Gamer Hate

Belligerently lacking in remorse.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

You’re stupid, your idea is stupid, and you’re full of shit.
Egos in the game industry…
Part 3 of 3

Though the Lying Revisionist has a lot of problems. Namely that they have bad ideas and try to push them onto the agenda, they are also fairly easy to manipulate to get good things into a game. You’ll never get credit for them, but it’s not out of maliciousness, it’s because they go out of their way to forget who gave them what. The 3rd ego type I’ll go into is far more malignant in their machinations.

The Powersnake

This is the sort of person you dread working with. They will screw over anyone to get ahead, even themselves. All that they want is power, power over you, power over others, power over the company, and the power to do whatever they want whenever they want to. Sadly, these bloodthirsty tyrants can actually be good for business because despite the morale crushing blows they may deal to the people under them, they’re actually quite intelligent and can tell good ideas from bad.

The first aspect of a Powersnake is their love of power. They want to be feared by everyone around them. They want their opinion to matter the most in any decision, and they want their decision to be final and conclusive. That means that anyone who questions their authority is going to get a swift kick in the ass. People who are below them on the totem pole that disagree on anything with them, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant the situation, will be barraged by insults and other forms of punishment. I once made the mistake of disagreeing with my Powersnake boss about the popularity of one type of multiplayer match type.

We were considering removing the gametype from our latest game. When I disagreed and said that I knew a lot of people who enjoyed that particular game type he told me “You’re full of shit.” This is in front of my co-workers and friends and he didn’t say it in a joking way. He meant it and said it so maliciously that the whole room went silent. I have a tendency to be able to laugh these things off, but it still wasn’t pleasant to hear. They later promoted him… How can such an asshole get a promotion you ask? Well…

The Powersnake loves to denounce other people’s ideas and then steal them for himself. This is different from the Lying Revisionist who hears other people’s ideas (good or bad) and then forgets who said them and assumes they came up with them. The Powersnake intentionally seeks out good ideas (and is able to differentiate good from bad), then pummels the person for having suggested the good idea (thus making them believe it is bad so they don’t mention it to others) and then presents the same idea as their own, thus taking full credit. If the person who originally had the idea then mentions they came up with it first, the Powersnake will cut them down or dismiss it in some natural way by saying that they might have come up with it at the same time, but that the Powersnake had clearly presented it first. They do this intentionally and maliciously to not only look superior to everyone else, but to cut down the people they are taking ideas from.

When put in this situation you honestly feel powerless. If you speak up, the Powersnake can easily cut you down because you now look like a glory hog. If you don’t speak up, the Powersnake has accomplished their goal of looking like the hero while you sit by yourself lamenting the situation. You can’t win against a Powersnake that already has power over you.

The Powersnake is an extremely political beast. They know how to manipulate the people above them and around them to see things the same way they do. One of their techniques, and the one I experienced first hand, is the drop of poison technique. While they’re going about their business they can drop subtle hints that someone else may be a complete psychopath. For instance, let’s say someone asks the Powersnake what they thought of me. The conversation might go something like this.

Unwitting Pawn: Hey, you work with Commander Hate, what do you think of him?

Powersnake: Oh, CommanderHate? He’s great. It’s too bad what happened to LieutenantLoserpants though.

Unwitting Pawn: Why? What happened to Lieutenant Loserpants?

Powersnake: Oh, I don’t know really, Commander Hate just had some sort of disagreement with Lieutenant Loserpants and blew up on him. I can’t even remember what the argument was about, but it seems like a really touchy subject for him. You’d have to ask them about that. I’ve always had a lot of respect for both of them.

So, what just happened? Well, the Powersnake just told the Unwitting Pawn that Commander Hate is a freakin’ psycho who totally blew up on Lieutenant Loserpants, probably over a trivial matter because they can’t even remember what it was about. Powersnake has also proven that they are a reliable source of information on this subject because they have no bias towards either party and Powersnake did not offer an opinion about the people. Powersnake merely explained the events and lets Unwitting Pawn figure it out for themself. What will Unwitting Pawn do in this situation?

Well, they’ve been warned off from talking to Commander Hate because it’s a “touchy subject,” so that probably wouldn’t be wise. If they talk to Lieutenant Loserpants they’re just going to get a biased view of what happened since they’re the ones who got blown up on. Besides, the whole matter is pretty trivial anyways so it’s really not worth investigating.

So now the seed has been planted and whenever Unwitting Pawn is asked their opinion about Commander Hate, they’re probably not going to have anything nice to say, even though they’ve never really talked to Commander Hate at all. The worst part of this is that the drop of poison can spread throughout the game industry as people who heard “rumors” about Commander Hate will move on to other companies and refuse to work with Commander Hate should their resume come that way.

There really isn’t a good way to deal with a Powersnake once they’re in a position of power, so you pretty much have to play their game if you want to succeed at that company. If you let them continually steal your ideas, they will eventually (begrudgingly) promote you, and  you can actually do well in this situation as long as you help the Powersnake. You see, the Powersnake is the only one who will know that the good ideas are coming from you, so they will want to keep you around, and you will now have to work with them because if the Powersnake goes, so does all your hard work. You gave that power to the Powersnake after all. If you like politics, you can deal with a Powersnake.

Powersnakes who don’t have power or who don’t know how to handle the politics of being a Powersnake are easy to crush early on. All it takes is someone who is more credible than the Powersnake mentioning that the Powersnake stole their idea and they’re pretty much done for. Once a thief, always a thief. It’s best to squash them when they’re young. Hehehe…

posted by CommanderHate at 3:29 pm  


  1. I don’t know how wise it would be to stay around with a Powersnake who is dependent on you. If you dislike working with them and/or there is any malice between you (which, come on, there will be), then as soon as somebody else with good ideas comes by, you’re gone!

    If you’re in a good position in the company, I think threatening to quit (seriously threatening, not just half-assedly doing it) and raising concerns with all the managers you work with is probably most effective. Well, most effective is like you said – if you’re credible and valuable, just tell someone important that powersnake stole your idea, but raising a reasonable stink is the next best route.

    Comment by Aaron — March 6, 2008 @ 11:31 am

  2. […] It’s not as though their incompetence is a mystery. It simply is… and everyone (including their former boss) acknowledges it, while simultaneously bringing up other “qualities” like loyalty and stick-with-it-ness and… loyalty… Basically that fucker was never going to be able to find a job anywhere else so they promoted him simply because he was a permanent fixture, and despite his incompetence, your former boss knows he can micromanage the crap out of him so it’s as if they can maintain power over their previous position while simultaneously moving forward and managing a larger portion of the company. Damn Powersnakes… […]

    Pingback by Gamer Hate » The Prevalence of Morons in the Game Industry — March 12, 2008 @ 7:03 pm

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