Jimquisition: Corrupt, Censoring, Suicidal Indie Devs

Abnaxis

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Honestly, I've worked with enough small companies to say this type of censorship will always be a problem. The thing is, just because someone goes into an entrepreneurship, doesn't mean they will act professionally. I've worked for and with many smaller, 5-15 employee companies, and there are always a few owners, that will agonize over every bag of paperclips they have to buy because to them, that's less beers in their home cooler--they don't see it as a necessary expense, they see it as a personal sacrifice. Similarly, they will internalize any negative event in their business--like an employee leaving or a lost contract--in a personal way, and villify whoever they perceive as causing their ire.

I haven't worked with video game developers before, but I see the same behavior here. I see a lot of "did they really think that would work" in the video and in the comments, but the fact is "think" doesn't factor into it at all. Just because you have the skills and the drive to create a video game, doesn't mean you have the shrewdness or the fortitude to look at criticism in an objective way. I can say from experience, that there is a subsection of the population that will see the criticism as an assault on their way of life--costing them valuable Budweisers--and they actively look for any way to lash out at their perceived aggressors, whether it costs them in the long run or not.

That's not to say that the bullshit shouldn't be called out, just that the phenomena is by no means limited to indie games developers, it's more just a reality of dealing with small enterprises of all sorts. I hope the backlash will suffice to make people think before they lash out at critics (or better, make them think hard before releasing a game), but the core problem itself is never going to go away. It's human nature.
 

CaitSeith

Formely Gone Gonzo
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Nazulu said:
The way I see it, triple AAA can be good or bad, nothing extreme (well, it doesn't seem so right now)
And that's so sad. AAA used to be symbol of awesomeness and creative breakthroughs. Now it's a symbol of hype and flashier graphics.
 

Lunar Templar

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Little Duck said:
Hey remember when we hated this guy? Why can't these devs be like this guy? Take that criticism and make something better from it.
Because they lack something Jim has.

The understanding that they can always improve, and that they, the content creators, will not always see the critical flaws in their works. It takes humility to have your work ripped apart and listen to why people hated it and seek to improve it.

Devs like these twats, as well as the two the fucked with TB do not have this trait.
 

Redlin5_v1legacy

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Really I thought the TB episodes would have been a loud enough message about this situation. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it I guess.
 

Vegosiux

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SilverUchiha said:
Jim, while I certainly enjoy your bashing of arrogant indie devs who think they can get away with this kind of bullshit simply because they're indie and their games are "early access," I do think doing this kind of video is getting a little old and is starting to leave a negative vibe about the whole "early access" indie scene.

I'm not saying your wrong, but perhaps we could get an episode focused on some of the positive things to have come from Steam Greenlight and the Early Access process? A sign to show that while these horror stories are true and we have to be careful when dealing with the Muxwells and Kobras, there are at least one or two cases out there that do it right, but just don't get the same press as the negative devs. Thus, they're sort of forgotten or pushed aside in the process.
This is pretty much how I feel, yeah.

We know there's a lot of shit in the industry. And we know that it's going to keep happening if we let it happen and keep buying and buying into it.

But I think there's some such thing as too much focus on it. We keep hearing about the seedy underbelly of the industry. It would be nice to hear what's good about it now and then. I guess we get tired of even cynicism, and need to take a break for something lighter now and then.

And this isn't to bash Jimquisition, it's easily still one of my favorites...but I think one genuinely, non-ironically fluffy rosey episode per year would be quite nice :D

Redlin5 said:
Really I thought the TB episodes would have been a loud enough message about this situation. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it I guess.
Wrong. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to have their butts kicked by the nerds who do!
 

Madd the Sane

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alj said:
Do they not know that filing a fake DMCA take down notice is a crime ? YOU could take them to court and win.
I doubt it would be Jim doing the suing. It'd more likely be YouTube itself.
Scrumpmonkey said:
Youtube needs a system by which it can have repercussions for people filing a false copyright strike. The system as it stands has lead to people unable to fight claims potentially having their accounts closed.
This. Oh so this.
 

RandV80

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Main difference people should keep in mind is when AAA developers pull shit they're usually making money, when an indy does they're likely going broke.

Not to excuse these actions, but at the end of the day they're not going to have a big impact on anything.
 

Mydnyght

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tm96 said:
Did anyone think of Cobra (GI Joe)? Cobra studios could be a an attempt by Cobra commander to take over the world through video games. Man that sounds stupid.
Well, from that Steam screenshot, someone on Steam certainly thought that.

But anyway, it's spelled Kobra Studios, with a K.
Kobra was a Mortal Kombat: Deception character.
Which leads me to bring up this (a good metaphor for Kobra Studios, I think):
 

medv4380

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Feb 26, 2010
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The phrase Bad publicity is good publicity is still true. To understand it you have to go back to one of its original phrases for it.
Oscar Wilde said:
The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/there-is-no-such-thing-as-bad-publicity.html

Jim, TB, and other being negative about a game is good publicity. Dev's attempting to censor people is actually the only thing worse than them talking about how bad their game is. Censorship is the silence that kills them.
 

Callate

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All in all an enjoyable and informative show, Jim, but I have to take issue with one thing:

Worse than EA and the like?

You see, I recognize that the behavior of some of these "indies" has been pretty bad. Even to the point of "poisoning the pond", in some cases, reducing the overall feelings of community goodwill and sense of artistic integrity that independent game makers in some segments enjoy.

But I can't help but feel that such anomalies are, in fact, anomalous, that any loss of faith will be temporary so long as other independents keep up their end, and that things like trying to censor negative comments and criticism ultimately only go on to prove that such tactics don't work (in part because of journalists and critics such as yourself and Total Biscuit, good fellows), in some instances even having a positive effect by providing a negative example.

Meanwhile, the major AAA players are enjoying a certain ability to claim their nefarious actions are "industry standard" by virtue of their presence being a major piece of said industry. When a company like EA punches microtransactions into everything and throws their pollution out onto de Interwebs, big players get the message that that's the new normal and smaller players see a modicum of financial success in such soul-sucking and rush to imitate.

(Before anyone rushes in to defend EA: while I'm not fond, they're only one player, and there are certainly others that have also displayed crappy behavior, "standardized" that behavior, and seen others try to imitate it.)

However ill-advised a group like Kobra Studio's actions may have been, in the end, they mostly harm Kobra Studio. Even if a bigger company's actions are somewhat less repulsive, one has to consider the ripple effects on the medium and imitators within the market.
 

Karadalis

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DTWolfwood said:
Has anyone created a website to publicly black list developers/studios that do this kind of shit?

I would like to bookmark that site.
Would be a very short list unless you added a "out of business" category

Anyways now that Steam has opened the floodgates everyone with one of these "game creator" software packages thinks they can strike it big and cash in a couple of millions by half assing a demo level and selling it as early access.

And then get their knickers in a twist when they are called out on.

So i wholeheartedly agree with Jim in this episode... it makes all indie devs look bad and it should also be noted that PR disasters like this will also bar any doors in the indusrty for you in the future.

So indie devs.. think twice before deciding to be a douche...
 

Mikeyfell

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Imp Emissary said:
You're being a bit vague. Did this person complain about not being able to advertise, or did they just advertise?
Also, if they protested the rule by braking it and advertising anyway, then they knew the risks, and got what was coming to them.
Shhhhhhhhhh. (There's a hidden meaning in my post)

Anyway. I am being vague I'll clarify.
The "person" is me (it wasn't a youtube channel though.)

A while back there was a thread about our thoughts on an internet show called RWBY. and I posted a link to a really long review that I wrote about it instead of re typing or copy pasting 10 or so pages of content.
and I got moderatored for "advertizing" even though what I linked to was completely relevant to the thread topic.


I've seen entire threads where the OP is "Go to this link and read the article"
So why is posting an external link only against the rules if I wrote the thing I'm linking to?
(Also if I didn't mention that it was "my review" I was linking to I never would have been found out.

and I also don't really like that "Our content creators are above the law" was added to the Escapist CoC
So when I see Jim making yet another video that condemns the very policy that the Escapist practices I get a little miffed.

Of course I'm not allowed to say any of this, which is why I saw being so vague in the first place. sorry for the confusion.
 

softclocks

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I agree that it is some real shit when indie dev's do this, but let's not try to pretend that they're worse than the AAA companies. The only reason why they don't do that stuff, and they normally do to a great degree at their own forums, is because they're big enough to ignore it.

You don't get calls from big companies because you're nothing to do them, and they don't care one lick about their product.

This whole highlighting and whining about games that are obviously so terrible that no one in their right mind would buy them, is fun and all, but I'd much rather see something along the lines of 'top 10 indie games nobody knows of', because as it is he's just beating a dead horse.
 

zvate

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medv4380 said:
The phrase Bad publicity is good publicity is still true. To understand it you have to go back to one of its original phrases for it.
Oscar Wilde said:
The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/there-is-no-such-thing-as-bad-publicity.html

Jim, TB, and other being negative about a game is good publicity. Dev's attempting to censor people is actually the only thing worse than them talking about how bad their game is. Censorship is the silence that kills them.
Your the one failing to look to the source. Oscar Wilde based much of his career upon lampooning those he disliked and found objectionable... can you name a single one of them. I can't; but the message is what has persisted. I will probably forget Kobra studios tomorrow and not recall them again until I am browsing steam and see a familiar screen shot or a familiar name on the page... and then I will make a face and move on. No more and no less.

Also, Silence has yet to end a single dispicable human practise of any sort I can think of and is simply a pathetic and futile responce to anyone activly abusing others.
 

Imp_Emissary

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Mikeyfell said:
Imp Emissary said:
You're being a bit vague. Did this person complain about not being able to advertise, or did they just advertise?
Also, if they protested the rule by braking it and advertising anyway, then they knew the risks, and got what was coming to them.
Shhhhhhhhhh. (There's a hidden meaning in my post)


The "person" is me (it wasn't a youtube channel though.)

A while back there was a thread about our thoughts on an internet show called RWBY. and I posted a link to a really long review that I wrote about it instead of re typing or copy pasting 10 or so pages of content.
and I got moderatored for "advertizing" even though what I linked to was completely relevant to the thread topic.


I've seen entire threads where the OP is "Go to this link and read the article"
So why is posting an external link only against the rules if I wrote the thing I'm linking to?
(Also if I didn't mention that it was "my review" I was linking to I never would have been found out.

and I also don't really like that "Our content creators are above the law" was added to the Escapist CoC
So when I see Jim making yet another video that condemns the very policy that the Escapist practices I get a little miffed.

Of course I'm not allowed to say any of this, which is why I saw being so vague in the first place.
Sorry for the confusion.
Thank you for being clearer. Also, I don't think you've said anything that would lead to moderation at this time.

Anyway, to the grievance that you posted a relevant video of your opinion on a topic, I'd ask if your video is monetized. If so, again, that's why people can't be aloud to post their work on the Escapist without offering payment, or getting permission.
If you're video's aren't monetized, I'm sure that would help your case should you appeal the moderation. The advice I got from a mod was to always appeal.

As for Jim, like I said, because he works here, not just making content, but also as the reviews editor, he gets to advertise his work. It's a job perk.
Jim is following the Escapist's rules. That's why he couldn't show his last Movie defence force on the escapist and had to put it up on his youtube channel (it was for Mallrats if you're interested).
I didn't see anything about content creators being above the law in the CoC.

It isn't censorship to demand payment or to have people ask for permission to post things on a site you own and maintain.

There are ways you can get around this and stick to the rules. You could have written the gist of your video in a post and say that if anyone wanted to see the whole of it, they could ask you for a link through a private message. I don't believe that would be against the rules.
 

Varis

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Feb 24, 2012
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What is it about these devs that can't take the criticism to heart and improve their shitty product? I mean, if most of the people that try your game say it's shit, then as a smart person you could at least have a little quiet moment for yourself and think "Well, I guess we could've done some things a bit differently".

Instead of running around with your fingers stuck to your ears yelling "Lalalalala can't hear yooouuuu" and as in this case, hurling yourself down a flight of stairs; just to escape from the reality of your game being badly executed.

If you demand money for your product, your product should be worth the money it costs and criticism is the only way to see it for what it is, instead of foolish naivety.
 

Therumancer

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Nov 28, 2007
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Well, I just sat down and watched all of Jim's Greenlight trailer comments, and honestly I think his points are valid, especially when you consider his longer standing point that STEAM is being flooded with garbage due to Greenlight, where there are no real standards or quality control. Some of these games seemed like fair efforts for low budget indie games, I actually found say "Blackbay Asylum" to be kind of cool looking, others were almost painful to watch, and seemed like they were quick cash grabs, or people aiming to attract the "Let's Play" crowd.

Indie has actually become something of a big deal right now, as Indie developers are making decent chunks of change, and of course becoming E-famous, with fame and attention being a worthwhile pursuit for some people in of itself. As a result it's not surprising that your seeing a backlash when critics are calling them on it, especially seeing as Indie developers can't generally buy positive press to try and counter it the way big companies are accused of doing so.

What sort of galls me about the censorship attempts after looking at what Jim is doing, is that Jim isn't really doing much but making a few snarky comments and pointing out the obvious, most of these trailers kind of speak for themselves. Jim himself on video says a few times that there is literally nothing more he can say to disgrace a game more than what it's showing you.

I think the problem is that we've simply gotten to a point where the indie "movement" is full of "follow the leader" garbage that is burying the sincere efforts. When it comes to a lot of these games, it literally seems that the developer figures "well, I'll make an indie horror game in a week or two, claim it's not finished, and hope I get some sales if youtube commenters like it". A big part of what irks me about this in particular when it comes to the horror genere was that it was starting to recover a bit due to the efforts of the indie scene, but now it seems like people piling onto the attention train are going to kill it again.

That said, I think Jim needs to tone down the faux-arrogance in his internet persona when involved in personal conflicts like this to an extent. To be fair, even when justified, this kind of grandstanding about being powerful and untouchable is exactly what the AAA industry tries to do to people all the time. Like it or not the process being used on Jim exists in part to give the little guy a chance to fight back against the big guy in this limited arena, even if it's being mis-used. Given that Jim will likely win here due to the safeguards/appeal process in the system, I think he should let the results speak for themselves, and try and be a little more classy about it.

Over all, I am hoping that Jim's combined efforts here might wind up having a positive effect on STEAM's Greenlight system and cause them to put some better effort into quality control. My basic attitude is that when STEAM can't be bothered to even look at the trailers and descriptive text for the games they are allowing to enter their marketplace (or potentially enter their marketplace) there is a problem. For example one indie horror game called "The House" that actually made release involved text like "win the evil" in the trailer, and the description for the game itself was pretty terrible to boot. IMO English not being a dev's first language is not an excuse when they are supposed to be selling a product in English on an English marketplace... above and beyond other issues with the game itself and the simple fact that I don't think this kind of problem (which is constant) is always the result of lingual translation.
 

gargantual

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Scrumpmonkey said:
Wow the "Hydrophobia" devs harassed people for a bad review? Hydrophobia was a pretty poor game in my opinion, specially since the developers trumpeted it so hard. The fact that the developers seem to be a bunch of assholes only makes it worse in my estimations. What a shitty game that was.

Youtube needs a system by which it can have repercussions for people filing a false copyright strike. The system as it stands has lead to people unable to fight claims potentially having their accounts closed.
I know right... but that's our legal system unfortunately.

when humans see other humans successfully crying wolf in society and getting a big payout, its monkey-see monkey-do. The internet and our society needs a little more 'judge judy' to filter through our cynical false-plaintiff culture.