Sunday, 7 September 2014
4chan know legitimate journalism
A while ago, I stated; "Gamers deserve better, but they also need to do better". Right now, more than ever, is that true in light of the last couple of weeks and the events that's lead to the ironically hashtagged, "Gamergate".
To shed some light on the rather blurry picture of events, the ex boyfriend of Zoe Quinn- creator of Depression Quest- publicly alleged that she had cheated on him with five different men, one of whom was Kotaku writer Nathan Grayson as well as posting personal info about Quinn. So, unsurprisingly, some 4chan members hacked Quinn's email and private photos and started harassing her.
So what do you think happened next? Did the gaming community, as a whole, finally galvanise against the loud minority of misogynists in gaming and the increasing hostility towards women, and other minority groups in video games? No, instead some interpreted the fact that Quinn's personal life wasn't being reported on as evidence on collusion between Quinn and the big gaming sites. Because maybe having shagged one games journalist meant having sway over the entire games media.
As if it wasn't bad enough that she was being harassed and threatened over who she choose to have sex with, she was now part of a industry-wide cover up. And people believed it! This was about two weeks ago and the obnoxious "gamergate" hashtag that's spawned from it. Now, if you've read this blog or any amount of time, you'll know I've been critical of games media to the point of bitter hostility. But I'm telling you right now, there is no collusion. There is no conspiracy. Because there is no story.
What exactly happened then? A relationship dissolved, and the boyfriend stupidly blubbed about it online. That's all we know. Was the relationship already on life support? Was the boyfriend abusive? Had the spark just petered out, and neither party was willing to admit it? I don't know. And, aside from whatever mutterings from those close to the people involved, no one else knows. And even if I did know, I wouldn't write anything about it for the same reason no other gaming site reported on it. It has nothing to do with video games. Let that settle in for a second...now say it with me, because this time (yes I'm looking at you Kotaku comments section) you can say it and it's fucking correct for a change. A broken relationship has nothing, NOTHING, to do with video games. And even less to do with video games journalism.
But, unfortunately it seems this hate campaign against women, disguised as a righteous backlash against an out of touch and corrupt media built up a head of steam. Now that's the real story. And the only reasons a gaming site didn't report it is because either they don't give a shit, can't keep up with how fast everything was moving, or they don't want to be the next target of abuse.
Lets not be in any doubt, this- as it was just revealed today- is a calculated attack on Zoe Quinn and an attempt to discredit the so-called "social justice warriors", feminists and women in general that are involved in video games. That was the sole motivation of gamergate. That's the story, that an extremist minority of arseholes found out some gossip about a female game dev, saw blood in the water and used a twitter hashtag to harass other women in gaming who spoke out on the matter. And all in the supposed name of anti-censorship and the pursuit of legitimate games journalism. Worse still, so many swallowed it and went on a delusional crusade against everything that's wrong with games journalism.
I (probably more than most) have been very critical of sites, publications and individuals that comprise the whole of video games media. At times unjustly so. I written and said things I certainly wouldn't write now. I've mouthed off in ways that sank any chances of being even a moderate success in games journalism. Ive been a bully and a creep. And I had the insidious, "Aw man, there's no girls here! Look, girls! Wait, they're not here to fuck us? Throw the girls out!" mindset. I was a creep and a bully.
But I never threatened anyone's personal safety, I never harassed anyone to the point they had to call the police or quit their profession. This has fuck all to do with ethics or censorship or painting all gamers as socially inept scumbags-because so far you're all doing a shit job of that. Even if you're not one of the lady-fearing, mouth breathers at 4chan, by going along with this insidious campaign, you are doing more damage than any supposed collusion between an indie dev and the entire fucking games media, or feminist conspiracy to have every copy of Skyrim confiscated and fired into space. Take a step back from all this, stop for a moment and look at what's going on.
Do you really think Zoe Quinn could make the entire games press turn a blind eye to the industry wrecking revelation that she maybe had sex with a games journalist? Did she fuck everyone, or just the editors of the big sites? Or just that one guy from Kotaku, and we all shut up as a favour, because everyone in games journalism are huge friends and we all live together in a massive house, just like the Beatles in "Help!" Yeah, we're all freelancers competing for the few paying gigs there are, we're all best mates.
At the end of last year I listed Depression Quest in the 2013 end of year "Gladhands"(my list of the best things of the year). Do you think Quinn had sex with me for that? Or was I paid off by her PR? Because there couldn't be any other reason, could there? It's a scientific fact once you start writing game reviews, the part of your brain that enjoys playing video games shrivels up and turns into biscuit. So how could I just like a game? I must of been paid off in fuck-bucks!
If you don't want the term "gamer" sullied and associated with a bunch of angry bigots and paedophiles- or did Anita Sarkeesian send the child porn to herself? You know Anita Sarkeesian? The woman who committed the cardinal sin of making a video about the overuse of certain tropes and character types in games, and nothing else. Then guess what? The opposite is happening. People reading on gamergate either think we're all much worse than they suspected, not better. And Sarkeesian has nothing to do with that. Just the people who harass and threaten her on a daily basis to the point where she and her family had to leave her home, just like Zoe Quinn, because of your righteous GamerGate crusade.
Or are you just one of the moderates, who only harangued Jenn Frank- one of the best fucking writers in gaming- for writing an article about the abuse aimed at Quinn and Sarkeesian. Who was dragged over the coals because the Guardian omitted a disclaimer that Frank had met Sarkeesian once and had supported Depression Quest. She wrote an article about harassment about females in gaming ( which was promptly proved right), not a fucking ten out of ten review. One most reasoned people in games writing, someone who always replied to people with reason, who understood the "we don't want anyone new in the tree house" attitude, as written about in her "I was a teenage sexist" article, and you turned your pointless, ignorant hate on her and she quit. Because someone who wanted nothing more than to write about video games, who won awards for her work, spoke out over abuse aimed at women in gaming, and gamers- so desperate to prove they shouldn't be labelled as angry, entitled misogynists- tried to silence her. Don't try to fool anyone that this isn't anything more than slut shaming and victim blaming en masse whipped up by the fucksters at 4chan.
If you are part of GamerGate, take a long hard look at yourself and ask, "did I really put gamers in a better light?" Do you honestly think the label "gamer" that you cling onto so dearly hasn't been tarnished by all this? You know, I've often been sarcastic, embittered, silly, mean and outright angry when writing about subjects in gaming. But for the first time ever I'm ashamed. I'm embarrassed to like video games, having something in common with the people that think defending their pastime involves hurling false accusations at writers who take so much pride in their work they embraced Patreon as a the future of games journalism- because it took ad revenue out of the equation- who took accusations of corruption so seriously, they quit. People who think someone's personal life is up for instant scrutiny, and when it isn't, it's proof of media corruption. You want standards yet demand the media descend to the levels of the gutter press for things that the newspapers just got a massive enquiry over? And I bet you'll still be visiting IGN and GameTrailers after all this is over. You fucking sicken me.
Of all the things in gaming that really need fixing (and parts of the media is one of them), net neutrality, locked off content being sold as DLC, the ever growing homogenisation of AAA gaming, that games media is mostly controlled by corporations that don't have your best interests at heart and want an end to a free internet. But instead you form a internet lynch mob over a woman having sex with someone who isn't her boyfriend? You got taken in by a bunch of sex offenders and racists and used it to air your own petty grievances over made up boogie men that you're convinced will take away your precious video games. That's the real fucking story right there. Gamers- and I mean anyone who's ever picked up a game in any way, shape or form- really do deserve better. But we're all gonna have to prove we deserve it by doing so much better.