The Game Is Not the Controversy

So I was reading up on the latest video game controversy involving a game called “Rust” and how it was permanently altering your character based off your Steam ID along with alleged threats, harassment, and what have you. Though to call this a controversy seems to be on some levels a dishonest statement. It isn’t really a controversy in the sense that people may want to believe there aren’t thousands of players complaining about it, however if there were I could understand their arguments to some extent. Here we have developers deciding to arbitrarily decide what gender your character is, and frankly, let’s tip this on it’s head for a second, you released female characters into this game as a developer. Did you even bother to think that perhaps your female player base might want to select the female avatar?

Image obtained from Rustafied mode community

Do you see what I did right there? I added to the controversy. If I take off too social media and start talking about it as if I am upset about this change to a game I currently don’t even play I will be adding more to it. If I say mean words on a social media account the media will report on it as if there is some epidemic of harassment, and then using their absurd logic in the process somehow correlate that it must be the violent video games that are doing this to my sick male mind, but in reality the situation is really, the developers decided they wanted to force people to play as a certain gender. That’s all there is to it. This isn’t a controversy, people aren’t dying and for god sake it isn’t like Steam is just some random nebula where there is no way to hold people accountable for their actions. I am sick of reading about these quote on quote threats and harassment with little, if any evidence to show for it.

We are looking at you Wu

But that’s the beauty of video game controversies these days. It is not the video game itself that is the controversy, but rather the social media reaction that has become the controversy. You have journalists praying for clicks, hoping to use any form of comment made about a video game they think is pushing a “Progressive Idea” that might be negative to tell people how evil, sexist, or misogynist those gamers are, as a means to act like their “perfect” idea of what video games should be is the correct path, because look at how evil these comments are!

Social media is the controversy, and the media hopes every day that they can use the mean comments they find online to generate clicks for their articles. So they take to making inflammatory claims, antagonizing statements, anything they can think of, and then when someone responds, use it as “evidence” of the supposed claims they make. Video Games themselves are not really all that controversial, but the social media buzz surrounding the video game, that is the real meat of a good video game controversy.

The court would like to present exhibit FAP: Dead or Alive Xtreme 3

Now does this make video game controversy pointless? Absolutely not. A few months ago when the video game “Fire Emblem: Fates” was released and a fairly significant number of gamers had discovered several problems regarding the translation which lead to a larger conversation regarding localization and what, if any changes, should be made to the text of a video game outside of direct translation. Without this controversy existing, how many people would have known about this issues? Were the changes to the video game really all that controversial? We’ve seen changes like these before and likely will see them again, I’m looking at you “Bravely Second“.

Gamers are going to get mad at things that happen to a video game, this is natural and normal when something someone is looking forward to has had significant changes made to it for seemingly no apparent reason or for people that are not going to buy the game to begin with. Media outlets who report on these things and make claims of outrage do a disservice to the gaming community by ignoring legitimate complaints and making the focus on what is essentially internet background noise. Someone said mean things to you? Well that’s nice and all but do we have to ignore the very legitimate arguments being made about the video game and focus on something that happens every day? Oh you needed to get a couple thousand outrage clicks because you knew making these accusations would upset people, gotcha.

Quality Writing from

It makes for an interesting read to be sure, I should know, I am constantly reading about these controversies, keeping an eye on them, as the level of dishonesty I see from the media is astounding. You wouldn’t believe how many journalists and games journalists claim how horribly harassed they have been for the things that they write, that amount to essentially people calling them “stupid” or “ignorant” which I can grant is something that can be considered mean spirited, but this is hardly something that should constitute harassment.

Meanwhile consider the coverage on this particularly interesting story regarding “World of Warcraft“. If media is to be believed regarding gamers and their reactions to things involving said games, the amount of coverage regarding harassment, threats, and what have you should be insurmountable with over 150 thousand people involved in this alone. Yet oddly claims of threats and harassment are nowhere to be seen. These gamers are upset about privet servers being shut down by Blizzard, but the only recent problem experienced, a DDOS attack has no connection to the online campaign to bring back the legacy servers.

So despite the claims of the gaming community being rife with harassment, being a regular part of video game controversy, a campaign that has attracted that many thousands of people, has attracted no stories of harassment and threats. It makes for quite an interesting thing to think about wouldn’t you agree?

Joshua Wiitala


Just a man who has been playing video games against doctors orders for nearly 30 years. The 80's was filled with idiots. Want to reach me? @JoshuaWiitala on Twitter.