Of course there are tons of opinions about Gamergate from journalists, game developers, and people who just want to sit on their couch and play until their thumbs cramp. Some of the voices are in favour of the “movement”, claiming that the whole point is about the video game industry lacking ethics in journalism. The mythos of Gamergate is said to have begun by Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend who released information that Quinn dated a writer for Kotaku, which is why her game got a good review. Instead of the internet shrugging and saying “who gives a shit?”, people got pissed and starting harassing Quinn. How dare she date someone in her own industry! That is absolutely unheard of!
Their outcry against substandard journalism seems like an excuse to personally attack women in the industry. “Ethics” is somehow regained by doxxing, harassing, and threatening rape and murder. It’s the exact same thing we do with all other news industries. When I didn’t like the bias of an entitled, uber-conservative piece in The Globe And Mail, I reacted logically by telling Margaret Wente I hope her children die in a fire and that she’s a stupid cunt. That’s what real rational people do instead of putting down the newspaper, thinking “I should read something more suitable to my taste” and exerting all their rage into their Zumba class.
While some of the Gamergaters are all about journalists somehow making reviews less subjective (impossible), others are upset that people want to change video games. Video games are played by a lot of people, but representations in video games tend to target young heterosexual white males (shocker) and athletic hedgehogs. Ideas that video game culture should progress by adding diversity or eliminating offensive conventions are being viewed as a violation of something precious. As we all know, mediums of entertainment like TV and film are perfect because they’ve never changed.
Even worse is that any criticism of the ancient untouchable tradition of gaming is seen as a complete attack on everything good in the world. The critic Anita Sarkeesian makes Youtube videos that pick apart sexist tropes in video games, which has made her a target for gamer-rage for a long time. However, recently Sarkeesian had to cancel a talk at Utah State University after receiving an anonymous message threatening a massacre reminiscent of Montreal’s 1989 incident if she went through with the event. The message said:
“You have 24 hours to cancel Sarkeesian’s talk … Anita Sarkeesian is everything wrong with the feminist woman, and she is going to die screaming like the craven little whore that she is if you let her come to USU. I will write my manifesto in her spilled blood, and you will all bear witness to what feminist lies and poison have done to the men of America.”
Sure, it seems like extreme misogyny, but it’s their duty to protect the purity of video games.
I could go on, but I’m not an intense gamer. I like killing demons in Diablo and I get nostalgic about Mario Kart, but other than that my obsessions lie in other forms of entertainment. If you want to get the low-down from those who know what they’re talking about, here are the best responses to Gamergate.
1. The Reasonable Response
The first response is by Polygon, a website that writes stories and reviews about videogames. They managed to stay out of the Gamergate fray until Christopher Grant wrote a piece that spun all the anger about changes in the industry into a beautiful rainbow:
Video games are changing, and it’s incredible! New technology, new devices, new marketplaces, new players — this is all transforming the entire world of video gaming under our collective feet. It’s growing bigger. It’s becoming more inclusive. This is a win-win scenario.
Even beloved geek Felicia Day‘s two-cents was about sharing the excitement of gaming: “Games are beautiful, they are creative, they are worlds to immerse yourself in. They are art. And they are worth fighting for, even if the atmosphere is ugly right now.”
Unfortunately, Day was immediately doxxed in the comment section of her Tumblr post after explicitly stating she was afraid to respond to the issue for that very reason. How dare you betray the queen of geeks?
2. The Aggressive Response
Brianna Wu is a video game developer who has experienced a lot of harassment lately. She’s been doxxed, sent death threats and had to leave her home because she feared for her safety. After all that, you can understand why she’s pissed. This article is her middle-finger to the harassers. Highlight: she refers to herself as “the Godzilla of bitches”.
3. The Full-fledged Rage
Chris Kluwe has been a gamer for most of his life. Known for his rant against homophobia in the NFL, he comes back with an equally delicious rant about Gamergate. He uses words like “paint-huffing shitgoblins” and “slope-browed weaseldicks”. He’s a damn wordsmith.