There’s a fine line between passion and anger. Let’s try to stay on the right side of it.


I like to think of myself as someone with fairly centrist views. In any given argument, both sides usually have merit. Only an astonishingly arrogant person could possibly think that their own beliefs are 100% correct, and that someone else’s opinion is absolute rubbish. Whether it’s a political debate, a disagreement over social issues, or even something as simple as game recommendations, the fact that you’re even having a debate means that both sides of the argument must have at least some merit.

That’s not to say I sit on the fence when it comes to issues. I have my own opinions about games; opinions I attempt to put across in my work on this site. I try to convey my thoughts in a way that’s clear and concise, and that hopefully encourages people to agree with me, or at least, see the sense in my argument. I think some people get the wrong idea about games writers. They assume that we want to force everyone to follow our way of thinking, and we’ll ignore anyone who disagrees because they’re just “trolls”. I can’t speak for all games writers, but at least in my case — that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Witcher 3 Trolls

Here’s the thing: I encourage people to disagree with me. I appreciate it when someone’s opinion differs from mine, and they’re able to respectfully voice that opinion . Healthy debate is important; the back and forth interactions between the gaming community and games writers is absolutely vital to creating valuable discussions about the medium.

We need people who challenge our opinions, just as much as we need those who agree with them.

I don’t think that I’m perfect, and as far as I’m aware, no writer does. If you criticise my writing, you improve my writing. Perhaps I didn’t make my point clear enough. Perhaps I structured my argument in a way that was hard to follow. Perhaps there was a counter-point I hadn’t considered. Either way, if you comment on my article and tell me what you think I did wrong, you improve me as a writer, and I thank you for that. I mean, I won’t necessarily agree with you, but I’ll always listen to your argument.

Unfortunately, as we’re all aware by now, the Internet can be a fairly toxic place. In the digital world, we’re all granted total anonymity. When we read an article we don’t like, we’re free to criticise it however we like. We can attack the article, and we can also attack the person behind the article if we so choose. We know no harm will befall us, and we’re free to unleash all the aggression we want.

Damn it, not that kind of digital world!

Damn it, not that kind of digital world!

And the sad thing is, that aggression clouds any valid points their criticisms might have. It becomes impossible to take that person seriously.

Recently, Indie Haven contributor Sheva Gunnery wrote an article relating to the representation of Asian characters within video games. In the article, she highlights the minuscule number of Asian characters portrayed in video games. It’s a great, eye-opening piece, and I highly recommend you check it out. Asian characters are more often represented in sidekick or villainous roles, and are rarely granted the opportunity to be the hero. When they are included, they’re often voiced by white actors.

Now, I can’t climb inside Sheva’s head, but I’m pretty sure there wasn’t any malice behind the article. She wasn’t targeting any specific developer and accusing them of racism. She was highlighting what she perceives as an industry-wide problem that needs to be addressed. The next day, we posted our interview with Bao Phi. Sheva had conducted the interview while researching the issues raised in the previous article.

The response to the interview was mixed, to say the least. Sheva was personally attacked by some of those who disagreed with the article. They slung the same tired accusations we’ve heard so many times before — she’s an SJW who’s shaming game developers for not conforming to her world view. These are silly, unnecessary accusations, that frankly, the games industry could do without.

WhiteWashedOUT - Featured

What’s sad about this is that these people actually brought up some good points. Maybe developers are afraid of offending people by misrepresenting a culture that’s unfamiliar to them. Maybe they’re sticking to white protagonists because they’re afraid of alienating a huge sector of their target audience. The points these critics made, whilst representing the polar opposite to Sheva’s, are absolutely equal in validity.

We can all stand to learn and grow, and had these criticisms been put forward in a constructive manner, the exchange could have been a positive experience for all involved. Unfortunately, most readers would dismiss these counter-points, and not because of argument itself — it was the way in which it was put across. These criticisms were dripping with such venomous aggression that they were literally impossible to take seriously.

So here’s my suggestion — if you disagree with someone’s opinion, and you want to voice your opposition to them and others, you’ll get a lot further if you put your argument across in a polite, constructive manner. Angrily criticising anyone for their appearance, or calling them an SJW won’t make people agree with you. It’ll just make people ignore you.

paper-super-meat-boy-thumbs-up

We’re all passionate about the games industry. That’s why sites like Indie Haven exist. As writers, we try our best to bring light to the issues that we see occurring within the games industry. We suggest ways in which the industry could — in our eyes — be improved, but these opinions are ours, and ours alone. That’s why we welcome your differing opinions — so long as they’re put forward with respect, and a degree of common decency.

I encourage healthy debate about indie games. I firmly believe that Indie Haven is one of the most inclusive games critique sites around. All views, all creeds, all ideas, are encouraged. When the site was first established, that was its purpose. So let’s stick to doing that from now on. Criticise our work or compliment our work – we welcome your input. But let’s try to keep the focus on the games and the issues, and not on the people behind the articles.

About The Author

Contributor

As a composer and video game enthusiast, Philip has spent years searching for a way to combine his passions for both music and gaming. Then, one day, he figured he could just write about them. He loves to over-analyse the way music helps to shape the player's emotional response in a game. He also loves to criticise bad control schemes, because... Well, they just get on his nerves.

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  • Louis

    While Sheva did not accuse specific developers of racism, she did accuse all non-diverse developers of racism. Her direct quote was, in fact, “It’s obvious that racism plays a huge part in that (assuming there’s any other factors at all), but how do you think executives and game developers consistently excuse that lack of diversity?”. Just to be clear.

  • “The response to the interview was mixed,
    to say the least. Sheva was personally attacked by some of those who
    disagreed with the article. They slung the same tired accusations we’ve
    heard so many times before — she’s an SJW who’s shaming game developers
    for not conforming to her world view.”

    What venue was this? “Social Media” has the whole damn Internet completely atomized. It might help to provide a link. But yeah, the Internet is crawling with feral children. If only there were two Internets.

    PS: Just note for editor. I wish we wouldn’t look to the “industry” to save us. This isn’t industryhaven.com after all.