So this Gamergate stuff...

sigh I so want to say something to this, but I doubt I could be either witty or informative.

I think Gamergate is mostly a result of pent-up frustration with “Social Justice Warriors,” who have no real interest in games or those who play them, attempting to hijack discussion in the gaming community. The prototypical SJW is an online journalist or videoblogger who posts primarily about the moral failings of video games and gamers, especially involving gender and race, and makes false and misleading claims about existing games in order to bolster that narrative. Reasonable critics might validly point out that fantasy worlds comprised of ultra-macho males and ultra-voluptuous or ultra-helpless women are not particularly interesting. But SJWs go beyond that by attacking the morality of even portraying such a world or participating in it by playing, throwing around terms like “misogynist” and “racist” as wantonly as a Salon article.

In my experience, adult gamers are usually pretty rational and open to foreign ideas. But no one particularly likes to be summarized as “young white dudes with disposable income who like to Get Stuff.” And the best way to endear gamers is probably not to start out by saying that “‘[g]ames culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online ‘wars’.” See Gamers Don’t Have to Be Your Audience. Gamers Are Over. In short, from the perspective of gamers, SJWs are outsiders who are publicly hailed as experts on video games, but actually know next-to-nothing about them; who make offensive and highly personal generalizations about gamers; and who portray escapist, male-oriented games as a moral failing and a social problem that needs to be “fixed.”

I think the journalism ethics issue is mostly just an outlet for the vitriol against SJWs to come pouring out. After all, video game journalists have been paid-off industry lackeys since the days of Nintendo Power and Electronic Gaming Monthly. While unfortunate, it’s not surprising that reviewers give good reviews for sex just as they do for money.

I get the very general gist of Leigh Alexander’s argument in that article, and she’s been an industry writer for long enough that I’d be wary of labeling her as a Social Justice Warrior; especially since that term, over the past few months, has essentially come to mean a catch-all term for “person I disagree with on gender issues” (although you make a better effort to define it than most people). Video gaming may have at one point been considered a cliquish, niche activity associated with kids and techies but video gaming has exploded. The term “gamer” is becoming so nebulous because it can really apply to anybody who plays video games unless there’s some sort of standard affixed to the medium. I’ve heard people who play nothing but Candy Crush on their phones periodically refer to themselves as gamers just as much as I hear people label themselves gamers who binge on Dark Souls for 20 hours a week. So in some respects, I can see why the term “gamer” has been perceived as losing its meaning; there have been some really intelligent discussions on the term by Yahtzee and TotalBiscuit.

That having been said, this article isn’t one of those intelligent editorials. I’ve never been a fan of Leigh Alexander’s writing but she’s really only making the same sweeping generalizations she accuses the mainstream media of when it comes to tragedies. Alexander misses the mark in that while “lonely basement kids” certainly exist, applying that label to an entire generation of people does nothing to further the discussion. Furthermore, acting like video games belonged exclusively to lonely basement kids really only cheapens the medium.

Let’s also keep in mind that it’s very easy to just not partake in these discussions, especially because the fate of the industry (at least on a big budget scale) lies not with any of us, Anita Sarkeesian or Leigh Alexander, but in a series of corporate boardrooms, most of which don’t seem to even care about this gender discussion if Ubisoft’s comments about not bothering to include women over a lack of resources are any indicator. It’s also worth mentioning, yet again, that Anita Sarkeesian - the de facto leader of video game critics who don’t play video games - specifically became famous because of the people who harassed and attacked her. It’s all well and good to accuse her of milking her publicity, and one can blame the press for being complicit in her publicity, but Anita wouldn’t have been able to milk the harassment and the media wouldn’t be able to report on it if it wasn’t going on. Ironically, the most passionate people of all when it comes to the gender side of the GamerGate debate are the ones who allegedly don’t even want the discussions to happen.

Omega, I agree that Leigh Alexander made some accurate observations about video games. For instance, I agree with her point that strong female protagonists are strikingly rare, and that there is no good reason for this. The days when gamers could not empathize with a female hero are long past (if they ever really existed). What irritates me about her article is her moralizing over the issue – accusing games and traditional “gamers” of misogyny, racism and other moral failings based on games’ artistic content.

As this article explains very well, this is very similar to what Jack Thompson used to do in the '90s and ‘00s. He lambasted the morality of video games that depicted violence and brutality and argued that such games poisoned kids’ minds. He tried to terrify developers out of making violent games by bringing lawsuits against game developers, spreading negative propaganda about those games to parents, and lobbying Congress for censorship laws.

Back then, video game journalists and gamers were united in opposing Thompson. Now, they’ve separated into two camps: (i) those who are genuinely opposed to criticizing video games based on the “morality” of what they depict, and just want to be left alone (ordinary gamers); and (ii) those who are fine with moralizing about video games, but just disagreed strongly with Jack Thompson’s morals (SJWs and the gaming sites that host them). I suspect that the new, left-wing moralizers will lose in the end, for the same reason that the right-wing moralizers lost – gamers will buy what they want, no matter how much invective moralists throw at them.


For once I agree with Curtis. This all seems like a masquerade, a lovers quarrel taking the form of social justice to disguise it’s true intent.

What does it matter? Haven’t you heard? GAMERS ARE OVER!

Women don’t like playing call of duty as often as men do, so that’s some fucking patriarchy shit right there! As men, we must appeal to the interests of women or we must hate women or something!

You’re all sexist dicks. <3

I don’t condone harassment or sending threats. Bbeing an argument fought on the internet, anyone can take a hashtag with good intentions and post threats, harassment and generally be a dick. Greater Internet Fuckwad theory, ahoy.

That being said, most of GG arguments are handwaved with “Misogyny, racist, ableist”, which then was the origin of the #NotYourShield tag. Lumping all the evils of the gaming community on the backs of white males is not the way to go, when gamers in general are a very diverse bunch. The main difference between Pro- and Anti-GG arguments so far seems like this: Pro-GG actively researches topics, anti-GG just seems to resort to calling people names in the face of evidence. Being critical to a person’s behavior and or content produced != attacking a person’s gender. Further attempts at making the GG side look bad were made on chans, failing miserably. Too bad for poster IDs, which were implemented to discourage self-shitposting.

There was an attempt to sweep the whole matter under a rug by censoring discussion on the Zoe Post, but then the Streisand effect hit and the Gamergate hashtag was coined. A concern towards ethics in gaming journalism were voiced, some with voice of reason, some being outright offensive. Cue several “Gamers are dead”-articles from a variety of gaming websites. It was later revealed sites were colluding via the GameJournoPro-list making their own narrative. Adding further fuel to the journalism part were evidence of blacklisting people or being outright hypocrites on stances regarding posting news on the personal lives of game devs. As in,the sites were outright denying everything. Recently, allegations that were debunked regarding the whole collusion part have been shed further light to.

You should probably just stop right there when you open with the feminist version of “I’m not racist, but”

I’m not racist, but I prefer peanut butter and honey sandwiches to peanut butter and jelly.

I’m not a misogynist, but I like my sandwich ready when I get home from work, please.

I always thought that the whole gamejournolist should have gotten much more attention, I have seen many people dismiss the whole thing and they don’t realize just how big a shitstorm this would have caused in mainstream media which it did with the whole journalist scandal.

The fact that these disclaimers seem to be getting increasingly necessary every time somebody criticises the media darlings is kind of the problem. A very large brush is being used to indiscriminately paint a a hell of a lot of people lately, and I can’t really blame someone from getting a teensy bit paranoid.

Shockingly, when the media gets accused of shady dealings, the media is in no rush to spread the word. The difference with Journolist is that there’s no ideologically-competing large media in gaming, so good fucking luck getting anybody to publish this in anything but super minor sites. The Destructoid stuff with Pinsoff is a smoking gun to burn the whole thing down if there ever was one, but who’s gonna do it? They even fed the industry to the mainstream moral panic wolves to draw attention from it rather than actually sit down to own up to the matter. And now even Gawker is bleeding from this mess.

I’m not an ableist, but I prefer my sandwiches to be cut diagonally with no crust.

The whole idea that there is this army of militant feminist SJWs or whatever lurking around every corner of the internet waiting to pounce on and destroy every fun activity white people do like video gaming is the most hilarious but depressingly paranoid shit I’ve heard in a while. Gaming has gone mainstream. It’s a $100B industry, that’s $30B more than is spent on television advertising in the U.S. The Wall St. firm I worked at for a while had two analysts dedicated full time to analyzing the video game sector. It’s big money in all aspects of the economy now.

I get it. Gaming used to be a bit of a refuge for folks that didn’t fit in elsewhere. I mean…just look at the cast and crew that developed here over the last 15 years. It’s not the whole story of course. People from all walks of life have played and enjoyed video gaming for decades, but the “true gaming” (no true scotsman?) community has always been a bit underground and a bit out of the norm. We could hide away on our IRC channels or vbulleting forums for a while, not really attracting any attention, and many of us have moved on since then and only game very occassionally. But for those who haven’t, they’re feeling like their last refuge in a world that doesn’t accept them is starting to crumble in around them, and so they lash out at those scrutinizing them rather than looking inward and asking how they can change their community for the better, to make it more inclusive, to bring people to them rather than push more and more people away. I mean…I could have written this about any subculture over the last hundred years or so, it’s the same process that repeats itself over and over.

If gamers are angry, maybe they should direct their anger toward something more productive like protesting companies like EA whose mission has become to completely sanitize video game creativity and turn the industry over into a “pay as you go” model" (which makes my friends on wall st. salivate at the mouth with all the money that is going to be made), and encourage independent video game developers (including “feminist” developers that want to make games that appeal to new audiences), rather than lashing out at “outsiders” that feel a community they have every right to be a part of is less than welcoming to them. Gaming is mainstream now. There are no “outsiders” anymore. Everyone plays games, people want to feel safe and comfortable when they play. Gamers have no right to laugh at a woman who complains about sexual harassment in a game. Part of the reason she’s probably playing that game is to blow off steam from the sexual harassment she gets at work, at school, on the street, or wherever in real life. Like…remember how you used to play games to escape from the bullying or torment or social anxiety you felt all those years ago? The bullied becomes the bully, the cycle repeats, where’s the fucking progress?

That last point is the thing that really gets me. Like, even if you are still one of the people who plays a whole lot of video games (e.g myself), did you accrue absolutely NO social/emotional intelligence on your journey through life? Even if you had absolutely no good role models to learn from (e.g myself), did you see no value in improving yourself for the better and actually trying to understand other people who come from different walks of life?

When I was young, I had a secret juvenile fantasy that gaming would one day be like, a super-cool thing you could do that, instead of getting you made fun of/ostracized/pantsed/etc., it would actually be something that granted you status. Well, obviously that’s not going to be a thing any time soon (not in the United States, anyways?), but at the very least, the stigma that people have where I’m immediately a sweaty, socially-inept mouthbreather is fading fast. That’s a good thing, and it’s a good thing for everyone. I wish I could say that all the GamerGate fucks WERE just the socially-inept mouthbreathers that still remain in gaming, but they aren’t. Why they can’t agree that the landscape of gaming is changing for the better, I don’t know.


Yeah, but women.

Isn’t this the point of every revolution ever though? The oppressed disposing the oppressors to become the new oppressors.

Edit: Well, save for the ones where it really is all about kicking foreign powers out the door (which usually ends up with another foreign power taking over because why not?).