March 21, 2010

Gamers defend King Philip's War game

John Poniske, who designed the King Philip's War game and his fellows react to Saturday's protest in Providence, Rhode Island. And I react to them and their lame arguments.

King Philip's War Outrage:  Round Two

We begin with Poniske's summary of the event:A street protest occurred against my King Philip's War design and a second article has been presented in the Cape Cod Times. The link follows

In my response to the reporter, I thanked her for keeping her word in presenting a more balanced piece. I understand that those who are angered by the game have to be approached and quoted, but at least this time the newspaper offered the true purpose of the game. The more I read about the arguments against KPW the more I agree with my wife, "Some people refuse to be confused by the facts!"
In the article, Poniske states the so-called "true purpose of the game:"It is simply an attempt to recreate on paper and cardboard an occurrence in history," game developer John Poniske said. "It's too important, both in Native American history and in the history of this country, to ignore—which most of our history books do."In other words, his purpose is blindingly obvious to everyone. It's the same superficial reason given for teaching kids about Columbus or the Pilgrims: because it's history. People should learn things, especially things they don't know. Duh.

Keep that in mind as we proceed.

Gamers respond

Now let's see some of the responses:How silly. I guess some people would rather protest a game than a real injustice.How stupid that you're ignorant of the profound role of cultural myths and stereotypes in Native history. Read The Harm of Native Stereotyping:  Facts and Evidence and educate yourself.It's like the satanic accusations to D&D players. People don't know/understand something, so it must be bad. My country was overrun by Germany, nevertheless I like to play the losers (i.e. germans).We understand what Poniske said (above). Do you understand that his statement doesn't address the game's ramifications?

Where's your evidence that replaying the war as an isolated event will educate people about its causes and effects? About its political, economic, and moral dimensions?

If there's some deep, meaningful aspect of the game we've missed, by all means let us know. Put up or shut up, in other words.I really think the problem is that most people outside the wargame community have never even heard of the concept of a historical simulation or consim. When most people here the word 'boardgame' they think Monopoly, Risk, Clue, or disposable games based on movie franchises.Hmm...I think the problem is your simplemindedness. I.e., your childish attempt to switch to an ad hominem attack rather than address the issues we've raised. Nice try if you can get away with it.

"True purpose" is obvious

Actually, I'm sure most people get the idea of historical simulations. I know I do. Poniske explained the "true purpose" above and seemed satisfied with his explanation.

The people leading the protests have visited the King Philip's War website and read the rules. Do you have any more information about the game than they do? If so, go ahead and present it. Again, put up or shut up.People see something they don't understand (i.e. this game or D&D) and hence they believe something which was never intended. The game does not glorify one or the other side. It tries just to simulate a conflict. In D&D it was similar, people pretended to be for example sorcerers. However, religious people thought the game would encourage teenagers to become satanists. They didn't grasp the idea of simulating something. I believe in this case it is the same, these people don't get the idea of simulating a conflict and why.So people who don't know about the war and haven't seen the game are lecturing us about both. Funny!

Here we see the ever-idiotic "intent" argument again. News flash: What people intend and what they achieve are two different things, bright boy. Duhhh.

Some of the protesters have talked about the game's glorifying the colonists or the war, but I haven't. My arguments are the only ones that matter here.

I say the game ignores the war's historical context and moral dimensions. In other words, it sanitizes the war. Feel free to stop blathering and start addressing this argument.

Gamer unclear on what "fact" isAs I stated in another thread on this unfortunate situation, I am 1/8 Native American, and I can't find anything remotely troubling about this game. It protrays a historical fact, period. How refreshing it would be if the alleged "historians" quoted in the article would actually have taken the time to research just what wargaming is, the motivations behind the design and play of the games, and perhaps even contacted the designer to discuss their concerns.Let's ignore the ridiculous assumption that the critics have never heard of wargames and don't know anything about them. This assumption is unwarranted and asinine.

The game is still in pre-production mode. As far as I know, no one except the designers have seen it. Yet everyone here is talking as if they're experts on this particular game.

Nice try, boys, but I'm calling you on it. Prove to us that you've seen and played this game--that you're not talking out of your asses. Go ahead...we're waiting.

Perhaps the stupidest statement on this page is, "It protrays a historical fact, period." Really? So it's a fact that both sides decided whom to attack or massacre by the roll of a die? That the colonists and Indians had different goals: capturing towns vs. capturing leaders? I'd love to see the historical basis of those "facts."

What the game portrays is a small slice of "historical fact" abstracted to the point of unreality. What it doesn't portray is the historical context, moral dimensions, or consequences of that "fact."

It's much like a Columbus game where the object is to sail across the ocean. Or a Nazi game where the object is to herd people into railway cars. Without context, the game is false or misleading even if it's technically "accurate."

Gamer tackles Rob...look out

Someone dared to comment on my Protesting King Philip's War Game posting:I read that snippet as well and didn't see anything any more helpful or enlightening than I saw in the quotes I noted earlier.Pretty funny coming from people whose sole defense seems to be, "We understand gaming, though we can't articulate what it's about, but you don't."It reminds me of religious organizations that immediately criticize movies or books dealing with religious subjects without having even seen the movie or read the book first.Even funnier coming from people who haven't seen the King Philip's War game because it doesn't exist yet. Can you say "hypocritical"?

The people defending Poniske without having seen the game are the only ones acting like religious nuts. These people have "faith" that games are harmless because their designers say so.I also think the people quoted in the article are far too quick to take offense at slights, both real and imagined, and tend to look for reasons to become enraged.Offenders who blame others for pointing out their offenses...ho hum. We haven't heard that pathetic line of defense more than a few thousand times. For a few responses, see Excuses for Racism in Video Games, The "Cool Down" Defense, Racist "Jokes" Are No Jokes, Denial Ain't Just a River in Africa, and Racists Can't Think Straight.I still think that people like those quoted in the article remain willfully ignorant of the motivations behind wargaming, both in this specific instance, and in general.Wrong, dummy. But if you still think you're right, tell us the motivations you think we've missed. I can pretty much guarantee you I haven't missed them, but go ahead and surprise me.

Gamer almost "gets it"

Poniske's posting isn't all bad. Someone named Nico actually tries to understand the Indians' position:It sounds like they're upset that it's potentially being treated in a sanitized way, like a sterile event that didn't really happen. Treating war as a Manichean clash of totally irreconcilable people is not realistic in any form or context.

Also, it doesn't help that all of the places on the map use the Colonist names and borders.
And:"People don't know/understand something, so it must be bad." This is probably one of the arguments of the tribes--ie that the designer has not understood the conflict or the tribes' role in history.And:The way I'm reading what professor Jennings is saying (a quick google search will reveal that she has written on both the Pequot War and the King Philip’s War)--even if it's a very short quote and probably angled by the journalist--is that what the game reproduces (which she would not be able to say without having seen it) is a non-native's view on the war and Indians, and by putting the Indians (yet again) in the center of a violent context--it reproduces the already cemented imperialist view of the savage Indian--an image that they have been trying to shed for a long time.Yes, that's one way of putting it, Nico. Even if the game were 100% accurate, like a recording of the war, it would be misleading. Why? Because it cements the view of Indians as people engaged only in warfare. I.e., as kill-or-be-killed savages.

As for your fellow gamers, it sure is funny to hear white people who know nothing about the war lecture Indians whose ancestors fought in it about historical accuracy. It couldn't be more obvious that these gamers are reflexively defending their pastime without thinking. That they're parroting Poniske because "white makes right."What Professor Jennings has missed of course is the abundance of board games that portrays the Pequot culture in a more nuanced way, away from the violence and savagery.Huh? I think we've all missed the "abundance of board games that portrays the Pequot culture in a more nuanced way." In fact, I don't know of a single game that mentions the Pequots. Please list this abundance of games for us, okay?

Gamers show their true color(s)...white

Finally, we see what's really behind the defense of this game. As in every other conservative protest recently, white gamers assert their power and privilege. They won the war(s), so they get to write history, and no one can tell them differently.

In other words, watch as the racists come out of the woodwork:Has anybody seen the people protesting this game? Are they even native Americans? Here in Oklahoma several tribes have adds on TV about their tribes but most of the time the people speaking do not even look like Indians! One add had a blond haired-blue eyed girl speaking for the tribe. I'm sure most of these people have some Indian blood in them. Yeah, enough to get on the rolls and collect the benefits!And:Yeah, they're right up there with the greedy half-breed shylocks roaming Europe and the US....Julianne Jennings probably collects the benefits on top of her professor's salary and any grant she can get her greedy hands on....And:If you don't think there are lots of people with very little Indian blood in them (I'm talking 1/8th to 1/16th) getting benefits you are full of it! Yes, I'll call them parasites. They take from the tribes and give very little back!There you have it...the conservative mantra about Indians. We saw it in Columnist Shows How Racists View Indians and we see it here again. Real Indians are dead, today's Indians are phonies, and they're protesting only because they want attention and money. I.e., because they're "greedy half-breed shylocks."

Nice that your game appeals to racists, Poniske. Good thing you stripped the war of its moral dimensions so the Indian haters can enjoy killing the greedy bastards. That should make the game popular with all the Indian-bashing conservatives out there. Congratulations.

For more on the subject, see Reactions to King Philip's War Game and "It's Just a [Fill in the Blank]."


John said...

I think this is just scraping the surface of a much bigger issue. There could be an interesting piece here about how the whole genre of war games - from these niche re-enactment table games to the big "Call of Duty" computer game granchises - could potentially be seen as making light out of something as serious as war by turning it into a game.

I think by broadening the scope of the argument, and looking at "King Philip's War" as one example of a wider trend, you could come up with a fairer conclusion of their wrongdoing. As it stands, you're branding this one guy an Indian-hater for doing what plenty of others have done for plenty of other wars, while giving all those other guys a free pass.

AgentofChange said...

From the article:
"Hmm...I think the problem is your simplemindedness. I.e., your childish attempt to switch to an ad hominem attack rather than address the issues we've raised."

In one single statement the author of this post has manage to attempt to refute the use of ad hominem attacks and make one at the same time, that takes talent.

My main issue with this whole argument or at the very least this author is that for all the high minded talk he has still failed to present a balanced view of this situation.

I have read everything on this site related to King philips war multiple times and i realize i am
not going to find a sympathetic ear
but I am going to attempt to give some perspective at least.

There is a lot of bile in the above article. And i do encourage any one to go read the disscussion he references here:

The first thing you will notice is that the author has cherry picked the more inflamatory comments from that disscussion, you will also see memebrs of that community refuting those very posts, I don't see those posts here. Y'know what else I don't see and qutoes from industry (wargaming) persons, quotes from people explaining the hobby in a reasoned manner, or really any form of traditional journalism.

Balance is what gives an argument weight, the difference between the stances is not. If common ground cannot be found then there is nothing happenning but people screaming at each other and getting angrier and angrier. I put forth to all who read this that we are all people first, not our hobbies, not our race, not our politcal views, people. If we try to approach each other as such with only that in mind we might be able to come to that common ground, screaming racist (when it isn't true or warranted) or being reflexively defensive (as the gamers have been) isn't exactly the best place for an open dialouge to begin. All I ask is that we change the tone a little and look for some middle ground rather than try to be "right".

As for the charge that people haven't seen this game, well that is at least one place i can tell you you are flat out wrong. I will give you that some of the people defending it have not seen it but part of the design process of a game is creating a large pool of playtesters (people who will have played the game), taking it to conventions (i.e. the one that started all of this), and getting the rules, and visuals out as much as possible to get the attention of the market. So many people have seen this game and most arguments for it and gmaing in general are being made from fairly well informed places.

Lastly I want to ask anyone who read this to read the two definitions below and just think about them for a minute. Also I would like to personally thank the author of these article for getting my fathers game made sooner than it would have otherwise, no such thing as bad publicity only bad journalism.

Main Entry: jour·nal·ism
Pronunciation: \ˈjər-nə-ˌli-zəm\
Function: noun
Date: 1828
1 a : the collection and editing of news for presentation through the media b : the public press c : an academic study concerned with the collection and editing of news or the management of a news medium
2 a : writing designed for publication in a newspaper or magazine b : writing characterized by a direct presentation of facts or description of events without an attempt at interpretation c : writing designed to appeal to current popular taste or public interest

(Courtesy of miriam webster)


yellow journalism

Journalism that exploits, distorts, or exaggerates the news to create sensations and attract readers.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I played King Philip's War this past January at Multiman Publishing's convention in Bowie, Maryland. This was a draft copy, but it was close to production-ready, at least from rules and play perspective. The components were in draft form.

I'd like to make an observation that seems to be overlooked on both sides of this argument. King Philip's War is one of hundreds of wargames that depict virtually all conflicts that have occurred in history. You could pull any single title from the stack and raise this issue for virtually any ethnic group in world. Granted this is the one you're interested in. Fair enough.

Here's the thing. I'm a bleeding-heart liberal wargamer (a rare find I assure you) and in my opinion, to imply that King Philip's War carries an agenda or treats anyone depicted in it casually or with disrespect is just not supported by the material that was on the table in front of me this past January. If you want to make the argument that wargames should be prohibited or that certain wars should be forbidden from the hobby then that's fine, but singling this game out as more insensitive than others just isn't a supportable position based upon what I saw when I played the game.

War is ugly business. I won't pretend that any wargame is presenting a light subject. That's not why we play. Reenactors, wargamers, readers of military history or fans of Band of Brothers or Saving Private Ryan will tell you that part of what attracts them to the genre is the opportunity to witness history, to absorb, to learn. We enjoy the genre through gritted teeth. We get an insight into human nature, often at its worst, that keeps us honest and makes us reassess what lies within. It makes us think.

We ignore our nature at our peril. Modern wars have been no less bloody and goodness knows the atrocities continue -- news from Angola, and Serbia, and Rwanda speak to how little Man has changed in the last 300 years. Averting our eyes will not change the outcome.

Mr. Poniske from all appearances is very open to suggestions or revisions and I recommend you provide him with constructive feedback on your opinion of the game. I gave him detailed feedback on mine, and he spent the time to address everything I wrote.

I also recommend that you keep on talking about this. Don't stop protesting! I do recommend you adjust your focus. The wargame format does indeed provide education into the martial action that occurred on the ground, but any good historian will tell you that wars are resolutions, ending moments in far broader conflicts. You have peoples' ears at this moment right now -- start talking. As someone who has played the game I am now very interested in learning more about the conflict. I want to hear educated voices speaking on the broader aspects of this moment in history.

Teach. I'm listening.

John said...

A couple of really strong arguments there, from AgentofChange and Anonymous. You really touch on some crucial points, not just about this particular argument, but the type of journalism employed on the blog in general.

I've had plenty of objection to Rob employing similar tactics with the comic "Scalped" (I won't hijack the thread by getting into those arguments, save them for the next "Scalped" blog), but I came to similar conclusions that you come to here, AgentofChange. Rob's brand of journalism is one that is highly dependant on strawmen. He certainly pursues a worthy cause, and there are plenty of deep, conplex issues raised that are worth discussing. But too often Rob discards the complexity, the chance to perhaps learn and explore these issues, in favor of the easy road of "This guy here is bad, he's doing bad things, he's a racist, and if you disagree with me then you're a racist too."

I get it, a story is meatier if there's a villain of the piece to blame. But such an aproach - if inaccurate - can be as damaging and hurtful as stereotypes can be on the minorities affected. In both cases it's ignoring the individual complexities in order to fit someone into a neat box and label them.

Again, for a "Scalped" analogy (apologies, no more hijacking after this) I posted up a blog on the accusations of racism against it up on Comic Book Resources, and I got insightful replies from both sides of the argument. And they were more about exploring the evidence and the tricky contextual factors than mere finger-pointing and tub-thumping, and as such I learned more about the opposing perspective than I ever did from reading anything by Rob on the matter. Similarly, AgentofChange, you bring up here how there has been a wealth of measured, nuanced discussion about "King Philip's War" that is being overlooked in favor of the worst case scenario of "look at these racist Indian-haters!"

Anonymous, you echoed the point I was making in a much more eloquent manner. Namely, that if Rob's problem is the trivialising of war through gaming, then that's a much bigger argument than "King Philip's War." If indeed war games trivialise war, it isn't just Indians who are victims. Heck, not just ethnic minorities either. Think of all the living veterans and all those who have died in every conflict that has since been dramatised in game form, they'd all have a grievance. Rob is too inclined to paint this as some new slight that is exclusively targeted against American Indians.

I think Rob needs to get his argument straight. Is he saying, "The whole practise of making games based on wars is wrong, and respected anyone involved in said wars as well as their descendants," or is he saying "War games are fine, as long as there aren't any Indians in them"?

John said...

Typo: in that last paragraph, it should read "disrespects" rather than "respected".

AgentofChange said...

Goodness, I think we have a rational disscusion on our hands!

As i have said on intimated in my previous comments on this blog I have a decided bias being both the son of the designer of the game under attack and a dyed in the wool gamer myself. But that aside I feel that we are makign alittle progress here in disscussing this in a more fair manner.

John, as to my feeling towards greater journalism at large well it kinda seeped into my comments there, but I do feel that it is appropriate and necessary to bring up as it is at the root of this debacle. I do feel that Wargames are a serious business about a serious topic. I also feel there is little wrong with them on any real level. To paraphrase my father history is ugly, war is ugly, and though it makes us uncomfortable to look at look at it we must. I don't feel that any subject should be taboo to talk about, there are certain things that require a more careful treatment but few things that could not be used as "game" design. The nature of the hobby is simulation, the act of placing yourself in the postition of an "arm chair general" to recreate a conflict. by placing your self in those shoes within the limited context of the "game" either or both sides (and gamers are notorious for switching chairs for the full experience) you get the feel of the conflict and a basic understanding of it.

Now we are talking mainly about "wargames" here but within the genre there are political simulations and other simulations that you would be hard pressed to find something that isn't covered in varying degress of realism and complexity. I do believe that the topic needs to be disscussed if only so that the misconceptions are stripped away, nothing bad ever comes comes of an intelligent disscussion.

Anonymous, I think you'll find the the liberal war gamer is not as rare as you might think, another stereotype perhaps. You did manage to restate, also elegantly, my most fervent desire of what can come out of this; That the conversation does continue and that people are heard regardless of their viewpoint so long as everyone knows exactly what it is they are arguing for and against; Again nothing bad comes from informed discourse.

Speaking to perspective of people involved in and affected by wars. Many gamers, in fact most of the gamers I know (mare than half anyway) are military veterans, of which both my father and I are. You'll find that the milieu of war "gaming" is cathartic in a way, as Anonymous said "We get an insight into human nature, often at its worst, that keeps us honest and makes us reassess what lies within. It makes us think." This is no less true for those touched by conflict both Combat Veterans and not. I am not a combat veteran but I have known the cost of war through those I served with. That knowledge if anything made me more interested in the history, effects, and waging of war. If only to try and understand the depths of humanity in order to discover the path away from it.

John said...

Just to be clear, AgentofChange, I myself am not opposed to war games. I was simply stating that Rob needs to clarify whether he's opposed to war games in general or specifically war games if they involve Indians.

Otherwise, another really good post, that once again sheds light on the other side of the argument.

AgentofChange said...

I didn't necessarily think you were oppossed to war games, but I think I did gather (possibly wrongly) from you posts that you may believe that they may be innapropriate. i was just clarifying.

i do agree with you that Rob should clarify his position. However i'm not sure that only being opposed to war games featuring Native Americans would be any less biased than the what he accuses war gamers of being. what that would say is simply only [insert group] should be exempt from historical scrutiny. Which does that group a disservice in essentially burying their history and widing the divide of possible understanding.

As i said previously these games are gateways into history both in their substance (the game part) and the (in most cases) inevitable subsequent research into the subject and surrounding events.

Rob said...

"A lot of bile in the above article," Agent of Change? Well, whose fault is it if you gamers repeatedly accused us critics of ignorance? Even though we know more about King Philip's War than you do.

If you don't like my responses, tell your fellow gamers to knock off the condescending, know-it-all attitude. In case you didn't realize it, I was teaching them a lesson--giving them a taste of their own medicine. If they can't take the heat, they should stay out of the kitchen.

"The first thing you will notice is that the author has cherry picked the more inflammatory comments from that discussion." Rubbish. There was no evenhanded discussion of the issues in that thread. It was almost completely one-sided in the game's favor. Nico was the only poster to even try to understand the critics' viewpoint.

"You will also see members of that community refuting those very posts, I don't see those posts here." Posts that refute the pro-gaming posts? Hmm, don't think so. If you disagree, cite and quote these alleged posts. Prove they're not a figment of your imagination and I'll be glad to discuss them.

I'm sure some people somewhere have seen the game, but I don't know if anyone who posted in this thread has. Except you and your father, of course. Until the others say they have seen and played the game, my point stands.

Finally, I never claimed my postings were "journalism." Yes, sometimes I act as a straight reporter, but usually I'm playing the analyst's role. If you think I'm simply a "bad" journalist who can't tell facts from opinions, you're sadly mistaken.

Educate yourself about the role of commentary and criticism in the media. Since you like dictionary definitions, here's a good place to start:

crit·i·cism   /ˈkrɪtəˌsɪzəm/

1. the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.

2. the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.

3. the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging the quality of a literary or artistic work, musical performance, art exhibit, dramatic production, etc.

4. a critical comment, article, or essay; critique.

Rob said...

It's great that some of you are calling for a dialogue. My understanding is that Julianne Jennings e-mailed Multiman Publishing through its website soon after learning of the game. There was no response.

I believe the first we heard from John Poniske was when he posted a general reply in the comments section of the first ProJo article. This did little or nothing to address Jennings's concerns, so she continued protesting.

In fact, only after the public protest did Poniske and crew start responding to Jennings's criticisms. That suggests she was smart to organize a public protest.

In the future, how about putting personal phone numbers and e-mail addresses on the website so people can contact the designers directly? Then they won't have to endure so many unseemly protests.

AgentofChange said...

Rob, you are indeed a critic, that no one can deny and an impassioned one at that. What I have stated about "ignorance" is only that you, and most people, are not familiar with the gaming community, the conflict simulation hobby, or the people who are part of the same. Like any group of people we are made up of individuals of a wide variety of temperaments and ideologies. You would not be wrong to say there are racists among the gaming community but you are no more likely to find them among gamers than you are to find them among the populace at large or even among your readers. To take the comments of a relative few and ascribe them to the group as a whole is not criticism it is misleading and damaging. Especially when the original target of your charges of racism is so laughably the opposite of that very charge.

As to journalism, well I never said you couldn’t tell the difference between fact and opinion. What I implied was that you have only used the facts that suit you and filled out the rest with invective and conclusions based on a partial understanding of what you are criticizing. A healthy dialogue means leaving the sophistry and rhetoric at home. You can start a conversation with criticism but you can’t sustain it on criticism alone.

I will agree with you that some people have said things in the games defense that are wrong as much as I feel much of your attacks in the column we are discussing are wrong. But case in point I have asked that people be reasonable, as has my father, as have others in the gaming community. Case in point a thread about this on was closed over the very comments you are upset about by MMP themselves. As to presenting quotes, I don’t have the time or inclination to continue parading other people words around. What people have defended is not that the game is wrong (you’d be hard pressed to find many in the incredibly varied gaming community who would believe that) but that speaking overly harshly and making ad hominem attacks against our critics is wrong.

AgentofChange said...

You are right to say that we may not know as much about the conflict as you and your community. That’s just the point though we are learning about it now and would like to know more. Why because we have a reason now, not the charges against us but because the game in question has peaked interest. You say that the game sanitizes the conflict… How? It shows an impartial depiction of it, one that allows for recreation of the conflict. That isn’t sanitization, that’s taking an impartial look at history from a military perspective. Remember that this is for adults, intelligent, creative, problem solving adults (and the rare youngster who has the capacity for it). Impartially viewing history isn’t white washing it it’s allowing you to see both sides. Even when there is a clear right and wrong side it still helps to understand the both the right and wrong side to better understand the why’s and the how’s of the history in question. If you have information about the Conflict we haven’t heard, that I don’t know, as John said, teach me I’ll listen.

I will be honest with you Rob. I don’t believe I’m going to change your mind, I’m not really even going to try. That isn’t what this is about, or why I posted here. I am simply trying to provide a reasoned view that maybe you or your readers or both can meet me and the gaming community at large in the middle and come to some form of understanding. Not many on ‘our side’ (since apparently lines have been drawn) are going to be willing to talk fairly and openly as long as they feel they are being attacked, and I wager that ‘your side’ is not going to be open to the same as long as gamers are being defensive. You have to see the cycle there, it’s clearly obvious and saddening. You as a Blogger in your community have a chance to open that dialogue in a different way than you already have a more reasonable approach versus the attacks you admit you have made in this post. You say we started it, but our conversation didn’t start until The ProJo article and your article were made known to the gaming community over something that was not meant as an insult or anything more than yet another evolution in a long a storied hobby. Finger pointing isn’t going to help, and both sides now share the burden of a communication breakdown. All I ask is a civil discourse.

Gamers are at large a group of arm chair generals, intellectuals, scholars and historians all to a varying degree of one another. If we are spoken to fairly, we will listen. If you will teach us of history, will will learn. Believe that.

John said...

Isn't it a bit hypocritical to complain about people having "a condescending, know-it-all attitude", when in your response you have such remarks as:

"And I react to them and their lame arguments."

"How stupid that you're ignorant of the profound role of cultural myths and stereotypes in Native history."

"Hmm...I think the problem is your simplemindedness."

"Here we see the ever-idiotic "intent" argument again. News flash: What people intend and what they achieve are two different things, bright boy. Duhhh."

"Feel free to stop blathering and start addressing this argument."

"This assumption is unwarranted and asinine."

"Offenders who blame others for pointing out their offenses...ho hum. We haven't heard that pathetic line of defense more than a few thousand times."

"Wrong, dummy."

But unnecessary name-calling aside, you boil down your core point to:

"I say the game ignores the war's historical context and moral dimensions. In other words, it sanitizes the war."

And I ask in return - is your argument therefore a much wider issue, a stance against war games in general for trivialising conflict? In fact, you could go bigger than that - is any dramatisation of war (in film and television as well as games) immoral, because it puts the drama of narrative ahead of objective education?

And if your grievance really is "the sanitization of war" rather than "glorifying colonists", then why are you solely targeting Poniske, and continuing to conclude with accusations of racism?

Rob said...

P.S. Good point about learning the dark side of human nature, Anonymous. For more on the subject, see Let's Play the Fun Rwanda Game!

Rob said...

So no quotes proving that I've misrepresented the debate, Agent of Change? What a surprise...not. You fibbed about the accuracy of my posting and I called you on it. You lose.

Go reread my original posting on the game, John. Do you see any "unnecessary name-calling" there? No, because I wasn't teaching people a lesson about their condescending, know-it-all attitudes. In this posting, I was.

You can see a hint of my general position on war games in my Rwanda posting. I'll write more when I have time. I have other things to do besides debating these minor subjects, you know.

AgentofChange said...

Fine then I can quote to:

" And it does no one anyone any good to lower ourselves to namecalling. We all have a right to defend our ancestors."

"You all seem to think they have no reason whatsoever to be upset; I'm just proposing possible reasons rather than just assuming they must be crazy. It's not like history is just something that happened a long time ago and these people complain as a hobby. Descendants of Native Americans are still the poorest ethnic group in all parts of the hemisphere."

"What is the saying? "Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his moccasins.""

"Just a thought, why not give space in the rulebook to Prof. Jennings or another representative to explain their point of view, and give another perspective to the events being simulated in the game? I'd find these "extended designer notes" interesting."

All from just one of the many threads going right now about this and all from separate posters and none of them me. So at least we know now I'm not the one who lied.

Rob said...

Oh, I didn't quite answer your question, John. No, my posting wasn't the slightest bit hypocritical. My position is that if I mock or belittle you first, you have every right to respond in kind. The same applies if you mock or belittle me first.

Since I responded only in kind, my actions were perfectly consistent with my philsophy. Which, in a nutshell, is "Do unto others as they have done unto you." Therefore, no hypocrisy.