Being in a public profession such as
complaining about SJWs on the internet journalism, you’re bound to get some admirers. But what a surprise to see such an influential and important writer as Jesse Singal, of the highly esteemed New York magazine, take such keen interest in my writing.
On Friday, he penned what can only be interpreted as a 4,700-word (10 pages, single-spaced 10pt Times New Roman font) love letter to myself and fellow Heat Street writer Ian Miles Cheong, in response to opinions we wrote about boring, dumb walking simulators and the game journalists who give them orgasmic, 10/10 praise.
— Select All (@selectall) September 30, 2016
This is not the first time Heat Street has been Jesse’s muse.
But, alas, the love will have to be unrequited, as Jesse has blocked me on Twitter, for dumb reasons, and our only point of contact is passive aggressive articles on our respective websites. Like Montagues and Capulets staring across starry skies at distant balconies.
To know someone thinks so much about us in this cold, uncaring universe, is very comforting. Not only did Jesse use words like “Hicksian” and “Cheongian” to describe our incredibly deep worldview, he even coined a new term to describe our edgy brand of game criticism: “video game culture warriors.”
While video game culture warriors — or his acronym VGCWs — probably won’t catch on, as it’s a real mouthful and I gagged just thinking about it, it’s really the thought that counts.
But there were a few passages in the letter where it actually seemed like Jesse was upset with various aspects of Ian’s and my own writings. And as the letter was somehow published on a news website and not personally mailed to us, I must address a few points in the realm of public discourse:
In the, uh, Singalian world, every critique of “culture critics” and every call for games to be entertainment rather than a vehicle for social progress is an attack on social progress itself. Apparently, the gamers who choose to see their hobby from any perspective other than the mainstream liberal lens of the vast majority of game journalism are an anachronistic breed living off the fading fumes of Gamergate.
If the audience Heat Street has found proves anything, it’s that there is some demand for intellectual diversity in the dialogue around video games. While those on the left advocate for more diversity in games (a point with which I generally agree), they get all butthurt and write 10-page-long screeds when two dudes write articles daring to take on their darling walking simulators (which many would consider “not games”) and mock their outsized affection and protectiveness for them.
Jesse seems to believe we fear some 1984-style social justice warrior takeover in video games, when the vast majority of what we do is point out the absurdity and hypocrisy coming from published articles and laugh at them. It’s laughable to fear a takeover by journalists of any political spectrum, when so many gamers are looking to YouTubers instead for opinions on video games.
It’s ironic that he talks about a world that supposedly exists only in our heads, where people are labelled sexist and racist for mild transgressions, when Jesse himself was almost driven off Twitter on transphobia charges for writing a nuanced article about transgender kids.
When progressive game journalists criticize a black developer en masse for creating a futuristic game analogous of apartheid, or when they use a racing game as a soap box to discuss their hot take on how racist Australia is, or when they use Rock Band 4 to talk about Filipino politics, or when a beloved game like Overwatch gets pounded with accusations of lack of body diversity, then sexism, then ageism, then racism — is it that surprising there would be push back?
The Singalinian mind relies on the weird false consciousness that most people are actually served by this self-indulgent, whiny form of journalism that forms an echo chamber around the industry. That there isn’t a sizable portion of gamers who are tired of hearing one-sided opinions from Polygon, Kotaku, Vice Gaming, IGN, Giant Bomb, The Mary Sue and all the other left-wing outlets that complain about video games. That a small handful of right-leaning blogs and close to zero large conservative publications talking about video games is somehow inflaming a culture war that would have died unless a scant few writers continued to talk about it.
If your idea of a culture war is a small opposition, then woe is you if there were ever to be a real draft.
Love and kisses,