A follow up of sorts to prior shots at Nintendo fans. Oh, if only Nintendo fans were the only raging douches on the Internet…
You might have heard recently that Lindsey Lohan’s case against RockStar has gotten the go-ahead.
She alleges that the bikini-decked promotional woman for Grand Theft Auto 5, replete with a mobile outstretched for a selfie in one hand whilst she makes a peace sign with the other, is based on her likeness. And she’s sort of right – only in that I believe Ms. Lohan has become a wholesale example of stereotype to the point of being herself a complete parody of the vacuous, self-obsessed vein of Modern America and its young women. I’ve said elsewhere on the Internet that it must be a painful thing for such a woman to realise that she has become a generic example that could be interchanged with dozens, if not hundreds, of other women across the continent of North America. It robs her of a certain degree of “being special”, and considering Ms. Lohan does still retain a degree of considerable acting talent – her role in a stage production of Speed the Plow was mostly well-received with many critics painfully having to argue that she was the best part of an otherwise lacking stage play – being reminded you’re nothing special today must hurt in ways that us ‘mere mortals’ can only fantasise about.
Whilst I think RockStar will of course win out in the end – we’re already seeing strong evidence that the promotional woman in question was based on Kate Upton and not Lindsey Lohan – it must be said that the fandom around Grand Theft Auto hasn’t been exactly making RockStar’s life easy.
Case in point was the voice actor for Michael De Santa, a one Ned Luke. Let me actually show you an image of the tweet in question.
I mean… I don’t want to sound like some raging Social Justice Warrior here, but that’s just not right. Mr. Luke, you’re supposed to be a professional who voice acted in one of the best selling video games of the last five years. Have some damned CLASS! Mock the woman for her silly and arguably frivolous lawsuit – that I’m sure she will lose – but don’t stoop so low that you’re effectively saying she looks like a cow. Or, if you want to look deeper into this and the angle at which the cow in the image is positioned, a cow’s back end. Because that’s really… umm… classy? Yeah, just no on that front. You, and the company you represent having worked for them, have the moral high ground. You don’t NEED to drop to this level! You’re better than this!
Sadly, this is perhaps the more gentle reaction as the audience has, for the most part, reacted to the progression of this case with typical Internet panache and style, with threats of violence and death as well as throwing almost every insult under the sun at her in regards to her appearance. Whilst also bringing up her past misdemeanours – something that might be better to do in an actual court of law rather than paraded around on social media. At this point, it is tantamount to bullying. Remember gamers, we largely were seen to have WON the whole GamerGate thing. We made it clear we weren’t sexist, judgemental nuggets of repressed teenage angst. Mostly by ducking and letting the anti-side self-implode in fantastic style, but still. Those wounds are still fresh – do we really want to beckon those angry people back into our hobby just as we’re starting to get rid of them? Think about this. I certainly don’t.
But the GTA community isn’t alone in this. The once bastion of joy and fun, Nintendo, has seen in recent weeks and months a clangorous outfit of trolls and unpleasant behaviour as well.
Be it the thoroughly unjustified reaction to Metroid Prime: Federation Force (“I want Retro to work on a proper new Metroid” – good news, uneducated fan #6,347: Retro Studios isn’t working on Federation Force. That would be Next Level Games.), or the anger at Star Fox Zero having an easy mode where the Arwing doesn’t take damage – by which I’m assuming wing damage that makes you lose your weapon upgrades, and that’s not taking into consideration Mr. Miyamoto suggested in the same interview that Star Fox Zero will have a hard mode as well (the devil is in the detail, after all) – it’s been a shock to sit through what were often positive and fun presentations with a side bar full of hype and excitement, and instead read pages and pages of vitriol and spite. It’s becoming physically uncomfortable to actually walk into these live chats and just be hit full-force by a wave of angry flaming that exchanges nuance and taking what is said in good faith in return for knee-jerk reactions based on scraps of information that may or may not actually be relevant to the argument you’re trying to make. And making very, very badly at that.
And I wish this was a new thing. Every new MMORPG I’ve tried over the years has descended into this mentality, slagging off every other game on the market and proclaiming “This is the best thing evar!” Uh-huh, and no, as long as The Legend of Zelda: Link’s Awakening exists, it’s not the best game ever. Please stop. Also, why do you NEED to slag off the game you used to play? If you hated it that much, why were you playing it? Oh right, because it was fine when YOU were playing it. Ahem. Of course. You punish games like World of Warcraft by leaving and taking your subscription fee with you. But if any of the conversations I’ve been witness to are any evidence, perhaps your “last MMORPG” is better off without you. Not to mention this attitude in general is what has fundamentally killed the MMORPG genre stone-cold dead. There can be only one – which means no competition, no drive to do better and no actual serious audience to speak of, meaning no-one WANTS to make a new MMORPG! You (not you-you, those who this applies to will know who they are) are the reason behind this. Well done.
Case in point – Daybreak Games. They cancelled EverQuest Next – and hol-ee balls, was the self-entitled reaction ever a thing to behold. Now, admittedly, whilst Daybreak was still Sony Online Entertainment, they did take large sums of money for Founder’s Packs based on EverQuest Next getting a full release. This is nothing new – I remember a certain title called Hellgate: London doing the same thing, and that game died very quickly and no-one got their money back there either. But it’s a risk you take – as with any expenditure based on future promises, see KickStarter, you are taking a risk with your money. This is why many of us refuse to pre-order anything now. I’d much rather wait until reviews pour in a day or two before release, make an informed decision and if it still looks good, THEN I part with my cash. Saves a lot of heartache. Consider that much a lesson to learn.
Thing is, I can’t quite work out if Fandoms are just becoming toxic because of their size and scope, or because the Internet has allowed fandoms of this kind the anonymity to just act like complete knob-jockeys.
But it’s really getting to be a terrible reflection on the state of our hobby, and our games, when the community that surrounds it descends into this kind of rabid fervour to defend something, or tear something or someone a new anal entryway. So Lindsey Lohan – or let’s be realistic, her legal counsel – put together a compelling 45-page dossier to the judge to stress a case was there to be answered. Fine. I’ve lived in the UK for most of my life and all my adult life – believe me, we here in the United Kingdom are no strangers to “dodgy dossiers”; even if it makes an extremely compelling case for, oh I don’t know, the invasion of a country like Iraq, by making claims they had stockpiles of chemical weapons and could deploy them on missiles that could land on our shores in forty-five minutes. Right, Mr. Tony Blair?
I personally believe RockStar has a compelling defence – and even if they DID utilise Ms. Lohan in whatever way (which is admittedly a serious stretch), guess what? It’s a generic stereotype and parody, and last I checked neither stereotype nor parody were in themselves illegal or hateful. If you’re doing something that another person can easily and efficiently parody you, perhaps that’s a sign that you’re kind of doing something… well… umm… doing something. I’m not sure why I thought that was going anywhere. *cough*
But we, as gamers, should be better than this. We survived the frenzied panic in the 90’s when the media suggested Mortal Kombat would make us all psychotic killers – despite the evidence that as game sales rose, crime rates in general fell. We fought off the rabid Jack Thompson using logic and reason, we engaged with aplomb the incredible Roger Ebert when he tried to argue video games couldn’t be art – though he himself as I recall was involved in the creation of one years ago – and more recently, we sat and watched whilst an army of Social Injustice types marched into our hobby, in an attempt to burn everything to the ground but instead only ended up igniting themselves in self-aggrandising fireballs – culminating in that legendarily awful Law and Order: SVU episode, “Intimidation Game”, which has been described by serious journalists and even critics of video games as a whole as being ‘this generations Reefer Madness‘. And if you don’t get that reference, than congratulations are in order. You live in a much happier world than the rest of us, and I’d like to request from you a clipping of unicorn hair. For… ahem. Reasons.
The video game community is, as a whole, brilliant. And I love being a part of it. It’s who I am, it’s what I enjoy and sad as it is to say, I am defined by the video games I have loved over the years. Hey, it’s safer than the alternative and I don’t have a laundry-list of STD’s from moving between hundreds if not thousands of video games the past three decades. But sadly, lately I am beginning to feel… different. Not outcast, because that’d be a stupid word to use. Just… is this what we are now? Ungrateful, spiteful, vengeful souls always spoiling for a fight? Have twenty-odd years of constantly fighting media narratives really changed us to the point where we are nothing more than soldiers in a wider culture war, unable to accept peaceful times to the point where we must always have a cause to rally around and fight for?
I firmly believe Lindsey Lohan is going to lose her case in the end. And hey, it’s her money – let her humiliate herself. We don’t need to do that for her. She’s a big girl, she has the time and money and talent to do that all of her own volition. The best thing most of us can do in these instances is… do nothing. Same with Federation Force – do nothing. Say nothing. If the game is terrible, then we don’t buy it and we hurt Nintendo and that’ll show them not to do it again. Same with MMORPGs – want more of them? Perhaps accept that all have validity and not go all Highlander on every new entrant into the genre.
By doing nothing, you let these people make a fool of themselves. By acting the way that we’ve seen in recent weeks, months and years, you take the focus off what really matters and put it squarely on the behaviour of “gamers”. And we all get tarnished by that brush as a result.
The best part of that is doing nothing requires zero energy. Go play a video game when you feel the urge to act like a douche-nozzle on the Internet. Put it in a box and come get me when Dark Souls 3 is released.
I’ll be waiting… muahahahahahahahahaha-*cough* *splutter*. Sorry, it’s been a while since my last evil laugh. I’m seriously out of practice.