5 Gaming Controversies That Were Mindblowingly Stupid
It seems like every week, there's a new scandal in the world of video games, from garbage companies who are working their employees to death to garbage trolls who instigate harassment campaigns against developers because they don't like [insert minority here]. So you'd be forgiven for letting some of the dumber blow-ups slip through the cracks. Such as how ...
Mortal Kombat 11 Fans Were Upset About Preventing Slavery
It's tradition by this point that whenever a new edition of Mortal Kombat is released, someone somewhere finds something to get angry about -- from the series' comically gratuitous violence to its casual sexism to (more recently) its microtransactions. The controversy surrounding the recently released Mortal Kombat 11, however, took this pattern to new, stupid depths.
The main villain of MK11 is a time-meddling psychopath who, after being defeated, hands her powers off to the player character who defeated her -- which triggers one of many different endings, depending on the character. While most of these endings involve characters correcting problems in their own lives, the ending for one fighter, Jax, is a little more big-picture. How big a picture? He prevents the transatlantic slave trade from ever happening.
"I'm lucky. My family and I lived the American Dream. But most people who look like me haven't had that chance. I owe it to them to put things right. And I'm not waiting centuries for people to get woke when I've got the power to speed things up. I don't get it right the first time. Or the second. Or even the third. But eventually, I knock it out of the damn park."
As Mike Fahey for Kotaku points out, the ending is a little more nuanced than "The black guy ends slavery with time travel," but because that sort of nuance doesn't matter if you're a bigot, the ending was immediately turned into "The black guy ends slavery ... because he hates white people and wants to commit white genocide!"
Between this and MK11's other "controversy" (whereby the female characters were given clothes that actually fit), enraged and horny gamers brigaded the game's score on Metacritic -- which is a totally rational response to hearing that a game ended the equally depressing practices of slavery and ogling virtual fighter's butts in tight pants. (Save the latter for Mario games).
Square Enix Gets Death Threats Over Its Loot Boxes
One of the most contentious issues in gaming right now is loot boxes -- virtual boxes of, uh, loot that gamers pay real money for. On one side, you have the developers who love them because *cash register noises*. On the opposite side, many players hate them because they turn games from competitions of skill into competitions over who can buy the best gear.
In March, both sides had the most idiotic showdown imaginable when a 25-year-old gamer from Japan was arrested after (allegedly) threatening to kill several workers at Square Enix, the company responsible for Final Fantasy and Kingdom Hearts. The suspect confessed to sending the company an email which read "Hey staff tomorrow I'm going to kill you get ready [for your punishment]," (the "punishment" implied to be beheading samurai-style) after he spent over $1,700 on loot boxes and failed to "win" the item he wanted.
By the way, we didn't miss out a couple of zeros there. Yodimbo is probably going to prison for several years for death threats about less money than he's most certainly spent on anime body pillows and Funkos. We once interviewed a guy who lost $9,000 on a crappy mobile game, and he didn't threaten to key anyone's car.
In response, Square Enix beefed up security at their offices . Which is a good idea, considering that last year, they received over 30 emails that contained the word "kill" from disgruntled gamers. The police are currently investigating whether these emails are connected to Hattori Bozo here, which is honestly adorably naive of them. And speaking of samurai, video games, and terrible life choices ...
An Article About Cheating In Sekiro Sent People Into Hysterics
Earlier this year, developer From Software released the samurai adventure game Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, to major acclaim from critics and players alike. One major talking point was the game's difficulty, which was on par with other games made by From, such as Dark Souls and Bloodborne. In "response," James Davenport wrote an article for PC Gamer about what it was like to play the game using a slow-motion cheat -- which he described as being a different sort of fun that's wholly within the spirit of the game.
Naturally, within hours, the article was buried under thousands of angry comments, which ran the gamut from "git gud" to "this is the worst thing that has ever happened to video games and/or video game journalism."
Amongst all of these comments -- as well as countless other screeds posted to the holy harassment trinity of Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube -- was one that characterized Davenport's use of cheats not just as a failing of his gaming abilities, but a failing of his soul.
It's internet law that for every hilarious overreaction like this, an equal and opposite reaction must follow. And follow it did, as countless people came from far and wide to dunk on this guy like he was constructed of glued-together NERF basketball hoops, including Sonic the Hedgehog and Mr. Liquid Snake himself, Cam Clarke.
A Professional Smash Bros. Player Had A Crab Thrown At Him
As anyone who has ever played Fortnite or Overwatch can attest, multiplayer battle royales can get very heated, very quickly. We don't ever remember throwing SpongeBob's boss at someone, though. In April, Juan DeBiedma triumphed at Pound 2019, a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament, but before he could bask in his victory, an audience member threw a crab at him.
Fortunately for DeBiedma, the lone crabman missed, and after being ushered from the building, he was subsequently banned from all future tournaments and Red Lobster locations. The question of how the guy managed to sneak a whole crab into the event aside, what could his motive have possibly been? But as DeBiedma explained later, this is pretty par for the cause when it comes to hardcore Smash Bros. fandom, most of whom loath DeBiedma for playing as Jigglypuff during tournaments.
It's hard to explain why Jigglypuff inspires such hatred amongst the faithful, but consider that only a few weeks before the crabbing, another professional Smash player got so frustrated with the play style of his Pokemon-wielding opponent that, halfway through a tourney match, he threw his controller down and walked out. That's how angry people get over Jigglypuff.
Some Whiny Babies Complained About Spider-Man Not Having Enough Puddles
Spider-Man for PS4 is the best video game we've played in years. But you know what would have really made it better? If there were, like, 20 times as many puddles.
Just before the release of Spider-Man, developer Insomniac Games released a trailer to whet people's appetites. Soon enough, however, some were up in arms over a perceived lack of puddles in a level that, in a previous trailer, had been positively sodden. They concluded that the lack of puddles meant that the game's graphics had been downgraded, and a subsequent comparison of the two trailers garnered over 30,000 upvotes on Reddit.
With proof of Insomniac's underhandedness at hand, fans descended on James Stevenson, the company's community developer, and came at him with hard-hitting journalistic questions like "Why did you downgrade the graphics, James?" and "Why are you lying about not downgrading the graphics, James?" As Stevenson explained numerous times, the game's graphics hadn't been "downgraded," and the changes between the two images were more likely the result of A) the way in which the original trailer was compressed, a process that highlighted darker colors better, and B) the in-game sun being in a different position, which would change how shadows looked. He was eventually harassed off social media before he could explain where the puddles went, although we're going to call spending less time on Twitter a net positive overall.
The internet responded to the mass screaming fit about virtual puddles with some prime indifference. Insomniac themselves did the same a few weeks later, with an update that added several puddle stickers to the game's selfie mode, meaning that players could snap a photo and drown Spidey (and their dignity) in puddles to their spoiled hearts' desire.
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