“GamerGate”: Gamers Aren’t Bad People; Misogynists, Harassers and Troglodytes Are
A couple of weeks back, I stopped posting on here unannounced. That was in the midst of the Zoe Quinn controversy, since redubbed by unimaginative people as “GamerGate,” and there was no other news being reported by the gaming media. Normally, I would find something from the tech world or some videos to fill in the Friday (August 29th, if you’re keeping score at home) but I was absolutely defeated.
Not only had the Zoe Quinn story not died after the couple of weeks it had been alive but the discourse had gotten worse. It wasn’t just all the slut shaming, harassment, threats and other general misogyny that was directed at Zoe and anyone who spoke in support of her or against slut shaming, misogyny and the like. The gaming media, having spent the entire Zoe Quinn scandal not talking about the accusations of members of the gaming media compromising their professional ethics and integrity in dealings with Quinn, came out swinging and condemned gamers for being terrible people. They declared gamers dead.
They wildly missed the mark. Gaming isn’t dead. Gamers aren’t dead nor are they the worst people in the world. It’s the people who are spewing hate that are the real terrible people but they don’t represent all gamers.
Gamers are amazing people with a passion for a hobby enjoyed by billions (with a “b”). A study last year estimated that there are over 1.2 billion gamers in the world and that number has likely increased over the last ten months. I don’t need a study to tell me that not all of the 1.2 billion are the scum of the earth.
Don’t tell that to the big games media. They went to war on gamers. Not people slut-shaming Zoe Quinn. Not the ones threatening Anita Sarkeesian to the point where she left her home. Not the ones who chased Jenn Frank out of her chosen profession. Not the people spouting hate in comment sections, forums, social media and the like. They went after gamers with such articles as:
Gamasutra – ‘Gamers’ are over
Gamasutra – A guide to ending ‘gamers’
Destructoid – There are gamers at the gate, but they may already be dead
Kotaku – We might be witnessing the ‘death of an identity’
Rock, Paper, Shotgun – Gamers are over
I won’t link those because they’ve missed the point. The villains in this so-called #GamerGate (because you have to get that hashtag in) affair are those spewing hatred and those who don’t treat everyone as human beings. They might play games. They might identify as gamers. But these people do not represent all gamers. The number of gamers spouting the hate, harassment, threats and misogyny likely doesn’t even reach five figures. Even if there were 10,000 of them out there, they would only make up only 0.0008% of all gamers, a statistically negligible portion of the population but a portion who are being allowed and enabled to make the remaining 99.9992% of gamers look like troglodytes by the media corps that’s supposed to be catering to the same people they’re actively trying to make look and feel bad.
When I said that I was defeated a couple of weeks ago, I don’t want to paint the picture that I’ve been targeted by anyone even though I did have a column about the Zoe Quinn affair. I just felt browbeaten and blindsided that people who I identify as part of, both gamers and games journalists (because they’re all gamers too), would condemn gamers as a whole over the actions of a scant few individuals and want to no longer be identified as gamers. Those people deserve a telling off but not everyone that games is at fault.
I play video games. I am a gamer. I do not hide it. I do not apologize for it. That is who I am and I will not let people shame me for being a gamer.
Gamers aren’t dead. Gaming isn’t dead. The only thing dead is the relevancy of the gaming media. Their anti-gamer rhetoric is just clickbait. Maybe if we all just treated other people with respect and dignity, this whole matter wouldn’t get to this point. That goes for people on any side of the equation.
I don’t want to have to talk about this again.
Note: “Gamers are over” articles list from Slate. For a longer list with links: Slate – Gaming Journalism is Over