Maddox: A Simple Solution to Sexism in the Video Game Industry


Oh, yes. I’m bringing out the big guns already…

So while I’m not going to explicitly discuss the content of the video (believe me: sexism in the industry is a topic I am excited to address at another point in time), I am going to analyze the rhetorical methods involved in its delivery, as outlined by James Porter (if you are interested, you can access his paper “Recovering Delivery for Digital Rhetoric” here). Is this going to be dry? Probably. Am I going to try and make it interesting? Take it from Heisenberg:

Credit to Bryan Cranston of Breaking Bad (via AMC)

I do want to say this, however: Maddox is awesome. He really knows just how to make you feel like a humongous asshole for believing you are a good person. If you can think of a contemporary social justice issue, he’s probably debunked it by now and told you why you’re wrong for defending it. If you’re in the mood for a laugh, check out his website The Best Page In The Universe.

Let’s start with the presentation of the incorrigible bastard himself, Maddox. This guy just reeks plain awesome. Wearing a manly shirt and standing in front of a super-imposed image of himself, he aggressively faces the audience and voices his contribution to the “sexism in the video game industry” debate. He intercuts his discourse with footage from popular games, which do display women in either a more submissive light, or women who are overly-sexualized. The most important thing he does, however, is he doesn’t bullshit the audience. Games are primarily made for men because the people making them are, for the most part, men. They’re selling to their audience. That’s the thing with Maddox: he pushes you off your high-horse and gives you the middle finger. And I love it.

The video is posted to the highly-viewed platform of YouTube, where it gets a lot of traffic. It is also posted to his own website, where the article in question has already received over 300,000 views since its upload last year. The greatest part about all of this, however? Maddox doesn’t promote his website. Its traffic is spread purely through word-of-mouth. It goes to show how influential this one man’s words can be (or how much traffic haters can bring).

Because the video can be found on YouTube, the ability to access and interact with it is highly simplified. You can easily find it with a quick search on the YouTube search bar and post a comment, expressing your unbridled rage towards a guy who is most likely laughing at you for getting so offended. Seriously, it’s one man’s opinion. If you don’t agree with it, close the page. No one is forcing you to watch it (I hope). But I’m getting off-topic here.

Maddox is a one-man team. He produces the content for his website purely by himself. In the case of this video, he wrote the script, found the footage, researched the information, and edited the footage completely on his own. He isn’t using the video to produce an income (but I’m sure he’s still receiving one, thanks to YouTube’s revenue-sharing program). The reason he made this video is to make a point, and that point is simple: you’re wrong. He’s doing it purely to voice his opinion. On his website’s FAQ, he states the reason he first made the website:

At first, I put up a small site with only a few pages on it just to spite my close friends.

It’s purely comedy and satire, with an impactful message behind it that can be discerned if you’re willing to listen to an opinion that’s different from yours for a minute.

Much like developers, Maddox is writing for his audience, which is primarily composed of young-adult males. There are women who are fans of Maddox; I’ve met plenty of them. However, he isn’t writing to convince social justice warriors about how they’re wrong, or attempting to change anyone’s fundamental beliefs. He’s writing because people are entertained by his opinions, and often times, his complaints are valid.

Bad Story Exercise: The Lone Rider of Mysterra: Chapter the Ninth

Brenton, the last in the line of the ancient kings, stood before the Warlock Lord, seated on his black throne, in the vast antechamber. Blade in hand, he slowly strode towards the figure clad in black, his boots clacking on the floor, stopping before the stairs leading up to his dark seat. The towering black marble pillars vaulted above them, opening to the inky sky, a sky devoid of the comfort of light. The only light source stemmed from the Warlock Lord, as he wielded a greatsword which flickered with crimson flame.

“So,” the Warlock Lord rasped, his voice calling out from behind the pale mask he wore to conceal his visage, “You have come to challenge me. How noble. I shall reward you with the honor of a quick death.” His words penetrated Brenton like icicles, filling him with a chilling dread. Nevertheless, Brenton raised his dragonbone sword, pointing it towards his enemy.

“It is my duty to slay you and return peace to this land,” Brenton shouted with conviction, though every fiber of his being shook with fright. Standing in the presence of the Warlock Lord alone was enough to strike fear into any man, let alone challenging the dark titan to a duel.

The Warlock Lord laughed his cold, terrifying laugh, which resembled a mixture between a cacophonous death rattle and a moan slaked in eternal pain. “Defeat me? My child, you are not the first to attempt such a feat, and you will not be the last to fail.” The Warlock Lord rose from his throne and descended the staircase, almost gliding down the marble steps. “Perhaps instead of killing you, I shall turn you into one of my servants. Your abilities will be most useful in my army.”

“I will never serve you, abomination!” Brenton charged forward, thrusting his blade outwards, hoping to penetrate the villain’s heartless chest. The Warlock Lord side-stepped his attack, and Brenton stumbled. As he lost his balance, the Warlock Lord smacked the back of Brenton’s head with a gauntleted fist. Brenton fell and crashed upon the marble staircase, swiftly turning around to face the Warlock Lord from his less-than-preferable position.

“Why do you fight?” the Warlock Lord asked. “You have no chance of victory. My darkness shall consume all. Why resist the inevitable?”

“Because I have things worth fighting for,” Brenton shouted. “Honor, homeland…” He clutched at the golden locket around his neck, “…love.”

The Warlock Lord laughed again, this time shrieking with amusement. “Love? Such miserable palabra shall not save you. Now, die!” The Warlock Lord stabbed his sword downward towards Brenton. Brenton held fast his locket, thoughts of the beautiful Amarra filling his head, as he closed his eyes and braced for the bitter end.

The evil Lord’s blade never reached Brenton, however. A burst of light emanated from between his fingers, pouring forth from the locket. Brenton became surrounded by a golden bubble and, when the Warlock Lord’s blade struck the bubble, it cast him back. The Warlock Lord flew through the air before stabilizing himself and floating to the ground of his throne room.

“What sorcery is this?” he barked at Brenton.

“Love,” Brenton stood up, readying his blade, staring confidently at his enemy. “My love gives me strength, and it is love that shall defeat you!”

“Very well, fool. Let us see pit your love against my hate.”