Essay: “What #GamerGate Means To Me.‏ “

I was on the cusp of quitting my contributing editor job at RPGFan when GamerGate began. In fact, I had every intention to leave after my latest review was up because I felt it was not worth my sanity to stay in an industry where views had become so polarized and radical that merely questioning the status quo would lead to professional blacklisting. For a labor of love, it was not something I wanted any part of, and as a hobby it had started becoming more trouble than it was worth.

At this point, someone who had been following me on Youtube suggested I join GamerGate on Twitter. I was connected with hundreds of fellow gamers, game developers, and even some fellow game journalists who agreed with my viewpoint of the entire ordeal. It reminded me of why I started writing at RPGFan and for whom I was writing: people like me. People who just wanted to play games, enjoy gaming with others, and wanted nothing to do with the increasing politicization and soapboxing others kept attempting to push into our space.

I grew up hearing my grandparents’ stories about the Communist uprising in China, how they tore people from their houses and shot them in the streets for being “oppressors,” and most of all, the type of dehumanizing and vitriolic language used to justify this kind of hatred. It is telling, then, that the language used by these game journalists to condemn people like me – minorities who want to enjoy our hobby in peace – reminds me so much of that kind of ideologically based hatred. Some call us the equivalent of “house n*****s” during the Civil War. Some have categorized and labeled us as white heterosexual males despite all proof to the contrary. Some, when faced with a lack of recourse, call us self-hating gender/race traitors. It is very upsetting to hear this kind of malicious rhetoric from a group that claims to have minorities’ best interests at heart, in a country my parents came to in order to seek a better life.

By contrast, people in GamerGate have been accepting, generous, and inclusive. They have reminded me the joys of sharing my passion with complete strangers who may or may not have anything else in common with me. They’ve reignited my desire to write about the games I play. They are people from all walks of life and various minorities. By contrast, game journalists are homogenized to the point of near self-parody.

I will no longer be walking away from my position at RPGFan. GamerGate has shown me the importance of staying in that position, because there are good game journalists who just want to share their love of gaming with the world. Even with a voice as small as mine, game journalism deserves better than to be represented by the lackadaisical and unprincipled bigots that are currently its loudest and most humiliating voices.

The stone we cast might raise only the smallest of waves, but see how they crash upon the shore!

Ashton Liu
@ash_effect
Contributing Editor
RPGFan

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