The argument that video games are forms of art has been made several times. An important part of art is the ability to criticise the artist, the art and the art form as a whole. It’s worked that way for centuries with other forms of tradition art.
However, with this new art form come new critics and new artists who aren’t used to taking such “harsh” criticism, even when it’s warranted.
TotalBiscuit on the Cynical Brit YouTube channel is well-known in the gaming industry for his fair, but often highly critical analysis of video games. Last year, after a scathing review of a video game called “Day One Garry’s Incident”, the game’s developer Wild Games filed a copyright claim against the “WTF is…” video in which the review appeared. (It should be noted that TotalBiscuit wasn’t the only critic who slammed the game. His review was just the most prolific.)
After some intense back and forth between the YouTube channel, it was revealed that Wild Games had filed the claim under a false pretence and were forced to apologise to TotalBiscuit for having the video taken down.
The incident revealed some pretty gaping flaws in YouTube’s copyright system.
It seems like history is repeating itself.
After the “WTF Is… Guise of the Wolf?” appeared on Youtube being highly critical of the game’s mechanics, voice acting and how many bugs were in the game. TB told his audience that this game wasn’t worth the money that it was asking for.
This is where the fun begins. The creators of the game FUN Creators filed a false copyright claim against the video (all videos use Fair Use). TotalBiscuit’s reps sent the developers an email asking why copyright claim was filed and that it’s illegal to file a claim as the video is a critique. The reply email from FUN Creators implied that the review was a paid review by someone else to criticise the game and that they would get their lawyers involved to find out who was behind the review.
TotalBiscuit announced the issue and FUN Creators hit back saying that any emails that were release were faked and not from their studio. Both claims are incredibly serious but only one person was correct. TB again provided proof that Fun Creators were making serious threats against him and his channel.
Finally, at the end of all this, FUN Creators want TB to take down his channel, tweets and pretty much anything related to the incident or they’ll sic their lawyers on the channel and everyone involved.
I try to present these facts without too much bias to allow you to make up your own mind.
Personally, without my journalist or reviewer side kicking in, I’m sick of developers trying to manipulate the system for their advantage and try to remove any critical analysis of their work. Like I said at the beginning of… whatever this is, art is presented without comment and readily for critique. Without it, art has no meaning. Games can present a story and a purpose, but without critique, there can’t be any discussion of the deeper meaning of what the story means for the player or the world.
When more information comes to light, I’ll update this post.
TotalBiscuit logo by Jamspencer on DeviantART.