Essay: “GamerGate”

Trying to take a wide scope to this, GamerGate is backlash of people fed up with lax standards in the gaming industry today. They’re fed up with all the click-bait articles and how opinion overtakes any objectivity in what they call a review nowadays. They’re fed up with how some devs and game “journalists” have been acting lately, with all the namecalling and insults on the sites, in the forums, and on social media. The thing is, GamerGate has many voices, with just as many reasons for joining and goals to accomplish. Guess I should be talking ‘bout my own.

I first heard about this way back when events known as the Quinnspiracy happened. Shame that that’s what the anti-GamerGate folk keep trying to label the current movement as. I heard about a sex scandal and put it off, not being my business in another’s private life even if they are being hypocritical with their message. However, few days later I heard that one of the people she allegedly slept with put out positive press for her game. Went on a forum I used to frequent and asked about it. Got banned for it. Similar things happened on reddit. So I decided to do a little digging myself. Turns out that there was no actual positive review, just some positive mentions and the picture spot for a couple of articles covering a bunch of indie games. Thought it was odd that something so small could be such a fuss, so kept my eyes and ears open. Eventually caught wind of allegations of Zoe wrecking a game jam to promote her own. Checked out both campaigns and found Zoe’s to be highly suspicious.

Then the “Gamers Are Dead” articles dropped. Either way of reading the articles is highly insulting, in that either we are all as the articles have insulted, or that gamers are only those type of folks. Went and looked around on the sites, and all these so-called professionals were acting like a bunch of highschool drama queens on Twitter and FaceBook. They cry out “Harassment!” and “Misogyny!” and have their fans rally around them. At the same time, they cry the same words at anyone who attempts to criticize them, drowning out anything said. Worse is that any attempt at discussion in a lot of places becomes muted or censored. Just check out John Bain’s thread graveyard, and that was a neutral piece. Even 4chan was being heavily moderated, and I haven’t seen anything like that in a while; closest was the attempt at kicking out bronies.

Whole reason why a lot of folks write this off is because they don’t want to think about it too deeply. We live in an age where feeling is overriding rational thought. Games that provoke thought hurt too many feelings to be made anymore, whereas games that make you feel good are being pushed and only those. We don’t want a market to be dominated by games that tell you what to do, what to think or what to feel. We want the choice to be a monster or a villain or not, not for someone or some group to choose for them by not even having it as an option. It should be our choice.

GamerGate is for these Game News sites to have a standard equivalent to journalists in other fields. Either recuse themselves on a conflict of interest or disclose that they do have one. I want to judge a game based on its own merits, not because a writer is friends with the developer. I do not wish for a game, especially in the indie scene, to be overlooked just because another game developer has better connections. Those sorts of shenanigans are what put me off of the Triple A games.

GamerGate is for site owners, developers, and writers on these sites to start acting like professionals. Insulting a portion of consumers is appalling, as is stifling any sort of discussion on the matter. Sometimes I get the feeling that a lot of these people blurred the line between professional and personal relationships. How am I supposed to trust what they say if they hide conflicts of interest? Some claim objectivity can never be accomplished, so there is no reason to pursue it. There is a reason why Archon from the Escapist and John Bain are so highly regarded by GamerGate folks. They do their jobs in a professional manner by not taking sides, and make up for their mistakes, acknowledging them instead of trying to hide it from the internet. They probably get as much harassment and death threats as any one of the vocal people GamerGate is opposed to, but they grow a thicker skin. If you can’t take the heat, don’t dim the lights. Get out of the damn spotlight.

We are the ones who choose our name. We will defend it. We are the ones insulted as misogynerds and manbabies. We are the ones who apologize for our mistakes instead of hiding the truth. We are the ones who call out our own when they act like idiots. We verify and validate. We are mice who roar. We are alive. We are gamers. So let’s play.

SK

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