Do you know what the term clickbait means? Well, the article I am responding to is a perfect example of just that. Clickbait is essentially content that was made for a website for the sole purpose of getting views, thereby ignoring the quality of the content altogether. The clickbait in this case, was the usage of Zoe Quinn.
You can find the content of the article I am responding to here.
The article itself has some reasonable ideas throughout it, but none of them are all that nuanced or supported, just thrown in there to be thrown in there. In other words, making statements just to have them, not really arguing for their supposed importance or function.
The really sad thing about the article is that it actually has a good message and argument towards the end. Something that I would gladly have enjoyed – if the example had not been Zoe Quinn (past articles on her here). I don’t have anything against her, but she is by no means some profound example that we should all look towards and attempt to emulate.
The second half is about trying to see the personality of a developer in a game they are making – which I think is something really interesting to think about and it is something we should all talk about more. Looking into how a developer tries to reflect their interests or personalities, rather than fan service and forced emotion. That is something very cool.
However, what really sucks is that this is an obvious attempt to capitalize on the recent news. Why was Dan (the author) not compelled to write something like this when Depression Quest was released on the web in February of 2013, or a couple of weeks ago when it was put on Steam? I would be naive to think it only a coincidence. He may claim that he only just heard of it, which is a fair excuse, however, considering the controversy, it would have been more prudent to wait for something like this. As it is now, he is trying to capitalize on the situation.
One of the real tragedies of this whole Zoe Quinn nonsense is that there has not really been a good discussion of the game itself – what helped to start the recent controversy in the first place. Accusations against Zoe Quinn aside, I saw nobody asking whether or not Depression Quest was actually a good game. Nobody judged whether or not the good press she received from people she was accused to have slept with was merited in the first place. It is something to think about, but in reality, is inconsequential now considering how most media outlets have chosen to approach the recent controversy.
The only thing Dan says about Depression Quest is here:
It’s not just that it’s beautifully written and absorbing, but that it’s personal. Painfully so. Each scenario is rich in detail, from judgemental parents to uncomprehending acquaintances, and the way certain options are closed off to you as your mood dips – still visible but unclickable in their red strikethrough text – is a simple yet ingenious way of illustrating how a deep dark low can feel. You know what you should do, but you can’t do it. In that moment of interface frustration, you get an echo of what that feeling must be like when depression engulfs your whole life. It takes a familiar gameplay mechanic and uses it to illuminate something with real meaning and weight.
What that more or less reads like is a description of what the game is and how it works. To be fair, Dan does make a good point about the strikethrough text, that is a pretty clever mechanic. It is just weird that a whole article dedicated to discussing Zoe Quinn as a developer, takes only one paragraph to discuss her work as a developer.
I’m still left with unanswered questions: why the fixation on Zoe Quinn and why continue to defend her? From all accounts I have seen, from even looking at her recent tweets, she is not an enjoyable or warm person. She is full of malice judgement. I’ll probably never understand.
This was only brought up because of its timing and the framing of the content. Removing the things about Zoe Quinn, Dan could have had a really interesting article. There are far better developers out there to choose from who put themselves out there with their games. People like The Fulbright Company with Gone Home (though admittedly that was pretty heavy handed), Dan mentioned Kojima and that would be incredibly interesting to try and figure out that crazy mind, or Starbreeze Studios with Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.
Each of those have pretty emotional moments, some of which are likely best explained through personal experience. There are others out there, but they aren’t coming to my mind. It is just odd to me that Depression Quest is what prompted this and not the multitudes of other games that could bring out the same question.
It is shamefully opportunistic right now, especially considering it came from a website that has tried to demonize gamers as a group.
Zoe Quinn made an alright game, it is definitely not bad at all. But to make her the role model for future indie developers, and women developers, is wrong. As I’ve said before (and shown in the various other Zoe Quinn articles on this site) she is volatile and reacts negatively to those around her. She uses despicable tactics against those she disagrees with.
We do not need more developers that have a negative attitude and are constantly posting their political views in an incendiary manner. We need more developers that engage with the community on a genuine level. Those that can express and partake in debates without alienating tons of people and without using inflammatory language. We need more developers that make games to make good games, not to push themselves forward or to create a platform for themselves to talk.
I just wish Dan had made this article months ago, because I think I really would have liked it.