It goes without saying that GamerGate has done much good for the world of gaming. The shockingly incestuous relationships between game journalists and developers have been exposed to some much-needed disinfecting sunlight. The even more appalling lack of ethics, transparency, and wisdom of the entire gaming journalism establishment has forced a radical (if quiet) reshaping of ethics policies at several influential SJW-led gaming publications. And one would be forgiven for chuckling gleefully when one sees what has happened to, say, Gawker’s traffic numbers over the last few weeks.
However, our work is not done yet. The victories won through GamerGate were deeply necessary, but they are not sufficient. The rabbit hutches of gaming journalism have received some much-needed scrubbing; now it’s time to turn to game developers themselves.
As with any other economic market, game developers and publishers are consumers every bit as much as they are producers. They cannot produce things of quality without consuming resources of quality as well. And one of those resources absolutely must be consumer feedback. The game developer or publishing house that ignores consumer feedback risks the loss of its market position, its sources of revenue, and ultimately its business.
However, far too many game developers appear to be so satisfied with their positions in the industry that they have forgotten what it means to create real video games: the products that are, to us as consumers, such sources of wonder and joy and magic.
Witness, for instance, the galactic arrogance of the writer of Far Cry 4:
The Far Cry series is of course produced by Ubisoft Montreal, a studio that by rights should have forgotten more about creating magnificent games than any ten other studios will ever learn, combined. However, it appears that the massive successes of their previous games, such as Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell and the Assassin’s Creed series, have gotten to the heads of the people who write them.
Instead of concentrating simply and totally on gameplay, character, and story, or at least two out of these three, game developers appear instead to be focused on a graphical arms race to see who can create the most stellar-looking game. Even a turd can look, and to some extent smell, good if enough care is lavished upon its appearance.
Yet there is no fooling the gamer who has to chow down on that crap sandwich.
Bearing this in mind, here are four things that I believe game developers and publisher absolutely must pay attention to in the coming months and years.
1. Sex Sells, Deal With It
There is nothing wrong with using female sexuality in gaming. Just do it correctly. (I note with some amusement that one wag, in response to that article’s byline about whether putting Kate Upton’s breasts in a game make it better, replied bluntly that putting Kate Upton’s breasts in anything makes it better. Judging by the picture above, he may have a point.)
The problem here is that game developers appear to be bowing to public (read: SJW-led) pressure to tone down sexuality in gaming. That is why we have had to endure such depressing and idiotic spectacles as the new Mortal Kombat game toning down Kitana’s famous, and famously spectacular, figure; formerly male-dominated FPS games putting BADAZZ GIRRRRRLZ in situations where even a well-trained and strong woman would be way out of her depth; and even (God help us all) yet more female characters being pushed into my beloved Halo.
We don’t want, or need, ANY of that.
And so the whole cycle starts up again.
The reality is that gamers—real gamers, not the women on subways playing the squintillionth Candy Crush Saga spin-off on their mobile devices—are overwhelmingly male, usually between the ages of 16 and 45, and usually have few, if any, hangups about overt sexuality being used in games.
The point that game developers and publishers really need to understand is that the beauties of a taut, well-maintained, pneumatic female figure are a divine gift. Men love looking at scantily-clad women with great tits and a great arse. What game developers need to understand is that women like looking at them too (SJWs not included, obviously).
2. Underpromise, Overdeliver
This particular sin is committed more by game publishers than by developers, though plenty of the latter are guilty of this too. How often have we had that a new game is going to be THE MOST AMAZINGEST THING EVAR!!11! (I know, I sound like a retard: this is what happens when I try to write like someone from my sister’s generation.)
Consider one of the supposed “blockbuster” games of 2014: TitanFall. Now, this game looked amazing when I saw the trailers for it. The concept appeared to be truly revolutionary. It was specifically touted as the Next Big Thing in gaming, a completely new and different way to look at multiplayer games.
Now, I left the U.S. for foreign shores long before I got a chance to play it, so I have no idea whether it was any good. But other players who reviewed it thought rather dimly of it.
Why? Because, well, it turns out there really wasn’t anything revolutionary about it. The game engine was based on old technology. The number of maps was limited. It didn’t really innovate much over the latest CoD game. In short, it was just more of the same.
Game developers and publishers really need to stop this nonsense. It’s going to hurt them very badly in the long run, as independent gaming houses that focus relentlessly on the things that truly matter in gaming will prosper and big game publishers will go the way of the dodo.
Instead, game developers need to focus more carefully than ever on the people who buy their products. We pay good money for what they produce; we expect to see that the finished product in our hands matches the marketing materials that were released.
In this respect, game devs need to pay very careful attention to the painfully cruel lessons of Aliens: Colonial Marines.
Now there was a game that held some promise. It turned into one of the greatest disasters in the history of gaming. I played this game early last year as a fan of the first two films in the Aliens franchise, and expected good things. My wig, but this was a horrific disappointment, even after I got the game at a steeply discounted price at GameStop a year after its original release.
And it could all have been avoided if the developers had actually focused on the basics instead of spending 80% of their budget on hookers and blow. (Or so I am guessing, given how spectacularly bad that game was.)
3. Game Journalists Make Terrible Reviewers
Closely related to the point above is the fact that way too many game developers and publishers take the opinions of journalists and professional reviewers too seriously. These are NOT the people whose opinions matter.
They have the resources and the time to do the kind of thorough testing that can make a good game great when going from Alpha to Beta to finished product, to be sure. But asking them to evaluate that finished product, which they will play perhaps for a day or two before moving on, is downright stupid. The average game journalist is NOT a good reflection of the average gamer; indeed, as GamerGate has already shown, the average gaming journalist is to be trusted about as far as his skinny pasty-white arse can be thrown.
4. Great Gameplay Beats Great Graphics, ANY DAY
The latest round of the console wars is essentially a severe case of penis envy, as all such wars generally tend to be. However, the nuclear arms race between Microsoft and Sony to see who can create the most whiz-bang console with the most cutting-edge graphics is essentially a war of attrition, and the casualties are the very people who consume the products: gamers like you and me.
The problem is even worse in the world of the PC Master Race. There was a time when the phrase, “Yeah, but can it run Crysis?” denoted that any gaming rig worth the name had a rather stern test to pass, in the form of being able to actually run that incredibly demanding classic FPS. However, these days, computer hardware is cheap and getting cheaper: top-line gaming rigs aren’t all that hard to put together, upgrade, and maintain. The end result is that game developers are stuck in a rather strange feedback loop whereby they concentrate incredibly hard on making their games look spectacular… only to find that a new graphics card comes along a few months later to make their products look cheap and tawdry. And so on ad nauseam.
In the process, the core emphasis on gameplay, story, and replay value gets completely lost.
The greatest games that I have ever played weren’t really all that brilliant when it came to graphics, yet The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Metroid Prime: Corruption, Star Wars: Republic Commando, and of course my beloved Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary are games that I never get tired of playing. And that is because, unlike many if not most modern games that emphasise endless open-world exploration and eye-popping graphics, these games concentrated on the things that mattered.
These are the games that we will introduce our sons to when the time is right, in the same way that I grew up playing Super Mario back in the days of the original NES and Super Mario 2 on the SNES with my parents. These are the games that will forever define gaming for us. These are the games that we will never, ever forget. And that is because these games do what games absolutely must do in order to succeed: they introduce us to a world of wonder and magic, of power and beauty, of the never-ending fight between good and evil.
Rescuing Games From The SJW Hordes
GamerGate revealed to the world at large that gamers can no longer be ignored. We are not simply going to sit by and watch the hobby and passion that we love so much be destroyed by those devoted to an insane and evil ideology.
As I’ve pointed out before, in the book and technology industries, the SJWs have already overreached and been pushed back, hard. “Blue” sci-fi is once again on the rise; technology that empowers the end-user, rather than kowtowing to any particular set of social justice ideals, is making it easier than ever for the independent-minded to live their lives on their own terms.
As with these other industries, game developers need to understand that the battle lines have been drawn. It is well past time for them to choose a side. They can either create games that gamers really want to play and will happily pay good money for, or they can carry on making the same stupid mistakes over and over again, and thereby be destroyed.