The Hidden Controversies Of 2014

Oh look, another Candy Crush.

Well, it’s that time again, reader. Have you been keeping an eye on this year’s controversies? You may have been swept up in some of the bigger dramas, from the makers of Candy Crush Saga trying to copyright the words “Candy” and “Saga”, to Microsoft buying Mojang, creators of Minecraft, for one billion dollars. It was a year riddled with bugs and glitches, and it ended with what can only be described as some kind of civil war amongst those who play games. And, worse yet, I didn’t make a single game worth mentioning.

But who cares about that? I know what you want. You want the juicy stuff, the stories no-one else could bring you. You want to read about the events that were brushed under the carpet before the carpet was set fire to and then the whole building it was in was bombed. You want dramas so heinous that I went bankrupt bribing police officers and government officials, just in the hope that I could find one tiny morsel of information. And by golly did I get them. Three of them, to be exact; each one weirder and more wonderful than the next. What will you learn on this wild adventure? It’s time to dive head-first into the hidden controversies of 2014.

Lizards Can’t Gecko Of The Past
Get a shiny new games console for Christmas? Unless your parents hate you and bought you a Wii U, you may have noticed that it was impossible to get online, thanks to an attack on both Xbox Live and PSN servers. The attack had already been proven to be possible earlier in the month, so it was actually slightly surprising that the outage was considered a shocking turn of events, but it was still a terrible event for many. And who was to blame for all of this? A bunch of teenagers called Lizard Squad.

A group of “hackers” who don’t actually hack anything, Lizard Squad threatened to take down the servers on Christmas Day because… well, no official reason was ever given. A cursory glance at one of the Squad’s Twitter account suggests they are comprised of racist, sexist arseholes, so the reasoning could simply be “for the lolz”, as has been a prevalent attitude for bored fuckwads over the years. But then the conspiracy theories began. Were they actually hired by Microsoft to take down Sony, who are still suffering problems weeks after the event, but took down Xbox Live as well to cover their tracks? Were they hired by Nintendo as a last ditch effort to sell more Wii Us? Or was there something even more sinister lurking behind the attacks?

Image nicked from, who may also have nicked it.

Answers finally came when one of the Squad was arrested for suspected PayPal fraud, had all his possessions taken away, and presumably thrown into a jail cell. Or was he? Through a variety of shady back deals and performing some acts that can never be printed, I have gained access to the original police report, one which was destroyed before the public could ever get a chance to read it.

DI Turner and DI Hopper knocked on the suspect’s door, and were greeted by what was presumed to be the suspect’s mother. The mother was informed of the nature of the visit and shown the arrest warrant. The suspect’s mother allowed DI Turner and DI Hopper into the home and was shown the suspect’s bedroom. The suspect’s mother then left, reportedly to put the kettle on.

The old bill

DI Hopper announced the detective’s presence but received no response. After a further two attempts to draw the suspect’s attention, DI Turner pushed gently on the door and discovered it was open. DI Hopper entered the room holding the arrest warrant, but saw no sign of the suspect. DI Turner confirmed the room appeared to be clear, and a more thorough search began. During the search, it was noted approximately eight lizards appeared to have been left on the suspect’s desk, and were crawling across the keyboard.

After the search turned up no results, DI Hopper decided to call in officers to assist in a manhunt. However, DI Turner noted that the lizards appeared to be watching the detectives, and suggested that a few lizards had been typing into the keyboard. DI Hopper then noticed that tweets from the suspect’s Twitter account had been sent out during the search, including one message stating ‘the polis r here fuking wiv ma shit’. The detectives then decided to call Animal Control.

Yes, Lizard Squad was not the brainchild of bored idiots, but a collection of actual lizards working together to steal money and bring down video game networks. But the question remains: why? And for that, we have to look to the following audio file, generously donated by an unnamed source, who managed to recover the original interview recording between one of the arresting detectives and what sounds like several lizards attempting English.

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And so the truth is finally here – Lizard Squad want more Gex games. It’s true that the reptilian hero hasn’t appeared in a game in over a decade, but does that mean that Christmas dreams of screaming obscenities down microphones during games of Call of Duty should be shut down? Or maybe it really is time for better reptile representation in video games. Who knows? Either way, the lizards were reportedly banged up and the whole mess swept under the carpet, with documents rewritten and officers sworn under the Official Secrets Act. And, just in case any pesky gamers started investigating further, the PlayStation network suffered more outages, just to keep the outrage focused elsewhere.

A KSI From A Rose
It’s a fact known to all YouTubers that if you want to be famous, you’ve got to be loud, obnoxious, and probably a bit sexist. No one understood this better than KSI, a “character” of a man I never bothered to learn the name of, who shot to fame by harassing women at Eurogamer and inventing an expression known as “rape face”. He’s been a bit quiet lately, probably because he’s been banned from every Eurogamer event, and Microsoft have severed all ties with him, but the cheeky chappy turns up every now and then to help sell FIFA and other products for companies like BT, who have even managed to worm their way into his YouTube account name.

But KSI sparked a real controversy this year when he was secretly recorded at a private event saying a few things he possibly shouldn’t have said. The original recordings have since all been destroyed, to the point where not even degrading myself a hundred times over could turn up any results, but reliable sources have come forward with some choice quotes. The offending event? It would appear that KSI has been caught defending women.

In bizarre scenes that no one could have anticipated, KSI was reportedly heard engaging in a feminist rant to a friend, who had asked if they were “gonna go and find some bitches for later“. The exact details of the rant are a mystery, but some reports claim that the young YouTube sensation referred to women as “equals” and “not just an object for men to use for sex“. He was then reported to have lectured his companion on the ins and outs of the male gaze, spoke positively about the work of Anita Sarkeesian, and stated that “Beyoncé’s show of feminism was one of the most important and striking moments of the year“. It is unknown whether the Internet celebrity was intoxicated at the time of the rant, but he abruptly left the event following the monologue.

KSI, showing us once again how women should be treated "just shove it in they maaaf, innit"

Naturally, his fans were outraged. This was not the KSI they knew and loved, who joked that sometimes the only way to convince women to sleep with you is to threaten them with a knife. How dare he betray them like this? The expected flood of rape and death threats were sent his way, with many of the former starting with “I’m not gay, but“, until it reached the point that KSI’s manager had to release a statement, available briefly in the public domain and then hastily taken down only a day later.

KSI is truly sorry for any offence he has caused. He wants his fans to know that he still views women as lesser to him, and will continue to ask any small-breasted women where their tits have gone. KSI would never consider himself a feminist, and apologises to any and all Men’s Rights Activists who feel betrayed by his actions. Needless to say, KSI will return to making his top-quality FIFA videos, brought to you by EA, and his sponsorship from BT still remains intact.

A collective sigh of relief was released from all many of his fans, but some remained unconvinced. How could they trust his manager? They would have to hear it from the man himself, and within a few hours they got just what they wanted – a tweet direct from KSI, pictured here for prosperity.

Oh, that cheeky boy! He really had us going for a second there. With all that nonsense dealt with, the world continued as normal, and a few months later all mention of the incident was removed from the Internet so that no one could ever use it against him ever again. A happy ending to a truly strange tale.

(Don’t) Give Hatred A Chance
Every year, at least one game sparks the ire of the masses. Be it the latest Grand Theft Auto game (or indeed anything made by Rockstar) being deemed as too violent, a Mass Effect entry containing naked people doing the business with one another, or even just a Sonic game that still can’t capture the magnificence of the original games, there’s always something that’s guaranteed to piss off more than a few people. And this year was no exception. Its story is an interesting one, and one I have kept a particularly close eye on as it unfolded. But while some of its disturbing tales have been aired in public, there are a few details that it would seem most people ignored. Take a deep breath, folks. It’s time to learn all about Hatred.

Hatred, if you haven’t heard already, is an indie game being developed by a ten-man team in Poland called Destructive Creations. The focus of the game is a man, who looks almost identical to Jackie Estacado from the Darkness series, who decides to commit genocide because reasons. There is no other justification for the violence other than because he wants to. The game was announced right in the middle of the big “gamer” outrage, and seemed like the perfect antidote to those pesky liberals, who want diversity and political correctness in games. It’s marketed as a game that is “just a game”, for fun and nothing else.

I, personally, have no real issue with the game. It appears to me like a bad Postal knock-off, complete with isometric view. The player shoots and kills civilians and police officers, and can execute “enemies” in gratuitous close-ups. There is nothing inherently new here. This game has been made a dozen times before, only its usually done with some kind of political or social commentary, or at least some degree of sarcasm or irony. But “gamers” have heralded it as a shining beacon in the war against those mean feminazis who want to take away their video games. This is the game they have wanted for so long, a game that is just a game, that doesn’t make you think, it just lets you murder hundreds of people for no reason. Fair enough. I think it looks boring, but if there are people out there who are going to buy it, then why not make it?

The controversy, then, is the Greenlight situation. Hatred was submitted to Steam’s Greenlight service, a service which, for a fee, allows indie developers to have a shot at getting their game released on the platform through community voting. There is nothing inherently wrong with this – being on Steam is a great way to boost sales, thanks its ubiquity in PC gaming. What threw up the first red flag for me, however, was that I learned about this through a press release emailed to me by a PR company. Destructive Creations had hired a PR company to handle their press. Again, not a terrible move on their part. Hatred is obviously a very controversial game, and is prone to sparking intense debate among people. If one of the devs got angry and said the wrong thing, the project would be in dire straits. But it suggested to me that they have enough faith in their project to bring money in that they hired a firm to work with them. Interesting.

Two hours later or so, another press release comes through. The game has been removed from Greenlight. Some of the team at Valve have reviewed the game, seen the outrage, and made the decision to take the game down. The natural reaction of an indie developer in this case may be anger, leading to rants on Twitter and emails sent to Steam in protest. But this is why the PR firm are here. The press release states that the team are obviously disappointed, but are not disheartened. The game will continue to be made, and it will be released through other channels, self-published by the developers. This is an important piece of information to remember. The game has not been completely killed off, and its development will continue as though nothing changed.

A few hours later, yet another press release comes through. I hadn’t even read it before the Internet exploded in glee. Gabe Newell, King of all Gamers, has stepped in and decided that Hatred should be allowed in Greenlight. The world rejoices. Gamers scream obscenities at the feminazis. Within a few days, the game will have enough votes on Greenlight, and it will officially be allowed a release on Steam. But here’s the weird thing – the gamers don’t feel like they’ve just beaten censorship. They feel like they’ve brought down Valve itself. One commenter states “even Gabe Newell can’t ignore us. We own Steam.”

This attitude is, frankly, ridiculous. That gamers think they have somehow won a battle is preposterous. They have won nothing in this argument other than the ability to be sold a video game through a specific channel. This isn’t a win for free speech – it’s a win for Valve. The controversy behind the game’s removal from Steam would probably have been enough to drive the rabid gamers to buying it directly from Destructive Creations, as a final “fuck you” to those who they believe want to censor video games. As previously stated, it was going to be released anyway. But Gabe Newell knew this. Hatred will make a huge amount of money, regardless of what platform it’s on. It has been timed perfectly to thrive on what is fast becoming some kind of digital civil war between those who play video games. And if it’s on Steam, then Valve will rake in the cash. The game will live on perpetually, advertised in huge banners on the home page, showing up in the endless sales at cut price, constantly reminding everyone who uses Steam that you can’t fuck with “gamers”.

And that’s what the controversy here really should have been. The overall attitude seems to be that Steam is really the only place to sell your game. Self-publishing in video games is considered suicide by the “gamer” masses. The huge number of rival digital distribution services, such as Origin and GOG, are still considered underdogs beneath the mighty behemoth that is Steam. Even the Humble Bundle, now with its own store to buy digital games through, offers Steam codes alongside standalone executables. There is no escaping the platform. The lure is too strong. And to hear that people believe that a game once removed from the service has been put back on is considered “saving” a game? It’s baffling. By all means, if you want to buy Hatred, buy Hatred. If you want to feel like you’re fighting against some movement to censor all video games ever, feel free. But don’t for a second think that “gamers” own the platforms they buy games from. It’s ludicrous.

Well, that went a bit serious for a second. But a new year is dawning, and with it will undoubtedly come more scandal, outrage, and controversy for us to look back on next year. Will Master Chief be revealed to be a woman all along? Will Ubisoft manage to release a game not completely riddled with bugs? Only time will tell, friends. Only time will tell.

Last five articles by Ric


One Comment

  1. Mary Ambrox says:

    “We own Steam!” I laughed my head off at that line. Guys, you don’t even own the games you buy on Steam. Top work young Richard, although you pushed credibility with KSI coming out in support of women. Up until then I was totally sharing a mug of bovril with David Icke

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