Fire Staff Elementalist

NBI TalkBack Challenges #1 and #2

We’ve been given a couple of TalkBack Challenges as part of 2015’s Newbie Blogger Initiative. These are designed to give bloggers, old and new, something to talk about. I’ve taken the first two challenges, turned them into prompts, and written whatever I like on the subject in general.

NBI TalkBack Prompt #1: How did GamerGate affect you?

First, it enhanced the normal levels of silence that I carry with me throughout the day. I have a history of saying things that I almost immediately regret and therefore typically choose silence as my modus operandi. This appears to have been a wise choice; I do not feel that I took the side of the oppressor by remaining silent. Rather, I chose not to make myself visible to those who wield firehoses loaded with liquefied shit and use them to mercilessly assail anyone who dares to voice an opinion with which they disagree. If you and I are already friends or you’ve read the “about” section of this blog, you know there’s material there for would-be detractors.

Second, it reaffirmed my belief that the best way to deal with hate groups is to metaphorically Force-crush their tracheae and permanently deprive them of “oxygen to breathe.” Take, for instance, the Westboro Baptist Church (“WBC”). Their vulgar, hateful messages are visible to anyone who has ever been at the site of one of their “protests.” They cannot be made to leave public areas simply because their message is offensive; they must be in violation of the law in order to be legally ejected. Different groups have devised methods for dealing with this: organizations of private individuals will surround the funerals of members of the military so that WBC protesters and their signs are not readily visible; college campuses have offered the WBC an hour of radio time on the University’s station in exchange for the absence of WBC protestors on campus grounds. Naturally, everyone in broadcast range simply turns to a different station for the next hour.

There is no sense in giving hate groups credence by engaging them in substantive discussion. The vocabulary they use is specifically designed to implicitly assert the primacy of their distorted worldviews. If one wishes to discuss the intersection of same-gender love and adherence to a particular religion, for example, one does not default to the language of the WBC unless one is looking for visibility without scruple. The creation of a pejorative acronym (“SJW” to refer to “Social Justice Warriors”) was a tool used by individuals to implicitly compartmentalize their targets under the rubric of a negative label and thereby assail them. Do you remember how the Western concept of race was created? Fairer-skinned Europeans sought to enslave a diverse array of peoples from the African continent who hailed from thriving, vibrant, unique cultures. The label “Black” was used as a homogenizing term that stripped away individuality and made “othering” not only possible, but perniciously effective as the meme was propagated and acculturated. Several centuries later, the term has been reclaimed.

Wretched individuals eventually suffocate. I’m thankful that this tumor has in large part collapsed under the weight of its own bile and the vigilant efforts of evolved people who are more courageous than I am. For those that did not or could not play a part, know this: less evolved human beings will often attach themselves to noble causes in order to gain ideological traction. You must be able to separate the two. That person walking with protestors against the war in Iraq who is also defacing property? Don’t engage them on their terms. Call them out on their shit if you have the courage to do so, but don’t give them oxygen to breathe by implicitly legitimizing their worldview and actions. (The “mainstream” media will do that for you.)

If you really care about the issues GamerGate claimed to be championing, you know that these things were worthy of discussion on their own terms using their own vocabulary before that hashtag ever existed.

NBI TalkBack Prompt #2: Early Access versus Kickstarter

There is no right way to approach the decision to commit money to a game that does not yet exist, just as there is no correct way to blog. I write from the heart and I game from the heart, so when I’m looking at potentially backing a game that isn’t finished yet, I’m looking at subjective considerations. Others may view things more objectively and pride themselves on being able to see through all the BS in making an informed decision; that BS is of primary importance to me. Not because I’m right and you’re wrong, but because we’re different people.

When it comes to a great many experiences, I feed off emotions. I can watch sports I don’t otherwise care about if there’s an atmosphere of high tension and importance: I watched Manchester City win their first Premier League title after having scored two improbable goals in the space of a few minutes and was, for a while, as ecstatic as lifetime “footie” fans were. When it comes to evaluating games for their enjoyment potential, then, I give a great deal of consideration to the vibe I get not only from the game itself, but also from the developers and the way they’re giving birth to their baby.

Early Access makes me think that we’re monetizing a product. Kickstarter makes me think we’re being given the option to invest in “futures.” I therefore prefer the Kickstarter model philosophically and would be more inclined to Kickstart a game I absolutely adored which featured early access as a donation tier perk than I would be to pay a fixed sum for what I would perceive to be “official” Early Access to a game. I can see how this would be a minor quibble for some; to me, it means a great deal. It’s as simple as that.

Now that we know I game from the heart unequivocally, I’ve decided that at some point in the near future that my cognitively intelligent gaming self is going to maintain my penchant for remaining brainless and go moonlight on my Staff Elementalist in Guild Wars 2.


2 thoughts on “NBI TalkBack Challenges #1 and #2

  1. Staff Ele is like a direct connection to the pleasure center in the brain.

    The Kickstarter vs Early Access thing is interesting. I find Kickstarter somewhat silly. The two scenarios I would foresee backing something are a) if it’s a game I think will be made, that I will play when it launches and the tangible reward for that tier is significant and good value (i.e. I am making a pre-order) or b) if it’s a project I would like to see succeed and which I think I has only a marginal chance of doing so (i.e. every penny counts).

    Other than that I can’t see any reason not to just wait til the thing either launches or doesn’t to spend my money. The analogy with supporting a sports team or getting excited over a sporting event doesn’t work for me either, even though I entirely understand and agree with what you are saying about the power of the emotions around an event to sweep up and overwhelm supposed neutrals. To get excited over, say, Crowfall’s Kickstarter campaign would be like getting excited over Manchester City’s push for the Premiership two or three years before they actually got their hands on the title. It seems to me that to do that you’d have to be a die-hard fan not a casual observer.

    Early Access, on the other hand, is just a very straightforward purchasing decision like any other. The unfinished game is a product/service that you can examine and accept or reject according to whether you think it’s worth the price being asked. The only real problem (particularly for consumers who are not interested in buying unfinished games) is whether a wide acceptance of Early Access will lead to a drop in availability of “Finished Quality” products.

    I don’t think there’s much danger of that though. The recent success of GTA5 suggests the really big money and critical acclaim is always going to require a proper, finished game.


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