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ableism eternal gamergate harassment

Game reviewer harassed after pointing out that Cyberpunk 2077 literally gave her a seizure

It’s as if GamerGate never went away.

On Monday, Game Informer Associate Editor Liana Ruppert posted what she called an “Epileptic PSA” for the much-anticipated open-world game Cyberpunk 2077, noting that one sequence in the game literally triggered an epileptic seizure when she was playing the game.

Naturally, some gamers decided to punish her for her crime of speaking ill about a game they haven’t even played yet (it comes out tomorrow), sending her hundreds of videos featuring flashing lights in an attempt to give her another seizure.

Apparently Ruppert’s critics are outraged that someone would criticize a cyberpunk game for having flashing lights because FLaShinG LigHTs ArE pArT oF tHe cYBeRpuNK aEsthEtiC!!1!

Others decided based on nothing — and certainly without reading Ruppert’s post — that the seizure-inducing elements of the game couldn’t possibly be seizure-inducing.

Others declared that lots of things are seizure inducing, so why single out this one game?

One commenter insisted that ART must come before accessibility. “Games are a form of art,” wrote rndsum on Twitter. “While I want accessibility I also want art and the game to come first and censorship as an option.”

Cyberpunk developer CD Projekt RED says it will now be putting specific seizure warnings in the game itself while it looks for a “more permanent solution” to the problem, which will likely mean new settings for the game designed to eliminate or reduce flickering lights and other potential seizure-causing visuals.

You can have both art and accessibility. I’m just a teensy bit appalled that this didn’t occur to CD Projekt RED before this controversy erupted.

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Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

From what I’ve heard, the seizure-causing feature is a deliberate move by the developers in maybe the worst way possible. By which I mean, it’s an in-game device that appears to be modeled off of the real life medical device that is used to induce seizures for diagnostic purposes, and it doesn’t carry a warning. This is just the cherry on top for a game that is already notably misogynistic and transphobic.

Last edited 11 months ago by Naglfar
Mogwitch
Mogwitch
11 months ago

I read her PSA from the link you sent.

She’s not even criticising the game! She’s saying the game is great! She is in fact saying the game is so great that she wants to play it despite the seizures, and here is a guide for people with similar conditions to mitigate the worst effects so they can play it anyway.

How much better of a review can you get than – this literally gave me seizures but it was so good I will not be avoiding it forever? In fact I did something severely risky in order to share the experience safely.

Which do you think is her worst crime to the Miggies – being a woman, being disabled, being community minded, or being a hell of a lot braver than them?

Banananananana dakry: still fat and deranged
Banananananana dakry: still fat and deranged
11 months ago

@Mogwitch

Why not all at the same time? 😛

Alan Robertshaw
11 months ago

@ mogwitch

How much better of a review can you get than – this literally gave me seizures but it was so good I will not be avoiding it forever?

“Aside from that, the service was terrific. I will definitely be re-booking. On the RMS Olympic obviously. Just as soon as I’ve thawed out.”

kupo
kupo
11 months ago

A lot of people have been asking about this on Twitter so in case anyone is confused: yes, due to the nature of TV, film, and video games being basically a series of flashing images its possible that they could cause a seizure, and some patients will be told to avoid all video games because they have that potential. No, it’s not common or likely, even in photosensitive epileptics, to be triggered by a video game unless it contains flashing light sequences between 3 and 30 hertz. Also, there’s a test just for this, but I’m not surprised it’s not part of console certification since the video game industry decided just slapping a blanket seizure warning on everything was sufficient.

ETA: I’m not an expert, just have read up on it because I have a photosensitivity to similar light patterns, but thankfully not epilepsy. It just makes me feel a little off and may have caused migraines in the past, though it’s hard to say what causes those for me.

Last edited 11 months ago by kupo
Mish of the Catlady Ascendancy

There’s also the Gamespot reviewer who dared to give the game a 7 out of 10. Much outrage, many death threats – of course. I just saw her thread about it this morning on Twitter.

Side note: my son just started playing the game a few hours ago. I will miss him 🙂

ColeYote
ColeYote
11 months ago

Absolutely disgusting that people would be so attached to a fucking game that they’d try to force someone to have a seizure over saying they like the game but it did have a bit of a seizure-causing problem.

And I saw so many people going “well there’s a warning in the EULA” as if most people can’t count the number of EULA’s they’ve read in full on no hands. Even if there were a proper seizure warning mixed in with the titles, that wouldn’t be enough. Aside from those being so common they’re practically meaningless, it’s been described as a near-1:1 recreation of a device doctors use to deliberately induce seizures as a test. I’m sure it’s a coincidence, but if they don’t change it, people are going to learn they have epilepsy.

Cheesynougats
Cheesynougats
11 months ago

Naglfar, do you have a source on including this as a deliberate decision by the devs?

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@Cheesynougats
I do not have a source stating that explicitly, however, given what I do know I can’t think of any way this is not deliberate. There is an in-game object that looks exactly like the medical device that is used to induce seizures, and it is what seems to be inducing seizures for players. I can’t think of a way that that is unintentional.

rv97
rv97
11 months ago

I’m still avoiding the game to avoid disappointment with mechanics, but as someone who hasn’t yet had seizures from games but feels they may be vulnerable to experiencing seizures, I have another, more legitimate reason to avoid it.

weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
weirwoodtreehugger: chief manatee
11 months ago

Don’t worry. I’m sure deliberately sending someone seizure inducing videos was done for the sake of ethics in gaming journalism.

Battering Lamb
Battering Lamb
11 months ago

Don’t worry. I’m sure deliberately sending someone seizure inducing videos was done for the sake of ethics in gaming journalism.

Pretty sure the justification would be something like this: “Of course! We had to test whether the person was actually sensitive to seizures. She was capable of responding, so obviously she is a liar!”

I was looking forward to this game, until the first hints of transphobia showed up. Given the studio is polish, and a third of poland has been declared a “LGBTQ-free zone”, that definitely made me very wary. Now this.

Also, I’m pretty sure knowingly sending seizure-inducing videos to someone susceptible to them under the guise of something else should count as assault?

Buttercup Q. Skullpants
Buttercup Q. Skullpants
11 months ago

Kurt Eichenwald recently won six figures in a civil lawsuit against the MAGA who sent him a seizure-inducing gif on Twitter. He also uncovered a white supremacist network that was involved in sending those gifs to others in the epilepsy community, including the Epilepsy Foundation.

The criminal lawsuit is next. Hopefully by then, the current Justice Department will be fumigated.

banned@4chan.org
banned@4chan.org
11 months ago

It’s as if GamerGate never went away

I don’t believe it went away, but maybe that’s just because I post on /v/ every day

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@banned@4chan.org
GamerGate didn’t go away. I’m pretty sure David was asking rhetorically, but the truth is that it didn’t go anywhere. Anita Sarkeesian and Zoë Quinn are still bombarded with harassment, women in gaming (including gamers, developers, journalists, etc) are still abused. Just check the replies to any tweet by Anita Sarkeesian, it’s a perfect demonstration of Lewis’s Law.

rv97
rv97
11 months ago

@Naglfar

Checking the Steam store page, the minimum hardware requirements does state in the additional notes about health warnings – this itself is unusual compared to the other games I’ve played, and while I haven’t played the game and don’t intend to in the short term (to avoid disappointment), if the health warning isn’t shown in the game itself, then yes, it could be placed in a more prominent medium.

North Sea Sparkly Dragon
North Sea Sparkly Dragon
11 months ago

Don’t people have better things to do with their time than harass a woman for sharing a PSA that helps disabled people?

What am I thinking, of course they don’t have better things to do or they would be doing them. Even if they did, they’d still harass women for having talking about games.

Some Chick
Some Chick
11 months ago

“Just a heads up, this game might cause a medical problem for some people.”
“Death! Betrayal! How dare you be concerned for your own welfare and the welfare of others?! The only right action is deeply immature, self-absorbed, narcissistic behavior!”
Gawd, I hate these little man babies throwing a fit every time someone somewhere dares to breathe slightly differently than what they’re comfortable with.

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

O/T: JK Rowling has decided to attack trans people in the press again. She claims 90% of her fans agree with her but are afraid to speak out.
https://www.lgbtqnation.com/2020/12/j-k-rowling-says-90-fans-agree-transphobia-theyre-afraid-say-publicly/

numerobis
numerobis
11 months ago

She may be right that 90% of her remaining fans are there for the transphobia.

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@numerobis
Maybe so, but for a group that claims to be afraid to speak out, they’re awfully loud.

epitome of incomrepehensibility

sending her hundreds of videos featuring flashing lights in an attempt to give her another seizure

What? WHY??

Way not to be assholes, assholes.

“While I want accessibility I also want art and the game to come first and censorship as an option.”

How is having a different option “censorship”?

This website has a “night mode” that makes the background dark. Is that censorship??

Last edited 11 months ago by epitome of incomrepehensibility
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse
11 months ago

And this is why people who whine about “Cancel Culture” are the worst. Because you have a group of people ACTIVELY trying to harm a journalist, potentially to the point of death, and yet this won’t even be considered an example of the “Cancel Culture” movement. Because it involves a woman daring to point out a harmful fact about their sacred video games instead of someone being called out and shunned for being an awful shitstain of a person.

Fabe
Fabe
11 months ago

I have this game on my steam wishlist but haven’t be following it really. What are the transphobic elements to it?

Big Titty Demon
Big Titty Demon
11 months ago

Aside from all the other garbage in this post… wait what? This game caused a seizure so she may enjoy League of Legends? The 4th highest-earning esport in the world is for supposed wussies now?

Maybe it’s because AOC tainted it by being good at it. *scary jazz hands*

@Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse

You said it perfectly.

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@epitome
They also fail to understand what censorship is. Censorship can only be done by a government, so unless the government is forcing them to remove or hide the feature it isn’t censorship.

@Fabe

What are the transphobic elements to it?

One of the first screenshots released was of an in-game billboard showing a fetishistic depiction of a woman with a penis, and from there on it appears the game has a real issue with fetishizing trans women’s bodies. In addition, since the character creator allows you to create characters with whatever genitals you want, all the gamer bros are making “futa” jokes (it’s a kind of anime porn that fetishizes women with penises and is used as a derogatory term for trans women). Plus, CDPR, the studio that made it, is based in Poland where one third of the country is “LGBT-free zones.” There might be more, that’s just what I remember.

Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
11 months ago

I have this game on my steam wishlist but haven’t be following it really. What are the transphobic elements to it?

Objectified and fetishized trans* used as scenery, your gender is determined by your voice pitch instead of your choice of genitals.
Probably other stuff, those are just the ones I noticed on watching a vid.

Last edited 11 months ago by Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse
Schnookums Von Fancypants, Naughty Basic Horse
11 months ago

One of the first screenshots released was of an in-game billboard showing a fetishistic depiction of a woman with a penis, and from there on it appears the game has a real issue with fetishizing trans women’s bodies.


I was disappointed with Mike Pondsmith (creator of the PnP Cyberpunk game that this is all based on) for defending CDPR on this regard. Part of the defense is that these are the evil corporations that are fetishizing/commodifying transfolks, but unless that’s an actual plot point (and by all accounts it isn’t) then the bigotry is just window dressing with no context. Which means that it does, in fact, come off as snide and bigoted. An attempt to be “cute” that fails utterly.

Fabe
Fabe
11 months ago

@Schnookums

Megacorps fetishizing trans poeple to turn them into commodities defenitly sounds cyberpunk(the sci-fi sub genra) to me but it does sound like it could of used some context even if it wasn’t plot point and just world building. maybe a bit of exposition dialog while looking at those ads “Society was just starting to make progress when it came to letting people be who they felt they were rather that what they were born .But then the corps came along,fetishized it,packaged it ,marketed and sold it back to us as a kink”

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@Fabe

Megacorps fetishizing trans poeple to turn them into commodities defenitly sounds cyberpunk(the sci-fi sub genra) to me but it does sound like it could of used some context even if it wasn’t plot point and just world building. maybe a bit of exposition dialog while looking at those ads

Unfortunately, it appears that they think they’ve been progressive just for including the images. They, like many chasers, appear to have a hard time telling the difference between supporting and fetishizing.

There appears to be a large amount of transphobia in the cyberpunk genre/community as a whole. On some level I get that it’s a reflection of society as a whole, but I’d think that given that some of main principles of cyberpunk are body modification and unconventional expression that trans people would be more supported. If the genre involves people swapping or radically reconfiguring their bodies, couldn’t the readers understand how someone’s gender might not align with their body?

Fabe
Fabe
11 months ago

Exactly! I agree 100%. When I heard of people critizing the game because they felt it was too trans inclusive I though the same thing. Ttranshumanism is part of the cyberpunk genera so if replacing body parts with mechanical ones to make humans more then human is no big deal then there should be no problem with people changing their gender.

Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
Threp (formerly Shadowplay)
11 months ago

There appears to be a large amount of transphobia in the cyberpunk genre/community as a whole …

Fans don’t much like reality. Cyberpunk body mods ain’t real. Trans* are.

Bakunin
Bakunin
11 months ago

The fetishy billboard wouldn’t really bother me, had CDPR remembered to include the “punk” part of “cyberpunk”. Having an oversexualised ad is fine, if you have someone in game to criticise it or provide a counterpoint. Otherwise you aren’t highlighting capitalist dystopia, you’re reproducing it. The real world is a capitalist wasteland with gross ads objectifying people, and here’s the key part, there are people who are pushing back against it
Next person I see saying “but it’s a dystopiaaaaaaaa” is getting puked on

Last edited 11 months ago by Bakunin
magnesium
magnesium
11 months ago

You can’t expect the *gamers* flipping out about her article to actually read an article before joining the outrage mob. Reading is for losers who don’t build their entire identities on the entertainment products they consume.

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@Bakunin
Exactly. However, AFAIK there isn’t none pushing back on it in game, and regardless of the creator’s intents there will be a subset of players who look at the dystopian setting and think “cool future.” And by extension the implication would be “in the future it will be cool to sexuality trans people, much as in the present but even more so.”

NautaliaC
NautaliaC
11 months ago

Cyberpunk 2077’s devs seem to take only a slice of trans input and leave the rest to this sort of “boy’s club” style of transphobia. I think the proof will be in the pudding when it comes to context within the setting but their devs seem to miss the mark by posting tweets such as sarcastic “Did you just assume their gender?!” Etc. I’m not holding out for good representation in this game, but it’s not because I don’t feel represented, but it excludes the majority of the experiences we have.

Lately I have been trying to find methods in which to explore how trans bodies are represented in media, porn or otherwise. I’ve been interested because I am actually of the type to be proud of the parts below my belt even though I pass most of the time. I don’t tuck or pretend I have different equipment around people I trust. And, I’d like to see more unabashed displays of trans people with trans bodies being praised for who we are, fucking gorgeous.

That being said, if the praise comes from this male gaze/boy’s club point of view then we have a problem. Added to that, I have a large friend group who are absolutely trans allies, many of them queer cis women who are excited for this game. I guess what I mean to say is this situation is a mess for me because I don’t like the messengers and most of the message, but knowing some people who are getting the best parts out of it is still heartening to me. I may be in the minority here, but it’s been a hard road trying to be seen as sexy and as a person deserving respect and if this game encourages discussions about the topic I feel that is better than “thing bad.”

Alan Robertshaw
11 months ago

Slightly O/T but I thought people might enjoy this as a bit of light relief.

It’s the judgement in Trump’s appeal to the Supreme Court.

Click the link and see how long it takes you to read it.

https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/120820zr_bq7d.pdf

Ooglyboggles
Ooglyboggles
11 months ago

@Alan
An absolute work of art.

North Sea Sparkly Dragon
North Sea Sparkly Dragon
11 months ago

An acquaintance of mine has it, I warned him about the seizure inducing effects. He’s unimpressed by the quality, very buggy game apparently, lacking polish. He made a bad Polish/polish pun too.

Jenora Feuer
Jenora Feuer
11 months ago

@Alan:
And, of course, in that sort of situation, that’s all the Supreme Court has to say: “No, we’re not even going to bother spending time to look into this.” Even those on the Supreme Court who might be sympathetic are not going to want to open the can of worms of letting people refer challenges like this directly to them this late in the process.

Mike Kelly’s Wikipedia page is pretty scathing, quoting a full paragraph rebuke from the rejection he got from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court back on November 28th. And it says something that the Chamber of Commerce gives him a 95% rating and the ACLU a 5%.

Nequam
Nequam
11 months ago
Chris Oakley
Chris Oakley
11 months ago

This qualifies as full-fledged domestic terrorism.

Alan Robertshaw
11 months ago

I know you all like Supreme Court judgments; so here’s the latest Trump one:

https://www.supremecourt.gov/orders/courtorders/121120zr_p860.pdf

For those of you who don’t have time to read all two paragraphs; the court stated that the complaint was inadmissible.

Alito and Thomas dissented. They said the court did have jurisdiction to accept the paperwork; but having done so they should dismiss the claim without a hearing.

Naglfar
Naglfar
11 months ago

@Alan Robertshaw
It is of course good that the court has rejected each of these cases. However, the problem remains that the Trump administration is not trying to win so much as to sow doubt in the population. If they can convince people that the election was stolen, they’ve radicalized an army. Today the Texas GOP alluded to secession in a press release. If they talk about it but don’t do it, they can have plausible deniability but incite others to do stochastic terrorism.

Dalillama
11 months ago

@Naglfar

Today the Texas GOP alluded to secession in a press release

They do that every time there’s a Democratic president, and any time a Republican president doesn’t kiss their asses hard enough. Texan right-wingers haven’t shut up about secession for six consecutive months since the war with Mexico.

angela angie
11 months ago

 have a large friend group who are absolutely trans allies, many of them queer cis women who are excited for this game. 


Alan Robertshaw
11 months ago

Latest, and I think final, Trump judgement. From Wisconsin Supreme Court.

This one is a bit longer; but I like how the judge uses “extraordinary” a lot. And that’s the judge’s italics.

But nice summary at the end:

The Plaintiff (Trump) asks that the rule of law be followed. It has been.

Case dismissed.

https://beta.documentcloud.org/documents/20423518-trump_case_decision