How I Pissed Off Thousands of People at Once

A couple of days ago I published this article, detailing some thoughts I had on fighting games, the response was so overwhelmingly negative that I wrote a follow-up piece, again the response was, frosty at best. The end result was that I pretty much blew up the site hosting them. No, really, here’s the view counter for the month leading up to that day.


That single article matched the entire sites views in a single day and resulted in huge number of comments and backlash. Which is why this article is on my own, personal site. I wrote that article, so I’ll bear the brunt of the blame, is a new venture started by a good friend of mine, it doesn’t need that kind of shitty publicity, not yet anyway. In response to the many, many comments I’ve got, here’s my honest response.

I’m not going to apologise for either article because when those were published, that was my opinion at that exact moment in time. I can’t apologise for the past and trying to do so is a huge dick move on my part. I said something stupid that annoyed a lot of people, including to my surprise, people with a lot of sway in the community.

Ok, really annoyed people.

Ok I really annoyed some people.

Apologising is a cheap way out and it makes no difference to the people who’ve already gotten worked up, I robbed them of time, they can’t ever get that back. The only thing I can offer those people is a similar sacrifice, which is why I personally read and approved every comment the articles received and I will continue to do so until it fades from the collective memory of the internet.

Page 1, of 7

Page 1, of 7

Which is why I will also not be removing either article, it would be easy to simply delete each article and hope that people eventually forgot. I openly write under my own name for everything I have published online because I believe in what I write, the numerous comments, conversations, Facebook messages, emails, tweets and Xbox live messages have caused me to reconsider. Which is why both articles and their comments will stay online as a reminder to me, and anyone else reading of how being opinionated or misinformed on a given issue can lead to being burned and forced to eat copious amounts of humble pie.

A great number of people have talked to me about how the FGC as a whole is very welcoming, I was told about fundraisers players organised to help people in trouble, about charity streams and tournaments. On the other hand I was also told that some of the elements I discussed held some truth to them.


They asked to be anonymous and I only had paint.

They asked to be anonymous and I only had paint.

With the case of the latter, the person in question was quick to point out that these small, isolated incidents were in no way representative of the entire community, but they understood how someone could perceive them poorly.

I’m not trying to defend what I wrote, because the person who wrote that was an entirely different version of myself who, if sat here right now, not knowing or having experienced what I have in the last few days would probably have reacted in a mocking or derisive way. Right now, all I feel is embarrassed, embarrassed at how stupid and ignorant I now look to a community I follow, albeit it from a distance.

More views

embarrassed that my name will be forever attached to something with the most depressing like to share ratio in internet history since Two Girls One Cup.


And mostly embarrassed that I managed to fuck up talking about a hobby I personally take a great deal of pleasure in and in the process pissed off a bunch of people who for the most part, seem like genuinely nice guys.

I just wanted to let people know that I’ve realised the complexity of the issue at hand and that my opinions on the matter have changed. Perhaps in time I’ll be able to better articulate them.



23 thoughts on “How I Pissed Off Thousands of People at Once

  1. Pingback: Why Fighting Games Are Still Bad For Gaming | The Knights of Gaming

  2. Pingback: Why Fighting Games are Bad for Gaming Update. | The Knights of Gaming

  3. It takes serious balls to admit when new information changes your opinion. I am in no way involved with the gaming community, and I still have no idea who’s in the right or who’s in the wrong here (most likely, I’m figuring both sides have their valid points). I just want to offer you my mad respect for writing this post.

  4. Nice response.

    You could probably look at arcade culture to understand some things, mainly that the investment of money (just a quarter, but still) made every match count, and probably helped contribute to a sink-or-swim mentality given to newer players. That’s been lessened with a shift to consoles.

    Also, the fact that fighting games have long been ignored by professional eSports leagues probably contributes to a sort of private club way of thinking that some have, with most of us being determined to make a name for ourselves and the games we play on our own, what other people in other gaming communities think of us be damned. Though SFIV being picked up by IPL is pretty big.

    Finally, the reaction to the discussion on misogyny is probably a result of a collective exasperation at the shit other gaming sites have already given the FGC, since many of us had thought that stuff like the Cross Assault controversy had finally blown over.

    You weren’t 100% wrong in your articles, but admitting your mistakes is an admirable move, so props to you, sir.

  5. Next time you decide to do a write up on a community that you don’t personally take part in, PLEASE do more than use Kotaku, Penny Arcade and youtube as your sources. Go to an event and get a personal experience, talk to the people who have a big part in the community (you’ll find they are completely welcome to your questions) and talk to the players.

    Even the CORN group, who on the outside seem like idiots, are actually nice people when you get talking to them and I know this because of PERSONAL experiences with them. Yes they are loud, can be intimidating and sometimes vulgar but these people share a passion that many other people in the community have. Many of the people who comment on groups like CORN have no real world experience with these people other than youtube videos or forum posts. The FGC is easily one of the most welcoming communities I’ve ever had a part in. it’s a community where regardless of sex, gender, sexual preference or disability the only thing people truly care about is how good you are at the game. The vocal minority of the FGC does not encompass the whole community.

  6. A couple of good articles by Tom “inkblot” Cannon, one of the owners/founders of SRK.

    The first addressed the “myth of the hardcore arcade,” explaining how some people have exagerrated how hostile the scene was back in the 90s. The second directly addresses the “nasty undercurrent” that does exist in the scene.

  7. I´ve read all three articles, and I concur, I love to play fighting games, but I’m 30 with a familly and a job who keep me busy, so I can only play about 4 hours per week, I used to play with the top players here, but in the end I´ve droped then because they are too dick, even if I won about 40% of the matches against guys that train and play all week people would still be like “lol, you droped that combo, what a scruby!” but now I´m tired of those “pro players” and play only with friends who wants to have a good time

  8. Good for you to backtrack on this a bit, it does take balls to admit when you’re wrong.

    I have to give you some constructive criticism though.

    You pointed out some elements of the fighting game community that are sharp edges. I agree that they exist and that they shouldn’t exist, but you really fucked up that first article by citing a couple of pieces of evidence (well only one or two good pieces, actually, because youtube comments don’t count) then drawing a huge conclusion from it (“we need to stop playing fighting games.”) Then in the second article, you claimed that you actually did research. I’m sorry, but you need to reexamine your research skills and possibly the entire way you approach writing about stuff, if you honestly call that “research.” If you were diligent in your research at all and not cherry picking only negative things, this wouldn’t have happened…you wouldn’t have written the first article, the even more ridiculous and emotional second one, and this third one, trying to take it all back. See, this could have been a really good piece about the fighting game community. You wrote about one small sample of the online portion–a few comments and tweets. and took one video from the IRL portion–from CORN, arguably the worst element in the real life tournament scene.

    You could have gotten opinions from people and found that there isn’t some hive mind that wholly accepts misogyny, overblown trash talk, and full-blown misanthropy. It could have been a balanced piece. Instead, you wrote something that makes Fox News look fair and balanced. Then, you wrote a follow-up to the harsh reaction–which didn’t make you think twice about what you had written, it just made you more indignant and judgmental. It made you arrogantly cite your book and how you write for Cracked. You should be pretty embarrassed and whoever hired you should be too. Because finding that it isn’t 100% bad and that people who play fighting games are bad would’ve taken very little time to figure out…with a little research.

    And here we are, you’ve calmed down and started to actually open up and take all sides into consideration. That’s how you should approach writing and researching anything from the get-go, particularly when it’s dealing with entire communities. You found some bad crap online about a subject? Don’t stop there and write an article about it…you actually have to dig deeper and talk with the people involved, which you very easily could have done, considering a lot of the top players + community figures are very active online.

    So the apology is nice, but please look at the mess you’ve created. That is, if you actually care about looking like a quality writer and not Attention-Seeking Blogger Number 198798723.

  9. I still can’t get over the fact you said Kotaku is respected.

    But, still, it’s nice to see people say, hey, my opinion changed. That takes a lot of guts to do, and I commend you for even bothering to read and take in the criticisms of those articles.

  10. Well, it’s very nice of you to take the brunt of the blame. Although, I would also like to say on the behalf of that will still don’t apologise for posting the articles in the first place. As a site, we openly express our opinions as exactly that, opinions…If you don’t like it, fair enough. I’m glad to see that at least some people actually articulated theirs in response, as oppose to unnecessary backlash against both Karl and the site, they too clearly didn’t do their research about us.

    We do however apologise for upsetting people, that’s not what we ever intend to do, hence, Karl writing this article. I’m glad that people actually appreciate this article, as it does take balls to apologise…to the entire world, Let alone do it in a way that I still found entertaining.

  11. Pingback: Clarification | Theory Scrub

  12. real fighting games are for the tiger and dragons. not for the fucking pussies who are dead inside with no fighting spirit.

    you wanna play for fun? go play fighting games with your wolf pack. thats even if you have any friends. which i doubt…

    but these are fighting games!!!
    the nature of the fighting games is to compete. wtf is wrong with you. you made 3 articles to say why you suck at it and you know everything about it.

    why so technical????
    its fucking fighting games where you fight.
    tournaments are in its nature, have you watched “blood sport?”
    like dude…. c’mon.

    boo hoo, you can’t win? you don’t like the people.
    gtfo then, go play mario party pussy.
    or call of duty cause obviously these players are way more “friendly and clean cut.” -_-

  13. oh, btw.

    great article.

    but c’mon maaaaaaaan.
    it was recently 25th anniversary of sf.
    the fighting game community existed for this long and finally people are giving the genre a negative press cause its culture is blowing up.

    i apologize for a rant, your original post was “why fighting games are bad for gaming.”

    i played street fighter since i was 4-5 years old on the snes.
    i’m 27 years old now.

    i hurts people like us cause we support the game for so long.
    and people like you say its bad for gaming.

    • i apologize man. i admit reading your first article made me mad hot headed.

      note, i don’t reflect the fgc as a whole. just an individual sf lover. real talk.

      you journalist. lmao

  14. I applaud your non apology. I say screw everybody if they can’t take a joke, or a difference of opinion for that matter. I recently posted on my blog an article that will piss off India and piss off every hippy who thinks “Change” happens. Another which will irreparably tear the fabric of my extended family, and one on Gun Control to piss off the crazies. I don’t intend to apologize, neither should you. Hetkey

  15. Pingback: Internet Adventures 2. – Adventure Harder. | Internet Adventures.

  16. I don’t know about your offhanded dismissal of the merits of apologies. It bothers me, because you challenge a simple method of social interaction without giving a satisfactory explanation of the logic behind it. Apologies between individuals serve the function of letting the other person know that you regret your actions. It offers a sort of reassurance that you did not mean to hurt this person, or that you do not hold harmful intent towards them. Meaningful apologies are also accompanied by an offer of some sort of restitution. You offered the restitution, and the sentiment behind it contains what is usually conveyed through an apology. I don’t get it. It’s like if, say, a little boy breaks another’s toy, then gives his up as a replacement, but skips over the “I’m sorry” part.
    I’m not trying to convince you that you should apologize. I don’t even know if you owe anyone an apology. It just seems that you feel that you owe some sort of penance for the words you wrote. You feel the sorry, you want to do something to make it right, you just don’t want to phrase it that way?
    I don’t know why this should bother me. Just uh… just letting you know. These are things I thought about. For the last hour. Umm. I thought about you for an hour. I.. I’ll be leaving you alone now. I don’t think you’re cute. Nuh uh.

  17. Pingback: This is What Free Speech Looks Like | Internet Adventures.

  18. Thank you for realizing the “error of your ways.” There is some truth to the original article, but as others have said, all communities have their fair share of jerks.

    I have to ask, though, and this is an honest query… Why do you consider it a “dick move” to apologize for the article? You’ve already expressed regret and embarrassment over having written it, so I’m not sure why you wouldn’t say a simple “I’m sorry” to those who took offense to it.

    At any rate to took courage to admit you were wrong, and for that you should be commended.

  19. I just read this series. The first two made me look at the date. They were a year old, but if they were recent, I would have mocked you like plenty of others. Your first, and second article, are the perfect example of people being misinformed. It’s also the perfect example of what’s wrong with gaming journalism (An unpopular genera of diehard enthusiasts, many of them minorities, has a few bad eggs, and all of a sudden they’re ghetto misogynists who hate newcomers. And yet there are plenty of wierdos who play JRPGs, but it never gets the same scrutiny because it’s actually somewhat popular… That’s fair).

    But good job admitting you were wrong. That takes guts, and those guts are essentially what Fighting Games are about in the long run.

    The part that actually irritates me the most out of the two articles, however, is the insistence that the games being unfriendly to beginners is a bad thing. It’s not. There’s a very good explanation for this.

    People have different attitudes about winning and losing. Most people like winning. There are a few who don’t, and for them, I think titles like Dwarf Fortress might be up their alley.

    On the other hand, losing is different. Some people like to lose. Those people play Dark Souls, Battletoads, Ninja Gaiden, ect. They’re ok with losing, and take a jab at it.

    Everyone else tends not to like to lose. It’s negative. You failed what you attempted to accomplish. On top of that, ego comes in when the other person may have caused you to fail. This is where someone gets a fight/flight response. Most games are made for people who have that flight response: When they lose and aren’t enjoying it, they decide that they could spend their time better playing/doing something else. These people are who modern games tend to appeal to: The types who would rather experience something, and want storyline or graphics.

    But there are also those out there who don’t have that reaction: They get a Fight reaction. Naturally, these people are drawn to fighting games like flies to a lantern. They’re problem solvers. They may not feel as strongly about losing as the others, or they may feel even stronger about it. Nevertheless, these are the people who, instead of giving up, decide they want to get good at something.

    Fighting Games are one of those things they can get good at, and unlike other competitive titles, it’s one of the most rewarding. Why? Because there are titles for all types of people. Call of Duty and it’s ilk don’t take much skill. Counter Strike is about hand eye coordination and teamwork. Starcraft is about execution and speed (At a high level. It’s a shame that strategy isn’t that important when you get that far). MOBAs in general are about knowing more about the game than the other guy, and not messing up.

    Now there are fighting games that grab all of those things. For those without much skill, there are some older games out there like DOA4 that don’t require it. For those who have good reactions and execution, along with quick thinking, there’s Marvel and GG. For those who like to take advantage of who did their homework, there’s Tekken. Even for teamwork, there’s games like Street Fighter X Tekken, or Tekken Tag Tournament 2.

    But one thing they all share, that the others don’t, is the focus on strategy and adaptation. In Starcraft there are only so many good strategies, and everyone knows them, so adaptation is more about speed, than recognizing what they’re doing. FPS games are more about teamwork and organization than actual strategy. Most adaptation in MOBAS are either simple (Focus the carry, or cover objectives), or are restricted due to items and leveling.

    In fighting games, there are plenty of strategies that don’t go out of style, because they require you to know not about the game, but about the player you’re playing against, and his or her behaviors. Unless you’re playing something where you die in nearly one hit, you can almost always adapt as soon as you’re able to realize that something is a problem. Of course, there are people who try to take advantage of tech that other players don’t know, but they aren’t as respected as a player who uses his head. There’s no genera like it.

    Fighting games fill a niche. A niche that no other genera fits at the moment. The only things I could compare are shooters of old, like Quake, or a game of Starcraft between two inexperienced players. I’ve looked and looked, and have yet to find any titles that fit this niche. And yes, they’re hard to get into, that’s the point. Competition isn’t easy. You’re supposed to work.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s