Friday, October 3, 2014

From the Desk of a Gamer Mom

I am not a Gamer.  I have to put that disclosure up front.  I play Candy Crush Saga on my phone.  Occasionally I play Guitar Hero or Need for Speed on the Xbox.  However, video games do not hold my attention.  I just happen to the mom of several gamers.  Two of those gamers happen to be female.  Now with all the disclosure out of the way, I am going to write about #GamerGate.

Wait, one more disclosure.  I had someone recently tell me that the entirety of #GamerGate was about a bunch of misogynistic, racist, MRA pondscum, or something like that.  I agreed to disagree with him, because frankly, he's a blogger who I generally like reading his things, and I didn't want to start a war in which I would wipe the floor with him.  His entirety of the subject came from a few feminist-centric gaming journalism sites, and the real point of #GamerGate is a knife in gaming journalism.  He's not about to get an unbiased opinion from them.

Towards the middle of August, I was reading my regular news sites, and I came across an article about Feminists bullying gamers and developers in the gaming industry.  This was my introduction to #GamerGate, the politics of gaming and gaming journalism, and a person who I had never heard of before, Zoey Quinn.  Zoey Quinn is an independent (indie) game developer who released a game on Steam known as Depression Quest.  If you are not in the mood to turn on Radiohead's Creep and slit your wrists, Depression Quest is not for you.  It's development is elementary, it's plotline is downright maudlin, and I'm pretty sure the entire thing was about Social Justice and less about actual, you know, gaming.  It's essentially a novel walk through.  Although widely panned, Steam allowed her to put her game up, and she had favorable reviews from some gaming sites, most notably, Kotaku.  

It seems that Ms. Quinn's personal life blew up in a very public way.  Her boyfriend posted a rather long blog detailing their relationship, and her proclivity to cheat on him with several well-placed names in both the gaming industry and gaming journalism.  Let me add that this particular blog, complete with screen captures of text conversations between the two, was the smoking gun that many gamers needed to prove that there truly were unethical relationships between the industry and the professionals tasked with reviewing the industry.

Gamers had long suspected it, when the simple act of reviewing Gaming based corporations and their individual games was replaced by a rash of Social Justice OpEd's about how the game industry was full of misogyny.  Not just the developers of games, but the actual people who played the games.  Zoey Quinn was a loud voice in the Social Justice Warriors (SJW) movement in gaming.  Another well known name was Anna Sarkeesian.  

While Zoey's rather diverse sexual activities were on public display, it was not about the sexual activities, but more who they were with, and why, in some cases, she refused to make her relationship with her then boyfriend public. (As in, don't want to piss off the journalist I'm sleeping with and get bad press.)

Beyond that, it was suddenly becoming taboo to speak out about this new smoking gun on popular sites such as reddit and 4chan.  Ms. Quinn claimed copyright infringement on a photo image used in a youtube video, an image available in public on the Steam site, to have a video removed that pointed out some of her more egregious actions.  Whole threads and comments were removed.

But still, the main outrage is not connected to Zoey Quinn or her sex life.  It's that her sexlife revealed an unethical connection between Game Developers, Game Publishers, and the journalists who were supposed to be reviewing them.

At first Game Sites simply ignored the entire episode.  Then, in a move that would leave most normal people scratching their heads, twelve to fourteen articles appeared on gaming sites all over the net declaring that "Gamers were dead".  Nothing like spitting on the very people who actually, you know, read your garbage.  It was this move, this blatant refusal to cover a story that had wide reaching implications for an industry, along with essentially crapping all over the audience, that began #GamerGate.

There are so many youtube videos about this, I could not begin to point you to all of them.  InternetAristocrat has some very good links in his descriptions.  He does a good job of telling the story, although the language is vile in parts, so consider that before watching.  There was also a series of articles out of Breitbart London written by