mrplow8's Profile - Destructoid

Game database:   #ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZ         ALL     Xbox One     PS4     360     PS3     WiiU     Wii     PC     3DS     DS     PS Vita     PSP     iOS     Android

My name is Joseph. I have a computer, I eat food, all my socks have holes in them, I almost never wear a cape, and I'm currently using that computer I told you about before.
Player Profile
PSN ID:mrplow8
Wii U code:josephf5
Follow me:
mrplow8's sites
Following (3)  

The reason I titled this "10 Bad Arguments from Pop Culture Critic APOLOGISTS" instead of "10 Bad Arguments from Pop Culture CRITICS" is that, from my experience, pop culture critics don't actually make arguments. They criticize things a lot, and they tell you THAT certain things are wrong, but they never seem to get around to telling you WHY something is wrong, or, to the extent that they do, they do so by making assertions that they never bother to back up with anything.

So, as much as I'd like to address the arguments made by pop culture critics, I can't, because there are none for me to address. Even if there were, they still probably wouldn't be worth addressing, because my criticisms of those arguments would likely just go ignored by pop culture critics, who, ironically, never seem to acknowledge or address any of their own critics, except to accuse them of harassing them. Pop culture critics seem to have a habit of holding themselves to different standards than they like to hold other people.

Because I don't want to "harass" anyone, I will not be mentioning or referring to any particular real person here. Any references to a specific pop culture critic will be to a hypothetical one who I'll call Marge Simpson. Not the Marge Simpson from The Simpsons, though. That Marge Simpson is a fictional character. This is a different Marge Simpson that I made up. Which I guess makes this Marge Simpson a fictional character too, but not the same one. In fact, this Marge Simpson hates the other one for being a "problematic trope." Buzzwords!

Anyway, in no particular order, here are 10 bad arguments made by pop culture critic apologists.

#1 "Game designers have a right to create whatever they want, but Marge has the right to criticize it."

I don't disagree with this statement at all, and it would actually be a really good argument if not for one little thing. No one is actually saying the opposite. There is no one saying that it is or that it should be illegal for Marge or anyone else to criticize games. We are simply questioning her criticisms or arguing that they are invalid. So this is a straw man argument.

It'd be like if I were to claim that McDonald's food had Ebola in it, and then, when you asked me why I thought that, I responded by telling you that I have the right to say that. That would be a non-sequitur, because you weren't suggesting that I didn't have the right to say that. Of course, the one difference here is that, in this case, I actually probably don't have the right to say that. I'm guessing that McDonald's could sue me if I said that their food gave people Ebola. But, for some reason, Rockstar can't sue me for saying that their games give people misogyny, even though I have no more evidence for that claim than I have for the claim that McDonald's gives people Ebola, which, incidentally, is none at all. Maybe I have to say that McDonald's "REINFORCES" Ebola, but more on that later.

#2 "Are you seriously saying that media has NO effect on people?!"

No, I am not saying that. This is another straw man. It makes no difference whether or not media has ANY effects on people, because that is not the debate. The debate is whether or not media has the particular effects on people that you claim it does. It may be the case that media has all sorts of effects on people, but still none of the ones you claim. Going back to my McDonald's analogy, a person who disputes that McDonald's gives people Ebola wouldn't necessarily be disputing that McDonald's has ANY effect on people at all, such as making them fat. In fact, they probably wouldn't dispute that. However, proving that McDonald's has effects on people doesn't make me any closer to proving that McDonald's causes Ebola.

#3 "You can enjoy some aspects of a game while still being critical of its other aspects."

This is something I hear pop culture critics actually say themselves rather than just letting their apologists say it for them. I know I said that pop culture critics never made arguments, and I stand by that, because this isn't really an argument. Really, I don't know if a lot of the things on this list could technically be considered arguments, but the people who say them seem to think that they're arguments, and I hear them often enough, so I may as well include them and address them.

The implication that gamers have a hard time criticizing games they like is demonstrably false. Gamers criticize games all the time. For examples,

-Gamers are critical of games' character rosters. If someone's favorite character didn't show up in the latest Smash Bros, you can bet that people are going to hear about it.

-Gamers are critical of games' stories. Remember when people petitioned to have the ending of Mass Effect 3 changed?

-Gamers are critical of games' content. If your game has a preorder bonus that people feel should've been included on the disc at retail, you can be sure that gamers are going to be none too pleased.

-Gamers are critical of games' graphics. The example that comes to mind here is Revolution 60, but I don't want to say that because I don't want to be accused of being a misogynistic harasser. Or is it a harassing misogynist? Either way, think of some other game that looks like dog shit and pretend I said that.

Gamers are critical of games, in my opinion, to a fault. I actually think a lot of the criticisms that gamers have of games is unreasonable, but that's neither here nor there. The fact is that gamers have no problem criticizing games, and are often the harshest when it comes to criticizing their favorite games. Arkham City is one of my favorite games of all time, and I still can't get over the plot hole involving Talia in the Sionis Steel Mill, even though I feel like I'm the only one in the world who noticed it.

In the same way that objecting to the claim that games have a particular effect on people is not saying that games have no effects on people, rejecting a particular criticism of a game as being invalid is not saying that games are beyond criticism.

#4 "Women and minorities are underrepresented."

It's hard to be completely sure what people mean by this, because one thing pop culture critic apologists don't seem to like is follow up questions. From my experience, that's usually about the time they become hostile and start insulting you, and that's if they haven't blocked you already. So, if I'm misrepresenting what people mean when they say that women and minorities are underrepresented in media, I apologize in advance. I've tried countless times to get people to elaborate on this claim, and have been unsuccessful in doing so.

What I think they mean by this is two separate things, both of which I will address here.

The first is that people have a more difficult time relating to or enjoying a character that is not the same race or gender as themselves. I might be compelled to believe this if not for the fact that so many of the most popular characters in games(as well as in other forms of media) are not even human. If people have no problem relating to or enjoying characters such as Sonic The Hedgehog, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Kirby, every Pokemon, Ratchet & Clank, Banjo & Kazooie, and countless other examples that I could go on naming, I see no reason to think that they would have trouble relating to or enjoying a human character who is a different race or gender than they are.

The other thing I think they mean is that there is more market demand for female and minority characters than what the industry is currently meeting. If this were true, it would be pretty easy to know. All we would have to do is see what percentage of games currently have female/minority characters, and then see what percentage those games make up of overall game sales.

So, for instance, let's say that 10% of action adventure games star female protagonists. If that 10% makes up 20% of sales of action adventure games, that would indicate that there is way more demand for action adventure games that have female protagonists than what is currently being met. While I don't have the sales numbers, I can safely assume that this isn't the case, because one thing I know about corporations is that they like money. If they had this kind of evidence that there was more demand for female protagonists, there's no conceivable reason why they wouldn't already be making more games with female protagonists.

Also, while I don't have the actual sales numbers, I can see when something is being produced less than it's being demanded. I can see this by simply going to the store and seeing if it's actually possible for me to find the thing in question. When there is greater demand for something than is being met, stores tend to sell out of that thing. If it were true that there weren't enough games with female protagonists, it would be impossible for stores to keep copies of games like Tomb Raider on their shelves. They would constantly be sold out. We're seeing this now with Amiibos. Certain Amiibos are being underproduced, and, as a result, those Amiibos are next to impossible to find.

Also, games with female protagonists would, on average, outsell games with male protagonists by a lot. If 10% of games had female protagonists and just 20% of consumers preferred female protagonists, while 90% of games did not have female protagonists and 80% of consumers did not prefer female protagonists, then the average game that had a female protagonist would sell more than twice as many copies as the average game that did not have a female protagonist. In fact, if it were true that there was all this demand for female protagonists that was being inexplicably ignored by the industry, it would not be unfathomable, and would in fact be likely, that a game like Tomb Raider would be outselling a game like Call of Duty. Obviously that isn't the case, because the claim that there is more demand for female protagonists than is being met isn't true.

#5 "Even when there are female characters, they're usually just designed to appeal to straight men."

Yes, because, if you go to a Christina Aguilera concert, the first thing you'll notice is that it's entirely straight men in the audience. Same with Madonna, or Beyonce, or Katy Perry, or Britney Spears... None of them have any female or gay male fans. It's all straight men. And every time they come out with a new Barbie or Bratz doll, it's always little boys who want them. It's never little girls. The concept of a sexy female figure is something that exclusively appeals to straight males, and there is absolutely no evidence to contrary. So I guess I have to give them this one.

#6 "About 50% of gamers are women. Game developers are ignoring half their audience."

I covered this for the most part in #4, but basically this is a misleading statistic. It's meant to lead you to believe that half the people playing games like GTA and God of War are women. This isn't the case. While true that about half of all gamers are women, that's only if you count everything that could even remotely be considered a video game. Yes, I suppose that, technically, a person who plays Farmville is a gamer in the same way that, technically, a person who reads the fortunes inside of fortune cookies is a reader. Still, we don't wonder why the latest Stephen King novel doesn't make more of an effort to appeal to fortune cookie readers.

Just because lots of women play games, that doesn't mean that lots of women play any particular game. Lots of black people listen to music. That doesn't mean that lots of black people listen to Jimmy Buffett.

#7 "No one is saying media make people sexist. We're saying that it reinforces problematic views about women."

This is another case where I try to get people to elaborate on what they mean and they never do. What is the difference between causing sexism and "reinforcing" sexism? Are you saying that games make people who are already sexist even more sexist? If so, how did you determine that? How do you measure how sexist someone is, or determine that they're more sexist after playing games than they were before playing them?

I really don't think there's any difference between saying games cause sexism and games "reinforce" sexism. I think "reinforce" is just a weaselly word that people use to say that games cause sexism without actually coming out and saying it, that way they can deny that they were saying that when called out on it. It's just a way for them to have their cake and eat it too. This is one of the reasons that I have much more respect for guys like Jack Thompson than I have for pop culture critics like Marge. At least Jack had the balls to come out and say what he really meant.

#8 "Look how common X trope is!"

I'm trying to address all of these without resorting to using words like "stupid," but for this one I think I have to make an exception. This one goes way beyond stupid. It's borderline retarded. It boggles my mind that anyone could think that this is a compelling argument, or whatever they think it is. I honestly don't know what they think.

Basically, this is where people claim that a particular thing is bad, and then they go on to talk about how common that thing is, as if that somehow proves their original claim that said thing is bad. For instance, they'll say something like, "It's bad for women to wear bikinis in games," and then they'll list a bunch of examples of games that have women wearing bikinis. It's like if I were to just declare that the color blue is bad, and then, in order to convince you of my claim, I just started naming a bunch of things that are the color blue. The sky, the ocean, blueberries, Mega Man, some cars, Blue from Blue's Clues, those dancing sharks at the Super Bowl, Captain America, Smurfs... Are you convinced that blue is bad yet?

I don't know what else to say about this one. So moving on...

#9 "This game has a sexist message, because one of the villains said something sexist."

Yes, because the moral of the story is usually conveyed through the villain's dialogue. Oh wait, no it isn't. In fact, if the villain says something, that's usually the writers' way of saying the opposite. The villain is typically wrong. That's what makes them the villain. No one reads a Fantastic 4 comic and thinks that Marvel is taking a pro-earth eating stance because Galactus tried to eat the earth in the comic. Everyone understands that the message is that eating the earth is bad, and that trying to eat the earth is what make Galactus the bad guy.

#10 "Other people who aren't you have said or done bad things. Let's talk about that instead of addressing any of your points."

This is by far the most absurd "argument" on this list, and it's also the one I hear the most often. If I'm understanding it correctly, the idea here is that, because someone may have been threatened or harassed by one of their critics, no one else can ever criticize that person without somehow being complicit in or supporting threats and harassment against them. This is ridiculous, and it goes back to something I said at the very beginning. It's yet another example of pop culture critics holding themselves to a different standard than they hold other people. Do you honestly believe that Marge would stop criticizing GTA is she found out that someone else had made a bomb threat against the developers of that game? South Park was once threatened for doing an episode that mocked Islam. Would pop culture critics say that anyone who criticizes South Park after that incident is somehow complicit or in support of the threats they received? I doubt it.

In fact, when the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists were killed recently, also for mocking Islam(go figure), I seem to recall the same pop culture critics who we're told we should lay off of because they were threatened or harassed by people, making it a point to say that they thought the Charlie Hebdo cartoons were racist. The bodies weren't even cold yet, and already the pop culture critics were pouncing on the opportunity to "pop culture criticize," which, at this point, I'm convinced is code for "be an asswipe."

While I don't believe there was anything racist about the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, the pop culture critics aren't wrong in thinking that, had the cartoons been racist, the fact that the cartoonists were killed wouldn't make them any less racist, and wouldn't make them any less open to criticism. Likewise, if Marge the pop culture critic is threatened by some anonymous dipshit online, that doesn't make her claims any less unsubstantiated, nor does it mean that I shouldn't continue to point out that they're unsubstantiated. If someone threatens Marge, that's a legal matter that she should take up with the police. It has absolutely nothing to do with me or my right to criticize her, and that remains true regardless of any hashtags I may tweet under, by the way. I defy anyone to show me a court anywhere in the first world that would convict someone as being complicit in a crime they had nothing to do with because of a hashtag they tweeted under. Even if you could find one that would, I think, if you were being reasonable, you would have to concede that it was unjust.

Even if Marge were murdered tomorrow in the most brutal way imaginable - I'm talking Noob Saibot Make A Wish brutal - that still wouldn't make anything she says any more valid, and it wouldn't make people's criticisms of her any less valid.

This concludes my '10 Most Whatever I Said The Title of this was.' Hopefully someone actually took the time to read this. If not, it was still worth writing, because, now when people make these arguments in the future, I can just link them here and refer them to the number that addresses their argument.

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about "the hate" in the video game community. Gamers are portrayed as being hateful, mean, sadistic bullies who wish death on those who don't share their opinions. Those who make this characterization of gamers often cite countless examples of hateful, mean, sadistic, bullying, death wishing comments as evidence; which, to be fair, does seem like pretty good evidence.

However, it is my contention that the vast majority of these sorts of comments, not just in the gaming community, but virtually everywhere online, are actually hyperbole, and that hyperbole is a perfectly acceptable way for someone to express themselves.

Just about everyone uses hyperbole all the time, and it's pretty much always recognized as being just that. You might hear someway say, "My wife is going to kill me if I don't remember to pick up milk on the way home," and you do not assume that that person's life is actually in any danger should they forget to pick up milk; nor do you take offense to the fact that they would even joke about something like that. For instance, you wouldn't respond to this person by saying, "Dude, you shouldn't joke about things like that. It's offensive to the families of real murder victims!" You would instead completely understand that the person only meant that their wife would be upset should they forget to pick up milk, and you would think that their saying that their wife would kill them was a perfectly fine way for them to express this sentiment.

So why is it that people, who seem perfectly capable of recognizing and understand hyperbole in most situations, suddenly fail to recognize it when someone they disagree with tells them to fall in front of a moving train? Why do they all of sudden react by saying things like, "You really want me to fall in front of a train just because I disagree with you? You're a terrible person. You literally want me to die just because I don't share your views. I'm so offended, and also morally superior to you!"? Why do people forget what hyperbole is in these situations?

The answer is that they don't. It is my belief that they do recognize the hyperbole in these situations, but are merely pretending not to understand it to villify the other person. In this case, it is actually the person claiming to take offense to the hyperbole who is being the asshole. They know that the other person doesn't actually wish any harm on them, but are pretending to think otherwise in order to make that person look bad. This is not a very nice thing to do, and, if you're someone who does do this, you should stop doing it.

This isn't a tactic that's exclusive to feminists, or Democrats, or Republicans, or Christians, or any particular group. I see people on all sides of pretty much every issue play this game. They pretend not to understand hyperbole when they think they can use it to demonize those they disagree with. Even people involved in the #GamerGate hashtag, which I largely agree with, are not above doing this. Devin Faraci, of Badass Digest, recently came under fire for saying that he has more respect for the terrorist organization, ISIS, than he has for the gamers who are being critical of Zoe Quinn. But no one actually believes that Devin Faraci genuinly thinks that gamers criticizing Quinn are literally worse than terrorists who are cutting people's heads off. Everyone understands that Faraci was using hyperbole. So let's not pretend we don't understand that.

Hyperbole is a very useful way of expressing certain ideas, sentiments, and opinions, and is an important part of language and commincation. Let's not ruin hyperbole just to portray those we dislike or disagree with as villains, or to serve our own vanity by pretending we're so much morally superior to those who have used hyperbole against us. And, if anyone still disagrees with me, please shoot yourself in the face.

5:53 PM on 09.03.2014

Recently, a bunch of developers supposedly signed some petition urging gamers to stop "hating." We've also been hearing a similar rhetoric from journalists for a while now. It is my belief that there is very little, if any, actual hate going on in the gaming community, and what is actually occurring is that accusations of hate are being used to disparage those who dare to challenge the narrative that's been shoved down our throats for a while now.

Most, if not all, of what's being misconstrued as "hate" is actually hyperbole, which is something I might address in more detail in a later blog depending on how this one does and if I feel like it. For now, I'd like to address the most popular example of "hate" in the gaming community as of late; the alleged death threats against Anita Sarkeesian on Twitter. This is being brought up all over the Internet as PROOF that gamers are a bunch of hateful, misogynistic, ...nerds, for some reason.... because the people who write about games for a living were all jocks in high school? But I digress.

Basically, the narrative as of late has been that Anita had just recently put out her latest video pointing out what she alleges to be misogyny in video games, and some gamer got so upset over this that he decided to threaten her life in hopes of silencing her once and for all, and we know that this was the case, because.... Refresh my memory. How do we know that this was the case again?

How exactly did we conclude that the person responsible for those Tweets was a gamer, or that their motive for sending the Tweets had anything at all to do with Anita's criticisms of video games? Where is the evidence for that? Where in the Tweets are video games or Anita's criticisms of them ever mentioned? Anita is not a video game critic. She's a pop culture critic. She has spoken out against what she alleges to be misogyny in pretty much every form of entertainment, from music, to movies, to television, to even Legos. How do we know that the person responsible for those Tweets wasn't someone from the Lego community who was upset about what Anita has said about Legos?

Or, for that matter, how do we know that the Tweets had anything to do with her work at all? The person who made the Tweets seemed to know the addresses of both Anita and her parents(I'm assuming that was the part of the text Anita blacked out in the screen cap she posted). Who's more likely to have information like that? Someone who knows of Anita from her professional life as a pop culture critic, or someone who knows her in her personal life? Why assume that the Tweets were from a gamer rather than from an obsessed ex-boyfriend of hers, or even that it was a poorly thought out prank by one of her friends? How do we know that she doesn't have a stalker? How is it, exactly, that we've eliminated every single possibility other than that it was done by a gamer because Anita criticized games?

Even if we ignore everything that I just said and conclude that it definitely was a gamer, why would that one gamer be considered to be reflective of the gaming community as a whole, or even of a significant fraction of it? How is that any different than saying that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold are representative of the gaming community because they both played Doom? LOTS of people play video games. Of course bad people are going to play them too. Maybe the person who wrote those Tweets was a gamer, but I bet they were also a fan of music and movies. Does that mean that there's a problem with hate in the music and movies communities?

This could potentially be a huge spoiler on the off chance that I'm right. I'm probably wrong, though. So you should read on anyway.


I think that Scarecrow is dead. I think he was eaten by Croc in the first game, and it isn't really him terrorizing Gotham in Arkham Knight. I think that someone else, possibly the Arkham Knight or whoever he/she is working for, is using Scarecrow's fear gas, and every time you see Scarecrow in the game, it's just a hallucination created by the fear gas.

My reasons for thinking this are that the Arkham games have a reputation for leading players to believe X only to reveal Y. Characters turn out to be someone other than who we think they are, and the person who ends up being the main villain usually turns out to be someone other than the person we thought was the main villain at the start of the game.

A lot of people think that the identity of the Arkham Knight will be the twist of this game, but the problem with that is that everyone is expecting it, and, at this point, people have guessed every possible candidate for being the Arkham Knight. Unless they manage to come up with something completely out of left field, like having the Arkham Knight turn out to be Alfred or something, I don't see how they can surprise by revealing who the Arkham Knight is. Just the fact that everyone is already sort of expecting the Arkham Knight's identity to be a twist sort of kills the twist. The thing that made the twists in the previous games work was that no one was expecting them before playing the games. That's why I think that the Arkham Knight is just a red herring, and the real twist is that Scarecrow has been dead this whole time.

The other reason I think this is that the Arkhamverse version of Scarecrow seems to be heavily influenced by Freddy Krueger. So why not go all out and have him be a dead guy who continues to terrorize the person he hold responsible for his death(Batman) in his nightmares. I'm not saying they make Scarecrow a ghost or anything like that. It's not actually Scarecrow doing the terrorizing, but it's never actually been Scarecrow doing anything that Scarecrow does, if you think about it. Jonathan Crane is just a guy. He poses no threat to Batman whatsoever, but the idea of Scarecrow, which is an illusion created by the fear gas, does, and, as long as the fear gas exists, there's no reason why that idea can't continue to live on and be as much of a threat to Batman as it ever was. So, while having Scarecrow turn out to be dead the whole time will probably upset a lot of Scarecrow fans, I can't think of anything more fitting for the character than to have him continue to haunt Batman from beyond the grave.

Cow dumps are not very comfortable to look at. Really, smelling them isn't either. I've always preferred to taste them. Just kidding. That's my idea of opening with humorous banter.

Anyway, the newest(mooest?) cow taking a dump video is out. We're finally out of the 3 part 'Cows Dumping in an Open Field' section and moving on to a new thing. Mostly, it's about the cow dumping inside a closed in area.

More than in previous videos, the cow seems to emphasize the point that it can crap on your toothbrush without crapping on everything you own, and so, therefore, it's inconceivable why you would have a problem with it crapping on your toothbrush. It seems like an attempt to nip any dumb counter arguments in the bud. Like at 0:22, where the cow explains that there's no reason why you can't brush your teeth with cow shit. In fact, cow shit is actually better for your teeth than toothpaste. The cow provides no evidence for this claim, but, as usual, if you point that out, it must be because you're an angry toothpaste lover who hates all cows. Of course, I doubt that'll cool any of the hot fingers(let's face it, you guys have very attractive fingers) just itching to yell about having cow shit on their toothbrushes. What babies.

To quote myself from my own subconscious thoughts, "Hey everyone, I'm a passive aggressive twat!"

Nintendo caused a bit of a storm during its new Smash Bros. character reveal.

The problem arose when Wii Fit Trainer, A WOMAN, said in her character introduction trailer, "Feel the burn!" This blew up on Twitter and other social networks, as people questioned whether or not they'd just heard a joke about venereal disease.

Among those to chime in on Twitter was Jonathan Blow, who Tweeted, "I haven't done anything relevant since 2008, and I desperately need attention."

For what it's worth, I doubt that this was intended to be a joke about venereal disease. If anything, the real offensive comment is the one at the end of the trailer. "Wii Fit Trainer WEIGHS IN"? Really? Just because she's a woman, we have to bring her weight into it?

In any case, jokes about venereal disease, made intentionally or not, are embarrassing and need to go away. Forever. And the only way to do that is to apply a special cream twice daily.