Video Games Aren’t Boring, You Just Buy Boring Ones

It’s that time of the year again when Video Games Are Bad, the latest argument being Video Games Are Boring, a piece I won’t critique too hard for fear of sounding rather mean. I don’t really mean this as a response to Brie in particular, but this mindset I keep seeing pop up. This just makes a nice catalyst.

But there’s one thing I have to pull apart here first. In their effort to introduce “non-gaming” friends into “gaming” the started with Journey (reasonable), then when Journey was too violent they eventually turned to suggesting Skyrim (I’m sorry what?!).

I know a lot of gamers can’t really imagine Journey being “violent”, but there are things that attack you. That’s scary. Not everyone wants scary. Not everyone wants adversity, especially for their very first experience. It’s a bit hard to emphasize with that if you started gaming in the 8-16 bit eras like myself, but if you step back, it’s not hard to find games less violent than Journey (AbyssRium, Beglitched, Noby Noby Boy, and those are just games I played literally yesterday).

I really can’t ignore the absurdity of suggesting Skyrim after Journey proved to be too violent, but at the same time I totally understand it. It shows an extremely, shall I say, “Core Gamer” mindset.

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Fan Games Are No Less Protected Than Fan Art By IP Laws

Or: It’s Time To Stop Defending Nintendo Unless You Hate Fan Art Too.

(This article is available in an expanded, podcast-style form as well, on YouTube.)

A common refrain when a fan game is taken down is that it’s within Nintendo’s rights. Do you know what else is within Nintendo’s rights? Sending DMCA takedowns to every single OC Remix track based directly on Nintendo’s music. What else is within Nintendo’s Legal Rights That Are Totally Always Okay To Enforce?

Say Nintendo read every article about Cosplay and sent a DMCA notice to have the pictures taken down and demanded that the cosplayer never again display or create a costume based on a Nintendo character. Is that cool with you? Because it’s not actually any different than fan games, legally speaking.

How about Nintendo sends DMCAs to the millions of pieces of Nintendo character fan art spread across Deviant Art, Pixiv, Twitter, Tumblr, everywhere? Because they could do that. Legally.

Remixes, fan art and yes, even cosplay are derivative works. The only legal difference between them and fan games is that corporations don’t go after them.

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On Fandom: Criticism Need Not Be Hatred

I’ve noticed an unfortunate thread of commentary on my Youtube videos, and more generally in the gaming public. And I’m getting tired of it, because not only is it personally exhausting to read, it’s that sort of insidious, self-propagating way of thinking that taints almost all discussion about entire topics.

The world of game criticism is a very hostile and silly place right now, and we could do a lot better by understanding our own biases and thinking about them just a bit. In the hopes of doing so, here’s some examples of some rather strange comments I got, insisting I hate things I explicitly state I liked in the same breath.

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Fan Projects Do Not Threaten Copyright Protections

I’m angry. You see, recently a truly fantastic Metroid 2 fan recreation was released: AM2R. I played it for a live stream. It’s truly fantastic, and has an amazing amount of original work put into it, being far and away more than a “fan port” of the game.

But then it got taken down by everyone’s least favorite four letter word, a DMCA, straight from Nintendo. I’m very frustrated with Nintendo for the copyright claim, very frustrated the game was taken down (though torrent sites seem to be ensuring it will not be lost). But that’s not what I’m writing this article about.

I’m writing this because this conversation about copyright and fan projects is…the same as all conversations about fan projects. The conversation is full of ignorance, misunderstanding, and what I can only assume are deliberate bald-faced lies about what companies have to do to protect their copyright.

Companies Don’t Have To Shut Down Projects to Keep Copyright

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Steam Had The Tool to Fight G2A Scammers—And They Threw It Away

Scam Artists

At this point most of us are aware that G2A.com is a scam website that profits from stolen credit cards. They allow resellers to sell Steam keys (and others) at below retail prices, often because…they’re stolen! They also have an offensive Dark Pattern for unsubscribing from “G2A Shield“, €2 a month insurance that protects you from the very stolen keys G2A knows they’re selling you. Rimworld recently stopped selling steam keys on other markets because Fraud levels on G2A were too high. G2A’s persistent refrain is simply an elaborate “Not our problem”.

All these things are objective facts, so your lawyers can kiss my spiky metal ass, G2A. Please pay $5000 a month for TapTap Shield™ to protect your website from articles like this. (I shouldn’t joke, they’ll probably take me up on it: G2a already offered to make game devs accessories to stolen credit cards before!)

But the point of this article isn’t to explain why G2A is bad; if you’re not sold on that, click one of the many sources I’ve already provided. Lars Doucet recently did particularly good roundup article on why G2A is literally worse than piracy: “G2A, Piracy, and the Four Currencies”. I strongly recommend you read it before continuing if you are not yet aware of the depth of the problem G2A poses.

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Talking Points: Going the Extra Mile to be Stupid

As a “Talking Points” (geddit I’m a spikeball cough) entry this will be a short little rant. Don’t take it too seriously but it is probably about something I find silly or frustrating.

Today on the way to work I witnessed an impressive sight. A car stopped at a right turn only, with a green light, simply…waiting. No traffic, no emergency vehicles, no reason to not turn. Yet, they didn’t turn. They waited out the whole green light, then the whole yellow light. Finally, when the light turned red, they turned right.

It was no ordinary display of idiocy. People mistakenly take a turn to find the lane is full, that’s understandable. But today’s idiot clearly knew what they were doing was wrong. And it wasn’t even convenient for them. They wasted their own time and effort sheerly in the pursuit of idiocy.

It’s a whole new level of being stupid. To do something on accident is one thing. To do something out of ignorance is understandable. But when one goes out of their way to produce something stupid, that is what I cannot abide by.

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