At Game Freaks 365, the goal and direction for our content has always been fair and unbiased coverage for all games -industry topics, current events, ‘gamer culture’ in general. We love video games and enjoy discussing them; unfortunately not everything is always ‘fun and games’, as the old saying goes.
It’s time to address the elephant in the room – “GamerGate.”
Continue reading after the break as we explore the GamerGate controversy in the first of a three-part series of features dissecting the broader issue of sexism within the video game industry, game design, marketing, and subculture.
What is GamerGate?
Among all the most acclaimed new releases, intriguing tech innovations and exciting headlines within the gaming industry, nothing has created more buzz than “GamerGate” in 2014.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter have seen their trending feeds fill with “GamerGate”. Names like Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian, Felicia Day, and Brianna Wu have been viral for weeks, dating back to the middle of August.
If you aren’t familiar, click one of the embedded links above and begin reading – just be prepared for some of the most confusing, pointless and intensely anti-feminist reading material you’ve probably seen in a while.
For all of the heated debate and discussion that seems to be focused on the topic, I feel it’s important to educate yourself and understand the true factors at play in the situation.
Furthermore I feel absolutely compelled to respond. For reasons that extend far beyond just the interests of video games; I can’t personally recall anything that has ever been more revealing, divisive, polarizing, and depressing about the state of the industry, the market and the subculture.
I feel it is necessary to state that I believe the most relevant and concerning issues regarding GamerGate have nothing to do with video games.
If your first concern when thinking about the topic is how it affects games, I believe you’re already losing the fight.
Make no mistake, I will go into great detail about how the bigger issues are reflected within the broad spectrum of video game culture in the following articles of this series – but for now, we all need to be on the same page about what is fact, and what is opinion.
Facts: Crimes against various women have been committed. These crimes include harassment – phone calls, emails, and ‘doxxing’ – to even more horrendous instances of privacy invasion, such as leaking nude photos.
Facts: Not only have all of these crimes been committed against a handful of individuals, their family members and friends have been harassed as well.
Facts: There have been death threats, rape threats, and even bomb threats. This has prevented Anita Sarkeesian from scheduled speaking events, most notably at Utah State University.
Facts: There has been a rippling effect within the industry – the ensuing harassment has directly ended the careers of passionate, successful and creative minds within the field.
The Bigger Picture
To be honest, I don’t really care to discuss much about opinions, because nothing you or I have to say can really change what has already happened – malicious harm, directed at innocent people.
I shouldn’t have to tell anyone, but there is nothing about playing video games and certainly not video game journalism, game design, or gamer culture that is important enough to terrorize the life of another person.
I am not saying that every person involved with the GamerGate situation is a dangerous person, but at this point the value of opinions has been absolutely quashed by the reality of harmful things happening in the real world.
If you feel in any way that the crimes committed against Anita Sarkeesian or Zoe Quinn were “justified;” if you try to rationalize this entire controversy as an act of “trolling” or fighting against “corrupt gaming journalism”, allow me to set you straight:
You aren’t defending the noble cause and good name of the video game industry. Video games don’t need you or your opinions. You’re an asshole, and people like you are not just harmful but also holding back progressive society.
GamerGate: Tear Down This Wall
GamerGate simply cannot be swept under the rug and disregarded as another ‘trending topic’.
Despite being a pain in the ass to read about and generally unpleasant to think about, it simply must be addressed to avoid further harm. Any decent human being should have sympathy and show their support, not encourage more hatred.
I do not mean to rant, and I intend to explore how we can be constructive with the next two articles in this series. As a community, fans of video games should embrace this sobering and humbling opportunity to understand.
We should empathize, connect, relate – not divide, exclude, or degrade. Not just as people who play video games – just as people, period.