“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
Over the weekend, “Fez” creator and indie-game icon Phil Fish took part in a heated, public spat with GameTrailers host Marcus “Annoyed Gamer” Beer via Twitter, responding not-in-kind to Beer’s accusations lobbied at Fish. Fish, outspoken about the gaming industry and Microsoft’s indie development policies in particular, refused Beer’s request to comment on the technology giant’s recent 180-turn on its own policies, allowing indies to now self-publish and offering much more support to the indie development scene than in the past.
“I wasn’t snubbing journalist [sic]. I was waiting for the actual news to come out,” Fish tweeted via his official Twitter account. It has since been locked for public viewing, but screenshots have been saved and uploaded to various sites online documenting the feud.
On the GameTrailers show, “Invisible Walls,” Beer called the indie developer a list of insulting, derogatory names, ending with a demand to the industry press to ignore Fish and his games.
Fish responded with the following post to his company’s, Polytron Corporation, site:
If we stop for a moment, what you have read and seen thus far may seem to be your typical dispute on the internet, comparable to a schoolyard fight between two boys, with one taking his toys away after he decided he had enough.
But the one telling thing in particular during the entire tirade was this tweet by Fish:
But Fish is passionate too, both for the industry he loves and for the game he spent over 5 years fighting to finish and get out to consumers. In fact, “Indie Game: The Movie” follows the likes of Fish, Jonathan Blow (creator of indie game and Metacritic-darling “Braid”), and several others in their arduous journey through strict corporate policies, grueling deadlines, bitter relationships, personal demons, and more to finish the games they seemed destined to create and release to the masses. Available to watch on Netflix, it is a documentary I high recommend, not only to obtain a better understanding of the video game industry, but to realize the scrutiny that can be placed on people’s labors of love.
"If you don't see a vulnerability in somebody, you're probably not relating with them on a very personal level." --Jonathan Blow, "Indie Game: The Movie"
The next time you are caught in a heated argument, or are incensed by another person’s point of view simply because it differs from your own, or even find yourself at a crossroads of attacking someone’s character to the possible benefit of your own, remember the power words can have. Words have meaning, they contain feeling, and can be used as a highly concentrated weapon that can cause an unshakeable hurt to the part of individuals no sticks or stones could hope to damage: the soul.
"You want to be liked, to be appreciated, you want people to approve of your work...I care about what other people think. I wish I didn't, but I do.
-- Phil Fish, "Indie Game: The Movie"
“You win,” he finally stated. But for the future of the industry and for anyone that has ever felt the pangs of hurt that words can bring, I really hope he’s wrong about that.