Beer vs. Fish and A Message to the Gaming Community
Yes, as soon as everyone heard, we all immediately thought, “hmmm….beer battered fish”, but lets get serious here.
As I am sure everyone has heard by now, Annoyed Gamer Marcus Beer and Fez creator Phil Fish recently had it out on Twitter over some comments made on Invisible Walls, a show that featured Marcus Beer making some unfavorable statements about Fish. The argument ended with Phil Fish cancelling Fez 2 and taking an indefinite leave of absence from the gaming world. As this happened, I could not help but wonder, where is this industry headed, and who really loses in this scenario?
It is no secret to those that have read his comments, or watched Indie Game: The Movie, know that Phil Fish can sometimes appear to be a social outcast. His opinionated statements have been the subject of media scrutiny for years, and to that I say shame on you. I can completely understand that Fish may rub people the wrong way, but that shouldn’t invite the gaming community to begin meticulously dissecting each comment he makes on any subject regardless of its relevance. We need to be the community that fosters an environment that enables people to be creative without the fear of being prosecuted for merely appearing to be socially inept or a bit of a dick. I mean the man spent years of his life, and countless dollars creating and pampering his baby. Most people that watch Indie Game: The Movie have had only negative or disparaging comments to make at the man before their eyes. I on the other hand, see a man that has seemingly gone through hell and back to bring something good into this world, something that he could accomplish and be proud of, something that we all hope to accomplish in our brief existence.
Sure, he may have stated that gamers are the worst people in the world, but is he in any way justified in saying so? Have we not all been called derogatory comments over a Call of Duty match on Xbox Live? Have we not argued in forums to the point of being physically threatened or told of our impending death, no matter how unrealistic it actually is? Imagine that kind of hatred on a much larger, grander scale and on a daily basis. True, most of us would have handled it much better, but can you really blame the man for reacting in specific way if you yourself have never been put in a similar situation? I am in no way an advocate for Phil Fish, nor do I appreciate being lumped into “the worst people in the world”, but in order to understand his utter frustration with the community, we would have to look at things from his perspective.
I can definitely say that Marcus went a little over the line. While I watch Marcus and admire his work, what did he think the outcome of such a brash comment would be? I can never condone what Phil said to Marcus when he instructed him to off himself, Marcus didn’t deserve that, but we got the picture after the first few insults you threw his way. I know you are called the Annoyed Gamer, but there was no reason to become more profane with your insults of Phil after making your original point. So these guys didn’t want to comment on Xbox One’s Indie policy, big deal. They don’t have to if they don’t want to, and the press, if they have journalistic integrity, will take note of that when their next games come out. It has been stated by Phil that Marcus’ comments were not the cause of the Fez 2 cancellation, but it was definitely the straw that broke the camel’s back.
So here is my message to Phil, come back. It is not about you, what you have done, or who you think you are. It is not about the man, it is about the mission. In essentially ‘taking your ball and going home’, you haven’t really done anything good for you or anyone else. Sure, you avoid some long term backlash for future projects, or maybe an insult here and there, but you lose indefinitely. You have let the haters get in the way of what it is you love to do. I know you love to do it, because of the time, money, pain and sacrifice you seemingly endured to bring such a whimsically wonderful title to the world of gaming. That passion emitted from our screens and gave Fez life. By quitting, you are not showing those that hate that you are a winner. You are, in fact, letting them win. And to top it off, you aren’t even the person that has the most to lose out of this situation. Think of all the fans of Fez that were eagerly awaiting Fez 2 that must now pay the price. Those are the people you should cater to, not the haters. Tell the haters, “Fuck you, I am going to make Fez 2, and it will be amazing”. Make the game for those people. You are not leaving behind the people that have slurred obscenities at you, but leaving behind a group of fans that bought into you and bought into a man that would release a great game no matter the cost. So Phil, if you read this, forget all the bullshit and remember the message. Remember that letting down those who count on you is far more excruciating than sticking it to a few people that speak to you with disdain. At the end of the day, you will be stronger for it. You will look at yourself with pride knowing that when faced with adversity, you succeeded.
I don’t want people to think I am taking any one person’s side. I am not here to take sides, I am offering insight. It seems that prominent people in the gaming community have been lashing out at each other recently and on a more frequent and reoccurring basis. This is something that needs to stop. I am not so naïve to think that everyone should love everyone else, or that each person will get along just fine. Sometimes two people just don’t mix, and I get that, but being respectful is something that should happen with everyone. It isn’t about the gaming industry, or about how much cooler you think you can be if more people follow you or back you up. It is about being a decent human being. You treat people with respect, even if you feel they don’t deserve it, because at the end of the day you need to look at yourself in the mirror and know that you have the characteristics of a good man/woman. Like it or not, people look up to Phil Fish, and people look up to Marcus Beer. In the gaming industry, these people are in the know, and there are others that appreciate them, follow their work and aspire to accomplish the very things they have accomplished.
It is absurd to think that it is ok to judge and persecute people without any knowledge of who they really are as a person. It is a constant in the gaming culture with high profile gaming industry professionals squabbling and gamers sending grotesque death threats to developers growing increasingly more frequent. I liked Fez and I like Annoyed Gamer, so it is sad for me to see two people not getting along strictly because of their pride in themselves and a blatant disregard for the theme of the industry they represent.
In closing, this article isn’t really about Beer and Fish, but about all of us that make up the gaming community. We play these games because we love them. Developers make these games and journalists report on these games for the very same reason. They may be competitive from time to time, but we need to all carry ourselves in a respectable manner. What is so wrong with respectfully disagreeing with someone as opposed to typing ill-written, obscenity laden comments about brutally harming another human being? We all have this passion, and share this passion, and we should treat our fellow gamers and community with a sense of compassion. After all, they are just games.