Most of the horridness has been a direct result of #gamergate. The vitriol an hatred pouring out of some of the manifestations of the movement have been awful. Women game critics and developers have had to cancel appearances and even evacuate their homes in the wake of a movement claiming to be focused on ethics in game journalism, but that has been putting a focus on how women in particular are changing the gaming culture and the developer landscape.
#gamergate does not like women, and that’s a fact.
I suspected something awful was approaching during late summer. That was when Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni wrote a long, mostly unverifiable blog post about what an awful person Quinn was. Since Quinn also happened to be a game developer, the reactions to the supposed betrayal and untrustworthiness were not far away.
The gaming culture is nothing if not completely predictable when it comes to “intrusions” on the “true order” of the business of the gaming culture. The reactions are often close to instinctual and personal and sometimes not even based on facts. The critics of games and the gaming culture (is the default reasoning) can never be right, since games and gaming culture can only be understood by a select few. Those people that are approved and do understand it, are those who never criticise.
I still think few had imagined the level of vitriol that would spew forth. I think few understand that in some cases the avalanche of hatred is still ongoing, still kept thundering down the mountains. This avalanche was and is primarily directed toward women and other marginalized groups in the industry and culture. All it took to get it rolling in a unified direction was the tweet from Adam Baldwin with the hashtag #gamergate. In it Baldwin – self professed almost non-gamer – linked to a conspiratorial video discussing the alleged missteps of Zoe Quinn.
Proponents of the hashtag would have you believe it’s not about misogyny, Zoe Quinn, Brianna Wu or Anita Sarkeesian. It’s actually about ethics in gaming journalism. The truth is that it doesn’t matter what it’s really about. It attracts those who think women have nothing to do in gaming.
Among her many alleged crimes Quinn was said to have traded sex for favourable reviews. Never mind that any question of ethics should have been directed at the journalist, and never mind that the journalist in question never wrote a review of the game.
I sensed the onslaught early and decided to support Quinn regardless. Her private life has very little to do with her game making. #gamergate would have you believe otherwise but few (if any) accusations levelled against Zoe Quinn (or any other women caught up in this mess) were true.
What #gamergate came to represent to me was that the undercurrent of sexism in gaming stepped up and showed its ugly face in all its glory. Previously it was a hunch, a gut feeling, but #gamergate supplied proof. Countless twitter accusations, threats and debates uncovered the truth within gaming culture – that the culture itself in many cases is hostile towards marginalized groups and that those people who gain from being in a privileged position within gaming rarely want to give that position up.
Luckily for the gaming culture and the industry, #gamergate also created a countermovement that spawned many initiatives to improve the climate.The industry became aware of the resistance against change in 2014.
I’m hoping that 2015 will be the year when gaming takes a step toward inclusivity.
2015-01-03 at 02:12
I would argue that it has been an awesome year. Hatred showed its ugly face and every serious gamer and equalrights activist mounted up and rallied against it.
Knowing who the enemy is and what its motivations and ambitions are makes it easier for everyone to cohabitate in the post gamergate era.
The fight is fought and the battle rages on, the hatred have been normalized, excused, explained as not I.
But is it the haters that are the real danger to the community rather than the bystanders that by not acting allow for hatred to be passed on to the next victims?
As an example: The largest Swedish gaming organization still claims that I’m a thief despite the fact that no charges have been filed and no court have made a judgement in support of that claim.
Haters hate, they must be stopped. I gladly heed the call.
I am an enemy of all hatred, I seek to destroy it through inclusions, transparency and equal rights.
2015-01-03 at 07:45
No, it hasn’t been an awesome year in my book. A few years back, the women of the industry stood up and said “this is the situation we face” with the hashtag #1reasonwhy. None of the major developers took this as seriously as the #gamergate hashtag. It’s been known for YEARS how women are treated in the industry and culture, but somehow it took bomb threats, rape threats and death threats of several prominent (and not so prominent) women for the industry and culture to actually react.
That is not awesome. That is the mark of a culture and industry that does not trust the experiences of women, that needs everything writ large and with a huge pen to even consider doing anything to change said environment. That is not awesome. It just proves to me that there are issues with sexism even in how the experiences of women are set aside as “not trustworthy”.
We already knew the enemy. We just weren’t believed when we told about it. And still not. Do you know how many are claiming that the threats are all fabrications? Quite a few. It hasn’t been an awesome year. Women have been driven out of their homes by threats. That is in no way my definition of awesome.
2015-01-03 at 15:49
I’d argue that’s how the world works, most people are governed by fear and a mentality to follow rather than to lead.
The Internet is a horrible place where hate that we never would allow otherwise has come to thrive. That has changed gamergate became a catalyst for the resistance.
There are still those that live in denial, just as there are those that live in denial of the Holocaust, some just refuse to understand.
Those are the ones that by refusing to accept allow for the hatred to fester.
Now there is change and that makes it awesome for me. I’ve been fighting the hatred since 1998 and now finally it is turning.
Gamergate internationally and the instagram case nationally in Sweden finally the hatred and the bullies of the Internet are getting closer to be stopped.
2015-01-04 at 22:13
Typical misinformed radfem nonsense. #Gamergate is more diverse and open to women and minorities than the anti-side.
2015-01-05 at 10:01
That is obviously your opinion, you’re absolutely welcome to it, but since I don’t agree with it I’m equally entitled to disregard it completely.
From what I’ve seen, the diversity and openness to “minorities” (I prefer marginalised groups instead. Women, for instance, are not a minority group when it comes to playing games, only when it comes to who gets a say) only encompasses those who already agree with the #gamergate message, alternately sees no problem with the gaming culture.