Gaming, Inclusivity and Condemning History – by Amanda S. Green


Gaming, Inclusivity and Condemning History – by Amanda S. Green

Anyone who is familiar with video games knows there’s been a movement for the last few years by major developers to be more “inclusive”. That inclusivity appears in a number of different ways: disclaimers at the beginning of a game touting how the game was developed by people of all different races, religions, creeds and sexual orientations; additions of non-heterosexual romantic plots and characters, both playable and non-playable. We’ve seen outrage when those characters aren’t given large enough roles or when the main character isn’t customizable enough to meet every single player’s demands. Amid all this, all too often we lose quality. It may be quality of design (yes, I’m looking at you Bioware and your debacle that was Mass Effect: Andromeda) or quality of story (Ubisoft and some of the Assassin’s Creed games). But what really started me thinking about this was Ubisoft’s latest game – Assassin’s Creed: Origins.

For years, Ubisoft has opened every Assassin’s Creed game with a disclaimer. Here is the first disclaimer:

Inspired by historical events and characters.

This work of fiction was designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs.

Nothing wrong there. I’m not sure it’s really necessary except to virtue signal. However, it wasn’t enough to bother me.

Along about 2015 or so, the disclaimer changed.

Inspired by historical events and characters, this work of fiction was designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of various beliefs, sexual orientations and gender identities.

This change occurred in the disclaimer for Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate, the first of the AC games to include a transgender NPC. Why did it occur? For no reason I can see except to silence – er, satisfy – a small but very vocal segment of the gaming community. Honestly, most gamers don’t give a flying frig what religion, sex, or gender belief the people are who design the games we play. What we want are well-designed games with plots (or at least effects) that will keep us engaged. That is especially true for games like Mass Effect or Assassin’s Creed.

Does having this disclaimer at the beginning of the game “ruin” it? No. But it does remind me every time I fire up the game that the company is busy virtue signaling and it makes me on a subconscious level start looking for that signaling within the game. In other words, it is a distraction, one that doesn’t have to be there.

Where this virtue signaling did become too much in your face to ignore is with the Discovery Tour Ubisoft released for Assassin’s Creed: Origins not long ago. The tour is a big departure from the game. It is exactly what it says – a tour. There’s no fighting, no arguing and no interaction with other characters. You choose one of a number of characters, some of them playable characters from the main game and others NPCs from the game. Then you tour Egypt. Along the way, you interact with your surroundings and hear short “lessons” about what you’re seeing. Think about it as being similar to a guided tour of a museum exhibit. There is a lot of interesting information, including info about mummies and the pyramids, life in that time, etc.

However, Ubisoft takes liberties with history as well. You see it at the very beginning of the tour. Nude statues from the main game now have “the naughty bits” covered with shells or other items. That seemed odd in a game that’s rated “M”, especially since there are nude statues in the main game. So why did they do it? The explanation, and one I find more than a bit odd, is so the tour could be used for “educational purposes”.

Wait. What?

Picture it. Little Johnny comes home from school and, as he eats his afterschool snack, Mom asks what he studied in school that day.

“We learned about mummies and the pyramids, Mommy.”

“That’s nice, Johnny. Did you get to see a movie about it?”

“Yep. It was a really good movie too, Mommy. We got to see them take the brain out of a person so they could become a mummy and we got to see the inside of the pyramids.” Johnny pauses and eats a bit more of his snack. “Mommy, did you know Cleopatra married her brother? Does that mean you can marry Uncle Tommy?”

That choking sound you hear is Johnny’s mom trying to figure out how to answer that question. Then the conversation continues until Johnny’s mom asks the name of the movie they were watching and he tells her it was Assassin’s Creed: Origins.

Riiiight. No problem there.

But there is something else that bothered me about the Discovery Tour beyond the covering up of the statues and it goes hand-in-hand with their “education” explanation. There are several times, iirc, in the tour where the narrator pauses the historical description of the place or event to note that the game designers have taken the liberty of deviating from history to basically avoid perpetuating something (like segregated classes based on sex) that isn’t acceptable today.

But they want the tour to be used for education purposes.

Can you say “indoctrination”?

This smacks of trying to erase the Civil War from history because of slavery. How many monuments have been removed or parks, streets and buildings renamed because they were named after someone who fought on the “wrong side” of the conflict? In Dallas, we’re facing that issue right now. There are those who don’t care what other accomplishments someone might have made in their lives or how they might have helped the community after the Civil War. The mere fact they supported the CSA is reason enough to relegate them to backrooms and to remove them from the city history.

This whitewashing, if you’ll pardon the term, of what life was really like in ancient Egypt serves much the same purpose. I find it ironic at a time when there is a growing movement to have classes once again segregated by sex to avoid certain distractions that a major game developer sees it necessary to point out how wrong it was for the Egyptians at the time of Cleopatra to do the same.

The fact it is not the appropriate medium to do so doesn’t seem to matter to Ubisoft either. I can’t speak for anyone else but when my son was the age of those youngsters this “lesson” is aimed at, I didn’t let him play games rated “M”. Even so, I was already teaching him not only how to be a gentleman but how to respect women. By the time he was old enough to play those games, the lessons were already well-learned. So, assuming I’m not the only parent raising children that way, what is Ubisoft’s motivation?

The answer is really very simple. It is trying to show how inclusive and “enlightened” it is to stop the complaints from a small but vocal group. Fortunately for the company, Assassin’s Creed: Origins is a good game, a really good game on the whole. But there should be no place in it for narrator intrusion such as there is in the Discovery Tour. That, to me, was like watching a show and suddenly having a character – or member of the orchestra – stand up and lecture on why something that is happening on stage is wrong by today’s standard. It throws me out of the narrative and makes me wonder if I dare continue watching.

I game to unwind and have fun. I don’t game to be lectured to or to have history rewritten because something about it is now “inconvenient”. If it doesn’t have anything to do with the plot of the game, don’t do it.

Hmm, sort of like how I like my movies and my books.

In other words, if you feel the need to preach, be subtle about it. If you are heavy-handed enough to throw me out of the narrative, you will find me second-guessing if I need to buy that next bit of DLC or that next game.

232 thoughts on “Gaming, Inclusivity and Condemning History – by Amanda S. Green

  1. Any day now I expect to hear how Pong was racist because the dot and paddles where white and the background black. I am not looking forward to such inanity, merely expecting it.

    What might amuse me, though as Not-A-Gamer I’d likely not see it until/unless it made fark:

    “This game was made by a bunch of geeks and nerds who don’t give a crap about race, gender, orientation, religion, or lack thereof, or any of that bilge. They care about the game. They’re geeks and nerds that way. Enjoy. If you need to plumb the depths of how ‘diverse’ they are… why do waste your time and effort so? It’s just a damn game. Play it or don’t.”

    1. “Our coders actually don’t see race because they have never looked up from their screens long enough to notice that about a person. They also don’t really have a sexual orientation, because that would imply that they’re able to get dates with someone of any gender.”

        1. Heh. I’m glad I’m not the only person who remembers that.

          I’m pretty sure the green letters “West of House
          You are standing in an open field west of a white house, with a boarded front door.
          There is a small mailbox here.” are imprinted on my eyeballs.

      1. Isn’t it time we abandoned the practice of binary coding, with its rigid segregation of all data into ones and zeros? That’s the sort of discriminatory thinking that made this country the sh**hole it is, despoiling the environment and enslaving others with wealth of lifestyle beyond the Ancients’ imaginations!

        1. We’ll, my husband does want to work on ternary computing, which has been around for a long time but hardly anybody has done much with it. Down with the restrictive binary and up with the more inclusive ternary!

        2. After all, 1’s are inherently phallic while 0’s are feminine. Is it any accident that 1’s are considered ‘true’ while 0’s are ‘false’? Down with the binary patriarchy!

        3. Classical states are oppressive. Join the superposition revolution! |φ> = α|0> + β|1> (where α^2 + β^2 = 1)

    2. Oh wise Ox, would that the gods of accounting and media relations for the gaming industry listen to you.

      Seriously, I feel that way about pretty much everything. I don’t give a flying fig for the most part about what a person looks like, believes in or cares about as long as they do the job they are being paid for. Entertain me. Educate me. But don’t try to indoctrinate me.

      1. I disagree. I went to a fancy restaurant the other day and demanded the waitperson prove the distribution of diverse representation of all cultural identities to the degree they occur in our society.

        Well, when I found out there were few workers over forty and none of the staff were over sixty, I caused quite a scene, I can tell you. Especially when they admitted there were no transgendered African-Asian persons of Islam washing dishes!

        I stormed out of there, leaving my halal vegan steak untouched, right there next to the hand-curated artisanally-picked green beans. The nerve of some places, claiming to be diverse and inclusive when they’re nothing of the sort!

    3. “This game is not woke. You have been warned. Play or not, but don’t complain of that afterwards if you didn’t read the warning and had your sensibilities hurt. This game is only for those who don’t give a damn.”

      “P.S. We won’t give a damn either if you do complain.”

      1. “Why are we allowing “software that preaches hate” to be sold in Google Play Store? or the iTunes Store? or allowed to be played through university networks?”

        And all you have to do is include a few little changes……

        1. If it’s good enough – free simpler version. What costs are the additions which make it even better. Rather risky approach, but if it were addictive enough as the bare version might work well enough.

          1. And then you could probably keep the sale of those additions on your own site, if the free version spread wide enough people would search it out. No need for those stores. 🙂

          2. True. Of course, if they can convince networks to block that client, it won’t matter if it’s free. The point is that they will attrit away the possible customer base until it isn’t worth it to keep fighting. The only way to avoid that will be to take away the attrit capability by saying “serve everyone or no one.” That rule is out there, but it’s only being selectively enforced. See Colorado bakers.

            1. Yes, it could be blocked, especially if it actually had something which could be claimed as racism. But what if it didn’t? And what if it actually had most of those things the SJWs say they want – possibility to get an avatar who is a woman, or trans, or whatever, non-player characters who fit everything you might want and so on – but only as those add-ons which cost money. And the bare bones version would be as “clean” as you could make a game without losing any of its attraction as a game? Somebody tries to block it and you bring those alternatives in the open and raise holy hell of how whoever is trying to block of how they are taking choices away from those trans and other minorities…

              And if anybody complains about that “not woke” warning go all innocent and talk of how it is about the bare bones free version, which can’t be too complicated, and has to appeal to the biggest potential buyer group so that it can be kept free because it brings enough players who then buy things to support the whole thing.

              The statistics of how many what alternatives got bought might be useful too, later.

              Okay, that is just one potential way to maybe game the system which occurred to me. The main point: figure out ways to game the system. Fight it as a whole but also learn to game it. Keep the opponent running to plug all the holes while you keep looking for new ones you could use.

        1. If they had noted that you were protecting the motherland from the unprovoked imperialist capitalist dogs you would have been fine.

  2. Grrrrrr. I can grit my teeth and take it when anthropologists and activists try to explain that women were fully equal to men until the Enlightenment, and that the “Strong man, sensitive woman” pattern of behavior was imposed on people at that point and we’ve been suffering for it ever since, because they are academics and Left-Odd. I do NOT want it in my games, pleasure-reading, or music.

    1. Yep. I wish I could say it surprised me when the narration on the Discovery Tour broke from historical “fact” to give their bit of political correctness bullshit. Not only did they have to note how things are different now but they had to pass judgment on it. Why? What purpose did it serve except to virtue signal?

      1. It protects them from the mobs. And the growing groups that are going around shooting the wounded in the mop up of the culture war.

        Look at the Witcher or Deus ex “mechanical apartheid” flare-ups. The former basically said that medieval Poland had to have all the protected classes and had to include the stereotypes that the groups believe. With DE the use of the term “mechanical apartheid” was decried because white people oppressing minorities is a super special type of evil that justifies any response. And there was very little in the game that actually made the policy good. Mostly negative with a good chunk of ‘this is why understandable’.

        The former series added a number of over obvious additions to the following dlc. The worst is the use of the “current year” meme for why a woman in a brawl was good. Would have been just as easy to do a case of “you knew how to punch. Fights a fight”

        1. Absolutely.

          But what they don’t understand is that “mob” screaming they need to be “inclusive” etc., is a small number when compared to the rest of the gaming world. Hell, even most of those gamers who don’t fall into the “traditional” orientations/beliefs/whatever, don’t care about the backgrounds of the game developers. They care about having a game that is technically sound, entertaining, and worth the big bucks paid for it. The rest is just noise and distracts from the whole.

          1. The hold of the megaphone is an immense force multiplier. Look at the NRA stuff of the past few months. The organization strength is almost purely in it’s membership size if you actually look at what it does. But a well funded and organized AstroTurf can make ostracization of that group not only allowable but unexceptional.

            The big publishers have gotten very used to how the game buying public will roll over for other negative effects on games like (some) dlc, least common denominator coding and similar. The guess is that this will go similarly. In addition the metastatic nature of the minority superiority movement serves well to amplify the noise in the actual decision room.

            1. I wish I’d bookmarked the article, but a few weeks ago, “there was a wave of protests” about a company’s new policy on something. The people at the company started tracking back the complaints, and found that all but a few came from ten individuals in a foreign country, who were using multiple names and spoofing tools.

              1. Ya. The “silence rush” was similar iirc. But for every company that looks a half dozen fold.

                1. Yes, and that’s the pity. They fold to internet astroturf, perpetuated by a small number of activists. I do wish that companies would just sack the hell up and not cave and whimper.

              1. I will play devil’s advocate a bit and ask what percentage was people renewing lapsed but yes.

                1. they are saying a lot of it is new memberships, and a lot of people are buys saying on FB how they just joined the NRA for the first time. The media trying to demonize them is backfiring.

                  1. The MSM demonizing a group for bad think is a bit like some wuss biting into a jalapeno popper and saying, “Wow, that’s hot!”

                    It just makes more people want a piece of it.

                2. In my case, I had 3 years left on a 5 year membership; I added another 5. So, no net gain in membership stats, but more for the warchest. One of these days, I’ll probably give a chunk to the ILA.

                3. For several days there was a hashtag on Twitter for NRA members to tweet their membership. Some of it featured cards from existing members while others featured screen grabs from the NRA website for those who had just signed up. Most of those that I saw claimed to be people who had never joined because they objected to one or more NRA policy positions or media tactics but had been pushed over the line by the recent demonization.

                  The voting strength that the NRA musters is not just the 5 million (now 5.5 million) members. I recall reading (though I can’t find it now) that the NRA’s polling indicated that for every paid-up member there were 4 additional people who identified with the NRA but either hadn’t joined or had lapsed. So I don’t see the expansion in membership as a shift in the total number of Second Amendment supporters, but a shift in the number of supporters who have been converted to activism at least to the extent of paying dues.

              2. I had lapsed both NRA and GoA.

                I’m now a life member of both.

                I’ve also grown my collection of books and plans for some things…strictly for intellectual curiosity (although as I pointed out at Cedar’s place I have realized at the improved/home workshop level automatics are simpler than semi-autos…I won’t if those wanting to take away semi-autos understand that).

                1. Well of course they’re simpler. They don’t need all that extra stuff to say “Hey, wait! Stop!”

                  For that matter, a pipe bomb is much cheaper thann say, a muzzleloader. Safety always costs.

                  1. Yes, it does. I suspect gun controllers think:

                    1. Guns can only come from factories.
                    2. Even if “gun nuts” make their own all they can make is a muzzle loader.

                    Meanwhile people like me are “the only changes I’d make to the basic Sten guns are vertical magazine and chamber for .223L/NATO 5.56 so I can parasite off the US military supply chain because if it is to the point of making one then I suspect that will be necessary.”

                    1. The heck with a Sten gun I think the old M3 (aka grease gun ) was intended to be made primarily from simple mild steel stamped parts and as little had work as possible at the end of WWII. This was because they wanted something to replace the venerable Thompson sub machine gun which was expensive (like $100-200 each in 1945 dollars!!) to make. The M3 was .45 caliber to share ammo with the M1911 and the Tommy gun but It was also made in 9mm in test quantities (perhaps for folks working behind the lines to use wehrmacht ammo?) and probably would change to .223/5.56 Nato really easily. Maybe design to use existing AR-15 magazines? In any case that genie is well and truly out of the bottle something the SJW don’t comprehend as they can.t even seem to assemble a PB&J successfully…

                    2. Pure blowback designs don’t work well with high pressure rifle rounds. You end up with a huge bolt in order to delay the bolt opening prematurely.

                    3. Yep, the old M3 was designed in part for that reason and in that it is similar to the Sten gun, which is pretty much what Luty describes in his book but with the vertical magazine. They are all pretty similar as they are all designed to solve the same problem.

                    4. 9mm 124 gr, but only some NCOs and officers, and MPs, are issued them. They issue far far more 5.56 M4 carbines. (in fact they *have* far more M4s)

                2. Not to get too deep into the weeds, but while it may be simpler to produce one than the other, accuracy and control-ability suffers. The point isn’t to *make* one, it’s to make an *effective* one.

                  Me, I’m not worried about confiscation–I can do math.

                  300 million guns.

                  100 million gun owners.

                  less than 800k LEOs and about 2 million military and reservists. Many of whom are also in that 100 million group.

                  Confiscation ain’t going to happen.

                  1. Never assume after the Obama years and what we’re seeing re:FBI that LEOs and Military/Reserves will break our way. Also, how many of those 300 million/100 million will be turned in/turn in out of habit of obeying the law?

                    I don’t want to make one, but I think being prepared to do so is important to insuring I don’t.

                    1. Not many on following the law out of habit. Note how few guns get turned in in NE state. Ditto with reserves/veterans. There are more lefty REMF, but that don’t signify for the mass of the military.
                      Take no counsel of your fears.

                    2. I remember hearing from my father decades ago about the first round of gun control here in Canada (70’s I think memory has gotten fuzzy on the conversation). The government had a fairly good idea on how many firearms were out there. They figured that around 10% or so were turned over. The second round of gun control back in the mid 90’s had about similar results. Lots of tragic boating accidents on the Saskatchewan ocean.

                  2. Also, most of that military isn’t front like troops, and even if pressed into it, the military doesn’t actually have enough rifles to issue to everyone. One in ten, or one in twelve, is actually a shooter.

          2. “But what they don’t understand is that “mob” screaming they need to be “inclusive” etc., is a small number when compared to the rest of the gaming world.”

            What they understand, Amanda, is that the “mob” has a weaponized legal system at all levels at their disposal, and groups whose whole reason for existing is to use it. When you have the legal equivalent of an Arclight hanging over your head, and effective air defense costs big bucks, you might decide it’s simpler to comply. Note that doesn’t even cover bureaucrats in seemingly unrelated fields, such as building inspectors or the tax man, with “prosecutorial discretion” on everything related to your business, family, friends, etc. Too many examples to list of exactly that happening.

            And that assumes that they don’t hire a few hundred “protesters” to occupy your parking lot.

            “The personal is political.”
            “You will be made to care.”

        2. Even the mob’s shooting will stop being metaphorical.

          Companies like Ubisoft will have pissed on and driven away the people most likely to shoot back.

          When I see this kind of virtue signaling I can’t help but wait for a Rorschach moment.

          1. herbn, that is exactly the situation Bioware is finding itself in right now. It basically crashed its biggest franchise with poor development and a storyline that left a number of fans scratching their heads and going “hun?”. Add in the virtue signaling, the abandonment of the game, the lack of any real news about the other main franchise in lieu of a new IP and gamers are wondering if the company is trying to commit suicide.

    2. That just means they will continue to close the amount of diversion materials that are available to anyone that doesn’t drink the propaganda. Even good ip’s get into it after media and special interests make a bunch of noise. And it’s almost always ham handed, destroying any ability to overlook.

  3. The truth about gaming programmers is that they are all white, Chinese and Indian males. Most of the white ones have a touch of Aspergers about them as well, so you get your neurodiversity in there. The artists include some females, the marketing department will have some token quiltbag types hired so the company can use them as human shields.

    The problem with that focus on “diversity” as if it was an end in itself is that the other, more important goals suffer. You hire a programmer based on plumbing/surface albedo/sexual orientation issues, that person is not going to perform like the dedicated nerd who programs his own projects on evenings and weekends for a laugh. Programming is -hard-, not very many people are good at it. The vast majority of them are men. Too bad, so sad.

    Art is hard too. Not very many people are good at that either. Many of those people are women who have been sketching and drawing since they were 3 years old. Are they good because they are female? Or are they good because sketching since they were toddlers?

    Lots of Lefties are now seething. Hey Lefties, riddle me this: If Company X hires an artist because he is a White Cis Male, is that the best artist they could get? Shouldn’t they be looking at art skillz, production speed and style? Shouldn’t they be wondering if their new hire is going to get the job done faster/better/cheaper?

    Does it matter, to a private company in a free country, if they have girl programmers? They should have the best people they can get. If some of them are female, SO WHAT?

    Diversity, pursued as an end in itself, is a company destroying death-meme. That’s why Lefties love it.

    1. To paraphrase one of my professors in graduate school, who was teaching about the “great works” of computer science:

      “Most of what we’ll read in this class was written by men. I wish that weren’t so, but wishing won’t turn Claude Shannon into Claudia. Rather than presenting less influential works by woman and trying to pretend they were the equal of what I’m giving you here, I’m going to give you the very best that computer science has to offer and tell all of you, men and women, that this is the standard to which you should aspire.”

        1. It was more than 10 years ago, so he just taught the class, and we all did our best to understand the proof of Godel’s incompleteness theorem. It wasn’t until about 2010 that the colleges really went completely off their rockers. Assuming he’s still employed, I would guess he would know better than to try teaching that class today.

          1. So he knows better than to teach if he is still there today.

            Because in that field if you aren’t teaching that material what is the point of that class?

    2. Frankly, it doesn’t matter who or what the designers, coders, writers or artists are. Not in the long run and certainly not if they wind up killing a game or a series on the altar of diversity. Bioware is facing that possibility right now. Between screwing up Mass Effect: Andromeda as badly as they did (although patching has improved it a great deal) and the problems I’m hearing about their newest game (yet to be released), the company is facing a number of problems they might not be able to address until they quit their virtue signaling.

      These folks — and it goes far beyond the gaming industry — have to remember the reality that they succeed only so long as they keep their customers happy. That is a battle many of them are losing.

      1. The reality is, as you say, that without happy customers these virtue signaling weenies won’t have jobs.

        But sadly, most of them don’t live in the real world. They live in Bizzaro World, where their job is to castigate and punish their customers into the proper, “Woke” behavior.

        Witness the destruction of the two main comic book companies in the world, DC and Marvel. The people who work there are now deliberately driving those two companies out of business as hard and fast as they can. I say “deliberately” because no matter how many times the public makes it known they don’t want the virtue-signaling pap and HATE what’s been done to the heroic characters, the management and the artists keep doing it.

        Ta Nehisi Coates is writing the new Captain America, as an example of the theme. That’s sure to work well, right? Now, I am not an award-winning activist writer, but I am pretty sure I can write a better Captain America than that guy. Actually I think any 8 year old girl from Nebraska could do better. Because the 8 year old and I will be focused on what makes Captain America cool, instead of using the iconic character to beat up the audience.

        Game companies will learn that lesson, or they will go under.

        1. When the hell did “woke” get flipped? Until Just Lately it meant “having become wise to the SJW bullshit” — but starting a few weeks back, I’ve seen it used to mean “compliant with the SJW bullshit”.

          No. Woke means eyes wide opened, not eyes glued shut.

          1. Probably the SJWs who use it unironically are not swift enough to pick up on other people’s using it from their POV, not the SJW on e.

          2. I don’t precisely know when or how the term came in vogue, but I’ve only noticed it in the past few years. The people who describe themselves as “woke” like to feel that they are more enlightened about sexuality, discrimination, prejudice, and privilege than the rest of us.

            1. It’s the new short-word for “having had your consciousness raised” from the seventies; I hated the snobbery behind that idea then as well, because it implied that anyone not so “raised” was anathema to all properly-thinking persons (notice that we can no longer use “right-thinking” for orthodoxy, because of the current connotations).

        2. They are practicing the Michele Obama method of school lunches: keep feeding the yokels broccoli and kale until even the ones who like broccoli and kale revolt.

          Superhero comics, as a uniquely American art form, must be tamed or destroyed.

        3. A certain blogger who shall stay nameless has noted that with DC and Marvel doing the roll left and die maneuver (is that RL&D?), it’s leaving openings for the small furry critters in the business to make a move against the dinosaurs. Thus Arkhaven comics and things like the Wodehouse graphic adaptations.

          I gather he’s working on games, too, some based on the comics.

          1. Nope. Coates -was- writing Black Panther, and it got cancelled. Under 10K copies per issue were sold. It rolled hard left, crashed and burned like it was made of magnesium. Like the fricking Hindenberg. Oh, the humanity.

            Coates has been hired to write Captain America. Marvel management really, really hates Cap I guess. Coates has an article in The Atlantic, all about how he’s going to Breath Life into this moribund pop figure and how great he is for doing so.

            Apparently comic store owners are not amused. I don’t blame them, I wasn’t amused either.

            1. When Cap’s guttering candle finally flickers out be confident it will be the racism of the readers that does it.

        4. Phantom, so true, We’ve been seeing much of that same attitude in publishing. We won’t even talk about the crap coming out of Hollyweird. What they don’t understand is that they are the “entertainment” industry — not the “preach from the pulpit” or “it’s our job to educate you” industry. Then they wonder why their profits are down.

          1. Then they wonder why their profits are down.

            No they don’t. They know it is because half of Americans are deplorable and half are adorable and they just need to yell louder at the deplorables.

            1. And get the purchase of their “product” made mandatory by the government. That’s why the “Discovery Tour” was included. Hundred bucks seat to schools and school systems are one of the local money printing machines for government. All the bonds they can want because it’s “for da chillin”

    3. I’ve got a great example: in the VFX field, you get your job off of a combination of credits and a demo reel. Your reel matters a lot… to the point where an impressive reel and no credits will get you in the door, hired, in a job that *starts at* around $1200/week for TV animators and around $1600/week on features. In the oldern days (1999 or so) you mailed in a videotape, these days you post your reel on YouTube or Vimeo. The studio doesn’t even hear your voice until you are in an interview, and doesn’t see your face until, often, you show up for work. The game industry operates similarly.

    4. The truth about gaming programmers is that they are all white, Chinese and Indian males.

      I have to quibble and say “almost” all. Stack Overflow, one of the major websites that nearly every programmer uses, does a survey every year that gets a lot of responses and is pretty representative of programmers as a whole. is this year’s results; 6.9% of their respondents said they were female, and apparently 9% of US respondents were female. (Note their comment, though: “… such a low percentage points to problems with inclusion in the tech industry in general and Stack Overflow in particular.” That sentence contains many, many assumptions that “ain’t necessarily so”.) In 2017, BTW, it was 7.6% of respondents overall and 10% of US respondents.

      Now, while I wouldn’t be surprised to find that video-game programmers are more often male than the average, I’d still expect to find some 5% or so of game programmers being women. Because there are some women who do genuinely enjoy programming, and aren’t in the job to score political points or anything; they just do the job, do it well, and ignore the politics. I know one of them personally.

      So while it doesn’t detract from your overall point (which I agree with 100%) about how “Can this person do the job and do it well?” should be the only major criterion in hiring (though “Will they focus on the job rather than yelling about irrelevant political issues?” is a subset of “can they do the job well?”, and if you’re wise that would exclude hiring people who give off strong SJW vibes in the interview)… I do quibble with your first sentence since it’s not quite true. Though since you did say later on, “The vast majority of them are men” (emphasis mine), you know that too and your first sentence was just imprecise speech. Which means I almost shouldn’t post this since I’m maybe the only one bothered by mild imprecision like that (I’m a programmer too, and I think most good programmers end up being just a little bit Asperger’s-like in their speech patterns, since talking to a computer requires extreme precision). But I’ll post it anyway, because knowing the numbers from the most recent couple of years is interesting.

      1. Forget it Robin – it’s Internetia.

        If we objected to every bit of hyperbole, exaggeration and overstatement wouldn’t nobody be able to say nothing. And that goes double for gross over-simplification.

        You might as well argue with LOL Cats.

      2. I generally take it as read that exceptions exist. We do know there are great female programmers. Grace Hopper was a real, live person.

        We also know that a great female programmer is like a unicorn: she’s a mythical creature somebody else saw one time, from a distance.

        1. “great female programmer is like a unicorn: she’s a mythical creature somebody else saw one time, from a distance.”

          Yes. I know. & we don’t know what to do when we run into each other. We know there are other of us, but we don’t get to work with them. 🙂

          Seriously though from 1996 through 2002, 33% of a 15 engineering staff, were female. However, my last job, I was 1 out of 12, after I left they replaced me with 3 guys & still need more staff 🙂

          FWIW. 2 of the 3 of us girls in the family (that’s all of us) are programmers.

      1. I would agree that bad art doesn’t lead to catastrophic failures… right away. But think about the failure to thrive at the societal level. That could be more catastrophic than any failure of infrastructure.

        Look what 100 years of Leftist art and propaganda have done to Europe. Could be that bad art is one of the most dangerous things there is.

        But at the game level, bad art will kill a company faster than anything. Haven’t you ever looked at something, saw that it looked lame and passed by? And aren’t books judged by their cover art?

  4. Sadly Bioware was always a vulnerable one. Way back when they made Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic (still one of the best artifacts of the franchise) they tried to have a gay romance option between a female player character and the party member Juhani. LucasArts understandably balked (SW ain’t about your politics (back then)) at this and said no. But there are still traces in you know where to look.

    Then Mass Effect 3 became Round 0 of Gamergate and it is surprising that “Mass Effect”: Andromeda had anything even half decent in it.

    1. Exactly. I am a huge fan of much of Bioware’s catalog. Loved KOTOR. Wished they hadn’t done what they did to the second game and really wish they’d brought out a third. Jade Empire was one of the first games of that sort I played and I still have fond memories of it. Mass Effect was a good game. ME2 was great. I loved how decisions carried through all three games — until you got to the end where Bioware really borked on it all. The extended ending helped some but still felt like a cop-out after you spent three games building a certain type of character, etc.

      I have admitted in other posts to having reservations about Andromeda. I still got it on release. Yes, I was disappointed. OMG, those faces! It was clear Bioware tried to cut corners by outsourcing to studios unable to do the level of work their players were used to. Now they have abandoned the game, leaving single player game fans with open story threads that may never be resolved. Worse, they have left a sour taste in their customers’ mouths and it will take something exceptional to get past it.

      1. Worth noting is that Bioware wasn’t given a lot of choice on KOTOR 2’s release date. Where Bioware went off the rails was Dragon Age 2, when it seemed like everyone in the party was bisexual.
        Mass Effect 3 was an utterly fantastic game until the last twenty minutes or so. Even with the “Extended Cut” DLC, the ending was still not good quality.

        1. Bioware had nothing to do with KOTOR 2. Obsidian made it, which is why it was full of bugs, and had a very dark and deep (for Star Wars anyway) plot.

        2. I like Dragon Age 2 but it pales in comparison to the original Dragon Age. I also agree with you about ME3. Of course, I still go back and replay the entire trilogy ever so often simply because I love the games so much — and there aren’t many I do that with.

        3. Because the game should have ended with Shepard and Anderson on The Citadel, bleeding out, and watching the world burn.
          The plot demanded it.
          I imagine the reaction of the corporate office to deliberately killing off a valuable piece of Intellectual Property wasn’t positive.
          Hence, a kludge of truly epic proportions.

            1. Their ‘extended cut’ ending helped a tiny bit with that…but yeah.

              Still, even with that WTF?!?! ending to ME3, the Mass Effect Trilogy is still, hands down, one of THE best games I’ve ever played, story wise. And, to date, ME3 is the only game to make me cry. (I’m looking at you, Mordin, damn you.)

              Most of the time, I don’t care what’s on offer with Bioware’s romances, re: SJW agendas, because in most cases you can totally ignore the flavors you don’t like. Sometimes, though, it gets egregious and annoying.

              (And bless them, for giving us Garrus and Cullen in all their awkward glory.)

              I love Dragon Age Inquisition almost as much as I do the Mass Effect trilogy, but the transgender NPC in it made me roll my eyes so hard they almost fell out. Though I did find the hugely mixed signals Bioware was sending–I’m still not 100% convince it wasn’t entirely intentional–by having the ‘inclusive’ worldview that sees no issue with trans folks also be the single most horrifyingly oppressive religion/government in the world (the Qun). They did get points for making the male gay companion character be actually more than his sexuality (Dorian is fantastic), so there’s that. And the lesbian romance is hella obnoxious, bigoted, and generally insane, so one could argue that hey, at least they’re treating these characters as actual fleshed out individuals, instead of totally a virtue signal.

              I do worry, though, that Bioware is going to be increasingly sucked into the swamp of identity politics. And that will be a sad day, because I’ve loved them since the days of Baldur’s Gate, and the only game of theirs I *haven’t* liked and haven’t finished was Andromeda…and that was mostly because of the production values. (Idiots.)

              1. sarathered, I agree with you about ME still being one of the best series in gaming. ME2 is probably my favorite, or close to favorite, game of all time. Even with ME3’s problems, the games are head and shoulders above most others. Andromeda, on the other hand, is a pale shadow of the original trilogy (and I actually don’t hate that game, just parts of it).

                I have to agree with you as well about Inquisition. The answer, I’ll lay odds, is they don’t let themselves see the irony. Instead, they are patting themselves on the back for not only having the non-traditional characters but for being responsive to a small segment of the gaming community’s demands.

            2. (Nod) Shepard dying I was okay with. But not like…that. If he was going to die, I wanted him to go out blowing Harbinger straight to hell with the Catalyst.

              1. There’s a really neat conversation between Shepard and Anderson that got cut from ME3. People poking around in the video files found it and posted it online. You might even be able to find it on YouTube (assuming EA didn’t have it pulled for copyright infringement). Long story short, it’s clearly set immediately before Ghost Boy, and Anderson is telling Shepard about what an awesome parent he (or she) would be.

                IMO strong evidence that plans got pretty far along for a different ending.

                Also, amusingly, a couple of weeks before the game was released, someone posted a synopsis of the ending online. There were some details missing here and there (no mention of Ghost Boy or three colors, for instance), but most of the important details were there. Someone brought it up over on the Bioware forums, where it was mocked by the fans as being completely absurd and ridiculous.

                Finally, when I finished ME3, I hopped onto the Bioware forums to see what others were saying about it. It was a very surreal experience. The players were, needless to say, very upset. But the forum mods seemed to genuinely be clueless about why people didn’t think the game ending was the greatest thing ever (i.e. they didn’t just appear to be delivering the company line). It was very strange.

                1. A clever modder out there actually made a modded game ending that uses that conversation. It’s a ‘happy ending’ mod–Shepard destroys the Reapers, but NOT the geth or EDI, and there’s some very well done cutscenes with the Normandy crew rescuing a badly injured Shepard. The memorial scene at the end has them putting up Anderson’s name instead of Shepard’s.

                  I was okay with Shepard sacrificing himself/herself, but…the only way to do that and NOT murder EDI and potentially the newly-free-willed geth was to do the synthesis, which was just SO wrong.

                  I liked the happy ending mod. 😀

                  1. Yeah. My gut feeling is that the “murder EDI and the Geth” bit was included because otherwise 99% of the player base would choose the “sacrifice yourself to destroy the Reapers” option. It would have been a no-brainer.

                  2. From what I’ve seen of the ending cutscenes, they put that in as a ham-handed attempt to force a dilemma. Though tbh the idea of a superweapon that could wipe out the Reapers in one shot was one of the weaker things. I would’ve preferred some weapon that gave those opposed to the Reapers a chance against them besides just raw numbers.

                    1. Well, and the original, pre-‘extended cut’ ending had the freaking Catalyst blow up ALL the mass effect relays…which established, in the “Arrival” DLC for Mass Effect 2, destroyed the ENTIRE STAR SYSTEM. So as it originally stood, no matter what choice you made, everyone technically died.

                      Bioware got called out *hard* for that one, especially since ME3 opens up with Shepard under arrest for the deaths of the Batarian colonists in the Alpha Relay system, which he/she had blown up to prevent the Reapers from arriving some eight months earlier.

                      It was crap like that, as well as other gaping breaks of their previously-established worldbuilding (all those fleets that were then stranded in the Sol System–yeah, the turians and the quarians would inevitably starve to death!), and the overall “it makes no difference what you choose, even though we’ve been hyping what a big deal the decisions you’ve made across THREE GAMES are” that pissed people off. :/

                      It was like that “To Forgive or Not to Forgive” post over on MGC last week–some things, a reader/player will forgive. Other things, not so much. 😀

                    2. IIRC, the PR folks were claiming the ending was not boiled down to a mere three colors. Of course, if you look up the movies on the game install it shows some .bik files with End03_London*COLOR* and things like “Good” “Bad” and such.

                      Yeah, that isn’t rain that’s splattering on my leg, Bioware.

                      They also were trying to force an idea that organics and synthetics couldn’t possibly coexist, except it was possible to negotiate a peace between the Quarians and Geth if you had played all three games and did things a certain way.

                      It’s like they made a last minute decision and simply cut things out, like one of the cut dialogues before the final battle in London. A Prime notes that they are working well with Creator (Quarian) forces.

                      I nicknamed that one “Optimus” since… well, Odd. 😀

                    3. I *love* being able to make peace btw the Quarians and the Geth–especially when you find out (by reading codex entries, I think) that the Geth are able to upload themselves to Quarian suits and start simulating viruses/pollen/bacteria in such a way that it allows the Quarians’ immune systems to start rebuilding. That was so cool.

                      And then yeah, Bioware goes and screws it up with the stupid “YOU MUST MAKE A STUPID SACRIFICE” garbage. Or take away the entire galaxy’s free will (synthesis) or become a totalitarian horror (domination). Ugh.

                      Thank goodness for talented modders.

                    4. Before I stopped I actually was going to try Control with a Paragon Shepard. I told myself I could make the new Shepard-Catalyst into something like the Fleetmind from Schlock Mercenary, but I couldn’t continue the game so that never happened.
                      “You were taking advantage of the aftermath to attack isolated colonies and strip them of valuable resources.” “You have no RIGHT to judge me!” “By your own actions you seem to believe that might makes right.” “I don’t like where this is heading.” “Oh good, I was hoping you wouldn’t.”

                  3. sarathered, I felt the same way about the synthesis option. Just nope. Not after everything I’d spent three games doing. As for the mod, it had a much better “feel” for the game and the choices I made than the actual ending(s) did.

      2. The first two Mass Effect games were great. The third… had some great parts, but I found myself unable to finish it. I think the Leviathan DLC bit killed it for me. The Reapers stopped being a Cosmic Horror and became a Cosmic Punchline.

        I still play the multiplayer game since it’s still fun. The challenge system and the usual things you get in a pick-up game adds some variety, even if I’m familiar with all the maps and most of the mechanics.

        I’m thinking of contacting support and getting a full reset on my account so I can start over, though it took me about 3 years to unlock every card in multiplayer so I don’t know if it’s worth giving up the Collector SMG for that long. 😀

    2. Tbh it’s not the inclusion of minority plots such as ssm or similar but the fact that they are so hamhanded. A protected class plot cannot end with any mud on the protected class. So the historical ‘thats a bad idea’ connection between personal relationship and Jedi would not be allowed in the KotOR example.


        (though I have to point out that KOTOR obliquely makes fun of the Council’s doctrine on such matters. However your overall point stands.)

        1. Granted KotOR was before I started touching RPGs. There’s plenty of ways to use relationship to poke fun though. Obsidian did it relatively well imo in new vegas. Three companions held alternative sexualities but their stories were about them, not their sex lives. But people get burnt so often that that’s remarkable for it’s abnormality.

          1. Fallout 4 had a lesbian couple that I think was well-written, though they only really get an opening scene when you walk into the Science! Center in Diamond City.

            Instead of a hamfisted “oh aren’t we enlightened” thing about SSM, the player is presented with… two women arguing like an old married couple about the origin of the synths. Then the dour one notices your character and deflects her perky partner into focusing on you. I find it amusing, at least.

            1. I had forgotten that scene. Thanks for reminding me. It was a great way to be “inclusive” without being in your face, screw you if you don’t like it about it.

              1. Yeah, here it is.

                Though now that I think of it, Dr Duff is a bit irresponsible if she sends kids on the same field trip she sends you on.

      2. Thing is, they also discarded that for the heterosexual romances as well–including the one between the male PC and the female Jedi Knight. (I think part of the subtext of the SW prequels is that the “no relationships” thing was a really bad idea.)

      3. Compare and contrast ME3’s ssm people with Andromeda. In ME3, they constantly beat you over the head with “this person is attracted to people of the same sex”. And it happens over and over and over again.

        In Andromeda, the woman up at the front of the ship is a lesbian. But she never mentions it if there isn’t a reason for it to come up. Instead, when you talk to her about her background, she talks about all of the *other* things about her that make her interesting.

        1. I had to think for a moment to figure out who you were referring to. Suvi, the science officer. She was one of the most interesting NPCs imo. And yes, you didn’t get her sexuality slapped in your face.

          My thoughts about Bioware’s problems with trying to be all inclusive with this game go to the creative end. They outsourced to studios without the capability to do the level of work needed for the game based not on capability but on other factors. That’s not the way to develop a game and it’s not the way to run a business.

          1. Only if you’re a government or government contractor. The amount of procurement stupidity because you need to have the check boxes has made it so we cannot do our job. And it’s costing taxpayers millions.

    3. Jade Empire was when they first put in same sex romances. IIRC, two of the characters were willing to hook up with either male or female protagonists. I’ve heard some odd comments here and there (including one bit of mockery involving a Bioware employee’s name) to suggest that someone a particular influential Bioware employee (I’m not sure if he’s still there) exerted some influence to include same sex romance options in the early games. And it kind of snowballed from there.

      DA2’s “everyone is protagonist-sexual!” bit was, imo, Bioware’s collective throwing up of its hands. Whenever I visited the Bioware forums (it’s been a while), one thing that always stood out in the forum for the next upcoming game was the huge number of posts with ridiculously long page counts devoted to why a particular character MUST be a romance option for THIS particular gender. That even applied for characters that Bioware had stated wouldn’t be romance options. ANY other topic paled in size and comparison to the number and size of those threads. It was just ridiculous.

      Then Mass Effect 2 got released, and all of the romance options were heterosexual. I’m guessing that there was a bit of noise as a result. And the very next game released was DA2 with its “all of your party members – except for the ones that aren’t romanceable (and SHUT UP already; NO, we’re not going to make Varric romanceable!) are protagonist-sexual.”

      As for my opinions on their games…

      I played – and enjoyed – everything they developed starting with Baldur’s Gate. And then I reached the Asari homeworld in Mass Effect 3, and the rest of that game was a wretched experience. I can’t pinpoint anything specific that I don’t like about Dragon Age: Inquisition, but I never finished it. On the other hand, I loved Mass Effect Andromeda. While it had its flaws, I thought it didn’t deserve anywhere near the level of criticism that was spewed at it.

      Anthem’s their next game. Do we really need another Destiny clone?

      1. Given that Bungie killed Destiny, YES.

        Seriously, how do you make a sequel that deliberately removes or destroys everything people liked about the first one?

        I actually helped run a fansite that collected, compiled, and curated the announcements about Destiny in the years before its release.
        I’m hard-pressed to come up with anything that hasn’t been violated.

      2. Bioware would have been better served, imo, not to have tried tying Andromeda to Mass Effect. There was too high a bar set in the minds of fans and, given the technical difficulties in the game when it was first released, it was a disappointment. Yes, I played it and I have defended it against a number of those who criticized it. It was a fun play but it never felt like Mass Effect to me.

        I can do without Anthem because I’m not a big multiplayer fan. And, tbh, after seeing them basically abandon Andromeda (except for the multiplayer), I’m not sure I will ever fully trust Bioware with another single-player focused game.

        1. It felt like the first Mass Effect to me. That was the one that had you running around and exploring – i.e. doing a lot of the same things that you did in Andromeda (except that Andromeda did them better).

          I think Anthem is what killed the game. The experienced studio was working on Anthem, which meant that someone else had to work on Andromeda. Though I do find it a bit disturbing that a studio that in the past appeared to have been doing good work on two different series at the same time (i.e. Mass Effect and Dragon Age) can now apparently only do that with one.

  5. But, but, if you buy something from somebody who does not think right… uh, I mean, correctly, you are no better than them and have shared in and perpetuated every wrong think and other sin they have ever committed. Also all those of their ancestors including Neanderthals or species unknown.

  6. The Asari in the Mass Effect universe are interesting in this context: they were the trigger for Fox News to make a fool of themselves in stereotypical right-wing ways. And yet… the Ardat-Yakshi should send the left into fits because they personify the Dangerous Woman who hunts people for her own amusement.

    I don’t know why I haven’t heard them screaming about it. I suppose knowing about the AYs would require they actually play the game.

    1. LOL. They can ignore the AY because they got to watch Fox go ape over the Asaris and the fact Bioware let FemShep have a gay romance — or three. Now, if that potential hadn’t been there and the AYs were still in the game, I have no doubt we’d still be hearing them screaming about it.

      1. I had to laugh over the screaming about the Asari. Technically, it’s not a gay romance. They’re mono-gendered, but just happen to look female. (Admittedly, my FemShep had zero interest in romancing Liara, but still.)

        I also chuckled because of the people cooing ‘inclusive’, when I was going “Yeah, you can’t convince me the Asari–look female, attractive to all the races, big on multiple partners–aren’t actually some guy’s sex fantasy…Especially when it’s established in-game that most young adult asari spend that period of their lives as exotic dancers and/or killers for hire…”

        1. …and an asari matriarch is complaining that they need to have their daughters doing something more useful than that.

        2. Quibble. The Asari don’t just look female, they are female. They bear children: that’s about the most basic definition of female you can get in biology.

          1. I’ll grant than action RPG is not the greatest place to explore the concept, but to a certain extent Bioware still dropped the ball with the idea of the asari. Because they are a mono-gendered and self-fertilizing species. And they don’t have sex, per se, to reproduce, they do the weird mind-melding thing. And they prefer to seek out other species to randomize the dna sequences in their offspring–and so avoid genetic mutations like the Ardat-Yakshi. (I expect asari history pre-contact with other sentient species was…messy. Probably explains their horror regarding the AY.) It was a really interesting approach to something truly alien…but it pretty much gets lost in the ‘they’re all hot and blue and Shepard can romance at least one of them.’ (Complete with a rather ordinary human sex-scene, eh.)

            But if I recall right (’bout time to do another playthrough) one of the asari NPCs–I think it might even have been Liara–tries to explain that, technically speaking, no, asari AREN’T female. And they aren’t male. That’s not how it works for them as a species. Alas, Bioware never *truly* explores the concept in-game.

            1. I’d somehow got it into my head that the Asari only fertilize with other races, hence why you only ever encounter Asari paired up with non-Asari in the game, IIRC. But I completely forgot that of course they’d have to be able to fertilize with their own race too, or they wouldn’t ever have been a race to begin with. (Unless their home planet had more than one sapient race and they were the second race, not the first, to appear on their planet… but Mass Effect goes with the standard biological evolution theory, where more than one race evolving on the same planet is so unlikely as to be effectively impossible).

              But yeah, the whole “they are mono-gendered and self-fertilizing, but prefer to seek out other races’ DNA” concept would be far, FAR more interesting as an SF idea if the Asari looked non-humanoid. Perhaps with the ability to make you perceive them as desirable members of your race when they want to send off “I’m available for mating” signals (e.g., an Asari dancing in a bar could be shown from the point of view of three different races, appearing Turian, Salarian, and human in turn from each person’s point of view). That would have been quite an interesting concept, and they still could have kept the appeal-to-adolescent-males that it looks like they were going for.

              1. Actually, they HAD that exact bit with an asari dancer and a turian, a salarian, and a human–in ME2, if I recall right, at a bar. See, the salarian had just gotten a breeding contract, and his two buddies were attempting to throw him a bachelor party. While watching the asari dancer, the salarian keeps commenting that the ‘bachelor party’ idea is ridiculous, because salarians don’t really have a sex drive like other species do. This sparks a discussion as to the fact that the human and the turian both find the asari attractive, because to them, they see something closer to their own species. The salarian begins to scoff, and then trails off as he, too, realizes he’s attracted to the asari, because she looks salarian to him. There is a bit of speculation as to how that works, exactly, before the three of them blow it off and decide to enjoy the dancing.

                The implication is that this is EXACTLY what is going on with asari vs other races–and so one could say that the reason asari look more humanoid than not in-game is…because you, the player, are playing as Shepard, who is a human. And therefore sees the asari as an attractive, more-human-than-not species.

                So for all anyone knows, no one really knows what asari truly look like.

                Bioware may have it’s moments of SJW insanity, but when it comes down to it, they are full of *damn* good writers.

                1. Oh, NICE. Yeah, now that you mention it, I remember seeing that scene on Youtube. (Along with my favorite scene of all of them, “Sir Isaac Newton is the deadliest S.O.B. in space.”) But I’d forgotten it when I wrote my comment; I worked out what the scene should be from first principles.

                  Oh, and the entire “Blasto” sequence, which is super easy to miss. On the Citadel in the third game, there’s a series of ad posters in one hallway that you can interact with, and one of them is an ad poster for a movie called “Blasto”. You have to stand there and interact with it multiple times to hear all the clips, but someone has helpfully put them all together into a single eleven-minute continuous bit of audio:

                  That has to be in the top three hilarious things I’ve found in video games ­— and I’m counting the credits song form Portal in my list, so you know “top three” is really high praise.

                  1. Well, and in the Citadel DLC in ME3–which in my opinion is, hands down, the most hilarious, awesome, and enjoyable few hours of gameplay content *ever*–someone actually persuades Javik (aka Prothy the Prothean) to take a small part in a scene from Blasto. And he invites Shepard to join, and so you can go attempt to film a scene from the latest Blasto film.

                    It really has to be seen to be believed:

                2. Mordin has a similar statement, when he thinks Shepard is hitting on him because he/she keeps showing up in the SR-2’s laboratory.

                  1. Mordin is 100% solid gold when it comes to hilarity. I think you only get that conversation with him if your Shepard isn’t actually romancing anyone in ME2, though…but if Shepard IS romancing one of the nonhuman options–all three of which are potentially biologically toxic to a human (or, in the case of Tali, YOU are toxic to HER)–you get that awesome, cringing, hilariously embarrassing conversation about the risks involved.

                    My only disappointment with that bit was Shepard couldn’t immediately go to their potential love interest and ask them if THEY got the same hideously awful lecture.

                    Seriously, it’s stuff like that that has thus far allowed me to let the occasional SJW virtue signal creep slide, because the rest of it is so darned well written.

                    1. It can happen if you haven’t “locked in” a romance yet, IIRC.

                      Though the conversations about Miranda (warning of surveillance devices) or Jack (about potential injury) are also hilarious.

  7. Also, the “controversy” about Kingdom Come: Deliverance accurately depicting Medieval Bohemia.

  8. Once the March is completed there is no need for art for pleasure. All art must serve the State. This is no different. And by including the “indoctrination mode” they hope to get a reliable revenue stream from the government. Why worry about fickle consumers when you play to the biases and beliefs of the people that spend those consumers money.

  9. This why I don’t watch Justice League: New Frontier. They have Superman and Wonder Woman lecture the audience.

    1. I watched it for you. You are 100% correct, it is preachy, preachy, preachy. Also not safe for the kids to watch, somewhat defeating the purpose of a cartoon movie.

      Quite a few of the DC movie-length cartoons are like that in the last 10 years. You really don’t want your kids watching them. Teenagers maybe.

      1. Well, the DC comics haven’t been for kids for a couple decades now, so the animated stuff going along with that doesn’t surprise. The only reason the tv cartoons are still good for kids is because they are specifically aired on kids’ programing networks.

      2. DC comics aren’t for kids, and haven’t been for at least a couple decades now. No surprise that the movies follow. (The kids’ shows are on networks for other kids’ shows, so of course the more adult stuff has to be sanitized.)

  10. I can thin of nothing less interesting to me than the “inclusivity” of a game developer, contributors t an anthology or film/television crew. It ranks with the nutritional content of a German Chocolate layer cake. So long as they are not actively discriminating against folks (or using strychnine in the cake for flavor) I just don’t care.

    1. Wait, what happened to the “k” in “I can think“?

      Oh well – an amendment to the prior statement:

      “<Ithis work of fiction was designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of various beliefs, sexual orientations and gender identities.”

      Does that mean (asking purely out of morbid curiosity, y’unnerstand) that the development team included Christian fundamentalist far-right neo-nazis and Progressive Safe-Space dwelling SJWs and Islamo-fascist jihadis? Cause if it didn’t that disclaimer is fraudulent and if it did I want to see the office winter solstice party.

      1. > Wait, what happened to the “k” in “I can think“?

        New kind of letter. You’ve heard of “Silent” letters right? The ones you see but don’t pronounce? Like the P in psychologist?

        The k in thin is and “Invisible” letter, one you DO NOT see, but DO pronounce. Kind if like the R is “Colonel”.

        1. Then there is the “invisible and silent”, like the “p” in “swimming”.

  11. We are still on the path towards Kurt Schlichter’s “People’s Republic”. His books are meant to be warnings.

  12. “That, to me, was like watching a show and suddenly having a character – or member of the orchestra – stand up and lecture on why something that is happening on stage is wrong by today’s standard.”

    Hmmm. Like Vice President Pence and the cast of Hamilton per chance?

  13. I think of gaming as way to escape from daily mundane life for an hour or two but left wing are relentless, can never relax and just play. It must be exhausting to be a progressive when there is a bogeyman constantly under your bed.

    1. And you constantly have to be alert, lest you accidentally say or signal something and a more-woke (woker?) individual reports you to the Authorities.

      1. Yes, they are kind of people who are going to give themselves cancer or a heart attack from continual anxiety.

    2. JWL, that is why I game. It is my escape and a way to unwind after a hard day. I don’t want to be preached at gaming any more than I do when reading fiction. Make the message subtle, cool. Hit me over the head with it, screw you. As long as I can click and bypass their virtue signaling statement at the opening, fine. Make me read it every time I boot up the game, I’m going to either stop playing or walk away from the screen. Nope, not gonna trap me that way. VBEG

      1. I’ll end up playing older games at that rate, or find an indie game that works for me.

  14. Confirming once again that “boring message fiction is the leading cause of puppy related sadness.”

  15. I’m trying to wrap my mind around exposing my kids to Assassin’s Creed.

    I enjoyed the first two, and large parts of Black Flag, but there are very few games less appropriate for younglings.

    1. I love the Ezio saga the best, and greatly enjoyed III…but yeah, not letting anyone under the age of at LEAST fourteen play them!

    2. When I wrote my initial review for Assassin’s Creed: Origins, I admitted I had doubts about the game. I couldn’t figure out how they were going to make ancient Egypt work. It also looked like they were moving away from the stealth game the AC games had been known for. I was more than pleasantly surprised. I have loved the game and am currently working my way through the latest DLC.

      Yes, you can still play it like the earlier games where you climb and hide and assassinate from the shadows. The use of the bow and arrow help. You can even find ways to accomplish a number of the side missions without ever killing anyone. But, if stealth isn’t you thing, you can go into straight hack and slash gameplay.

      But yeah, not a game for young kids, imo.

      1. That’s good to know! I’m waiting for it to go on sale and fit my budget better. I’ve been ultimately disappointed with recent installments. :/

        I’m waiting on the next big sale (probably the one next fall) for Origins and for the Shadow of Mordor sequel (which is, essentially, Assassin’s Creed in Middle Earth, at least in gameplay terms…)

  16. Tolerance and inclusion now requires active affirmation, willing participation, and enthusiastic applause.

    Comrade! You stopped clapping before everyone else. Off to re-education camp for you.

    1. Tolerance and inclusion now requires bending over and spreading of cheeks without hesitation or demurral.

  17. The reason these companies listen to that very small cohort of complainers is because that cohort also owns (or is owned by; it’s all very incestuous and confusing) the gaming media. Said gaming media being too liberal – and too unskilled – for even their local rag. Very big echo chamber effect (the journolist for these types doesn’t have a big rolodex) – and it doesn’t hurt that the heads of these studios are already sympathetic to the cause, who can then amplify the scare to the money people.
    A game can get away with a lot of non-PC stuff, if they hide it later in the game, or just don’t hype problematic things. Gaming journalists are as competent at games as they are at journalism – barely at all – and the perpetually aggrieved don’t actually play games, but just get tips from “allies” that hang out on reddit or gaming forums looking for something for someone to be outraged by.

    1. I take it you saw that guy trying (and failing) to get through the tutorial of the Cuphead game?

    2. No Journolist is needed. As I noted above, all of the gaming news media is a subsidiary of the same organization (previously owned by Gawker, now owned by Univision through Gizmodo).

  18. 1. You are a simply a man who hates female content in video games.
    2. It is not at all clear that this will have the desired impact.
    3. Things this year are just going to get crazier before the midterms, aren’t they?
    4. Argh.

    1. “You are a simply a man who hates female content in video games.”

      Meaning Amanda?

      Not that I disbelieve you (after all, our hostess is a Mormon male with a great rack) but I just want to be sure that we’re on the same page.

      1. Hey, I remember during Sad Puppies how Scalzi seriously accused us of wanting women barefoot and pregnant.

        1. Barefoot isn’t necessarily bad, y’unnerstan’!

          It beats the shoes Scalzi & Co want to fit women into.

  19. Yeah, I rolled the eyes *very* hard at the disclaimer in AC: Syndicate. Between that and their fawning all over Karl Marx in that game, and I still haven’t managed to finish it. Which is a pity, because it’s awesomely steampunk, and Evie is fun. (Jacob is a twit.)

    Still, it wasn’t as bad as Unity, which was so full of made up crap regarding that era of France that it made even MY head hurt, and that’s not even one of the eras of history I’m much up on!

    1. I enjoyed Syndicate but the Marx bit did leave a sour taste in my mouth. The “secret” mission that let you move forward to WWI and play as Jacob’s granddaughter (?) was fun as well. It wasn’t the best AC game but it was, imo, far from the worst.

    1. It never will. Or at least it won’t without serious changes.

      The players remain unconvinced. They probably always will. But the SJWs own the gaming press, and pretty much every single commercial gaming news website was owned by Gawker Media. Since the lawsuit, that company has been rebranded as Gizmodo, and is now owned by Univision. And as anyone who’s been paying attention is well aware, Univision has actively picked a side in the culture wars here in the US. It’s not ours.

      With that bully pulpit, the SJWs have the ability to keep up a steady drumbeat of pressure on any company that doesn’t buckle under.

      1. SJW Intersectionalism depends on the good will of the population at large. We have to feel true compassion for the victims of oppression for this to actually work.
        And the tactic is beginning to wear very, very thin, which means that it’s not going to continue working.
        Plus, media companies can and will fade into irrelevance. Read a copy of Life magazine lately?

        1. Actually, there’s an issue of Life at the supermarkets right now. Can’t remember what the occasion is off the top of my head, though (they only print new issues for special occasions).

          Thing is, though, the analogy isn’t a very good one.

          Life had actual real competition. Kotaku has competition in name only. Gawker was VERY thorough in buying up all of the gaming news media websites. In fact, they were so thorough that I suspect that the intent from the start was to get a stranglehold on the gaming news sites. You don’t just “accidentally” happen to end up with that.

          Gawker went under due to the Hulk Hogan lawsuit. But as I noted, Univision promptly took over and is keeping things going.

          Yes, eventually the Gizmodo subsidiaries will eventually be dethroned. But that’s a long ways off. And there are no guarantees that what replaces them will be any better.

          Finally, it’s not clear that it makes financial sense to start a new gaming news media site. Things are already oversaturated with the ones already in existence. And running one – particularly a new one – is expensive compared to the return. The “reporters” don’t get paid much, from what I’ve heard. But they do need to get paid. Games need to be purchased and evaluated. People need to be sent to industry events. Etc… So the expenses add up. And your income is exclusively based on ad revenues.

  20. Nyah, honey, that ain’t it.

    It’s “The road goes on forever and the party never ends.”

  21. The explanation, and one I find more than a bit odd, is so the tour could be used for “educational purposes”

    Am I the only one who imagined GTA in drivers ed classes at that?

    1. Probably, but now I can’t unimagine it. XD

      Probably better GTA than MarioKart, though.

  22. The disclaimer simply tells me the company is prioritizing race and gender over competence. Having seen how this always works out I appreciate the warning and will spend my money somewhere else..

    1. AC:Origins is a very good game, don’t get me wrong. But the virtue signaling at the beginning and the “correction” of history in the Discovery Tour (which isn’t necessary to complete the game unless you are playing for all the badges/trophies) are bothersome.

  23. I don’t know of anyone who is “trying to erase the Civil War from history because of slavery.”

    The recent moves to remove “Confederate” statues and memorials from public places are, if anything, intended to remind people what the Civil War was about, and to defeat the efforts of white Southerners to conceal that history. Removing a statue from a park is not the same as “censoring history”.

      1. Right? I think for this critter, slavery is freedom, etc. And people conceal things by living them RIGHT OUT IN THE OPEN. (And pounding them into kids heads in school.)
        Again, I’m on prednisone, and I’m going to get way ruder if he keeps poking.

    1. Would you accept “trying to erase the Confederacy”? Because that’s what they are doing. It goes beyond removing statues. Streets, parks and buildings are being renamed. In many of the jurisdictions where this is happening, it is done without input from the citizens or historians. It is done in the dark of night and the statues, etc, are destroyed or housed with the intent of never being seen again. It doesn’t matter in most situations if the person being honored by the statue, street name, etc., accomplished much in their lives that had nothing to do with the Confederacy. The fact they fought for the CSA is enough to erase them from memory.

      If all these so-called removals were meant to do was not memorialize the CSA involvement of a person, the movement would have stopped with removing statues that clearly indicated association with the CSA. In Dallas, for example, most people had no clue Cabell was anyone other than one of the city’s early mayors, one responsible for dragging the city into the modern age in many ways. But his service in the Confederate army is enough to have them trying to erase his name from city histories.

      Why? Why not make it a teaching moment? Because someone might be “triggered” by something that happened more than a hundred years ago? Sorry, but you might not know anyone trying to erase history but they are there and they are loud and I suggest you look more closely around you.

        1. Yep.

          On a more pragmatic note, when cities are strapped for cash, spending tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars to remove a statue or rename streets, etc., is foolish. There are better uses for that money than trying to make sure someone somewhere isn’t triggered by a monument to a person dead for decades — or longer.

          1. My mom and I used to take buckets of paint at night and repaint the streets back to their original names, EVEN WHEN WE DIDN’T like the original. Yes, it was illegal. Your point? When keeping memory alive is illegal, only outlaws will do it. But outlaws are needed sometimes, to save civilization.

      1. Personally won’t answer to what are in others intent, regarding removal of any person or group who fought or worked for the civil war Confederacy, but Perception is everything. Perception is they are trying to erase “ugly history” so that “it goes away” and “can’t offend” anyone. Perception deals with totality of actions. This includes removal of statues & changing place names, as well as changing text books & other literature. They can state their “reasons” until they are red, black, & blue in the face (or whatever) the Perception is they are trying to erase history, won’t happen immediately, but they are hoping it happens eventually. My 2 cents. YMMV

        1. I think you’re inverting the sides. Amanda was answering the guy who said white southerners are trying to erase history BY KEEPING STATUES AND NAMES.
          I don’t blame you for inverting it, because he makes NO sense whatsoever, but there it is.

          1. Oops. Sorry. Taking Amanda’s side, or rather the side of “idiots are trying to erase history by REMOVING statues & names”. Or Perception of the reasons of removal is to erase history.

      2. I tend toward thinking of the Confederacy as an albatross for their necks, although I suspect today’s “enlightened” no longer grasp the reference.

    2. Wait, wait, the white southerners are concealing history by leaving statues of people who fought a war that everyone can google the reason for and the consequences of. The left’s trained seals are keeping that alive by removing the statues, so no one ever even googles the name.
      That’s mendacious nonsense. PFUI.
      You’re either crazy, or you think we are.

      1. Well, and then there’s the bunch trying to get the name of a door (named/nicknamed after a famous UNION general) changed because his last name was…wait for it…HOOKER.

        And juvenile types keep making rude jokes about the name, and that’s EVIL and oppressive to sex workers or something. (Instead of, y’know, just juvenile and silly.)

        Never have I ever seen a more humorless bunch than the lefties.

        1. I know, right? I just loved the comment from the congress critter who is supposedly female saying that none of the women working there would go through the door because of how oppressed or triggered or something it made them feel. Wanna bet we’d see more than a few of them using the door if we were to check?

        2. Wait. What next? Are they going to force the renaming of the Lovelace Clinic down south now? Obviously it gets its name from a slave plantation in the Bayou’s.

            1. Noooooo. She made her name up. She stole it … what she said publicly & I’m sticking to it.

              Try working as an 18-year-old temp in the Forest Service & your maiden name is Lovelace, & female. Yes related to Lovelace Construction in S. Oregon. NO to the other one; not that I had a clue in 1975; can we say protected & naive(?). Yes scars.

  24. Like there’s this huge cohort of transgender people just waiting to be appeased so they can join in and play the game, right? Or is this just a bunch of mental masturbation masquerading as virtue signalling.

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