Podzilla 1985

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hatred, Sony, and Free Speech - One More Time, with Feeling

Oh everyone takes turns
Now it's yours to play the part
And they're sitting all around you
Holding copies of your chart
And the misery in their eyes
Is synchronized and reflected into yours

Hello again, old friend. No, you're not seeing a ghost. I'm not quite yet dead. I know I said that Blogzilla 1985 would no longer be updated, and you can call me a liar for writing this post.

It's okay, I've been called worse.

I honestly want to stay retired. What have I done in the almost three months since I posted my last article? Nothing worth mentioning, although I do have some exciting news to share with you all very soon.

But for now, let's talk about what brought me back to the world of opinionated writing. Today I want to talk about the big FU - freedom undying. That was the most clever thing I could come up with for the two letters. Go easy on me, I haven't done this in months.

It's been a busy couple of weeks for the word freedom. The world is forever struggling with the term and how to apply it to us lowly humans, but we've built a pretty good society based on everything it provides us. Recently a lot of commotion has been made about our freedom of speech and our right to live without censorship, and that's the exact thing I want to touch upon right now.

The game Hatred has created quite a buzz in the inner circles of the industry since the first blood soaked trailer emerged online. For those of you who haven't seen it yet, enjoy it here in all of it's gratuitous glory -

This is the game that has set the internet on fire with talk of censorship and big brother deciding what we can and cannot access, especially in light of the game being taken off of Steam's Greenlight program despite an overwhelming positive response. A quick look on the Greenlight page, as well as Destructive Creations pleasant site, reveals that the game has been reinstated.


There has been a lot of negative press on Hatred since the trailer came out, and to be honest ti's completely deserved. Just by watching the trailer that the company who made the game put together, we only know that you play as a long haired trenchcoat clad murderer who slaughters innocent people for no reason other than you're "sick."

It's hard to believe that there are people who defend this game. There are petitions all over the place trying to keep this game on the market, and of course it's all in the name of "free speech."

Let me tell you a personal story about free speech that most of you know by now. I was employed for many years at Gamestop and lost my job because of something I said on my own private Facebook. I accepted my punishment with a bitter resentment and on that day realized what freedom of speech actually means.

Freedom of speech protects your right to say whatever you want. You can put your ideas out there freely, but you better be prepared for the repercussions and consequences that come from it. Destructive Creations has every right to make this game and publish it to whoever wants to buy it, but the rights that allow them to create whatever game they want don't protect them from any entity who doesn't want to carry it. 

People are actually accusing Valve of being the cyber police and violating their freedoms. 

Wait, let's pause for the obligatory cyber police meme.

That felt good.

Valve isn't violating anyone's rights by taking this game off of their service. It's THEIR service, they can do whatever the hell they want with it! I dare ask what the people who are offended by their decision to remove Hatred are going to do about it. Are they going to NOT buy from Steam? Of course they will! Moral outrage pales in comparison to saving 70% on that game you kind of wanted but probably will never play.

And if you're going to defend a game, why would you pick this one? Just from the trailer, the one that Destructive Creations themselves made, this game looks like it was created just to arouse attention and make some quick money off of the controversy alone. Most of the people who push their message have just that - a message that they believe in and want to spread the word about. They have something called artistic integrity that calls for them to create art and then they shed their blood and sacrifice themselves so people can see their vision.

And then you have Hatred, which is nothing more than a game designed to sell based on controversy and perpetuate stereotypes of the classic school shooter.

Here's a description of the game from the developer's own website -

Hatred is an isometric shooter with disturbing atmosphere of mass killing, where player takes the role of a cold blood antagonist, who is full of hatred for humanity. It's a horror, but here YOU are the villain. Wander the outskirts of New York State, seek for victims on seven free-roam levels. Fight against law enforcement and take a journey into the antagonist's hateful mind. Gather equipment of the dead ‘human shields’ to spread Armageddon upon society. Destroy everything on your way of hunt and fight back when it's disturbed...

...just don't try this at home and don't take it too seriously, it's just a game. :)

The question you may ask is: why do they do this? These days, when a lot of games are heading to be polite, colorful, politically correct and trying to be some kind of higher art, rather than just an entertainment – we wanted to create something against trends. Something different, something that could give the player a pure, gaming pleasure. Herecomes our game, which takes no prisoners and makes no excuses. We say ‘yes, it is a game about killing people’ and the only reason of the antagonist doing that sick stuff is his deep-rooted hatred. Player has to ask himself what can push any human being to mass-murder. We provoke this question using new Unreal Engine 4, pushing its physics (or rather PhysX) systems to the limits and trying to make the visuals as good as possible. It's not a simple task, because of the game's non-linear structure and a lot of characters on the screen. But here at Destructive Creations, we are an experienced team and we know how to handle the challenge!

Does their explanation make you feel better? Maybe I had it all wrong, after all this is something "different" that gives the player a "pure gaming pleasure." And they take a political stance on why the protagonist would do such a thing, and it allows the player to provoke that question with the new Unreal Engine 4. I don't know how the Unreal Engine 4 can help figure out the minds of serial killers, but I hope police start using it more in their investigations.

Look, I'm no prude. I've heard this controversy many times before about lots of games. When I was a kid it was all about Doom, and they tried to pin the Columbine murders on it. There was Grand Theft Auto, which was a game so vile that it almost led to the collapse of Western civilization according to Jack Thompson.

But this game ain't that. Doom and GTA are both violent, but they're violent with a purpose. Doom is a horror story where you're blowing away monsters to survive, and GTA is a crime tale of moral ambiguity where the player can choose whether or not to kill innocent people. Hatred is a game built on no principles. It exists only to provoke genocidal enjoyment, promote stereotypes and get rich from it.

Let's talk about those stereotypes for a second. The protagonist/antagonist of this game has long hair and wears a long trench coat. When you think of school shooters or social outcasts, what's the first image that usually comes to mind? Long hair and a trench coat.

My trench coat mafia days.
When I was in high school I had long hair and I wore a trench coat. They used to call me a part of the "trench coat mafia" and warn everyone that I was going to shoot up my school.

Of course, I never did that, but I was still exposed to the negative connotation of that stereotype. Just because it's not a pleasant subject to talk about, kids with long hair who enjoy long coats shouldn't be persecuted thanks to this kind of attention that will undoubtedly remind people of those days. Just like you shouldn't have a basketball game starring the darkest black man you've ever seen with giant red lips and a huge afro with fried chicken as power ups, you shouldn't have a cold blooded killer represented by the stereotype that will get more than a few kids beat up or otherwise socially shunned.

In the trailer alone it's highly suggested that the player will shoot up at least one school. How topical!

But hey, it's just a game, right? They're not real people, after all. They're just sprites! I know a lot of you are looking forward to their next game - Preschool Sex Simulator, where you play a sick minded grown man who rapes and molests little children! It's seven levels of sand box sex, literally, where you can rape three year olds in their sandbox while their mother is watching her stories inside. Hey, maybe we'll get really lucky and we can murder the kids after we're done with them?

Is that too extreme? It shouldn't be. Freedom of speech protects everything, no matter how unpleasant you find it. I find murdering innocent people to be just as offensive as raping children, but thanks to the media glorifying violence and people being too goddamn ignorant to accept murder as ill advised for children as nudity in a video game, certain products will hit market shelves and others will never leave the mind of the depraved.

And if you believe, if you honestly believe, that a game like this won't reach at least one easily influenced young mind and encourage him to do horrible things, you're an idiot. You might argue that a good parent would keep it out of the hands of their children, but a game on Steam is easier to get than anything you can buy in a brick and mortar store like Gamestop. Any kid of any age can go in to any Gamestop and buy or trade in for a Steam card, create an account, lie about their age, and download Hatred. Within minutes, depending on internet connection of course, they could be in game murdering helpless people who beg for their lives before the player blows their head off with a satisfied smile.

And that brings me to the part of this story that depresses me the most. I highly doubt Destructive Creations would advocate the soulless slaughter of the innocent, so why even make this game other than to make a name for yourself the sleaziest way possible? This is the kind of game that keeps the genre from making that huge leap into the realm of art, and we're defending it for all the wrong reasons. We're going to hand these guys millions of dollars and infamy for a game that might be God awful beyond it's shameful premise. These guys know exactly what they're doing, and by preaching their rhetoric about non conformity and freedom of speech, we're all playing right into their hands and dancing like puppets on a string.

It's like the episode of It's Always Sunny where Frank is a televised advocate for gun rights, but only so he can make more money off of the fools who follow him. But, like he said in the same episode, there are two kinds of people in the world - dupers, and dupees. Wake up and stop being a dupee, gamer culture.

Now with that said, with ALL of that said, do I want Hatred to disappear and should Destructive Creations be stopped from making games like this? Of course not. This is America, and they should have every right to propagate whatever dumb ass product they want. I just wish the culture they're speaking to would have the good sense to not listen. I hate the idea of this product, and I won't play it. I think it will do more damage than provide enjoyment, but that's just my opinion. My belief shouldn't mean that you can't have access to it, because that isn't what our country was founded on.

A creation shouldn't be wiped from existence just because someone hates the message in it. If we ran the country that way, black people would still be slaves and gay people would still be denied basic human rights. Whenever we as a society of free thinking people sacrifice our ideas, we truly lose our freedom.

And that brings me to Sony.

Fuck you, you bunch of cowards.
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