Jimquisition: Go Fish

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Jim, I recently commented that your videos tend to ramble a bit. This video, however, was wonderfully concise and laid out points efficiently and intuitively. More of the same, please C:

To cut to the chase, people are terrible but not _that_ terrible.

Thank you Jim, I had very little knowledge of Fish but I enjoy Marcus Beer's work thoroughly so it did affect my view of the whole incident. Your episode today convinced my that I was wrong to jump the gun. I have not expressed my opinions on this matter until now though so at least I didn't do any harm to those involved. This episode has further convinced me that Thumper had it right all along "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

"-Developers are so lacking in personalities a lot of the time"

Yep that will probably happen when you are turned into a mindless drone, working on projects without vision, passion or creativity, making generic crappy game after game, endless shitty sequels, awful remaks and piles of depressing dlc.

I can really understand why some people from time to time get vocal in an industri where so much bs i going on. And I guess it's easy to sometimes lose focus on what really matters.

Anyway Jim I hope you stay the course, you are one of the good ones who probably have a greater affect on this industry than you might think.

Well said, Jim.

It drives me nuts how on the internet, so many people are absolute assholes, but when someone retaliates everyone gangs up on them calling them an asshole. It's just a vicious cycle.

It's bullying, plain and simple. And no one ever comes out of it looking good; neither the bully nor the victim. It's just a mess no matter what.

Fish responded badly, yes, and he had no right to say what he did. But he is only human, and many people are very quick to jump down someone's throat when they dare to show their humanity; their faults. As if the people who drove him to it themselves have no faults of their own.

We all snap at some point. I don't agree with what Fish did, but I understand it.

I'm not at all getting the sympathy here.
We can call the multiple creators sexist/racist, damning them in reputation for making a light joke, being mad at obvious yellow journalism, or having fanservice.

However, Phil, who calls a harsh critique a butthurt teenager who's in love with his right hand in context, but then rages himself and cancels his game.
Phil, who says gamers are the worst, and yet is more than happy to get positive press.
Phil, who made only one single decent game, marks himself as a representative of the independent gaming community.
Phil, who laughed with others about Japanese developers that they sucked for reason could be said not only their own games but ALL games period, is taken as "oh he's just having a hard time?"

Sometimes it feels like taking a third side of "how about Phil Fish as a man who acts as an idol to many gamers should be able to take what he already lashes out?" is not even an elephant, but a wooly mammoth covered in a sheet...a small polka-dot sheet.


Nobody hates him because he made a good game. They hate him because he acts like an asshole.

I don't think anyone ever denied that the guy is abrasive. I also think that everyone agrees that it's not ok to send someone death threats because you disagree with statements he made about a game you like

If he wasn't notorious for comments like Japanese game devs suck, or my personal favorite "suck my dick, choke on it," this wouldn't have ever been a problem.

I'm inclined to disagree. Lone Survivor dev Jasper Byrne went on record about receiving a 6-page email where someone threatened to kill his daughter... because he ported the game to the Vita

This isn't so much just about Fish (although for the record, I've find a dev with a pair of stones pretty refreshing these days) as it is about the gaming community & the directionless trolling that goes so far beyond the pale, so often. I personally avoid online gaming because of the sheer volume of bile that's spewed. Now, I'm just some guy; if that's what I get for daring to sign on to a server, I can't imagine what it's like to be known & say anything. ever.

Jim apparently does. He clearly understands & sympathizes

Oh, & Jim? Please do more of these personal episodes. This was nice :)

My problem isn't with Fish needing a thicker skin.
I just have no sympathy because every time I heard him make a statement, he's acting like a ponce.

"Oh no, he said something I don't like! Lets insult him at every occasion possible, attack his person everytime someone brings up his man and threaten him with physical violence".

This is all the reason you and everyone else displayed. Yeah, this is the reason why I am not part of the gaming community. The gaming community label is just bad.

Edit: You personally may not go into that extreme but the mindset is the same.

I understand Phil Fish has had a lot of shit from a lot of people, and the nastiness of some of the stuff is inexcusable, but this is not something that affects most indie developers. Phil Fish set himself up as a target with his nasty, bitter and childish attitude he's constantly broadcast. From telling a Japanese dev his 'games just suck' to telling someone to 'suck his dick. choke on it' to telling someone to kill themselves, this is a guy who has had an acerbic personality to even his fans. He's never acted humbly about anything he has ever done.

Look at the Treyarch dev who balanced some gun stats on Black Ops 2 and had threats about his daughter getting raped. That is someone who doesn't deserve the hatred or the bile the internet gives him, but he takes it on the chin because that's a couple of children and sociopaths with no filter. If the Hotline Miami devs, or Jasper Bryne, or Notch or a whole sea of indie game developers had announced they were quitting do you really think people would be praising and so happy that they'd left? . No, it's not fair on anyone to get that amount of hatred spewed at them, but when all you do is encourage such negativity yourself then it's so much harder to sympathise.

I'll put this out right now, Beer's remarks are childish, in poor taste, easily forgettable and reminiscent of a 3 year old in a 30 year old's body. It was tactless, rude, insulting, abrasive, I could go on and on. To summarize, it was something that could have certainly been handled better.

But he's not wrong.

This is where the differences between Jim's previous issues and what Mr. Fish has been going through come to light. The backlash toward Jim's reviews (which was the primary source of the vitriol he talks about) are poorly worded disputes about his opinion. Rarely if ever has Jim personally attacked the people who makes the game he reviews. He's blunt and honest about his opinions about the games themselves, but only in his editorials has he ever made disparaging remarks toward people, and those are not without cause.

Phil Fish on the other hand I see as no different than a hollywood celebrity. He feels the world revolves around him, and he loves to be in the limelight and all eyes on him. But only on his terms. Say something that is not showering him with praise or ask him something that isn't promoting his new project, no matter how benign it is, and expect to be lashed out at and treated like scum and garbage because how dare you say something not worshiping him. Fish does have a thick skin for how long he's put up with it, but to be honest he does not take criticism well, regardless of how it's delivered. Yes the internet is a spiteful, hateful place. But putting someone who's saying that the game you made is not perfect in the same pool as the people calling for rape and murder does not help your image. Yes, the net is hostile to Fish, but to be honest he's no innocent victim in this.

One last thing. A number of people are saying how it's a travesty etc that Fish is leaving and he is sorely needed. I disagree. Fish's ideas are sorely needed. Not the man himself. If he kept behind the scenes and worked on the games themselves, a number of issues could have been resolved. But facing the world means you accept both the good and the bad. That is something Fish needs to learn.

I had to look these guys up and what happened.
Can't say that I care much more than before tbh.

Since I can neither confirm Fish or Blow bitching about informers request nor them declining the request because of lacking information at that moment there is nothing to really base my opinion on whether either of them had a real point.

I don't play their games therefore I don't care is as good as it gets.

What exactly did this Fish guy cop it for anyway?

I remember hearing some vague mentions of him being a bit of a knob, but nothing specific.

I think the first thing that really brought him notoriety (and the subsequent Metacritic bombing of Fez) was his comments about how all modern Japanese games and their developers were crap. Either that or when he responded to people mocking him for criticizing other developers when he hadn't had a game released yet by stating that he won an award of some sort (presumably because of pre-release Fez) and so they should "suck on [his] dick. choke on it."

OT: The thing that disappoints me the most about this whole thing and all of the events precluding it is the simple fact that the gaming community is so toxic and hostile that people who create video games receive death threats. This is a form of entertainment, designed almost purely for filling free time, and there are people who will spend days, weeks, or months endlessly harassing the developers because... what, they didn't like something about the game? Or because they said something stupid in the public eye? Everyone says stupid things in the public eye, it shouldn't have any impact on your judgement of their work if the work is completely unrelated to whatever they said.

I think Fish's reaction was overblown and juvenile, but the fact that everything piled up enough to make him react that way in the first place just makes me feel horrible about the state of the community I'm supposedly a part of.

Jimothy Sterling:
Go Fish

In this extra episode, Jimquisition lends a rambling mouth to the controversy surrounding Phil Fish and his dramatic exit from the videogame world.

Watch Video

I definitely agree. The gamer community is all kinds of toxic to people in positions of visibility and it really does need to change. Hopefully your position as someone on the receiving end of that kind of abuse will be enough for people to learn something. I doubt it'll happen, but a man can dream. Thank god for thee, and thanks for sharing.

Good one.

Another bite of honesty and a bit of enlightenment, pushing the conversation in good directions.

I'm sorry Jim, but I simply fundamentally disagree.

There's this thing called PR, pretty much every public person of any real importance who wants to keep their job does it, and it generally, first and foremost, involves disengaging from public discourse about your person.

If you find, as Phil Fish should have found long ago, that you are completely unable to weather the storm of negativity that will inevitably follow ANY public person of any importance online without snapping back, then you absolutely NEED to disengage from it. In Phil Fish's case this would literally have been as either making his twitter private, or simply not reading what people tweet at him.

This is the internet, no one is forcing anyone to listen to anything, Phil Fish knows, for a FACT, that when he checks his twitter there is going to be negativity, he knows that he cannot stand this negativity, and yet he insists on subjecting himself to it anyway. When this has been brought up to him, he says he doesn't wanna because that would mean that "The haters win", which is a lot like the village idiot standing himself in the town square, and him refusing to move when people start throwing rotten tomatoes at him, and saying that he doesn't want to leave the town square because "The tomato throwers would win".

This is not even to mention that Phil has, on more than one occasion, actively engaged the negative behavior HIMSELF, with no concrete target. When some people don't like what you've said, the correct move is not to start a thread on the steam forums mocking your detractors and actively inviting their bile.

Do you think that anyone of any greater importance would last a day in their job if they acted like Phil Fish does?

Do you think Will Smith would have any kind of career (Outside of reality TV) if he told people who call his movies bad to kill themselves and shouted at a European director at a Q&A session that "Your movies suck"?

If you want to be a public person, then you HAVE to be able to set yourself above this kind of trollbaiting flamewar bullshit, if you can't then you're no better than the trolls that you are so eager to point at as scumbags.

Public persons, journalists, developers, actors, what the fuck ever, are held, and SHOULD be held, to a higher standard.

And also, let's please just dismiss this notion that "death threats" on the internet mean anything. If you seriously fear for your life whenever some mongoloid says that he's gonna bash your head in on 4chan, then you might wanna check with your doctor if he has any medication for severe delusions and paranoia.

Thanks for the improvised episode Jim. I actually enjoyed it quite a lot, I agree with your points completely. I think the main thing that people forget is that Game Devs and well everyone are people. Show some empathy even if you are anonymous on the internet and such. Unfortunately that is a lot to ask from some people. Side note, don't ever quit Jim, I love your videos and think you are awesome even when I disagree with you.

My problem with Fish wasn't with the way he lashed out at haters over social media. At least, not initially.

My problem with Fish was how he would makes such utterly conceited statements as the one he made in the above video, where he essentially insults a young Japanese developer to his face and inspires a room full of people to laugh at him.

The games industry doesn't exist in a binary position. Developers don't have to choose between either being corporate shills or loud mouthed brats. Plenty of developers manage to speak from an honest, informative position while still exhibiting class, decency and a sense of humility. Just read any interview with Miyamoto, Warren Spector, Tim Shafer, or the dozens of other developers who've managed to make their name off more than a single game.

Fish is a developer who made one game, then thought that entitled him to shit on everyone else. He has no cause to complain when the rest of the community chose to shit back on him. The community didn't start the problem by launching unprovoked attacks on Fish. He started the problem by acting like a conceited, bigoted, self-fellating ass.

Sure, he made the world a more interesting place. So do racists. Doesn't mean I want them around either.

I have no problem with people voicing opinions in a strongly worded, cutting manner. I simply would like it if they could still exhibit some form of class and decency as they do so. Even at my angriest, I always try and make sure my posts are clearly written, and follow clear lines of logic. Others may call me out on my execution of such, but that at least is where I try and build my posts from. Fish, on the other hand, just randomly throws shit at people just to see what happens.

Regarding yourself Jim, I think perhaps you missed the reason why people have started respecting you more. It's not because of any great change in the gaming community. From what I can tell, at least, it's because you've started acting less like a troll, and more like a games writer with something intelligent and thoughtful to offer as discussion. It;s as simple as that. The gamer community, for all the hatred and frothy madness that it often succumbs to, likes to feel like its commentators are actually trying to engage with them in a somewhat intelligent manner. You made the jump to intelligent commentator, gamers started respecting you more. Fish continues to act like a whiny, spoiled brat, people will continue to pour their scorn on him.

At the end of the day, Fez was just a single game. It wasn't so perfect a game that the industry is made irrevocably worse by Fish's absence.

Thank you, Jim, for providing me with a context in which "You are one in a million" is a bad thing.
I confess to knowing little about the subject, actually. I don't have anything to do with Twitter, so I don't really know how bad it gets. Although, I expect it gets really bad, because there's nothing for bringing out the worst in people like providing them with a platform to let their opinion reach millions of people without any effort or forethought.

I get the feeling that life isn't particularly kind to you when your last name is "Fish".

On the one hand, Fish is a jerk. A lot of the harshness he received, he brought on himself. He conducted himself in a manner that showed he thought he was God's gift to video games, while also showing him to be very naïve. He is a talented game designer, certainly, but he needed a figurative kick in the pants to take him down a few pegs -- and, who knows, maybe if his detractors hadn't gone overboard, he might've learned something. I'm disappointed he decided to stop being a game designer, rather than stop being an ass, but really, I'm not surprised, either.

On the other hand, threats of physical violence are way beyond anything he deserved. Hearing about people doing that over stuff like this always saddens me -- that there could be some massive failing (of society? rearing? education?) in so many people's development that led to them being so uncivil. It's massively immature at best, and dangerously unhinged at worst. And it's such an alarmingly vocal minority in the gaming community, too.

I'll join the chorus saying I'm also a Jimquisition convert; early on, you said a lot of things I agreed with, but you just seemed so incredibly unlikable. It wasn't until I saw you at Escapist Expo, so very different from the persona you project in your videos, that my opinion of you started to change. I gave your show another chance, and I liked it. Your harsh and arrogant tone had become a jest, you'd turned around on several points that had colored my initial opinions of you, and you became better at your craft, too. It's sad to know now that you'd considered quitting, but I'm glad you instead made the choice to improve.

Phil Fish could learn from your example.

[EDIT] Sometimes wish this forum had upvotes. j-e-f-f-e-r-s came along and posted while I was writing mine, and said very well a lot of the same things I did, but with a lot more precision. Thumbs up to that post.

I think that's what a lot of people who are saying "have a thicker skin" are actually trying to get out (but failing to articulate) - that combative responses are just not profitable. Many of us have learned this. You don't have to be a celebrity of any status to get the wrath of the Internet called down upon you, and I'm sure many of us have been there (or feel like we've been there - the scope with celebrity of any amount is obviously a magnifier). You were spot on with the brick wall analogy there. Lots of us realize that - and I think at least some of the thick skin comments are just a mis-statement of the idea that you should ignore the stupid people who start fights on the Internet. Then again, I have to imagine that closer to all those making that comment have snapped at some point or another in their lives.

I'd not heard of Fish before this. I don't track gaming industry personalities as a rule - some people do and that's cool for them, I'm just not one of those people who know who industry people are by name. They are those "faceless" guys to me, because I focus on their product, that's all.

I do think that Twitter is something I will continue to ignore and stay apart from, and it occurs to me that these things tend to pop up a lot in direct relation to that service so, maybe it's not actually a good thing overall. Or maybe it is and when it's bad it's just very very bad.

I've hated things done in/with/around games and been vocal about it and what grounds I had to disagree with whatever it was, but I've never ever (even in my rage about the ME3 ending, which I realize now, in retrospect, was a little more intense than it needed to be) threatened or completely personally attacked something or someone on the Internet over it. I think at some early point I even commented on this show negatively (or meant to and possibly deleted it, it happens), but I kept watching it to see if my note was taken and the product improved, because that's the process for offering constructive criticism! You offer a negative observation to the creator in a respectful way and hope that they take your suggestion into consideration, with the best possible result being they go along with your suggestion and all parties benefit. That's it. That's all there is to it. If you have leverage you can throw that in - perhaps threatening to withhold your money by not buying future products if your grievances aren't heard. To be applied in extreme cases only, obviously. Anything above and beyond that (personal digs, threats of violence, slanderous name calling, etc.) is just out of bounds. Decency people.

Damn, sorry - I had a rant moment there. It's all kinda just sad that a person could be pushed to this point in the first place and that's considered almost normal in our way of doing things somehow. Everything after that is just the additional fallout shit sandwich.

I couldn't agree any more with what Jim had said. When I saw the original News Story it was heavily biased and just showed that Fish was entirely in the wrong. When it comes to this no I think that Fish could've handled it better, but Beer could have been more professional as well. When it comes to anything you do in gaming, be it reviews, news stories, Let's Plays, or develop games you will get criticism yes, but when a lot of the time that's the only type of response you get then it gets grating, it gets to you, and can put you into a depression; and with how I see how Fish is it seems like he possibly suffers from major depression at times.

For example, I've been Let's Playing for over a year now and some people will tell me things that are nice or give constructive criticism, which I love, but I've still gotten threats and have been belittled multiple times when I don't provoke anything. As Jim said, having a thicker skin doesn't make you impervious to being criticized, threatened, etc, and eventually there is gonna be a straw that will break the camels back and cause you to lash out. While I don't agree with what Fish has said in the past or how his attitude has been, I can recognize a straw that's gonna break your back. Especially when it's places like Twitter which is rather nasty a lot of the time just like the rest of the internet. I guess I feel a bit more sympathetic in that I can recognize when bullies have broken someone since I've been in a situation like that before (not me telling someone to kill themselves, but you get the point).

I don't mean to come off as sarcastic here, as in I'm being serious.
Why did/does he go twitter/comment sections etc?
Was he required to do it as part of his job or was he hoping to get advice/feedback off the mindless gibbering jackals of the internet that seemed to target him (justly/unjustly)?
End of the of the day I feel for the guy, ass or not, that amount of crap would make anyone lash out
Oh yeah, good episode by the way Mr. Sterling, might want to do "calmer" epsiodes more often, although I do love the insane rants you do.

Phil Fish did provoke a lot of the abuse he got. It's kinda hard to sympathize with someone who repeatedly advertised what a clever troll he is. As for Fez, I haven't played it but I hear it's interesting. Hopefully he will calm down in the future and work on something great, without taking hourly breaks to be a douchebag on twitter.

First off Jim. Stay with us for a long time please. You are a huge source of entertainment for me.

But I have to disagree on a point. The reason people tell other people like Fish to have a thicker skin is precisely because they talk a lot of shit themselves, for the most part. This is totally true of Fish.
Do onto others... If you put yourself out there with ridiculous comments and attack people and things, you have to expect a certain amount of flak back.
You only need a thick skin if you're a bit of a prick. You rarely see Super Meat Boy's developers in such altercations and they rarely have abuse hurled at them in the same way Fish had. No way near as much as Fish. Heck I don't even know their names off the top of my head.
It's simple maths. If you have strong opinions and you vocalise them, expect people to do the same right back at you.

Everyone who creates something for public consumption will get criticism. Fish on the other hand created a lot of hatred for himself by his own merits.

I don't want Fish out of the industry or anything remotely like that. I don't wish him harm etc. I'm pretty blasé on that subject. He made games and kicked up a fuss now and again and had tantrums. If he makes another game then good. If not, he doesn't.

Good show even though I don't really agree entirely with your vibe on this particular issue :)

I have zero sympathy for people who are "offensive" (as opposed to defensive) with insults then getting butthurt because someone else was offensive at them.

Fish is some asshole who started crying because someone threw stones and broke the windows of his glass house when his back was turned. His back was turned because he was busy throwing stones at other peoples' houses.

Ultimate case of "dish it out but can't/won't take it".

I really appreciated this video. It really brings to light some of the frustrations that developers feel in relation to the consumers, and how that can build up and wear you down over time. Whether about the games they work on and devote their lives to or the devs themselves in some cases.

I occasionally indulge in "reading the comments" (though never in say, a 30 page neogaf thread about me, thanks for that), but it never accomplishes anything other than making you upset, and for as much as you'd like to respond, correct people, or retaliate, engaging in that kind of behavior only results in more negativity.

Even if the situation could have been handled a lot better on both ends, I still can't even imagine what that Fish guy goes through over something that's clearly his life. :(

I've done Games Support for a little bit now. I worked Xbox support back in 08 and am working for a company which has had a bit of controversy as of late. One of the facets of my job, is that occasionally I have to deal with toxic players. It's understandable, we've all been there. And a lot of the anger doesn't stem from what went wrong. But from the fact that their usual escape from the daily grind and stress hasn't worked properly.

But dealing with that side of things, in a polite and respectable way, is my job. It is the price I pay to get to say I work for a company whose games I played endlessly as a kid.

I don't play any of the games I support very much anymore. I used to. I still kind of enjoy them. But when I see the same bile I have to deal with at work, I switch into work mode. All be it a less polite version of work mode.

I don't like that. I don't like doing that. Or being that way. So I avoid it. At this point in time, I know what to avoid to make sure that the stress of work doesn't bleed into my off time.

Fish got success and exposure due to his hard work and talent and dedication. It must be harder than anything else to separate work and the bile from his day to day. But I hope he figures it out.

This is why I've never idolized being in the public eye, way too stressful.

Kudos to you Jim for being able to take it for so long, glad it's settled down a bit for you.

Jimothy Sterling:
Go Fish

In this extra episode, Jimquisition lends a rambling mouth to the controversy surrounding Phil Fish and his dramatic exit from the videogame world.

Watch Video

@Jimothy Sterling (Jim)

Got to ask, since you're on the side of Fish,:
Do you feel that the GameTrailer guy's comments (about Fish being a "blowfish") were beyond unprofessional? Do you think that him personally attacking a video game developer, the people that make his job even possible, is something that should be taken serious?
I think what I'm getting at is: Should that guy get fired?

I can understand someone saying a game is poorly made. I even understand when pointing out that developers like the guy behind The War Z are nothing but crooks [when obviously warranted]. But that's the line. To personally attack a developer for no other reason than to be a pompous asshole is to basically no longer be a reporter about video games or the industry; instead he's turned troll. And I personally think the best way to kill a troll is by fire...


You know, what I like best is that SFIV is actually the worst game they could think of fighting game wise.
It has the exact opposite problem for many people where its so unintuitive, vague, and methodical at higher play, that you need to be handheld by the community instead.

Thank you Jim for all your work.
I really liked hearing that there's someone else out there that agrees that Beer and Fish could have handled themselves better, as well as your words on thick skin and insults.

I've been bullied a lot in my life, and a thick skin has worked in some instances. However, there are, in a gamer sense, those crticial hits that hit the nail on your coffin to then make you go berserk.

Its sad to hear that Phil met his breaking point.
I hope he can rest.

Phil Fish is an obnoxious douche-bag and the only reason he needs to grow up is because he acts like a child.
That being said it's sad how immature the gaming community is in general and the level of abuse is absolutely insane.
It's going to 4chan that you need a thick skin for because you can just leave.

Should that guy get fired?

An interesting question. The answer is a resounding no. This kind of shit isn't new to journalism. And if we want games journalism to be anything more than another advertising arm, we have to deal with a few muck rakers.

My favorite critics are the ones I can disagree strongly with but still respect where they are coming from. Purely because it is out of an honest passion for the subject. It's great to argue a point with someone who's opinion you respect. Once I got to "know" Jim I felt that. I don't always agree, but I know it comes from a good place cos he seems like a genuinely nice guy who is not talking shit and whipping up flame wars for views.

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