N’Gai Croal of Level Up currently has a most interesting article concerning the notorious Mass Effect “Sexbox” report that disgusted videogamers the world over. Seeking an actual statement from BioWare members who have remained, in Croal’s opinion, far too quiet about the affair, he got co-founder Ray Muzyka to say something out loud:
We asked Muzyka about this during the last night’s D.I.C.E. Summit cocktail party. He told us that he wanted to first let the community respond to the erroneous statements made by Lawrence and other Fox News panelists (which he colorfully likened to having a complete stranger hold a gun to the head of one’s newborn baby) and that he’d been heartened by the support that BioWare had received. As for why he and his colleagues didn’t take the lead on the rebuttal, Muzyka not only cited the quote he’d given the New York Times, but added that there were different ways to respond to incidents such as these, and that his focus would be to continue to loudly proclaim at every opportunity that videogames are an art form deserving of serious respect.
N’Gai goes on to point out that although Fox News should rightfully be admonished for the horrendous stunt it pulled, we should also look carefully at who continues to let mainstream media outlets get away with it. Croal speaks of the ostrich-mentality of videogame creators, the artists themselves who should be in the vanguard, defending that which they have produced. While we, the gamers, and journalists like Geoff Keighley, have railed out against the unethical misrepresentations of the industry we love, those within that industry, the creative forces that drive it, are nowhere to be seen.
And the sad thing is, N’Gai is correct. Electronic Arts took a big step forward and is a shining example to all in the games industry (I know, ironic) for actually calling Fox on its nonsense. BioWare should not have kept quiet. Microsoft should have said something. The videogames industry is under attack and we’re the ones fighting for it. It’s time that videogames got the respect it deserves, but it needs to begin from within. The videogames industry needs to respect itself first.