For a few years now, my biggest idols on YouTube have been the three heads of the Co-optional Podcast, that being TotalBiscuit, Jesse Cox and Dodger. I have been a fan of all three since their TGS days and have grown fonder of them, in particular John “TotalBiscuit” Bain in the past couple years as he’s been at the forefront of journalist integrity when the vast majority of games journalism hasn’t not been so trustworthy in recent memory.
But at this year’s CoxCon, a convention in the UK that features these YouTube celebrities, as well as others, my confidence with them has shaken just a tiny bit over the reaction to a three-word question that set off a firestorm that resulted in more than just laughing a silly question off.
So what was the question that caused the entire chain of events? Well…here it is:
Yup. That was it. “Are traps gay?”. A meme. A fucking meme! Granted, if you don’t know the meme, sure the question catches you off-guard and in fact I think Jesse’s initial reaction of “W-WHAT?!!” was about the right reaction. That’s a ridiculous random question that’s being asked during a Q&A full of fans asking them stuff about their content, the gaming industry and other casual topics. That question would certainly throw you off, but I’m trying to understand here why this became such an “offensive, transphobic” moment at the convention.
Even worse, the head of the outrage has not been Jesse, the personality the convention it’s named after. It’s my favourite YouTuber, TotalBiscuit who’s at the forefront of the reactions to this question:
First of all, the question is not transphobic. The term ‘trap’ is a made-up word that came out of 4chan through the classic Star Wars quote from Admiral Ackbar “It’s a trap!” to describe transsexual or androgynous people or fictional characters that look like a women but have male genitalia and coerce men into having sex with them, without these men knowing what’s hiding underneath. Which by the way, any person who does that to anyone, you’re a disgraceful human being, that’s the kind of shit you HAVE to announce to someone you’re trying to have sex with.
The “are traps gay?” question is nothing more than a meme, a silly debate on internet forums over whether being attracted to a trans-woman would be considered homosexual. I can’t answer that question myself through my own feelings, considering I’m bisexual, so my attraction to more feminine-looking males doesn’t exactly answer that question either. But taking the core concepts of this question into mind, it’s pretty simple, being attracted to a trap in the end is gay. If you don’t know that person’s a trap, then you didn’t know. But if you do know, or if you find out and you’re still in, guess what? You like having sex with men, so you’re either gay or bi.
Anyways, that debate aside, the idea that TB’s now asking people to rat this guy out for asking a stupid question. Like come on, did it need to go that far? It happened, it’s over, it didn’t offend anyone (I challenge you to explain to me why it is offensive), now move on and continue enjoying the convention. Everyone will forget moments after when they get to meet you in person, John and the rest of the internet will forget in about…oh wait, they’ve already forgotten.
But instead, you had to keep going, didn’t you John?
You removed him from the event? Really? It was that bad? Not only that, but from what I’ve read and heard, there isn’t any refunds given out for tickets at the convention. So this guy for saying a meme into the microphone, he had to be removed, because him being there, even though few saw what he looked like and would have forgotten moments after, he was a cancer and would’ve made everyone’s life miserable for the rest of the convention.
Come on, TB…
This is just a small thing that irked me. So you basically made a donation under 100 bucks to a LGBT charity. Allow me to give you a slow clap, John. Oh and by the way, if that charity was so important, what’s this about not making a sizeable donation before this event. It comes off more like you’re trying to win new fans over with this, John.
Because at no point in your career, in Jesse’s career, in Dodger’s career or anyone else in your circle, you’ve never been an internet edgelord? And for fuck’s sake, John, this comment screams of “If you have a different opinion than us, you don’t belong here.”, which by the way, really hypocritical for someone who was against the whole GamerGate debacle when that happened.
Isn’t the whole idea for the gaming industry to be inclusive to as many people as possible? Because it looks like to me that you just want those people to be within your ideology as well.
Because every single person that disagrees with you must be someone you wouldn’t want to have around you? Listen to yourself, John! Fuck man, one of my best friends is someone I disagree with on major and I mean MAJOR issues and we’ve had mini heated debates before and yet we’re still the best of friends. You’re just putting a massive amount of assumptions on people for the sole reason that they disagreed with your decision to remove a person from not just the panel (which would’ve been fine), but the entire convention just because he spouted a meme like a fucking idiot!
Holy crap, John! Like, I totally get you not wanting certain types of people in your circle, I get that, I wouldn’t want an extremist feminist in my inner circle either. But not everyone who disagrees with a single opinion you hold is necessarily that type of person you don’t want around you. It’s a single case, John, not a pattern of behaviour.
This is the tweet that pissed me off the most. You’re basically saying that you’re okay with shutting people down just because they’re making noise, not because they’re doing any real damage. You’ve been against censorship, false DMCA claims, people taking other people’s YouTube channels down, all this crazy shit, yet if someone annoys you ever so slightly, you feel vindicated to completely remove someone or something out of your existence.
Fuck man, for someone who tries to act like an intelligent guy among the commoners, you’re showing an extreme elitist attitude towards things, John. Like holy shit dude, a tweet like that makes me really question whether you’re someone I can trust now, because you’ve shown a lack of willingness to be open-minded. This isn’t remotely as serious as you acted like it was in this case, the guy didn’t ask “Is it okay to hate transgendered people?”, he asked “Are traps gay?” a meme and honestly a more interesting discussion than people think it is, because they’re too busy getting offended or on edge because the question involves transgendered people, a topic that gets anyone and everyone extremely triggered right now.
In the end, all I’ve gotta say is that for the first time, my confidence in some of my favourite YouTube personalities is wavering, especially with my favourite YouTuber ever, TotalBiscuit. And in a time where I’ve pretty much stop listening to Jim Sterling and I’m hearing about some of the shit Angry Joe is saying, I’m really starting to fear a time where my entire subscription list will flip upside down.
That’s something I don’t want to do and thought I’d never do.
At some point, folks…we’re gonna have to stop caring about how beautiful a game looks.
Seriously, we’re at a point now where games look damn good. No longer are we in the age of 8-bit, no longer are we in the age of pixelated 3D garbage, we are now in an age of graphic quality that is more than acceptable. Almost every major game coming out nowadays looks fantastic, there’s very few occasions where a Triple-A game comes out looking like a giant pile of shit.
So I think it’s about time that we stopped as gamers and fans, as well as game developers, worrying so much about how beautiful our game looks in 1080p or 4K, which I really don’t give a flying fuck about right now, 4K’s not cheap enough to justify it in terms of console gaming just yet. The cheapest 4K TV right now is $600 in Canada and that’s a 40″ TV. Until that price drops under $500, I don’t see why there’s a huge rush in terms of the gaming fanbase to push for 4K gaming, how many of us can actually afford that, especially when for half the price you can get 1080p, which is just fine!
This screenshot was taken of the JRPG game Trails of Cold Steel II and this is also the PS Vita version (I play on a PS TV). I don’t know about you guys, but for a game that’s not even on the current console generation (released on PS Vita/PS3), it looks pretty damn good! Granted, the anime art style enhances that a little bit and lets the game get away with a little more, but then again, did Call of Duty 4 look terrible on Xbox 360? Did Mass Effect look bad on PS3? No! And they still don’t now!
The problem is that we’re currently in a generation where people will immediately reference the highest graphical quality game they’ve seen as the only acceptable standard now, whereas the reality is that games that are 5 years old are still more than acceptable today. We’re also allowing PC gamers to influence the overall opinions of graphical fidelity a little too much.
Take John “TotalBiscuit” Bain for example. I’m a huge fan of his work on YouTube, but if there’s one thing I get a little bothered by, it’s when he goes through a game and talks about what I perceive as minor things like close-up texture quality and things like that. Framerate, I’m behind him on 100%, but for the smaller things, they don’t bother me as much and I think that honestly the expectation that every single object in the game should look like the real thing, have zero blurry textures in the entire game, all that jazz…they’re way too fucking high. You are more than welcome to call a developer out when they’ve clearly half-assed their character models and haven’t optimized things properly, but something as miniscule as being right next to a brick wall and you can’t see every single tiny chunk that’s eroded over 100 years, that might be a tad bit much.
I think it’s about time that we pull everyone aside and have a bit meeting and simply say that it’s time for us to focus on the gameplay again rather than focusing on how good our game looks in a screenshot. How many games in the current generation have come out and we’re praised before its release for being a gorgeous looking game, but then got poor reviews cause the actual game was boring, garbage, all that jazz? Think games like The Order: 1886, Knack, The Crew, Assassin’s Creed: Unity, Dead Rising 3, Tom Clancy’s The Division and the recently released No Man’s Sky and ReCore. They were all pretty looking games, yet had little to no substance game-wise, maybe they came out a broken mess, there’s a lot of things with these games that happened to cause it to be a poorly reviewed game, but before the game came out, everyone was talking all day long about how beautiful the game looked.
And that’s the key here, at the end of the day, a video game is a game. The focus should be on the game, or the gameplay, not about wowing audiences at E3 with pretty landscapes, horizons, all that shit. Sure, it does look fantastic, but haven’t we learned over these past few years that a lot of the best games haven’t been award-winning in terms of graphics? Shovel Knight, Overwatch, Bloodborne and of course the various Nintendo games that have never been known for having the best graphics, they were all solid GAMES. Granted there are games like Uncharted 4 and Metal Gear Solid V that look incredible graphic-wise, but more of these stunningly beautiful games end up falling into the “It’s all right.” category more often than Game of the Year levels of quality.
Too many games come out these days lacking a core part of what makes a video game so interesting. In the search for obtaining the title of “Best Looking Game at E3”, so many games end up being released a broken mess, missing an engaging and interesting story with interesting and diverse characters, they’re missing core gameplay mechanics, the music is terrible and so much more. I’m so sick and tired of games coming out and not being all that fun, but they look really good guys! Isn’t that amazing?!
So for the love of god, folks…relax a little bit on the graphic quality stuff. We have reached a more than acceptable point in technology that we can easily pump out games that look pretty damn good. So let’s stop focusing on new graphic engines and start going back to our roots, making good fucking games!
And I think it’s about time we go back and look at the Super Nintendo once again, specifically a game like Final Fantasy VI.
Over two decades old and it still looks pretty damn good, doesn’t it? If 20+ year old games can still look pretty good, maybe we can still find ways in the present day to make games that aren’t just good-looking in the present day, but will be good looking years from now.
Just a thought.