Breaking Down the Tale of Tales Death Rattle

This is a long goddamn post, so bear with me.

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HATRED: The TRV Review

When Hatred was announced in October last year, I knew it was going to be something special. In January, I wrote down my thoughts on it. The post blew up, and was the first thing I ever wrote to be linked to on Xenosystems. I even got recognition from outside the reactosphere when the award-winning developer Adrian Chmielarz of The Astronauts linked it. Now that it’s been released, I feel obligated to give a full review of the game. I don’t really have a set review rubric, so I’ll try to break it down into general categories.

First, for my #GamerGate followers and try to disclose as much as I think I need to. I was gifted this game by a friend. I have no ties to Destructive Creations outside of my voting to greenlight the game. I am perfectly conscious of my political and social biases. I’m going to assume that if you read my blog, you more than likely are too. So without further ado, let’s take a good look at Hatred!

THE STORY: SHORT, SWEET, TO THE POINT.

Hatred shows its arcade roots by keeping the story to an absolute bare minimum. The player character, a tall, long and dark-haired man only known as either “the Antagonist”, “the Crusader”, “Hatred Guy”, or “Notim Portant”, commences a mission to kill as many people as possible. The story starts off with the tutorial, where the Antagonist does some final practicing for his rampage: some obstacle course running, shooting and grenade drills, and finally murdering a drugged-up captive just to get the feel for taking life. From there, we’re treated to a brief monologue, the (in)famous one from the very first trailer. The Antagonist steps out of his house, and the first level immediately begins. He starts in rural New York, but after hopping on a train to evade police learns of a nearby nuclear powerplant, which he then sets his sights on.

And that’s it. There’s no twists or turns to his story, no supporting characters, nothing. Hatred is very “old school”. The game, as I’ll elaborate later on, is a throwback to old arcade twin-stick shooters like Smash TV, Mercs, and Robotron 2084. Likewise, so is the story. You learn pretty much everything you need to know about the main character and his goals in the first cutscene. The other cutscenes, barring the ending, only serve to conclude the level you just finished and introduce the next one. The ending caps off the game and provides a solid conclusion to the story.

And really, that’s just fine for a simple game like Hatred. Twin-stick shooters don’t need complex, deep plots. We don’t need to know why the Antagonist wants to kill everyone and why he loves it. In fact, the game would probably be worse off if he did. Nuance in this case would take away from the stark, brutal simplicity of the game’s overall aesthetic. Hatred is a very blunt game that never really strays from the core of the subject matter: the Antagonist’s mission to kill as many people as humanly possible.

THE VISUALS: UP IS DOWN, BLACK IS WHITE

I didn’t like Unreal Engine 3. Everything just looked ugly, both in stills and in motion. Some of the ugliest-looking games of the last generation that I can recall used Unreal 3. So when I saw the Unreal Engine Logo on the first trailer, I rolled my eyes. Hatred certainly does have the characteristic ugliness of an Unreal Engine game. However, like all the other flaws, it works to Hatred‘s advantage.

See, in Hatred, the player sees the world through the eyes of the Antagonist. Not literally, of course, but figuratively. So it makes sense that the world is nothing but a dull, generic grey. How else would a mass-murderer see things? Everything is ugly and dull and you can’t help but love destroying whatever you can. Indeed, the greyscale only makes the actually quite nice fire and explosion effects look even better. Indeed, while the world looks boring by default, it looks fucking incredible when you tear it to pieces with an automatic weapon. Indeed, it almost compelled me to destroy whatever I could in hopes that it would brighten up the screen a bit.

Another issue that works out quite well for Hatred is the limited amount of NPC models. I’d imagine that since this game was made in Poland over the course of 7 months, it didn’t have the largest budget. It certainly shows in the NPCs. For all the talk of the game being a “Neo-nazi murder simulator” I couldn’t make out the race or gender of the people I was gunning down at all. The women all had short hair, more than likely due to the physics of long hair being difficult as shown by the Antagonist’s own raven locks. The greyscale world made it hard to figure out who was black and who was white. And that actually fits with the Antagonist’s views perfectly. To him, everyone looks the same. That’s why killing people is so easy to him. There’s nothing special or remarkable about his targets. There’s not supposed to be.

All of that aside, there are some visual issues I just can’t look past. When you perform an execution near a wall, the camera can get fairly glitchy, and bodies can clip into walls and debris. Hopefully this can get patched, but I’m not sure. There is also the matter of various “clever” advertisements that really take me out of the experience and kill my immersion in the game. I’ll get to them later.

The game’s physics and animations are actually excellent. It’s one of those cases where the game looks infinitely better in motion than it does in screenshots. Bodies respond fairly realistically to being shot, barring the armored enemies who will flail wildly as you continue to pump them full of lead in a darkly hilarious animation. Buildings fall apart perfectly, crumbling into rubble. Destruction hasn’t been this fun in years.

Overall, despite having some glaring flaws, the visuals for Hatred are surprisingly good, especially considering the short time it took and low budget it presumably had. In some portions, it looks just as good, if not better than Firaxis’s isometric strategy game XCOM: Enemy Unknown. There’s a certain artisianship to Hatred, and a clear theme in the design. That’s something I think a lot of games today are missing.

GAMEPLAY: A BLAST FROM THE PAST

Hatred is a classic isometric twin-stick shooter. Your goal is to either get from point A to point B, or to kill X amount of civilians/law enforcement. Along the way there are bonus objectives, where you have to kill a certain number of people at a certain location or kill a certain person, and you’re rewarded with additional respawn points. You have a limited number of respawn points before you have to start the entire level all over again.

Combat is actually pretty fun- the destructive environment forces you to really think on your feet and keep moving at all times. The difficulty ramps up fast, so get used to ducking and weaving from cover to cover, keeping an eye on the radar to know where enemies and civilians (who you can execute to restore health) are. The firefights are fast-paced and frantic, and a lot of fun.

Unfortunately, the gameplay has a few major issues. First off, the controls can feel clunky and awkward. The Antagonist is not as smooth and easy to control as trailers make it look. The drivable vehicles are even worse, being a major pain in the ass. Thankfully, there’s never any forced driving levels, and the ones where you start in a car you can get out at any time. Aiming is just as problematic at times: it’s nearly impossible to fire from an elevated position down to an enemy on the lower end. There’s also the matter of only being able to carry three guns at a time. For such an old-school game, it’s frustrating to see Hatred use one of my least favorite mechanics in modern shooters. Hatred does have one other flaw that comes from being a twin-stick arcade shooter: it’s repetitive as SHIT. Those objectives I listed earlier? Hope you like them because that’s pretty much all you ever do. I get that it goes with the territory, but at the very least couldn’t we have gotten something new?

Even if the missions are boring, the level design sure isn’t. Each level is either designed to feel like a real area or provide a fun break from ordinary levels. Every building can be entered, meaning that you can spend hours just exploring. The only downside is that there aren’t hidden secrets, so often times the exploring is all for nothing. It is still fun, though. Sometimes looking at the environment is great on its own.

AUDIO: A LOT FROM A LITTLE

There’s not much to say about Hatred audio-wise. The soundtrack is all dark ambient, composed by Adam Skorupa. It’s remarkably good, to the point where Destructive Creations even made a video to showcase his vision. But as good as dark ambient is, it’s still just dark ambient. I was expecting something a little less subtle, maybe a mix of industrial, death, sludge, and black metal. Instead, we only get one song in the credits by a band called Iperyt. It’s not all that great, really. Personally, I’ll hold out for mods introducing a better soundtrack.

The rest of the sound isn’t anything out of the ordinary. The guns and explosions are all nice and loud. The voice acting, done by actors whose other works I can’t find, is fairly inconsistent. Some NPCs beg for their lives convincingly, others don’t. The Antagonist’s gruff, raspy voice sometimes sounds menacing, other times it seems laughable. At one point I was pretty sure I could hear his Polish accent slipping through. It’s nothing particularly great, but hardly awful either.

A TALE OF TWO HATREDS

Ultimately, the game’s biggest issue comes from its identity crisis. There really are two Hatreds. One is a fun twin-stick shooter where you destroy everything in your path all with a flavor of grim comedy. The other is a bleak, nihilist experience designed to disturb you and make you uncomfortable. And Hatred really can’t decide which one it wants to be.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. Early on in the first level, I shot a woman. She fell to the ground. I closed in for the execution. She was crying, begging not to die, and The Antagonist just casually shot her a few times, like she was nothing. As the killing continued, I heard him say “Only my weapon understands me,” a direct quote from Postal 2. So I went from a genuinely disturbing scene to a clever shout-out that made me chuckle. There was some serious mood whiplash, to say the least.

Another good example would be the shift in tone between two levels. On one level, you start in a hijacked SWAT truck with the goal of killing 100 people. You have the bonus goals of using a switchboard to trigger a train crash and disrupting an arms deal to kill everyone there. When you kill 100 people, you then have to move on to the train station, where you then need to fight off a certain number of law enforcement and national guard. The entire level feels grounded in reality- it would be quite easy to kill a large number of people at a train station if you really wanted to. There’s a feeling of discomfort.

The next level, though, is the middle of a town. You start the level by disrupting a political rally, and your goal is again to kill a certain number of people. This time, however, the bonus goals are to kill the candidate fleeing the rally, break into a bank and burn all the money in it, go to the release of the latest “aPad” and kill all the hipsters there, kill all the hipsters in the coffee shop, and raid a gun sale where people are selling automatic weapons, flamethrowers, and fucking rocket launchers (It’s pretty obvious this game was made in Poland, because good luck finding a pistol with a ten-round capacity for sale in New York). The town is plastered with ads that in turn are dripping with dry, dark humor. One that really stood out was a tobacco billboard that just said “FUCK YOUR LUNGS!”. Again, I felt like I had went from a serious game to some sort of comedy.

I’m chalking this one up to it being Destructive Creation’s first game. Hatred feels really experimental at times. It’s a very weird feeling, though, because when it isn’t feeling experimental, it feels like an old-school throwback. Had Hatred committed either to one vision or the other, the game would have flowed a lot better. But instead, we’re left with a confusing, disorienting, poorly paced game.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Hatred is a flawed, but still solid debut for Destructive Creations. It’s a bold, take-no-prisoners step forward that’s gotten a lot of eyes on the studio. Like it or not, Hatred has made a major impact on gaming. There’s a lot of issues with the game, but not enough to keep it from being an ultimately enjoyable experience. I would almost certainly recommend Hatred to anyone wanting a fun shoot-’em-up or someone looking for a grimdark experience outside of Warhammer 40,000. As of now, it’s 20 bucks on steam, which is a pretty nice price. Now then, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to listen to some old school black metal.

GDC, DiGRA, and the Delusions of Academia

One thing I’m glad #GamerGate has done is helped spread awareness of what’s going on in the gaming industry. Before all of this, I had never even HEARD of DiGRA. Honestly, now I’m starting to wish I hadn’t, because the sheer degeneracy on display makes me physically ill. I’m not even sure why I’m so shocked- when I was in college I witnessed first hand how genuinely awful academia was. But DiGRA manages to take things to a new level, that just astounds me.

To begin with, let’s talk about why academia is so awful. If you want a primer on why I generally disdain higher education, you can start here. The goal of academia can generally be summarized as advancing society through research. Unfortunately, for the most part that’s almost entirely redundant in a capitalist society. The largest innovations in technology and science in recent years have almost always come from the private sector. After all, private sector research inevitably leads to a new commercial product, which leads to more jobs in production, and more goods for sale, which is good for the overall economy of the nation. Of course, not all fields are created equal. If the private sector takes all the hot fields where progress is in high demand, that leaves academia with, well, everything else.

If you’re familiar with the alternative right or even the right at all, you’re well aware of the rest of the picture. If not, let me explain this. Almost all of academia is overwhelmingly liberal and progressive. All the work is run through a liberal filter. For instance, if you were to bring up the transformation of Singapore under Lee Kuan Yew, it would be dismissed as irrelevant due to the authoritarian, legalistic, anti-egalitarian policies of the government. Somehow, the discomfort of a few natives under apartheid invalidates the miraculous success of colonial states like Rhodesia or South Africa. The era of Manifest Destiny and western expansion is somehow treated as a shameful period in American History rather than an ideal time. It’s a complete degenerate cesspit with the most skewed priorities imaginable. Rather than actually advancing society and civilization, a higher priority is put on the feelings of utterly unimportant individuals.

So obviously, this carries over to DiGRA. Let’s compare DiGRA to the GDC for a moment. For all intents and purposes, the GDC is the private sector equivalent of DiGRA. At GDC, you’ll see talks mostly oriented towards the business side of things. For better or worse, DiGRA are professionals. Everything they do is dictated by the industry and the profit motive. As I’ve noted before, you are going to find periodic worthwhile discussions at GDC where real talk can happen. Even the pozzed portion of GDC is still kept in line by capitalism. The feminist talks are given with the intent of gaining and retaining female customers. Hardly ideal, but there could be worse.

And that worse usually finds itself in DiGRA. I browsed the #DiGRA2015 tag today on twitter and was appalled by the sheer nonsense of what I was reading. Most of it was absolutely meaningless- comparisons of Mario to Nichetze, rambling about tabletop game mechanics, and other pretentious nonsense that has no impact on making games that sell. Because DiGRA isn’t for professionals who make games and rely on those games making money- it’s for academics who need grants to justify whatever asinine research they want. None of this is actually beneficial or important to the games industry- it won’t make anyone any money.

As I mentioned in a twitter rant, as a history student, most of this DiGRA nonsense reminds me of Weimar Germany’s “culture” in the sense that it’s totally vapid. Back in the post-war era, Germany was rife with rampant inflation, socialist/anarchist/communist terrorism, and plenty of other problems. However, the intellectual and cultural “elite” of Germany, the artists, filmmakers, and writers, were all more obsessed with making movies about women and gays and the deconstruction of traditional values than they were actually fixing Germany. For all of Hitler’s faults, at the very least he was initially acting for the good of the nation.

The most irritating thing in all of this is that despite their complete lack of worth, DiGRA still has relevance. As Sargon of Akkad has shown, DiGRA writing still finds its way into the gaming press. So as much as I’d love to ignore this little gathering of utterly worthless people, I have to begrudgingly realize that it is a very real problem that exists. Make no mistake- it is for the good of the industry, perhaps even society as a whole, that DiGRA and their degenerate nonsense about “queer mechanics” and such be removed from gaming. They have nothing of value to offer us as gamers. They have nothing of value to offer developers and publishers. They have nothing of value to offer to us at all. They are nothing but a toxic drain upon the community.

So yeah, vitriol and all aside, it should be the goal of #GamerGate to forcibly remove DiGRA from the industry and the culture around it. There should be no quarter for their utterly useless, irrelevant, and outright degenerate nonsense. We must make it overwhelmingly clear that this is our territory, and that they are not welcome.

Time to take the gloves off, #GamerGate

So if you haven’t noticed, my last two posts have been using more and more increasingly extreme rhetoric. I’ve been encouraging #GamerGate to go on the offensive, and mobilize to, for all intents and purposes, thoroughly exterminate SJWs from geek culture. I get that it sounds caustic, and almost like what an SJW would say. Let me explain why I feel the way I do.

Most of #GamerGate are rational, open-minded individuals who are generally benevolent and good-natured. The average #GamerGate member wouldn’t hurt a fly. While that’s fine and good, that often comes with a crippling flaw: the mistaken belief that everyone is as logical and benevolent as you are. The  Much like a freshman discussing foreign policy, they assume all people are rational actors. (Nick B. Steves and I had a conversation on this topic Wednesday.) There remains the foolish notion in #GamerGate that the enemies can be reasoned with and eventually converted to our side. That is blatantly, obviously untrue.

Let me explain recent events to you: SJW complaining prompted Gratipay to order two of my personal idols, weev and Hotwheels, to close their accounts. Likewise, Patreon forcibly removed Encyclopedia Dramatica’s accounts. The aim here is simple: SJWs hope that if they deprive men like weev and Hotwheels of a platform to do business, they will be forced to close up shop and shut down. Their goal is to drive both men out of tech, for the crime of opposing them. They refuse to “coexist”. For them, this is a black-and-white issue: they either most dominate the field, or not participate in it at all.

Likewise, there is the very recent event at the Calgary Expo, where a group of pro-#GamerGate women were forcibly asked to leave, because their booth sold #GamerGate merchandise. It doesn’t matter if they’re a threat or not: the end goal for SJWs is the complete and utter annihilation of #GamerGate and anyone who supports #GamerGate. From there, they can proceed to push their “convert or perish” doctrine onto gaming unopposed.

These are not rational, reasonable human beings. There is no “negotiations” with them. They demand nothing short of total compliance. They do not want peace, they do not want compromise, they do not want coexistence. They want the systemic silencing and marginalization of everyone who is not on their side. Everything is filtered through their worldview: their compassion and empathy is purposefully crippled in order to maximize their effectiveness. Their perception of events is dictated through ideology. Their reactions to events are only based on dogma. They have surrendered their individuality to the greater good.

Thus, #GamerGate needs to realize that SJWs must be removed entirely from gaming and all of nerd culture. We have to stop acting like these are some misguided folks who need to be shown the light. Instead, we have to be more forceful. Don’t even draw the line, just push them back and don’t stop pushing. We must make it very clear that SJWs are not welcome on social media, or in gaming, or in any other environment. We must create an atmosphere where they do not feel invited or welcome. We have to do to them what they want to do to us- anything less will allow them to continue to push their toxic ideology and hurt people.

This isn’t one of my big long thousand-word posts. This is me making things simple: we have to stop humoring the enemy. We need to treat them like enemies. We have to be more aggressive, more brutal, more vicious. Stop yelling at each other over petty stuff like someone calling @srhbutts a dude- he’s the enemy, he doesn’t matter, whatever helps push him out of the picture is good. Leave your perceptions of “right” and “wrong” at the door. This is a culture WAR, not a culture disagreement. War is an ugly, brutal thing, and we must take an ugly, brutal approach in handling our enemy. We cannot stop until we are entirely certain that fandom will be safe from the SJW menace.

That being said, we should still respect neutrals. My theory is that if we put enough pressure on the SJWs, they’ll lash out randomly and wind up attacking neutrals. Suddenly it goes from “both sides are dicks” to “this side is absolute garbage.” Above all else, the neutrals are who we should hold sacred- we’re doing this to protect them from the SJW threat, even if they don’t think it exists. Ultimately, we need to go to the trenches for our hobby. This is going to get ugly, but our goal is a righteous one.

#GamerGate and the Puppy Coup, Round 2: Breaking Windows and Redefining the Norm

Of course I’m going to keep talking about the Hugos, last week was the first post I ever made that made me any money. But seriously, all jokes aside, there’s a lot more I want to talk about on the matter. Like I said last week, this is a big deal. How could I contain it to just one blog post? This is, along with #GamerGate, a defining moment in the history of geek fandom.

What sparked this second post was a reddit conversation by some liberals discussing the broken window effect. For those of you who don’t know, the best description of the broken window effect and its application comes from Malcom Gladwell’s “The Tipping Point.” The idea is that small, petty crimes in urban environments like public drinking, vandalism, and toll-jumping contribute to a social atmosphere where larger, more troublesome crimes like robbery, rape, and assault are more likely to happen. If a window is broken and not fixed, it becomes acceptable to break windows. When breaking windows is acceptable, soon other petty crimes become acceptable. When those crimes become acceptable, larger crimes soon become acceptable. One thing leads to another, and soon you get Detroit.

Broken window theory was one of the driving forces behind Rudy Guliani’s policy that effectively turned New York City around. “The Tipping Point” focuses on the Guliani administration’s cleaning graffiti off of subway cars in order to help curb toll-jumping. By keeping the cars cleaner and nicer, it created an atmosphere that favored civilization over crime. Guliani’s administration cleaned up NYC in other ways as well- he rid Times Square of most of the vice that it was famous for, and made it a family destination. He encouraged a more strict NYPD that cracked down harder on petty crime, creating an atmosphere of public order. In Singapore, the great Lee Kuan Yew did the same thing, cracking down on minor transgressions like spitting, littering, and chewing gum in public as to create order.

Nowadays, broken window theory has fallen out of favor. While only a select few question its effectiveness, liberals soon realized that whenever you build your police policy around the broken windows theory, it means that more black people wind up in prison for criminal behavior. In fact, the idea of improving the neighborhood to keep crime rates down often eventually leads to gentrification. In fact, you could argue that the new ideology of “Dinduism” to spring up from the Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown incidents was coined in direct response to broken window theory: it doesn’t matter that Trayvon Martin or Mike Brown or Eric Garner were acting in a way that was detrimental to public order- neighborhood watch or even the police keeping tabs on them to enforce said order is just racist!

The greater irony in all of this is that liberals love to use broken window theory. Of course, rather than use it to preserve public order, they use it to create a more “equal” society. The entire reason why liberals get so mad over “micro-aggressions” is because those are their broken windows- minor, seemingly harmless actions that reinforce bad attitudes which create an undesirable society. Thus, to the liberal, every single bold anti-liberal, anti-leftist transgression that goes unpunished helps set the precedent that this sort of wrongthink is okay.

This explains the mass amount of rage over the Puppy Coup. More often than not, the rage comes back to one single target: Vox Day. Most of the Sad Puppies are moderate liberals and moderate right-wingers. To them, the Sad Puppy slate is about restoring balance and neutrality to the Hugo Awards. But Vox Day’s Rabid Puppy slate is even more offensive and more enraging- because it means someone as brazenly, unabashedly anti-liberal as Vox Day can win an award. It means that Vox Day has power and influence. It’s him breaking a window and them being unable to punish him for it. The anti-Puppy old guard is screaming for blood, because they know how the slippery slope works. If Vox Day can participate in Sci-Fi/Fantasy, it means people like Vox Day who agree with Vox Day’s views are also welcome. It means that now, evil right-wing people like myself will start to participate in SFF.

That’s also why the leftist rage against #GamerGate has been so severe. Leftists hate #GamerGate because #GamerGate hurt leftists and continues to hurt them, and no one is getting punished for it. Nero is going to E3. Brandon and Liz now write for the Escapist. Jen Dawe and Rogue both got their games on steam, and TFYC is likely to follow. #GamerGate is not going away, #GamerGate is only becoming more visible and more culturally influential in gaming. #GamerGate has broken so many windows.

And ultimately, we need to break even more windows. We need to find more windows and break them. We need to flood the comments sections of anti-#GamerGate websites and make our presence known. We need to find a way around the block lists so we can make it very clear to the opposition that twitter is our territory. We need to spread our shit-talk of SJWs to the public sphere, and go public. Every time #GamerGate gets to transgress against the SJW norm without consequences, we make transgressing against them more acceptable.

One of my personal idols is weev. I get that it’s kind of weird for a gay sperg to like weev, but the man is simply brilliant. He once said to me that his goal was “to widen the overton window until genocide becomes acceptable”. In a sense, Encyclopedia Dramatica has done just that: it’s become the perfect tool to attack the SJW establishment without consequence. Someone on /r/GamerGhazi was chimping out quite hard because googling “Sarah Nyberg” brought up little Nicky’s page on ED. If anyone wants to look up nick Nyberg’s body of work, the first thing they see is that he’s a sexual deviant and complete waste of flesh. ED helps give a platform for otherwise unspeakable ideas and lets people find them, internalize them, and spread them. Part of what helps keep troll behavior alive is that ED can exist without repercussions. Weev is part of what was the most successful window-breaker in internet history.

And yes, I know weev doesn’t think too highly of #GamerGate. But that doesn’t make him any less brilliant. We need to take a page from his book and be more aggressive and transgressive. Every time we hurt SJWs and get away with it, we de-legitimatize them and make hurting SJWs more acceptable. Every time we take away a safe space, we assert that we’re the norm, not them. Every time an Ellen Pao or Sabrina Erdely gets publicly humiliated, they are forced back into the shadows. At this point the #GamerGate doctrine should be to attack, attack attack.

Think about it this way- the more people publicly shit on Gawker and Vox, the easier it will be to pull away their advertisers through our e-mailing. The more vocally people shit on Anita and friends, the harder it will be for the games press to ignore it or try to rebuke us. The more #GamerGate embeds itself into gaming culture, the harder it’ll be for games press and SJWs to take it over. We need to break all of the windows and graffiti all of the subway cars, and change things so #GamerGate is the norm.

The Hugo Awards, the “Puppy Coup” and #GamerGate

First off, I’d like to wish all my readers a very happy and blessed Easter. I was unfortunately forced to attend church by my parents: it’s not what you think, we’re Episcopalian and both our Interim Rector and Bishop are women. Hopefully all of you out there in the alt-right have better churches to visit. And for my Odinist readers, next time you want to torch a church, consider burning an Episcopal one if you can’t find any Unitarian Universalist ones.

Now then, let’s move on to the big story of the weekend: The Hugo Award nominations. Let’s start by looking over the nominees, shall we? I copy/pasted this from their website, with my own observations:

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Some more random thoughts and musings

This week has been pretty hectic, so I’ll just throw out some random stuff. We’re celebrating my dad’s birthday almost all this week, since he’s actually managed to take some time off of work. Hence, things have been pretty slow and plodding.

  • I just got back from seeing Kingsmen. Excellent movie, amazing choreography in the action sequences. It deals heavily with class in England, but in a way that reminds me of Justine Tunney’s plans for Occupy: The elite are detached and awful, and must be replaced with a new elite. It’s unapologetic with its chauvinism and political incorrectness, something that’s also quite refreshing. It’s already on its way out of theaters, but I highly advise you see it if you get the chance. Tomorrow we go and see the new Fast and Furious, and I’m a little less than excited for it.
  • I’ve been considering switching from Gratipay to Patreon- it seems that Patreon gives you a much wider audience and more potential to make some money. Bryce has been doing fairly well for himself, making a few hundred a month. Obviously, I don’t intend to ever get that degree of cash. I want my crowdfunding to be a bit more like a public tip jar, where people who like my work can consider donating to me. Maybe it’s my chronic humility, but I don’t see the idea of making a living off of the donations of random strangers to be that feasible or secure. Even though right now I’m shit broke, I still intend to start working again, since to me crowdfunding has always been supplementary in nature.
  • I recently got mentioned in TRS’s Daily Shoah, and my heart literally skipped a beat. Getting praise from guys like them, Nick B. Steves, Common Filth, and even Nick Land  is worth more than any donations. I know I sound like a huge kiss-ass, but I put all of these guys on a pedestal, and knowing that they like my work really speaks volumes.
  • InternetAristocrat is back, now calling himself Mister Metokur. I’d love to chat with him for TheRightDrama (and I’d love for him to go on Between Two Lampshades for TRS) but honestly, what do I have to offer him? Still, best I can do is add him onto my Beginner’s Guide to the Alt-right. I recall him answering a question of mine months ago about him being into strict Constitutionalism, and I’d love to follow up on that. IA/MM/Jim seems to be a really smart guy, and I’m really interested to see what he’ll be doing next.
  • Speaking of which, it looks like the guide itself is getting some traffic, which makes me happy. My greatest fear though, is still that I’m enabling entryists. I want to make it clear that my guide, a work in progress, isn’t necessarily for neoreaction. As Dampier reminds us, Neoreaction is not a populist movement. Our strength is in our content, not our numbers. Our goal is not to change the world, but to instead help create the people who will change the world. It’s actually better that TRV, rather than help introduce people to neoreaction, instead diverts and directs them elsewhere.
  • I’ve unfortunately relapsed and started playing Minecraft again. Despite the hilariously awful community that the game spawned, I still think Minecraft is genuinely good. It’s extremely satisfying to build yourself a humble little cabin by the river, then expand that cabin into a farm, then slowly improve your farm with brick roads, a dock, and other features. Of course, it’s best when played singleplayer- just one man on his own, braving the elements and even thriving. That in itself is amazingly reactionary: Man makes mother nature his bitch. There’s also another important aspect: you have to work for everything. It’s not like Garry’s Mod where you can just spawn in stuff to play with: everything in Minecraft has to be either built or harvested. It actually builds a really healthy attitude where you learn to work for results.
  • I’ve also been playing the shit out of Medieval II: Total War. So far, my Spanish empire has removed kebab from the Iberian peninsula in a glorious Reconquista before also annexing Portugal. Meanwhile, the Knights of Santiago embarked on a successful crusade, seizing Antioch and the surrounding areas of Aleppo and Adana as well as claiming the Holy Lance of Longinus. I had also discovered the Ark of the Covenant in Cairo, but the brave soul who did it tragically perished on the voyage home. At the present, greedy Frenchmen are trying to snatch up Pamplona from me, but the joke’s on them-  We’ve sailed the Mediterranean to take Toulouse right from the little bastards!
  • In wrestling news, this happened. It might just be my favorite Wrestlemania moment yet if not just because of how fucking dumb it is. While Triple H’s overgrown ego will hurt the company in the long run, his stupid, overdone Wrestlemania entrances will always be lovable. Seriously, go check this shit out.
  • I’ve started reading Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations. While I really like them, it feels like a rehash of the stuff I read in the Analects of Confucius. And while I know I’m gonna piss off a LOT of people by saying this, I prefer Confucius at this point. Aurelius focuses heavily on theory, while Confucius tends to take a more practical approach to his version of stoicism and traditionalism. I’ve always preferred to read about practice more than theory, and part of what I intend to do with TRV is to help translate theory into practice.
  • Speaking of practice, the tragic passing of Lee Kuan Yew has me considering buying his autobiography. Admittedly, my reading list is quite out of whack- I need to finish Aurelius before jury duty on Monday so I can start reading Evola (Yes, I intend to read Julius Evola while on jury duty). At some point in all of this I need to get back to Moldbug, but I also want to read Spengler too, even though I don’t own anything by him yet. And somehow in the middle of all of this I need to fit Plato in!

So yeah, expect things to be fairly silent for the next few days- tomorrow I spend more family time, then Sunday is Easter and all the festivities that entails, and then after that it’s two days in the county court hoping I get to sit in on something interesting. I’ll plug my gratipay again as well as my paypal– donations will go towards me going somewhere nice to lunch and finally buying myself a new pipe!

Let’s Play The Crab Enoch Text Adventure Bro- Status Signaling Simulator

In order to shamelessly piggyback off of celebrate Nick B. Steves’s appearance on TheRightStuff.biz’s Daily Shoah, I threw together in an hour carefully recorded and produced my first ever let’s play! This is a simple, 15-minute playthrough of TheRightStuff’s “The Crab Enoch Text Adventure Bro- Status Signaling Simulator”, a hilarious little twine game featuring Crab Enoch, a star of the Daily Shoah.

Check it out here!

Pay me here and I might make more videos!

Thoughts on Altgames, #GamerGate, and the alt-right.

I’m about to do something that will be very, very shocking to my readers, especially the ones that know me: I’m going to endorse an idea of Zoe Quinn’s. Now don’t get me wrong, I still despise Zoe Quinn. She’s an abuser, an adulterer, a liar, and altogether and unpleasant person who doesn’t belong in gaming. But her recent post on the idea of “altgames” is 100% spot on. In it, Quinn describes Alt Games, a spinoff of indie games. Altgames could be defined as DIY games and games criticism made by amateur indie outsiders not as a commercial product to sell, but as a means of expression. In what I think is very spot-on, she compares it to punk rock.

I’ll admit, I’m not well-versed in punk. Most of the pretentious liberal bullshit doesn’t speak to me and makes me roll my eyes. But I do have a history with the genre. When I was an angry kid in my senior year of high school fighting mental illness, I found transgressive punk bands like Anal Cunt and GG Allin And The Murder Junkies. Those bands to me were punk: disaffected dudes who didn’t fit in with the world lashing out in frustration and discontent. It was the same thing that attracted me to black metal: a feeling of general discontent with the world. As I got into college, I forgot about punk. But when I dropped out and started working, I started listening to bands like Blood For Blood and Antiseen: artists who made music for low-class people talking about the lower-class lifestyle. I wasn’t from the white ghettos of Boston or the backwoods of South Carolina, but I was a working man trying to make my way in the world. I felt like an underdog, so I listened to underdog music. It’s helped me really find a sense of contentment with my existence as a prole. So while I’m not 100% punk, I get punk well enough to see what Quinn is going for here with altgames.

If we expand the definition of altgames to include games criticism, then I was altgames before altgames was even given a name. Make no mistake, as much as I’ll shill my gratipay, The Right Vidya (and now The Right Drama!) is a labor of love. It’s my desire to create games writing that doesn’t exist anywhere else. Putting up a new blog post is exhilarating. When Nick Land and Adrian Chmielarz shared my post on Hatred, my heart skipped a beat. To me, getting the attention of a blog like Xenosystems or a dev like Adrian Chmielarz was more valuable than any cash donation. I felt like what I was saying mattered and made a difference. I was helping introduce video games to the alt-right and the alt-right to video games. I was merging the two. I’d like to think that I still am, given how much traffic my posts on KotakuInAction get me.

This is why I’m throwing my support behind the idea of altgames. I get that a lot of people in the alt-right, especially neoreaction, look down on Rachel Haywire for her idea of a punk aesthetic for the right. For most of us, outside decadent skinheads, punk is seen as a degenerate liberal cesspit. I disagree. The key element to punk is that it’s subversive- a word that I’ve been thinking a lot about in the past few weeks. As our alt-right critics will note, there’s a lot of LARPing going on in NRx: too many people talking about what the glorious neoreactionary future will look like and not enough people focusing on the here and now. What we should be doing is focusing on how we can subvert the Cathedral and undermine its reach. I think #GamerGate is a major breakthrough for us: we saw a bunch of young, unassuming enlightenment-friendly types openly challenge their progressive “betters” and manage to keep it going for over six, soon to be seven months so far. Part of the success of #GamerGate lies in the DIY culture that permeates it: you have tons of people making #GamerGate art, starting #GamerGate charity, hosting #GamerGate streams, and even making #GamerGate games. Hell, The Right Vidya was inspired by the DIY culture of #GamerGate. It’s their ability to produce content that has helped them keep going.

But we need to be better than that. What helped turn me on to the alternative right was the work of HP Lovecraft, telling the kind of stories about social decay that no one else told. It helped subvert what I was learning in high school at the time as I realized that Detroit and other urban centers confirmed the predictions in his work. It taught me to look outside the box and embrace esoteric political wisdom. Obviously it wasn’t the only factor: the transgressive punk and black metal that I mentioned before helped me really clarify my distaste for modernity. Neoreaction needs to get on that: we need more media out there that subverts the cathedral and undermines it. And that’s why we need to hop on the altgames train. We need to take advantage of a DIY-centric scene and use it as a means of subversion. Altgames are already pretty big, and they’re only going to get bigger. I think one of the smartest things the alt-right did was to embrace tech, because with the tech boom we grew and prospered. I think when it comes to altgames, this is a boom coming that we could use to our advantage.

As for my brothers and sisters in #GamerGate, the idea of altgames is important to us as well. We all know that the community in the game business is awful: the testimony of guys like Roguestar and the work of the ShortFatOtaku team tells us that much. It’s a closed little circlejerk of industry buddies all working to get each other over, even at the expense of everyone else. Altgames is about realizing that the circlejerk exists and using various platforms like itch.io, twine, Patreon and more to really help break it up. Imagine if the DIY spirit of #GamerGate met with the DIY attitude of altgames? We could build a new, better GDC, a better IGF and Indiecade. We could an alternative to the corrupt, broken industry and build a much better one. The nature of altgames is about trying to empower amateurs and beginners. It’s perfectly in touch with #SolutionSixMonths and #OpRebuild. It’s the perfect platform for #GamerGate to use to help expand our influence and get our message out. We are the real alternative, and we need to make ourselves known.

So in conclusion, I suppose you should think of this post as another call to action. It’s time we stop rolling our eyes at the DIY platforms and start using them to help build the newer, more improved gaming community, whatever that means to you. Now more than ever, it’s become easier to take control and choose where you want to guide a scene. This is perhaps the best chance you’ll get in a long time to make an impact. It’s time you take advantage of it.

Surprising Real Talk at GDC

So, it seems that the first round of industry conferences and conventions is upon us, this week being the ongoing Game Developer’s Conference of 2015. While I couldn’t go (nor was I especially interested in going) I did happen to hear about this talk given by Ralph Koster, Richard Vogel, and Gordon Walton on handling internet drama as a community manager. I was dreading another typical prog screed about how you need to purge your community of evil undesirables, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was actually some real talk coming from Koster and friends, perhaps more real talk than they’re aware of. You can read a summary of it by gameindustry.biz here.

First, let me get to what I had mentioned on twitter, the points that the presenters seemed to miss or gloss over. I think Vogel is wrong to blame anonymity as a major problem for online communities. Personally, I’m of the belief that anonymity helps produce a more stable community. By removing the importance of reputation, you remove the status jockeying that goes on in your average online community. The reason sites like NeoGAF are rapidly declining in popularity is precisely because of the constant signaling and forced consensus. Meanwhile, communities like 4chan’s /v/ tend to be some of the biggest movers and shakers in games culture precisely because the anonymity allows original content to prosper without the pesky matter of status jockeying. If you want innovation, originality, and a fun time, you want to allow as much anonymity as possible. Reputation creates a stale, boring environment where fresh ideas are not able to rise to the top.

Another interesting point I think Vogel misses in his critique of anonymity is that his solution involves building a collective identity that encourages the group to co-exist with each other. To that, I’ll respond by using /v/ as an example. Certainly, to an outsider, /v/ looks like a disaster, with so many different users butting heads on nearly every conceivable topic. However, the best way to find a consensus? Mention Reddit or NeoGAF or, god help you, tumblr. Suddenly, the group identity is obvious. Users will put aside most petty conflicts and bond over a mutual disdain for outsiders. Thus, you create a healthy, stable sense of community without ever needing to abandon anonymity.

But that leads me to my much larger point, the part of their talk that absolutely floored me. Ralph Koster actually said that Switzerland’s low crime rate is due to its homogenous population. Combined with his earlier statement that most crime in Switzerland is in areas where different groups live, I’m amazed that a horde of rainbow-haired she-twinks with their goony man-beard escorts didn’t storm the stage and tar and feather the man for being racist. Indeed, his entire lecture touched on one of the points that the right has been yelling about for ages: diversity brings conflict. Of course, any criminologist will tell you that a homogenous community is less likely to have crime than a diverse one (barring other factors like poverty and single-parent households and other statistics).

Koster initially seems to complain about people forming tribes and those tribes coming into conflict with each other. Indeed, he draws parallels to segregation when discussing Switzerland’s tribal conflicts. Of course, Vogel and Watson proceeded to drop an uncomfortable truth-bomb on the conference: that segregation was part of human nature. I can just imagine that when he said this, Arthur Chu stopped masturbating to his own reflection and gasped in horror. People naturally choosing to associate with people similar to them is the perennial fact that proponents of multiculturalism are obsessed with trying to deny, or in Chu’s case, undo.

Walton also pointed out that it’s much harder to be a criminal in a town of only sixty or so people instead of being in a large, massive city. First they acknowledge basic human tribalism, then they point out why urbanization is bad? Oh the humanity! Someone stop these evil creatures! Even more heinous is that all the developers agreed that the solution to the problem of online nastiness lied in the same key idea: promoting a shared identity. Not only do they acknowledge that tribalism is a very natural behavior, but they even understand it to be the solution to their ills. They want to create a tribe out of their community, a group with a clear, guiding identity beyond basic consumerism. Back up now buddy, this isn’t Stormfront!

I’m being a little facetious here, as you can tell. I don’t think any of the three men in the panel genuinely got what they were hinting at. If they actually understood the dangerous nature of the ideas they were playing with, they’d probably never have given the talk, lest it undermine the greater good of ideological purity. Yet I suppose a man can dream that there are still nerds who value functionality over petty ideology. Maybe next year we’ll see developers talking about human biodiversity affecting games? You never know…