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LONG BLOG

How primitive trade settled a stubborn gaming lawsuit

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My best friend lives in Toronto now, far away from me, but we still speak nearly every day. Some of our conversations are about good practice in coding. Others are about the time I played Dungeons and Dragons with a camgirl after jokingly pretending to misunderstand what "roleplaying" meant, and she actually did a backwards summersault and simulated throwing a dagger during her hunt of a wyvern (this is all true, but no one will ever believe it happened, and it was a joke that turned into an hour long committment, and a fairly derivative Witcher 3-esque questline...but I promise it's true.) And just the other day, I started to give him job interview advice, which started out sincere, and ended with the suggestion that he unleash a swarm of bees into the interview room at the end.

And this is the best possible way for me to segue into the fact that an ongoing lawsuit between game company Stardock, and the original creators of the Star Control franchise over rights to the Star Control IP was eventually settled - with an exchange of honey and mead as one of the conditions of the settlement.

My first comment to Brad Wardell of Stardock, who I have interacted with frequently: you really are a bloody nerd, dude. And I love it. And same with Paul Reiche who has agreed to produce the mead based on Brad's supply of honey. Beekeeping is a hobby of Brad's, and in the final hours of their conversation to end the exceedingly nasty legal dispute, they decided this would be the way to go. To settle things up like real men - through an agreement of trade, based on their mutual talents.

Man, if only real life could operate this way.

Brad has been famously shit on for in what my opinion is simply one man's unwillingness to bow to the pressure of the Twitter lynch mob. He has been accused of sexual harrassment, proven bunk in court, but it was then still just "assumed" that he must have done it anyways, and paid off someone to silence his accuser. More than a couple of ultra left-wing nutjobs said he should be accused of "attempted murder" for a staged joke video he made with a drone bee (again, beekeeper) and an employee. Basically, there are people who have tried to drag him through the mud over and over again, and the Star Control debacle was enough to get people fired up about it.

At the time, I defended Brad (AND Paul, AND Fred, because I love Star Control, and I also really like Stardock as a company and was excited for Origins) and was raked through the coals by Arthur Chu, the guy who won Jeopardy a billion times, and also big Star Control fan. I had a bunch of people slinging shit at me since he has uber followers, and it turned into a debacle I didn't want to have anything to do with. I private messaged Chu and we sort of worked it out, but he tried to push me into accepting that Brad was bad man, don't talk to bad man, or you will also be bad man.

Brad also messaged me when I was having medical problems, and we had a discussion about depression meds. I only ever knew him as a decent guy who refused to take guff from shit-talkers, and although I was very annoyed about the lawsuite and expressed that openly with him, he also felt the same. Of course everyone said Brad was a proverbial Cyril Sneer who wanted nothing more than to line his pockets with those sweet, sweet, space bucks. But I didn't want to just listen to the crowd at the time. These are the same people who constantly scream quality and decry violence, yet who cheered raucously when that idiot Richard Spencer was violently punched, unprovoked, in the back of the head on camera. I mean his hairdo is shite, and he talks a lot of crap, but what a bunch of hypocritical losers. "Violence is bad, unless it's someone we don't like who is the victim, then fuck him". It disgusts me, and I remember having a conversation with another well known games writer and all around "nice guy" who didn't "get" what my problem was, because that guy just "clearly deserved it."

That "nice guy" facade doesn't hold much weight if that's really how you look at things. And if you are reading this, you know who you are, and should still be ashamed. I have said it before, but people who aren't make absolutely sick to their stomach by real, unprovoked violence, regardless of who it is against, have serious ethical problems.

Anyways, it was a real shitshow, and Star Control: Origins, which I reviewed very highly, because it's awesome, a review I stick by today since I still occassionally fire it up, was tarnished by the whole ordeal. The people who cared about SC were pissed that Stardock had their crosshairs on Paul and Fred, who were none too happy about Stardock overstepping their alleged legal boundaries when it came to the Star Control IP. There are countless videos on it, countless articles, but I don't want to get into them: instead, I want to celebrate, damn near with tears of joy, one of the most amicable ends I have ever seen to one of the shittiest situations in my personal gaming memory, especially as a lad whose formative gaming years were jam packed with Star Control 2. Even I had a hard time being objective, and as much as I was excited for it, I was hesitant to review it and not just get into the whole damn debacle. But I did my job, and I think I did it well. If you disagree, well - it's a little damn late now, isn't it?

How fucking amazing is it then that in a time of litigation, sourpuss practices, and garbage red tape, that we get closure that results in two men exchanging resources as a part of said settlement. I don't consider myself one of these "meninist" douchebags constantly screaming about being abused by the media (fuck the media anyways, who cares what they have to say about anything) but I am very traditional in the sense that I think part of being a man is settling differences in such a manner.

When I was younger, that's how some of my biggest friendships formed - after a fist fight, or an altercation, or insults. You worked out your differences, got the bullshit out of your system in a sometimes aggressive way, and bonded after the fact. Look at Vegeta and Goku: they had to nearly kill each-other before becoming best bros forever. It's just the way shit goes down sometimes, and in this case, we have a case where (basically) two men were at eachothers throats, using the system to try and fix things, and when it failed them as it usually does, they settled it with a firm handshake, and a pint of mead.

If only things could always be so wonderful.

Stardock is successful, but they are still small and independant enough to retain some sanity. Unlike massive juggernauts who call loot boxes "surprise mechanics" because they are almost literal embodiments of human evil made manifest (seriously EA, you are the worst, and the worst of you are going to burn in Hell if there is a God to send you there) smaller indie joints still feel like they are run by actual humans, and not overpaid "constultants" and other morally bereft scumbags who are exceptionally good at the numbers game because, you know, they are obviously total fucking sociopaths who don't belong in a society where humans are still trying to cling to the idea that they are "mostly good". 

In this situation, real people were able to toss all the horseshit aside, and work it out. That is...it doesn't even feel real. There is so much sincerity and flexibility there that it feels like it could work as a serviceable article for The Onion. 

Faith in humanity - renewed. As a Star Control fan, the blemish on Origins is gone, and hopefully other SC fans can also check it out with the knowledge that they are not actively fucking anyone over, and that their long awaited follow-up to the Ur-Quan Masters can at last be realized.

Brad, Paul, Fred - if you fellas are reading this, seriously; good fucking show, lads.

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About Joel Petersonone of us since 8:14 AM on 11.07.2013

I write the things other people don't write, with liberal fart jokes thrown in for good measure. I like old games, old computers, old consoles, and old pizza.


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