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Extra Credits

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Extra Credits is a YouTube channel which covers the video game industry, design, and classification as an art. As of August 2017, the channel had 1.1 million subscribers.


On February 17, 2008, Daniel Floyd and James Portnow create the first "Videos games and…" episode as a graduate assignment. The series aired intermittently until April 10, 2010. The series continued to air on The Escapist from July 28, 2010, to August 10, 2011. The series was moved to PATV, hosted by Penny Arcade, until PA's downsizing of partner services convinced the pair to move to YouTube, where Extra Credits officially began.

Fundraising and Escapist Suit

In late June of 2011, a fundraising campaign raised money for surgery for Allison Theus, an artist creating content for Extra Credits. After the fundraiser was over, Alexander Macris aka Archon, representing The Escapist, the site that hosted Extra Credits at the time, supposedly requested three fourths of the total fundraised money be given to The Escapist, despite James Portnow stating that he and the site had a verbal agreement that the latter would be lowest in priority to be paid. After a series of exchanges, the extra money from the campaign was used to start a publisher for independent games.[1]

Move to Youtube

In December 2013 the Extra Credits team transferred all their existing videos to their Youtube channel.

Harassment Claims

On June 9th of 2018, Soraya Hajji, a former employee of Extra Credits, accused James Portnow of the workplace and personal harassment after breaking up with him, continuing even after she resigned by slandering her behind her back to her former co-workers.[2] Later that same day, Russ Pitts, a former editor for The Escapist, publicly stated he believed Soraya's claims because "this is exactly how he treated me."[3] In response, Extra Credits released a statement saying they hired an independent HR firm to investigate these issues and that they found no evidence of improprieties having occurred.[4]

On June 14th Will Overgard, another former contributor to Extra Credits who was fired rather than resigned, released a twitlonger[5] detailing his own accusations and transgressions, including that James Portnow frequently complained at him at things that he had no control over, like internet connection, and being told he underperformed during an earlier time wherein Overgard's mother died to cancer. Will corroborated that an HR investigation took place, but it didn't involve him or Soraya. Two days after Will's testimony, Extra Credits released another statement, clarifying their reasons for firing as; not doing the work he was supposed to be doing, using a discord statement from an alleged indie dev about a time Will supposedly was offensive at a GDC event, and that they were the ones who provided his flight from New Zealand and relieved him from his old boss that was "out to get him."[6]

"Stop Normalizing Nazis" Video Controversy

On July 3rd, 2019, Extra Credits uploaded a video titled "Stop Normalizing Nazis – Socially Conscious Game Design" in which they argued that being forced to play as Nazi soldiers and terrorists in multiplayer video games equaled to normalizing said groups.[7] The video received over 323,000 views in three days (shown below).

No one should put on a costume of an ideology they find abhorrent without actually opting into it in your game. By making people do it, we make them stop thinking about it, to stop thinking about the meaning behind those things. We normalize them.

The video sparked controversy online, with multiple users on YouTube, Twitter and Reddit criticizing the channel for the lack of proper research,[8] misrepresentation and/or trivialization of the issue[9] and the channel moving away from the mission it stated in the past (examples shown below).[10][11] The video gained over 10,000 likes and 73,000 dislikes in three days.

JohnnyX @Jonab0b Extra Credits a few years ago: "Games should be allowed to tackle and portray difficult and adult topics." Extra Credits now: Extra Credits @ExtraCreditz NEW EXTRA CREDITS: Historical and current political context matters in game design. Don't treat Nazis and terrorists like they are just one of several morally equivalent character skins for players GAME to try on. youtube.com/watch?v=UCj8||.. 4:25 PM - 3 Jul 2019 Brad Glasgow @Brad_Glasgow Replying to @ExtraCreditz Hi, Extra Credits! Do you guys have any evidence that being forced to play a nazi in video games makes one more likely to buy in to nazi propaganda? 4:22 PM - 3 Jul 2019 Lilith Loves USA @LilithLovett Extra Credits is right when they say that playing a Nazi in a video game turns you into a Nazi. I played 50 Cent: Blood on Sand once and now I'm 50 Cent. PlayStationNetwork 50 CENT NAZ/ Stop Normalizing Nazis - Socially Conscious Game Design- Extra Credits 128K views 6.4K 25K Share Save Report THO Extra Credite 5:38 PM - 3 Jul 2019

On the same day, Extra Credits community manager tweeted a comment on the negative reaction to the latest video, accusing those unsubscribing from the channel of being bigots (shown below, left).[12]

Zolaire, Zygomorphous Mistake sooN.. @theberlz Replying to @jreaper121000g1 @ExtraCreditz I don't think enough people seem to understand that (1) we fully expect this to happen every time we've uploaded a "games are political" video and that (2) we love losing all the bigoted subscribers. Are you kidding me? Less bigotry is great! Dislikes are still engagement! 11:19 AM - 3 Jul 2019 Mark Kern @Grummz It was even better when the Extra Credit community manager decided to call their own viewers bigots for disliking the video. That was sweet. 8:50 PM - 3 Jul 2019

On July 4th, 2019, Twitter user @TheAtlasOne posted a parody of the video in which the player was forced to play as a plumber in a Super Mario game (shown below).[13] The tweet gained over 760 retweets and 3,100 likes.

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