A Litany of Hate: In Defense of the FGC


#1

Yesterday they crucified the best of us. In the process of striking at the sins of one man, they made him carry the cross on which the many groups which comprise the fighting game community were put on a public display of shame. Longinus was not there to draw blood from our chest. He had a replacement in the form of Jared Rea who was ascribed a role of whistle blower and leadership that is neither his to attempt nor there for the taking. But just as he lead with the lance forged of a one sided view on us, other websites mirrored his actions while chanting his words as articles were written and then rewritten exposing Aris’s actions on a reality tv webshow and ascribing them to the rest of us. We are nailed to a cross of racism and misogyny erected on wood carved from trees of yellow journalism. But as the spears continually struck at our body, they could never get quite at a vital point. All the same you tried to kill what this community has worked hard to create with the brutish strength of ignorance.

This community was in its deathbed until some very dedicated people decided to try and save it. What is it that they saved? They saved an environment that was rougher than most places. We aren’t rough around the edges, we are a forge in which people are thrown in and molded into fierce competitors. This forge has produced incredible stories, amazing rivalries, epic comebacks and feuds that poems could be written about. This is a community who’s original top players were white, half Chinese and half white, and of Japanese descent. In its outgrowth mid to late 90’s its top feud were between a man of Korean descent and one straight from Lima, Peru. We had heated rivalries between east and west, South California and North California. The chorus that sang the funeral mass to one of our top games were divided in two parts: between a man of Dominican decent in New York and a black guy from Los Angeles, and a Filipino man and a Mexican man both from California .

All the while the games which would become the eSports icons were developing, this community was pulling itself by the bootstraps. We are the libertarian dream of citizens saving themselves and what the idea of a melting pot could not achieve for the general American culture. While AMD, NVIDIA, IBM all care about the computers on which eSports are run, Seth Killian, before he was Capcom’s community manager, was busy trying to get key chains for us to play to win in tournaments. This entire time that we are hustling ourselves into a position of stability, the starcraft leagues are becoming huge, Dead or Alive somehow makes it onto a bigger stage and the rest of us are left with defibrillators strapped to our sides to ensure our passion for our games never flatlines.

The true heart of the fighting game community, not its common spectators or its one or two fans that remember who Blanka was, that one game with some guy named Sol, or this Soul Calibur game they once played on dreamcast, lies in our tournaments. If you are not experiencing the fighting game community at its gatherings or tournaments, it becomes unfair to say much about it in the first place. The events by which we are being judged happen on a reality Tv show. None of us are defending Aris’s behavior, but to say that we are holding ourselves back when we have been working forward since arcades day is a gross exaggeration.

We have been accused of a racism that is not there; We have been accused of misogyny that is no there. These chargers are levied at us after an Evo tournaments during which we had a transgendered person from Japan compete, our major photographer is transgendered, a female player from Japan was also flown to one of our major tournaments, a female player has a place on the Guiness World Records, and three years and some months after the Cannons, Mr. Wizard and Seth Killian (the people who run Evo) decided to throw a female only tournament to attract more female players. This was an Evo tournament in which are last two hopes for the U.S. winning were a Black man from Detroit and a Saudi Arabian immigrant. Yesterday was nothing more than a baseless attack at a community that cannot function with racism or misogyny because it has as many sexes as genders. This in a community where some of our top players are openly gay and nobody could really care less. The truth of the matter is that we were crucified yesterday by a man’s action much in the same way you could crucify the starcraft community for the one player who died in an internet café playing, decided that the punk community is a bunch of misogynistic pigs because Sid Vicious had a hand in the death of his girlfriend, or maybe all Mexican boxers are wife beaters since its most prominent champion, Julio Cesar Chavez, is well known for sparring with his wife without her consent. The actions of these individuals did not speak for their communities and neither do Aris’s actions.

Dj Wheat said he wanted to hear our good stories but we do not exactly publish those for the public because they aren’t there for public consumption. Did you know that we tried our hardest to help pay for one of our member’s funeral? Did you know that when one of our member’s apartment building went up in smoke and the family lost their life savings, we were there donating money to help restore them? Does the whole of the internet need to know that one of our members lost an eye modding a stick, was in economically precarious situation, and we pulled together to take care of him? Does it matter that these members in question are Mexican, Chinese and White respectively? Do you need to know that I housed and fed one of the members of the community for one night when he came to my city for a tournament; this being somebody I had never met and who needed a place to stay? We will take care of ours and our own as we have been for 12 years and hope to do for 12 more. But the more this incident gets pushed, the less all of the qualities which the community does have are brushed aside.

If you look at our cultural history you will understand why there have been 12 of intensity among us. Without passion and intensity this community could not function because that is what it needed to stay alive. This incident is an ugly mark. But you can go to youtube at any moment and see some of the best of us and some of the worst of us at times. Part of our history is on video, from our greatest achievements in tournaments and gameplay to the way that conflict resolution is handled; and all of it is done through playing games. The charges on which the best us of were crucified happened at our most bizarre. One of our members in a reality TV show, that was not controlled by the community, and that honestly not a lot of us watched. For the majority of us this is as much as a spectacle as it is for the outside observer.

If you want to crucify us, do so on all the things that we are and not of the actions of one man. Can you say we that we seem abrasive and angry from an outsider’s perspective? Yes. Can you say that we have made some people mad online who were not expecting to play those that take the game seriously? Yes. You could even throw charges at of us being somewhat unwelcoming in our own online communities. A lot of the growth that happened in this community was very sudden and caught many people by surprise. Because of a lot of this growth we have not properly introduced ourselves or created solid avenues on which the outside world can meet the lost tribe of competitive gaming. Our isolation was not intentional and a lot of the clashes with the outside world are cultural misunderstandings. But if you want to know what we are about, please come to our tournaments and learn. Visit our community with a clear mind because who we are as a group is as unique as all cultures are. We could not care less about any of your biological component so long as you come to learn and play. If you want to nail us to that cross, do not do so on the follies of one man in extraneous circumstances.


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#2

Praise the Emperor.

Good shit man, always enjoy yours “Litany of Hate” threads


#3

In light of recent events like: http://kotaku.com/5889637/fighting-game-webcast-wednesday-night-fights-takes-a-cheap-hit-on-cross-assault-harassment-controversy

We would like to say that some of our more colorful personalities are just fucking idiots. Our bad. Because we’ve been by ourselves we usually would just shrug it off like you ignore the town idiot but since now the public has more exposure to it, we are very sorry. We should have sacked him.


#4

So this is how you’ll get more likes than me.


#5

It’s certainly less offensive than what actually happened. I’m pretty sure kotaku is just being sensationalist at this point, news for the sake of controversy alone, at least with this article. But whatever, just one guys opinion.

What other sites besides that, Penny Arcade and Giant bomb have covered the original events? What is the extent of the public knowledge I guess is the real question I’m asking.


#6

Ars Tecnica and Live on 3.


#7

Good read. Some of the power gets lost in the purple prose but overall it was a very effective article.

It would be nice to see it be published in a more mainstream gaming site. Right now you’re just preaching to the choir.


#8

M

Makes me wish that there was that “Promote for article” button.


#9

Mr. Wizard must adore threads like this.

I think things have been said that are inappropiate by different commentators time and time again. its not right but at the same time these commentators aren’t like, john macenroe or bill walton or al micheals. these guys have day jobs. i wouldn’t even call them semi pros at commentating. 90% are total amatuers that are shittalking to make an event seem more intense or pro looking.
um…so cut these commentators some small degree of slack. they’re trying to be more entertaining than enlightening or insightful about the matches they are commentating about.
should inappropiate or rude behavior stemming from commentators be condoned…no. but these guys, most of them are trying to make what they can, or the most they can from little experience they have at public speaking. and they aren’t pros at commentating. they don’t make a living from it.
and sometimes…i mean,…these are FG matches which can sometimes blaze by your eye in less than a minute. its pretty hard to be insightful about a match that goes by so fast its near impossible to break down play by play. its not golf, or tennis, football or boxing. its a FG match that can end in a minute. sometimes.
30 seconds for the first round, 30 seconds for the second round.
there’s only so much of the matches you can comment on.
sometimes if one of them comments on a particular move a player does…by the time they finish there sentence that player has done 3-4 moves that are probably just as worthy of meriting a mention but the matches go by so quickly…the commentators have to produce “filler” comments just to air some shit over the audio recording.
i hope that i’m being clear about the point i’m trying to make.

i just don’t want every commentator now getting so worried about what he/she will say that their commentating will end up being…i dunno…boring. drab. stale. lifeless. personality-less. just dull.
i don’t want somebody like chris hu now getting so worried about some ol foolishness that may come out his mouth in a 2 hour time span of shittalking that he binds his personality up and he stops being his funny lovable self.
mmm. if you get what i’m trying to say.

if somebody says something stupid. apologize. move on. but lets not flay people now, over words. not everyone is politically correct. in the fgc. life in general. in private or in public. but lets not get so worked up over silly shit now.
as long as its legal. its forgivable.
we’ve all heard and said stupid shit.
you say sorry and everyone moves on. imo.


#10

dj wheat mode

NO NO NO NO NO NO NO!!!


#11

i like the op piece though.
it was touching, true, and honest.
and well written.


#12

Sometimes 30 seconds for the whole match…

[media=youtube]Mc6WwTH-uFc[/media]


#13

Saying sorry is nice. Backing off when someone says “dude not cool” is nicer.

Saying that you have a moral obligation to be a misogynist asshole is not very nice at all.


#14

In your post you say the FGC has been accused of racism that’s not there, sexism that’s not there, and transphobia that’s not there. Inkblot also had similar comments in his post, citing examples like Ricky Ortiz and Kayopolice as examples that the community is open and accepting. Am I the only one who’s a bit, uh, unconvinced? Can you seriously say that whenever Ricky or Kayo come up as topics in a stream chat that the majority of comments aren’t homophobic and derogatory? And let’s not even get started on the racism.

While I think it is a valid statement that the FGC is likely no worse than any other GC, to try to paint it as some sort of bastion of acceptance is not only inaccurate but offensive. Sexism/homophobia/racism are quite rife in the video game community, IMO, and we should be spending our efforts on acknowledging and combating it, not pretending that it’s not a problem.


#15

stream chat=/=the FGC. those losers will never go to a tournament


#16

After the Ars Techinicha article that glorified Jared I sent the author an e-mail and still haven’t gotten a response, so I’ll just put them on blast and make it an open letter:


Hello Mr. Orland,

I’ve recently read your article “Is Pervasive Sexism holding the professional fighting game community back?”, and you’ve made a number of comments I feel are unfair, or that you have provided incomplete information on.

First and foremost I would like to state that I feel that the treatment Aris and a number of spectators imposed upon SuperYan was horribly sexist and that they should suffer the repercussions of said actions; as they harassed a fellow human mercilessly and represented us as a community poorly.

Jared Rea is not a person I would be holding on a pedestal in this juncture. Mr. Rea was present at CrossAssault (and came onto the stream decked out in teamliquid gear to show how much he loves us) and bore witness to said sexism but did nothing to stop it. Since his hiring on a twitch through support of the FGC (fighting game community) he has been openly mocking of the FGC instead jumping at the bit to extol the virtues of the more corporate and esports oriented SC2 scene.

<iframe width=“560” height=“315” src=“http://www.youtube.com/embed/yPskOimdW4c” frameborder=“0” allowfullscreen></iframe>

If you look at the comment section of this video you can see such gems as
she looks like a whore
Ropemancer 4 days ago

omg she’s not hot guys. she has really broad shoulders and prolly a really awkward waist tapper. Her broad body is further accentuated by her small 34B sized chest and her face is just caked with makeup.
She’s clearly a bimbo. Her subconscious behavior:
3:18 she tries to act cute/submissive by putting her hand over her mouth.
3:22 the glance away implies nervousness as well as "i’m better than you i don’t NEED to stay in this conversation"
Orion8888 1 month ago
That is a one dumb bitch I must say :DD
TehRasia 2 months ago 53

Clearly the Starcraft community and esports is a bastion for gender equality. Starcraft with its male-dominated mainly white middle-class American player base is a lot tamer than the FGC in general due to a number of factors: there’s less racial and socio-economic diversity, and most interactions take place via computer rather than in person so there is a smaller degree of emotional attachment. In fighting game tournaments you will find yourself pitted against people of all colours and creeds and of various socio-economic standings as fighting games are far more accessible with their lower price point compared to a rull gaming rig and the attitude that “all that matters is everyone plays and we find out who the best is”. This runs in stark contrast to what is normally seen at an esporting event where players and commentators are separated from the crowds of spectators by both literal and figurative walls. Promoting a star-fan dynamic and creating a differential between players and spectators is the creed of esports and how they make themselves marketable to sponsors; this is the exact opposite of what fighting game players want; which is to be equal in standing to all players and part of a community where all that matters is how good at the game you are.
The real reason why Mr. Rea has been so eager to toot his horn on bringing the FGC into the esports wing is that there is a lot of money to be made doing so. A number of esports related companies are extremely put off by the fact that the FGC is exploding and growing wildly without them, to these people it flies in the face of their entire business model and mantra of what makes a successful competitive video game.
tl;dr Jared’s motives are questionable, this isn’t a problem unique to the fighting game community
<iframe width=“560” height=“315” src=“http://www.youtube.com/embed/jcKFlcoKnoQ” frameborder=“0” allowfullscreen></iframe>
Have a video that exemplifies what I feel the community is about.


Since then this chatlog of Mr. Rea (Jared) has surfaced: http://sl1p2u.tripod.com/id66.htm

With such wonderful examples of acceptance as “DDRSlip: DAMN IT NIGGER ILL RAPE YOUR MOTHER AND THEN FORCE HER TO MAKE ME MANY COTTON SHIRTS!@” He a clearly someone who should be lecturing us on biggotry, misogyny, and exclusionism.


#17

The only real problems that we have as a community are: people not being able to show up to tournaments for economic reason, people not playing, people who talk shit not playing. When Guilty was blowing people up on MvC3 teams at one of the team tournaments, nobody gave a shit about her being a girl because she was bodying people. A lot of the sexism/homophobia/racism is often time misinterpreted shit talking that address particular aspects of that person and no different than making fun of Floe for being fat, Mr.Wizard for being addicted to McRibs, and at Marn for being ugly. The real problem is that there should be a disclamer on this website that says in big red letters “YOU ARE GOING TO GET CLOWNED ON, ITS ALL JOKES” and then explain how is it takes place. Either way this would be a whole 'nother article.


#18

You know, while I do agree with you on this statement, I feel like the FGC isn’t serious about a lot of it. I’ve never met anybody in the 9 years I’ve been a part of this community that was really racist or sexist. We joke around, but when you put a bunch of guys in a room together to hang out and play games, some sexist things will come out no matter what. I’ve never been around a crowd of black people that the n-word wasn’t dropped at some point or another. It’s the lack of seriousness, because in the end of the day, we do have each others back, regardless of anything else.

Then again… I’m not referring to the stream, where all assholes can be anonymous. They’re not the FGC. They’re the spectators that will never be the FGC.


#19

The Stream watchers do not represent the community as a whole. Or even in a fraction. Never have. Never will.


#20

I hate to play devil’s advocate, but this shit still happens at tournaments.

http://dominionmethodgaming.com/2011/04/16/burnyourbra-discusses-the-difficulties-of-being-a-female-gamer/

Should we have a thick skin? yes probably, but not to that extreme of an extent where racist and sexist remarks are commonplace.

Maybe some of the big names in the FGC are accepting, hell most of us are. But there is definitely a small percentage out there who are simply fucking stupid and despite us wanting to deny it, still represent the FGC. Until we stop stubborn ignorant people from this community, the media will continue to have a field day with this, destroying any chances of this community growing any further.