Jamison Trumpets

On Representation

February 23rd, 2016 by DanielRGT

I’m going to be extremely frank in this first sentence. There has been a lot of shit (and I really mean shit) going on in the Fighting Game Community as of late. For those of you that don’t really read gaming websites or anything of the sort, I’ll fill you in shortly.

Basically to preface everything, all of the crap that has occurred recently revolves around one gaming reality TV (except for the part where it’s not on TV) show, Cross Assault. Cross Assault is a reality show that takes two teams, Team Street Fighter and Team Tekken and has them butt heads together for a chance to win $25,000.

Sounds pretty cool right? In all honesty, it did sound really cool. Many people sent in their application videos for a chance to become a part of it, and it was the “talk of the town” so to speak in the Fighting Game Community. People called out other’s applications as being sub-par and said that their application was the best, after all what’s a competition without some competitive spirit?

The people get chosen for Cross Assault and the games begin. Seven straight days of nothing but the unreleased title by Capcom, Street Fighter X Tekken. Players compete in challenges and eliminate other players in the process; basically, it’s the normal thing you’d see from a reality show.

A few problems immediately arose on Team Tekken’s side, however, when the coach for the team, Aris, began saying things that made the only female player on that team, Miranda, uncomfortable. Time passes on, games are played, and eventually Miranda gets fed up and forfeits the show. Understandable considering some of the things Aris said.

This is not the point of this blog post though.

While I am extremely upset at the whole debacle, what upsets me more is the aftermath of this. Understandably, many gaming news sites and personal blogs exploded with content about this event. The basic gist of every article? “Look at the sexism in the Fighting Game Community.” Articles exploded using quotes from Aris defining the Fighting Game Community, and many a person reading it have called for the community’s destruction.

Granted, it’s the internet so what they call for an what will actually happen are two different things; however, that doesn’t mean it isn’t infuriating. Many people, myself included, have tried their best to express the fact that one person doing something dumb should not represent the community as a whole.

On the patch-up side of things, Tom Cannon over at Shoryuken.com wrote an article trying to bring everything “back to basics” as he put it.  The general response to this article from the Fighting Game Community? “Thank you.” Everyone was trying to verbalize exactly what was put into this article, but it took the words of a Cannon to make it really shine.

But what about the response from everyone else? The “other gamers” as it were? Their response was that they didn’t give a shit. Most of them couldn’t see past the sexism issue and immediately shot down the article as trash. Some went on to throw our point back at “us” so to speak. “If one person, namely Aris, doesn’t represent the community what makes this one person, Tom Cannon, able to represent the community?”

Some would say a fair point, except for several key things that makes this point absolutely ridiculous. For one, Tom Cannon with the help of his brother Tony Cannon, the man with the plan Joey Cuellar aka MrWizard, and special advisor to Capcom Seth Killian created and ran/run one of the biggest, if not the biggest fighting game tournament on the planet, Evolution. Evolution, shortened to EVO, is where players from all around the world gather to test their might in their respective fighting game.

So why is Tom Cannon a bad representation of our community? If there’s anyone who’s seen fighting game players’ true nature, more than anyone it’s any one of those four. They’ve been around since “the OG days” as people put it. He has been immersed in the community basically since the beginning which means that out of all the players in the Fighting Game Community, he has tons of perspective as far as the range of players that are a part of the community.

What else has his article got going? Apart from the correct tone, he did his best to provide as much evidence as possible to back up his point. Unfortunately, any and all evidence can never be as concrete as “Here is the knife that killed this woman”, but I believe that the videos he referred to showcase best what is most enjoyable about the Fighting Game Community.

This article basically had the “hype” die down so to speak. People saw two sides of the community, the “evil” side that was showcased by Aris and the “good” side showcased by Tom Cannon. The scandal was still leaving a nasty taste in our mouths, but we were slowly brushing it away.

And then people talked on a microphone.

Kotaku recently put up an article showcasing just how “shitty” the Fighting Game Community is. “Look at these guys making fun of the scandal, what a bunch of douchebags.”  I’d post a link to the article, but that would be encouraging this type of shoddy journalism, so I’ll sum it up for you.

People on the microphone at a local event, called Wednesday Night Fights, got on the microphone and made jokes about the debacle concerning Aris and the claims of sexual harassment. They were jokes in poor taste more than anything, but Kotaku has latched onto it and turned it into the workings of the devil.

I’m going to put it very simply based on my personal experience: commentary is difficult. There aren’t a lot of people that can do commentary well. Off of the top of my head, in the Fighting Game Community we only (realistically) have a handful of people who do it very well. The ones that come to mind in that category are people like David “UltraDavid” Graham, James “jchensor” Chen, Ryan Hunter, Adam “Keits” Heart, maybe a handful of others.

The problem is that there are people who see these good commentators and say to themselves, “If they can do it, so can I!” Wrong. Double wrong. Fifty times wrong. It’s not that easy at all. I’ve done commentary myself, and I’ve recently would like to think it’s become more refined than it was when I started. You’re very nervous your first time (I’m not talking about sex, you’re gross), and as such this reflects. You make jokes that aren’t funny, you point out things that don’t matter, you just talk and talk and talk. You fill silence with as much words as you can possibly think of, and unfortunately not everyone can do a “stream of consciousness” without getting some of the weird shit they think in their head out in the open.

That’s just one type of bad commentator. The second type tends to be, more often than naught, good players who get the privilege of sitting at the commentary booth. In the case of the Kotaku article, these are the people in question. Most of the time, these aren’t bad people by any means. In fact, the majority of them are nice people with some personality quirks that tend to be more colorful than others.

People have their opinions about things, and when they’re given a microphone sometimes the opinions start flowing out. In the case of the video, they were just making jokes, albeit the jokes were being reinforced by their opinion on the debacle. There are several problems involved with Kotaku’s article.

The main part is that this is not news. I’ve written in a previous blog post (in fact THE previous blog post) that gaming journalism sites, such as Kotaku, write articles like this to generate hits. Does the writer of this article actually agree with what he wrote? He certainly does now, because sparking this type of controversy is what gets people to see the article. Unfortunately, it’s worked. Almost all of the Fighting Game Community has probably read the article by now and is in an uproar.

Were they treating the incident with some disrespect? Maybe. The person on the microphone has already apologized on Twitter for what was said, but there are no follow-ups to news stories. Aside from Tom Cannon’s article being put on The Penny Arcade Report, I doubt many people will see any of the follow-ups to these stories. What’s left in the maelstrom of journalism is not this stamp that is dirtying the community. “Look at how terrible fighting game players are, and here’s how it is going to stay.”

Originally when I wrote this article, I wanted to make a big point on how when you pick up a microphone and get on a stream for games, you are representing that respective community. I believe this to be absolutely true and I think a lot of the people who pick up the microphone need to be wary of this. I could hypothetically get on a stream and just yell out the various names that genital parts have gotten over the years, but it wouldn’t be interesting, funny, or sensible in any way, shape, or form. Additionally, Kotaku would probably get mad at me (Zing).

The main driving force behind all of this is poor journalism. I already wrote a post about this so I won’t do it again, but what really needs to happen is that “journalists” need to get their shit together. They need to do actual research into their articles before they make overarching generalizations about an entire community based on very specific cases. On Twitter I have seen more than one tweet that proclaims, sarcastically, that since Kobe Bryant (he plays basketball. Hoops) was accused of raping a woman then that means the NBA, and all NBA fans, endorse rape and are the scum of the earth.

This is basically what is happening here, and unfortunately since it’s only gaming news then nobody cares. “This gaming news is shit, just like all other gaming news. Move along.”

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