Why I don’t align with GamerGate

17 Oct

Let me make it clear from the offset: I have no idea what GamerGate really stands for. One hand, they say they are for proper ethics in video game journalism. On the other, they come off as a misogynistic hate group, if that’s true or not, I don’t know. Even if the core of GamerGate is anti-misogyny, the way they are perceived by the general population says otherwise. Is that unfair? Maybe. But to cling to this group, shrugging off the fact that it’s tainted, does any well intentioned actions a disservice.

I’ve talked to some people on Twitter who appeared to be pro GamerGate, through have not directly said as much, and they’ve dismissed the idea of reforming under a different banner, stating that the tolls would simply follow and ruin that name. And this is where I’m calling them out as being disorganized. If you’re going to stick with GamerGate as the name of the revolt, someone has to do some PR to seriously distance themselves from the tolls. Right now all the general public hears is, “Video games, journalism, hate against women, angry.” It’s like an aimless Hulk “Smash!”

And can someone please clarify the ethics in journalism angle for me? (And yes, I’m being serious and trying to be objective) I know pieces of Zoe Quinn story and the overarching thought stream of how gaming journalists need to be more ethical, but I don’t understand GamerGate’s reasoning. Delving specifically into the Zoe Quinn issue, people are upset that she supposedly exchanged sexual favors for a positive review of her game. True or not, my question is, “Who cares?”

Some of the more GamerGate aligned Tweeters were dismissive when I asked this, so let me clarify why I asked “Who cares?” Even if a dev swapped favors for a positive review, that’s just one review. (I hope most of us just don’t go by one review.) “But Zen, what if they slept with the whole industry?” One, it’s really highly unlikely if you factor in international reviewers and the sheer number of people in the industry; two, I’m sure that they would have been a bad lay at one point or another; and three I seriously hope that we aren’t just going by gaming journalists only but vetting the game through demos/gameplay footage/screenshots and our friends’ first day impressions or indie reviewers (there’s quite a bit on YouTube).

So I ask again, what is GamerGate all about? Video game reviews are subjective. What a reviews likes, you may hate and vice vesa. I personally have hated Bioshock Infinite and GTA V and loved Katamari Damacy, Torchlight II and Crackdown. And you may not agree with that and that’s fine. So why all the revolt?

Edit: I think I’ve found the crossroads that explains (at least me) what the correct side of GamerGate is about and was alluded to in my Twitter conversations with pro-Gamergaters; gamer’s felt let they were being disrespected by the gaming press by being lumped all together as basement dwelling, white, preteen boys squeaking out vitriol over headsets, with the press flying the “Gamer’s are dead” flag. I think Slate got this right. It’s not gamers who are dead. It’s gaming journalism. Traditional gaming journalism is running for the hills because there’s more and more competition out there that will review games for little to nothing. Hell, I’m still itching to play the Due Process alpha and can’t wait to share my thoughts on it and I’m not expecting a dime. I’ve even got a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications, so I could, if I wanted to, go and write for a review site or magazine. But then again, I don’t think I could make a living out of it, due to what we’ve covered here.

Final edit: Point being, and rehashing just so that I’m clear, GamerGate may have some good points, but they are tainted by misogynists. Every argument I’ve seen so far from them rings hollow. It’s great if they’re passionate about something, but passion without fact makes them look like Apocalypse heralding street corner preachers/mad men. I’m over it and I think most people are. Until they provide consistent proof about their point, I’m out and will no longer debate the point.

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