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Rob On Stuff

On Lists Being Made

Gonna be blunt, that in 2020, 6 years since shat met fan in games big style, the last thing I expected was to see a whole bunch of quote tweet/screenshot dunks on someone making a thorough list of “traitors”.

I mean, I get it. It is kinda funny that what started out as a small list has grown to encompass and list an awful lot. Just. Also. What started out as a small list has grown to encompass and list an awful lot. That’s not good!

It’s easy to rib, I guess. And, like, if it was some random 2 followers and a change.org petition for EA to take girls out of videogames or I’ll cwy kind of deal maaaaaybe I’d think differently but, and I’m trying to be careful because I don’t want to imbue a dude with more power than they have, it isn’t that.

Instead, it’s someone making a list whose site has been a rallying point for fash recruitment and, on multiple occasions over the past six years, someone who has played a fundamental role in a number of abuse campaigns. Someone who played a fundamental role in 2014, being the person responsible for leaking a mailing list to an already angry mob, bolstering the abuse in an unfathomably large way.

It’s like we’ve forgotten the real purpose, intended or not, of making a list. They may ostensibly be offering information on who is a traitor (pausing for breath because that’s something I just had to type, in games, in 2020), or in the past on listing accusations around games journalists colluding or to provide a reference point for a boycott because reasons. Their real utility is, however, quite different.

They become reference points to whitewash abuse, it’s okay because they’re “on the list”. It doesn’t have to be now, it can be years later because the thing about these lists is they linger. Five, six years on and I still get to see people I know, my peers and others in games, have these long lingering lists used as a reason why it’s okay to abuse this person. They’re on the list.

And sure, the list in this instance might well largely be a list of businesses, huge corporations and small. But people work in those businesses, it’s their jobs, health, livelihood and safety that gets put on the line because it’s nearly never the executive who gets it, it’s the person who, often for no good reason at all, has the finger of blame pointed at them.

Do I expect this list to be a catalyst for abuse? Not on its own, no. It’s far too ridiculous for that. Instead it’ll be a bullet point, another reason why It’s okay. Because that company is On The List. People must know what they’re getting themselves into, yeah? It’s their fault for not know they’re On The List because look, the list is right there. It’s been there forever.

Just typing that meant I had to go and stroke the cat for a bit because look, 2020 isn’t a time where it’s easy to laugh off the reactionary right building lists. In 2020 knowing the playbook is not enough, not when the balance has shifted and well, it’s not good is it? We’re past that. We need to look out for each other.

So when I sit there, log on, see the quote tweet or screenshot dunks, you’ll have to excuse me for not finding it quite so funny. Not given what keeps happening to good people, the badness justified by exactly this sort of list, often so many years after the list was made.

When I see folks put their hands up with a “me, me, me put me on the list”, I just see folks who are willing to have their names used as a smokescreen when the shit comes down on another unsuspecting person in games who just wanted to get on with their lives.

6 years from 2014 and I’m just like, did we learn anything at all?

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Rob On Stuff

Hey, roguelike developers

Disabilities and mental health issues aren’t mechanics.

Stop it.

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Rob On Stuff

That’s an unreal engine you have there!

Whilst I’m spending the day wishing that folks understood that something “making a thing easier for developers” or “enabling developers to do a thing” is as distant from “it just works” and “no work involved” as I am to Jeff Bezos’ fortune, it seems like a good opportunity to nudge people in the direction of a recent Gamebryo retrospective over on Gama.

For no reason, obv.

Anyway…

Gamebryo would sometimes get blamed for bugs that were, in reality, caused by Bethesda. “I’ve always found it hilarious when enraged fanboys online say ‘Gamebryo AI sucks, look at Morrowind’. There’s no such thing as Gamebryo AI”, Tim said, laughing.

Aaaand

Around the same time, Gears of War was a major showpiece for Unreal Engine, and it had just become available for licensing. “Because Gears showed so well, if there was a new game that used the Unreal Engine, journalists would put the word Unreal in the headline as evidence of how awesome it was going to be.” Dan added. 

I know it’s a hope against hope but I still fantasise that at some point in my lifetime, most folks outside dev will pause before talking about engines, what they are, what they do and go and make a cuppa instead.