Although I never got the chance to play Flappy Bird before it was pulled from app stores by developer Nguyen Ha Dong, it’s been a bit difficult to avoid the furore that erupted in the aftermath its removal. For those of you not in the know, Flappy Bird is a hit app that was downloaded over 50 million times and was well known as being both very simple and extremely challenging. It also had a rather interesting resemblance to a certain Nintendo game featuring pipe-diving plumbers. According to the Nguyen legal difficulties were not the reason for Flappy Bird’s removal, but that he pulled it because of the addictive nature of the game. Regardless of the reason, the result was an outpouring of abuse and vitriol, including horrific death threats to Nguyen.
This is not even close to the first time that a business or creative decision by a developer has led to death threats to his family and person. While it’s usually a minority of gamers that engage in this kind of behaviour, it’s also a very vocal minority that undoubtedly makes the rest of us slightly more well balanced gamers look bad. And beyond that, it’s simply unacceptable that people spew this kind of hatred and abuse at anyone. If you threatened someone like that in real life, you’d be arrested. Of course, the people who say stuff like this on the internet are usually the same kinds of people who wouldn’t have the cojones to confront someone in real life. They’re sad people who take playing games way too seriously, possibly because they’re very young, mentally unstable or don’t have much else going on in their lives. It’s easy to say that it’s not our problem, because we’re not the ones making death threats or harassing people online. The truth is that it affects all of us, not just in terms of our collective image as gamers, because it’s killing the creativity of the very people who make the games we love. Continue reading
So I’m late to the game again. Big surprise right? Actually I wasn’t really planning to write on this topic at all and this week was going to be a purely GTA V themed piece (not a review because I’m not even CLOSE to finishing the main story yet), but I realised that I really had to say something about this topic. And as you can see from the title, the topic in question is the furor that resulted from GameSpot reviewer Carolyn Petit’s review of GTA V and whether that was fair, but it’s also more generally about the nature of reviews. In case you haven’t heard about the controversy surrounding the review, she basically gave the game a 9/10 and mentioned that she felt that brilliant though the game was, it was also ‘politically muddled and profoundly misogynistic’. The ensuing shit storm was greater than anyone could have expected. People were really really angry. Some even felt betrayed and disillusioned. There are a number of issues here and a few perspectives were expressed on the dissenting side with, I think, varying degrees of validity. Now, I don’t entirely agree with her opinion, but that’s pretty much unnecessary in the equation. The question is whether she was wrong to have expressed that particular opinion at all. I think is important to discuss because to me, this incident is indicative of a wider problem with the community, like the excessive outrage that happened over the Xbox One or death threats to COD developers for changing a minor aspect of the game were. It’s both an exciting and a sad time to be a gamer. We’re not all like that of course, but enough of us are for the rest of us to be cast in their shadow.
This is probably the last time I’ll post on this topic for a while, because I’m getting a liiiiittle sick of the topic, but I figured I should update you guys on my thoughts on Microsoft’s shock reversal of their used games and DRM policies I was discussing last time. I’m still neither a Sony or Microsoft fangirl, although I have pretty much always been more of an Xbox fan this generation. I’m choosing my console solely on what I want out of it and I don’t think there are really any right or wrong answers here. These are just my personal views on that matter, you may totally disagree with me and that’s cool too!