It’s Wednesday yet again, my friends, and that means it’s time for another gaming news round-up. I’ve been dipping my toes into a bunch of games at once—a little Uncharted: The Lost Legacy, a little The Sexy Brutale, a little Overwatch. None of them really have their hooks in me at the moment, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing; sometimes it’s nice to do a bunch of dabbling rather than fully commit myself to one game at the expense of others. Anyway, let’s get to the news!
A Variety of Video Game Villains
Donkey Kong champ Billy Mitchell isn’t really a villain, he just played one in The King of Kong—or so we thought. After claims that Mitchell was using a Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator (MAME) version of Donkey Kong to set his world-record breaking scores, Twin Galaxies, which tracks video game records, wiped his scores from their boards. After Twin Galaxies’ investigations, Guinness also wiped his world record scores, including an earlier record set for Pac-Man in 1999.
While playing MAME versions of these games does still require skill, Twin Galaxies’ records are meant to be set on arcade cabinets, not emulated games. With the news that Mitchell’s scores have been wiped, that means that the other subject of The King of Kong, teacher Steve Wiebe, is now considered to be the first person to break a score of one million on the arcade version of Donkey Kong. Mitchell has released a statement via YouTube, in which he claims he has evidence to back up his scores.
Trolls and misogynists have taken aim at women in the South Korean games industry—the sixth largest in the world. As US Gamer reported, Sung Hye-jin, a developer at IMC Games, was investigated for “anti-social ideology” after Twitter users called for her to be fired for following several feminist groups on Twitter and retweeting a post that included “a slang term for sexist men.”
Unfortunately, this is only one of such instances in the industry. US Gamer also cited instances with another studio, Smilegate, as well as the firing of a voice actress in 2016, as other examples of the South Korean industry cracking down on women with feminist views. Though the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions stepped in to reprimand IMC Games in Sung’s case, it’s clear that there’s a more rampant problem in the industry that needs to be addressed.
A vigilante group called “Bully Hunters” briefly turned their sights on trolls and misogynists in Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. The group, using reports submitted to BullyHunters.org (now offline), was said to hunt down reported players and eliminate them “through the sheer force of their unmatched skill.” As Paste Games’ Holly Green points out, though harassment is certainly a problem in need of a solution, Bully Hunters’ approach isn’t it. However, after a disastrous “livestream” and rampant trolling in their comments, the project has been taken offline and Brandon Cooke, chief communications officer at marketing agency FCB Chicago, told Polygon the project has ended. Cooke said that FCB will continue seeking out ways to end bullying and there will be more details on their future plans to come.
Getting Down to Business
As conversations about unionization in the games industry pick up speed, one development studio has ended their strike after management refused to concede to their demands. Eugen Systems staff allege that they weren’t properly paid for their time and that their contracts were ignored, leading to a 21-person walkout of a 44-person staff in February. Though management has not backed down and the strike has been called off, organizers are still set on pushing Eugen Systems to adhere to French labor laws and are continuing to raise money to support the workers via a fundraising campaign, which can be found here.
Steam Spy, a service that allows anyone to see how many games have been purchased and played via Steam, has been forced to cease operations after a Steam update made all users’ libraries private by default. Though privacy in the digital era isn’t something to take lightly, the game industry is so notoriously secretive that it’s now near impossible to find any information of this kind without looking directly to the game companies themselves. Analytics and data may be often misused and misrepresented, but Steam Spy was a valuable tool, one that often shed more light on a game’s true, lasting popularity than early virality.
Several South Korean game developers have been fined almost $1 million after it was revealed that language in their games related to the odds of drawing certain items from loot boxes was misleading. The Korean Fair Trade Commission fined three different companies for deceptive language, the highest penalties so far as governments begin to crack down on loot box exploitation.
There is officially a Sega Mini on the way. Cross your fingers and pray that it comes with Toejam and Earl on my behalf.
Strip Fortnite is apparently a thing, and it’s causing some questions about clickbait and virality on YouTube.
Nicki Minaj released a new single, “Chun Li,” including a few references to the titular Street Fighter hero as well as Lara Croft. This isn’t Nicki’s first reference to pop culture by a long shot, but people seem particularly confused about what to make of it. The official Street Fighter Twitter seems to be pretty into the song, though.
— Street Fighter (@StreetFighter) April 12, 2018
In a roundtable discussion with several prominent writers of romantic video game storylines, Jared Rosen, writer for The Tingler and Dream Daddy revealed just what was going on with Joseph’s mysterious backstory in the famous dad dating sim:
“That’s the ultimate goal of a good horror story anyway. Even when you take the monster out, it still feels scary.”
And finally, a game collector found drugs hidden inside two NES cartridges he purchased to add to his collection. The jokes write themselves:
See you next week! For now, I’ll summon Joesph, our games warlock, using the customary digital entrails and a MIDI file of some eldritch chanting.
Morning gamers, and welcome to Games Bleat! I’m your local glitch in the system Joesph, and I’ve been trapped into the digital world all week trying to find the best d̸̘̚3̸͙̬̂4̶̧͊̚l̶͔̰̍̐5̷̘͓̃ and newest 6̷͍̱̓4̷̬̋m̶̥̏3̴̯̊5̸̳̆ ! While squatting in the CPU of an avid Steam trading card collector, I was forced to watch him record multiple Idle Master tutorials, but as a result I developed an in-depth look at Steam’s coupon-generating algorithm. Along with some ill-explained sci-fi magic, that translates into these hot d̸̘̚3̸͙̬̂4̶̧͊̚l̶͔̰̍̐5̷̘͓̃ !
- Keep Planet $1.39
- Panty Party $7.49
- Lazy Galaxy $4.97
- The Cat Games $1.33
- Regions of Ruin $4.79
- RPG Maker VX Ace $20.99
- Desert of Vice $2.54
- Don’t Sink $7.50
- Quest of Dungeons $7.33
- Alchemic Dungeons $5.99
- Parascientific Escape – Crossing at the Farthest Horizon $5.99
As for the new 6̷͍̱̓4̷̬̋m̶̥̏3̴̯̊5̸̳̆ y’all should be keeping an eye out for, I had to visit Twitter’s server myself and sort through all sorts of disgusting vitriol and ‘hot’ takes to catch these beauties. First up is For the King, currently in Steam Early Access and releasing on Humble tomorrow! The game is a multiplayer strategic RPG that blends roguelike, tabletop, and JRPG mechanics to create a re-playable adventure.
Double Kick Heroes, a rhythm game meets zombie shoot ‘em up with an absolutely killer soundtrack, just hit Early Access on the 11th.
Finally, we have The Swords of Ditto coming out on the 24th to PlayStation 4 and PC. It’s a randomly generated action RPG that’s playable with friends, and like ridiculously cute!
And that’s it for this week’s bleat! I have to go try to find the abandoned arcade machine that trapped me in the wires, but I’ll catch y’all next week to once again quiet the oncoming dread of mortality in the way only transhumanist humor can!
Melissa Brinks is Sidequest’s editor in chief, co-creator of the Fake Geek Girls podcast, author of The Compendium of Magical Beasts, and an aspiring beekeeper. She once won an argument on the internet, and tweets at @MelissaBrinks.