It’s been a while. For the most part, there wasn’t much to discuss when it came to the FGC thanks to Covid-19 bringing most things to a screeching halt. But then, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere over this past week, the FGC has seemingly been on fire. At the heart of the issue is Dalauan “LowTierGod” Sparrow and Christina “CeroBlast” Tran. LowTierGod is often deemed a racist, misogynist, homophobic, ableist, and several other labels based on his demeanor and his many rants. Till now, many of his antics have been written off as him being a character, as his in-person demeanor is almost night and day. Having briefly met him, I can say that is more or less the case. Which personality is the truth though? Who can say?
Ceroblast vs LowTier God
As for CeroBlast, they are more or less a streaming personality and an insane Ken player. Outside of that, they’ve never been in any big controversies until now. Sure, you could say they’re cocky or an asshole, but it was never any more than what you’d see in normal circumstances. However, after calling out LTG here for his transphobic rantings, people began to dig and find out that CeroBlast was far from innocent. They got caught doing the dumbest thing to get in trouble over: saying the n-word.
And this isn’t that kind of case of pulling up tweets from years ago. The tweet that started it was from last year. Then came a clip of them saying it and…things blew up from there.
Now, I say it’s the dumbest thing to get in trouble over because it’s so avoidable. Just don’t say it. There’s no room for debate there. If Cero had never said it, this could have just been a one-sided trash fire. Unfortunately, things couldn’t be kept that simple.
As organizers came together to ban both of them from their events, LTG kept going as his supporters gave him kind words and money. Meanwhile. Cero also got support but also got messages from people looking for the chance to bash them for them being trans. Were it left there, this could have just been a case where LTG was shunned and Cero was given a second chance eventually. But…then Cero went on a rant of their own and basically said that black culture was why they were so comfortable saying the n-word. As you can imagine, that went over terribly. And now we’re at the present where LTG and Cero have been banned from Capcom events, LTG is…fine for the most part, and CeroBlast’s career that was only just getting off the ground is effectively over.
Now, an interesting side effect to this is people digging up old tweets from many faces of the FGC and realizing that non-black people openly saying the n-word was surprisingly common. I won’t say names because that’s too long, but it’s an alarmingly high amount of people. To be fair, the majority of these tweets are from 2011-2013, so pretty old. But the larger conversation people seem to want to have to pertain to this is whether or not the FGC has gone soft.
Has the FGC gone too “PC” or too “woke” to be in? And…this conversation seems very misguided. It’s puzzling to see that those who’re part of the FGC wants it to be as inclusive as ever, but also want the right to say things that would undermine that inclusiveness? Why do they want to say the n-word? What good does homophobia do for anyone? Why do people seem so ready to be transphobic?
The FGC Police
Whether or not you agree with what’s happened or with the discourse surrounding it, this shook things up again and opened up the conversation that needs to happen over what needs to be done about the bad actors within the FGC. Though, this conversation is difficult to have. Yes, there are those who are much more well known than others. But, does being exceptionally good at games mean you suddenly have an obligation to keep the entire scene under control? Are top players responsible for the image of the scene outside themselves? Or the commentators? The only authority seems to be the tournament heads, and their solution is a swift banning from their events. Which, isn’t bad. It’s all they can really do. But as far as the community at large? Honestly, no one can police that but ourselves.
But then it goes back to the question of whether or not the FGC needs to be policed? Have we grown that soft? The unfortunate situation is that the conversation is too circular. There will always be the crowd who think that offenders should be shunned and the other crowd willing to defend them and the right to say and do as they please. In that same vein, there will also be people who have to deal with this sort of ridicule within their daily lives. So why should they then come to their gaming hobby and have to deal with the same? People who play fighting games do this for fun. Competition definitely gets heated, but outside of that: why should anyone have to put up with other people’s ignorance?
I’m just happy to see that there are consequences for people’s bullshit. People should be able to enjoy their hobby and not be stressed out or ridiculed for things that ultimately don’t matter when it comes to fighting games. I mean, what’s more important: who someone sleeps with or the match up? Are you in the lab thinking about whether a trans person is a post or pre-op? Or are you optimizing combos?
There’s always going to be shitty people, unfortunately. All I would ask is to keep this energy no matter who it is. The energy that exposed CeroBlast? Keep that. The energy that finally got LTG in some real trouble? Keep that, too. Even if it’s your favorite player, hold them accountable. Practice that idealism that the FGC is for anyone and is as inclusive as they say. I hope the end of all this leads people to do better. But, time will tell.