May 2015

After my post on NBI group think got a lot of attention from the targets of my arrows and barbs, I knew that there would be a fair bit of discussion, (read general loathing where everyone agrees with everyone else), about my post. However, unless they directly linked to me I didn’t seek them out. Which means that I only intend at this stage to interact with one other blogger on this issue, as he was the only one with the courtesy and courage to link to me.

Tobold. He and I have disagreed in the past on … well, just about everything. And I disagree with points he has made in this post. But at least he has the guts to link to me so I can respond.

Anyway, Tobold’s post starts with a quote from Burke on good men doing nothing. I like that quote myself, and it sums up my attitude to GamerGate. Which means that I believe that those on the side of Gamergate are the good men. In other words, the opposite of Tobold who uses the same quote to say the same thing. Tricky things these quotes. Tobold has linked to a post about my NBI smack-down that did not have the courtesy to link back to me. The post in question in its format says essentially nothing. The writer makes no real claim or argument, and there is no cohesive thought to the small piece except to say that I am bad, (without even referring to me by name causing some commenters to ask who on earth he is talking about), and that this mystery person is on the wrong side of history.

Tobold writes, “… To me that appears to be the worst possible way to respond. You neither engage or even acknowledge the person you disagree with, but you also don’t ignore him and keep silent about the issue …”

I agree, (hey! we agreed on something!) Tobold however, doesn’t address the reason why they did not engage with me. Why it is that they wish to stay in their own echo chamber of stilted thought. The reason is that they are intellectual and moral cowards. At heart they are afraid. They exist in a world of doubt and fear. The more afraid they are, the more they must hold on to their opinions and thought processes as a flag pole in a terrible wind. They do not wish to be challenged. And they seek, not to engage with a dissenter, but to simply label them and dismiss them out of hand. Rowan Blaze originally stated that I was not even worth expending mental energy on, which is weird seeing as he seems to have expended a fair bit.

My favorite comment from Blaze’s post is this one from somebody called Chestnut:

“… I really felt even more attacked reading that post, and I may even tackle the first talkback topic now, whereas I was hesitant before …”

The poor dear feels so attacked. This nicely sums up the appalling cowardice in the SJB crowd. Not only can they not engage with a contrary opinion, they use the excuse of invented violence to substantiate their refusal to do so. I am amused as I consider just how they might go in a debating competition. State their team’s viewpoint and then put their hands over their ears, begin wailing, and demand a safe place when the opposition has their turn?

For I did not personally attack or abuse a single person in my post, contrary to what Tobold claims. I stated that there was group think, quoted from each blogger that I was able to find, and commented on how they did or did not fit in with my group think hypothesis. Of course I used my usual outstanding wry humor, startling wit, and self deprecating sarcasm, ( a lot of which the usual suspects amusingly misinterpreted), but at no point did I abuse, attack, or insult. The closest I came was pointing out that the name of a blog seemed narcissistic.

Responding to Tobold’s post, Rowan Blaze said this:

“… You have every right to link to posts you disagree with; I have done so myself when engaged in a worthy debate. However, I decided not to for the precise reason that I was not going to feed the troll with pagehits coming off my blog …”

His justification for not giving me the opportunity to respond is that I might get page hits. Rowan’s comment betrays what is important to him, not what is of importance to me. I could give not two whits of page hits, but it is obvious that Rowan values them very much indeed. Why is this? I assume because he associates self-worth with how many people click on his own blog. Which means he really really really cares what people think of him. And thus he must have the correct opinions to stay on the good side of this crowd of sheep. There can be no other explanation as I have no advertising on my blog so I can not in any way benefit from page hits. Or maybe he just does not want to run the risk of one of his readers agreeing with me. Better for them to just trust him at his word I suppose than have them make up their own minds.
He also is happy to link to someone when engaged in “worthy debate”. I assume that means debating with someone he more or less agrees with.

In their eyes I am obviously not a worthy person. There are plenty of comments on his post from well known bloggers stating that they had never heard of me. Dismiss the person, not the argument is their preferred technique. If they can dismiss the person, (I have never heard of him therefore obviously he is lesser known and thus not an ‘important’ blogger), then they don’t have to stand up and actually debate whether or not their is any merit to my arguments. This betrays the heart of the problem. The individual is more important than the argument. When a differing viewpoint is discovered they rush to discredit the person saying it. The argument itself? Left untouched. So the person is a homophobe, or is unknown, or is a bigot, or as one of the bloggers I linked to commented on my post and said about me, a sub-human.

I, apparently, am sub-human for having a differing viewpoint. And people say I am the attacker and the insulter in this case? It is all too easy, and all so intellectually fraudulent.

In conclusion, I wish to append one of my own favorite quotes. There has been a lot of talk on freedom of speech, on how freedom of speech does not mean freedom to have a platform. My answer is simply to quote Thomas Paine.

“… He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself …”

Tobold and I may have our differences and disagreements, but I am confident that he would be happy to sit down and discuss them over a glass of red wine or a bottle of Belgium dark beer. And that is one of the highest accolades I can give a blogger on the other side of the fence in this day and age. Sadly, for it is sad, it seems that none of the NBI group think crowd would be similarly inclined.

And so it came to pass. When the Newbie Blogger Initiative first crawled out of the fetid muck back in 2012 I wrote that this idea was rooted in “…the desire to partake in the imposition of new rules concerning bloggers in an attempt to “raise the bar” and “clean up their act”…”

In 2013 when it came around again I wrote that “…By doing this NBI thing they are slowly pulling in more like-minded people who might well suck as bloggers, (and hey, if you need special help to work out how the fuck to put up a blog and write words then I reckon the suck factor is going to be up there with my pal Linda L), but they will all be on the same team…”

In 2014 I ignored it because I had said my piece and that was that. But then something happened in the gaming community, something controversial … GamerGate.

This year my predictions have come to pass. The NBI has gone full George Orwell. You shall not go against the group think. You shall have the correct opinions. All those who do not have the correct opinions shall be cast out and shunned. For we have the numbers and all agree with us.

Don’t believe me? Of course you shouldn’t! Readers of this blog are encouraged to think for themselves, to challenge their view-points. So let me present you with the evidence and then you can go and make up your own minds.

The first NBI challenge that they must write about this year is … GamerGate. They didn’t even waste any time. While some bloggers were so outraged at this topic of conversation that all they could do was protest at the very thought of even having to consider writing about such a horrible topic, the subject matter makes perfect sense in the context of things. They are making sure that everybody has the correct opinions. Those that don’t will be educated to change, but if that is not successful then they will be expelled. The blogger at Dacheng Diaries participated correctly. They have demonstrated that they have the correct opinion by protesting at having such a topic in the first place. Job done. Let’s go to the rest who wrote about this and see what transpired.

Over at Me vs Myself and I, (Holy cow, narcissist much?), the writer is quite happy with it. “… I want everyone to just get along, and I want to play video games with members of any and all communities. I’ve curbed my language, I’ve changed my attitude, and being a part of the community that has sprung up around the NBI has done more to broaden my horizons than any group I’ve been a part of prior to it …”

Isn’t that nice? They had the wrong opinions but now they have changed so everyone can get along and they can all play their games and be nice to each other in a nice world where those bad people with other views don’t exist any more. The comments, (from other bloggers, how about that), all congratulate the writer on having the correct opinions now. Phew, close shave that.

Example number 2. Over at Game by Night there is a short post where the writer laments at the injustice of being a man whose opinions wouldn’t even be considered by Gamergaters, (hint, you have that the wrong way around). But even though he thinks this has put gaming back years, (?), it’s okay because “… I’d rather be a Social Justice Warrior than that kind of gamer…” Correct opinions? Tick.

Example number 3. At Starshadow, the writer says that she wanted to hide because she is female and she almost hid but then she didn’t but then she almost didn’t publish the post but then she did in the end thank god for that. Perhaps she should be given a ‘safe zone’ where she won’t feel threatened by all these horrible people. Correct opinions all good here.

Example Number 4. Murf Versus has written a whole lot of blather, (honestly, wading through these posts has made me understand why these people needed encouragement in order to blog), about how horrible it all is even though “… I most certainly have enjoyed a privilege in this whole GamerGate debacle because I have a penis, it is vaguely a shade of white corresponding with my race, and I enjoy using it on women …” Here, the writer is pointing out that he is of an unacceptable group but by pointing it out in a self-depreciating manner he is hoping that it won’t be held against him. Move along, no wrong opinions here at all.

Example Number 5. Contains Moderate Peril is shocked, shocked I tell you, shocked, that “… Some gamers have been shocked to find that many of the bloggers, internet personalities and friends that they thought they were on “the same hymn sheet” are actually not…” But even though the writer has been gaming for some time, “… GamerGate did make me pause and possibly take a step away from the term “gamer”. The reality of politics and moral crusades is that if you lie with dogs, you get fleas and GamerGate is far from a healthy pedigree. That’s one stink I don’t want on me…” All good here, nobody willing to hold on to a long held label in the face of group think.

Example Number 6. (If you guys think this is tough, spare a thought for me). I started reading scream monkey’s very long post and half way down I had the fleeting hope that finally, finally someone was going to buck the trend and stick their head above the parapet, (even though they had prefaced their post with “… I will be breaking a lot of my own rules about blogging, namely to not engage in issues in which I feel I have no real say and issues which are virtual landmines fields. I will likely offend people with this post and I do apologize for it …” Honestly, why these people blog I have no idea. Anyway, the blogger moved fairly quickly to a fence sitting position and then rounded out with “… I’m a privileged white boy who has no idea of what women really go through so instead I’ll share my passion about gaming and leave it at that…” Dear oh dear. If you have to apologise for your gender and your race then you ain’t privileged no more.

Example no 7. Mr Luvva came the closest to having the wrong opinion. He didn’t come out on the side of GamerGate, (are you mad?), but he did take a swipe at good old Anita Sarkeesian, so 5 points there. But, “… Videos were posted online, and if I’m being honest I took several measures to ensure that I wasn’t watching anything to do with that, nor did I read any posts/articles/ramblings either condemning or condoning it. I wasn’t a part of the problem, nor did it seem there was any real solution, I have made it my mission in life to take no active part in cyclical arguments, nor engage in any debate about it…” Stick your head in the sand, sing la-la-la-la, and hope the nasty forces on both sides will go away and let you play your games. Almost correct group think here but they’ll probably need to work on him a bit.

Example no 8. Hokage managed to express an opinion without actually having any opinion at all. But that’s okay, she’s female so she’ll get a pass.

Example no 9. Herding Cats used a bunch of memes to blather on about the fact that she no longer posts you tube videos and is suspicious of people who follow her on twitter with ‘gamer’ on their profile. So there you go.

Example no 10, and this is the last one I can find or stomach. Star Fired Beef refers to Gamergate as “The Terror” so we all know her opinions there. Then she says, “… Directly, I have been lucky enough to not be personally affected by this abomination. None of the hate has been aimed my way, despite me participating in some pretty heated discussions on various blogs. But I have realised, after reading a few of the other posts in this Talkback Challenge, that I have been affected, and that I continue to be affected, on a personal level…”

This is brilliant. So she didn’t get any hate alhtough she had some heated discussions, but then she’s just going to be effected anyway because … well, fuck knows. It’s emotional stuff, man!

So there you go. That was my Sunday morning. And that is the blogging community in the gaming world for you. Perfectly under control, and exactly where the group think wants them.

Thank god for Wolfshead who came out with this brilliant post this week. May the forces of light long rail against the forces of group think and darkness.

No, not Life is Futile, Life is Feudal. This is my new game, and my new obsession. I’ve been playing for two weeks now on our own little server and it is gloriously brilliant. It is so good that I am astounded that nobody is talking about this game. Maybe because it is still in Alpha. But even in this raw state, this game is better than anything out there. Anything at all. Big call, hey? Let’s see if I can back it up.

So, what is the game? The designers have done a great job of explaining the game through its lineage. In their info page on this, they state that LiF is a combination of Wurm Online, Mount & Blade, Ultima Online, Darkfall Online, Shadowbane, and EVE Online. They state why the game is similar to these predecessors, but also how it has improved on those game’s features and made them better.

First and foremost it’s a sandbox. Do what you like within the confines of the game. there are no quests, there is no story. The game is based around a Medieval feudal period. Thus, for example, weapons are historically accurate. Do you want to wield a mace? You can, but it won’t be a purple ‘Ashram’s mace of despicable power’. You can choose between a cudgel, a flanged mace, a morning star, or a war pick. How about a spear? Sure, go and choose between a basic spear, a boar spear, an awl pike or a Bec de corbin.

Historically accurate means no magic, no dragons, no silly stuff. There are no character classes. There are no levels. There are 30 different skill sets that you can increase in potential by using them and thus unlocking further skills higher up a tree.

So when you log on for the first time, what do you do? You’re dressed in rags and you have some cookies to eat. Time to start getting your shit together. Go to a tree, right click on it and a little menu comes up. Snap off a branch. Right click on the branch in your inventory and select, ‘make primitive tool’. A primitive axe would be nice to cut down a tree but that also requires a flint stone and some wild plant fiber. The fiber is on the ground in bushes. Right click the ground until you get a green square, and select gather plant fiber. You’re going to get flint from a rocky hill or mountainside, so find that, right click, select prospecting and see if search for flint comes up. Once you have all three ingredients, right click on the branch again and make your axe. Awesome. Now cut down a tree. What can you do with the log? Right click on the log and a few options come up. You want a wood billet so you can fuel a fire to keep you warm. But you’ll need a primitive saw …

From this newbie prospective, in two weeks, three of us have built a fortified position with walls, warehouses, chicken coops, a barn, tanning tubs and drying racks for leather, and a kitchen. And we’re doing this on our own little server. Because LiF at present is in closed alpha, but you can still play the game on a basic map, (which is pretty darn large really), at Life is Feudal Your own, (LiF:YO). You find it on Steam. Buying the game, which is worth the money and that cash goes to further development, lets you open a list of private servers from around the world. You can select one in your country for better ping. Or if you want you can join me on ours. We have about 10 players in total so far. We don’t know what some of them are doing. Perhaps they are getting ready to battle us …

Our server is called Unreal Aussies. If you’re having trouble you can drop a message here and I’ll help out. Have you been complaining for ages that MMOs suck and there is nothing out there but if there was you would play it?

Time to put your money where your mouth is.

ps, the graphics are excellent. Put the settings up to max if you can handle it.

pps, I have leather armor now. Attack me at your peril.