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Activision Update

I’ve spoken to three people at Activision. Each phone call has been kinder than the one before. These are nice people making good products.

Well, except one.

Y’all are going to say that I’m biting the hand that feeds me. I’m sure that’s true to a degree. I loved giving out their products at BlogHer, my kids love their games.

I can’t reconcile myself with the multiplayer gaming aspect. I understand that someone needs to be the bad guy, but there are no Cowboys and Indians. There are no Klan mob scenes (not even in fantasy gaming), there are no Vietnam or Korea games that I know of.

And if these games do exist?

Don’t tell me.

I understand enough of the game now to know that the guys at Activision aren’t evil. They’re just too smart to not be good.

I will respectfully end the discussion by reminding them that they’re some of the smartest people in the world, and they could should be great.

11 thoughts on “Activision Update”

  1. I have to say it’s sort of dumb of activision
    to send a WW2 frag-fest for grown-up persons to a jewish lady,
    which bloggs about parenting.

    I also understand that people like you, are more sensitive
    if it comes to certain topics,
    i understand and respect that.
    I hope you didn’t got me wrong there.

    Sorry if i was a bit rough in my last comment,
    those are hard times for gamers in this country,
    we get sort of pushed around by our politicians.

    In the end everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion.

    But if you have a questions feel free to write me.

  2. those are hard times for gamers in this country,
    we get sort of pushed around by our politicians.

    Color me confused, but what are you talking about? Is there some sort of active vendetta against gamers. Is the government confiscating joysticks?

    Seriously, I don’t follow.

  3. you know, Jessica, I’m still with you. They blew it. They dropped the ball. What Hitler and his henchmen did is not the stuff to be making games from. Period. You are correct, there are no games that involve lynching a black man, although there are games that involve raping prostitutes and then killing them instead of paying, and some of them are portrayed as women of color. And yes, those of us in feminist circles DO get up in arms about the idea of putting such a scenario into a video game at all, never mind that it is used as A REWARD for achieving a certain point status. That’s right – get enough points and you get to have sex with a prostitute, rough her up and then kill her. And we wonder why people in our society has no respect for each other. Good grief.

  4. As a gamer, I’ll tell you why I play games that sometimes have me wearing German or Japanese flags. It has nothing to do with the ideology that led to the war.

    You don’t play as Hitler. You’re not setting national policy regarding Jews. You aren’t overseeing gas chambers. That would be offensive.

    You are a soldier or sailor or pilot in the greatest war ever fought.

    Try the game. See if you find it in any way supportive of anything accomplished by the Germans.

  5. Dawn is right. They dropped the ball and you’ve been the good guy putting on your game face (no pun intended…at least I don’t think so), all along.

    The premise of a lot of these games is one of the reasons we have an Xbox 360 that’s never been out of the box. My son wants the violent, degrading and nasty games and I just dont want it in my house. I have talked about getting a Wii because some of the games look like fun…BUT, being that I’m not coordinated, it would end badly. Very badly!

  6. Jack:
    Sorry, i forgot that people from other countries like america may not be aware of that.

    We are on the brink of get criminalized.
    We got a whole lot of new laws making it harder for publishers,
    to release their games without censoring them specially for us,
    that still is relatively harmless, but there are some plans
    and concepts for laws which would outlaw most of the popular games today.
    This is very disturbing since the politicians of our two mayor parties are mostly not very well informed, judging by the things they say,
    if it comes to this new medium of entertainment and art.

    We also get insulted a lot, according to them we are ticking bombs and potential criminals / murderers.
    That one time one of them claimed he is seeing games on one level with child-pornography.
    This is scandalous in my opinion.
    We heard every possible insult over the years.
    I’m not making this up, here is a english link for you:

    This is something very disturbing and even fills me with a certain amount of fear,
    since the people that say such things are actually in charge and rule this country.

    Such statements are mostly based on false information,
    and some tragic cases of killing sprees in schools,
    just because they also had games like counterstrike installed…
    This sparked a discussion which now lasts for almost half a decade,
    as far as i can remember – so this is a mayor issue,
    and not just something that “just goes away” after a election,
    but they failed to notice that every (!) one of those persons,
    that marched into their school and started killing in this country,
    left behind things like diaries chat-logs and notes,
    that prove that those persons where physically and mentally abused bullied tortured and mistreated in school by other students,
    for a long time on a regular basis, it’s scandalous,
    to think about criminalizing hobby #1 for most young people,
    and wasting time/money on that, while they could spend that time and money
    to create awareness and help people for which school is the ultimate horror.
    You have to go insane if you are tortured over a long time,
    and if nobody is there to help you,
    that tough on a young and still weak mind.
    I personally blame parents and teachers, which overlook the problems of their children/students,
    and ignore things like violence between groups or against single targets.

    This is something that deeply worries me,
    even if this is not the only problem we have,
    but i don’t want to go off-topic.

    That’s why i’m a bit quick if it comes to (in my opinion)
    unjustified critique against games.
    Games are my favorite hobby.

    I hope you people understand me a bit better now.

  7. You know what, Jess? It’s these people who come on here, leave vicious, personal, crude, and cruel comments aimed at you when all you do is speak your mind that get to me.

    You happen to be a person who feels deeply and strongly about a myriad of topics. And you have the balls to speak your mind about them. I don’t always agree, but I applaud you for not holding back.

    The idiots who come on here and attack, most of the time without reading any other thing you’ve ever written, those people don’t matter. Any person who finds obvious joy in being that way is completely worthless. And more than a little sad.

  8. Have you played the game yet, or are you still dismissing it due to the subject matter? It seems rather closed-minded and small to insist on condemning the work of the team that created it simply because it evokes bad memories and uses a controversial subject matter.

    It may well *be* a bad game, but it’s bordering on hypocritical to call it that without even playing it, especially while trying to claim that you want to respect them for being nice people. As a game developer, having your work criticized by someone who hasn’t played it is the furthest possible thing from respect.

    Also, the hypothetical games you say don’t exist do exist. I won’t bother enumerating them since you apparently don’t want to know they exist and haven’t done the necessary google searches to find them. But yes, WWII is not the only controversial subject matter tackled in games. And yes, many of the takes on the subject are artless and/or tactless.

    This is what happens when people are allowed to freely express their views, informed or uninformed – sort of like how you can tell the world what you think about a videogame without even playing it, and have the game’s creators actually respond kindly to your phone calls.

    It’s probably worth nothing that Wolfenstein looks derivative and terrible to me just from looking at the press materials, but I still can’t get behind someone who decides to condemn it so vehemently and brand the developers without playing it. It’s insensitive and uninformed, regardless of how emotionally uncomfortable the game may make you – if you find it too painful to confront the subject matter, simply refrain from making comments on the game. Nobody will condemn you for doing that; it’s your right to avoid things that remind you of terrible events that occurred in the past.

  9. I’m still a bit disturbed that a company and one of
    its production teams is being unfairly painted as an amoral group of lawyer-quality moneygrubbers after so many years of hearing Congressmen, ‘concerned citizens,’ and so many other parties painting the video game industry akin to a snuff warehouse, making everything out to be an Eden of sleaze while linking it to Columbine every chance they get.

    It’s painful to hear all this, because you know they’re just simplifying an entire industry down to ‘THAT game company,’ simplifying every genre, game, add-on, or mod into this huge ball of black mindwarping code, making misconceptions left and right about the industry and technology with total disregard for what it actually does, and hyping the ability of a child’s mind to warp on a scale that would make a propagandist uncontrollably weep. We, the people who play these games, and know what the hell these games are -really- capable of doing and not doing, have to come in and clean up the mess on an individual basis, simply because the truth doesn’t pay a dime to Jack Thompson. And then they slather another layer of bright orange paint on top, and we have to start again simply because Jane Doe was too pressed by work to actually learn what a video game does, and instead listened to Jack Thompson without looking at the facts.

    While yes, Activision is a company, and is in a capitalist society, its premise being to make money in this particular industry. That’s what everyone’s premise in a capitalist society is. But, I believe Activision has been better than a lot of books and TV shows have been about topics like this. I don’t think they should be painted as a bunch of sleazeballs. Maybe a bit insensitive, but I’ve seen much worse cases of it. Images of Mr. Obama photoshopped to be a stereotypical caricature of a black man with a bucket of chicken being passed around by several Republican Congressman, for instance. I think your response to Wolfenstein would fit almost exactly into that event. Wolfenstein’s biggest sin? Your enemies are Nazis, who are depicted in a straightforward fashion. No “Valiant defenders of the Motherland, here to save the world from the untermenschen,” no lewd or crude depictions of them as Mary Sue WASP paragons of the Third Reich (with BDSM undertones), no glorification of what they did. Nothing. At best, any Nazi in the game would be depicted in a neutral tone. The poor schmuck who got handed a KAR 98 and was told to defend the Fatherland, for instance.

    And yet the guys who emailed the caricature of Obama around the offices gets less attention than Wolfenstein. Policies or otherwise, I think that’s the much bigger fish to fry. Total untruths a dime a dozen, tasteless caricatures being shuttled back and forth, and people actually trying to get Obama shot/talking about getting States to secede from the Union? Wow. Somebody should look into that, you know? See what’s going down, see if somebody in the press made it up? That’s not something to joke about, either by themselves or as a bundle.

  10. But AllenSmithee, they did it on someone else’s blog, anonymously, and cruelly. There’s a difference between good discourse and being rude and horrible.

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