Phil Fish Giving Up is Great and I Hope More Assholes are Run Out of Gaming
I decided to finally write up my thoughts on the whole “Phil Fish Leaves the Internet” fiasco. This was partially because I didn’t want to write it and have him come back right away (which I’m sure he’ll do eventually) and because Polygon wrote an article very similar in theme to the Penny Arcade Report article where they characterized video game fans as awful monsters and game developers as messianic beings who are dying on the cross to bring us entertainment. I really hate and disagree with most of the assertions of these articles and I think they miss multiple obvious points and really try to build up Phil Fish leaving the net as something it isn’t. It might be that they’re just stupid or they may actually be the cagey truth-killers they are in my delusions, either way I’m going to try to set this straight.
It’s great that Phil Fish isn’t making video games anymore. It’s probably the best news I’ve heard in awhile. Phil Fish is a self absorbed self righteous asshole who has his head so firmly up his own ass that he wants to e-fight everyone who doesn’t share his ridiculous inflated opinion of himself. A lot of people have been saying that these events are actually really bad and not only demonstrate how fans are the ones ruining gaming but further that there is an active war on all creative people. The ones guilty for this war on creatives are slobs like you and me, people who write forum posts or critique things we purchase. We’re the enemy, we’re ruining everything and we want to destroy creativity because we’re jealous of it or too stupid to see it’s value. Well at least according to Polygon and the Penny Arcade Report two articles which this piece is essentially a response to. The attitude of Kuchera’s defense of Phil Fish is mirrored in Crecente’s piece where Fish is just a footnote.
Of course, I think a little different than that and I hope you do too. Not only is the fall of Phil Fish simply good for gaming it’s also a creative achievement which in the end was more entertaining that Fez 2 possibly could have been. The people defending Fish generally rely on a number of false statements:
1) The internet is mostly full of dumb and shitty people who brutally tear people down with little self awareness.
2) Making forum posts or critiquing behavior or products isn’t a creative act.
3) What happened to Phil Fish was harassment comparable to death threats, threatening someone’s family members, or telling someone it’s “Good” that their father died
4) This is some active war against creatives and actually this is only the tip of the iceberg and working in the gaming industry is a really awful job, mostly because of fans of games.
5) This abuse is something they are forced to endure simply by choosing to work in this industry and it’s certainly no something that happens to everyone on and off the internet as part of their everyday life.
I have a huge problem with everything in Kuchera (Penny Arcade Report) wrote from the title to the end he engages in massive acrobatics to not only declare we’ve lost something really amazing in Fez 2 but further that it was lost for no reason but to satisfy the id of some awful internet beastmen. I guess that’s the first issue I have, the idea that the people who incited Fish’s meltdown couldn’t have been really aware of what they were doing. It was just the “sea of shit” Fish had to swim through everyday and he wasn’t expertly taken out back and shot by a community of people who have had enough of him. This of course is false, from the get go when people saw the excellent psychotic reactions they could bring out of Phil Fish they all decided to have a lot of fun at his expense. Why not? He and his indie brethren were certainly convinced that his insane tweets were actually him ‘winning’ rather than the pathetic screaming of a man child. If someone is too stupid to realize they’re the butt of the joke and additionally they’re a horrible person who is convinced they’re superior to you, then why not set them up as a punching bag? Of course all this is characterized by explaining Phil Fish as a person who “never met a hornet’s nest he couldn’t improve by giving it a good kick” but in the end he was the passive party in all of this. People saw his behavior and went after him because he was a piece of shit. Of course he’ll come back when they put him on new meds or whatever, but until then he’s gone, crying into his pillow and it’s great.
Actually the people tearing down Phil Fish were so self aware that they created something a lot better than Fez 2, a live action play called “Phil Fish Shits His Pants and Leaves The Internet”, even the Youtube videos (#1,#2) displaying his twitter meltdown set to music are easily better than any game he’ll ever produce. The desperation of some writers to change the narrative into a bunch of awful monsters ruining the life of a young creative indie game developer probably comes from multiple places. The closest thing Phil Fish has to friends are probably all game writers and game developers. I can’t imagine he functions in the real world or does anything but sit on twitter all day and develop games in his spare time. That’s fine, it’s true of me too. That just doesn’t qualify my friends to all write the news articles about me losing my mind. Beyond that these writers don’t like the idea of fans actually having power or being celebrated for their defeat of yet another asshole. Since that power can be turned against them. It’d only make sense that Journalists who regularly are paid to lie about video games would want to marginalize the people who more often than not call them out on their fraud. In essence the people who aided Phil Fish’s self destruction (as apposed to hypothetical people who would have just sat and praised him all day) can’t be accepted as cognizant of their own actions or creative. Such an acceptance would endorse the dangerous idea that fan input is valuable, perhaps even more valuable than shill reviews.
Now in both the articles I mentioned above and I’m sure most other articles Phil Fish’s self destruction is put right alongside one of if not all of the following.
When Patrick Klepek father died and a couple of people commented “Good”.
Treyarch studio design director David Vonderhaar receiving death threats on twitter after tweeting a change to a few weapons in Call of Duty: Black Ops 2
Stephen Toulouse, ex-Head of Xbox Live’s policy and enforcement, recieving death threats
These are all apparently close enough to the Phil Fish fiasco to put them right alongside it. Even without going into the specifics it’s kind of obviously how these events are not even comparable to Phil Fish. Fish is an awful shit stain who went out of his way to begin fighting and insulting all gamers at large. Hate is a two way street, none of these other people went out of their way to start a fight. The negative aimed at Phil Fish was generally a direct result of his attitude and behavior. It was a correcting mechanism that’s been in place in forums and even society for ages and ages, if someone is enough of an asshole for long enough, people get sick of them and run them out. This was a flame war that Fish lost, not a case of harassment. Even then these individual events are blown out of proportion for the article. David Vonderhaar, for example, I really don’t know that a company who makes games for the worst prepubescent shit stains in the world should have a right to be surprised at the tweets they receive. The other issues of people saying nasty things is that it represents exceedingly small minority of their readership/players. I was told to kill myself for having a World of Warcraft character named TheGayBlade and even Blizzard support people tried to take the name away from me because people I pissed off entered false reports … does this mean I get to go to those posh west coast e-harassment survivor seminars?
The entire “War On Creatives” angle is a load of shit as well. There is probably no group of creators that deserve more abuse than game developers. As if any other industry produces uninspiring garbage as often as the gaming industry. As if any other industry has such poor professional critics that the only real way to see if a game is bad or good is to buy it. As if critics and developers of any other industry would answer complaints with “Well, maybe you should have read more reviews before buying the game” — full well knowing that they had paid for basically all professional reviews to be a 10/10 score. It’s not as much a war on anyone as it is a ‘War for Survival’ by people who are highly invested in video games since they’re one of the few things left in this world that bring them joy. That this gut reaction targets a bunch of self righteous cunts is beside the point. People have a right to react against things they love being systematically ruined especially when it’s one of a dwindling list of reasons to keep a gun out of your mouth.
The most offensive and bald-faced lie of these articles is that writing about and doing what you love is actually a real tough job and having expectations of game developers or game writers to produce worthwhile content is wrong. This same garbage logic was used by some IGN moron to defend/shill Bioware’s Mass Effect 3. Since these developers and writers are out there dealing with the worst people and owe you nothing, even as you essentially finance their lifestyles. The only reason all game writing isn’t a constantly about the non-stop abuse they all suffer at the hands of the unwashed masses is because those “are the stories (they) rarely tell”-Ben Kuchera. This implication that somehow the asshole who gets 6 figures to produce a buggy piece of shit game on a decade old engine is actually suffering more than the kid who buys said game to block out the sounds of his dad beating the shit out of his mother is completely ridiculous. I think even the possibility that these people can relate or identify with real human emotions is pretty suspect. How can a grown person have the gall to suggest that the abuse suffered at the hands of tech savvy children on twitter after making a change to a video game is too alien and hard to understand for all of us?
Virtually everyone has been suffering all our lives, we’re all pretty old hands at the suffering thing. I sure don’t need Kevin Smith telling me to imagine “what it would be like to deal with the tabloid press making up lies about your friends when they went through what may have been the lowest point of their lives.” or Jonathan Blow informing me “We can’t choose to ignore it. As soon as the words are read, they have already hit emotionally.”. We all know how it feels to be abused and we all know how hard it is to ignore it. We don’t need some after-school special from overweight or autistic content creators to inform us that hurting someone’s feelings is wrong. Every person on the planet knows how to make other people feel like shit because we learned it first hand. Watching some reasonably successful personalities cry out screaming as if some attention makes their suffering more legitimate that someone else’s, well it’s exactly why it’s so easy to abuse and so hard to feel for these people. It’s not right, but as far as people in the world who deserve my compassion, public successful figures in the gaming industry are at the absolute bottom and the biggest assholes these people want to get away with being they drop off the “deserve compassion” list and end up on the “deserve vitriol” list.
Phil Fish was a fucking asshole and he had this coming. We’ve all been there, but so rarely did we have an entire news media backing us up, so rarely did we have a wunderkind declaring us the next wunderkind, so rarely were we receiving cash prizes for unfinished work, maybe that’s why we’ve never hit the ground so hard. Though Phil Fish apparently can’t, he was a propped-up self righteous fucking asshole who had a ridiculous amount of support dedicated all to his success. He probably really thought it was all a sole result of his unadulterated genius as well. Maybe he realized much of his success had nothing to do with him and that’s why he was such a defensive crazy asshole? I don’t know. I do know, however, that’s it’s great Fez 2 won’t be made because all the spending that would have went to that blowhard asshole is going to go somewhere else, maybe it will be crack cocaine or maybe it will be World of Warcraft accounts but literally anything is better than throwing your money at some superstar man baby who couldn’t stop having tantrums long enough to enjoy all the success, money, and attention he was graciously gifted by his saintlike and forgiving fans.
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