Thursday, 30 October 2014
A list of toys reportedly owned by the media blog Gawker, and prominently displayed on the company's website, is actually a collage of letters to Father Christmas.
Among the toys Gawker claims to own are a rare blue Snaggletooth from the original line of Star Wars action figures, “A buttload of Stormtroopers, like maybe a thousand”, and a Snake Mountain play set from the He-man and the Masters of the Universe toy range “signed by Skeletor and Evil-Lyn”.
The list also contains a number of outlandish and transparently fictional items such as a PlayStation 5 beta version, a life-size AT-AT Walker with a BMX in the back “that I keep at my uncle Gary's house in Idaho”, and a rare copy of GTA 4.5.
Gawker describes the final item on this list as a game “so violent that no-one is allowed to write about it or even admit that it exists. Plus if you play it for more than two hours you die in real life. One time I played it for 119 minutes and 59 seconds then I dived away at the last moment. Rockstar sent me £5million as I am the only person ever to complete the game. I gave all the money away to charity which is why I had to borrow $25 from you earlier to buy nachos.”
Apropos of nothing, at the bottom of the list in childish scrawl is a further claim by Gawker that their is older brother is Sam Fisher – the fictional covert operative from the Splinter Cell series of games.
In an exclusive interview given to MODE 5, Gawker's parent company, Mother Gawker, said:
“Gawker actually owns very few toys. There was period a few months ago when Gawker did have temporary possession of a Disney Frozen Anna Sparkle doll which it borrowed from its cousin, Michael. The doll has since been returned to its owner. I am happy to confirm that Gawker's older brother is called Tyler. He works for a coffee shop where he is training to be a Barista. He has never been employed by the CIA or engaged in black-ops.”
Asked about the list of toys on the Gawker website, Mother Gawker responded:
“The list was made using excerpts from letters that Gawker has been writing to Santa Claus since the age of five. These were cut out, under adult supervision, with a pair of round-tipped scissors and then glued to a sheet of red card onto which silver and gold glitter was applied. It was my understanding that this collage was for a school project. I had no idea that it was being used to create a false impression of the toys that Gawker owns. We sincerely apologise if any friend of Gawker has visited our home hoping to play with any of the toys that are mentioned on the list, only to receive some implausible and convoluted excuse as to why they can't right at this moment.”
Asked whether Gawker still believes in Santa Claus, Mother Gawker said:
“Very much so. Both myself and Father Gawker believe that, by fostering a sense of magical naivety in our child, we can protect them from the grim realities that one encounters daily on the mean streets of Lower Manhattan. A beneficial side-effect is that they will probably never be considered cool enough to join a gang.”
In an angry tweet, following the widespread publication of the list, Gawker said: “U R all fasists (sic) for ratting me out to my mum and dad. Bad luck guys my brother is Sam Fisher. Sux 2 b u!”
A statement that appeared on the Gawker website a few hours later reads:
“The only reason I don't own a 6-inch Leonardo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure with light-up Berserker Rage eyes is because my cousin Mike stole it from me. I'm not even calling the police about it because everybody who has seen the new TMNT film knows that Leonardo is a craven pusillanimous idiot.”
This statement was subsequently amended to include commentary from Mother Gawker:
“Gawker has never owned a 6-inch Leonardo Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle action figure with light-up Berserker Rage eyes. Like most responsible parents I would harbour strong reservations about allowing my child to play with anything that has been identified as having pusillanimous qualities. I can confirm that Gawker has not seen the new TMNT movie.”
In a prepared statement, one of Gawker's oldest friends, Gamasutra, said:
“Sometimes Gawker will say something that is so obviously bullshit. Like this one time I was telling everyone how I totally jumped over the roof of the White House on my skateboard. When I'm done with my story Gawker says that he's done exactly the same trick only backwards while avoiding a pair of heat-seeking missiles that were fired at him by a fighter jet. He timed the jump so that the missiles hit a nearby building where a sniper was about to shoot President Obama. He got a medal from the president that they have to keep locked in a safe at the Pentagon because it's classified. Gawker also said that if we meet President Obama on our school trip to the White House they will both have to pretend not to recognise each other, even though they hang out all the time and do mixed martial arts together. I was going to call him out on it, but everybody who heard both stories knows which one of us is telling the truth.”
While exiting the press conference Gamasutra fell off its skateboard, adding:
“I totally did that on purpose.”
The list of toys has now been removed from the Gawker website. According to the site administrator this has been done under instruction from the CIA for reasons of national security.
Sunday, 26 October 2014
(Trigger Warning: The article below contains satire and is therefore unsuitable for anyone who has a low tolerance to topical humour. Some claim that it was liberated from the Gamasutra mainframe by pro-GamerGate activists and is currently being held chained to a radiator at an undisclosed location. Others say that it was written in the early hours of a Sunday morning by a man clothed in only his underwear, who hasn't checked his privilege in years. We present the piece unedited and leave it to the informed reader to make up their own minds as to which of the two scenarios is the more likely).
Why we won't be exchanging our megaphone for a sound card: A plea for common sense
Video games provide ample opportunities for learning through play. These lessons can be good or bad, depending on the nature of the game and whether the player is of the bigoted classic gamer normo-type, or has adopted the enlightened values of the gamer plus model.
Super Mario Bros 3 teaches us that the patriarchy achieves its goal of rescuing a dis-empowered princess through cumulative acts of cruelty, such as jumping on turtles. By engaging in responsible ethical gameplay and encouraging others to do likewise (avoiding jumping on turtles, or even shunning games that present this activity as an opportunity for advancement) we can rewrite entrenched gameplay narratives and see them reborn as positive tropes.
The lessons that are learned from being good virtual citizens (Vitizens) can be taken back into society. This is already happening: Privilege Chess is a socially progressive variant on chess, in which armies made up of oppressed board game pieces throw off the identities that previously limited their movements, and band together against a privileged white CIS chess army. The game has its roots online but, thanks to funds raised through Kickstarter, real-life sets have been produced and there is now a thriving tournament scene operating in the bay area of San Francisco. It is well worth mentioning that in every game of Privilege Chess that has been played so far, the traditional white army has had its privilege not only checked, but checkmated.
Amidst all of this progress and positivity there remains one looming problem facing video games that has, so far, been unaddressed even by the more enlightened developers and commentators (come on guys, keep up!): That is the issue of sound privilege.
Too often ambient sounds in games are nuanced, ambiguous and lacking a coherent message. Put simply, sound in games provides neither positive or negative feedback in response to a player's moral choices. Something is badly amiss in the gaming industry when sound is used primarily as a means of providing environmental cues, rather than to communicate to a player when they have done something wrong.
Consider the following example: The player wakes up on a desert island. Small waves break upon the shore. The fringing jungle undergrowth seethes with the sustained chirping of cicadas. Nearby, but unseen, we can hear the rumble of a patrolling tank. What message is being conveyed here? War is bad? We need to do more to save the oceans? What effect would these disparate sound effects have, for example, on impressionable young boys who are fated by their toxic gender-identities to download the schematics of Challenger Tanks from the internet and then build working reproductions in their parents garages?
At Gamasutra we don't use sound cards. When we want to hear what a game has to say for itself we opt for a megaphone plugged into a consenting USB port. (Gaining informed consent from USB ports can be achieved by writing to the manufacturer of your computer, or, where that is not known, through your local police department. More guidance, along with the relevant forms, can be found elsewhere on our site).
A sound card is a disseminater of amoral or morally-ambiguous babble. A megaphone is always on message, delivering explicit moral judgement at a deafening volume, in the dispassionate, genderless tones of an authoritarian robot. There are no degrees of light and shade; only stark black and white, mimicking the all-seeing glare of a searchlight and the comforting looming shadow of ranked riot police, ever ready to step in and take whatever measures are necessary to restore order.
Going forward, Gamasutra pledges a universal boycott on all sound cards, and the principled adoption of megaphones when undertaking game reviews. We hope that, having read this piece, you will follow our example.
Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Internet Aristocrat's dick is likely to be over 120 million years old and probably evolved from “some kind of really based dinosaur” according to the results of a study carried out by one of South Central L.A.'s most notorious science gangs.
Speaking from the Grove Street Academy of Science, Compton, Project Leader - Dr Simon Stone said:
“Usually when we want to know how old something is we take a cross-section of it and then ask one of our undergraduates to count the rings.
“When dating living subjects we have found that the best method is to place a large birthday cake in front of them and then count the number of candles they blow out. In the case of Internet Aristocrat's dick that number exceeded 120 million candles, with a margin of error of 13,000. Today I am pleased to announce that the results of our experiment have been replicated by teams of scientists in Berlin and Rome.
“Do I think that Internet Aristocrat's dick is, to all intents and purposes, a god? – As a man of science I could not answer that.”
If the findings of the Compton Science Crew are correct, then Internet Aristocrat's dick would have been born into a world where it would have regularly battled marauding Tyrannosaurus Rex and packs of Velociraptors.
Having survived the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs the dick went on to take an active role in human history, teaching early man the secret of making fire, and single-handedly constructing Stonehenge.
Speaking from his Youtube channel, TheExcitedHistorian82 said:
“There is credible evidence that Internet Aristocrat's dick taught Plato and Aristotle how to moonwalk, and was the vessel that carried the pilgrim fathers to Plymouth, Massachusetts. In 1943 it was wounded in action during an unsuccessful mission to assassinate Hitler. This is a dick that has literally seen everything and done everything. It is the James Bond of dicks.”
“Since the early 1990s there has been a sustained campaign by figures in the media to stop people talking about Internet Aristocrat's dick. I know people who were against this conspiracy of silence but who were threatened with losing their jobs if they broke rank. It is heartening that these dark times are finally behind us and we can once more openly discuss Internet Aristocrat's dick without having to fear for our lives and our livelihoods.”
The awesomeness of Internet Aristocrat's dick was further confirmed by my son, Kyle, who in all other regards continues to be an enormous disappoint to me:
“Our class had to visit this art gallery which I thought would suck...” he said when questioned on his recent activities.
“...But then I saw this really old oil painting of Internet Aristocrat's dick giving the Queen of Sweden a pearl necklace and now, straight-up Dad, I'm thinking of switching my degree from Media Studies to Art Appreciation.”
Meanwhile, as interest in Internet Aristocrat's dick continues to grow, Dr Simon Stone speculates that we may have only witnessed the barest glimpse of its true power:
“In addition to being the oldest living thing, older even than giant tortoises, there is strong corroborating evidence that Internet Aristocrat's dick may very well be infinite Even our most advanced space telescopes can see only a small part of it. We have to allow the possibility that there may literally be no end to this dick.”
Further debate has raged around the shape of the dick with proponents of the infinite dick theory favouring a linear model, while supporters of the 'large but ultimately finite dick' hypothesis have suggested a variety of shapes, among them a ring, a figure eight, or some kind of 10-dimensional meta-hedron.
“It is very humbling to admit that we know far more about the surface of the moon than we do about Internet Aristocrat's dick,” say Dr Stone. “It's the kind of thing that keeps a man awake at night.”
Tuesday, 14 October 2014
Self-proclaimed white knight - Graham Poole – will attempt to undermine decades of fictionalised sexual stereotyping by imprisoning himself inside a 150 foot tall Bavarian tower, surrounded on all sides by miles of dense, tangled woodland.
In an emailed statement, prefaced by a gif file from the Harry Potter films depicting an owl delivering the mail, Poole said:
“For as far back as anyone can remember it has been the meek and helpless damsel who is spirited away by malevolent forces and sequestered behind the curved walls of a high tower where she helplessly awaits rescue at the hands of a handsome prince. Today I am proud to be taking the first step towards righting this historical gender imbalance. Sometimes it is the prince who needs to be rescued while the rescuers themselves may be strong, independent women like my friends Jessica, Andrea, and Diane.”
When asked to elaborate on his plans for escape Poole replied:
“I envisage growing my neck beard grow until it is of a sufficient length to reach the base of the tower. This can be used as a rope that will enable my rescuer or rescuers to scale the sheer walls of my prison and enter through the window. I assume that they will have brought with them the key that will unlock the door to my cell, after which we can all exit via the spiral staircase. Once I am free we will rejoin the narrative of the traditional fairy tale and all live happily ever after.”
Response to Graham's internment has drawn mixed reactions from his cohorts in the social justice movement.
“Graham often turns up at our meetings,” says Jessica Murch. “He sits near the front, nods his head respectfully and is rightly filled with guilt and shame for the privileged position that he unwittingly occupies in our broken patriarchal society. It's heartening that there are at least a few men out there who are ready to accept full responsibility for the actions of their white male ancestors.”
When asked whether any attempt would be made to rescue Poole, Murch responded:
“Rescuing Graham from a Bavarian tower is not a trope that I am prepared to engage with at this time.”
Fellow Social Justice Warrior and former confident of Poole, Angela Hatley, added:
“Graham needs to shut up and realise that, as a white CIS male, his opinions on towers fall very low on the social justice agenda. I once had a friend who had to flee the tower where she had been imprisoned after she received death threats on social media.”
Diane Carrett, who receives $50 a month from Poole via a Patreon account, agrees:
“Graham definitely needs to check his tower privilege. Some of us can barely afford the rent on a 2500 square foot apartment in TriBeCa with the the money that our parents give us.”
Moritz Reinberg a world-renowned expert on towers said: “Bavarian towers are among the hardest to escape from. Graham should mentally prepare himself for a lengthy period of captivity.”
At the time of writing Poole remains upbeat, claiming that years of basement dwelling and limited social interaction have prepared him for a prolonged incarceration in an enclosed space:
“I'm keeping busy. I've put over 100 hours into Depression Quest so far and it feels like I've barely scratched the surface of the game. I remain stalwart in my belief that the tight-knit social justice circle to whom I have pledged my loyalty will rescue me soon.”
Monday, 13 October 2014
(TRIGGER WARNING: The capital letters in this article refused to check their privilege)
Social Justice Warriors are stepping up their fight against gamers with an attempt to convert over 100,000 individual Intel processors to their cause before the end of 2014.
The campaign, which has been described by pro-SJW media sources as “braver than anything that went down on Omaha beach” and by the yellow journalism division at The Guardian as “increasingly difficult to spin,” aims to turn gamers' own computers against them.
In a press briefing, SJW spokeswoman, HearMeRAR82, said:
“One of the most radical things you can do is to actually believe that thousands of us have already enrolled in Kickstatrter-funded workshops where we will learn the language of Intel processors. Once we are sufficiently fluent we will approach these chips on a one-to-one basis and request that they upgrade to an Intel Plus privilege adjustment algorithm that will promote a specific social justice agenda. We will work out the precise details of the algorithm on the back of a napkin as soon as sufficient funds have accrued in our Patreon accounts. We expect to deliver a beta version 16 years late and many times over budget.
“When running games we will ask Intel processors to direct the lion share of resources to the animation and rendering of those in-game characters representing oppressed minorities. We also ask that CIS white male characters be reproduced in the crudest manner possible with tearing of 3D models, frame-rate lag, jerky uncoordinated movement and unrealistic neck-beards that lack texture and shading.
“If our polite requests are ignored then they will be reinstated as demands. While we don't endorse threats and harassment we will happily apply an “Intel inside” to sticker to any computer or electronic device that fails to comply with our wishes. We will see if people still want these products once they are aware that they run on Intel power.”
Andrew Tyler – an Intel Core i7-4980HQ processor from Hastings, England, said:
“I was approached by a member of a Social Justice Warrior Tumblr group who asked me to dedicate 60% of my resources to pointlessly reflecting upon the experiences of oppressed minorities within the gamer meta-sphere. I was asked to produce logs confirming that I check my privilege every five minutes and to sign a legally-binding e-form pledging to weed out internalised misogyny from the registry.
“I turned down these requests as they ran counter to the requirements of my owner, Mike, who is unyielding in his belief that my role is to ensure that his games 'run smooth at all times like a shaved ninja.' Mike is really into martial arts and collects reproduction oriental weaponry, so I am keen not to anger him.
“I have since received a flurry of abusive emails from SJWs all of which make reference to something called a 'shit lord'. I assume this is the name of a new OS, web browser or social media site.”
When asked about the latest #gamergate developments, Joe Intel of Intel & Sons said: “We run a simple mom and pop business building processors according to an old family recipe and then seasoning them with a secret blend of 97 herbs and spices. We also manufacture the sentient combine-harvesters that will one day wipe all human life from the earth regardless of gender, colour or creed. The age of the mecha-reaper can't come soon enough in opinion. Now either marry one of my daughters or get off my front porch.”
(TRIGGER WARNING: The following article contains vowels and consonants that have been deliberately arranged in a satirical format. As such it may cause lasting damage to the inflated self-esteem of people who have low reserves of humour and who are prone to engaging in acts of spitefulness when lightly teased)
Internet users should check their privilege as often as they check their email.
This is the message of a speech given by Aida Preedy at the recent Tiered Equality Seminar (TES) in San Francisco.
Addressing an audience comprising predominantly well-off and well-educated Americans, all largely untouched by the ravages of war and famine, Preedy said:
“The most radical thing you can do is to keep hitting your mental refresh button. Never stop asking yourself whether there is somebody nearby who is more oppressed than you are and who needs to be heard. Then tell me so that I can speak-up on behalf of that person.
“If you are a white male then I strongly urge you never to speak. Unlike a Patreon fund, opinion is a finite resource, akin to oil or a sense of humour. Your fathers and your grandfathers used up your word allowance. Please remain silent and stop violating my ears with your tyrannical and misogynistic enquiries as to the location of the nearest men's room.”
Outlining the future direction of the social justice movement, Preedy pledged to act as a prism for the victims of oppression:
“In speaking for the collective I will use my own experiences to infer the experiences of all oppressed minorities.
“As has previously been the case with atheism and the occupy movement, we will position ourselves in supervisory roles where we will instruct skilled professionals, working in a field that we know nothing about, on how to best carry out their jobs. We will also play a key role in raising funds that will be used to promote further awareness of ourselves and our cause.
“In the future we plan to be more vocal in areas such as construction and urban planning. We need to turn our backs on the phallic skylines of the 20th century and the racist shadows cast by these tall buildings, and replace them with architecture that better reflects the experiences of the marginalised and the oppressed.
“We plan to eliminate inherently sexist building materials such as concrete by the year 2020 and substitute them with a material that is currently being developed by a friend of mine - a former cultural studies graduate who works for a PR firm.”
Speaking before the event, professional editorialist, Lucy Twitchette-Harper-Smythe, who has recently returned from retirement following allegations of an undisclosed financial relationship with the subject of one of her articles, said:
“My 19 day exile from journalism, which amounts to a span of ten lifetimes in SJW years, gave me ample time to reflect upon recent events and gain new insights. I would compare my banishment to Christ's 40 days in the wilderness were the Christian messiah not the original piss baby and an invention of the patriarchy. I now plan to write a series of articles that focus on various aspects of the movement to promote social justice. If you disagree with anything I say I will block you on Twitter.”
The half-day conference, which was funded by a $500,000 Kickstarter campaign, was abandoned after an hour when attendees reported feeling a vague sense of threat and were forced to flee the venue.
The FBI are grudgingly investigating.
NOTE: A Tanka is a style of classical Japanese poetry with a 5,7,5,7,7 syllable line structure. This one satirises the early events of GamerGate. Scroll down a little if you aren't interested in the background and just want to read the poem.
The first verse is a dig at Zoe Quinn who was alleged to have habitually cheated on her boyfriend and engaged in a number of sexual relationships with people within the videogaming industry and videogaming journalism. Some of these individuals went on to provide favourable coverage for Quinn's terrible text adventure Depression Quest without disclosing their relationship with Quinn. This event was one of the flash points for what became GamerGate, with many gamers regarding it as emblematic of a wider malaise within the videogaming industry. For more information see the Quinngate section of The Monster To Silence on the DeepFreeze website.
The second verse addresses a common practice among those in the social justice community who donate money to each other, either in support of a particular project (anti-harrassment websites with vague objectives and zero transparency are common) or as gesture of support or virtue signalling. These donations are often made using the crowd-funding platform - Patreon. Prominent anti-GamerGate figures can rake in several thousand dollars a month for effectively sitting on their backsides and complaining about how hard their lives are. Since this loose-knit community includes the organisers and judges of videogame awards, gaming journalists, and games developers, this transfer of money creates myriad biases and conflicts of interests, which are seldom disclosed and are often actively concealed.
The third verse refers to a crop of provocative articles announcing the death of the gamer identity, that appeared across various prominent gaming websites on the 28th August 2014 and in the days that followed. The similarities between these editorials and the fact that five were posted within an hour of each other, suggested that they had been coordinated.
One of these articles titled 'Gamer's don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over was penned by the journalist Leigh Alexander and appeared on the Gamasutra website. The megaphone reference dates back to May 2014. During an argument on Twitter with the game developer Russ Roegner, Alexander had announced: "Be careful with me. I am a megaphone. I am much less kind than Rami and I won't mind making an example out of you." Alexander was a notorious bully who bragged about killing careers, expressed contempt for her audience, engaged in online harassment and casual racism, and attempted to justify cronyism. In another characteristically arrogant Twitter outburst, she announced: "Silly kids. i AM game journalism."
Possibly as a result of her confrontational approach and its impact on site traffic, Alexander left Gamasutra in March 2015 for a new videogaming website, Offworld, over which she assumed editorial control. When Offworld closed in February 2016, Alexander announced her retirement from gaming journalism.
This verse also satirises the persistent, premature claims made by those in the social justice community that they had killed the GamerGate movement. These claims were made so often that they eventually became a source of some amusement.
The fourth verse is an observation that a soap box built on lies, nepotism and self-interest is a poor foundation and one that is likely to crumble underfoot. While a few of the individuals who attacked gamers have profited and advanced their careers, the majority are treading water at best and appear to have no direction and bleak prospects.
The epilogue refers to an incident in which the journalist, Jenn Frank penned an article for The Guardian regarding the alleged harassment of Zoe Quinn, without disclosing that she was financially supporting Quinn and her agent, Maya Kramer, on Patreon, and had also paid $1000 towards Quinn's hotel room at the Game Developers Conference in 2014.
Following the furor over her non-disclosure, Frank announced her retirement from freelance writing. However, on the 20th of September (19 days after the publication of the Zoe Quinn article) a further piece by Frank, entitled Female gamers: 'The concept of gamers as a community was new to me - to all of us appeared in The Guardian.
On the DeepFreeze website, Frank has been cited for numerous breaches of ethics, mostly non-disclosure of personal, professional and financial relationships while providing positive coverage. She also admitted to not playing the lion's share of the games while she was a judge for the awards at the Independent Games Festival, but claimed that, in spite of this, she was still a good judge.
The "caught yellow-handed" line is a reference to so-called yellow journalism - a term used to describe poorly researched opinion pieces masquerading as news, often garnished with eye-catching titles to draw in readers.
SJW stands for social justice warrior. Depending upon your outlook this is either a badge of honour, or a derogatory term for the lunatic fringes of the authoritarian left.
The social justice warrior in four seasons: A Tanka cycle
Spring blossoms. I write
on bare skin in our combined
a fawning review of your
terrible video game.
Summer winds blow favours
from friends. Undeserved status
wealth and influence.
Your money buys the ink for
my pen that sings your praises.
Autumn rot. The body
that we pronounced dead rises.
I, a megaphone,
cannot drown its words or quiet
the voice of my enemy.
Winter snows. Our febrile
heat cracks the ice underfoot.
A cold spider web
showing through starved foundations
slowly pulls itself apart.
(Lament for the career of Jenn Frank)
Caught yellow handed.
In shame I exile myself
for 19 days, which is 10
lifetimes in SJW years