Oct 2, 2014

A Late Response to GamerGate

This blog post will contain... impolite language.

I'm fully prepared for the shitstorm of comments that are likely to come from this. When GamerGaters mount up it's worse than a Westboro Bapitist Church protest. All I ask is that my regular readers don't engage. They're not worth it.

You might need to do some Googling if you're not familiar with GamerGate. I'm so worn out from reading this stuff I can't do it anymore. And there are some pretty horrible people talking about this and I am not feeding them traffic.

It amounts to this: One day, the ex-boyfriend of a female game developer posted a litany of accusations against his girlfriend. He posted it everywhere he could, and when the posts were deleted, he started his own site. End result? The game developer was driven out of her home by threats of rape and murder, from people who were posting her home address.

The game developer's name is Zoe Quinn. The douchebag who she's unfortunate enough to have dated is Eron Gjoni. You'll hear a lot of accusations against Zoe Quinn which I won't repeat, because frankly, nothing she's done, or been accused of doing, in any way warrants the abuse and harassment she's received.

Worse, a series of articles about how "gamers are dead" sprang up, pretty much all in the same 24-hour period, and this became the smoking gun that GamerGaters used to point to a conspiracy against gamers. Throw in calls for "integrity in video game journalism" and you've got a major mess. 

So where does this leave us? Well let me tell you, if someone points you to the "5 Guys Conspiracy" video, as clarification of what happened, or what GamerGate stands for, be prepared for 25 minutes of utter nutjob misogyny.

Sure, there are some people who say they're part of GamerGate and believe in fighting for journalistic integrity. But, tell you what, there have been huge issues with bias, from simple friendships to sponsorship deals, in video games for decades. It's not new, and before there was a woman involved, no one really paid any attention. What you think of that is up to you, but it's hardly the conspiracy people are getting in a twist over. 

Sure, it's good to want more honest reviews. As a gamer, I depend on them, because I frankly can't justify shelling out video game prices without knowing I'll enjoy the thing. But the thing is, GamerGate, at its core, is just an excuse to hate on women.

And here's why I don't buy the "but we're not all like that" line.

Just as there are people who like to spout sexist crap against men (such as the "all sex is rape" line you might have heard around the internet), there are people who would like to have more honesty in video game reviews. But just as those man-haters aren't actually feminists, even if they claim to be, people who do want honesty in game reviews, who don't give a crap what Zoe Quinn may or may not have done, aren't really GamerGaters. Unfortunately, a lot of them have become more concerned with defending GamerGate than their own supposed ideals. I've had too many arguments on this, over something as damned insignificant as whether or not the next yearly football game deserves a 10/10 or the latest CoD clone is worth laying down $60, another $40 in DLC, and hundreds of dollars in microtransations. 

So yeah, I think game reviews are a pile of steaming crap, least of all at release. No, I don't think there needs to be a movement against it, just more people writing honest reviews. Yes, I think Eron Gjoni was an almighty asshole for airing his dirty laundry to the world. No, I don't believe Zoe Quinn has done anything close to what's been laid at her feet. Yes, I have a bit of a stick up my ass about this, but no, I am not going to consider anything that GamerGate has to say, ever again. Even the most reasonable and patient people claiming to support GamerGate have shown their frustration and anger, simply because I don't agree with them, because I believe in something better than harassing and abusing women, forcing them into hiding, making threats of death, rape, and even domestic terrorism, to scare them into silence.

I believe GamerGate is about hating women and keeping gaming a Boys' Club. It's about claiming games are art, but violently rejecting any criticism which they disagree with or that makes them face uncomfortable truths.

I know people will disagree. I know people will try and defend it. I know people will even insult me and accuse me of being a Social Justice Warrior*.

And I just don't care. GamerGate can die in a fire.

*This sounds like the name of an awesome 80s tv show, by the way.

1 comment:

  1. I think the most ridiculous conspiracy theory I've heard out of this whole debacle is that GamerGate is a month-long campaign to troll women.