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Lord British Says He Was Taken Out of Context! March 21, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, Shroud of the Avatar.
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Mistakes were made and the gaming press took advantage!

Lord British points to his Facebook page, which in turn points to a PDF document, where he back peddles about what he really meant when he said what he said.

What he meant was game design is difficult and hard to learn.

What he apparently did NOT mean was that he was the best game designer he ever met, that game designers are, by and large, unqualified for their jobs and “suck,” and that every game designer he has ever worked with has been lazy.  Any phrases that might have indicated such were taken out of a context not apparent to you, the reader.

Please do not let the fact that Lord British was made to appear to call most game designers lazy, unqualified scrubs deter you from supporting his Kickstarter project.

(Document saved locally here, just for posterity: Words Taken Out of Context)

Comments»

1. roguekish - March 21, 2013

I think your last article gave me some insight into why you don’t like Lord British. Personally I am completely neutral on the issue. But do you really have a vendetta against? I’m just curious.

Btw: I wanted to point out that regardless of what Mr. Garriot has said or done or keeps doing does in no way invalidate what he is proposing wanting to do or going to do.

to say it would is commiting an ad hominem cisrcumstantial fallacy^^ Do you have anyting specific against specific implementations into his Kickstarter projekt/ campaign that are no based on: Richard Garriot would benefit of this therefor we should not do it?

Once again I stress I am merely curious.

2. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 21, 2013

@roguekish – Are you a complete, slavering Lord British fan boy? I am not saying you are, I’m just curious?

Did adding “I’m just curious” blunt that accusation in any way for you? Live and learn.

And I will ask, did you see nothing wrong with what he said in the interview that came out yesterday? Did you find is claim about context to be completely satisfactory? I’m just curious.

I am not sure what this means:

“I wanted to point out that regardless of what Mr. Garriot has said or done or keeps doing does in no way invalidate what he is proposing wanting to do or going to do.”

Are you saying, for example, that past performance is no indicator of future performance? Because you can spin that the other way you know. The fact that he made great games in the past… something he has done… in no way validates what he is planning to do going forward. Is that the message you are trying to send?

But as a general rule, no, I do not have a vendetta against Lord British. I was a big fan of his games when he was young. In many ways it pains me to see him step up and say patently silly or stupid things in these interviews. And yet he keeps doing it. And I keep recording these things to see how they play out in the long term.

My basic rule is that if I really dislike something, I do not mention it at all. And I mostly stick to that. But if I mention things over and over, you can assume I have some positive investment in them.

If you find that bringing these things up somehow brands me as a hater or means that I have a vendetta against him, well, I think that says something about you too.

roguekish - March 21, 2013

No I am not a fanboy and I do quite enjoy your blog and and I think you have very good reasons for your views. It’s just I don’t really see then from the past few articles. I see some but the way they are phrased is basically bad form of arguing.

For the record I added “I am just curious” because I did not want to come off as a fanboy but someone who was genuinly interested in your viewpoint. I acknowledged that it backfired for probably various reasons and not only the repetition. That was only there to point out that while some of what I was saying could come of as a fanboy or as harsh was based on curiosity which still is my motive.

As to the part that you did not understand (I am sorry I realize some commas might have helped, my bad), allow me to give you an example. The way I saw your reasoning for being against Garriot’s campaign was the following:

Premise 1: academis argue in favour of expanding university education

Premise 2: This would benefit academics

Conclusion: Because this benefits academics and they are biased we should reject their proposal

(This also works for things like leftist politician arguing for more public schools despite having sent their kids to private schools)

To apply this to the Garriot problem I see you arguing as follows:

Premise 1: Richard Garriot wants us to support his Kickstarter

Premise 2: This would benefit Garriot too much

Conclusion: We should not support Garriot’s Kickstarter because this would benefit him too much

What both examples have is a fallacy called ad hominem substantial fallacy. You are not dealing with the Kickstarter project per se but just with the man behind it and pointing out that because he has done X, Y and Z. We should not support the Project.
A better way of arguing would be to point out what the project lacks rather than focus at the person behind it. Because just because Garriot is behind the project does not make it less support worthy. Saying it would would be to make the ad hominem circumstantial fallacy.

Do you now understand my point? And the reason I ointed this out is because I am rather sure that you have far better reasons than a dislike against Garriot to not support the project. Reasons that have to do with the project itself and I’d like to know them (if you want to share, you have every right to say no after all).

3. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 21, 2013

@roguekish – You assume too much.

I have been posting about about Lord British the public figure over the last 18 months. I find it fascinating, in a horrific train wreck sort of way, as to how he goes to the press with very transparent motives. I am sure, for example, that in his KS project plan, there was an entry to give an attention getting interview at this point. I have worked too close to marketing in the past to think that was an accident coming when it did.

That is what I am commenting on. The title of yesterday’s post wasn’t about game designers sucking, like it was almost everywhere else. It was about Lord British garnering attention when he needs it for his project… and about how it might go awry.

In the end I do not believe that this KS campaign is anything more than a marketing drive as opposed to a serious method to fund the project. That is my opinion. The plan has many benefits, not the least of which is to rally the faithful and reward them with access and such, as well as giving a bit of a census of the faithful. It is always nice to know how many people you can count on.

I have not said anything substantial about his project, other than to say that certain things… like the various modes of play… are “interesting.” There are many aspects of it I would as label as such. I have certainly not said “don’t support it.”

If you conflate the comments about the public figure with my feelings about his project… well, in a way that sells one of my real points, which is that the man is not doing himself or his project any favors by giving interviews like that.

But when I say he did the Kickstarter by the numbers, that was serious. He followed the plan, made his million, which was a landmark I decided to note. And I do wonder how this will compare with the Camelot Unchained, which is being approached differently as a marketing exercise. Is this where you are getting the “This would benefit Garriot too much” part of your… argument? If so, that is reading way too much into what I write. I am not that subtle.

And, in the end, Lord British behaving… oddly… in interviews will be nothing more than a comic footnote if his game is a success. Winning washes away many sins.

Finally, if it will make you feel better, I put down a bit of my own money on the project. Take that for whatever you feel it is worth.

4. roguekish - March 21, 2013

Ok I see now where you are coming from. And no I do not need you to tell me that you put down money into the project since frankly I do not care. I did too but mainly because I wanted to see where the project could go. And sorry if I misjudged your intent somewhat. It will indeed be interesting to see how Camelot: Unchaned fairs. I am glad someone is willing to do a niche MMO instead of aiming for the stars since I believe that is the way to do it tbh but that is another discussion.

Thanks for the time and patience you took in replying to me. =) I know I can be a bit “thick” sometimes haha

5. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 21, 2013

@roguekish – Mark this moment. A misunderstanding was resolved in text in a comment thread on the internet!

I think we have proven that humanity may not be doomed.

And, as an add-on, this is the best bit I have read about the Lord British quotes. (via Tesh)

6. Tracey - March 21, 2013

@Both of you. A good day, indeed!

My head still hurts, though!

7. Random Poster - March 22, 2013

I did think his wording sucked as it came across as arrogant. But I also think his actual message was lost in the rhetoric.

Also it’s something i COULD see being an issue. I mean hell I love video games, but I can’t code and I have no artistic ability. But I have a great imagination. If I had decided to make games for a living I would have been pretty much destined for a design role if I evver got out of the QA department.

So I can see the point he as trying to make.

IMO the best game designers we have out there (and the ones he mentioned) have skills in pretty much all of the other jobsets for getting a game going.

his hubris is he counts himself among that group Wright, Molyneux, etc. Personally I don’t put him on that level as he’s not done much since Ultima.

8. tithian - March 22, 2013

As much as I love to hate on “his Majesty”, he has a point here. Take for example Jay Wilson’s credentials (straight out of Diablowiki, no idea how accurate this is)

2006 – Present – Blizzard Entertainment – Senior Designer
2006 – Company of Heroes – Senior Designer
2004 – Warhammer 40k Dawn of War – Design and Story
2003 – Homeworld 2 – Additional Design Support
2003 – Impossible Creatures – Lead Designer and Story
1998 – King’s Quest: Mask of Eternity – Quality Assurance
1998 – Blood II: The Chosen – Game Concept and Lead Designer

This falls completely in line with what LB is saying here. A lot of the newer designers start off as just that, never having worked in the field as programmers/artists/junior staff. They are bound to be mediocre by default, at least compared to someone that has hands-on experience in multiple fields.

Of course this applies to all sort of businesses that follow a similar structure; the more successful ones are those that educate their managers from the ground up, i.e. promoting their more capable personnel from one department to the next, until they get ‘the overall picture’ and are deemed capable to manage. Compare those people to a fresh ‘manager’ straight out of business school and you get the same thing.

I mean, would you trust a Sales Manager that has never done any sales himself?

9. Wilhelm Arcturus - March 22, 2013

@Tithian – I am not sure anybody is arguing directly against the general gist of his statement about the difficulties of the profession of game designer. That article I linked above at Rampant Coyote goes into why the problem isn’t as simple as he makes it out to be.

For me, this post was more about him behaving like a pompous ass in an interview and then claiming his incendiary statements were taken out of context. (And possibly harming rather than helping his project.)

I am not sure how that works. Is he claiming that PC Gamer transcribed things incorrectly, like when he directly says that he is feeding the interviewer his next zinger and then calls every game designer he works with lazy? Was there more to what he said that got edited out? Did they get him drunk and feed him these statements in advance?

I stand by what I said previously, which was that this was all part of his Kickstarter business plan. On day X, when donations were tapering off, he would give an attention getting interview. Only he went too far. Now he is trying to mitigate that.

Did he actually mean what he said? I suppose we can never truly know. Did he say those things? Well, he is complaining about context and not about being misquoted. So I guess he’ll piss on his colleagues but not the press at need.

10. Josh - March 23, 2013

@wilhelm – your coverage of Garriott has made me so irked that I have been inspired to write a post on this controversy as well on my own little site.
The bottom line is that regardless of his intentions, the comments were completely lacking in couth and class. For someone whose projects post-Ultima have been embarrassing, Little Lord Fauntleroy has no business throwing rocks in data centers.
Since the 80′s, the video game industry has moved forward leaps and bounds. Mass Effect is a far cry from Donkey Kong – a testament to the creativity of the artists, programmers, developers and designers behind these projects. The industry is filled with creative, hard working people. Garriott just happens not to be one of them.

11. Josh - March 23, 2013

@wilhelm – I should also note I agree with you, the controversial press release has the stink of pre-programmed press release all over it.
That said, Im also entertaining the notion that this was unscripted (the “apology” letter has me leaning this way – why do damage control if damage was the point all along?). Garriott is a person whose relationship with reality is so tenuous that he has built himself a castle filled with trinkets for twelve year olds instead of, say, reinvesting that wealth or launching a charity or simply building an ostentatious mansion for grown-ups. That sort of behavior points to the possibility of Garriott’s solipsism and the interview comments simply being an extension of his belief system – Garriot (and maybe Will Wright and the Fable guy) are player characters and the rest of us are just NPCs. When viewed in this way, devious PR moves are less likely, because it would simply be too difficult for Garriott to contain himself with the ability to let everyone know how much better he is than everyone else.


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