Stolen Pixels

Stolen Pixels
Stolen Pixels #178: After Curfew, Episode 7

Shamus Young | 19 Mar 2010 13:00
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Here is the story about Kotick saying he wants to take the fun out of making games. It's pretty shocking. I think most people understand that part of running a creative business is making sure your creative people are happy. Actually that's good advice for any business, but creative ones in particular. Most other businesses are trying to figure out ways to take their boring, tedious jobs and make them more fun. People are more likely to put up with low pay and crap hours if they feel like their work is rewarding and that people appreciate it. But even if you're a magnificent imbecile and you don't comprehend the relationship between morale and productivity, what exactly is there to be gained by removing fun from a job? This sort of hyperbole is funny when it's coming out of the mouth of a Dilbert character, but it's really disturbing to realize this is a very powerful man talking about making people unhappy. On purpose. For no damn reason.

But even the occasional predatory and sadistic boss usually has the good sense to not say things like this in public.

The man is a pariah among gamers, which I should note are also his customers. To the Activision shareholders: Why do you continue to spend millions of dollars employing this clown? Is this really the best guy you can find for that money? Isn't there someone else out there that could do this job without cultivating so much ill will and expensive litigation?

Here is a story about the whole F.A.G.S. issue. I think, in an alternate universe, Infinity Ward might have been able to get away with the F.A.G.S. if it was seen as supposed unintentional irony. If it was played off as a gaffe on the part of a fictional character who didn't realize what they were doing. Kind of like this Penny Arcade strip. That might have even been the joke they thought they were telling. Maybe they were trying to be cool, and failed?

People might be inclined to be more charitable in their interpretations if the game itself wasn't viewed as a boiling cauldron of septic hate, misogyny, and homophobia. It's like, maybe people wouldn't be offended by your Nazi Halloween costume if you didn't also run a day camp for Hitler Youth?

Shamus Young is the guy behind this website, this book, these three webcomics, and this program.

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