Thursday, August 08, 2013


Let's talk about Phil Fish.

Phil Fish is a highly talented game designer who created Fez, a very successful (200,000+ copies sold) XBLA game that was later ported to the PC (and was successful there as well).

That's one Phil Fish.

The other Phil Fish is, well, kind of a troll. He insults people just to get a response, and he does. There have been multiple controversies surrounding Fish in the past, and it's just part of his personality.

Recently, though, it went up to a whole new level.

A journalist asked Fish for a comment about Microsoft's decision to allow indie developers to self-publish on Xbox One. Fish chose not to reply (he later said he was waiting for more information, which seems reasonable).

The journalist, Marcus Beer, then trolled Fish by insulting him for not commenting ("wanker", "tosspot", and "f-cking hipster", among others). That's completely ridiculous, and let me call Mr. Beer by his actual title: "hack," because an actual journalist would never be such an irresponsible dick.

So far, this is all very clear and easy to understand.

Then, Phil Fish goes thermonuclear on his Twitter feed. Here are excerpts from a series of mind-blowing posts in the space of an hour:
"compare your life to mine and kill yourself"
"Today's beeve is brought to you by some inconsequential limey f-ck"
"...who got so BUTT HURT that me and jon wouldn't give out quotes."
"it must be frustrating being such a small commentator, only being able to ejaculate vomit out of your mouth from the sidelines."

Then, in response to someone who grossly insulted him:
"hey, invisible balls, i'm talking to you! i'm right here! SAY THAT SHIT TO ME FACE."

Then, the walkoff shot:
"i'm done. FEZ II is cancelled. goodbye."

Um, okay?

A troll trolled a troll and they got into a troll war. Then Phil Fish says his feelings are hurt and he rage quits.

Of course, it's not that simple. The gaming press is this amorphous blob comprised of a relatively small tier of actual journalists, another tier of writers who may not be journalists but handle themselves responsibly, and then a swamp of people who aren't writers or journalists and have absolutely no professional ethics.

That swamp causes all kinds of problems. At times, they incite their readers to be idiots. Certainly, because of the swamp, the tone of discourse around gaming has been heavily coarsened. Creative types are savaged on a regular basis on social media.

It's bad. Very bad.

Having said all that, though, someone has to be the grown-up. Everything on the Internet gets amplified exponentially. Come on, that's Rule #1. Phil Fish took out the flamethrower, but the only person he burned up was himself.

Responding in kind to an asshole has never, EVER worked. Put up one clever, non-profane response (if you must), and get out. Walk away.

Just walk away.

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