I'm probably going to rip the Audio Forums apart with my views, but I guess that's what views sometimes do. Past experience has shown me that speaking out against a perceived injustice can be unpopular at best, and deadly at worst. Heck, that's a good reason why I'm an asylum seeker today. What I'm going to discuss isn't half as important as my own personal struggles, and the internal struggles of those around me, I suppose... but it's still something that niggles away in my mind. I had kept this to myself, or made small responses in the Audio Forums a lot of the time, but now, I think it's time that I made this public.
I was really angered not only at the way I lost last year, but also the way others were completely ripped apart, at last year's Audio Deathmatch, by teams. The second place went to a team. This year, similar tendencies are being shown: the first, second and third places for the Round of 64 have all been taken by teams.
Everyone knows that two minds work better than one. So what do we do? Gang them up on all the individual composers out there, hurrah! Pardon my sarcasm, but that's the feeling I get from the ADM now. It gnaws at me. It doesn't strike me as right, for a number of reasons.
The ADM is the major audio competition of Newgrounds. Call it a music festival if you will. Music festivals in real life have solo and band categories. Heck, even the BBC's Live and Unsigned performances have this sort of thing. Everyone who goes there will get a shot at competing against the best and the brightest. Some will take this opportunity to ascribe a modicum of worth to their music. As soon as they're defeated by a team, not only will they feel cheated out or certain that they can't advance regardless of what they do -- they know the odds are stacked highly against them.
While I'm aware that in the rare occasion, teams have been beaten by individuals, it is rare. Expect a team to beat an individual 90% of the time. And we've certainly seen it in this round.
I do appreciate when teams work together despite the constraints -- i.e. when they have joint input. It'd be nice to see a team category, which will make a new playing field for the regulars around here if they should so choose. The best composers aren't necessarily going to be the best anymore depending on whom they team up with, and vice versa. Or, they can still prove their mettle and emerge best anyway. I would most certainly consider that a fair fight, and a most exciting spectacle. And also, the individual category will be open to even more contestants, some of them new challengers who are willing to go against the greats. I mean, this is how I imagine it -- it's an imperfect system. But no system is perfect. But one of my struggles (as is the struggle of some of us around here) is to make things fairer, more just for everyone.
It is fine and dandy to join teams in order to compensate for personal problems that would otherwise inhibit us from taking part. What is not fine, however, is to use the personal problems as an excuse for not regularly taking part, or leaving half the work to someone else. We've had individuals who could graciously bow out because of their personal problems, including a former ADM champion, and we've had individuals who could graciously take part despite their personal problems. Granted, their problems aren't necessarily stated online, because some do share said problems, while some keep their problems to themselves and are reluctant to share. But not everyone taking part in the ADM has it hunky-dory.
A number of people have shared their stories with me, and I have done likewise with them. It is heartbreaking to hear some of the things they go through. The fact that they persevere constantly in each round is already enough reason for me to tip my hat off to them in respect. I don't feel the same way if Person A does Round 1, and Person B does Round 2, and in both rounds, they get through. For one, it doesn't feel like a team anymore, and for two, whatever happened to everyone having to take part in every round? It feels like circumventing the rules of any competition. It's a loophole, plain and simple. The vast majority of participants are toiling away despite whatever circumstances they have faced.
I should know. I will not begin to list what I went through in previous ADMs, because it's all in my news archive for all of you to read. I don't doubt people go through similar, if not worse sometimes.
I have been harsh and used incendiary language over this matter of late. Prior to this moment I had been afraid of hurting people's feelings, but right now, I cannot help but speak what is in my heart. And the truth hurts. It hurts me. It hurts the people I've hurt. It hurts everyone. I regret hurting people, but sometimes, what can I do? It's a given fact now that sometimes, speaking up about the things that concern us will hurt those whom we love.
Truth be told, I am fed up of mincing my words. Yes, there is a weight in my heart because of the hurt it'll all cause, you know, bringing up everything I've mentioned above. But also, there's a great weight off my chest because I've finally managed to break the ice about this.
I vowed never to take part in the ADM again. And I am keeping to my word. But as an observer, it's only fair that I be given a chance to mention what I do without being emotionally blackmailed. If it can't be fair for me, fine. Let it be fair for others taking part, for the love of all that is good and holy. Observers who haven't taken part in the ADM or who have been kicked out get to voice their views and be treated with respect; why shouldn't I? Even if it means I'm harping on the same subject which is close to my heart, at least let me be treated as a human being!
And as for those who say I take this too seriously: of course I'm meant to take this seriously. This is a matter of fairness in a competition. If I didn't take anything seriously on this matter at all, I'd have been happy with leaving every single competition as a free-for-all without any modicum of order or rules. There are strict interpretations of rules, there are gentler interpretations of rules, and then there are loopholes. And it's only fair that I address them, even if it means some may see me targeting a few people as a result of it. Those of you who feel you're being targeted, don't worry one bit -- I know what it's like to be a target too, you have no idea.
EDIT 28/08/2015: After having slept over this I perused the messages once more. To the best of my recollection, I meant no hostility in the current ADM thread, but brought up what I did. (Heck, I even called some people "nice people", without disparaging others.) People decided to take it personally against me and start a baww-fest. As if that was not enough, I even had a few others confront me on Skype and make all sorts of ridiculous assumptions, like "So you're pulling this out of thin air?" when I most certainly wasn't. I was basing this on my experience, the experience of this particular competition, and the statistics of the Round of 64, and the various forum replies of the past. Without calling anyone any names or resorting to whiny tactics, I lambasted what was wrong. People decided to turn it against me, calling me a drama queen when I didn't even mean any of it. And in effect, I have been blamed for something I never had any intention of doing.
While I will let it slide, I will openly state just how much I have been hurt, even by people whom I consider my friends. But that's probably the least of my issues, because I'm used to being hurt and scapegoated. If you ask what my main beef with the ADM is, it's this: just because something is friendly and small-scale doesn't mean that loopholes must be ignored. Just because people don't complain, doesn't mean I don't have a right or a reason to complain. With that, I'll end it there.