The Week (and a bit) In Games: 19/05/2015

So, as you might have noticed, this one, and all the other articles, have been a little late. The downside of being the sole writer, really… You think you have a schedule, and then all sorts of things come up to play. Nonetheless, it’s been both interesting and harrowing, so I want to concentrate on certain things that have been going on. Shitty things, that go on behind our backs all the damn time, and we have yet to come up with a coherent response. Although that’s slowly beginning to change. Beginning to.

Kickstarter Fraud

You may not have heard of 2Awesome Studios. Lord knows I hadn’t, before the news hit. They’ve been making a game called Dimension Drive , and their Kickstarter failed. Now, normally, this wouldn’t be news, and you may be confused at the fact the link is to a Kickstarter that’s not even a day old. This is one of those “Good News, Bad News” things, and the Good News is just that… Dimension Drive, and 2Awesome by extension, have been given a second chance. The Bad News? How they failed the first time was, as you might have guessed from the title, due to shitlordery. Yes, I’m sticking to that wording. Essentially, someone promised 7000 euros, and… It was fraudulent. This is by no means the first time this has even happened this month, as Kiva Bay’s Feminist Deck project came very close to falling for a similar scam earlier in the month.

Yes, We’re Still Problematic

Another article of note in the week-and-a-bit’s news is by Zoe Quinn, one of many voices speaking up about industry “standards” that are toxic and shameful. It’s called Risky Business , and for the hard of reading among you, that’s part of the joke… A joke that, sadly, is all too real. As she says, there are hefty NDAs in a lot of AAA companies, crunch all over the place, imbalanced hiring practices, and yes, harassment is still a thing, and these things will continue to be Things That Happen until we say they shouldn’t. Until we educate smarter, not quicker. Until we realise, en masse, that It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way, and actively hunt for ways to improve, even if it means admitting Mistakes Were Made.

Guess what? That works for a lot of things. I’ve been writing this, for example, for almost a god-damn hour at the time of writing. Forty minutes of that has been the last paragraph, and deleting everything that comes after it because I’m not happy with what I’ve written. I could give up, throw my hands up, and move onto noteworthy releases and news. I’m not going to, because we need to see the Elephants in the Room. Plural.

We, the gamers and journos and industry figures, from top to bottom, have to look within ourselves, and deal with the things we don’t like about ourselves, the industry we’re in, and why we’re thinking what we’re thinking. That last bit is important, because we try to justify our bullshit all the time. Crunch Is Just Fine, Because We Can Fix The Bugs (Haha, I don’t see that all too often, and there’s other dimensions to the damage Crunch does.) I Can’t See It Myself, So It Can’t Be Happening (There’s a lot of things you can’t and won’t see. With luck, for example, I will never personally know the horrors of war, or being made homeless, and I hope you’ve managed to avoid these things too.) This Person Is Solely Responsible For This Game Being Bad (In most cases, it’s much more complicated than that. Your parents can’t really take sole responsibility for you being born… Think about how they met, what led to that, and you’ll quickly realise “Oh, hey, there was that person who hosted the party where they met, and the friend(s) that convinced them to go… Funnily enough, there’s a game that talks about how this happens in the game industry too. Rather tellingly, it’s called “The Writer Will Do Something“.)

It’s not an easy fight, and it’s one that has to be fought while still staying as healthy as possible… But even you, the reader who’s reading this right now and thinking “BUT THIS PERSON ON THE INTERNET IS WRONG“, can do your part. Take a little time each day to think why these issues crop up, time and time again. Crunch isn’t new. Sexism and Racism in games alone definitely isn’t new. And getting angry at people who turned out to have seen the problems early… Well, that ain’t new either, folks…

…Okay, now for interesting releases and news of the past week.

Things Wot Came Out (Of Note)

First of note is The Witcher 3. Much discussion is going on over the game already, from the writing (for good or ill) to how amazing the hair is. It released yesterday, it’s £50, and it’s apparently long enough to justify that price tag. Axiom Verge, coming in at £15, is a metroidvania that’s definitely attained some notice, so take a look, see if you like it. Quantum Rush Champions, another contender for the Wipeout Spiritual Successor throne, released a demo last week, and Invisible Inc also came out (Which I’ve reviewed today. QRC Demo’s free, Invisible Inc is currently £12, rising to the base price of £15 soonish.) Finally, a couple of note that I missed were Boss Monster (£5, a dungeon building and looting game based on the card game of the same name) and the release of Star Trek 25th Anniversary on Steam and GOG (A classic series, and a classic game… Can you do better than Kirk used to, and keep the redshirts safe all the way through? Also a fiver.)

Hanako’s released Black Closet, a procedurally generated game of school intrigue, and, of course, relationships at an all girl school, Bethesda/Id have given us the first teaser of Doom 4 (All… Er… 12 seconds of it, with an announcement we’ll know more at… sigh… E3), and Twitch are at least trying to reduce their stream lag.

And that’s a brief summary of the week!

…Okay, and a bit.

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