Our Bad, Gamers: Historians Tell Us ‘Axis Of Evil’ Does Not Actually Refer To People Who Use Inverted Aiming Controls

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Dear gamers, if there’s anything we value here at OGN, it’s humility. Although we may very well be the internet’s foremost voice in gaming journalism, we are human beings too, human beings who have flaws and imperfections, just like yourselves. When we get caught making a mistake, we want to own up to it as soon as possible so we can make amends and move forward. That’s why today, gamers, we want to issue a mea culpa.

Although we have used it in such a manner on multiple occasions, we’ve recently been informed by historians that the phrase “axis of evil” does not actually refer to people who use inverted gaming controls. Our bad, everyone.


To those we might have offended with our glib use of the term “axis of evil,” we want to unequivocally say that we’re sorry. We can’t remember where we first heard it, but we incorrectly assumed it was a catch-all that applies to those demented freaks who reverse the directionality of their joysticks when they play first-person shooters like Call Of Duty or Halo. After speaking with international studies experts from both Harvard and Yale, however, we learned that the term specifically describes a group of foreign governments the George W. Bush administration accused of sponsoring terrorism back in the early 2000s. Suffice it to say, this came as a shock to us.

While rulers of these countries, such as Iran and North Korea, are certainly hostile to U.S. interests, there is no evidence to suggest that they go into their settings menu to alter the orientation of their X or Y axes, and we want to apologize for demonizing them in such a manner. When Bush speechwriter David Frum coined the phrase in his 2002 State of the Union address, he intended to drum up support for the invasion of Iraq, not vilify those malevolent sociopaths who think switched-up controls more accurately reflect what it’s like to tilt your head or any of that stupid bullshit because that doesn’t make any sense. You don’t think “I’ll make my muscles move my head upwards, so I can look down.” That’s insane. Anyway, we were wrong to deploy the phrase like this.


Please forgive us, gamers.

In order to make sure this mistake doesn’t happen again, we’ve updated our style guide to explicitly warn writers against using “axis of evil” in this way. We’ve also gone through our backlog of articles and excised all 3,741 former uses of it with a little note explaining our decision. While we can’t change what we’ve done in the past, we humbly ask for your forgiveness and determinedly vow to do better in the future. We would also like to especially apologize to the thousands of gamers we turned over to the CIA for fear that their controller preferences were a threat to national security.


Admitting you were wrong is a tough thing to do, but at the end of the day, we’d rather get caught making a mistake and own up to it than double down on our ignorance. The road to self-improvement is a challenging one, but it’s one that’s worth taking.


The OGN Editorial Board