Game Developers Commune: Schafer Bombs in Attack Against Minority Gamers
“O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.” And God obliged. This past week has seen the industry “professionals” get-together of GDC, staged within the Social Justice stronghold of San Francisco, and with it one of the most colossally satisfying own goals perpetrated by the enemies of gaming within the last six months. It was almost a certainty that gamers were going to come under fire given the location, and even more so given the fact that Tim ‘shitbag’ Schafer would be hosting the event – yet happily it is very hard to overestimate Schafer’s capacity to act without thinking something through. The guy is like the world’s least intelligent Id.
Everything would have been fine for the anti-gamer camp if Schafer had but realised that this was not the time to go for the low-hanging fruit. He could have made any number of jokes about how gamers were angry white guys who hate girls, seeing as they could not possibly by interested in ethical concerns – this no doubt would have met with a rapturous applause. Instead Schafer blithely made a joke insinuating that members of the #notyourshield hashtag were sockpupets for said angry white guys, effectively negating their voices in the process.
Picture: Schafer takes to the stage, covering one hand is a sock puppet which he uses to jokingly mimic the voices of minority gamers in a nasal, high-pitched voice. He then proceeds to completely bollocks up a joke that would have been completely pedestrian if spoken correctly:
“How many GamerGaters does it take to make a single piece of armour?
Fifty. One to do the modelling. One to do the materials. And forty to tweet that it’s not your shield.”
It took Deep Thought to provide us with the answer to life, the universe, and everything – yet it took Tim Schafer to ask the ultimate question. Either that, or he felt a demonstration was in order to show precisely how he was able to blow through a 3.5 million dollar budget so quickly when making a simple point and click adventure game.
#Notyourshield are members of the gaming mainstream who are female or from a minority background, and are attempting to make it known that they will not be used as shields for radical leftist attacks on gaming. Thus, when Schafer attempted to negate their existence, he was at best being racially insensitive, and at worst being a racist jerk, which effectively undermines his position from both without and within. Make no mistake, the negation of minority gamers is common enough among the Twitter SocJus brigade, and Schafer would have raised precisely zero eyebrows had he made this tasteless jape to his Twitter cronies, yet the situation looks markedly different once this [somewhat] shaved ape takes to the stage with a microphone in one hand and a sock puppet in the other, and attempts to supplant minority voices with his own in one of the least humorous jokes ever to be performed on stage.
Over the past seven months gamers have found it neigh on impossible to get their voice heard in a mainstream press that delights in using the term ‘gamer’ as a synonym for ‘rapist’. In a mere thirty seconds Tim Schafer gave the mainstream press more than enough ammunition to ensure that the anti-gamers would at long last be portrayed precisely as they are by external media sources. In particular, The Independent ran a heavily syndicated story titled ‘GamerGate: developer Tim Schafer provokes rage with joke about online gaming activists at industry awards’, which at long last treats #notyourshield complaints seriously. Moreover, Tim Schafer’s latest blunder was even enough to sow discord within the belly of the beast, which is to say the Double Fine forums:
“Although we don’t know for sure, I seriously doubt Tim was trying to be malicious with what he said. I think what he did was kind of stupid and was never really going to end well for him. I think he was just trying to take a more general stab at the whole GG movement but it has had it blow up in his face. A mistake that probably wont be forgotten any time soon, unfortunately.”
“As someone who is a minority, has been an active advocate for social justice, a Kickstarter backer and a long time fan, I’ve been extremely disappointed with Tim and Double Fine throughout all of this.”
What Schafer no doubt fancied to be a triumphant blow, turned out to be a highly bewildering setback for many people in the room, be they pro-gamer or SocJus. Part of the audience gave him a standing ovation, while another part of the audience can be heard to audibly groan. On Twitter the situation is much the same, with some of his least self-aware supporters claiming that he struck a blow against gamers, while still others in his camp voicing their concern at the way he has hurt their image. At any rate, one fancies that organisers will think long and hard before inviting Tim Schafer to host any more awards so long as the current hostilities with gamers persist.
Game Developers Commune: Leigh Alexander Jumps Ship as Gamasutra Teeters
Another piece of news to come out of GDC this week is that Gamasutra’s controversial editor cum sloppy drunk, Leigh ‘gamers are dead’ Alexander, is set to leave the leftist industry blog. Ever since Alexander declared that ‘gamers are dead’, the site has limped along, estranged from both its audience and its advertisers – with the parent company share price following suit. It is unclear whether Alexander was pushed by UBM for her handling of the ‘gamers are dead’ situation, whether they could no longer afford to keep her on given their current market position, or whether she simply decided that the grass was greener over at Patreon, but whatever the case, she now seems to be further out to the periphery.
Leigh Alexander is jumping ship to a new site which she plans to establish called Offworld. Alexander states that Offworld will be a gaming site dedicated to providing a voice to women and minorities, which is bound to be galling to the women and minorities of mainstream gaming, given that any dissenting voice is sure to be silenced. Make no mistake, Offworld is to be a site dedicated to providing a voice to Social Justice Warriors, yet there are several reasons that this may be a positive outcome to all parties concerned.
At worst Offworld may act as a lure to problem bloggers, leading to them all congregating in one place where they can be quarantined, cauterised, and subsequently dismissed from thought. At best the existence of the site may cannibalise the readership of Polygon and Kotaku. Either way, this is a good thing. One does not actually mind if radical leftist discourses are penned about issues in gaming, just so long as they are not being foisted down ones gullet, like a particularly unwelcome penis.
Microsoft’s Rare Reboot Plans May Have Conked Out
It is the stuff of gaming legend that upon purchasing Rare from Nintendo, Microsoft executives thought that they now owned Donkey Kong. One assumes that Donkey Kong must have been all they were after, as they have not done much else with the British developer – long relegated to making XBL avatars and Kinect games. At least that was the case until the eighth generation, as Microsoft confidently revived the Killer Instinct franchise, sans Rare involvement. If this week’s rumours are anything to go by then Microsoft may be looking at reviving many more of Rare’s beloved franchises beyond Killer Instinct, or at least that may have been the plan at one point.
According to a Reddit user by the name of Certain_ability, Microsoft had been looking to have Insomniac reboot the Conker franchise ahead of planned reboots of the Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark N64 properties.
“From what I heard, a lot of people thought the style felt really dated, and that the crude humor of it felt too 90’s for modern audiences. That was just rumors and gossip from the staff, some of which have been with the company since the first Xbox came out, so I trusted what they said.
That mostly changed around spring of 2014. All of a sudden, I became flooded with emails and design docs for a new Conker game. Basically, MS wanted to reboot Conker, and was shopping around for developers to make the new game. MS wasn’t comfortable developing it, and Rare DEFINITELY wasn’t making it.
For a while, it really looked like Insomniac would take on the Conker reboot, they were already doing third-party stuff for MS, and they had made a hit platformer series in the past.”
Do not get too excited for a N64 renaissance however, as plans for a Conker reboot fell through at Microsoft’s insistence that the game be completed in time for holiday 2015, and there is no word whether Banjo-Kazooie and Perfect Dark revivals are still in the pipeline.
“The Conker project has been pretty much canned. No one wants to make it, because MS wants to rush it out. I’m not sure if those other reboots will continue as planned, or if they wanna wait for someone to tackle Conker, like I said, I no longer work for MS and have been out of the loop for a little while, but as is, don’t hold your breath for a new Conker game.”
It is so typical of Microsoft that they would effectively kill off a promising series reboot simply because the time to properly develop it did not fit with their schedule. Whatever the case, at least Rare properties will live on with this week’s announcement that the Battletoads will serve as optional characters in the Xbone release of Shovel Knight.