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Female Game Developers Share Their Views on #GamerGate

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Developer #2 continued ...

You've never had your artistic freedom trampled in your work because there's no such thing as artistic freedom in your work if it's work done for a company. You're there to make the game they pay you to make. They tell you all the time that the shade of green is not right, that the animation is too sexy or not sexy enough, that the character needs more or less clothes, that the blood isn't shiny enough. It's a part of the job: that's the reality of game development.

You keep thinking about the topic over the next day, as you watch a friend respond to the hate. At this point, you can't call it anything else. She stood up for Sarkeesian and now she's become a target, too. Her public face is unshakable, resolute, but the face you see is broken. She's questioning this as a career. She's frightened for her children because she has seen the threats others have gotten. She asks you, point blank, why she should keep making games -- why she puts up with this just to pay her rent. Why shouldn't she just find another job?


In a weird way, that mirrors your personal feelings on #GamerGate: this is a business, all of it. It's an open marketplace. If you don't like a website, go to another. If you don't like a game, don't buy it. Sure, you can also yell about it and boycott. But a game owes you, personally, absolutely nothing. A website owes you nothing. You have no "right" to either. You have the right and the ability to vote with your clicks and your dollars.

All of these thoughts are going through your head as the situation escalates. You try to talk about it a little without the #GamerGate hashtag, and even so you immediately get accusatory responses on Twitter. Harassment against women in game development doesn't exist, they say -- where is your evidence? No, your personal experience and the experience of your friends isn't evidence. How can you say this started as misogyny? It's not about misogyny -- it's about corruption in the media. Now there are are six more people piling onto this thread and one just won't stop so you block him. "Censorship!" they cry. Then there are three more people digging up tweets from two years ago and using them as "evidence" that you're an "SJW." How did this go from making a comment to a friend about Sarkeesian to having random people arguing with you? Are there actually #GamerGate supporters actively scouring Twitter using searches to argue with people who aren't even using the hashtag? Yes, there are -- it happens to the extent that you decide to stop talking about it even with friends on Twitter because your feed gets flooded with people looking for a fight. You realize, after a few hours, that you have effectively been silenced.

And now you're past the deadline and you realize you can't avoid it anymore. You have to write your statement about #GamerGate. You decide not to write about your feelings or your take on #GamerGate, but instead to write directly to the player reading this article:

If you truly love games, please take a minute to contemplate the fact that you are attacking the people that make them. You are actively playing a role that makes it more challenging for them to make games. You are, in the end, building a dark and dull future for the games you love.

Editor's Note: Please consider how your comments and reactions to these statements on this website or on social media can affect people. It is never OK to abuse, bully, harass or threaten people who have the courage to share their thoughts and opinions. I'm placing this note at the bottom of each page to urge all who read it - regardless of their opinions of the statements presented - to do what they can to reduce the amount of bile and toxicity we all encounter on the internet.

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