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Fez II Cancelled
July 28, 2013 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Phil Fish, the volatile and sometimes controversial developer of indie game Fez, has abruptly announced its cancellation: "this is as much as i can stomach. this is isn’t the result of any one thing, but the end of a long, bloody campaign. you win." Though this follows in the wake of a popular podcast's host calling him a "tosspot", a "wanker", and a "fucking asshole", Fish has been the subject of massive Internet antagonism ever since his appearance in Indie Game: The Movie; he's been hounded for saying that Japanese games suck, though he claimed the comment was taken out of context, for Tweeting that "PCs are for spreadsheets" prior to Fez's PC release, and for not patching a save-corrupting bug that he claims Microsoft was charging him "tens of thousands of dollars". Fish has often responded poorly to critics in public, but Jonathan Blow (The Witness, Braid) and C418 (Minecraft) each claim that Fish has been at the receiving end of far worse, and far more frequent, vitriol.
posted by Rory Marinich (205 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I doubt it's really cancelled. He's just being petulant.
posted by painquale at 6:23 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who knew there were such drama queens in the gaming world?
posted by zardoz at 6:25 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's not just the gaming world, it's pretty much the entire intersection of "indie" creative work and the Internet that makes it both possible and frustrating for everyone involved. You have a lot of people who want to imagine that they are artisans but who really, necessarily involved in producing commodities. Put another way, they market themselves and see themselves as artists but they make money by selling units.

So you get a weird setup where personal identity gets mixed in with alienated labor, and on the other side, the consumer buys a "personal" creation of the artist and therefore starts to mix together their feelings about the artist's personal conduct with what is really a pretty remote transaction/relationship. The Internet adds to this weird sort of fake intimacy, which both sides of the creator-consumer divide try to turn into a kind of unilateral claim to not only the money but the affects and opinions of the other side.

Phil Fish and Amanda Palmer are among MeFi's go-to examples of this pseudo-relationship going sour; but it always will go sour. (It goes bad with obviously mass-produced or franchised stuff, too, but that's another story.)
posted by kewb at 6:33 AM on July 28, 2013 [49 favorites]


It is quite jarring, to read what is linked from the previous FPP, and then to (start to) read what is linked from this one. Two very different extremes of the use of social media, perhaps.
posted by Wordshore at 6:35 AM on July 28, 2013


Fuck him. Being the star of Internet Hate Show doesn't add anything to the work.
posted by grobstein at 6:40 AM on July 28, 2013


But when you go into game design and get told that you're the star of the Internet Hate Show against your will, maybe that's when you decide you'd rather live a different kind of life.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:44 AM on July 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


While Phil could easily walk back on this (he's "quitting the game industry," but could just say he's coming back to make a game "outside the industry"), after the Zimmerman verdict was released, Phil began to publicly despair of the ability of video games to do any meaningful good in the world. If he'd taken the time to brainstorm ways he could have the sort of impact he wants, it's quite possible that he was already leaning this direction anyway.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 6:50 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's worth noting that Fish's Twitter icon is Andy Kaufman. I don't think he's pulling a stunt here, particularly since he's suddenly marked his tweets protected (and thus unreadable). But it's a strange little reason to have some hope.

Fez is a remarkably good game. If you ignore all the drama around it and just look at the work of art, it's an excellent achievement. I feel sort of bad for Fish that he's so easily baited and frequently acts like an asshole in public. But man, it's really hard to be individually creative, doubly so if you care what people think of you and want to engage your fans. I have a lot of sympathy for him.

The gaming "community" are mostly a bunch of monsters.
posted by Nelson at 7:01 AM on July 28, 2013 [14 favorites]


The Zimmerman thing was so weird. I can think of tons of ways to use games to help people think about the situations black men face in the ordinary course of their lives, and I don't have one-tenth of Fish's creativity and design talent. 1/10000 maybe.
posted by anotherpanacea at 7:04 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


So let me get this straight. The gaming world contains an army of trolls so motivated that they can hound people into lashing out over social media and cancelling projects.

Where the fuck were these people every time Nickelback was working on a new album?

PRIORITIES.
posted by delfin at 7:07 AM on July 28, 2013 [51 favorites]


Does he have a major depressive disorder? Looks like he has so many ups and downs.

Btw the Xbox 360's pay-to-update thing is/was real.
posted by bdz at 7:09 AM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Eh. Like all right thinking people who've seen Indie Game the Movie I do think he's a bit wanky and overly precious, but anyone would be forgiven for being a bit flakey when a psychopathic hate storm of nutters is being pointed in their direction.

/shrug

The main lesson is IGNORE THE INTERNET if you do anything creative, I guess, since the hatestorm being directed at you eventually is inevitable.

Oh, and this Marcus Beer seems like an asshole, of course. Join the swarm! Bzzz! Bzzz!
posted by Artw at 7:15 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Never played Fez. Don't know Phil Fish and this is the first I'm hearing about the controversy.

The comment thread after his official announcement is just awful. It's like a shark tank. I hope he's able to take some time off, get away from the online world, and clear his head. I sure as shit couldn't handle that level of hostility.
posted by R. Schlock at 7:15 AM on July 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I saw Indie Game, and didn't think much about Fish besides what Artw said, but I thought Fez looked pretty cool. It's a real shame that anonymity on the internet seems to bring out some level of "worst" in people that may never have existed otherwise.
posted by nevercalm at 7:18 AM on July 28, 2013


I kind of hate Jonathan Blow for real though. :-(
posted by Artw at 7:19 AM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Drama queen? Maybe. Troll? Shit maybe, yeah, that Twitter icon is a helluva hint. Asshole? Definitely from time to time.

But still a human goddamn being, who is pretty much constantly being internet lynched, and that's not fucking cool.

I don't care if he's rude or Wrong On The Internet or what. I'm just sick of smug jerkoffs berating the guy from behind the power of a fandom or twitter anonymity.
posted by Imperfect at 7:19 AM on July 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


But when you go into game design and get told that you're the star of the Internet Hate Show against your will, maybe that's when you decide you'd rather live a different kind of life.

Depends what you mean by "against your will."

Fish is a media star because he says things in public that make people feel angry and shitty. He's been doing it for years; I don't think it's an accident. Maybe he doesn't specifically intend to make lots of people hate him; maybe he's addicted to the adrenaline rush of publicly fighting people; maybe he tries to stop but keeps coming back.

But anyway it's bizarre to suggest that he is not a bit responsible for the way people respond to his provocations. As though as an "artist" he is a natural aristocrat, and nothing he does to the little people in the audience can be criticized.

On some level it would be great if Internet audiences were not so quick to anger. But if your whole personal brand is based on making them angry, then you are part of the problem.
posted by grobstein at 7:21 AM on July 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Does he have a major depressive disorder? Looks like he has so many ups and downs.

During the development of Fez, Phil was self-medicating pretty heavily, but since the release has toned it down quite a bit. That said, Phil seems to have a good amount of social anxiety. He got into DJing so that he could attend parties without having to talk to people.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 7:22 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Phil Fish is pretty abrasive and trollish, but that "popular podcast host" Marcus is the real asshole here. Do you know what Phil and Jonathon Blow did to get called names? They complained on twitter about being asked their opinion on every dumb rumor circling through the games industry. ("Rumor says XBox One will allow Indie Publishing! Your thoughts?") Fuck that guy.

Fish is being overdramatic; I'm sure he'll get back to Fez 2 at some point. A break from twitter is a good idea for him.
posted by graventy at 7:23 AM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


You have a lot of people who want to imagine that they are artisans but who really, necessarily involved in producing commodities. Put another way, they market themselves and see themselves as artists but they make money by selling units.

Any kind of artist makes money by selling commodities, also -- the art object. All of the artists that I know who make a living selling their work within the art world are engaged in the same debates. The gallery system / museum system / art fair system / art world institutions is no less isolated from these chains of transactions and discussions of commodity exchange vs. creative intimacy.

The main lesson is IGNORE THE INTERNET if you do anything creative, I guess, since the hatestorm being directed at you eventually is inevitable.

Seconded. I think the post isn't fair in that it reduces Marcus Beer to "a popular podcast's host" -- Beer is the other party instigating and baiting Fish, with the personality of a shock jock (His alias is AnnoyedGamer).

As far as I'm concerned, if you don't make anything, you don't have any right to lazily criticize someone else's work. Now, there's value in critique, so you could be an excellent, sharp, honed critic who carefully examines and teases apart a work to discuss and elaborate on it further. That's great. But a lazy-ass "opinionist" who does nothing but mouth off on someone's hard work? That's not creativity

Look at it this way. Phil Fish probably spent tens of thousands of hours working on Fez. Marcus Beer probably spends a few hours at a time mouthing off about Phil Fish. At the end of the day, Fish makes a game that hundreds of thousands of people enjoy. Marcus Beer makes a whiny podcast.

I'd take more Phil Fishes than Marcus Beers in the world, any day.
posted by suedehead at 7:24 AM on July 28, 2013 [21 favorites]


It's possible that both sides are being assholes here.
posted by octothorpe at 7:26 AM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I agree with kewb: spend enough time in any indie creative market and you'll encounter Fish-style assholes. Sometimes they're phenomenally talented creators but just not very nice people; sometimes their popularity explodes past the point that one person can handle, and they come apart. From what I can tell, Fish suffers from both. And if you piss off a big, demanding, grudge-holding market, good luck recovering from that death spiral.

I have a lot of sympathy for Phil Fish, who doesn't deserve the wrath of the Internet hate machine; no one does. But I also find him terribly unprofessional and unpleasant and don't feel good giving people like that my money, no matter how brilliant their product.
posted by Metroid Baby at 7:27 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it's worth quoting some of the comments on the linked announcement.
Compare your life to mine, then kill yourself.
Good, Fez was shit, who would want more of that shit?
Suck my dick, choke on it.
Good news. Stop making games please.
Get lost you waste of talent. Shitbag telling others to kill themselves, you dont deserve your fame, money or attention.
Hahaha get fucked you pathetic fucking blowhard Fez was shit by the way
You may have made a decent game but you are still a terrible human being.
posted by Nelson at 7:28 AM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


But anyway it's bizarre to suggest that he is not a bit responsible for the way people respond to his provocations.

Yeah, I mean, did you see what he was wearing? He was totally asking for it.
posted by ubernostrum at 7:28 AM on July 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Any kind of artist makes money by selling commodities, also -- the art object. All of the artists that I know who make a living selling their work within the art world are engaged in the same debates. The gallery system / museum system / art fair system / art world institutions is no less isolated from these chains of transactions and discussions of commodity exchange vs. creative intimacy.

I agree wholeheartedly, but I think the problem becomes apparent a lot faster when Internet self-promotion is involved. For one thing, you get a much wider consumer base *and* a much more direct sense of access to the creator/seller than in the world of "high" contemporary art, which sadly has a lot fewer people involved and functions a lot more like a collectors' market than a mass-produced consumable market. The underlying problem is still there, but it plays out a bit differently.
posted by kewb at 7:30 AM on July 28, 2013


The main lesson is IGNORE THE INTERNET if you do anything creative, I guess, since the hatestorm being directed at you eventually is inevitable.

Yup. And the more successful you are through what you do, the more hate will come your way.

Also, what Teddy Roosevelt said.
posted by Wordshore at 7:30 AM on July 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


If he does make more games, I wouldn't be surprised if they're in the vein of Super Hypercube, an installation piece from a few years ago. Phil has been rhapsodizing about the Oculus Rift VR headset recently.
posted by GameDesignerBen at 7:33 AM on July 28, 2013


Ignore the Internet. Except use the Internet for marketing. And communicating with your colleagues. And distributing your work. And documenting the work.

But yeah, ignore the Internet. Because there's absolutely nothing we can do about the Internet gaming community being a bunch of monsters.
posted by Nelson at 7:33 AM on July 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


I don't like Phil Fish much; his comments about the Japanese game industry were harsh and I'm not sure the way Polytron handled the 360 patch stuff was great either.

But honestly, no one deserves a sequel to Fez or another punching bag. Phil Fish can do what he wants, and if exiting the video game industry is really what will make him happy, he should absolutely do it. Video games will be slightly worse off if he does it—not just because Fish actually knows how to make games, or even primarily for that, but because it'll be yet another example of an industry that traditionally welcomes the introverted and the socially awkward as "just another one of us" showing someone just how much they're not "one of us."
posted by chrominance at 7:33 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I had Phil Fish in my G+ circles before I knew anything about this- I was just amassing a list of game designers by following whoever multiple other game designers followed. I don't remember most of their names, but I remembered Phil's because his posts were fairly consistently abrasive and antagonistic, so I unfollowed him.
posted by Jpfed at 7:36 AM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Because there's absolutely nothing we can do about the Internet gaming community being a bunch of monsters.

I am completely with you on the value of trying to make the gaming community a better place over all, but framing it as "they're just a bunch of monsters" like you've done twice already in here isn't a great way to go. At the baseline, the gaming community isn't mostly a bunch of monsters, it's mostly a bunch of totally decent people with some assholes mixed in, just like any other large group. The bigger the group, the bigger the noise the proportional share of assholes can make, though.

And, for sure, it's on both gamers in general and the shepherds and leaders and loudest voices to try and emphasize something more constructive and worthwhile as a way of being so there isn't so much tacit approval or at least tolerance of the minority-loudmouth asshattery that makes shit like this frustrating. But that's not exactly a gamer-specific set of challenges either, on the internet especially.
posted by cortex at 7:38 AM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


It seems to me that some of Fish's gaffes are partly the result of a certain French-Canadian forthrightness and vitriolic sense of humour that can be a little blunt if you aren't used to it. He certainly has done nothing to warrant the level of internet bullying directed at him. The amount of thought, care and sweat poured into every little detail of Fez is astounding and inspiring. I hope he is able to find the peace and quiet he needs to continue the work that he loves.
posted by oulipian at 7:38 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's possible that both sides are being assholes here.

That is a good default assumption for almost every situation.
posted by Foosnark at 7:45 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have been in the position of being rather rude a bout someone's work and then ending up working with then later and finding out that they were a really nice person. That's a thing that'll make you feel pretty shitty, for sure.

(I'm less abrasive and judgmental online than I was then. Honest. Mostly. I started pretty bad, okay?)
posted by Artw at 7:48 AM on July 28, 2013


Yeah, I mean, did you see what he was wearing? He was totally asking for it.

Oh come on. Now any time a "victim" of anything shares some responsibility for his plight, it's just like women being blamed for rape?

Y'know, Ann Coulter receives death threats. That's horrible, but on some level it is her choice to be the target of vitriol, including death threats at the high end of the spectrum. In fact, it is what her career is based on. If she complains about how much people hate her, well, that's a little bit rich, because being hated is her business model. None of this is "victim-blaming" in any pejorative sense.

Now Phil Fish, he also makes games, sure. But he seems to be a self-righteous provocateur on purpose, not by accident. So I think it's fine to hold him responsible for that.
posted by grobstein at 7:55 AM on July 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, did you see what he was wearing? He was totally asking for it.

This is a lazy response to a situation like this. It amounts to a free pass for any provocateur. It's the Stand Your Ground law of Internet altercations.
posted by fatbird at 7:55 AM on July 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


Ann Coulter receives death threats. That's horrible, but on some level it is her choice to be the target of vitriol, including death threats

No. No one deserves to receive death threats.
posted by oulipian at 7:57 AM on July 28, 2013 [10 favorites]


Didn't say that
posted by grobstein at 7:58 AM on July 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


An interesting comment from reddit:
You wanna know my favourite thing about Phil Fish?

He's the gaming community in a nutshell. He's immature, he blows things out of proportion, he can't handle criticism, he's elitist, he gets too emotionally invested in petty fights, and he thinks he's the best.

He is literally everything that the gaming community is, all wrapped up in a single person.

I feel like everyone that attacks him and insults him needs to look at the community around themselves.
posted by Axle at 7:59 AM on July 28, 2013 [25 favorites]


At the baseline, the gaming community isn't mostly a bunch of monsters

I wish I believed that. Maybe I've just been too deep into the League of Legends world lately, but my impression is most online places gamers congregate are awfully toxic. Decent people are shouted out by the assholes and we are collectively allowing that to happen. I think the problem is specifically bad in the gamer world compared to, say, knitters or dog enthusiasts or whatever. Some combination of the main population being young males, a generation of gamers raised on "shitcock" level discourse on Xbox 360 voice chat, and the general badness of anonymous Internet interactions.

So yeah, let's take a constructive approach and participate and highlight communities where the monsters don't win. Like MeFightclub, a site that defines itself as "Hey, we're not assholes over here!". I'm genuinely surprised at how civil Reddit is given how embedded it is in Internet culture and how thin the moderation tools are. Rock, Paper Shotgun is fantastic, not just for the edited articles but the community of commenters around it.

As for Phil Fish, I don't follow his drama enough to know what the solution for him is. I don't really get why his company blog allows comments or why he keeps engaging with the assholes of the gaming community. From what I've read, I fear he likes to indulge his own inner monster sometimes.
posted by Nelson at 8:04 AM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


The default on "should there be comments?" should always be "no".
posted by Artw at 8:06 AM on July 28, 2013


New £10 note gives rise to rape threats and anti-Twitter campaign
posted by Artw at 8:20 AM on July 28, 2013


The main lesson is IGNORE THE INTERNET if you do anything creative, I guess, since the hatestorm being directed at you eventually is inevitable.

Er, no. The lesson here is to use the internet like an adult. Those who make hateful attacks on Fish remain responsible for their actions, of course, but it sounds like this situation wouldn't have gotten this out of hand if Fish had been at all able to respond to criticism in an adult manner and behave appropriately in general.

We've all seen what happens to people who behave badly, because these days every little pissant has the tools to respond directly to you and will — and there are legions of them, so if you start that battle you've already lost. Ann Coulter is a good example of someone who gets treated badly because she behaves badly (not that I support death threats). See also the whole Kitchen Nightmares/Amy's Baking Company fiasco.

And this isn't a hard concept to understand, but the people who get into shitstorms like this are often incapable of understanding it because they've got some sort of personality disorder. They can't change their behaviour because they can't see that anything is wrong with it.
posted by orange swan at 8:26 AM on July 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I'm glad I've been able to enjoy thousands of hours of video game enjoyment over the past three decades without having any inkling what this whole "gaming community" is all about. It sounds pretty annoying.

Any reason why one would choose to participate in it? I buy the games, I play 'em. That's about it. The most I'll dip my toe into the "community" is to read reviews or for tips/walkthroughs.

What compels people to go further? (Follow a game developer's personal Twitter feed? What on earth for? Honest question.)
posted by ShutterBun at 8:28 AM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


yeah I watched the indie games film and everyone in it seemed a bit off and ego-mad and wanky... certainly much more so than my experience of similar fringe things like comics etc.

I don't really have a lot of sympathy for people making over-dramatic flounce outs especially when it seems they have courted the negative attention via provocative statements. Live by the troll, die by the troll.

Though with talk of a twitter panic button... trolling seems to be on a bit of an up at the mo. I blame the weather.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 8:32 AM on July 28, 2013


.

HA HA, just kidding. Fuck that guy.
You don't get to be famous AND tell the entire Internet to "suck my dick. choke on it."
Maybe if the punter had managed some proper grammar and punctuation once or twice in his life. :P
posted by GoingToShopping at 8:36 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


And also, this is relevant. :)
posted by GoingToShopping at 8:39 AM on July 28, 2013


Nelson, half the quotes from "monsters" you posted are quoting various tweets that fish posted, specifically the suck on my dick and kill yourself ones. Any website that got rid of assholes would have to get rid of Phil first.

Also, a couple of posts of his from neogaf lead me to believe that he is bipolar, which sort of shows in his tweets.
posted by zabuni at 8:46 AM on July 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think it's worth quoting some of the comments on the linked announcement.


I think it's worth pointing out that two of those quotes are precisely the reason this guy garners so much hate. They're things he's said to other people.

"suck my dick. choke on it."
"Compare your life to mine, then kill yourself."

Why does this guy get any sympathy when there are starving children in Africa and tragic victims of the American judicial system that you could spend your emotions on instead?
I agree that the Internet Hate™ is getting ridiculous on this guy, but why HIM of all people to choose to feel sorry for? Hopefully he'll get over himself and do something worthwhile with his life instead of bait people and insult strangers.
Nobody gets out of this mess with clean hands, but most especially not Mr. Fish himself.
posted by GoingToShopping at 8:48 AM on July 28, 2013


>> Why does this guy get any sympathy when there are starving children in Africa and tragic victims of the American judicial system that you could spend your emotions on instead?

This does not even begin to make sense as a line of argument.
posted by Nomiconic at 8:51 AM on July 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


Ouch, I hadn't understood those quotes were Fish himself. Yuck. Maybe I'll just go back to playing his lovely child-like game with a wonderful sense of discovery and a terrific soundtrack and try to forget all the drama surrounding the creator.

ShutterBun: gaming is one of my primary recreational activities. And it's often a social activity, gaming with other people. Even when it's a solo game, it's still fun to interact with people about the thing you enjoy doing for fun. Doubly so when you have access to the game creators, to talk to them about their works of art. And despite my negativity above there really are good places to talk about games, like MeFightClub. But as a community we could do a lot better job in censuring the bad behavior that dominates so much of the gaming world.
posted by Nelson at 8:52 AM on July 28, 2013


Phil Fish is hypersensitive, egocentric, and not in very good control of his emotions. This is something he has in common with pretty much every artist of significance ever. This Marcus asshole is the modern equivalent of the kids who threw stones at Van Gogh.

All of this would just a dickhead being a dickhead if not for what it says about social media and artistic creation---namely, the former is very bad for the latter. If your standard for which artists deserve support is which artists are nice to strangers, you are guaranteeing a future where the only art allowed is the most flattering, sycophantic, garbage.

You will search long and hard for a serious artist who was not, at the very least, emotionally unstable. Most major artists were truly unhinged. Decide for yourself if you want a person who creates great art, or a cuddly internet friend.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:56 AM on July 28, 2013 [5 favorites]


yeah I watched the indie games film and everyone in it seemed a bit off and ego-mad and wanky... certainly much more so than my experience of similar fringe things like comics etc.

The reason for this is that everyone in Indie Games: The Movie is on the razor's edge of success or failure after years of hard work and sacrifice. Every move they make might result in the end of a lifelong dream. So they're probably a bit neurotic.

The "compare your life.." thing is a Futurama quote. But I honestly don't understand the hate for a guy who is just an abrasive asshole. There are a lot worse people in the industry.
posted by graventy at 8:56 AM on July 28, 2013


I've never heard of Fez or this guy before but the game looks like fun. What's intriguing to me however, is that Fish is far from the first guy who creates wonderful creative stuff that, in person, turns out to be an absolute jerk.

There seem to be some people out there who are wonderful artists in whatever medium they work in but their personality is just awful.

I have been working for the last few months on small multirotor aircraft for shooting aerial videos, and there was a guy on a few forums I frequented who I could tell was very intelligent but oh my god, online he was just an absolute (pardon me) cocksucker. Trolled threads, treated others like garbage, the kind of guy you'd just like to... kick in the face. Turns out while being an utter asshole he's also a brilliant engineer who has turned out some fantastic code for electronic speed controls and flight controllers.
posted by smoothvirus at 9:00 AM on July 28, 2013


So you get a weird setup where personal identity gets mixed in with alienated labor, and on the other side, the consumer buys a "personal" creation of the artist and therefore starts to mix together their feelings about the artist's personal conduct with what is really a pretty remote transaction/relationship.

This is not a weird setup. Historically, it's the only thing we've ever done. It's only in the last 50-100 years we've had most of our relationships with bland corporate "persons".
posted by DU at 9:10 AM on July 28, 2013


It's only in the last 30-20 years that we've been potentially instantly connected with millions of people.
posted by Artw at 9:12 AM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


All of this would just a dickhead being a dickhead if not for what it says about social media and artistic creation---namely, the former is very bad for the latter. If your standard for which artists deserve support is which artists are nice to strangers, you are guaranteeing a future where the only art allowed is the most flattering, sycophantic, garbage.

Except that it isn't Fish's art that people are mad about, it's his personal statements. The "bad for" cuts both ways: when the only way to promote yourself as an independent artist is via social media platforms, the way you present a personality and sensibilities becomes part of what you sell. The artist's signature on a canvas in times past is not the same thing as a "personal brand" or a "social media profile" today.

This is not a weird setup. Historically, it's the only thing we've ever done. It's only in the last 50-100 years we've had most of our relationships with bland corporate "persons".

Historically, you also had models like patronage for the big-timers and physical communties for the small-timers. The really abrasive artisan tended to have no customers from the start, or found a powerful patron and managed not to tick *that person* off. To an extent, these systems survive in the "high" art world, but they changed radically or ceased to function the same way almost entirely as mass dissemination and reproduction became possible. For example, the modernists sometimes ran into trouble about their political sentiments with regard to their work, and they often had patrons and coteries set up.

(On Preview, what ArtW said.)
posted by kewb at 9:16 AM on July 28, 2013


Doubly so when you have access to the game creators, to talk to them about their works of art.

That's the part I don't get. I understand the community aspects, especially of multiplayer games like World of Warcraft, where there's almost a built-in desire to share "war stories" or exchange gameplay suggestions, etc.

But when it comes to personal interaction with the developers, I've never had the slightest inclination, any more than I'd be curious to have a conversation with the architect who designed the hotel I'm staying at, or the chef who prepared my meal.

It's probably fair to say that it just boils down to me "not caring enough about it", while others do. I do enjoy things like directors' commentary on DVDs and "making of" segments, etc. but the idea of following the day to day thoughts of a game developer totally mystifies me for some reason.

Given what we know (and what's been said here) about creative personalities, maybe I 'm better off staying in the dark and letting the games speak for themselves.
posted by ShutterBun at 9:21 AM on July 28, 2013


You will search long and hard for a serious artist who was not, at the very least, emotionally unstable.

Do you have any evidence for this? I know this fits our preferred myth of the artist as tortured genius, but I can easily think of several big name visual artists of the 20th century who were not particularly more damaged or difficult than the average non-artist--Chuck Close or Jim Dine, for example. Jeff Koons is supposedly a quite plain, pedestrian person. Toulouse Lautrec was a drunk, but so was everyone back then.

We note the artists who act out the stereotype--Van Gogh, Jackson Pollock--without noting those who produce great art without injecting their own troubles into it. This seems like a case of confirmation bias to me.
posted by fatbird at 9:29 AM on July 28, 2013 [9 favorites]


I doubt he's sincere about his retirement, but I've got my fingers crossed.
posted by codacorolla at 9:30 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Suedehead:

"As far as I'm concerned, if you don't make anything, you don't have any right to lazily criticize someone else's work."

Sure you do. Your opinion may be discounted on the basis you have no idea what you're talking about (which may or may not be true), but you still have the right to criticize, lazily or otherwise.

Also, in a general sense, I would point out that there's not necessarily a proficiency correlation between criticism and creation, i.e., that having competency in one is a necessary condition for competency in the other. One reason for this is that competency in creation involves a mastery of process, while a competency in criticism involves a mastery of evaluation of a completed work. These are different things. Having a competency in one can inform the other, of course. But lacking a competency in one does not close off competency in the other.
posted by jscalzi at 9:33 AM on July 28, 2013 [20 favorites]


Heh, I was thinking that the above comment was well-formulated before seeing who wrote it.

Anyway, my solution is simple: I play his games and don't care about his public persona. Hope he makes Fez 2. Compared to artists who were fascist-sympathisers, mouthing off online is small beans.
posted by ersatz at 9:37 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


But when it comes to personal interaction with the developers, I've never had the slightest inclination, any more than I'd be curious to have a conversation with the architect who designed the hotel I'm staying at, or the chef who prepared my meal.

Or the author who wrote that book you enjoyed, or the musician who played that show, or the local artist having that gallery showing, or the bartender who mixed that cocktail, or the guy from the next county over who made that ring you got at the art fair, or...

Which is not to say you ought to want to have any of those interactions—it's totally a personal preference thing, nobody is required or expected to want to engage personally with the makers of the things they enjoy consuming, it's fine to leave it at quietly enjoying something on your own terms—but the spectrum of potential maker/consumer relationships is pretty broad and the Meet The Architect comparison probably isn't the most edifying one in this case since gamers and game developers have a little more in common the specific experiential vector of enjoying-games-as-works than do most folks who go inside buildings and the folks who happened to design those buildings.
posted by cortex at 9:43 AM on July 28, 2013


Kotaku reporting this as "Fez 2 cancelled" is just another instance of games journalism being terrible. It's like overhearing a preteen girl screaming at her mom, and then reporting, "Preteen girl embarrassed by mother, will literally never show her face in public ever ever again."
posted by painquale at 9:48 AM on July 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I'll actually be kind of impressed if this does result in no Fez II.
posted by Artw at 9:48 AM on July 28, 2013


Kotaku reporting this as "Fez 2 cancelled" is just another instance of games journalism being terrible. It's like overhearing a preteen girl screaming at her mom, and then reporting, "Preteen girl embarrassed by mother, will literally never show her face in public ever ever again."

I'm not going to argue that games journalism isn't terrible, and that Fish isn't full of shit, but when the lead developer of a game says that the game is canceled in a public medium, what else are they going to report?
posted by codacorolla at 9:50 AM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's interesting that a guy that'd choose Andy Kaufman as his avatar seems to want to skip the step where he was widely reviled by the rubes not in on the joke and go right to being hailed as a genius.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:54 AM on July 28, 2013


And nothing of value was lost.
posted by Talez at 9:59 AM on July 28, 2013


I'm not going to argue that games journalism isn't terrible, and that Fish isn't full of shit, but when the lead developer of a game says that the game is canceled in a public medium, what else are they going to report?

He'd joked recently about charging hundreds of dollars for Fez only to have thousands of people take him seriously and shit on him for it, so I assumed he was joking until he tweeted it from the polytron account and then also confirmed it to media inquiries via email...

Anyway, yeah, Fish has shot his mouth off on several occasions[1], but I seriously cannot imagine what it must be like to have literally anything you ever say in public no matter how innocuous get responded to the way a lot of people respond to him. For years at a time.

That said, Fez was an extraordinarily emotional experience for me and one I treasure, regardless of the quality of human being that made it. I do hope he'll grab himself a copy of shutup.css and go about his days happier than he's been recently.

[1] - I actually don't find the constantly mentioned thing about modern Japanese games that offensive, ESPECIALLY after seeing the full video of it that came out with the recent special edition of Indie Game: The Movie. He was abrasive, certainly, but his and Blow's complaints about the lack of respect for the gamer's intelligence, etc. are things I see lots of people complain about. Mostly what I mean is his, um, not that healthy response to the angry swarm of internet wasps... But honestly, after 3-4 years of this crap, who would still be taking the high road 100% of the time or even at all?
posted by sparkletone at 10:01 AM on July 28, 2013


Anyway, my solution is simple: I play his games and don't care about his public persona. Hope he makes Fez 2. Compared to artists who were fascist-sympathisers, mouthing off online is small beans.

Exactly. I can happily accept Fish for three reasons. posted by figurant at 10:02 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Clearly when I took my recent sabbatical from Mefi I should have made much more of a song and dance about it.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:10 AM on July 28, 2013


All of this would just a dickhead being a dickhead if not for what it says about social media and artistic creation---namely, the former is very bad for the latter. If your standard for which artists deserve support is which artists are nice to strangers, you are guaranteeing a future where the only art allowed is the most flattering, sycophantic, garbage.

You will search long and hard for a serious artist who was not, at the very least, emotionally unstable. Most major artists were truly unhinged. Decide for yourself if you want a person who creates great art, or a cuddly internet friend.


Half of this is true. Thing is, most of the major provocateurs in other fields will recognise that in themselves, revel in it, and aren't walking around being all 'why me, why poor innocent me?' Mark E Smith doesn't go crying to his fans when someone's rude to him. Or take a man such as Falco out of mclusky/Future of the Left who has a similar schtick going on. You can be an asshole on the internet and social media just fine - just don't expect adulation for it. You're being an asshole, people will respond to you as such.

Fish's problem is at least as much a complete and utter, total lack of self-awareness as it is anything else.
posted by Dysk at 10:10 AM on July 28, 2013


I know this fits our preferred myth of the artist as tortured genius, but I can easily think of several big name visual artists of the 20th century who were not particularly more damaged or difficult than the average non-artist--Chuck Close or Jim Dine, for example. Jeff Koons is supposedly a quite plain, pedestrian person

That kinda proves the point. Chuck Close is a seemingly nice fella, but he's most certainly tortured– in his case, by external circumstance. Jeff Koons is exhibit A in "nice enough person who's (therefore?) a mediocre-at-best artist". Versus Hemingway, T.S. Eliot, Alan Ginsburg, Virginia Woolf, Francis Bacon, Vsevolod Meyerhold, John Lennon, John Coltrane, or pretty much any other heavy hitter in any medium.

Reading the biographies of great artists is always depressing if you (are foolish enough to) expect them to be nice to hang around with. It's not just a different skill set, it's an actively opposed skill set. Artists are not your pets, they're not your employees, and they're not your friends, not if they want to swing for the fences.

In fact, I'd say if Fish's primary flaws are being calumnious but hypersensitive, and a bit tunnel-visioned, then he's one of the less objectionable major artists. And he's definitely a major artist. Fez is one of the best games of the last decade. Meanwhile, Marcus isn't even a good writer. So if I have to choose one of them to disappear from the world... No contest.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 10:17 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Well this thread is dumb.

Next time there's a AAA game with a straight white male as the protagonist, you don't get to complain that 'things should be different' because you ran off all the people with good ideas because they were being 'assholes'.
posted by hellojed at 10:19 AM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm not going to argue that games journalism isn't terrible, and that Fish isn't full of shit, but when the lead developer of a game says that the game is canceled in a public medium, what else are they going to report?

"Bout with podcaster causes Fish to declare that Fez 2 is cancelled."

Or even just:

"Fish: 'Fez 2 is cancelled'"
posted by painquale at 10:21 AM on July 28, 2013


Notch and GRRM should announce a job-swap.
posted by Artw at 10:23 AM on July 28, 2013


And immediately go on vacations!
posted by painquale at 10:23 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Next time there's a AAA game with a straight white male as the protagonist, you don't get to complain that 'things should be different' because you ran off all the people with good ideas because they were being 'assholes'.

So if I understand your logic here, when I don't like an asshole chef at my favorite local restaurant, I have to eat at McDonald's?
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:25 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Next time there's a AAA game with a straight white male as the protagonist, you don't get to complain that 'things should be different' because you ran off all the people with good ideas

I fail to see how this applies to Fish.
posted by codacorolla at 10:27 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, what's with the "he claims Microsoft was charging him" framing of that part of the OP? That was real and was both 1) confirmed as an ongoing practice by other developers until 2) microsoft stopped doing it. In fact, after confirming that they were stopping that practice, Phil had tweeted about submitting a patch to fix the aforementioned bug(s) in XBLA Fez, though who knows if that will happen now.
posted by sparkletone at 10:34 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


There seems to be a wide range of opinions on how much the certification was costing - MS claimed 1000 a shot, which sucks but is not insane, Fush was claiming 100,000 which is nuts. Is that a cumulative amount?
posted by Artw at 10:37 AM on July 28, 2013


Tim Schafer (Double Fine) said $40,000 for each patch.
posted by bdz at 10:39 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Next time there's a AAA game with a straight white male as the protagonist, you don't get to complain that 'things should be different' because you ran off all the people with good ideas

What is this I don't even
posted by bdz at 10:39 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


There seems to be a wide range of opinions on how much the certification was costing - MS claimed 1000 a shot, which sucks but is not insane, Fush was claiming 100,000 which is nuts. Is that a cumulative amount?

I don't know where you're getting the $100k number, but haven't googled recently. The one I've seen was $40k and that was what they wanted to charge Double Fine for fixing something or other. Presumably Phil's fee was somewhere around that... Which does seem weird and exorbitant except maybe as a way to pressure developers to not fuck around when it comes to releasing non-glitchy games (and maybe fleece big publishers a little in the process)?
posted by sparkletone at 10:40 AM on July 28, 2013


Notch and GRRM should announce a job-swap.

Why do you want all those fez characters to die? How would that help anything?
posted by Gary at 10:51 AM on July 28, 2013


Ah shoot... Misread Notch as Fish. All those minecraft dudes die all the time. It would be fine.
posted by Gary at 10:52 AM on July 28, 2013


So let me get this straight. The gaming world contains an army of trolls so motivated that they can hound people into lashing out over social media and cancelling projects.

Where the fuck were these people every time Nickelback was working on a new album?

PRIORITIES.


I think they were busy pushing George Lucas into finally retiring.

There's always a bigger fish.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:54 AM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


the people who get into shitstorms like this are often incapable of understanding it because they've got some sort of personality disorder. They can't change their behaviour because they can't see that anything is wrong with it.

Fish apparently admitted this, according to the link GoingToShopping posted above, which is about two tweets Fish posted and then deleted in late June:

EVERYONE PLEASE UNFOLLOW ME I HAVE HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDER AND GIVING ME ATTENTION IS MAKING IT WORSE. I CAN'T HELP MYSELF (1/2)

TWITTER IS THE WORST GOD DAMN INVENTION. EVERYONE JUST IGNORE ME PLEASE. MY DOCTOR SAYS THIS WILL HELP (2/2)
posted by mediareport at 10:55 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think it is useful to remember, if you have a persona facing the internet, to remember that if you say something on-the-surface controversal, you're going to get the most argumentative people responding to you. It is not always the case that the people who respond to you are representative of all people, and inductive reasoning, that of looking at the most visible people and assuming they represent everyone, can mislead you.

I finally got and have been playing Fez. I spent a happy night breaking the cryptogram. It's very charming.
posted by JHarris at 10:55 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, here's the passage, from Van Gogh's Gardens:

"After his release from the hospital, van Gogh could not go outdoors without being taunted by mischevious children who considered him a madman and threw stones at him whenever he set up his easel. He reacted violently to their antics, and the ridicule only increased."

There has always been a Twitter-equivalent, and there have always been people who think it's hilarious to push artist's weak spots so they'll stop being such unsocialable people.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:03 AM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Concerning his "controversial" statements:

"Japanese games suck," well, I disagree with the statement, but I can honestly see how someone could arrive at that statement. He's allowed to make it, and people should not attack him because of it.

"PCs are for spreadsheets," again, they kind of are, from the start PCs have been primarily a productivity platform. You could consider the game being available on Steam as having walked this back.

The 40K thing to fix a bug in an Xbox Live game: believable, and accurate.

Really, are people upset with him over these things? He's not exactly called anyone Hitler, has he?
posted by JHarris at 11:04 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


What compels people to go further?

I like to talk about things I enjoy with similarly-minded people whose tastes might imperfectly overlap with my own. It's a good way to find new things I'll like, or to see old things I like in a different way. It's just enjoyable in itself, too, which is the main reason to do it. Nongamers are better conversation companions for doing this at this point, which really is a bit sad. MetaFilter and people I know personally are now as far as I go with talking about games, and I think I should do less of that here actually.

Follow a game developer's personal Twitter feed? What on earth for?

I like to know what's going on in the brains of people who produce interesting creative work. I try to pay attention to the names of actual creative staff working on games for the same reasons I try to pay attention to the names of directors, composers, novelists, musicians, etc.
posted by byanyothername at 11:05 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Man, this really ruined my twitter feed this weekend, but it seems to have spun into a few interesting discussions, particulary where there can be space for actual critique within the indie game dev scene. It seems like people are craving discussions that don't just fall down into yelling, and I am into it.

What I would like to see is game devs releasing games without their names attached to them. Hopefully Phil goes Richard Bachman for his next project. I mean, both the catamites and porpentine release from pretty thick clouds of pseudonyms. Neither of them engage in the same way with their fans or detractors though.
posted by jonbro at 11:09 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Pro Tip!
As a professional game designer, here is the strongest option you can choose as an alternative to yelling and screaming in public over someone criticizing you--

don't do that!
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:12 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously, the amount of people willing to invest so. much. emotion. over another petulant white guy in video games who has a years-long history of acting like a whiny, angry jerk in public just boggles my mind. I cannot.

I have lost my ability to even.
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:14 AM on July 28, 2013 [7 favorites]


That kinda proves the point. Chuck Close is a seemingly nice fella, but he's most certainly tortured– in his case, by external circumstance.

This doesn't make sense. Lots of people end up in wheelchairs and deal with it, for better or worse. I'm not aware that Close's condition sent him in an artistic direction he wouldn't have otherwise pursued, or that he was particularly tortured by it. In fact, from what I heard from people who knew Close, he just kind of got on with making art. And pretty much by definition, since the problem was in his spine rather than his head, he doesn't fit the mold of art produced by maddened brilliance.

As far as dismissing Koons as a mediocre artist, you're entitled to your opinion, but as one of the biggest names in late 20th century art, it's a pretty strong counterexample to the 'artist as tortured genius' archetype.

Certainly, lots of artists do tend to have extreme personalities or disorders that seem inseparable from their output. But lots don't, and I suspect the latter are in the majority. You have Kurt Cobain killing himself. I have Dave Groll stopping a concert to eject someone who's fighting, and tweeting about how parenting his daughter keeps him grounded. You have David Foster Wallace, I have Jonathan Franzen. The only thing I've heard about Stanley Kubrick was that he was very demanding; James Cameron seems quite balanced, as does David Cronenberg.

Has there been any research on whether artists tend to have more mental problems? On reflection, I tend to suspect the opposite is true because, for someone to come to our attention, they generally have to be successful enough to do so, and that typically requires one to have their shit at least somewhat together.
posted by fatbird at 11:33 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The problem with releasing anonymously is that Fish's name (or at least the association with Fez) is going to be worth millions. Furthermore, it will likely mean the difference between financial success and failure for the project. Fish can't work anonymously if he wants to get paid for it.

What he should do (IMHO) is disappear from the Internet and get someone else to handle his public communication.
posted by suetanvil at 11:44 AM on July 28, 2013


JHarris: "Concerning his "controversial" statements:

"Japanese games suck," well, I disagree with the statement, but I can honestly see how someone could arrive at that statement. He's allowed to make it, and people should not attack him because of it.

"PCs are for spreadsheets," again, they kind of are, from the start PCs have been primarily a productivity platform. You could consider the game being available on Steam as having walked this back.

The 40K thing to fix a bug in an Xbox Live game: believable, and accurate.

Really, are people upset with him over these things? He's not exactly called anyone Hitler, has he?
"

No but he has, for example, told lots of journalist, including women, to suck his dick as his go to response. Also, he went onto quickmeme this weekend and made hundreds of entries that were all about he hated Marcus Reed.

Also, people certainly can take issue with things he said (especially when they echo casual white supremeacy). But some of th epeople going all "heehee meltdown lollers mental illness so funny" on twitter about this need to go step on a Lego while barefoot.
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:45 AM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


You will search long and hard for a serious artist who was not, at the very least, emotionally unstable. Most major artists were truly unhinged.

I really don't think this tired stereotype is useful. You might as well rant about scientists being socially-inept losers, or postal workers going berserk. It is really not difficult to come up with examples of major artists who led relatively well-balanced lives. Have you seen video interviews with John Cage? He is like the Mr. Rogers of the art world. What is so emotionally unstable about Georgia O'Keeffe? About Henry Moore? Or, since we're talking about game designers, Shigeru Miyamoto, who sounds like he could be nominated for sainthood.
posted by oulipian at 11:51 AM on July 28, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think the dick-sucking thing is likely more him using standard-issue misogynistic gamer slang, it's their version of "go to hell." He shouldn't use it, but I'm thinking he probably didn't intend it as a literal request.

But this thread is nearly the whole extent to which I've heard of the matter. I have never been more pleased that I almost never read Twitter.
posted by JHarris at 11:54 AM on July 28, 2013


But this thread is nearly the whole extent to which I've heard of the matter.

Mission accomplished.

When he returns to "the game industry" and releases Fez II, it will be all worth it. Cha-ching.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:05 PM on July 28, 2013


The dense pebbledash of shitty comments "gamers" leave in their wake is like the angry teenager equivalent of horny builders shouting at women. I doubt they particularly do hate Phil Fish that much, but "ooh ooh I kicked someone when they were down I'm such a badass what a thrill".

It would definitely be good for him to get the hell off twitter, but I will be very sad if Fez II really never happens. I'm a bit surprised to see several people saying "good riddance". He is a very good game designer, is he really such a terrible personality that you're happy to lose that?
posted by lucidium at 12:20 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


JHarris: "I think the dick-sucking thing is likely more him using standard-issue misogynistic gamer slang, it's their version of "go to hell." He shouldn't use it, but I'm thinking he probably didn't intend it as a literal request."

Mansplaining aside as to what it means, and psychic powers of guessing his thoughts, it's a shitty, misogynistic thing to say once, let alone dozens of times, especially to some women journalists? As a professionial whether he's angry or not, he should still deal with professionals, well, professionally.

From Leigh Alexander's excellent FAQ:
"What’s it like being a woman in the game industry?

Like playing Metal Gear Solid 3. You feel a sense of pleasure and mastery so long as you don’t generate noise or movement above a certain acceptable baseline. Call enough attention to yourself and suddenly you’re fighting an unpleasant combat game in which you experience crushing anxiety and virtual pain. I’d like to see that change for us."
posted by ShawnStruck at 12:39 PM on July 28, 2013 [17 favorites]


The more I'm looking into this the more I'm sympathizing with Phil Fish. The only thing he seems guilty of is being kind of graceless in his responses to things. Almost no one seems to have a really coherent argument to make that he is a bad dude or hurting games, but that isn't stopping large numbers of people from celebrating their own ability to be shitty and hostile enough to drive him out. And the joke is kind of on them, because its not like he made bad games or something.
posted by Nomiconic at 1:04 PM on July 28, 2013


Phil Fish is an OK dude sometimes and he makes good video games, but here just like many of his past confrontations it takes two assholes to tango.
posted by kmz at 1:14 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, he went onto quickmeme this weekend and made hundreds of entries that were all about he hated Marcus Reed.

To be fair, True Crime: New York City wasn't really a good game.
posted by ymgve at 1:21 PM on July 28, 2013


petulant white guy in video games

What does race have to do with this?
posted by bdz at 1:24 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


It just sort of standard in these conversations now. I'm not sure it's particularly helpful but I guess there are a lot of white guys producing popular culture about and people like to point that out.
posted by Artw at 1:32 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


I guess they could be saying not liking Japanese game design is racist or something. *shrugs*
posted by Artw at 1:34 PM on July 28, 2013


The Fish-bashing has got to stop. Yeah, OK, he said or did some dumb things in the past. Who cares? Consider this: whenever anything about him comes up in the news, Reddit, RPS, and pretty much every other websites explodes with thousands of comments about how much of a horrible person he is. (And I really do mean anything: it wasn't even his fault this time, and yet the reactions are the same. I mean, some people on Reddit are getting upvoted for telling him to kill himself. What the fucking fuck?) A few months ago, he asked people to please stop treating him like this, that it was really wearing him down. This is far more important than holding a petty grudge. I can't imagine what it must be like to face the internet every single day when you've been painted as a target. It's just just straight-up cyber-bullying at this point. ("Please stop guys, you're hurting me." "Ha ha, the little prima donna is acting up again!") Please have some fucking empathy and just leave the guy alone.
posted by archagon at 1:39 PM on July 28, 2013 [6 favorites]


PS read his AMA. He's a pretty great fellow even if he can't keep his mouth shut sometimes.
posted by archagon at 1:42 PM on July 28, 2013


As a fellow community-engaged semi-indie game guy who struggles with bipolar disorder (not to armchair-diagnose Phil or continue a tired stereotype, but..) I often find it takes phenomenal feats of willpower to avoid responding to asshole critics, to remain in Full Professional Gracious Mensch Mode when some random internet fuckwad tells me I should get AIDS and die because sometimes I put guitar solos in places he doesn't feel they belong (they belong everywhere, you shitlord).

I have maybe 1/20th of Phil's Internet Notoriety, and have so far avoided shooting my mouth off in any significant way (unless you hung around OCRemix in 1999-2001 or so, PRAISE BE TO MANILOW that we didn't have Twitter or Joystiq then), but the idea of catching some huge break and becoming an order of magnitude more popular overnight is terrifying. Would I handle it better? Who knows!

Even if he brings badness on himself, or says shitty things to people (both things that are sometimes true, and sometimes not), the response is asymmetrical and overwhelming. There are some absurd accusations and put-downs directed at him in this very thread, and you guys are INCREDIBLY kind compared to the comment section on your average gaming website.

But the greatest tragedy here, far as I'm concerned, is that my friend Rich (Disasterpeace) may not get to write a sequel to one of the best game soundtracks in modern history. I hope it resumes production for that reason alone.
posted by jake at 2:14 PM on July 28, 2013 [16 favorites]


Possibly beginning to deserve its own FPP: Caroline Criado-Perez Twitter abuse case leads to arrest
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on July 28, 2013


Aw man, you know Disasterpeace? Lucky. That soundtrack was a true work of art, and very much made that game what it was.

EDIT: Oh wait, you're virt. Of course you know the guy. :D
posted by archagon at 2:32 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Mansplaining aside as to what it means, and psychic powers of guessing his thoughts

I wasn't saying what it meant, I was trying to figure out why he'd use it. I could be wrong, but it doesn't take "psychic powers" to figure out what the intent was. (Also, "mansplaining?" Who makes up these idiotic terms?)

I know it is difficult it is for women in game development, and many other fields. I think telling people to "suck your dick" is terrible, and it doesn't reflect well on Fish to have used it. Still, though, that's more general online jerkiness rather than ill intent, and if I excommunicated people for saying things like I'd have to cut ties with most of the internet.

So I really think your beef is with the existence of the term in casual usage rather than calling Fish a misogynist for using it, not when there are plenty of real misogynists out there in the industry, like Brad Wardell.

This is all giving Fish the benefit of the doubt, yes. Do you think he doesn't deserve it, ShawnStruck?
posted by JHarris at 2:33 PM on July 28, 2013


Yeah he's kinda got issues but honestly if I had to deal with the "gaming community" I'd probably lose it on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, indie developers kind of have to make themselves available to the press and "fans" or else the "community" thinks they are dicks and will "boycott" their games.

The gaming community is the biggest collection of assholes ever. Another recent story was the death threats generated by a fucking patch to one of the big multiplayer shooters. They changed the stats on a gun and thousands of people lost their minds.

Honestly he needs a vacation and to partner up with someone who can handle the Internet and publicity so he can make his games in peace. No everyone is cut out to do PR.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:00 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is worth noting the patch he refused to release was a patch to a patch where he introduced a bug. So he paid for the first patch or it was free?

I may be the only one who thinks MS is in the right here but I feel like the fees are a shitty engineering tax. We don't want daily patches or patches that introduce bugs and MS is saying get it right or it will be painful.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:04 PM on July 28, 2013


I may be the only one who thinks MS is in the right here but I feel like the fees are a shitty engineering tax. We don't want daily patches or patches that introduce bugs an MS is saying get it right or it will be painful.

That bug could just as easily have been in the game before the first patch. Updates costing that much are a stupid "because we can" charge on Microsoft's part, and exceedingly punitive on indies.
posted by JHarris at 3:07 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


The first patch is free, each additional patch was expensive, for the reason you specify. It is punitive on small publishers, but Microsoft has been burning bridges for a long time in that direction.

And here is the quote by Phil Fish about being bipolar.
posted by zabuni at 3:08 PM on July 28, 2013


But as noted before MS stopped charging for updates.
posted by bdz at 3:09 PM on July 28, 2013


Mansplaining aside as to what it means, and psychic powers of guessing his thoughts, it's a shitty, misogynistic thing to say once, let alone dozens of times, especially to some women journalists? As a professionial whether he's angry or not, he should still deal with professionals, well, professionally.

Why? Why is it especially shitty to say this to women journalists? He's an asshole, but saying this to a bunch of journalists (including a few women) does not make him a misogynist.
posted by graventy at 3:14 PM on July 28, 2013


The patch cost was ostensibly because Microsoft put a lot of time and effort into QAing the code (but you get one free), which seems mildly hypocritical but hey. I think Polytron (or rather, Fish) announced that they'd be releasing the patch after all immediately after Microsoft had their change of heart, though it hasn't materialised yet.
posted by lucidium at 3:17 PM on July 28, 2013


That bug could just as easily have been in the game before the first patch. Updates costing that much are a stupid "because we can" charge on Microsoft's part, and exceedingly punitive on indies.

OK, I can see that it is harder on indie titles than AAA games.

I still don't like the thought of people pushing patches willy nilly. Microsoft has an incentive to protect the "ecosystem" by providing disincentives to broken games. Not to mention the patch uses their patching infrastructure and bandwidth. Then again, we don't want developers leaving games broken just to save a couple bucks.

I guess this put Fish in a tight spot and instead of him sucking it up and taking responsibility for the bug in the first place. He blamed someone else.

And I support the guy, he just needs someone with a level head to help him.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:26 PM on July 28, 2013


Sure, but Microsoft isn't protecting the ecosystem. The disincentive here probably isn't even part of the deal for big publishers like EA.

Patches are free on Steam and you don't see widespread game-breaking bugs all over the place.
posted by graventy at 3:58 PM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Patches are free on Steam and you don't see widespread game-breaking bugs all over the place

That is a good point. People do complain about broken games on steam though Most recent example is Citadels.

I wonder if there is some difference in perception between a general purpose machine and a dedicated game machine though.

I take your point though. You guys are right.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:08 PM on July 28, 2013


Or maybe it all comes down to Twitter being the worst thing in the world.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 4:20 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Or maybe it all comes down to Twitter being the worst thing in the world.

Yeah that's what I was talking about earlier. I think it's not really twitter, but 13 year olds acting anonymously with no accountability that is the worst the world.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:29 PM on July 28, 2013


The patch cost was ostensibly because Microsoft put a lot of time and effort into QAing the code (but you get one free), which seems mildly hypocritical but hey.

!!!

Yeah, their QA process that's so freaking great that it let the bug slip through in the first place.

Anyway, I had always thought the QA process is really more of an App Store-like editorial pass, to make sure the program doesn't let users do anything forbidden with their expensive piece of computer hardware.
posted by JHarris at 4:54 PM on July 28, 2013


I used to work as a tester in the AAA games industry. I'm about 4 years out of date, but back then pushing out update cost a significant amount of money, both in the fee to MS/Sony and testing effort for us, so we'd only do it if we had to.

The level of testing MS/Sony would do was that they would do a bunch of tests looking for automatic fails, things like the game hanging or very broken achievements, but also look for lower-level stuff like bad textures and z-fighting. A suffiently large quantity of mid-level issues would also get you a fail.
posted by Urtylug at 5:20 PM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Is the 40k charge for a single patch accurate?
posted by Artw at 5:22 PM on July 28, 2013


Thanks, I've always wondered what kind of QA MS/Sony do.I always assumed it was some kind of static analysis and FXcop type stuff. Interesting they would catch texture issues and achievements which I assume involves actually playing the game.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:28 PM on July 28, 2013


I blame the Internet's anti-intellectualism on this. Geeks and gamer geeks are the worst at this, and call anything they don't like 'pretentious' and 'for hipsters'. So thanks, Internet gaming community. You've run out a guy who makes gorgeous, unique games becaues you don't like some stupid things he said on Twitter. I hope you're proud of yourself.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:32 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]




His assholishness is abrasive but not harmful. Unlike some people who's material I've enjoyed in the past, I don't have to balance my enjoyment of his work against an awareness that he'll use my financial contribution to end Planned Parenthood, or fight same-sex marriage, or eradicate the domestic cat, or breed a hardier species of mosquito. Being a bit of a jerk isn't really that big of a deal.


I've said this in the Kanye threads, but I don't see why 'assholishness' in creative people is a BAD THING. Most creative people are assholes, and if they can back it up with their work, they don't hurt anyone, and they keep it interesting why do people care?
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:40 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]



So if I understand your logic here, when I don't like an asshole chef at my favorite local restaurant, I have to eat at McDonald's?


No, but if he's a good enough chef, you eat there even if he is an asshole. I've done this several times.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 5:41 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


jscalzi: Also, in a general sense, I would point out that there's not necessarily a proficiency correlation between criticism and creation, i.e., that having competency in one is a necessary condition for competency in the other. One reason for this is that competency in creation involves a mastery of process, while a competency in criticism involves a mastery of evaluation of a completed work.

Sure. And that's why I emphasize the importance of critique - evaluating how a work operates and what it achieves is important and interesting, in my opinion. Most often, this kind of critique is thoughtful and engaged, and requires an in-depth examination of subtleties of the work. See: Roger Ebert, Rosalind Krauss, Alexander Galloway, etc.

I draw a line between critique and crass criticism though -- the latter doesn't involve any sort of a "mastery of evaluation of a completed work", doesn't take the work as a creation to be examined thoughtfully whatsoever. Rather, it usually engages in the work in a pretty crude manner - "oh, X should have been Y instead", "I didn't like this part", etc. There's a lack of nuance or depth or any sort of attempt to understand the work, and rarely any attempt to elaborate on instinctual reactions. As such, the crass criticism is more often a simple display of the preferential differences between the criticizer and the creator, rather than a result of any kind of thoughtful evaluation / understanding process.

And finally at the lowest of the low, there's the punditry / talking head / gossip magazine rag-like engagement, which would be like one person calling a creator a "tosspot" and an "asshole". The lowest and laziest form of ad hominem jabs -- and looks like that's all that Marcus Beer spends his time doing.
posted by suedehead at 5:48 PM on July 28, 2013


I wonder if maybe the video game community is full of assholes 'cause it's like a populist medium full of regular middle-class/lower-middle-class/lower class people instead of a thinned out, denatured deal mainly for the benefit of Persons Of Quality who aren't rude and know the right way to act *reads DFW novel*
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 5:59 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


@thatfuzzybastard

no no twitter is great when it allows people from brooklyn to make jokes about funny dogs in the 1980s, it just needs a way to keep the riff-raff out, a small monetary fee maybe???
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:01 PM on July 28, 2013


I got no problem with people being assholes on twitter, or even non DFW readers tweeting. I got a problem with masses of people hounding developers then acting hurt when they lash out. If you didn't DM him death threats just assume he isn't talking to you.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:05 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Most creative people are assholes

Again, we're rationalizing bad or difficult behaviour with romantic stereotypes about creators that are, AFAIK, unsupported except by prominent examples. Any backup to this perception?
posted by fatbird at 6:07 PM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Nelson: "I think it's worth quoting some of the comments on the linked announcement.
Compare your life to mine, then kill yourself.
Good, Fez was shit, who would want more of that shit?
Suck my dick, choke on it.
Good news. Stop making games please.
Get lost you waste of talent. Shitbag telling others to kill themselves, you dont deserve your fame, money or attention.
Hahaha get fucked you pathetic fucking blowhard Fez was shit by the way
You may have made a decent game but you are still a terrible human being."
My god, it reads like a transcript of the voices a person with schizophrenia hears. Can you imagine dealing with that? Reading those words? And not just having people tell you "you're 'crazy', here are some medications that will reduce those voices" but instead confirming that these are not delusional statements coming from within, but are literally coming from without and being directed at you from outsiders.

(This sort of makes me wonder what it would be like if a schizphrenic person's delusions escaped and became actual entities torturing them, but because they can't be found readily, you can't just put a C&D order on them, and you can't say they're delusions, as they are confirmed as really existing by the outside world).
posted by symbioid at 6:11 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I mean, Notch is a nice guy, and he made Minecraft, and that's a really artistically challenging game. I mean, you don't have to be some wild man to make challenging, dangerous fare like Minecraft or some roguelike
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 6:13 PM on July 28, 2013 [3 favorites]


Sorry, but if it comes down to siding with somebody who made a beautiful game or a bunch of Internet gamers who call anything they don't like or understand 'pretentious', I'm going with Phil Fish.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:14 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


Now any time a "victim" of anything shares some responsibility for his plight, it's just like women being blamed for rape?

Well, to take the more apt analogy, would you argue that Anita Sarkeesian "shares some responsibility" for what's happened to her, since she did after all choose to put herself in the position she's in?

Or would you be very upset if someone suggested that?
posted by ubernostrum at 6:18 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Dean Hall Takes similar abuse but seems to handle it better.

Gamers sometimes use him as an example of how Fish is realy the problem, after all, all devs get death threats and abuse and only Fish freaks out.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:23 PM on July 28, 2013


Gamer Fury: Tweets to Call of Duty developer @DavidVonderhaar from angry players.
hey can you un nerf THE FUCKING SNIPER U FUCKING CUNT WTF WHY DID U DO THIS IM GOING 2 KILL YOU! DICK HEAD FUCKING DIE!!!!!
I will kill you for nerfing snipers you fag
omfg you fucking fat cunt i hope you die in a fatal car crash you fucking twat also your nan has cancer
It goes on at some length. It's not just Phil Fish that gets attacked by monsters.
posted by Nelson at 6:48 PM on July 28, 2013


if it comes down to siding

It's not an either or proposition. You're not on a jury.

would you argue that Anita Sarkeesian "shares some responsibility" for what's happened to her

Perhaps the more apt comparison is Adria Richards, who was found guilty of overreacting and had her criticisms of sexism dismissed for that reason, by people here who would normally be quite averse to victim blaming.
posted by fatbird at 6:50 PM on July 28, 2013


It is also asymmetric right?

We don't see the thousands of people harassing Fish, and just about every well know person, on twitter. We don't follow xX420sniperXx so we don't see the tweets at Fish, we do however see the tweets back because they make news.

Maybe somebody linked this but check out the comments on his site.

Why would 1000 people show up to insult him. This is like an Internet wide pileon. And people have been doing this since Indie Game: The Movie.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:02 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


Because 'gamers' hate anything that makes them feel dumb, or forces them to think, or reeks of those 'hipsters' who apparently beat them up at school or stole their lunch money. They hate anyone who challenges ANY of their smug, self-satisfied assumptions about themselves. See: Anita Sarkessian. So of course they hate 'hipster' Phil Fish.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:04 PM on July 28, 2013


Are we talking about gamers as "people who play videogames" or is there some other meaning I'm unaware of? Because that sounds like a pretty broad generalization.
posted by squinty at 7:13 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


No not really. I play video games, I even post on gaming forums sometimes for various reasons. I've barely played Fez ,cuz I don't have the patience,but I watched a complete play through. We are really talking about people who call themselves gamers but are also trolls.

They would troll no matter what they were interested in, just so happens they are interested in games. They are so loud and obnoxious they drown everyone else out.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:18 PM on July 28, 2013 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the more apt comparison is Adria Richards

I went with Sarkeesian because of same industry/community/whatever, and because for multiple reasons I don't publicly comment on the Adria Richards/PyCon thing beyond what I already said.
posted by ubernostrum at 7:30 PM on July 28, 2013


Here are Fish's comments on Japanese games. He was incredibly impolitic but not saying anything substantively different than others on the panel. Edmund McMillen laughing like a loon was maybe just as bad IMO.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:32 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]



Are we talking about gamers as "people who play videogames" or is there some other meaning I'm unaware of? Because that sounds like a pretty broad generalization.


I play videogames, too... lots of them. I mean 'gamers' as people who engage in gamer culture and comment on articles and Let's Plays and get angry about this sort of thing.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 7:55 PM on July 28, 2013


Edmund McMillen laughing like a loon was maybe just as bad IMO.

I read his laughter as nervous laughter in response to a suddenly unexpectedly awkward social situation developing right in front of him. Maybe not helpful, but understandable.

Also, it's worth noting that one of the other special features on the recent Indie Game: The Movie special edition is a short thing about how big a problem he had with negative internet BS affecting his happiness, so I'm sure he gets some of this too.
posted by sparkletone at 8:15 PM on July 28, 2013


One thing I don't at all understand is why people consider Fish's "kill yourself" tweet as being even remotely mitigated by it being a Futurama quote.

If I bust out some pithy line by Mark Twain, I do so because it is a sentiment that I myself want to express, but acknowledge that HE expressed it better. Similarly, are people saying that Fish wasn't actually trying to tell people to go kill themselves while bragging about his money and "success?"

With a little reductio ad absurdum, I think it becomes a bit more clear.
Hey Phil Fish...
"omfg you fucking fat cunt i hope you die in a fatal car crash you fucking twat also your nan has cancer" -Some 12 year old asshole on twitter

See? That's pretty astoundingly horrible, is completely unforgivable, and were I actually being serious (and not just making a point), would obviously mark me as a terrible, terrible human being. He didn't tell his haters or his critics to "choke on his dick," he told EVERYONE to do that. I literally have so many games that I will never be able to play all the ones I've paid money for. There is no dearth of fantastic, mind-blowingly creative and beautiful software entertainment out there. Why would someone feel bad for this guy who's shoved himself out there when, unlike Ms. Sarkeesian, he is not the product and is unrelated to the product? And isn't even trying to make the world a better place by doing away with racism/sexism/ismism? How I feel about it? "Aim your sympathy crosshairs a bit better, people."

In my opinion, the idea that you have to be a raging dick with a personality disorder just to make worthwhile games is NOT correct. The idea that you have to let the whole world KNOW that you're an abrasive asshole is even MORE incorrect. I hate to side with the worthless trolls and victim-kickers taunting him on his website, but I have a pretty hard time caring even a little itty-bitty tiny bit about the trials and tribulations of Phil Fish.
posted by GoingToShopping at 8:30 PM on July 28, 2013 [4 favorites]


I wish I could talk to him to see if he was truly telling me to suck his dick when he tweeted that. If he was, I would certainly lose a bit of the sympathy I have for him.

Maybe a year ago I was waiting in the station for a train. There was some dude sitting there any any time a person walks past he said "suck my dick" really loud, then looked away as if he too was looking for the person who had said it. It only took a couple times before someone stopped and got in his face. It was clear at that point he wasn't in his right mind. The dude who got all in his face kinda looked him up and down and walked away.

I hope Phil Fish finds peace and stays out of the public eye. People know he easy to troll so he will always be a target from now on.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:52 PM on July 28, 2013 [1 favorite]


I know it is difficult it is for women in game development, and many other fields. I think telling people to "suck your dick" is terrible, and it doesn't reflect well on Fish to have used it. Still, though, that's more general online jerkiness rather than ill intent, and if I excommunicated people for saying things like I'd have to cut ties with most of the internet.

...how exactly does telling someone to 'suck your dick' not indicate ill intent? It's hardly a fucking compliment, is it?
posted by Dysk at 3:21 AM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


My take on it is, the guy's rude, and at some point he should maybe read up on why "suck my dick" is a problematic insult. And maybe take a class in PR management, because hey, it'll help you stop some of the endless shitstorm.

Or maybe he doesn't want to do any of that, and if not, that's okay. He should not be a celebrity. He should be a game designer who's known by friends and by enthusiastic wannabe game designers who think, correctly, that Fez is one of the best games made in recent years. Everybody else should ignore him. Don't like Fez? Cool, ignore it. Ignore Phil Fish. Who cares if he doesn't like Japanese games. Who cares if he gets emotionally worked up over dumb things. So does your racist grandfather, and he didn't even make Fez!

I tried hard not to editorialize in my post, and I had to avoid this thread for a whole day because I would've started angrily all-capsing about this, but as a thin-skinned person who often can't handle the ten-thousandth of attention that I receive online compared to Phil Fish, I am seriously pissed off that this happened. And much as Fish is one of the assholes in this equation, he's by far the least assholish of them all. "Suck my dick" as a gendered insult is kind of shitty, but it's nothing compared to AnnoyedGamer or the entire Internet hate machine. It's a guy who never taught himself how to appear in public dealing with the fact that journalists have made "Phil Fish what an asshole" into a meme to help out with slow news days, and that gamers on the Internet are just about the worst kind of person there is.

If you've never dealt with sudden, unwanted negative Internet fame, please consider that you don't quite understand what unexpected pressure it places on the person experiencing it. Especially when said fame is sudden and immediate, rather than a gradual build over decades and decades of practice.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:26 AM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fish should never have been under a spotlight. Gaming news is a clickbait, cyclical, feedback loop and they made out of him an engine. He's brash, honest, abrasive, and I wish we lived in a world where he could be that without generating 30 "articles."

I remember the first time I saw someone link to something called AnnoyedGamer. I thought it was a fucking stupid name that encapsulates why I try not to pay attention to the "gaming community" and have never checked out any of his stuff. Really sorry to see he's having an effect like this.
posted by mean cheez at 6:34 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, to take the more apt analogy, would you argue that Anita Sarkeesian "shares some responsibility" for what's happened to her, since she did after all choose to put herself in the position she's in?

Or would you be very upset if someone suggested that?


This is the same kind of bullshit right wingers pull with "you liberals are so intolerant of us, blah blah blah".

Anita Sarkeesian pointing out sexism in gaming is nothing at all equivalent to somebody telling people to kill themselves or suck their dick. Trying to draw that equivalence is just super fucking disingenuous.
posted by kmz at 6:48 AM on July 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


An excellent summary by Ben Kuchera: "The Internet's War On Creatives"
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 7:30 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was coming here to post Kuchera's editorial. It is pretty much exactly the way I've been feeling about all of this.
posted by sparkletone at 7:42 AM on July 29, 2013


I third that editorial. Very clearly put.
posted by Nelson at 8:09 AM on July 29, 2013


I followed a link to that PA article against my better judgment, having cut them out of my life shortly after the Dickwolves debacle. A good piece, though I could have lived without "Abuse isn't localized, rare, or limited to one gender." Which is factually true, but dismisses the extra layer of shit women get online. And which is a shorthand I'd probably not have noticed from any other outlet.
posted by phearlez at 9:46 AM on July 29, 2013


I followed a link to that PA article against my better judgment, having cut them out of my life shortly after the Dickwolves debacle. A good piece, though I could have lived without "Abuse isn't localized, rare, or limited to one gender." Which is factually true, but dismisses the extra layer of shit women get online. And which is a shorthand I'd probably not have noticed from any other outlet.

The name and whatever the financials involved notwithstanding, Tycho and Gabe don't really have much of anything to do with PA Report. It's run by Ben Kuchera who used to write for Ars and is pretty great.

Also, I think you're being slightly unfair. That line in the article is a short hand to keep to the topic of the harassment of game developers without getting into the gaming community's long-standing awful sexist tendencies in this particular piece since it's mostly about Phil Fish. That broader topic of terribleness towards women is something that's been covered by PA Report on several occasions before (a few examples), and I'm sure it will be something they continue to write about. It's not a lack of awareness on Kuchera's part, it's just him trying to keep this one article focused.
posted by sparkletone at 10:05 AM on July 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


How come I'm not seeing any publications talking about how insanely personal and libelous that podcast guy was being? Which is only part of a daily campaign of thousands of pissed-off petty gamers attacking him and making shit up about him? I happened to stumble upon the exchange while it was still progress, and a bunch of (now deleted) tweets was that guy bringing up (completely manufactured) stories about Phil abusing his ex. (Phil, in total disbelief, replied "WHO ARE YOU".) Who would want to put up with this kind of abuse from people every day? Bravo, Phil, get out. Ideally you'd pull a Pynchon and disappear from the public eye completely but still make games on your own terms, but the public has chosen to take the form of an irrational entitled mob and doesn't deserve even that.
posted by naju at 10:37 AM on July 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'll add that I've also been someone who's gotten to work closely with a very-hated, very-mocked "nerd celebrity" and found that he's (gasp) human and nice and takes the abuse very personally. I don't think people even realize how horrible they're being. It's all so remote and artificial-seeming from the vantage point of a comments section.
posted by naju at 10:44 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"So, Fez II" by Patrick Klepek at Giant Bomb
posted by the_artificer at 11:34 AM on July 29, 2013


The name and whatever the financials involved notwithstanding, Tycho and Gabe don't really have much of anything to do with PA Report.

That's enough for me; I'm not advocating it as a choice for anyone else, I was just commenting that it's a choice I've made re: anything that puts money in G&T's pockets. And I was commenting that it stuck out more, to me, because of the association.

However as far as being unfair, I think phrasing matters. Kuchera chooses to say this has nothing to do with politics, or gender rather than stating that it's a cross-gender phenomenon or comparing it to the gendered attacks that are so common. You can perceive that as nit-picking or obsession on a hobby-horse but I have a hard time thinking that anything in the gaming world has nothing to do with gender.
posted by phearlez at 11:45 AM on July 29, 2013


Oh, let me amend that comment, Gamasutra clarifies:

"Earlier today, I witnessed a particularly bloody twitter fight between Phil Fish and the twitter hate machine; among other things, somebody accused him of threatening his ex-girlfriend with violence. My understanding is that this has no grounding in reality, and the twitter account that originally posted the offending tweet has been deleted. Shortly afterwards, Phil Fish announced the cancellation of FEZ 2, which was unveiled in June."
posted by naju at 11:46 AM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


However as far as being unfair, I think phrasing matters. Kuchera chooses to say this has nothing to do with politics, or gender rather than stating that it's a cross-gender phenomenon or comparing it to the gendered attacks that are so common. You can perceive that as nit-picking or obsession on a hobby-horse but I have a hard time thinking that anything in the gaming world has nothing to do with gender.

Choosing not to deal at all with anything related to Penny Arcade in any way is completely understandable. I also totally agree that phrasing does matter, and wouldn't at all say the nit you're picking shouldn't be picked a lot. This stuff matters!

Just saying that as someone more familiar with Kuchera's past work than you are, I'd argue in favor of reading it as a minor slip of the tongue, not indicative of some deeper-running problem in his case, despite the PA connection. He's been thoughtful and sensitive enough about this sort of thing in the past that I don't find the problem you're pointing out particularly damning, despite the PA connection. That's all.
posted by sparkletone at 12:25 PM on July 29, 2013


Which is only part of a daily campaign of thousands of pissed-off petty gamers attacking him and making shit up about him? I happened to stumble upon the exchange while it was still progress, and a bunch of (now deleted) tweets was that guy bringing up (completely manufactured) stories about Phil abusing his ex.

Yikes.
posted by JHarris at 12:37 PM on July 29, 2013


I still don't like the thought of people pushing patches willy nilly.

I don't like the idea of there being serious bugs in games I pay good money for. And I CERTAINLY don't like the idea of Microsoft imposing a patching limitation by charging 40K for the privilege. And, really, why don't you like the thought? What's wrong with a developer wanting his game to be the best it can, even after the initial sales? It's not like he's charging users money for it.
posted by JHarris at 1:25 PM on July 29, 2013


I don't ever remember hearing that there was going to be a Fez 2 in the first place. Was it actually announced?
posted by elbie at 3:43 PM on July 29, 2013


Ah, there's a teaser trailer for polytron's previous post
posted by elbie at 3:45 PM on July 29, 2013


Yeah. It was announced about a month and a half ago, and there's a teaser trailer.
posted by sparkletone at 3:46 PM on July 29, 2013


And, really, why don't you like the thought? What's wrong with a developer wanting his game to be the best it can, even after the initial sales

I already admitted I was wrong. But really I don't like devs shipping buggy code on DVDs, people, like myself, who don't put their 360 online, may never get the updates. That is the root Of my dislike for patches.

Giantbomb has a complete rundown of the fish debacle.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:45 PM on July 29, 2013


Just saying that as someone more familiar with Kuchera's past work than you are, I'd argue in favor of reading it as a minor slip of the tongue, not indicative of some deeper-running problem in his case, despite the PA connection.

Hmm. This is the same guy who wrote last month that the Playstation 4 controllers feel like "first time I touched a girl’s breast". He's also on Twitter today literally saying that people are being mean to him because he's a man.

In my opinion Kuchera has given plenty of evidence that he is at best totally clueless about gender issues in gaming.
posted by jess at 5:01 PM on July 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kuchera aside, he's right that if you dare to do ANYTHING online you'll get a wave of hate and snark.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 6:02 PM on July 29, 2013


Cliff Bleszinski responds to the Fez II cancellation debacle:

"Someone on Twitter asked me how to deal with haters. I have some experience on the subject for well over 20 years now. Blow says you can’t ignore it because by the time you’ve read the words it’s too late. The key with the idiots is to outwit them because the idiot uses hate (and poor spelling/grammar) because the idiot does not know how to be witty. Watch what people like Ricky Gervais and Patton Oswalt do on Twitter. Heck, like him or not, even Piers Morgan is pretty good at fending them off.

Every idiot that you outwit wins you five times the fans and that much more respect.

The other key is to absorb all of that hate into one big fireball of motivation inside of your belly and then pour all of that energy into your work until you can unleash one big giant motherfucking HADOKEN upon the community that wins awards and sells millions and then the haters will truly be eating a giant bushel of dicks as you roll in a pile of money, acclaim, and community love.

You don’t owe a damned thing to any gaming journalist. We’ve seen the rise of many 'Rush Limbaughs' in the gaming industry, people who do videos or podcasts digging a finger into an open wound that gets the gaming community going because, hits. You DO owe a great product to your community, something I hope you’ll resume doing some time in the near future. The industry needs people like you to speak with their hearts before their brains because I’m tired of hearing the PR approved appropriate response. I’m tired of games that feel like they’ve been developed by focus groups or clueless executives going 'Hey that Call of Duty is big, we need one of those!'

Besides, at the end of the day, that cycle of community feedback and crafting that big fireball is entirely too addictive.

Come back, Phil. We miss you already. Maybe I’ll be right behind you, returning with Adamantium skin."

- Dynamite Fishing: An Open Letter to Phil Fish

And Phil, if you ever stumble across this thread: I already have a massive crush on the geometrical design of your latest brainchild... please don't deny us the joy of seeing that game come to fruition because some jackholes were abusive towards you over Twitter. The best revenge is living well -- now TAKE MY MONEY AND GIMME FEZ II, PLEASE!

I watched you in Indie Game and was reminded of a couple of friends with similar levels of genius and equally mercurial temperaments; nobody likes to work for years on a project and then be constantly attacked by strangers online, especially after pouring your heart and soul into something you really believe in. But if you let them win, everyone loses, dude. Not just you -- the fans, the kids who'll grow up playing your games and then designing their own, and the countless others who likely contributed to this newest release and don't want their work to have been in vain.

I'll even pay full price instead of waiting for a Steam sale or Humble Bundle. Seriously!

- Signed, some nobody on the Internet who also receives a shit-ton of hate mail ridiculing my work/creativity, but has learned to FIAMO IRL because haters gotta scroll to the bottom to get to the contact us link, and by then... hey, 3 cents in ad revenue! ahahahahahahahhahaha dammit :(

*cries for potentially lost future Gomez happies*
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 6:05 PM on July 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


I don't like the idea of there being serious bugs in games I pay good money for. And I CERTAINLY don't like the idea of Microsoft imposing a patching limitation by charging 40K for the privilege.

And Microsoft doesn't like the thought of people releasing shitty games that diminish the perception of their platform, or incurring a lot of ongoing costs from continued support of game sales where they have already realized all the potential profit they're going to. Nor do they like people being pissed at their platform because of buggy shit. It's a tough line to walk, trying to motivate developers to release a more bulletproof app out of the gate vs allowing something to continue to suck when it doesn't have to.

I don't know what the right cost is here but I don't think it's fair to completely dismiss their interests and expenses in resisting letting indie devs push a release of the week.
posted by phearlez at 6:34 PM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cliff Bleszinski responds to the Fez II cancellation debacle:

Waitaminnit. In that open letter, he writes, "Even back in, what, 1999 when I made a website about scanning cats on a flatbed scanner (look it up, folks, I exploited cats online before it was cool!) I got hate mail that was insane."

The first Metafilter post was to a site by CliffyB?!

Huh, people in the comments thread of the first post actually mention it. I never realized!
posted by painquale at 6:52 PM on July 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


METINCEPTIONED.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 8:39 PM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is the same guy who wrote last month that the Playstation 4 controllers feel like "first time I touched a girl’s breast".

I remember that. That's lame, but not exactly sexist or misogynistic in any way I can detect?

He's also on Twitter today literally saying that people are being mean to him because he's a man.

Really? That surprises me. I follow him, but on twitter you don't see @ replies to people you don't follow. I saw him saying that he was now getting hate messages, some of which mention his gender or sexuality, which is what happens when you talk about gaming and feminism super publicly (this used to happen to Phil a lot, and he'd retweet some of the more hateful ones). I haven't seen him say that it's literally BECAUSE he's a man, just that it's because he wrote that article, which I have every reason to believe is true.
posted by sparkletone at 9:26 PM on July 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Importance of Wheaton's Law, on the new Eurogamer American subsite
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:44 PM on July 29, 2013


The first Metafilter post was to a site by CliffyB?!

This is important information, beyond the scope of the thread. Let's all remember to mention this next year.
posted by JHarris at 12:29 AM on July 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


'This is the same guy who wrote last month that the Playstation 4 controllers feel like "first time I touched a girl’s breast".'

I remember that. That's lame, but not exactly sexist or misogynistic in any way I can detect?


My detector is beeping like it's about to fucking explode.
posted by Dysk at 2:50 AM on July 30, 2013


My detector is beeping like it's about to fucking explode.

My question is an honest one, so if you could enlighten me, I would appreciate it. The full quote:
It felt almost too good, like I was holding something illicit. I was afraid it would be taken away. It felt like the first time I touched a girl’s breast in the backseat of a car with fogged up windows, scared that her parents were going to fling the door open and start yelling at me. I wanted to grab the controller and run. I wanted to nuzzle it against my face and ask it who is a good controller? Who is a good controller?

You’re a good controller, you sexy thing, you.
It's weak writing because it plays into a lot of unfortunate sexless-nerd stereotypes, and also needlessly sexualizes something that's actually pretty boring (even if it is a nice controller which is kind of beside the point). I don't see how comparing a consumer tech. product to a furtive teen sexual experience demeans anything but the guy writing it though? Like, I agree the above is pretty terrible, but the reasons I think it's terrible don't really have much to do with what I'd label sexism/misogyny.

Care to help me out here before your fiery death in the explosion of your detector?
posted by sparkletone at 8:52 AM on July 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


It also commits the stylistic crime of muddling up the notion of illicit teenage sexual encounters with talking to a puppy.
posted by cortex at 9:34 AM on July 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


It also commits the stylistic crime of muddling up the notion of illicit teenage sexual encounters with talking to a puppy.

Yeah... That's part of why I included that list bit in the quote. It's the exclamation point of terribleness coming after the end of the a really terrible sentence.
posted by sparkletone at 9:46 AM on July 30, 2013


To me, Kuchera is doing a great job of symbolizing a lot of what is wrong with games journalism. The new PS4 controller is so great it's like touching boobs! Really? C'mon. You can do better.

He also seems to think the Ouya is a solid console experience and worthy purchase, which makes me take everything he says with a huge grain of salt.
posted by graventy at 9:58 AM on July 30, 2013


He also seems to think the Ouya is a solid console experience and worthy purchase, which makes me take everything he says with a huge grain of salt.

When the Ouya was still kickstarting, he was extremely skeptical. If he has had a change of heart, it seems likely that it occurred because he played it and he liked it; what are the chances that he would've spontaneously started liking it despite not having played it?
posted by Jpfed at 10:03 AM on July 30, 2013


This is a derail, but the Ouya looks interesting, although it has serious problems with its wireless and controller. Still though, first iteration, and I'm happy to see some alternative to the tripartate Ninsonysoft domination of the console market.
posted by JHarris at 1:09 PM on July 30, 2013


It also commits the stylistic crime of muddling up the notion of illicit teenage sexual encounters with talking to a puppy.

Seriously, they're only called sweater puppies.
posted by radwolf76 at 6:33 PM on July 30, 2013


It felt almost too good, like I was holding something illicit. I was afraid it would be taken away. It felt like the first time I touched a girl’s breast in the backseat of a car with fogged up windows, scared that her parents were going to fling the door open and start yelling at me. I wanted to grab the controller and run. I wanted to nuzzle it against my face and ask it who is a good controller? Who is a good controller?

Right, I've just gotten back from a super-stressful 4am shift, so I'm going to make this very very short. The main issue is objectification. Removing the personhood of the other party in the encounter entirely, using boobs as a shorthand for objects of (male) desire in a way that all but reduces women to bodies that exist as 'illicit pleasure' for men (emphasised by his mixed metaphors that has him effectively nuzzling and talking to not another human being, not a woman, but an anonymous, practically disembodied breast, and in tones you might use for a toddler or dog at that). Comparing women's bodies to consumer tech, objects of desire, products for male consumption.
posted by Dysk at 2:56 AM on July 31, 2013


Phil Fish astroturfing on 4chan. dunno what to think of this.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:59 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Worth noting that could be fake.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:03 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Scores of women never even enter the games industry, having already being driven off by both gamer and industry attitudes, but OH NO PHIL FISH WON'T MAKE FEZ II NOW THIS IS SOMETHING WORTH TALKING ABOUT.
posted by ShawnStruck at 9:46 AM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


While we're talking about Ben Kuchera...

He wrote this puff piece about a new indie developer. They had no announcements for actual games, but they did have some strong opinions about how other games were bad and they were going to make better ones.

The comments section predictably did not like this, since "indie developer without game thinks they can make one that's amazing" is not news. So then he wrote another post about how you need assholes to make good games, despite the proles who don't like assholes. Phil Fish is mentioned.

I think his claims about a "war on creatives" are yet a third article to justify the first one.
posted by squinty at 9:33 PM on July 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


You need assholes to make any worthwhile art.
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants at 9:41 PM on July 31, 2013


@CiS
By assholes do you mean people who are willing to say shit everyone hates or do you mean goony dudes with surly demeanors and safe opinions
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:05 PM on August 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


I've just been watching some of the new videos which came out with Indie Game: The Movie's special edition over my brother's shoulder. There are a couple of interviews with Edmund McMillen and Tommy Refenes where they both talk about how crazy (like people editing online conversations to put words in their mouths) the vitriol they receive is, how depressing it is, and how they've both just shut the internet out of their lives.
posted by lucidium at 7:10 AM on August 6, 2013


Plague of game dev harassment erodes industry, spurs support groups
posted by figurant at 4:48 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


Notch has cancelled 0x10c. "It was much easier to have grand plans when nobody knew who I was."
posted by oulipian at 5:28 AM on August 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Notch's own words on cancelling 0x10c. it's an interesting counterpoint to this thread. He's troubled by a bunch of fan attention too, but it's not angry fans, it's more demanding / excited fans.
posted by Nelson at 10:54 AM on August 19, 2013


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