My Game of 2020 Reminded Me Why I Love This Absurd Medium

Yeah, calling Cyberpunk 2077 eurojank is incredibly inaccurate IMO. Eurojank, for me, refers to games which are very ambitious, but do not have the resources would typically needed to make that happen, and as such have some issues. There are plenty of games not from Europe like this that I can think of, like Brigand: Oaxaca or Kenshi, that have this kind of jank. The term “Eurojank”, as I often use it, only describes European games in the capacity that some of them come from there, so it doesn’t really make sense. In the same way, “Eurogame” isn’t really European. We could just shorten it to “jank”, because it’s not really got anything to do with geography. I can see why that nomenclature would bother you, Quak0r

But this is all to say that the petname “jank” shouldn’t be extended to Cyberpunk 2077. “Jank” dismisses issues with a game because of the budget and resources the developers have access to, and says “yes, it’s messy, but that’s okay”. Saying, “ah, it’s Eurojank” would not be extended to a game of this size and budget if it wasn’t, well, from Poland, which completely misses the point. Bethesda recieves the term “jank”, but I’m not sure it should given how huge that studio is now. It obfuscates the material and systemic issues that lead to these issues that management often allow to happen. This isn’t a matter of being ambitious but small. CDPR’s first titles were janky and small, sure, but now they had all the resources they needed, and they abused them.

“Jank” is a term of endearment, and I have no terms of endearment for CDPR.

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I agree, calling Cyberpunk 2077 a eurojank game is disrespectful to the ambition and vibrancy of games given that label. All this CDPR bullshit has got me feeling like playing E.Y.E Divine Cybermancy again because that’s a goddamn eurojank cyberpunk game.

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What the hell is it about cd project that makes games journos drop any pretense of caring about trans ppl, jfc. fuckin, kingdom come deliverance courted the same gamergater fanbase and they didn’t give that multiple fuckin podcast episodes and articles. also “eurojank” come the fuck on how americentric can you get, was anyone calling asscreed unity “amerijank”.

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It’s not relevant to videogames, but “Ameritrash” is used in the board game space. https://boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Ameritrash

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What an utterly tone deaf article. Waypoint and Vice are often guilty of focusing more on The Discourse around a work than the work itself. Art does not exist in a vacuum and I love examining the context and impact of a work. However I am much less interested in the reaction to a reaction to a reaction to a twitter thread.

Writing about labor issues, transphobia, and racism in games is important. Relishing in the fact that a AAA game fucked all of those things up in such a high profile way that you got to talk about them a lot is completely tasteless and makes me totally uninterested in hearing what Gault has to say about games. It sucks that Cyberpunk 2077 is bad game made under bad conditions.

If the context of a work is more interesting than the work itself maybe it’s time to stop ask yourself why you’re writing about it? An unprecedented amount of ink has been spilled over 2077 in the last month. At this point the only thing I’m interested in reading about it Jason Schreier’s inevitable report on labor conditions at CDPR.

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I feel like I could go along something that was a bit more like “The industry is an increasingly powerful mess. As I journalist I take some satisfaction in trying to hold people’s feet to the fire through reporting and so CP2077 is my story [not game] of the year. This story reminded me that critical reporting matters.” That would still give yet more coverage to a game that has been talked to death, and tbh would probably come off self-serving as hell, but I’d understand the impulse to highlight how CP2077 as a story is the inevitable conclusion of a toxic industry.

But as others have pointed out, the framing is all wrong here. I have liked much of what I’ve heard from Gault in the past but this piece almost revels in the fucked up shit it is highlighting. And then it declines to highlight even more gross shit like transphobia and CDPR playing into gamergate whateverthefuck. I don’t require everyone to agree that the non-problematic parts of the game–if indeed they can be divorced from the problems–aren’t fun. But the conclusion that “it’s actually really great if it works for you!” is a seriously rough take to conclude an article that mentions a death-march.

Edit: I think my proposed reframing in para 1 would still be weird and I would like to distance myself from myself. I dunno lol, can we just talk about actually interesting games next time?

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I may be projecting a bit so forgive me if so — maybe I’m just taking out some frustration around academic spaces here. But this piece reminded me of something a prof of mine said a few weeks ago about the impulse to criticize in academic work; for a lot of people the pinnacle of analytical work is an exact rendition of why a thing is wrong, and it becomes this kind of cynical one-upping game. And this kind of piece feels like a sort of twisted endpoint to that — this kind of weird gotcha, “oh they’ll never see this coming” piece that comes from needing that opportunity to criticize so much that it becomes the most memorable thing not just about the work that’s justifiably fucked up, but overshadows everything else too.

Anyway, I guess the short version of that is it feels like a cynical, bad faith piece that’s trying to be smarter than its audience. And I agree with everyone wondering why the author continues to cover games if this is the most memorable event of the year re: the medium as a whole.

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I forgot to comment when this article dropped but I was starting to watch RESET, heard Gault’s voice and all that frustration came rushing back. There’s a certain sense of remove from the way he talks about the horrible labor conditions that seems to revel in the excitement of how it benefits him, rather than being mad that human beings are being overworked. There’s a way to make Cyberpunk your game of the year in such a way that like, shows that this isn’t my favorite game of the year, but the game that best represents the fundamentally flawed aspects of this industry with it’s labor practices, transphobic shock tactics. ‘Whether we like it or not, this is video games’ etc, but idk. There’s just a lacking in sensitivity to who this game affected that I found super, disquieting. I know Waypoint is essentially dead in it’s original incarnation and there isn’t really a singular editorial voice, but this just felt VERY left field from what I usually see.

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