Easy Allies, Tense Affinity

Generally, I’m pretty pro the former GT gentlemen, now known as the Easy Allies guys (EZA). Game review scores seemed fair but tough, without the pandering you sometimes see around the interwebs. The Final Bosman peppered absurdity into my general gaming news along with provoking some new perspectives. Brandon Jones’ voice made the reviews even better, and I enjoyed much of PopFiction. Our reactions to the announcement of the Final Fantasy 7 remake solidified the connection I felt to this team. The podcast was regular listening material in my office job and my co-workers would give me weird looks as the men shouting at one another got too loud for my headphones and I laughed to myself. I was heartbroken over the final stream announcement but tuned in and tried to show support for this group of guys I had never met, but somehow felt significantly connected to.

And yet, I’m a mid-twenties bisexual white woman. I am not the target market for most AAA games, and potentially not even for most indie games. Can I actually justify, to myself or to others, that this group of guys is doing right by the games industry with their continued brand of reporting? Besides my love of games, I share an interest in women and my race with these guys, but I’m still almost entirely unrecognized by the games industry.
Image from Easy Allies – Community Facebook Account

They’re self-admittedly, “Just a bunch of white guys, trying to figure it all out.” But can they figure it all out? The perspective offered by EZA is incredibly biased, intentionally or not, simply due to their limited perspective. There are no women on their team, no african americans, no asians. I don’t know their sexuality (either due to a lack of research or a lack of shared information on their part), but it’s important to consider, too. If they don’t represent these demographics, how should I reasonably rely on this team for my gaming news and opinions? Can they represent me? Does it matter?

Honestly, I don’t know, and even Kotaku commenters seem conflicted about this. I went to GT for the entertainment factor and to see how much these guys loved talking about games. But more than that, they gave good information and asked better questions of each other and the industry. I don’t know that they’ll discuss feminist gaming, or critical race theory, or post-colonialism, and I think I’m okay with that because it isn’t what they’re setting out to do. They’re interested in having fun and focusing on the games: design, efficacy, plot, playability, etc. They’re talking about form and they’re talking about the games, not necessarily the social context of the games. Which I think is okay, sometimes. They’re the target demographic; shouldn’t they best be suited to explore these ideas of what games are in these ways?

It’s not a perfect system, and I’m not sure how to feel about the return of the all-white, all-male now-EZA. I know I’m excited for the return of these guys as the friendly figures that represent so much of my gaming news. Do I want the team to expand? Of course! I’d love to see a more racially or gender-ly diverse group by having more people join this great team. However, with this being the beginning of an indie project, it seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Which, I guess, is okay.  As I’m watching the inaugural 12-hour stream (from Monopoly to Twilight Princess and now to Street Fighter), I’m reminded of what I enjoy about these guys. There’s great chemistry here, and I’d rather not see this suffer in an attempt to force diversification. This isn’t just the formal criticism present in the game reviews; rather, it’s the personality and chemistry these guys share. There’s friendship and genuine interest in one another here, a desire to have fun. And not only that, but they seem willing to engage and have fun with their audience. Of course I’ve paid my Twitch subscription (Ben Moore gave me a shout-out!) and I’m a Patron because I enjoy them. I want to support them. I only hope by showing my support, I’m not removing my interest from the gaming industry.

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