Thursday, February 26, 2015

Why I'm Disappointed in Revolution 60

Don't get me wrong: I was hardly super-excited for Revolution 60. I've never planned to play the game, and I certainly have no plans to buy it.

But all the same, I had high hopes for Revolution 60. Well, perhaps more for the idea of Revolution 60 than Revolution 60 itself.

Many women insist that video gaming, if not a hostile environment for women, is at least not inclusive enough of women. They claim that not enough games are made that attract women to gaming. They insist that more games should be made that would appeal to women.

In the latter point, they're not wrong.

In fact, many of the people we refer to as "social justice warriors" believe that more games should be made that would appeal to people of any number of different identity groups.

They're not wrong.

Where they veer into untenable territory is when they demand that AAA companies make such games, and that they only make such games. No one has any business attempting to dictate to any games developer what types of game they should or should not make. That is what the market is for, and it works well.

Games that are more inclusive of such various identity subgroups is what the independent market is for. As a subgroup of the video game industry, robust and healthy indie gaming is the key to ensuring that video gaming is, and remains, inclusive.

Breanna Wu says she doesn't believe video gaming is inclusive enough. She says she believes it's hostile to women. Or so she says. She's certainly willing to lie in order to make it seem that way.

And if she really believed that, Revolution 60 could have been part of the answer to demands for more inclusive games. That is, it could have been if she had actually delivered what she promised.

Wu essentially promised that Revolution 60 would be true to its name. She promised a game inclusive of women, mixing empowering female characters with inventive gameplay in a way that would transform how women are portrayed in gaming.

Instead, Revolution 60 is the mediocre product of a mediocre developer. By all accounts, vast gaps in its gameplay are filled in with banal QuickTime events. Her female character designs are the most hackneyed and typical -- yet unappealing -- imaginable. And Revolution 60's graphics are reminiscent of the worst eyesores of the PS1 generation of games.

In the midst of all of this, Wu's constant wailing to the press about "harassment" and her self-aggrandizing behaviour cannot be ignored. It forces upon me the impression that Wu, whose game is achingly substandard (if not antiquated), is fully aware that her work is substandard, and so insists on injecting herself into the #Gamergate discourse in hopes of using the controversy to coverup the terminal flaws in her work.

In doing so Wu actually becomes the embodiment of the journalistic ethics issue that remains at the root of the #Gamergate discourse. Wu isn't getting coverage from NBC, CBS or CBC because her work is newsworthy, or even because her stunts -- such as "pulling out of PAX East" -- are newsworthy. She's getting coverage because she's connected.

If Wu spent the amount of time that she spends pulling stunts such as suggesting that #Gamergate supporters threatened PAX East with Sarin gas -- it was in fact a #Gamergate opponent who mused about using Sarin gas against gamers -- working on her game, then perhaps Revolution 60 could have become the game she promised it would be.

But instead Wu would rather create threads on Steam message boards asking if she's a terrible person -- only to delete them when she realizes she did so using her own account -- than doing the work giving Revolution 60 the polish that would make it a passable product.

In other words, Brianna Wu is too busy actually being a person to produce a product that deserves people's money.

I can't help but conclude that Wu's plans to not show up to PAX East has more to do with avoiding having to answer any questions about just how awful a product Revolution 60 is, and why it's so awful, than it does any belief that there are any credible threats against her.

After all, the whole Jace Connors debacle did turn out to be a #Gamergate opponent attempting to give other #Gamergate opponents more ammunition to use against #Gamergate. A lot of #Gamergate opponents managed to fall for that, too. Sam "Bring Back Bullying" Biddle even declared Connors "all that's left" of #Gamergate.

How very droll.

Thus, the heartwrenching disappointment in the overwhelming lousiness of Revolution 60. When SJdubs are told to go make the games they want to see made, lousiness of this magnitude is unequivocally not what anyone means.

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