This week, Jared and I dig into the grab bag to talk about four games. I talk about the newest Layton game, Layton’s Mystery Journey. While I love the series, this game had some serious flaws. I also give initial thoughts on my playthrough of my most recent otome game, Bad Apple Wars. Jared talked about Pyre, a fantasy sports game developed Supergiant. He also discusses a magical girl RPG called Blue Reflection and how the game itself isn’t awesome but it shows what can be done with the genre.
As someone who is relatively new to the Danganronpa series, I was extremely excited to play one at release.1 Danganronpa V3 promised to be a new experience completely separated from the Hope’s Peak Arc. I initially felt like it was a wonderful addition to the series for the first five chapters, and then it went off rails in a way that is entirely unforgivable to me. I will not and can not recommend Danganronpa V3 to anybody, as it’s such a pretentious mess of a game that spits directly in the face of anyone who cares about the world of Danganronpa. Although the game has artfully crafted cases and new trial mini-games, the finale of the game ruins the rest of the game in a way that makes me sincerely hope this is the last game in the series.
MAJOR spoilers below the cut
Final Fantasy IX rereleased on the PS4 recently, and Jared and I decided to talk about it. Given that it’s my favorite Final Fantasy, I was stoked!! We talk about the story, the music, our favorite moments, the changes for the PS4 edition, and my absolute hatred of frogs. So. Many. Frogs.
Jared asked me this week to talk again about my favorite otome game, and who am I to say no to that!? Since there is an upcoming Code: Realize anime in October, Jared wanted a crash course in this insanely bonkers story. Given that this is a game set in steampunk London with datable historic and literary guys, I was already sold from the get-go. I tell you who is best boy, give you hot takes on the special sexy CGs, and Jared is amazed at the life of a wealthy landowner.
Recently, internet personality and Let’s Player PewDiePie found himself in hot water again through his use of an undeniably racist word. For those of you who are unfamiliar, the original controversy he found himself in was because he had paid two men to hold up a sign that said “Death to all Jews.” It is worth noting that the men in the video are also people of color who were paid $5 to hold the sign by PewDiePie. Corporate sponsors dropped him, and the internet came to his defense. PewDiePie himself posted a response video on his YouTube channel, in which he says that everything was taken out of context.
So what has he done this time? During a live stream of him playing PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, he dropped the N-word as an insult for a player he was trying to shoot. For those of you who don’t understand context, he later amends the word to another negative one. He meant it as a negative word to use against a player he was angry with. He apologized once he realized what he had said. He knew immediately that the word would not be acceptable, but given that he had originally used it as a negative, it’s clear that his intention was to equate the two words as a negative toward the other player, as if they’re equivalent words with the same meaning.
Again, the internet has come to his defense. Most argue that he was in the heat of a gaming moment, and it slipped out. That argument does not fly. As someone who regularly plays video games, I have never once let a racial slur “slip” while angry at a video game or a player. That is not a word that just pops into your head without some regular use. His fans and some gamers again say that he apologized, and so he should be forgiven.
My question is, why is the internet so willing to defend this person who is willingly and openly engaging in blatantly racist rhetoric? Why is he allowed to get a pass just because he says he isn’t racist?
But when Kjellberg does something offensive, he’s defended as though he were a naughty child, just a random guy who plays video games on the Internet who can’t help but pick up on some of the crudeness of “gaming culture.”
PewDiePie and his defenders are symptomatic of a bigger issue in gaming. It is largely an immature, offensive, racist, homophobic, and sexist culture. It is not uncommon to play games online and hear homophobic, sexist or racist slurs said as a derogatory towards other gamers. To some gamers, to be considered anything but a white straight male makes you lesser, and that’s part of why it is acceptable in the culture to use these slurs against people you are angry with. There are plenty of negative words one can use when angry, but gamers specifically use these types of words and defend those that do as well. You can only use the excuse for so long that it is a joke before people outside that echo chamber realized that you’re most likely just a person with no respect for people who aren’t just like you.
Video gaming has always been very much rooted in a white, middle class reality. PewDiePie is very white. Most of the people that I’ve seen defending him are also white. They argue that African Americans often use the N-word, so it has lost its racial connotations and thus is a fair game phrase. They cite people like Dave Chappelle who are African American and use the phrase often in their comedy or hip hop artists who use it in their lyrics. While I am not an expert on reappropriation, it is a choice that African Americans made to reappropriate the N-word, and that is not automatic permission for people in a place of racial power to use it as a slur against people they are angry with.
I write about video game history for a living. I am constantly surrounded by the sexist and racist language and behaviors that have been with video gaming since the 1970s. As a woman who plays video games, I’ve always felt a sense of the “other.” Movements such as GamerGate have not helped that situation much. Current gamers generally see themselves as a larger community who have been victimized, and they gatekeep those that they feel do not belong. People have been fighting for representation in video games and the industry that creates them for decades. People defending PewDiePie are engaging in a method of gatekeeping by accepting his behaviors as normal, rather than acknowledging that it is not okay to use this type of language under any circumstances. They see it within the community and feel it is normal.
People like PewDiePie and his defenders are a huge problem in the gaming community. It’s unacceptable to use this type of language, make these types of jokes, and to assume that it is okay because there was an apology issued. Gaming deserves better as a medium, and the gaming community can do better than this.
Hi all! This week, Jared and I decided to talk about the biggest surprise game of the year–Mario + Rabbids: Kingdom Battle. This strategy RPG had a recipe to be terrible, but it shocked us how great it it was. There is a spoiler warning when we get into story elements, if you don’t want to be spoiled on that. It’s definitely worth it to listen to how I defeated the final boss, though.