Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Stop Acting Like Gaming Is Some Kind of River City

I have submitted the following request for assistance to DriveThruRpg.

It could be that this is all some kind of misunderstanding. However I do not like what I’m hearing. I could be jumping the gun here, but I’d really like to hear that this isn’t what I think it is.

Re: Fred Hicks and you

If you are taking stuff down from your site because some jerk on twitter has decided to do a “Trouble in River City” routine, then I want to express my extreme displeasure with your action. You need to have the strength of character to either ignore these people or tell them to mind their own business. I mean seriously, if B.A.D.D. and the PMRC were on your case, wouldn’t you stand up to them? Are you just going to buckle when people take exception to James Raggi? It’s really stupid of you to politicize your store shelf in such a clumsy manner. You ought to know better than to get on these sorts of bandwagons. There will never be a shortage of panics and hysteria… it’s not like you will actually appease anyone with this move. These idiots are never satisfied… and caving into them only inspires them to expand the scope of their ludicrous crusades. Please rethink your decision on this.

7 responses to “Stop Acting Like Gaming Is Some Kind of River City

  1. Cirsova December 8, 2014 at 9:28 am

    What’s happening with DriveThru and Postmortem is disgusting, frankly. If Onebookshelf seriously wants to be the Amazon of gaming products, it simply cannot give into stuff like this. I don’t know if it will help, but I was sure to write in to DriveThru’s review staff, reminding them what a bad precedent pulling a product because of politics and a harassment campaign against a small indie game developer like this when they carry plenty of adult material that many people might find inappropriate or in bad taste, because when will it end?

    I feel like gamergate has finally come full circle for me. About a month or so before before it became a ‘thing’, we’d had consultancy-gate with 5e, then I first actually heard about the Mundane Matt DMCA takedown from Grimachu, and now Grimachu is being targeted for creating a satirical product. I may not like all of the stuff he makes, and you wouldn’t catch me dead making donations to fund a Gor RPG, but Grimachu is probably one of nicest live-and-let-live guys in the tabletop community (especially considering the shit he’s always getting) so I’ll definitely stand by and support him on this.

  2. dgarsys December 8, 2014 at 10:13 am

    What happened? I must have missed it with all the other stuff on my plate the last few days.

    • jeffro December 8, 2014 at 10:29 am

      I’m writing as an irate customer and not as, say, an investigative reporter… so I hesitate to weigh in on exactly what happened and when. RPGPundit framed it this way:

      “You see, Evil Hat just recently put pressure on onebookshelf to get them to ban James Desborough’s (admittedly moronic) ‘Gamergate’ card game. In a knee-jerk reaction after Fred Hicks complained to them, instead of bravely standing up for customer choice, or pointing out the inherent conflict of interest Hicks has as a competitor, they instead totally folded and pulled Desborough’s product.”

      The exact nature of the pressure mentioned there is not clear– it’s gone from threats to remove Evil Hat products from OBS to “eh, we just wanted to talk.” It’s not a big enough deal to merit a series of interviews on the David Pakman show… but it sure matters to me given OBS’s place in the rpg hobby.

  3. Jason December 9, 2014 at 12:50 am

    Do make sure you go on G+ and read Fred’s response to this whole thing.

    An employee made a disgusted noise about a game being displayed at DTR. Before they could even have a company meeting about it, let alone pressure anyone to do anything about anything, the game had been removed from the DTR store.

    Evil Hat has no power in that relationship – they made DTR a little over 20K in gross profits last year, and could likely be cut loose if they got too demanding about anything at all.

    So the pundit read into the situation what he wanted to read into it, blew things out of proportion, and misreported what happened.

    • jeffro December 9, 2014 at 6:23 am

      I am skeptical of both Fred Hicks and RpgPundit.

      But… just going by the tweets I linked to in the op…

      1) Hicks is playing “the game that shall not be named” game. It’s like he’s talking about Sauron or something when it’s a crappy $3.50 print and play card game that would otherwise have been completely forgetable had he not made a stink about it.

      2) He characterizes OBS as “waking up” and protecting gaming by removing such a [potentially] inflammatory product from the shelf. So first… it was unspeakably evil… and now OBS has to simply understand that there’s stuff that is off limits.

      3) A large enough group of concerned citizens acting like the crowd in Inherit the Wind is all the evidence he needs to justify the above. I disagree. I think there should be a commitment to freedom. free speech, and the free market just on principle.

      Hey, you know… it’s twitter. I’m not writing an expose or anything here. I’m just a concerned customer that is well aware that there are far more “problematic” products that could be next. I don’t want to see them go.

      • Jason December 9, 2014 at 9:52 am

        I’m no economist but isn’t this the free market working? A retailer saw no profit and plenty of potential loss from carrying a product and made a decision in their economic self interest.

        And free speech for one (the game’s creator) shouldn’t trump the free speech of the retailer, or their clients or customers should it?

        [Jeffro: Good questions, but no. An item was moved out of the free market. Fred Hicks and company are acting like they’re some sort of Comics Code Authority for gaming. They are the Mother figure that Pink Floyd sang about in The Wall. If you disagree with them, then Fred Hicks will tell you to your face that you are simply not a fit for being a part of his clientele. He believes he can act this way with impunity for some reason. I think it is moronic and that he needs to realize that he will face (as you would put it) some social pressure not to be a tacky ass when he does this stuff.]

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