ThinkProgress Hilariously Lies To Attack RimWorld, #GamerGate
(Last Updated On: November 4, 2016)

There’s a piece that was recently published on ThinkProgress by Zack Ford who spends a lot of words and time justifying a recent hit-piece on Rock, Paper, Shotgun by Claudia Lo that aimed to misrepresent the sci-fi strategy game, RimWorld, based on an unfinished and bugged bit of romance code.

Despite the developer, Tynan Sylvester, repeatedly saying that the criticisms about the feature on the Rock, Paper, Shotgun piece were unfounded given that those issues were already being addressed before the article was published, he was still lambasted by Social Justice Warriors for the unfinished and bugged code in a game that’s still in Early Access.

Ford writes at ThinkProgress…

“This RimWorld controversy bears a strong resemblance to the GamerGate controversy that has played out over the past few years. Essentially, GamerGate became just a vast platform for misogyny, including the targeted harassment, doxxing, and threatening of female gamers and anyone interested in diverse representations in games.”

This has been debunked, countered and disproved so many times there’s an easy checklist to throw up to bury this misinformation in the ground.

1 – Hundreds of articles from outlets between 2014 and 2015 have claimed that #GamerGate is a harassment campaign
2 – None of these outlets have provided any evidence for their claims.
3 – When asked for evidence, journalists have either deferred to other pieces based on hearsay or have responded with the following.

4 – To date there has been no evidence that #GamerGate was or is a harassment campaign.

5 – The #GamerGate Harassment Patrol kept the tag clean of trolls and reported people attempting to use it to send harassment.
6 – A peer reviewed report published by WAM! indicated that #GamerGate was not a harassment campaign.
7 – A Newsweek report measuring more than a million tweets also indicated that it was not a harassment campaign, and that more than 90% of all the tweets were actually neutral.
8 – According to Crash Override Network, an abuse organization headed up by Zoe Quinn, #GamerGate never harassed Anita Sarkeesian.

So unless Ford has evidence that says otherwise (since the burden of proof is on the accuser), everything he has written about #GamerGate is an easily disprovable lie.

For instance, Ford writes…

“Though the backlash [Zoe] Quinn then faced was purportedly about journalistic ethics, that quickly proved to be a facade for many gamers’ objections to the changing culture of games. “

Again, a blatant lie. The FTC has already used more than 50 pages worth of #GamerGate material for their investigation into Gawker. #GamerGate also was responsible for sites like VG 24/7 updating their disclosure policies, along with Kotaku, Polygon, The Escapist, Videogamer and Destructoid, to name but a few.

For the people out there too dense to get it: #GamerGate is about ethics, based on the facts alone.

The facts didn’t stop the lies from making their way into the ThinkProgress piece.

Ford goes on to write…

“The parallels for Lo’s RimWorld article are perhaps all too obvious. She’s a female writer who published a critique of a game’s portrayals of women on a gaming site, and the male designer of that game responded by attacking her and accusing her of malicious motives. Not unlike GamerGate, Sylvester took umbrage over Lo’s journalistic ethics, which were neither relevant nor in doubt, to avoid a more considerate discussion of the concerns she raised.”

According to the article, Lo was already predisposed on how she wanted to depict Tynan Sylvester to the rest of the gaming world, with Ford writing…

“The fact that Sylvester had given Brietbart an interview “set off warning bells in my head,” she said. Lo also found evidence that he was sympathetic to a designer whose game depicting the Black Lives Matter movement as a terrorist organization was banned from Google’s platforms.”

In this regard, Sylvester was already being categorized and thought-policed based on who he was interviewed by and for expressing sympathetic tendencies toward someone on the receiving end of censorship. And just for reference, a lot of people are sympathetic towards art being censored even if they don’t support the art.

Ford quotes Lo, who stated…

“I want to have my name out there, I want people to know who I am, because I think I’m doing good work and want people to read it. But how much is it a risk to my emotional and physical safety? Is it worth it to link my Twitter and my blog if it’s going to make me panicky and anxious for weeks?”

The reality is that the reason Lo is receiving blowback over the piece at Rock, Paper, Shotgun is because it painted the developer in the cross-hairs of wrongthink based on unfinished code.

But in today’s generation of anti-gaming sentiments and uneducated critiques of the medium, the Think Progress explains that Lo believes that games should be critiqued even when they’re unfinished and even when the code is still being worked on, writing…

“Lo believes that code should be just as fair game to critique as the visible aspects of a video game, and she’s been heartened to see other developers engage in conversations about how “unconscious bias feeds into the way you structure and design the things.”

And this is the difference between a “culture critic” and a gamer. A gamer is paying for a game based on how the code works on the front-end with the mechanics, a culture critic is only concerned with getting a rise out of people even when they’re breaking down aspects of a game’s design dishonestly.

Despite Sylvester repeatedly mentioning in his responses, comments and on a Reddit thread that the game is still being refined and that dealing with human relationships in a simulation (which makes up for a very small part of RimWorld’s gameplay), Ford reiterates Lo’s criticisms about gender norms found in the code, writing…

“Sylvester’s game design reinforces the myth that it’s no burden on women to be subjected to this kind of treatment. The fact that it’s actually the male pawns who suffer from being rebuffed communicates to players that women somehow owe men something when they find those women attractive.”

Sylvester had explicitly explained that this was not the case in the game, writing in a Reddit post

“RimWorld scarcely defines gender at all. In RimWorld, males and females are almost entirely identical, physically and behaviourally. They fight the same. They cook, build, craft, and clean the same. They have the same kind of emotional breakdowns in the same situations, and the same things affect their moods the same way. They spawn into the same roles of trader, pirate, drifter, ally, and enemy, with the same mixes of skills.


“The only asymmetry is in the probability of attempting romance interactions, but even there there are no “strict gender roles”. Women propose to men, and hit on them, and so on. Women do all the same behaviors as men. The only difference is that the game applies some probability factors to romance attempts based on the character doing the behavior. That’s it. Every character can still do everything behavior (except one case which is being fixed for next version). So it’s simply wrong to say there are “strict” gender roles in the game.”

Either Ford was unaware of the Reddit post or chose to ignore it in favor of perpetuating the narrative lie — a lie that is trying to say that Sylvester has willingly adopted sexist stereotypes. This criticism extends to bisexuality, since there was some code that didn’t allow for RimWorld’s males to be bisexual men, even though there are homosexuals in the game.

The romance behavior code in RimWorld was quickly and loosely based on research statistics that Sylvester pulled the data from, and even though ThinkProgress interviewed a bi-activist who admitted that the stats favor Sylvester’s position, they still argued that the game’s stance supports an “erasure” of the bi-men community.

The ridiculous part is that Sylvester already said that he would add bi-men to the game, but they still attacked him for not believing more in bi-men…

“Sylvester may be adding bi men to the game, but Cruz isn’t convinced the designer actually believes they exist in the real world”

They even attacked Sylvester for having too many bisexual women in the game, with Ford quoting the activist who stated…

“This sexualization contributes to the disproportionate amount of violence against bisexual women,” […] “For bisexual men, we’re close to nonexistent because we do not appease a straight male gaze. This is evident in the coding of RimWorld.”

If you’re still reading the drivel from the SJW crowd, let me make this perfectly clear to you if you’re a developer.

You Cannot Win By Trying To Appease The SJW Critics!

Ford even has the gall to place the blame of “ethics” on the developer and gaming community who had issues with Lo’s piece, writing…

“For that reason, the way Sylvester reacted suggests that there may actually be a journalistic ethics issue in the gaming community, but not in regards to what reviewers might write, but how developers and players interact with that commentary.”

These kind of stubborn, bullheaded harangues aimed at the gaming medium from “culture critics”  who don’t know anything about games except how to encourage rage-bait and further the outrage culture will continue to be met with resistance from people who simply have common sense and seek out honest information about video games.

We don’t need developers and their products publicly shamed because a piece of code no one will ever care about isn’t politically correct, and it doesn’t serve the gaming community in any positive or constructive way at all.

In this case, Ford wraps up his piece with yet another lie, stating…

“[Lo] hopes that designers like Sylvester can learn to take constructive feedback […] her goal wasn’t to ruin the game or destroy Sylvester’s reputation. She wanted to make it better, in part so that it can be more accessible to more players, and also so that other designers can similarly be more thoughtful about their games as well.”

Misrepresenting the developer’s work-in-progress game based on a feature he had already mentioned that he was going to fix is not constructive feedback. Forming a witch-hunt to go after a developer based on an unfinished and minuscule part of a much larger game explains the disconnect between games journalists and gamers.

Gamers are concerned with how well the features work, not whether or not the underlying code is politically correct.

(Vivian James image courtesy of Asobo Studio)

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Billy has been rustling Jimmies for years covering video games, technology and digital trends within the electronics entertainment space. The GJP cried and their tears became his milkshake. Need to get in touch? Try the Contact Page.

  • Michael Richardson

    Repeat a lie often enough and people will believe it. Especially when you have an industry of colleagues who are also systematically perpetuating that same lie. At this point, I’d trust a used car salesman with my life savings before I’d give the benefit of the doubt to even one of these professional liars.

  • discusser

    SJWs are violent raving psychopaths.

  • Sigh. 3-4 years now and this utter pile of SJW shit-show is still going on.

    Maybe it’s time to shut the door on modern gaming and go to retro/emulators for a while, and hope that by the time I come back, the SJW/feminist ideology will be nothing but urine-soaked ashes.

    • discusser

      Just pirate new shit unless the creators have openly spoken out against our communist overlords.

      • darkgamer001

        Just my 2c…..I think it’s very dangerous to take the “you’re with us or you’re against us” route and it’s pretty much the mentality that these SJWs take.
        There’s no need to punish devs who, for various valid reasons, try to stay out of this and remain “neutral”, so to speak.

        • “I think it’s very dangerous to take the “you’re with us or you’re against us” route and it’s pretty much the mentality that these SJWs take.”

          Yeah, we (GamerGate) could always try to ask the SJWs and feminists for a reasonable, logical discussion based on facts right.

          Oh wait, we tried that already remember?

          Also, before you throw the “we’re acting just like the SJWs” card at me, you need to understand that despite both sides attacking each other, there is actually a huge difference to it, and that difference is:

          GamerGate advocates for ethical journalism, freedom of expression/creativity, free speech and anti-censorship. GamerGate attacks by using facts, reason, logic and the truth.

          SJWs/feminists advocates for corrupt journalism, restriction of expression/creativity, controlled speech and censorship. SJWs attacks by using lies, slander, feelings and false victim-hood.

          GamerGate is trying is defend itself.

          SJWs are the cancerous invaders.

          That’s the difference.

          “There’s no need to punish devs who, for various valid reasons, try to stay out of this and remain “neutral”, so to speak.”

          How on earth are they “staying out” and remaining “neutral” when time and time again they cave into SJW demands when it comes to censorship and gender politics?

          “Staying out” and “remaining neutral” would actually mean that developers go and develop the game as they intended and NOT be influenced by a group of pepertually-offended little SJW tosspots. Most Western developers are not doing that, they are actually pandering to the SJWs. That’s not neutral at all.

          The developers are one of the main culprits to blame for this, because every time they cave in, apologize and censor, they give the SJWs even more power for next time.

          • darkgamer001

            I actually agree with a lot of points here.
            And believe me, I know the difference between Gamergate and SJWs.

            But I also feel that keeping a cool head and having logical arguments is extremely important…

            Let me make this clear. It’s not about convincing the SJWs, screw that, I agree….most of them are beyond hope. But there’s plenty out there who are either uninformed or have never really bothered to side with anyone. I should know, I was one of them.
            Believing I didn’t need to get into what appeared like a hot mess from the outside.

            Then it struck. A massive wave of modern-day censorship on the Ninty games I love. And we all know who was responsible for that. What drew me into GG-sympathetic sites like this one was that people were making logical arguments, not just “FK TREEHOUSE SJWs”, as tempting as that is to shout out.

            And I agree my friend, that some of these devs are responsible for this mess. You have to understand that some of this is made out of fear and/or ignorance (believing SJW actually make a difference to their wallets).

            But again, maybe I’m being bloody naive or being too nice, I don’t know. But I just think for these devs, it makes more sense that we’re there ready to be their damn shield the moment one of these lunatics gets triggered by too much skin and/or his invented “gender” not being properly represented, whatever that means in their warped heads.

            I think that is more reasonable and effective than piracy threats. But again, maybe I’m being too idealistic….

        • Sarah

          I will agree with you there and say yes it is dangerous to fall into that mentality. That is why I avoid echo chambers like the plague. I’ve seen extremists on every side and I have to say, it doesn’t matter what extremists believe in. They are obnoxious all the same when they try to shove their extremism’s down your throat. Radical types aren’t fun to be around lol.

      • Once way the creators/developers can get something going is definitely to unite together as a whole and speak up against and refuse the whole SJW crap.

        But of course, I’ve got more chance of winning 2nd prize on the Euro Millions lottery than that happening.

      • LurkerJK

        Shit games are still shit if you pirate them

  • Alistair

    The agenda it all gamergate fault.

    Called you a silly goose is like a gay person saying “oh what a gay day”

    No one speaks like that no more. So it’s use gamers again the vile villains.

    That easy to remedy if we are show proof take us to court & we show you proof you the ones that harass, doxxed the con leaks as proof in court.

  • Erthwjim

    So if Lo knows enough to find “faults” in the games code or design, why doesn’t she make her own damn game? Oh wait, that would require her to put in the hours of work, that her current job as a journalist can skip over. She’d rather try to mold a pre-existing game to her requirements than put in the work herself.

  • Alistair

    Hey billy you doxx yourself in the article lol. 😛

    • Uh oh, I guess I better watch out for the Twitter Trust & Safety Council.

      • Alistair

        Careful queen Antia on that board. lol

  • C G Saturation

    Assholes repeat blatant defamatory lies and slander, over and over. Then they become President of the United Corruption of America.

    • Alistair

      They’re got a hobby, it called shit stirring.

  • Fyrex

    It’s quite impressive how a work of fiction can contribute to a person not existing anymore. I guess every work of fiction that does not include all available sexualities is now “problematic”.

    And journalistic ethics cannot apply to a non journalist, that is not how that works. So the author should say the developers personal ethics instead. But I guess that makes the author sounds more like a douche than the author already does.

    Also, if you want to give constructive criticism, then my advice is to not make it come across as an attack, people tend to get far more defensive if you do it like that. Cause all it did was come across as “This sucks, you suck, now change/fix it”, but in a more lengthy way.

  • Capt_Hat

    “Silly goose”
    I must admit that was a new one on me.

    • Alistair

      Never hear that for ages it always a scream “oh you silly goose” lol 😂

  • durka durka


    With a name like that why did you even bother asking questions?