Looking at Depression Quest and Analyzing Male Privilege

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Looking at Depression Quest and Analyzing Male Privilege

Hello, Escapist readers! As part of a new partnership with curation website Critical Distance, we'll be bringing you a weekly digest of the coolest games criticism, analysis and commentary from around the web. Let's hit it!

First up, Errant Signal's Chris Franklin has posted his latest video critique, this one comparing/contrasting Actual Sunlight and Depression Quest -- two recent semi-autobiographical games about living with depression, and analyses how each approaches its subject and informs the other.

On Polygon, Jonathan McIntosh lays out in plain language much the same criticism of male privilege in games as other articles have done, and adds that it's not about individuals' privilege, but how men benefit as a group in society, including games:

I want to emphasize that this list is not meant to suggest that everything is always a cakewalk for male gamers. Male critics, developers, and gamers are also at times bullied or subjected to online nastiness, but it is not based on or because of our gender. This is a critical distinction. The pattern of unearned advantage also does not mean that all men are powerful as individuals or that all women are powerless as individuals. It simply means that men in gamer culture can, on average, count on these advantages, whereas women can not.

The invisibility of a lot of these systems and assumptions is part of why they're so effective. On her personal blog, Kate Reynolds recently dug into Quantic Dream's Beyond: Two Souls and discovered that the game subconsciously eases its players into participating in certain toxic attitudes, even if they don't want to:

I didn't question once while I was playing why I/Jodie never encountered a competent woman while I/Jodie was growing up in a secret government facility. I didn't question why Cole (the black assistant scientist) seemed so inferior to the white scientist Nathan Dawkins. I never questioned why the entity attached to me/Jody was always referred to by a male name (what if it had been Adenia instead of Aiden?). None of those things were important to I/Jodie, only our survival was.

Lastly, Canabalt developer Adam Saltsman has dropped a great essay comparing Shinji Mikami's critically dismissed Vanquish with the Wachowski siblings' Speed Racer, as two works of little-understood, self-contained masterpiece. This is a must-read for anyone interested in in-depth analysis.

That's all for this week! If you're interested in more great writing, videos and podcasts from this week in games, be sure to swing over to Critical Distance to have your fill!

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So I keep going back and forth on whether I want to be the one to kick off the (inevitable) shitstorm here, but I have to say that the Quantic Dream article is incredibly weirdly worded. That whole conclusion is just written in a way that makes the author sound absolutely nutty if you don't already subscribe to the idea that there's a malicious patriarchy controlling everything. Seriously, as much as I love riding the "hate David Cage" Bandwagon, I found it very difficult to take that article/author seriously.

I guess it had to spread to the rest of the website, right?

And that Polygon article is just poor, his last two points are laughable

"If I choose to point out sexism in gaming, my observations will not be seen as self-serving, and will therefore be perceived as more credible and worthy of respect than those of my female counterparts, even if they are saying the exact same thing."

"Because it was created by a straight white male, this checklist will likely be taken more seriously than if it had been written by virtually any female gamer."

Because this isnt a thing apparently
image

EDIT: And wasnt the sitstorm around Depression Quest way back related to the fact that it was a text based flash game already available on browsers being Greenlighted and tacking a spot of another game instead of the fact that she was a female game designer?

josemlopes:
I guess it had to spread to the rest of the website, right?

And that Polygon article is just poor, his last two points are laughable

"If I choose to point out sexism in gaming, my observations will not be seen as self-serving, and will therefore be perceived as more credible and worthy of respect than those of my female counterparts, even if they are saying the exact same thing."

"Because it was created by a straight white male, this checklist will likely be taken more seriously than if it had been written by virtually any female gamer."

Because this isnt a thing apparently
image

White Knight or not, He maintains he has received no online vitriol for his article. Where woman have countless times just for being women.

Which is kind of the problem he's addressing.

The bit from Polygon was actually better than I thought it would be because it actually made the concept of "privilege" seem plausible and not just a ludicrous buzzword.

As for the Beyond: Two Souls thing, well, that was less interesting. The major issue with the article, aside from the repeated use of "patriarchy", was the lack of actual examples. She says the black scientist seems inferior. Explain? Are there repeated scenes where he is wrong about things? Context is also important. Is he a lower-ranking scientist?
It's possible that she's right, but I won't take that kind of thing on faith.

Overall, I'm always intrigued by the idea of new content, though personally I would have picked a different title for the first article.

On a side note, I really wish Taco was still with us to make a post about fedoras and misogyny.
i still have no idea what in the world could have gotten him banned

On a side side note, I really hope portions of this thread show up on Escapist Forums_TXT. LOOK MOM, I'M ON TWITTER!

"I want to emphasize that this list is not meant to suggest that everything is always a cakewalk for male gamers. Male critics, developers, and gamers are also at times bullied or subjected to online nastiness, but it is not based on or because of our gender."

Right, I guess all those times I have been told by females in game that they will cut off my dick and feed it to me, or better yet emasculate me and make me their new whore has absolutely nothing to do with me being a "man". Obviously I am privileged with being threatened and no one giving a shit because I'm just another gamer "bro" what else is new? God forbid some random internet idiot makes a rude comment to a female and gather the pitch folks and call the military because we have just declared war. ./sigh

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:
The bit from Polygon was actually better than I thought it would be because it actually made the concept of "privilege" seem plausible and not just a ludicrous buzzword.

As for the Beyond: Two Souls thing, well, that was less interesting. The major issue with the article, aside from the repeated use of "patriarchy", was the lack of actual examples. She says the black scientist seems inferior. Explain? Are there repeated scenes where he is wrong about things? Context is also important. Is he a lower-ranking scientist?
It's possible that she's right, but I won't take that kind of thing on faith.

Overall, I'm always intrigued by the idea of new content, though personally I would have picked a different title for the first article.

On a side note, I really wish Taco was still with us to make a post about fedoras and misogyny.
i still have no idea what in the world could have gotten him banned

yeah i would have liked something a little meatier and in depth about Beyond. Having "played" [read: watched a through LP which for a David Cage game is effectively the same] I knew about everything she was referring to: Such as...

ZeoAssassin:

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:
The bit from Polygon was actually better than I thought it would be because it actually made the concept of "privilege" seem plausible and not just a ludicrous buzzword.

As for the Beyond: Two Souls thing, well, that was less interesting. The major issue with the article, aside from the repeated use of "patriarchy", was the lack of actual examples. She says the black scientist seems inferior. Explain? Are there repeated scenes where he is wrong about things? Context is also important. Is he a lower-ranking scientist?
It's possible that she's right, but I won't take that kind of thing on faith.

Overall, I'm always intrigued by the idea of new content, though personally I would have picked a different title for the first article.

On a side note, I really wish Taco was still with us to make a post about fedoras and misogyny.
i still have no idea what in the world could have gotten him banned

yeah i would have liked something a little meatier and in depth about Beyond. Having "played" [read: watched a through LP which for a David Cage game is effectively the same] I knew about everything she was referring to: Such as...

Is he actually Dafoe's lab assistant or is he a scientist of the same rank?

Defoe ranks higher but at least during the start of story they were suppose to be partners I THINK.

He wasn't just some intern or something if that's what your asking

josemlopes:

EDIT: And wasnt the sitstorm around Depression Quest way back related to the fact that it was a text based flash game already available on browsers being Greenlighted and tacking a spot of another game instead of the fact that she was a female game designer?

Considering one of the specific attacks was 'women can't understand depression because they can just lie there with their hole open and let any man take their problems away', yes, it very much was about her gender.

It always baffles me that that games writers right now and certain segments of the gaming community like punching themselves in the face very hard. The drama and self flagellation of much of the games writing i keep seeing lately makes me cringe. Yes these issues are real. No shaming people and doing the same tired 'social justice' dace isn't the right way to sort it out. Gaming needs a sense of optimism for the future and a positive path to move past all this negative petty drama.

Yes we have a problem in gaming but it keeps becoming a self fulfilling prophecy. People react to being attacked by attacking. If you make the existing gaming audience feel it is being continuously shit on then it's going to do the exact thing that these types of articles try to address. Ever since the drama laden, high-horse, buzz word spewing articles started its hard to not see them as an infection creating ill will wherever they appear. We're having the right debate but doing it in the wrong way. If you want a problem to be sorted or an argument to be forgotten and try and build something and to move past it don't bring it up even minute of every day telling people how much of a dick they are.

More often than not i think "Bad writing" is mistaken for some kind of agenda. We need to work on building gaming as an art form, as it evolves these problems will begin to lessen naturally. If we co-operate and let talented people do their best work then we can simply transcend the mistakes of the past without any ugliness. That's the message i feel we need to be delivering; gaming is for everyone. As everyone gets involved and creates something gaming becomes something greater. It's not a case of privilege or agenda or finger pointing, it's the case that getting more people involved and having more of the human condition enhances gaming as an art.

As it stands we have an imperfect medium but that's so reason to get bogged down focusing in minute detail on one facet of its shortcomings, going round and round in circles. Where is the positive progress? How can we out-grow these things? I see a lot of bad emotion and strongly held opinion of how other people should feel but i see no real contribution in any of this.

Windknight:

josemlopes:

EDIT: And wasnt the sitstorm around Depression Quest way back related to the fact that it was a text based flash game already available on browsers being Greenlighted and tacking a spot of another game instead of the fact that she was a female game designer?

Considering one of the specific attacks was 'women can't understand depression because they can just lie there with their hole open and let any man take their problems away', yes, it very much was about her gender.

You can't take a single specific attack and use it to paint the entirety of the criticism against something. The gender stuff was a sidenote.

I would also point out that both sides do this all the time. The "You can't understand because you are part of X group" is one of the most common things to throw around.

The problem with this whole discussion is that it is never actually a discussion. It's a full-fledged debate / argument. Neither side wants to actually solve the problem; they're just desperately trying to convert the other side.

oplinger:

White Knight or not, He maintains he has received no online vitriol for his article. Where woman have countless times just for being women.

Which is kind of the problem he's addressing.

Because today it is so easy to insult females on the internet with insulting their gender.

With males its usually their sexuality or social status as being weak.

Serious the trolls will allways go for what gets them the biggest reaction and pulling the sexist trap card seems to be the new go to if you want to insult a female on the net.

Thats it thought.. its trolls trolling and taking the easy way out. Gaming has such a gigantic audience and because of a vocal minority we are being put all in the same bloody category as manchildren that see their male only club in danger when reality couldnt be more different.

Windknight:

josemlopes:

EDIT: And wasnt the sitstorm around Depression Quest way back related to the fact that it was a text based flash game already available on browsers being Greenlighted and tacking a spot of another game instead of the fact that she was a female game designer?

Considering one of the specific attacks was 'women can't understand depression because they can just lie there with their hole open and let any man take their problems away', yes, it very much was about her gender.

yeaaaaah no... there is no partiarchical agenda on the internet or gaming. This was about insulting someone for shits and giggles.. something people on the internet have been doing since its inception.

This has less to do with gaming culture and more with insult culture and the "security" of anonymity.

Oh man, you just hit like three controversial topics in a single article. And we've already hit the white knight accusations by the second post!

I'm not much for content curation I already pretty much already knew about most of these already, but at least we may get some funny shitstorms out of stuff like this.

Oh you know what, sod it. I'm going to keep my head low until the next hot topic rolls in and stuff (I wonder what it will be). This is getting ridiculous, messiah complex running berserk.

I'll just say I agree with Scrumpmonkey; if you are out to fix the world's ills like the savior you consider yourself to be, you likely want to do it in a way that doesn't involve telling people they're shit every ten seconds. Such "internet vigilantism" only serves one's own ego, it's appalling.

Note that by "you" I mean the general public, I'm not addressing anyone in particular.

SKBPinkie:
The problem with this whole discussion is that it is never actually a discussion. It's a full-fledged debate / argument. Neither side wants to actually solve the problem; they're just desperately trying to convert the other side.

This is my problem too. I don't understand how being lectured or screamed at is supposed to improve gaming. There are people on the front lines making influential art pushing gaming kicking and screaming into it's future. These drama-llamas are just hangers on.

Well, it's finally happened, the Escapist has been infested with the social justice plague.

Guess it's time to head on over to /v/ for good.

Funny how all this social justice, tumblr preaching nonsense only comes from people already living in the most "privileged" countries in the world. Almost like it's a result of not having any bigger problems to deal with.

Shadefyre:
Funny how all this social justice, tumblr preaching nonsense only comes from people already living in the most "privileged" countries in the world. Almost like it's a result of not having any bigger problems to deal with.

Its what happens when you have nothing better to do. No matter what, people will find some way to complain about something in their lives.

The majority of people who throw the "privilege" stuff around the most are usually young middle-to-upper-class white women who want to claim victimization over everything.

The game industry media has been fanning the flames for years to avoid being labled "sexist woman haters" for questioning any claim.

The foolishness of all this internet tumblr activtism should be obvious with the CancelColbert thing backfiring on them.

Women of color have taken issue with the over-sensitivity shoving problems for women who aren't white aside over stupid complaints over video games when white women make more money than hispanic and black men.

Vegosiux:

I'll just say I agree with Scrumpmonkey

You see, i wish more sentences started this way :P

Vegosiux:
if you are out to fix the world's ills like the savior you consider yourself to be, you likely want to do it in a way that doesn't involve telling people they're shit every ten seconds. Such "internet vigilantism" only serves one's own ego, it's appalling.

This kind of armchair messiah talk ultimately isn't part of the solution. They think it is. Much of the philosophy I've seen is that you have to be a sword wielding social justice evangelist or you are a hateful, over privileged, ignorant part of the patriarchal machine. There is no in between. You either actively support their philosophy or you are part of the problem. You can't simply say "I have never sent abuse to anyone. I don't recognize this. I don't want to make myself part of this destructive polarized debate" . This is what makes some people angry, they feel they are being branded as guilty simply for existing. Staying out of the debate is seen as "Exercising your privilege" or a form of guilt by inaction.

Shadefyre:
Funny how all this social justice, tumblr preaching nonsense only comes from people already living in the most "privileged" countries in the world. Almost like it's a result of not having any bigger problems to deal with.

Don't get me started on some of the cozy first world Femanism/LGBT 'crusades' we've seen online. Just seek out some of my posts regarding 'elevator gate' or the firing of Mozilla's CEO. The folding of Feminism into Atheism and into the general self righteous blog culture is something that has poisoned the well for many people.

Protip: Instead of saying "White male gamers are privileged/advantaged", try saying something like "X are still facing a certain amount of discrimination".
This way it says that you'd like to raise the attention and respect that "X" gets in gaming culture, instead of coming off as "Privileged white cis male scum have too much privilege".

So instead of saying you want to lower the "privilege" of a certain gender/race you want to elevate the "privilege" of another. See how much better that is?

Scrumpmonkey:

Vegosiux:

I'll just say I agree with Scrumpmonkey

You see, i wish more sentences started this way :P

Vegosiux:
if you are out to fix the world's ills like the savior you consider yourself to be, you likely want to do it in a way that doesn't involve telling people they're shit every ten seconds. Such "internet vigilantism" only serves one's own ego, it's appalling.

This kind of armchair messiah talk ultimately isn't part of the solution. They think it is. Much of the philosophy I've seen is that you have to be a sword wielding social justice evangelist or you are a hateful, over privileged, ignorant part of the patriarchal machine. There is no in between. You either actively support their philosophy or you are part of the problem. You can't simply say "I have never sent abuse to anyone. I don't recognize this. I don't want to make myself part of this destructive polarized debate" . This is what makes some people angry, they feel they are being branded as guilty simply for existing. Staying out of the debate is seen as "Exercising your privilege" or a form of guilt by inaction.

Shadefyre:
Funny how all this social justice, tumblr preaching nonsense only comes from people already living in the most "privileged" countries in the world. Almost like it's a result of not having any bigger problems to deal with.

Don't get me started on some of the cozy first world Femanism/LGBT 'crusades' we've seen online. Just seek out some of my posts regarding 'elevator gate' or the firing of Mozilla's CEO. The folding of Feminism into Atheism and into the general self righteous blog culture is something that has poisoned the well for many people.

My response to these sorts of things is that I feel it:

1) Drowns out serious issues. Everyone is raising a fuss over every little casette in a video game that when something big comes along, it seems no bigger an issue than the tiny, insignificant things which leads me to:

2) Leaves me feeling bored and numb to the whole thing. Do I hate sexism? Of course I hate sexism. But when I get shouted at in every direction from games journalism because a video game I bought has a male in it, or not enough females, or I watch white knights and SJW warriors fight with MRA over the burning remains of the thread, I just stop caring.

Take Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. I liked that. I was happy to discuss it. And I discussed it again. And a third time. And then a fourth time by copying a response from a different thread. And I have simply stopped reading anything to do with it because it's the same complaint about the same thing and I now don't care. Congratulations, I no longer give a crap. I generally oppose rape and such, but I don't want to discuss and I don't want to read it anymore because I am constantly told that by being a male, I am therefore supporting rape if I don't hate myself for the ownership of the penis.

And I'm getting a little sick of how much the Escapist is constantly touching itself over this kind of thing. I used to come here for actual video game reviews, and interesting discussion about video games. If I want interesting discussion, it seems I wait for Shamus Young. I'll tell you what, Susan Arendt at least kept the forum moving and not stagnating.

And it's only this forum I see it on; no other forum gets such a hard-on for a single topic for about a year. Most people get bored after a few weeks. This forum just jumps into the peanut butter filled pool of self-righteous.

Oh joy, more bullshit about male privilege, and from one of the people involved with "Tropes vs Women in Video Games" no less.

How can this possibly go wrong?

*sigh*

Scrumpmonkey:

Vegosiux:
if you are out to fix the world's ills like the savior you consider yourself to be, you likely want to do it in a way that doesn't involve telling people they're shit every ten seconds. Such "internet vigilantism" only serves one's own ego, it's appalling.

This kind of armchair messiah talk ultimately isn't part of the solution. They think it is. Much of the philosophy I've seen is that you have to be a sword wielding social justice evangelist or you are a hateful, over privileged, ignorant part of the patriarchal machine. There is no in between. You either actively support their philosophy or you are part of the problem. You can't simply say "I have never sent abuse to anyone. I don't recognize this. I don't want to make myself part of this destructive polarized debate" . This is what makes some people angry, they feel they are being branded as guilty simply for existing. Staying out of the debate is seen as "Exercising your privilege" or a form of guilt by inaction.

Yeah, as much as you don't want this to be a thing... This is still a thing. The silent majority can't be silent if they don't want the vocal minority to speak for them. If a christian in the US doesn't want people to assume Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell speak for them, they have to make it known that those men don't speak for them. And in order to remove the assumption that Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell speak for all US christians, there needs to be a mass outcry against them.

What the fuck is male privilege? I've heard this term tossed around the internet a couple of times, but I rarely see a definition of the term. It sounds like something white folks made up.

BreakfastMan:

Yeah, as much as you don't want this to be a thing... This is still a thing. The silent majority can't be silent if they don't want the vocal minority to speak for them. If a christian in the US doesn't want people to assume Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell speak for them, they have to make it known that those men don't speak for them. And in order to remove the assumption that Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell speak for all US christians, there needs to be a mass outcry against them.

Nobody except me speaks for me.

There, I've settled that tab. Now, how often do I need to repeat myself in order to make sure that people know that the only person to speak for me, is me?

Vegosiux:

BreakfastMan:

Yeah, as much as you don't want this to be a thing... This is still a thing. The silent majority can't be silent if they don't want the vocal minority to speak for them. If a christian in the US doesn't want people to assume Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell speak for them, they have to make it known that those men don't speak for them. And in order to remove the assumption that Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell speak for all US christians, there needs to be a mass outcry against them.

Nobody except me speaks for me.

There, I've settled that tab. Now, how often do I need to repeat myself in order to make sure that people know that the only person to speak for me, is me?

If you want to avoid misunderstandings, a hell of a lot.

BreakfastMan:

If you want to avoid misunderstandings, a hell of a lot.

It's really hard to misunderstand someone who hasn't said anything. That is, if you're not assuming and/or making up stuff about them. It's really not hard to get anyone's opinion on any particular issue if they happen to be around and involved in a discussion. It's common courtesy not to just go assuming shit about them.

Also, one'd think it was common sense that people speak for themselves.

Vegosiux:

BreakfastMan:

If you want to avoid misunderstandings, a hell of a lot.

It's really hard to misunderstand someone who hasn't said anything. That is, if you're not assuming and/or making up stuff about them. It's really not hard to get anyone's opinion on any particular issue if they happen to be around and involved in a discussion. It's common courtesy not to just go assuming shit about them.

Also, one'd think it was common sense that people speak for themselves.

Well, certainly. But we also assume that a person in a group shares opinions with others in that same group. That is how we are able to talk about groups. Like assuming that American conservatives are against gay marriage. Or that feminists are for equal-pay. Or that socialists are for socialized medicine.

Sir Thomas Sean Connery:
-snip-

Skype chat The spirits inform me it was school and other life/responsibility things. He requested the ban initially for april fool's then never appealed to come back.

I'll stand in for him *ahem*

Depression quest? More like Oppression Quest! Amiright?

...Yeah ok, I'll leave.

OT: The culture wars spread... I'm glad to be apart of this. Bring on the flames!

The only thing I'll say is this... The quantic dreams piece was sorely lacking in examples and arguments specificly concerning the game. A lot of it she expects you to just have to take at face value. The game portrays the black scientist as inferior ect.

I don't know, I want more in depth critique than that.

BreakfastMan:

Well, certainly. But we also assume that a person in a group shares opinions with others in that same group. That is how we are able to talk about groups. Like assuming that American conservatives are against gay marriage. Or that feminists are for equal-pay. Or that socialists are for socialized medicine.

Unless it's a group with some sort of hierarchy in which it's expected there's some sort of representative/spokesperson, that assumption isn't reasonable. I'll give you that in case of groups like political parties, religious sects, unions, fan clubs, inhabitants of an area of administration, yes, it's reasonable to assume that whoever is the "leader" or "spokesperson" for such a group, speaks for the people in that group, unless the people state disagreement. Such groups tend to be "opt-in".

But there is no leader/spokesperson for "men". There's no leader/spokesperson for "feminism" (at least not that I know of). There's no leader/spokesperson for "gamers". There's no leader/spokesperson for an entire ethnicity, an entire gender, or any other kind of demographic that's only a demographic because its members share one particular attribute, be it skin color, what they have in their 23rd chromosome pairs, or what kind of entertainment that enjoy.

So yes, if I'm a Catholic, it's a reasonable assumption that the Pope speaks for me, unless I state otherwise. If I'm a member of a political party, it's a reasonable assumption that its leader speaks for me, unless I state otherwise.

But it is not reasonable to assume that any particular white guy speaks for me just because I happen to be a white guy too. I did not choose to be a member of this demographic, I just happen to be one. There is no hierarchy I am beholden to, and nobody who speaks for me in it.

Oh, good.

The Escapist wants to start talking about privilege now.

Greeeeeeeeeeeat. This can only end well.

There's a reason the Webby winning streak stopped this year.

Vegosiux:

BreakfastMan:

Well, certainly. But we also assume that a person in a group shares opinions with others in that same group. That is how we are able to talk about groups. Like assuming that American conservatives are against gay marriage. Or that feminists are for equal-pay. Or that socialists are for socialized medicine.

Unless it's a group with some sort of hierarchy in which it's expected there's some sort of representative/spokesperson, that assumption isn't reasonable. I'll give you that in case of groups like political parties, religious sects, unions, fan clubs, inhabitants of an area of administration, yes, it's reasonable to assume that whoever is the "leader" or "spokesperson" for such a group, speaks for the people in that group, unless the people state disagreement. Such groups tend to be "opt-in".

But there is no leader/spokesperson for "men". There's no leader/spokesperson for "feminism" (at least not that I know of). There's no leader/spokesperson for "gamers". There's no leader/spokesperson for an entire ethnicity, an entire gender, or any other kind of demographic that's only a demographic because its members share one particular attribute, be it skin color, what they have in their 23rd chromosome pairs, or what kind of entertainment that enjoy.

So yes, if I'm a Catholic, it's a reasonable assumption that the Pope speaks for me, unless I state otherwise. If I'm a member of a political party, it's a reasonable assumption that its leader speaks for me, unless I state otherwise.

But it is not reasonable to assume that any particular white guy speaks for me just because I happen to be a white guy too. I did not choose to be a member of this demographic, I just happen to be one. There is no hierarchy I am beholden to, and nobody who speaks for me in it.

Well, I wasn't really thinking of "white guys", I was more thinking of "gamers/nerds"...

But just because they aren't any "official" spokesperson for a groups doesn't mean one can't reasonably make assumptions about the opinions of those groups. Groups very often have many important figureheads and pundits (like AngryJoe or TotalBiscuit), as well as works that many in the group deem "important" or "valuable". Additionally, groups have exceedingly common opinions that appear all the time on message boards and the like (like "DRM is bad"). It doesn't seem unreasonable that one can make assumptions about a group based on those factors.

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