Gamasutra’s Leigh Alexander attacks Ken Levine, who famously created the Bioshock series. This is not entirely surprising, considering she has made a habit of being nasty, particularly to those who do not agree with her, often unprovoked. TotalBiscuit responds, leaving no question about how critics should act toward creatives, particularly wildly successful ones.
(The) Gamers (I don’t like) Are Dead
I’ll be honest—before #GamerGate, I had no clue who Leigh Alexander was. And I was writing for a game review website at the time. That’s how off my radar she was. I didn’t read Gamasutra (I was still reading Polygon and Arstechnica back then). I had never heard of her and I was actively covering the gaming industry. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—news in the gaming industry should stem from people making games, and journalists should not be celebrities (or believe they are). What a journalist does, at the most basic level, is inform the readership of things that have occurred without bias. I would say that it is fairly standard ethics for a press corps to not insult its readership or attempt to disown them, but no press corps to date had been stupid enough to try.
Then #GamerGate happened, and I was certainly aware of Ms. Alexander then. She authored one of, if not the, original “Gamers Are Dead” article on Gamasutra. It was (and is today) a vile opinion piece filled with stereotypes which encompassed her own readership. And in conducting research for this article, I should not be surprised she was so insulting to her own readers. After all, Ms. Alexander has been conducting online abuse since before #GamerGate and has only increased her dogmatic insults since.
Insulting the subjects she should be covering
Most recently, Ms. Alexander took a shot at Ken Levine.
For anyone who is unaware, Ken Levine is the creator of System Shock 2, a game considered to have influenced and inspired a number of very successful (and critically acclaimed) games, including Portal and Deus Ex, as well creating as the Bioshock series. The strength of his work in the previous sentence alone eclipses 99.9% of all developers, most of whom aspire to have ONE title so beloved, let alone multiple. In fact, allow me to dissent from my collegue Mr. Matt Forney and proclaim that my love for Bioshock Infinite, which I considered a masterful game.
So why might Ms. Alexander, ostensibly a video game journalist, attack one of the most accomplished developers in the industry? Because he is openly and vocally neutral as regards #GamerGate, and lent his voice to Diablo 2 and World of Warcraft producer Mark Kern’s petition for the gaming press to heal the breach they created, an olive branch that has been rejected by the most vocal opponents of #GamerGate.
This isn’t the first time she publicly insulted someone more creative and successful than herself. Ms. Alexander also attacked Penny Arcade‘s Mike Krahulik, stating it takes “basically no talent” to draw like him. That’s a pretty bold statement considering Mike Krahulik has done commissions for several video games. Let’s examine a piece of his work to see if this claim holds up.
Seems like more salt from someone with no creativity or talent covering an industry full of people with creativity and talent.
Bioshock and Awe
Of course, John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, being the Arbiter of Justice that he is, calls this nonsense out. In what should have probably been a Twitlonger, Mr. Biscuit explains his feelings on the subject:
Let me never become so cynical as to spend my time as Leigh Alexander does, attacking storied developers far more talented than they…
Takes quite a bit to push me off the fence to go after someone in particular. Going after a reasonable and talented dev will do it though. Compared to people like that we critics, all critics, are garbage. There is no rung lower, learn some goddamn respect for your betters.
Mr. Biscuit concludes his thoughts by inviting Ms. Alexander to leave the industry if she resents being in it at all.
Personally, Ms. Alexander appears to never have had anything to contribute to the gaming industry besides her ire. Done comedically (a la Angry Joe) this can be both entertaining and instructional. Done with raised eyebrow, serious look and condescending tone? It adds nothing to the conversation except hatred, particularly when you bring nothing special to the table. Of course, this is to be expected from someone who when asked what was her defining memory of gaming as a child answered:
Ms. Alexander, those “hostile nerdmen” you seem to be so intent on dispossessing built the industry you cover. So do the world of favor—consider yourself fortunate to be covering the work of people who are more influential, talented, creative and wealthy than you will ever be in your entire life, or get the fuck out. Actually, please just do the latter.