Ben’s May Column: Lady soldiers, quitting Twitter & real games

Hello and welcome to my first (of hopefully many) regular columns on this website. As Click Click Play has grown from a website hosting a weekly gaming podcast to one publishing written and video reviews, quick looks and other features, I thought it was about the right time to get some featured articles and columns published by not only the CCP team, but those in the community. If you would like to publish an opinion piece and/or start a weekly column, contact me on my Discord channel at the following link.

Ermagerd, a lady soldier!

It’s been another long and angry week as usual on the Twittersphere but nothing has sparked more vitriol these last 7 days than EA’s Battlefield V reveal trailer. Despite the gameplay obviously being taken from the multiplayer mode (in which customisation and personalisation is key), daring to show a female protagonist is apparently too much to stomach for the ‘oppressed white male’ brigade and even if you do play as a female soldier in one of the ‘grand campaigns’, who the fuck cares? Of course there were fewer women than men on the frontline in the Second World War, but if a developer wanting to include a woman in a lead role so as to appeal to a broader audience upsets your sensibilities and a European soldier with a katana on his back doesn’t, it says a lot about you. If you’re looking for a World War II military sim, there are plenty of those about and the Battlefield franchise probably isn’t for you.

Arab stick poking = realistic

It’s not just the intolerant right who’ve been driving me nuts on Twitter this month. I’ve also triggered a backlash on my non-gaming Twitter account after a tweet suggesting that non-intended offence is nothing to get worked up about was featured in an MSN article. The Israeli Eurovision entry had worn a kimono robe during her performance and displayed Japanese ‘maneki-neko’ (thanks, Flighty) cats behind her, which caused an outcry on parts of the web calling it ‘racist’ and ‘cultural appropriation’. Technically true, I stated it was obvious that offence was neither intended (nor on the whole taken by those it targeted) but that it was more ‘cultural appreciation’ and people should calm down. After a deluge of abuse from people calling me a ‘racist’, ‘bigot’ and, my favourite, a ‘Trump fan’ (because in an earlier tweet I quite rightly suggested that Erdogan was more abhorrent than Trump), I decided to delete that Twitter account from my phone and leave it to rot. It’s been the best decision I’ve made all month. Call me a ‘snowflake’ who needs his ‘safe space’ all you want, but eliminating negativity from around you does wonders for your mental health.

Not a game, apparently

That’s not to say my gaming-specific Twitter account has been free from shit-slinging. The latest installment by David Cage, Detroit: Become Human has been attacked from all sides for differing reasons. The first I noticed was when certain review sites contemplated halting all coverage of the game due to the alleged toxic workplace atmosphere at Quantic Dream (something which has been denied and is being argued in court). Although it’s certainly not something that affects the enjoyment I take from the game, the spotlight brought on the alleged activity is surely a wake up call the industry needs, much in the same manner the #MeToo movement has, albeit on a smaller scale. I appreciate the reviewers who’ve included information on the current court battle and claims, yet left it out of their review score or overall opinion. Anyway, the view that’s left me utterly baffled is one that the game shouldn’t even be considered a game. A selection of review comments I read claimed that as Detroit is so narrative-focused, with very little free roaming or precision action scenes (the game does actually include them but in uniquely designed ways), it somehow makes it less of a game. I guess these trolls have been living under their respective bridges for far too long. Choice-based narrative text games were around before most of us were born and are the forerunners of every game with a strong story. They were here way before your first person shooters and battle royale games and have every right to be considered as much a game as the next Bethesda or Rockstar blockbuster.

Forever immortalized on Twitch

Finally, it is with sadness that I learned of John ‘TotalBiscuit’ Bain’s passing. A very influential and intelligent gaming critic with strong opinions and convictions, the games journalism community is worse off without him. I can’t say I was as familiar as others with his work but on the occasion I listened to his podcast or watched his videos I felt his points were always well argued and his war on poor framerates and lack of accessibility options is something I’ll happily continue fighting for. Rest in peace, John, your 30 minute rage against the transphobia directed at Laura Kate Dale is something I’ll always remember.

P.S. All the very best to our Click Click Play team member Jordan, who is marrying his fiancée Laura this weekend. I hope you have a fantastic day and look forward to hearing all about it on next Sunday’s podcast!

Follow me on Twitter at @BiggusBennus1 & Twitch at BiggusBennus

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