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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 26
02-22-2012, 11:25 AM
I just read this and can sum up my attitude as thus:

People who claim to be fans of a genre or medium and police a genre or medium for standards tend to actlike obscene jerks.

A lot of this boils down to "what constitutes a game." I've seen the exact thing with "what makes a good movie", "what makes a good horror/action/children's movie", "what makes a good comic book" etc.

Nothing good can come of classify the essential parts of what a product must have. This goes for developers and it goes for fans.

Stop trying to pigeonhole things with features X, Y, and Z.

This is a bunch of label bashing. I've seen academics do it. And the folks doing it, on both sides, on Twitter are just engaged in a vulgar version of it.

What happened is:

BioWare employee challenged the definition of games and suggested that story can be more important than skill. Which is a valid, if extreme, position to occupy in game design. That isn't to say ALL games need to be like that but all she suggested was that some games could be that way.

Enter a cavalcade of people insisting "games must be X" and using lots of vulgarity to get attention.

I think it's very easy to focus on the gender issues or the abuse but I think you're burying the lead there by doing that. Ever since the inception of the FPS, really since the inception of competitive gameplay, people have behaved badly to one another in their discussion of games. I'm more interested in what that discussion is than the tone it's taken.

This whole thing echoes the ludologists crying fowl and claiming that the narratologists are colonizing their media while in turn many ludologists started insisting their game/symbolic interaction focus should replace traditional literary analysis. It's the same set of arguments except the crassness and accusations of discrimination are a bit reversed here. Here, it's the crude ludologists accusing the "feminist" narratologist of invading their game whereas in academia, the narrative focused people are accused of being patriarchs invading the feminine world of symbolic social interaction and conflict.

In essence, here you have gamers saying story over combat is girly. In academia, you have more people suggesting that combat/sandbox play is refreshingly girly and that a focus on story is the patriarchy coming in to oppress the triumph of feminine bloodsport.

The flaw, I think, lies in attempting to define and defend cultural products such as games as one thing more than another. A choose your own adventure movie is a game. Tetris is also a game. Being a game shouldn't involve excluding things that aren't gamelike in their focus nor should it require the embrace of things that are gamelike. Products should have integrity to what they do and illustrate a model of self-consistent excellence.

Don't set out to define what a game must be. Or what a good movie must be. That's fundamentalism. It will make you look bad and do bad things if you cling to that kind of thinking ahead of things like civility and respect for diversity of opinions, products, and artistic works.

Where the entitlement comes in is the assumption that every game that comes out with a brand you like is intended for you or that you should have a right to some kind of revenge if it turns out not to be.