A Gamergater called "Chum's knife blade" claims to be photo-stalking Brianna at PAX. pic.twitter.com/D9ea9HJge3— jere7my (@jere7my) March 7, 2015
The responses are disturbing. pic.twitter.com/3Onyxt1ZLP— jere7my (@jere7my) March 7, 2015
A former PAX enforcer tells me the situation is being handled by upper management. Sounds like the word has gotten to the right ears.— jere7my (@jere7my) March 7, 2015
A lot of Gaters/Channers are explaining to me that he wasn't actually planning to hurt Brianna. That's likely, and I'm glad to hear it.— jere7my (@jere7my) March 7, 2015
But photostalking someone and retweeting threats at a conference is not appropriate behavior for conference staff or volunteers!— jere7my (@jere7my) March 7, 2015
It pains me that I have to say something so obvious. Notifying PAX management was the right thing to do, and it has been done.— jere7my (@jere7my) March 7, 2015
Whatever steps PAX wants to take, it's in their hands.— jere7my (@jere7my) March 7, 2015
In the interest of fairness, he has apologized for retweeting the death threat joke. pic.twitter.com/TAkq1W1Ozq— jere7my (@jere7my) March 7, 2015
Whether an enforcer taking photos without permission and posting them to be mocked by their followers is acceptable, I'll leave up to PAX.— jere7my (@jere7my) March 7, 2015
Very disappointed by the behavior of a fellow #Enforcer - Sorry, but if you aren't put out already, apologize and leave. Now.— Michael Pearson (@plaid_lad) March 7, 2015
Of course, the GamerGate response is to launch a Fear, Uncertainty, and... oh, we'll say Denial ("shitpost") operation:
Gamergate's response to the PAX enforcer incident: launch a FUD op! pic.twitter.com/Vs3LWWoAec— jere7my (@jere7my) March 7, 2015
eta: Brianna Wu responds:
I'm getting questions about this, so let me be clear. People ask me to take pics with them all the time - I don't mind at all. Honored.— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) March 8, 2015
I do mind if you were in a position of providing security and you allude in social media to murdering me. Please don't do that.— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) March 8, 2015
Tycho, Gabe? The ball's in your court. This guy needs to be banned from all PAX events, everywhere. Forever.
This post echoed from Crime and the Blog of Evil.
Over on Facebook, a person trying to be “middle of the road” on GamerGate says that he sees both sides of GamerGate as extremist, and as being pretty much the same. And no, as automatic as it seems to be to set up such false symmetries, I won’t accept that.
One side is explicitly and specifically intending to drive women out of the industry and feminist discussion of video games, with particular focus on a few specific hate targets. This isn’t speculation; I’ve read the chat logs. There are screencaps; there were more logs actually provided by GamerGate leaders who screamed “context” when those came out, but they really needed to learn that calling context should only be done when the context helps your case, not hurts it.
So the nature of this movement isn’t really disputable. Here’s a reasonable Wired article that points to a lot of original sources, from last month, before the bomb and shooting threats became a weekly problem.
And here an interview with Eron Gjoni, the ex-boyfriend with a restraining order against him whose post really set off the misogynist explosion which had been smouldering for a while, and became GamerGate. In the referenced post, he accused Zoe of cheating on him and sleeping with a reporter to get better coverage of her game. Problem is, said reporter never wrote about her or her game, aside from a very brief mention months before they are even alleged to have become involved. And despite everything that this has exploded into, and the harassment that has spread to like wildfire, he says he would absolutely do it again.
And he has in fact recently resigned form his job to spend more time coordinating GamerGate. Oh, and he declines to either stop violating his restraining order or stop seeking to have it removed.
If someone is consciously associating with “GamerGate,” this is what they are associating themselves with.
You – the generic “you” – can make a real good point about journalism being a farce. You can make a better point about it being systemically corrupted. But you can’t ignore that this is a systemic problem through journalism, and you can’t ignore that this subfield isn’t any worse (and may indeed be better than) the field as a whole, and you can’t ignore that the only thing that made these people care is…
…an ex-boyfriend, against whom there is a restraining order he keeps trying to get overturned, making a ragepost against his ex-girlfriend, saying she’s cheating with sex to get her games better coverage they clearly don’t deserve.
As a movement, this was started on and is still centred on rage against women commenting on and contributing to videogames.
On what you’re calling the other side – there isn’t a movement, in a greater sense, like there is with GamerGate. There are a lot of people opposed, sure – but to what? A lot of things. To harassment, death threats, bomb threats, rape threats, misogyny, and the silencing of women, and – ironically – the attacks on journalism, like the Wired UK article I linked above. All of these things appear to make you, in the GG world, a “social justice warrior.” (Personally, I think of myself more as a social justice rogue, but maybe that’s just how I roll… my stats. XD)
But there’s not an identity, like there is with GG. There are a lot of different identities, sure – but if opposing the Tories makes the Bloc, Liberals, NDP, and Greens all one movement, then I’m not really sure how you can define “movement” in a way that has any meaning at all.
Essentially, a Green saying “Harper’s agenda must be stopped” doesn’t make them part of a group lobbying for Quebec separatism. But calling yourself a GG does make you part of a group that is actively misogynist and is actively and continually threatening people.
Saying those two situations are the same is a false equivalence. That matters, because it makes “both sides the same,” which is about as untrue as can be managed in a socio-political situation. And that, in turn, downplays what the actual movement here – the GamerGate movement – is trying to do.
Through threats of violence, intimidation, and harassment, the visible bulk of the movement wants to force women and feminist commentary out of games – and, if you believe some of the threads on 4chan and 8chan, then out of geek culture as a whole. (They’ve gone fishing around for support in comics fandom already, I’ve seen it.) I do not believe it would stop there, and I do believe the evidence shows that it is profoundly misogynist.
And that is not the same thing at all.
Another week, another woman in gaming forced from her home by doxxing followed by threats of rape and murder. And, as usual, you have the chorus of idiots going on about how this is “really” about a real issue in games journalism.
Ignore the part where it was specifically set up as a misogynist harassment campaign to drive various people out of tech – we know this, we have the chat logs to prove it – ignore all that, because it’s “become something else…” that happens to achieve exactly the same effect.
And here exactly is why you can’t argue with the useful idiots. #GamerGate true-believers are the anti-vaxxers of the online world.
Seriously, come with me here. Anti-vaxxers are basing everything on the authenticity of a vaccines and autism paper written with a plan of knowing and intentional fraud. It was a lie, with a goal, and the perpetrators are in jail. But none of that deters the horde of fools and morons who are causing the deaths of tens of thousands of people through easily-preventable diseases worldwide.
#GamerGate true believers are basing everything on the authenticity of an online campaign created with a plan of knowing and intentional fraud. It was a smear, with a goal (of driving women from tech) – although in this case, the perpetrators are not in jail. Part of their documented strategy was to drag in a lot of useful idiots who would fall for it and bulk their numbers. And none of that deters the true believers who are doxxing and threatening women with rape and murder across the internet.
It’s exactly the same thing. And just as with the anti-vax movement, it needs to be taken seriously, because it’s causing real and lasting harm. It needs to be fought. Just don’t think you’re going to get through to them, because you’re not. Like the anti-vax fools, they’re locked in; any argument or discussion with them merely entrenches them further in their beliefs.
What you can do is make this shit trigger some fallout. Right now, it still doesn’t. Until it does, nothing will change. And since you can’t change their minds, you have to make damn well sure that these actions have some serious goddamn consequences. Lock them out of your dealings; lock them out of your businesses; lock them out of your events; lock them out of your lives. Because while there certainly is no law, there can damned well still be effects.
Some people are doing this already, but it has to hit a critical mass before it can take effect. Basically, it’s up to everyone who isn’t them and isn’t a direct target. Which is to say – it’s up to us.
eta: Hey, look, guess who got a bomb threat again, this time at GeekGirlCon. And there’s another harassment account already set up just for this.
Today marks the 3rd time I’ve gone on stage after specific death and bomb threats where issued to an event where I’m scheduled to speak.
— Feminist Frequency (@femfreq) October 11, 2014
SUPERB P0WNERSHIP is the phrase of the day. Zoe Quinn has been dealing with a misogynist campaign against her for months, and, whelp, guess who has been infiltrating 4chan’s chat rooms and logging the shit out of all of the entire campaign’s ops room? Oh yeah. That would be Zoe.
Oh, her angry ex-boyfriend? He’s in the logs too, helping coordinate harassment. Hey, look, a revenge campaign for breaking up with him! SMILE FOR THE CAMERAS, DOUCHEBAGS! There’s even video. This is epic destruction.
If you have no idea what this is about, it’s about misogyny in gaming, and an ongoing campaign to force women out of gaming, focusing on several specific people, one of whom is Zoe Quinn. You can get a bit of a summary here, if you like.
eta: Judging from the h8r reblogs on Tumblr and the anonymous asks I’ve got, it looks like the attempt at “defence” here is, “It’s all out of context!” Hey, pro tip: only cite context when it actually helps your case. Unlike here. Where it doesn’t.
PAX Prime tickets went up for sale while I was on the road, and by the time I could stop and add myself to the queue, it was too late. Thanks to Anna, I still managed a couple of days of tickets at face value.
This was the first time I’ve ever been nervous going to a PAX, mostly because of not just last year’s most recent round of crap (and before you ask, other than “I was here first, you fuckers,” here’s why I keep going) but because of the threatened protests by “men’s rights” misogynists.
Thankfully – and typically – they were too disorganised and cowardly to actually do anything in public. I only saw one I could even identify – he wore a “men’s rights” organisation T-shirt with a long name which makes an anti-women acronym; their logo is the venus/woman symbol with a big international NO graphic over it. I have a picture, but I’m not posting it.
But that wasn’t what the show was about; it was instead pretty awesome. I’m really disappointed I chose poorly on Saturday night and missed Abby Howard‘s feminism panel, her tweets made it sound excellent.
The queues weren’t bad this year. From this picture, that sounds like a “lol what” moment, but seriously, they weren’t. For one thing, crowd control second only to Disney. For another, even when long, the whisked right along, it was really impressive.
Welcome to Nerdvana
The big game buzz post-show this year apparently ended up being Gigantic. That surprises me, honestly, because all the buzz I was hearing Saturday night was about Lichdom, which is a lot like “we really like the magical combat and look of Skyrim, let’s turn those up to 90 and drop most of the other stuff.” I played it; if that sounds good to you, then you want this game.
Evolve’s booth drew a lot of attention, too. Mostly because of the Big Guy here. Paul and I ended up scrappin’ with it ’cause that’s just what happens.
World of Tanks, as always, had a giant-ass tank. I’m pretty sure they bring in a bigger tank every year. Nothing will top the year they brought in an actual tank, but that had to be outside, so I get why they didn’t do that again. Plus there was this bioshock-ish angry bear next to the Gauntlet demo booth that I liked.
I did not know Lenovo had a 27″ Windows tablet! They call it a tabletop, and it’s about the size of one. This is the first Windows Tablet that’s made me go “ooooooh, I do want that, but it’s $1500. Still, that’s a lot cheaper than a “surface,” so maybe in another couple of years it’ll even be doable. I’m not picturing it as a “tablet” of any sort, but damn, as an RPG add? I hung out at the Intel booth playing Risk against the computer for 45 minutes, that’s how cool it was.
I didn’t take a photo, so I’m a bad person and should feel bad. But they had a picture on their website.
Alienware has a new high-end gaming PC that looks spectacular. I mean honestly, this is one gorgeous beast. They say that the atypical shape helps cooling by eliminating dead airflow pockets.
Frankly, I’m not convinced, particularly with the drive bay, and I’m nervous about the GPU bank. There are fans at each corner (or just offset) and I can see what they’re doing, and I’m… they know how to run airflow tests, I’m sure it works well enough. But even given that, the drive bay side smells like Bad Choices to me. And any other cooling options are kind of off the table, because of the shape. I think I want to like it more than I do.
Also, holy crow, I actually won something in a drawing! I enter all the drawings, but of course, so does everyone, so usually I just get a T-shirt or something. Or a cape. Intel did capes two years ago, that was awesome. But this year I won a gaming headset! I may do a review later. You know how I talk about headsets and amp equipment aimed at consumers trying to “help” and being terrible for mixing? Definitely that category. On the other hand, the positioning of sounds in this headset is amazing. I don’t know what they’re doing, but it’s neat.
Lots of cosplay! If I’d had a third day there I’d’ve had more pictures. But I liked Snow White playing Lara Croft, so I had to snap that, and a few others just needed photos even though I was running around so much.
Snow White Plays Lara Croft
Game of Thrones – these looked better in person than in photo. Acting!
The Best Ewok
Paul and I went to concerts on Friday night, about which I felt kind of bad later, because I was also going to go to Shubzilla and Death*Star’s big concert block off-site, but I thought that was on Saturday so I didn’t. And then OOPS SAME TIME ;_; but well, that’s how PAX works.
I wasn’t, I admit, into the Triforce Quartet that much – see, most of you people were Nintendo or Playstation people and are all up in the Zelda things, and some of us were SEGA!heads, and chasing rings with hedgehogs, and that’s just how we rolled. Still, they were good. Don’t get me wrong, they performed well and got a standing ovation – it’s just not my thing. But The Doubleclicks were definitely on, and in the last song they got Paul and Storm to join them a song early, and hilarity ensued. Those two groups together really multiply up the funny.
LOOOOOOOT. I don’t have the assortment of T-shirts or the giant balloon Gauntlet spiked hammer when I took this photo, I don’t know what was wrong with me. But HEADSET! and SHOT GLASSES! One of which I didn’t even have to pay for!
I also ran into some people I’d love to talk about and made some early possible arrangements for some other things I’d love to talk about that I can’t talk about, which is why not talking about them is all down at this end of the post because I can’t talk about them.
But if any of it comes through, it’d be awesome. And it’s definitively related to music stuff I do. And it could be pretty epic. And that’s all I can say right now.
I hate secrets. I’m so bad at them. But if they happen, these will be worth it. :D
PAX is a problematic thing – there’s so much wrong with so many parts of the computer gaming industry and with gaming fandom, and with PA in particular. As I’m writing this, I’m seeing anger on Twitter again over something that apparently happened at the QA on Monday.
And yet, the crowd has made PAX Prime so very awesome every year. It’s one of those events where I just get more and more energy as I’m there. It’s 12-14 hour days spent spiralling up in energy. So many people I know get worn out by all the stimulus and the crowds, and after day three I’m ready to do it again.
I have an assortment of photos on Flickr, and, while I’m mentioning it, is anyone else as confused as I am to be saying “Yahoo! has really done good things with Flickr lately”? Because after ignoring it for years and letting it rot, they’ve gone at it, and I’m genuinely liking the changes so far. But have a few highlights:
That Worked Out Well
Paul Has Pikminions!
The view from Contestants’ Row
(I played Match Game on Gameshow Night)
First thing I wanted to do was play Elder Scrolls Online – a.k.a Skyrim Online :D – at the Bethesda booth. That had a two hour queue right out the gate, and it held that most if not all of the expo. It was easy to find:
Oh, That Must Be it
I snuck on to the queue just before they cut it off, and I got A Look from one of the Bethesda people who clearly thought I was cheating, but I was inside the tape, so lol no I’m not leaving. They had 30 instances running on desktops, along with command references sheets, so I photographed one and studied it on my phone.
Cheaty McCheetersdotter gets a sneak preview
Toggled over to first-person view, it plays a lot like Skyrim, which is exactly what I want. In the 20 minutes of playtime, I was mostly seeing Skyrim 2.0 Only Multiplayer, which is also exactly what I want, so I’m happy. A few UI changes were distracting – auras around current targets and interaction characters – but they said they had a lot of feedback from the minority of players who really dislike that, so there is an option to disable it.
I didn’t have enough time playing to evaluate the new skills system, but while the mechanics of it are different, the Bethesda reps present said it boiled down to the same sorts of customisations, and I’ll hold them to that.
Some of the hardware out now… hoo, I want it. Cooler Master’s modular stackable case system (HAF Stacker)? Yes please. I wouldn’t mind Intel’s little AppleTV-sized NUC complete systems either, tho’ I’m in a little less of a hurry for that. Sadly, other people won the raffles and stole my prizes, including the 600GB SSD.
I finally got my hands on Logitech’s G-13 gameboard. It’s a mixed bag. The wrist support is too low, but that’s easy to fix with a pad. The key programming functionality is excellent… but. There has to be a but, doesn’t there? And in this case, it’s that it’s all done in the drivers, not the hardware, and the drivers are OSX and Windows only, so no Linux support. I has a sad.
Some of the hardware shown didn’t make a lot of sense to me. Nvidia’s handheld remote gaming system, the Shield… it’s a nice system, and if you’re into Android platform games, okay, the hardware is very nice. But the stream-your-PC-games functionality, which is what they were mostly selling – I’m just not seeing the usage case. It performed flawlessly, but it works only on your LAN, and it’s a tiny screen compared to a desktop; playing Skyrim on it was just kind of weird. And your PC has to be on and running the game, doing most of the work, so it’s not actually portable.
I’m just not seeing the usage scenario here.
Friday night’s Bit Blasters concert turned out to be one of those things I’m glad to have done once. Essentially, they do a live playthrough of Megaman 2, playing the game music live on rock instruments, mixed in with the game’s actual music, all as loudly as possible. It’s very high concept, and the crowd was into it – but it’s not something I’d be likely to do again.
I didn’t get to see Saturday night’s Doubleclicks show! Since they weren’t the opening act, and I didn’t want to rely on the very last bus home – it’s really safe to do so but I’m paranoid about some damn thing happening and not having a backup plan – I had to leave before they got on stage. Ah, well, next time.
Sunday evening I could stay as late as I wanted, so didn’t go home until after everything shut down. The last few hours, I spent at Rock Band Freeplay, and won like 1100 XBOX points for downloadable content, just being Bassist And Vocalist For Everybody Who Needs One. Then I got together a band to do “Less Talk More Rokk,” which people who haven’t tried to play or sing it tend to think is easy, but oh my god it is not. My drummer (who had just pounded his way through some speed deathmetal)? He knew. “Less Talk More Rokk? Jesus, that one’s hard.” And vocally the opposite of what I’ve done historically, which is, of course, why I wanted to do it.
We nailed it, tho’. The Freeplay crowd went kind of nuts. It was awesome…
…but not as awesome as this:
When Tom Servo Rocks the Mic He Rocks the Mic Right
Then I got into a Cards Against Humanity game with a unicorn to close out the evening. No, really, I wasn’t hallucinating this.
Unicorns Against Humanity
THE OTHER GAMES!
I crawled the expo floor for serious this year. Here’s what made an impression (other than Elder Scrolls Online, above):
- Guns of Icarus is airship warfare from the indie booth. It’s multiplayer crew play, so you can be a pilot, an engineer, or one of two gunners, and you’re in a fleet combatting airships from another fleet. Good stylistic shooty fun.
- Dwarven Delve held my interest longest in the dungeon crawler category. It’s a lightweight game, runs on iOS and Android and eventually Steam. Unlike most of its sort, it’s partly a puzzle game, in that each dungeon is made of large hexes which you can rotate. Sometimes these are direct puzzles, sometimes it’s just configuring exits to your advantage. Combat is automated, so really, it’s mostly about the puzzle side.
- Super Space Blank is a free download for Windows from DigiPen students. It’s in the Asteroid family, but an exciting and initially confusing but entertaining – and distant – relative. 1-4 ships, all tied together via a platform, no thrusters – you manoeuvre using recoil from your weapons. It really wants controllers and three to four people, but if you have those, it is the kind of game that makes parties and destroys friendships. Highly recommended.
- I really want to like Wildstar. I really do. I think it’s pretty, I think it’s silly, I like the fight mechanics, and the fact that the female characters literally prance like a bad parody of drag around when walking – no, seriously, bouncy-ass-up arms akimber wrist-flappy prancing is unbelievably awful. I told the rep – after he gave me a T-shirt for my play – that I thought the game was great but this was so unbelievably annoying and horrible that I’d never play it. I even did an apparently-too-accurate rendition of the prance; he didn’t seem to like that, but, well, sucks to be him.
- I didn’t get to play Second Son, because nobody did; they just had a theatre trailer and sample (pre-shot) gameplay. However, their recreation of Pacific Science Centre for their demonstration level is creepy, freaky accurate. Honestly, it was kind of disturbing.
- Wolfinstein: The New Order looks surprisingly interesting and does well in atmospherics; I guess shooting Nazis never gets old. I’ll give that another look when it comes out.
- World of Tanks has an XBOX 360 version in closed beta; it played solidly, and I got a Beta code – actually, due to a flurry of confusion and hilarity, I got three Beta codes – and now that it’s a console game I’m thinking of actually playing it.
- Finally, Zombie! Zombie! Zombie! is a Shit Keeps Falling game with a reasonably clever mechanic: match three zombies to form a triangle, all the zombies within that triangle get annihilated, but there are Always More Zombies. So if you like Shit Keeps Falling or casual zombie games, look that up.
So now that I’m seeing more of Gabe Being A Total Shithead On Stage Again, and some clear crowd support for it at the Monday Q&A, we’re back to where we were: trying to figure out this mess. Because honestly: yeah. It’s a mess. In particular, I expected better of Robert Khoo. Mike, I expect to be a jackass. Khoo? Well, too bad.
But I keep looking at everything else and thinking, ‘okay, gaming fandom has a big chunk of horrible here… but where do I go that doesn’t?‘ And yeah, I mean this kind of rape-culture horrible in particular. I feel like there’s kind of this idea out there that because gaming culture isn’t better, that it’s therefore worse, and must be shunned, when I see judges giving 30 days and apologies to convicted child rapists and entire communities rallying together – over and over again, these aren’t one-offs – to protect gang rapists, and hounding their victims to suicide.
So I look at all that, and all I can think is that if the right thing to do is GTFO – and, not incidentally, cede the territory to those people, which means even in their eyes that they win – then ‘where do I go’ ends up being a lesbian separatist commune out in the middle of nowhere, hoping we don’t face armed invasion from off-property. Because that’s pretty much the option.
And there are reasons I don’t live on a farm. I have lived on farms. I’ve worked on farms. I respect and in the non-factory case actively admire it and think it deserves support. But fuck if I’m doing it again myself.
As a solution, it doesn’t strike me as better.
So there you are. Everything has to kind of suck, even the awesome things, because people are horrible. It’s Cards, Unicorns, Elves, Supervillains, and Anybody Else We Can Find Against Humanity.
Or, I can be there, and go, ‘No, fuck you‘ when that shit comes up. Maybe guys can be there and actually do something, like, oh, withhold approval, and frown, if nothing else. Because women leaving, and boycotting? That isn’t going to do a goddamn thing. The misogynist sector is for that; it thinks we shouldn’t be there to start.
It’s a bit like not wanting to live on this planet anymore, I guess. That’s all well and good until you realise there isn’t somewhere better to go.
there’s no place like home
there’s no place like home
there’s no place like home to return to
There is now a followup post here, on organised political boycotts.
Finally – finally – back to recording and doing some music; Sunnie’s in today for what should be a pretty short session. Also, I did some comping work last night, after the latest round of carpet cleaning. (I’m about to admit surrender and call professionals in early on the sealed-off areas of the Lair. And I thought supervillainy was evil!)
I’m going to PAX this weekend. I have unpleasantly mixed feelings about that, partly because of Gabe’s assholishness, and partly because of the whole long-term ramp-up in misogyny in gamers, which really pisses me off. But the way I look at it is this:
I was here first, you fuckers.
And I’m not yielding this ground. Not nearly that easily. So I’m going, because of All That, because Fuck You, No, I Was Here First, and I have the artefacts to prove it.
And hopefully I can forget all that and have a good time, because I’m sick of everything having to be a political act of defiance.
Well, that escalated quickly. I’m planning some shows, too, btw, but can’t talk about them yet. How’s your Wednesday?
Columbia sighted – floating city, ahoy! Action stations, action stations! Prepare for incoming…
…oh. Wait. Missouri? Never mind. Calm down, everyone, false alarm. Have a flower picture.
See the cool, soothing flower? Love it. LOVE IT.
(This message brought to you by too much Bioshock Infinite, Google Analytics, and trying to figure out what to do with a really messy desktop.)
I’ve just recorded the feature segment for the next Geekmusic Podcast – we talk to Heather Dale about the new game Gates of Camelot – and I’ll be recording the news segment when I’m back from British Columbia, early next week. So get me your news items NOW, and tell anybody else you know who might have geekmusic-related news to get it to me!
Also, if you’ve had problems using the contact form because of bad CAPTCHAs, we’ve fixed it… by turning CAPTCHA off. I don’t know what triggers it, but sometimes the form just starts throwing out the wrong graphic. I thought it had to be cache-related, but turning all that off didn’t fix anything, so yeah, no.
The weird part is that it works just fine for Anna. Exact same plugin. I have no idea why.
Finally, your SFWAdenfreude Update: Mary Robinette Kowal’s PLEASE SHUT THE FUCK UP to the people she calls the 12 Rabid Weasels of SFWA has really taken off. I tweeted about it yesterday; it’s kind of awesome. And Scalzi has put up a co-sign thread for people who wish to declare a harassment-policy policy akin to his. Enjoy the fireworks!
laughing at a streetview prank / changed the view to find my place / sudden scent of tokyo bay
It’s less a “rainbow” and more a “raindot” or maybe a “rainsmudge,” but it was pretty, in its own little -68db way.
Solstice in Seattle
And after the way the internet has been filled with assholes this past week (like eliminationist much? and goddammit Mike Krahulik makes it hard to be a Penny Arcade fan sometimes*) and, I thought, hey, we could all use a little of something not entirely horrible.
At least Kickstarter apologised for the horrible rape-manual project, which meant I didn’t have to decide about (and feel horrible about) either backing or not backing Abby’s webcomic. Because that webcomic looks awesome and I wanted to back it. And now I can. Yay!
I think I need something to kickstart my motivation. Or maybe it’s just that had-to-get-up-early-to-meet-the-plumber kind of 1am-the-next-day guh-just-kill-me-already feeling, because I can’t even get up the motivation to go to bed. How fucked up is that? I should invent a GO TO BED RAY or something. I can’t just repurpose the Fukkit Field, because that just makes you not do anything and you end up typing on the internet…
Did I leave that on again? Damn.
*: Seriously. It’s like, I’ve been a fan since 1998. I have the original ill-fated Year One book. I look forward to PAX months in advance. I get to play all the games, and as videogaming events go, it’s one of the less hostile and sexist. But despite that, you get horribleness like this. So I’m torn, right? I’m torn between, “Fuck you, you can’t force me out of here” and “Fucking hell, how the hell can I support these assholes?”
So in my recent Skyrim re-involvement, I decided I really ought to do the Bard’s College plotline, and, well, turns out two things:
- Do not fuck with bards. The shit they go through to get into that school? Oh god.
- That school is a level-ramping machine, across all skills. Seriously, you finish a quest, and it’s like THOOM. THOOM. THOOM. THOOM. THOOM. as reward. Not much cash, but hel-lo, skillfest!
Tho’ really what I wanted to happen is the game to bring up a dialogue saying, ‘TURN ON YOUR GUITAR HERO CONTROLLER NOW’ and make you learn songs. Or maybe, ‘No microphone? SUCKS TO BE YOU. Upload your performance NOW.’ Obviously this would never happen, but I think it’d be hilarious.
Anyway, don’t fuck with Skyrim bards, even if maybe the school should spend more time teaching them more songs and less about, I dunno, quelling the undead.
With all the new DLC, I’m back to Skyrim a lot lately, and I’ve only now found out that you can custom name items, so now I need to make some custom items just so I can name them. Like, maybe, Daedric Bow of Fucking Your Shit Up and Ebony Mace of Sit the Fuck Down.
See what font I used there?
Also, I’m doing the Companion storyline this time, and they want me to become a werewolf. But I don’t wanna be a werewolf! Fortunately, they’re being cool about it, but now everything’s just a little awkward. I hate that.
Anyway, back to tracking. Irish Bouzouki today. Anna was up last night working on sheet music to the fight set, because people other than me will need it and can use it, and we don’t have music for some of this, not even the parts. Glad that’s not my job! I could write anything – it’s all dots and lines to me. XD
aaaaaa so many things to talk about
Okay, a rundown of PAX 2012! Which is to say PAX Prime 2012. The Seattle one. I’ll do the last tour post later this week or early next.
I want to say first that I had a lot of fun at this event, particularly Sunday. I ran into a bunch of people again – HI JOSH! HI AHNA! HI PAUL AND JENNY AND ANNA AND JACK AND AUBREY AND ANGELA AND WOW I KNOW A LOT OF PEOPLE WITH NAMES STARTING WITH A AND I’M SORRY IF I FORGOT ANYBODY! – and continued my tradition of almost running into Wil Wheaton every year, by which I mean headlong, by which I mean collision avoidance.
HEY WIL WHAT IS IT WITH YOU AND DOORS ANYWAY? I don’t think he’s ever actually noticed. But I digress.
Panel programming included a surprising number of trans-inclusive queers-in-gaming events – including panels on transgendered people in the games industry and TG characters in games – and I saw a bit of a focus shift towards trying to deal with the harassment problem in online gaming. That’s good, because that’s a huge overdue deal.
PAX hosted a Match Game panel game as well, and while it had nothing on Kevin Standlee’s version at SF conventions – Kevin, your job is secure ^_^ – it still brought laughs. The two chiptunes panels I attended were really focused and informative – a rare positive moment from the DIY standpoint – and the game soundtrack composer’s panel gave me some insights into that process. Nothing I can use directly in the book soundtrack I’m working on, but good things to know nonetheless. So, good fun there. The Doubleclicks had an on-site show Sunday afternoon, courtesy WoTC! Yay! And lots of gaming fun, which I’ll talk about below.
All that said, PAX has changed. It couldn’t not change, of course; everything does, over time. But there are a few key shifts this year that I want to talk about.
First: it’s too large for what it once was. Until a couple of years ago, it was possible for there to be some attendee-driven thing that caught on and everybody knew about. All Hail Ball, the Bad Horse Chorus of 2010 – member-driven events like those.
That kind of can’t happen now. It’s just too big, and in too many places at once. Once a certain size is reached, the ability to have that kind of common spontaneity goes away, and I think it reached that point this year.
Cosplay is still good, tho’; yes, that’s motion blur, the beast walked
Secondly, and I think this is directly related, the attendee-driven nature has given way to an exhibitor-driven nature. While that shift started last year, this year really drove it home, at least for me. It’s trade show more than convention now; a really good one, but a trade show.
Now, a good trade show is a lot of fun. And PAX does crowd control fantastically well. I never felt herded, and convention-run queues were fewer, shorter, and quicker this year – which, ironically, may be part of the problem. Those long queues used to host queue games! People would game with each other in queue, and I didn’t see that so much this year. Maybe I just missed it.
And, of course, the old Pictochat scene is gone, as is the Mario Cart scene. All that was interactive, but the new DSes don’t support Pictochat, and, well.
Finally, and relatedly, a lot of the DIYness seemed to be missing. Some of that is reflected in the lack of queuecon, some of that is reflected in the lack of ability to find out about it, and some of it is programming decisions. The Jamspace, of particular relevance to my interests, was gone. The Secret Level for tabletop from last year was dedicated to way-more-organised D&D and Magic, run by WOTC. There was still a good amount of unstructured tabletop space over in the main convention centre, but… yeah.
It’s a shift. Maybe it was inevitable, maybe it’s all a factor of size, I don’t know. But it’s different now. I had fun, but a different kind of fun.
TO THE GAMES!
Sadly, no must-have large-event games this year! Not for me, anyway. BUT that doesn’t mean games sucked! The combined indie wing had a lot of interesting things going on, particularly Johann Sebastian Joust, a game which is difficult to describe without making it sound stupid – jostle opponent controllers, don’t let your own move too quickly, music tempo dictates allowable movement – but which is in fact hugely fun. It’s also the first good argument for having the PS3′s little weird lightstick controllers ever, at least as far as I’m concerned. I played that all three days, and if I had a PS3, I’d be on the waitlist.
Also, Bastion – written by an indie studio, now distributed by a larger group – is now on the iPad! I didn’t know! This is awesome. Of course I’m playing it now, what a silly question. :D
I finally managed to get some tabletop in at one of these things! Yay! HEY, PAX GUYS, WE NEED SOME OTHER #TTLFG SOLUTION! With all the network fail, the twitter-tag system just isn’t viable. But again, I digress: Siberia is kinda-sorta RISK-but-economics, with the according changes in rules. Definitely interesting. Cards Against Humanity is exactly as horrible and exactly as hilarious as you may have heard. I will be buying that.
Mechwarrior isn’t even vaguely new, but the free-to-play Mechwarrior Online is, and while I used to play a lot of mech games, I haven’t lately. At least on their setup at show, the new Online was pretty damn smooth. But I think I liked Hawken‘s control behaviour a little better.
Similar but different: Shootmania: Storm. It’s an FPS that’s played in powered armour with mecha-like controls. And you guys it is SO MUCH STUPID FUN. It’s in Beta now, PC gamers sign the fuck up!
All three default to mouse control for targeting/view alignment, though; a couple of hours of that and my mouse hand was all HEY REMEMBER WHEN WE HAD THAT LONG CONVERSATION ABOUT NEVER FUCKING DO THIS AGAIN? THAT ONE? YEAH, THAT ONE. HAVE SOME REMINDERS.
At least you can remap to keyboard.
Assassin’s Creed 3 looked really good, but all you got to do was look at it. No hands-on. And: no sign of Bioshock: Infinite. Seriously, it was like it didn’t even exist. I know a bunch of people left Irrational in August; that’s an interesting combination of events.
Those were the highlights. SEGA was there still giving it the old college try, but honestly? I didn’t even hit the booth. Atari was playing the nostalgia market with 2600 game “remixes,” which is to say, “same gameplay, new graphics, what the fuck is wrong with you?” Honestly, that was sad.
Intel was giving away some pretty goddamn srs bsns hardware, of which I of course won none. Goddammit! But I did get a cape. It’s tear-away with velcro, so no chance of that whole unfortunate jet-engine messiness. In other words, thanks to velcro:
Capes are cool.
If you were there, what’d you think of the atmosphere shift? I know it wasn’t just me, but I’m curious who picked up on it.
it’s worked so far but we’re not out yet
So at the Portland show, I actually did “Open Mic Night at the Winking Skeever, a.k.a. Anybody Got a Banjo?” and I was also trying out all kinds of new hardware and setup and stuff? And it mostly worked! The audio setup changes ALL WORKED PERFECTLY. I couldn’t believe it, but it’s true! If I can get a handle on lighting, I can make some really good videos.
But people liked the Skyrim/Winking Skeever lyrics when I posted them, so this happened:
Now I am off to Vancouver! Four days back in beautiful British Columbia! Yay! \o/
SHOW SHOW SHOW! FRIDAY! ACROSS FROM THE BON MARCHE PARKING GARAGE! (and sadly next to where the Night Kitchen used to be). Leannan Sidhe, CRIME and the Forces of Evil, Kräken-Röhl! BE THE AUDIENCE!
Also, there’s been a whole lot of Skyrim in the lair, lately? And this kind of happened. Really, there’s no excuse for this kind of behaviour, but:
“Open Mic Night at the Winking Skeever”
a.k.a. “Anybody Got a Banjo?”
2012 Solarbird, the Lightbringer (Dara Korra’ti), Minion Anna (Angela Korra’ti), Minion Paul (Paul M. Johnson)
Creative Commons 3.5 attribute/noncommercial/derivative works allowed
(to the tune of “O Susanna”)
I used to go adventuring
To see all I could see
I ran into a Draugr lord
Who took my leg from me
Fuck you Skyrim
Now I’m an amputee
I stand around this shithole town
With an arrow in my knee
This little kid just won’t shut up
About her mother’s job
I’m gonna cram this mammoth tusk
Right up her yapping gob
Fuck you Skyrim
Now I’m an amputee
I stand around this shithole town
With an arrow in my knee
I like to go down to the pub
The finest mead to drink
The bards, they only know two songs
And both songs really stink
Fuck you Skyrim
Now I’m an amputee
I stand around this shithole town
With an arrow in my knee
Adventurers come to this town
And lord it over me
They wander ’round and beat me down
‘Cause I’m an N.P.C.
Fuck you Skyrim
Yeah “Be all I can be”
I’d give my life to leave this town
and sail the northern sea!
THAT’S IT! PIRATES HAVE PEG LEGS!
THEY’LL TAKE ME! THEY HAVE TO!
please say they have to
—– 30 —–
I sometimes sing “I stand around this shithole town” as “And I stand around in this shithole town,” but the former is more like the O Suzanna syllabics and oh just kill me now. XD
After the show on Friday… okay, I won’t get out of there ’till 11:30 or so, so we’ll probably just load out, get some food, and head home. But Saturday and Sunday we’ll be at Conflikt! You goin’? Say hi!