Monday, 9 February 2015

Gamergate: A Brief History

Recently a little spat on the Internet arose between a group of gamer activists, operating under the adopted name of 'gamergate', protesting against what they perceive as corruption and unethical behaviour in video game journalism, and a group of radical feminists and social justice warriors who claim that video games, the gaming industry, and gamergate are all misogynistic. When did this all begin? Awhile back, a fellow named Eron Gjoni made a blog post where he said that his ex-girlfriend, game developer Zoe Quinn, engaged in numerous affairs with various men, including Kotaku writer Nathan Grayon, in exchange for positive reviews for her game, Depression Quest.

As for the truth of these allegations, I cannot say, but it did rile up gamers invested in integrity of video game journalism. Now, I, as a gamer, don't give a shit about video gaming journalism. I base my opinions of video games by actually playing those games instead of reading what other people think about it. Yet, I can see how this could potentially be a big deal to those who value video game journalism. This was exacerbated when certain videos critical of Quinn's game were taken down on YouTube, and it was subsequently discovered that various gaming journalists funded Quinn through her patreon account.

This is what started the gamergate movement. A bunch of gamers upset at the prospect that video game journalists are possibly engaging in shady ball-licking activity. What, then, does this have to do with misogyny? Well, Quinn is a woman, and received hate mail, death threats, rape threats, and had her personal information, including her address, published. However, whilst such behaviour is deplorable, individuals engaging in it aren't necessarily misogynistic just because Quinn is a woman.

Of course, Quinn was not the only one targeted. Game developer Brianna Wu, a vocal critic of the gamergate movement from the onset, and Anita Sarkeesian, a feminist who has published numerous videos criticising video games and the gaming industry as misogynistic, also came under scrutiny from gamergate, and began to receive similar threats also. The additional argument being made that Sarkeesian is being attacked because of her apparent expose of the misogyny in video games.

What is an issue is how it is only women who are being targeted for hate mail, death threats, etc. For a long time, enemies of gamergate have claimed that these threats, etc. have all come from gamergate. This is simply false. It has been well-known for a long time now that the threats, and online attacks are being made by third-party trolls who despise both the gamergaters and their enemies alike. Numerous gamergaters have been involved in ensuing that such attacks are reported to the relevant authorities. Moreover, whilst the harassment has been solely targeted against women, a telling clue can be found in the fact that actual gamergaters have been vocal critics of men and women.

Indeed, after the allegations were made against Quinn, it was not just Quinn herself who came under scrutiny, but the men she was allegedly having affairs with. When Brianna Wu was accused of shadiness, it was not just Wu who came under scrutiny, but the journalists who were allegedly acting in consort with her. The social justice warriors and 'feminists' attacking gamergaters include men, who are also being criticised by gamergaters.

As for the claims of sexism and misogyny in the video gaming industry, these claims are partially justified by the alleged misogyny in gamergate. Yet, not only is this claim of misogyny in gamergate ill-founded, there are a very many gamergaters who are women. Anita Sarkeesian came under scrutiny because of her video series alleging to demonstrate sexism and misogyny in the video gaming industry, not because she is a woman, or because her claims 'threaten' gaming, but because she is a fraud.

It has been well-documented for quite some time that Sarkeesian lied to her supporters, and has dishonestly cut and paste parts from video games, cherry picked out of context. She pledged to produce a certain number of videos over a certain period of time if she raised enough money on her kickstarter campaign page. Not only was that amount reached, it was exceeded. Despite this, she has still not published the promised number of videos despite having two years to have made them and is now asking for more money.

Regarding her claims of sexism and misogyny in video games, these are entirely unfounded. One main example she uses is the video game Hitman: Absolution. Sarkeesian claimed that players were actively invited and encouraged to murder female sex workers in a mission set in a strip club. The problem is that this is completely false. Players are PUNISHED for murdering civilians, female or otherwise. In the clip Sarkeesian herself provides, you can see the player score GOING DOWN. A similar claim is made regarding the game Watch_Dogs because of a mission set in a strip club, even though the player goal is to shut down an illegal sex working/trafficking ring and to liberate the women from said ring.

Another glaring issue is her pronouncements of the game Bayonetta being sexist. She claimed that the titular character was 'obviously' designed for the satisfaction of straight male gamers. The main character was designed by a woman. If you want actual examples of sexism in video games, then one would have thought Sarkeesian would have taken umbrage with the game Warface, where female characters were given very skimpy outfits in comparison to their male counterparts, despite being a military style first person shooter.

Of course, Sarkeesian is not interested in facts. She is interested in pushing an agenda. Moments after a school shooting in Maryville, Sarkeesian proceeded to blame school shootings on the 'patriarchy' and white males, and took the opportunity to make a bash at gaming. Wu has made similarly stupid claims herself. She ridiculed gamergaters for lusting after a world where female game developers were 3% of developers instead of 8%. In reality, 52% of gamers today are actually female and a lot of women are in the gaming industry today.

The fact of the matter is, Sarkeesian is a demonstrable fraud, the claims of misogyny are only being made because those being criticised happen to be women, and all of the hate mail, death threats, etc. have come from third party trolls. Gamergate is simply not misogynistic, and I say this as someone who does not care about video gaming journalism in the slightest. These SJWs and radical feminists are simply trying to shoehorn their toxic ideology in wherever they can, facts and logic be damned. Although, as stupid as the SJWs and feminists are, and even if the allegations made against Quinn and Wu are true, anybody who sends death threats, rape threats, etc. are pieces of shit.

Oh, and if anyone wants to send me hate mail, then I only accept entries made in hand-written triplicate. I have standards, I'm afraid.

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