Kratzen
Proudly presents…

The Kratzen Winter Solstice Wealth Redistribution Celebration!

with ♥ from Froge

Introduction

Ho, ho, ho! Merry non – religious non – denominational non – ritualistic arbitrarily – defined and decidedly capitalist Western – European Winter holiday event, Froges and Frogettes! I hope everybody is feeling snug on this here Winter Solstice, as opposed to feeling like they usually do, which is awful, just awful, all the time, like you can’t fall asleep but you also can’t stay awake and doing either one takes too much effort so you sluggishly attempt to waste time during the day so that you can ignore the all – encompassing painful stimuli that you feel every second of every day long enough to finally go back to bed for four hours and accept your only respite from the horrors of reality.

This year’s arbitrary holiday event is Winter Solstice, which I lifted from that one episode of The Weekenders (only early 2000s kids remember) where everybody’s bitching about how bad their lives are and Tino’s mom got divorced when they started celebrating and a couple of assholes took over the home and they had to live in the garage for the night and this was a Disney TV cartoon that aired at like 11:00 AM on the Family Channel and you never saw unless you were sick and had to spend the day with your single mom who watched Nancy Grace and had boyfriends coming in and out of your shared house every other month. It was fucked up.

Thanks to the magic of Bootleg YouTube, I was able to experience all these pleasant memories all over again, though the last time I even watched the damn thing was when I was eleven or twelve. Having remembered it all these years for being an irreligious holiday (for even at such a tender age I was taught the fundamental ills of Christianity in an agnostic household, thanks in part to The Simpsons and Futurama always taking the piss), I always wondered why my family celebrated Christmas when nobody was religious and everybody made fun of Christianity. Why not Solstice, I wondered? Also, why does my aunt live in a two – story house while I live in an abandoned bungalow next to a bar?

Well, no more wondering! Mostly because I’ve repressed all the memories, but you know. Now I can project my shitty childhood onto the rest of you all, and celebrate this atheistic holiday for the profit of all my friends! Except I don’t know anybody I’m mentioning in this post, the profit is barely enough to buy dinner, and I didn’t even explain what the hell the Wealth Redistribution Celebration even is. So, uh. Why don’t we do that, then?

Enjoy the Merry!

Today I’m introducing a brand new holiday for all of you to immediately forget: The Kratzen Winter Solstice Wealth Redistribution Celebration! I should really reduce that title to a variable or something, but “$holiday” isn’t a very grandiose way of writing. It features a unique mix of unethical journalism, abuse of mathematics, meritocratic principles, and blatant petty discrimination that would make our ancestors proud. Like all holidays, its central message is lost about 0.3 seconds from the time it’s first conceived, so let’s start twisting some ideologies!

To celebrate this holiday, I am giving away a fat wad of cash to everybody whose game I reviewed this year: TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS for everybody! Except that’s in Canadian money, so in real money it’s $150. Also, by “everybody”, I mean only the people I decree deserves the money. And by “$150 for everybody”, I mean it’s shared among everybody in the pool. What, you think I meant “$150 each”? This is Kratzen Solstice, not Merry Christmas!

Now, for all the developers whose mouths are watering at the prospect at getting your greasy hands on my hard – earned money which I shouldn’t really be giving away because I get the feeling the provincial government is looking for excuses to tax me even more ludicrously than they already do and flashing this cash in front of them could pay for Little Billy’s dentures this Winter, let’s keep some statistics in mind. I’ll be crutching on the 2017 Archives for these stats, so keep that in your browser tab if you want to stick with me. Or don’t. Go ahead, damage your reading comprehension! I dare you!

Converting that handy archives page, which is not only an extremely useful navigation tool but is now demonstrably an extremely useful tool for research and analysis (YOU’RE WELCOME), to a CSV file and loading it up in LibreOffice Calc shows some shocking statistics: out of all 96 articles this year, 65 of those are for reviews! Okay, maybe it’s not that shocking, given how this is a review site.

But wait! There’s more! Using the power of statistical analysis — by which I mean using the same maths you learned in the third grade — I’m able to find out how many games this year were either some good shit, or some bad shit! I present to you: data! Gragh!

Reviews by star ratings:

Ten one – star reviews (10 ★) — 15%

Eighteen two – star reviews (18 ★★) — 28%

Twenty – eight three – star reviews (28 ★★★) — 43%

Nine four – star reviews (9 ★★★★) — 14%

Negative reviews: 28 — 43%

Positive reviews: 37 — 57%

And now back to hatred

Impressive! It turns out that, on the whole, the mantra of “90% of everything is crap” turns out to be contradicted here on Kratzen. Of course this is due to a selection bias in me choosing games to review that show a bare minimum level of competency, deciding to harshly review titles that I personally didn’t like despite a whole hell of a lot of other proles — I mean informed citizens — enjoying quite a bit, and overall just being as honest I can be with the work I decide to tackle. And when you’re honest? Whew. You find so many flaws that no liar will ever find, but also a lot of good things, too.

So Merry Solstice everyone! I’m all donating to your Itch.io project pages with this fat wad of cash, and you’re all going to get an extremely generous… $2.30? If that’s all you’re getting, I might as well call the whole thing off and spend it on live girls! The market for live boys, you see, is sadly sordid. Also you can’t look up “live boys” without being put on several intercontinental watchlists.

Ah, but I have a trick up my sleeve. You see, the Kratzen Solstice is not just about giving money baselessly… it’s about giving money to those who deserve it the most! Yes, this isn’t a capitalist holiday at all! It’s a socialist holiday! Bow, you peasants, and kneel at my appropriation of private funds to give back to the public good! HAAAAH!

I was tricked, I tell you!

You are all fools, thinking I would baselessly pay the way of those scum of society who have paid the ultimate price for their ultimate crimes against humanity: losing two dollars for making a slightly less – than – perfect video game! No, Kratzen is a meritocracy. And unlike most meritocracies which discriminate against the disabled and unfortunate under the false guise of “equal opportunity”, unaware that a fish cannot climb a tree the same as a monkey can, this is an actual meritocracy, where all men (and not men) live and die under by the Hand of Froge, where the star system is the final word of their success in the Wealth Redistribution Celebration, where I am the Minister of Plenty, and the stars determine how much my subjects deserve. The question of whether these developers are disabled is answered easily: you’d have to be to get into game dev.

Why does our society find so many ways to reward mediocrity? Why do we praise those for trying their best when their best is clearly not good enough? Why are we giving accolades for those who know how to do their damn jobs, as opposed to those who go above and beyond in the art form they have chosen to be proficient at? And why do we give money to trends knowing that these trends will die, making developers famous for but a short while, only to be irrelevant within the coming decade? The answer, of course, is that we are all idiots. Except for me. Obviously.

No more! Those who are paid deserve to be paid. Those who are banned from the celebration deserve to be banned. This festivity is only for the most elite of the elite of Kratzen society, and if one fails to measure up to my classist standards? Then it is time to improve yourself to match those who are willing to put in the work to become great people, great artists, and great examples of who to set yourself up to be, rather than simply exist as your own degenerate self.

Of course if this policy was instituted in real life it would be a totalitarian nightmare, so it’s fortunate this is just a silly meme site where the stakes are the cost of an average grocery bill. I mean, I already have to deal with the petty proletariat uprisings on a daily basis in my regular job. No matter how many soldiers you send to quash the rebellions, they just keep popping up like goosebumps. Sheesh. You’d think somebody would just assassinate me already and get it over with.

The Fat Kratzen Payment Plan

One star reviews: You get NOTHING! Good day, sir! You were all bad, so very, very bad, in your own very, very bad and very, very varied ways, and no matter how much I see you as examples of what not to be in this world, you continue to exist regardless. I’m not saying I actively wish you didn’t exist. After all, abject failure has its own purpose in criticism, where being better than all of you lot means you’re at least competent in your field. But if you didn’t exist? Well… I think the world wouldn’t be at a loss, and I wouldn’t weep for your absence.

Two star reviews: Despite all of you meeting the minimum standard for what an “enjoyable” game should be, your failures are still so fundamental that is impossible to take you seriously as pieces of art, and so you remain relegated in the slums of that which will never see wealth. You should be happy you are not the scum of the Earth, but you should be unhappy that you are not the salt of it. There may be a Stoic joy in not caring what your peers think of you, but you also have a Stoic duty in being the best peer you can be. You are not that. You have much to learn about this duty.

Three star reviews: Congratulations. You win. Not in the sense that you win the reviewing game; after all, you still have one more star to be great, and two more to be life – shatteringly amazing. But you have won the right to be taken seriously as games, for being in this tier means you are good games, and in many circles, “good” is good enough. Some games would kill to be “good”. Others just are good. But you, through your own efforts, manage to be memorable, entertaining, and pleasant enough experiences to recommend to anybody. Rest easy. But at the same time: keep aiming for the stars.

Four star reviews: There is a place in the future reserved for all of you, and though this is not a sufficient place for art of your calibre, I offer you my humblest gratitude in offering you this seat of honour at this banquet hall as I have prepared for you all. You have made it to the toppest that most will ever make it… there is no shame in quitting now and having faith that you have fulfilled your respective purposes on this Earth. Because to earn such recognition from such a jaded man as yours truly shows that there is still something special in this silly world we call home, and that you, who are these special somethings, manage to exceed the modest standard as I have become the arbiter of? It shows a level of respect for our world that I, too, can only hope to emulate.

It is only fair, in skill – based disciplines, to give most to those who most deserve the alms. It is therefore that I offer 25% of the Wealth Redistribution Fund to the three – star reviews, and 75% of it to the four – star reviews. Therefore, $112.50 goes to the four – stars, and $37.5 goes to the three – stars. Anybody wishing to get a cut of this action can do the following: one, pray Kratzen is alive for next year. Two: make extraordinary work. How? Copy what the best of the best are doing. If, and only if, you can create better work than them, you may be decide to be original.

But, really, deciding to create great work just for the sake of satisfying one random dude on the Internet with a moderate sum of money to donate once a year seems to me a misappropriation of your life’s desires. I think that aspiring developers should make the best work they can make, but they should make it for themselves alone rather than satisfying the demands of nobodies such as yours truly. It is true that I am a learned man, an experienced man, and my opinion carries significantly more merit than of the vast majority of nobodies. But at the end of it all, the only person you can ever hope to satisfy is yourself. Anyone else? Well, that’s just folly.

Uh, oh! Here comes the money!

So, finally, we can give out our payouts: to all 9 four – star games, you get $12.5 each! And to the 28 three – star reviews? A dollar and thirty three cents! Don’t spend it all in one place —

UH – OH! Looks like we got a PLOT TWIST! It seems I forgot to discuss this crucial portion of The Kratzen Winter Solstice Wealth Redistribution Celebration: The Disqualifications! It’s not just enough to satisfy my ever – increasing standards of quality in the face of ever – decreasing standards of games. No, in order to get in the good graces of Froggy Claus (a title which continues to confuse the pronunciation of my name), you have to be a particular type of game!

For starters, if you’re not on Itch.io, you can fuck right off. I don’t have time to be exploring outside my old haunt trying to figure out obscure methods of payments for those who don’t want to publish on one of the Web’s best platforms. I get that Itch.io is often flooded with the same type of bizarre Freudian garbage that would make a war veteran weep. But come on. At least it’s not Game Jolt.

Second, if you’re one of those popufur games who have already made more money and earned more fame than will ever be good for them, causing you to have a false sense of satisfaction that any of these things will bring you a greater appreciation of the world you live in, then you have already proven you are in no need of my money, and giving it to you would be extremely counterproductive. I cannot objectively define “popularity”, but I also cannot in good conscience decide which games to strip of cash. I have come to the conclusion that games with more than twenty ratings on Itch.io have gotten sufficient press to be considered too notable for my money. Not to say that popularity is innately bad. It is just not a trait I feel I should be rewarding, especially when it comes with its own suite of tangible rewards — as fleeting and delusional as they are.

Third, I just don’t like you. You know who you are.

Slam Jammed in the Trash Can

Therefore, I present to you this victim’s list of games that are disqualified for one reason for another, and may Froge have mercy on those who survive this madness.

Disqualified for poor quality:

I would list all twenty – eight games that have been immediately shitcanned because they were either a total waste of my time or didn’t otherwise make the cut, but… no.

Disqualified for being popular:

Oh, Christ, do I really have to list all seventeen of these titles? Yes? Oh, alright.

The following games had more than 20 star ratings by the time I last bothered to check, in no particular order: Night in the Woods: Lost Constellation, GUN GODZ, Sort the Court, First Kiss at a Spooky Soiree, Hitogotchi, GAME OF THE YEAR: 420BLAZEIT vs xxXilluminatiXxx [wow/10 #rekt edition] — Montage Parody The Game, Packing Up The Rest of Your Stuff on the Last Day at Your Old Apartment, Coming Out Simulator, Bomb Squad Academy, The Maître D’, Liar Liar, The Shadows that Run Alongside our Car, Electric Highways, Underhero Demo, KAIMA, Starlit Flowers, and Butterfly Soup — as if I needed to tell you.

Fans of Froge will tell that I liked a good deal of these games, and seeing them on here fills me with a bit of bittersweetness. On the one hand, I am unable to support those titles which gave so much to me at so little cost. On the other hand, they’re probably making fat bank, so fuck ’em.

Disqualified for not taking payments:

You fools! You had so much opportunity to gain so much in return, but you have squandered it for the sake of… well, I don’t know what, exactly. It was probably because they didn’t feel it was moral to, legally couldn’t do such a thing, or was unable to actually set up a payment system due to a combination of frustrating factors. A tragedy, to be sure.

The games affected by this debilitation are: Pistolchet, Electra, Infinity Inc., DonkeyKong.exe, Voodoo Lockdown, Cynical7 Demo, and Ciel Fledge Alpha. What’s bizarre is how many of those games are in a state where they could really use the extra dosh, but sometimes the mores of life mean you are unable to give to those who are most in need.

Disqualified for petty grudges:

“The Edge Super Gamepad” and “Galaxycat” are not games, and that last one was a joke review. The second review of ULTRA ADHD was also a joke review, and since I reviewed it once, I’m not letting the developer double – dip to abuse the system. Of course, I’m not saying he’s the type of person to do that, because — really now. Who ever heard of a greedy Jew?

Spelunky Classic HD was a game ported to Itch.io by someone who isn’t the developer, and to the point doesn’t even accept payments, though I don’t really care enough to find the original creator. Gamma Bros is also disqualified, not only because it’s one of the most popular Flash games of all time, but also because it’s not on Itch.io. Ouch. The double whammy!

Momodora II is banned because of its stupid numbering system that uses Roman numerals instead of Arabic numerals. More seriously, it doesn’t display its star ratings, and there is zero chance of me rewarding you from hiding from the public arena! Come out and face your fears, you coward! Also, it’s for this reason that I am shitcanning Jack and Casie. My comment of my review was deleted from the game page. I would have been an ardent supporter of your work, Shoutscion, except you decided to suppress dissent about your furry meme game that didn’t fall into lockstep with the other universally positive comments — even though I gave the game a positive review, so that shows just how ungrateful you really are. So, from me to you: fuck you. Show some appreciation for your damn fans.

Finally! We’re finished!

And coming in from me saying “fuck you” to a talented developer and designer is yours truly saying “thank you” to everyone else who stuck with me through all this silliness that, at the end of it all, only really matters to me personally, because I’m sufficiently autistic enough to find this level of detail of my own work to be fascinating enough to be worthy of posting an entire article about. We really are wrapping up right about now, I’ve said my piece about every title that I’ve mentioned thus far, and it is time to stop delaying the conclusion and reveal the winners once and for all.

But first, allow me to say a few words. I realise that the money is ultimately insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I do not expect it to be a life – changing amount to anybody who receives it… or even a generous amount, for that matter. The sum of money, though not insignificant, is more important in its symbolism than in how much it actually is. It’s a symbol of penance, a symbol of gratitude for those independent artists who have put their reputations on the line in order to make great work, who have devoted so much time and energy into making art that they want to see, and who want to come out at the end of it all a better person. And though they may not have all succeeded, I am grateful for those who have, because they show that there is much hope for the medium we call home.

Do not disparage those who are not up to snuff. We have better things to do with our lives than to insult those who, in this moment, have failed to live up to our haughty standards. Though my criticisms are important, not for the opinions of each individual work, but for the pragmatic and high – quality artistic philosophy it espouses on a whole, they are not the be – all, end – all of criticism. There is no accounting for taste, and though I write for those who are like me, I know that I am a dying breed, and cannot shame anybody for having been born and raised unlike yours truly.

And do not place those who have succeeded in this contest on too high a pedestal. Understand that, but for the work they create, they are human. When we begin to see those we admire as idols and not as peers, we lose track of the countless hours of practice it took to become skilled in their craft, we lose track of the sweat and blood it takes to produce work as they have produced, and we begin to see ourselves as inferior to those who, if they had not decided to be better, would be the same as us. We may be enthralled by their creations, even jealous of them, but we must never lose sight of the human element that has caused them to exist at all.

Now, without further bullshit, let’s announce:

The Kratzen Winter Solstice Wealth Redistribution Celebration! Winners!

Daisy Chain! It’s funny that I found this novel to be such a pedestrian, down – the – middle experience, finding it unremarkable in either prose or plot, thinking nicely of it because I appreciated the artist for having made it at all. I think at the time I was too inexperienced, too free of my passive confidence, to rate it like I really wanted to. I was describing a two – star title and gave it a three – star rating. If I say to you now that I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed, say, Butterfly Soup, then I would be lying. But still, I admire those who are willing to put themselves out there and try something different; but for the grace of Chaos, the artist could have been you.

Karate Basketball! This was in Kratzen’s period of time where I didn’t know neither the value of a schedule nor the virtues of bribery, was unable to speak much about that which had little to talk about, and was still cutting my teeth as a slightly more professional writer, as it were. Karate Basketball remains one of the most fun games on Kratzen, although one of the most simple games as well, and though I thought I would like to increase its score to four stars instead of three to reflect how much I enjoy it, looking back on it I can say that it deserves its designation as a good game.

Essence Hunt! I’m no stranger to yaoi; I did not appreciate this novel out of novelty, nor did I rate it highly despite its predictability and by – the – book storytelling. I rated it because it showed the fundamentals of what a good story should be: characters you can appreciate, an art style that — though functional — is appealing enough to remember, and prose that is actually pretty decent. For the fangirls who appreciate gayness in spite of the story, they will appreciate this novel. And for the rest of you who aren’t that, you can appreciate the emotional highs and lows it successfully creates. Myself? I am experienced in both, and it’s three – star rating is a fair rating for a man of my calibre.

Oneiric Gardens! This title is an anomaly to me because of how it causes me to feel things despite not really trying. It’s simple as all hell: a collection of weird environments that just sort of exist, out of context from each other or of any overarching plot, and doesn’t even have an ending. It’s just a collective of experiments wrought from the recesses of the author’s mind. And yet, like we are unable to explain what we find beautiful in architecture or in sculpture, I am unable to explain the beauty in this title, because it excites me so. Three stars for incoherence. Three stars for the experience.

Ultra ADHD! I have thought about this game too much. I remember feeling very strongly about it the first time I played it. I felt just as strong the second time. The third time I didn’t feel as strong because I had already gone through it about six times with all the joke names. Maybe now it’s stale to me. But to deny that the fantastical, bizarre, and wonderful things that I have seen with this title, being a collection of disconnected ideas all smashed together in a way that’s both horrifying and amazing, failed to arouse me the very first time I saw it? That would be the greatest lie. Four stars to the man who I already got a Solstice gift for, and who always replies to my e – mails faster than he has any right to. Happy Hanukkah, motherfucker. No, I don’t care it was three weeks ago. Get a real holiday.

The Difference Between Us! I recall this horse novel appealing to me because of it containing so much of what I pride: talk about relationships and the maintenance thereof. The media in which it talks is essentially Friendship is Magic fanfiction, which causes me even more grief knowing that copyright law can allow such beautiful pieces of work to, arbitrarily at any time, suddenly cease to exist, censored off the face of the Internet forever as part of the systemic oppression that our corporate – ruled governments rely on. All things are fleeting, even the infinitely – reproducible and artificially scarce digital things, and so I am happy this four – star novel has existed at all.

Don’t get a Virus! I still don’t believe the creator of the novel is sufficiently a fan of free software enough to make this game free software as well, but that is par for the course. What goes above the par is in how successful this four – star demo is at inducing the white – knuckle grip of bullet hell shooters in just fifteen minutes and two boss fights, causing you to focus with laser – precision on where your ship is, where your mouse is, where it’s going to be, and where you’re going to position yourself to get that one single shot off before you have to duck and weave waiting for your next opportunity. It’s one of those games which make you sweat, makes you realise just why in the world games are appreciated at all, and I’m waiting patiently for the full game’s release.

Tobu Tobu Girl! If one’s going to spend a significant portion of their time and energy — many years worth — making a homebrew Game Boy title fifteen years after the console ended production, you might as well make sure it’s a good one. Tobu Tobu Girl induces so many emotions in me, from joy to hatred to frustration to pride, all through the medium of an incredibly simple arcade game that, despite this minimalist game design, has art direction so modern in its construction and so trendy in its style that even looking at the game, and the feelies within, feels like something worth admiring. Of course, this game only gets… one star. Nah, I’m just playing with you.

GET TO THE MONEY

Okay, Jesus, I’m done praising your shit. Christ! Jesus Christ! That’s the dead guy you’re worshiping four days from now. Also, he might have not existed. Yeah, you chew on that.

The three – star titles — Daisy Chain, Karate Basketball, Essence Hunt, and Oneiric Gardens — all take equally of the $37.50 pool: $9.37, rounded down! That’s about the cost of a Big Mac combo meal at McDonalds! Wait, that sounds like an advertisement for one of the root causes of our global obesity epidemic. That’s the cost of four kilograms of delicious rolled oats. Mmm! I hope you enjoy oatmeal, because you’ll be eating breakfast until February!

The four – star titles — Ultra ADHD, The Difference Between Us, Don’t get a Virus, and Tobu Tobu Girl — had the privilege to be born better and so will receive, shared from the pool of $112.5, a whopping $28.13 each! With that type of money, you can buy a real game! Or eighty – four eggs. Or 1,300 playing cards. Look, I don’t care what you spend it on, just don’t be dopes about it.

To everyone complaining that they were cheated out of this good fortune by virtue of being too popular, unable to take payments, or being shit, I will say that the ides of life do not care about what you think you are entitled to, or whether you are regretful of the choices you’ve made or the situations you found yourselves in. They are not concerned with “what if” — only with what is. Today you may have lost a small sum of money, but if you feel that money was, despite never being in your possession, yours… then you are wrong.

You have failed to understand that the actions you have taken in the past affect your future in the most mundane and unexpected ways, and though this holiday special is one of the most mundane, there will be even bolder and more lucrative opportunities you will have failed to take advantage of. You will not fail because it is the world that is cruel to you. You will fail because you are cruel to you. If you cannot accept the past that has already been, nor the future that will be, the only thing you may do is focus on the present and improve yourself, in every way, and reflect on what will happen based on the actions you take today. You will be a waste of life to do otherwise.

To the famous games whose fame is fleeting: you do not need my help. To the bad games that will always be bad: you do not deserve my help. And to those who missed the Kratzen gravy train: know that nobody, not even myself, would have predicted the results of this silly celebration, and even I am not completely satisfied with the results. But I accept them, because to attempt to twist fate would be to go against those that fate deemed would be fortunate, and then once you start twisting, you do not stop until you break it. I’m but a man with the opportunity to offer a slightly brighter Solstice to those who, in some small way, I appreciate. But the opportunity is gone, and you must make your own.

Ethics in Games Jour — *SNORT*

“But Froge!” my imaginary friend screams out from the sidelines. Didn’t I banish you back in Froghand? “What about the… ETHICS? Is this… UNETHICAL?”. Well, what is ethics, anyway? Most of the time it boils down to how we feel about something. And if our main objections to something is how we feel about it, rather than the consequences of what happens should we do the thing, then what you’re suggesting is that we shouldn’t do “unethical” things because some people feel we shouldn’t. Entertainment industry propaganda has declared it “unethical” to share and partake in infinitely – reproducible works of art and culture. Obviously, this is a bunch of shit – eatingly brazen lies to assume that a multi – multi – billion dollar bunch of capitalists operating under a conglomeration whose sole existence is to systemically manipulate people should have any stake in what is “ethical”. But that’s propaganda for you. The truth doesn’t matter so long as the agenda is forwarded.

Indie artists, too, say it’s “unethical” to share the work they create without their permission. The consequences of doing so? Taking away power from the minority and giving it to the majority. Destroying the regime of artificial scarcity that has no place in our modern, Internet – connected society. Removing the artist’s imaginary “rights” and stopping them from being entitled to profits that, despite having never been in their hand, they feel belongs to them. Ignoring draconian copyright laws and allowing free culture to spread free, as opposed to indulging in permission culture where the minority can censor the enjoyment of a work of the majority at any time.

All of this, of course, destroys the class system that has been the cause of many of society’s ancient ills. This classist interpretation is that the artist belongs to a better class than you, and that we are the lower classes who exist to give them money. But though they may be a better person because of their skills, never have they had the right to be supported by the unskilled masses. They only have the privilege to do so, and it is our privilege, for the betterment of society, to share their work no matter how much they want to censor our fundamental human right to culture.

The only argument against not sharing the work of indie artists is that it makes us feel bad. As has been logically demonstrated, there is no reason to feel bad, because the artist’s meagre feelings of possession of work that they had shared publicly and therefore has opened up to public use and criticism is outweighed by the very many positive feelings of the majority group who enjoys the artists work. Therefore, there are no longer any arguments in favour of not sharing the artist’s work, and it’s counter – productive to continue this propaganda against free culture by calling it “unethical”, because as has been show, it is unethical to not share this work.

So if we define ethics as avoiding negative consequences of our actions, then I am being asked if through The Kratzen Winter Solstice Wealth Redistribution Celebration, I am acting in a way that causes any negative consequences. Is it unethical to incentivise developers to create better work by praising great work and disparaging poor work, as if I was a critic? Is it unethical to patronise work I enjoy and encourage developers to create more work I enjoy through giving them my money, as if I was a customer? Or is it unethical to make such a big show out of both praising and patronising, and being transparent in my dealings with those whose work I review?

I can understand the concern if I was receiving money from or had prior relationships with anyone whose work here I have reviewed; the money I have never received in my life, and the relationships I make apparent. There is scientific evidence to suggest that these factors affect the neutrality of reviews by making them more positive than they otherwise would be; for instance, those Amazon reviewers who earn free products for the purposes of criticism are twelve times less likely to give a one – star review, and four times less likely to give a critical review.

I cannot say I am better than the science, or that I would act similarly if I was bribed more often. Most money is meaningless to me; indeed, most everything I can buy is meaningless to me, and I have no reason to pay for media when I have all the free media in the world I could ever want thanks to the Internet. I am grateful for what I have, and do not desire what I cannot even imagine wanting. But I understand the practical reasons why we need money, and why we should be glad to be able to buy most anything we need, including the highest – quality products we can afford. If I was to get it, would I turn it down? Would, in particular, I be corrupt? I will have to find out when I get there.

Well, that’s a question for science to answer when I end up reviewing those games I got for free from the Press Account, and when I continue to deal with developers I find pleasant and – or insufferable. But as for the question of whether paying for titles I enjoy is either unethical or causes me to be biased towards those titles I already reviewed? Please.

Conclusion

So I’ll be stopping by the Itch.io pages of all the above games and donating all that money immediately after this article goes live; I would leave a comment on their pages linking to this article, but I feel that acts of generosity are best met in silence, lest we donate for the pleasure and not the effects of being generous. I also hope that PayPal doesn’t can my account for donating suspiciously exact numbers as I have calculated here, but I have no control over that, so what can you do?

If you all want to encourage me to buy crap I don’t need, why not stop by my Ko – Fi page that I have the good graces to never advertise and never update because I don’t have nearly enough followers to beg for donations that I don’t need on a weekly basis, and help commit even more acts of cultural socialism? Or if you’re interested in supporting my desperate struggle for furry meme games, why not stop by my Good Old Games wishlist? If you buy me a game, I have to review it! Not inasmuch as we have to do anything, but if it’ll get me Freedom Planet I’ll gladly satisfy your delusions of grandeur. Also, don’t buy me Yooka – Laylee. I don’t want to play that misguided trainwreck.

But as the evening wanes and Solstice comes to an end, I reflect on my life and have come to a few realisations about my place in this world…

Which I’m not sharing. Merry Dickmas, dipshits!