One commenter wrote, “They need to make the Minecraft boobs not square anymore.”
Photo by Jack Yang
Early last week, local San Diego gamer Huey D. Louie released an extensive 100-page document on the r/gaming subreddit. While the moderators took the thread down quickly, many had already downloaded the manifesto and are sharing it online. The document, entitled “The Utter and Complete Downfall of Western Society”, almost exclusively details Louie’s problems with monetization in modern video games.
“The dark serpent of degradation has entered our beloved world of video games. It has slithered in unnoticed, so slowly and so carefully that even the strong and ever vigilant Gamers were not able to see it’s dark body,” reads the manifesto. “The serpent has made our beloved pastime its prey; it has sunk its venomous fangs so deep that we are not able to root out the poison with any ease. When you see a skin in League of Legends go for $28, that is how you know that the poison has spread, and our beloved hobby is nothing more than a rotting corpse being kept alive by uncritical sheep shoveling money into its bloated, decrepit body.”
The above quotation is just an excerpt from the document. Not only does it critique the monetization strategies of different types of content, but also the content itself. There are many sections that include detailed analyses of different types of video game content. One section in particular reads, “The amount of man-hours it takes to create skins that correctly show a large amount of female cleavage is quite lower than modeling them fullying clothed, meaning they should be cheaper to buy on the market. This further justifies why there should be more revealing female skin in video games, as it will give more affordable skin options to players and cut down on development costs. The same does not apply to male skins, for reasons I won’t get into right now.” The author never follows up on this point in the extensive. It’s not explained how conclusions like these are drawn, and it’s unclear if the author should have the ability to make these claims.
While some on the internet have agreed with certain arguments or sections made in the manifesto, the majority of commenters expressed dislike of the document. Two large points of contention were the writing style and exaggerated claims. King- KDrool discussed Louie’s work in a Discord channel: “I mean, yeah, it does suck when games are released unfinished or they have pay-to-win schemes that take the fun out of playing, but I really think that calling charging 20 dollars for a skin in Fortnite ‘extremely exploitative’ and ‘against the rights of man’ is going a little too far. Game prices haven’t really risen since the 90s and people expect more and more free content in updates. So what if game devs charge $20 for a skin even if the skins have literally no value?”
“There are also some weird opinions about women and marginalized groups that somehow made it into a manifesto about Fornite skins,” said another Discord user. Many agreed that statements about groups such as women, LGBTQIA+ people and all BIPOC felt out of place in a discussion on video game monetization. Interestingly, despite the large page count and the extensive amount of topics covered, there is no discussion about the problem of crunch within the video game industry or about how much video game developers should get paid.