Game Boss

 By Shamus Feb 6, 2012 234 comments

Warning. This video is really hard to watch. See how far you can make it. This is a series of highlights from the IGN reality show Game Boss.


Link (YouTube)

For those of you who didn’t watch, here is the gist: This is a reality show where a bunch of college-age kids (a female or two is shown in the intro, but in the rest of the presentation it’s all males) are offered free office space and tools. They’re given the chance to compete against each other for a prize which is never mentioned or explained. In this segment, their teams are tasked with coming up with a concept for a boss fight. The cameras are rolling in their brainstorming sessions and we see them say a lot of crude, sexist, or obnoxious things, interspersed with some of their painfully juvenile gameplay ideas.

This culminates with a group of kids who pitch a game based around the “feminist apocalypse”, where men have been lured into prison camps with promises of beer and sex and are ruled by their angry feminist overlords. The boss fight is against a woman in menopause. There’s more to it than that, but you’ll have to watch it yourself if you want to get the full picture. You have to hear them pitch this idea with a complete lack of self-awareness and without a hint of irony before you can begin to map out the awfulness.

Now, keep in mind we’re looking at this through multiple layers of editing. IGN cut this to make their show, but then this YouTube user came along and did a certain degree of editorializing through editing. They looped moments where people laughed at awful, cringe-inducing misogyny. They no doubt left out moments that undercut their point. Still, I think the tone is unambiguous enough that we can make some broad statements about the show.

When I first saw this clip, I was initially horrified at the kids who came up with these ideas. But as I’ve thought about it more, I’ve come to suspect that the real rage needs to be directed at IGN.

Game Boss devoutly follows the techniques passed down by the most lazy, trashy reality shows.

  1. From the auditioning pool, be sure to select contestants who are loud, opinionated, arrogant, crude, impulsive, emotional, melodramatic, self-absorbed, or exceptionally ignorant.
  2. Arrange these groups to maximize friction and get these personalities to bounce off of each other as much as possible.
  3. Place the contestants in situations to maximize stress, resentment, and interpersonal conflict.
  4. Agitate them with leading questions and situations, encouraging them to assign blame, be defensive, avoid reconciliation, and harbor grudges.
  5. Record everything they say. Then edit those hours of footage down to the twenty-odd minutes that show these defective people at their worst. Highlight conflict and offense, thus turning the show into an inter-personal cockfight. The home viewer can laugh at the apparent stupidity of the contestants, or enjoy the schadenfreude of seeing these “lesser” people subjected to misery and scorn.

It’s a manufactured tale of gossip and half-truths, and it’s disgusting and unhealthy for both the participants and the viewers. Reality shows don’t HAVE to be made this way, of course. Some shows take the high road. But IGN’s reality show seems set on doing for games what MTV’s shows did for music: Depict its own fans and culture as worthless and grotesque.

This could have been a wonderful chance to find the next Johnathan Blow, Markus Persson, 2D Boy, Eric Chahi, or Nuclear Monkey. They could have looked for some idealist or innovator and given them a bit of money and fame to launch their career. Instead they chose to round up a bunch of man-children and have us laugh at them. Sure, the guys deserve blame for coming up with this stuff, but let the record show that IGN claimed the “feminist apocalypse” was the best idea. Shouldn’t the adults know better?

EDIT: According to someone who watched the original, the feminist apocalypse did NOT win. We were led to believe this through misleading editing. Shame on the person who put this together. This stuff is bad enough without needing to fabricate more awfulness.

Note at the beginning that they were going to make a boss fight in a “hybrid game genre” picked at random, yet in this clip we’re never shown what they picked. How much of this juvenile tone was set by the people behind the cameras? Were the guys encouraged by IGN to go after “edgy” topics? Did these kids leap off the cliff on their own, or did IGN instruct them to stand on the edge and do a dance?

I won’t defend what these kids said, but I will say I’m glad nobody was standing around, recording everything that came out of my mouth when I was twenty.

IGN has long been a source of poison to the industry. It’s a vapid, grating display of advertisements wrapped around a rotten core of review-score prostitution. I know it’s easy to dismiss this latest affront to our hobby simply because only a fool would expect IGN to behave differently. Perhaps that’s true. But I still think it’s worth noting when a new low is attained.

A Hundred!A Hundred!2014234 COMMENTS? What are you people talking about?!?


  1. Mathias says:

    I object to Supergiant Games not being on the list. Other than that, I can pretty much only agree, especially on everything related to IGN.

    Unfortunately it’s impossible to enforce any kind of quality control when you have to cover so many events and when so much money’s being thrown at IGN. And with the amount of mass-marketing IGN pumps out it’s only naturally that they’d attract the lowest common denominator.

  2. acronix says:

    Thing like this makes me weep for humanity. Not because things like this are made, but because there´s a market for things like this.

  3. X2Eliah says:

    Remember the good old days when the only problems with IGN were a few publisher-sponsored review scores? Yeah.. Just as MTV slipped from being a pop-music channel to producer of.. TV-reality tv shows, so has IGN moved from a review site to an (I’d say) actively harmful, degrading circus of imbeciles.

    That said, I dothink you are letting the “contestants” off a bit too easy. Yeah, IGN is definitely the ‘behind the scenes’ agent, cultivating and pushing these idiotic ideas to the forefront, but still – those guys didn’t say “no, this is too much”, they didn’t draw a line anywhere, and at least part of all that mess was envisioned by them.

    I don’t recall who said it a wee bit ago (Maybe it was you, Shamus, or maybe it was TotalBiscuit), but it really seems that the videogame industry is the only one that’s constantly shooting other parts of itself in the foot. Publishers vs. retailers on the whole used-games thing, gamers vs. drm-makers, now, obviously, ign vs. indies. The annoying thing is that the dumb sides seem to be winning, on the whole.

    EDIT: Off-topic thing.. Hm, your comment filter must be a completely weird thing, Shamus. With the rather harsh [descriptions of undesirable individuals] I placed, I was sure the comment would get flagged for moderation (but it didn’t.. Weird). Is it running on a local “unpermitted word database” or something of wordpress’ making?

    • Anorak says:

      Maybe the whole thing was sponsored by a cabal of big name publishers like Ubisoft, Activision, EA, to purposefully make the indie sector look like lobotomised monkeys, the kind that masturbate at the zoo when you go with your granny. The people in the video were either hired actors, or there was a screening process to find the most actively stupid people.
      /conspiracy

      EDIT
      Actually, that doesn’t sound that far-fetched – making indie devs look like idiots, to try and drive consumers away.

      • Anorak says:

        I just found out that IGN were bought by Murdoch at some point….this is probably really old news, but it explains a lot, and makes my paranoid conspiracy theory even more likely.

        • Nick Bell says:

          Wikipedia tells me IGN was bought by News Corp in September 2005.

        • Klay F. says:

          It makes perfect sense if you were watching Murdoch make an absolute ass of himself during the whole SOPA thing. Apparently retardation has like a trickle-down effect.

        • Mortuorum says:

          What’s especially sad is that IGN was once a great web site. It’s hard to believe, seeing what a sinkhole of it’s become, but there was a time it could be relied upon for reliable game reviews, well-written strategy guides and thoughtful (or at least genuinely amusing) articles.

          Of course, most of the staff responsible for that content was let go or left. I can’t imagine the selection process for new staff, but much of what I’ve seen on the site the last few times I bothered to check in has made me cringe. At least some of the reviews are still worth reading as long as you disregard the numerical scores, which seem to be directly proportionate to advertising payola.

        • Nimas says:

          As an Australian who is quite proud of alot of our country (there are some iffy bits :P). I must on behalf of our great nation, apologise for Rupert Murdoch.

          We’re truly sorry. Especially of the fact that he brought our partisan style media reporting (in Australia you have multiple newspapers which favour different political views) to America. I don’t think you guys were prepared for it.

          So again, Australia is sorry, we promise to not do it again.

          P.S. America can keep him ;)

  4. Fede says:

    I watched it all. It was painful. Really painful.
    I totally agree on your assessment of IGN on this matter, they engineered the show exactly to achieve this result, and in my eyes it makes them worse than the people they recorded.

  5. Simon Buchan says:

    Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaann…………….

    You know, normally for “see how far you can get through this” videos I generally don’t have any problems, sometimes to the point that I can’t see why someone would be freaked out about it. This is not one of those times. Was this actually broadcast on television? Wait, of course it was. Uggh. I can’t even think what to write without sounding hyperbolic, this makes me that angry and disgusted.

  6. Sleeping Dragon says:

    I watched it first when you linked it on twitter, watched is perhaps too strong a word, I watched for about a minute, then jumped 30 seconds ahead and watched for 5, then again, and again… and the video was over. At first I was wondering what your angry tweet was about, my first assumption was “Ok, so they’re going to give these guys a chance to present some game ideas. I imagine the winner will probably get sponsored to actually make the damn thing, that sounds fairly cool…”. Things went downhill from there…

    Regarding the whole feminist apocalypse idea. I remember there was this Syndicate-like squad control game “Gender Wars” (I think) which was pretty fun as it threw the gender stereotypes around. Of course this was way back in the 90s, which were an innocent time, I was a less mature creature and nostalgia glasses may apply but I seem to recall it was pretty heavy handed with stereotyping but also had this fun sense of self-irony (which sounds lacking from this idea).

  7. I love indie games, making this particularly painful to watch. I mean, the Binding of Isaac was gross, but this is just painful, none of these people should be allowed to design games, no matter how badly edited it was. Still, no matter how much editing was done, that’s what they came up with for “realistic post apocalyptic nuclear simulation” which could have been such an interesting concept. It’s just so terrible in every way.

  8. I'mOnlyAPonyIronically says:

    I have never before felt so ashamed at my fellow video gamers. I’ve seen trolls, I’ve seen 13 year olds screaming on mics, I’ve seen people whine and be pathetic about the most childish of things.

    I have never before seen such… a lack of maturity and a total lack of imagination, to the degree that it gives the entire industry a horrible name.

    I’m more than just insulted, I want to burn something.

  9. Jenx says:

    You ever seen that interview with the Iron Sheik where he says “Fuckin bullshit!”? Yeah that was my first reaction basically the moment I heard the “let’s make the boss a woman in menopause”.

    One of these days I’ll start a reality show, except the twist will be that in the end all contestants will be dragged into an empty parking lot and shot. It’d be a hit, I tell ya!

  10. Chiller says:

    Funny stuff: at the 1:20 mark, the guy says “it is even harder to actually scare the viewer”, to which I thought “well, you’re 1 minute in and you’ve already managed to do that”.

  11. Daemian Lucifer says:

    “Reality shows don’t HAVE to be made this way, of course. Some shows take the high road.”

    They do?Well,maybe some few did when it was something new,but I dont think there are any now.

    And I sort of get what enjoyment people are getting from watching crap like this.I dont enjoy it,but I get why some might enjoy it.What always puzzled me,however,was what enjoyment can someone get from watching people be boring,like when they are sleeping.When big brother started here,curiosity made me go to their stream at 4 in the morning,to see just how many people are there.Over 100 people were watching it!And thats just the internet,seeing how the channel that was airing it had it aired all night.I get that some were expecting sex to happen,but at 4 in the morning,in the very first days of the show?That just left me speechless.

    • Shamus says:

      I left the “high road” remark in there for stuff like Mythbusters, which is arguably “reality television” according to some definitions.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        It is?Well,in that case I stand corrected.

        But doesnt reality show require amateurs to be in front of the cameras?And,like they say before every show,mythbusters guys are professionals.

        • Primogenitor says:

          Professionals at blowing stuff up, not professional actors (at least, they weren’t when they started AFAIK, but probably are now).

        • Ingvar says:

          Not being an expert in what constitutes “reality TV” and not, I’d say that shows like (say) /Scrapheap Challenge/ (don’t know if it’s still made) would pass my bar as to what “reality TV” is.

          Likewise, shows like “Celebrity Big Brother” I would class as “reality TV”, but that is (from my understanding, but I am honestly not sure) staffed with people who are some sort of pros.

          • CTrees says:

            See, I was about to say you found a good example in Scrapheap Challenge/Junkyard Wars, but I’m not sure if it really counts as “reality TV” or just an especially elaborate gameshow. The definitions start to get really fuzzy. I almost mentioned Iron Chef earlier, but that one is firmly gameshow, with “The Next Iron Chef” being reality tv proper, and doing some of the same, stupid things as the rest.

            For the straight up, “you all live in this place, and you compete through a series of challenges,” I’m not sure there’s a single one that doesn’t fall prey to at least some of the follies associated with reality tv. The first season of Project Runway, as I remember it, comes fairly close. The first season of Top Shots (definitely not the second season) also comes close, with few moments that made me want to change the chanel in disgust. It’s not all “surviving the kardashians’ biggest loser brother’s apprentice,” but there’s not much out there that is uniformly quality.

            • Ingvar says:

              The reason I consider it as “reality TV” is the roughly 10 hours of (I guess) footage taken of each team, then edited into something approaching a narrative.

            • Angie says:

              IMO they’re all game shows; reality TV is just a gosh-wow label folks started pasting onto game shows to make them sound new and different. They’re spending more money on them, and airing them in prime time, but the basic format of the show — folks competing for some sort of prize and willing to possibly make fools of themselves to get it — has been around for decades.

              Angie, who also loved Junkyard Wars :)

            • Capn John says:

              I love Top Shots and just discovered S1 and S2 can be streamed via Netflix. The wife and I watched S1 when it was first aired so we rewatched it with my son in an epic marathon session last weekend. Having watched just the first few episodes of S2 I will agree that they definitely tried to bring out the drama a lot more when I suspect 99% of their viewers tuned in to see the shooting games, and were probably turned off by the drama.

        • CTrees says:

          Mythbusters may be a suboptimal example, but I see what he was getting at. There are some which straddle a line between reality TV and documentary, which still usually TRY for the reality TV tropes, but are moderated by following actual professionals, instead of amateur idiots. Ace of cakes wasn’t terrible, sons of guns was generally decent, pawn stars i think has some engineered idiocy but also could be worse… but again, im not sure these (or mythbusters, for that matter) are technically reality shows.

          For the contest style? Um… maybe the first season of project runway wasn’t AS terrible? I’m having a really hard time coming up with counter examples.

          • Sagretti says:

            Similarly, I rather like Storage Wars, which is kind of trashy, but seems to follow actual professionals at the auctions who already liked to mess with each other before the show started. It helps that the guy who plays to the camera is a senior citizen with no shame that reminds of Jack Nicholson.

            Of course, then I watched one of the rip-off shows with the same premise, and saw someone gets their tires slashed by a competitor, then a physical assault during an auction. It seems that even when reality television does something not horrible, someone else has to come along to stick it back in the gutter.

        • Brandon says:

          Unfortunately, they are not professional scientists. While I do enjoy Mythbusters, some of the myths they’ve “busted” or “confirmed” were done with interesting and not at all valid testing methods. The end result is that the viewer has a good time and the verdict of the myth is still left unaddressed.

          • Adam F says:

            While mythbusters can’t conclusively prove something impossible, they can often prove something possible. And what they are doing in general absolutely is science. It’s not advanced scientific technique, but when you get right down to it it’s pretty much equivalent to Galileo dropping spheres off the tower of Pisa, or any number of other early scientific demonstrations.

        • Angie says:

          Note that even in most Big Brother / The Bachelor type reality shows, most if not all the competitors are actually actors. They’re just actors you’ve never heard of who are trying to leverage a “reality” show appearance into a career boost. And there are directors and PAs off camera instructing them in how to behave, how to overreact, etc. It might not be technically scripted, but it bears no resemblance to reality, either.

          Angie

      • X2Eliah says:

        Not sure MB is much of a high road reality tv lately.. For one, it’s very detached from Reality TV principles (cast, location, filming techniques, purpose-of-episodesand so on), and.. I think I’ll be jumped for this asap, but I feel like they are slipping in the “smarts” of their techniques as well. In last two seasons, it seems like every.single.goddamn.thing has to be OMGEXPLODIFISIONSHFSFGFJHSBOOOMmusthaveBIGBOOMBANGS! and the like. Hardly relevant to what they are testing.. More-to-the-point, time up to the 1st commercial spent to actually test “the myth” (which are also getting sparser and more weird as time goes on), and the rest of the show’s spent on rigging explosives over everything. Well, after the last commercial you get a lot of “WOO”s and “HELL YEAH”s along the explosions.

        Could we call Mythbusters an “Explosion-TV show”? I think that about covers it (not realistic, not scientific, just explosions of everything).

        P.S. Shouldn’t it be “Mythsploders”?

        P.P.S. Relevant on-topic commentary I is good ats.

        • Gamer says:

          Well, we kinda knew that myths would eventually get sparse. Recently, they’ve slipped into testing YouTube videos and movie scenes more than anything else. It makes sense that they would have to turn to filler.

        • Joel D says:

          I very much agree with you. It’s a good show for explosions (especially if you don’t tune in until the last quarter), but not much else anymore.

      • Simon Buchan says:

        I suppose it is less scripted than most reality shows! Does that mean Top Gear would be a reality show too then? What about interview shows? I’m not quite comfortable with putting them over that line, since I can’t figure out where the line could be moved! On the other hand, the definition of a reality show as a show in which (nominal) amateurs compete in some manner for a prize is pretty specific and includes pretty much everything normally called a reality show.

        • X2Eliah says:

          Mm, that woudl also include things lite lottos, wheel-of-fortunes, amateur poker competitions and other game shows..

          I’d say, perhaps a good criteria for “reality tv-show” would be to add a clause “where the people are filmed at all times and episodes cover a rough representation of the entire day”?

          • Simon Buchan says:

            Damn, you’re right. “Filmed at ‘all’ times” seems important, “episodes cover a day” doesn’t seem general enough – I know several shows don’t do that (mostly the “getting a job” style ones). I suppose ‘Wipeout’ isn’t a reality show then?

            • X2Eliah says:

              Ah, right.. Well, in that case, perhaps “with participants being placed in an environment that’s a rough approximation of “daily life” of some contrivance” – that should cover the Douchebro-cult shows along with all the “Deadliest Trucker Lumberjack Catch”, “Do menial tasks for supposed employer for chance of job” and “Outcast/Competewhilelivingonanexoticisland” as well.

        • Anorak says:

          Top gear is slipping too though….it is definitely more about entertainment and daft stunts than reviewing cars, and has been for some time. It’s become more obviously scripted in recent years, I think.
          Still very enjoyable though.

      • Kdansky says:

        I want to offer a strange example which I found entertaining: The Beauty and the Geek. Sure, it hits pretty much every single clichee about pretty girls and nerds, but the interesting thing about it is how good it makes the nerds look. They display amazing improvement in confidence, looks and attitude, while giving no ground on how nerdy they are. They all end up as handsome, smart people who are good at Math and computers.

        On the other hand, the shallow girls just stay shallow girls throughout. As a nerd, it was fun to see the nerds “winning”.

      • Lazlo says:

        I’d say it kind of depends on the specific reality show sub-genre. After you get through the painful “audition” portion, talent contest shows (like Idol or So You Think You Can Dance) are mostly well-behaved and seem to focus, at least somewhat, on people trying to be their best, as opposed to people trying to be horrible to each other. Most of the reality TV that draws its lineage from Survivor is filled with people being the worst kind of people that there are, though it seems like there are some exceptions. Those exceptions in my experience seem relegated to the less “mainstream” cable networks. Some of the reality contest shows on HGTV and Food Network are reasonably decent, and not too long ago I found Top Shot on History channel which, besides being kind of fun, manages to follow all the formulae of the vote-em-off-the-island format, but with nice, intelligent, respectful people. (at least mostly). And then there are the half-reality half-documentary shows. Like Mythbusters. And I’d also have to throw in Survivorman, because A) you can’t get much more reality than that, and B) Les Stroud is freaking awesome.

      • ps238principal says:

        The best reality shows that take the high road, IMHO, are the ones aired on PBS and the BBC:

        My favorite was Frontier House, which does ruin any kind of (attempted) post-apoc show like “Jericho” (if the bad writing on that program didn’t do it) when you see how hard it is to survive without modern conveniences.

        There’s also Manor House and Colonial House. In all cases, it takes modern people and has them confronting what it was like to live in the various eras the show is trying to re-create. You actually learn stuff in addition to the “watch people doing difficult things” that reality shows tease viewers with.

      • Jabrwock says:

        Mythbusters is a reality show in the same way that cooking shows are reality shows.

        If I had to pigeon-hole them, I’d say they are more “educational” than the usual “bunch of morons in front of a camera”.

      • Michael says:

        COPSs comes to mind as the “high road” in Reality TV, at least from where I’m sitting…

        It’s still finding stupid people and mocking them, but the editing is somewhat limited in that it’s a police ride along, and the show’s editors really don’t have the opportunity to coax a 300lb man to try to go out his trailer park bathroom window when the police arrive…

        • ps238principal says:

          I think it was “This American Life” that interviewed one of the producers for COPS, and she, too, was amazed at the stupidity of the criminals they showed on their program. In order to air the segments of arrests and what have you, the perpetrators had to sign release forms so they footage could be used. She said nearly all of them not only did so, they did it happily because they were going to be on TV. They sometimes said they couldn’t wait to call their relatives and asked when their segment would air.

    • Cybron says:

      Deadliest Catch could, by some definitions, be considered a reality show. And while they tend to try and play up the drama in their narration, they really don’t do much muckraking as far as I can tell.

  12. Harry says:

    Reality TV is an industry which requires only one resource as fuel: idiots. And sadly, idiots are never in short supply.

    • CTrees says:

      They’re a renewable resource!

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        We should promote darwin awards more.If more people wanted one,the resource would get spent a bit faster.

        And hey,theres a concept for a reality/game show:Who wants to win a darwin?

      • ClearWater says:

        There must be some way to get power from them. Maybe have a reality show called the Bestest Dynamo Turner?

        • rofltehcat says:

          Hah. This reminds me of that one documentary where they let a family live in a prepared house for a weekend and narby is a whole warehouse filled with people on training bikes (like 150 or so?) that are connected to generators and producing the energy needed for that one family.

          They did this to highlight how much power we actually use every day. For most people, a kilowatt doesn’t really mean anything but having a hundred cyclists sweating in a warehouse?

          But the dynamo turner thing sounds great, too! Should be a huge hamster wheel.

          • CTrees says:

            Man… that’s actually an interesting thought. I wonder how many people, peddling, it takes to power my computer so I can put buckets on people’s heads in Skyrim?

            Under load (as in gaming), my desktop draws ~750 watts from the wall (based on actually usage and the efficiency of my PSU). Not sure about the monitor, but… for a marathon session, half a dozen average, healthy adults would probably be the safe bet, it looks like. Wow.

          • Sagretti says:

            Reminds me of one of my college professor’s energy saving plan for the college: give scholarships to as many high school track team members as possible, with the caveat they have to run on a treadmill for at least an hour a day to generate power. Still not sure how much he was joking, since he also cut down a tree once utilizing a series of ropes, a picnic table, and two boogie boards.

            • Audacity says:

              So that’s where MacGyver went! I didn’t know he taught college now.

            • CTrees says:

              He was joking. A treadmill is much less efficient for generating energy than a stationary bike. Then, someone motivated and in good shape, on a stationary bike, is going to give you like something in the range of 200 watts (give or take – it’s an easy figure). One hour per day, for let’s say two hundred days (because athletes often have summer training before school starts, etc.) and you’re talking 40kWh generated, per athlete, per year. National average for energy costs is around eight to ten CENTS per kWh, meaning that each scholarship is saving the school three or four bucks from its energy bill. The only way this constitues a savings is if the scholarships are like one or two bottles of gatorade, and considering that they’re probably working indoors, in lit, climate-controlled environments, and possibly even showering afterwards… Even back-of-napkin math shows it can’t possibly work.

              It is funny, though.

        • For that, what you want isn’t common-or-garden idiots. You want media flacks. Just wrap ‘em in copper wire and let ‘em spin.

      • River says:

        I think iv just solved the issue with fossil fuels, we need to convert idiots into fuel.

    • rofltehcat says:

      As in idiots actually watching them?
      In Germany, most of the afternoon and early evening program is now “reality shows”(=”Assi-TV”=short for antisocial TV).

      Sad part is this:
      My mom and all the other house wives in her age group and even young women like my sister are still watching it despite knowing that it is all faked and edited crap. They watch it for “amusement”. (“Your computer games and internet aren’t any better than this.”)
      Children (like our neighbor’s kid, age ~11) think that the kind of behaviour depicted is real, normal and acceptable and that many people behave out there like it is shown in those shows. And this is actually the really sad part about those shows.

      • Harry says:

        I wouldn’t say people who watch reality TV are idiots. The people who are on it usually are, however.

        Bear in mind that when they say “Your computer games and internet aren’t any better than this,” well, they’re right. Reality TV is often base and crass and stupid, but then so is the latest Call of Duty game or the latest internet meme. Of course, not ALL the internet or ALL games are like this, but it’s a significant section, and just because it’s idiotic doesn’t mean that the audience is made up entirely of idiots. A lot of very intelligent people enjoy mindless escapism. Doesn’t make them less intelligent. Doesn’t make the escapism itself any less mindless.

        • rofltehcat says:

          Hm yeah, you’re probably right about differentiating between the audience and the people “starred” in those series.
          But I still think that it is the wrong thing for children to watch. But then again I also think that many video games and corners of the internet aren’t any better for children either…
          probably just another sign that people should be more aware what their young children actually consume ;)

        • Sumanai says:

          So they’re right in saying that the content of reality-TV is the same level of quality as the internet and video games, because the worst of the content in internet and video games is at the same level as the average content of reality-TV shows?

          Or is it “the worst of the reality-TV is just as bad as the worst parts of internet and video games, therefore they’re the same”?

          That argument would work if the original complaint was about the state of TV in general. Yes, the dross is what “everyone” is eating, but that doesn’t mean everything is that. And yes, that dross is 90% of the content, but that’s always true. That doesn’t excuse eating it.

        • Josh H says:

          I agree. More generally, I’d say this is a societal problem with having invented incredibly addictive forms of entertainment. Video games, television, and internet memes are all alike in that they are designed specifically to be entertaining. This means they often cater to the lowest common denominator. Crude is effective.

          Heck, the video games that I enjoy most are the ones that go really over the top with gore and explosions. Prototype and Just Cause 2, for example.

          This doesn’t mean video games and television are inherently bad, of course. Both are pleasant diversions. And there are thoughtful places to be found in both, though those get less attention on virtue of not being as addictive. It’s an interesting problem.
          ——–
          And even those thoughtful areas are addictive, judging by how long I spent reading these comments.

      • Amazon_warrior says:

        Ooo, don’t get me started! I can listen to my Mum witter on for an hour about Strictly Dumb Prancing or whatever, but if I happen to mention that I’ve been playing Terraria or Total Annihilation with a friend over Skype, I get told that playing computer games is anti-social. >_>

        I’m not sure how me playing a computer game is any more or less anti-social than reading, watching a DVD, cooking, doing the cleaning, or whatever other activity I engage in in my own flat. My Mum’s rationality utterly breaks down on the subject of computers, and while I know why it still really grates.

  13. Aanok says:

    Aaand that’s why I usually avoid gaming sites, with the noticeable exceptions of RPS and The Escapist (though about the latter I still have some reserves).

    Anyway, these are productions we should expect, given that videogames have become a mass consumer good. As with the overwhelming majority of things, just avoid the mainstream media and you’re fine.

    • Anorak says:

      I love RPS, but the escapist makes my eyes bleed these days, which is a shame because there are often very good articles on there (thanks Shamus!).

    • Simon Buchan says:

      Might I also suggest fairly complementary Giant Bomb? They specialize at making stupid a high art, but don’t mistake that for them being stupid, and especially not them being bad at their job (they’re pretty much all veterans from the start of when you could get paid to review games). More importantly, so far as I know they have the highest respect for their audience of any gaming site out there.

      • Anorak says:

        I do like giantbomb, but the review format the use (usually videos, I think?) make it difficult to read at work.

        • Sagretti says:

          From what I’ve seen, they do text reviews that go along with the video, so no problems there. Most of there previews are done through videos, though. Still, Giantbomb’s become my go-to general gaming site. I’ll go to the Escapist to see Shamus’s columns, but I run screaming from the community there every time.

        • Simon Buchan says:

          It’s somewhat random, they do do text reviews (they seem to do them much more often than video reviews right now) but it’s inconsistent what they review and don’t. It’s why I listed them as complementary, they’re not the site for getting a review for that game you were looking at – though they near certainly have a(n hour long) Quick Look that you can take a look at and and see if it looks like you’d be interested – I know I’ve personally found those more useful than reviews for purchase decisions.

          • Aanok says:

            Actually, my primary source of gaming related news and reviews, aside from RPS, is a gaming forum so hip it declared Arkham City its single player GOTY 2011. Portal 2 came 2nd shorthand, then Deus Ex, then Skyrim. I love those people.

  14. Sucal says:

    I swear the narrator/host at the beginning sounds like one of the Comedians in LRR. Anyway, we need an Intelligent version of this to be used as a ‘talk back’ style video. Quickly, to project Frontier, home of the procedural generated Genus Loci boss, where the enemy is literally the world itself.

  15. Even says:

    Makes me glad for never really watching IGN except for the odd game trailer now and then. I think satire would be about the only passable reason to actually use those ideas.

  16. wickedartist says:

    I’ve seen this particular video mentioned by a number of games writers. I never could watch it all. Someone has to feel embarrassed for the people on that show, because they certainly aren’t.

    It seems that video games industry is always looking to prove that it a mature, serious form of entertainment, and dare I say… (dramatic pause) ART, that is on par with other media. If displays like this tell us anything, it is that the games industry, particularly the noxious mutants behind IGN, achieved at least part of this goal. Games media is now provably capable of being as shallow, depraved and decadent as other entertainment media at their worst. Congratulations.

    I think we’re very lucky that the games industry is growing along with the Internet and online technologies, giving a medium of exposure to quality work that travesties like IGN are incapable of providing. Imagine if stuff like this was the only exposure games would get.

  17. Primogenitor says:

    A least TV is a “dying” medium. That is, “dying” in the sense that if its crap people will go do something else instead; when was the last time you suffered through a terrible novel rather than give up and listen to some music instead.

    /optimisim

    • ps238principal says:

      The problem is, much like the internet, you can kill hours in vain trying to find something to watch on the hundreds of channels, like when one surfs the ‘net looking for something amusing to read/view.

  18. [...] Shamus just posted over at his site discussing a video that showcases a so-called reality show called Game Boss, [...]

    • Sumanai says:

      He said “dead ugly princesses”. He clearly thought that the enemies being ugly was an important part. No matter how much the video was edited, you can’t just make people say these things and the people at IGN to greenlight the whole damn thing (both the video and the game).

      So yes, it’s sexist. Or incredibly juvenile and desperate attempt at being humorous without any regard for taste or knowledge of how humour works. This is basically what I would expect from Data if he tried to understand and make un-PC jokes.

      And had the makers of FATAL to guide him.

  19. Blake says:

    I have a theory.

    1)IGN wishes to make a reality TV-show about creating games.
    2)This idea is heartily celebrated in some IGN board room, with much backslapping.
    3)The talent pool overlap between “People who have talent, knowledge or charisma of any kind” and “People who want to work for IGN” is non-existant.
    4)The original idea, one about discovering talent and talking about game design, is scrapped due to talent pool issues.
    5)Additional Auditions are held in the same building that produced “Jersey Shore” and talent pool is instead screened on their inability to shut the hell up.
    6)Some IGN employees in a boardroom clear their throats, fire “Jimmy” for screwing up their brilliant idea, and never speak of this again.

  20. RTBones says:

    Two minutes, two seconds. And then my brain asploded.

    So many things here that just make you want to scream. I really don’t know where to begin.

    This is worse than the behavior in an eighth grade schoolyard floured in a bad Adam Sandler movie and deep fried in a vat of Jersey Shore outtakes – and somebody actually thought to serve this concoction to the public. Ugh.

  21. MadTinkerer says:

    Other than the misogyny and recording everything, this is 100% just like my experience with Game Design as a college course. The only thing that’s missing is Harold Hill on the sidelines, insisting that he doesn’t need to teach the technical side of things because the Think System is sufficient.

    Wow, I finally managed to condense my long winded rants into two sentences which concisely explain my problem with the way game design is being taught (at least in my area). I’ll have to remember this summary for the next time someone asks me why I’ve (mostly) given up on higher education.

    Yep, I’m currently taking Comp Sci classes, but I sure don’t miss making games with my “peers” or the most incompetent teacher I’ve ever had.

  22. Squash says:

    In answer to your first question…about 2 minutes

  23. Cineris says:

    I must be the only one who didn’t find that video particularly off-putting.

    For those who did, do you think you’d still find this video really objectionable if it was some dorky chick proposing an evil masculinist villain who needed to pop Viagra regularly? And the men put everyone in concentration camps but then got really upset and (did something over-the-top) when they realized they couldn’t (cook || clean || get dressed || make important decisions) without the help of women?

    I honestly don’t see people getting nearly as up in arms on that concept. But I’m failing to see how it’s substantively different from poking fun at feminists. We’re supposed to put the kid gloves on when it comes to satire of political groups that happen to be female? The reactions I’m seeing here are pretty visceral, I’m skeptical that would be the case.

    Related

    • I certainly would. My reaction wouldn’t be as strong, simply because I am a female gamer and get to see way too much of this level of sexual stupidity. When you get to hear “jokes” like “women should be in the kitchen making me a sandwich, not playing a game”, “everyone knows girls on the internet are a myth”, “pics, or you’re a man pretending to be a woman”,and of course, the ever-popular “we totally raped that team/boss/dungeon” on a fairly regular basis, stuff like this touches a raw nerve.

      I’d also be up in arms if it was a concept based around race rather than gender.

      Or imagine a game where your end boss is a diabetic popping candy to avoid sugar shock and possibly going into a diabetic coma. Would that be funny? I certainly wouldn’t find it so.

      • Abnaxis says:

        I find your question ironic.

        Incidentally, I am a diabetic and I was actually amused by this game when I played it (I was eight at the time). Though I guess it’s kinda different than your hypothetical example above.

        DISCLAIMER: I am not taking any side in this argument, you just reminded me of Captain Novolin and I wanted to share.

    • Mumbles says:

      Have you ever noticed that people tend to accept smart, playful commentary about politically incorrect subjects? Sometimes comics, literature or even video games can be extremely harsh in the name of funny, but if it’s all in good fun and smart no one cares.

      When garbage like this is produced it’s because they think they’ll get easy laughs and it allows them to say outdated, hateful, sexist shit under the veil of comedy. Then, if anyone speaks up and expresses disgust, it’s CLEARLY because they hate freedom of speech.

      Bro, I know you’re starting a flame war because you think people have the right to be fucking assholes. And, you’re right. They do. But, I have the right to call them out on their bullshit.

      • Cineris says:

        Not sure how asking a question concerning the very strong reactions people have towards this video is starting a flame war, but I’ll avoid taking your bait and turning it into one.

        • X2Eliah says:

          Bit late to play the high-horse card, don’t you think?

        • Melfina the Blue says:

          Perhaps a personal antedote will help you understand. In my last job, I asked to be off call for Labor Day weekend. I first put in my request in Jan and was approved. When my boss left, I repeated my request to my boss’s boss. When they hired a new manager for me, I again made sure that he was okay with me taking that weekend off. Come that week, he decided to go to FL, and that I was on call. I’d been on call for nights and weekends for 6 months by myself at that point, and he’d been aware of and had approved my request two months earlier.

          When I politely expressed my unhappiness with his decision(without raising my voice or becoming upset), I was called a typical over-reacting female. He used my sex against me to negate my valid complaint. It’ s certainly not the first or last time that has happened to me, and it is incredibly frustrating to be treated or dismissed as less important simply because I possess ovaries rather than testes.

          Hopefully this goes some way towards helping you understand why this sort of thing pushes buttons.

    • Eldiran says:

      Sounds like you’ve been over-exposed to this kind of stuff if it doesn’t bother you. The idea you proposed sounds equally offensive and stupid.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “For those who did, do you think you’d still find this video really objectionable if it was some dorky chick proposing an evil masculinist villain who needed to pop Viagra regularly?”

      Yes I would.Gender inequality runs both ways,and is just as insulting.

      Not to say that this cannot be played for laughs,(for example,futurama does it quite well)but this isnt done for laughs,this is just pure undistilled idiocy.

    • Sagretti says:

      I think that idea’s about as bad as proposed, though the really horrible part is less their final idea, and how they came to it. The guys even say, paraphrased, that when they think of a villain, they think of a woman. If he would have said “I think of a black guy” or “I think of a Jewish person,” IGN would have burned the tapes and never spoke of it again. But since his definition of a super-villain is a woman, it’s good entertainment apparently.

      I agree with Shamus, be angry with IGN. These guys have every right to be moronic frat boys, but IGN doesn’t have to support their idiocy and support it.

      • Cineris says:

        You’re right that IGN would have never aired it had that comment been about blacks or Jews, however that’s hardly surprising given it’s a much more taboo thing.

        However poorly his comic delivery, I felt the irony was clear given the over-the-top nature of their proposal – It’s not just “a woman,” it’s a childless menstruating woman in BDSM gear. It’s as silly as Captain Planet villains who physically take on mutated forms like pigs and rats while gleefully killing plants and wildlife.

        It’s also important to remember that the video as presented to us has gone through two sets of editors, and verbal irony is easy to twist into a different meaning when you remove proper context (as the linked video does). I really want to watch the full original episode, since I suspect IGN wouldn’t be incompetent enough to produce anything as stupid as the one Shamus linked. Unfortunately it’s not on YouTube that I saw.

        • Sagretti says:

          Here’s the thing, though. The comment I was referring to wasn’t “When I think supervillain, I think monstrous, menstruating psycho feminist,” which wouldn’t have been great either, but would have been a little less horrible. He said, paraphrasing again, “supervillain=woman,” and his fellow designer laughed. There was no editing to make that statement. Even though he might be joking, it’s still a stupid, misogynistic comment that says a lot about the person’s opinion of the opposite gender. This is someone that views the women, at least to some extent, as the enemy.

    • Irridium says:

      Women have been flamed to shit for FAR less than that. Going by what I’ve seen, I think I can predict the general response.

      40% murder threats. 50% rape threats. 10% sexist comments/insults.

    • Hitch says:

      For those who did, do you think you’d still find this video really objectionable if it was some dorky chick proposing an evil masculinist villain who needed to pop Viagra regularly? And the men put everyone in concentration camps but then got really upset and (did something over-the-top) when they realized they couldn’t (cook || clean || get dressed || make important decisions) without the help of women?

      I’m sorry that would probably be objected to even more. As it is, these stupid frat boys are just stupid frat boys. If it was female prospective designers, then the image would be interpreted as, “there are so few women designing games because they’re all man-hating idiots like this.” Which would be unfair, stupid and even more despicable.

    • Kevin J. says:

      Welcome to the wonderful world of double standards- the same reason Dannon can get away with this Super Bowl commercial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y59VUQxX3Dk when if he had gotten up and given her the backhand she deserves for doing that we’d all be deaf from the wailing….

      • Stellar Duck says:

        I thought that was pretty funny. You led me to believe it was something terrible. It was an ad showing how much they’d like us to think we want that yoghurt. Had he struck back that would have defeated the point.

        As ads go, I quite liked that one.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          The problem is that in our society such an ad is ok,but if the roles were reversed(she is teasing him,then he headbuts her),people wouldve been outraged.The ad itself is fine.The inequality of sexes that exist in our world is not.

          • Shamus says:

            I really think the problem with the ad is that they didn’t properly set up the guy as a villain. I think the gender divide here is misleading us as to where the problem is. If this was a commercial where a couple of guys were sharing a jar of M&M’s, I would have felt the same way: The violence didn’t come off as justice, but as bullying.

            It was just playful flirting, followed by violence. If they had done it right, they would have made him more of a villain. We should have been angry at him when he took the hit. He needed to be established as a jerk and her as the underdog. THEN it would have worked for me. Instead, he just took a couple of extra spoonfuls for himself and got knocked out of his chair with a head-butt.

            They failed to make me hate him, and so the end, where she menaces him? It felt like the bully won.

    • KremlinLaptop says:

      You do understand the dynamics of power and privilege between a group of dorky chicks and these douchebags is pretty different, right? The comparison falls pretty flat.

      You know what that difference is? A straight guy can join any god damn game anywhere and play, he might get called an asshole and have shit talked about him and that’s part of gaming, but the atmosphere doesn’t turn instantly toxic the moment he opens his mouth.

      Try that being a woman and see how that pans out. See how many mouth-breathers tell you that you should get your tits out or gtfo. Has a guy ever been shouted at to get his cock out on some server? I don’t think so. Also try being a gay guy. Or hell a gay woman. Try being part of this community then and see how well we all get along really.

      See, the thing is that we live in a world where every god damn day is penis-day. Today, tomorrow and every day for a very very long time will be penis-day. We could erect small penis flags to celebrate this fact, but we really don’t need to because it’s pretty god damn obvious anyway.

      …And that’s why it’s offensive, because we have assholes in a privileged position taking shots at the imaginary evil feminazis. So if someone made that game about a dude popping viagra? Yeah, it wouldn’t be the same, because the playing field isn’t equal and at this rate we’re not going to be outgrowing childish chauvinism and keeping gaming a Boy’s Only club anytime soon.

      Also, I guess I should point out that I’m a straight dude it’s just that this sort of stuff pushes my buttons.

      • Shamus says:

        I agree with your assessment of how females are treated online, although I would argue that people ought to respect one another regardless of who is the “privileged” one. Otherwise we’ll have endless arguments about which way the playing field is tilted, how steep it’s tilted, and if my group is more aggrieved than your group. “I’m more oppressed than you therefore you need to pay me more respect than I pay you” – This is not the path to harmony, understanding, or reconciliation.

        My problem was when he said, “When I think of a villain, I think of a woman.” That’s where my problem starts. Villains CAN be women. But his entire premise was offensive and degrading to both genders. (Men are beer-swilling apes, women are hateful, vindictive shrews who can’t take care of themselves without the help of men.) In deft hands this could work as satire, but “the boss monster is a woman on menopasue” is not satirizing anything. It’s just ignorance.

        • KremlinLaptop says:

          I agree with you that playing the “We’re More Miserable Than You” Olympics doesn’t actually lead anywhere. The thing with this whole ‘privilege’ business is that it’s not so much about arguing who is the most aggrieved but more about realizing how society is geared to treat people differently depending on who or what they are and trying to fix that. The only way to really express that is to say that some people are more privileged than others. It’s not their fault and those who are in positions of privilege can’t do anything to give it away or give it up, there’s a few thousand years of history on all sides that have made things the way they are.

          Of course we’re constantly moving towards being more egalitarian and that’s a damn good thing.

          And that’s the thing about this equality hoopla then; it’s not about giving group X more because previously they had less, but about making groups X, Y and Z all equals and sometimes that does require pointing out how X or Y or Z had it better than the other two.

          On that note I find that the thing people are most afraid of when it comes to all this talk of equality is that they think they’ll need to ‘give up’ something for it.

          Also ditto on the last portion of your post.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          A question I have. If I were to say “When I think of a villain I think of the old lady who ran the local cab company for 50 years and spent every night chain smoking and talking to the drivers with a gravelly voice” would that be an issue. Because I do. I can easily see her as the secret mastermind of SPECTRE or something like that.

          Man, now I miss my youth, being drunk and spending an hour chatting with her at 4 in the morning and waiting for a cab.

          Bless her, she made sure than many a drunk guy got home safely.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Thats already a characterization.You practically summed up someones life.And while it may be offensive to that particular individual,its not a broad stereotype.Thats the difference between “nation/religion/gender X is stupid” and “this guy who is also X is stupid”.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Sorry,but “straight men are privileged” is very wrong.The same stereotypes that are detrimental to women,are also detrimental to men.I dont like sports,I like cooking,yet I have a girlfriend that was a soccer player.Any one of those three has earned me plenty of ridicule from idiots who think that “men play sports,women cook”.Gender inequality does exist,in droves,but its not beneficial for either gender.Forcing girls to play with dolls and dont touch the ball is not any more detrimental than forcing boys to never cry and hide their emotions.

        • KremlinLaptop says:

          You can still be a straight white dude and break all the stereotypes of being a straight white dude; it doesn’t negate the fact that you’re still a straight white dude. In a straight white dude society just by virtue of being one of us you’re conferred a natural bonus.

          Just like if you went to say Japan being a white dude would not be to your advantage like it is in the west, and might very well be to your detriment. There’s quite a bit of anti-gaijin sentiment.

          Neither of these things is right.

          Also those idiots who ridicule you for not liking sports and enjoying cooking? They’re sexists who can only comprehend people in terms of gender-stereotypes.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            Being treated as a human being is a bonus?Since when?It should be something natural,something that comes to you just by the virtue of being born,and not something you get as a bonus just because you were born to fit some aspects of a stereotype in your culture.Do you consider the treatment of women as victims in the cases of spousal abuse as a natural bonus that men dont deserve just because they are men?

            There are no bonuses,there are only penalties.If you are a man,and get a job based on your skills*,thats not a bonus,thats how it should be.If you are a woman,and get a crappier job,thats a penalty.Stereotypes based on gender,race,religion,or anything else are hurting everyone,because only a very small minority fits them perfectly.And that minority doesnt get a bonus,they only get what everyone should get by default:A normal treatment.

            *Not going to go into pulling strings here,because its not important for the argument.

            • KremlinLaptop says:

              No, I didn’t mean that being treated like a human being is a bonus. That is a given and on the baseline everyone should be treated equally, but the problem arises that some of us are more equal than others.

              Yes, if I get the job based on my skills. IF. I’ve seen equally or more skilled individuals in the same fields as me get passed over for either hiring or promotion because there were things wrong with them that they couldn’t affect, i.e being women, gypsies, foreigners, etc, etc.

              You’re right, it does hurt everyone and basically I think we’re agreeing here but we’re seeing the same thing from different perspectives. I do get normal treatment and for now that’s partially due to my privilege through the race and gender I happen to be.

              Eventually I won’t have that privilege, hopefully, meaning we’ll all be treated normally and as equals. For now though? I’m a bit more equal than other people. I can provide examples of this even, i.e how I’m an avid hunter and competitive shooter and have a much easier time getting licenses for new guns than an immigrant friend who is just as involved.

              Also yes there are examples of things where men are at a disadvantage, especially when victims of spousal abuse, rape, and in child custody issues either they’re not taken seriously as victims or women are favoured. That’s not right either.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                I get where youre coming from,but I dont think that the “what hurts you is a bonus for me” line of thought is accurate.Being treated in a normal fashion doesnt become a bonus when others are penalized,it still remains normal.Others having a crappier treatment means just that others have a crappier treatment.The line when something becomes normal treatment doesnt slide down when majority of people are treated badly,it stays where it always was.

  24. Mumbles says:

    Yo, this is some of the most hateful shit I’ve ever seen. These guys are the kind of bitches who think games need more rape jokes.

    • SolkaTruesilver says:

      I still don’t see how they are any worse than many other stupid Reality TV.

      The whole rant against these alleged members of the human specie seems to be coming from the fact it’s about video games, and it touches a sensitive cord in our fanbase.

      Beyond that, they aren’t any more stupid than 80% of the reality tv shows on air, and I don’t see why we should pay them any more attention. Linking their video and helping to make it viral sure won’t discourage IGN to stop that practice.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        Just because its not worse than other trash doesnt mean it deserves to be skipped over.Heck,all the other trash reality shows need to dies as well.

        Also,its not igns official video,they are getting nothing from this.In fact,the more people copy and edit their videos,the less people will have to actually watch their shows,and thus less money will go to them.

        • SolkaTruesilver says:

          I admire your mental endurance if you are genuinely ready to stop and properly criticize each trashy reality TV shows that happens to cross the internet.

          I’d rather simply ignore them, and let whomever is interested in that specific subculture have whatever perverted fun they get out of it (either with genuine fun or simple bile fascination). But I refuse to watch on the simple reason I value my brain cells’ lives.

          If anything, I’ll simply go out of my way, from now on, to avoid consulting anything IGN-related rather than simply not being naturally inclined to check them up by desire to consult higher quality Video Game-related medias.

      • Mumbles says:

        I disagree. People aren’t going to watch the next season of this because most of us can barely get through the video.

        • SolkaTruesilver says:

          I will never, EVER underestimate the Internet’s capacity to watch and find perverse enjoyment at the crappiest things in the world’s existence.

          Like Garak said, “I always hope for the best, but experience taught me to expect the worst”

          • Mumbles says:

            I generally like when shit like this is pointed out, though. Like, back when Tera was first being introduced to the western world, a video of a developer pointing out how cool it is to look up your character’s skirt as she’s running surfaced and the internet was PISSED. After that, Tera staff were nothing BUT apologetic and the dude who made that comment was fired. No, they aren’t changing the visual style of the game, but at least they aren’t bragging about being perverts.

            I know this isn’t the same completely, but letting dogs lie isn’t always the answer.

            • SolkaTruesilver says:

              Big difference between a professional you hired to do a job and just gave your company a PR black eye and a bunch of frat boys you purposely hired to do and say the most controversial and stupid things while you have plausible deniability regarding every statement they make as “they aren’t your employees”.

              Plus, the programmer actually was talking about a developped product that the company was hoping to sell. A product that probably cost hundred of thousands, if not millions of dollars. Compare that to the (undevelopped and uncreative) brainchild* of these frat boys who’s most valuable contribution to the gaming world was to kill the brain cells of anybody with the bad taste to enjoy that sort of show.

              *I am using “child” very generously. “Monstrosity” or “difformed and rotten stillborn pheotus” would qualify as well.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                Except in the end of the video,the male judge,who is probably the employee,says that he likes that idea the most.

                • SolkaTruesilver says:

                  …….

                  Well, curse my inability to last until the end of the video. Please don’t touch me sir :-P

                  I’ll just go in a corner and weep for the future of humanity’s culture. Future generations will look back upon this age and remember it at the peak of our Rome’s decadence.

                  • SolkaTruesilver says:

                    Well, apparently, it’s actually NOT the case. So I got back some faith in mankind.

                    • Daemian Lucifer says:

                      Ok,let me then crush that faith completely(trust me,it wouldve been way better if it was the judge who actually said that in context):

                      The genre they were working with was realistic simulation in a post apocalyptic setting,the line “when I think villain,I think woman” is there,unedited,and its not amongst the worst lines from these two,but the real kicker is that it wasnt the judge who decided who should leave,it was the audience.And the audience voted enough for these two morons that they werent the worst team.So whats worse than a tv show painting its crew badly?A tv show painting its viewers badly.

            • Peter H. Coffin says:

              See, I think that point actually clarifies what really bugs me about the game in the video. Perving on or abusing the player-avatar character (and critically, making it optional) seems way more okay to me than abusing the other characters, especially the nemeses, and doubly so if the abuse is scripted right into the game.

        • Ingvar says:

          I managed just over two minutes. When I could feel both of my hands grasping for (virtual, thankfully) sporks so I could make the sight GO AWAY, I realised that just stopping watching was the short-term most expedient solution.

    • Tse says:

      Of course they do! Have you seen DNF? The rape jokes are what make it one of the best games humanity has ever made. /sarcasm

  25. Indy says:

    Am I the only one who likes the Trilby? I checked the youtube page and it’s covered in comments about ‘stupid hats’ as much as about the terrible sexism.

    • I like the hat. I just think it’s way too awesome for the idiot wearing it.

    • anaphysik says:

      Though I do see some trilby hate in the comments, there are other (legitimately stupid) hats in the vid. Like the animal-ears-frig-is-that-thing, or the askew baseball cap, or the blink-or-you’ll-miss-it oversized felt (top hat? pilgrim hat? leprechaun hat?) very near the beginning.

      Also, yeah, nothing really wrong with the trilby, but some idiots have taken to wearing it, and thus it has sadly developed a bad reputation by association.

    • Hitch says:

      The Trilby is fine. With the possible exception of being worn by guys like the one in the video “ironically.” I assumed the “stupid hat” comments were more directed at the animal-character, ear-flap hat worn by a different idiot.

      • Peter H. Coffin says:

        Around here, Trilbys are the quintessential “hipster hat”, and they’re *all* worn “ironically”. It’s enough to make me want a beat-to-hell Tyrolean like Chico Marx used to wear.

  26. ehlijen says:

    I actually went and tried to see of the full version of the this episode is as bad. It is, but there are some points that I feel need to be addressed in your article:

    When you say ‘IGN said this was the best idea’ about the amazon woman, you omitted the ‘…so far’, which, given that it was the first boss proposed to that judge made the comment somewhat meaningless. It should still have been ‘guys, what’s wrong with you?’ though. The judge declared the zombie spewing space blob the winner in the end (subject to audience votes…sigh), which was the least dumb out of all of them (and slightly more creative in detail than it was presented in this cut down clip).

    And the random topics they were given were, I believe:
    -realistic simulation/postapocalypse
    -racing/medieval (this team got critized by the judge for picking racing despite it being purely random…)
    -space/comedy
    -violent fps/kids education
    -RTS/scifi

    The fps/kids game was just a dumb combo, but I’m pretty sure better people could have done something decent with the other topics.

    • guy says:

      Pretty sure the last one was actually Horror/RTS, hence why the result was kind of dumb, because it’s like mixing bonsai and NASCAR. “Zombie Spider Queen” is about as good as you’re going to get.

  27. Daemian Lucifer says:

    Funny how sf debris aslo talked about reality shows today(in a way).

  28. I agree completely with your point, Shamus.

    The bottom line for me in ANY of these “reality” shows is that I highly resent the producers’ lame attempts to emotionally manipulate me through contrived scenarios and false editing. Even if there isn’t any real conflict between the contestants, they will often edit a scene to make it appear as if there is.

    I don’t object to competition, per se, but I would much rather see people having fun and working together cooperatively.

    Does anyone remember FUN?

    • Sumanai says:

      Wait, I’ve heard of it. How did the rule go again? “If someone else is having it, you’re not.”

      I actually had, for a few passing seconds, hope that the Survivor would be good, because they’d be actually forced to survive. And then I realised what it truly was.

      • Stranger says:

        There was a show I ran across . . . “The Colony” which seems to be more about surviving than group interplay. I still can’t watch it because the people playing are still treating it as a game with rules rather than a survival situation.

        It’s a survival situation, where you are trying to make a ruined building into habitation and get enough supplies to survive. Some dude comes up to the camp, makes demands, and says “we’ll be back and take your stuff”. Next time they come back, why aren’t the “players” going for lethal defenses rather than simply “this will scare them off” . . .?

        We know at least one answer: they can’t, because it’s not real. Other answers could be “it’s a bad idea to prove you are willing to kill, because then you up the ante to the other side”, but really? Letting them take your supplies is letting them kill you slowly.

        It’s somewhat off topic, but it’s at least reality television which is interesting. Though the one time I heard about a Survivor series where they were supposed to be pirates and one team stole the unattended goods of the other team . . . I spent five minutes laughing and chuckling at the sheer audacity to “break the rules”. What rules?

  29. Rayen says:

    yeah the first time i watched that i only made it through a minute before knocking it off in disgust. managed to sit through the rest of it today. Watching it i worry that people like this are making the games i play. i’m not going to come and talk about my views on whether the state of the games industry is more sexist than it would like to admit, but that there are people like that being broadcast to the world as a representation of our hobby and our community makes me feel as if i have been somehow defeated.

  30. Tse says:

    There is a place for sexist jokes, as long as they’re done right. The movie Ronal the Barbarian is a good example. It’s full of sexist (a lot of them gay) jokes, but it is fun to watch. It’s self-conscious enough and the gay jokes are not the main plot point.

  31. Mus says:

    The sexism’s not the only thing wrong here… why is there a guy wearing a tan jacket with red armbands? That… that combination has a history.

    (With that said, the editing seems to be a bit needlessly vindictive. I understand looping the stupid statements, but… looping that guy scratching his nose was not called for.)

    • Sagretti says:

      I really didn’t understand the nose scratching loop. If they looped him picking his nose on camera it would make some sense at least, even if it was still a cheap shot. But what’s so fascinatingly awful about a guy scratching his nose?

    • Tizzy says:

      The editing is really heavy-handed here, and it’s obviously mostly from the person who posted this rather than the original show. To which I ask: what’s the point? If the show is really that bad, let it speak for its awful self rather than come in with an obvious axe to grind. It really bugs me because it totally undermines the credibility, to the point that I’m not even convinced that the panelist *ever* says that he likes the woman boss best: the whole thing is so aggressively edited that it stinks of manipulation.

      End result: I didn’t manage to muster nearly as much indignation as Shamus, because I had the sneaking suspicion that I was being led on the whole time.

  32. Pteroid says:

    I’m…I’m going to have a goddamned Aneurysm…unbelievable.

  33. Doctor Satan says:

    also one of ign’s member is now a character in me3. that’ll totally not affect whatever unbias they had.
    but i love reading the comments in their reviews. HILARIOUS!

    • X2Eliah says:

      Errr, wait, what’s a character in ME3? Seriously?

      • Even says:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=YG9otVyV6GI#t=147s

        Just one among other worrying things. The game just seems to be increasingly heading towards the worst direction possible.

        • Sumanai says:

          Two videos and I feel blue. So, average day with popular entertainment.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Meh,it cannot sink lower than 2,because 1 raised my expectations which 2 promptly smashed into the ground.Now,I dont expect anything from 3,so Im good.

          • X2Eliah says:

            Well, consider.. One example: ME2 had a bunch of pretty good new companions such as Mordin, Grunt, Thane, Legion (well, admitted – there’s also Miranda and Jacob, that takes the score down a bit).

            ME2′s new companions? A fembot version of EDI (all the character you already knew and loved in a fresh sexsploitation package!), a COLLECTOR (Isn’t this going a bit too far with the “enemy cells are now your allies lol” theme?), and a mopy steroid-junked human (That Vega dude)..

            Idk. There’s stuff like this and a bunch more that indicates that ME3, indeed, has the potential to be even worse than the second one.

            • Jace911 says:

              It’s not a Collector; it’s a Prothean survivor. And fembot=/=sexbot; some of the concept art for EDI in ME3 actually strikes a balance between form and function (It’s supposed to be a repurposed infiltrator robot). Now, given that this is Bioware we’re talking about I admit there’s still a good chance we’ll get an EDI/Joker sex scene (>__<) but there's also still a chance that they're not just pandering to the robophiles with her design.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Even if it indeed ends up being worse,it still wont matter.The fall from 1 to 2 was so big that no matter how low 3 sinks it wont be able to top that.

              • lurkey says:

                Well, methinks that “Hurr durr skip dem long wurds lemme shoot DAKKADAKKADAKKA” mode has great potential. To make a new low, I mean. And it’s not alone, it’s with friends, so I fear your optimism will be killed.

              • Even says:

                If you want to look for positives, some of the gameplay changes don’t sound nearly half as bad as the some of the lore, character and plot changes do. You could say some of them sound even good on paper. For me it’s just the fact that it’s going to be an Origin exclusive which is why I’m not really gonna be bothering with it.

  34. Urthman says:

    Shamus, as long as you’re still writing for the Escapist, which publishes that misogynist ass Jim Sterling, you have zero moral credibility from which to criticize IGN on a subject like this.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Really?Guilty by association?In that case,every human being is an immoral,psychotic,pedophilic,sadistic mass murderer with suicidal tendencies,because some humans are one of those things.

      • Tizzy says:

        Very reminiscent of that SOPA debacle, isn’t it? Websites are responsible for what *anyone* posts there and Shamus must endorse the opinions of every Escapist contributor ever. Makes perfect sense!

        EDIT: Blast! Zeta Kai made the SOPA connection already!

    • X2Eliah says:

      As long as you are commenting on Shamus’s blog, which is maintained by that guy Shamus, who is writing for Escapist, which publishes that Sterling stuff, you have zero credibility from which to criticize writers like this.

      And since I’m replying to your comment on a blog held by that guy Shamus who …..

    • Zeta Kai says:

      Oh, really? None. No cred at all to call a spade a spade? What qualifications are you looking for then when judge who is allowed to point out something wrong? Just how much credibility (as if that were relevant) does one need to draw attention to injustice, hypocrisy, or idiocy? So Shamus has an irregularly-published column in a magazine that carries some other guy you don’t like. So what? That other asshole could be raping the elderly right now, & it wouldn’t impact Shamus, his “moral credibility”, or his point one whit. It’s irrelevant in the extreme.

      I’m on the toilet right now as I type it? Does that make my point less valid somehow? I’m also seething with anger at you, & I can’t even be bothered to read your screen-name. Again, it doesn’t make a difference. The venue doesn’t matter, & how else posts there doesn’t matter either.

      Unless you’re SOPA/PIPA, of course, & that Other Guy just posted a link to some torrents, in which case, the venue is scheduled for termination.

    • Gndwyn says:

      Terrible as they are, IGN is at least holding this stuff up for ridicule. The Escapist is giving a regular column to a guy who has said worse stuff about women than anything in this video. But is Shamus going to criticize the Escapist? No, he’s too busy taking their money.

      (Sorry, not sure why I’m showing up with a different user name from this browser. Gndwyn = Urthman)

  35. Amarsir says:

    Thank you for reminding me why I always go to the original source. Your instincts were right Shamus to call out the layered editing. Unfortunately you didn’t go with that, and now I’m in the unwanted position of defending IGN.

    Sure, the guys deserve blame for coming up with this stuff, but let the record show that IGN claimed the “feminist apocalypse” was the best idea.
    No, they did not. You were led to that conclusion by an edited clip and you should have known better. If you look at the actual episode the guy did not like it. They were the first presenters and trying to be polite the guy made a joke about being “the best so far”. That is absolutely not the same thing as saying it’s the best idea. It wasn’t. The multifaceted demon boss was chosen as best.

    Unfortunately this huge inaccuracy has now undercut points that would have otherwise been valid about reality shows, lowest common denominator, and underestimating gamers. Now instead of supporting your post I think you owe IGN a major apology.

    • Shamus says:

      You’re right. That second layer of editing is willfully misleading and undercuts their point. Shame on the person who did that.

    • Josh H says:

      Oh wow, thanks for pointing that out. I only noticed that the Youtube editor did those annoying double takes to emphasize the particularly offensive things the contestants said. It didn’t occur to me that the entire video was edited to make IGN look bad.

    • Sumanai says:

      Even if the judges aren’t supporting it, the idea is still pretty damn horrible and seeing it being made isn’t going to be easy. I still intent to see the original so I know what’s different.

      • anaphysik says:

        Here you go:

        http://www.ign.com/videos/2011/03/28/the-next-game-boss-episode-1

        Pernicious editing was indeed applied, though that doesn’t excuse everything.

        The beginning of the second episode also lends a bit of insight, in that this ‘challenge’ was a minor thing completely unrelated to actual games that the teams are working on (which makes it particularly stupid that their performance on the challenge apparently matters far more to IGN than their games).

        Of course, it’s still stupid, and I cannot really bear to watch any more than that. Frolic at your own discretion.

  36. Sumanai says:

    2:11 and I don’t want to continue. The line “dead ugly princesses” is too much. Apparently one of the three most important things about these enemies is that they’re ugly women. Yes, real grown up there.

    ‘This culminates with a group of kids who pitch a game based around the “feminist apocalypse”, where men have been lured into prison camps with promises of beer and sex and are ruled by their angry feminist overlords.’
    And I’m glad I stopped.

    “There’s more to it than that, but you’ll have to watch it yourself if you want to get the full picture.”
    No, no no no. I’m good, thank you.

    I really don’t see how I’m supposed to think that this could be merely politically incorrect, since it’s pretty obvious this is misogynist. I’m far from a fighter for equality, but goddamn.
    “When I think of ‘villain’ I think of ‘woman’”
    How can you misconstrue that as actual humour? How is that not misogynist?

    And then the menopause. So apparently inability to push out more babies is evil. No, no historical and sociological burden there, none whatsoever.

    • Tizzy says:

      To be honest, I would think that women have more scores to settle with princesses than men do. Some might welcome the depiction of dead ugly ones… That being said, if I was a male game designer, I’d probably think it more prudent (chivalrous even?) to let a female colleague come up with that concept…

      • Sumanai says:

        It’s the way it is being presented. When it’s important for you to note that they’re enemies and they’re ugly you’re drawing a parallel. It doesn’t really matter if it was intended to be taken as “for a change a princess that isn’t pretty” it’s going to be read as “they’re ugly and female, therefore they’re the bad guys”. Because wouldn’t the enemy otherwise be a mixture of “dead ugly royalty, consisting of both princes and princesses”? It’s not like princes aren’t often good looking as well.

        This wouldn’t be an issue either if there weren’t so many people who say stuff that basically translates to “you’ve got ovaries and you’re ugly, therefore you’re wrong”. Or “you’ve got ovaries and you’re saying things I don’t want to hear, therefore you’re ugly and wrong”.

        Now, editing could make the comment appear worse because of a lack of context, but it’s the only context in which I’ve seen it.

        Personally, I think I’d suggest to her that she’s got something against princesses and urge to find a more positive way of venting about it. (And less childish, but I wouldn’t say that.)

  37. chrisw10 says:

    I only read the Nintendo channels on that site and I haven’t noticed any of this. So, you know, there are still some decent people over there…

  38. Vect says:

    Speaking of IGN… Jessica Chobot, one of their reporter-people/eyecandy is now in Mass Effect 3. Seems Bioware have a thing of putting female nerd icons into their games recently…

  39. River says:

    Little did anyone know the sequel that these people would want to make involves a group of hyper masculine super soldiers still experiencing this “feminist appocalypse” running around and using more attacks on the other soldiers sexuality then youd find in all the Junior High schools in the world combined.

  40. burningdragoon says:

    It’s funny. I first saw this video like a year ago when it first came out and was surprised that it was still finding it’s way around the internet, but nothing else. Granted I don’t regularly spend any time on IGN, but this video is the only thing I have ever heard about this supposed TV show. Does it actually exist? Was there a winner?

    …I found that funny anway. (Not the vid, the other stuff)

  41. TV? Really? Who watches that anymore?
    Like you said, there’s some value to outcry when the media has reached a new low. However, the fact that even discussing this needed justification is its own indicator of just how pointless it is to attempt to rectify the degraded desires of the LCD market in mass media through pressuring providers. Sure it’s stupid, but some people actually buy this stuff. If IGN wasn’t supplying it, someone else would be.

  42. guy says:

    I think the best summary of this is provided by a person on a forum where I linked to this:

    “I couldn’t watch the whole thing because I was too busy hating all the people.”

  43. This might cock some eyebrows in my general direction, but I thought the femmenist apocalypse was funny as hell. The whole video was cringe worthy but in a way that made me want to keep watching. Of coarse, it all depends on how you view it. Not for one second while watching this did I think of any of these people or ideas as products of a game developer-in fact-none of those ideas would ever make it out alive at a legit developer.

    It’s like if you take a chimp out of a zoo, dress it up like a human, stick it in a board meeting at some F-500 company and expect it NOT to start flinging poo everywhere-hilerity will ensue-so long as you dont hold the chimp to the same mental and moral standards as a regular human…that’s the same way I viewed those kids in that clip, except the poo in that case would only be a metaphor.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      “This might cock some eyebrows in my general direction, but I thought the femmenist apocalypse was funny as hell.”

      Sure,throw out that line “When I see villain,I see a woman”,and it can be viewed as just a comedy.Or just go watch amazon women in the mood for an actually funny take of women apocalypse.

  44. Eärlindor says:

    I managed to get through the whole video, but not without scars.

    It’s funny actually, my sister (who doesn’t know anything about gaming or industry “politics”) came up behind me when I was watching this. I had headphones on so she couldn’t hear anything that was being said, but in less than two seconds (I kid you not) she had an idea of what was going on and said, “Stop it! Shut that video off NOW.”

  45. Schadenfreude is probably it Shamus, a chance for people to feel superior in some way.

    There are some that are OK. Dragons Den UK, and Dragons Den Canada (first season), I haven’t seen the original Dragons Den from Japan so I cant comment on that.
    The Dragons can be a pain in the ass, then again they are investing their own time and risking their own cash so usually they are very straightforward and honest on what they think of the stuff the hopefuls come into the “Den” with.

    One of the best “reality” shows is probably QI http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QI
    You actually “gasp” learn stuff watching QI.

  46. Eric says:

    What makes me saddest is that this casts a really dark shadow on game developers. It kind of trivializes the whole matter of game creation and reduces it to brainstorming the most outlandish, stupid things and then completely glosses over the part that is actually important and difficult: implementation. This just further perpetuates the notion that game design is all about ideas, when in reality ideas are only a tiny fraction of the work.

    There are some exceptionally smart people who understand, study and craft games on a level beyond the comprehension of most gamers, and their passion and dedication is being reduced to a string of fart jokes and misogynist garbage. The fact that some of these guys will probably end up getting hired due to the publicity alone is insulting to say the least.

  47. X2Eliah says:

    BTW Shamus, the Comment counters are a bit off-sync. The bits that go “xy comments – insert witty short sentence here!” show one number higher than the big bold ” XY Comments: ” at the top of the.. er, comments.

    Might be that the big bold thingy is counting displayed ones while the fancy witty sentence thingy is taking total (including those in moderation/spam queue), perhaps? Feels a bit weird to see this discrepancy literally in two consecutive lines of text, though.

  48. Alex says:

    IGN has long been a source of poison to the industry. It’s a vapid, grating display of advertisements wrapped around a rotten core of review-score prostitution. I know it’s easy to dismiss this latest affront to our hobby simply because only a fool would expect IGN to behave differently. Perhaps that’s true. But I still think it’s worth noting when a new low is attained.

    Truth.

    Also, you could replace “IGN” with “Gamespot”, “Gamespy” or “The Escapist” and not lose a beat.

  49. Smejki says:

    Hi Shamus!
    I love most of your critical articles, but this is a bit redundant (except pointing out that IGN is disgustingly evil institution). There is only one thing thing to say – the show is designed to find and show the most lulzy ideas, not good ideas. There the important ends because after few minutes with the show you can see it is just a showcase for 4chan like geeky humor and nothing more. Though I don’t think this humor is in any way dangerous or anything. People who would mean such humor seriously behave much more different.

    Interesting is that this shows might make an outsider think that gamers a game creators are a bunch idiots who enjoy creating and playing such lulzy but crappy things. Bulletstrom was probably made by a bunch of such people who perhaps really enjoy making such games or think that people want such idiotic, sexistic and machistic generators of instant awesomeness. But selling numbers are quite low even thou the marketing push was really massive. It shows that people don’t like craps that much. And this makes me positive.

  50. William says:

    Feminist Apocalypse was already made in 1995 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKjCqSRW9N4

    Gender Wars… It was a lot like Syndicate.

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