Letters to the Editor

You’re Wrong


In response to “I Got A Golden Ticket?” from The Escapist Forum: Ah, QA. Done a bit of it myself but only for smaller groups and smaller projects, where it was borderline sane. The larger project stuff where the testers are treated like light bulbs – use ’em, take ’em for granted, replace ’em when they burn out – I’ve avoided like the plague. I did my time at a call centre, I don’t want to relive that same kind of hell.

Back when someone had that win-a-beta-testing-job reality show, Penny Arcade did a comic summing up neatly why that was not a prize to compete for. But the best part was the PATV episode that went with it, where they gave real-world examples people have been subjected to:

1) Stress testing a console DVD player tray. You think they got a machine for that? Machine’s not smart enough to tell when something’s wrong, I guess. Imagine a room full of people whose sole job is to open and close a DVD tray until it stops working.

2) A Gameboy baseball game, with stats! Stats not computing right. Gotta play a full regular season of baseball (almost 200 games), do the stats by hand, and see if they match up. New build? Do it again! How to get very good at math.

3) Pokemon Snap. Nintendo wanted to make sure you couldn’t take any pictures that could be construed as sexual. Imagine playing that all day, for months, and having to try sexualize every picture of a Pokemon you take in an effort to stop someone else from doing the same.

And, as they said, this is 80-100 hours per week. You’re gonna burn out fast, so the company works you as hard as possible.

Formica Archonis

Whenever you make something you enjoy as a hobby, originally, into a profession it usually doesn’t end well.

I know I did that with hockey. After H.S. I spent a few years playing Jr.A hockey, 6-10 hours a day of hockey, working out, practicing, etc…and it sapped the fun from the sport for me. I still enjoy skating with friends and family, and doing pickup hockey. I have absolutely no interest in playing it competitively again – it’s funny. When I watch hoceky on TV or live I go into this analytical mode, and I can’t enjoy the spectacle of it. It get so wrapped up in thinking about hip, body, stick, puck, etc…position, and all the dirty/cheap stuff that’s done that the layperson never sees. I don’t regret attempting to play hockey professionally, but I know how much something like that can be romanticized – after all you’re playing a game for a living…right?

It’s probably why I enjoy watching sports I’ve never played immensely.

Also, I’m sorry you had to suffer through The Matrix Online. I had a friend try to get me into the game, oh man, was it boring. It had some cool ideas, like in-game events that shaped the servers, and apparently had a pretty sweet RP community if you were lucky enough to be on one of those server. However, as you said, the game was just so devoid of anything to do.



In response to “Curing the Noobonic Plague” from The Escapist Forum: About the only way you ever see intelligent and reasonable comments on a YouTube video is if it’s a video that, and this is key here, almost no one has seen. If it’s not directed at a niche audience and languishing in obscurity, then the hordes of semi-literate assholes have doubtless descended en mass upon it.

Essentially, YouTube combines all the stupidest people in existence into one hideous gestalt force of stupidity, able to disappoint at a level previously inconceivable for mere mortal agents of idiocy – basically it’s like a retarded version of Voltron.

Singling out the asshat commentators from gaming videos, while certainly justified (since they are asshats) is consequently somewhat misleading.

Gildan Bladeborn

Excellent article on a a topic that needs serious attention from every person in the gaming universe.

While that tendency to unthinkingly fall into us/them groups may be a naturally occurring behavior, it’s one that needs to be ‘thinkingly’ fought against.

The best possible attitude for all of us would be one of the more people in the pool, the better. Because that means the pool gets bigger and more varied as a result, and all of us win as gamers when that happens.

So called casual gaming is a huge breakthrough that everyone should be excited and welcoming about. More games, on more platforms, because of more people gaming. Awesome. But it inevitably means more beginners showing up too.

Take the extra time or effort or patience and be an ambassador for the hobby you love and guide someone into being the type of gaming “citizen” you want to spend gaming time with. You won’t ever regret doing so and might very well be helping yourself for your own future gaming as a result.

This is all FTW.



In response to “The Fallacy of the Fanboy” from The Escapist Forum: Good article, but herein lies the reason why I agree with Holkins on his stance.

You can NOT change people’s minds over the internet in 90% of all cases. Full stop.

Why? Because most people like their egoes too much and of what they believe is to be right…to be right.

Holkins knew, right away, that Ebert would never even begin to consider picking up a controller and actually giving it a try before talking about it. It is true, he later admitted with humility, that he should really not have spoken about games at all given his lack of experience, but he reasserted that he would never even give it a chance to change his opinion either in the very same statement.

What Holkins said was that this kind of assertiveness over the internet does not work in almost any instance. Because most people who get drawn into forum arguments are people who like to imagine, that their opinions actually matter! Hence the only satisfaction they have is derived from arguing their point, not conceding it and you know…actually change their point of view, as you have said.

The only way to convince people in our position would be indeed through having them experience it IRL. But that won’t happen over the internet, ever. Only if you were to meet them in person would this become possible.

That’s why I really agree with Holkins more. It’s pointless and not worth the effort to try to change things over the internet. However, it is not so pointless to try and change them IRL – that is another matter entirely.


I don’t think that the fanboy is a fallacy. It’s a term usually used in a negative way to describe someone, normally a young adult male, who shows great passion and knowledge about something they grew obsessed with as a child like comic books, Star Wars or video games and most importantly doesn’t show much emotional maturity or knowledge in other areas. Someone who is just a fan has the passion and knowledge but is also able to distance themselves from the subject thanks to having a little more wisdom and knowledge gained from other sources.

It’s not a polite term and is rudely used in inappropriate ways. I don’t think that having “fanboys” take hold of the debate and act in a way that influences the ways that games are heading is an especially healthy thing. They argue mostly for things that exclude new or younger fans and lock the developers into creating very conservative content. Things that satisfy their urge to see the same few favourite things over and over again but in ways that are less accessible to outsiders.

The thing about some defences of games is that they show both key characteristics of fanboyism. The unbridled passion is off the chart. Games have to be good for children because they defined my childhood. Games have to be art because I care about them so much and being art is a good thing, right? The defences lack the wisdom of knowing when to pick fights and respecting boundaries. They often lack real knowledge about, for example, what art means to different people and how little or how much being classed as art actually means.

More Fun To Compute


In response to “Punching the Baby Seal of PC Gaming” from The Escapist Forum: Whenever I see a written-piece on how many awful experiences people have gaming on their PCs, I put the blame squarely on them.

I have been PC gaming for 10 years. In that time I’ve had one hard drive die on me. That’s one major problem. No game has caused my computer to spontaneously combust, or has crashed so many times it’s unplayable, or ever presented a problem – should one occasionally arise – that I could not fix with a bit of time and use of Google.

If it doesn’t work, chances are it’s your fault.


Wow, some people really aren’t getting this article are they? Comedy, guys, comm-uh?-dee. Exaggerating a fairly regular complaint for the sake of laughter, with a possible side-effect of providing social commentary? Anyone?

I really liked it, the pathos especially – what the PC fanboys aren’t seeing is that Chuck is one of them. Against all his better judgement, all his common sense, against his instinct for self-preservation (let alone seal preservation) he will return to PC gaming. If that’s not dedication, affection, motivation, then what the hell is? Only a true interest in something can inspire such vitriol. Me, I couldn’t give a shit about overclocking (whatever the hell that is), how clean my freaking drives are (seriously?), and all that jazz because when it comes to PC gaming I’m the one with the COLD DARK HEART. I’m sorry Chuck, but you’re in love!



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