McMillan’s Codex #56 by C.T. McMillan
Homicide v. Everyone
Back in April I reported on a lawsuit against Jim Sterling by developer Digital Homicide. DigiHom was suing for $11 million on 10 counts of libel after Sterling negatively reviewed their games. It has been almost two years since the feud began and there has yet to be a resolution. I sympathize with DigiHom, because when artists are criticized after devoting a lot of time and effort into their creations in a very competetive field, trying to just move on can be difficult. Criticism is an attack and I understand why they would have this sort of reaction.
And now I am going to take back everything I just wrote.
I am not the most active on Twitter, but when I see something that interests me, I pay attention. Bro Team Pill is on there daily, perusing the Internet for madness that brings him comfort in knowing there are people more insane than himself. Since the Crash Override Network leaks ironically exposed the anti-trolling group as trolls themselves, he has found great pleasure in posting screenshots of documents with his reaction.
One day I was looking at all the nonsense and spotted the above excerpt from what looked like a court document. I know whom Karl Pilkington because he is the whipping boy of Ricky Gervais on Idiot Abroad and The Ricky Gervais Show. The use of his name is obviously a joke. What caught my attention was that this was somehow a serious piece of evidence. I searched through Bro Team’s tweets and found another choice quote:
I thought back to the interview between Sterling and DigiHom’s Robert Romine. The game Shooter Tactics described in the post was the subject of Sterling’s criticism and the developer responded with a tirade brought upon by trolling commenters. I was reminded of the interview because Romine described the emotional turmoil that Sterling inadvertently caused by creating a movement of trolls to target his games. I asked Bro Team if the excerpt was related to the Sterling/Digihom feud and found myself vindicated.
I did more digging and discovered the would-be developer had sued an entire Steam Group. (A Steam group is like any other social media group, but on the Steam digital distribution service.) The members of the Group in question, “Digital Homicides,” are being charged with harassment, stalking, and tortious interference for $18 million. Because the 100 members use screen names, James Romine, DigiHom’s representative, did not have anyone to target. The company that created Steam called Valve was then sent a subpoena for the personal information of the “Digital Homicides” Steam Group members. In response, Valve pulled every one of DigiHom’s games from distribution. As of now, there has been no word from the Romines on the situation.
Often we root for the little guy, the downtrodden that are so low they cannot easily fight back. For a while I was on DigiHom’s side. I have never been criticized to the point I felt offended because I do not take anything that seriouslyly. Nevertheless, I could still feel sorry for them. But the drama with “Digitital Homicides” is beyond the pale of inappropriate. To sue average commenters for not liking your terrible games is attempting censorship. Their recent behavior has not only changed by opinion of the situation, but my feelings on them as a “developer” and individuals. They are pissed off hacks so desperate for recognition that they have made themselves an enemy to all, and utterly destroyed any credibility they might have had in the videogame world. I hope they learn a hard, expensive lesson from the mess they have made.
Aristotle once said, “Criticism is something we can avoid easily by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Because DigiHom is so driven by ego and arrogance, they could not ignore the negativity deservedly heaped upon their games. Criticism of games is like any other medium, but these days some of us have become too fragile to take even constructive criticism. If you cannot tolerate criticism, just say, do, and be nothing.
Or listen and grow stronger.