“We become what we behold. We shape our tools, and then our tools shape us.”
Today, we’re taking a look at a game from itch.io called We Become What We Behold. WBWWB is all about cycles: How does the media influence us? How do we influence the media? How does this cycle start and does it ever end?
Developer:Nicky Case Publisher: Nicky Case Genre: Free-to-Play, Comedy, Experimental, Dark Release Date: October 18th, 2016 Reviewed on: PC Available on: PC Copy was available for free on itch.
In the beginning, we’re tasked with pointing and clicking anywhere in the window. People are walking around and we can take a snap of them. Everything that happens on the screen can become something worthy to be shown on television in the middle of the screen.
“#ooh nice hat” makes a headline and everyone wears hats now! “Violence goes viral” though, so you try to provoke and get people to do stuff that you can take out of context. As time goes on and on, more events lead to other events and eventually, the catastrophe arrives. People go crazy. People go mad. People kill people. #bescaredbeangry
We Become What We Behold is a fun little experience with a playtime of roughly five minutes. I personally like the theme of it even though the ending becomes a bit extreme.
The art style really compliments the simplicity of the title, allowing you to enjoy and understand what’s going on on-screen. Take a dive into the topic and the philosophy behind and speculate on a metaphysical level if you want to… or try to find some of the fun easter eggs built in by ncase!
Generally, I feel like this is a fun title to try out. It’s free. You can support the developer if you want to. If you’re into that kind of stuff, you can check out the open source behind the game yourself and remix it.
Feel free to check out the game on itch.io over here if you haven’t yet.
The other day, a major media outlet called ZDF uploaded a documentary on how nazis are infiltrating gaming culture produced by their magazine, Frontal 21. The documentary is available in German in the video embedded below this paragraph. I thought I’d comment on what went wrong with that specific documentary.
Let’s start with the beginning of the documentary: They start by showing Hitler skins in Minecraft and some sort of Nazi server or whatever… While Minecraft itself is harmless, Notch (formerly the creator of Minecraft and founder of Mojang) is no longer part of Mojang due to him being a white supremacist. Fair enough. I get that. Depicting Minecraft as some sort of Nazi playground, however, is just wrong. Sure, someone made that video and it sucks but this paints a picture of Nazis using this to turn your children into little Nazis. Idk.
They ask questions about how Nazis are infiltrating gaming-culture and how games turn people into killers. “People get annoyed at these questions, including our interviewees”, they say, quickly cutting to a clip where Sissor, a big-ish streamer on Twitch is saying that media kinda fucked it up. The context of that answer was that they messed up trying to unite old people that have no clue and young people that are in the medium. A lot of older people think that games turn you into killers while younger gamers don’t think so at all. It’s just very hard to have an unbiased conversation on that topic, is what Sissor is trying to say, as she mentioned in the video below this paragraph. They basically are just taking her out of context, trying to show her as someone who’s very biased and doesn’t want to talk to the media even though it’s completely different.
Later on, this trend continues with interviewees getting taken out of context and not given any speaking-time. Sissor, in particular, talked to the journalist for about an hour – got featured for about two minutes, though. A lot of times, the documentary is portraying her in a wrong light, making it seem as if her whole community is flaming her when she plays badly. That was in an instance where she talked about “some haters”. She also said that “of course Nazis come into the stream every now and then but they’ll get instantly banned”, which is not in the actual documentary.
There is a nazi-game called “Heimat Defender: Rebellion” that some people developed for some obvious propaganda. The protagonist of the game is Alex Malenki who’s a right-wing activist in Germany. They talk to him and take him out of context as well, allowing people to shout “Lügenpresse”, yet again, “proving” that you cannot talk to official journalists. “Lügenpresse” is nazi jargon and basically means “fake news”, FYI.
Instead of including more information on community management, chat rules, guidelines, etc., they instead focus on filler clips from ages ago, showing Sissor with her cats and things she said taken out of context. Nothing of this adds value to the documentary. Nothing of this is professional. The whole documentary is lurid at best, aiming to provoke and get clicks and reactions.
The channel the video was uploaded on apologised in the comment section for a lot of these things but doesn’t intend to upload the full interviews or a reworked video any time soon.
At one point, Frontal 21 is showing Steam, Twitch and Discord as platforms for Nazis and say that these platforms don’t do anything to prevent hate speech from happening. There apparently is no report function on Twitch and people never get banned for sexism, not even MontanaBlack, some bigshot German streamer who got banned on Twitch for saying that women are like dogs. They mentioned that in their own documentary but didn’t connect the dots that sexism and racism don’t get condoned on Twitch and on other platforms.
After Sissor mentions sexism, the MontanaBlack example is being used to further showcase sexism in the gaming community, before eventually heading into a direction I didn’t expect at all: Gamergate. They explain gamergate and link it to Nazi-groups. A source they used as a “fact” is labelled as an “opinion”, which is quite amusing. Minutes passed and suddenly, we’re talking about Christchurch and how different people “gamify” their murder sprees for “high scores” and “achievements”.
Usernames like “jewkiller88” or whatever also get mentioned in the documentary but the way they mention it implies that it’s literally every second username that is offensive.
Eventually, they say themselves that “no scientific study has shown that games lead to violence in real life”… and then they continue with “but”, leading to their point that “there has to something about to it”, which is basically an “I’m not racist but” kinda thing. Instead of accepting facts, they try so hard to steer this narrative about “killer games” and “Nazi gamers” into a direction that proves their point. The expert, they asked, also says multiple times throughout the documentary that the gaming-scene isn’t more susceptible to Nazis compared to other scenes. In essence, book readers, dog owners, kids that got breastfed… are you all nazis? There are Nazis after all that have read books, owned dogs or that have been breastfed in the past.
(this is sarcasm) Let’s ban breastfeeding because it turns people into Nazis. Quod erat demonstrandum. (back to the serious post)
Despite being presented with facts that do not prove their point, they paint a picture of Nazis in the gaming community and present their opinions as facts instead. They’re implying that every gamer is automatically a racist, sexist, homophobe or even a potential gunman, about to shoot up a mosque or synagogue. They’re not adding value to their own documentary but instead rely on GTA clips and questionable music and other devices to have this very alarming tone throughout their documentary.
This “documentary” is just another one of many trying to picture video games as the new medium introduced by the devil himself to tempt people into killing other people in real life. The expert that they asked also mentioned that “the statement that media are not reporting factually about video games is not unfounded” which is quite ironic, considering how biased and opinionated this whole ordeal is.
I would have loved a more or less professional and unbiased piece of investigative journalism that just states facts and has interviews in it with different experts and perspectives. I would have loved to see the whole interview with Sissor in it and maybe, I would have even liked to hear what that IB-guy, Malenki, has to say on the matter of games as propaganda. I would have enjoyed watching an hour to two hours of professional journalism but instead got to see 13 minutes of some female reporter doing her best to drag “gamers” through the mud and depicture them as terrorists. It just seems lurid at best. It seems as if someone’s horny to get those reactions and clicks with this when the video has over 50,000 dislikes in contrast to 1,762 likes. It’s absurd how they gave this thing an “okay” after seeing how they cut down 50 minutes of an interview to two minutes of highly opinionated journalism tucked into a “documentary” that can’t even be called that, to be fair.
Oh well, hope you enjoyed this post. I don’t wanna get too political on here but I just wanted to get my voice out. Obviously, I’m condoning every killer there is and every racist and fascist and all of that. I wrote a piece on that in the past that caused quite a dip in views at the time, I guess from people thinking that I’ll get super political now with my posts. Luckily, I don’t do that. Now and then I write about people goofing up and being stupid. This time it was left-wing journalists pointing fingers at people that play games. As someone who plays games, I know that their claims suck and don’t make sense. Their arguments are as valid as my breastfeeding argument: Not at all.