It’s Time to Prove Ourselves

Today I offer my space to a “guest blogger,” my angel son Max Mallory. This piece written Aug. 27 or 28, 2014, is pertinent again with the upcoming publication of Crash Override: How Gamergate (Nearly) Destroyed My Life, and How We Can Win the Fight Against Online Hate by Zoe Quinn.

By Max Mallory

I’m on a flight from Chicago to Seattle, on my way to the Pacific Northwest for this year’s Penny Arcade Expo, commonly known as PAX Prime. I’ll be covering a ton of indie games from developers who have traveled thousands of miles to show off their work. And there’s no better time than now for a convention that’s second only to E2.

In the last few weeks, the indie community (and game journalism at large) has been hit by a few controversies. First come the personal attacks and death threats on Zoe Quinn (developer of Depression Quest and narrative director on the PAX 10 game Framed), which sparked tons of discussion and debate, but was plagued by the disgusting actions that many took against her, all due to allegations made by an ex-boyfriend of Quinn’s. The second was the hacking and illegal release of information about Polytron (Phil Fish’s company), developer of Fez. Their site and company Dropbox were hacked, while crucial financial data about Polytron and personal information about Fish were both leaked to the public.

Max Mallory, gaming journalist

Max Mallory was called “the businessman” at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater because he was one of the few students who could create video games and also had the acumen to work with professionals in the business. He helped students in the Media Arts & Game Development program understand how to present themselves to video game companies.

These incidents both contributed to a larger discussion, the ethics of game journalism. Many are now debating over how game journalists operate, whether they are allowed to support games in development, and whether or not they can form relationships with the developers of games they will write about.

Many developers, journalists and gamers have agreed that these events have really shown the ugly side of gaming. The threats Quinn have gotten are disgusted and aberrant. Even people outside of our bubble have asked me if I know about Depression Quest.

So, as I sit on this flight, I can’t help but think how damn important this PAX is.

We’ve seen some of the worst, but now it’s time for us to see the best. To see developers like Rami Ismail, co-founder of Vlambeer, who traveled cross-country the week before the convention. To see developers like Chris Hecker and John Cimino, who have been putting their hearts into Spy Party for over five years. To see developers like Kitfox Games, a female-focused studio, doing an awesome-looking game called Moon Hunters, and being damn proud of it. To see developers in the indie mini and countless mega booths who passionately pour their effort into their games regardless of who tells them not to, or tells them to stop, or harasses them. These are the best. These are the ones who make the gaming industry amazing.

To see developers like Zoe Quinn, who after all the sexism and harassment she’s faced, will be standing tall by Framed, and proving wrong those who have put her down.

These are the best. These are the ones who make the gaming industry amazing. And after last week, we need these people to show the world why gaming is full of passionate, hardworking dreamers.

Let’s prove everyone wrong. Let’s show the world how gaming is an amazing industry. Let’s go play some video games.

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PAX Prime occurred Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2014. Here is a panel from that conference featuring Zoe Quinn. Max was in the audience.

Max Mallory graduated May 2015 from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with dual bachelor’s degrees in English and in Media Arts & Game Development. He was hired before graduation and began working at Mobile Mesh Games in Whitewater, WI. He discovered he had testicular cancer in Oct. 2015. After several treatments and surgeries, he passed away on May 20, 2016. His intention to assist other young adults with cancer will continue with The Max Mallory Foundation

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About chuckmall

Fiction and food writer in Chicago. Author of "The Owl Motel: And Other Places Where You Are Not Welcome."
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