Jim & Yahtzee's Rhymedown Spectacular: Taking Gaming Seriously

Taking Gaming Seriously

Put on your poetry hats and join two of the greatest wordsmiths of our generation as they fill your ears with verse.

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Ah ha! I see what you did there. Bravo Jim, bravo.

I wonder if Yahtzee is going to do more poetry centered around the Keretic. I wonder if it's a lyrical transposition of how he became a critic, or just a commentary on the immediate reality.

Lol did Yahtzee just take a jab at Sarkeesian and the SJW crowd? If so my day has been made.

HA! :D Beautiful poem there Jim. A somewhat old message, but ya seem to have had fun with it.

I thought you liked Lets Players, Yahtzee. Though, I guess the point was that they aren't normally the best source for criticism.

theyellowmeteor:
I wonder if Yahtzee is going to do more poetry centered around the Keretic. I wonder if it's a lyrical transposition of how he became a critic, or just a commentary on the immediate reality.

I thought it was just commentary, but I guess it could also be based on how he became a critic.

Though, was pewdiepie around back when Yahtzee was starting out?

God, I hate those people that's all: "Take gaming seriously as an artistic medium." And when someone are but it's inconvenient for them, they are all like: "It's just a game." We need way more shots on those people.

Eh I'm on the fence about the issue regarding Jim's poem. I want games to be taken seriously, to the same extent that movies, books and music are. And movies and books are no strangers to rape scenes.

Whether you think GZ trivializes rape/child rape is another issue entirely, but its mere inclusion shouldn't be considered a problem (though I agree with Laura Kate Dale that the PEGI rating should have been clear on the content), and a few too many people are up in arms that the game features such content at all, and don't even bother persuing the context/wider issue.

Basically I think having these sorts of issues come up and having them debated is a positive step towards the medium being treated with as much respect as any other. It's part of the growing pains that come with evolution, and I'm excited to see what direction this sort of thing takes in the future.

Jasper van Heycop:
Lol did Yahtzee just take a jab at Sarkeesian and the SJW crowd? If so my day has been made.

It's more like he took a stab at people who whine about games they don't like and people who act elitist about games without saying why. But your interpretation's funny too. I thought Jim was taking on SJW's.

Darth_Payn:
I thought Jim was taking on SJW's.

I... Um... What?

Goliath100:
God, I hate those people that's all: "Take gaming seriously as an artistic medium." And when someone are but it's inconvenient for them, they are all like: "It's just a game." We need way more shots on those people.

The problem is that while there are individuals that do engage in this hypocrisy, more often I feel that the perception is just conflating two different internet voices as part of the same amorphous mass that is the internet, as though all internet posters belonged to a hive mind.

More useful is to zero in on a notable personality and highlight his or her contrary opinions.

For example: in this episode of the Jimquisition, Mr. Sterling takes a very harsh stance against industry practices that he sees as harmful to consumers. This is just the latest in a running theme of episodes where Jim hoists himself up as the defender of the common gamer.

But in this episode, Jim chastises those very same gamers for being abusive towards those that work in the industry, wondering if we perhaps deserve the shitty, samey, and consumer-unfriendly products we get when we drive off anyone with talent. This admonishment ignores the fact that Jim engages in this sort of verbal haranguing all the time, and even if he does it more gracefully, Jim ought to know that his notoriety is going to inspire others to do the same, and with far less tact.

But then, the hardest hypocrisy to detect is when it comes from your own mouth.

Darth_Payn:

Jasper van Heycop:
Lol did Yahtzee just take a jab at Sarkeesian and the SJW crowd? If so my day has been made.

It's more like he took a stab at people who whine about games they don't like and people who act elitist about games without saying why. But your interpretation's funny too. I thought Jim was taking on SJW's.

Both are valid interpretations. Yahtzee has made it clear he has quite the unfavorable view of SJWs on his Youtube Channel. Most of his Let's Drown Out series contain at least one jab at SJWs.

Steve2911:
Eh I'm on the fence about the issue regarding Jim's poem. I want games to be taken seriously, to the same extent that movies, books and music are. And movies and books are no strangers to rape scenes.

Whether you think GZ trivializes rape/child rape is another issue entirely, but its mere inclusion shouldn't be considered a problem (though I agree with Laura Kate Dale that the PEGI rating should have been clear on the content), and a few too many people are up in arms that the game features such content at all, and don't even bother persuing the context/wider issue.

Basically I think having these sorts of issues come up and having them debated is a positive step towards the medium being treated with as much respect as any other. It's part of the growing pains that come with evolution, and I'm excited to see what direction this sort of thing takes in the future.

Seconded, although part of the problem is that Hideo Kojima doesn't exactly handle the issue well. Metal Gear Solid 4 had you shoot up traumatized women, and then Phantasm (50 internets to who gets this reference) would call you and tell you their backstory after they died. It didn't really contribute anything meaningful to the plot, and they didn't develop well as characters. Haven't played GZ or PW, but that might be another mistake Kojima has repeated.

It's really hard to portray anything like that, though, without being accused by somebody of trivializing or glorifying the issue, regardless of context. Some people just have a knee-jerk "WE SHOULD PRETEND IT DOESN'T EXIST" reaction to such content.

Sorry for beeing "that guy", but what do the abbreviations "GZ", "PW" and "SJW" mean?

geier:
Sorry for beeing "that guy", but what do the abbreviations "GZ", "PW" and "SJW" mean?

PW=Peace Walker, a Metal Gear Solid game on PSP later ported to PS3 and Xbox360 where you play as a mercenary named Big Boss and go do sneaky things and build a base.
GZ=Ground Zeroes, a prequel/demo thing for the next Metal Gear Solid game, The Phantom Pain.
SJW=Social Justice Warrior, a term that describes people who lash out against things in the name of Social Justice or equality, and generally a derogatory term. They're like the liberal versions of white supremacists, basically.

geier:
Sorry for beeing "that guy", but what do the abbreviations "GZ", "PW" and "SJW" mean?

If I'm not mistaken, "GZ" and "PW" are abbreviations of two Metal Gear Solid titles (Ground Zeroes and Peace Walker respectively) which feature objectionable content in some people's eyes. "SJW" is an acronym for Social Justice Warrior, people who go out of their way to find offence in anything and everything.

Edit; NINJAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS!

Ah, thanks for the clarification!

Jim, what a lovely take down of people who can't own up to gaming's faults. It kinda reminds me of when MovieBob did the whole "Why are we talking about this stuff? Just tell me about the fps and the -" etc.

Mahoshonen:

More useful is to zero in on a notable personality and highlight his or her contrary opinions.

For example: in this episode of the Jimquisition, Mr. Sterling takes a very harsh stance against industry practices that he sees as harmful to consumers. This is just the latest in a running theme of episodes where Jim hoists himself up as the defender of the common gamer.

But in this episode, Jim chastises those very same gamers for being abusive towards those that work in the industry, wondering if we perhaps deserve the shitty, samey, and consumer-unfriendly products we get when we drive off anyone with talent. This admonishment ignores the fact that Jim engages in this sort of verbal haranguing all the time, and even if he does it more gracefully, Jim ought to know that his notoriety is going to inspire others to do the same, and with far less tact.

But then, the hardest hypocrisy to detect is when it comes from your own mouth.

Umm... in the second video, Jim said it's not okay to issue death threats when a developer or publisher does something you don't like. In what way did he turn his back on the consumer by saying that?

Mahoshonen:

Goliath100:
God, I hate those people that's all: "Take gaming seriously as an artistic medium." And when someone are but it's inconvenient for them, they are all like: "It's just a game." We need way more shots on those people.

The problem is that while there are individuals that do engage in this hypocrisy, more often I feel that the perception is just conflating two different internet voices as part of the same amorphous mass that is the internet, as though all internet posters belonged to a hive mind.

More useful is to zero in on a notable personality and highlight his or her contrary opinions.

For example: in this episode of the Jimquisition, Mr. Sterling takes a very harsh stance against industry practices that he sees as harmful to consumers. This is just the latest in a running theme of episodes where Jim hoists himself up as the defender of the common gamer.

But in this episode, Jim chastises those very same gamers for being abusive towards those that work in the industry, wondering if we perhaps deserve the shitty, samey, and consumer-unfriendly products we get when we drive off anyone with talent. This admonishment ignores the fact that Jim engages in this sort of verbal haranguing all the time, and even if he does it more gracefully, Jim ought to know that his notoriety is going to inspire others to do the same, and with far less tact.

But then, the hardest hypocrisy to detect is when it comes from your own mouth.

I don't see any hypocrisy here. Jim's not defending all consumers, he's defending the medium from threats in both the consumer side and the corporate side. He's dedicated many videos to shitty practices on both sides of the fence, and those two videos illustrate it. Business practices that antagonize consumers are just as harmful as consumer activity that hurt and antagonize businesses. Just because he's pro-consumer doesn't mean he can't call out consumers on their awful behavior. In fact, if he didn't, he'd be perpetuating lies and harmful ways of thinking. Thank God for Jim Sterling.

This Peace Walker/Ground Zeroes controversy is totally new to me. Anyone care to explain things to the dumbass?

Also, good poems, good points, hoping to hear more about the Keretic.

Master_of_Oldskool:
This Peace Walker/Ground Zeroes controversy is totally new to me. Anyone care to explain things to the dumbass?

In audio logs it's implied that a female character is beaten, mutilated, and gang raped in front of a 12-13 year old boy, who is then forced to rape her by their captors.

It's also implied that said female character has a bomb inserted into her vagina or rectum.

It would be nice if more people in gaming could avoid a double standard of assuming games deserve to be taken seriously but rushing to say something is "just a game" when "mainstream" critics or journalists look askance at content.

But it's fair to say it would also be nice if people who don't partake of the medium- and even some who do, and should know better- would stop treating video games as if any serious subject they brush is trivialized by the very nature of the medium.

I'm getting to a point where I'm starting to feel a near-reflexive desire to tell anyone who suggests a creator doesn't have the right to address something, or hasn't shown proper respect or sensitivity in doing so, to f#@$ right off. I'm not happy about this in myself; I recognize that it isn't exactly the kindest angel of my nature, so to speak. It scares me, sometimes; I tend to think I'm a reasonably empathetic and compassionate person, and I have to wonder what wading through these waters might be doing to people who are more closed-minded and reactionary by nature.

(I suppose I don't need to wonder; Twitter accounts of people who have managed to say the "wrong things" are backlogged with vitriol from people just like that.)

...

Getting off on a tangent, here; feel free to abandon ship as I get long-winded and rambling, I don't mean to waste your time.

Spider Robinson has written several novels and short stories with the underlying premise that if humanity was massively telepathic, if we all knew what each and every one of us was thinking, we'd become so much more loving and compassionate, a harmonious, consensual group mind capable of achieving a utopian existence.

Even when I was younger and perhaps more idealistic, I thought that was nonsense. Given access to all of each others' secrets, I've felt we would become tyrannical, quick to judge others' faults and absolve our own, eager to destroy the different, insular and paranoid and constantly angry. We're social creatures, and we need each other, but we also need space from one another to stay sane. We need privacy and secrets, we need to be able to keep ideas and fantasies we know might not be acceptable to others without tearing ourselves apart deluding ourselves that those ideas and fantasies aren't there at all.

Sometimes the Internet seems like Robinson's idea and my conclusion as to its actual result.

Sometimes I think I'd be happier if I just logged off and walked away.

How can being exposed to so many other people's ideas make you feel more alone, more angry, more afraid? Instead of acceptance, we reach out and find that there's always someone ready to take a jab at you. Some who are ready to take a jab at anyone, just because they think it's fun.

My baseline instinct is to defend a game like Ground Zeroes, even though I have only a vague knowledge of the content that might be offending other people. I'd be inclined to trivialize their complaints, to accuse them of stifling ideas that make them uncomfortable, to say that they're overstating things to bring exposure to their issues. This, knowing little about them or how these things actually make them feel, if it keeps them up nights or seems like something they can't get away from at every turn. They, in turn, knowing next to nothing about me, would probably lump me in with the worst kinds of online trolls, part of some "boys club" that wants to keep others out.

And another part of me says, "Look, can we just skip it...? The game is going to get released. Maybe they'll omit the scene that offends you, maybe they won't; in either case, someone's going to be up in arms, and the camps on each side will circle the wagons a little tighter, and everyone gets a little more insular and a little more cruel.

Can we just... not do this, once in a while? Please?"

But we can't. Ever. That's not what gets you the pageviews.

And this is why there are so many heartburn drugs on the market.

Callate:

My baseline instinct is to defend a game like Ground Zeroes, even though I have only a vague knowledge of the content that might be offending other people. I'd be inclined to trivialize their complaints, to accuse them of stifling ideas that make them uncomfortable, to say that they're overstating things to bring exposure to their issues. This, knowing little about them or how these things actually make them feel, if it keeps them up nights or seems like something they can't get away from at every turn. They, in turn, knowing next to nothing about me, would probably lump me in with the worst kinds of online trolls, part of some "boys club" that wants to keep others out.

And another part of me says, "Look, can we just skip it...? The game is going to get released. Maybe they'll omit the scene that offends you, maybe they won't; in either case, someone's going to be up in arms, and the camps on each side will circle the wagons a little tighter, and everyone gets a little more insular and a little more cruel.

Can we just... not do this, once in a while? Please?"

But we can't. Ever. That's not what gets you the pageviews.

And this is why there are so many heartburn drugs on the market.

As somebody who--for the sake of absurd but almost unavoidable social physics--is probably on the "other side" from your viewpoint, I just wanted to express sympathy for a lot of your post.

The really stupid part of these debates isn't one side or the other. It's that we always pick sides--and like a Montague/Capulet situation, we jump to our side's defense right or wrong because we can't abandon the principle.

On paper my position is really straightforward. It's best summarized as: "People could stand to shut up and listen a lot more often when women or gay people or trans people or survivors of rape identify something as an ugly or hurtful trend." That's not calling for censorship--but if a creator hears they hurt someone and decides they didn't want to do that, I don't think it's unreasonable if they decide to change what they did. This seems like a simple enough position to argue--doesn't it?

But increasingly it feels like I'm not wading into teh forum warz because I'm defending my position. I feel like I'm fighting a trend--a trend of people shutting good conversations down because actual firsthand perspectives on misogyny or transphobia don't fit with the listener's ideas of what gaming should be about, or with their completely incommensurable experiences--or are just seen as buzzkills. I'm thinking of any given comment thread following the issue of, "Holy fucking shit why are the transsexuals in GTAV still horrible," but it is--to my view--a chronic problem.

But here's what I have to understand: for a lot of people I'm getting into arguments with, they're in a similar boat. They too have pretty straightforward views...but when they wade into an argument, what they're really fighting is an equal and opposite knee-jerk response: that if someone, somewhere, says or does something that can possibly be construed as offensive, then creators need to be dragged out at gunpoint and forced to change their vision.

So here we are, both loading up for a fight we may not even be invested in. Not because we feel strongly about that discrete incident--but because we don't want to set a precedent of agreeing with the kneejerkers.

"Do I really think this is offensive? Honestly, no, I don't...but I am sick to death of transpeople being shouted down and mocked every time they dare to criticize their representation by AAA games, even when they have legitimate complaints."

"Do I really think there isn't a problem with this? Honestly, it is kind of gross...but I am sick to death of social justice warriors demanding creators conform to their standards every time they get offended."

I don't think I feel as hopeless about it as you do. But the more I think about it, the more I think there's a better way to have this conversation.

UNHchabo:

Mahoshonen:

More useful is to zero in on a notable personality and highlight his or her contrary opinions.

For example: in this episode of the Jimquisition, Mr. Sterling takes a very harsh stance against industry practices that he sees as harmful to consumers. This is just the latest in a running theme of episodes where Jim hoists himself up as the defender of the common gamer.

But in this episode, Jim chastises those very same gamers for being abusive towards those that work in the industry, wondering if we perhaps deserve the shitty, samey, and consumer-unfriendly products we get when we drive off anyone with talent. This admonishment ignores the fact that Jim engages in this sort of verbal haranguing all the time, and even if he does it more gracefully, Jim ought to know that his notoriety is going to inspire others to do the same, and with far less tact.

But then, the hardest hypocrisy to detect is when it comes from your own mouth.

Umm... in the second video, Jim said it's not okay to issue death threats when a developer or publisher does something you don't like. In what way did he turn his back on the consumer by saying that?

People who dislike my videos LOVE using the word "hypocrisy" without knowing what the word means. I wouldn't worry too much about it. :-)

Jimothy Sterling:
People who dislike my videos LOVE using the word "hypocrisy" without knowing what the word means. I wouldn't worry too much about it. :-)

Well I absolutely agree with your sentiments. But I'm a bit bemused by their being directed at the same people.

I've seen plenty of people point at gaming as something that can't be anything more than a fun waste of time. (Which a lot of games are, but some are not. I guess I'd agree or disagree with it depending on what specific aspect of "gaming" you're talking about.)

I've seen plenty of OTHER people insist on gaming as an artistic medium that can have value when portraying or discussing some more serious issues. (Which I can also agree or disagree with, depending on the game.)

Don't know if I've ever come across anybody who insists the second part is true, until some kind of controversy comes along, at which point they revert to the first part? Are there people like this out there?

I mean, for the most part, the people actually discussing the "Metal Gear" thing seem to be reasonably mature about it. I don't see people who've always said "gaming can be serious" suddenly turn around and claim that that shouldn't apply to this Metal Gear controversy because "it's just a game, it's not meant to be Shakespare" or anything like that. There seem to be two very distinct groups of people involved here, and I'm not seeing much crossover between the two.

Rutskarn:
I don't think I feel as hopeless about it as you do. But the more I think about it, the more I think there's a better way to have this conversation.

Very well said indeed. These arguments can get so tiring when there's two distinct and valid ways to see something, yet it's very easy for someone on either side to think that their response is the "correct" one. How do you have a debate like that without it descending into shouting matches, because in the end there truly is no real "right" answer? I'm not sure.

Jasper van Heycop:
Lol did Yahtzee just take a jab at Sarkeesian and the SJW crowd? If so my day has been made.

It's rather obviously the infamous PewDiePie and DarksydePhil. But I would like to see the train of thought that led you to "Sarkeesian and the SJW".

Don't mind me, just going through my Rhymedown backlog.

 

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