On “GamerGate”

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Tonight, we, the GoodGamesWriting team, write to you in response to the recent “GamerGate” movement that has taken the Internet by storm and taken over the current discourse around games writing and the games industry.

We are not here to recap this discourse. We are not writing tonight to engage with those trapped in the imbroglio. This post will serve as our sole commentary on this issue.

              On ethics

As an organization, GoodGamesWriting believes ethical concerns around the games writing space–which includes journalists, reporters, bloggers, personalities, critics, analysts, and beyond–are legitimate.

We believe publications should be held accountable for their work in the same way teachers are held accountable for their teaching. Parents have a right to press teachers about their methods, their assessments, and their conduct. Teachers have a responsibility to respond to these concerns, basing their answers in pedagogy.

This is not groundbreaking nor revolutionary. It should be the norm and in this respect our industry has room to improve.

However, these concerns cannot be addressed in the current climate, in which harassment and abuse is commonplace. If this movement is, indeed, about ethics as its anonymous leaders claim, then we advocate for an end to the current approach, proposing to start these ethical conversations anew in the near future.

We have challenged gaming publications large and small to begin having these conversations both internally and with us. We have had some success with this and extend our challenge to those publications that have yet to answer our call.

Further to this, we believe ethics policies should be published by all publications wishing to take themselves seriously. Such a policy should not be buried; rather, it should feature prominently on the publication’s home page or be contained within the website’s footer.

Inclusion

Despite appreciating a focus on ethics, the GoodGamesWriting team believes an ethical framework contained within a broader system that doesn’t support inclusivity, diversity, or positivity, has zero legitimacy.

We believe those claiming so-called “SJW”s are misrepresenting this movement fail to understand two points: (1) that, whether intended or not, such a movement has become toxic and about representation; (2) to those specifically believing misrepresentation on this front we choose to stand with those that have shown they receive abuse.

We will not tolerate such abuse.

We challenge publications of all sizes to remove vitriolic and hateful comments as well as the users posting them. We challenge publications that are already doing this to stay the course. We challenge publications that aren’t yet to step up their game on this front.

We believe publications should be willing to separate themselves from personalities whose conduct is not in line with the beliefs of tolerance, acceptance, and positivity outlined here, even if such conduct is not conducted within the publication’s infrastructure.

To this end, comment moderation is not enough. Publications dedicated to inclusion will make efforts to promote diverse content and voices, and GoodGamesWriting is not excluded from this. Editorial staffing is one such area many publications may look to for improvement on this front.

We understand where some frustrations arise. Many of those concerned are “just trying to enjoy gaming”. This is admirable.

It is the same goal all possess. Unfortunately, due to exclusion in the industry as a whole, many cannot reach this goal.

This is not an attack on those gamers. It is a call for empathy. Those affected by a lack of representation or inclusion face this every day. It is not a new phenomenon. It is the status-quo and it should change.

We believe it is appropriate to champion games that support awareness of minority groups, mental health issues, and other matters of inclusion.

To that end, we believe it is appropriate for criticism to exist where the games industry has failed to deliver on these expectations.

We believe that an argument over what constitutes a game is counter-productive. Arguing over semantics on these points gets us nowhere.

Finally, we ask those considering departing this space because of GamerGate to stay strong. We believe you are voices worth championing. We are committed to defending voices such as yours.

Final remarks

To be clear, we are condemning the actions of those members of the GamerGate movement using it as a proxy for hatred. We believe some parties may truly believe in the stated cause of this movement, though these parties are not hiding behind anonymity.

We challenge the industry as a whole to promote both journalistic integrity and inclusion within this space.

GoodGamesWriting is dedicated to changing the discourse around games writing, achieving its goals through ongoing communication with writers and publishers, the promotion of content, and the development of talent.

Weekend Plans: #CritJam, Voices, #PitchJam, and more

Here are our weekend plans:

CritJam continues on, though we will retool it slightly.

If you wish to have your criticism examined by our experts — Nick Capozzoli, Jason Venter, Scott Nichols, Eric Swain, Patrick Lindsey, James Pickard, Dan Starkey, and a few of the PitchJam panelists — then please email your completed criticism to “thepitchjam at gmail dot com”. Remember: You must have completed the piece within the LAST 3 MONTHS.

We encourage you to rally around the community and post your criticism to the #CritJam hashtag on Twitter. We’ll take the best finds off that hashtag and feature them in a gigantic post tomorrow night here on the blog. And, you know, you could crowdsource your criticism, helping one another out! Our experts will keep their eyes on that hashtag, as will we, to weigh in on crit that slips through the cracks.

Our Writing Challenge will now be a week-ish long and conclude on Friday. We challenge you to write the best piece you can on “Freedom” in videogames, though what that means is up to your interpretation. It’s a very July theme, we think, and as such, we’ll offer up reward for participating…like putting your work directly in front of some very smart, very talented, very successful writers in the field.

We’re working hard to finalize PitchJam stuff, but that will take us through the weekend. Please be patient with us on that one.

Finally, we really, really, want to stress our new feature “Voices“. [CLICK] We’re looking for a diverse group of writers to take over the blog next week, each for one day, and need you to get in touch if that’s the case. Please write evkmcintosh AT gmail COM with a short letter of introduction as to why you’re right for this. We’re interested in what unique perspective you offer. This is a great chance to promote not only the work of others but your own work as well.

Let’s keep our celebration of games writing rolling strong.

PitchJam & CritJam Panel Update

Howdy all,

This is the list (in no particular order) of panelists reading your pitches and/or criticism, updated as they continue to confirm their participation.

Bolded names are new additions.

On Pitches we have…

  • Susan Arendt
  • Steve Watts
  • Alan Williamson
  • Brian Shea
  • Richard Moss
  • Russ Pitts
  • Greg Tito
  • Carli Velocci
  • Andrew Yoon
  • Jenny McKeon
  • Laura Dale
  • Hollander Cooper

Update 12:17 PST:

  • Kyle Orland
  • Miguel Concepcion
  • Patrick Lindsey

On Crit we have…

  • Jason Venter
  • Daniel Starkey
  • James Pickard
  • Eric Swain
  • Nick Capozzoli
  • Scott Nichols

Update June 16:

  • Adam Rosenberg

NOTE: Some of our panelists will be double dipping. We’ll specify that as we get a better sense of who has availability.

We continue to invite more panelists in the eleventh hour. We are also waiting on several more confirmations. This list will update as we get more confirmations.

We thank our panelists for their contributions through this week. We’ll be sharing more about them throughout our week-long celebration of games writing, too!

Voices

We’d like to extend our upcoming celebration of games writing into next week.

In order to do that, we’re inviting you to become a part of Team GGW, at least for one day only.

“Voices” will be our twice-monthly chance to feature the voices of games critics and writers beyond our roster. We’ll hand over the floor to others to share their favourite games writing of all time, the current writing that has resonated with them, and, importantly, the chance to share links to their own works.

This week, Adam will show off the format of “Voices” by highlighting the recent work we want to share.

From Monday to Friday next week, we’d like to invite you to be one of our voices to share the best in games writing. All you have to do is tweet us at @GoodWritingVG and we’ll get in touch. We’d like a diverse, interesting mix of people to take the centre stage.

Remember, if you don’t get in during our celebration of games writing, “Voices” will continue beyond its initial run.

We look forward to hearing your voice.

#PitchJam and #CritJam — More Information

Someone pitched about pitching.

Howdy all!

You’re invited to #PitchJam & #CritJam — our week-long celebration of games writing — starting July 16th.

To date, more than 150 writers have signed on to be a part of our celebration and that number exceeds the total of our last event. With less than a week to go, we expect that number to continue to climb. Will you join our celebration dedicated to improving your writing skills, your pitching acumen, and help you network?

Oh, and you have to RSVP if you want to participate.

Pitch Jam

Pitch Jam is your chance to have a pitch — for a written piece, comic, or video series — critiqued by the pros. The pros, currently, are (in no particular order):

  • Greg Tito – The Escapist
  • Carli Velocci – freelance
  • Russ Pitts – the Indiana Jones of games writing
  • Steve Watts – Shacknews
  • Richard Moss – freelance
  • Alan Williamson – Five Out of Ten
  • Susan Arendt – Joystiq
  • Andrew Yoon – formerly of Shacknews
  • Daniel Starkey – freelance
  • Patrick Lindsey – freelance
  • Kyle Orland – Ars Technica
  • Brian Shea – VideoGameWriters
  • Miguel Concepcion – freelance (video)
  • Jenny McKeon – 151 (comics)
  • Laura Dale – IndieHaven
  • Hollander Cooper -formerely of GamesRadar

Pitch Jam will take place over the course of three days, and every pitch we receive will get feedback assuming the following three conditions are met:

a) You’ve RSVP’d. Do that here.

b) The pitch is approved by our frontline staff member. That is to say…you’re showing respect and pitching in a professional manner.

c) Your pitch has been received within the 72 hour period starting the 16th and going through the 18th. Pitches WILL NOT be accepted after the cutoff.

NOTE: You retain all ownership of your pitches. Pitches received through this event are not solicitations of our expert panel, and our panel cannot solicit you through this event. However, please be advised that your ideas, while original, may have been pitched before and similar ideas may or may not be published by others on paid outlets after the conclusion of this event.

Crit Jam

Immediately following Pitch Jam will be Crit Jam.

Crit Jam consists of two aspects. The first will be a chance to show off any piece of criticism you’ve published within the last three calendar months to our expert panel OR an unpublished piece. You’ll receive detailed feedback on your criticism providing it is received during the weekend.

The second dimension of Crit Jam is the writing contest. We’ll provide the broad strokes — a theme if you will — and challenge you to write some type of criticism during the Jam. The point is to just write. We’ll also, y’know, have prizes and such too, so look out for it.

Currently, folks such as Daniel Starkey, Nick Capozzoli, Eric Swain, and Scott Nichols have confirmed their participation focusing on your criticism. This list, like the above list of panelists, will continue to grow.

Did we mention you need to RSVP?

Other

Supplementary materials will be provided during the event as well.

We’ll have chats with our expert panels, writing resources, and so forth. We hope you’ll find enjoyment in the materials we provide. However, you’re welcome to request things (ie. pitching etiquette) by tweeting us @GoodWritingVG through this weekend.

You can back-channel with us by using the #PitchJam and #CritJam hashtags on Twitter. We’ll respond. Last time we received more than 1000 tweets about our event.

We’re still looking to add to our panel as we face increasing numbers of participants during our week-long celebration. If you’ve relevant experience in criticism or pitching please consider serving as a panelist. You’ll be loved by us forever. You can find out what that entails by tweeting us @goodwritingvg.

Finally, this is super important, you MUST RSVP. No RSVP, no expert help. That simple. We’ll say it each and every day leading up until the event.

RSVPing closes at 23:59:59 MTN on July 15, 2014. (Missed the RSVP? Hit up @GoodWritingVG on Twitter.)

RSVP here, and do it ASAP.

Leigh Alexander revisits Final Fantasy X

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Leigh Alexander revisits Final Fantasy X in this post, connecting her experiences with Tidus et al. to an array of other things.

This is not a piece about FFX, though: This is a piece about nostalgia; about fun; and about identity.

“Except maybe that games record our memories of the people we were when we played them, leave young ghosts in their infrastructure that will always be there. Or it tells you that maybe an entire genre, an entire age of Japanese console games swelled thanks only to the labile tendencies of our youth and died just because we grew up and don’t feel like crying about such silly things anymore.”

Read: Let’s revisit Final Fantasy X! Anyone?

Is Amiibo Nintendo’s Next e-Reader?

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Neal Ronaghan is asking the tough questions I’m just not prepared to ask in his editorial on Nintendo’s Amiibo experiment.

Those questions pertain to Nintendo’s lacklustre track record of supporting peripheral devices like e-Reader, and, more pressingly, the lack of control over the figure the player has, at least within the Super Smash Bros. realm.

For the record: I’m completely willing to hand over cash for many of those figures simply because they appear to be a quality toy that, y’know, actually exists. Nintendo’s licensing of its characters is equally as spotty, and I’ve been dying for some kind of new Star Fox item. Might this be my chance?

Read: Is Amiibo Nintendo’s Next e-Reader? on NWR

E3 Is Getting Better

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If there is one thing that governs GGW above all, it’s the desire to change the conversation by sharing the positive. Elisa Melendez puts a big smile on our faces, writing about her experience at E3 playing nothing but games with diverse women characters:

The gaming industry has a ways to go where issues of representation are concerned, and of course, not all representation pushes the industry forward, but it’s getting better. We lose sight of this sometimes, but it’s worth pointing out, and celebrating.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

Read: “It’s getting better: I spent an entire day at E3 playing as women characters”

Paste’s Gonzo E3 Report

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Cara Ellison brings her formidable talents to E3, where she finds confusion, lethal cuteness, troubling consistency, and ghost cheese. It’s a personal examination of the show from a first-timer’s perspective, one that raises new questions about E3′s pomp that many of us, particularly those who have yet to go, may have already conceded as “the way things are,” written with honesty and humor.

Read: “E3 2014: A Week in the Woods”

#Clarking, E3 Edition

RE6Leon

Criticism of E3′s bloat and boorishness have come to reside hand-in-hand with the show’s lavish press conferences and news-cratering announcements. At times this year, it felt as if the entire games writing sphere was admonishing itself to eat its vegetables, without a clear understanding of just who was averse to vegetables in the first place. People are understandably worn down, and the language surrounding E3′s shortcomings has become somewhat confrontational as we collectively try to understand why E3 isn’t changing as quickly as other events and coverage. Today, GGW shares three pieces reflecting on E3′s spectacle that offer perspectives positive, critical, and, starting with Richard Clark, loving.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love creates. Love partakes. Love conveys truth. Love lifts up the work of others.

I don’t think any of this is a sure-fire way to turn the tables in the videogame industry. These principles are an active rejection of the sort of power that we assume is necessary to enact cultural change. They put the emphasis not on brute force activism or persuasion, but on an undercurrent of grace that comes with voluntary weakness and humility. It’s not an approach that abandons causes and mobilization, but it does change the tone and stance of those causes significantly. Rather than mockery and resentment, we seek to educate, understand, and empathize with those with whom we disagree with.

Read the rest at Game Church.

Read: “Pride and Power at E3″