Digital Gonzo 149: Fan Response

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This episode I invited on Bob Chipman, AKA MovieBob along with Daniel Floyd and Leelee Scalaferri of Extra Credits to talk about the age old scenario of fans flipping their lids when something they love is perceived as being meddled with. With the ascent of Twitter and Facebook, forums, comments sections and YouTube we have more opportunities than ever before to voice our discontent, and voice it we have in ways often so hostile and illegible that some sections of the internet appear to be transcripts of the death-screeching of broken killer robots with electronic Tourette’s syndrome.

Among other specific instances we cover Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist frequency, The Xbox One, Batfleck, Phil Fish, Grand Theft Auto V, Devil May Cry, Mass Effect 3, Green Lantern, The Star Wars Special Editions and Fifty Shades of Grey. The aim was not to be wholly objective and detached and there is a lot of opinion being flung back and forth during this crackling debate with four vibrant personalities all vying for the mic, but we do try our best to be fair.

To illustrate the many facets of this immense debate I have employed audio segments from some of the best and brightest.

With Great Power [Bob Chipman: The Big Picture]
Crass Effect [Bob Chimpan: Game Overthinker]
Rebecca Black [Charlie Brooker: 10 O’ Clock Live]
Anita Sarkeesian: The Monster Gamers Created [Jim Sterling: Jimquisition]
Harassment [Daniel Floyd & James Portnow: Extra Credits]
GTA V Review Revulsion [Johnny Chiodini: GameSpot - Feedbackula]
Guide to Comments [Vi Hart]
A Day at the Park [Kiriakakis: Mused]

Bob, Dan and Leelee have made hundreds of video presentations between them and their recommendations if you’re newcomers are the following.

Extra Credits [Of Penny Arcade TV]
Call of Juarez: The Cartel
A Little Bit of Yesterday
Art is not the Opposite of Fun

Moviebob [Of The Escapist]
The Big Picture – Skin Game
Game Overthinker – Never Grow Old

Music on the show played by Lindsey Stirling
Crystallize 
Elements
Electric Daisy Violin

Of course there wasn’t time to discuss a bunch of well known examples, including the Derpy Hooves debacle but we do want this show to spark debate on ways for the more considerate side of the internet to gain more of a vocal share of the general discussion, which often seems to be dominated by the enraged and abusive.

Author: Alex Shaw

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22 Comments

  1. i’d like to be able to listen to the end of the cast but the things said by Alex Shaw is just, abit wrong.
    How can the host of a site that only welcomes specific kinds of people, and only permits to listen to praise, or.kicks “dissenters” out, talk of “accepting and levelheaded community”

    How can someone who decides “insert game is THE BEST EVER, bar NONE” talk about how to handle feedback as gamers?

    It would be better if you guys (the hosts) thought of your own behavior before climbing up your own high horses.

    Check your privelage

    i hope the guests have other shows to be on

    • if they didn’t have their own opinions there wouldn’t be anything to discuss- it’d be people discussing etiquette.

      Conversation has a life of it’s own. It’s not programmed.

      I enjoyed the show BTW <——– OPINION

      Cheers

    • Don’t worry, he dose not control opinions, just how you express it. There are times people don’t agree with Alex or other people that are on the forums, all he has problems with is when you go to being a complete jerk to other people and treat the other people on the forum with disrespect. In other words, follow the golden rule and you will do just fine on the forums.

  2. I was waiting for someone to bring up Film Crit Hulk. Thank you, Dan (Dan said it, right?)

  3. Really liked how the generalization on Anime was questioned. As someone who respects everyone on this podcast, I was kind of offended at first about the generalization that Anime is, as a general medium, more concerned with world building.

    As someone who is as hardcore of a fan of Anime and Games, I have seen many an Anime series focus on Characters and be very character driven as well.

    Just a note that I’d like to make, hasty generalization, in any case is kind of a bad idea. =/

  4. Let’s not forget that Star Trek wouldn’t have existed as anything more than a blimp in 60′s television if the fan base hadn’t reached out and let the studio know they were making a mistake cancelling it.

  5. as an autistic person it’s hard to speak for the things i like because some people use my problem as an insult. example being a brony is difficult to actually support the show because they will blame my autism for me liking the show. you can’t imagine what a gut-punch it is to see wall art of mlp grafitti be overwritten with “this is the most autistic show ever”.
    they found derpy ( a loved background character)insulting.
    yet one the people they are supposedly “insulting” spoke up and said he liked derpy and didn’t feel insulted at all.

  6. >Ask me to stop listening, so I can get familiar with the guess.

    >Is already a fan of all 3 guess

  7. I feel really conflicted about the whole uproar surrounding Phil Fish.

    On one hand, he should never have had to deal with the sort of crap he did. The way everyone treated him was absolutely reprehensible, and it sickens me to think that we would harass a person like that.

    But on the other hand, part of the problem with the whole thing was that his public reactions courted more idiot trolls. I don’t blame the guy for being upset (lord knows he has the right to be), but I feel as if he could have avoided a lot of this if he had shown some tact and not gotten in fights over twitter, then it probably wouldn’t have gotten as bad as it did.

    Ultimately I’m not sure what to think about it. The people who harassed him disgust me, but I also don’t feel as if Phil is completely without blame…

  8. I’m still listening to the pod cast but they just mentioned how some people got angry that the character, Rue, in the Hunger Games was African-American and that people are awful for saying they care less about her.

    I don’t know if you guys realise this, but the character in the book actually WAS African-American if you read her description. This made the angry outbursts seem even more idiotic than they already were.

  9. Outrage is a right as a human. While I agree that it can sometimes be destructive, and even embarrassing that they would be associated with me as a gamer, tv, film, or comic book fan. It is our responsibility as a culture to allow others to say what they think, and it’s not our job to sensor or even berate them for speaking their mind. All we can do is be more vocal about our opinions and hope that in a marketplace of ideas people find the better message.

    It’s a bad precedent to set that we should somehow “deal with” the people we disagree with especially on something as trivial as entertainment. Furthermore most of this seemed to be attacking the way in which an idea is presented but not really what is being said. It’s okay to hate something, someone, or even a type of thing as long as you’re not terribly rude about it.

    An idea should be judge by the merits of the idea itself on the packaging that it comes in.

  10. To Alex or whoever the host is:

    First time listener here and some thoughts on this episode which brought me here as a fan of all your guests.

    1. Wish you would have let (or maybe encouraged)your guests to take over the conversation more. Too often it felt like you brought them there just to here you rant and reaffirm your frustrations. We barely ever heard from Dan for example and even if he is “soft spoken” your duty as host is to squeeze some life out of him and into the podcast. Terry Gross of Fresh Air is excellent at this.

    2. Love the use of Lindsey Stirling (see not all bad comments)!

    3. A bullet list of famous fan outrage is not compelling enough by hour two to keep the show going. I suggest you create questions unique to each guest in addition to the broader statements like, and I’m paraphrasing, “They’re just like the Taliban! Aren’t they?”

    4. Four hours is a long time to keep your guests on the hook. Cut the show in half, give them each something meaty to talk over and move on from a subject after conversation has carried pasts the eight or ten minute mark.

    5. With awesome personalities like Chipman and Scalaferri on the show, I’ll be sure to check out future episodes. I just hope you can put the kind of hard work and dedication into this podcast as they have put into their respective programs.

    Cheers, David

  11. First time lister here too.

    Amazing podcast! to avoid a long post, I would like to comment on thing first:

    One case of fan outrage that did cause some problem happened in the Might and Magic franchise. It happened when the series still as published by 3DO and still developed by New World Computing.

    Might and Magic all ways was a rpg series (starting in 1988) that mixed fantasy and sci-fi themes. The later sub franchise Heroes of Might and Magic was strategy series in the shared the same background and characters, but often did not mention the sci-fi themes.

    The outraged happened after Heroes of Might and Magic III, which was maybe most popular of the Heroes series and the only one most people came to known. As it was said, HOMMM3 did not mention the sci-fi themes and in fact due strange design decisions, decided to retcon some stuff: Remember the Demons (the Kreegan) in HOMM3? well they aren´t demons, they where used to be aliens! they first appeared in Might and Magic VII: Mandate of Haven. For even more bizarre reasons, this retcon was ignored in the next games.

    Long story made short: one day, NWC planned a expansion for the HOMM3, which would introduce the Forge Town. The Forge Town was a return to the sci-fi + fantasy themes of the series (The Forge is a item mentioned in M&M7), it was a faction with creature that had technology elements (chainsaws, tank parts, flame throwers) and magic – so you got zombies with chain saws and so on. They even released some artwork.

    The the fan base exploded! maybe because some players only played HOMM3 so they don´t know the sci-fi thing (at least one person I know refuse to play anything form the series aside the HOMM3), maybe because some artwork wasn´t very good (one features a topless naga with the lower part of tank) whatever the reason the forge town caused some serious back slash that legend says (I don´t believe much) result even in death threats send to the NWC employes.

    Result was the Forge town was removed, replaced by the elemental town, it was a huge let down for NWC how had to scrap the work they already done and start from zero. Now to keep one more thing in mind, the work condictions on NWC due 3DO mismanagement where quite terrible, so it was just another wound.

    • I remember that fiasco as well. I recall one of the developers received death threats? I was like wth?! I was really looking forward to the town when I saw it released then realised that it wasn’t happening. This also sort of happened with the series in terms of reactions to later HOMM games. People keep complaining how 6 (for example) is too different from 3 and that every game following should be exactly the same as 3. I love both games (well all of them except 4)and if I want to play something more like 3 then *gasp* I play 3, if I want to play the style of 6, I play 6. But there seems to be so many fans that don’t understand this… I don’t think a game should stay exactly the same with each release, it gets stagnant. (Just want to clarify, not saying you are one of those fans but wanted to share my thoughts :D ) And it seems to be rare for me to find a Might and Magic fan outside the facebook page and youtube videos XD

  12. I enjoyed the show, and i’m in agreement with everyone’s opinions, however:

    Alex, stop interrupting everyone else, you’re the host and you need to get the others to talk more. I get that it’s your show, but you labour the point and you cut off the others way too much.

    Also, four hours is way, way too long for a single show. Cut into 2 or 4 different parts, very few people have the time to sit and listen to the whole thing in one go.

    I’m pretty much in agreement with David P’s points above.

  13. Big fan of extra credits and moviebob, this was a great podcast and a relevant topic.

    As a father and now soft core gamer, I always want to think of a good way I tell my kids of the way to deal with those that want to shout rather then debate. Lots of good suggestions and steps to discuss.

    Cheers and thanks for the great podcasting

    Canadian listener

  14. Extra Credits bought me here.

    I had to bow out at 2hrs but i’m surprised at “the sense of entitlement” debate in so much that anyone is surprised.

    Please explain to me the difference with sport culture, politics or religion? The only difference I see is that gamers enjoyed a first mover advantage online. Entitlement and protest have always been part and parcel across society and the “mainstream” do an ok job of categorising extremist from mainstream comments on their own.

    What gives Fan the right to scream at the television over a coaches player selection? The fan doesn’t own the team, they didn’t appoint the coach but its accepted without fans there is no team.

    Similarly without an audience there is no story. To care about something deeply and emotionally enough that they weave it into the moral fabric of their own lives is impossible without a deeper level of self investment. When the audience has connected with the narrative personally, a sense of self is imposed in the story and therefore a sense of entitlement.

    This story defines me and my values and therefore its preservation is important to me.

    For me it seems that a clear line can be traced back to the history of oral story and humans being hardwired for story. Narrative survived from the passing on of stories from generation to generation, they’ve been passed down because they defined the justification of a societies existence, beliefs and very practical lessons for survival.

    This is the importance of story and i’d like to think its the very intense vetting of story that ensures that only the strong are passed down.

    Finally it also seems rather strange to declare “none of the audience are who we’re talking about” and then have have a bullet point argument for why extreme fans are wrong, it seems your preaching to the choir a little bit.

    I agree with the theme though, I think the bigger problem is inter community hate, hate directed at the creator comes with the territory. Will trolls stop you guys doing from what your doing? As much as it hampers it also reminds us how serious a sword you can wield and that only the very best is tolerated, and even then for some people its never going to be enough.

  15. Hey– here to point out that 140,000 supporters/2.8 million units sold is not 0.5%, but 5%. If we were to take it at face value and assume that it’s a random sampling, that’s WOULD be more than enough representative population. Before you reply with the obvious, the problem with that assumption is that it’s not random, and indeed suffers from selection bias, and isn’t exactly a random sampling in that regard.

  16. the problem is we live in a capitalist society and video games cost money, if everybody who didn’t like the mass effect 3 ending stops buying bioware products(and I know that’s unlikely) then that’s a huge loss for ea with no gain, and that’s good.

    In my opinion if you bought a product and weren’t satisfied you have the right to get your money back demand the problems fixed or stop buying their products, that’s not entitlement that how the world should work, and really how does writhing a few extra endings(or letting somebody else do it) to please your consumers destroy your original version? does it magically vanish into nothingness?

    With that said I’m no fan of the retake mass effect movement starting with the name, I’m all but certain that if the movement wasn’t so vocal obnoxious and well stupid, bioware would have yust added more ending and everybody would have been happy.

  17. A soul-searching moment from me: I have a hard time listening to criticism (in the negative way) to things I like. Not usually of the gender or equality studies kind but general things. Because it makes me feel stupid for liking a thing that someone else thinks is stupid.

    This is how I think I can empathize with the outraged fan here. Everyone likes to be the hero of their own story and almost no one wants to be the bigot, the most immoral person in our society. Here’s the thought: “This thing I like is being called sexist, I don’t want to be sexist. They must be wrong, they are wrongfully calling me a monster”.

    One could say it is possible to enjoy something while simultaneously recognizing the problematic things about it. But I don’t know. If I think it’s a flaw that has been revealed to me, I can never really enjoy it again unless I think it’s trivial. Or I have to rationalize it away. I like the “another way of looking at things” content but the thing like every thing wrong with …. just makes me feel stupid for not noticing.

    Does anyone else have problems detaching themselves emotionally from things they like? How do you deal?

  18. Its interesting that i listen to this podcast and you guys talk about how people need a movie or game to have “realism” in there universe.

    I just watched a documentary about how warp drive is basically an impossible thing. Moving an object from one time in space to another…would make all kind of things go ballistic. I think someone likened it to your water boiling before you turn the heat on. It was very mind opening,and they even humored us by giving us a scenario where warp drive could possibly exist.

    When they asked J. J. Abrams about the inconsistencies with the science he mentioned they have an obligation to the emotion, as well as the science. Thats why you hear noise in space !

    Personally, i doesn’t bother me. Its a movie, and its there for a ride… an escape. Nothing more, nothing less. I understand being a fan of something, and going beyond the initial play-thorugh…but there’s a point where you have to say…this isn’t real.

    Thats when i usually watch the news, play with my dog, or kiss my wife. Its called living, and its a beautiful thing.

  19. Despite some of the things I agree with in this podcast, I don’t think that anyone should have a “safe” space anywhere. Now when I say that, I don’t mean free people shouldn’t be free from harm. No one should consider getting away with physically tormenting or assaulting anyone. What I mean is that no one should absolutely believe that they have a right to not be offended. The idea of creating a safe space for women in gaming is essentially that: providing a place that offends female sensibilities (whatever that is).

    Women, just like men, vary from individual to individual. There are men who are more sensitive than many women out there and there are women who are tougher than a lot of guys out there. No one deserves or should get a safe space that renders them free from offense. That would evolve into a method of censorship. We do it already with the word “nigger.” And it’s made worse with referring to it as “the n-word.” As one comic said (forgot who it was), it forces the receiver to vocalize the word in their mind. So even if it wasn’t actually said, the receiver still heard it. It’s kind of like saying, “you’re a dick. Just saying” as though ‘just saying’ completely negates what came before and makes it innocuous. It’s a cop out and allows people to say what they want without possible fear of reprisal.

    Anyway, as a black man I know the history of the word nigger. I have my suspicions as to how it came about. I also don’t give that word the power that many continue to heap at it by reacting the way they do. People who use certain speech to get a rise out of others are described as trolls and as was said in the podcast, we usually call them out on their nonsense which is the right way to do it.

    Now, I have to combine two statements I made into one: No one deserves or should get a space that renders them free from offense and at the same time, those who choose to offend do not deserve or should get the ability to not face consequences for their actions.

    Now much of what Anita Sarkeesian got, while bad, was made worse by her refusing to actually discuss what she presented as she seemed to imply she would be willing to do. While some responders were very over the top, others responded because they did feel threatened. This is not about her being a woman exactly as it is about feminism trying to change things for women, by women, and only for women.

    When a gentleman’s club cannot remain a gentleman’s club because women want to be a part of it while opening up women-only facilities for themselves, there is a great disconnect. I’ve spoken to a few people who say that the movement is more egalitarian, but when things like the above happen and not one person who calls themself a feminist actually calls the movement out on such matters, it’s clear that (in many respects) egalitarian is just a tool used to shut men up.

    So, again, changing the overall structure just to make the gaming world a safe space for women is the wrong way to go. While the chainmail bikinis and the like are pretty bad while depicting women (just want to say that I absolutely HATED the forceful sexual highlights presented for Miranda in Mass Effect 2), one MUST see and acquiesce the fact that men aren’t left out. A great many guys, myself included, do not look like the men that are featured in games. We’re not all hulky, we’re not all white, we’re not all handsome or incredibly handsome, and we don’t all have ways with women. It’s all fantasy and these things aren’t relegated to just games. They’re in romance novels and many of those are written by women for women.

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