It’s been almost a year and I can say with certainty that the only place #GamerGate really has any weight as a discussion anymore is on Twitter – the place it started at and where it should have stayed – and it’s done fairly well to stay off the mainstream media for the time being. I’m cool with that. That doesn’t mean that those deeply involved in either side are quitting anytime, soon, though: while the Gaters are content with pointing out self-proclaimed corruptions and conspiracy theories in the gaming industry, the Anti-Gaters are content with being completely antagonistic to the Gaters and pushing legislation to keep the kind of hate speech and death threats they fear from happening. Both sides are having mixed success in their affairs as a lot of Gaters are losing credibility – mostly because of the fact that the controversy has died down and the problem with gaming journalism is more of a problem with journalism as a whole and, by approaching it wrong, won’t ever get fixed – and Anti-Gaters are losing what credibility they have left as a lot of them are suffering from “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” syndrome.
As for me, GamerGate has brought to media attention things I’ve known for a long time and I feel validated by that: reddit proving, once again, that absolute power, in any form, corrupts absolutely; N4G being full of a bunch of elitist dicks that would elevate those that profit them directly and hold down those they feel are threatening; gaming journalism has extremely deep roots in “corruption”, taking handouts and favors of all kinds from developers and production companies in return for favorable mention and review; that people, generally speaking, are entitled, victimizing, whiny little brats that throw a tantrum whenever something doesn’t go their way; that evil doesn’t always come to you holding a pitchfork and breathing fire.
Beyond that, I don’t think I’ve really taken a side aside from my own: the fact that gamers should speak with their wallets and not with their voices because very few will respond to voices, these days; the fact that equality is something that needs to be approached on a social level and not by deconstructing any particular medium; the fact that we should all be looking inward – as people and as gamers – to find our own happiness as opposed to relying on others to make it and find it for us; that gaming has always been kind of a competitive “me first” and “I’m better” atmosphere and that has nothing to do with segregation, bigotry, racism, sexism, or anything other than people’s desire to be better than their peer, or at least their belief that they’re better than their peer, which is more arrogance than bigotry.
These things have always existed and, so long as the social constructs are in place that give them strength, will continue to be that way for a long time. The truth of the matter is that we like this. Have you ever heard the expression “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t”? This is what keeps things in place. We may bicker and fight with one another but over familiar things that we know and understand as opposed to new and challenging things that may tear us apart.
While it’s true that gaming has always been a boy’s club, that’s not entirely because we didn’t include women. In its inception, it was a family event, playing a video game, much like a board game; as gaming nearly collapsed and was saved by Nintendo almost single-handedly, practically turning it into a toy for children. Much like the gender division we’ve brought into toys like Barbie and Tonka, for example, whereas boys are expected to like one and girls the other, video games were taught, at an early age, to be a boy’s toy. Girls grew to stick to the things they were told to like. Even as far back as the early 90s, I knew plenty of girls who had started getting into gaming pretty seriously… sure, it wasn’t without facing some kind of social stigma but at that time it was understood that all gamers had to face this kind of stigma. Fast forward into the early 2000’s and you could readily see plenty of women in the industry and in the fanbases. Go to a convention and there seemed to be just as many women as there were men and it seemed plenty of women were at least pretending to have an absolutely great time. Fast forward a little more to the last few years and suddenly women are the most oppressed beings in all of gaming and it was all men’s fault and certainly the product of an industry that chastised women and objectified them! I didn’t see the thirty people cosplaying as their favorite scantily clad woman complaining, nor did I see all of the girls I knew or had been in communication with in the 90s complain. Everyone was just too busy having fun with their games then.
While it’s true that gaming has been rife with corruption, so has everything else and, as big a business as gaming has become, you still have to realize that it’s a business, an industry; one that had troubles listening to its user base even in its infancy and through its complete growth. Money talks, bullshit walk, folks, and this is why stuff like what you’re seeing today is allowed to exist: the opposition would rather scream and yell and whine as opposed to do the things that actually get stuff done. With gaming, your buying habits, along with those of your fellow gamers, dictate what comes out on the market. Your reading habits dictate what gets written; heck, I’ve even made posts based on what you guys read most from my available posts. It’s an industry, before all else, folks, all of it, and if you don’t like it, then hit them where it hurts most: in their profits. Stop reading what you don’t like. Stop buying what you don’t like. If everyone did that and summarily shut up about it you’d see a lot more changes in gaming and how it broadcasts information to you.
Plainly put, this is #EndGame and all this boils down to is a bunch of entitled, victimizing twerps fighting over who’s hurting more and it pleases me to no end that it’s no longer a real thing.
Where does this leave gaming as an industry, you might ask? Just like any dramatic situation, it’s done me a great favor of highlighting the kinds of people I would like to avoid and the kinds of people I don’t want providing products to me. There were gaming personalities on both sides of the gender line that I’ve validated myself in doing well to just avoid altogether since then and there are those where I’ve had “I knew there was a reason I liked them” moments with. It’s also highlighted a lot of the good progress gaming has made over the years for those that are willing to objectively observe and listen, especially for those on the outside of the gaming industry, looking in. There are strong personalities of all genders, races, and even species across gaming in its characterization and there’s a lot more in the way of control over the characters you don’t get to customize in some way, shape or form. It’s just been an education for the truth for those willing to uncover it and that’s always a good thing.
It’s not gaming that’s changed, honestly, guys: it’s us that changed and in changing we get scared. Goes back to what I was saying earlier about needing something familiar to fight, something familiar to fight over, something familiar that we need to judge and be judged on; trust me, gamers and gaming who have been around for as long as I have know a fair amount of judgment and it’s nothing new to us. Society is the problem and gaming is just the easy thing to blame, just like movies before it and music before that. Almost makes me wonder what kind of new technology we’ll grow to blame next.