I didn’t really know how to start this post. I’ve been meaning to write about the literal explosion of idiocy happening in gamergate for a while now after reading about those first rather heated accusations and attacks. At that stage though it just looked to be another sad occasion of gamer rage at girls in gaming. A little something like this.
But it’s not that at the moment, well, it is but the level of which the recent gamer issue has gone far beyond my personal bounds of reasoning. I’m literally Jackie Chan each and every morning when going over the happenings so I thought I’d wade into the depths once more, shining that lovely beacon of “go fuck yourself”. Hmm that would be fun but maybe I’ll try being level headed instead… Yeh, we’ll see how long that lasts. Plus I have lots of gifs that need using.
I think going back to the beginning seems advisable. A rather repulsive ex of the developer Zoe Quinn decided to publicly air a whole range of dirty laundry. I personally treat this as rather suspect since the attacks between ex’s are very rarely impartial and truthful. It was here stated that she was having a few relationships with certain people in the media, for personal and also business related aims. Publicity of her products.
Now this is were things get fugly. Some considered this a testament to the corruption of the gaming media and Gamergate was formed. They wanted greater accountability from journalist as to their biases when writing reviews. Of course, with having a high profile female target in the gaming industry this also brought a whole swathe of bottom feeders that smelt blood in the air. These people also assumed the Gamergate moniker. As usually they began with attacking, insulting and abusing many people within this argument. Majority of which seemed to be towards Zoe Quinn and anyone supporting her. Their primary message …
Now there are a few things wrong with this. First the attacks where overwhelmingly focused on Miss Quinn.. Focused so much so that it was just abhorrent. The general level of disgust gained so much attention that it even spread to the general media. The “gamer” was on display and it wasn’t pretty. Those fighting for some sort of “justice” in the industry also seemed to swing between targets, missing the main points of contention. Having a root is hardly the worst thing the industry has engaged in when it comes to shady marketing practices. Do you remember the whole doritosgate (such creative people we are) scandal and how no one other than the media and select publications gave a shit. Where were these people then?
There is also a bit of conflict with this as from what I see it was just a large sweeping witch hunt firing off accusations towards anyone they possible could. Female journalists and those involved with Miss Quinn of course getting an inordinate amount. But the thing is, if we are after a greater sense of journalistic integrity this whole Gamergate nonsense ended up attacking many within the industry that have been holding themselves and it to a better standard. Critiquing and bringing up conversation about games. Being engaged in reflective as well well researched journalistic practices. Many of which were also involved in the original Doritosgate and set about creating a greater amount of accountability and disclosure for the industry, enacting new rules for their websites.
In what must have been the best and worst timing Fem Frequency released another of the tropes vs video games and the metaphorical and literal shit hit the fan. I once again had those terrible visions of what has happened before, the hate, and anger and vile inhuman things being said… just makes me sad and did so once more.
I have no idea how someone can take that level of abuse and still keep going. This is her personal fuck you to many gamers in a way but still.. Just ickk. No person should ever have to be subject to such things and the disproportionate amount, not to mention the content of which, absolutely shows the level of misogyny being dealt with.
The contents of the video… Meh, mostly irrelevant. If you play video games you are aware of the tropes and the disparity they represent. I’ve read some who believe they are a whole exercise in shaming gamers and you can be fucking right it is. When you have the equivalent of a dog shitting on the carpet every time a girl speaks one of the better methods would be shaming the ever living hell out of them. Rub their noses in the filth they’ve created and it seems that’s what’s being done. Of course they roll in their own filth all the time so it might not be the best method but it does seem to bring agreement that it is, indeed, a filthy animal and actions should be taken to correct that.
I’m honestly not even a fan of her, she seems to be rather arrogant in her approach and her videos while being a great collection showing the extent of these tropes no longer add that much to the conversation. The critique and conversation is far more rich in the many blogs and niche websites around the community. What they are though, and will continue to be are a beacon of change… whether directly or indirectly. They gained widespread notoriety for a number of reasons and did a better job of spreading the message around the inequality in games, the focus of development, and the insidious culture gaming has come to represent. The content is basically irrelevant compared to this.
Of course the Gaming community replied in kind with many of the same arguments that have been propagated throughout her career. She hates games, there are factual errors, she’s feminist, attention whore, drumming up controversy for her own profit to which I think my main comment is.. SO FUCKING WHAT. Most of the attacks can be easily debunked as the ravings of a mad man the ones that do lie on a kernel of truth really aren’t that important anyway. Criticism of anything can be done by anyone with the motivation to learn about the subject and no matter the errors the aim of the critique did exactly what it was supposed to… show the amount and varied nature of certain tropes used in the industry. Sexist tropes when so overused and without thought. The conversation around them that has been spurned on is creating a healthier gaming industry, and maybe one day a better community.
The abuse that followed now is well documented on many sites and I don’t feel like giving any examples anymore. What it did do for many though was cement just how toxic the community is from within and even those peering in from the outside. It was here the “gamer” moniker was tarnished.
In reply to this whether by coincidence or some sort of coordinated effort a wealth of article hit the mainstream about the death of gamer, or more aptly, it was a statement more akin to this
A change of direction from many of the big sites pointing out the toxic nature of the community and proclaiming that they no longer want to be a part of it, they they will no longer support it and that it’s time for a shift away from what “gamer”, in the traditional sense means. It was in a way holding up a magnifying glass to those spewing filth and admonishing them for those actions.
What it was was also the gaming media distancing themselves from such acts, I didn’t see too many acknowledgments of their own parts in this culture of hate that was created and nurtured within them but what it did acknowledge that gaming has become a much larger demographic than what was being marketed to before and a welcoming of that into what journalism is now.
This escalated quickly. Many took the death term literally, Taking it as a personal attack on their past time and identity and the attacks began anew on many in the industry. This was confirmation in many ways about just how irrelevant the gaming media had become One which was increasingly misaligned for their own interests. and this spurned on the attacks of credibility and corruption.
Not to take this lightly there was a personal open letter directed at developers to uphold a sense of equality within their games and the right to maintain conversation and critique without harassment. A letter that gained around 2500 signatures from a wide variety of small and large companies to the point I think we might enact further change. I’ve said before that the main way to enact change is to change the level of discourse that’s happening and the largest way is for developers to take responsibility and now they might just be doing that.
Rather ironic ending in a way as it is the very hate from gamers that started this that seems to have been the undoing of their own crusade. It was always going to end this way though wasn’t it, although probably spurned on from them biting the hand that feeds.
It’s hard to think just how long this bull shit has been going on now. You would like to think this sort of thing will be quick, that a great gaming community would stand up and change things for the better but that’s but a dream. With how things are now though, and with the increasing amount of people taking on responsibility for the industry; for how it is and to enact change then we might just see larger changes in the level of discourse going on. Maybe not the content just yet since that’s more controlled by the suits but hopefully the conversation around games will change for the better.
This is and always has been a movement for everyone. This is the place we play and it’s time clean up the mess that’s been piling up for some time, maybe kick out the dogs that don’t learn and keep shitting on the carpet. I still hold by my previous statement in stating that you are complicit with this by actively ignoring the debate or harassment and ask everyone to stand up when they see an injustice occuring. Being called a social justice warrior in these instances should be worn as a badge of honour because what it actually means is that you give a shit. That is a good thing and the reason I do see hope for the future. Anyway, with that I think I leave you with these words… Keep Safe
A few notes
- Do we really need to keep trying to establish that games can and are sexist and that this is indicative of the industry as a whole.
- When your building a political or ideological movement create some clear guides and ideals first so that it doesn’t get appropriated by a number of other organisations.
- If your argument starts with “not all”… that’s not helpful or constructive. These aren’t base assumptions of the entirety but a reflection of what’s being experienced. In saying that you are devaluing the experience of others. STOP IT.
- Yes everyone receives harassment.. we get it but this is about the disproportionate amount and the increased personal nature of the attacks.
- Feminism is not what you think it is. Until you’ve actually read up on it and the guiding principles then please stop involving it in the conversation. There is no feminist agenda to ruin games, no femininazi apocalypse being planned
- Working for equality does not mean being political correct at all times. No one, well, no one worth listening too, is advocating for the complete banishment of boob and violence.That’s ridiculous, merely that the development of video games reflect the broader culture of gaming and gamers.
- Gaming has gone mainstream and well.. it has been for a long time. The experiences of old are not indicative of what it is like now so I suggest you grow up.
- Censorship does not cover your right to be an asshole nor you being exempt from criticism. What is being done with the focused attacks and many and the campaign of fear being enacted IS censorship.
This is by no means a complete recap of the gamergate events nor a complete account of my own feelings and opinions.