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About Tony "OUberLord" Mitera

I've been entrenched in the world of game reviews for almost a decade, and I've been playing them for even longer. I'm primarily a PC gamer, though I own and play pretty much all modern platforms. When I'm not shooting up the place in the online arena, I can be found working in the IT field, which has just as many computers but far less shooting. Usually.

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Editorial - 'A Call for Support'

by Tony "OUberLord" Mitera on May 13, 2022 @ 12:52 a.m. PDT

Video games are a form of art. They are played to sate curiosity, provide entertainment, or offer a brief window of escapism.

Video games are a form of art. They are played to sate curiosity, provide entertainment, or offer a brief window of escapism. The medium is enjoyed by just about every subset of people and has become a significant part of pop culture. This prominence has given game developers and publishers a significant platform, and oftentimes, the message of a game or a statement from the people involved with them have a powerful effect.

On May 2, 2022, the Supreme Court's intention to reverse a decades-old precedent set by Roe v. Wade became public knowledge. This precedent has been a major defense in maintaining the bodily autonomy of those who can get pregnant. While not something that directly affects video games, the effect that such a reversal would have on those who create and enjoy them has the potential to be catastrophic.

Various organizations have responded to the news differently. Bungie released a statement that it supports essential healthcare rights. Some of the responses that it received to its Twitter post was as unfortunate as it was predictable, but Bungie stood behind it as being both "very relevant to the lives of our employees" and that its "company values exist beyond [its] games." Bungie has a track record of making "political" statements, and its willingness to use its platform to try and improve people's lives is commendable. Its support is appreciated, as the continuation of these rights is simply not up for debate.

Per reporting from Bloomberg, PlayStation president Jim Ryan certainly tried to take a different approach. In an email that Ryan reportedly sent to employees, he wrote in relation to the news that the company and its customers are "multi-faceted and diverse, holding many different points of view." He also reportedly wrote that "we owe it to each other and to PlayStation's millions of users to respect differences of opinion among everyone in our internal and external communities. Respect does not equal agreement. But it is fundamental to who we are as a company and as a valued global brand."

I can only imagine how comfortable it must be to craft such statements if I were in Ryan's position. How easy it must have been for him to write a few words to take as much of a non-stance as possible, if only to give the topic a pittance of attention. He used just enough words in the short statement to give employees the impression that surely the company cares about the issue, but the company would do anything to disrupt the "valued global brand."

It is also a stunning display of cowardice. The potential reversal of Roe v. Wade is not some matter of respect, or the lack thereof. To some people, it is an existential threat if they live in a state with incompetently (if not maliciously) crafted trigger laws. For many, it will drastically limit their options for reproductive health, such as losing access to emergency contraceptives or even IUD devices that help prevent pregnancy in the first place. For others, it puts them more directly in harm's way, forcing them to carry a pregnancy to term despite it being a mortal threat to their lives.

There simply isn't any space for "non-stance" statements to be made, whether it be in the form of a simple internal message to employees or a public statement with all the potential repercussions that such a statement can bring. This isn't a matter of politics or respect; it is a matter of deciding if your organization's values either truly mean something or if you've simply been lying about them in service of the almighty brand. It is my recommendation that video game organizations wield the considerable power of their platforms and voice to stand in support of those affected by this outright attack on their basic rights.

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