Tagged: GDC


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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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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Romero, Mercier’s Club Visit Reveals ALL Men Are Skeezy, Not Just Game Devs

Veteran game industry professionals Brenda Romero and Alice Mercier admit they might have made some erroneous conclusions about the nature of men in the games industry, the women told Subtle Blend over the weekend.

“I went clubbing on Friday and took Brenda as my wingman,” Mercier said. “I’m coming off a pretty brutal divorce and I wanted to get my twerk on. Anyway, the place ended up being a bit of a meat market. Neither of us had been to a place like that in a while, so it was sort of surprising how many disgusting things dudes said to us. By the end of the night, we both kind of had this horrible realization that getting embarrassing come-ons from douchebags can happen anywhere. It has nothing to do with video games and it doesn’t rise to the level of sexual harassment.”

Mercier said her experience led to second thoughts about an earlier incident that led to the resignation of Indiestatik founder Josh Mattingly after he clumsily, crudely hit on the recent divorcee in a private Facebook conversation. (“Alice Mercier” is an alias used by the unidentified woman to speak to the games press about the incident.)

“Like, when Josh flat out told me he wanted to kiss my vagina, I was pissed and ready to sue Indiestatik to make sure this never happened to any woman ever again,” Mercier said. “It took me a while, but I’ve finally realized there’s no actual recourse to this, because we don’t work together, and Josh doesn’t have any kind of authority over me. He was just this sad son of a bitch who doesn’t know how to hit on chicks without being a skeez.”

At last week’s Game Developers Conference, Brenda Romero made an impassioned speech about an incident where an unnamed developer from a different company allegedly drew Romero’s attention to the outline of his erection while the two shared a drink at a trade show. Like Mercier, she’s beginning to consider games culture may be an extraneous, unrelated variable in the equation: “I spend a lot of time on Tumblr and Twitter looking at what my fellow Strong Female Games Professionals say about men in this industry, so I kind of lost sight of the fact that this behavior isn’t directly linked to video games in any way.”

Romero continued: “A guy who buys you one drink then points at his dick is half a fuckin’ social retard, whether it be at a trade show or a shitty dance club infested with college kids. It sucks, but unless the dude is your boss or a coworker, you turn him down with extreme prejudice and move on. You don’t have to run to the press about it.”

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Adam Orth Rents Moscone Center For Follow-Up Speech

As Game Developers Conference 2014 ends, the Moscone Center in San Francisco has already been booked for its next event: Former Microsoft creative director Adam Orth will give a follow-up talk in which he hopes to “clarify a few things” in light of some of the initial reporting on his GDC talk.

“Basically, I failed to emphasize a few really important points in my GDC speech about the online harassment I experienced when I was still working for Xbox,” Orth said by phone.

“The games press is great, they take the side of us developers on most things because a lot of them really, really, really want to be devs themselves. But as a result of that, some articles kind of spun things to where I was the victim in all of this, even though I basically told millions of our potential Xbox customers that they weren’t actually people because they didn’t live in an expensive city with FiOS Internet in every appliance.”

Orth continued, “I wasn’t professional. I was a huge, toxic cunt. Like, gaping huge and Chernobyl toxic. Even by the code of the playground, I started it. In that spirit, I’m going to hold an hour-long event after my talk. During this time, anyone I’ve hurt can come by and give me a wedgie. I hope that the games media will cover my event to help begin heal any wounds I inflicted.”

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Dominique Pamplemousse Dev Wants Misogyny to Be More Inclusive

In a clear case of “life imitates art,” where “art” means “satirical posts on Subtle Blend dot com,” Dominique Pamplemousse creator Deirdra Kiai proposed that if straight white men are going to continue to systematically oppress Strong Female Game Developers, the least they could do is hit Deirdra Kiai up for her digits.

“I hate how people who aren’t straight white cisgender men are treated in the game industry. I hate that so many women can’t come to a professional event without getting hit on by some creepy dude… and I hate that it never, ever happens to me. I mean, who even thinks this? Shouldn’t I feel happy that I’m not getting hit on? No, I feel like shit. I start to wonder, what’s wrong with me? I clearly don’t look manly or bearded or stubbly enough, so I don’t get to be treated like a real human, but I’m also not hot enough for any of their creepy attention. I’m like invisible or something.”

Not much more to add to this one, just please note the intentional lack of a “satire” tag, as this is something someone actually said during a panel focused on how straight white males ruin everything with sexism.

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Sarkeesian Fucks Nobody, GDC Voters Demand Recall Vote

Many celebrated Wednesday as Anita Sarkeesian received the GDC Ambassador Award for her Tropes vs. Women series. But as the gala fades into memory, a dark cloud of scandal threatens to overshadow the proceedings: Subtle Blend has spoken to an anonymous male developer who says he successfully lobbied many other male developers to vote for Sarkeesian.

The controversy: Were these votes cast in hopes of a payoff that never, shall we say, came?

“I did some serious horse trading for her,” said our source. “A lot of the guys didn’t want to vote for her because she hates the medium that keeps food on their tables. At first, I felt the same way. But then I got to thinking: A lot of these guys, it’s been so long since they’ve had a woman willing to have sex with them that they’ve sort of subconsciously placed the concept on the same tier as Malaysian airplanes: Intellectually, they know they have to be out there. But finding them? Can’t be done. So yeah, I voted for her. I was trying to get us all laid.”

Our source continued: “I figured that if we all voted for her as a way to show our support for everything she says, even when the stuff she says is demonstrably false, there’s no way she wouldn’t fuck us all. I mean, okay, at the least, I’m thinking handjobs all around.”

Not everyone was on board with our source’s plan, though. One professional artist our source approached was disgusted with the idea of voting for a woman who has lifted other people’s work without credit or compensation for inclusion in a six-figure project. Explains our source, “There was this one dude, he was actually kind of down on the whole idea. He’s like, ‘Anita outright steals the work other people do and takes credit for it. How can you sleep at night after lobbying for her?’ and I’m like, ‘Dude, are you going to suck my dick?’ That shut him up pretty fast, though he’s not returning my calls anymore. Loser.”

But after the award was handed out onstage, something happened: Anita Sarkeesian left the venue without so much as watching a single game developer that had voted for her jerk off. Needless to say, there was outrage: “I’ve talked to the guys, we’re going to demand a recall. That’s what happens when a politician breaks his implied promises, and that’s what we’re going to do. In the end, the power of the people will overcome, because an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere, and my balls are dangerously full of injustice right now. Seriously, it hurts. I think I need a doctor.”

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Today in High, Holy Truths:

“Tons of sexist juvenile jokes coming from host of the GDC awards last night. Anyone know where all the ‘what is wrong with our industry’ articles are, talking about a call to arms and how we must change our awful industry perception? I’m sure they gotta be out there…right? No way in the world that all of these high horse web sites that cry foul every time a man says something potentially offensive are letting the same behavior slide because the speaker was a woman, right? That would be so crazy if that happened!”

David “I Fucking Created God of War and Twisted Metal” Jaffe

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GDC 14: “Social Advocacy Can Get Us Out of Having to Make Good Games”

A Mass Effect 3 designer is helping the industry understand how social justice advocacy can help reduce the skyrocketing costs of AAA development by insulating games against criticism.

“Mass Effect 3 came under a lot of scrutiny,” Manveer Heir conceded, during a speech at GDC 14. “Gamers complained they sunk almost $200 into this narrative over three games, and then we dropped the ball by not giving them a satisfying resolution. They said our endings were exactly the same and ultimately resolved nothing.”

Manveer got a standing ovation lasting almost two minutes from a room of overworked game developers who came out in support of reducing the stress of big game development. Manveer’s proposed method? Immunize their work from criticism by linking game narratives with social justice positions only a “complete stinkfist” could disagree with.

“In Mass Effect 3, the ending was pick A for red, pick B for blue, C for green, and watch the same cutscene no matter what. The Internet bullied us for that. What if we could have reduced budget costs and crunch time by linking the ending of Mass Effect 3 to Commander Shephard’s experiences as a bisexual post-op transgendered person of color in a racist, bigoted galaxy much like modern-day America? I can tell you, if we did that, not one of you would have had to work a single hour of overtime during crunch, because the actual quality of the game wouldn’t have mattered. Nobody would have said shit. As an industry, we have to start doing this, because my wife told me if I miss one more anniversary because I have to make sure headshot physics work right before a ship date, she’s leaving me. I like my wife, so let’s give this a shot.”

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