Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G

"But Enough About Me...What Do YOU Think Of Me?"

So I'm hanging out on the coder channel and a new guy shows up.  He goes through the basic introductions.  Played around with Flash, decided to try making a game, wants some feedback.  "Well, Peter is a professional video game reviewer, ask him," was the general response.  So I drew the short straw and said I'd check it out.

I get the game and I start it up.  I'm greeted with a title screen showing a team of four sparkledogs looking as fierce as sparkledogs can while surrounded by shadowy mystical dogs.

I sez to myself, Oh, Jesus, I'm dealing with a furry.  Shit goddamn.

The game is actually pretty typical of 2D fighters under Flash.  Flash games cannot do regular fighting games like Mortal Kombat, so they...downscale the action.  Combat is turn based like an old RPG.  The two characters are on the screen.  You choose your attack.  A power meter then appears, going from low to high and then resetting.  Whenever you click on it, it freezes the meter and that determines the strength of your attack.  It calculates critical hits but not misses.  And like almost every game since Pokemon, it takes strengths and weakness into account.  You have your four sparkledogs, and can choose between them at any point before you attack, so you can choose who is more effective against whichever agent of darkness you are combating.  If you think the game is lame, you ain't kidding.  I beat it my first time through in less than five minutes.

By now, some of the others on the channel had gotten the game and were trying to play it (it's not that it wouldn't run, it just couldn't keep their attention).  "So what do you think?"

How long did you spend working on that?

"Eight months."

No, I just mean the programming, not the design.

"Yeah, eight months."

I just blinked at the screen.  It took you eight months to program THAT?

So I told him the truth.  The story was non-existent.  The characters were uninteresting.  The game mechanics were boring.  The challenge was AWOL.  I suggested he scrap the whole project and start over with a more solid mechanic and fundamental design.

And the guy flipped his shit.

"I wanted feedback!  I didn't want criticism!"


"I worked hard on that!  You have no right to criticize!  You're just looking for an excuse to be mean!"

No, I was just being honest.  If you want me to be mean, I can show you mean.

"You shouldn't be mean to me!  I'm autistic!  I'm more sensitive to criticism than other people!"

He might as well have held up a sign saying, "Victim here!"  Half the channel dogpiled him.  He left, saying he'd never come back because we were assholes.  One of the guys hit his machine with a virus for good measure.

It used to be you did something because you enjoyed it or it was your personal vision or whatever.  And there would be detractors.  People would make fun of you for your subject matter or would say it wasn't good or whatever.  When this happened, the responses were predictable.  If you were interested in feedback, you took what they said, figured out if you could incorporate it into your project or if you rejected it because it would detract from it, and that was that.  If you disagreed with the feedback, you had a list of responses.  Bite me.  Kiss my ass.  Suck my dick.  Eat shit.  And, of course, the ever popular fuck you.

But at some point, the people creating things for public consumption had a change.  They were following their muse, and the most important consideration was if they were true to their vision, not if they necessarily made something good.  This started in the 50's with the "natural" artistic movement, decrying any training or grounding because the raw talent was the important thing (and who were the biggest proponents of this?  People without training or grounding, natch).  Combine that with the vague platitudes of the Dr. Spock generation, where affirmation is more important than achievement ("Winning isn't everything."  "But losing SUCKS!"  "Winning isn't everything.").  Advancement and recognition were no longer the result of getting better and improving yourself and your skill, but the result of your stick-to-it-tiveness.

This happens a lot.  I saw it all the time with small press comics.  Those are the ones where people run off their comics on a photocopy machine and sell maybe ten copies, most of them to friends.  The pissing matches I would see spring up between these "gods" of the small press were mindboggling, because outside of their single digit readership, no one gave a shit.  Nowadays, this happens with furries, who actually use the term "soul rape" without irony.

When I got hate mail from furries about Stress Puppy, my reaction was to go, "These people don't get it," and disregard it.  I didn't care what they thought a "proper" "furry" comic should be.  I even turned their criticism into a running gag in the strip.  But at no point did I start screaming they had no right to criticize me.  They said their piece, I said mine, and that was it as far as I was concerned.  I'm man enough to take criticism and even insults.  (This is why I tell people to be as brutal as they like when reviewing my stuff.  NOTHING they come up with will ever match the level of stupidity the furries displayed in critiquing my strip.)

The whole "You can't criticize!" movement is born of arrogance.  They are basically saying that you have a right to their opinion, but you don't have a right to your own.  Your opinion is wrong, because it is not theirs.  It's attempting to control what can't and shouldn't be controlled, namely, what other people think of you and what you do.  And these same people have no problem criticizing or making fun of others or being mean because they know who deserves to be made fun of, and it's usually anybody but them.  There's a person I work with who I make fun of for having no artistic taste because she loves Twilight.  She makes fun of me for having no artistic taste because I hate Twilight.  It's opinion, not fact!  Grow up and deal with people doing what they like and think is right instead of your judgment.

As George Carlin said, "Life is tough!  Get a helmet!"

Tags: art, comic books, comics, haven't we suffered enough, important life lessons, sound waves, stress puppy, video games, wtf
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