My stance on GamerGate

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.

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13 thoughts on “My stance on GamerGate

  1. Thanks for sharing your opinion on the GamerGate issue. I have not closely followed the issue myself, but, as you said above, I do not understand why some Gamers (apparently very disgruntled ones) are worried. Everyone still gets their new Call of Duty, Madden, or WoW expansion every few years if they chose to play those, and everyone also has access to newer “non-traditional” titles such as Papers Please or At Stanley Parable if they chose to play those. Doesn’t that mean that everyone wins in the end?

    • I would think so but apparently it’s a zero sum game… Some kind of highlander situation where there can only be one type of game and the other side must of course cannibalise the other.

      Kinda stupid really

  2. Thank you for your thoughts on the subject. I find Felicia Day’s post very interesting because she is projecting her fears onto those 2 guys who probably don’t even know something like gamergate is happening. I am sickened over this issue. I don’t know what makes me angrier; the tools hiding behind the anonymity of the internet to threaten women or the people in media using the issue to further their agendas and make money.

    • I get her feelings though which is just sad. She was afraid of it and and gamers because of it, and it seems rightfully so as she was doomed pretty quickly afterwards and received a tonne of hate.

      The whole thing just makes you a bit paranoid.

  3. Like you, I was not planning to write anything about it. Or rather, I was planning to, one of those giant takedown essays that fall between rant and academic paper. But after assembling a ton of links to reference, I just…I burned out. And then Belghast wrote something about staying out of it for his own sanity, and I agree. Me writing one more post about it not only helped keep the fire burning, helped keep attention on those hateful people, but it just wasn’t any good for my mental health to get or stay involved.

    Maybe I’m wrong, maybe there is more value in speaking up, like you said, to show support for those affected by this hate group. But there are more and more intelligently argued, well-documented posts and articles out there every week that dismantle GG, so do I really need to write another one?

    In any case, I applaud you for speaking out.

    • I was writing one of those posts as well but it seemed pointless. Facts are so easily disputed or ignored within this debate. Many are in Iran and blindly following along with certain ideas with actually checking them amd blindly attacking anything that sides against because of it.

      I think it’s the personal posts that are so much harder to debate in this. How it makes you feel and effects you as that’s your experience.

      I think it is important too but also to know that you don’t need to join the debate at all.. I was tempted to make another short post of just one sentence but then it spurned to more. I think just making it known makes people more confident and just a quick statement seems to be enough for that too. Solidarity you know…

      I also feel it makes those attacks, if they were to happen here a little less severe. If their is one or two key spokespeople it’s easy for people to direct their anger. A whole community of blogs and it gets spread out and deflected far easier.

      I also couldn’t just sit by while some bloggers I know had been receiving such things. Had to give my support, and in a way thanks that they stood up and were heard.

  4. Awesome post. I have had my reservations about posting about the topic, but I don’t think I can say anything that hasn’t already been said better, or bring anything to the conversation that isn’t already there. I just don’t get it. It’s mind boggling how decent people can look at what the group has done, look at the people driven from their homes, look at the hate, and still say “yeah, I want to support this”. In the beginning, I spoke out against it in a few Twitter posts. One thing led to another, and I ended up in direct conversation with their head celebrity honcho. Let’s just say it did not go well. I blocked the hacking attempts for a couple weeks after that. It sent me into hiding, I haven’t posted anything lately, and am debating giving up blogging.

    • really sorry about that. I tried to keep away from using the tag on twitter just because of how toxic it was. There was no discussion worth it on the platform and the consequences seemed to high for those engaging. I don’t know what I can do to help you here, and probably nothing but whatever it is just ask.

      Looking at things like that it’s almost like the whole gamergate thing is a cult. Just people mindlessly attacking whatever it is that goes against whatever dogma they hold close. Blind faith and fervent feeling towards something so inconsequential boggles my mind.

  5. Pingback: Speaking Out Against Hate and Ignorance | Star-Fired Beef
  6. I agree. I still struggle to fully understand what the purpose of gamergate is because they seem to have no clear leadership or direction. I suppose I also don’t understand why there is so much anger when we have more choice than ever before in gaming. For a long time we gamers stood together to defend our pastime and I thought that by increasing the diversity of games we were finally starting to gain that respect and understanding that we sought. Spreading hatred and making others feel unwelcome isn’t exactly putting gaming culture in a good light, even if it is only a minority. Such intimidation can also destroy creativity and freedom of expression.

    I believe there are many different sub-cultures within gaming and that we’re not all the same. I don’t think any one of us has the right to stand up and say what we all want as a culture. If we can have lots of different types of books and lots of different types of films, then why should it be different for games? There seems to be extremists on all sides, but many of us just sit in the middle and don’t want to be involved with any.

    • the argument just doesn’t make sense. A diverse industry is important and pretty much a part of every other entertainment industry. It just seems like they are getting mad that it’s even a thing. I just think, don’t play it then or don’t read about it.

      • I always think that too. It amazes to see haters going around forums for games they don’t like and then act surprised when fans get defensive. Why are they spending so much time invested in what they don’t like instead of just enjoying the things that they do? I once had someone tell me they wanted a game I was enjoying to fail, but I don’t understand why it matters so much for them. There are lots of games I hate (in fact I’m not a big fan of many popular war shooters to be honest), but I simply don’t buy them or spend time in those communities. I don’t have a problem with people who do enjoy that sort of thing though, so long as they understand that we don’t all want it.

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