I have kind of been avoiding this post and yet I don’t know why. I have broached on the whole Gamegate thing before but that was more a tongue in cheek account of events, not really a position per se. Usually I don’t shy away from the more controversial elements as they are ripe for a good rant but here, I didn’t feel like it. It isn’t for fear really. I see threats and account hacking is ripe but I’m more of a small nobody on a small site focused on a niche area of gaming. That’s not where the the issues are stemming from nor is anyone really looking in this direction. It was more that this whole debate on both sides have been spammed so much that I was just over it. People far more intelligent and eloquent than me have written a wealth of posts that represent my feelings on the matter so, what was the point then.
But then I realised that making my opinion known is important as well as it adds to the large collection of people out there doing the same and strengthens the resolve of those around who are yet to feel comfortable. I think I was inspired lately by the more emotional responses and those grounded in experience like that of Felicia day’s recent Tumblr post rather than some sort of war of “facts” the whole thing has become. It’s pointless and mostly unimportant yet experiences are personal and represent the debate and it’s effect far better than a discussion around who fucked who.
So, in light of that I feel I should say I do not support Gamegate. I could never and would never support Gamegate and I feel both apprehensive and rather saddened by those that do whether it be because of some kind of ignorance or misguided sentiment. It is a movement based on hate, fear and the control of conversation that, rather than strengthening this medium has actively and irreversible damaged it. Most of all, even without all that idiocy it is still a campaign dominated by a conceited world view that is not representative of gamers as a whole.
The fact that the term Social Justice Warrior has been used as a pejorative through this entire campaign, by most of the people aligned with it is a testament to just how misguided this apparent “movement” is. First it has nothing to do with ethics, in fact I would think It would be more ethical to be covering and encouraging these elements rather than constantly eating up the same bland big publisher games. Just because your own opinions and interests within gaming are so narrow does not mean the rest of us have to subscribe to that ideology.
Second is that if all you wanted to do was indulge in the next swath of man shoots or dude bro power fantasies then, that’s what you can do and will always be able to do. NO ONE IS GOING TO TAKE AWAY YOUR STUFF!!… Having a diverse industry in terms of ideas, interests, and opinions is not about removing at all but strengthening it as a whole. It creates new experiences, new mechanics and is a process for making better games with both immersive worlds and interesting gameplay. Even though I frequently revel within these murderhouses as well I’m still thankful that of this gaming renaissance we’re in and this incredible wealth of new ideas, aesthetics and emotions we’re exploring.
I get that there are well meaning, I would hope, people in the movement but even then I mostly don’t understand the narrative unfolding before me. What I see is a conversation about what a gamer wants to read, what a gamer wants to play and what gamers believe are important critiques. I see a lot of interpretations of what gamers are and yet, I’m sorry, I’m a gamer too and a lot of the things you see as problematic I see as important for the industry to grow and I’m not alone in this. I read many of those death death of a gamer posts and applauded because it showed to me how much this medium has, and is growing. Now there are many opinions I don’t agree with out there but I’m still thankful for them and don’t need to act like a spoilt toddler because of them.
I want to see debates about the psychosocial elements of games, about the cultural elements that they both propagate and help to broaden. I want to read the critiques around gender and racial representation as well as other demographics that are being missed due to a fixation on certain character styles. I want to read the deep thoughts of developers and journalists alike about what this great medium makes them feel and from what I see it is these great elements that for some reason are faux pas within the gamergate movement. Sorry but that’s not ethics, that’s bullshit.
Concerns with ethics is something I agree with that but then, so will most other gamers out there. We are not blind to the ways publisher and production companies control and manipulate the flow of information. I was rather appalled during the dorito gate business and wrote about it, with plenty of links. I follow up each and every new case yet, I don’t go around burning the perceived heretics in order to get heard. That hurts the dialogue and muddies the debate with inconsequential idiocy.
While I am so sorry this whole thing happened, especially sorry to those who have had to endure the true vileness of the internet, I am thankful for one thing. I am thankfully that through the insane actions of some and the impassioned ignorance of others supporting it that the whole industry and media has been moved further down this path of equality and of analysing this culture as a whole. That maybe because of that in a few years such things will be history and that people won’t sneer at games like Gone home, and that publisher won’t grimace at the thought of a female protagonist. I hope to look back soon a see a stronger industry in terms of games and the community that surrounds it without the divided nature it currently stands because it truly hurts me to see it in this state.