By this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if your aunt who calls all video game devices “The Game Boy” has heard of Gamergate. Since it started back in August, the “movement” and talk of the movement has taken on a life of its own. For those who aren’t aware of the details, this here is a pretty nice summary.
But the abridged version is this: indie game developer Zoe Quinn’s ex posted blog entries alleging that Quinn had cheated on him with five guys, specifically guys in game journalism. Thus a conspiracy took hold that Quinn essentially slept her way to success, trading sex for positive publicity for her games. It is here that the Gamergate movement began, under the banner of “journalistic ethics.” Those in the movement were going to fight corruption in game journalism, which they began doing by publicly harassing and attacking a woman over her sex life, because LOGIC.
There is an endless amount of vitriolic rhetoric that has been thrown Quinn’s way, as well as female game critic Anita Sarkeesian, that you can look up if you feel so inclined. I’m not going to post any here because honestly it’s too misogynistic for me to even want to make jokes about, though you can find out what it’s like to be on the receiving end here.
But what I will make fun of is the people making up the Gamergate movement. Not just because the term Gamergate was actually coined by Adam Baldwin, the guy who argues with Clickhole links on Twitter. And not just because mockery is the best response I can come up with to the blatant sexism that doesn’t involve setting things on fire. I want to make fun of them because, even setting aside the misogyny, the whole movement is built on laughably ludicrous notions.
So let’s say we take them at face value, and agree that the real motive behind Gamergate is to root out journalistic corruption in the industry. Cool. I could get on board with that. Corruption is an issue, regardless of industry. So if that’s their goal, then WHY is the focus on a crowd-sourced indie developer? Why focus all your energy on her? What about the major game studios, who buy ads in the very same game sites and magazines that review them? That seems like a pretty big and easy-to-grasp conflict of interest that no one has bothered to touch.
Or what about Game Informer, the gaming magazine and site owned by retailer Gamestop? Since Gamestop has a financial interest in selling all the games, doesn’t that make Game Informer‘s ability to objectively review games a little bit murky? There are plenty of valid arguments to be made about journalism ethics in the game industry that don’t have anything to do with Zoe Quinn’s vagina. But why bother with that effort when you can mercilessly attack a woman instead?
And Gamergaters know how ridiculous their position is. That’s why they are having a preemptive freak out over the possibility that SNL might make fun of them. MIGHT.
And for the past three months I have been stewing, because I like video games. A lot. I am also a young, white male, and the most vocal makeup of Gamergate activists are angry young, white males. I am already two of those things, and I do not want the first thing people think when I say I play video games to be “I hope you are also seeing a shrink.” I hate the fact that Gamergate is becoming what people think of when they hear the term “gamer,” and it makes me mad. So now, I am an angry young, white male. THEY ARE TURNING ME INTO ONE OF THEM.
Really, the entire thing should have been a non-issue. A jilted ex complains about the person who dumped them, because of course they did. That’s what all jilted exes do. But no, let’s make a whole big issue about someone maybe possibly cheating on their ex with the same fervor of that guy who has all the presidents connected to lizard people via a massive pin-up board with strings criss-crossing all over it. Let’s do that instead of just playing the goddamn video games. Sounds like fun.
I, in the meantime, actually am going to go back to playing the games and hope against hope that this all ends sooner rather than later. Because trying to play Resident Evil without any ink ribbons is less frustrating than listening to this madness.