When the game Seedscape is finally available you won’t see me reviewing it here. There’s a few reasons for that. First of all you can all read reviews at a million other sites and that’s not really what you come to Reaxxion for. Also, as I said before, I tend to avoid digital only content, so I might not even get it. But the biggest reason I won’t be reviewing Seedscape is I am good friends with one of the developers Jennifer D’aww and it just isn’t appropriate for me to be reviewing my friend’s game.
We demand ethics in exchange for the hostages
Over and over again those who have stood against #GamerGate have claimed we were “terrorists”, at least when they weren’t declaring us irrelevant and “over”. But if #GamerGate is a terrorist organization than I think we must have the single most reasonable set of demands of any terrorist organization in history. At the core of what #GamerGate wanted was for gaming and geek media to merely act with a minimum of professionalism and ethics. Much of these game journos reacted to the demand that they do their damn job properly with indignation that the unwashed masses would dare ask such a thing. Leigh Alexander tweeted out her idea of ethics in journalism.
And then “Little Hitler” himself, Ian Miles Cheong, managed to make Leigh seem positively saintly with his nihilistic take on the matter.
This really isn’t that hard
As I said, this whole “ethics in journalism” thing #GamerGate is pushing for really isn’t that unreasonable. It’s quite simple. Don’t lie. Don’t purposely mislead. Don’t cover individuals you’re close to personally, like say someone who made a shitty text based choose-your-own-adventure book style game that you happen to be having an affair with. Just an example off of the top of my head. And when there is a conflict of interest, or even a possible one, disclose, disclose, disclose. If you think “maybe I should disclose this” then you should.
I used Seedscape as a comparative example when discussing the supposed “misogyny” Brianna Wu claims was behind the many down votes of his shitty Sega CD looking monstrosity of a game on Steam. I made sure at the top of the article to let everyone know I was friends with Jennifer. I could have easily said to myself that it wasn’t a review and wasn’t even the main point of the article, so no disclosure was needed. I could have easily rationalized it to myself. But I didn’t. Because you all deserve to know.
When I interviewed Jason Hawronsky of Jasco Games about the Mega Man Board game project they were working on, I disclosed that I had given to their Kickstarter. Again, I could have rationalized that it didn’t effect my interview, and I don’t think it did, but why not let you decide? I feel you deserve the right to know and make that decision yourselves.
I am friends with the two creators behind the upcoming documentary The Sarkeesian Effect Jordan Owen and Davis Aurini. I am even a Patreon supporter of the project. Because of that I will avoid writing about it here. But if I ever felt like I really had something I needed to say about it, I would run it by our ethics officer Sam Roberts, and if he gave me the okay to write it you can bet there would be a disclosure right at the top of the article. Because that’s how it’s done.
(UPDATE: What a difference a few days makes. In the time since I wrote this Jordan and Davis have split up, and the fate of the project is in question. For more on this check out Sam’s piece on it)
This isn’t hard. It basically amounts to things like honesty and treating you the reader with respect. These are concepts I mastered in kindergarten. Really not sure why some of these other journalists are having such a hard time with it.