Mumblo Drama: Spoiler Warning Edition

By Shamus
on Mar 30, 2016
Filed under:
Diecast

170 comments

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EDIT: Okay. That’s enough of this. Topic closed.

For me, it`s always like this.

For me, it`s always like this.

Last week there was a bit of controversy on Spoiler Warning. If you don’t watch the show or don’t read the comments then you probably won’t have the context for this. Basically, Mumbles made some jokes about torturing robots, some other people objected, and then Mumbles recorded this:

During the show, when she said she was sick of the female coach character, it hit on something I’d been thinking about for weeks, which was the series of design decisions that led to this trope. So as she commented on it, I reflexively went, “Oh, here’s a segue into that thing I’ve been thinking about!” So then I tried to talk about it on the spot, and halfway into it I realized it was too big and complicated to cover on the showThis actually happens pretty often. I should rename my column, “Random Shit That Didn’t Fit on Spoiler Warning.”. I ended up turning it into my weekly column. But then that dumped even more aggro on Mumbles. (Sorry Mumbles.)

Hopefully this clears everything up and puts the controversy to rest. This is supposed to be fun.

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Footnotes:

[1] This actually happens pretty often. I should rename my column, “Random Shit That Didn’t Fit on Spoiler Warning.”


A Hundred!20202010Many comments. 170, if you're a stickler

From the Archives:

  1. Hitch says:

    How much worse would I make the situation by pointing out that just like when we get outraged at whatever Kane did on RAW the other night it has no reflection on who Glen Jacobs is as a person, taking umbrage at what Mumbles may have said on Spoiler Warning doesn’t mean we know anything about Kelly‽

  2. MadTinkerer says:

    Mumbles, as a character, is a creative work. I think everyone who’s been paying attention to the Twenty-Sided-verse knows by now exactly how creative works always involve putting a genuine part of the creator in the work, and how you can easily analyze the creative work to see the creator’s actual mental state. Or, you know, not.

    EDIT: That’s not to bash critics and analysts just for criticizing and analyzing. I’m just agreeing with Mumbles and (maybe?) Davey Wreden and (probably) Chris that you can’t really extrapolate the real personality of creators based solely on their fictional work, and even less so when they’re explicitly playing a character. Just to make that 100% clear.

    EDIT 2: And besides, clearly it’s Shamus who’s the crazy sadist who enjoys hurting robots. Have you seen those Good Robot trailers? You literally play a crazy robot sadist who hurts thousands of robots!

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      And I thought that beginners guide would put a stop to armchair psychologists.But I still see it cropping up everywhere all the time.It saddens me.

      • Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

        Maybe people missed the point.

      • Zak McKracken says:

        Slightly related:
        https://www.xkcd.com/1657/

      • Well, not everyone has played the Beginners Guide, and I don’t think the problem is that easy to solve anyway. There’s a concept in literary criticism that has gained a lot of popularity in recent times (recent meaning the last 50 years) that a work should not automatically be assumed to be a reflection of the author’s beliefs or ideology. Still, the (rather Freudian) idea that peoples’ writing reflects their repressed desires is a persistent one and it will take a lot of work to get people to stop thinking that. The problem is that the concept that a person can write from a perspective they don’t actually share is neither immediately obvious (on the surface, at least) nor has it been widely held for most of history.

        What I’m saying is, armchair psychologists aren’t going away anytime soon (but we can hope they become fewer.)

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          True.But there is still a difference between a literally critic who has read both the works and biographies of the author they are trying to analyze,and joe average throwing buzzwords at their youtube entertainer after only watching their show,and maybe their twitter.

          • Zak McKracken says:

            I see it this way: Literary critics have much better sets of information, and they have the education to use them wisely, as long as they stay close to their specialist topic.

            Interested members of the audience usually have less of either, but they’re still interested. Now, for human beings a large part of learning about something or coming to grips with concepts is communication, i.e. you talk about the things that you’re interested in, you present how you understand them, see how others like it and in so doing develop you own perspective.

            Actually, that’s what I’m doing at this very moment. To some extent, many things Shamus discusses on this blog are (sufficiently advanced) armchairing, but for many topics it’s the best view we’re likely to get (and be able to understand). The problem when doing this, of course, is not sounding like a know-it-all or stepping on somebody’s toes, or otherwise not understanding one’s own limits and failing to flag speculations up etc..
            I’m particularly guilty of this and find it quite hard to put an undertone of “I think it may be like this but not 100% sure but doesn’t the following make sense somehow?” into pretty much everything I voice here, and I’m willing to bet most have that problem.

            …And voilá, you’ve got someone who talks smarter than he/she is…
            Yet I wouldn’t be too angry because the alternative is not to partake in a discussion you’re interested in and that’s not helping either.

        • Daimbert says:

          This makes sense for fiction, but doesn’t make much sense for non-fiction works, which includes general commentary. If I write a philosophical paper and don’t make it clear that this is a survey or don’t make it clear which views I really hold and which views I’m simply representing, it’s not unreasonable for people to claim that I hold the latter views. Admittedly, this can be taken too far with the assumption that if you defend ANY views of a certain side, you automatically agree with ALL of them, and people often tend to do that even IF you say that you don’t agree with the overall philosophy. For example, elsewhere in commentary about Objectivism while I’ve pointed out on a number of occasions that I don’t support it — and it’s clear from my nick there that I’m actually STOIC-leaning — people assume that as soon as I defend it from any attacks that I must be supporting it. I don’t, because I don’t support Egoism. It’s just that their attacks on it so often miss the point.

          With youtube and the like, there’s the issue of them adopting personas, and so you can’t assume that the persona is the person themselves … but then they need to be clear that they have a persona that is different from their own personality, because it won’t be obvious. And while I don’t watch Spoiler Warning or listen to the Diecast, my impression is that the reason these are popular is because, for the most part, these people are expressing their real views and real feelings; if Mumbles is just putting on a persona, then, that might have an impact on how people react to what she says.

          That being said, people need to be able to express what they really think, and even joke about things that they don’t really believe, and people ought to be able to criticize the view without criticizing the person, and I think the robot thing, at least, drifted too much to the latter.

  3. Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

    I really don’t want you to feel like you have to hold back when you do this. I enjoy the Mumbles persona. The way your character is so cheerful about your cannibalism and other psychotic urges. She’s a wonderfully dissonant and dark character.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      It’s very Addams Family-ish.

    • Steve C says:

      More evil Mumbles!

    • Echo Tango says:

      I don’t want Mumbles to feel like she can’t express herself. The original incident involved fictional people. They’re not AIs, cyborgs, or even flesh-and-blood humans, who can be hurt. They’re completely non-sapient, because they were built that way, as part of the game that was being played. Nobody can possibly be hurt by actions done to those things. Furthermore, it was a joke. She’s not actually hurting anyone, planning on doing so, or advocating anyone else to do so.

      TLDR: keep rocking the character / jokes, Mumbles! :)

  4. The Rocketeer says:

    About your disagreement with Shamus:

    Not only did Shamus never tell you you you were wrong, he said the opposite. “I’m not saying you shouldn’t complain about it or that you’re wrong for not liking it,” were Shamus’ exact words.The closest he comes to a dismissal is saying “It’s not that it happens too much…” in the process of conjecturing the reason that the trend recurs, and then explaining why it doesn’t bother him, and that he’d agree with you if he noticed it too many more times. That’s a very mild, diplomatic sort of disagreement, one that I wouldn’t characterize as “insane” or “silly.”

    • Wide And Nerdy ™ says:

      Maybe but its riding on the tails of the other thing.

      I think we should give her the benefit of a doubt on that. I think its clear that the other incident was still fresh and raw and so I don’t blame her if this is how she feels now.

      The other part of that is, with other things that have been going on, people like her have been put in a position where its expected that she’s speaking for a collective identity rather than as an individual. I think we’d be better off if we got away from that.

    • Mathias Kjeldsen says:

      …I think you’re kind of missing the point of the post there.

      Besides, your post comes off (and this is just to me, but I’m a foreigner with a different primary language) like you’re telling her how to feel about something that’s obviously still kinda raw and emotionally charged. Maybe not the best time to start picking sides?

    • Shamus says:

      I kinda pulled a “I’mma let you finish” on her, though. She was in the middle of making her point and I hijacked the discussion because I got distracted by shiny things. So while I didn’t SAY she was wrong, I sort of re-framed the discussion away from what she was talking about to what I wanted to talk about, which is rude and frustrating and probably what created the sense of opposition.

      • Classic says:

        If it’s any consolation:
        I feel like I got the thesis of Mumble’s point at the time.

        Though I also got a little into my own head mulling over why the feminine-voiced handler/navigator so got on Mumble’s nerves when I was pretty sure the “field” wasn’t massively over-represented by feminine voices. I haven’t (and won’t) run the numbers so maybe my feels are wrong on this one, but Dinklege-bot and the Portal 2 personality modules come to mind and I kind of assume the dudebro fps campaigns are sausage-fests. I kind of got the feeling if there was an under-representation of masculine voices, it was only like 40/60 and not 20/80.

        Obviously, this is irrelevant to Mumble’s complaint. But it’s the dumb tangent I went on.

        • guy says:

          It would probably be most accurate to say that women are more strongly represented in the role of “person who radios you with advice from somewhere else/while ethereal during action scenes” than in most other plot roles. If a game is nearly a sausage fest, the exception is disproportionately likely to radio you with advice a lot and rarely be in the field.

          • Classic says:

            QFT
            This, with “why not more women playable leads,” was my take-away after I got done sniffing my own farts.

        • SL128 says:

          I think part of it is that (I get the sense, anyway) Mumles ignores a lot of the AAA blandosphere, and is more likely to play somewhat-countercultural AA+Indie games which deliberately avoid the BADASS MAN BRIGADE thing.

      • Fists says:

        In your defense, cross-talk is one of the founding principles of spoiler warning.

    • Syal says:

      It’s more about the flow of it. You make two contributions in a day, the first is violently rejected and the second is brought up for debate separately in someone else’s workspace where you don’t have the same pull. It’s easy to see that as an attack on your place in the group, regardless of how it ends up.

  5. Steve C says:

    I torture most NPCs. It is fun. I played the SIMs only once and the only thing I did was torture a SIM. I feel nothing when I throw a stuffed animal into the trash either. I’ve never felt representations of people are people. It’s just a representation. Though it can be funny to do bad things.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      Like that vile scumbag Rutskarn just did to poor Vermai Oathkin.

    • Syal says:

      Also, from watching that SOMA episode, that robot was being a hilarious dick. They could just label that switch “Remember Little Lamplight”.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      I get why some people were unsettled by that joke.You can immerse yourself in a work of fiction and empathize with its characters.Its perfectly normal.And some of those comments were just pointing that out,those werent the problem.

      The problem are those who projected their feelings for the game onto Mumbles(and worse,not the real Mumbles,the Mumbles persona),and concluded that someone who doesnt feel the same thing they feel must be damaged.Which is something you shouldnt do with real events,let alone with fictional ones.

    • Classic says:

      I can’t help but project human emotions onto just about anything that has a face… So maybe it’s ME that’s weird… but…

      I think I’ll find someone else to watch my dogs, thanks though.

    • Twisted_Ellipses says:

      I think everyone has at some point got bored of The Sims and tried to kill them to give an ending to a game without a definitive one.

      There’s also a sense of exploration (one that Josh is good at) of “I wonder if they programmed this”. Testing the boundaries and going off the beaten track can be quite rewarding.

    • Trix2000 says:

      I’m totally with you on stuff like the Sims, but… YOU JUST THROW STUFFED ANIMALS AWAY?!?!?!

      …Actually, that’s plenty understandable. They’re just things, after all – not actually alive. But nobody better touch mine!

  6. Jokerman says:

    I’m guessing some comments got deleted in the spoiler warning thread? I was kinda lost when Shamus mentioned that he was “Really pissed about how people treated mumbles”

    • Steve C says:

      You aren’t the only one. I’m guessing it was on twitter or something.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        It’s certainly not in the Youtube comments, which I checked when I was similarly confused. Unless it happened there and those got deleted. Can you delete Youtube comments?

        • Syal says:

          You can delete Youtube comments, there was a whole controversy about the new Ghostbusters trailer doing that. But at least some of the comments in question are still here on SOMA episode 3 about halfway down the thread. (under what appears to be a Top Secret document someone posted).

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Nope,the comments are still there.In the episode 3 of soma spoiler warning.Its just locked so that you cant post there any more.

  7. Sarachim says:

    Mumbles, thanks for being so gracious in a trying situation. I’m glad you’re not leaving SW or the Diecast.

    FWIW, I meant my original comment to be about SOMA vs other games SW has covered, not you vs. other SW hosts, but I wasn’t very clear about that. I’m sorry for pulling the pin out of the drama grenade.

  8. KillSatt says:

    I knew you weren’t sincerely condoning actual robot torture. I think in addition to the whole color commentary thing a big thing is that when you’re playing any game there’s a tendency to play a role that may be at odds with your actual personality. And that’s part of the fun of games, is doing things that you would never actually do. Like, if you were constrained by how you would act in real life almost no-one would play Surgeon Simulator because you’d just be straight up murdering a guy.

    • Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      I did think she was condoning it, and so I apologize for overreacting. I got that it was a character, I got that the character is a schtick -but I did think that character and person were more intermixed.

      I still don’t like the character and never really have, but I will in the future remember that it is a character and restrain my criticisms accordingly.

      Again, I apologize.

      • Gruhunchously says:

        That’s fine, you can dislike the “character” of Mumbles as long as you distinguish it from Mumbles, the actual person, and ensure that criticism of the former doesn’t come across as a personal attack on the latter.

        Of course, maybe absolving you is really the job of Mumbles herself, not me. So if that’s the case, I apologize as well.

  9. Zak McKracken says:

    Fun stuff and crows! I’m all for it. Now, did I overlook this or have you not posted anything on crows in a very long time?

  10. Zak McKracken says:

    That feeling when you want to say something but someone interrupts, finishes half your thought and hijacks the topic… so infuriating!

    … and yet I know that I keep doing it to other people without noticing… so frustrating!

    I guess being nice can be hard.

  11. ooli says:

    I watched the spoiler warning episode. Mumble was just being funny.
    I guess people take it badly because Rutskarn sounded pretty emotionally moved by his experience with that part of the game.

    Rutskarn made it clear he had somewhat of a hard time, and I guess that fueled people to feel offended by Mumble’s joking her heart out.

    Mumble was funny. We lack option to torture robot in game.
    We should cherish any opportunity. I Hope the Good Robot will electrify some bad Robot.. they are so bad, so logically they deserve it at 82%.

  12. James Porter says:

    Alright, I need to actually catch up on SW, but I’m pretty sure the last time something like this happened, I ended up sounding like a jerk and its bugged me ever since. I think it was the end of the Batman season, and I ended up sounding like I thought Mumbles just should’t have an opinion on something.

    Its been bugging me ever since, and I think your explanation about the Mumbles persona really highlights what I think I did wrong(I think it was something about the tone of voice, I don’t even remember).

    So I’m sorry Mumbles, you are a real MVP of the Spoiler Warning crew, you are a real fav between me and my girlfriend, and I’m wishing you some peace of mind.

  13. Ivellius says:

    Sad that people were using your character to psychoanalyze you and sorry you felt you had to post this. I know it’s not the most comforting thing, but at least you can know that they’re talking about your character and not *actually* you, despite whatever they say.

    Next time Shamus hijacks you, just tell him to shut up and let you finish.

    It makes me sad that your kayfabe fearlessness is broken now, though. I don’t know why this disappoints me.

  14. Christopher says:

    I haven’t watched the Soma SW on account of avoiding spoilers, so I just wanna say I hope you’ve all made up. I like this comment section better than most and I like the hosts, too. It’s sad to see there’s been drama over the last few days.

    And I hope I didn’t say anything untoward in the Experienced Points blog post earlier this week, without having the full context behind the topic and the events in the show. If that’s the case, I’m sorry.

  15. Pilcow says:

    Since I commented in the early stages of the robot thing, I only want to say that I’m sorry if anything that I said could be interpreted as something about mumbles personality. English is not my first language and sometimes I sound more vehement that I am.

    What prompted my comment was that Mumbles commentary was reducing my enjoyment of the episode. I know that is only my problem, but I wanted to muse about the reason. In no way I intended to judge Mumbles nor anyone.

    In fact I tacitly accepted the answer of Daemian and moved on. I didn’t realize this whole question until now.

    So, if I have caused any harm with my comment I want to apologize for it.

  16. Phrozenflame500 says:

    I mean I thought it was funny, but I enjoy edgy humour so maybe it wasn’t other people’s cup of tea. I struggle to see how anybody could be so passionate about it to do the whole psychoanalysis route though.

    • Syal says:

      Having done a semi-long analysis of what makes Tidus unlikable even though Tidus never actually bothered me, I’ll say you really don’t need any reason for it more than “other people don’t immediately agree”.

  17. Classic says:

    I feel like there are lots of parts to why this shit blew up, beyond the usual suspects (e.g. the reason the hashtag-which-shall-not-be-named got and gets so much play):

    That the robots are kind of people. Moreso than almost anything else in the game. The uncanny valley doesn’t impede projecting emotions onto these robots the way it does in say… Skyrim.

    Also, this time mumbles got taken up on her monstrous suggestion (usually, she doesn’t and this is why). Further, unlike most of the monstrous things mumbles goads the cast into doing, the rest of the cast was not amused. There were too many moments of “dying air” where the cast was silent except for the robot/human screaming.

    But- I mean- let’s be honest with ourselves…
    The usual suspects are the deciding factor for why this is even sort of a thing.

    • Classic says:

      In retrospect the comment to which I am replying was entirely dumb and I would delete it if I could.

  18. Mumbles says:

    Idk if this was stated clearly enough because I’ve seen some comments about it, so here we go round two: I’m really sorry if I made people uncomfortable.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      To be fair,Shamus has said often that his site is pg,and soma is a mature game.So maybe this season shouldve been labeled like that.And after the silliness of skyrim,fallout,batman and kotor,people dont really expect that a game you guys make fun of is going to have such realistic portrayal of some pretty disturbing things.Not helped by all of us who have played the game and said that it wasnt scary at all.The monsters may not be scary,but the vignettes with “robots” are still masterfully crafted and acted.

      So Shamus,maybe you should label soma videos as mature due to its depictions of violence and torture.

      • Joe Informatico says:

        “Shamus has said often that his site is pg”

        He has? Almost every season of Spoiler Warning has covered an M-rated game, and even KOTOR and Arkham really stretch their T-rating. Somehow robot torture is worse than the human purée in ME2 or the incineration of human enemies in Fallout or, well, anything in Hitman: Absolution? I can’t speak to other peoples’ personal limits or triggers, but I don’t know how anyone on SW would have been able to foresee why Soma would somehow cross a line with people that none of these other games did.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          Foresee,no.But it can be rectified now.

          As for those games,its all about the presentation.Fallout is ugly and never looks real,the slurry thing is a brief scene in an otherwise silly game,and absolution sets its tone with that whole hotel sequence.Contrasted to that,soma is visually very appealing,the dialogue is well written and well read.The only silly thing in it are the monsters,and those arent present in its more “realistic” moments.The only game that came close to this level of gore is tomb raider with its death scenes(maybe even surpassing it).

    • SL128 says:

      It was a really great response regarding the torture joke reception, and I’m glad you’ve been considering it despite the overblown reaction from some people.

      As for why your jokes were viewed differently than Josh’s, I think it might be that Josh does it from the clear perspective of Cuftbert, whereas, like you said, you put on an extreme version of yourself. Where Cuftbert is obviously a character/performance, the distinction between real and character Mumbles isn’t as sharp, especially depending on how much SW/Diecast/Twitter the viewer’s seen.

      In this specific case, I think your defending/explaining character Mumbles’ desire to torture robots in the episode might have been particularly blurry, since you were weaving between character and actual Mumbles; indirectly, this affects whether the joke is perceived as “Torture is funny/great!” (Disturbing), “This is a ridiculously evil character!” (Entertaining), or both.

      Anyway, the woman-assistant/manipulator trope is an uncomfortable thing that I’ve been noticing as well, and I really hope that formula gets reworked soon.

      • Majere says:

        For me it’s because I expect Josh to want to torture robots because that’s part of Josh’s Chaotic Stupid playstyle whereas Mumbles has always been a friend to all robots so it was a really jarring change of stance that almost felt like a betrayal as irrational and unreasonable as that feeling is.

        • guy says:

          Same here; I knew it was a joke but that aspect was actually why it made me uncomfortable. Mumbles-persona makes arbitrary and mercurial demands, and has “loves robots” as a fixed point in the demands, so it instinctively felt like she was breaking character while making the joke. I thought about it a bit more and didn’t really believe that, but it stopped me from laughing like I do when she demands Josh eat someone.

      • Will says:

        This, this this. Much better than I could have said it.

        I think this describes why I had such a visceral reaction to it. It read like Mumbles’s personal reaction to the scene, which I found frankly gross. As a character response… I don’t find it funny like I think it was meant to be taken, but it’s just another joke that fell flat for me.

        In any case, I want to apologize as well. I didn’t intend to insult, offend or psychoanalyze Mumbles with my comment; I was trying to explain my own negative reaction and seek clarification, and obviously wasn’t clear enough myself.

      • bloodsquirrel says:

        I’ve never gotten the impression that any of the other hosts are playing a character in the same way that the Nostalgia Critic or Mike and Jay from RLM are. There’s a lot of sarcasm and screwing around, but the commentary on SW is usually pretty honest. When Josh does chaotic stupid things, it’s to show off what can be done in the game (and how the game reacts), and his commentary usually points that out.

      • Heulwen says:

        “…especially depending on how much SW/Diecast/Twitter the viewer’s seen.”

        Mmmm, yes. I’m picky about which SW seasons I watch (often because I’d actually like to avoid spoilers!) and have not followed all that many that contain much Mumbles. So for me, the character isn’t as clear-cut as, say, Ruts’. However, FWIW I just assumed that it was an off-colour joke that I just wasn’t getting, shrugged and got on with whatever I was doing in parallel to watching Soma Warning. Humour, man. It’s a very personal thing. It’d be dull as crap if we all liked the same things.

    • Classic says:

      I’m glad you’ve got the strength of character to make an apology, but this was really a “team effort” by the whole cast and the game itself. It’s the worst kind of bullshit that you individually are taking so much grief and flak for it.

      I’m part of “the problem” here but now that I’ve given it a little more thought: Attempts to rationalize the iniquity of the response are exercises in apologetics for people who should know better.

      • Ninety-Three says:

        It’s the worst kind of bullshit that you individually are taking so much grief and flak for it.

        Is something happening somewhere that I’m not aware of? Because there were two people in the Twenty Sided discussion of robo-sadism who implied anything about Mumbles, rather than simply saying they found what she said offputting. As shitty as those comments were, the phrase “so much grief and flak” makes me think there’s something more to it than just that, and I’m curious as to what exactly happened.

    • I think doing this was very big and very cool of you. Super thumbs up.

    • Tom says:

      I don’t know what everyone is freaking out about. Jeez, you spend every spoiler warning season ever promoting rampant cannibalism and despotic post-apocalyptic governments of questionable viability and nobody bats an eye, but you torture a couple o’ robots and suddenly everyone loses their minds… For crying out loud, I think SOMA is the only Spoiler Warning game you guys have ever done that *isn’t* a mass-violence simulator! It’s not even the first one to feature the main protagonist torturing people.

      Ironically enough, though, perhaps it’s that SOMA has the strongest moral voice of any game you’ve done, that it’s the first one that doesn’t simply shrug off wanton brutality and depict it as just a fact of life, more than the fact that it does depict it at all, that’s making people uncomfortable. Which would, of course, make those complaining more akin to tone trolls. Or maybe it bothered them that you (and that’s now a collective “you,” for the whole SW cast) approached a “serious” game with the same fun-loving, nit-picky irreverence that you do the more usual spoiler warning fare, to which one can only say: that’s what the show’s always been about, and playing the game without actually suspending your disbelief, for the purposes of fun and criticism, detracts nothing from anyone else out there who is playing it “properly.”

      Playing the game “wrong,” and responding to its emotional cues in ways the developer didn’t intend, is a powerful tool for deconstructing the thing, and Spoiler Warning’s stock in trade. This is why I love spoiler warning above other lets play series – it’s amusing, yes, but a substantial part of the humour arises from actually getting into the nuts and bolts of the game’s innards and picking out the ironies and design quirks, not just mocking it directly.

      We love you, Mumbles*. Never change!

      *and we’re reasonably sure you don’t actually want to eat anybody.

      • Tom says:

        Really, together I think the whole spoiler warning team is the perfect antidote to taking any game too seriously. Not to typecast, because you all do plenty of everything, but everyone seems to have their particular specialty: Josh will always find a way to break the mechanics and level geometry, Shamus will always find a way to break the underlying in-world logic, Campster will always find a way to break the out-of-world design logic, Rutskarn will always find a way to break the writing, Mumbles will always find a way to break the intended mood. And the best bit is that you all do it amiably and without malice, though sometimes with a certain delicious amount of glee.

  19. SyrusRayne says:

    I don’t tend to do this sort of post, but I feel it’s warranted. I’ve left out names to protect the “innocent”.

    Given that Mumbles is a clear, blatant persona, the Kelly-hate has been pretty fucking gross. In places it’s gone beyond the dislike for the character, and even sometimes seemed to go beyond dislike for the person behind it.

    Let me ask you something; suppose Mumbles was not someone on Spoiler Warning, who was not on Diecast, and who was not one of Shamus’s friends. Would the way some of you have been treating her be okay in the slightest? Not at all.

    Here she is with a heartfelt, emotional apology, and a clarification of her stance (which you will note is not actually what Shamus was talking about, they were practically on two different goddamned subjects!) and some of you still jump straight to his defense! What? Why is your first instinct to jump to the defense of someone who hasn’t asked for it, who doesn’t need it, against someone who is being reasonable and genuine despite actually having been emotionally hurt by some of the bullshit that’s gone down recently?

    This is the community Shamus has spent so long cultivating? Really? You’re better than that. At least, I thought you were.

    Edited To Add: Uhhh, little bit angry there, Syrus. This isn’t a justification, more of an explanation, but I’ve been going through some IRL family crisis stuff (gramps in hospital, stroke), so I’m completely done with bullshit of most varieties. That being known, I stand by what I’ve said above.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Sorry for your woes,but please try not to let real world problems bleed into unrelated topics.

      You can disagree with someone without actually hating them.You can try to defend one person without actually hating the person you put on the “attacking” side.You arent automatically hating someone if you disagree with them when they are emotional.You arent lacking empathy if you dont immediately agree with everything just because it comes from a traumatic period in their life.

      Keep in mind that those you label in quotations marks are people too.Dont lower their worth just because it appears they arent as respectful as you want them to be.

      • Sadbench says:

        Not sure I completely agree. I lot of the disagreement expressed to Mumbles here was along the lines of “Your opinion is wrong”, “your statements are sadistic”. Mumbles was upset by these comments, expressed that feeling, and some people continue to say “your opinion is wrong”. What you put your time and energy into expressing or defending has an impact on people. When you’re upset and someone responds with “um, actually you’re wrong” that often has the impact of making them think their emotions are irrational and unwarranted. That is the opposite of support. Very few people were actually trying to attack Mumbles, that does not mean that her reaction to their behavior was unwarranted.

        Saying “hey, I was just disagreeing with her” is often a smokescreen for hurtful behavior. The context in which you disagree effects how people feel.

        • SyrusRayne says:

          I agree with this, but also with Daemian about disagreements being fine. I’m not talking about the people who’re just disagreeing, though.

  20. Tjtheman5 says:

    The whole torturing robot situation kinda sucks, but I hope that you won’t change the character of Mumbles too much, because she’s always a fun addition to the show, like Josh’s strict adherence to breaking everything that he touches in a game. With regards to the “female in a box” thing, I had never actually thought about that trope, but thinking back on games that I’ve played it was actually kinda common, and I think that it’s definitely better for games as a whole to keep things fresh and interesting. Like the “Ubisoft dude” Shamus mentioned, it’s not inherently bad, but it’s so much better to be able to have variety.

  21. LassLisa says:

    Hey. Just wanted to say I’m sorry that you (Kelly) had to deal with this. It’s difficult and taxing work to put yourself out there in such a heartfelt manner.

    People make off-the-cuff web comments, inspired by whatever they’re dealing with that day or in their lives, and not really thinking hard about it as an interpersonal interaction, and it leads to a certain thoughtless callousness. I really respect the work that you all do in not just producing your art and ‘ignoring the comments’ but in doing the work to maintain that community relationship and look for good faith engagements even when the people on the other side are being flip and dismissive in the way they’re talking to and about you.

    We enjoy your work and persona or we wouldn’t listen to the show so much. :-)

  22. Smiley_Face says:

    Someday, I hope someone finds a way for the internet to be less vitriolic.

    Until then, it’s important to remember that, for as many nitwits who jump all over the comments section, there’s a lot of folks who just watch silently, and enjoy Mumbles on the show. What I love about SW is the constant overanalysis of the game, contrasted with various flavours of absurdity. Sometimes it’s Rutskarn’s puns, sometimes it’s Josh’s faffing about/murder sprees, but in the end I think my favourite is the mumbles persona, arguing how it’s totally okay to kill people but don’t you dare hurt that tiger. It’s always a better season with her than without.

    • Wray92 says:

      Agreed. This is exactly what I was trying to find words to say.

      For the record, I didn’t think Mumbles said anything wrong in that episode. Not even anything out of the ordinary for Spoiler Warning.

  23. The Rocketeer says:

    I take you at your word that the way you present yourself on the show is a character, a persona of your deliberate invention. With that firmly in mind, please don’t take offense when I say that I find the Mumbles character absolutely insufferable, an escalating and by-now major impediment to my enjoyment of the show whenever the character is in attendance.

    I speak only for myself. I don’t know what other people’s problems with the character have been, and I won’t speculate. I don’t know how many people would agree with me, though I would guess very few. I haven’t ever bothered to express this before, for a number of reasons. The first and greatest is that it doesn’t matter much. The show shouldn’t have to change just because I don’t like every single part of it. Wisely, Shamus’ response to serious complaints about the show have rarely expressed, “Let me just drop everything to please you, then.” The second is that direct complaints about the Mumbles character in particular are invariably met with the charge that the complainant is a creepy, sexist dudebro, and/or an obsessive individual who should find better ways to occupy their time. The third is that there’s no polite way to tell someone that their personality is revolting, even when that personality is an assumed comic persona. There’s never been a time when my take was worth the pain in my ass to discuss, or worth anyone else’s to bother reading. But if not here, never. I don’t plan to bring this up again.

    It surprises me that you believe the Mumbles character to represent a sort of color commentator, a voice of positivity and enthusiasm. Increasingly, as the seasons have come and passed, the Mumbles character has progressed further and further into an overbearing, astringent narcissist. The character demands confrontation, holding its desires well above those of the cast. Alternately, it cannot handle confrontation effectively, coveting the last and loudest word of any divergence of opinion. The character prefers itself to all other topics, and is impatient to turn the conversation to itself. The character demands not only attention, but validation; it is paramount to the assumed Mumbles persona that the cast and audience know and acknowledge how cool, how tough, and how unique it is. The character is eager to denigrate and belittle others, but cannot tolerate mockery and responds vindictively and without humor to even baldly facetious derision.

    Methinks this character protesteth too much. This unrelenting egocentric fixation indicates, in this persona, a critical insecurity, a persistent fragility of self-esteem that transmutes all acquaintance to codependence. The smallest vestiges of trust are abnegated by a vigilant and indiscriminate jealousy. The persona is reliant on a parasitic extortion of esteem from the hides of its peers. Fascinating though it may be at times, it strikes me less and less with each passing season as endearing or comic.

    In sum, the Mumbles character is just about my absolute least favorite kind of person, and one whose participation on the show I’ve come to regard with exasperation and dread.

    Of course, you- the person, not the character- have expressed frustration at the idea that Josh is lauded for acting much the same way, while you seem to be criticized for doing so. I’d like to try to explain why that might be.

    One reason is the impervious stolidity of the Mumbles character. The Mumbles character never drops the mask or winks at the audience. I ask: are you certain the average viewer can tell the character is a character? The percentage of the audience that has any exposure to you, the person, outside of your portrayal of an assumed personality on Spoiler Warning- the people that follow your blog or your Twitter feed or any other source to indicate something other than the Mumbles character- are likely very few. It may well be that the only exposure most people have to you is your work on the show. Why should people assume you aren’t in earnest when no diegetic indication is given otherwise? I compare this to the very early days of Jim Sterling’s web series, the Jimquisition. In the early episodes, I found Jim Sterling- like you, expressed as a hyperbolic caricature of the genuine individual- truly repellent, not only for the extreme nature of his in-character expression but with the deadly seriousness and strictness with which he carried that portrayal. The mask was never dropped. No light of self-deprecation was allowed to twinkle in the eyes. Years later, Jim’s portrayal has much changed, and, in my opinion and Jim’s, much improved. He himself noticed and remarked on this state of affairs while discussing his earlier work, and voiced his own displeasure with that portrayal for the same reasons I had dismissed it at the time.

    While Josh, in particular, also portrays something of a character on the show, he avoids this trap. There is a darker line between Josh, the individual, and the griefing, violent waste of skin that is Reginald Cuftbert. As opposed to the ambiguous “Mumbles isn’t Mumbles” phenomenon, the existence of a separate, virtual individual helps sequester the identity of the Cuftbert character from the real Josh, even though the character is totally Josh’s creation, and the actions of the former reflect the choices of the latter. As mentioned above, transparency makes a significant difference. Even while playing the Cuftbert character, Josh alludes openly to the idea that it is, in fact, a character. He discusses his reasons for playing that character with the cast (and, critically, the audience) while playing it; solicits the opinion of the cast on how to portray that character; and explains the rationale for the character’s existence in the first place, reiterating when necessary that his own, personal playing style seldom resembles Reginald’s ever-expanding rap sheet.

    Josh, uniquely in his position as the (usual) player, is responsible for contributing not only his personal views on the games, as the rest of the cast is, but on determining what the audience sees by choosing what to do and how to do it. Josh is responsible for personally upholding the goals of the Spoiler Warning show: at times to show a path or a bit of content that most players may not have seen, to enable relevant and interesting discussion whenever possible, and to keep the visual portion of the show worth keeping an eye on.

    But the relevant portion of the Cuftbert character is his infamously erratic psychopathy, and why the audience is more lenient of Cuftbert’s innovations in this field and not those of the Mumbles character. Another facet of Josh’s portrayal of the Cuftbert character- or, more accurately, another facet of how Josh’s mandate of producing an entertaining web show combine to create this character- is subversive play. A frequent pastime of Josh- through Cuftbert- is acting in ways that the developers and game logic don’t expect, or in ways that humorously transgress the intentions of the mechanics or writing. The violent and unpredictable behavior of Cuftbert is often the result of this subversive play priority. It exists not only for its own sake, but to highlight irregularities of the possibility space, showcasing and lampooning games that permit it, whether through deliberate permissiveness, through developer oversight or unstable code, or through a (perhaps misplaced) trust in the player to act appropriately in their role. Josh, as the player, has these justifications, which the audience mostly understands and anticipates.

    Josh, for fulfilling this role, is also the recipient of a great deal of affectionate (?) deprecation for his antics. This acknowledgement of his role in these actions highlight, through their derision, the debasedness of the appearance of Josh’s actions, while the jocular nature and lightheartedness with which they are expressed reassure the audience of the contrived nature of the persona that those actions contribute to.

    This isn’t so for the Mumbles character. When, for instance, the Mumbles character proclaims- loudly and repeatedly for several minutes- their joy in torturing and killing sympathetic characters, the audience recognizes no motive other than the character’s vested and personal interest. Given the character’s general proclivities, and the redoubled pride with which it responds to any rebuke, gainsaying does not dispel or illuminate the falsity of this enthusiasm. Rather, it only reinforces the character’s constant and overriding need to assert its unashamed perversity- and, consequently, its grating, egotistic need for external validation. Thus, Josh is absolved of Cuftbert’s sins, and Mumbles wallows in her own. You get two different reactions because you are two different people in two different situations.

    If you want to separate attacks on your character from attacks on your person, the depth of difference between the two- indeed, the existence of any difference at all- needs to be made visible. And not only to people who happen to catch this individual audio expression of an uncharacteristic earnestness, but in a way that casual listeners and newcomers to the show can appreciate. The overbearing intensity and infallible persistence of the artificial persona must lapse to some degree. The frequent, apparently earnest mockery of the rest of the cast must either stop, or be accepted graciously in kind, as it currently isn’t.

    Every other cast member has self-caricatures that they delve into from time to time: Shamus, with his age and crotchediness; Josh, with Reginald Cuftbert in his wretched entirety; Rutskarn, as the penniless uber-dork and the preening self-congratulator, and the former expressed through the latter (revealing a damned good understanding of what makes schtick work); and Chris as the self-serious navel-gazer. Each cast member, in their turn, cranks up the volume on their personal quirks, takes their applause and their sporting jeers alike, and then- and this is the prestidigitation- returns to earnestness, implicitly handwaving the absurdity of that assumed persona and clarifying the boundary demarcating it. The Mumbles persona never indulges this juxtaposition. It appears totally in earnest because it never impugns its own sincerity.

    I’m speculating here, but it seems like the intensity of this character has grown and grown over time. I’ve been around for Spoiler Warning from the beginning. I’ve watched this character develop from its introduction. And I used to love it. I was always glad to see Mumbles on the show, sporadic though her appearance sometimes proved to be. Something fundamental has changed, and I honestly don’t know if my increasing displeasure with it is because I’ve simply changed, and find the same act less appealing all these years later, or if the character itself has changed, and meandered beyond my tastes. I won’t commit to a conclusion, but I will attest that I do replay series of Spoiler Warning, even back to the earliest, with some frequency. The era, the character, that I once loved, I still seem to love. So I have my guess. You say that your character is your own personality multiplied by 100. I’d be curious if you would find more success at a factor of 50. Or 2. Or one. There is a persona somewhere in there I really like. I miss them. It might not be a character. It might be you.

    Though I take on good faith that your portrayal on the show is indeed a character, and not an immediate reflection upon your person (and I really hope you take all of the above as a critique of the act, not the actress, because I’d really like not to be banned), my last word of advice to you would be this: I don’t expect anything to change, and neither should you.

    No one will be perturbed by your displeasure at their response to your character. No one has a reason to stop criticizing the Mumbles character if it continues to chafe their enjoyment of the show. No one has any reason to stop treating the character like a person. No one will stop harrying you for your involvement in the show. Unless Shamus is as smart as I think he is, maybe he thinks he can compel this change. He can’t.

    If you haven’t already, you need to come to terms with the fact that the elements that create this tension and hostility will continue to do so as long as they exist as they are. If the audience doesn’t change, and your act doesn’t change, you will always have to deal with it.

    Everyone else won’t change.

    If you don’t want to change your character, if you enjoy portraying it too much to relent or change tack, you will deal with the same bullshit forever. If it bothers you this much, if it presents a meaningful barrier to your participation on the show, you’ll either have to get over it, or wait for something to break: you, or everyone else.

    Everyone else won’t break.

    If the abrasion and heartbreak aren’t worth it, and you still want to do the show, don’t wait to take ideas for change on board. Now, I’m not saying to take my word for everything. I’m just some jerk, and probably a pronounced minority. There must be a way for you to have fun on the show, to provide the voice of enthusiasm you value, without attracting the squall of negativity and remonstration that have unfortunately dimmed your time among the cast. You’ll never eliminate it entirely. And not with the petty admonition posted above. C’est la vie.

    But it doesn’t have to be this bad, and I hope it changes soon. I want to enjoy the show. But I’m just one person. My enjoyment doesn’t matter to anyone else. Your involvement- your ability to endure and flourish here- affects a lot of people positively. Your work here gives people joy. I don’t want that to end, and I don’t want that to represent such a sacrifice for you.

    No hard feelings. I wish you the best of luck.

    • Gruhunchously says:

      I don’t think you’re giving Mumbles enough credit. Even in recent episodes, she has dropped the persona on multiple occasions, either to nerd out about Batman, express affection of distaste for a certain character or plot point, or indulge in an anecdote about her experience with a certain game. She also has stopped Josh from doing mean things to characters (or giraffes) that she has an affection towards. I’ll grant you that she does seem to indulge more in the ‘color commentary’ now than before, and it’s up to you whether like it or not, but I think it’s disingenuous to say that she’s been reduced to nothing else. I mean, her whole observation about female characters in support roles, even if it did lead to a bit of a stink down the line, was an out-of-character observation. Perhaps the real problem is that a lot of the time, she has to make on the fly remarks about a part of a game she hasn’t played or doesn’t remember well, something the entire cast has difficulty with.

      But that’s just me.

      One other thing. You don’t like the way Mumbles has been on the show? Fine, you wouldn’t be the only one. But the theatrics and nastiness won’t do anything but put people on the defensive, and that can torpedo any points you’re trying to make, no-matter how much thought you put into them.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Damn your walls of text,its always hard to respond to you briefly.But Ill try.

      I ask: are you certain the average viewer can tell the character is a character?

      I can.And I never read her twitter.But then I was never fooled by Yahtzee,or Jim Sterling,or Stephen Colbert,even though I have never searched them outside of their public personas.So yes,an average person can always tell that a character is a character as long as they go in with this preconception:”This is a good person”.Thats all you need to stop when you hear/see something horrible and think “Did they really mean it,or was it just a joke?”.

      As for the rest,why didnt you condense it into 3(and a half) words:”Mumbles is a heel”?Much easier to read and comprehend.

    • Nalyd says:

      lol wat

    • Phrozenflame500 says:

      Word Count: 2312 words

      Whoa. I’m not sure I agree with you but I guess I admire your dedication.

    • Kelhim says:

      A very long text, but I do not agree with its premise: that the Mumbles character was problematic and should be adjusted. As a long-time viewer just as you are, I give Mumbles the benefit of the doubt, even when some statements seem very harsh or disturbing at first (which does not even happen that often), and so I did not expect her “robot torture” comments to become such a matter of discussion.

      In fact, I am very surprised and a little bit disappointed that we even discuss one of the show members’ personality (or a part of it) in the comments.

      • lurkey says:

        I am very surprised and a little bit disappointed that we even discuss one of the show members’ personality (or a part of it) in the comments

        That, and what Targetshopper said below. And Mumbles doesn’t owe explanation – or bloody anything – to anyone.

      • Daimbert says:

        In fact, I am very surprised and a little bit disappointed that we even discuss one of the show members’ personality (or a part of it) in the comments.

        If the Mumbles character really is just a character — and The Rocketeer was VERY careful to limit it to discussions of the character as a character, and not as a commentary of the person PLAYING Mumbles — then it’s perfectly valid to talk about their personality and how it impacts the overall show. And even if it is her real personality, we can still talk about how that impacts our enjoyment of the show, as if, say, we find one person on the show to have a grating or even just incompatible personality that ruins our enjoyment of the show, we’re perfectly reasonable in expressing that.

        Note: I have no comments on this myself, as I don’t watch Spoiler Warning or listen to the Diecast, and the one time I listened to a Diecast Mumbles annoyed me. But I found Rutskarn’s Good Robot commentary annoying, too, so she’s not alone in that, and I might have found other things she’s done not annoying if I had bothered to listen to/watch/read them.

    • Syal says:

      A frequent pastime of Josh- through Cuftbert- is acting in ways that the developers and game logic don’t expect, or in ways that humorously transgress the intentions of the mechanics or writing.

      I’ve thought for a while now that Mumbles’ role on the show has been to act in ways that the commentators don’t expect, and that humorously transgress the normal formula of Spoiler Warning.

    • Some Llama says:

      This is the Batman v Superman of comments, in that it’s way too long, it acts like it knows what its doing when that couldn’t be farther from the truth, and there isn’t a single redeeming thing about it. Instead of brushing it off, lets take a look at exactly why this is a bad comment, and why the person posting it should feel bad, and why anyone considering posting a comment like this ever again should consider playing in traffic instead. My comments on Rocketeer’s comment will be in italics like this.

      I take you at your word that the way you present yourself on the show is a character, a persona of your deliberate invention.
      This is proven to be a false assertion very quickly, so it’s not a great opening sentence.

      With that firmly in mind, please don’t take offense when I say that I find the Mumbles character absolutely insufferable, an escalating and by-now major impediment to my enjoyment of the show whenever the character is in attendance.
      “Insufferable” is an offensive word, meant to be offensive. You can’t say “please don’t take offense” to allow you to say some that is intended to offend. If you agree that “Mumbles” is a character created by a person like you state in your opening sentence, then you are describing her creation as insufferable, and that statement is intended to offend. “No offense, but this thing you’ve created is terrible.” That’s a thing people say to people that they want to hurt.

      I speak only for myself.
      All comments speak only for one person. Does this absolve your vitriol? That question was rhetorical. It does not.

      I don’t know what other people’s problems with the character have been, and I won’t speculate. I don’t know how many people would agree with me, though I would guess very few.
      “I won’t speculate” followed by “I would guess” in the very next sentence. You won’t speculate on what people don’t like about Mumbles, but you will speculate on how many people have the same problems. Why bother speculating on one but not the other? Better question: why are you worried about whether or not the internet agrees with your opinion? Are you making money off of it? Does whether or not someone reads your comment affect your ability to feed your family? Or are you just here to tell Mumbles that you hate her character and want to make her feel bad about that fact?

      I haven’t ever bothered to express this before, for a number of reasons. The first and greatest is that it doesn’t matter much. The show shouldn’t have to change just because I don’t like every single part of it. Wisely, Shamus’ response to serious complaints about the show have rarely expressed, “Let me just drop everything to please you, then.”
      If you didn’t think your comment would change anything, then you wouldn’t have written 2300 words about it. You want it to change. You want Mumbles to change or just be gone. That’s how it’s gone throughout the entire history of the internet. A person creates something, and a lot of people like it. But one person doesn’t and instead wishes it didn’t exist so they try to tear it down instead of creating something themselves or – the mature way to handle something you don’t like – stop watching? If an epic treatise is how you respond to one of the characters on a show, replete with personal attacks and a total misunderstanding of the character, they don’t really need you as a fan.

      The second is that direct complaints about the Mumbles character in particular are invariably met with the charge that the complainant is a creepy, sexist dudebro, and/or an obsessive individual who should find better ways to occupy their time.
      Now why would we make this assumption? Emphasis mine.

      The third is that there’s no polite way to tell someone that their personality is revolting, even when that personality is an assumed comic persona. There’s never been a time when my take was worth the pain in my ass to discuss, or worth anyone else’s to bother reading. But if not here, never. I don’t plan to bring this up again.
      If you’re revolted by someone’s personality, that’s on you. Mumbles obviously affects you in a deeply meaningful way, and has for a while. I bet there are many more things in this world that you find distasteful. Is this how you handle them, too? Or do you think that hiding behind your internet anonymity and telling a person on the internet that you hate the thing she does will in any way make the world a better place?

      It surprises me that you believe the Mumbles character to represent a sort of color commentator, a voice of positivity and enthusiasm.
      Please look up what color commentators are in professional wrestling before using terms that you’re unfamiliar with.

      Increasingly, as the seasons have come and passed, the Mumbles character has progressed further and further into an overbearing, astringent narcissist. The character demands confrontation, holding its desires well above those of the cast. Alternately, it cannot handle confrontation effectively, coveting the last and loudest word of any divergence of opinion.
      Assuming this point is accurate, how is this not obviously an over-the-top internet persona?

      The character prefers itself to all other topics, and is impatient to turn the conversation to itself. The character demands not only attention, but validation; it is paramount to the assumed Mumbles persona that the cast and audience know and acknowledge how cool, how tough, and how unique it is. The character is eager to denigrate and belittle others, but cannot tolerate mockery and responds vindictively and without humor to even baldly facetious derision.
      These generalizations are not supported by any kind of examples at all. I can make sweeping claims about your personality based on just this post, but what if you’re just playing a character, too? Are you the actual Rocketeer? If not, do you realize that the real Rocketeer is a character, too, and not an accurate portrayal of Billy Campbell’s real personality? How do you feel about other so-called narcissist characters? Do you not like them either? Do you leave comments on celebrity news blogs to describe how little you liked an actor’s recent role? Why, or why not? You shouldn’t. Because it’s objectively rude.

      Methinks this character protesteth too much. This unrelenting egocentric fixation indicates, in this persona, a critical insecurity, a persistent fragility of self-esteem that transmutes all acquaintance to codependence. The smallest vestiges of trust are abnegated by a vigilant and indiscriminate jealousy. The persona is reliant on a parasitic extortion of esteem from the hides of its peers. Fascinating though it may be at times, it strikes me less and less with each passing season as endearing or comic.
      This might be one of the greatest paragraphs ever written in the history of mankind. If they made fedoras for words that could rakishly hanging off the side, this paragraph would need two of them. Not once did you approach anything even resembling a point, and your attempt to sound smart or artistic or whatever you were going for really reveals the kind of person you are. Spoiler warning: it’s not the kind of person that adds to the net worth of humanity.

      In sum, the Mumbles character is just about my absolute least favorite kind of person, and one whose participation on the show I’ve come to regard with exasperation and dread.
      Hey everyone! This guy doesn’t like a thing!

      Of course, you- the person, not the character- have expressed frustration at the idea that Josh is lauded for acting much the same way, while you seem to be criticized for doing so. I’d like to try to explain why that might be.
      Glad this guy is here to tell us what’s up. He has the inside scoop, apparently.

      One reason is the impervious stolidity of the Mumbles character. The Mumbles character never drops the mask or winks at the audience.
      You don’t get it.

      I ask: are you certain the average viewer can tell the character is a character?
      Yes. Everyone can tell except you. That’s how entertainment media works. You mark.

      The percentage of the audience that has any exposure to you, the person, outside of your portrayal of an assumed personality on Spoiler Warning- the people that follow your blog or your Twitter feed or any other source to indicate something other than the Mumbles character- are likely very few. It may well be that the only exposure most people have to you is your work on the show. Why should people assume you aren’t in earnest when no diegetic indication is given otherwise?
      Why should they assume she is?

      I compare this to the very early days of Jim Sterling’s web series, the Jimquisition. In the early episodes, I found Jim Sterling- like you, expressed as a hyperbolic caricature of the genuine individual- truly repellent, not only for the extreme nature of his in-character expression but with the deadly seriousness and strictness with which he carried that portrayal. The mask was never dropped. No light of self-deprecation was allowed to twinkle in the eyes. Years later, Jim’s portrayal has much changed, and, in my opinion and Jim’s, much improved. He himself noticed and remarked on this state of affairs while discussing his earlier work, and voiced his own displeasure with that portrayal for the same reasons I had dismissed it at the time.
      Still the same person. Jim’s character has changed. How is that so hard to comprehend?

      While Josh, in particular, also portrays something of a character on the show, he avoids this trap. There is a darker line between Josh, the individual, and the griefing, violent waste of skin that is Reginald Cuftbert. As opposed to the ambiguous “Mumbles isn’t Mumbles” phenomenon, the existence of a separate, virtual individual helps sequester the identity of the Cuftbert character from the real Josh, even though the character is totally Josh’s creation, and the actions of the former reflect the choices of the latter. As mentioned above, transparency makes a significant difference. Even while playing the Cuftbert character, Josh alludes openly to the idea that it is, in fact, a character. He discusses his reasons for playing that character with the cast (and, critically, the audience) while playing it; solicits the opinion of the cast on how to portray that character; and explains the rationale for the character’s existence in the first place, reiterating when necessary that his own, personal playing style seldom resembles Reginald’s ever-expanding rap sheet.
      Oh, so you need to be explicitly told that these characters are characters or you think reality TV is real. I get it. Do you also think someone disappears when they hide behind their hands? Just because you’re not told something is a work, you assume it is not? Remind me never to take you to a magic show.

      Josh, uniquely in his position as the (usual) player, is responsible for contributing not only his personal views on the games, as the rest of the cast is, but on determining what the audience sees by choosing what to do and how to do it. Josh is responsible for personally upholding the goals of the Spoiler Warning show: at times to show a path or a bit of content that most players may not have seen, to enable relevant and interesting discussion whenever possible, and to keep the visual portion of the show worth keeping an eye on.
      Being the one moving the character on the screen doesn’t have anything to do with anything.

      But the relevant portion of the Cuftbert character is his infamously erratic psychopathy, and why the audience is more lenient of Cuftbert’s innovations in this field and not those of the Mumbles character. Another facet of Josh’s portrayal of the Cuftbert character- or, more accurately, another facet of how Josh’s mandate of producing an entertaining web show combine to create this character- is subversive play. A frequent pastime of Josh- through Cuftbert- is acting in ways that the developers and game logic don’t expect, or in ways that humorously transgress the intentions of the mechanics or writing. The violent and unpredictable behavior of Cuftbert is often the result of this subversive play priority. It exists not only for its own sake, but to highlight irregularities of the possibility space, showcasing and lampooning games that permit it, whether through deliberate permissiveness, through developer oversight or unstable code, or through a (perhaps misplaced) trust in the player to act appropriately in their role. Josh, as the player, has these justifications, which the audience mostly understands and anticipates.
      So basically, Josh is erratic but Mumbles is consistent? Mumbles isn’t subversive? Josh’s violent acts are okay because he’s in control and not just commentating? This doesn’t make any sense why Josh gets a free pass for being violent in-game and Mumbles gets a 2300-word essay.

      Josh, for fulfilling this role, is also the recipient of a great deal of affectionate (?) deprecation for his antics. This acknowledgement of his role in these actions highlight, through their derision, the debasedness of the appearance of Josh’s actions, while the jocular nature and lightheartedness with which they are expressed reassure the audience of the contrived nature of the persona that those actions contribute to.
      Could probably put a fedora on these last two paragraphs, too.

      This isn’t so for the Mumbles character. When, for instance, the Mumbles character proclaims- loudly and repeatedly for several minutes- their joy in torturing and killing sympathetic characters, the audience recognizes no motive other than the character’s vested and personal interest. Given the character’s general proclivities, and the redoubled pride with which it responds to any rebuke, gainsaying does not dispel or illuminate the falsity of this enthusiasm. Rather, it only reinforces the character’s constant and overriding need to assert its unashamed perversity- and, consequently, its grating, egotistic need for external validation. Thus, Josh is absolved of Cuftbert’s sins, and Mumbles wallows in her own. You get two different reactions because you are two different people in two different situations.
      Two different people. Same situation. Same show. You don’t get to say Josh can do this because REASONS but Mumbles cannot. Mumbles can do whatever she wants. Josh can do whatever he wants, too. But making up some psychobabble justifying Josh’s in-game murderlust and saying Mumbles can’t torture a robot – which, you point out, has Josh in control of the game where they’re torturing the robot – doesn’t prove anything. You hate Mumbles. You love Josh. No amount of internal rationalization will convince anyone otherwise.

      If you want to separate attacks on your character from attacks on your person, the depth of difference between the two- indeed, the existence of any difference at all- needs to be made visible. And not only to people who happen to catch this individual audio expression of an uncharacteristic earnestness, but in a way that casual listeners and newcomers to the show can appreciate. The overbearing intensity and infallible persistence of the artificial persona must lapse to some degree. The frequent, apparently earnest mockery of the rest of the cast must either stop, or be accepted graciously in kind, as it currently isn’t.
      You can’t expect the middle episode of the SOMA season to be for “casual listeners” or “newcomers to the show.” Again, you point out your need to be spoonfed the differences between reality and fiction or else you can’t enjoy something. You admit here that because of your inability to differentiate the character from the real person, you are attacking both, personally and maliciously. Shame on you.

      Every other cast member has self-caricatures that they delve into from time to time: Shamus, with his age and crotchediness; Josh, with Reginald Cuftbert in his wretched entirety; Rutskarn, as the penniless uber-dork and the preening self-congratulator, and the former expressed through the latter (revealing a damned good understanding of what makes schtick work); and Chris as the self-serious navel-gazer. Each cast member, in their turn, cranks up the volume on their personal quirks, takes their applause and their sporting jeers alike, and then- and this is the prestidigitation- returns to earnestness, implicitly handwaving the absurdity of that assumed persona and clarifying the boundary demarcating it. The Mumbles persona never indulges this juxtaposition. It appears totally in earnest because it never impugns its own sincerity.
      Guess what? They’re all playing characters. Internet personas =/= real life people. Even a child realizes this.

      I’m speculating here, but it seems like the intensity of this character has grown and grown over time. I’ve been around for Spoiler Warning from the beginning. I’ve watched this character develop from its introduction. And I used to love it. I was always glad to see Mumbles on the show, sporadic though her appearance sometimes proved to be. Something fundamental has changed, and I honestly don’t know if my increasing displeasure with it is because I’ve simply changed, and find the same act less appealing all these years later, or if the character itself has changed, and meandered beyond my tastes. I won’t commit to a conclusion, but I will attest that I do replay series of Spoiler Warning, even back to the earliest, with some frequency. The era, the character, that I once loved, I still seem to love. So I have my guess. You say that your character is your own personality multiplied by 100. I’d be curious if you would find more success at a factor of 50. Or 2. Or one. There is a persona somewhere in there I really like. I miss them. It might not be a character. It might be you.
      Oh boy another personal attack because YOU don’t enjoy something. It’s not Mumbles, obviously. It’s you. If you can’t handle Mumbles, get outta the internet!

      Though I take on good faith that your portrayal on the show is indeed a character, and not an immediate reflection upon your person (and I really hope you take all of the above as a critique of the act, not the actress, because I’d really like not to be banned), my last word of advice to you would be this: I don’t expect anything to change, and neither should you.
      Then what was the point of any of this? “Don’t change anything, but I DO want you to feel bad about yourself and all your work.” You have made the world a worse place today. Thanks.

      No one will be perturbed by your displeasure at their response to your character. No one has a reason to stop criticizing the Mumbles character if it continues to chafe their enjoyment of the show. No one has any reason to stop treating the character like a person. No one will stop harrying you for your involvement in the show. Unless Shamus is as smart as I think he is, maybe he thinks he can compel this change. He can’t.
      … what?

      If you haven’t already, you need to come to terms with the fact that the elements that create this tension and hostility will continue to do so as long as they exist as they are. If the audience doesn’t change, and your act doesn’t change, you will always have to deal with it.
      Everyone else won’t change.
      If you don’t want to change your character, if you enjoy portraying it too much to relent or change tack, you will deal with the same bullshit forever. If it bothers you this much, if it presents a meaningful barrier to your participation on the show, you’ll either have to get over it, or wait for something to break: you, or everyone else.
      Everyone else won’t break.
      If the abrasion and heartbreak aren’t worth it, and you still want to do the show, don’t wait to take ideas for change on board. Now, I’m not saying to take my word for everything. I’m just some jerk, and probably a pronounced minority. There must be a way for you to have fun on the show, to provide the voice of enthusiasm you value, without attracting the squall of negativity and remonstration that have unfortunately dimmed your time among the cast. You’ll never eliminate it entirely. And not with the petty admonition posted above. C’est la vie.
      But it doesn’t have to be this bad, and I hope it changes soon. I want to enjoy the show. But I’m just one person. My enjoyment doesn’t matter to anyone else. Your involvement- your ability to endure and flourish here- affects a lot of people positively. Your work here gives people joy. I don’t want that to end, and I don’t want that to represent such a sacrifice for you.
      No hard feelings. I wish you the best of luck.
      This whole last bit just says, “You feel bad and you should because you are no good as a performer.” Why should it be Mumbles vs. the internet? Why wouldn’t fans of the show actually enjoy it and come here to talk about things that are brought up on the show? Instead, this comments section became a cesspool, and your hate-essay is maybe the worst of the bunch. If you don’t expect or even want to change anything, what are you even doing here? Is this a thing you get to write in your diary at the end of the day: “I told someone what’s up on the internet today!” You think you can break Mumbles? She is stronger and more self-assured than you could ever hope to be. She creates where you only seek to destroy. She entertains and you complain. She has fans all over the world and you have no one. Thanks for the comment. Don’t ever talk to me or my Mumbles ever again.

  24. Targetshopper says:

    Holy cow, people took that episode waaayyyy too seriously.

    • Trix2000 says:

      Agreed.

      It’s a show. Maybe I’m wrong, but these are still just people trying to have fun and screw around for our entertainment (even if it perhaps includes a higher-than-average amount of legit criticism and opinions). So it stands to reason that things will get a little crazy because crazy is interesting.

      Plus, it’s fun to just let go a bit in a non-impactful environment (ie: an entertainment-specific video) – just look at any work of comedy. In fact, I don’t think it’s a stretch to call SW part comedy as well.

      Why we can’t give the entire crew a benefit of a doubt here is beyond me. I mean, I can understand people not liking parts of the show, but… it doesn’t warrant this kind of a reaction.

  25. Grimwear says:

    Totally off topic but is Shamus going to continue with Experienced Points on his blog? Only now it can be a bit longer with all those additional things he always wants to mention being added in?

  26. Benjamin Hilton says:

    OK OK, everyone is debating the drama of the last week or so, but I would like to address the real elephant in the room regarding the revelation that Mumbles is actually afraid of haunted houses and scary games.
    I would like to pose a question:
    Has anyone actually seen Chris and Mumbles in a room at the same time? Sure they claim to have met in real life, but was there anyone there to corroborate that story? It seems awfully convenient using each other as their alibi. Are we certain Mumbles isn’t a persona made up by Chris to explore his secret love of bees? Can we be sure Chris isn’t a facet of Mumbles’ personality developed to let herself be afraid of scary games? Can any of what I am suggesting actually be proven false? Are they in fact the same person? A person known as…….wait for it…… Crumbles?

  27. Majere says:

    Oh good lord, I duck out of the comment section for a month or two to binge lesbian romance novels and this is what happens. Yeah, mumbles’ robosadism shtick made me pretty uncomfortable this week because I’m in love with all the robots however it’s important to recognize:

    A) That’s neither her fault nor her responsibility, and

    B) It’s completely in keeping with the general tone of her presence on Twenty Sided. This wasn’t some sudden and unexpected dive into the deepest of black humour that was completely out of left field. She’s the goddanged Cannibal Crow Queen this is a completely natural expression of her existing gimmick of being a terrifying being that revels in simulated mayhem.

    This is not some worrying warning sign that she’s a psychopath who takes glee in the suffering of others it just means that she did not emotionally connect with these fictional characters in the same way some of us did. All it says is that she doesn’t really interact with them as if they were people which is fine because they’re NOT people. Like I get being unsettled because I sure as hell was but, like, don’t dogpile on her over it that’s not cool.

    Also, dangit why does it have to be a whole thing every time mumbles and Shamus disagree.

    • Ronixis says:

      Sorry if it’s too off-topic, but that lesbian romance novel thing sounds pretty good. Any particular recommendations? (If they’re also sci-fi/fantasy lesbian romance novels, that might be even better, but that’s just me.)

      • Viktor says:

        I wasn’t the one asked, but Ascension by Jacqueline Koyanagi is a sci-fi novel with a WLW main plot. Pretty good, especially since it’s her first major work.

      • Majere says:

        Well, right now I am reading Gay Pride and Prejudice by Kate Christie and it is quite possibly the single best choice I have ever made. I don’t have much experience with sci-fi/fantasy I’m more a slice of life kinda gal (insofar as it applies to lesbian romance novels in general I’m a giant nerd for sci-fi/fantasy) the only one’s that come to mind are Ash by Malinda Lo (lesbian Cinderella) and The Dark Wife by Sarah Diemer (lesbian Persephone).

  28. Izicata says:

    I find a lot of people take stuff on the internet way too seriously, especially people on Twitter. I haven’t listened to the apology, because I don’t think Mumbles has anything to apologize for. I was made uncomfortable by the depiction of torture in SOMA, but that was because I found it an emotionally resonant portrayal of torture and not because of Mumbles advocating for it.

    Twitter is a terrible platform for any kind of reasonable discussion. The limitations of the platform reduce communication between humans in all its nuanced complexity to a crowd of people shouting soundbites and hashtags at each other, and the people who shout the loudest dominate the discourse. Twitter is a cancer on the body of human interaction, and I’m glad they’re finally starting to go under.

    If you listen to Twitter, all you’re going to hear is the roar of a hundred thousand angry idiots, because idiots are the people who shout the loudest.

    • Ninety-Three says:

      Did some part of this drama actually happen on Twitter? As far as I can tell the only thing that happened was two comments on the Spoiler Warning post crossed a line from “I found the sadism offputting” to “Mumbles is sadistic”. I’ve been very confused, as the magnitude of the reaction seems greatly excessive if those two comments are all that happened.

      • Gruhunchously says:

        Mumbles mentioned what was going on on Twitter. Bunch of people got really mad (as they do). One swore that they would never visit the Twenty Sided comment section again. I highly doubt any of them actually read the inciting comments at all, and just based their judgement on second or third hand accounts.

        • Retsam says:

          Based on your description, I’m never going to twitter again!

        • Sadbench says:

          That’s a pretty ungracious description of what happened on Twitter – though, full disclosure, I am one of the people who has been communicating with Mumbles about this over Twitter.

          Mumbles got upset because of comments from this website and talked about it at length on Twitter. In my understanding of events there was a significant outpouring of support and sympathy for her situation, with some frustration (warranted or not) pointed towards the comments section of this site.

          I’d like to think that Mumbles appreciated the support she received from followers on Twitter.

          • Ninety-Three says:

            Wait now I’m confused again. After the comments on Twenty Sided, did or did not the stereotypical internet rage squad attack Mumbles? I’d check, but trying to read through past tweets is a logistical nightmare on that site.

            • Sadbench says:

              Everything I saw on Twitter was in support of Mumbles, if she was attacked there then I didn’t see it and she didn’t mention it.

              A lot of what makes this issue tricky is that I don’t think the comments that upset Mumbles were deliberately trying to attack her – I think they thought they were simply stating an opinion. However, those comments ended up being pretty disrespectful to the point Mumbles was trying to make and to Mumbles as a person. So while you might have only seen a couple, I believe there were more than a couple that had an effect on her.

              • Ninety-Three says:

                I am now wondering if I’m reading the same internet as everyone else. Because on the internet I’m reading there were exactly two comments that made any implications about Mumbles as a person, and the rest stayed in the impersonal territory of “I found the enthusiasm offputting”, or responded to the implications with disagreement. Is this whole trainwreck of drama seriously over those two comments?

                • Sadbench says:

                  Again, you may have noticed two comments, but no, there were more than that. And when a whole thread is discussing whether you’re a sadistic torturer, it’s easy to see why that might be upsetting.

                  By dismissing it as “this whole trainwreck”, you’re essentially saying that Mumbles shouldn’t have gotten upset. I believe her response was valid.

                  • Ninety-Three says:

                    That was not my intention, I tend to refer to all forms of internet drama as trainwrecks. Sorry for the implication.

                    As for the comments, I read every single one in that thread, and I saw two regarding robo-sadism that went into Mumbles as a person. I guess three if you’re willing to count a clearly joking comment comparing her to GLADOS and Batman villains. What more was there than that?

                  • Ninety-Three says:

                    Well that’s interesting, my reply got flagged for moderation. In case it sits there a while, I’ll try to post this important bit from it now and hopefully clear something up:

                    That was not my intention, I tend to refer to all forms of internet drama as trainwrecks. Sorry for the implication.

        • Oddly enough, this caused me to spend more time on this site than I’ve spent total before last week. It seems like the standard internet overblown thing that always seems to happen whenever someone says something anywhere at any time.

  29. baseless_research says:

    I thought this was going to be about batman v superman. Am Disappoint.

    4/10 would not drama again.

  30. Ninety-Three says:

    Having now listened to the audio, I’ll weigh in to say that I had no idea Mumbles was usually playing a character. I understood that her “I like cannibalism, murder people and eat them!” shtick was a recurring joke, of course, but I had literally no idea that, for instance, Mumbles was afraid of spooky stuff, or Mumbles didn’t like violence. Unlike the cannibalism bit, “big brave Mumbles” and “big violent Mumbles” are not implausible character traits, and I never saw any evidence that Mumbles wasn’t like that.

    Mumbles might have dropped character and spoken from a place other than “big brave violent Mumbles” but I never saw her outright break character and say something that contradicted “big brave violent Mumbles”, so I had no idea it wasn’t real. As The Rocketeer said above, Josh and others do it, but Josh talks about Cuftbert as a character separate from himself, and goes so far as to explain that Cuftbert is basically the opposite of his solo playstyle. With Mumbles I could never see the mask drop, so I thought it was just her face.

    When we got to the robot torture, I had no idea if Mumbles meant it. It seemed a little bit implausible, but on the other hand I’ve known people who would do that. If it wasn’t sincere then it must be a joke: I didn’t see any sign of a punchline, and the cast didn’t seem to react like they were playing along with a joke.

    • Cybron says:

      I also was not aware that there was a character involved. I don’t watch a lot of spoiler warning, but from the episodes I have seen and the diecast (which I do often listen to) I thought Mumbles was just a person with a weird sense of faux-brash/violent humor. I knew someone very much like that when I was in school (she was best described as playfully violent), so nothing about it seemed too outlandish to me. Just a matter of perspective I suppose.

      Anyways, I’m not watching the SOMA playthrough, so I don’t have any input on the robot thing. Even if I don’t always appreciate the cannibal gimmick or whatever, I’ve never really thought any of it reflected on Mumbles personally. But maybe this sequence was different. /shrug

    • Daimbert says:

      As I said above, while I don’t watch it, my impression is that for the most part these things are the people expressing their real viewpoints, with some deliberately outrageous jokes thrown in. Mumbles, then, seems to be the only explicit character, as Josh’s comments are separated from himself and everyone else is at least seen as being mostly themselves and step outside of that occasionally for a joke. I think people saw the “Bees!” and “Cannibalism” jokes as being explicitly those sorts of jokes for Mumbles, but that her actual personality was on being displayed most of the time and her name here was just a nick, like Daimbert is for me (no, that’s not my real name [grin]). As an actual persona, things and reactions would be different, but that has an impact on how her discussions would be viewed, I think.

  31. Tony Kebell says:

    Mumbles exposing the business.

  32. Raygereio says:

    Mumbles, you sounded like you were a bit surprised that people didn’t get that the you on twitter & Diecast is different to the mumbles-persona on Spoiler Warning.
    I think the fact that you use the handle Mumbles for both could have caused people to assume that all the Mumbleses (Mumbli?) are one and the same.

    Note that this is no way a defense of any idiocy thrown in your general direction. Nor am I commenting on anything else related to the e-drama.
    It’s just something you may want to think about: If you ever want to create another persona that’s “outragous” and meant to provoke responses, it can be good idea to keep that persona as separate as possible from the real you.

    Edit: Also apologies are not a sign of weakness. Things like a genuine, heartfelt apology. Admitting fault when mistakes were made. Or being honest, open and reaching out all require the exact opposite of weakness.

  33. Volfram says:

    People apparently need to chill out.

    For what it’s worth, I never really identified “Mumbles” the SW persona as being different from Mumbles the Twenty-Sided contributor, but the comment about torturing robots never bothered me. Like she says, they’re not real people.

    Mumbles is admittedly not my favorite Spoiler Warning character, but her interaction with Rutskarn is the best part of the series by far, in my opinion.

    Mumbles, keep bringing the crazy to Spoiler Warning. Anybody who freaks out about it doesn’t deserve your attention.

  34. Humanoid says:

    So having not followed anything of the SOMA season yet, this is the first time I’ve heard about any of this and while admittedly I’ve only just skimmed the topic, it seems that we can all agree that this is all Rutskarn’s fault. Glad that’s sorted out then.

  35. Erin says:

    I don’t bother with anyone’s comment sections as a rule but I don’t have twitter either so:

    It bums me out to hear this happened. Time and again it seems like if you’re a woman on the Internet you’re going to get everything you say and do hyper-analyized and picked over for the worst-possible interpretation. I want to say that I can’t believe someone would seriously believe Mumbles on Spoiler Warning isn’t just a character, but sadly that seems totally in line for what I’ve come to expect of internet audiences. And it doesn’t seem to take much for that kind of stuff to spill over to real-life harassment. It makes even the seemingly smallest things carry this uncomfortable undercurrent to it, because you’ll never know who’ll decide to take things too far.
    It sucks and it isn’t fair and it’s one of many reasons why I would never want to put myself out there on the internet.

    • Daimbert says:

      Time and again it seems like if you’re a woman on the Internet you’re going to get everything you say and do hyper-analyized and picked over for the worst-possible interpretation.

      I think you should replace “woman” with “person” there. God knows that I’ve been nitpicked, even in these comment threads, and not only am I not a woman, “Daimbert” is not in fact a female-associated name [grin]. Let’s not expand this into some bigger social issue when this case, at least, probably isn’t that.

      • Viktor says:

        The scale is different if you’re a woman, though. Ruts and Shamus have both said that Mumbles gets a lot more shit from the SW audience than the rest of the cast does, and has since day 1. And there was a study with female and male named bots in IRC rooms. IIRC, male boys received 3 harassing messages a day, female bots received ~100. Yes, the Internet is horrible to everyone, but it’s a lot worse for women, and that needs to be remembered in these discussions.

        • Daimbert says:

          That wouldn’t necessarily apply to all individual cases, though, and so you still have to be careful about assuming that it’s due to gender rather than due to something else, and so far from the discussions I’ve seen here it seems unlikely that the issue in these comment threads is that.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      And I cant(yes I can) believe you are not aware that you are doing the same thing that was done to Mumbles.You assume that everyone must perceive things exactly the way you perceive them.And if you were to read the comments both there and here youd realize that all the people that griefed mumbles over here joke did it because they projected their experience of the game onto her.And youd also see that every single one of them has apologized for doing so now that theyve finally realized it was a shtick.

      If theres one thing people could learn from this it is not to assume that the first possibility they consider must be true.Rather,they should try to think if theres a different explanation for what they are perceiving.

  36. Joshua says:

    It’s indicative of the times that people have access to technology allowing them to share with like-minded people… and then finding out that they are dealing with multiple layers of alternative personas or ‘characters’, which can be a little jarring.

    (I mean, technically somebody’s birth-name isn’t their ‘real name’, but it’s a step above nicknames and IDs).

    I’m somebody who knows a lot more older people (ie 60/70/80yr old) and every time I try to awkwardly relate to them, they have a habit of telling me “You will never truly know anybody” – these are people I see face-to-face.

    In terms of the ‘female helper’ trope, it’s very difficult to separate the ‘should and should – not’ from the things that become established because they worked, or were fallaciously misconstrued as part of a formula for something else that might have worked within any particular medium.

    Either

    A) Different creative teams come up with the same idea independently, due to trends or meme theory.
    Or
    B) Subsequent teams copy the first group of ideas, because having a poor concept to emulate is better than having nothing at all.

    When game designers find something that works well in a first time, it’s natural to want to replicate it – this goes all the way back to Halo, and even Red Faction, all the way up to Portal etc. Resident Evil 4 shares sooo much in common with Sega games, Dreamcast heritage and Sonic Adventure 2 – then ALMOST EVERY game copied Resident Evil 4, and suddenly a strong chain of video game culture, design and ideas is forged, stretching back decades and influenced by the psychological makeup of all people involved in its process, from developers to publishers, producers to consumers (and the baggage piles up).

    As an example, while I haven’t fully played the Tomb Raider reboots, I could see them as a step back in terms of characterisation because their hook is making Lara Croft a vulnerable young character AND dissonantly a competent avatar for the player to control, which is designed as a hook incentive to keep people playing in order to ‘protect Lara’ instead of… you know .. Raiding Tombs (which takes long and is probably daunting for the average player).

    The Tomb Raider Legend/Underworld games had a female protagonist with a slew of actual ‘male-helper’ characters (not mentors) and a Lara that didn’t have cliché ‘daddy-issues’ (well, she had mommy – issues, but it was a traumatic childhood experience…)

    • Ronixis says:

      If you’re tracing this trope back, the first example I can think of is in Mega Man Legends. (Which… is from the same developer as RE4.)

  37. TMC_Sherpa says:

    Mumblo, why is Taker fighting Shane? I mean other than because Vince said so? From what I’ve read (which isn’t a heck of a lot) it doesn’t make much sense from his characters perspective.

    Thoughts?

  38. Mumbles says:

    Man, so look. I went to sleep today glad that I shared a piece of my heart with you guys. There’s been some successful squashing of bad feelings and I’m super happy to see that. But, there’s also people who took this as an opportunity to tell me the boys do it better. I’ve been on this show for a long time and I know there’s a couple of you that just don’t like me. It hurts, but the only way to make those people happy is to give myself a personality lobotomy. Ain’t happening. And, I’m not leaving. So, I’m disappointed that we couldn’t all have a big hug over this and move on. But, if you don’t like me, there’s nothing I can do for you.

    Oh, and for the record? Twitter is awesome and there have been some people who got me through this that I love a lot. This place is what made me upset.

    • [insert name here] says:

      “It hurts, but the only way to make those people happy is to give myself a personality lobotomy.”

      Somebody who is out to hate something or someone might not even be deterred by that. Specifics don’t matter anymore, they’ll hate the object of their ire for being the way it is and not being different. And since some people will hate you no matter what, I like to be myself right in their face and go all out since it doesn’t matter anyway.

      • Volfram says:

        A viler evil than to murder a man, is to sell him suicide as an act of virtue.
        -Ayn Rand

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        You can not like someone without actually hating them.Its not a black and white thing.Whats more,you can hate the shtick without hating the person doing the shtick.

        • [insert name here] says:

          “You can not like someone without actually hating them.”

          *puts on Morpheus shades* What if I told you… that you can?
          Like, for example, when you simply DON’T hate someone? Hate is a part of the spectrum that I reserve for extreme cases, precisely because it’s not all black and white. If you can’t imagine a positive attitude towards someone without underlying hate… then I am truly sorry for you and recommend introspection.

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            No,I didnt mean you can not like I mean you can not like.

            • [insert name here] says:

              Woops. In that case, disregard the entirety of everything.
              PS: English language, get your act together.

    • Dude says:

      Man, you Spoiler Warning guys should’ve done some kind of “I’m leaving, bye guyz!” Mumbles special April 1 skit. The timing was so right.

    • Andy says:

      I don’t have anything truly meaningful to add, I’ll just say that weeks with no Mumbles on SW are boo poopy.

      I like Mumbles!

      Also, if we’re all group-hugging with Mumbles, might I suggest everyone check that they still have the requisite number of kidneys, afterwards?

    • Majere says:

      Okay I love the boys, the boys are great but you are my favourite part of well everything you take part in. Like, I’m always disappointed by a no Mumbles week.

    • Corsair says:

      For what it’s worth, Mumbles, I’m always disappointed any time I pull up the latest episode of Spoiler Warning or the Diecast and see you’re not present – and that has been unfortunately more often of late. I hope this doesn’t dishearten you from continuing with the group, because the podcasts and episodes lose a lot of interesting, insightful commentary and a lot of great humor when you’re not around. The only time you’ve ever shocked me it was only because I had to process for a moment before I started laughing.

    • Daimbert says:

      But, there’s also people who took this as an opportunity to tell me the boys do it better. I’ve been on this show for a long time and I know there’s a couple of you that just don’t like me. It hurts, but the only way to make those people happy is to give myself a personality lobotomy.

      If you want to say that the “Mumbles” persona in SW is just a character and doesn’t represent your actual personality — as everyone seems to be saying you said, as I didn’t listen to it — then you can’t then turn around and be upset that when people criticize the personality of the CHARACTER that they’re criticizing YOUR personality, and that YOUR personality would have to change to make them happy. That’s part of what causes this whole mess in the first place, the conflation of you with the character. The Rocketeer, for example, was EXCEEDINGLY careful to only criticize the CHARACTER’S personality, not yours, and you don’t seem to be acknowledging that.

      If it’s just a character, take criticisms of it as criticisms of the character you’re playing, including the idea that maybe you’ve Flanderized it a bit too much. But don’t get upset as if people are criticizing you as a person. But if it’s you, own it when people say that it bugs them or assign the views of the character to you as a person. You can’t have it both ways.

      • Mumbles says:

        To most people, it’s pretty obvious when I’m playing a crazy cannibal and when I’m being me. Yes, I do both in one show, but most people get when I change between the two. The other guys do it all the time and they never get thrown on the spikes like I do. This was to clarify for people who didn’t get it and took everything I do and say at face value. I’m allowed to be upset that someone thought I actually want to torture real humans and you can’t tell me I shouldn’t be. Telling someone they aren’t allowed to feel is bullshit. That just makes you an asshole.

        • Daimbert says:

          Okay, you’ve hit a pet peeve of mine. People are indeed allowed to tell you how you ought to feel IF the facts that that feeling is based on are false, and so you ought not conclude what you concluded that made you feel that way. Again, referring to The Rocketeer’s comment, if you felt that that was him talking about you as a person and not about the Mumbles character — and I’m not saying that you DO feel that, since you haven’t said as far as I can see right now at this very instant — then you’re WRONG to think that he was criticizing you and so wrong to be upset at what he’s saying as if it’s a personal attack on you. And that was the whole point of my comment: if people are criticizing the character’s personality and not yours, then you ought not be upset as if they were attacking you, and I’d like to add that this holds even if they don’t realize that it’s just a persona. They AREN’T criticizing you, they’re criticizing the character, and so if they conflate the two all you need to do is point out and/or remind them that this is just a character you play, and maybe look to see if you weren’t really clear when you stepped into character there, and move on.

          Many people in this comment thread have pointed out that they didn’t realize that you were playing a character in SW. This is not really a problem with them. Many have also pointed out that the guys do it better because they MAKE it clearer when they step into the character role and when they don’t. Maybe you need to make that clearer, or maybe even the whole difference is that you are in character far more than they are. Who knows? The clarification is good, but being upset at people who took your persona at face value for thinking that you really believed those things when all they really know about you IS that persona isn’t valid. Hopefully, this clarification will clear things up a bit (rather tautological, I suppose [grin]).

          • Phill says:

            Okay, you’ve hit a pet peeve of mine. People are indeed allowed to tell you how you ought to feel IF the facts that that feeling is based on are false

            I completely disagree with this.

            People are allowed to try and explain that you’ve misunderstood them, but in the real world people don’t get to decide how they feel, and don’t get to chose not to have negative feelings just because someone has ‘explained’ that they are wrong. That can just make someone feel worse.

            If you’re only goal is to be logically correct, then go ahead, and be logically correct and an asshole at the same time.

            If actually relating to other people in a positive way figures in to things at all, then the fact that someone is upset even if they are absolutely and unequivocally wrong to be upset is something that has to be worked with and accounted for to some degree, since it can’t just be wished away, and it won’t go away just because you find it unreasonable.

            (Tangentially related: I once saw a suggestion that if, in an argument, you are 100% certain that you are right and the other person is wrong, the only thing to do is to apologise immediately, because all that means is that you haven’t actually understood what they are upset about).

            • Daimbert says:

              If someone misunderstands what I said, and gets upset based on that, and I point out that they misunderstood me, and they accept that they did, and are still upset anyway, they can use the “I can’t help how I feel!” reply to justify them still being upset, but only if they accept that they OUGHT not be upset, and that there’s nothing that _I_ did that justifies them STILL being upset now that they understand me. In short, as long as they admit that they were wrong to be upset at what I said now that they understand what I meant, then still being upset and needing some time to calm down/manage that/whatever is reasonable. The issue in cases where that comment is used is that generally it’s used as an excuse for them to justify CONTINUING to be upset and blaming ME for that.

              Now, on the other hand, if I wasn’t all that clear, then I ought to apologize for not being clear and leading to the misunderstanding. But they STILL can’t continue on as if I really meant to say or said what they misunderstood me as saying.

              It is far more reasonable to say that no one gets to tell me what I REALLY meant when I said something than it is to say that no one can tell someone what they OUGHT to feel when their feelings are baseless and unjustified.

              (Tangentially related: I once saw a suggestion that if, in an argument, you are 100% certain that you are right and the other person is wrong, the only thing to do is to apologise immediately, because all that means is that you haven’t actually understood what they are upset about).

              Or you DO understand, they’re wrong, and they either don’t want to admit that or are letting their emotions carry them instead of trying to reign them in. There’s a story in Seneca — Stoic philosopher — about a leader who had a solider disappear and had another soldier accused of murdering the first soldier, and in a rage sentenced the second soldier to death. Before the execution, the first soldier was found (he’d been away for some reason). Another person brought this to the attention of the leader, who, still enraged, ordered the soldier accused of murder to STILL be executed, the first solider to be executed, AND the person who told him of this to be executed. Surely you can agree that their rage was based on false facts, and that instead of acting on them and justifying them and taking those irrational actions, the leader should have taken the time to calm down, assess the situation, and actually act reasonably?

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Thats not a good suggestion.For example,if I were to argue that sun is revolving around the earth,and that the earth is flat,would you apologize for thinking that I am wrong?

              • Phill says:

                It was more in the context of relationship arguments, rather than factual ones.

                And actually, if you are having emotional arguments with someone about geocentricism or a flat earth, then there is a very good chance (if we are talking about a real person rather than a strawman) that they are upset about something other than the scientific facts, and you might do well to drop the science argument and find out what is really going on.

                That’s not to say that you should agree that the earth is flat to make them happy. You should find out what is really making them upset. But the earth remains a sphere regardless, and if they really are emotionally committed to the idea it is flat in defiance of reality, then maybe that’s where you agree to avoid the subject or each other in the future.

            • Ninety-Three says:

              (Tangentially related: I once saw a suggestion that if, in an argument, you are 100% certain that you are right and the other person is wrong, the only thing to do is to apologise immediately, because all that means is that you haven’t actually understood what they are upset about).

              Arguments I have had in real life, that that is suggesting I walk away from:
              Vaccines cause autism
              The moon landings were faked
              Person X said Y on video
              The answer to a math problem is wrong

              I’m racking my brain, and I cannot remember hearing a worse suggestion, ever. That’s proposing a world where people who are factually wrong go uncorrected. That’s madness!

          • Daemian Lucifer says:

            And that was the whole point of my comment: if people are criticizing the character’s personality and not yours, then you ought not be upset as if they were attacking you, and I’d like to add that this holds even if they don’t realize that it’s just a persona.

            No,if they dont realize its a persona,they are criticizing the person,not the persona.

            They AREN’T criticizing you, they’re criticizing the character, and so if they conflate the two all you need to do is point out and/or remind them that this is just a character you play,

            This post is her literally doing that.

            This is not really a problem with them.

            I disagree,because many more people DID realize it.

            Many have also pointed out that the guys do it better because they MAKE it clearer when they step into the character role and when they don’t.

            Since when is a couple “many”?

            Maybe you need to make that clearer, or maybe even the whole difference is that you are in character far more than they are.

            Or maybe people should stop assuming that when someone expresses a horrible opinion they must automatically be a horrible person.

            but being upset at people who took your persona at face value for thinking that you really believed those things when all they really know about you IS that persona isn’t valid

            If said people are the minority,AND have been pointed out by others that its a shtick,AND still decide to call the person mentally damaged,then yes,being upset is valid.

            • Daimbert says:

              No,if they dont realize its a persona,they are criticizing the person,not the persona.

              No, they are criticizing the persona, and so there’s no way that the person should take saying “That person is terrible!’ as them saying that they really think the person is terrible, even if that’s what they THINK they’re doing. The only valid argument you can make here is that criticizing a character is different than criticizing a person … which is true, but not something that, again, someone should take personally if they AREN’T that person, and if they are making personal criticisms for things that it isn’t reasonable to criticize a person for, you ought to argue that instead of, again, taking that personally.

              This post is her literally doing that.

              Which I acknowledged later in the comment. Please give me credit for the entirely of my comment, not a small subset that you yank out to criticize.

              I disagree,because many more people DID realize it.

              Unless you want to argue that it was completely and totally obvious and that those people must merely have been oblivious or have an agenda to not realize that, the fact that many people got it doesn’t mean that, given the circumstances, those that didn’t were wrong to conclude that. It may be a difference between casual and non-casual viewers, for example. Note that this also doesn’t mean that how it was presented was wrong EITHER; given the differences between people, misunderstandings happen.

              Since when is a couple “many”?

              Yes, let us nitpick over numbers instead of dealing with the point that perhaps the reason Mumbles gets misinterpreted more than the guys has more to do with her presentation than anything else. Unless you want to deny that she DOES get misinterpreted more, at which point I invite you to take that up with her and not me.

              Or maybe people should stop assuming that when someone expresses a horrible opinion they must automatically be a horrible person.

              This is a massive debate that is currently raging all over the Internet, and to go into that would probably be too long AND violate Shamus’ commenting policy. But let me just quickly say that it is not obvious that there are some horrible opinions that only horrible people can hold, as long as that is not obvious people WILL argue that holding certain horrible opinions DOES mean that that person is a horrible person, and at that point if you want to argue that you’d need to argue against that link, not merely call for an end to those sorts of assumptions, as the people aren’t actually assuming it.

              Also, this doesn’t apply here, unless you want to claim that Mumbles really believes that, which we all accept that she doesn’t.

              If said people are the minority,AND have been pointed out by others that its a shtick,AND still decide to call the person mentally damaged,then yes,being upset is valid.

              Who is still doing that? Most if not all of the comments I’ve read are now talking about the character, not Mumbles or Kelly herself.

              Also, again, it is not obvious that one can’t be reasonably called mentally deranged for adopting a certain persona and thinking that’s funny. There are certain personas that can be only adopted for the sake of humour AT BEST very carefully, if at all.

              • Daemian Lucifer says:

                perhaps the reason Mumbles gets misinterpreted more than the guys has more to do with her presentation than anything else.

                Or it could be that she appears less often than anyone else.Or that her sense of humor is different.Or that she reacts to it differently.Or any other of the numerous reasons.Yes,including the “because she is a girl” one.Picking one of those as the most likely is arbitrary.Also,its probably not just one reason.

                Unless you want to deny that she DOES get misinterpreted more, at which point I invite you to take that up with her and not me.

                To be frank,Ive seen Shamoose criticized more often.But thats probably due to his output being orders of magnitude larger.Without really getting into percentages,I cant say for sure.

                Who is still doing that? Most if not all of the comments I’ve read are now talking about the character, not Mumbles or Kelly herself.

                I was referring to the original comments and why Mumbles has every right to be upset by them as they were dirrected at her and not the character.Because they were directed at Kelly,not Mumbles.

                • Ninety-Three says:

                  I was referring to the original comments and why Mumbles has every right to be upset by them as they were dirrected at her and not the character.

                  But no they weren’t. Of the two comments that crossed the line, one was formulated “IF not disliking torture, THEN implications of sadism”, the other was “She claimed to enjoy screams… that’s sadistic”. Both of those comments are clearly conditional upon real-Mumbles actually liking torture. If she doesn’t, the IF, THEN clause doesn’t fire and the criticism can only apply to the persona.

                  • guy says:

                    While most of the comments don’t individually cross the line, their impact is altered by the ones that do. Being in the same thread and on the same overall side of the argument makes them feel to Mumbles as though they’re supporting the comments that are directly and individually out of line, since the people making them don’t strongly call out the ones that do cross the line. I’ve been on the recieving end of this and it can be extremely unpleasant. And of course it’s valid for Mumbles to be upset by people who didn’t mean to upset her; she apologized for upsetting people she didn’t mean to upset! So it is appropriate for the commenters who did not individually do anything wrong to apologize to her as well.

        • Phill says:

          BTW although I can’t explain why, it is much less obvious to me when you switch between the real Mumbles and the persona. For everyone else on SW, I think it is pretty clear – when Josh switches into troll mode for example. That having been said, I was always pretty sure you weren’t a cannibal in real life :)

          As a curiosity, there’s a Scottish comedian, Frankie Boyle, who seems to have an unfortunate habit of stirring up controversy with his jokes. He is bemused at the reactions he gets, since he is playing a persona. And other comedians get away with the same sort of stuff that he does with no controversy. I guess there is something about his way of presenting the comedy that make people identify it much more with his actual opinions, while other comics are more effective at creating the distance between themselves and their ‘for comedy’ statements. I doubt I could explain the difference there either, but when he does it it does sound much more like him offering his genuine opinion than when anybody else does it.

  39. AdamS says:

    You know things are serious when the wrestle-girl breaks kayfabe.

  40. Jokerman says:

    This is all pretty weird to me… Mumbles calls it a “persona” and maybe that is true for her, or maybe its just a good way to articulate what she is doing on Spoiler warning.

    But this is all really normal stuff to me, when i am hanging out with a group of friends (which is basically what Spoiler Warning is.) and we are just goofing around, Ill say the creepiest, strangest weird shit to my friends… just to see there reaction, make them laugh… everyone is in on the joke, knows i am not actually crazy.

    This is what i see Mumbles doing, just saying weird shit for the fun of it, her persona is like a hotter, female version of Trevor Phillips and its great! People just…. take things too seriously, take themselves too seriously… or just have an inability to detect when people are joking. I think if any of these things are true about you, then maybe Spoiler Warning is not the right show to watch?

  41. Adrian says:

    Wow, I didn’t know social justice warriors followed your show. Welcome to 2016!
    First rule of dealing with social justice warriors: NEVER APOLOGIZE! Do Not Make Them Feel Justified In Their Attack On You! It will only make them attack you more!

    • SL128 says:

      Probably everyone on the show is what you would call a skeleton warrior; calm down. And no, being able to apologize and admit possible fault is a strength.

      • Adrian says:

        I agree being able to apologize is a strength when you’re talking to a rational human being.

    • Shamus says:

      I am so grateful this comment stood for a solid 8 hours (I was sleeping) and didn’t turn into a huge flamewar. Thanks everyone.

      More importantly, talking about SJW-ism is exactly the kind of politics I want to avoid around here. Topic closed.

  42. Decius says:

    Having gone back and reviewed the statements in question:

    It seems that the objection was centered around the idea that the ‘robot’ in question was a person, and that torturing a person was wrong.

    The last time I got a chance in a videogame to torture a person for fun was Dishonored. If I take the conversation that happened and imagine that it took place in that context about that person, I don’t predict a high volume of complaints.

    What I see is that every person involved sees torture as unambiguously and totally wrong. When Mumbles speaks in favor of cannibalism of torture of what is clearly a human, it is seen as a nonserious comment or countersignal, because “nobody could seriously advocate for something like that!”. When there is enough ambiguity to believe that torture (of sentient robot-bodied people) might actually be a thing that people do for fun, then some people mistake a countersignal for the signal it emulates.

  43. SPCTRE says:

    It was actually interesting to hear what Mumbles sounds like with decent audio quality

    ;-P

  44. Zaxares says:

    I didn’t watch the SOMA episode in question, so I really didn’t know what all the controversy was about. But I will say that I had NO idea that you were playing a personality on SW, Mumbles. O.o (Now mind you, I’ve only been following the series when it’s games that I’ve actually played myself, so I skipped a lot of seasons.) I was under the impression that everybody on the show was basically commenting on stuff and behaving as they would naturally do. Everything Shamus does and says, for example, is pretty consistent with what I know of him from reading all of his articles. So the revelation that you’re a colour commentor is a big one to me; I wasn’t even aware that such a thing existed! If nothing else, thanks for expanding my knowledge on that! :)

    Now onto the perhaps more important bit; I had absolutely no problem with anything you’ve done or said in SW. We play games to escape from reality and see/do things that we would never normally do in real life. I cleave pretty closely to the Lawful Good alignment in real life, yet I’ve done things like Renegade and Evil playthroughs in dozens of RPGs. Some of them allow you to do some really twisted stuff, and while I sometimes have to grit my teeth and do it just to get an achievement or see what comes next, there’s always a sense of unreality about it. You would never do any of it in real life, but it can be cathartic playing as the villain or monster, giving vent to all the frustrations and rage you might feel at stuff in your real life. It’s really no different from the old “just because I play FPS games doesn’t mean I’m about to go shoot up a mall in real life” argument.

    So in short, thanks for the explanation, although I feel the apology wasn’t necessary. Everybody has different opinions and preferences, and they are entitled to those. It’s always refreshing to get insight into why someone is doing the things they do. I hope you continue to stay with SW and provide lots of interesting commentary and antics in the years to come. :)

  45. Kristian Atanasov says:

    Oh What the HELL! Are you seriously telling me people went crazy just because Mumbles made a few jokes about torturing robots in a video game. Or because she gave a honest opinion about a female archetype in games that she didn’t like?!

    Honestly I appreciate you taking the time to clear things up, but the fact that you felt like you had to record this because of the extreme reactions of idiots on the internet makes me feel sad.

  46. So, I was pondering this ‘n’ that in the shower just now, and I thunked some thunks. Mostly about why (some) people reacted so strongly to the whole robot-torture thing in the first place. After all, I know I’ve done a *lot* of things to characters in computer games that would totally count as torture if I did them to RealPeople(TM) – and I had a good time playing those games. BUT! Almost always, those characters are aggressive adversaries – if they knew I was there and I took no action to oppose or avoid them, they would kill my character. I will admit right now that I haven’t played SOMA, but my understanding is that there are the passive ‘bots that are “obstacles” to progression in that you must “kill” or hurt them in order to open the next plot-door and there are the aggressive opponent ‘bots against which you are powerless – you can only hope to evade them to reach your goals. There are very few games that demand that you do “harm” to an otherwise passive in-game character in order to proceed. Spec Ops:TL and That WP Bit (I have played this one) is one such – and it’s in a minority afaik. And in SO:TL, you don’t actually appreciate that you’re targetting passive characters until after you’ve done the deed. Ime, most games will give you an option: the classic “drown/save puppies to proceed.” And there are totally games that will judge you and reward/punish you according to which you choose, but the point is that you had that choice. That’s very different from overtly saying, “Drown these puppies or uninstall the game and turn off your computer ‘cos you’re going no further until puppies are drowned.”

    So, with all that, I wondered whether this is a major facet of the design of SOMA – your character’s inability to take any action against active, aggressive characters that will kill you versus having to do harm to passive, empathetically written characters in order to actually get anywhere. That’s some interesting tension. And it’s held there by the fact that, as touched on in one episode, there’s no guns or whatever that can be used against the aggressive ‘bots. Does harming the passive robots to progress feel “good” because “Finally! Something I can take action upon!” after the stress of dealing with something that will unavoidably turn you into a grease-stain if it catches you, or do people typically feel that it’s a necessary evil to be done swiftly and only because there’s no other way to move forward? What, if anything, does this say about us as players? I suspect that for many people it may be the latter and thus I can see why “Mumbles” seemingly taking perverse glee in the idea of torturing passive, empathetic characters caused knee-jerking in anyone who landed on the “I empathised with these ‘bot characters and didn’t want to hurt them but the game said I had to” end of the spectrum. So… yeah. That’s the kind of conversation I like to watch SW/read this column for – not “OMG, is this person actually a RL torturing cannibal?!” Of course, if my understanding of SOMA is completely off, then this is just a whole load of pointless waffle. :p (It’s on my want-to-play list, but so’s a whole shit-ton of other things…)

    To throw at least a corner of a hat into the other, completely separate ring: I totally don’t play enough games currently to have noticed a “female voice-over” theme, but of the games I have played recently, two did fall into this category and funnily they’re both by the same company, Klei Entertainment. They’re Mark of the Ninja (ok, you can see the girl but she’s basically just there to shout stuff at you) and Invisible, Inc. I happened to really enjoy both games for very different reasons. On the flip side, we have Sir (or in my case Madam) You Are Being Hunted. Haven’t played enough to establish whether voice-over guy is actually sketchy, but I am loving the opportunity to play a tweed-clad inventor of the female persuasion. :)