What I’ve been getting from the (admittedly limited) scope of conversation has been confusing me, because the problem as I see it has very little to do with Panic or Playdate Pop-up.
(also, a note on something I think is worth saying: there were concerns about the game being “very white cishet male” and i’ve seen some marginalized devs say “hello, we are here”, so I think we at least should acknowledge their existence? Which is not to say the problem doesn’t exist. there’s a huge bias towards those kinds of people when it comes to Weird Auteur Game Developers™ and how they are seen)
Maybe it’s because I am always wanting to assume the best in people, or maybe it’s because I wasn’t really in the position any of the organizers who are speaking about this, or maybe it’s because I’m in the closet so often don’t have to put up with this kind of stuff, but what I’ve seen of interaction seems genuine. I’m also trying to sift out any of the excitement I feel for the product itself (even if Playdate is admittedly, not even a good name for it). It feels kind of weird to me the way I’ve seen some people characterize Caleb Sasser. It seems more to me that they’re is just fumbling this part completely. Everything I have seen, which I will stress is based entirely on front-facing interactions, has come off as just blissfully ignorant of the power they exude.
And I say this because everything Sasser has been saying… sounds a few hairs off from something I could have written. But the key thing is that I don’t hold the kind of power Panic does.
Look: I’m not saying Sasser/Panic didn’t screw up. I’m not saying they aren’t continuing to screw up. I’m definitely not saying they’re screw ups do not continue to have a negative affect on Playdate Pop-up, and I’m definitely not saying they shouldn’t have known better.
I am going to hold Panic accountable and expect improvement. I am glad to see Sasser respond openly and seem open to criticism, and I deeply hope that those criticisms are being taken to heart.
As Nathalie Lawhead and EMi have seem to have been saying, has less to do with Sasser or Panic as individual actors, but as actors within a culture that is routinely enables them to squash anything they see fit. Panic doesn’t seem to want to do that, but any action between a threatened and marginalized party is going to have that power looming over it every step of the way. And attempts to downplay that seem passive-aggressive and condescending.
I think it is incredibly unproductive to assume bad faith here. I mean this genuinely: it is more important to me to discuss what people with substantial amounts of power and good intentions are supposed to do in this situation, rather than just chock it up to them actually being Machiavellian bastard-people. Because I don’t know the answer to that question. And at the very least, we could listen to what Nathalie Lawhead explicitly requested: I hope this conversation remains civil. This is an important one to have. The issues, concerns, and questions both Nathalie and EMi have put forward are too important to discard.