Anonymous said: Don't you have your comics anywhere else (where it's free)?
Gotta pay my bills somehow so NOPE. A subscription for Filthy Figments is only $16.99 the first month and that’s like buying two large pizzas only you get loads of porn instead which is JUST AS GOOD YEAH?
Asking for free things is tacky. Take what’s freely given, but don’t ask someone to harm their own livelihood so you can get free stuff. Ugh. I get not having money, believe me. But I don’t walk into stores and ask why I have to pay for the TV I want.
pretty sure that Ask translates to “hey excuse me i’m a motherfucking asshole”
"Excuse me, but I’m above paying for your hard work - maybe you’re not aware."
"I understand your point but, and hear me out here… I want that. I want it and I want it right now. So I think we can meet in the middle and come to what I think is a pretty decent compromise. You give me that, and I’ll take it. See? We each do fifty/fifty.”
Stevie Case’s 1990s and early 2000s is unfortunately remembered more for John Romano’s bad choices and the massive amount of time spent discussing her appearance in the media. She was also, once upon a time, one of the first major female figures in gaming, beginning by pwning the guy seen as the Rock Star developer publicly in his own game.
Since 2002, Case’s job titles have generally used the words “Director” or “Vice-President.” If you look at her LinkedIn profile, she spends a significant amount of time giving references and testimonials to various folks she’s supervised and managed in the technology field. She has evolved, as we all have, in this 21st century where gaming, technology, and our perception of ourselves have all changed.
And yet, reading the above quote, I can’t help but wonder how she’s managed to get killshots while playing sonatas.
John Romano, in an interview entitled ”A Chat with Stevie Case and John Romero”, conducted by Melanie Cambron in March of 2002.
We can say what we want about the hubristic decline and fall of John Romano in the late 20th and early 21st century, but this statement was downright prophetic.
Unfortunately, though Romano realized the massive potential for handheld gaming, he did so in a pre-iPhone world and developed for phones like the N-Gage. And… well….
Prophets traditionally herald the coming of a new age. They also traditionally don’t get to enter the new age alongside the heroes.
The last few weeks in videogame culture have seen a level of combativeness more marked and bitter than any beforehand.
First, a developer—a woman who makes games who has had so much piled on to her that I don’t want to perpetuate things by naming her—was the target of a harassment campaign that attacked her personal life and friendships. Campaigns of personal harassment aimed at game developers are nothing new. They are dismayingly common among those who happen to be women, or not white straight men, and doubly so if they also happen to make the sort of game that in any way challenge the status quo, even if that challenge is only made through their very existence. The viciousness and ferocity with which this campaign occurred, however, was shocking, and certainly out of the ordinary. This was something more than routine misogyny (and in games, it often is routine, shockingly). It was an ugly spectacle that should haunt and shame those involved for the rest of their lives.
It’s important to note that this hate campaign took the guise of a crusade against ‘corruption’ and ‘bias’ in the games industry, with particular emphasis on the relationships between independent game developers and the press.
These fires, already burning hot, were further fuelled yesterday by the release of the latest installment in Anita Sarkeesian’s ‘Tropes vs. Women in Video Games’ video series. In this particular video, Sarkeesian outlines “largely insignificant non-playable female characters whose sexuality or victimhood is exploited as a way to infuse edgy, gritty or racy flavoring into game worlds. These sexually objectified female bodies are designed to function as environmental texture while titillating presumed straight male players.” Today, Sarkeesian has been forced to leave her home due to some serious threats made against her and her family in response to the video. It is terrifying stuff.
Taken in their simplest, most basic form, a videogame is a creative application of computer technology. For a while, perhaps, when such technology was found mostly in masculine cultures, videogames accordingly developed a limited, inwards-looking perception of the world that marked them as different from everyone else. This is the gamer, an identity based on difference and separateness. When playing games was an unusual activity, this identity was constructed in order to define and unite the group (and to help demarcate it as a targetable demographic for business). It became deeply bound up in assumptions and performances of gender and sexuality. To be a gamer was to signal a great many things, not all of which are about the actual playing of videogames. Research like this, by Adrienne Shaw, proves this point clearly.
When, over the last decade, the playing of videogames moved beyond the niche, the gamer identity remained fairly uniformly stagnant and immobile. Gamer identity was simply not fluid enough to apply to a broad spectrum of people. It could not meaningfully contain, for example, Candy Crush players, Proteus players, and Call of Duty players simultaneously. When videogames changed, the gamer identity did not stretch, and so it has been broken.
And lest you think that I’m exaggerating about the irrelevance of the traditionally male dominated gamer identity, recent news confirms this, with adult women outnumbering teenage boys in game-playing demographics in the USA. Similar numbers also often come out of Australian surveys. The predictable ‘what kind of games do they really play, though—are they really gamers?’ response says all you need to know about this ongoing demographic shift. This insinuated criteria for ‘real’ videogames is wholly contingent on identity (i.e. a real gamer shouldn’t play Candy Crush, for instance).
On the evidence of the last few weeks, what we are seeing is the end of gamers, and the viciousness that accompanies the death of an identity. Due to fundamental shifts in the videogame audience, and a move towards progressive attitudes within more traditional areas of videogame culture, the gamer identity has been broken. It has nowhere to call home, and so it reaches out inarticulately at invented problems, such as bias and corruption, which are partly just ways of expressing confusion as to why things the traditional gamer does not understand are successful (that such confusion results in abject heartlessness is an indictment on the character of the male-focussed gamer culture to begin with).
The gamer as an identity feels like it is under assault, and so it should. Though the ‘consumer king’ gamer will continue to be targeted and exploited while their profitability as a demographic outweighs their toxicity, the traditional gamer identity is now culturally irrelevant.
The battles (and I don’t use that word lightly; in some ways perhaps ‘war’ is more appropriate) to make safe spaces for videogame cultures are long and they are resisted tempestuously, but through the pain and suffering of people who have their friendships, their personal lives, and their professions on the line, things continue to improve. The result has been a palpable progressive shift.
This shift is precisely the root of such increasingly violent hostility. The hysterical fits of those inculcated at the heart of gamer culture might on the surface be claimed as crusades for journalistic integrity, or a defense against falsehoods, but—along with a mix of the hatred of women and an expansive bigotry thrown in for good measure—what is actually going on is an attempt to retain hegemony. Make no mistake: this is the exertion of power in the name of (male) gamer orthodoxy—an orthodoxy that has already begun to disappear.
The last few weeks therefore represent the moment that gamers realised their own irrelevance. This is a cold wind that has been a long time coming, and which has framed these increasingly malicious incidents along the way. Videogames have now achieved a purchase on popular culture that is only possible without gamers.
Today, videogames are for everyone. I mean this in an almost destructive way. Videogames, to read the other side of the same statement, are not for you. You do not get to own videogames. No one gets to own videogames when they are for everyone. They add up to more than any one group.
On some level, the grim individuals who are self-centred and myopic enough to be upset at the prospect of having their medium taken away from them are absolutely right. They have astutely, and correctly identified what is going on here. Their toys are being taken away, and their treehouses are being boarded up. Videogames now live in the world and there is no going back.
I am convinced that this marks the end. We are finished here. From now on, there are no more gamers—only players.
If that’s all my job is, why are you paying me to do it?
"Okay. You do it."
"I don’t know how!"
"Really? Huh. Okay, well learn. I’ll wait. I won’t even bill you while I’m waiting."
"Um… well, how do you—"
"Oh, no. Sorry. If you ask me how to do it, then I need to charge you both my rate plus a consultancy surcharge, four hour minimum. [scribbles an estimate] This is what you’d need to agree to in writing. Since my job’s easy, I don’t see why you’d want to pay that kind of money when you can just pick it right up.”
"Also, you’ll note that bit at the bottom? Where I’m agreeing to show you how to do it, but not guaranteeing you’ll understand it. I don’t know why that would be a problem. It’s easy. Right?"
"So… okay. Um…."
"Bear in mind, you still need to pay me for the work I’ve already put in, but hey — it’s simple now, right? So at least—"
"…can you get these changes done for me?"
"You don’t want to do it?"
"No problem. I should have them for review 6 pm tomorrow."
"Why so long?"
"Hey — you can always—"
"Oh shut up."