Q: What is Gamergate?
A: Gamergate is a manufactured, bullshit “scandal” specially constructed for and by total dipshits with nothing of value to offer the human race.
Q: How did Gamergate begin?
A: Some woman broke up with a guy, and instead of being an adult about it he started whining about her on his personal blog. Part of that whining included the accusation that his ex supposedly had “romantic” relations with video game journalists so as to garner positive press for her own game. Legions of socially-inept morons, convinced that women use their vaginas to control men, decided to get justice the only way they knew how- by sending death threats to their target and attempting to destroy her life online. Gamergate believers concocted a vast, elaborate conspiracy theory as to how women and feminists are creating a secret network aimed at destroying their precious video games.
Q: What exactly are Gamergaters afraid of?
A: It’s hard to say exactly, but it seems their main fear is that the industry will come under the influence of a handful of feminists. At this point, they will stop making highly profitable games such as Battlefield or Call of Duty and instead create feminist-themed games where the only protagonists are female and the menstrual cycle is an in-game feature. Firearms and swords will be replaced by a pointing finger which “calls out” misogynistic enemies and instructs them to “check their privilege.” This is only the tip of the iceberg. Once the feminist tentacles manage to fully isolate the balls of the gaming industry, thus shriveling them to the point of decay, game developers may integrate future titles with special vaginally-based ID systems. Males will still be allowed to play, but any female player will have the power to instantly remove them from any multiplayer game. Obviously, much is at stake!
Q: But surely these individuals represent only a minority of gamers!
A: Probably, but the thing about vocal active minorities is that they can do a lot of damage. Euromaidan certainly proved that. So long as the majority doesn’t actively come down on lynch mobs like this, or their sympathizers, they will continue to wield a lot of influence. When we hear about the government collecting our metadata, engaging in censorship, and detaining people based on classified evidence, our response is typically outrage. Yet we say nothing when anonymous individuals accountable to no one accuse, try, convict, and sentence people online, over the stupidest, most trivial non-scandals.
This sort of lynchmob activity has become well known in the gamer community, and it certainly isn’t limited to issues like sexism:
Q: Okay, what can I possibly do to differentiate myself from these Gamergaters?
A: Inform people that they are morons. If you see someone on the Gamergate bandwagon, make sure you inform them of how idiotic and ridiculously immature they sound. Some of these people actually wake up when they realize how stupid their tantrums look to normal people. Granted, many do not, but if some of these people start to notice a pattern by which every time they bring up their conspiracy theory they receive a slew of negative reactions, they might reach an epiphany. Far more importantly, do not let video games become such a focal point in your life that you are willing to destroy someone’s life via the internet, or tolerate those who do. They just don’t fucking matter that much.
Still not sure what it means to be too into video games? Watch this sad pathetic video:
Do not be that guy. His parents failed him. His teachers failed him. The media failed him. Society failed him. And now he is a failure. Is this who you want to be?
Q: But what about Anita Sarkeesian, the “pop culture critic” and author of Tropes vs. Women in Video Games?
A: I actually have a lot of criticism of Sarkeesian’s work, but sadly we can’t have a debate about that because the immediate reaction she has received toward much of that work has been white hot hatred in the form of death threats and rape threats. So those who engaged in these harassment campaigns attempted to censor Sarkeesian and failed, but they succeeded in censoring any rational debate.
Q: But Sarkeesian is a fraud and people give her all this praise because they see her as a victim!
A: Yeah, people tend to be hesitant to criticize someone receiving numerous death and rape threats simply for voicing their opinions. Maybe if people had responded in a more rational and civilized way, a public debate would ensue and Sarkeesian’s patrons would realize that being a self-proclaimed “pop culture critic” doesn’t mean anything or denote any actual expertise, and they’d also look at her work on video games more critically.
Q: Where exactly do you stand on Sarkeesian’s work regarding women in video games.
A: For the record, I feel that if I were given far fewer resources and ordered to produce a video series about sexism in video games, I would probably do a better job. For one thing, I wouldn’t spend nearly an entire video talking about every aspect of the “damsel in distress” trope, nor would I use pretentious-sounding concepts like the “subject object” relationship. Numerous games feature male characters in need of rescue, and obviously characters who need to be rescued cannot act for themselves, otherwise we wouldn’t have a game. Sarkeesian doesn’t seem to understand the concept of supporting characters vs. protagonists; in fact it seems like she doesn’t understand what “tropes” really are. If she did, she’d realize that the easiest, simple solution to shallow, passive female characters in games is to simply make more female protagonists, because the protagonist should always be the most developed character. I could also easily point out some games with good portrayals of females, as well as ones which showed great potential in this respect, yet totally blew it. I could do all that for nothing more than the cost of a decent video camera.
Let the reader take note that all the above criticism is about her work, not her as a woman or even as a person. Let the reader also take note that while I did feel that some of her claims were ridiculous or inaccurate, at no time have I experienced rage or any strong emotions in response to anything Sarkeesian has ever said. Even when she makes numerous factual errors about certain video games, I do not get upset. Why? Because they’re fucking video games, that’s why.
Q: What do you think is the solution to this sort of thing, ultimately?
A: Don’t take pop culture topics so damned seriously. Speaking for myself, I am totally fed up with people’s “fandoms” and the spread of phony “nerd culture.” I get that you might be upset when someone joins your particular fandom after it became mainstream and their knowledge of the subject might be nothing compared to yours. But how important is that really? When you go plastering your fandom over all your social media what did you expect to happen? Personally I don’t give a fuck about your Minecraft, your Game of Thrones, Dr. Who, or your stupid comic books that you only started reading once Hollywood began flooding our cinema screens with superhero flicks. Yes I love movies. Yes I love video games. I have strong opinions about both. However, I save my emotion, indeed my passion, for serious causes, be they political or personal.
In short, realize that while your fandom is everything within its own community of fans, either online or off, the rest of humanity isn’t necessarily interested. Many fans simply do not realize that their behavior online can often be just as annoying as a person proselytizing their own religion.
The spread of fandom is little more than a marketing scheme, like so many that came before. Consumers are encouraged to distinguish themselves by dedicating themselves to this or that particular fandom, and dedication means buying a lot of shit. At the end of the day that is the extent of your loyalty. You buy these games, you sometimes buy merchandise associated with them, you go to events and buy stuff. There simply is no deeper relationship between you and Mario, your slash fiction and Rule 34 art aside.
Q: Wow that’s a lot to think about. What should I do now?
A: Not knowing your current status it is hard to say, but I recommend going outside at the nearest possible opportunity and spending at least several hours in that state, preferably interacting with other human beings should they be available.