Well, it wasn’t more than two months after my last post going on about how conflicted I felt about my lack of sensitivity and how poisonous the gaming industry is, in some respects, especially in gaming journalism, before I got another vicious dose. It isn’t a long story but it’s one that I feel I need to get off of my chest to move on, so here goes…
As you may have read in my last blog post, I had an earlier gig with a site called Gaming Precision: it wasn’t much but we had funding and we had a great crew. There was one writer that I felt was a little too liberal for my tastes and reeked of the kinds of things I hate in some musical circles but I was able to tolerate it as she never really pushed it down my throat Generally speaking, though, I really enjoyed my time writing for that site and I stood by everyone there. However, though, our financial backers were a bunch of arrogant dicks who didn’t like it when I poked holes in their numbers game: I made an off-color joke on one of our podcasts about how outrageous our owner’s claims were that we had gotten seven million unique page hits in a year and he flipped his shit so hard that him and his little assistant arranged to just fire me and our managing editor without prior notice over the whole thing. I tried to take a stand for our editor and we both just couldn’t get through to him. I’d pissed him off, I guess, and I made someone else pay for it, as well. While he’s never held me responsible for it, I’ve always felt terrible about it.
Looking back on it now, considering recent events, I really enjoyed my time at Gaming Precision, and I kind of miss it. I just got dropped like a hot brick, yet again, from another web zine that took something I did way out of context, without fact checking, and allowed themselves to get incredibly emotional over the whole thing. Of course, I’m talking about my gig with Broken Joysticks: also known as the reason I haven’t been doing anything here at The Sandbox or on my SoundCloud or on pretty much anything, personally, since I started. That gig started out well: there was plenty of opportunity, they didn’t mind that I towed the line for my blog, they even let me use my handle on their site for a while. I was ready to wave the Broken Joysticks flag high, proud, and hard, but this misunderstanding was the first of several to come and led to my eventual firing: first, it started with the fact that they wanted me going by my personal name, which, in my opinion, was a huge no no, but considering what they were offering me and showing potential to be, I was willing to let it slide. They wanted all removal of The Laymen’s Gamer from the site: fine, it wasn’t what we initially agreed upon and it required a bit of editing on my behalf but considering how big it seemed their ambition was, I was still on the boat. Things were okay for a while. Then, I’m introduced to one of the writers: someone who has some chops in the industry, or so it seemed. Think Zoe Quinn without all the sexual harassment, slight amount of charm, and not nearly as much hair dye and you have a good idea of where I’m at. So, as you could probably imagine, me and her did not always get along. She would always write some kind of shitpost about how a game wasn’t representing a minority community of gender base and then, when she posts it on reddit – yes, folks, she would have only been worse off if she posted it on something like 4chan – she would get pointed out, called out, and generally trashed on for said article and she would complain to us about it. It wasn’t good complaints, either; it wasn’t justified: it was the equivalent of whining and that was exactly what her articles did. So I did the right thing by me and I called her out on it. Well, it turns out the entire founding crew didn’t like that, what with them all being the same types, more or less, and I was singled out and told to stop, even though one of our newer members was getting my back and it was pretty much a repeat of almost every comment she got on reddit in addition to the usual “if you don’t like getting shit on, what the hell are you doing posting on reddit” trash that I say when someone does something incredibly dumb like that. Of course, no one saw it that way, I was pretty much given the liberal version of sensitivity training, was told to shut up because this girl was good for bringing in pageviews, and I moved on, albeit angrily. I continue writing but since the E3 announcement of the Final Fantasy VII remake I had been in the planning stages of making a new album and I’d been very vocal about my musical efforts but the problem always was, also with writing PC gaming reviews, that I didn’t quite have a computer that cut it, so I started a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGoGo in an effort to try and raise money for the kind of equipment it would take to put out musical content on that scale in a timely manner but also to help with Broken Joysticks as well as possibly make time to write content here as well. Moment that gets out, I’m fired. Didn’t even taken 24 hours. No notice, no cease and desist, just firing.
In the end, it probably worked out the best for me, because while I was getting opportunities I would have never gotten otherwise, I constantly felt I had to compromise myself in order to fit into their little regime: one where I constantly tried to give everything I had to have some kind of value in the crew only to be constantly talked to and treated as though I didn’t have the kind of value I thought I was building, in spite of their PR-friendly pep talks. If their words to me are to be believed at all, I’m a large reason that site has any upward future in 2016 and I’m one of two major reasons the site’s owner is going to E3 this year. I know I did well for the site. I gave it everything I have, just like I do with everything. And when I try to do something for myself to try and give myself the opportunities I couldn’t have otherwise, I get squashed. In all honesty, I kind of figure this must be what working for Kotaku must feel like as a straight, married man with some sense of integrity.
What did this do for me? Well, actually, it gave me a lot more inspiration to do my own thing, to be my own person, to have integrity in everything I do and everything I have to offer, to move onwards and upwards… but most of all, it has shaped me into a person with a lot less sympathy towards women in the gaming industry. I don’t think women in the gaming industry are sexual objects, less than who I am for existing, deserving of any less than I do when on equal footing, but I certainly do respect them, in the industry, a whole lot less; especially when they’re the type to harass, hold down, shitpost, whine, complain, dox, and generally be a shitty person just like any shitty man out there. If you want to complain about how you were held down as a woman because you weren’t given the chance to succeed? I was just fired from a place that refused to hold me up to a higher standard based on my merits and I was constantly held down when I tried to uplift myself in ways that no one else would, without proper logic, without proper reason, without a way to backpedal, without any recourse, and was finally fired for trying to seek my own success in a way that would not interfere with anyone else’s success.
This whole thing might be a flash in the pan. I may not see my crowdfunding thing make me a god damned dime. All this effort might not be worth the pain I caused. However, I finally took a step to have pride in myself, to make something of myself, to finally attempt to shine in the eyes of the world and, in the end, I was fired for it. I stand with integrity by my decision and while it may not have been the best choice for those around me, this is the one time in, perhaps my entire blog’s existence, I am incredibly proud of what I’ve done, what I’ve become, and what I’ve accomplished and if you feel like that’s a threat to your success then I guess that means I’m doing something right…
…so watch out.