I deleted some games--setting the record straight

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JSH357
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I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by JSH357 »

Hello (no, I'm not making games again, sorry)

Recently I was looking back at some of my old games and I decided to remove several of them from the game list. (OHR House, Thanksgiving Quest, and others) Somebody reached out to me and asked me why I had done this and so I'm here to set the record straight on it. I'm not running from the past I'm not trying to erase OHR history or whatever (a blip in history at best). I feel like I'm justified in my reasons for removing these games, I would like it to be respected, and let me explain why.

A preface: I'm not trying to garner sympathy. I said, did and even made things that might have been harmful and I have zero problem owning up to that. When I was in Middle School I almost immediately became a victim of verbal bullying by a group of individuals who I went to school with. Frequently, they would use homophobic insults and other forms of aggressive language on me. I was a scrawny guy, I wore worn out clothes, and I don't have a masculine voice. I was very hurt by their words at the time (once I understood what they were saying about me) but also didn't know what to do about it. At one point I actually reported one of these people to the school principal, and do you know what was said in response? That I needed to suck it up, and that it was normal for boys to talk this way. To young people in the current year, this might sound shocking, but that's how casually society treated bullying and homophobia in the early 00s and it was worse before. Even though I felt hurt, I began thinking something was wrong with me, and eventually, I started using that language at times too. You might think I should have realized doing this was wrong because I knew how it felt to be a target. Sadly, this is not always how our brains work. A desire to fit in tends to overpower a desire for justice. I grew into thinking that using this language was a normal things guys did with each other and should be perceived as harmless.

I was wrong, and if you think it's harmless you are probably wrong too.

So yeah, several of my games ended up having harmful language and themes because this stuff was just normal to me. I thought it was funny. Maybe it even was at the time. With 20 years of hindsight, I realize that the potential for harm outweighs whatever appeal that humor had for people back then. I removed these games because I believe that not hurting someone in the future is better than entertaining someone in the past. I also work a public job and have kids now, so I can't pretend that's not part of this, but I consider it minor in comparison. If it's any consolation, I teach my kids to avoid talking about people this way. It's the best I can do to make up for the past.

If you have nostalgic feelings about these games, I'm glad they brought you joy and I hope the memories of them are enough to satisfy whatever you get out of them. Happy to chat with anyone who wants to. Apologies for any past bad vibes.

Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
My website, the home of Motrya:
http://www.jshgaming.com
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Spoonweaver
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by Spoonweaver »

Well I'd love to say that there was no explanation needed, but I can't speak for everyone.
It was all a long time ago, and you're doing different stuff now.
So if you remove 1 game or all of them, it's your call.
As far as upholding OHR history, honestly, I've never seen the point of that.
What someone makes with the OHR is their property and only theirs.
Posting on the same forum as someone doesn't give you partial ownership on all the games on it and doesn't make us all a family or something.
If anyone actually wanted a copy of every ohr game, they've had the chance to download them and store them locally.
Any sort of public archive where the creators have little to no say in the hosting of files, imo, has no business existing.
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by The Wobbler »

Much respect, it's hard to admit things like this. It's pretty painful looking back at what most of us found funny in the early 2000's, not just here but society as whole.
Spoonweaver wrote: Sat Jul 17, 2021 5:15 pm Any sort of public archive where the creators have little to no say in the hosting of files, imo, has no business existing.
This is something that really bothers me about Archive.org, which has its place in archiving content of academic value but also keeps a ton of stuff that really shouldn't be preserved. There was a copy of my blog up there from when I was in high school, years and years after I'd deleted it, and that felt like a real invasion of privacy.

They'll delist your content if you reach out to them but it's a long process.
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Bob the Hamster
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by Bob the Hamster »

Thank you for sharing, JSH, and I support your decision.

And it is nice to hear from you :)
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by kylekrack »

As someone who wasn't around for that part of ohr "history", I appreciate the explanation. It certainly doesn't go without saying for those of us who don't have a context for it. This perspective is really valuable, though. Wobbler is right, it's really hard to admit things like that, but it's really motivating to hear someone else do it. I certainly won't judge anyone for things they did/said in middle school. Good lord, 12 year olds are all little bastards in their own special ways. I can't speak for anyone else, but hearing you own up to regrettable things you said and did makes it easier to forgive myself for similar mistakes. Thanks.
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by TMC »

Thanks for the explanation, that's moving and enlightening and also useful to have. People mostly remove their games because they don't want to be associated with them, rather than arguing the games themselves shouldn't be seen by the public.

When someone asks me for a copy of a game that's no longer available (which has happened a number of times) I need to decide what to do. In your case it sounds like you wouldn't have a problem with me providing it if I also inform them you don't want it public. In other cases where someone wants to completely erase a game from history I would be less forthcoming. As you may know I'm working on a website with a central collated list of OHR games, reviews and articles, and need to keep track of which games were intentionally removed by the authors versus ones that disappeared simply because the original host went down, and decide what to do about that. I don't want to take away control of their game listings from anyone. I could have multiple tiers of removal, such as having an entry for a game but no download links, not linking games to their authors, requiring a login to view (so only community members, not search engines can find it) or complete removal.
The Wobbler wrote: Sat Jul 17, 2021 5:17 pmThey'll delist your content if you reach out to them but it's a long process.
If you still own the domain name where the content was published you can remove it yourself by editing your robots.txt to block those pages. Last I heard, the current robots.txt file is checked before serving archived content.
The Internet Wayback Machine is incredibly useful and it can only work as well as it does by being opt out rather than opt in.
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by Mogri »

Thanks for stopping by.

I do have fond memories of several of those games, but I also strongly suspect that those memories would be much less fond if I ever revisited those games. I'm happy to see that we've grown, both as individuals and as a community, and I doubt there's anyone here who would begrudge your decision.

I'd love to hear what you've been up to.
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by SDHawk »

I think placing a warning and what you wrote here on the game pages would be a better response than deletion.

I thought about writing paragraphs of text on historical merit. But I'm pretty sure you already know everything I was going to say: art exists as part of its time, dated art can be a useful example of its time (even for people who lived it- people right now are watching 90's shows they saw as a kid and being shocked at what they didn't notice then. There's value in that), OHR House alone is quite likely an important first historical example of a scripted reality show featuring community members, and a work can have merit outside of its problems. Destroying art for being part of its time is no better than burning books for any other reason.

Maybe that means the actual heart of it is just that you just don't view your games (or really any OHR game or any other type of obscure art) as anything of value. It's just some dumb crap you made as a teenager. It's not important now, and it's never going to be. I'm sure you already know what I'm going to say here too: countless famous works only became famous years after the artist died, many important works started as a dumb joke, even outsider art has immense value, etc. Frankly even if something languishes in obscurity for all of eternity, where only one more person ends up looking at it, I think keeping it around was worth it.

So knowing that you know all that, I'm just left with the cold reality that you really think the slightest chance of these things (already in a historical context from countless dated references) harming someone outweighs all of it. And I am never going to respect it. I grew up in a house that treated art that was outside acceptable morality as dangerous and to be avoided. That any art outside my own views was to be avoided instead of engaged with on any level. So I feel really strongly about that point of view spreading wider, even if it's towards material I agree with as wrong. It's a terrible way to look at art, and I hope you reconsider.
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by Spoonweaver »

But see, I think, SDHawk, that the act of deleting the game is part of the artistic experience of the game.
It's like McDonald's Szechuan sauce. Was is actually great? Maybe, maybe not. But the craze was started because it stopped being available.
The reasoning behind the removal of the games is the message of this current artistic expression. It's a sort of political statement, about how relics of the past affect our future and whether we should leave them or not. Currently we are removing a lot of statues here in America and a lot of people have views about that. In the past, other countries have torn down the statues of former dictators to the sound of praise and cheering.

In any case, the act of removing the games has started this conversation. Whether it was the artists intention or not isn't the point. It happened and art is an ever evolving experience. You say that there's value in someone finding these games years and years down the road so they should be preserved. But the same can be said about someone finding this forum years and years from now and seeing the choices and discussion of those choices. Maybe in this future, the idea of removing something from the internet isn't realistic. Won't it be nice for those future people to see a time when it was still somewhat possible.
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by MindFuzz »

You made OHR House? I never played it, but a friend was going thru an old hard drive and found/sent me the second one the other day. Don't worry, it won't see the light of day, just a weird coincidence.

What you did was quite admirable. It's actually pretty crazy to see how society cracked down on bullying since I was a kid. Would have been nice if they'd started the crackdown much sooner, maybe we wouldn't have so many adult bullies today :(
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by BennyJackdaw »

I can relate to being bullied. I was bullied my entire life when I was at school. People underestimate the kind of mental torture that bullies cause on people, so any time that I see people suggest to just ignore them as if they will magically go away, I feel kind of insulted because you're basically rewarding the bullies by doing nothing. Even if you are quote-unquote not giving the bullies what they want by getting angry at them, which isn't always what they want, it still doesn't sit right with me considering just how bad it can get. Even if you ignore them long enough that they get off your back, they will just go on to ruin other people's time in a situation. But that's what Humanity have decided on doing to deal with bullying, and it's no surprise that bullying is as common as ever.
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by SwordPlay »

BennyJackdaw wrote: Sat Nov 06, 2021 2:52 am I can relate to being bullied. I was bullied my entire life when I was at school. People underestimate the kind of mental torture that bullies cause on people, so any time that I see people suggest to just ignore them as if they will magically go away, I feel kind of insulted because you're basically rewarding the bullies by doing nothing. Even if you are quote-unquote not giving the bullies what they want by getting angry at them, which isn't always what they want, it still doesn't sit right with me considering just how bad it can get. Even if you ignore them long enough that they get off your back, they will just go on to ruin other people's time in a situation. But that's what Humanity have decided on doing to deal with bullying, and it's no surprise that bullying is as common as ever.
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Re: I deleted some games--setting the record straight

Post by Spoonweaver »

Bullying arises due to a poor school system structure. Underage people are left unsupervised to their own devices and basically lord of the flies takes place. No other places beyond school would this ever happen. You'd call the cops on someone "bullying" you outside of school. Of course, they normally take your phone while you're in school too.
When asked, ex-convicts often described jail/prison as basically like school. There's theories and outright evidence that it's setup this way on purpose. Bullying is a means to indoctrinate children and keep them docile throughout their life. There are a large number of people that will tell you, "Bullying builds character".
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