A Civil Discussion with Garwulf on Gamergate

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Robert B. Marks:
Hi there!

Apologies for not replying in the thread - I fear that there is enough of a danger to both hijack it away from the actual subject and reopen old wounds for a lot of people that I'd prefer to do this in private. Please do feel free, though, to share these words if you would like in the forums (I just ask that if you do, you post the entire thing, and post it somewhere other than a Garwulf's Corner thread).

(And, particularly now, the column needs to be about building bridges and keeping a safe space for discussion open, where anybody can speak their mind without judgement. Now that the worst of the furor is in the past, my preference is not to revisit it in new installments or their forum threads - I'd rather just push forward into a more positive future for everybody, regardless of where they stood during August 2014.)

As far as my feelings towards what happened in August 2014, it's all really in the introduction to An Odyssey into Video Games and Pop Culture. Seeing a blacklist of op-ed writers that the movement wanted to silence was horrifying to the point that it basically curled me up into a fetal position. It's this column and my readers who restored my faith in the community, which is one of the reasons I'm trying to keep it running using a Patreon.

As far as the "Gamers are dead" articles go, I think they were interpreted in the worst possible manner, and not one that really represented what they were saying. I read a number of them, and they actually reflected my experience as a 1990s-era computer gamer. I watched my gamer identity (with an exclusivity based in large part on how hard it was to just get DOS games running) become obsolete by around 2005. That identity is indeed dead...and replaced with gamer identities that are so much better. Back around 1995, I would never have thought it possible that everybody would become a gamer of some sort, or that people would be able to make their living doing one-man shows playing games on Twitch, or that there would be actual e-sports leagues that would manage to get onto ESPN. And yet, all of these things have come to pass, and it is GLORIOUS. I LOVE it (and there is a feature piece in the collection about this).

As far as Gamergate itself goes, the way I processed it was by falling back on my training as a historian, and trying to understand why it all happened. I can't condone, much less support, the events of August 2014, but I think I did come to an understanding of them. One of the things I realized was that this was a firestorm that was at least 30 years coming - when you have a community that is under siege in American high schools where the teachers are willing participants (and therefore, there are no reasonable authority figures shutting the siege down) and combine it with walking into a series of moral panics as soon as you get out of high school, an under-siege mentality is pretty inevitable. In the end, I mainly came out surprised that the firestorm didn't happen sooner (and, this is actually what the "Road to Gamergate" installments are exploring in the collection).

Anyway, I hope this helps and satisfies your curiosity!

Best regards,

Robert Marks

My response was as follows:

Sir,

I feel I have a disagreement with you in respects to Gamergate. You are quite right- yes, in the early 2000's and even before, the definition of gamer changed. Partly, it was in respect to the availability of consoles and the quality of games produced which allowed anyone to save up a few hundred bucks and pick up a controller. Not only that, but they also got an experience comparable to that of PC gamers. Of course, this also led to an influx of total asshats. It led to the meteoric rise of the Call of Duty/Halo/MOBA communities as cesspools of utterly toxic behavior. I could understand if the morally bankrupt and detestable Anita Sarkeesian called those communities out for their behavior. However, to paraphrase what she has said numberous times, everything is racist, everything is misogynist, and everything is a problem. That is my primary issue with the anti-Gamergate faction: As a gamer, I was being tarred with a broad brush. Beyond that, as a straight white male, I was the very incarnation of evil. That attribution is what drove me into the Gamergate camp, more than anything else.

And for future reference- 'safe space' has taken on a virtually Stalinist tone in some circles. An open, civil exchange of ideas is absolutely what everyone should be striving for, not a place where people can't have their ideas challenged in a civil, rational tone. Sorry, as a student, seeing this on campus really torques me the wrong way.

In regards to the 'Gamers are Dead' articles, I have to be immediately suspicious of three of them dropping in twelve hours or so. Some of them call for a redefinition of gamer. This is something I'd like to see: like playing a game of shimmy once a week doesn't make you an athlete, playing a couple of hours of Madden a week does not a gamer make. Tarring a community of people who take gaming somewhat seriously with the actions of a few bros in a frathouse screaming racial slurs on Xbox Live no more makes them gamers than shrugging indifferently at Trump as a foreign national makes me a Trump supporter.

I watched the trainwreck that was Gamergate with horror- Zoe Quinn being called out, while justified, was a result of some pretty petty, underhanded shit. I think more than anything else, it galvanized the community against the seeping corruption that had always been in the background. I can't condone the actions of either side, but I feel I fall more on the 'open bribery and restrictions on free speech need to stop' rather than those toeing the radical feminist, left-of-Trotsky line. Yes, both sides did shitty things. No, I don't believe in doxing, and the fact that Bob Chipman (among others) actually encouraged its use against pro-Gamergate supporters really entrenched my position. Yes, I know it's a siege mentality. But then again, if anyone who calls themselves a gamer is automatically associated with homophobia, racism and general awfulness, I kind of take issue with that.

Regards,

Abbot

What does everyone think of that?

I think it's still impossible to have civil discussions about GG. Inevitably it devolves from an exchange of ideas to a barrage of accusations and listing of wrong-doings from both sides, and an hostile rejection to see the things from the other side.

image

EDIT: Sorry, I confused civil with constructive. We certainly had civil discussions; but very few have been about (or succeeded in) putting themselves in the others' place, finding common grounds, amending mistakes and building bridges between the two sides.

At this point, there's the GG fanatics and the rest of the world. The GG fanatics have put too much effort and identity into their 'cause' to ever change their minds, and everyone else moved on 4 years ago, with the exception of trying to shoo away the more obnoxious vocal GG efforts.

There's nothing to be gained from any 'civil discussions' on it; one group will never budge, and the other has the easy 20/20 hindsight of 4 years later to laugh and walk off.

I don't think it was as hard to get DOS games to work as he's suggesting.

Baffle2:
I don't think it was as hard to get DOS games to work as he's suggesting.

CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT

Enough said.

Avnger:
At this point, there's the GG fanatics and the rest of the world. The GG fanatics have put too much effort and identity into their 'cause' to ever change their minds, and everyone else moved on 4 years, with the exception of trying to shoo away the more obnoxious vocal GG efforts.

There's nothing to be gained from any 'civil discussions' on it; one group will never budge, and the other has the easy 20/20 hindsight of 4 years later to laugh and walk off.

As the token pro-GG guy, I would say that the other side embraced identitarian politics well beforehand. They didn't need to create one, they had 'Social Justice Warrior' branded on them early. It was necessary for the weird conglomerate that was the pro-GG movement to form their own identity in response from the loose odds and ends.

CaitSeith:
I think it's still impossible to have civil discussions about GG. Inevitably it devolves from an exchange of ideas to a barrage of accusations and listing of wrong-doings from both sides, and an hostile rejection to see the things from the other side.

image

As seen in the exchange, myself and Garwulf have had a civil discussion in spite of being on opposite sides of the aisle. My personal beliefs fall more in line with David Rubin than anyone else, to boot. Shunting people into SJW or fascist camps doesn't actually address the issue.

Abbot of Beregost:

CaitSeith:
I think it's still impossible to have civil discussions about GG. Inevitably it devolves from an exchange of ideas to a barrage of accusations and listing of wrong-doings from both sides, and an hostile rejection to see the things from the other side.

image

As seen in the exchange, myself and Garwulf have had a civil discussion in spite of being on opposite sides of the aisle. My personal beliefs fall more in line with David Rubin than anyone else, to boot. Shunting people into SJW or fascist camps doesn't actually address the issue.

Usually it starts like that. Then people looking for confrontation and willing to exchange insults instead of ideas arrive later on, and poison the well.

Abbot of Beregost:

Avnger:
At this point, there's the GG fanatics and the rest of the world. The GG fanatics have put too much effort and identity into their 'cause' to ever change their minds, and everyone else moved on 4 years, with the exception of trying to shoo away the more obnoxious vocal GG efforts.

There's nothing to be gained from any 'civil discussions' on it; one group will never budge, and the other has the easy 20/20 hindsight of 4 years later to laugh and walk off.

As the token pro-GG guy, I would say that the other side embraced identitarian politics well beforehand. They didn't need to create one, they had 'Social Justice Warrior' branded on them early. It was necessary for the weird conglomerate that was the pro-GG movement to form their own identity in response from the loose odds and ends.

The conglomerate wasn't that weird, at least, it didn't stay weird for long. Pretty soon, there was a solid set of criteria for being "pro gamer", and that included a rejection of anything not in line with right wing thinking and identity.

And if you were part of it but guilty of the heresy for liking the wrong political candidate, criticizing a pro-GG talking head or, God help you, the wrong game (how I got my scarlet SJW letter), you weren't "pro gamer" let alone "pro GG" anymore.

Smithnikov:

And if you were part of it but guilty of the heresy for liking the wrong political candidate, criticizing a pro-GG talking head or, God help you, the wrong game (how I got my scarlet SJW letter), you weren't "pro gamer" let alone "pro GG" anymore.

I'm a Bernie Sanders supporting, pro gun guy. I got my walking letters more than once from the far right. I'm curious- what game had you cast out?

Abbot of Beregost:

Smithnikov:

And if you were part of it but guilty of the heresy for liking the wrong political candidate, criticizing a pro-GG talking head or, God help you, the wrong game (how I got my scarlet SJW letter), you weren't "pro gamer" let alone "pro GG" anymore.

I'm a Bernie Sanders supporting, pro gun guy. I got my walking letters more than once from the far right. I'm curious- what game had you cast out?

State of Decay got me my Cuckold SJW badge.

And don't let the ones on /ggrevolt/ or /gamergateHQ/ know that.

Smithnikov:

Abbot of Beregost:

Smithnikov:

And if you were part of it but guilty of the heresy for liking the wrong political candidate, criticizing a pro-GG talking head or, God help you, the wrong game (how I got my scarlet SJW letter), you weren't "pro gamer" let alone "pro GG" anymore.

I'm a Bernie Sanders supporting, pro gun guy. I got my walking letters more than once from the far right. I'm curious- what game had you cast out?

State of Decay got me my Cuckold SJW badge.

And don't let the ones on /ggrevolt/ or /gamergateHQ/ know that.

Interesting. I got mine by suggesting raising minimum wages might be good.

Avnger:
At this point, there's the GG fanatics and the rest of the world. The GG fanatics have put too much effort and identity into their 'cause' to ever change their minds, and everyone else moved on 4 years, with the exception of trying to shoo away the more obnoxious vocal GG efforts.

There's nothing to be gained from any 'civil discussions' on it; one group will never budge, and the other has the easy 20/20 hindsight of 4 years later to laugh and walk off.

That's been the Party Line from the very beginning, "GamerGate fanatics/terrorist/subhuman trolls" against "the rest of the world". It's a blatant policy of official ostracism, it didn't do any good then, and it's not doing any good now. Incidentally, that was in late August 2014, which was 2 years and 3 and a half months ago according to my calculations. So it's interesting that you should repeatedly mention "4 years", as if in acknowledgment that the the other side has been at it much longer than the media-concocted "GamerGate Movement" (which is better understood as just regular people who were exiled together from the crony-controlled mainstream). That indeed is obvious in retrospect, with what we now know of the backstage maneuvering of self-declared misandrist activists to make all of gaming discussion a "safe space". For them, obviously, as the "safety" of a space cannot be equally applied to all.

All that really needs to be said about such Utopian projects is that "safe spaces" are the therapeutic exception to normal interaction, in which the patient should be free to express emotions, even irrationally hostile ones, without the repercussions such displays would merit in normal life. Thus, they are privileging the recipient of therapy and by very definition exclusive, and can in no way serve as models of "inclusivity", despite the deceptive slogans. If some people require a gaming-themed "safe space", it would of course be nice for them to have one. But advocating for such a space to cover all of the content and coverage of an entire sector of the entertainment industry falls drastically outside the boundaries of reason.

But to return from the digression, "GamerGate" will remain an unresolved issue until the media that perpetrated a massive smear campaign against its justifiably dissatisfied audience takes decisive steps towards correcting the record. Which of course is echoed every day in various media outlets, so simply "forgetting about it" or "letting go" is not an option.

Smithnikov:

The conglomerate wasn't that weird, at least, it didn't stay weird for long. Pretty soon, there was a solid set of criteria for being "pro gamer", and that included a rejection of anything not in line with right wing thinking and identity.

And if you were part of it but guilty of the heresy for liking the wrong political candidate, criticizing a pro-GG talking head or, God help you, the wrong game (how I got my scarlet SJW letter), you weren't "pro gamer" let alone "pro GG" anymore.

Please. I've been labelled all kinds of fanatic here in my time, and I've never been interrogated as to what kind of games I like or where my politics fall on an actual "Left/Right" scale that isn't solely defined by various "Social Justice" follies. Obviously, Trump was a beneficiary of sympathy that he most likely would never have received, had the post-factual media not given his prospective supporters what should by now be properly known as "The GamerGate Treatment". As indeed they did to the supporters of Bernie Sanders, the "misogynist Bernie Bros" to Trump's alleged MegaNazis. If we are going to insist that there is some kind of "movement", it is precisely one based on opposing horrible tactics like that.

It sounds like you got into an argument over some Internet dude about the merits of whatever game, and just couldn't let it go that someone didn't see the same merits in it. Not really worth blowing up into a historic schism, in my view.

Addendum_Forthcoming:
The definition of gamer changed when all you pricks stole it from from true nerds and geeks rolling dice and slaying impractible bad guys with convoluted plots requiting encyclopedic knowledge of the rules to win.

I would say, play the original Baldur's Gate, or its TSR forbears. We came up 2cond edition. We simply digitized it.

Abbot of Beregost:

I would say, play the original Baldur's Gate, or its TSR forbears. We came up 2cond edition. We simply digitized it.

If that's your comparison then find a new GM. Baldur's Gate is *good*, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1 & 2 ... but when current media give Fallout 3 10/10 on release ...don't even pretend to have an argument.

There's a reason why Black Isle/Troika/etc were good ... BECAUSE they were *true gamers* as it historically meant. Many of them did play tabletop RPGs and board games. They knew *game* systems and narrative structures from publications like Dragon and Dungeon ... had a wealth of fluff that was oWoD and had an encyclopedic knowledge of it all like any hard-boiled tabletop gamer.

They treated games as if there were a GM and a player, and how that should shape the experience of it. Not like an interactive B-movie that railroads the shit out of you regardless of what you do. Black Isle had real moral ambiguity built into the products ... but moral ambiguityvis whst any decent GM knows how to wield like a scalpel.

Videogamers gave up that tradition in the 2000s. They simply stopped trying. Irreversibility of choice gave way to save scumming, strong central theme and well-structured narratives gave way to 'open world of "total freedom"', nuanced morality and ethical dilemmas tied to the heart of the game gave way to numerically valued goody-baddie scale...

(Edit)There is a reason why gamers talk about stuff different from videogamers. We wax poetic for hours about the potential for metagame, or expansion direction possibilities, or new sourcebooks, or we make one hour long videos dedicated to a minute aspect of 40k lore... and I think most 40k stuff is garbage barring the original Rogue Trader and the FFG tt rpgs ... and even those there's only two good ones.

StatusNil:

late August 2014, which was 2 years and 3 and a half months ago according to my calculations.

Could you show your working please? I'm interested in your research.

A surprisingly civil introduction, so good there.

I would call into question the idea about the fratboy gamers introduction and the like though. I disagree in part, as I think many were gamers long before that. The issue of the fratboy gamer and the "dudebro" shooter fan seems more related to a previous attempt to redefine "gamer" by the corporate marketing campaigns of the early 2000's. Techtv going G4 was where I really noticed it myself, as the shows still on the channel that I watched shifted tone and behavior, pushing for what we now recognize as the classic dudebro style idea of gamer, while pushing products at them like no tomorrow. This wasn't limited to that single channel, of course, but it seems indicative of the overall trend, one that was always mimiced with the change in games away from platformers as a heavy investment and going full bore into the shooter genre, both dirty brown first person, and dirty brown chest-high wall cover variant. At the time there was a lot of grinding between the new definition of what a gamer was and how it was cool, compared to he older idea of gamers just being game hobbyists. This also created an influx of new gamers who latched onto it because it was the new cool thing. While the conflict was less drastic (largely because the attempted definition change was reaction to the sales of the FPS and TPS game sales at the time by gamers before the attempt to corporatize the culture), it still showed problems with doing so, as the new culture and definition did pull some people into things, and appealing to the new dudebro demographic concept was given greater weight in consideration compared to the gamers that had been there a while (likely a reasons behind the wave of copycat genre clones at the time.) This resulted in a rift between media and gamers who felt the media was no longer representing their interests. This would flare up larger and larger, with things like DoritoPope and ME3 ending controversies as the media sided maligned their audience time and again, and where the media would start to drift deeper into identity politics to criticize gamers and video games for being the stereotype dudebro white guy they manufactured in the first place.

Jumping ahead to gamergate, another attempt to attack gamers through that identity occurred, this time in order to cover up the unprofessional and unethical behavior of journalists and others as they sided against the audience once more. Having already burned bridges based on the stereotype over the years, and having already failed to properly address the quinspiracy issue individually among journalists and even some outlets, the reaction of the media unified in spitting on gamers in general and dismissing the issues of the quinspiracy as sexist resulted in just the largest backlash yet against the media's attempts to force the narrative. Their constantly doubling down on it and attacks, to say nothing of the maliciousness and dishonesty in what they were doing, and the constant "with us or you are gamergate" mindset used against everyone just poured gas on that fire.

runic knight:
snip

What was the DoritoPope controversy? I wasn't keeping up to date with the news back them as much as now.

CaitSeith:

runic knight:
snip

What was the DoritoPope controversy? I wasn't keeping up to date with the news back them as much as now.

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/doritosgate

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/dorito-pope

Yes, I know, I'm linking Know Your Cancer. But they at least do a decent job of cataloguing things, I find.

American Tanker:

CaitSeith:

runic knight:
snip

What was the DoritoPope controversy? I wasn't keeping up to date with the news back them as much as now.

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/doritosgate

http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/dorito-pope

Yes, I know, I'm linking Know Your Cancer. But they at least do a decent job of cataloguing things, I find.

I appreciate the effort, but I wanted runic knight to explain it from his point of view and which was its place in the prelude to GG.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Abbot of Beregost:

I would say, play the original Baldur's Gate, or its TSR forbears. We came up 2cond edition. We simply digitized it.

If that's your comparison then find a new GM. Baldur's Gate is *good*, Planescape: Torment, Fallout 1 & 2 ... but when current media give Fallout 3 10/10 on release ...don't even pretend to have an argument.

I would say the last of the true RPG's was Bloodlines. The point being, just because it was digitized, doesn't mean it wasn't Second Edition, or untrue to gamers.

There's a reason why Black Isle/Troika/etc were good ... BECAUSE they were *true gamers* as it historically meant. Many of them did play tabletop RPGs and board games. They knew *game* systems and narrative structures from publications like Dragon and Dungeon ... had a wealth of fluff that was oWoD and had an encyclopedic knowledge of it all like any hard-boiled tabletop gamer.

They treated games as if there were a GM and a player, and how that should shape the experience of it. Not like an interactive B-movie that railroads the shit out of you regardless of what you do. Black Isle had real moral ambiguity built into the products ... but moral ambiguity is what any decent GM knows how to wield like a scalpel.

Videogamers gave up that tradition in the 2000s. They simply stopped trying. Irreversibility of choice gave way to save scumming, strong central theme and well-structured narratives gave way to 'open world of "total freedom"', nuanced morality and ethical dilemmas tied to the heart of the game gave way to numerically valued goody-baddie scale...

(Edit)There is a reason why gamers talk about stuff different from videogamers. We wax poetic for hours about the potential for metagame, or expansion direction possibilities, or new sourcebooks, or we make one hour long videos dedicated to a minute aspect of 40k lore... and I think most 40k stuff is garbage barring the original Rogue Trader and the FFG tt rpgs ... and even those there's only two good ones.

I would say, play some of the Shadowrun games. It's not quite as merciless and hardbound as you'd like, but it's still a good experience. I see games as a way to introduce a whole new generation to the tabletop, not as a way for grognards to curl in around themselves and scowl. I respect your opinion, sir, but I respectfully disagree.

Abbot

I think it's a colossal waste of time - no matter how hard you try, there's no way in hell you're budging anyone still in this shit-show from their trenches. The party lines are too dug in after so many years of shit-flinging and dumpster fires, anyone still jonesing for a civil discussion is either neck-deep in an echo chamber, thinks they can suddenly change the entire shindig with a handful of Reddit posts or has gotten so far out of dodge that whenever you ask them about Gamergate their entire response can be summed up with a grimace and a swig of whiskey.

So, you know, a noble sentiment, but I recommend going out and watching the grass grow, it's a much better use of your time than... this. Unless you were hungry for a shitshow thread, in which case, make sure you share the popcorn.

Abbot of Beregost:

I would say the last of the true RPG's was Bloodlines. The point being, just because it was digitized, doesn't mean it wasn't Second Edition, or untrue to gamers.

Ahhh... sorry. I thought you meant as in just like 2nd Ed. My bad. Well FO 1&2 is GURPS. It really doesn't matter what game system you use, the art of the videogame was there. Compare Jagged Alliance 2. One of my all time favourite videogames ever. It was inspired by things like Fallout... but Jagged Alliance 2 .... it's like ... imagine if your GM had infinite patience, monitoring the game in pseudo-real time and was a real stickler for encumberance rules.

They basically gave you a map and told you; "Go nuts..."

This is what I'm talking about when you have people who understand *game structure* and narrative cohesion without losing any freedom.

It is infinitely better than FO3. It doesn't give you a radar telling you where to go... but it doesn't necessarily say; "You can go anywhere and expect all the cookie cutter enemies to be on parity with you."

All with over-the-top people with severe personality defects both horrifyingly and yet humourously portrayed in the stark viciousness of what is probably the most striking example of "Violent Regime Change: The Game."

You can immediately go to the End city... but you'd need to be ridiculously good to survive. And even then you've missed out on all the really interesting things along the way.

Jagged Alliance 2 puts you on the battlefield with an avatar of your own design... and your avatar can *die* and you can still win the game. They could end up with a debilitating head injury wound that for all intents and purposes permanently reduces their wisdom due to brain damage, for instance. It is with this very simple, all-too-frail character you go to war with... and you know they will be permanently disfigured, traumatized, and more unstable by the end, or wind up rotting on the ground... like half your D&D or Shadowrun characters, you will face an unceremonious end... uncared for and unloved in some distant land.

Particularly if you are stupid or merely just unlucky.

Now what is the first mistake they made with a reboot that shall not be named? Got rid of the player avatar.

Immediately taking away the closest thing the game has to a protagonist. A soldier who fights for free(ish) that you custom designed and cultivated through personality quizzes, and your experiences in the battlefield or other duties beyond. Immediately stripping away the primary brilliance of the classic.

This is why I say videogame makers hsve to be gamers again. They collectively seemed to stop giving a shit about actual narrative and actual character building. That winged hit in the shoulder in a valiant standoff my avatar made in the ACA building knocked dex off her attributes. In effect it was a war wound she effectively carried the entire game... never managing to surpass her former dex score. The price of hardcore victory after she (I) screwed up trying to sneak up on someone with a burstfire selected silenced SMG. Forcing a deadly shootout through 2 windows, and a door way. Knowing if they went down, allies would be about 3 turns of fully spent action points behind.

Few games will provide that same sense of dread, desperation, and permanent loss of something. Your character is lesser for it, but you're just happy they're alive. You can't reload. You can't just make a new avatar. And suddenly, without needing a backstory, or motivation to care, you are invested in your mercs being alive and death is often merely a bullet away.

I would say, play some of the Shadowrun games. It's not quite as merciless and hardbound as you'd like, but it's still a good experience. I see games as a way to introduce a whole new generation to the tabletop, not as a way for grognards to curl in around themselves and scowl. I respect your opinion, sir, but I respectfully disagree.

Abbot

I love Shadowrun fullstop. The videogames? Honestly my favourite of the new ones was Hong Kong ... right up until they pulled that bullshit extended edition ending. Then it was Dragonfall.

But, once again I doubt you could call it 'Shadowrun' if it didn't have decent lore behind it and truly embraced thd beautiful blend of fantasy cyberpunk. It was a balanced, rounded down approximation, but mechanically it wouldn't assist into going into the tabletop.

Also, the best Shadowrun game was on the SNES.

CaitSeith:

runic knight:
snip

What was the DoritoPope controversy? I wasn't keeping up to date with the news back them as much as now.

Well, someone already got the links down, but long and short of it a game's journalist gave a review while decked out in Dorito and mountain dew product placement, while those products were also partners with Halo. It generated a bit of a backlash at the time, and was largely seen as a prime example of the state of the game journalism industry being untrustworthy and self serving sellouts. The blatant-ness of the action seen as a testament of journalists just not giving a damn about even the appearance of integrity anymore, and the whole ordeal sparked a lot of the same cries for change that would be repeated later down the road. Also would be mocked and parodied quite a bit too, which is how I ran across it in the first place.

I first was introduced to the thing back in 2013 thanks to AngryJoe's parody of it when he was doing his controversy countdown list, and it further hinted at the sort of business partnership between the press and the game PR machine even back then when he discussed how his questions about things were blown off and the games journalists were kissing ass and deriding anyone asking anything challenging.

What lead to Gamergate:

1. Mainstreaming:
A huge influx of gamers joined in the early 00's, especially when MMO's drew in crowds from every type of social group on the planet. Along with them followed different opinions and other standards for gaming.

2. Clickbaiting:
As gaming journalism went from magazines to online networks, profit became far more dependant on ad-revenue and the solution came in the form of carpetbombing audiences with every tidbit of news and non-news for clicks.

3. Political Correctness:
As a combination of the two above points, a number of people began discussing social topics in relation to games and what impact they had. Gamers, who have high standards of justice in general, were sympathetic to that plight and topics and discussions rose up everywhere, culminating to the events of 2014. As part of the catalyst, more and more gaming news sites heavily reported on these topics as well, mostly about objectification of women in games.

---

Why was Gamergate the reaction?
Because gaming has been a near sacred refuge for anyone that needed to distance themselves from their real life and because there were no social politics/political beliefs, religion or any other controversial topic, other than in lazy chats when the game was less interesting than socializing/debating/arguing (without consequence).

As I wrote above, gamers are fair-minded, we value actual justice very highly and it's reflected in games. There has to be adversity to mold the player and have them rise to the challenge, as long as the challenge itself sticks to the rules set by the game. If it breaks the rules, we find it unfair.

This is, in part, where the controversy of the political correctness stems from, because the rules change constantly and gamers are always on defense, being barraged with sweeping and inaccurate accusations.
Feminism, social justice, political correctness and other related groups, organizations and political interests have pissed on gamers while asking for change on their behalf. Even if that's not always the case (though I'd say it's nearly always), the way it's being argued and delivered makes it seem like it.

Worst of all, the guys who were catering to gamers, the people who were supposed to have our backs, did a 180 and started pissing on us too: Gaming Journalism.
Forget the "end of gamers" articles, there were hundreds of examples from before then that had the same message packaged over and over in one way or another. Additionally, these bloggers and "journalists" would freely accuse developers as well, without even speaking to them!

Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian were irrelevant, they just sparked new controversy on their own behalf. They made a literal business out of playing the victim and the latter of the two practically wrote a handbook on how to exploit controversy to make money.
Anita specifically went out and attacked gamers and developers, but the mainstream news obviously picked her side and we had a "violent gamer" media frenzy all over again, only this time the keyword was "sexist".
My point on this is that while they had a role, they were just the catalyst for the pent up anger that gamers had with the constant barrage of insinuations and accusations.

---

None of what I just wrote, will make much sense to anyone, unless they've been on the receiving end of unjustified accusation, labeling, name calling and whatever else we've gone through.

I say "feminism" a lot and blame it specifically for a lot of the issues we're having, but there's the great divider, because unless you've had a rabid blue haired psycopath scream into your face that you're the worst scum on the planet, you have no idea how exceptionally hypocritical and borderline brainwashed people can be, who fight for that particular label.
All rationality flies out of the window and it doesn't have to be someone who screams at you. It can be packaged nicely with cute graphics and an attractive presenter who calmly explains you a viewpoint that basically has a "good" message, because how can you argue with that? It can even be the most well meaning person who just hasn't gone below the superficial numbers and arguments, that will literally give their life in defense of that "good" message, because it's all they know.

I know the term "red pill" gets thrown around and made fun of and it has a bad reputation, but it's an apt description of a mind-blowing event that happens when you start seeing what a lot of these things actually are. You don't have to be some MGTOW, MRA, meninist or what have you, to realize that most of the crap that's peddled to us as good, honest and well meaning messages is actually dogmatic and self serving rhetoric.

To put it everything I just wrote as simply as possible:
An outside group of people wants all of gaming to change on the behalf of their views and opinions.
The inside group doesn't agree on all points, and wants the acknowledgement that their opposing view and opinions are equally valid.

There you have it. It's not unique to gaming, it's happening in all hobbies across western society and it's a fucking plague that brings nothing positive.

Addendum_Forthcoming:

Jagged Alliance 2 puts you on the battlefield with an avatar of your own design... and your avatar can *die* and you can still win the game. They could end up with a debilitating head injury wound that for all intents and purposes permanently reduces their wisdom due to brain damage, for instance. It is with this very simple, all-too-frail character you go to war with... and you know they will be permanently disfigured, traumatized, and more unstable by the end, or wind up rotting on the ground... like half your D&D or Shadowrun characters, you will face an unceremonious end... uncared for and unloved in some distant land.

Particularly if you are stupid or merely just unlucky.

Now what is the first mistake they made with a reboot that shall not be named? Got rid of the player avatar.

Immediately taking away the closest thing the game has to a protagonist. A soldier who fights for free(ish) that you custom designed and cultivated through personality quizzes, and your experiences in the battlefield or other duties beyond. Immediately stripping away the primary brilliance of the classic.

Love for my favorite RPG of all time. You sir...made me shed manly tears. :)

I didn't even CONSIDER loading a new character for Unfinished Business. Yea, I had lost Wisdom and Strength points to go with my skill increases back in Arulco, but he was flavored and felt connected to.

This is why I say videogame makers hsve to be gamers again. They collectively seemed to stop giving a shit about actual narrative and actual character building. That winged hit in the shoulder in a valiant standoff my avatar made in the ACA building knocked dex off her attributes. In effect it was a war wound she effectively carried the entire game... never managing to surpass her former dex score. The price of hardcore victory after she (I) screwed up trying to sneak up on someone with a burstfire selected silenced SMG. Forcing a deadly shootout through 2 windows, and a door way. Knowing if they went down, allies would be about 3 turns of fully spent action points behind.

If you're any kind of real Jagged Alliance player, you've got a book worth of those stories. Entries that went horribly wrong. Desperate, frightening struggles for that one last enemy troop that's already cost you ammo and plinked at your hides without mercy. The feel you got when you could finally engage in proper long range sniping as a tactic (Reaper on the roof...few things better...). The Crepitus Queen. And of course, those first times you heard a particularly hilarious bit of dialogue. (the first time talking to Mad Dog....fuck me...)

I thought it was a load of old wank when it happened, and I still think its a load of old wank.

Smilomaniac:

None of what I just wrote, will make much sense to anyone, unless they've been on the receiving end of unjustified accusation, labeling, name calling and whatever else we've gone through.

Does having your gaming paraphenalia get taken away and burned count?

Does your school threatening to suspend if not expel you on the grounds of having "gambling" paraphenalia for your Dungeons and Dragons books and dice count?

Don't talk me about that like I don't know, son. I lived through and got hit by the Satanic panic. And it irks me that you and others are trying to paint those same people on the right wing as saviors of our hobby.

because unless you've had a rabid blue haired psycopath scream into your face that you're the worst scum on the planet, you have no idea how exceptionally hypocritical and borderline brainwashed people can be, who fight for that particular label.

How about a fellow gamer saying that I enjoy watching my wife have sex with other men soley on the basis of playing the wrong zombie survival game?

That count?

I know the term "red pill" gets thrown around and made fun of and it has a bad reputation

And it deserves it. The fact the Wachowski's haven't' sued is testament to their patience with people abusing their creation.

An outside group of people wants all of gaming to change on the behalf of their views and opinions.

Several do.

But GamerGate wants me to trust THEIR political allied outsider group, even when it slags on gaming it'self (See: Gavin McGinnis, The NRA)

There you have it. It's not unique to gaming, it's happening in all hobbies across western society and it's a fucking plague that brings nothing positive.

But I have no intention of injecting another kind of disease to fight the one there. GG demands I do because their poison is flavored with right wing spices.

Smilomaniac:

None of what I just wrote, will make much sense to anyone, unless they've been on the receiving end of unjustified accusation, labeling, name calling and whatever else we've gone through.

Ah yes, the WE SUFFERED thing. Because no gamer who suffered disagrees with GG. Because no-one who wants any kind of change in video games is in the inside group, nah, we're automatically in the out group.

Because games were sooooooo non-political before all this.

This is the problem I have with the whole thing.
Get insulted for years for being a female person who plays games? Get over it! Not a big deal!
A journalist wrote that we're dead? WOW SUCH HURT WHY AREN'T YOU MARCHING WITH US? WE'RE NOW SUDDENLY IN THIS TOGETHER.

Smilomaniac:

None of what I just wrote, will make much sense to anyone, unless they've been on the receiving end of unjustified accusation, labeling, name calling and whatever else we've gone through.

Ahh, been there, done that, still not making much sense I'm afraid. For some reason, me thinking that Sarkeesian makes a decent point now and then makes me an anti-gamer, an outsider, and an invading force that doesn't really game despite gaming since the late 80s.

I say "feminism" a lot and blame it specifically for a lot of the issues we're having, but there's the great divider, because unless you've had a rabid blue haired psycopath scream into your face that you're the worst scum on the planet, you have no idea how exceptionally hypocritical and borderline brainwashed people can be, who fight for that particular label.
All rationality flies out of the window and it doesn't have to be someone who screams at you. It can be packaged nicely with cute graphics and an attractive presenter who calmly explains you a viewpoint that basically has a "good" message, because how can you argue with that? It can even be the most well meaning person who just hasn't gone below the superficial numbers and arguments, that will literally give their life in defense of that "good" message, because it's all they know.

You are more right than you know.

To put it everything I just wrote as simply as possible:
An outside group of people wants all of gaming to change on the behalf of their views and opinions.
The inside group doesn't agree on all points, and wants the acknowledgement that their opposing view and opinions are equally valid.

What the second group doesn't realize is that the first group has been inside the house hobby all along, as well as how much of their own argument works against them.

There you have it. It's not unique to gaming, it's happening in all hobbies across western society and it's a fucking plague that brings nothing positive.

Oh, I'm well aware. Metalgate, tabletopgate, bookgate, rabid puppies, the interesting-the-first-time superheated arguments about why there absolutely cannot be female spees mahrines and more, all precipitated by low level, mostly benign questions or observations of the "wrong" variety.

Seriously, been there, done that, got the healthbar hit. It's like a whole bunch of people didn't grow up watching MST3K, so they haven't figured out it's okay to criticize and make fun stuff you like while still liking it. I mean, a good chunk of the Vampire Hunter D series is sexist, exploitative trash, but me saying that doesn't have an implied "and so are the people who like the novels". That'd be silly. I only know that a good chunk of the Vampire Hunter D series is sexist garbage because I read and enjoy the Vampire Hunter D novels. If you want to be taken seriously, you can't be afraid to call a spade a spade.

Smilomaniac:

Why was Gamergate the reaction?
Because gaming has been a near sacred refuge for anyone that needed to distance themselves from their real life and because there were no social politics/political beliefs, religion or any other controversial topic, other than in lazy chats when the game was less interesting than socializing/debating/arguing (without consequence).

...yes. None of those things were ever in gaming. At all. Nosiree. Completely devoid of social politics, political beliefs and religion. None what-so-ever. Mmmhmm.

As I wrote above, gamers are fair-minded, we value actual justice very highly and it's reflected in games. There has to be adversity to mold the player and have them rise to the challenge, as long as the challenge itself sticks to the rules set by the game. If it breaks the rules, we find it unfair.

...so are we just letting generalizations do the talking? Because holy shit, that's a hell of a generalization.

This is, in part, where the controversy of the political correctness stems from, because the rules change constantly and gamers are always on defense, being barraged with sweeping and inaccurate accusations.
Feminism, social justice, political correctness and other related groups, organizations and political interests have pissed on gamers while asking for change on their behalf. Even if that's not always the case (though I'd say it's nearly always), the way it's being argued and delivered makes it seem like it.

Because all of those things are completely separate from gaming and there can be absolutely no intermingling what-so-ever. And also because gaming has never pissed on these groups themselves.

Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian were irrelevant, they just sparked new controversy on their own behalf. They made a literal business out of playing the victim and the latter of the two practically wrote a handbook on how to exploit controversy to make money.
Anita specifically went out and attacked gamers and developers, but the mainstream news obviously picked her side and we had a "violent gamer" media frenzy all over again, only this time the keyword was "sexist".
My point on this is that while they had a role, they were just the catalyst for the pent up anger that gamers had with the constant barrage of insinuations and accusations.

...so that's a hard 'yes' on letting the generalizations do the talking. Alright-y then. At least you're right about them being a 'catalyst' of sorts, albeit I have the strongest of feelings that you're horrendously wrong about the why they were the catalyst.

None of what I just wrote, will make much sense to anyone, unless they've been on the receiving end of unjustified accusation, labeling, name calling and whatever else we've gone through.

...so what happens when you've received such things from gamers? Because oh, my friend, the stories I could tell you when it comes to the accusations, labels and name calling I have received at the hands of my fellow gamers!

Or is it the case that when gamers are the ones doing it, one should 'grow a thicker skin'? 'Cause I remember that particular line being hurled around quite often back before the Shitstorm hit.

I say "feminism" a lot and blame it specifically for a lot of the issues we're having, but there's the great divider, because unless you've had a rabid blue haired psycopath scream into your face that you're the worst scum on the planet, you have no idea how exceptionally hypocritical and borderline brainwashed people can be, who fight for that particular label.

...It's like that time when a gamer called me a 'disgusting fag' over voice-coms when he discovered I was gay, thus confirming for me the fact that all gamers are homophobic pricks, without fail.

Or, we can do the fun thing and not make mass-generalizations about large, diverse, multi-political movements or groups based solely on the negative (and, from the sounds of things, hilariously stereotypical) encounters we may have experienced. Painting with a broad brush might be excellent when working on a barn, but I've found when it comes to people it tends to leave you in an awfully poor position.

All rationality flies out of the window and it doesn't have to be someone who screams at you. It can be packaged nicely with cute graphics and an attractive presenter who calmly explains you a viewpoint that basically has a "good" message, because how can you argue with that? It can even be the most well meaning person who just hasn't gone below the superficial numbers and arguments, that will literally give their life in defense of that "good" message, because it's all they know.

...You know, just a thought, I'm starting to think 'How to Avoid Making Ironic Statements' should be a mandatory school unit nowadays. Because this right here? This is not the kind of statement you put into a long post if you want people to take you seriously.

I know the term "red pill" gets thrown around and made fun of and it has a bad reputation, but it's an apt description of a mind-blowing event that happens when you start seeing what a lot of these things actually are. You don't have to be some MGTOW, MRA, meninist or what have you, to realize that most of the crap that's peddled to us as good, honest and well meaning messages is actually dogmatic and self serving rhetoric.

...my man, if this is what you see after taking the red pill, you should've gone with the blue. A little callous, I know, but good god has nothing you've said been remotely factual, unbiased or even true. It feels like you just pulled everything from echo chambers or Youtube Commentators you politically align with, not from any actual experience with the people you disagree with. A very emotional post, but a very empty one too - there's no substance, no weight, no value. You make so many generalizations I'm not even sure what the point of this post was, besides attempting to stick a bur in the people who disagree with you. Hell I'm tempted to say this was an off-topic post as well, since it does nothing to help what the OP seems to be going for, and more of a reaction to the fact that 'Gamergate' happens to be in the title.

Maybe next time put some... I dunno, substance in your post. If I seem to be taking the piss out of you, it's honestly because there's nothing in your post to even engage with outside of making sarcastic comments. God damn.

Phasmal:

This is the problem I have with the whole thing.
Get insulted for years for being a female person who plays games? Get over it! Not a big deal!
A journalist wrote that we're dead? WOW SUCH HURT WHY AREN'T YOU MARCHING WITH US? WE'RE NOW SUDDENLY IN THIS TOGETHER.

Not exactly a valid comparison, unless you can point me to a very special time when practically all of the gaming media came together and issued a manifesto from their official platforms to the industry to the effect that "female persons who play games" should be deliberately and scornfully alienated for being "toxic" subhuman relics from an era that needs to be transcended on urgent moral grounds. If that happened, instead of some individuals of no particular social standing acting like jerks towards you on occasion, I must have missed it. Otherwise, the difference between these hardships is like that between the irregular occurrence of street crime, like pickpocketing in crowded areas and the occasional mugging, versus the call of a leading party for instituting a government policy of targeted dispossession and banishment of a part of the population because the street crime that does occur is collectively blamed on "their kind" via an application of "social justice".

Smilomaniac:

This is, in part, where the controversy of the political correctness stems from, because the rules change constantly and gamers are always on defense, being barraged with sweeping and inaccurate accusations.
Feminism, social justice, political correctness and other related groups, organizations and political interests have pissed on gamers while asking for change on their behalf. Even if that's not always the case (though I'd say it's nearly always), the way it's being argued and delivered makes it seem like it.

Fuck that noise. Seriously. I was gaming for a decade and a half, and I was calling myself a gamer for almost a decade, before I realized that I was a feminist. You do not get to tell me that feminism is some outside force coming to steal my games, because I am happily being both at once.

That people like you are so thin-skinned that you can't stand criticism or critique of our hobby is not the fault of some nefarious outside force, it is a fault with you and those you associate with. Because as others have said in this very thread before me, we've all been the "victims" of prejudice against gamers. As a teenage girl I spent the better part of my adolescence fighting for my right to have both outsiders and other gamers take me seriously. In my early and mid-20's I had to defend myself from accusations of not existing, of being fake and just wanting to fuck and forget gamers (never mind my partner of several years at that point not being a gamer).

What separates us "aGGers" and the "neutrals" from the GGers is that our skin isn't razor thin. We can deal with someone saying something mean about games or gamers (which we all are) without throwing a hissy fit and having to invent a bogeyman to fight. So please, spare me the lecture about how gamers are victims, because I am not.

StatusNil:

Not exactly a valid comparison, unless you can point me to a very special time when practically all of the gaming media came together and issued a manifesto from their official platforms to the industry to the effect that "female persons who play games" should be deliberately and scornfully alienated for being "toxic" subhuman relics from an era that needs to be transcended on urgent moral grounds. If that happened, instead of some individuals of no particular social standing acting like jerks towards you on occasion, I must have missed it. Otherwise, the difference between these hardships is like that between the irregular occurrence of street crime, like pickpocketing in crowded areas and the occasional mugging, versus the call of a leading party for instituting a government policy of targeted dispossession and banishment of a part of the population because the street crime that does occur is collectively blamed on "their kind" via an application of "social justice".

So what do you qualify? The daily reminder that "Girls can't play games" that I heard from age 8 to age 15? The suggestions that a "pretty girl like me" should do other things than play games from age 15-24? The suggestions that those "other things" involved sex acts with the gamers that said it? The looks of confusion at the local miniature games club (and official GW store) when they realized I wasn't someone's girlfriend but was there to play? The ensuing ganging up on me as people realized that a single girl was in their club/store, some to flirt with me (because hey, it was not like I was there to play Warhammer or anything), some to lament how women totally didn't understand the hobby and how I was probably just there to date (never mind that I had both a Wood Elf and Witch Hunter army with me).

Then there was the extended period when everyone on the internet agreed that women didn't play games and if we did, it was so that we could score brownie points with gamers. That was when I stopped using a microphone in pub games, by the way, because I got tired of "make me a sandwich"-jokes, "Tits or GTFO" and "do you have a boyfriend" comments. The term Fake Gamer Girl was thrown around quite a lot by quite a lot of people and I was accused at least twice of being "too pretty to be a gamer" (whatever that means) and thus must be in it to get cred points with gamers.

Make no mistake, being a woman and a gamer is a constant reminder that you are always a woman first and foremost, unless you actively conceal that fact. Doesn't matter if you are a SC2 pro, the MVP in a CoD match or among the top 100 ranked Dawn of War players. You are always a woman first and maybe, if gamers are generous, a gamer too. I realize that it is a new situation for most of you, to be called out while engaging with your hobby, but its' what has happened to me for 2 decades at this point.

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