Tag: Penny Arcade
The past is full of unfortunate events. Actions taken with little to no experience, wisdom, and certainly no hindsight to guide them can have profound effects. We can, at least, hope to learn from them however. Let me take a moment to discuss a controversy, which is still settling, called Penny Arcade’s dickwolves.
First some context, back in 2010 Penny Arcade posted a comic which mentions rape, now infamously known as the dickwolves comic. Now rape is a serious issue and our society has problems with addressing it and many other female related social issues. However when the comic began receiving criticism focusing on the mention of rape and not the intended commentary on moral ambiguity in games, Mike Krahulik, more well known as Gabe and co-creator of Penny Arcade, responded by mocking the critics, claiming attempts to censor his work and an issue of free speech. This was the start of the actual controversy as fans and detractors angrily attacked each other vocally. The issue exploded further after merchandise referencing the comic was released. Ultimately the merchandise was removed, despite Mike Krahulik public protests, and the entire sitaution settled, until recently when Mike mentioned his regret over the merchandise being removed at a recent PAX 2013.
This issue is very complicated and I covered it in a very broad manner above. I did so because I wanted to share the following links that cover the issue from various viewpoints that hopefully will let us all learn from this. I provide the following links to inform people regarding various viewpoints of the controversy.
The first is a personal post on tumblr by someone claiming to have attended the 2013 panel. The post is effectively anonymous and can’t be verified, but that isn’t the point in sharing it. It’s the tale of a rape victim, who met her raper at PAX and despite the negative associations, continued to attend PAX, that is until she heard Mike’s comments about the dickwolves. The article is a powerful chronicle.
The point of linking to this article is two-fold. One to understand why the original criticisms of the dickwolves comic was raised. What effects including rape in a joke, even if the joke wasn’t about the rape, can have upon people. The topic of why it perpetuates rape culture is left for another time. The second is to understand why Mike just mentioning the comic has rekindled this controversy. Why people would consider not attending PAX any further.
Because many people are, and not just attendees but companies as well. Many people have been posting about how Mike’s and the reactions of some of Penny Arcade’s fans are wrong. One such response has been from Wired.com’s Rachel Edidin.
Rachel Edidin covers the controversy very quickly, providing commentary as to why this event is holding gaming as a culture back and why people should just leave PAX behind. Which I feel is a sad statement to have to make. PAX is well-known for claiming to be for everyone, but if what Rachel and the above blogger say, it is only giving lip service to this ideology.
So why is Mike behaving this way? One of the prominent figures of the gaming community mocking critics and inciting bully behavior in his fans?
MovieBob, creator of The Big Picture, The Game Overthinker, and other web series, provides what I feel is a very fair and gamer centric viewpoint of the entire situation, with particular insight into why Mike might be having this way. Warning this is a long article and it rambles a little, but it covers the entire situation and is well worth reading.
Ultimately what Movie Bob is trying to say is Penny Arcade was not wrong to post the comic but at the same time criticizing it for how lightly it uses rape was also not wrong. Neither side was necessarily wrong in this situation. Mike Krahulik’s response to the criticism however, was completely wrong.
Instead his mocking responses very indicative a mentality one might have had in the 80s and 90s. When comics and gaming were often attacked by people wishing to censor it for various ignorant and unfounded reasons. This may have been his reasoning for his actions, even if they still wrong. What is worse his actions inspired unconscionable attacks against critics of the comic by many fans of Penny Arcade. Some of these fans did it out of loyalty, and sadly some did it because of the still pervasive and ignorant misogyny that pervades gaming culture.
Thankfully the tale has something of a happy ending.
Mike has apologized for all of his actions after the initial strip. I particularly like Mike’s comments about PAX, which I hope is enough to make people reconsider their calls for boycotting the convention.
I sort of see PAX like I see my children. Yes I helped make them and yes they have a lot of me in them but they can be better than me. They can take the good stuff I have and leave out all the bad. Like my kids, PAX makes me want to be better.
At the very least all of us can learn from this controversy. Take the time to learn the difference between criticism and censorship, of the reasons why people become offended, and what can be done to fix the problems of rape in our culture, rather than attack the symptoms.
If you’re interested in other reactions to this entire controversy, one blogger has taken it upon themselves to archive this from 2010 and beyond at the this tumblr, in two large link based posted.
For those of you who have been paying attention, there is a list of useful links below. For those of you who haven’t, stay awhile and listen.
Actions being taken by the United State government will begin to fundamentally change the internet. Please read or watch the following to understand what is happening and if you want to take action about it.
[spoiler show=”For those of you who would like my words on the subject. Click here.”]The United States created the Internet. Despite fancy names like “World Wide Web” and “Global Communication System” and “Series of Tubes”, the internet is not managed by the world. It is managed by corporations on the united states and is subject, for the most part, to US Law. Even more so these days since a majority of the people connect to the internet via their local telecommunication company (phone, cable, satellite, etc).
That being said the internet has been pretty untamed for the last few years. Anybody could put or post up anything. Your information was only as secure as how well your protected it. It was effectively the digital wild west. Now, however, the internet is in so many homes, has become the focus of so much economic use (online shopping, movie and song streaming, video games, marketing) that this can’t last. Just like the trains that brought big business to the west, killing off the last place where your only real protection was the gun at your side, progress is going to try to tame the internet for the good of all, to the detriment of the few.
This is more or less inevitable. The new internet that will come into place will be highly regulated and likely more forcefully controlled by the big economic interests that want to use it to provide services to the world for money. When they do, innovation will become exceptionally difficult. Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and the like, will still exist, but their successors likely won’t appear. Blogs, chat rooms, social networks, bulletin boards/forums system, may or may not survive in this new internet. Words like “National Defense”, “Anti-Piracy”, “Copyright”, and others will be used to tightly regulate any site that tries to provide the public with ability to communicate and share.
Effectively the basis for the internet as we know it, sharing and communicating, will come to an end at the hands of capitalism and censorship.
The first steps for this have already begun. The United States government has two acts currently being discussed. The PROTECT IP act (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Both have been getting a lot of news. As of right now, both look to be dying heavily under media massive campaigns set forth by various websites and organizations, despite the money being thrown at it by media and telecom corporations. The best example is today, February 18th, 2012, where websites all over the internet are “Blacking out” or putting up protest notices. You can read up more about what these acts do in the links below, but to summarize the acts allow and empower the US government to try to block or remove internet services (primarily websites) that infringe on copyright, without significant due process.
Now I am not a proponent of piracy. I make a living off of software development and I hope to some day make a living as an author. These are both areas that have notably high piracy rates, which concerns me. I would like to be compensated for my effort and work but I also feel that censoring the internet is not the answer. So for now, I protest.[/spoiler]
[spoiler show=”For those of you who like videos. Click Here.”]
- Wikipedia: SOPA
- Wikipedia: PIPA
- Blog.Reddit: A technical examination of SOPA and PROTECT IP
- TerribleMinds: Why SOPA and PIPA and other anti-piracy bullshit measures matter to writers
- TEDTalks: Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea)
- (Wil Wheaton) WWdN: In Exile: Today the US Senate is considering legislation that would destroy the free and open Internet
- (The Bloggess) The Bloggess: Me and Vader, fighting together. Weird.
- Google.com (Protest Page)
- PATV: Season 3, Ep. 24a – Stand Together: The Gaming Community vs SOPA and PIPA
- Girls With Slingshots
- Abstruse Goose
- Kawaii Not
- Something Positive
- Dominic Deegan
And many, many more, including you, hopefully.
Wizards of the Coast, creators of the tabletop roleplaying game Dungeons and Dragons (3rd and 4th edition) have announced (via the New York Times and elsewhere) 5th edition D&D. They also announced, somewhat surprisingly, an extended public play testing, where in the general public will be able to attend events and publicly play test the game and provide feedback. This has caused all sorts of responses from naysayers, to the confused, to the cautiously hopeful. I fall into the latter.
Monte Cook, one of the more well-known roleplaying game designers and a prior designer on D&D 3rd edition and an announced designer for 5th edition, wrote up on article on his column on the D&D website.
Let me quote you some really interesting paragraphs:
“The goal here is to embrace all forms of the D&D experience and to not exclude anyone. Imagine a game where the core essence of D&D has been distilled down to a very simple but entirely playable-in-its-right game. Now imagine that the game offered you modular, optional add-ons that allow you to create the character you want to play while letting the Dungeon Master create the game he or she wants to run. Like simple rules for your story-driven game? You’re good to go. Like tactical combats and complex encounters? You can have that too. Like ultra-customized character creation? It’s all there.”
“Second—and this sounds so crazy that you probably won’t believe it right now—we’re designing the game so that not every player has to choose from the same set of options. Again, imagine a game where one player has a simple character sheet that has just a few things noted on it, and the player next to him has all sorts of skills, feats, and special abilities. And yet they can still play the game together and everything remains relatively balanced. Your 1E-loving friend can play in your 3E-style game and not have to deal with all the options he or she doesn’t want or need. Or vice versa. It’s all up to you to decide.”
Those are some serious goals. I know because I’ve worked on helping to design games to meet goals like that before and it is difficult. If they can pull it off it’ll be an awesome game. There are a lot of complex problems with goals like this. Particularly in how to present the rules to make the game easy for entry-level players. Modular systems leads to complexity. Additionally this kind of system could lead to a scary route for marketing and sales. Will they sell entire game with sufficient rules to be able to play any edition or will some of the rules be handed out in a video game “DLC” like fashion, where we pay $2-$20 bucks for each rule module? I don’t doubt Wizards wants to create the game everybody wants to play but I also don’t doubt Hasbro, Wizard’s parent company, wants to make the serious dough.
So I’m still cautiously hopeful and I plan on attending the play test in order to help, and maybe practice my own game designs kills a bit more. If you’re interested in joining int he play tests as well there is a sign up link at the end of Monte Cook’s article.
Zoe would totally do this to me if I died I bet. Yup!
Rare is it that we get a funny Penny Arcade but perhaps this might just be my personal circumstances.
Silly Davan. She can try multiple times if the watermelon is strapped down!
My friend, who was both female and American, preferred this style of greeting as well. Perhaps she had ancestors from Denmark.
I used to watch a lot of television… I think. It’s hard to remember.
I love his expressions.
Okay so that last one didn’t work as well. Maybe a little too direct?