Game of moans: the death throes of the male ‘gamer’

It has not been a good few weeks in videogames culture. It’s been a shameful, embarrassing, dark time. It’s been a time defined by vitriolic and misogynistic attacks on women who dare to make or critique videogames and birther-movement-level conspiracy theories about the corruption supposedly at the core of videogames journalism. It’s been a time of a predominately male internet mobs emerging from the likes of 4chan and Reddit hacking websites, making death threats, and distributing leaked nude pics. Most of them, no doubt, think they are fighting for freedom and integrity and truth. But, really, it’s a mob of white men rioting after a hockey game. They don’t even know what they are fighting against anymore or who the enemy even is, but if your car is in the road you damn well better be sure it is getting flipped.

Perhaps the greatest summary of the week is given by Midnight Resistance writer Owen Grieve when he tweeted: ‘Fun game: Try explaining the events of the last two weeks to a friend who already thinks games are for socially stunted children.’ It’s a tweet that has been constantly on my mind. How do I explain what has been happening in videogames this past month to a readership that doesn’t follow along videogame news on a daily basis without confirming all the worst stereotypes of videogame players? The answer is harsh and simple: I can’t, because all those stereotypes have a foot in ugly reality. There exists, as this past month has demonstrated, an audience of misogynstic male gamers who care way too much about defending the conservative status quo of videogames.

Better people than myself have already written incredible overviews of the overall saga. Grieve’s own essay at Midnight Resistance provides a great overview, and at The Guardian, Jenn Frank summarises the events and explores some of the grosser strategies executes by these gaming communities against women in the industry. Essentially: game developer Zoe Quinn (already hated by the 4chan crowd for releasing a game about emotions that lacked graphics) had a stack of personal information leaked to 4chan by an angry ex-boyfriend. This information – which was and remains nobody’s business – included suggestions of relationships between Quinn and a videogame journalist. Suspicion as to the integrity of videogame journalism by gamers has existed for decades, and includes sexist attitudes towards women players and developers. And so in this instance, 4chan and other online forums users had the perfect convergence of everything they find wrong with videogames: critics and women. The rotten core undermining videogames.

And then, halfway through it all, Anita Sarkeesian released a new video in her ‘Tropes Versus Women’ series of videos. These videos provide the most straightforward and accessible critique of gender representations in videogames. This is first-year undergraduate arts degree stuff: uncomplicated concepts like the male gaze or objectification explained in plain ways by someone who clearly knows a lot about the medium. They are good videos, and they are years overdue. Sarkeesian has received some of the ugliest hate campaigns from people ever since she successfully kickstarted the video series, with her naysayers going so far as to create games where you bash her up. This month, with the bored gamers already in a furore over a woman having sex, the new video infuriated them. Death threats forced Sarkeesian to leave her home. Because she put a video about videogames on the internet.

The most recent mutation of this ongoing misogynistic campaign has been the #gamergate hashtag on Twitter, where a broad range of (again, overwhelmingly male) gamers call for ‘integrity’ and ‘ethics’ in games journalism. This call for integrity and ethics is simply a veneer for the ongoing hate still being targeted at Sarkeesian, Quinn, and anyone who dares support them (at the time of writing, it is critic Jenn Frank under fire for her above-linked Guardian article). Note that nobody is going after the mainstream games journalism outlets or the big publishers they are caught up with; it’s only ever the individual writers and developers with a concern for social justice and diversity. This is not a point that can be made too lightly: this was and remains a concentrated, right-wing political attack on perceived progressive ideas in videogame design and discourse.

That said, pinning down a single cause or motivation to an angry internet mob is like trying to pin water to the inside of a bucket. Almost certainly, there are people in the #gamergate hashtag who are unaware of its origins in a misogynistic campaign. They are there because they truly think games journalism truly has an ethics and integrity problem. Which it does, as does all journalism. It’s a constant ongoing discussion. But the ‘ethics’ and ‘integrity’ these people have a problem with is the challenging of a status quo, not its perpetuation. It’s a concentrated political attack that, ironically, wants an ‘integrity’ – that is, a reporting of the ‘facts’ provided by game publisher marketer firms without question.

Meanwhile, with conspiracy-theorist passion, publicly available social media feeds are screengrabbed and put beside high scoring reviews. Red circles are drawn around time stamps and arrows show causation. Every friendship becomes part of an agenda.

So rather than providing yet another thinkpiece demonstrating how miserable this all is (there are enough of those, and I would highly encourage you to read each piece I link in this article), I thought a more useful contribution would be some historical context. How does something as absurd as this even happen? What is so wrong with a popular medium’s culture that people legitimately think women and consumerist journalists have an agenda to deliberately ‘ruin videogames’? Who even cares about videogames enough to think that is even happening?

This requires a two-pronged attack: at the same time we need to account for the homogenous ‘gamer’ demographic of young men that games journalism and marketing themselves cultivated over the past decades, and the ongoing sexism and discrimination that such a homogenised demographic comes with. There’s no start to this ouroboros – they are both different aspects of an increasingly insignificant hobbyist core of self-identifying ‘gamers’ who were once the sole target audience of the industry’s output, and who now need someone to blame for the status quo of videogames shifting to no longer be devoted to them and them alone. They need someone to blame for videogames becoming, of all things, normal.

Videogames have long been entrenched in masculinist computer science and hacker cultures. That is not to say, of course, that women have not been central actors in computer science and hacker cultures and industries since the later parts of the nineteenth century (see N Katherine Hayles’s work for extensive, historical observations on the gendering of technology). Rather, these spaces became highly delineated as male spaces for male people, as the ethnographic studies of Sherry Turkle among others have shown. In particular, as the videogame industry was rebirthed after a great crash in the mid-80s, as one focused on home consoles and PC gaming, the popular discourses circulated by videogame marketing and journalism shifted to cultivate an audience of ‘gamers’: young, western men and teenage boys with a disposable income.

Graeme Kirkpatrick, as part of a comprehensive study of gaming magazines in the UK through the 80s and 90s, demonstrates the change in tone and perceived audience, from that of concerned parents and hobbyist creators to a carefully cultivated audience of male, teenage ‘gamers’ concerned with the ‘gameplay’ of a given videogame work:

As gameplay is established as the elusive yet central concept and gamer habitus is fixed around it, so the magazines change their mode of address, becoming more confident in their audience. In the formative years of gaming’s field the magazines assume multiple, sometimes conflicting readership positions. Later, this is no longer an issue: 1990s gaming magazines are aimed at teenage boys and they insert games at a point in the culture appropriate to this.

Thus the ‘gamer’ was born. Not just a person who plays videogames, but someone who lives and breathes videogames. Someone who can bond with other gamers over their shared appreciation of gameplay. Someone who will boast about how quickly they can finish Super Mario or how much better this game is from that game. Someone who will, most important of all, continue to purchase a certain kind of game.

From the mid-80s onwards, the ‘gamer’ identity was created and cultivated as a particular target consumer base through gaming magazines and marketing. For the nerdy kids that could self-identify as gamers, it was something to embrace, something to be, and, for the videogame publishers, it was a known, homogenous group that can easily be marketed to. They were sold an identity, they took it, and it persists today: ‘I’ve been a gamer my whole life.’ Or, alternatively, think of how many people feel the need to caveat any comment on videogames with, ‘I’m not a gamer, but…’ The imprinting of a ‘gamer’ identity was so complete that those who aren’t gamers felt unable to comment on games.

There has, though, always been subcultures in videogame consumption and production. Anna Anthropy’s recent book on the communities around the game ZZT is just one example of a vibrant underground community of creators and players. But, by and large, it was the blockbuster, corporately made and distributed games, that got the coverage from the gaming press. The last decade, however, has seen increased exposure to these other games made by other people for other audiences. Independent developers, broadly defined, have new ways to access development tools, and more importantly, can distribute directly to an audience. Videogame production is no longer constrained to those with the budgets and resources to make huge, blockbuster productions. As Anthropy says in her previous book, Rise of the Videogame Zinesters: ‘Publishers claimed game creation as their private territory. And for a while, they convinced a lot of people that their claim was legitimate. But that’s over now.’ On the other hand, smartphones and tablets have put a massive ecology of videogames in every person’s pocket. Playing videogames is no longer just for those who are committed enough to buy a $500 devoted box to put under the television.

It is no longer sustainable for games journalism to ignore these more diverse audiences. They can no longer afford to speak to just that core gamer demographic of young men that they initially helped construct. When games like Depression Quest, Dys4ia, Minecraft, Angry Birds, and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood exist and reach such levels of critical and popular acclaim, an outlet dedicated to the medium of videogames simply can’t pretend videogames belong to a single demographic any more.

And so enters the conspiracy theories. The very audience that games journalism and marketing has cultivated since the 90s (and, to be sure, still largely relies on, as gaming site Kotaku’s poorly considered response to the current saga demonstrates), is no longer the only audience. There are no fewer Call of Duty or Assassin Creed or Grand Theft Auto games than there were ten years ago, but now there are also a whole range of other games as well, thus making those core games a slightly smaller percentage of all possible games. To the core gamers, this seems like an attack. In reality, it’s just a balancing of some vastly unfairly distributed power.

These people look at a game like Depression Quest and they can’t comprehend what could possibly be good about it. There are no graphics! It’s about something boring like mental illness. This isn’t what we were told a videogame would be in the future. They are meant to be realistic and immersive virtual worlds where we can live out all of our fantasies! The same goes for Gone Home, a beautifully realised game that explores teenage girl sexuality and riot grrl culture in the 90s. You don’t shoot anything. Nothing ‘happens’. How could these games possibly be received well by a videogame press? Well, it must be a conspiracy.

So videogame journalism has been invaded by these ‘social justice warriors’ who wish to destroy videogames with cultural criticism and writing more diverse than consumer advice. As Grieve rightly notes, the fear of any sort of cultural criticism of the medium of videogames comes from a history where any criticism of videogames was the thinnest veneer of wanting to censor videogames. People see Sarkeesian discussing sexism and think of (now disbarred) attorney Jack Thompson and his multiple lawsuits against the Grand Theft Auto games. So now, any form of progressive social politics in writing is a sign of wanting to censor videogames, of wanting to somehow profit from them when, really, it’s just the consequence of videogames finally, at last, becoming just another pop cultural form with a diverse range of audiences and commentators and creators, finally getting the critical discourses it deserves.

Which is not to say games journalism is without its problems or above criticism. As I say above, games journalism created the very audience that is now attacking it. There has been a sense for a long time now that games journalism and publishers are too cosy; that games journalists are, essentially, just writing advertisements for games and rarely saying anything particularly critical. And, undeniably, the gaming press exist largely to drip-feed information from publishing marketers to a consumer public. Publishers choose what they want gamers to know, and feed that information to games publication outlets, even as those same publishers simultaneous hire all the ad space in gaming magazines and websites. The threat is obvious: depict us badly, we won’t advertise on you. There is also, of course, the occasional accusation of straight-out bribery, which I’m sure has happened. Or the rare case of a journalist being fired after a publisher puts pressure on an editor. But outright corrupt proceedings are the exception, not the rule. For the most part, positive coverage of games is manipulated by very savvy and very powerful PR branches.

A story: in late 2012, I went on my first international press trip. My editor at Hyper magazine messaged me and asked if I was free next week because he needed to send someone to go to Montreal to play upcoming games Assassin’s Creed 3 and Far Cry 3 in order to write previews. The games’ publisher, Ubisoft, paid for my airfare. They paid for my taxis and my fancy hotel room. There was about a dozen or so journalists from different parts of Europe (Australia counts as part of Europe for most games companies), and each one had their own handler. Their was the PR handler from Ubisoft Germany for the German journalists, the one from Ubisoft Netherlands for the Dutch journalist, the one from Ubisoft Australia for me. Each had a credit card to buy their journalist whatever they needed. The handlers weren’t malicious about this: they worked for a company that gave them an open tab and they were going to have fun with it. They’d take us to fancy restaurants and buy us absurd cocktails. During the day, at Ubisoft, we’d be herded into a room where we could play one section of each game for a few hours. Developers would talk to us beforehand and tell us what was happening in this part of the game. Everything was carefully cultivated to try to make our experience of this sliver of a much larger game as positive as possible. You had the developer right there telling you about this section while you played it. How could you not appreciate it? I remember leaving with a deep air of excitement for these games that I had previously been very skeptical of.

I wrote my positive previews and then, when the games came out months later, they were not that great at all. The section I played of Assassin’s Creed 3, for instance, was a good six hours into the game and not at all the introduction I thought it was. I don’t think I wrote bad previews of either game; I’m really quite happy with them. But there is no denying that they were slanted to a more positive tone because of how I was treated by the publisher. As far as Ubisoft was concerned, all that money they spent getting me from Melbourne to Montreal was just the cost to help increase hype around these upcoming games. For Ubisoft, my ‘previews’ were just six-page ads.

Is this corruption? Maybe. But it’s also simply the way consumer entertainment journalism works (for better or worse). The publishers have the content that the presses need locked down, and you will only access it under the circumstances they set. No games outlet can afford to pay to send a freelancer from Melbourne to Montreal. Heck, most outlets can’t even afford to pay a freelancer at all! And even if they did, if Ubisoft doesn’t let you in the front door, what’s the point? Mainstream games journalism is intimately connected to the PR arms of the big publishers, and the big publishers do all they can to use the press to send out exactly the message they want, and the press can do very little about it.

This isn’t a new or unique claim. This is how mainstream consumer games journalism functions. It’s about what consumers can buy in the future, and whether or not they should buy it. So #gamergate starts with an annoyance at this long-held (and justified) belief that games journalism and ‘the industry’ are too intimate. That intimacy is, of course, part and parcel of reporting on a commercially driven cultural industry, but its makes its readers frustrated all the same. It’s a valid critique: status quo, consumerist games journalism is intimately connected with the games industry, and not nearly vocally critical enough of its interests.

Now another story: while I was in Montreal, it just so happened that the Mount Royal Gaming Society was having their monthly meet-up. Separate from its massive commercial studios, Montreal has a vibrant scene of indie developers who meet up in bars to chat, collaborate and offer feedback. I hung around for a few days after Ubisoft stopped paying for my hotel, sleeping on a friend’s couch. He took me to the meet-up, and ensured I spoke to and saw all the different local indie developers he was excited about. There, I met Henry Smith and was shown his game Spaceteam, which remains one of my favourite iOS titles. I would go on to champion this game made by a guy I met in a bar, on social media and in a review. I wanted people to be excited by this game I was excited by.

This is fundamentally different than being flown around by Ubisoft to play big, blockbuster games in carefully monitored situations. Through friendships and social networks I found a wonderful game that, as a critic of the medium, it is my duty to champion.

It is exactly these kinds of connections that #gamergate is attacking. Not the corporate interests of PR and journalism outlets, but the personal networks and contacts utterly vital to reporting on and being aware of a vibrant and diverse culture of creators beyond the interest of commercial publishers. They don’t care that Sony gets bands like the Foo Fighters to play at massive parties each year at the trade show, E3, to an audience predominately made up of invited journalists. But the fact that a writer for Kotaku lived with some developers whose free game she later wrote about is apparently a sign of deep corruption. They are furious that a game critic, whose job is to inform a readership about happenings in games culture, would have publicly disclosed personal friendships in that culture.

Of course, these smaller games and developers and writers that depend on personal relationships over unobtainable PR budgets consist of a much larger percentage of women – and queer and non-white developers and writers, precisely because they are not that core male gamer audience that games journalism and the games industry cultivated for themselves. Because games have become so much more diverse and normal and played by so many more people, the way they are covered as a cultural form is shifting. And thus we come back to the sexism at the heart of #gamergate: it was never about ‘ethics’ or ‘integrity’ but about protecting the status quo, about ensuring that games journalism is only ever consumerist advice, that writers toe the corporate line they are fed and never, not once, critique a game’s depiction of women, a studio’s labour conditions, or a game made beyond the corporate agenda. It is about keeping women and minorities out of games. It is about fighting against diversity and fighting for a return to homogenisation. It is about maintaining privilege.

Which is the irony and the difficulty of writing about it at all: there are issues with games journalism that are synonymous with the ones #gamergate are complaining about. But they don’t care about advertising and PR companies and free hotels and capital, because that is the very industry that created their identity for them. Videogame journalism has ceased to be purely about consumer advice, and now ‘gamers’ – an identity cultivated explicitly to read and engage with games journalism as consumer advice – feel something is wrong. Games dug its own grave.

A lot of why it has boiled to a head now (beyond the perfect storm initiated by a slighted ex-boyfriend) is a simple truth: videogames are normal now. They are cool. They are popular culture. Angry Birds and Call of Duty are Taylor Swift and Michael Bay. Lana Del Rey sings about them. They are talked about in Vice and The New Inquiry. They are still made and played by teenage boys, but also by young girls and middle-age women. ‘Gamers’ are no longer the only people who play videogames, as Leigh Alexander and Dan Golding both draw attention to. Gamers are not the only audience of videogames anymore than films are only for cinephiles or books are only for bookworms. These people that call themselves gamers think that the word applies to all people who play videogames, but studies have shown it is a gendered and exclusionary term, where far fewer women videogame players feel confident with it as an identity than men, regardless of how many hours they actually spend playing games. It’s an identity: ‘real’ gamers like hardcore (read: masculinist) games and don’t waste their time with casual (read: feminine) games. It’s why every time a new survey shows that more women play games than men, the reaction is always to point out that they only play Candy Crush and Kim Kardashian: Hollywood. Whatever kind of games women play are not the games core gamer culture is interested in and, thus, any coverage or credence given to those games is part of the perceived problem.

When it was necessary for corporate interests, a ‘core gamer’ identity of young males was cultivated to buy the products of an industry scrambling to come back from the brink. To be sure, they still are. The large publishers and the major games journalism outlets are still more afraid of upsetting gamers than they are of speaking to a more diverse audience. But both have been bypassed by the emergence of creators and writers beyond the core gaming industry. Which is not to say, necessarily, that we are seeing the end of the gamer identity, but we are seeing what was only ever a small, consumer-focused subculture kicking and screaming itself into the realisation that this is all they ever were, and that videogames as a diverse ecology of cultural forms – commercial, popular, niche, personal – is moving on without them.

Brendan Keogh

Brendan Keogh is a senior lecturer in the Digital Media Research Centre at Queensland University of Technology. He is the author of A Play of Bodies: How We Perceive Videogames and co-author of The Unity Game Engine and the Circuits of Cultural Software.

More by Brendan Keogh ›

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  1. Awesome and well balanced article about the subject. Indeed it feels like the author has unbiased view on #gamergate, unlike those male chauvinists in Forbes.

  2. Completely fantastic. I have felt this way for over a decade, and the sheer lack of people to identify with and talk about this was… unpleasant and a little lonely.

    But to have it come now, when I thought any possible attention to this to be forever buried in gamergate nonsense and misdirection? Amazing. Thank you.

  3. The main issue gamergate is trying to address isn’t that there is an increased amount of games that don’t appeal to them. It’s that the games they enjoy are being disregarded as misogynist. They have no reason to hate a game that they are not interested in, but when they disagree with a particular review or criticism, they are shouted down as misogynist. Discussion on the topic is being silenced.

    When a game reviewer has a strong bias towards a particular game developer, to the extent that said reviewer will give it awards based on their relationship (“Best game of the year”) And not on the merits of the game itself? There is no question that gamergate would be annoyed at the reviewer. They DO care about the free stuff reviewers recieve for their reviews. A large amount of gamers wouldn’t touch Call of Duty or Battlefield for exactly that reason. They don’t approve of cronyism in any of its forms. ESPECIALLY if games journalists disregard, insult, or degregate a game or their community simply for their relations in the industry.

    They say that there SHOULD be more games out there, and they are annoyed that some games are getting unfair favouritism and others are mocked and slammed for having views that journalists don’t agree with, especially when criticism of said mockery is mocked as well.

    1. “It’s that the games they enjoy are being disregarded as misogynist.”

      This just highlights the insane level of ignorance on your part, and on the part of people pushing ‘gamergate’. Your games are not being ‘disregarded’; they are being criticised.

      No one is saying they should be banned, or censored, or that they are through-and-through terrible; Sarkeesian and others merely draw attention to problems with them. Problems that often have simple fixes. Problems which key developers have already said they will address in future. Problems which developers are *grateful* to the critics for pointing out.

      But because you and people like you refuse to recognise these problems as actual problems (largely because you’re so self-interested and insensitive to issues affecting people other than yourselves), you are *incensed* that the criticisms are being made and that the devs are responding positively to them. You disingenuously characterise this process of criticism and response as a strong-arming, censoring or silencing campaign, or as a conspiracy.

      The whole world outside of gaming can see this exactly for what it is. This is the article I’ll be sharing t my non-gamer friends to explain to them exactly what is going on.

  4. Another Article which only sees one side…

    First of all. If you believe that only people like Zoe Qinn or Anita gets attacked which people by the way totally not tolerate at #GamerGate many people do a lot more in the background. which is for example mail and talk and complain with sponsors and advertisers on these big sites which evidence full of twitter attacks, rticles and so on about the current situation in Games media. All this is not part of the Hashtag so most likely people who only care for one side will never see this.

    #GamerGate has shown more than enough how diverse Gamers are. And how many people all gender traces or sexuality do not agree with people like Anita and co without attacking her or other people.

    What happened to Jenn Frank was sad and many people did not like it. But sadly when the Games media decided to be silent and only talk about the cruel harassment of Anita and Co, people there actually went on their own to find out stuff. And so they did.

    We gamers believe that gaming is big enough for everyone no matter what they like just like any medium like Movies or books.

    However when so many outlets at once (12+ article in less than 24 hours) appear shaming the word gamer of course people get angry. We do not need to be taught how to treat women or how we should not be ok with dumb stuff in Video games while meanwhile everyone praises shows like Game of Thrones with all its sex, violence, rape,incest etc or 50 shades of gray as book. No one talks about these thing but games are suddenly different? NO they are not. They are art and should be treated like that.

    Everyone has the right to not like things. It is totally fine. But please do not attack people of it. That is all we are asking for. Stop removing or censor our games but rather add new things to games.

    Also I am sorry for my rambling but A it is not my native language, B is kind of lat here and C. I am not a writer but rather a Gamer and Nerd who loves Video games and is proud of it.

    Stop generalize us with a small minority every sub culture or community has. They do not represent us Thank you.

    PS: It would be nice to her about all the women and men who are getting attacked because they do not share the vision of Anita nor the gaming media.

    For more and better reference:

    These are all excellent Articles which do not show only one side.

    PPS: The Escapist already has reacted and they will change their guidelines official tomorrow. With these words to gamers:

    The good news is that the ethical guidelines in my Publisher’s Note will also become the foundation for a set of public guidelines for other properties within our division. You’ll have impacted not just The Escapist but dozens of other websites in segments as disparate as humor, mixed martial-arts, fashion, and motherhood, with a total reach of more than 50 million people per month.

    That is a noble accomplishment. Perhaps it will go unnoticed by oblivious web visitors who are unaware entirely of the battle you have fought. You will probably never receive a thank you from any of the millions of working mothers, fashionistas, comedy fans, and others who will be the beneficiaries of more transparent and candid online journalism you demanded. But I salute you for it.”

    And Yes this is thanks to gamers who had discussions on the same level with these people.

    1. “We do not need to be taught how to treat women or how we should not be ok with dumb stuff in Video games while meanwhile everyone praises shows like Game of Thrones with all its sex, violence, rape,incest etc or 50 shades of gray as book. No one talks about these thing but games are suddenly different? NO they are not. They are art and should be treated like that.”

      Are you blind or stupid? Sex and violence in GoT has to be one of the most discussed topics in TV and film critique ever since the show came out.

      Anyway, your response is pretty much exactly what I’d expect from someone who openly adopts the “gamer” identity. You’ve shown a complete inability to actually address anything Brendan wrote. Good work.

      1. Oh so it gets accused as misogynistic and all people whop watch this stuff are terrible people that needs to be taught how to treat women? I do not think so.

        Movie and TV is treated a lot different Than games are and that needs to stop. I have nothing against women in gaming or games. Hell my most favorite Game is the Last of Us because of such a strong female Character like Ellie.

        I just believe in the freedom that everyone can enjoy what he wants. If you do not like it fine. But do not tell other people that they are terrible human beings because they do.

          1. If you try to argue like that I guess it is kind of pointless. Besides I do not agree with Feminism but that does not make me to a monster because I believe in equality I just do not believe that we need to bring man down to archive it but rather we need to lift women up.

            So if you want to put me in some political movement I guess I am a egalitarian.

            And with that I say goodbye and hope someday you learn that there is never a black and white in these issues. It is not Us vs Them. Because of this mentality this thing went way out of control.

            Also I would appreciate if you would not attack me.

          2. What exactly do you disagree with here? The entire message can be summed as “Enjoy what you want on its own merits, rather than on the fact that your friend made it and don’t attack things you don’t agree with.” That’s gamergate in a nutshell, why is this a bad thing?

        1. Sorry but YES it does get accused of misogyny. All the time. I’ve read countless articles discussing the levels of violence and misogyny in Game of Thrones and other TV shows/movies. It’s a fascinating viewpoint and it’s important to read, discuss and learn from it.

          Academic literature is FILLED with feminist, Marxist, anarchist, etc. critiques of books and films. This is healthy academic discourse, it brings a new perspective to works and allows us to see them in a new light. It does not mean that those works are valueless or that people who enjoy them are terrible people. No-one thinks that. But it is healthy and useful to constantly re-evaluate the media which we create and consume.

          I feel like a lot of supporters of #GamerGate would benefit from doing an Arts Degree!

          1. “I feel like a lot of supporters of #GamerGate would benefit from doing an Arts Degree!”


            One thing that gets overlooked about LibArts degrees is that they teach critical thinking, big time. And it’s one of the things that, when people DO pay attention to it, gets mocked. Yep, let’s make fun of people for THINKING ABOUT THINGS.

        2. Kid, film and television (and books, and music, and comics, and just about every other form of media) are HEAVILY critiqued – media criticism has been a thing for decades and decades. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is a universal phrase BECAUSE of film criticism.

          Here’s a hint – those media became fuller and richer for it, in all directions. It’s not like there’s not substantial critical praise for Halloween and Texas Chainsaw Massacre, which I’d guess you’d knee-jerk expect people to want to bury. Hell, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST has had discussion and reissues. (I mean, in music, Wesley Willis and goddamned GG ALLIN are viewed with interest by critics. Seriously. GG Allin.)
          And it’s not like things that have problematic aspects are CAST INTO THE PIT OF POLITICAL CORRECTNESS HELL NEVER TO RETURN – if they were, if nothing else, Aerosmith would never have gotten out of the ’70s.
          (On the flip side, woulda prevented “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing”. Hm.)

          Video games are beginning to take those first baby steps into maturity with that kind of criticism, and I’m seeing time and again attempts to stifle that and keep the field at the level where the general public WILL continue to dismiss it as the province of the basement-dwelling loser dude. And I’d like to instead see it grow, in all directions.

          I hate to simply say “read a book”, because it’s straight-up dismissive and that’s going to play into the narrative that you want to hear to keep going, but seriously – read up on media criticism. Read about television history, and film history, and how different techniques and concepts created new works that eventually became the NEXT transformative works’s foundations – and you’ll also, frex, see what GTA was referencing, so you’ll actually have CONTEXT for the work and its setting, storytelling, and gameplay. (See? Media criticism will HELP your enjoyment of games, not diminish it – unless you prefer the unexamined life.)

          Hope this helps.

    2. “We do not need to be taught how to treat women”

      Yes, you do. Especially when all most games (subliminally) teach you is how to use, abuse, or view women as sex objects / “bitches” that you can have your way with.

      At least game of thrones gives us female characters that have other aspects to them. Yes they show sexy women but there are also women who are cunning, strategic, fierce leaders who can also be caring, empathetic and loving as well.
      women arent asking for games to “cater” to what they want. We just want to be seen as more than just T&A and we want to play characters who, like real life women, have depth beyond their physical apperance.
      I think always seeing leading male characters with maybe 1 woman thrown in to balance things out, tells players (both male and female) that women aren’t capable of being the hero, just the “prize”.

      I hope Anita can continue the videos she does, she’s doing something right, if they at least make people talk about these issues.

      1. “Yes, you do. Especially when all most games (subliminally) teach you is how to use, abuse, or view women as sex objects / “bitches” that you can have your way with.”

        Except there’s no evidence of that. See, this is where it all breaks down — ask the people who are saying these things to present evidence of their view, and they can’t. Anita’s videos have failed to hold up to even the most simplistic counter-arguments.

        And it’s frankly sexist to assume that men can’t tell the difference between art and real life. I suppose you also think that women are trained to see men as walking wallets? Or body bags to be disposed of? No, probably not — but certainly you’ve been trained to think of men as evil misogynists.

        It’s really sad to see.

        1. “Anita’s videos have failed to hold up to even the most simplistic counter-arguments.”

          But that is simply not true. Any truly independent observer would immediately see that the ‘counter-arguments’ are beneath contempt. They entirely rely on missing point and attacking arguments Sarkeesian didn’t make.

          The only reason you and others find any merit in these counter-arguments – and can’t find merit in Sarkeesian’s points – is because you are determined to defend your games from social criticism at all cost. You are wilfully blind to the problems with them, and will endorse the worst kind of rubbish as long as it attacks the people making the criticisms.

          “And it’s frankly sexist to assume that men can’t tell the difference between art and real life.”

          No one has said or assumed that, but all media we consume affects us, and studies have demonstrated exactly how it affects us. The more you consume images of women being brutalised, the more likely you are to accept it as normal or inevitable when you hear about it in real life.

          The only practical demonstration you need of this is to see just how many male gamers will try to tell you that feminism is pointless, that women are exaggerating their real life harassment or that they aspire to victimhood.

          1. “But that is simply not true. Any truly independent observer would immediately see that the ‘counter-arguments’ are beneath contempt. They entirely rely on missing point and attacking arguments Sarkeesian didn’t make.”

            You mean to say that Anita’s assertion that players are “invited” to attack the strippers in Hitman: Absolution and “can’t help but treat [them] as things”?


            Anita made that argument and to say otherwise would be akin to what she did in the video: lying. While this alone doesn’t discredit any of her other points, assuming she reasearched the games she was criticizing as she originally stated she would, this isn’t the first time she has obfuscated the truth in her videos.

            Her analysis of “Women in Refrigerator” tropes is either purposefully incomplete or entirely biased as she fails to address the surrounding narrative where the tropes are applied (Dante’s Inferno for example). She also fails to include the revelation in The Darkness 2 and Time Splitters 2 when she includes those in her analysis. Both games include a close female character put in dangerous situations, both games the female characters do “fine.” Play the games or watch actual playthroughs yourself if you want full spoilers since she couldn’t bother to include them but felt the need to criticize them nonetheless.

            “No one has said or assumed that, but all media we consume affects us, and studies have demonstrated exactly how it affects us. The more you consume images of women being brutalised, the more likely you are to accept it as normal or inevitable when you hear about it in real life.”

            Actually, the only thing that any study has agreed upon is temporary effects on games, even in juveniles. Of note, I couldn’t find any actual peer reviewed study on gender portrayals in video games but I did find this. It’s from 1998 and I assume you recognize some of the games on this list . . .


            “The only practical demonstration you need of this is to see just how many male gamers will try to tell you that feminism is pointless, that women are exaggerating their real life harassment or that they aspire to victimhood.”

            I’m not sure you have any evidence to equate the two. Things that cause people to make misguided correlations like women are lying about their harrassment have more to do with sensationalized incidents like




            Let’s also not forget such classy responses like this


            There are people out there who have undermined real rape victims and news outlets, many with an agenda, are all too happy to bring these people and their opinions to light. It is unfortunate many conflate these and similar incidents with other incidents of rape but those are the people that would just as easily believe since “dihydrogen monoxide” is present in all criminals that it must be a dangerous substance.

            In short:

            – Anita has blatantly lied, obfuscated the truth, and has evidently refused to take an objective look at the material she was critiquing (assuming she did her research and didn’t just steal footage.)
            Bonus: Why we don’t believe she’s a “gamer.”

            – There is no consensus amongst researchers regarding the effects of gender portrayal in video games. The closest to anything that I’ve personally found in a quick google search is what I’ve linked dated from 1998.

            – The denial of women’s issues is irrelevant to this topic and more to do with how quick the media is to prop up cases of women ACTUALLY falsely accusing or misrepresenting the issue. It is further harmed by occasional inappropriate comments.

          2. KC spouts a whole bucket load of nonsense, strawmanning and obfuscation their own selves.

            Someone who really doesn’t understand the content of TvW, but feels the rage nonetheless.

        2. First of all, I disagree that the teaching is subliminal. That (to me) connotates something purposeful and sinister – which it isn’t.

          Here’s a definition of objectification: “to present as an object, especially of sight, touch, or other physical sense; make objective; externalize.”

          Said another way, dehumanize.

          I don’t happen to think most men need to be taught how to treat women. 99% of the men I know treat me just fine. However, what many men DO need to be “taught” or perhaps made aware of is how women do NOT like to be treated. Many well meaning men I love could use a little help in this area.

          Here are just two studies suggesting some of the effects of objectification. There are several others linked on Anita’s YouTube videos.

          Do you have resources suggesting otherwise? What’s your simplistic counter argument that my personal experience can’t possibly stand up to?

          You will take the time to read those before responding won’t you? OR do you not need to? Honestly, I’d love to see your research. Knowledge is power after all.

          Anyhoo, I’m fairly positive I’m wasting my time replying to this. So far, 100% of the time (maybe I’ll be proven wrong?) someone will show up and explain to me, a woman, how, I, my daughter, the women I coach, and many other woman who dare have an opinion different from a man’s, are simply making this all up because we hate men. Or are just exaggerating. Getting hysterical over nothing.

          So, let me save myself a trip back to rebutt.

          Yes, I admit it. Your right. I am wrong because I am a woman and I can’t possibly have enough mental capacity to attribute the proper meaning to my own life experience.

          Objectification ultimately hurts us all – so I’m confused as to why so many men want to keep the status quo.

          I don’t condone censorship. All we want to do is have a discussion about these things, raise awareness so that we can all live more peacefully together.

          I’m wondering why men are so upset that we want to even talk about this? It’s not like anyone’s asking for censorship.

  5. I appreciate your attempts to stay relevant by hitching yourself onto the brainless “misogyny” bandwagon that is slowly but surely dragging down the rest of your “journalist” pals into irrelevance and the unemployment line, but you might want to come up with an original angle. Nobody cares that “women” are coming into gaming and taking it away from “men” or whatever garbage you’re disguising your female supremacist prattle as. Women have been playing and making games as long as there have been games, and just because it may not be happening at the rate and in the exact way that Anita “I couldn’t get a job in the games industry because I’m talentless so I’ll become a professional victim” Sarkeesian and Zoe “charity-doxxing fraud” Quinn demand that it should be is too bad. Hopefully you’ll get over it.

  6. Great piece Brendan, hope you’re not reading these comments though! It’s amazing what people will overlook in order to get their kneejerk bullshit out onto the internet.

    1. we just want bot sides to be heard. Should I tell you about all the women, gay and black people who actually received death threats and harassment just like Anita just because they did not agree with them.

      These people are extremists and they exist on both sides. However they do not represent anyone.

      1. When you *denounce those extremists* as strongly and stringently as you whine about Sarkeesian & Quinn, then we might believe you. When you refuse to declaim the harassers as strongly as you do a handful of woman who are trying to make things better in the industry, you ally yourself with those people. THAT IS THE PROBLEM HERE.

        The best things about comments like yours is that they underline the *exact* point articles like these are making.

        1. That has been one thing – the constant string of “THEY’RE ATTACKING US” and “THEY’RE OVER-THE-TOP” while dismissing a well-over-a-decade history of a visible fairly toxic community and worse with a combination of “Not All Gamers”, “Toughen Up”, and “It’s The Internet What Do You Expect?”.

          As a gamer myself of many, many, MANY years, the lack of willingness to watch your fellows in the community is distressing. It really, REALLY hurt RPG gaming back in the day, because people would go into the game shop to pick up the latest module, and then have to deal with THOSE JERKS.

          Much easier and more pleasant to order from Steve Jackson directly or something like that.

          I’d say “Let’s not let Gamestop become the same thing”, but it’s about twelve-ish years too late for that. Now, unfortunately, it’s time for damage control, but instead it feels like the gamer community has decided to double-down on not caring or wanting to deal with those aspects, instead choosing to continue to shrug. I’d like to see gaming become something that doesn’t just “meh” at the face of XBL and mark that as the status quo, but I’m not optimistic.

          Hope I’m wrong.

      2. “we just want bot sides to be heard.”

        Your complaints about journalism ethics are fully investigated in this article, and the author doesn’t even disagree with you. Your side has been heard. Your concerns have been addressed.

        The reason you continue to whine and moan and bleat and whinny and writhe and stamp your feet is because no serious journalist in the world will ignore the fact that your movement is rotten with genuine misogyny and a breath-taking sense of entitlement.

  7. Wow! You managed to slip in almost every 3rd wave feminist buzzword popular with today’s pseudo intellectuals of the Left. I’m surprised you didn’t mention “the patriarchy”. But, I guess the concept can be inferred. This I would expect from someone that plays games using an Apple operating system. I can imagine you with your square glasses, plaid button down, patchy, weak beard, and skinny jeans.

    Your piece is weak in both its precepts and sanctimony. You purposefully attempt to confuse feminism with women and minorities. Stating that demographic shift is responsible for #gamergate is stupid, considering that some studies place participation by women in gaming at almost 50%. Supermassive games like GTA 5 have playable characters of different races. Not to mention the #NotYourShield trend on twitter decrying ideologues attempting to appropriate minorities as tool to superimpose said ideology on an unwilling constituency.

    When the a bunch of social science majors are typing out sanctimonious articles on their Apple laptops, lecturing people whose grades were to good to get into Women’s Studies, the irony borders on the Absurd. This is especially true when the relationships between this urban scourge affect the information that is disseminated, with a unifying message as was evident with the 10+ articles within a 24 hour period cheering the end of “gamers”. You are not trying to add diversity to gaming. You want to insert feminism, your faith based religion, with all the Marxist inspired concepts, from Patriarchy to Male Privilege, into players’ experiences to dictate the acceptable parameters of discourse and personal beliefs.

    The vast majority in the west don’t want to live in the dystopian world that will result in your Brave New World Utopia.

    Hope this helps.

    1. You can’t shout “third wave feminism!” and think you’re making a coherent argument. Especially hilarious given you move straight from that into stereotyping the author of this article. Class fucking act, you are.

      The rest of your post is tripe. It absolutely is likely that the female gaming population is around 45-50% – but that’s not what these articles, or the articles you’ve denounced as “attacking gamers,” are referring to. People who play games on their tablets/smartphones, for example, are NOT the audience being referred to here. “Gamers” in this context, does not refer to “people who play games”. How fucking hard of a concept is this to understand, or are you being purposefully dim? (HINT: The author actually plots the history of that marketing term IN THIS VERY ARTICLE – you won’t have to go far to be educated!)

      Creating the “social science majors” (ooh, burn!) strawman is a bit silly when the vast majority of developers (I’m guessing most of these people majored in some science or technology-based field – just a hunch!) have voiced support against the #gamergate campaign.

      I have no idea who you are or what motivates you to believe in this bullshit. But if it’s not painfully obvious to you that this campaign, which gained support only through the astroturfing efforts of /v/ and the conspiracy theorists of youtube, is not actually about what it claims to be about – you’re a bit fucking dumb.

    2. You’re an idiot.

      Anyone who uses “the left” as though it’s somehow an insult, and then backs it up with “Apple user” as somehow it, too, is an insult is the most insane and juvenile of ad hominem attacks.

      So here’s one back to you: go back to your comic books and G.I Joes, you thickheaded manchild. With any luck the evil feminists will take your toys away from you, because that might inspire you to go and study something so you don’t sound like a moron next time you post anonymously online like the coward that you are.

      Seriously. Idiot.

      1. You taking “Apple user” as an insult speaks volumes by itself.

        And feminists will never really DO anything – that requires agency, which not incidentally is a privilege of a white educated heterosexual male.

    3. These sorts of comments prove the need not just for 10 articles calling for the death of the gamer identity, but a thousand.

      Let each bell ring. Let the clarion sound fill the valley.

    4. Let’s see “Third Wave Feminism. Psuedo-Illectualism. Social Science Major. Marxism”

      Congrats, you just filled my Buzzword Bullshit Bingo card!

    5. Some of these comments read like a parody of right wing ideological frothing, with a touch of climate change denialism thrown in (“feminism, your faith based religion!”)I guess what strikes me most forcibly about the gamergate clusterfuck – aside from its pervasive stench of misogyny – is the incredulity that such a thing as cultural criticism exists. Yes, it does, and it has existed since Aristotle. (384–322 BCE for those who are rushing to Wikipedia).

      Thanks for the excellent piece, Brendan. Very illuminating.

    6. You decry ‘buzzwords’ at the same time as you histrionically throw Huxley’s dystopia into your argument (as if Huxley would support any of your rabid frothing)? Lol.

  8. this is an excellent piece.

    while #gamergate is clearly misogynist in its origins, the whole grouse about ‘integrity’ in games journalism is ludicrous for at least two other reasons:

    1. as keogh’s own example about being flown and wined and dined by the very people whose products he was meant to cover with (ostensibly) some degree of objectivity shows, the industry has some conflicts of interest. and so does every other industry, sector, country, etc: they all have conflicts of interest, and some of them have fairly serious impacts, eg most and possibly all governments, whether democratically elected or not. so nothing new there, and ‘gamergate’ is hardly the worst example you could point to. people whose outrage is focused on conflicts of interest in games journalism rather than, say, death threats against people speaking freely about the bleeding obvious should not expect much sympathy from the grownups, because they ain’t gonna get it.

    2. i have been an avid consumer of music since childhood, and i’ve never depended on the music press for all of my information on what’s new, interesting, and good (ie what i might like). certainly the internet has helped a lot, but then so did (and does) radio, and even the posters on the wall outside RRR sometimes give me ideas on what to listen to. mailing lists, newsgroups,, spotify, daytrotter, posts on FB and twitter – dozens and dozens of sources of information, and those are just the ones i check now and then. there must be thousands outside the ‘music press’. do some rock journalists cosy up with label suits and/or musicians? of course they do. do i give a shit? no: i care about the music, and i can find out about it w/out worrying whether this or that music journalist has great taste or is just a label shill. the point being that games are in exactly the same situation: you have hundreds, probably thousands of sources of information about games. you have to do the work of finding ones you can trust, or at least know when to take w/ a grain of salt.

    so ‘of course’ you’re annoyed? ‘of course’ you’re angry? because some journalists may have touted a game for ‘impure’ reasons? please. did you like the game or not? if not, complain to the publisher, don’t buy their games, or whatever. but stop fucking whining about suddenly not being able to enjoy being spoon-fed what to play. start thinking for yourself. don’t like or trust what games journalists are saying? you have no excuse not to spend, oh, 5-10 minutes on the web finding at least a dozen other sources of information.

    and, above all, stop being sexist little shits.

  9. The first reference I’ve seen to ‘The End of Gamers’ is the title of the concluding chapter in Ian Bogost’s ‘How To Do Things With Videogames’ (2011). There, he talks about the mainstreaming of games and the loss of meaning of the ‘gamer’ identity, from the perspective of moving away from the raw and dangerous vibe that the industry settled on as the kind of core product/identity/brand mix in the 1990s-2000s. ‘Domestication,’ he says ‘is violent and tragic.’

    The end of gamers isn’t something that has just exploded in the space of a couple of weeks. It’s part of a deeper tectonic shift that has been going on for years. This gives credence to the argument that the anger and agression of the ‘gamergaters’ is an expression of the death throes of a social identity.

    In my opinion, there’s been a whole decade or more of creative stagnation in the first person shooter/action genre. The edgy, dangerous, underground vibe became mainstream and commonplace in the late 1990s/early 2000s, but the underlying model and structure of these games has seldom been critically challenged or seriously questioned. The conservatism and unwillingness of publishers to nudge market share or rock the boat is understandable in terms of profit, but is certainly ethically questionable. I wish it were possible to make the argument I just made, without being accused of wanting to shut down games, or censor them, or tell other people what they can and cannot play. That is not what I mean, and not what I want.

    Doom, Quake, etc were pushing the boundaries, inventing this whole genre, and it was then that the edgy, dangerous, boundary-pushing, ethically dubious content made sense. As well as pushing technical boundaries, game designers were challenging conservative repression through the new medium—violence was symbolically confronting censorship and puritanical American social conventions.

    In 20 years, this radical tone has calcified and lost its authenticity, to the point where games of this type are gravitating towards the other end of the continuum of extremism—these games have moved from radical and anarchistic to dogmatic and conservative.

    Stepping back and looking at the longer term, bigger picture is always a good idea. Great post Brendan, thanks!

  10. “It has not been a good few weeks in videogames culture.”

    Going by a lot of the comments here, whenever is it a *good* week in videogames culture, particularly for women?

  11. So in the end it turns out it wasn’t “gamers,” it was a handful of guys from 4chan. So, what we learned from this is that 4chan is full of misogynistic idiots (truly a breathtaking discovery) and gaming journalists hate gamers with the passion of a thousand burning suns.

    I think some apologies are in order for the sweeping generalisations, all things considered.

    1. Ahahaha. So wait. A bunch of gamers were happy to go along with a misogynistic hate campaign (which, lets remember, involved countless threats of death and rape, and lots of gamers excusing that) and you think the gamers are the ones deserving of an apology? Seriously?

      1. No, because the vast majority didn’t go along with the misogynistic hate campaign, they went along with the smokescreen that it was about ethics and thought of the hate campaign as the actions of the sort of extremists every cause attracts. The logs are very clear that the entire idea was to get journalists to attack gamers as a whole to turn this into some kind of war, then there’s the “???” step, and then “and then it will be like the Good Old Days.”

        So it’s the journalists who did exactly what the hate campaign wanted them to, too, and since they did so in very public forums they should indeed be apologising, or at least showing some awareness they were being manipulated.

        Innocent people accused of collusion with something that had nothing to do with them deserve apologies. This wasn’t “gamer culture,” it was a handful of troglodytes from 4chan. Even Zoe herself had the common decency to apologise to all the people genuinely interested in ethics who got caught up in all the finger-pointing.

        1. By “even Zoe herself” I mean as she was the most injured party and had the most reason to hold a grudge, mind you, not that I believe she isn’t the kind of person to do the right thing.

  12. Holy moley, I rarely see so many comments on an Overland article and never so many distinctly un-progressive in their stance! Haha, Brendan, you certainly reeled ’em in with this one!

  13. “Feeding the Beast”

    A few things:

    1. I don’t think that the gamer identity is dead, and claiming that it the be all and end all of the sad man-children from certain corners of the internet is an overbroad statement to say the least.

    2. Games are an art form and should be treated as such. That means that multiple critical paradigm can and will be applied to the medium as they are applied to other art forms such as books, movies and TV. Think of each school of criticism as a microscope that has a narrow and intense look at a particular aspect of the subject. It is not an attack on media or those that play them to point out the obvious, tired tropes that games have relied on for too long and that the industry as a whole could benefit from challenging, changing, or simply moving on.

    3. It is time for Games Media to update their standards. While there no secret cabal of propagandist manipulated by industry puppeteers, the combination of shady business practices across the industry and the lack of criticism or even embracing of such practices by many (but certainly not all) on the media side does not bode well for the industry.

    4. Start treating your consumer base as consumers and not as crazy fan boys that need to be fed a steady stream of hype about minutiae from map packs to who can or can not be romanced in a game. Certain developers like BioWare go out of their way to trumpet aspects their games like, “diversity,” when in fact they are exploiting their audience need to fulfill a power fantasy (and have an actual poor record when it comes to the fetishisation of non-heteronomative sexual identities) just to gin up support for a give product and deflect from its short comings or poor performance.

    5. There is a clear set of agendas behind some in #GamerGate and the like that have nothing to do with games, journalism, ethics, or support for consumers but rather neo-atheist/MRAs with a clear anti-feminist agenda that simply have latched on to certain figures in the industry to vent their views upon.

    BTW, this is not a, “everybody is to blame”, comment, rather an attempt to zero in of a series of colliding trends that make the subject such a bizarre mess.

  14. There is a lot of content in this article that appears to be grossly ill informed opinion or in avoidance of important information, the tales of Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn as well as the the rather unflattering generalisation of gaming culture. While I see the author is not lacking in experience in the video games industry or audience, it seems as though he writes with limited knowledge of the culture surrounding both. I see no reason for this article to exist at all, It’s basically a rant from a man who has little idea of gamer culture and the social issues that arise because of it.

  15. Such a well balanced and thoughtful article from the same person that said “Gamer means a shit person who cares way to much about videogames”.

    I am sure that all the crap he’s been getting from men, women, developers, writers and youtubers who all identify as gamers because they love the medium of games has in no way inspired his writing about the death of the male “gamer”.

    He is not purposefully pretending like gaming is a male only club where women are shunned. He’s not glancing over things or throwing up smokescreens to deflect questions and criticism.

    No this man truly understands that games shouldn’t be about the games. It should be about the multiple hidden agendas of the videogame bloggers, I mean journalists. I should after all call them what it says on that little piece of paper they got from whatever college they went to for a few years.

    Yes this man has figured out everything about gaming and the culture that surrounds it. Despite the fact nobody in development or gaming cares about his opinion.

    Not to mention that anyone who objects to being called a shit person is obviously a regressive slopped fore-headed man. Who would like nothing better than to beat women to death on a daily basis. Because nobody could object to this clearly unbiased, well reasoned and thoughtfully written rant, I mean article if they aren’t a horrible human being on the inside.

    Now I’m off to get advice on games from the people that actually have a worthwhile opinion about them. Namely anybody else but game journalists or this man.

  16. *sigh*

    So much hate speech against gamers, using violent stereotypes from the 80s. They’re all whiny basement virgin asocial white kids, right?

    Screw all the POC gamers, screw all the adult gamers, screw all the women gamers, screw all the non-heterosexual gamers, screw all the trans gamers.

    They don’t exist, they don’t matter – and if they still think they’re gamers, they’re all stupid losers and deserve to be socially harassed and rejected.

    That’s your message.

    Ever wondered why gamers-who-are-also-women hide their gaming hobby to their irl friends, especially their female friends? Because of this hateful stereotype these “journalists” (like the author of that article) have been spreading in all their articles: if you’re a gamer, you’re a loser, “a shit person who cares way to much about videogames”, you’re a sexually deviant psychopath who’s gonna stab or shoot up your school, a nolife with no friends. All my friends who are gamers and women have to hide it from their family and irl friends because of that hate. Please stop that hate.

    Edit: Oh, going to your Twitter page immediately reveals me you wrote for Polygon (and other mainstream video game news websites). Sad to see you’re hiding that conflict of interest from your reader in that article: Polygon has been heavily criticized during the recent events for its lack of ethics and standards (after so many scandals).

    How can you expect your readers to trust you and your words, when you refuse to trust your readers by letting them know you’re directly affected and involved in the current waves of criticism?

    Also, exploiting the real problems of sexism and harassment to hide the rampant conflicts of interest and corruption in the gaming media, is truly disgusting.

    I’ve been harassed and stalked for several months because of what I am, I’ve plenty of friends who endure sexism irl and online every day – seeing these so-called “journalists” constantly swiftboating the journalism ethics issues by pointing at a handful of moron trolls and fratbro jerks, is really depressing and insulting for us. So much easier to pick that one asshole in the crowd and silence everyone else, so much easier.

    I don’t expect any honesty from these “journalists” anymore, they have showed they never actually cared about oppressed minorities, they never did any research, they never listened – they only want to look good to themselves and their viewers: “Look, I’m anti-racist anti-sexist! I must be a good person! Click on my articles!”.

    They’ll always stick to their decades-old hateful stereotypes about the gaming culture and gamers: it’s all ‘violent dumb shooters’, played by ‘white cis male basement-dwellers’.

    Same goes with POC, non-heterosexual, trans, people with physical or mental disabilities: they must all fit their one-size-fits-all stereotype of a passive persecuted and depressed person who can’t be part of another community and be defined by something other than the color of their skin, their gender, sexuality or disability. If they refuse to fit into that stereotype, they aren’t allowed to talk, they don’t matter, they don’t exist.

    Plenty of them have been harassed, doxxed, fired (after hundreds of phone calls threatening their employer – when you know how harder it is to find a job when you’re black in America) and had their life and family threatened (with gruesome details), because they refused to be exploited and held the #notyourshield hashtag on their Twitter page.

    I’m sorry, but I refuse to fit into your stereotype and your simplified story of “us vs them”, generalizing like that always led to hate and discrimination in the past – happening right now in the gaming media.

    I won’t drink your Kool-Aid, because I don’t want mindless violent revenge. I want to better understand complex problems to find viable solutions, I don’t want your hate, I want change.

    1. haha “hate speech”

      “these so-called “journalists” constantly swiftboating the journalism ethics issues by pointing at a handful of moron trolls and fratbro jerks’

      LOL NO, it’s not a “handful”, you’re obviously not an objective observer. You’re blatantly whitewashing history by blaming the journalists for calling gamergate what it is, yet another wave of abuse hurled at feminists like Zoe Quinn and Anita whatshername.

      “because they refused to be exploited and held the #notyourshield”

      LOL you actually think that hashtag isn’t blatant exploitation? HERP DERP GAMERGATE IS A LEGIT MOVEMENT SEE LOOK AT ALL THESE TOKEN MINORITIES THAT SHARE OUR CONCERNS ABOUT JOURNALISM. Meanwhile these same assholes continue to brag about all the harrassment they are inviting.

      You’ve already drunk some kool-aid, fool.

  17. The comment section seems full of over the top feminists. You have yet to offer one little bit of proof that #gamergate is against women, the insane level of double think to exclude women/gay/disabled/racial minority members of it is way over the top and quite laughable.

    #Gamergate isn’t about ethical journalism? That’s why it’s targets have been Gawker, Kotaku, Destructoid, IGN etc.. You can also look up and so forth.

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