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Culture war games: the dangerous allure of victimhood

The Dark Side of Empathy
By Paul Bloom

The outrage that comes from empathy drives some of our most powerful punitive desires. It’s not an accident that so many statutes are named for dead girls—as in Megan’s Law, Jessica’s Law, and Caylee’s Law—and no surprise that there is now enthusiasm for “Kate’s Law.” The high incarceration rate in the United States, and our continued enthusiasm for the death penalty, is in part the product of fear and anger, but is also driven by the consumption of detailed stories of victims’ suffering.

Everyone appreciates that fear and hate can motivate ugly choices; we should be mindful that our most tender sentiments can do the same.

Where microaggressions really come from: A sociological account
By Bradley Campbell and Jason Manning

What we are seeing in these controversies is the clash between dignity and victimhood, much as in earlier times there was a clash between honor and dignity…. At universities and many other environments within modern America and, increasingly, other Western nations, the clash between dignity and victimhood engenders a similar kind of moral confusion: One person’s standard provokes another’s grievance, acts of social control themselves are treated as deviant, and unintentional offenses abound. And the conflict will continue. As it does each side will make its case, attracting supporters and winning or losing various battles. But remember that the moral concepts each side invokes are not free-floating ideas; they are reflections of social organization. Microaggression complaints and other specimens of victimhood occur in atomized and diverse settings that are fairly egalitarian except for the presence of strong and stable authority. In these settings behaviors that jeopardize equality or demean minority cultures are rare and those that occur mostly minor, but in this context even minor offenses – or perceived offenses – cause much anguish. And while the authorities and others might be sympathetic, their support is not automatic. Add to this mix modern communication technologies that make it easy to publicize grievances, and the result, as we have seen, is the rise of a victimhood culture.


Posted in Games.

Culture war games: the PETA principle

The NPD Group Reports 34 Million Core Gamers Spend an Average of 22 Hours per Week Playing Video Games
By The NPD Group

There are 34 million core gamers in the U.S. spending an average of 22 hours per week playing video games, according to Core Gaming 2014, the latest report from global information company, The NPD Group.

“Core gamers are really the lifeblood of the industry, spending tremendous amounts of time on their hobby of choice,” said Liam Callahan, Industry Analyst.

Core Gamers are Expected to Drive Record Growth for PC Games
By Open Gaming Alliance

This report, prepared for the OGA by market research firm DFC Intelligence, covers the 2014 year end and forecasts all major aspects of the PC gaming industry worldwide through 2018. Based on preliminary estimates, the market is expected to grow from $26 billion in 2014 to $35 billion by 2018. This represents a slightly more bullish forecast than last year.

“Much of the growth is driven by pure demographics. We continue to identify a core group of consumers for whom playing on the PC is a major pastime,” said DFC analyst David Cole. “This is, in fact, a fairly new demographic that skews highly male and is only increasing in buying power.”

The NPD Group: 37 Percent Of U.S. Population Age 9 and Older Currently Plays PC Games
By The NPD Group

The largest segment is Casual at 56 percent, with Light Core at 24 percent, and Heavy Core at 20 percent. Though Heavy Core is the smallest segment, they spend a significantly higher number of hours gaming in an average week, and have spent roughly twice as much money in the past 3 months on physical or digital games for the computer than Casual PC gamers.

PC gamers are just as likely to be men as they are women, with 51 percent and 49 percent, respectively. They tend to be older, with an average age of 38 years, and affluent, with an average household income of $69k. Gender differences become apparent by type of gamer: Heavy Core and Light Core are comprised mainly of men while Casual PC gamers are overwhelmingly female.


Posted in Games.

Culture war games: moral panics and comstockery

A Book of Prefaces
By H. L. Mencken

The moral gladiators, in brief, know the game. They come before a legislature with a bill ostensibly designed to cure some great and admitted evil, they procure its enactment by scarcely veiled insinuations that all who stand against it must be apologists for the evil itself, and then they proceed to extend its aims by bold inferences, and to dragoon the courts into ratifying those inferences, and to employ it as a means of persecution, terrorism and blackmail.

The newspapers, with very few exceptions, give them ready aid. Theoretically, perhaps, many newspaper editors are opposed to comstockery, and sometimes they denounce it with great eloquence, but when a good show is offered they are always in favour of the showman—and the Comstocks are showmen of undoubted skill. They know how to make a victim jump and writhe in the ring; they have a talent for finding victims who are prominent enough to arrest attention; they shrewdly capitalize the fact that the pursuer appears more heroic than the prey, and the further fact that the newspaper reader is impatient of artistic pretensions and glad to see an artist made ridiculous. And behind them there is always the steady pressure of Puritan prejudice—the Puritan feeling that “immorality” is the blackest of crimes, and that its practitioner has no rights. It was by making use of these elements that Comstock achieved his prodigies, and it is by making use of them that his heirs and assigns keep up the sport today. Their livelihood depends upon the money they can raise among the righteous, and the amount they can raise depends upon the quality of the entertainment they offer. Hence their adept search for shining marks.


Posted in Games.

Culture war games

#GamerGate – An Issue With Two Sides
By Allum Bokhari

Critics of GamerGate argue that the revolt is nothing more than a pushback against a ‘broader’ audience. They say it’s anti-diversity, anti-inclusive. Most often, we hear it’s ‘toxic’.

Dozens of articles have been published in this vein. They have been a long time coming. For years, politicized games journalists have harbored a simmering mix of contempt and fear of the current gaming audience.

The problem with this narrative is that it mistakes opposition to culture warriors with opposition to diversity. It mistakes a disdain for ideology with a disdain for inclusivity.

GamerGate, Sincerity, and Horseshit
By Decado

GamerGate is, at its heart, a question of sincerity. Are game journalists sincere in their attempt to inform? Are social justice warriors sincere in their efforts to reform? Are game developers sincere in their efforts to be more inclusive? And perhaps most important: are gamers sincere, at all, or have the dual barrels of Twitter and Chan blasted all possible sincerity from the floundering corpse of gaming in general?

Sincerity is important. Without it, nobody believes you. If you don’t at least appear to be sincere, every word you utter or type is automatically dismissed under a variety of waved-hands: you’re a troll, you’re a con-artist, you’re a misogynist, you’re a shill, you’re an ideologue, etcetera. At the bottom of it all, these are insults meant to indict you for a lack of sincerity. This is important, because a perceived lack of sincerity is one of the only ways to dismiss someone’s views without honestly engaging them . . . unless of course you are a hypocritical shithead. And we’ll get to that.


Posted in Games.


Who exactly are you gamers anyway?

That you’re a significant bunch seems indisputable. Everyone certainly seems obsessed with you these days. It’s been gamers this and gamers that for months now. And it hasn’t been complimentary for the most part.

For all the discussion about you, though, determining who you gamers are precisely continues to be difficult. Game developers have a vested interest in knowing who is and who isn’t part of their target audience and even they have trouble agreeing on a definition. According to professional game makers, a gamer is either a games enthusiast, anyone who plays games, anyone who considers themselves a gamer or any human being.


Posted in Games.