Zoe Quinn: “If I can bang a billionaire’s kid, you can too. Never stop dreaming!”

(Pictured left to right: Congresswoman Clark, Zoe “Chelsea Van Valkenberg” Quinn, Alex Lifschitz)

Fresh off addressing a congressional committee on Internet harassment as the guest of lawmaker Katherine Clark, Zoe Quinn gave an impromptu speech to reporters as she left Capitol Hill.

“A few years ago, I was just another self-important, mentally-ill attention whore who couldn’t program a commercial-grade video game if her life depended on it. Today, I spoke to Congress about the crucial need for busy elected officials to do something about mean words on Twitter.”

Quinn was humble in her her moment of triumph, using her biggest moment in the spotlight to date in order to take up the mantle of role model for future generations of young girls aspiring to be game developers Twine users:

“If I can be an inspiration to just one little girl, this was all worth it. For all America’s problems, today we still live in a country where a girl born into a wealthy family can change her name, try and fail at porn, ruin marriages, sabotage competitors, and still end up speaking to Congress because her new boyfriend’s war profiteer father pulls in a ton of money for a congresswoman. This isn’t just my moment, this is yours. For if I can go from slumming it with game journalists and developers five at a time, to fucking a billionaire’s son, you can too.”

“After all,” Quinn added with a grin, “this is still America.”

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Schafer Plans Comedy Tour; Separate Cover for Setups, Punchlines

Double Fine lead Tim Schafer’s impromptu stand-up performance at GDC was the pilot for a full-fledged comedy tour, an anonymous source close to the situation tells Subtle Blend.

“Tim’s bringing something new to comedy shows,” our source reports. “At most comedy shows, you’ll pay one fee and see an hour-long set from a headliner, maybe an opening act or two. What Tim plans to do is leverage his status as a Kickstarter pioneer to transform that model.”

It works like this: At his yet-unannounced tour dates, Tim will go on stage and perform an industry standard amount of material (roughly an hour). The Double Fine twist? No punchlines. “Tim will give the audience his setups day of the show. At a later date, they’ll have the opportunity to purchase the punchlines to those jokes on DVD.”

When we followed up to ask whether or not our source was worried about audiences reacting poorly to the prospect of not getting a “complete” set of jokes for their box office fee, we got the following in reply: “It’s a little unconventional, I’ll give you that. But Tim made Psychonauts and Grim Fandango. So, I’m sure audiences will respond well.”

(Image Credit: The Ralph Retort)

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Polygon Starts #750000reasonstobe Initiative

To better combine its position as a steadfast defender of Microsoft with its obsession to link social issues with gaming, Polygon has announced it will embed a senior editor with Microsoft’s gaming division for a whole year as part of its #750000reasonstobe campaign.

“A lot of gamers look at Playstation 4 and only see that they get significantly better hardware and a bunch of monthly free games and discounts with a multiplayer subscription,” Polygon’s Arthur Gies told Subtle Blend.

“As usual, gamers are looking at things through the perspective of their own privilege. They only consider that Sony’s value proposition is objectively better than Microsoft’s. They don’t think about all the people who dedicated years of their lives to work on this device. There probably were at least a few women and minorities on the Xbox One team, but gamers don’t think about that either. They just want the system that has better games and more power at a lower cost. Gaming culture is disgusting. It has a giant empathy problem.”

To change this state of affairs, Polygon will send features editor Russ Pitts to Redmond for a whole year to tell the “human story” of Microsoft’s failing console. (Full disclosure: Pitts doesn’t like us very much.) “Very few writers use more words per article than Russ Pitts,” Gies told us. “He’s great like that. You could ask the man to write a grocery list, and he’d find a way to make it 2000 words long, plus make eggs and cheese into a metaphor about the sexual awakening of young girls.”

As our chat came to an end, Gies contended that gaming culture needed to consider all the good Microsoft has done when selecting their next-gen console. “As you know, Microsoft gave us $750,000 in start-up money so we could make a movie about ourselves. When the Xbox One came out, I made sure we gave it a higher score than the PS4, and Microsoft gave me a house in NYC. Gamers want to shit on that, but I’d ask them what they’ve ever contributed. Have they ever bought a house or funded a movie for someone? Didn’t think so.”

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Next Titanfall update adds Macklemore Penalty Pack

Not to be outdone by its nearest competitor, Respawn Entertainment has announced the impending release of a voice pack for Titanfall featuring Seattle-based rapper Macklemore.

“Using the power of the Kinect, Macklemore will bring his signature blend of weaksauce rhymes and whitebread style to the world of multiplayer,” Microsoft spokesman Larry “Major Nelson” Hryb said in a statement.

Rather than add Macklemore’s voice to matches, Hryb explained that Microsoft views the free add-on as a way to greatly reduce offensive behavior on its Xbox Live service. “If the Kinect detects a user engaging in hate speech during play, the Xbox will automatically begin to play ‘Ball Till Ya Titanfall (Until All Are Equal),’ the exclusive track Macklemore recorded for us, in which he explores the social inequality issues that may arise during a round of team deathmatch.”

“The song is awful,” Hryb clarified. “How this guy won a Grammy is beyond me, but that’s the world we live in. The punishment will be tiered, so first offenders will only be subjected to the first 30 seconds, whereas a habitual troll will eventually be forced to listen to the entire 27:00 track. Again, it’s really bad. We expect our digital streets to be cleaned up pretty fast once word gets around.”

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Sessler Quits, Realizes Actual Whoring Pays Better

This just in: Veteran game journalist Adam Sessler leaves an industry that literally caused him to have a mental breakdown (and probably a cocaine addiction).

The story is still breaking, but an anonymous source close to the situation shared the following with Subtle Blend: “Adam realized he was really great at whoring for these companies over the years at Rev3 and TechTV/G4; as such, he decided that he could do better going into business for himself on the streets. Fact is, actual whoring pays better, and if you’ve got the right stuff, your clients will keep you awash in coke and next-gen consoles for the rest of your life. Perks of the job.”

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How One SJW Developer Accidentally Made Some Sense At GDC

Today, I found myself agreeing with a social justice warrior game developer.

At GDC 2014, many individuals stepped up to a podium and complained about how terrible, sexist, racist, homophobic, bigoted, etc., the game industry supposedly is. Most of those individuals said nothing new, novel, or worthwhile.

Alas, Todd Harper did.

“More importantly,” Harper said, “if you don’t want [to make inclusive games], if you feel like you shouldn’t have to care, then leave. We don’t need you. Increasingly. We don’t need you.” His matter of fact statement was met with applause.

To be sure, Harper’s statement was couched in the caustic, tired sort of frothing hostility often employed by those advocating for social justice issues to be addressed in video games. But beneath all his bullshit, Todd Harper managed to stumble upon a brilliant truth, one that is very inconvenient for those who like to scapegoat “the industry” for their personal issues.

When Todd Harper says “we don’t need you,” he is presumably speaking of those in AAA development who have no inclination toward making the protagonist of a $50m+ project adhere to a sociology/gender studies textbook. And you know what? He’s right. Those who make games focused on a LGBT audience (or any sort of nontraditional game) do not need large publishers with deep pockets to make their games. More importantly, these developers should not expect that a company will give them huge sums of money to make experimental games that will only sell a fraction of any given big-budget shooter.

Todd went on to suggest that one way to add LGBT elements to games is to spin existing characters: “”Did you make a bald, white, cismale space marine?” he asked. “Okay. Now make it a half-shaved head, purple haired, trans-woman Latina space marine. Did you tragically kill of a man’s wife to motivate his quest to save his daughter? … Go back and give him a husband and a kid. Keep them alive. Let him fight to protect them and keep them safe.”

The question, of course, is why Todd Harper believes companies have any sort of obligation, moral or otherwise, to change a project to suit his tastes. Ultimately, this is where Harper’s earlier statement of “We don’t need you” comes into play: If Todd Harper wants to play a game where the hero is a purple-haired trans-woman of color, he– or any of the developers on stage with him– can make it. If he wants to have a game where a gay man fights to keep his husband and kid alive, he can do that too. There have never been more options for people to develop games on their own. These tools may not be suited for crafting the next Gears of War or Call of Duty, but if encouraging diversity in gaming is truly the end goal for Todd and his ilk, that shouldn’t matter.

Whether he realized it or not, when Todd Harper said “We don’t need you,” he effectively admitted that nobody is oppressing minority developers or suppressing their ability to create. The truth of his words signals it is time for the social justice warrior contingent of game developers to “be the change” they want by employing the plethora of tools and platforms available to them, rather than tirelessly, angrily focusing on the perceived shortcomings of a few dozen yearly blockbuster titles.

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