I Am Become Smart, Destroyer Of Worlds. Look Upon My Flames, Ye Mighty, And Despair.

“like. can we just get on with the next decade already, because I hate this headband and want a real cell phone”

So, Derek Smart had a bad 90s. It’s OK, it was pretty bad for many of us. Creed, Shaq-Fu, Newt Gingrich, HIMEM.SYS, Donald Trump, there was just so much we prefer we would forget ever happened. In Smart’s case, it was declaring war on pretty much the entire Internet (luckily, it was much smaller then).

Time passed. We survived Y2K, al-Qaeda, Everquest, Internet Explorer 6, and many other threats to our way of life, entering a brave new era where everything is new. Derek Smart kept plugging away, working on his holy grail, which, in his case until very recently, was making you believe a battlecruiser could fly. Decades pass. Derek Smart gets older, grayer, and despite the occasional indulgence in pitying fools, finally gets public acknowledgement that one can survive one of the most notorious stories in game development and still reinvent themselves in the second act. Older, wiser, calmer.

You will find that you have much to learn, my young apprentice. About. A. Great. MANY. THINGS.

You will find that you have much to learn, my young apprentice. About. A. Great. MANY. THINGS.

Then 2015 rolled around. Welcome to Act 3.

I love this industry. An industry that, while brutal, gave me the opportunity to do something that I love, while not making it easy. I take pride in the fact that when I screw up, or fail, and fall down, I can pick myself up – and keep on running. For me, there is no shame in failure; only pride in being able to acknowledge mistakes, and to learn from them.

My article (below) which I wrote, was a result of my observation that there is another industry disaster brewing, and which is, once again, going to not only cast the industry in a poor light if we didn’t do something, but which threatens to make it that much harder for the inbound generation to find their footing, because a bunch of people who came before, pretty much made it FUBAR.

And during my research for the piece, and for which I have hundreds of web articles, forum posts etc in an Evernote notepad, I came across a lot of things that I wasn’t even aware of. And once the article went live, I started hearing from all kinds of people in media, game development, gamers etc. And the more I read, the more I came to the realization that my article, which was merely a technical wake-up call of sorts, hadn’t even touched the tip of the iceberg. Which is why I am adding this next paragraph.

If you feel that you have been misled when you backed the Star Citizen project after Oct, 2012, and you want a chance to get your money back, the FTC has setup a special department that deals with crowd-funding complaints…

Why, yes, he did go pretty much right to Defcon One, didn’t he? But this isn’t just Derek Smart, this is OLDSCHOOL Derek Smart. You guys just don’t know the kraken you released. He blew through Defcon One, hit Defcon Zero

In the interim, since this pledge by you, has ended up being the usual meaningless lip service, as of this moment, Chris, your crowd-funding efforts for this Star Citizen project, in addition to the selling of virtual items for a non-existent game, are coming to AN END.

went straight to Defcon Absolute Zero

Here’s the thing, yanking my RSI account, won’t silence me.  All you’ve done, is strengthened my resolve, and unwittingly broadcast to the world that you have something to hide by kicking me out as a backer, without warning. I am going to keep talking (podcast 1, 2) about this incessantly until we get some answers, as outlined in my Interstellar Discourse article.

And next, I’m going to take out a full page article in the NY times, just to prove it.

…and is currently threatening to go to Defcon YOUR FACE unless his demands are met. No, that is not a typo.

  1. You, and your wife, Sandra Roberts (aka Sandi Gardiner), should resign, effective immediately, and relinquish control of this company to an interim CEO.

  2. Using the same rules you used to refund my pledge, without my asking, you are to immediately process refunds in the amount of $2,134,374 as per the initial Kickstarter crowd-funding effort for those who request it. Those who want to wait to see the end (my instinct, from what I know now, is telling me that the end is looking a lot like a catastrophic total loss of this project), and funded to the tune of $83m on your website, are welcome to do that.

  3. Give backers the opportunity to hire an independent forensics accountant, and an executive producer, to audit the company records, and give an accurate picture of the financial health of the company, and it’s ability to complete, and deliver this project in a timely fashion. I hereby offer to foot the entire costs of this effort. And I will put up to $1m of my own money, in an escrow account of an attorney’s choosing, to be used as-needed for this exercise. I will pay this price to prove that I had every right to seek these answers. So this money can either go toward a good cause (righting this ship), or to attorneys who are most likely to burn it all down anyway.

  4. If you ignore this, the more time passes, the more articles that myself, and investigative media write, revealing what we know, the more likely it is that this will end in legal (someone suing someone, and opening the flood gates) action, thereby  forcing you all to come to court and answer these questions.

If anyone else was posting these demands on their blog, people at Cloud Imperium would likely cackle a few times and then keep doing, well, this.


But this is Derek Smart, who is, for all his Act 2 calm Zen Master developerness, still can occasionally be as litigious as someone who has had a legal team on retainer for the past 25 years can be. So instead, CI decided to revoke Smart’s Star Citizenship due to his being Derek Smart (oh, and threatening to bring down the entire company and demand top-level changes in corporate management and a few other things).

ci-dsMr. Lesnick, I can safely say this isn’t about Smart’s promoting Line of Defense any more. No one really can say! No one knows where this train is going to stop any more; Derek Smart is promising more updates, the media has been nibbling, and out of the 300 or so Cloud Imperium employees, I’m pretty sure one or two of them have a few things they want to get off their chest. At which point:



At any rate, this entire tale could not get more weird. It really couldn’t. Trust me, there is no way this can…

…OK, yes, it can.

You see, there’s this thing called Gamergate.

More specifically, there’s this thing called Airplay, which is a debate being run by Michael Koretzky during a Society of Professional Journalists trade show. Koretzky surveyed the landscape and decided not enough people were talking about how, actually, it was about ethics in video game journalism, and by cracky, he was going to fix that!

Specifically by having a debate between some of Gamergate’s noted ethical paragons (such as the guy who writes for Breitbart about how he hates women in tech so very much, the other guy who writes for Breitbart about how cool 4chan is, the lady scholar who gives commentary on feminism from the somewhat unique standpoint that it’s actually men who are oppressed in modern society, and the ex-journalist who flamed out and yelled at Koretzky about how racist he was for not giving Gamergate an hour to explain what it was, presumably with Powerpoints and flowcharts) and, well, hrm.

There was a distinct lack of interest in potential punching bags to show up and be punched for a day, to which the other Breitbart guy responded FINE WE DIDN’T NEED YOU ANYWAY, WE’LL JUST DEBATE OURSELVES! with no hint of perceptible irony or self-awareness.

Yes, like anything else Gamergate-involved, this quickly became so stupid that Mark Kern may actually have gotten involved. But you may ask yourself, self, why I am I reading about this crazy not-a-debate in an article about Derek Sma….

oh no.

Oh, no.



Yes, Derek Smart is going to take time out of his busy schedule demolishing Star Citizen to solve this whole Gamergate thing. I am not making any of this up at all. I AM NOT CREATIVE ENOUGH TO MAKE ANY OF THIS UP.

At this point, the only thing that can make this weirder is if Donald Trump gives a statement about crowd-funding Kickstarter game journalism. I fully expect this to happen by Wednesday.

full disclosure!

  • the author works on a crowd-funded project of his own which has nothing to do with any of this and you will note he is posting this blog article at 1:30 AM on his own time so kindly do not swarm his workplace ANY OF YOU.
  • the author has been Internet-acquaintances with Derek Smart for a good while now and has occasionally given him what he thinks is helpful advice. It’s safe to say Derek didn’t ask the author about Airplay.
  • the author knows quite a few people over at Cloud Imperium and wishes them all the best and wants a cool game for his Oculus Rift when it comes out, please.
  • the author is so old he remembers the 1990s from back when he started blogging, and often speaks in the third person.



27 thoughts on “I Am Become Smart, Destroyer Of Worlds. Look Upon My Flames, Ye Mighty, And Despair.

  1. enderandrew says:

    When I was discussing Star Citizen with Derek on your wall, I didn’t know his history at the time. But I didn’t get the impression he was arguing in good faith. He acts like CIG hasn’t said since day 1 the game is getting pushed way back because of the scope. He has said to people that CIG has stolen your money and spent it elsewhere and won’t ship anything. He has called this fraud and a scam.

    Those are serious legal accusations. And his main sticking point seems to be that if a game doesn’t ship a completed game on the KS date, then we need to get the government involved. You may note, SotA has equally sailed past the KS expected delivery date as well, and is fact a month later than SC.

    Both games are neither feature complete, but have playable states. Both show constant progress. As a backer to both, I’m happy and supportive of both. There are a lot of times I wish SotA had SC-levels of visibility and funding. I think the vision warrants some of that.

    I fully understand those who may doubt that a game of SC’s scope can deliver on expectations. Maybe CIG will succeed and maybe they won’t. But accusing them of outright theft and then being irrational about it is in fact harmful to how people view crowd-funding as well.

    When Paul Neurath fired up his KS for Underworld Ascendant, people were literally quoting the “Is SC a Scam” articles as justification to never back crowd-funding again and his campaign suffered as a direct result. They struggled to raise funding when those are some of the most influential developers in PC gaming history. It is a sincere shame they suffered. I really don’t think Derek understands the harm he is doing to crowd-funding as a platform, and he doesn’t seem to care.

    I’ve heard Chris Roberts is a perfectionist and hard to work for. It is entirely possible there is some context of ruffled feathers in the past I’m not aware of. But saying that Chris is stealing money isn’t cool.

    Derek isn’t just saying this with the context of all his lengthy history of raising hell ages ago. He is doing so when he recently oversaw a project where he delayed a game for 3 years. Yet there is no hesitation on his part to throw stones.

    If he wants to attack GamerGate, he is welcome to bat that hornet’s nest. I have zero love for vile sexists that have practically ruined the connotation of being a gamer. Wil Wheaton discussed how the term gamer user to be like geek to him, that it implied a shared love that brought people together.

    If Derek wants to champion for a real cause, then I’ll stand behind him. But his crusade against CIG does not appear to be logical, or in any way based upon good faith.

    • Ori Klein says:

      From the description of things seems to me he has decided for himself
      that Chris is robbing people and has taken upon himself a mantle of
      self-declared moral crusader.
      At this point, he’ll view himself and
      actions as righteous – in his mind he is doing the right thing, and so
      there’s no stopping him or talking sense about it.

  2. Ori Klein says:

    I’m sorry, Scott, but GamerGate has pretty much won on one issue out of the entirety of the cesspool that is games journalism which developers been moaning over since forever yet never dared tackle for fear of losing their livelihood, justified as it may be. Despise the whole as you would, it is not a “hate movement”.

    I can only hope at some point, this may come onto publishers’ doorstep as well, since they’re the main instigator. And then eventually make a full-circle around back onto changing the individual people/consumers and their habits (whom are the very reason why publishers fashion their tactics in such a manner in the first place…but that’s wishful thinking, like hoping people will stop being made stupid by sports and politicians).

    HIMEM.SYS actually could be used quite well with a few other tricks by the average user to clear about 630k/640k of the RAM right away off the boot.

    As for Derek, if he had indeed fallen back on his old ways…Oi, Derek.

  3. Pingback: Derek Smart Joins Circus d’AirPlay | Zen Of Design

  4. Vetarnias says:

    Airplay’s (and, by extension, the SPJ’s) mistake is to assume that because GG purports to be about “ethics in games journalism”, GG must not only be sincere about it but must necessarily offer a valid position on this question.

    What I tend to see on the part of too many games journalists, though, is to simply dismiss the question of ethics in games journalism because GG has brandished it as its banner. That’s GG’s main contribution to this debate: On the one hand, the movement claims to be about something it, with token exceptions (like TotalBiscuit exposing Mordor’s payola scheme), has no respect for (since its idea of ethics is evidently that all journalism must echo the whims of game consumers, of whom GG claims to be the mouthpiece); on the other hand, GG has made it unfashionable, among those who saw GG for what it was, to talk at any length about ethics in games journalism, and provided the actual question of ethics to go without a discussion by a gaming press that by and large might be guilty as charged and would rather avoid the question (thereby reinforcing GG’s claim that gaming journalism is all shadowy cabals and such).

    It’s been a long while since I trusted gaming journalism on anything, since even its practitioners seem to regard it as nothing more than disposable ephemera. (See how Penny Arcade not only put an end to their PA Report section but removed every trace of it from the web not even a year later even as they carry on with their mediocre webcomic week after week.) There’s something not quite right with gaming journalism when on Metacritic the average professional review scores 8 or 8.5 while the players’ reviews score a 6 at most. Score alone indicates nothing, but when I read the players’ reviews on games which I did play, I found that those who bothered giving reasons were often quite right, whereas the professional journalists all sounded like they were writing advertorials. Yet this is exactly the kind of professional press that GG seems satisfied with, whereas it’s the more polemical — and often the most intellectually rewarding — games criticism which GG wants to destroy.

    There should, by all means, be a debate on ethics in games journalism — because frankly games journalism really has a putrid odour which needs addressing — but not by GG, not by Milo, not by Ms. Sommers, nor by all the GG fellow-travellers like Kern, Wad Barbell or Smart. Indeed, it’s a debate that should be held among journalists of that dying breed, the kind that are sniffy about standards and conflicts of interest, not the self-made YouTuber who’d rather print out his own press card to stick in his (that he has already) fedora. And for that, the SPJ would have been an ideal venue. Leave out GG and actually talk about ethics in games journalism? That sure would have Gaters shrieking mad.

    I see from the Airplay site that “Anti-GamerGate” is “boycotting” Airplay. That’s an actual group? The way the Airplay site frames it implies that there is only one organization that opposes GG (just like GG would like us to assume that it has the monopoly on the question of ethics), and from there, only one way to oppose GG. I wouldn’t reduce GG simply to a “hate movement” — it’s just as vile in what it rightly claims to be, a “consumer revolt”, as in what it would clumsily try to deny. And I ever felt masochistic enough to send my sorry carcase to Florida to take part in this debate, my line of reasoning would ostensibly differ from what “Anti-GamerGate” would probably say about GG.

    • Ori Klein says:

      Kuchera managed to become so acidic he wrecked the best opportunity anyone was ever given to be a respectable games journalist. Hence his removal. Thus the eradication of any trace of his work from PA.

      Way to blow that chance up. You have to be a royal ace to fuck that up.

      • Vetarnias says:

        That would be true, if Kuchera (who’s indeed a taste I never acquired) had been the sole person to ever write for the PA Report. Also doesn’t explain why he made quite a soft landing at Polygon before becoming so openly jaded about video games that he decided to take a break.

        No, it’s just that Holkins & Krahulik were quite done with the world of grownups and elected to fly back to Neverland for the remainder of their lives.

        • Ori Klein says:

          I’m pretty sure Khoo steers the ship, as much as big-wig pull the duo have given it is their business. They did cut several other brands alongside. Perhaps they’ve received vitriol or otherwise. But it was obviously a business decision, which means Khoo made it.

          The sad irony is that Kuchera used to be a decent, intelligent, person with insightful articles (look him up in Ars Technica archives). But then he started delving onto petty politically correct ideology until he drowned.
          Polygon was a natural fit for him as such.

      • enderandrew says:

        They didn’t just remove Kuchera’s work, but all of Penny Arcade Report, which is shame. I loathe the GG movement, but I do admit there isn’t really any good gaming journalism. I would disagree with Kuchera frequently, but I think he took himself seriously and at least tried.

        Penny Arcade removed all their videos. They removed all the content from their site that was no longer what they felt their direct vision of what they wanted to do moving forward, so most of the old Penny Arcade TV content is gone.

        I don’t think PA wiped their hands of Ben specifically. They gave him a big public thank you and a favorable send-off when he went to Polygon.

        • Vetarnias says:

          Earlier this year, I came across something called the “Entertainment Media Council”, evidently a business lobby for video game publishers. And here was what it was announcing in January:

          “Entertainment Media Council (EMC), the association for business
          leaders in the video game industry, today announced a new initiative to
          build the world’s first nonprofit media library that will preserve the rich history of video games. EMC kicks off the program with DEFY Media, a leading creator and distributor of digital content, to provide full-text content from its three-time Webby Award-winning online magazine The Escapist. Access to the database will be available to corporate and academic researchers by subscription only.

          “We are losing our history. Although the video game industry has become an essential feature of popular culture, until now there has been no compelling effort to preserve the journalistic lens through
          which we have watched this industry evolve,” said EMC president and
          chief executive officer Morgan Ramsay. “Our initiative, in cooperation
          with every media company that has played a role in the conversation
          about video games, will ensure there is a singular resource for serious
          research, for those who would remember our past to shape our future.””

          I have detested The Escapist for as long as I can remember, even before they started shamelessly embracing Gamergate. But at least it’s getting the right idea here. I also don’t like the fact that a business lobby will get to manage (and gatekeep) what might turn out to be the only archive of video games journalism when nobody will be alive to remember what it was, because it’s easy to imagine how “to manage” might well become “to massage”. But who else bothers archiving any of this stuff?

          Which just points to another danger. We know Gamergate is bullshit. But imagine historians having to work from the few gaming sources to have survived unscathed from that period to make any sense of it. Imagine if the only gaming source to have survived from this time period, courtesy of the EMC, turns out to be The Escapist. Sigh….

          And that’s what I mean by how treating video games journalism as ephemeral is perilous. PA clearly didn’t give a damn about their Report even as their main activities continued, which I interpret as a huge fuck-you to anyone who didn’t care about their webcomic but liked the serious topics sometimes brought up at the PA Report. They acted as though they didn’t owe anything to anyone, not even to posterity. Silly, shallow people whose main preoccupation is what was it that was wrong about our dickwolves merchandise again?

          But that’s just part of the problem. Did you see anyone writing, mentioning, complaining about the quick and definitive demise of the Penny Arcade Report, let alone the nuking of its archives from the site? No, because even though it didn’t even take a year between ending PAR and destroying any trace it ever existed, it was already passé, old news, not worth revisiting. In other words, readers of gaming articles may well lose an attention-span contest waged against my cat.

          Anyone bothered to archive PAR before it was removed? (And please, don’t mention the Internet Archive, which is useless unless you have a direct link to a page.) Did Holkins & Krahulik make a backup of it before they decided to unclutter their server space? What are they going to do about it? My guess is they don’t care. They’re too busy living in the zeitgeist that they’ll burn away with it, leaving no trace of themselves when the party’s over. Still, that doesn’t mean that historians have nothing to gain from looking at it.

          I’m an old-fashioned guy. And here’s an old-fashioned guy telling you that the archival of electronic sources is as good as the paper they’re printed on.

    • Ori Klein says:

      As for the anti-GG, there are certain clear figure heads as well as other outsider critiques such as Damion Schubert.
      There is no shortage of AGG representatives. But it is easier to play dumb, I suppose, than to be challenged.

      I do agree that five minutes are barely any length of time to debate anything more complex than lactose intolerance in dairy products.
      Airplay’s inability to afford more than that renders it an improper platform. And the organizer’s insistence that any issue should be summed up in five minutes or it is unworthy of attention is fallacious.

      • Vetarnias says:

        Well, you’d need someone who’d want to attend a debate that promises to turn up the heat even higher than what can be expected in swampland, USA in the middle of summer.

        I don’t really think anything good could come of it. The goal is laudable, but the premise is flawed and the list of speakers dubious when not outright laughable. The personalities he’s lined up aren’t very good at argumentation, haven’t been known for their dedication to the cause of ethics in journalism, but they’re very good at two things, self-promotion and playing gotcha, which is why I suspect no anti-GG person in their right mind would want to draw a huge target on their own back. That’s not a “boycott”, that’s just sensible self-preservation.

        • Ori Klein says:

          Well, it’s a 30’c heatwave in Israel right now. We’re kind of used to it. Still a drag. 😉

          Would it have gotten heated unless the moderator kept it chill? Quite likely. All political debates do. At the end you have two exclusive perspectives colliding; dishonest racketeering not withstanding.

          However, the so-called heat is hardly something unmanageable unless one has been diagnosed with certain mental health conditions.
          Why would someone not want to attend a debate whereas they have a venue to offer their own perspective, by their own words, and convince the audience there and elsewhere of their way being just?
          In particular those who crown themselves as the moral high ground keepers.

          What good comes out of it is the different perspectives being fleshed out and displayed naked for all to see and weigh for themselves.

          I am not very familiar with the speakers.
          Yiannopolis is not much of a debater rather an accuser whose style flaunts tempestuous critique and flirts with tabloid quality.
          Professor Sommers, while an academic and eloquent speaker, is more oriented around contemporary feminism critique and less around the issues of ethics in general and gamergate/SocJus in specific.
          The rest I never heard of before and can attest nothing to.

          I’d have personally preferred to see someone debating someone else, but no one ever asks for my wishes. Or offers me free chocolate chips cookies or an ice cream cone.

          When you say “self-preservation” you make it sound as though someone will be spending the night in ER afterwards.
          But if your arguments are weak then I suppose their legs will be snapped?

          • i wlll just say that my disagreements with Milo et. al. are on the record for anyone to see and i still have a less-than-zero desire to defend those on that particular stage, especially given that there are plenty of gamergaters who quite openly said they were waiting for the first moment to dox whomever dared to appear as an opponent.

          • Vetarnias says:

            Yeah, that’s what I meant by self-preservation. I know it might appear cowardly to say that whoever is anti-GG must avoid the debate, but the only people to whom this Airplay thing matters are Gaters themselves, who were going to claim victory no matter what. Their presence on that debate is already lopsided, so it will end up at best as Gaters agreeing with Gaters, and at worst as — I’ve seen that before — “we are all agreed, so who does not agree hard enough?”. To say nothing of enlisting a “neutral” like Derek Smart to play what, the part of the judge deciding who has the prettiest pig at the county fair?

            This has all the makings of a mudslinging contest, and all it’s missing is the person to be the concerted target. Doesn’t the SPJ/Koretzky realize this? It could have been so much better, by enlisting faculty from local journalism schools (the University of Miami has one) or from the well-known Poynter Institute a few hours away in St. Petersburg, or editorial staff from local newspapers. Was the SPJ turned down? Did the SPJ try at all?

            And as much as you might say that these people/organizations might know a great deal about journalism ethics but not that much about video gaming journalism in particular, let’s see what Milo or Christina H. Sommers have written in that vein, what personal experiences they can bring up, how much they actually know about the inner workings of major gaming reviewing outlets. My guess is, not much.

            But anyway. To the SPJ it’s just another he-says-she-says,-let’s-file-copy-and-go-home moment, or at least another opportunity to indulge in pathos by openly positing that journalists “are a group even less respected by polite society” than gamers. (Besides, is reads more as if it were Koretzky’s baby and that he just got the regional SPJ branch to underwrite it.) To Sarkeesian and others who have been fighting Gamergate at its ugliest for months, it will just continue as usual. To Gaters who have been at their ugliest for months, it will continue as usual. To the SPJ, it will continue as usual.

            So, to an anti-Gamergate person, it all comes down to choosing one’s battles. And this one ain’t worth it. The problem with too many anti-Gamergate people, though, is that they don’t want any debate anywhere. See the popularity of “sea-lioning”, which invariably implies the other side is ultra-politely debating in bad faith, thereby dispensing you from having to debate him (or enabling you to dismiss him abusively); but just replace the phrase “sea lions” in that webcomic which coined the phrase with something like “Latinos” or “homosexuals” and see how ugly this avoidance of debate actually becomes. And that’s the other problem: most professional journalists *are* the sea lions in that comic. They have, by necessity, to be polite. They’re often rebuffed by people who don’t feel the need to justify themselves even though their actions are of public concern. All they’ve got is persistence (while meeting deadline, of course). Strange that some people should have taken a webcomic and interpreted that as though civility were a bad thing and ignoring people the ne plus ultra of argumentative techniques. Which, in turn, just fuels the Gamergate reaction and makes it end up with a shouting match where nobody listens to the other side, making the poor hapless journalist end up like a lamb going to the slaughter. Little wonder, then, that the “neutral” contributor to Airplay should be someone whose primary concern was always known to have been himself.

            And let’s not forget the elephant in the room here: video games themselves. Since it is the unifying trait behind all Gaters, maybe they have something to do with Gamergate? Maybe the endless promotion of power fantasies is turning out to have a nefarious impact? (I tried Europa Universalis IV anew recently, and yeah, it’s ugly, but that’s a story for another day.)

          • Ori Klein says:

            I’ll help you spear-by-javelin any who dares. 😉
            As it stands though,
            by my understanding, the sad excuse for human beings called baphomet
            have already doxxed pretty much every person “of prominence” involved from either side?
            (Also, if you could please provide me with links where those GGers said such I’d appreciate it. I’ll take them to task over it; you know I headbutt without looking sideways first. ;D)

            I’ve been thinking about it, and it does seem like there is nothing to
            debate. As far as ethics are concerned, I think there is a consensus of
            sort? At least between GG and devs; so the SJWs aren’t even a part of
            it as they are not even concerned with it.
            The rest is just politics, modern feminism/radicals, and trying to debunk people on the personal level/expose frauds.
            it’s not really in the scope of the supposed ethics question or
            anything of interest to gamers/devs rather lousy “Internet Drama/he said
            – she said” moot crap.


      • Vetarnias says:

        Oh, and about Schubert, his latest post at his blog about “capitalism and diversity” makes me wonder if he’s not closer to the Gamergate mindset than he would ever admit. (Go and read it, by all means, but in a nutshell, it says: “diversity is good, it makes money”.)

    • Ori Klein says:

      Disclaimer: I actually did have a colonoscopy (as well as gastroscopy combined) on the 15th. Was a breeze. Propofol is awesome. 2 minutes, knocked out, woke up in recovery. :3

      Derek, love him and he may be right on some things (I’ll admit RSI/CS didn’t have the most perfect sailing, but then again who does on such scale, and that there are many questions to be asked), but he needs to get some perspective.

      I’d imagine that working for Richard is hardly working for The Man; if anything, it’s probably quite the opposite.

  5. For the record, my stance on GamerGate has been consistent and remains as such.

    When they invited me to spjAirplay (which is just 1hr from me here in S. Florida btw) as a neutral, I agreed because well, why the hell not? It’s not like I have a hair appointment that day. Or a scheduled colonoscopy.

    People who know me from back in the day, know that I am not one of those people who just offers lip service while pandering to the current trope.

    My loyalties, stance etc don’t change by the sway of opinions, but rather by the swing of my own – sometimes flawed to point of abject hilarity – observations.

    I want to be the harbinger of discourse because no matter how insane or off the wall, my arguments and causes tend to have some meaning and spark discussion. (even if it’s the “he’s an ass”!! flavor)

    As evidenced by the past two weeks of Star Citizen noise (aka bad PR shit) that’s not the usual fuckeries everyone keeps writing about, while ignoring the impending disaster (it will be glorious when it hits. you’ll see) by not asking the tough questions.

    In the past two weeks, the RSI crew have done so much stupid shit that, even I couldn’t aspire to such lofty heights in my 90s heydays. And to cap it all, just two days ago, I practically forced CR to admit to feature creep. On the record. On camera. First time ever.

    I am at the age whereby I am on track to being that semi-retired cranky old bastard who stopped giving two shits 20yrs ago. I’ve earned it, I think.

    I love this industry and caring about what goes on in it, is part of my legacy.


  6. Vetarnias says:

    Further thoughts on the entire Airplay controversy:

    I still don’t know whose idea it mostly was, Koretzky’s or the SPJ’s. But don’t they realize it’s bound to be an abject failure? Now I read that they’re not going to be waiting until the end to take questions from the audience; instead, they’ll allow questions at any given time during the debate.

    I also see that they’ve found two bona fide journalists to take part in this, an investigative reporter with a local TV station and someone from the Poynter Institute (which I mentioned in a previous post). What’s especially revealing however are the commentaries on the pages for these two people. On the (female) investigative reporter: “A natural worry for Gamergate would be that she is a dyed in the wool third wave feminist, of course. Since, of course, third wave feminists and Anita Sarkeesian is pretty much one of the thought leaders of third wave feminism.” The comments are almost unanimously pro-Gamergate. And I’m concerned about what impression Airplay is trying to convey by having still frames from anime at the top of most entries.

    Despite the presence of the two aforementioned journalists, it just doesn’t look serious. Maybe Koretzky has a few aces up his sleeve and is just trying to make the Gaters at ease and off-guard before he skewers them, but I doubt it. It’s a small venue (200 people?), so they’ll swamp the place, disrupt the agenda, dismiss whoever disagrees with them (whether it’s the professional journalists, or even Smart), and say out loud that they won.

    What makes me especially skeptical is this statement by Koretzky: ““If you can’t explain your movement in two minutes, much less 15, no journalist is going to cover you,” I replied. “That might not be fair, it might not be right, but that’s the way it is.””

    You want something you can explain in two minutes? How about…

    “It is Mars One’s goal to establish a human settlement on Mars. Human settlement of Mars is the next giant leap for humankind. Exploring the solar system as a united humanity will bring us all closer together. Mars is the stepping stone of the human race on its voyage into the universe. Human settlement on Mars will aid our understanding of the origins of the solar system, the origins of life and our place in the universe. As with the Apollo Moon landings, a human mission to Mars will inspire generations to believe that all things are possible, anything can be achieved.”

    It may seem like I’m taking an example at random, but I’m really not. When I first heard about Mars One, I thought, is this for real? Is it a hoax, a scam, a publicity stunt, or something horrifyingly over-optimistic and misguided? And I’m fairly certain it was not only the reaction of most readers, but that of the overwhelming majority of journalists who reported that as straight news, as a serious scientific endeavour. It took weeks if not months before the reports on Mars One started taking a turn for the negative: from how the science wasn’t nearly ready enough to meet Mars One’s own deadlines, to how the organization never had really gotten started on the project despite assurances to the contrary, to how the whole thing started to reek of a pyramid scheme. And frankly, if you’re into one-way trips to certain death, why go to Mars when you have the Islamic State?

    I can’t remember who it was — Hemingway, I think, but I’m not sure — that said that writers came with innate bullshit detectors. Well, journalists ought to have been careful about reporting on that. Amazingly, months after this, you still get serious news stories about Mars One. (The Irish Examiner: “Cork-based engineer in last 100 for Mars One mission.”) But to ask that everything be summarized in two minutes “or no journalist is going to cover you” is to play a game that can only be won by public relations specialists, who are very deft at this sort of thing, especially since they can over-simplify things and skip those embarrassing details which may raise uncomfortable questions. In other words, a journalist who asks that everything come in two-minute sound bites is betraying not only his readers, but his vocation and his intellect. Which is why journalists are usually portrayed as jaded, cynical individuals who know they’re being fed bullshit day after day but still pass it on because the publisher likes it that way, and the readers keep on asking for more. (A very good example is an article at Vox: “The real reason people write so much about Mad Men: you keep clicking”.)

    And that’s the whole state of affairs with gaming journalism, too. It’s never good enough to convince me that video games are worth taking seriously. It rarely tries going out on a limb, but when it does, it tries so hard that it becomes laughable (see some of the stuff Mike Thomsen has written at various publications). If you want an example of what I mean, have a go at one of the most famous works by one of the favourite candidates as the worst poet of all times, William McGonagall’s “The Tay Bridge Disaster”. I know poetry recitals can get you banned around here, but I’ll take my chances, so here’s the last part (trigger warning: train wreck, both actual and poetical):

    “Oh! Ill-fated bridge of the silv’ry Tay,
    I now must conclude my lay
    By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
    That your central girders would not have given way,
    At least many sensible men do say,
    Had they been supported on each side with buttresses
    At least many sensible men confesses,
    For the stronger we our houses do build,
    The less chance we have of being killed.”

    Every time it tries to soar, it’s burdened by down-to-earth considerations, like video game reviews (including Polygon’s) that treat serious issues while still bringing out the fun-o-meter or talking about frame rates in the end. And it’s why I detest Gamergate, too: far from allowing game reviewing to soar, all they ask is for more “objective” discussion of girders and buttresses, indeed think girders and buttresses are the key to successful poetry.

    The supreme irony of Gamergate is that its ideal of “objective” reviewing seems, in its mind, to have materialized in its purest form in vintage issues of Nintendo Power. Gamergate only has respect for money (strange, is it not, on the part of an organization purportedly about “ethics in games journalism”?), not artistic integrity, nor intellectual inquiry, nor freedom of expression (except its own). I remember calling it “neoconservatives with training wheels” on my blog, and every passing month reinforces my impression.

    Still, I’m worried when I see someone like Damion Schubert at his blog think that the salvation of the video games industry comes from diversity only because it will ensure more people will be there to buy games with nine-figure budgets. The problem with large-budget video games is already that, apart from niche titles, they’re all aimed at the lowest common denominator. The solution isn’t to make it even more common. Left in the hands of such people, the notion of games as art (or as anything but a mass-market commercial product) is as dead as if it were left in the hands of Gamergate. I’ve been thinking for a while now that even though gamers want a “Citizen Kane of Video Games”, they would never leave the Orson Welles of designers alone unless he gave them what they wanted, his vision be damned. No, instead, it seems the film director of choice for video games isn’t Welles, but George Lucas, the king of planned obsolescence and of the new permanently obliterating the old.

    Little wonder that games journalism should be written, as I mentioned before, as disposable ephemera.

  7. Vetarnias says:

    Anyway, I hope you’ll cover the Airplay debate itself on your blog in a fortnight. The more I read about it (and around it) the less I get a clear impression of why it exists in the first place. What does Koretzky hope to get out of it? A clearer understanding of Gamergate, when everybody by now kinda knows what it’s about? Something for historians to chew on in a few decades? More visibility for himself? I’m really starting to believe this last one.

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