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Are Angry Fanboys Bad for Games? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios


Are games being ruined
by angry fanboys? Let’s find out. [THEME MUSIC] Whether you scrutinize
the plot of “Doctor Who”, have a huge crush
on Justin Bieber, or cosplay as a demi
goddess with a giant sword from Final Fantasy, there
are plenty of reasons why people become fans. It gives you a sense of
belonging to a community. You feel like you’re part of
something bigger than yourself. And it gives the internet plenty
of amazing Amy Rose fan art. Like this, or this. But definitely not this. And to date myself,
before the internet, it was hard for fans to connect,
and almost impossible to reach out to creators. There was IRC and
message boards. Before that, there were
conventions and zines. But it’s nothing like
the way it is today. Today, fandom has become
radically democratized. As fans move from being purely
consumers, to participators. As anyone who’s been following
Daniel Bryan can tell you. [CROWD CHANTING YES! YES!] Yes! Ye– sorry. And while fandoms can
be amazing and exciting, they can get really
ugly really fast. I’m talking about
fanboy and fangirl rage. And lately it seems like
it’s been getting worse. Fans hated the ending
of “Mass Effect 3” so much that they
demanded it be changed. FANBOY: The fact that
there’s no closure for any of the relationships
is insulting. One guy even filed a lawsuit
with the Federal Trade Commission. Which is nuts. I mean, I hated the
ending of the third season of “The Killing.” But you don’t see
me lawyering up. Yet. Oh, hello. Online mobs attacked a
community manager at Comcept for even proposing
a female version of their main character. And Phil Fish, who was
already buried in hate, canceled “FEZ II”
because one guy called him a [BLEEP] hipster. You can’t have it both ways. You’re successful
game designers. Hurrah. You’re good for you,
you [BLEEP] hipsters. That’s harsh. I mean, I live in Williamsburg. It still stings. The vitriol takes its
toll on designers, as seen in anonymous
confessions like this one. “I Help Make Video Games,
And I’m sick of the Hatred From Gamers”. Yikes, man. And “Vlambeer” received
so many fan ultimatums demanding new features, that
they wrote an open letter addressing it. Link in the description. On the one hand, you might
argue all creative people get criticized on the internet. And you would be right. But with games, somehow,
it seems more intense. The negative reception
that “Mass Effect 3” allegedly caused BioWare
co-founder, Gregory Zeschuk to quit games entirely. Now he makes craft
beer in Austin. I like craft beer. But it’s not as good as games. If designers aren’t
enjoying their work because fans are constantly
threatening them, how can we expect them to
be excited about creating something new? Angry fans are big reason why
we see so many clones, ripoffs, and sequels rather than
truly innovative games. Of course, there
are economic reasons for creative limitations. If a franchise works and you’ve
already spent on the technology and marketing, why
not just make a sequel to capitalize on past success? But the narrow
scope of creativity even happens with
crowdfunded titles. Although places like Kickstarter
give creators the freedom to make whatever they
want, legendary designers still come back and
make the same games they were making,
like, 20 years ago. This is not a dig
at Kickstarter. It’s just a platform. And there have been some
notable exceptions, particularly in the board game category. But Brian Fargo,
crowdfunded “Wasteland 2”. Al Lowe, came out of retirement
to remake “Leisure Suit Larry”. And Keiji Inafune,
might as well be making another “Mega Man” game. Even independent
games, which are outside the reach of
crowdfunding or big publishers, still fall victim. Instead of pushing their luck
with a brand new experience or title, we get “Runner 2”,
“Hotline Miami 2”, “Shank 2”. The list goes on. If the hat machine is depressing
designers, impeding creativity, and generating more of the
same, we’ve got a problem. So where does all this ferocious
fan mentality come from? First of all,
unlike movies or TV, most fans don’t possess a
true technical knowledge of how games are made. So that low ceiling or
that weird boss encounter, or that kind of lighting,
those aren’t always mistakes. Sometimes game
designers make choices to focus on more
important things that you may not have
noticed, like better AI. That doesn’t mean that
terrible games aren’t terrible. But to paraphrase Brian
Eno, honor any mistake as hidden intention. Another reason that fans get
so upset is human nature. A 2011 study found
that ironically, people have biases against
creativity, even when they believe that
creativity is what they want. The research shows how
innovative ideas actually create uncertainty. So people just steer themselves
back to the sure thing. Tim Schafer recently said,
that backers of his broken age Kickstarter project weren’t
looking for a reinvention of adventure games. Even though he’s famous for
reinventing adventure games. Games also create a unique
type of fan behavior that I call up the
Illusion of Control. Because we’re moving and making
decisions for our avatars, our relationships with
them are more intimate as compared to TV or
movies or comic books. So when you combine
our natural tendency to resist ideas with a
medium that you feel really, really attached to, and
the internet– which allows communities to
freely express themselves to their creators–
you get this. Everybody died! What kind of ending is that? That’s how you end a
successful series?! After all, if you’ve chosen
FemShep’s intimate partners, you should be able to
choose the ending too. And if not, then you should
be able to rally up a mob. Right? [CAR ALARM] [COUGHING] Uh– no. Let me be clear. There’s a real place
for games criticism. I should know. I write a website about it. You should check it out. But any good critic
will tell you that you need to evaluate a
work based on what it is, not criticize it for what it’s not. Scottish philosopher,
David Hume, alluded to this as
the Is/Ought Problem. Let me give you example. Basically, we confuse what
something is– like, say, “Dishonored”, the stealth
action game, for something we think it ought to be, like
“Dishonored”, the farming simulation. Which would be amazing. So if you just dislike
a particular game, that’s totally fine. You don’t have to like
everything that you play. Argue with your
friends about it. Scream into your pillow. Or better yet, make a mod. LCD Sound System front man,
James Murphy, put it this way. “The best way to complain
is to make things.” But don’t kick and
scream until the designer of your favorite game
bends to your will. Freaking cancelled it. What? Are you kidding me?! While that might work
in the short term, it’s stifling innovation
in the long term. So in an ideal world,
how should we act? Fan studies expert,
Henry Jenkins, says we need to establish
a new moral economy. In his words, that’s
the social expectations, emotional investments,
and cultural transactions which create a
shared understanding between all participants in
a given economic exchange. We live in an era of flux,
with the participatory nature of the internet. But new times call
for a new contract between creators and fans. Think about it this way. We should support our favorite
creators for how they create, not always for what they create. In film, you might be a fan
of Kathryn Bigelow, or Quentin Tarantino. But that doesn’t
mean that you expect them to make ten sequels
to “Point Break” or “Pulp Fiction”. Because if you did, you wouldn’t
get to see the “Hurt Locker”, or “Kill Bill”. It’s important that
we give game designers the exact same latitude. And sure, no creative
person bats 1000. And yes, game designers
should listen to their fans when something’s not working. But if we allow
designers the freedom to experiment in their
own way, then we’ll end up with the next “Katamari
Damacy”, or “Minecraft”, instead of sequel after
sequel, after sequel. So what do you think? Are angry fans ruining games? And what can we do about it? Hash it out in the comments. And if you like what you
saw, please subscribe. I’ll see you next week. [MARIO COIN] Last week we talked
about whether or not “The Legend of
Zelda” was exploiting nostalgia for success. Let’s see what you had to say. Joseph Larson
pointed out something I had never really thought
about in the Zelda games, which is that the 3D
worlds weren’t really 3D in an interesting way. By which he means you didn’t
really go up and down. They didn’t even
really take advantage of the vertical space. But they were basically just
3D versions of the 2D maps. You know, just with, like,
3D trees and stuff like that. Yeah, really good point. Never thought about
that. supernoob17 says that the episode
itself exploits nostalgia. Well, if we really wanted
to exploit nostalgia, we would’ve made
it look like this– [MUSIC – JOPLIN, “MAPLE LEAF
RAG”] Good old Jacob Ebelher
goes straight to the data and argues that Nintendo
couldn’t have possibly been exploiting nostalgia. Because you would have seen
sort of an upward tick of Zelda titles from a sales perspective
year by year by year. Well, I think I’m making more
of a cultural argument, not necessarily a financial one. Because there are
other factors at play, which explain why certain
Zelda titles sell better than other ones. Such as the specific success
of a Nintendo console. Like the Wii U versus
the Wii, for example. But really, what
we’re trying to seek to explain is why
“The Legend of Zelda” continues to be a part of our
popular gaming culture decade in, decade out. So yes, very good point. Way to go to the data. But I think the
story’s a little bit different from my perspective. Joshua Hagerman and
others argue that they were immune to the
lure of nostalgia because they played “The
Legend of Zelda” as an adult. That very well is true. There are lots of people
who only played “The Legend of Zelda” as an adult. But ostensibly, many of
you will have kids someday. And you will introduce them
to “The Legend of Zelda”, which will then continue that
cycle until the end of time. Jon Owen argues that Shigeru
Miyamoto unearthed certain portions of our adolescence
that maybe other game designers don’t. I think that that’s
a really good point and sort of explains
the enduring legacy of Miyamoto, how
he’s able to tap into these kind of, like, primal
impulses of what kids like, and then continue those on
through the generations. Yeah, I really think that’s what
makes him one of the world’s greatest game designers. Good point. TaekwondoBoy863 says that
I don’t make videos as well as the other guy. Which other guy? Who is it? It’s not Mike, is it? Please don’t let it be Mike. Before we go, a couple
notes [INAUDIBLE]. It is Shigeru
Miyamoto, not Shijero. If you’re from Hyrule,
you are Hylian. And Link is a human, not an elf. Sorry about all that. And thanks for catching those. [MARIO COIN] [THEME MUSIC]

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12 thoughts on “Are Angry Fanboys Bad for Games? | Game/Show | PBS Digital Studios

  1. I agree with everything except mass effect, they marketed it that your choices meant something. I can understand the outrage spending almost 200 dollars and close to the same amount of hours to end without closure. I liked all the endings and the ride, but i understand their anger.

  2. The explanation for absurd fanboy behaviour is quite simple really. Most fanboys are 14 year olds, most 14 year olds are dumber than a sack of bricks. It's really not much more complicated than that.

  3. Two things:
    1. I know the creator of Kirby and super smash bros wanted to end each franchise but his fans and Nintendo wanted him to continue each series. In fact each boss in smash is representing the phases in his life (game theorist for the video)
    2. There is a series called fansamusu (deep sea prisoner/ mogeko there are so many names) I Belive a fan asked for a picture of sorts from them on tumblr. Since there was a cultural an language barrier a extremely offensive picture. People sent death threats and the creator took down their tumblr page a page so they could talk to their fans. Similar incident happed again because their was a few things on their web site was seeming japanese nationalistic. Korean fans sent death threats and the creator now does not give any thing to Korean fans

    – if anything on here is inaccurate please feel free to correct me

  4. I always hate it when fanboys get to this one certain game if a popular youtuber plays it and the game is completely free.
    No really, this has happened to me.
    Butthurt fanboys/girls everywhere from PewDiePie.

  5. People from Hyrule could be called Hyrulians; they are not all Hylians(the Kokiri, for example).
    And why would Hylians be humans if elves aren't?

  6. Oh damn, clicked on this channel again. I can't handle people who wear plastic on their face so they feel like they're smarter reading a script with a bunch of edits because this is 2013 youtube vlogs…Not sure the public would donate to PBS if they knew some of it was going to this flubber…

  7. lets face it games are expensive right and when we pay 60 dollars for that produc we expect quality is that a fair thing to ask for?

  8. The criticism itself is fine, we just have to be careful about how we deliver it and if our actions are justified (in the case of death threats and such, most definitely not).

  9. when you mentioned Double Fine I wanted to cry. Even Sir Conan Doyle resurrected Holmes due to his audiences displeasure.

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