#Gamergate is giving a voice to voiceless? Your voice is better elsewhere.

I seriously don’t understand this one narrative thread in Gamergate about how it’s giving “voice to the voiceless”.

This is the Internet. Make a blog. Pitch articles. By definition, you have a voice.

pics

Comment on The Verge article. Click pic for original URL

But let’s look at this idea of clutching the megaphone of Gamergate.

There’s no denying they are being heard: almost every major media outlet has covered it, from the New York Times to the Boston Globe to the Guardian. None of it favourably, all of it looking at the toxicity and abuse that is its outer, wider, flailing parts. [Read more...]

An actual journalist gives gamergate a parental talking to

So Boston Globe‘s Jesse Singal had a write-up about Gamergate. It’s a short account, but one that he obviously researched and is a good overview for those wanting to know WTF is happening who don’t care about games. (I mean, if you want meat and fat and all sorts of details, read Kyle Wagner’s epic piece at Deadspin.)

Anyway, someone in proGamergate reddit was not pleased, labelling their link as “Another poorly-researched hit-piece, from the Boston Globe”.

Singal, praise Cthulu, decided to comment on reddit itself and it’s incredible to behold.

Me: I don’t think this is really about corruption as much as it’s about discomfort with feminism. After all, a lot of the heat seems to be aimed at small female devs/commentators of a feminist bent.

GamerGaters on Twitter: Not true! So unfair! Go to KIA!

[Goes to KIA. Suspicions appear to be mostly confirmed.]

As someone who cares about ethics in media, I’m still waiting for what exactly Gamergate wants. So far, I’ve seen childish nonsense or completely debunked assertions. [Read more...]

Gamergate: Two faced bullies, suicide and general hatred

A harmless woman became the target of bullies online. It must be a day ending in “y”. Except of course she was involved in games and the harassers were proud supporters of Gamergate.

After bullying her, they then claimed to be victims themselves – of trying to curb bullying. See, after harassing someone, they then try say “Hey, this person feels harassed!”. I wonder why?

Then the gaters wonder why we don’t trust them when they claim to be “helping”. No doubt some are. But again: it depends on who, at that second, is using the hashtag.

You want some two-faced morality? Here you.

Oh, bullying a person who is considering suicide? Please tell me more about ethics…

But if you wanted some more awfulness from Gamergate, look no further than another of its spokespeople, Mike Cernovich. (HT @stillgray)

(If unable to view Storify, find original link here)

Charming.
When people ask is there anything good coming from Gamergate, I am now going to respond with yes.
And that’s exactly why they need to give up the hashtag collective.

“But she’s wrong about Hitman!”

I wrote this as a comment on gaming site I write for  – on Anita Sarkeesian and the topic of disagreement in game culture. Thought I’d post it here so I could curate proper discussion, because this is an issue I’m grappling with as a game and culture “critic” – and as a person trying to be decent. [sic] all around.

I’m not a fan of her work, but don’t see why a woman facing death, rape and bomb threats, who is at least bringing conversation, requires me to do in-depth criticism, 300 youtubes of how she’s wrong about Hitman, etc.

Frankly, I’d rather defend her right to be part of the culture and focus on her and others’ safety, than how they don’t get my favourite game is actually super important and the best thing ever. Games matter less than people’s safety.

Second there are plenty of people who deserve more attention for how wrong they are about games, such as those who say it “causes” violence, journalists who flout their swag, show off and show little engagement with material of games, developers who screw their audience, Kickstarter failures, etc. All these are actually detrimental. One person’s YouTube criticism is not.

I’m actually not interested in people’s criticisms of her work. First, because I have my own; second, who needs to hear it right now? Will the industry die because your voice wasn’t heart against Sarkeesian?

Imagine meeting an astrologer who’s got death threats and demanding he pay you attention, from a screaming mob, so that you can deliver criticism of his pseudoscience. I don’t care that you’re right about astrology; I care that you’re using time and energy to criticise him when you could be using it to defend him against bullies threatening him.

I also want to add: If we want to develop a culture that handles criticism properly, we need to care about people first. For example, those wanting “social issues” removed from game reviews are wanting solidification of the current state; the state that allows so many people to reach this level of anger at harmless women. Games can’t be removed from social dynamics anymore than cars or paintings can be. How you examine such items devoid of the contexts and identities that gave rise to such things in the first place is beyond me – except that you’d be delivering the most neutral, bland inhuman aspects of it. Imagine describing the Mona Lisa by listing the colours and direction of brushstrokes – that’s what it sounds like to me when you plead for objectivity. (No I don’t think every game write-up should analyise the race/sex aspects and what the second tree really means; but I do think such things can be written and should be done without cries of it being not part of gaming – or that it’s “ruining” games.)

You want to criticise Sarkeesian – Great. Work on creating a culture where doing so is done maturely, civilly and with sensitivity to the other person as the default. By pushing through with your criticism, you’re making it clear you don’t care about the current context a harmless person is facing for merely trying to make games better. Whether she’s right is debatable; whether she – and others – should have her life and safety threatened is not. Right now, I know what my priority is in this particular instance.

Maybe one day we can debate the merits of her video – and I might actually agree with you on some points. But now is not that time and, as indicated, there are other targets more worth your criticism. Otherwise you just become part of the climate that is already a room of knives.

Gamers are angry and they need to grow up

After dealing with trolls for an entire day – thanks to a certain prominent atheist with a million followers Retweeted me on Anita Sarkeesian – I had my article on the same issue go live. I looked at what happened when Joss Whedon and Tim Schafer endorsed Sarkeesian, what men (and non-targeted people in general) can and must do – even if misogyny and sexism appears to be a dying animal. It’s cornered beast but still has claws.

In response to those who tell me how to write about diversity

This actually isn’t specifically about games. But this is the context.

A little while back, I wrote a review for a slo-mo, Nazi murder simulation called Sniper Elite 3: Afrika.

Video games.

I found the game problematic in a number of areas, notably the lack of character (development) or meaningful plot, dull graphics, dull story, and homogenous character models. That is, the game features absolutely no one who isn’t white or male. I indicated that this is indicative of a wider problem in gaming; that, worryingly, it’s something that probably didn’t even cross the creators’ minds. For a game subtitled “Afrika”, you’d think maybe other people aside from white males would be included. [Read more...]

Ubisoft, women and diversity in media

My latest for The Daily Beast is on Ubisoft’s (lack of) prioritising women in their upcoming games and the response, in general, from those wanting diversity in media. Specifically in the case of Assassin’s Creed: Unity I found this really disappointing, since this is a talented bunch of people – who not only themselves wanted women, but are great at encouraging diversity.

I’ve been sick and busy with work, so apologies for empty blog for awhile. I should be returning to at least my infrequent levels of blogging – I definitely have an upcoming fisk.

Please support thoughtful game writing

Five out of Ten Magazine is a wonderful digital publication, edited by smarty-pants friend of mine, Alan Williamson; it focuses on critical videogame essays.

Often game sites do fairly boring news – “DEVELOPER GIVES TINY FACTOID ABOUT UNRELEASED GAME, WE SPECULATE WITH 1,000 WORDS” or “HERE’S A SCREENSHOTTTTTTT!” – but much of the rich conversation is missing. Comment sections seem comprised of the same kind of people shouting women out of online multiplayer and gaming in general; the kind who think wanting same-sex representation is advocating Nazism.

FooT however is a space that allows for great conversations to take place. This latest issue, which I’m in for some reason, is focused on “space” and what that means in terms of games. It allows for fascinating essays that I hope make it worth purchasing.

Considering it’s supporting an area of gaming that really needs more focus and support – like certain amazing-looking games – I want people who love games to love these discussions too. Gaming is a medium worth investing in and, since it’s my favourite medium, I want others to experience the fulfillment, discomfort, passion, and awe it provides me.