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Let's talk about Abby Russel at Giantbomb's GOTY podcast...

Rodolfo Brito

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I don't know if we can discuss Giantbomb related stuff here, since they moved to that other forum with a lot of other people, but I am really want to to talk about this and none of my friends listen to Giantbomb Cast here in Brazil, unfortunately, so I decided to open this thread here.

For those who don't know, every year they put out a GOTY podcast that is really good, mostly because the listeners can follow the whole decision making process for a lot of categories (that they change every year) because they record the discussion for each category.

Iirc, Abby joined the crew soon after they doing one of these, and participated in two or three editions.

Last year, she was the one who was pushing some really weird games that no one else played for the entire process.

In some cases, it seemed like she wanted to push some "progressive agenda", for the lack of a better term. The main example being Dream Daddy, who got really high on their list.

Now, I am listening to day two of this year's deliberations and the appalling arguments that she uses do criticize the latest God of War.

Things like "I don't like the women representation on that game" or " this is a backwards trope" really pissed me off as I was listening mainly because of two reasons:

1) I really don't understand why this matters to the subject and

2) None of the guys at the crew reacts to this unreasonable identity politics mentality.

I mean... Everything she likes or dislikes has something to do with some organized political group.

What do you think about this and what should they do to avoid this annoying thing?
 

Boss Mog

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I don't really follow Giantbomb since I dislike Jeff Gerstmann. But I've heard that since this Abby person joined, she has made them go full on SJW and feminist. They didn't want to even review Kingdom Come Deliverance because it was historically accurate.
 

Claus Grimhildyr

Vincit qui se vincit
Jan 30, 2018
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I used to have some respect for Giant Bomb and Jeff Gerstmann - however that has long since dissipated. He has become everything that he created Giant Bomb to fight against. Dude has gone full SJW mode. Pathetic.
 
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mckmas8808

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You personally can just dislike her takes and listen mainly for the people that you do like. I like maybe 33% of her takes, but I can respect about 66% of her takes. The last 34% are utter trash opinions (your example of her opinion of God of War is an example of this).

But at some point, you need to be able to tolerate people that you disagree with. Everyone doesn't have to agree with you or have your same perspective.
 

Petrae

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Controversy creates engagement.
Engagement makes money.
Rinse. Repeat.

This is why gaming press and websites are all but dead. They sold their souls for the clicks and the traffic. It was inevitable that Giant Bomb would fall into the same trap as everyone else.
 

Claus Grimhildyr

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You personally can just dislike her takes and listen mainly for the people that you do like. I like maybe 33% of her takes, but I can respect about 66% of her takes. The last 34% are utter trash opinions (your example of her opinion of God of War is an example of this).

But at some point, you need to be able to tolerate people that you disagree with. Everyone doesn't have to agree with you or have your same perspective.

On your last point, I would agree if they gave a position that they could properly defend. There have been plenty of people here on GAF (such as yourself) who can defend the position to some degree and I can tolerate/respect that. Abby on the otherhand has yet to do such, IMO. I disagreed with Jeff Gerstmann nearly 90% of the time, but he defended his position well, he gave understandable reasons as to why he likes/dislikes something and it is understandable. She cannot do that. If I didn't know better, I would think she was *physically incapable* of doing so.
 

Thiagosc777

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She is the living proof of why "gamer cred" is important when talking about games. You need to know games and play them before talking about them.
 

ROMhack

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I kinda agree with her. I can be enjoying the total heck out a game and contemplating where it sits in my Top 5000 list and then BAM! Stupid sexist shit. Spoils all the fun I was having. >_>

I've actually been known to start violently shaking such is the offence it causes upon my person. I used to think about sending nasty letters but instead now I invite all the neighbour kids over to witness me burning the game in effigy. I always bake a special cake and afterwards pray to the dark lord master's that the prodigy of the dev team will be met with bad fate for a thousand lifetimes.

I suggest you all do the same.
 
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bilderberg

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GB has become trash the past few years. No one there has a spine to stand up for anything anymore. Your best bet is shut the fuck up and nod in agreement when anything about sexism or identity politics is brought up. I'd be surprised if any of their core audience from the Ryan Davis days is still around listening.
 

loki 16

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You personally can just dislike her takes and listen mainly for the people that you do like. I like maybe 33% of her takes, but I can respect about 66% of her takes. The last 34% are utter trash opinions (your example of her opinion of God of War is an example of this).

But at some point, you need to be able to tolerate people that you disagree with. Everyone doesn't have to agree with you or have your same perspective.
This

I like Abby in almost all the GB content. If you listen to GB you know that everyone will have terrible opinions at some point.
 

mckmas8808

Ah. Peace and quiet. #ADayWithoutAWoman
May 24, 2005
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On your last point, I would agree if they gave a position that they could properly defend. There have been plenty of people here on GAF (such as yourself) who can defend the position to some degree and I can tolerate/respect that. Abby on the otherhand has yet to do such, IMO. I disagreed with Jeff Gerstmann nearly 90% of the time, but he defended his position well, he gave understandable reasons as to why he likes/dislikes something and it is understandable. She cannot do that. If I didn't know better, I would think she was *physically incapable* of doing so.

I haven't listened to any of this year's debate yet (I always wait to listen to think in the New Year after I see everyone else's Games of the Year post), but last year there were a few times I felt bad for her. It was as if she was nervous and forgot what to say. Sometimes it feels as if she hasn't actually "PLAYED" some of these games, but has a strong reaction or opinion about them as voices her emotions about everything the games represent.

The ONLY thing I'd like GiantBomb to do better is forcing her to be better! Don't allow her to say certain things that are way off and take it as gospel (from a woman's perspective). I've listened to Andrea Rena talk about all these same games. And she usually only brings up half the issues that Abby does (which is okay). And even with that, she can still say the games are at least "good".
 
Jun 10, 2018
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You personally can just dislike her takes and listen mainly for the people that you do like. I like maybe 33% of her takes, but I can respect about 66% of her takes. The last 34% are utter trash opinions (your example of her opinion of God of War is an example of this).

But at some point, you need to be able to tolerate people that you disagree with. Everyone doesn't have to agree with you or have your same perspective.

I like this. I don’t always agree with what I hear from Abby, but it is nice to have a different opinion on the podcasts. I much prefer her over Ben’s milquetoast jokes and opinions.
 

ROMhack

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Controversy creates engagement.
Engagement makes money.
Rinse. Repeat.

This is why gaming press and websites are all but dead. They sold their souls for the clicks and the traffic. It was inevitable that Giant Bomb would fall into the same trap as everyone else.

Pretty much. Their content is facilitated through SEO which comes about through the amount of people who click on links to their site. It's why whenever you type anything videogame related into Google the top sites that usually come up are Kotaku, Eurogamer, RPS, GiantBomb, Polygon, IGN or Gamespot. They know what they're doing, which is usually quantity > quality.

It's kinda ruined competition because all sites are playing the same game. The days of stumbling on random interesting gaming blogs are all but dead.

Giant Bomb is probably the lesser evil all things considered but I guarantee the editors and CBS Interactive (their parent company) probably love what Abby does.
 
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Jan 6, 2013
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I wouldn't mind her if she would learn to convey her opinion without using the words "it's like, I feel, very, really" as if she's just gotten a memo stating they're about to be outlawed in the next 15 seconds. It's mind numbing after a while.
 

The Elite

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She has an opinion you disagree with. She's entitled to her opinion and you are entitled to disagree with it. She isn't ruining anything. All Abby does is bring a different voice to the discussion. I didn't personally agree with everything she said in regards to women in God of War. I didn't see a problem with the mother being dead to start the game. It was the entire catalyst for the story and I felt I learnt a lot about her through Kratos and his son's journey.

I actually kind of agreed with what they had to say about Freya.

It seemed like everyone else in the room didn't exactly agree with all her points either but they weren't offended enough to make it into a big deal. They just accepted her point and moved on.

I'm not sure why this is all so troubling for you.
 

bilderberg

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She has an opinion you disagree with. She's entitled to her opinion and you are entitled to disagree with it. She isn't ruining anything. All Abby does is bring a different voice to the discussion. I didn't personally agree with everything she said in regards to women in God of War. I didn't see a problem with the mother being dead to start the game. It was the entire catalyst for the story and I felt I learnt a lot about her through Kratos and his son's journey.

I actually kind of agreed with what they had to say about Freya.

It seemed like everyone else in the room didn't exactly agree with all her points either but they weren't offended enough to make it into a big deal. They just accepted her point and moved on.

I'm not sure why this is all so troubling for you.

So are we entitled to opinions or not?
 

The Elite

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I don't really follow Giantbomb since I dislike Jeff Gerstmann. But I've heard that since this Abby person joined, she has made them go full on SJW and feminist. They didn't want to even review Kingdom Come Deliverance because it was historically accurate.
This is about as accurate as NeoGAF being a haven for Nazis.

She brings a different viewpoint. Alex shares a lot of similar views and no one harps on him about it.

As for Kingdom Come, I do get the impression that it was avoided simply because Jeff wanted to avoid scrutiny from the far left for covering it. I get the impression Jeff just wants to play it safe these days. With how everything is scrutinized these last few years I honestly don't blame him.
 
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KOMANI

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I get it. I get both sides. But it’s fine. It’s good to hear others’ opinions and to have your thoughts challenged. It promotes thinking.
 

ROMhack

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I didn't see the OP wasn't entitled to his opinion. I genuinely don't know why Abby's opinions would be so troubling for anyone.

I don't know much about Abby but shit talking things tends to bring out trouble.
 
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bilderberg

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I didn't see the OP wasn't entitled to his opinion. I genuinely don't know why Abby's opinions would be so troubling for anyone.

why is the connotation that it's "troubling"? Why does the op's opinion trouble you so much?
 

LukeA

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Last year, she was the one who was pushing some really weird games that no one else played for the entire process.

In some cases, it seemed like she wanted to push some "progressive agenda", for the lack of a better term. The main example being Dream Daddy, who got really high on their list.

The podcast is Giant Bomb's Game of the Year. Abby is a staff member at Giant Bomb and the podcast is a venue for discussion of staff members favourite games...

I love Abby's commentary and contribution to the podcast because it helps me to seek out experiences I may have otherwise missed/ignored. Abby's views are a welcomed change amongst a group of guys who are mostly older and have been exposed to the industry for longer. I find a fresh take appealing. It's wonderful to hear the views of a younger women.

Now, I am listening to day two of this year's deliberations and the appalling arguments that she uses do criticize the latest God of War.

Things like "I don't like the women representation on that game" or " this is a backwards trope" really pissed me off as I was listening mainly because of two reasons:
I listened to the podcast earlier today. I feel like you've summarised Abby's views on the subject quite poorly. I believe Abby's view was that she really enjoyed the game, in fact it was her fourth favourite game of the year: https://www.giantbomb.com/articles/abby-russells-top-10-games-of-2018/1100-5823/

I think one of Abby's biggest criticisms was around the scene where a major character thanks her son while she is being choked by him -- in the context of the game I too felt it was pretty distasteful.

1) I really don't understand why this matters to the subject and

2) None of the guys at the crew reacts to this unreasonable identity politics mentality.

I mean... Everything she likes or dislikes has something to do with some organized political group.

What do you think about this and what should they do to avoid this annoying thing?

Well... I guess in the same way you are using this post to express your view, Abby is expressing hers in an appropriate venue. People can critique a piece of media without hating it entirely. Few things in life are binary.

Game of the year seems like the best possible venue to discuss/critique pieces of media in this manner and is why I look forward to the GOTY Bombcast every year. If you want to see a GOTY list without meaningful discussion you can probably get that elsewhere.
 

Shy Fingers

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I don't know much about Abby but shit-talking things tends to bring out trouble. I for example purposefully don't go into threads of games I don't like because I find it fucking pointless to talk about games I don't like. They aren't important. Life is too short. OP describes a situation where she's going out of her way to say bad things about games people like. It's very different from bigging up collection of underappreciated titles, which is what people used to do in the olden days when blogs where written by people who didn't take games way too fucking seriously.
...the whole point is they're discussing what they liked and didn't like about games though. In fact, she's being paid to be there and give her opinion.

Also this isn't a new opinion of hers, she said similar things earlier this year when discussing the game on the Beastcast.
 

The Elite

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I don't know much about Abby but shit-talking things tends to bring out trouble. I for example purposefully don't go into threads of games I don't like because I find it fucking pointless to talk about games I don't like. They aren't important. Life is too short. OP describes a situation where she's going out of her way to say bad things about games people like. It's very different from bigging up collection of underappreciated titles, which is what people used to do in the olden days when blogs where written by people who didn't take games way too fucking seriously.

It's a game of the year discussion and she had played the game and is a part of the discussion. She actually liked the game quite a bit but brought up points that bothered her regarding the depiction of women. She's actually paid to be critical and this is part of the process.

why is the connotation that it's "troubling"? Why does the op's opinion trouble you so much?

It's troubling that we are on a discussion forum that emphasizes free thought yet we have a thread that wants to suppress someone's voice because they disagree with her stance.
 
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bilderberg

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This is about as accurate as NeoGAF being a haven for Nazis.

She brings a different viewpoint. Alex shares a lot of similar views and no one harps on him about it.

As for Kingdom Come, I do get the impression that it was avoided simply because Jeff wanted to avoid scrutiny from the far left for covering it. I get the impression Jeff just wants to play it safe these days. With how everything is scrutinized these last few years I honestly don't blame him.

People harp on Alex all the time. I'll do it right now. He's a pompous asshole whose retorts are mostly snarky sarcasm. Combined with awkward half smiling and head nodding.
 

bilderberg

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It's a game of the year discussion and she had played the game and is a part of the discussion. She actually liked the game quite a bit but brought up points that bothered her regarding the depiction of women. She's actually paid to be critical and this is part of the process.



It's troubling that we are on a discussion forum that emphasizes free through yet we have a thread that wants to suppress someone's voice because they disagree with her stance.

I'm not seeing the connection between criticizing her opinions and suppressing her voice. Everyone around her suppresses their voice enough as is.
 

ROMhack

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...the whole point is they're discussing what they liked and didn't like about games though. In fact, she's being paid to be there and give her opinion.

It's a game of the year discussion and she had played the game and is a part of the discussion. She actually liked the game quite a bit but brought up points that bothered her regarding the depiction of women. She's actually paid to be critical and this is part of the process.

For what it's worth, I have no issue with it myself. I'm just pointing out the common sense truth that pissing on somebody's chips doesn't always lead to rapturous applause.
 
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Nymphae

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I never liked her takes on anything really and found her annoying to listen to, but the greatest thing ever about her is that she got someone on the GB staff to edit their Detroit:Become Human quick look, to remove a line where she asks "Guys where in the US is this game set?" She literally asked that question. I mentioned this here a few months back and some defenders were like "Oh it was a joke I'm sure", yeah that's why they literally deleted just that line from the published quicklook (I went back and watched the whole damn thing again to find it, and it was gone). There are even still YT comments on the video making fun of it, I'm surprised they didn't delete those honestly.
 
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The Elite

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For what it's worth, I have no issue with it myself. I'm just pointing out the common sense truth that pissing on somebody's chips doesn't always lead to rapturous applause.

She actually jokes that bringing up the subject of women in God of War will probably have people discussing her criticism for the rest of her career.

When I saw this thread it made me laugh because she's probably right.

If this thread was about debating her criticism that would be one thing but it seems like it's an outward attack on her viewpoint in general. That's a problem.
 

Petrae

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It's troubling that we are on a discussion forum that emphasizes free thought yet we have a thread that wants to suppress someone's voice because they disagree with her stance.

She can say whatever the fuck she wants. The good thing about freedom of choice is that people don’t have to listen to her— or the outlet she works for— if she rubs them the wrong way. Same as if an annoying song comes on the radio or a shitty TV show comes on. With so much choice out there for entertainment, if you choose to embark in a political direction where there’s so much division, you’re essentially begging for a significant number of viewers or listeners to go elsewhere.

If Giant Bomb and/or CBS wants to shift into sociopolitical issues with its formerly video game-centric media venture, that’s fine. There will probably be an audience for it. Personally, I won’t bother wasting my time. If the conversation can’t be about the games themselves but instead the sociopolitical impact or effect of said games, then I have no interest in or use for it. Let the others that do tune in.
 

Dunki

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She actually jokes that bringing up the subject of women in God of War will probably have people discussing her criticism for the rest of her career.

When I saw this thread it made me laugh because she's probably right.

If this thread was about debating her criticism that would be one thing but it seems like it's an outward attack on her viewpoint in general. That's a problem.
She did that to get sympathy from the others just like she almost fake cried last year during the nier discussion. The problem I have is that she destroyed Giantbomb for me.

The whole discussion 2017 was fucking terrible, she lied, she actually fought against a game instead like everyone else to fight for her games, she fake cried. And her games were also really really good (only argumentation). I do not know how much it has changed since I have not listen to anything she is part of but I also feel people at GB are may more carefully with their comments etc.

I tried to listen to the God of War bit but after the I do not fucking care to Vinny. I closed it. She has no debate skills, she has no idea what she is talking about and she is just some millenial who goes for buzzwords. Even her fridge tropes makes no sense here at all. She acts like someone being raised by twitter.
 

strange headache

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Abby is a token hire that has not enough knowledge about games to make informed or interesting commentary. That's why, instead of forming her own opinion, she's parroting social justice hot takes that she probably read on Waypoint or some such in order to make up for her lack of expertise. It's tired and old identity politics injected into video games and disguised as pseudo-intellectual superficial criticism.
 

DeepEnigma

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She did that to get sympathy from the others just like she almost fake cried last year during the nier discussion. The problem I have is that she destroyed Giantbomb for me.

The whole discussion 2017 was fucking terrible, she lied, she actually fought against a game instead like everyone else to fight for her games, she fake cried. And her games were also really really good (only argumentation). I do not know how much it has changed since I have not listen to anything she is part of but I also feel people at GB are may more carefully with their comments etc.

I tried to listen to the God of War bit but after the I do not fucking care to Vinny. I closed it. She has no debate skills, she has no idea what she is talking about and she is just some millenial who goes for buzzwords. Even her fridge tropes makes no sense here at all. She acts like someone being raised by twitter.

She is straight parroting the talking points that Polygon and Waypoint used, that is why she cannot back them up, because those opinions are genuinely not her own. Just something she agrees with (pseudo intellectual amounting to partisan confirmation bias), cause, sociopolitical reasons and stuff.

Abby is a token hire that has not enough knowledge about games to make informed or interesting commentary. That's why, instead of forming her own opinion, she's parroting social justice hot takes that she probably read on Waypoint or some such in order to make up for her lack of expertise. It's tired and old identity politics injected into video games and disguised as pseudo-intellectual superficial criticism.

You just beat me to it.
 
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Alexios

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Sorry that your heroes aren't how you thought they are, aren't how you are, and actually have different opinions and reactions to you and find value in bringing people/opinions you hate in. Oh well, move on?
 
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ROMhack

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She actually jokes that bringing up the subject of women in God of War will probably have people discussing her criticism for the rest of her career.

When I saw this thread it made me laugh because she's probably right.

If this thread was about debating her criticism that would be one thing but it seems like it's an outward attack on her viewpoint in general. That's a problem.

Hmm okay, I hear you.

I'll start by pointing out again that I've no real issue with people discussing games seriously but I do personally feel it should be done more positively. I think OP established a good point by acknowledging that it's hard to understand why people wish to discuss the political importance of games if they only wish to use it as a stick to beat them down with.

I think it's also fair to say that if somebody argues from a political stance all the time then they risk coming across as ideologically-driven and/or boring. Believe me, if there was a person on the Giant Bomb team who always brought up that a game isn't as good as Horace Goes Skiing then we'd all wonder why they're throwing it into every conversation.

I also agree it's unfair to say she only disses games. I thought the fallout from her inclusion of Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator last year? was unfair. In that case it seemed like people being unable to accept she actually enjoyed the game. She's certainly entitled to that opinion, albeit it's easy to appreciate why people were questioning it.

Lastly, I haven't actually listened to this podcast so I'll refrain from commenting further. I feel I've already said too much.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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Why do you listen to Giant Bomb? Is it because you trust their judgment on games? Then tune out the stuff that doesn't apply to gaming, unless you believe these extraneous opinions prevents them from having a valid opinion on games. If that's the case, stop listening to them entirely.

As for Kingdom Come, I do get the impression that it was avoided simply because Jeff wanted to avoid scrutiny from the far left for covering it. I get the impression Jeff just wants to play it safe these days. With how everything is scrutinized these last few years I honestly don't blame him.
His job is to scrutinize videogames. If he's shirking his duties because he's afraid a particular group might shriek at him, then he's not doing his job. Kinda ironic that the guy who got fired over "sticking to his principles" on Kane & Lynch is cowering in a corner with his bodypillow instead of playing a critically-acclaimed game in a genre that doesn't get much attention nowadays.
 

MultiCore

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I like Abby, but she doesn't know anything about gaming or its history, or even the context it exists in today.

Her 'ideas' about where it should go, or what makes a game good, are laughable. Dream Daddy, please. How anyone could argue that was their best game of the year is incomprehensible, if you actually looked at what released that year, AAA or indie. I could throw a rock out the window and hit a better game. Hell, throwing rocks out the window *is* a better game.
 

DeepEnigma

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His job is to scrutinize videogames. If he's shirking his duties because he's afraid a particular group might shriek at him, then he's not doing his job. Kinda ironic that the guy who got fired over "sticking to his principles" on Kane & Lynch is cowering in a corner with his bodypillow instead of playing a critically-acclaimed game in a genre that doesn't get much attention nowadays.



Pun intended.
 

bilderberg

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She actually jokes that bringing up the subject of women in God of War will probably have people discussing her criticism for the rest of her career.

When I saw this thread it made me laugh because she's probably right.

If this thread was about debating her criticism that would be one thing but it seems like it's an outward attack on her viewpoint in general. That's a problem.

How are you supposed to separate her criticisms from her viewpoints when the two are the exact same thing?
 

Shy Fingers

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Abby is a token hire that has not enough knowledge about games to make informed or interesting commentary.
I like Abby, but she doesn't know anything about gaming or its history, or even the context it exists in today.
Since when do you need to be an "expert" to have an opinion on a piece of media you consumed? How would adding another "expert" to the discussion change much?

She's a young woman who obviously hasn't been in the industry as long as the people she works with (Some have around 20 years of age on her). She's going to view things differently.
 
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Nikana

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Jan 26, 2016
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She just never explains anything in a way that gets what's she's saying across as intelligent. The god of War part was really bad.

It's to the point now she's even admitting that she's going to be called out and she doesn't even care. Even Vinny was basically being like I didn't see it that way and challenged her to actually explain how she got to the conclusion and she just shut down.

Same thing with cuphead last year. She just repeated cuphead should be higher over and over. Her opinions tend to be one sided and she refuses to see it any other way .
 
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