Stuttering Craig Wants to Take Games Back

The rot in the video game industry and the journalists who cover it has reached critical mass. Apathy is rapidly fading in lieu of anger, and with it, a restlessness to do something about it. Stuttering Craig, co-founder of ScrewAttack, current host of the Side Scrollers podcast, and lifelong gamer, has an outlet for your frustration: Take Games Back. This is a movement to wrest control of gaming culture from people who, as Craig puts it, “hate you.” The first leg of the Take Games Back movement is an awards show to rival the Game Awards, one voted on not by games journalists or mainstream journalists who have nothing to do with gaming. This would have awards voted on and categories chosen by members who register at the Take Games Back website, which you can find right here, and a board of directors without any conflicts of interest or even the ability to vote on the awards. For the full details, watch Craig’s video below:

An alternate video game awards show is a great idea, especially as a starting point for the Take Games Back movement. Not only is it a way for gamers to express their opinions of video games rather than watch a bunch of compromised journalists pretend they care what the best games of the year were, but it’s a demonstration to the video game studios of the disconnect between their customers and their glorified publicists. People often talk about the Hollywood bubble, but there’s a bubble in the gaming industry, too, with dissenting voices easily dismissed through blocking, harassment campaigns, or the tried and true fingers-in-the-ears move. Online messages can easily be drowned out, but an awards show is a tangible statement, gamers saying what they liked about which games. It’s something you can point to and something they can see – the Eiffel Tower as opposed to a backyard snowman. That Craig is spearheading this is crucial, too. He’s not a nobody; he’s been a known expert and voice in the gaming community for decades.

But Craig’s right in saying that there is a price for this. I’m sure some people will balk at the idea of having to pay to join the Take Games Back movement because that’s the natural reaction, especially to a grassroots movement like this. But there have to be safeguards to keep out the people who ruined the gaming industry. For example, where I live, the beach is open to the public at no charge. The result is that the beach is full of garbage, with water so dirty you’d rather swim in a sewer. But in some of the beach communities on the Jersey Shore, they make you buy a badge to use the beach; those beaches are pristine, with beautiful sand, clear water, and no trouble from disruptive beachcombers. Or, if you want a less belabored example, look at what Kotaku journalist Alyssa Mercante did to the Sweet Baby Inc. Detected Discord:

These people have no problem “infiltrating” their perceived enemies or calling for a mass-reporting campaign to get them removed from the public square. They’re dishonest saboteurs, so any group that wants to oppose them has to take measures to ensure they can’t weasel their way in and cause trouble. “Hell yes, we’re gonna gatekeep” is the right attitude; inclusivity is fine for the reasons activists claim to want it (and which existed in gaming culture long before they shoved their cloven hooves in the door), but when the newbies start demanding their new favorite hobby fundamentally change to suit them, they can’t be welcome anymore because they never liked it in the first place, and they’ll make sure you never like it again. Attaching a price, even a relatively low one, will accomplish that. $15 a year will allow you to suggest categories (which can be discarded if it’s something obviously intended to subvert the awards, like “Most Vibrant Purple Hair on a Strong Female Lead”), but it’s $60 a year to be able to vote. Going back to my beach metaphor, you know how much a season-long beach badge is in my beloved Long Beach Island? $40, less than a voting-inclusive membership to Take Games Back, and it works like gangbusters.

If you’d like to join Take Games Back, here’s the website again. Like Craig says, it’s now or never.

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