time working in retail, bar work, or consumer facing services will realise that a small percentage of the public are like this, anonymity or not(especially bar work with drunks threatening violence). The two main differences are that where 2-5% of a 500 capacity nightclub means 10-25 assholes, not all directing their bile at the same staff member at the same time, whereas a site with 10000 viewers means 200-500 assholes setting each other off, and that now people who traditionally had little contact with the public now are getting it unfiltered.

I would love to see someone discover a way to make people treat people right on the internet, but if they can't treat the employee at the supermarket right, it ain't gonna happen.

Posted:A year ago

#11

Gareth Eckley Commercial Analyst

88 67 0.8
I disagree with inControl. I think you can incentivise positive behaviour and I think companies like Riot are making decent steps into this field.

If a designer can't make utilise ludological design to direct player behaviour, then that's the fault of the designer or the producer/executive who is controlling design. The entire point of gaming is training monkeys (us) to do new things and having us like them. If you can't build a reward system that benefits people who don't act like a douche, then you're probably in the wrong industry.

Posted:A year ago

#12

James Persaud Game Programmer, Firefly Studios

9 4 0.4
Fish let himself become a celebrity. People invariably form personal opinions of celebrities and there is no shortage of examples of how this has led directly to, or been a major factor in, breakdowns and career suicides.

He was perhaps naive to think that once he was famous he could continue to be passionate and opinionated about games, share his opinions with abandon, and maybe have some influence on the industry through this. Sadly, the only thing people seem to like more than creating celebrities, is destroying them, and what he did was to give certain people a lot of ammunition.

With a high profile you just have to behave a little bit differently if you don’t want to end up being the villain. Those are just the rules. You have to give people what they want, most of the time, or what they want ends up being your head on a pike. Only then can you expect anyone to really get behind your more radical or controversial opinions (which must be delivered with a bit more tact.)

I have to contrast him with Notch. Markus is outspoken too, but generally speaking he enthuses about what he likes, wastes little energy attacking the things he hates, but does stand against the things that almost everyone in the games industry agrees should be stood against; such as as the greed and litigiousness of big corporations. Despite the fact that he belongs to a ridiculously wealthy elite, the common gamer sees him as a kind of champion.

I imagine that when Fish spoke at GDC about the problems in the Japanese industry; he genuinely thought he was offering something that would be of use to a lot of developers and gamers. Instead how was he treated by the games press? “fez developer Phil Fish acts like a twat at GDC” is the headline that comes to mind.

To paraphrase Tony Montana, we need to have somebody to point the finger at and say “that’s the bad guy” – well that was Phil Fish. Not because he was necessarily bad, but because it was easy to portray him as bad because his opinions weren’t always easy to agree with. He conducted himself with no apparent self-awareness, and he tended to portray things from a perspective inaccessible to most of us. Hope he comes back, and does something completely fresh.

Personally I thought he could be a bit of a twat.

But then I was also told to think that

So I can’t be sure at all where the thought originated, and have to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Posted:A year ago

#13

Andreia Quinta Creative & People Photographer, Studio52 London

228 631 2.8
So much of 'professionalism' is just dehumanizing, pandering corporate-speak that says as little as possible.
THere's quite the gap of professional to reasonable replies or even no comment between 'corporate-speaking' (ie: EA; Activision) and "go suck on a dick,choke on it".
Fish seems to think he's the best thing to happen to games since Pac-man,he seems to think he's gaming's Steve Jobs - with a very unique personality and traits - when he's not (in the slightest) quite there yet.

Posted:A year ago

#14

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
A few quickies:

Freedom of speech isn't freedom from responsibility. People who make death threats need a proper lesson in something... I can't say just what, as everyone's different (on the other hand NO death threat from a compete stranger against someone or their family is a "joke" or should be seen as one). Getting them off a computer and dealing with people face to face may help, as I know a ton of the haters would balk at saying the crap they say to someone's face. The ones who won't balk... well, they need to be taken care of before they end up in jail or a hospital (or a grave) if someone decides to take it to that level and confront them.

Whatever happened to "sticks and stones may break my bones?" It seems someone's added "But whips and chains excite me!" to that old saying. Just work on your shit and let the squawkers squawk, man...

Phil Fish is basically a kid with great talent who needs to simply concentrate on creating and not at all on giving interviews or dealing with people who goad him into blowing fuses. Get a handler to handle the shit tasks, work on your game (and your people skills) and bounce back, ignoring the haters (as hell, they probably don't buy what you make anyway).

You don't HAVE to be likable, not everyone will love you and you'll never be perfect. But if you're good at what you do - the haters can all take a nice trip to hell as you go do your thing and waste less time fighting with dopes.

Artists, by nature are a bit... strange. I'm one, i know this. Some aren't the best in dealing with others thanks to their personalities. Fish seems to not like some people who dump on him and many seem to not like him based on secondhand info or misquoted/misunderstood comments he's made. Getting caught up in that and not his work seems to be a big issue some can't climb over, and that's too bad.

Posted:A year ago

#15

Morgan King Animator

48 92 1.9
Sure, but that kind of reactionary anger is the other side of the coin. You can't get candor and enthusiasm if you're constantly monitoring and censoring the less-positive forms of passionate expression. Finding offense, or a reason for condemnation, in a defensive, emotional tweet is just being caught up in that same sort of reactionary feeling that prompted it in the first place.

Gaming is increasingly attracting artists looking to do more with the medium, and creative people are going to come into conflict with oppressive bureaucracy, change-fearing audiences, and petty critics - if we want artists making games, there's got to be a healthy bit of tolerance for them to be emotionally-engaged, self-righteous, petulant dicks sometimes. We expect it from our painters, our writers, our filmmakers, and our musicians, but the high-investment corporate environment that gaming has grown out of (and into) doesn't leave a lot of room for that. I hope that as Indie developers rise in prominence that the gaming culture - and industry - can shed some of it's stifling political-correctness and accommodate confrontational, challenging, fringe and eccentric individual voices, just as older mediums have.

Posted:A year ago

#16

Jeremy Glazman Programmer

29 4 0.1
Now it's just up to us to make the most of what it has purchased, to use these tools to their utmost potential to make it worth all the bile, spite, and suffering that come with them.
That's a bit defeatist, eh? I'm not sure how the sort of stuff seen on Gamer Fury can be corrected either but no way should we just accept it as part of internet culture.

(that's a lie, I do know a way... better parenting)

Posted:A year ago

#17
"Freedom of speech isn't freedom from responsibility"

Actually I sort of disagree with that as we should be responsible for our actions not our thoughts. Someone may hold a wrong opinion but through education it's always possible to change that. If you ban the ability for them to express their opinion without being judged then you've already created a them and you mind-set which makes changing their opinion far more difficult.

But that's not really the point, as far as I'm aware Phil Fish was personally attacked in the most viscous way and that's not justified under free speech. There's a difference between expressing an opinion and attacking someone verbally.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by John Owens on 31st July 2013 2:02am

Posted:A year ago

#18

Greg Wilcox Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,194 1,169 0.5
@John:
But that's not really the point, as far as I'm aware Phil Fish was personally attacked in the most viscous way and that's not justified under free speech. There's a difference between expressing an opinion and attacking someone verbally.
THIS is what I was referring to. These days, some folks incorrectly consider a total lack of decorum (even when they're ill informed or dead wrong and KNOW it) "freedom of speech" and even when you sit them down with intent to educate, they still refuse to accept that and say shit like "well, it's my opinion, so I'm entitled it no matter what you say"... which makes me walk away at that point.

Some people just don't want to learn a damn thing that will help them get over their stupid need to throw themselves into a fight every time they open their mouths or sit down in front of a keyboard.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Greg Wilcox on 31st July 2013 5:00am

Posted:A year ago

#19

Dan Howdle Head of Content, Existent

281 814 2.9
Popular Comment
@ken
Hopefully with Fish out the way a new Indie developer can rise up to capture people's attention, not take 5 years making a game and not act unprofessional when representing himself or his company.
I just love the notion that there are a limited number of places available. Like seats on the cabinet. I'm being facetious.

Seriously, though; I'm writing a novel. It's a big and complex and contentious thing about religion and technology. So far it's taken me three years. Does knowing that give anyone the right to tell me to hurry up? No. It's done when it's done. If I want to rock it like Flaubert and spend the next twenty finding my own mot juste, that's my prerogative. I believe most creative people would rather take as much time as is needed than meet a deadline - an introspective observation, but I'm yet to hear any creator tell me otherwise - and that's a sentiment worth defending.

Secondly, I would far rather hear the honest opinions of people like Phil Fish than I would the pasteurised ramblings of the majority forbidden from expressing them.

Some seem to want to defend the free speech of the consumer while condemning that of the creator. It's ludicrous to me that we don't embrace, support and encourage outspoken personalities in our industry. You're not entitled to their silence and contrition.

Edited 6 times. Last edit by Dan Howdle on 31st July 2013 6:31am

Posted:A year ago

#20

Paul Johnson Managing Director / Lead code monkey, Rubicon Development

925 1,566 1.7
Popular Comment
Not sure why this is getting so much press tbh. Fish is a knob. Beer seems to also be a knob, at least to Fish. They had a spat and somebody through his toys out the pram.

Focussing on this issue is doing nobody any favours, it's like a tabloid headline and we should be better than that.

Posted:A year ago

#21

Eric Pallavicini Game Master, Kabam

331 229 0.7
No one deserves to have that sort of abuse thrown at them but as someone whom has done Community Management and is quite willing to throw himself back into that sort of job, I can certainly say that there are people out there willing to deal with this kind of attitude upon a daily basis.
Willing to deal with this kind of attitude is a bit of an overstatement, I do not think that many Community Managers or Moderators are actually willing to deal with that kind of things. Saying "they must be aware they'll have to" would be more accurate. But if they were "willing to deal with that kind of attitude" or behavior on a daily basis they would probably be vigilantes.

Now I do think you may find the strength to face that in some kind of faith or hope (religious or not) that you can, as a CM, do a difference (towards "a greater good"). But the main reasons a CM should do his job should not be that and it should always be focused on a healthy Community first, not on fighting its trolls.
So death threats, rape threats, racist and homophobic hate is just a fact of life on social media and we should roll over and embrace it? I'm glad there are those that understand that these things constitute criminal behavior and that it is not to be confused with free speech.
Which bring us back to this comment:
I think this is a very good promotion as to why Community Managers and Community Management Teams are more important than ever.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 31st July 2013 9:11am

Posted:A year ago

#22

Daniele Azara Executive producer, Palzoun entertainment

2 1 0.5
Dunno. All these infinite comments about Fish are very boring to me. We should focus on project, not people. Internet is a digital agora and in ancient Athens sometimes someone got stabbed. That's the price of freedom. And the price of freedom - as we know from Admiral Tolwyn - is eternal vigilance. Vigilance to be aware of people thoughts and criticism. No one here, neither Fish, could do their job without audience. And audience is made of mass. And mass is frequently composed from a variety of human beings. So? Fish is an adolescent-like and impulsive person: this probably makes him a great game-maker, but a awful communicator. That's all. If he'll continue to make games or not is just completely irrelevant to me. I will be happy to play games with or without him. It's all about games.

Posted:A year ago

#23

Shehzaan Abdulla Translator

124 245 2.0
At the end of the day we are all human and that means many of us might bow to pressure from social media simply to deflect criticism. This is a big deal when you are dealing with a creative industry that could actually be stifled by the crippling criticism of the fanbase.

I feel for developers who have a set idea of the creative vision they want to realise in their game, and have felt they had to make concessions that not only move away from that vision but also dilute the cohesiveness of the overall game design.

Developers are thankful for their fans for buying their game, but they shouldn't be indebted to them (unless they are working on a subscription model), and most certainly no sense of indebtedness should excuse that kind of attitudes we see online.

There is a difference between an angrily worded criticism over a game (not nice but useful at least) and the deluge of of hateful comments aimed directly at those in the industry and their families. What is worrying is that many people see the latter as simply the other side of the coin to constructive criticism, or worse; inevitable. When people start conceding that these behaviours (not attitudes, but 'actions' taken in typeface) are inevitable, that is when they will become so.

Posted:A year ago

#24

Shehzaan Abdulla Translator

124 245 2.0
On the one hand your comment rings very true as a description of the way things as they stand. But on the other I don't think the status quo should be dictating how we go about from things here on. Many posts like often sound like we are the passive subjects who experience the internet rather than active participants who shape it.

Social media has facilitated the free spread of ideas. Some of them controversial, but all of them liberating to those who express them. Look at what great strides we've seen in attitudes towards women for instance (even within the industry over the last few months), or at least the examination of them. Those people making their views apparent also had to deal with a lot of backlash such as threats and even losing their jobs (even if neither repercussions are rational or sensible). And yet I think the world is a better place for the freedom of the idea market.

I don't think the answer is to curb the content of the views we express online because we are afraid of the repercussions. We should instead be approaching our interactions online in a more openly, sincerely and politely (and demanding that others do the same).

Posted:A year ago

#25

Eric Pallavicini Game Master, Kabam

331 229 0.7
When people start conceding that these behaviours (not attitudes, but 'actions' taken in typeface) are inevitable, that is when they will become so.
@Shehzaan
How do you plan to make that - not conceding that these behaviors are inevitable - NOT happen when both history and current factual realities tend to convey the opposite (=they are indeed inevitable in the context)?

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Eric Pallavicini on 31st July 2013 6:23pm

Posted:A year ago

#26

James Prendergast Research Chemist

735 432 0.6
@ Andrew Goodchild:

My view exactly (having also worked in retail, customer service and the hospitality sector): the majority of people are nice(ish) but there are some people who are just giant assholes who are very, very angry at virtually anything and everything. For people to think that this is unique or somehow an effect of gaming and game culture is just very myopic.

This behaviour, as far as I can see, isn't increasing on the internet any more or at any faster a rate than the number of people connected to the internet at all times has increased.

It's one of the reasons I limit my social media exposure online: select Facebook friends, don't do twitter or tumblr etc. Honestly, the gaming community as a whole is a lot more balanced than many other arenas, IMO. Just look at comments on news sites as a counter example! Games culture has a lot more positive to say about an event, person or release in comparison.

Posted:A year ago

#27

Gil Salvado 3D/2D Artist

34 37 1.1
@Dan
"Seriously, though; I'm writing a novel. It's a big and complex and contentious thing about religion and technology. So far it's taken me three years. Does knowing that give anyone the right to tell me to hurry up?"

That maybe fine if you're working all on your on, but it's not if you're managing an entire team. Some of the most creative solutions to problems have come under time pressure by a fixed deadline. I would even go so far to say, that this is usually the case if the scheduled deadline is reasonable.

Time is a relevant necessity to quality, whereas time shouldn't be an infinite resource. FEZ probably could have been a similar great experience with a 2-3 year time of development. I can only imagine the hurdles and stagnation of motivation FEZ's team had to go through.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Gil Salvado on 1st August 2013 11:12am

Posted:A year ago

#28

Shehzaan Abdulla Translator

124 245 2.0
@ Eric Pallavicini

Eric, I'm going to try and answer that as best I can. I might be off the mark here because I'm not really sure I understand. I think what you are saying is that the kind of outbursts we are seeing are both inevitable and that history (and the current reality) bears that out.

The history does indeed bear out a certain degree of inevitability. But what is important to note is that the 'inevitable' we are seeing is the inevitable appearance of individuals who approach online interaction in a certain way (who are increasingly a minority) and not the inevitability of a culture that approaches interaction in a certain way.

On one level, the attitudes might be inevitable from time to time; you will get a new set of people who bring in old attitudes/actions every day. On the other hand however, I don't believe that the general nature/culture of online interactions has to be skewed so that those kinds of behaviours are tolerated or accepted as 'the standard' or 'average'. That is to say that the general culture of online can be changed, even if you will always have some people who cannot.

What I am talking about is that people are refusing to acknowledge that an online culture can change at all because they've become so cynical. I've seen the changes myself on consumer forums where people are more sensitive or certain issues. The idea that online culture is static simply isn't true.

They aren't at all inevitable. That's my point. I've pointed out one instance in which the internet has changed; that is enough to show that things aren't static.

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Shehzaan Abdulla on 1st August 2013 1:43pm

Posted:A year ago

#29

Yiannis Koumoutzelis Founder & Creative Director, Neriad Games

363 207 0.6
"Technology that empowers cannot discriminate. It cannot pick and choose which people are worthy of empowerment..."
"They enable the hateful to organize campaigns of intimidation, to indulge their worst selves, to engage in deplorable behavior from the supposed anonymity of a user name."
And these two lines above sum up everything that is wrong about the whole thing. There are many benefits, however during development these should be a reward to a stellar community. And not taken for granted.

It has nothing to do with social media. In the past developers were able to participate in forums and have a direct connection with the fans as well. Most avoided it. And for a good reason even though internet users the longer we go back the more sophisticated they were overall.

When communities grow, I believe different feedback systems should be in place than direct connection. We are not gladiators in an arena to have a need to feel "the love of the crowd" and even if some do, there are conventions for that. At the same time those awesome fans who are creative and provide a nice environment and fun for everyone should be rewarded. Not only with a great game but perhaps of a bit of brag rights actions from the developer side such as mentions on social media, in game characters and such. Let the community itself put the vile ones to their place. Haters do not deserve a response. Only by rewarding and empowering positive behaviour we can move forward to a better future.

Posted:A year ago

#30

Axel Cushing Writer / Blogger

107 131 1.2
@Greg
THIS is what I was referring to. These days, some folks incorrectly consider a total lack of decorum (even when they're ill informed or dead wrong and KNOW it) "freedom of speech" and even when you sit them down with intent to educate, they still refuse to accept that and say shit like "well, it's my opinion, so I'm entitled it no matter what you say"... which makes me walk away at that point.
I'm right there with you. Seems like far too many people weren't sufficiently beaten as children when it comes to good manners and decorum. Though I tend to to counter the whole "I'm entitled to my opinion" card with "You're entitled to your opinion and I'm entitled to think you're [insert pejorative here]." It not only turns their stupidity right back on them, it makes them acutely uncomfortable because they 1) realize they're being stupid and 2) don't have it in them to use the same line, since they also realize it'll only make them look more petty than they already do. It might not permanently shut them up, but one hopes it will make them think twice before opening their mouths.

Posted:A year ago

#31
@Greg - Yea sorry about that, I just don't like that line. I wasn't disagreeing with you which is why I said that wasn't really the point before commenting on the Fish situation.

And Axel, yes I believe you have the right to think whatever you want.

Edited 6 times. Last edit by John Owens on 2nd August 2013 8:19pm

Posted:A year ago

#32

Craig Page Programmer

386 220 0.6
This is very sad news, because Phil Fish said the funniest things. My favorite was "PCs ARE FOR SPREADSHEETS".

Posted:A year ago

#33

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