#GamerGate: Reaching Across the Aisle

No doubt by this point you’ve heard of #GamerGate, a movement quickly spreading across the internet from discontented gamers who felt attacked by the very journalists who cover their hobby. However, claims that the movement is a misogynistic attack against women in the gaming industry abound and it is very easy to see the movement that way: Though we claim to be about ethics in game journalism, there is a large focus on Social Justice Warriors.

It is no secret that I am vehemently pro-GamerGate. However, nothing is going to be accomplished by attacking people, we need to reach across the aisle.

I recently read an article from The Escapist where a random collection of female game developers discussed their opinions on GamerGate. While one was in favor of it, many of the others were opposed to it. What I saw was a lot of confusion, misinformation, and good questions. These people are not our “enemy”. No one is. Even the people actively attacking us are still people, they think what they are doing is right. In reality they don’t understand that we too are people, that behind the incoherent and offensive ramblings of enraged gamers are some very human grievances.  We need to make them understand our side of the story and we need to understand theirs. As such I’ve decided to answer some of the good questions raised in The Escapist’s article so as to clarify what is going on.

 

#1) Why hasn’t anyone complained about “Corruption” before?

Okay I have to be honest, when folks in GamerGate hear this one it is almost a joke. We have been complaining for years about how corrupt game journalism is! There’s the running joke of Geoff “Dorito Pope” Keighly, there’s /v/ The Musical, there’s the legend of Jeff Gerstmann, there have been many noteable instances of corruption and we have complained. So this raises a more important question…

 

#1.5) What’s different about this instance of corruption?

It is clear that there is something different this time though. This is more than just some complaining and jokes on a messageboard, it’s much bigger this time. On the surface the difference appears to be that a woman was involved in the aformentioned corruption, making it seem incredibly sexist. However, I disagree. The thing that made it different “this time”, was censorship.

When MundaneMatt’s video on it was pulled, many people raised an eyebrow and began talking about it more. When those discussions on Reddit and 4chan, some of the least moderated sites on the internet, got covered up? People took notice. That is a huge red flag! They censored 4chan?! Considering all the filthy, dirty, awful shit that gets posted there, this is what crossed the line?! This has never happened before. Not with Geoff Keighly, not with Jeff Gerstmann, not even with Anita! The degree and magnitude of censorship was startling! Either someone has too much power, or someone is hiding something big.

In reality, the indie dev in question just happens to have a magnetic personality it seems. Seriously, I have a friend who retweets her stuff and she seems like a really fun person. I could easily see her making a lot of friends in high places without needing corruption of any kind.

However, we’ve also uncovered a lot of questionable things as well: Indie Fest scams, journalist collusion, conflicts of interest, censorship, harassed devs, honestly there are so many things I can’t even remember them all. Even if some of them are exaggerations, the facts seem to show what can best be described as “a fucking problem” in the industry.

Then the journalists decided to all write articles telling gamers how awful they are. Nearly 15 articles all posted on the same day from different news sites.

Yeah, that is gonna go down in history as the gaming equivalent of “New Coke”. This whole discussion would have fizzled out by now had they not gone and attacked gamers directly like that. I’ll be honest: I didn’t really care until then. Game Journalism is corrupt? So what else is new. However, when they confirmed my suspicions that game journalists feel they are superior to gamers and even actively HATE them?! Okay, now I’m mad.

Then you get idiots declaring that games shouldn’t be fun and you get people demanding their heads! …or at least their jobs. They clearly don’t understand the medium and hate their audience so it is kind of hard to consider them qualified for the job anymore! I get that this is a harsh statement but it’s mind boggling. Why would you attack your audience like this?

This isn’t a new thing either. The Mass Effect 3 ending debacle or the DmC reboot showed a clear divide between game journalists and gamers. They were more content to just declare gamers to be a bunch of whiny angry babies than actually try to understand their legitimate issues with these things. Is it so much to ask for game journalists to try and understand where their audience is coming from?

 

#2) Why is #GamerGate so focused on SJWs if this is about ethics in journalism?

This is a very good question, and one I asked myself as I will be honest: I’m here more because of the SJWs than ethics. So what do the two have to do with eachother?

Well first we need to understand what an SJW or Social Justice Warrior even is. SJW was coined as a derogatory term for people who took their Social Justice causes too far and attacked people (hence “Warrior”, though “Crusader” would have been better). It is not anti-Social Justice and speaking personally I have no qualms with Social Justice Activists. I also approve the term because it directs people away from using the word “feminist” as feminists are not the problem either and I don’t want to paint them with a broad brush.

In essence a Social Justice Warrior is like a Troll, except for Social Justice…and I think that’s what makes them worse.

Because, you see, Trolls understand that what they are doing is wrong. They get that they are harassing a person to get a response out of them. Social Justice Warriors, however, do not. They feel they are fighting for what is right, that anyone who disagrees with them is wrong. As such, the ends justify the means. Anyone that tells you to cool it? Shout “Tone Policing” at them! I have even heard some say “It doesn’t matter how you say it as long as the message is good!”. I disagree.

I think my favorite example right now is a harassment campaign against The Empire State Building. Yes, seriously. A campaign to get it lit up for Childhood Cancer Awareness was rejected due to it coming from an individual instead of an organization and it not being planned a year ahead of time (which is standard procedure for the Empire Stat Building). The response? A gang of people complaining about the Empire State Building whenever it is mentioned and active phone harassment of it’s employees, with people wishing them to “get cancer”.

Yes, I’m sure that’s fine. I mean it doesn’t matter how you say it as long as the message is good, right? You’re just raising awareness for Childhood Cancer is all!

With people getting so morally self-righteous, it ironically becomes easy for them to leave their morals behind and thus engage in corrupt acts.

However, as mentioned, the thing that really “blew up” and turned a mild scandal into the beast known as #GamerGate was when 15 articles declaring “Gamers are Over” all came out at the same time. The sentiment in all of them was the same: that the general gamer demographic is vile, hateful, and misogynistic. These kinds of statements were dripping with SJW-ism. To say it “struck a nerve” would be an understatement. It is because of this that gamers really got mad and as such SJWs remain at the forefront of the issue.

This article on sensationalist journalism and how it pertains to #GamerGate is fascinating as well and also shows why SJWs are a major focus of anti-corruption.

 

#3) Why does it seem like women are most frequently attacked if this isn’t about gender?

Ah, now this is a really good question! I admit, even to me it looks this way.

Let me make one thing clear here: Yes, women are being harassed. Yes, this is not okay because harassment is never okay. No one deserves to be harassed. No one is an “acceptable target”. Even Jack Thompson, the legendary anti-gamer lawyer, did not deserve the level of harassment he got.

So are women being harassed more than men? I am not sure.

First of all, there are multiple layers of confirmation bias to wade through. Game journalists have been insisting that women get more harassment than men for years and as such we’re trained to believe it. We see a woman getting harassed? Oh that’s proof that women get harassed more than men, even though we have no men to compare this against.

Men definitely get abuse too though. The difference is that no one gives a crap. Men being harassed on the internet isn’t news. However, women being harassed is! So when a woman is harassed, they get a lot more attention. Journalists will hold up the woman as yet another example of the blatant sexism and misogyny in the industry.

Making matters worse are the guys who just want to do good and feel defending a woman is the best way to do this. These “White Knights” often mean well, but they draw attention to the suffering of women they agree with, again emphasizing it. They would rarely do this for a man because men “can defend themselves”. These White Knights also frequently ignore any legitimate complaints against the woman in question, because they are a woman. This makes matters much worse. People who disagree with the woman in question see the hoards of men blindly following everything the woman says and attacking all who disagree with her. This makes them resent the woman even more as she inadvertently acts as their ring leader. Admittedly this raises the hostility of people who disagree with the woman and aggravates further attacks. They see the actions of a hoard of blind White Knights acting in her name as being her own actions. On top of that, the woman may see her blind army of sycophants as “allies” or a target audience or whatever and they begin to isolate her from legitimate criticism. It becomes too easy then to ignore the outside world.

This can happen to the most innocent, well meaning woman. Let’s not even think about what happens if a woman has an ulterior motive.

It is in this way that women may well get more abuse than men. They also get more support and that support in turn can be abusive to others.

In many ways this is also at the heart of GamerGate: We’ve seen women say and do some awful things, yet we are not allowed to criticize them otherwise we’re “misogynists”. This puts us in a tight spot: where is the line between criticism and harassment? Are we seriously not allowed to speak out if the person we are speaking out against is a woman?

I know this statement sounds sexist. It is. I have found it is impossible to talk about sexism without first being sexist: You have to accept that one gender is getting unequal treatment and thus, in turn, you give that gender unequal defense. Thus those who feel it is the other gender which has it worse will find your statement to be sexist. It’s unavoidable and I apologize, but the fact is that both genders are treated differently in both “positive” and “negative” ways.

I guess what I’m saying is that no one deserves harassment, but no one is exempt from criticism and exactly where the line between criticism and harassment is can be difficult to figure out.

 

#4) #GamerGate has some sketchy origins, why not use #GameEthics if that is what you really care about?

The general consensus is that if we split the movement like this, we would weaken it. #GamerGate is an accepted hashtag that many have heard about. If we were to use #GameEthics we’d inadvertantly leave some honest people behind. More than that, it would allow #GamerGate to be attacked while #GameEthics is ignored.

“Oh I support #GameEthics, but #GamerGate is full of horrible awful people! Look how horrible these #GamerGate people are!”

Let us not forget that many very intelligent claims have been made under the #GamerGate banner and if we let it be attacked, then we wind up discrediting ourselves. It’s complicated, messy, and tricky but there is good reason behind it. Yes, #GamerGate has some reprehensible assholes in it but we have to stand by it or it loses it’s impact.

 

#5) There are plenty of games made for gamers, why are they complaining?

This is something I think needs to be clarified. I repeatedly hear people saying this and listing off games like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto. Indeed those games are in no danger of going away. However, they aren’t the games we’re worried about. While gamers do enjoy these games for the most part, they are “mainstream” games and aren’t really made for gamers, they’re meant to appeal to the mainstream audience. Most videogames are made for a mainstream audience, especially AAA games. As such, gamers do feel marginalized in their own hobby that they’ve loved for decades! It is a very awkward feeling, but one we understand for the most part: these games are what sell.

So what do gamers want? Well it varies depending who you talk to as all gamers want different things. Generally it’s the older console gamers that feel really burnt. Gaming has become very PC-centric (even on consoles) and arcade-style or Japanese games are becoming an increasing rarity. To be honest, I have met all my friends through gaming. Most of them did not buy a 7th gen console. They didn’t stop gaming, they just stuck to emulators and the DS where good old fashioned games still occasionally flourished like Radiant Historia and Monster Tale. I would kind of like you to think about that: some hardcore gamers skipped an entire 7 year console generation because of the lack of appealing titles. I think you’ll also find a lot of #GamerGaters are hardcore JRPG nerds, hence the anime avatars.

The anger, however, comes from the way these games fall through the cracks. GTA and CoD are guaranteed good scores, they’re popular big name games. Meanwhile art haus indie games that are more focused on a “message” than on their own gameplay get held up as these pinnacles of what gaming should be. But what about everything else? What about those mythical mid-tier games? Well they get lazy reviews, minimal promotion, and frequently become the target of claims of “sexism” and “misogyny”. It’s almost as though they’re used to show the publication isn’t biased! “See? We give out bad scores too! Look at this otherwise decent mid-tier game we slammed!” “See? We care about serious issues in gaming, we gave this obscure Japanese game a boatload of crap!”. I know that’s probably sort of confirmation bias, but it certainly is how it feels to me.

Of special note for me is the reception of the DmC reboot, whose main menu featured an animated image of Dante getting a psuedo-blowjob from angel strippers. I did not see a single review complain about that and instead they focused entirely on bashing Devil May Cry fans for being whiny babies. Now I am not implying that this should be changed or that Ninja Theory shouldn’t be allowed to have controversial imagery in their games, merely that it comes off as hypocritical. Why is DOA5 featuring sexy fighting women who make up half the cast “sexist and horrible” while DmC which features no playable women and continually features them as sex objects “okay”? It feels like the answer is “because one had a huge marketing budget and the other didn’t” or “because one had a huge backlash from gamers we hate and the other has a bad reputation”. It just feels weird to see them turn off their self-righteousness out of nowhere for this one game then bring it back later in full force.

SexistNotSexist2

One can’t expect every reviewer to have the same taste as you. Taste is subjective, we all like and dislike different things. However we see a lot of homogeny across various game publications. We see a lot of the same attitudes, the same messages being pushed, the same games getting promoted. I have to say I am very glad that #GamerGate has inspired more alternative game sites who aren’t part of an insular clique and may have some different opinions than what we see in the mainstream gaming press.

 

#6) No one is trying to “Take away your videogames”!

I hear this statement all the time from people, usually said in a sarcastic eye-rolling manner. However, I disagree. Though they may not realize it, they are trying to take away my videogames and I have an issue with that. Let me explain: The major focus of much of the sensationalist SJW message being pushed by the gaming media is negative. Videogames are sexist, this character is sexist, this story is sexist. What are we supposed to do with these claims? The only logical answer is to change or get rid of the sexist things, right? This seems reasonable on the surface. No one likes sexism! It’s bad!

However, what if my reading of a character is different from yours? What if what appears to be sexist to you actually seems super progressive to me? What if the developers intended something to be progressive but it came off as sexist to some? These questions appear to not be allowed. Anyone that would dare question if something is or isn’t sexist is clearly a misogynist! Trying to spin a blatantly sexist thing to be positive just shows how blind you are to your own sexism and how systemic the problem really is!

But, if you look for sexism hard enough, you will find it. Some sexism is a cultural artifact of ancient times (“women are weaker than men”), some sexism is actually pushed as being progressive (“violence against women is the ultimate evil”), some sexism is utterly accidental (“Lara Croft isn’t psycho, she just has 5 different writers!”). These issues need to be discussed with nuance on a broad cultural scale, not with a pin-point focus on videogames exclusively. and accusing a developer of “sexism!!!” isn’t going to help anyone.

Let me give you a few examples of things with multiple readings:

Hyperdimension Neptunia – A bunch of cute girls representing different game companies reenact the console wars. The characters are all female and designed to blatantly appeal to various male tastes. Outfits are tight and skimpy, skirts are short, faces are adorable. This game is frequently held up as the pinnacle of sexist game design. However, with an all female cast the Bechdel Test is passed with ease. With this many women they have to act differently or the game would be bland. These ladies run their own countries and fight villains in the name of good. Isn’t that progressive? Or does their attire and questionable age invalidate all of this?

Dead or Alive 5 – Busty women fight it out in a tournament while wearing skimpy clothes. Clearly sexist! These women are just meant to be eye candy! …that fight and win against men. The case is (or was before DLC) a 50/50 split between men and women. With this many women, once again, differing personalities are required and some of them must be important to the plot. The inciting incident of the series was Kasumi trying to rescue her brother from an evil corporation. Helena acts as the head of the reformed DOATEC now years later. Lisa is a brilliant scientist responsible for many of the ethically questionable scientific breakthroughs of DOATEC despite being a nice person. It is also worth noting that DOA5 features the option to wear normal clothes for many female characters and the ability to turn off the boob physics. On the other hand, some of the DLC outfits are jaw-droppingly skimpy.

Ar Tonelico – An RPG series about guys who fight alongside robot-ish women who use magical singing power. Initially I was very much against this game because the main women just sit in the back row and sing while the men fight and defend them on the front lines. What’s more, you cannot date the one woman who actually fights on the front line. This annoyed me and I considered the game horribly offensive. However, in retrospect there is some positivity there. Though most of the women don’t fight on the front lines, their songs do have incredible power. More than that is the dating mechanics which involve diving into a world made of the robot-ish ladies’ own mind. Again a weird premise which could be interpreted as being brainwashing OR it could be interpreted as a very personal psychiatrist session. In these worlds you help these women through their problems. The one that really stood out to me was one character whose world is this cute happy fairytale world…until you get further in and you find a disjointed broken world made of nothing but darkness. Come to find out her cute happy personality was just a mask hiding her true feelings and that deep inside she’s got serious issues. It was an unexpected and interesting twist that showed the character as someone much deeper than what you see on the surface.

Tomb Raider (reboot) – The game goes back to Lara’s “origins” showing how she became the “Tomb Raider” and the struggles she went through in a more action-centric adventure with a focus on survival. To me it was clear that they were trying to reboot her as a “strong female character” and a “survivor”. Her redesign was de-sexualized, her walk animation is procedurally generated to avoid excessive wiggle, there’s even a weird feminist undertone to some conversations. However, I myself found Lara to come off as an unhinged psychopath as her personality seemed to change between cutscenes and that the random nameless men you’re killing were far more interesting and likeable as characters. It felt like they were trying to hard and finding out the game had five writers explains many of the characterization issues. It’s no secret that I really really hate this game, but it’s intentions were attempting to be positive.

Atelier Meruru – An RPG where you play a Princess of a small kingdom who wants to learn alchemy. The agreement is that she can learn alchemy as long as she helps to improve the kingdom in both violent and non-violent ways. However, according to GameSpot, the protagonist is sexualized and thus the game is awful. This is, of course, ignoring the fact that all of the men (with the exception of the blacksmith) are smouldering hot pretty boys who you get to see naked in the bath at some point. Admittedly the same goes for the ladies too.

I admit that all of these opinions are incredibly biased and I do not pretend that one reading is more right than another. Rather I just want to show that something that may seem incredibly sexist to some may appear progressive to others and vice-versa. As such, trying to censor or ban these things would be unquestionably bad.

However, I have actually heard the argument that we do need to get rid of these games because, I kid you not, they “scare women away from gaming” and act as a giant “no girls allowed” sign. I am not even kidding. I remember both 1UP and MovieBob making this point as well as a friend of mine. In fact it is actually a commonly accepted response it seems. I find this highly problematic! As I just established, these games can be read in more than one way which is why censorship is never good.

However, let me throw you another odd fact: there are women who enjoy these games. Seriously, I have seen more female players in Dead or Alive 5 than in any other fighting game. One of my friends is a hardcore Neptunia fangirl who learned how to rig models exclusively so she could take the ripped Neptunia V models and put them in Left 4 Dead 2. One of the women who works at my local GameStop is a Bayonetta fangirl who cosplays her and bought Anarchy Reigns just because of Bayonetta being in it.

There are also women who hate these games and do find them offensive, or at least off-putting.

Is one group more right than another? I do not think so. As such, how can you ask to get rid of the games that one group likes?

“But no one is saying that!”

Perhaps not intentionally, but again: the excessive focus on the negative without any acknowledgement of the positive is a driving factor behind the belief that women are represented poorly in videogames. If all we do is complain about offensive games, what are companies supposed to take away from that? How is that not suggesting censorship? I have seen a few articles that actually end with “I don’t support censorship but…” which is just like saying “I’m not a racist but…” and you know it.

Even bad art has a right to exist.

 

#7) But isn’t #GamerGate just an attempt to excuse misogynistic actions in the gaming community?

I literally did not understand where the statement comes from but it keeps popping up. After thinking about it I guess it is referring to the harassment some women in gaming have received recently. In many ways this is a muddy area because while none of us condone harassment, we do find a few women worthy of criticism and often our criticism is painted as harassment because we’re criticizing women.

Similarly though, there is some rather harsh criticism that borders on harassment that sort of blurs together with the legitimate criticism and some legitimate criticisms are mixed with pot shots and ad hominim attacks at the subject.

The women are not being criticized because they are women though, it’s because we disagree with what they say or do and we feel we are not allowed to discuss this. While the criticism may be harsh it has nothing to do with gender. As has been repeatedly shown, Jack Thompson said similar things and received the same level of criticism and harassment. While he did not deserve that level of harassment, it does show that this is hardly gender related. Again, the reason why it feels that way is because while no one cared when we gave Jack Thompson crap, giving women crap on the internet is treated like a crime. It’s messy, but I do not feel misogyny has anything to do with it.

 

#8) What do #GamerGaters want?

There are so many varying voices and opinions on #GamerGate that it can be hard to figure out what we even want. When those anti-gamer articles dropped it pissed *everyone* off! In general though we would like at least some slightly stronger ethics in game journalism with more varied voices within the industry. We would like both sides of a story to be examined as well and for there to be less politics in game discussion. I know you can’t leave your politics behind and that everyone has some degree of bias but egad don’t push it so hard! Do not assume your politics are right, try and find a way to discuss your complaints in a more neutral way which may actually get more people on your side.

But above all else, we’d really just like it if game journalists showed some degree of respect towards their audience. I know some gamers are stupid. I met a guy in line once who was complaining about how there were no games on the Wii, *really* wanted Donkey Kong Country Returns, *owns* a Wii, but refused to buy it because he didn’t want to use his Wii…and proceeded to tell me about how it should have been on PS3 because Nintendo doesn’t own the rights to Donkey Kong. Sometimes gamers say some dumbass shit. However this person does not speak for all gamers, he speaks for himself. Just because there are a bunch of people saying stupid things doesn’t mean we all are and to lump us together like that is disingenuous.

Please, just try to see our side of things sometime.

 

 

 

So that about sums up the questions I’ve seen so far regarding #GamerGate. If you have any others, feel free to post them in the comments and I will try to tackle them, possibly in a second piece. I know some of my fellow gamers can be harsh and I hope we can learn to be more accepting and reasonable in the future.

I also hope that #GamerGate has taught us all a lesson. I frequently say that the people who most enjoy escapist media are those who have something to escape from. Many gamers are part of a traditionally marginalized group, a lot of them suffer from depression with games as their only escape, and I think a surprising amount could best be described as “not gender normative”.

Heck, it seems like there are so many transgendered people in gaming that you could actually find more evidence to support “Gaming makes you want to get a sex change” than “Gaming makes you violent” or “Gaming makes you sexist”! Interestingly, this isn’t some new trend either as if Jamie Fenton is to be believed this has been the case since before The Great Videogame Crash of 1983!

GamerGate and #NotYourShield have provided an instance where traditionally marginalized groups within the gaming community can stand up and say “I am a minority of some kind and SJWs do not speak for me”. I cannot stress enough that the focus on Social Justice pushed poorly by game journalists has actually increased the rift between various gamers. When you hear that everything you love needs to be changed to appease a random minority for no real reason, people can’t help but get angry at that group of people. In many ways it portrays them as an invading group of “outsiders”. Hearing them instead say “can you stop arbitrarily changing things, please?” has brought us perhaps a bit closer to eachother. I hope that it has opened the eyes of gamers to realize that these people are not an invading force trying to take away our games, but fellow gamers who have been here all along.

There is nothing I support more than increased inclusivity and character variety and I feel everyone deserves a game for them. However, there is nothing I oppose quite as much as arbitrarily changing the things we love in a ham-fisted attempt to make people feel socially conscious. I want people to make the games they want to make without fear of backlash. Criticism is deserved, but there is such a thing as taking it too far and that goes to all of us both Game Journalists and #GamerGaters.

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4 Comments on “#GamerGate: Reaching Across the Aisle”

  1. Göran Isacson Says:

    So. A few days ago I decided to wander back here after a long time away (think I drifted when you stopped posting for a while) and man oh man, was this a doozy to come back to.

    I went back and forth between wanting to write this or not, because to be upfront- I don’t support Gamergate. Mostly because the people who do that I’ve encountered have been just the WORST and I have a very hard time separating the movement from those people, but also because even after reading this… I can’t say I find myself agreeing with it.

    But, you know… you put this up in hopes of a debate. And I have to be honest, this is the most reasonable post I’ve seen from a Gater so far, and I guess that turning away from that wouldn’t really do anyone any favors. So… my problems with Gamer Gate. Warning: this gets HELLA long. And kind of rambling. Sorry in advance.

    I’m a review blogger for a Swedish game-community. I will admit that most of my perspective comes from that part of the globe, and from that perspective I’ve come to notice a little something I’d like to call the “Japan Defense Force” mindset. It’s something I think is relevant to talk about, considering your point about GG having a lot of jrpg fans who aren’t too fond of the big mainstream games and their fear that people are coming to take their games away.

    I wrote a review of Dragon’s Crown once. I like the game. I give it an eight out of ten. I praised it as a mixture of Diablo and Final Fight you didn’t know you needed. I also mention that I am not surprised at all about the controversy around it and that I don’t begrudge the people who don’t want to play it, because out of seventeen female characters in the game four are wearing fully covering clothes while the rest wear flimsy, see through or skimpy outfits, and three are not posed in ways that belong more in Playboy than on the Rennesaince Fair. I even go so far as to say that while this could have bothered me had the game been less of an obvious grinder and very much steeped in George Kamitanis artistic inspirations, been more cynical and not a labor of love, I wouldn’t have liked it as much. But I do not begrudge the people who do, because even if Frank Frazetta was a skilled artist there was definitely some iffyness in the subject matter of a lot of his drawings (hello dark men kidnapping very pale women and being rescued by a strong looking white man) and Kamitanis unironic embracing of all that his artstyle means is something that’s going to be contested.

    This was, suffice to say, not a welcome opinion. I was called white knight, suck up, no girl will ever sleep with you so stop trying to kiss their cooches, etc.

    I review Dead or Alive 5. And you know what? I DON’T talk about fan-service or slam it for the clothes… mostly because as you say, there isn’t a lot of damsel in distress or as many camera shots where the camera lingers over the girls butts and boobs as there could’ve been or other such things. This was before their wave of DLC arrived (and man do I think their DLC is BORING AS SHIT, apart from the halloween outfits its just low-effort bikinis and maid outfits that don’t even fit their personalities, just a lot of samey models that have different color schemes at best), but still- I gave it a seven out of ten because it had speedy fighting action, a solid netcode, was pretty easy to learn. A good, fun fighting game.

    But I ALSO mentioned that the story was dumb as mud (the only interesting part was Hitomi being awesome and adorable in her campaign only to losing to the president of dullsville Jan Lee and Elliot and Brads foodfight, the rest was just disorienting and unengaging), and that the character design of DoA is generally kind of boring. Way better than in previous games when they all had this interchangeable samefaced plastic doll-look to them, but I still felt that there was a lack of difference to their designs that make each of them stand out as their own entity with an identifiable, iconic moveset of their own. And wouldn’t you know it, I was accused of being a western-fag who liked the new, uglier designs (because making them slightly more realistic was throwing them into the grimy swamp of WESTERN DESIGN and punishable by mockery) who wanted them to wear all-covering nun outfits. Like, my complaint was essentially that I REALLY like Guilty Gear and its VERY different and recognizable characters, and DOA wasn’t really to my tastes in that regard! But nope- I’m a western-fag.

    The less said about the five out of ten I gave Killer is Dead for being the LEAST intelligent and downright mechanically unenging game Suda ever put his name on, the better.

    But, okay- those were all targets that were going to draw heat, and people were perhaps all wound up and in defense positions from the start. Let’s turn our attention to the latest review I wrote in January before I took a break to focus on other ventures/find a job: Bravely Default.

    I do not even mention the Spellfencer job and how the men get a fully covering beduin-style outfit while the girls dress like belly-dancers, one of few jobs with this kind of outfit-disparity. I don’t even mention the sideplot where a creepy dude drugs an entire nation of women to use them for experiments (and imply he does a whole lot worse) and almost destroys their culture for the sake of advancing his own career and pleasure… and then the game just kind of never adresses this again after we kill him. He just did horrible things but it seems to leave no scars on people or effect the world, because that whole thing was an optional sideplot that you can totally ignore if you rush through the game. I don’t talk about how Ringabel half the time is funny but the other half comes of as an ass who thinks with his dick. That’s perhaps a little too personal I think, a bit too up to my personal taste. What I do call attention to is the fact that the game gets very repetitive and that much of the conflict stem from the most embarassing attempts to prolong drama by having characters just refuse to talk plainly about their goals or budge from what everyone can agree on are very bad ideas. I also mention that some characters are rooted in very old school japanese rpg archetypes and then never really develop beyond them, their archetypes are seldom made into living, breathing and threedimensional characters by the writing.

    I thus hate JRPGs for having their own identity separate from Western RPGs, and judge its story unfairly because its “just” a 3DS rpg (I did state that I kinda dislike the fact that the cities are mostly just two very pretty but rather empty screens at best which I get could be due to budget and platform limitations but man I wanted FF9 tier environments!) and I should play Dragon Age if I want that. I gave it seven out of ten. A weak seven and it was mostly due to loving the job-system, but a seven none the less.

    Now as you say, sometimes gamers are stupid. But I am noticing a BRAND of stupid here. One that isn’t misspelled or obnoxious ALL the time, but can be quite subtle and devious. A brand that SAYS it wants debate, but not really. That seems to think that criticism against japanese games are critiques against Japan as a whole. And mercy on your soul if you try and criticize dubious sexual or culturally insensitive stuff . Play Western games, you traitor. Don’t talk about these things. Don’t criticize these things. Don’t point out anything about our beloved games that will make us feel bad or insecure.

    Because boy howdy, is there a shit-ton of insecurity going around the Internet at these thigs. It seems to me there’s a strong conservative mindset here that wants to spin a coccoon around their things, their toys, and anything that threatens it must be cleansed with flames. And when I try to debate these comments and explain my decisions and thoughts in greater detail… sometimes I succeed. One out of ten seem to either get where I’m coming from or just bow out gracefully. Three out of ten refuse to even entertain the notion of letting me have my opinion and the rest just fall silent, and come back to issue the exact same complaints another day for another review.

    If I didn’t love Japanese games after years of playing them, and coming of age in the awesome and mostly female side of the fandom that loved talking about them and analyzing them and what you could read into stories, positive as well as negative? The so far all-male members of the Japanese Defense Force would have made me hate them.

    And I’m just smalltime. A blogreviewer who ocassionally posts in forums. I look at the big name people, the ones who suffer so much more than I do, read the stories of how female bloggers receive threats and are told they will be raped (which I HAVE seen happens almost exclusively with female writers so there IS a discrepancy between threats to female and male writers that needs to be adressed) over and over, and then I look at gamergate and I see in there the people who have harassed me and women I follow, repeat these conspiracy theories that bitchwhores planned their own harassment, that they only got to where they got by sex, that THE MENZ are the opressed when its they who always start screaming and swearing and harassing…

    It’s hard to look at that and be sympathetic towards Gamergaters.

    Part of me is so tired it doesn’t even want to debate anymore. I’ve been burned too many times- had too many engage me, say they want to talk but when I give them the chance I see the same talking points I’ve either debated our outright refuted so many times in the past, and I see the same tendencies to deflect, dance around my arguments or just move the goalposts around. I once had someone say we shouldn’t even criticize Japanese designers for doing racially insensitive portrayals of native Americans and black people, because they don’t know the cultural context between them and informing them of it would be imposing OUR cultural values on them instead of letting them develop their own, holy, sanctified glorious Nihon version of western racist stereotypes. Because that would enrichen the world. And besides, we have TMNT which is almost yellowface so we shouldn’t complain about Japanese/Korean blackface.

    Yes. Really. That was an argument someone made once.

    Time after time, this pattern re-emerges. Is it any wonder you get tired? Is it any wonder that women, who receive rapethreats so often its practically expected, get tired? That after a while we just shut down debate because we’ve been burned too many times, and just get annoyed by people showing up and demanding we debate them because THEY’RE different? Like… even if that’s true. Even if they do have new arguments, even if they are respectful of limits and personal borders, it’s just been done so many times by so many who demand our time. Sometimes it’s to the point where I think that the best choice really is to shut this all down. Ignore gamergate. Ignore everyone who wants to take up your time. Forget about debate altogether, put up your middle fingers to the world and let the shouting heads shout.

    But. I realize that’s a pretty defeatist thought. There does need to be a debate, and I’m not half as tired as thise who’ve really suffered here and the world isn’t hopeless. It just sure as fuck feels like that sometimes.

    So I try to listen. And I think I can see part of the reason why decent people also support it, like you and Boogie. People feel attacked by the articles declaring gamers dead. I get it on a certain level- large amount of articles at the same time condemning gamers, made by media outlets while a wave of distrust and anger sweep the internet? It’s a conspiracy! It has to be!

    But when I read them, some of them just sounds to me like arguments I’ve heard people say before. Arguments I even agree with at times. It’s the arguments of people who’ve put up with so much SHIT for so long, and will put up no more. People who are just so tired and drained from bearing the burden of being public figures in a hobby that DOES have problems with misogyny and hate among its clientele.

    Not ALL of them mind, some of them like the one from the Devin guy who thinks everyone must rearrange all our values regarding how we view games from Gamasutra went too far. Leigh Alexander is DEFINITELY blowing her top, but honestly? I don’t know her past but from all the things I’ve seen I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the things she’s saying stems from personal experience, and things I myself have thought in my darkest moments. But I read other articles and I find myself nodding respectfully, corny and awkward as the term is. Because I’ve been in the situations they describe, and I agree with their conclusions.

    But there is something more to this, I think. And truth be told, your Dreamcast day video (posted a comment there as well) helped me sort some of these thoughts out.

    Arcade fell to cinematic. Cinematic games created a new style of reviewing, where other values beside the purely mechanical had to be pointed out. And now, we see a new era….

    The era where every era seems to exist simultaneously, along with a NEW era. The era of games like Gone Home, Stanley Parable and Dear Esther. Games which don’t have many mechanics to talk about. Games where you have to cover new ground if you want to talk about and review them, approach them with a whole ‘nother toolbox than the games of yesteryear. But at the same time, arcade is back baby! Shovel Knight! Skull Girls, Devils Dare (new four-player beat-em-up where you fight with chars that reference everything from captain commando to golden axe), new River City Ramson, Gryphon Knight, Shantae has TWO games in the pipeline! The age of old-school is reborn online!

    But- I hear you say. Why then is the big op-eds not written about these games? Sure, they get articles, they get reviews, public love, but when given the chance in their personal journals a lot of journalists mostly seem to talk about the games of a new age. Papers Please, Gone Home, Depression Quest etc. Why is this?

    I think this IS the sign of a schism. But I don’t think it’s anything intentionally malicious. I don’t think it’s SJWs trying to take your games away-

    -And I’ll just make an aside here to argue that no serious feminist IS arguing for this that I have seen, and I am perfectly okay with saying that those who do are a minority that has little actual power to affect games UNLIKE the pervasive denial of sexism that has caused the whole “not all men” line so I am not to keen on that “not all feminism” part-

    -but a whole field of journalists who are tired of writing what they’ve already covered so many times, and moving on to something new. Something fresh, something human that truly moves them. But… I do believe that it means the kind of game writing you like, the one that mostly focus on describing and analyzing mechanics, of considering how the many different design aspects of a game congeal into a brilliant whole, the style that I personally swear by as well, is on the way out.

    For THESE writers.

    Because they’ve fallen out of love with it. That is what I believe is going on. No conspiracy. No dark movement to steal the life from the arcade era as it mounts its online-comeback. Just a whole bunch of people who feel they’ve said their piece on the old and want to move on to the new. And quite honestly, I can’t blame them. Again, my own experiences in this area is that things can get nucking futs because, for reasons both valid and not so much, the Japan Defense Force are some thin-skinned people. When you’re the subject of so much online bile for so long, you reach a breaking point sooner or later. You see the things these people tend to have in common, their love of power fantasy games, their distaste of anything having to do with politics or feminism or anything deeper than “you are fucking awesome and if you buy our product you will be even FUCKINGER awesome”. That congeals. That forms something new, a distaste that, I admit, leads to the creation of a world view that divides people into sides. And when the other side seems to take up some really nasty ass people, I can’t exactly find it in my heart to give gamergate the benefit of doubt that they’re NOT a movement of conservative gamers who just wants everything to be the way THEY want it to be.

    But. I admit. If I’m gonna start calling out unpleasant leading men and ladies, you could probably respond in kind with shitty people on my side, and I don’t know if that’d lead us anywhere good. Lord knows there’s shitty people, doxxing and harassment to go around here.

    And if I’m to be really honest, part of me doesn’t even WANT to talk sides because part of me is scared. Scared that the shitty people I describe that have turned me off gamergate, which I think you also would desribe as shitty people, will be the side that claims the growing arcade era. Who create their own pages where they talk arcade design and aesthetics, because fuck yeah I want to talk that, but fuck no I don’t want to talk with these people who refuse actual debate and just ad hominem and insult and scream until nothing is done, I don’t want them to own the new arcade games. I don’t want video game journalism to split off into a conservative side that owns arcade, a leftist side that owns the new story games and I dunno- some freaking TMZ-equivalent to discuss the cinematic huge budget Call of Duty and Final Fantasy games. That is what I’m scared talking sides will do.

    But I was introduced to Gamergate through the same people who refuse discourse that have plagued my internet days since forever. Even the notion that we should probably not have been so shitty to Jack Thompson was introduced to me by someone who used that argument to shout down anyone who stood up for Zoe Quinn, wondering where they were when Jack Thompson was being harassed… while using language and tone that made it CLEAR he was one of the people who probably called Thompson every dirty name under the sun back then and as such probably didn’t give a shit about anything other than having word bullets to spray against anyone he disagreed with.

    So in the end, that is where I stand. I read that article from the Escapist, and I see a number of women who probably see in Gamergate the same shit they’ve had to endure for years. I don’t think it’s a matter of explaining gamergate to them- I think they’ve seen enough of it to form their own opinions, as have I. They see the rape threats in voluminous amounts their male colleagues don’t receive. They see the distrust to their testimonies and the conspiracy theories spun around them, the “real” truths that only white knights are blind to, the real birth certificates- I mean connections that run all the way up to DARPA or whatever the hell they’re spinning now. The constant misrepresentation of words and ghosts where there are none. They know what that is, because they’ve seen enough of it in their days.

    And I see a lot of scared people. I see an industry that’s changing. And I see a journalism that DOES have corruption problems, but not where Gamergate mostly seem to claim they originate. And I feel so very tired. And I feel so very drained. And I feel apprehensive to write even this, even though I do trust you to carry actual discourse about this issue, because you’re wearing a moniker with some skeevy ass history behind it that makes me tired just to look at it. And that isn’t fair to you. You believe in this. You probably have some good people on your side. And just as I am weary from all the bad on that side (and there we go again with that scary word, it always has to come down to that don’t it?), so are probably you from all the bad you see from my side.

    But if I look inward, and I ask myself where I’d stand if a line must be drawn? I stand with the side where the people who gave me comfort and good feels during these stormy internet years stand. And I don’t see those people in Gamergate.

    Significantly less dramatic P.S: DmC not getting called out more WAS pretty bullshit though. Like, yeah- DMC4 had a female character that was a cipher damsel in distress, a plot that was a hot mess and Trish turned into a black woman and flashed her ass for no conceivable reason (and Lady got a Stripperific outfit that I to this day think is WAY uglier than her DMC3 outfit) and the only DMC title that had playable characters were DMC2 which we mostly seem content to ignore so the old school series ain’t totally free from that criticism… but DmC doing nothing with Eva but turning her into a victim who passed NOTHING on to her sons, instead making the story WAY more about Sparda and Mundus to “foreshadow” the brothers conflict but forgetting to make Mundus anything but a powerhungry sleaze that wasn’t a reflection on Vergil in any meaningful way, turn Vergil into a villain with no intelligence, make Mundus “wife” a blank hostage who gets killed to further the plot and who doesn’t even FIGHT her own bossbattle and THEN make Kat a damsel only to attempt to subvert it by having her acquire info during capture in a way that just makes the forces of evil look incompetent… yeah. Can’t say I liked that at all.

    So I guess that part of me agrees that sometimes, the journalists of today are overtly critical of japanese games and things they perceive to be regressive in those games but lenient towards other games that deserve closer scrutiny, so I feel ya there… but then I look at the writers which the other side would rather prefer, not to mention the quality of their own writing and discourse and consider swapping what we have with what they want… yeah. That is another do not want.

    • GEL Says:

      First of all, let me say THANKYOU. From what you said you sound REALLY tired of this and I can understand that. This IS tiring and I’ve wanted to try and figure out what the “other side” is even all about because I literally cannot make sense of them. What they think GamerGate is and what I think GamerGate is are so completely different it’s utterly baffling!

      Which brings me to something disturbing that you said: that this is a “conservative” movement. This baffles me because I’m rather liberal, as are the grand majority of people within GamerGate. Seems like MOST gamers are rather liberal really. HOWEVER, it IS true that a lot of the pro-GamerGate news is coming from conservative outlets. Probably because anti-gamergate is ALSO liberal and they see this as the perfect oppritunity to take swipes at them. I think the best description of the issue was this one article talking about “The Anti-Liberal Left”:
      http://www.thenation.com/blog/179160/cancelcolbert-and-return-anti-liberal-left
      Things like being compared to birthers really deeply bothers a lot of GamerGate folk and causes many to instantly ignore what you have to say. Yeah there are conspiracy theories but when there is so much widespread censorship in a way that has never been seen before, it really freaks people out. The reality it seems is less conspiracy and more groupthink than anything. Heck, GamerGate does it too: There is no real leader, just people throwing around ideas and suggestions and following through.

      I think perhaps you’ve hit on something interesting though because everything you’ve said about GamerGate is exactly how I feel about Anti-GamerGate: people who have made me feel awful, who do not want debate, who resort to bullshit ad homenim attacks.

      I really wish I could better articulate just how awful SJWs make me feel. I mean that two year near hiatus I took? That was because I was deeply depressed and contemplating suicide, or at the very least chopping my own dick off because of the shit SJWs have said. I didn’t really snap out of it until I read an article declaring all gamers to be rapists and that if you were angry? “That’s your privaledge kicking”. This made me so furious that I was over my depression…but with a newfound loathing of SJWs.

      It’s like we can only see the “good” on our own side and the “bad” on the other. It’s like I can more easily say “Oh that guy is just a nut don’t worry about him” when he’s on my side than when he’s on the other, wherin it feels like an active attack against me.

      Perhaps that’s what’s really at the heart of GamerGate though: while both sides are equally bad, we keep seeing Game Journalists try to act like they’re better than everyone else. It’s a vibe we’ve BEEN getting and to have it so soundly confirmed with those “Gamers are Over” articles just cemented it. It isn’t that “we” are better, it’s that we’re all the same.

      But on the other hand you bring up a really good point: writers take comments on their articles very seriously and when you get a bunch of angry dumbasses yelling at you, it’s frustrating. Moreso when they aren’t clearly just a bunch of angry kids but well read adults who just cannot take criticism of something they love. But the question is: what can anyone actually DO about that?! Grow a thicker skin? But does that not also come with growing a bigger ego? Aren’t oversized egos entirely the problem? It’s a self perpetuating cycle.

      It’s like the battle lines are drawn all wrong! Both sides are Gamers, both sides are against harassment, both sides have harassers on their side that they can’t do anything about. It feels like we need to be focusing on internet harassment culture, which has nothing to do with gamers as harassment on the internet exists everywhere and EVERYONE is sick of it. The problem is that we’re blaming eachother for the same thing. It’s nuts!

      But how the heck does anyone even redraw those battle lines?! How do we fix this?! The rift between these two sides is immense and I don’t see it closing. Unfortnately it seems like the only option *IS* for GamerGaters to strike out on their own and build their own gaming websites, effectively creating a “red” and “blue” side of gaming. Unfortunately this does NOT fix the problem of rampant egotism as there is nothing to prevent GamerGate websites from becoming just as arrogant and, eventually, both sides just firing shots at one another for all eternity like Repulicans and Democrats. Perhaps if we luck out we’ll get a “centrist” site too that sees both sides but somehow I doubt that’ll happen (well…The Escapist might). I can easily see this having a negative impact on games as well, the two sides becoming increasingly extreme and developers being forced to take a side and thus their games becoming more extreme in their representation. This would, in turn, lead to some more loathesome reboots of beloved franchises and piss off gamers even more adding fuel to the eternal fire…

      …fuck.

      In many ways reading your opinion makes me regret taking a “side” in this as I do value your readership and comments and I feel kinda bad that my stance made you wince.

      However…I can’t forget some of the crap I’ve seen:

      The little nuances in how articles on “sexism in videogames” are written that make it clear the author does not want to inform or debate, only to feel superior. Like when talking “sexualized women” they NEVER bring up what a “sexualized man” is or if they do they dig up an example designed not to titillate women but to disturb men (or possibly titillate gay men, which is a whole other angle that muddies up everything. Thinking specifically of that Male Lara Croft who had no shirt and shorts half the size of Lara’s).

      Or how many times when a journalist is rallying against sexism he himself acts in an overwhelmingly sexist way. (Greg Costikyan)

      How about when Penny Arcade Report did that article on “Games with Female Characters Don’t Sell” and completely glossed over the rather shocking fact that nearly 50% of the games in the study gave a gender choice/multiple characters of different genders! Then, bring up the fact that “Only 1 RPG had an exclusively female lead”. A fact that Ben Kuchera would later use to try to push that RPGs are the most sexist genre ever when doing a story on “Indie Dev makes Phantasy Star homage with female lead, 6 guys complain politely”. What ISN’T mentioned in either of these instances is that there was only one RPG because RPGs tend to either have multiple characters or a custom character hence why they don’t have an exclusively female lead…unless you’re talking about Neptunia, which no one mentions is their “one RPG”. XD

      It feels like too often you just have journalists using these issues to make themselves look better, rather than actually trying to figure out what the issue is, why it exists, and what can be done to solve it.

      …and then you have the nutjobs. People like Alex Lifschitz absolutely terrify me.

      It sounds to me like you’re trying for the most part. ESPECIALLY in your choice to leave out certain things like the Spell Fencer costume thing (wouldn’t a better question be why aren’t they BOTH Arabian themed?). I think a part of the issue is that we get so caught up in trying to find and complain about sexism that we ignore important things like context. I just read a copy of Ben Kuchera’s KOFXIII article where he barely mentions the game (though he does admit it’s great) and instead focuses entirely on sexism and racism. I’ll give him that the jungle stage is…eyebrow raising. Without question. However complaining about Mai while ignoring the fact that she wasn’t in the previous game because the devs were too busy making Ash Crimson play with his hair in the sexiest way possible seems off. Utterly disregarding King because of the ability to destroy her shirt (a callback to Art of Fighting’s Samus Surprise with her) in spite of how otherwise awesome she is. But the BIG one was his complaints about sexist character dialogue. I do admit since these games are fantasy there is no reason to HAVE sexist attitudes in them. However, lame though it may be, stories of dealing with sexism exist for a few of the ladies in KOF. Hwa is SUPPOSED to be an asshole and after he complains about having to fight girls in the tournament, Yuri calls him out on it and…oh right! It’s a reason to FIGHT in a FIGHTING GAME. I mean, look, what he says is true but it’s also incredibly skewed, ignoring context or anything positive in order to highlight the negative.

      Yes, the negative should be discussed but…well…it feels like everyone is doing it wrong. Intentional or not, people seem to have gotten this idea in their heads that “rooting out sexism in videogames makes me a better, more mature person” and try waaay too hard. It’s just a mess.

      I think all I can say is: EA was right.

      Yeah one of the higher ups at EA said “this isn’t about eithics, this is’t about sexism, this isn’t about SJWs, it’s about a huge disconnect between game journalists and their audience” and now that I think about it, I couldn’t agree more.

      I mean, what caused this rift? Why is there a rift in the first place. The more I look at it, the more I see Anti-GG people as being folks who still trust game journalists and are willing to take their word as fact, or at least having more validity than some random gamer on the internet. Meanwhile, Pro-GG is the opposite. These people, myself VERY much included, don’t trust the average game journalist’s opinion as much as a misspelled GameFAQs post written entirely in caps. We’ve been burned too many times, seen too much hypocracy, and then we see a large chunk of these people turn around and claim to be BETTER than gamers.

      Perhaps that’s where this has to start: Journalists need to reconnect with gamers. Which is hard when they’ve suffered so many slings and arrows from the more caustic ones. But more of them need to realize they’re not “better” than anyone. If nothing else, appeal to people’s humanity.

      I know this post is long, rambly, and I don’t know if I even made a solid point after 3 days of trying to figure out what to say. Either way I thank you for not dismissing me outright. If you look, I think you’ll find many others in GamerGate who are less toxic as well. Heck, I’ll point you to some good articles if you’re curious. Not required reading but if you ever wanted to see others who aren’t crazy, go ahead and check these out:

      “An Issue With Agendas” – Talks about why people don’t like agenda driven game journalism
      https://unprofessionalportfolio.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/an-issue-with-agendas/

      “Tripping on Air” – Pre-GamerGate piece that discusses the disconnect between gamers and journalists
      http://www.gatheryourparty.com/2014/07/16/tripping-on-air-why-game-journalists-cant-describe-games/

      Come to find out the rest of my “good articles” pile touches on some other subjects both of us are avoiding bringing up and I’d rather ot derail our focus here.

      Anyway, thanks again for commenting. I hope I didn’t miss any important points XO

      • Göran Isacson Says:

        Sorry for the lateness (Been clearing up the backlog, just cleared up Battle Fantasia after WAY too much time went between purchase and play), but I wanted to add some cents.

        When I said conservative, I should have been clearer- I didn’t mean conservative politically, so much as conservative when it comes to games. I notice that among gamergaters there seem to be a large contingency who want the discussion of games to revolve around the games THEY like and grew up with, games of skill and arcade-y action. They talk of how games should have a fail-state or you need a score or some kind of competition, etc etc. That was what I meant about “conservative”, that there seems to be a desire to conserve those games and push games that don’t fit the bill out… which coincidentially seem to be the kind of games that a lot of journalists talk about these days, like your Depression Quests, Stanley Parable and Gone Home etc, games that might be more about a story and uncovering it rather than something with rules and such.

        And I wonder if maybe that also has something to do with the split- that, as I said, the journalists might be going “huh, most of the annoying gamers I have to deal with really seem to be all about those type of games, whereas it seems like the crowd I draw if I talk about the new type of games are far less blunt and crude and liable to call me faggot”. That was mostly what my point about gaming press dividing itself into two sides was about- that it may be the case that the “old school” games, your arcade games and such, get to be on one side while all the games which you could maybe call “interactive narratives” are on one side. And I wonder if that’s another split we might see- two different side of gamerdom who wants to talk about and write about two very different fields and styles of video games… forced to mingle with a camp that doesn’t even like the other style, making for even MORE trouble and potential conflicts and conspiracy theories of “YOU WANT MY KIND OF GAME TO BE DESTROYED” when really, it’s just that they don’t want to talk about them… and are being terrible at communicating that in a civilized manner.

      • GEL Says:

        Ah! Indeed (confound the reply system not letting me directly reply to a third reply or whatever)! Now see THAT I can agree with! Sorry I jumped the gun there, just that a lot of folks have been trying to label GamerGate as a politically conservative movement. But conservative in terms of the content of games? Yes. Absolutely.

        Heck, bringing up The Stanley Parable makes it a little awkward to me because I was kinda into that one from what I saw of the original mod. I think there is definite value in interactive stories and have no qualms with that, but I DO get this massive air of “trying too hard” from much of the gaming press.

        Like it feels like games which ARE interactive stories get praise for reminding people of movies, rather than actually having a good story. Good writing in videogames is admittedly hard to come by and I’ve even thought about doing an episode on that: What game genres best tell a story (RPGs and Point n’ Clicks) and why (indirect character control), the positives of Ludonarrative Dissonance as well as the negatives, ect. Heck I think I need to bump that up in the priorities and get my game snob on! XD

        The issue of hostile commentators is one I see a LOT from my other journalist friend and I’ve also been thinking about WHY Game Journalists are so irritated. Might be doing an article on that soon because while a lot of this behavior is pretty embarassing, the general gaming audience doesn’t entirely comprehend how shit many Game Journalists have it. I still think I see a lot of garbage writing, but there is a reason: the entire system is broken. I don’t just mean advertisers and ethics and crap, I mean from what I understand most Game Journalists don’t really make enough money to live off of! Thus they can’t exercise the necessary focus to really analyze a game!

        Also I was thinking about the growing rift in gaming and…well I am starting to warm up to the idea. Because right now it feels like there’s only one “side” to game journalism. It feels like too much is being ignored and too many sites have the same viewpoint. Perhaps having more varied opinions would be a very good thing! It’s just a question of taking the hostility out of it. Which…is a large part of the problem: Lots of hostility from gamers. Even if they don’t represent all gamers, some people are just…aggressive. In all areas. Gaming, sports, even social justice. There’s…just a lot of aggression and I dunno WHAT to do about that.


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