Arguing on the internet is like fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity is like… well, you get the point. Mankind’s greatest advance in communications is used for a lot of mud-slinging, recriminations, screaming, shouting and bad feelings. Plus ça change.
For anybody who has been keeping score, the internet – particularly social media – has been embroiled in a series of skirmishes so bitter you could dive head-first into a barrel of lemon juice and still feel better for it. The entire story doesn’t have a name, but to an outsider it can seem like all of the slow-burning resentment that the internet’s primary forums – reddit, 4chan and their ilk – as well as social media – Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr et al – have been storing has finally burst out of the box; not too dissimilar to the climax of Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
Some would call it – and indeed some have – The Culture Wars. Different ways of life and thinking have collided like something from the Large Hadron Collider and created the black hole we always expected the scientists at CERN to conjure.
Some would say the catalyst – or at least the final click of the configuration – was the GamerGate saga; a never-ending conflict that seemed to suck just about any demographic into its vortex. If you found it hard to keep up with just what was actually going on then you won’t have been alone. The cast of characters and seemingly endless number of commentators, articles and opinions on the whole shebang was confusing at best, lest you were caught right in the middle of it. Erik Kain of Forbes compiled a very thorough piece on GamerGate that looks at all angles.
Whatever it was, things soon delved into arguments on gender roles – in games and elsewhere – sexuality, the intrusiveness of the opinions of others in area they may or may not have knowledge of. Media personalities like Anita Sarkeesian weighed in with her popular and very, very contentious Tropes vs Women In Video Games YouTube series.
Soon – and as it currently stands – large swathes of the internet became muddied battlegrounds of op-eds, tweets, hashtags and physical meetings (yep, turns out they’re still a thing. Who knew?). There have been death threats and doxxing. To run you through the whole thing would take up a lot of room and time so… you’re gonna have to do your own reading on this one for the most part. Although, we have a suspicion that the title wouldn’t have caught your eye if you didn’t know what it all meant.
Indie game developer Yuji Nakajima is the person behind SJW Riot: a game currently seeking crowd funding and a project that may just ignite a whole new chapter in this pitched battle.
What was the catalyst for making this game? Was there a particular flashpoint or is it a slow-burning thing?
I spend a lot of time playing games. Gaming is an escape from my normal life to live in a dream, to explore worlds and compete to achieve great scores. To interact, to be submerged in an interesting and exciting story, to understand different people, races, genders, history, earth, alien planets and different dimensions; all from the comfortable position of my home. To unlock puzzles and to live, fight, love and make decisions as another person or even as myself. To have fun. No boundaries, no rules, no restrictions. If an artist or developer can dream of it, it can be created, and there is an audience who will appreciate it and enjoy feeling a range of emotions from indulging in it. An opposing opinion that is based on own discomfort or personal belief system, should not be the driving force to make change to the boundless ability of creativity.
We live in a very sad time in gaming; politics have become the main focus, fun is secondary or not even important. A young gamer has not heard of a Famicom, they have not heard of an Amiga, but they know what third-wave feminism is? They know what tropes are? They analyze their game and judge it for how masculine it is and question it for ‘ideological underpinnings’ in its story? It is ridiculous.
A game is entertainment. It is a medium to entertain. With this game I want to highlight how ridiculous things have become, to show people what a game is and should be and ultimately with it I want to bring back a small piece of what gamers deserve: fun.
This game is going to piss a lot of people off. Is that the point?
Although perhaps it is taken out of context, I want to use this quote from Stephen Fry to start my answer because I find it a fascinating exposé of the way things have become:
“It’s now very common to hear people say, ‘I’m rather offended by that.’ As if that gives them certain rights. It’s actually nothing more than a whine. ‘I find that offensive.’ It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. ‘I am offended by that.’ Well, so fucking what?”
Of course, this game is an ‘up yours’ to social justice warriors and to the people trying to impose what they learned in gender studies in to the arena of gaming and to the people pushing their agendas. But this is nothing more than a creative person creating something that I want to. When did this become unacceptable? If people become offended by the notion of it existing – or by playing it – they do not have to tune in, and they do not have to play it. Just like I did not turn up for gender studies class.
A problem that is starting to happen is that game developers are beginning to take on board the hurt feelings and shaking fists of a small number of people – who are not gaming fans – and who base their beliefs on catalysts such as the absence of their father’s love and disrespect the loyalty of their original target audience: the fans, of all genders and races. In the past, these people would turn to vandalism, tattoos, piercings, dying their hair blue or pink, trying to spoil fun for people who are happy, and so forth: it is a cry for attention. These days they do all of that, but now they also have the internet and there are university courses designed for these people.
Game developers should not water down games, should not change design or story to cater for the “I may get offended” people. This is not the answer. The answer is to intensify the content, turn up the dial, give it in bigger measures. You want something to really whine about in gaming? You got it. My game is built on Poe’s Law: I am taking it to the extreme. It is the ultimate gaming meme. If somebody is pissed off, well, so fucking what.
Have you had any involvement in the never-ending GamerGate saga? What is your view on the whole issue?
The purpose of entertainment is to entertain. Not to be a case study for gender studies and not to be an example for political movement to prove a point or use as an argument to make changes to suit an agenda. It is entertainment. If you are not entertained by a particular brand or genre of entertainment then this is not for you. If you do not like a certain game, do not play the game, choose a different game and let people who enjoy this certain game enjoy it.
The people who oppose gamers know this, but they refuse to accept it because it does not help their personal beliefs or agenda. So they change the narrative to suit this agenda. One of the main people who opposes GamerGate – who had a product to promote at the time – is a self-professed “transformative media maker”. This translates to the ability and inclination to take a story or piece of media and change it to suit their agenda. Of course when you take a gender-based argument to change something like “gaming” to the heart of where the gamers connect and interact – Twitter – they are going to use it to call them out. But of course, with the transformative media creator on one side of the argument the advantage was taken, and the story changed to “gamers are misogynists” and “gamers are a women hate group” story, which is absolutely bullshit. But there was a product to promote and this was a juicy sensational story, so the mainstream media reported the “women hate group” version as the story. Doing only a small bit of research reveals the real truth.
The people of GamerGate are not a women hate group and never were; they just fought back. They are actually a very supportive group of people, diverse, and good hearted. GamerGate is a hashtag dedicated to exposing lies and poison. The people using it are not a “hate group”; they are troops in an SJW riot.
What’s your background in game development? What other titles/projects have you worked on? If there are too many, which were some of your favourite or most memorable?
I have no notable background in game development besides dabbling and learning. As an experienced gamer and creative soul with a love for entertainment and making people smile; I have always wanted to make games. I have a journal with hundreds of game ideas written and crudely drawn. I knew that building this game and make it to the standard it deserved was beyond my ability, and so to make this game come to life I started this Indiegogo campaign to raise a budget. I want to hire a team of genuine talent, with the artistic and coding skills that I admire and aspire to reach.
What kind of feedback have you had, both positive and negative?
It has been an epic storm of positivity toward this campaign – I can not thank the supporters enough. I call them “Support Troops”.
Yes I have read some negativity and the gaming press have already tried to label it a “murder women” simulator. But we know the gaming press are infested with SJWs so it is expected. I have also been challenged and also blocked on Twitter by some of the most notable SJWs, radical feminists and anti-GamerGate people. But – again – this is to be expected. When somebody lifts a torch the monsters in dark places are exposed and they will growl. I knew from the beginning that triggering would happen and feels would be hurt. But in a world where an argument is instigated with something ridiculous, ridicule is the only response and creativity and top kek like this game is the only weapon.
You say that if people want to use the game to harass women online then you do not support that. But chances are a number of people WILL use it to do exactly that. Do you not think you’re just fanning the flames even further?
I do not support the harassment of women online, no gamer does. Gamers are incredibly diverse: all genders, all races, all sexual orientations, all ages. Games are for everybody. It is not for “Cis White Males”. People will not use this game to harass women – because the harassment of women by gamers does not exist – it is a lie. Gamers playing a game exists, gamers wanting to have fun exists, and that is where it ends. Unlike SJWs I listen to people and I do not block when I am given suggestions.
I listen to the target audience – the gaming community – and they ask that the enemies are not just women so that is what will happen. I do not stereotype so the SJWs also include goonie beard men, “white knights”, and more. I am working toward a “Role Reversal Mode”, where the player can choose to be an SJW and fight against all of the men. Also, since the campaign launched, the hero Troops will now include female, all races and sexual orientation – not just “CIS White Males”, and they are not just saving men, they are saving damsels in distress with big boob. These are all open minded suggestions of the GamerGate supporters, but the anti-GamerGate people/SJWs want to completely shut this game down. So tell me which side is the most admirable.
What do YOU think about SJW Riot? Harmless fun or an unnecessarily incendiary game? Let us know in the comments below or if you want a right of reply then get in touch.