I really should have posted this earlier, but sometimes things get in the way, as I’m sure you all know.

First off, there was a reveal last week on E3 that affected me. I am of course talking about Mad Max, which is the game at Avalanche Studios that I’m currently working on. This is the reveal trailer. A lot has been said in the games press about the game, so I’m not going to risk saying too much about it here. However, there are links after the trailer.

Interview with Frank Rooke, Creative Director
IGN UK – Harpoon dudes in the face – I’m not even commenting on that headline…
Interview with Senior Producer John Fuller and Lead Level Designer Andreas Gschwari at Polygon
Interview with Senior Producer John Fuller at Machinima

And that’s about all I have the stamina to link in. A lot has been said, buzzed and talked about Mad Max. I was producer on the project for two years, and now I’m working as a UX designer.

However, for me personally, this is more important:

This is the reaction I’d have wanted when for example the Overkill video surfaced. You know, the one where two top models walked around Overkill studios and displayed a range of stereotypification that was astounding, both on the ladies’ part and on the part of the participating developers.

This is the reaction I’d have wanted when that dudebro made the Anita Sarkeesian beat ‘er up game, that frankly was offensive on so many fucking levels I can not count. This is the reaction I want every time something pops up in the gaming press which treats women as less valuable, othering us to create an identity for the gamer by making the distinction that at least they are not women.

I’d also like to point out that Morrisson is not the first to react to sexism. Gillard has done it before:

Thirdly, I’ve been reading quite a lot about evil recently, from a moral and a philosophical standpoint. I’ve read Torture Team by Philippe Sands, talking about the horrors that went on in Abu Ghraib. I’ve read Dave Grossman’s On Killing again. And I’ve read Eva-Lotta Hulten’s book Resan från mörkrets hjärta.

In that last book, Hultén borrows advice from Stephen Law’s book The War for Children’s Minds, and I’d like to repeat that advice here, because all too often, none of those points or very few of those points are present in – for instance – an internet discussion. Personally I try to follow these “rules”, as I hope you have seen over the years, not in the least here at discordia. Sometimes I fail.

  • Reveal and question things that are taken for granted
  • Consider the possible unforeseen consequences of a moral decision or standpoint
  • Discover and diagnose faulty conclusions
  • Weigh evidence fairly and without bias
  • Clearly express an opinion
  • Take turns in debates and listen without interruption
  • Make an argument without throwing dirt on the opponent
  • See things from another’s point of view
  • Question the fairness of one’s own emotions or the justification of acting upon them

This has made me more interested in philosophy in general and the mechanisms of evil and good in particular. For me, as for Eva-Lotta Hultén, evil is gradual. For me however it starts by othering people. Making them less than oneself. Treating them as objects. Once we have crossed that line, once we see others, in our minds, as less worth than ourselves we are in big trouble.

Eva-Lotta Hultén also brings up the obedience and authority experiments of Zimbardo and Milgram, pointing out that when we can put the responsibility of our actions outside of ourselves, then we can commit whatever crimes against human rights that anyone asks of us. All it takes is one bad decision, one authoritative voice telling us it is okay to behave in a certain way, giving us permission to do so.

In games, I believe the whole system is misogynistic to start, but that we are seeing interventions and the start of a change there as well. But it will take time. However. I do believe that Morrisson had it right.

”The standard you walk past, is the standard you accept.”

Stop walking past images of sexism and misogyny. Make the world a better place by not accepting the current standards on the internet or in the gaming culture.