The reputation of “gamers” continues to sink


Maybe they don’t mean to be malicious — the worst of them are just really, really stupid. And the subset of gamers who make youtube comments are a distillation of idiocy.

But at least this is really funny. Mockery is a good strategy!

Comments

  1. Sven says

    As a male “gamer”, it brings me great sadness to see the ongoing cavalcade of morons and misogynists continue to poison my demographics. :(

  2. Alverant says

    Oh you want real fun go to an MMO board and see the hate against the recently released games and over time watch the hate shift from one game to another. May non-existent gods help you if you a like a game that’s not popular or criticize EVE.

  3. mkoormtbaalt says

    I am a male gamer. I play online and single-person video games. I also play pen and paper RPG’s. Of the two, the video game communities are far, far worse. There is no end to the vitriol that is spewed by people. I used to tell people to knock it off when they would say misogynistic, homophobic, or racist things, but it got to be so tiresome that I now put them on ignore. I wouldn’t say that it is everyone in those communities, but a gut feeling is that about 1 in 5 use the bigoted words in course with another 2 in 5 or so using it when others use it or defend those who do so.

  4. says

    Men. A large number of YouTube-watching gamers are adolescent boys with all the social skills of a flea. What were you expecting?

  5. says

    @tacitus #5

    Even if all YouTube-watching gamers were adolescent boys, that wouldn’t give them a pass. What do I expect? More.

    Boys are not some evil monsters possessed by demons and exuding original sin. They are children. And if we expect girls to act like decent human beings, we ought to expect the same of boys. If there are some–even a significant proportion–who act like immoral assholes, who is responsible?

  6. says

    #7 @Ibis3, sure, but teenagers have always tested boundaries and acted out in ways they believe make them look cool and all grown up. We all know what effect going online can have on otherwise perfectly reasonable and polite human beings. That goes doubly-so for immature teenagers who discover the wonders of the internet away from any kind of adult supervision.

    One of my best childhood friends (and this was way before the Internet) who was typically the most well-behaved and studious child a parent could wish for, once went around the local area putting dog shit into letter boxes. Why? Peer pressure and the novel thrill of doing something really naughty, most likely. Nowadays, the internet amplifies that impulse in young teenagers, and given that it’s mostly boys/young men who are the hardcore gamers, it’s mostly boys/young men who are acting out on YouTube gamer threads.

  7. natashatasha says

    I’m in the subset of gamers that make YouTube comments :( I should hope that everything I post is thoughtful and polite as I can make it. While the comments you link are a bit silly, I think you need to be careful about making sweeping generalisations about a diverse group of people.

  8. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    #8
    Shorter tacitus: Boys will be boys!

    Also,

    and given that it’s mostly boys/young men who are the hardcore gamers

    Fuck this “hardcore gamer” bullshit. That means nothing. Not only that, it sets up this “Shooting everything in sight games are the REAL games” nonsense.
    And no, most gamers are not young boys/men.

  9. MadHatter says

    Gamers are not mostly young boys/men. I’m mentioned this on gamer forums before. But I have been playing since we could buy used Atari games in the early 80’s, as did every one of my male and female cousins and siblings.

    When internet gaming came around I periodically jumped in. And learned early not to let on that I was actually female. Often it meant I could only play with people I was already friends with, otherwise spend the entire time listening to a ton of abuse.

    There have been good game communities and bad ones, but I rarely bother to look for them anymore and play alone most of the time. We’re here, male gamers just rarely realize it because we’ve learned to camouflage.

  10. says

    tacitus:

    and given that it’s mostly boys/young men who are the hardcore gamers

    That is not true, so stop repeating it like it’s gospel. Women now comprise 45 to 48% of gamers. This information is easily found, so I suggest you work a little harder to educate yourself before you decide to pontificate.

  11. Amphiox says

    #7 @Ibis3, sure, but teenagers have always tested boundaries and acted out in ways they believe make them look cool and all grown up.

    Why should it be that misogynistic ranting should be the thing considered “cool and all grown up”?

    We all know what effect going online can have on otherwise perfectly reasonable and polite human beings.

    Cart before the horse. The effect of going online is to release of social inhibitions, thanks to anonymity and distance. The thing that *comes out* after that release has nothing whatsoever to do with “going online” and everything to do with everything else surrounding that person. There is no a priori reason why the release of inhibitions by going on-line must lead to unreasonable and impolite behavior.

  12. rq says

    teenagers have always tested boundaries and acted out in ways they believe make them look cool and all grown up

    (from tacitus, above)
    Innnteresting, then, from whence this conviction that acting like an asshole is a mark of someone cool and all grown up?
    Could it be that there are adults out there, acting like assholes, showing them the way somehow?

  13. Amphiox says

    And if it is true that as a group adolescent boys cannot be expected to behave themselves, if their behavior cannot be modified, if it is pointless to criticize them because they will be what they will be, no matter what, then what you are in fact saying is that adolescent boys are not fully human, and should not be afforded the same human rights as all other humans, for they are an uncontrollable natural menace, without the capacity for self-restraint, and thus must be externally suppressed, and cannot, for the safety of everyone else, be given freedom or autonomy of action, as they are too dangerous.

  14. =8)-DX says

    Hey, I’m a “gamer” who comments on YouTube videos! (And try to point out for instance sexism and homophobia in other people’s comments). Grrr..

  15. Maureen Brian says

    tacitus,

    It ceases to be testing boundaries and acting out – or however you would describe it – when people are still doing it in their 40s. Yes, we all do know people past 40 who seem to stuck at that stage of their emotional and hormonal development and though they seem to be many they are still a pathetic sight to behold.

    If you want to use the developing brain, sense of autonomy and hormonal turmoil of the mid teens to excuse the bad behaviour of people in middle age you’ll need to answer the “why” question. You’ll also need to to explain how exactly the same intellectual and emotional changes happen to women and yet, on the whole, they feel no need to cling to the disadvantages of that stage as the grey hairs arrive.

  16. Matthew Trevor says

    Is there any credible evidence that the majority of nasty YouTube commenters actually are teenage boys, or is this just an unsupported way of handwaving away the issue?

  17. says

    @Tacitus:

    Yea, no. I call bullshit. There are enough people who are YouTube commenters who aren’t teenage boys. Gamers are not mostly teenage boys, and your comment is just handwaving “boys-will-be-boys.”

    @JAL:

    Fuck this “hardcore gamer” bullshit. That means nothing. Not only that, it sets up this “Shooting everything in sight games are the REAL games” nonsense.
    And no, most gamers are not young boys/men.

    Funny enough, there’s an increasing percentage of women/girl gamers who are playing FPS games as their primary genre. It’s getting to the point where even FPS are going to be “too casual” for the He-Man-Woman-Haters-Club types.

    “OMG, FPS are so casual. Hardcore gamers play 4X games.”

  18. Ichthyic says

    Hardcore gamers play 4X games.”

    lolwut?

    really?

    man, I must be really old, because I’ve been playing games, of all genres, for 30 years and can’t recall 4x being described as “hardcore” before.

    but then, I have to admit, I don’t spend much time in gamer forums… because they’re entirely too toxic. pretty much stick to hint forums and mod forums for the games of interest to me.

  19. Ichthyic says

    btw, recently played “Darkness II” and that indeed was creepily misogynistic, in exactly the ways Sarkeesian describes.

  20. says

    @Ichthyic:

    I doubt the “Hardcore” gamers would actually go to 4X games. There’s not many genres left for them that aren’t covered in girl cooties, though.

    RTS games have an increasingly large number of women/girls playing (in fact, one of the best Starcraft II pros is a trans-woman named Scarlett.) So do sports games, MOBAs, MMOs, RPGs, and so forth. Those under the “hardcore” banner are just whiny people who can’t stand girls in their games.

  21. Scr... Archivist says

    tacitus @5.

    What were you expecting?

    Better boys, please.

    Ibis3 @7,

    What do I expect? More.

    Exactly. Better behavior, please. These children are in public after all.

    tacitus @8,

    cool and all grown up.

    Better adults, please. And “cool” is supposed to mean calm, not callous.

    …away from any kind of adult supervision.

    Erasing all of the adults who are present but unseen.

    Why? Peer pressure and the novel thrill of doing something really naughty, most likely.

    Better peers, please. Better naughtiness, please. If you’re going to disrupt social norms, how about challenging bigots?

    …given that it’s mostly boys/young men who are the…

    Citations, please.

    … hardcore gamers…

    Better retro micro-cultures, please.

    it’s mostly boys/young men who are acting out on YouTube gamer threads.

    Better YouTube, please.

    And we’re back to “Better boys, please.”

  22. doublereed says

    YouTube comments are the absolute dregs. I’m always baffled by people who complain that people disable comments. If anything I think it should be more common practice to disable comments on YouTube videos. It sometimes seriously ruins the professionalism and perception of watching things. Especially when videos are trying to be more serious.

    Like The Young Turks always have a lot of libertarians and people-who-hate-Ana-Kasparian-for-being-an-attractive-woman in the comments. It would feel more professional if they disabled the comments.

  23. guyver1 says

    Hardcore:
    adjective
    1.
    unswervingly committed; uncompromising; dedicated:
    a hard-core segregationist.

    Many years ago, I identified with this description, both as a PC Gamer (I ran a European level Unreal Tournament clan for 6 years, worked for Wireplay voluntarily as a server admin and community liaison running leagues and cups and was also an IRC moderator for Epic Games’ IRC channel) and an Alien/Predator fanboi/collector.

    For me personally, this led to an unbalanced life of gaming coming before everything else, social life, partner, sleep etc.
    The average age of ‘Gamers’ is approx. mid 30’s.
    Back when I started gaming online back in 1999, 1p per minute internet had barely surfaced in the UK, my 3 monthly quarterly BT phone bills were £500+. there were barely any teenagers online back in those days, simply because they could not afford it!

    With the arrival of xbox live and consoles becoming ‘online’, combined with cheap ADSL access, there has been an explosion of a much younger demographic entering the online gaming world. I saw this first hand.

    15 years ago, online gaming was the domain of people who could afford a good PC and the phone bills that went with it.
    Now, online gaming is everyone. Combine that with the explosion in the ‘social’ web and you have what we have today.

    Penny Arcade summed this up succinctly many years ago in 2004 with this now classic web strip:
    Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory (sadly brought against one of my games UT2004)

    http://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2004/03/19

    The irony is that, the same description of hardcore can also be used to describe ‘Professional’.

  24. doublereed says

    I always thought “hardcore” was a superset of “competitive” games. So I don’t think FPS could ever not be ‘hardcore’ because they have so much competition. Of course, what “hardcore” means to me is that when your character dies, it is deleted and you don’t respawn*.

    Kevin in 22 brought up Scarlett, who I actually think demonstrates a wonderful aspect of the Starcraft community. If you go onto r/starcraft or TeamLiquid or any of the main starcraft forums, any transphobic or sexist shit being said about Scarlett gets you downvotes, warnings, bans, and people shouting you down. Even the more bombastic and offensive personalities in the community don’t accept that stuff.

    *(this is what ‘hardcore mode’ means in the Diablo franchise)

  25. says

    @doublereed:

    I use “hardcore” to describe the gamers who expressly want to make games about themselves and cater to no one else but those who put as much dedication (read: time) into the game as they do. They usually express disdain at “casuals” who play the games to enjoy them, and spend most of their time playing the game and devoting themselves to that. Which is fine and all, but at the same time they’re openly hostile towards people invading “their” space. These are the people who would whinge about making a game slightly more accessible to new players, who cry about “free epics” in MMOs, and who come up with ideas like Gear Score or DKP to exclude anyone who isn’t able to devote as much time as they can to the games.

    And yes, I’m impressed at the Starcraft community for how well they handle a trans gamer. However, I’m convinced most of it is because she is (one of?) the best Zerg player(s) in North America. If she was just your run-of-the-mill player, I doubt Team Liquid or Twitch would be so hasty to ban the transphobic or sexist commenters.

    I’m reminded of the time that a porn star (Mia Rose, IIRC?) joined an open Twitch channel to play some games with a professional gamer, and people would hop into chat and trash her. She stopped playing when someone got onto the Skype chat and started harassing her during the match. She was actually crying when she left. The woman is an avid gamer and loves playing FPS and RTS games, but since she’s a porn star, she is open season for vile sexist shit.

  26. guyver1 says

    @Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao
    True, but while the anonymity goal post may have moved from ‘true’ anonymity to ‘sitting in front of a monitor/screen where I don’t have to see any of the real world outcomes of my actions’ type of ‘detachment’ from the real world (most people think they have anonymity because they will never be confronted in real life by the people they abuse) , the ‘audience portion of the equation hasn’t changed, but has massively increased.

    the ‘belief’ in anonymity hasn’t really changed. There is still that belief that some people simply do not associate what they do online with the real world and real people.

    I had a friend once who described how he simply does not associate love with sex. this was his reasoning and rational for being unfaithful to his partner. I would suggest the two have similar psychological’ roots.

  27. guyver1 says

    @Kevin, Youhao Huo Mao
    I agree with your description of hardcore.
    I always described myself as a ‘casual’ counterStrike player. It was the game I would play to ‘chill out’ after Unreal Tournament clan matches and competitions. I never took it seriously. CS is one of the worst for smack talk, probably because it is one of the largest communities to have existed in the gaming world.
    UT was my ‘profession’ for 6 years. I was never paid, but the level of commitment I gave to that game was exceptional. The only thing I ever raged about was the redeemer being switched on >:(

  28. guyver1 says

    Kobi Tai was also a pretty ‘hardcore’ Q3 player back in the day. I know she attended some LAN events back when Q3 was new.

  29. doublereed says

    Yea, I don’t think the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory is worth anything anymore. I think it’s a distraction to the real issue about what’s actually acceptable behavior online. And I have no idea what you’re talking about with ‘belief in anonymity’ or whatever. There’s plenty of horrible stuff on facebook.

    I’ve always been confused by the hardcore label because I’ve been accused of being a casual myself because I don’t like FPS. Seems too vague. Might as well just use “competitive gamer” because I know what that means.

    And TeamLiquid has a pretty strong reputation of not letting that shit fly, so I don’t think that has much to do with Scarlett. Just check out their Ten Commandments (which I think is a great example of commenting rules). I think that’s more true for Reddit and Twitch, where maybe it’s about showing respect for a pro-gamer.

  30. guyver1 says

    @doublereed
    You may be right. the GIFT has been so ingrained in my memory for so long that I’ve never really thought about its validity in 2014.
    I guess I was trying to say ‘accountability’, just in really unintelligible way. Apologies.

    I still think ‘most’ people still cannot associate what they say online with real life harm and accountability of their actions. Almost as if they are two different worlds.

  31. tbtabby says

    I’m a pretty dedicated gamer, but having seen the way most self-proclaimed “core gamers” behave, I proudly wear the moniker of casual gamer. Even without the bigotry and misogyny, they’re blatant hypocrites who brag about being individuals who “look past the hype” by dismissing everything that’s mainstream as crap without giving it a chance and band together in circle-jerking hate-fests in which everyone who doesn’t agree with them is a mindless drone who lets the evil corporations tell them what to like, instead of letting the hardcore gamers tell them what to like as all individuals do. If that’s what being “hardcore” is all about, I don’t want any part of it.

  32. ougaseon says

    I dropped out of the gaming community about 4 or 5 years ago because it felt so toxic. It had been my primary hobby for something like 15 years by that point, but I realized that the community was so miserably abusive that I wasn’t having fun. Every other hobby I’ve participated in since then is so pleasant by comparison, it’s been truly eye-opening, and I’m almost mad at myself for suffering through a crappy community for so long.

    Whether its soccer, hackathons or code sprints, hang gliding, maker spaces, photography, or cycling, people are so much nicer, especially to “newbs”. The whole community ethos is so much more helpful and supportive for both successes and failures. The weird thing is that it’s not like the urge to help people doesn’t exist in the gaming community. There are tons of tutorials and so on that people spend hours writing up for pretty much any game you think of. Somehow that doesn’t translate into a positive social experience, though. My hypothesis is that this has to do with how setbacks and frustrations are dealt with, since many other hobbies have at least some component that’s local. If we lose a soccer match, can’t find a bug, sink out, or screw up a cut, everybody can still go to the pub and have a good time just socializing over beer. Harder to do that when folks might not even be on the same continent, so people sulk alone in their houses when they lose a game, getting mad about everyone else’s mistakes instead of commiserating in a generally positive way.

  33. John Horstman says

    Oh, I had the hilarious experience the other day of a long-threaded discussion with someone about the upcoming Civilization: In Space! Beyond Earth (I kid – one of the lead devs is a friend from high school, and he actually referred to the game as “Civ V in space” in an interview, as well as saying “it’s not Alpha Centauri 2”, in order to as clearly as possible tell people not to expect Alpha Centauri 2, which of course many still did and are complaining about the fact that it is not and was never intended to be AC2). The guy made the initial assertion that the game was simply a re-skin of Civ V and “has no new features”. When people pointed out that the mechanics were altered in various ways – a few of them rather radical ways – and that “re-skin” does not mean what he thinks it means, he kept trying to more and more desperately defend his original, entirely-false assertion, eventually settling on the fact that he thought only a new rendering engine (which he initially called “graphics” until we pointed out that many of the graphical elements have been re-drawn for the new game, which thus has a lot of new graphics despite running on the Civ V engine) should be considered a “new feature”. It turns out that there actually ARE (some proportion of) “hardcore” gamers who care ONLY about advances in graphics rendering and consider things like plot or game mechanics (which to my mind are what actually define a “game” in the first place) to be wasteful distractions; they also tend to think that their preferences and opinions are matters of objective fact. Still, I think we ARE changing things for the better, and I’m really excited for the next decade in gaming.

  34. M0N0P0LE says

    I am done with the vast majority of the gaming community.

    Games are my favorite form of narrative media. Even with the fairly lackluster standards of writing in most games, nothing works quite as well for me. I’ve been playing and making games for as long as I can remember. And for as long as I can remember I’ve wanted games to be taken as seriously as other forms of media. So I welcome feminist critiques of games. I welcome critiques of race, and gender, and LGBT representation, and story and plot criticism and all of the other forms of criticism we generally expect any medium that’s taken seriously as art to receive.

    It doesn’t sadden me to see the gaming community react with so much vitriol and thoughtlessness to this stuff, it fucking ENRAGES me. I’ve spent the past several weeks trying to debate, talk to, reason with, and scream at the hoard of gamers who are so reflexively upset that a woman would dare to apply basic feminist criticism to games, or that a woman would be a game developer while also having a sex life, or that women would make an attempt to get the gaming community to be more welcoming to them at all. I’ve been telling myself that it has to be done, that if there aren’t enough people pushing back their myopic, self important, overly entitled worldview will come to dominate the discussion. But you know what?

    Burn it to the ground, sweep away the ashes, and build it up anew. I’m done with it. The number of gaming communities or websites I’m interested in being a part of right now can be counted on one hand. I’d much rather start from scratch with the people who are actually doing good things and annihilate the rest of the larger gaming community than try to fix something so completely shattered that it just might not be possible to pick the pieces up and put them back together.

    And I’m optimistic that this will work. People from other mediums that have grown beyond this kind of petty bullshit are taking notice where they were largely uninterested before and jumping into the fray. Communities of people who are tired of gaming being dominated by a single demographic are popping up everywhere. Large developers are becoming more and more aware of the issues and doing their best to do away with the more toxic tropes and shortcuts they’ve used in the past. The indie gaming scene is growing more progressive with each passing day. Seeing one of my favorite gaming related sketch comedy groups, LoadingReadyRun, become more and more clear which side they stand on has been amazing to watch. Those are some awesome people, by the way. One of the most refreshing things to see is that when they started streaming games on their twitch account, Alex Steacy began starting his streams with “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, people of all gender identities…”, which makes me smile every time.

    Sooner or later, these people are going to find themselves left behind by a medium that grew up. This whole thing is a sign of them realizing that and trying desperately to fight against the winds of change. Fuck them. They can have their little exclusionary clubhouse, the rest of us will build the wonderful, inclusive, interactive cinemas of the future.

  35. John Horstman says

    As for the hardcore/casual dichotomy, for a long time my perception of it was largely a PC/console divide, as consoles were cheaper and more accessible (a lot less tweaking of hardware, OS configuration, and game settings to get things running on consoles). Hardcore gamers were people like me and my LAN group friends, who would spend time not just playing games, but playing with the games themselves via various mods and hacks, assembling and upgrading our own PCs (going as far as efforts like home-built cases and cooling solutions and drawing or soldering new traces onto microchips and circuit boards to overclock or unlock disabled features), hacking network protocols to fix multiplayer issues (like running IPX over TCP/IP networks – IPX matchmaking had so very many problems in the late 90s and early 00s), etc. We found it very confusing when the crop of bros playing pre-configured games on pre-built consoles started considering themselves “hardcore” gamers. After that shift, I had no idea what idea people were trying to communicate with the “hardcore” label, since throwing Madden or Halo on the console for a dozen hours a week never struck me as particularly hardcore to begin with. I’d agree that it’s largely a denotatively-empty ideogram at this point, a shifting identification largely deployed in service of No True Gamer fallacies.

  36. says

    It is interesting that the gaming community and game dev communities seem to have reacted rather differently to this. Anita Sarkeesian’s videos seem to be very much targeted toward the content in games and developers, asking them to think more about what they are doing, not the gamers that are so angry about them, and yet when I look around I see many game devs standing up for what is right. Richard Garriott and Tim Schafer have actively been promoting the videos. The creative director of Saints Row, one of the games that was included in the videos, and not only supported her, but agreed that it should be there and that developers need to change. Something like 2000 devs signed this open letter to the gaming community dealing with harassment.

  37. M0N0P0LE says

    Travis: That is my perception as well. It’s not even that she’s saying anything particularly controversial either. If her videos were directed at, say, the film industry, I seriously doubt the reaction would be anything like it is here, largely because she’s not saying anything that isn’t typically accepted to be true there.

    There has been a SERIOUS lack of feminist criticism (or at least a terrible lack of promotion of it) directed towards the game industry, and so her videos are probably the first such criticism many gamers have encountered. Their reaction is, to say the least, EXTREMELY disappointing.

  38. doublereed says

    Er. Isn’t it well-accepted that the harassment and the vicious anger is a vocal minority of gamers? It seems weird to actually say that “the gaming community reacted such-and-such way.” It’s like saying “the atheist community went after Rebecca Watson.” I assumed it was.

    I mean Anita Sarkeesian raised a huge amount of money for her video series, which I presume was mostly from gamers.

    The reputation of gamers has always been negative, unfortunately (though before it was mostly that we’re all secretly violent gunmen). That’s why Child’s Play and all these Twitch.tv Marathons-For-Charity got started up.

  39. doublereed says

    There’s a reason why gamers coined Wheaton’s Law. That came out of a speech from Wil Wheaton which got massive applause.

    It just seems weird to make judgements about the vast majority of gamers and gamer communities due to entitled jackasses who ruin things for a vastly disproportionate amount of people. I mean LoadingReadyRun is a very popular group throughout the gaming community. It’s not like they’re fringe or niche or something.

  40. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    I also love* how many of these GamerGate jerks try to play the “we’re REAL gamers and REAL gamers agree with us!” Fartface, I’ve been playing since the Atari goddamn 2600. Since those handheld Mattel basketball games where the dot that was slightly brighter was the one with the ball. And I think those “REAL gamers” are completely full of shit.

    Or, as Q-Bert might have said, “#$@! them.”

  41. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    @ Kevin

    If she was just your run-of-the-mill player, I doubt Team Liquid or Twitch would be so hasty to ban the transphobic or sexist commenters.

    I’m not sure you’re right about that. I haven’t been active at Team Liquid for a few years but there was never any kind of double standard between the top players/personalities who posted on the forums and the average user. IdrA was banned from the forums every other day and I know of at least one instance of TotalBiscuit getting a several day ban. I also remember a thread wherein an openly gay user took questions about being gay many of them quite frank. I’m sure there was some fuckwittery but it was mostly a very respectful exchange. They run a pretty tight ship there.

    With regard to Twitch…Twitch itself isn’t going to do anything unless you violate their terms of service, which would include hate speech. In my experience, Twitch can be lightning quick to shut down a channel. As in I’ve seen channels be already down by the time I manage to hit submit on my report. As far as every day bigotry that’s up to each individual channel and I tend not to look at the chats on the rare occasion I watch an SC2 cast so I can’t really speak to the moderation in those cases.

  42. noxiousnan says

    Being a woman who games, and has gamed longer than most gamers I know have existed, I tend to suspect that there are plenty of female gamers out there. How come we don’t see that reflected in gamers pushing boundaries? Perhaps because pushing boundaries doesn’t explain what’s happening here.

  43. busterggi says

    Bloody internet gamers, when I started gaming we didn’t need any damned intertubes just dice, paper, pencil & pizza.

    Get off my hexsheet!

  44. doublereed says

    Twitch channels vary greatly by the channel and level of moderation. In fact, other than women, the chats seemed to be an odd reflection of the player’s personality. IdrA and Orb had terrible personalities and had terrible chats, for instance. Sheth had a super nice chat and he’s a super nice guy. Hell, he’s a big guy, and I don’t even recall there ever being comments about his weight.

    I also watched MsSpyte, who had a nice channel. There were creepy dudes that appeared now and then that said weird things because she’s a girl. They were more creepy than nasty. But it became something of a joke “oh there’s a creeper *ban*”

    However, I would imagine that the Starcraft community is significantly better than other communities. I also watch the speedrunning community and I’ve never seen anything bad there. Though I’ve never seen a woman in the speedrunning community.

  45. Lachlan says

    Par for the course for YouTube comments. Pretty dishonest to say that this is somehow reflective of gamers, and not simply people on the internet.

    Also, many of the commenters in that video surely spoke English as a second (or third, or fourth) language. I wonder how you’d describe this kind of mockery if the message wasn’t so agreeable to you?

  46. Seven of Mine, formerly piegasm says

    That’s pretty much my experience too…not so much with the personality of the broadcaster, just the level of moderation. For the most part though, I don’t even look at the chat except for the 4 channels I subscribe to. I moderate 2 of those so I don’t have a choice. One of the other 2 is a small-ish very chill stream and the 4th I hide a lot of the time just because it’s a stream that gets 2k viewers minimum and you just can’t follow a conversation. It’s well moderated though and blatant bigotry is met with a ban pretty quickly.

    Even in relatively well moderated chats though the sexism will ooze forth under the right circumstances. When ManVsGame was playing Kingdom Hearts, during the Little Mermaid portion of the game there were a lot of smarmy jokes about Ariel’s Grotto, for example. There’s a female League of Legends broadcaster named Kaceytron who really plays up the empty-headed, boob-cam, attention seeking girl gamer stereotype. She’s completely trolling, mocking both the sexist slime who make lewd comments in her chat and the people who get their undies all in a bunch about the fact that her channel even exists. If her name comes up in a chat, watch out. Every sexist trope you ever heard of gets deployed.

  47. noxiousnan says

    So Lachlan, what of the experiences of some of the women writing comments here that don’t have anything to do with YouTube, let alone the plethora of other sources about how horrible an experience it can be to be a woman who games? Do you believe that women experience no more bullying or harrassing than men in gaming?

    Also, YT does have a terrible overall commentariat, imo, but I’ve been to plenty of channels where the comments are thoughtful and pleasant…none of them were gaming channels. Just sayin’

  48. Ichthyic says

    Games are my favorite form of narrative media. Even with the fairly lackluster standards of writing in most games, nothing works quite as well for me.

    mine as well. it really caught hold for me when modding games started becoming easier and easier, and many game companies realized that the durability of their products were greatly enhanced by adding kits that allowed people to mod their games.

    imagine watching your favorite tv series… but being able at a whim to go in and change just about any aspect of it you wanted, then start over again with your changes in place.

  49. Ichthyic says

    Par for the course for YouTube comments. Pretty dishonest to say that this is somehow reflective of gamers, and not simply people on the internet.

    are you a person on the internet?

    do you find this forum the same?

    liar.

  50. says

    Lachlan #49

    Par for the course for YouTube comments. Pretty dishonest to say that this is somehow reflective of gamers, and not simply people on the internet.

    Oh well, if it’s “just people on the internet,” it’s fine then. I don’t know what we were bothered about. “Just people on the internet” makes it all okay.

  51. Amphiox says

    Par for the course for YouTube comments. Pretty dishonest to say that this is somehow reflective of gamers, and not simply people on the internet.

    Here is the SECOND SENTENCE OF THE OP:

    And the subset of gamers who make youtube comments are a distillation of idiocy.

    Pretty dishonest to spout the above drivel while deliberately ignoring this.

    Please apologize to PZ, now.

  52. Rob R says

    @10

    Fuck this “hardcore gamer” bullshit. That means nothing. Not only that, it sets up this “Shooting everything in sight games are the REAL games” nonsense.

    This is how most things have always been defined. Men take things that are seen as being primarily done or used by men and recursively define them as “real” or “good”, then look at things seen as primarily done or used by women and recursively define them as “inferior” or “bad”.

    Thus we end up with this paradoxical culture where running around tackling people for a ball or driving a car in circles is seen as a superior activity, while preparing food and taking care of the family is an inferior activity.

  53. says

    Don’t you people know that gamers who also post comments on youtube aren’t really gamers?

    It’s kind of like how gamers who are female don’t count as real gamers.

  54. Ichthyic says

    funny, but when the term first arose, “hardcore” was merely reflective of those who spent most of their free time gaming.

    it was quantitative, not qualitative.

  55. trog69 says

    I wonder where we retirees fit in here? My fellow retiree friends and I all are rocking fairly beefy gaming PCs ( I have a pretty good stereo system attached to mine.) We don’t play on-line because we don’t have the twitch muscles to compete against much younger players, so we concentrate on single-player or rarely, a co-op like Borderlands. I’m the one that usually goes to fora to find out details about games, since I have the most time to spend, and I truly enjoy how helpful and courteous most of the people are that comment there. Perhaps it’s because I’m old and admittedly spazzy.

    Thus, this insanity seems to have broadsided me and we, since we don’t visit those sites. I did read Ms. Sarkeesian before all this erupted, and her hypotheses about the “damsel in distress” mechanic was right on the money, IMO.

    My granddaughter has been an avid gamer as well, so I’ve built a gaming rig for her. So now I’m paying a lot of attention to how toxic the discussions on YT have been, because I’d go nuclear if I read someone bashing her for playing while female. I’d also have to explain to her how some people are just hateful and mean for no comprehensible reason. I do not look forward to that convo., but I’ll show her how most game discussion fora do not have as much bile, so she shouldn’t be worried overmuch about visiting them, and she certainly should just enjoy her games and ignore the idiots. ( She’s been a faithful Baldur’s Gate zealot ever since she read/heard Minsc talking to Boo when she was 8. hehe)

  56. bjtunwarm says

    Speaking as a gamer the vitriol towards women from at lest a portion of the gamers is just amazing to watch – it’s not even old school sexism, but actual fear and loathing for anything with a uterus. There has to be something to assertion these guy’s brains are frozen in a pre-teen state because it’s hard to believe any healthy adult male would think that way.

  57. trog69 says

    I just watched the “Busted” video that debunks much of what Thunderfoot asserts. Seeing and hearing his contempt for Anita and women in general just makes me want to go wash my hands.

    I’m trying to imagine what FTB would look like if he and his spittle-inflected commentaries were running here. So glad he was given the boot early, though it seems to have pushed him over the edge, into the dark portion of humanity.

  58. trog69 says

    Talked to two of my fellow retiree/gamers, and the consensus is unanimous in thinking that games can easily be just as much fun to play without using women as set pieces, nor are we fearful of women playing “our” games. We all assume that it will mean more and better games for all of us.

    It seems we sure do have a cancerous tumor in our midsts. Ugh.

  59. Ichthyic says

    So glad he was given the boot early, though it seems to have pushed him over the edge, into the dark portion of humanity.

    he was clearly heading that way anyway.

    the mistake was in giving him an invite to begin with.

  60. vaiyt says

    This is how most things have always been defined. Men take things that are seen as being primarily done or used by men and recursively define them as “real” or “good”, then look at things seen as primarily done or used by women and recursively define them as “inferior” or “bad”.

    In the case of video games, entire genres – puzzle, adventure, simulation and non-shmup, non-fighter arcade games – have been redefined from “hardcore” to “casual” in my lifetime, around the time the female demographic became too big for the dudes to ignore.

  61. Maureen Brian says

    rob r @ 56,

    This is how most things have always been defined. Men take things …

    This is precisely the sort of anti-thinking we do our best to eliminate in adult discussion, about gaming or about anything else.

    This “the way it has always been” is sloppy. It rests on someone’s assumptions that they can base an analysis of how things are now on take-it-for-granted assumptions about things were in the Mesolithic, details of social organisation, leadership roles and the etiquette of every day life – things you cannot possibly know.

    Such nonsense doesn’t even merit the label of circular reasoning. Not when it takes a grossly simplified version of how things are at your place in the early twenty-first century, rolls it back 15,000 years and then rolls it forward again in order to explain the present.

    What little we do know of our ancestors’ lives says that women were involved in religion, ritual, art and the development of the technologies they would soon need as settled societies. Just as we know that women have been fully involved at all key stages in the development of computing and that a significant proportion of gamers have always been women.

    If you would start from what we actually know then we could probably have a useful conversation.

  62. doublereed says

    I associated that more with the rise of XBOX live and the series of FPS games that thinks the real world has an unsaturated color palette. It seemed to cater to a different demographic of gamers. Namely people who would be into the outdated Nineties Anti-Hero style of comic books if they were born earlier.

    I don’t think FPS could ever not be considered hardcore, because that’s really the place where it started for that demographic. I don’t think “hardcore” means excluding women. At least I think it means FPS before it means excluding women.

  63. doublereed says

    Kevin, let’s make this interesting. I’ll bet you FORTY INTERNETS that FPS will not be moved out of the ‘hardcore’ category.

  64. anteprepro says

    Hardcore gamer has always struck me as a term without definition. It applied to people who spent a shit ton of their time gaming. It applied to people who were really good at really difficult games. And now I see some people using it as a label saying “I play Call of Duty a lot”. The hardcore label is flexible, but also the “gamer” label has been seeing a good amount of stretch also.

    Lachlan:

    Also, many of the commenters in that video surely spoke English as a second (or third, or fourth) language.

    Citation needed. Simply presuming a language because of spelling/grammar mistakes is insulting.

  65. says

    bjtunwarm @60:

    Speaking as a gamer the vitriol towards women from at lest a portion of the gamers is just amazing to watch – it’s not even old school sexism, but actual fear and loathing for anything with a uterus. There has to be something to assertion these guy’s brains are frozen in a pre-teen state because it’s hard to believe any healthy adult male would think that way.

    There is absolutely NO reason to think anything of the sort. The misogyny demonstrated by many gamers is not some problem unique to gaming. Nor is it a problem unique to a particular age group. Misogyny manifests across all social groups and all ages. To claim otherwise is to minimize the extent of the problem. Please don’t do this.

  66. Pteryxx says

    Mammoth: You’ll never guess what misogynistic gamebros did to these two women in gaming! (HINT: Drove them out.)

    Frank, an award-winning writer and sometime game designer, came to the attention of the misogynist mob after writing a brief opinion piece for The Guardian decrying the widespread and vicious harassment of women in gaming. In addition to writing about the harassment she’s gotten — including someone trying to hack into her email account — she (as you might expect) also highlighted the misogynistic rage directed at feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian and indie game designer Zoe Quinn.

    The new rule seems to be that any woman who writes about online harassment will herself be harassed, and in this case it didn’t take long.

    I’m glad you all love video games a lot, these guys are tough company.—
    Mattie Brice (@xMattieBrice) September 04, 2014

    i decided i’m not spending time and energy on things that don’t reciprocate. the games industry never budged to make room for me—
    Mattie Brice (@xMattieBrice) September 05, 2014

    it asked for volunteer work, it asked me to take harassment, it asked me to live in poor conditions. i won’t anymore—
    Mattie Brice (@xMattieBrice) September 05, 2014

  67. Pteryxx says

    Here’s the opinion piece Frank wrote for the Guardian just four days ago. How to attack a woman who works in video games

    My unabashed love for video games, my colleagues and my work have a conflict of interest with my own terror.

    See, the best, most successful hate campaign dreams big. For some, it isn’t only about targeting one woman, two women, or a handful of women. The endgame is to frighten all women out of the video games industry – no matter what they write, film, create or produce – and to additionally frighten anyone who would support them.

    As Slate’s David Auerbach put it, “keep in mind that targeting Quinn will drive away the next Kim Swift”. That’s Kim Swift, co-designer of Portal, one of the greatest games ever made. Never was there a nobler cause.

  68. vaiyt says

    That’s a wonderfully scathing opinion piece, and it cuts right to the point. The future of the industry hinges on whether the growing presence of women in the playerbase means women will continue to create games in growing numbers, or it will be like the film industry, where a few white dudes with too many prejudices have a stranglehold on the creative process.

  69. Pteryxx says

    from Matthew Trevor in the previous thread:

    By way of apology for my derail: Zoe Quinn has been logging IRC discussion that seems to show that both the #gamergate and #notyourshield Twitter movements were deliberately and cynically engineered by a 4chan affiliated group that views SJWs as the greatest threat to humanity ever.


    Storify

    Examiner: #GamerGate revealed as misogynist and racist movement from 4chan

    The general gist of Quinn tweets shows discussions from 4chan’s Internet Relay Chat channels and how the majority of posts there are about targeting Quinn, her friends, and anyone known for being or defending a “Social Justice Warrior.” No real discussion on how to improve the video games news media there at all; only how to threaten women an independent game developers online. It even goes on about trying to hack into Quinn’s e-mail and website; looking for any little thing that could damage her reputation. That should put those claims of Quinn lying about being hacked to bed.

    There’s also the revelation of the #NotYourShield, the hashtag used by #GamerGate advocates to show the movement wasn’t racist or misogynist, was just 4chan pretending to be women and people of different color. Another revelation that the canceled Indigogo crowdfund campaign, “Lawyers Against Gaming Corruption,” was orchestrated by a 4channer trying to get his wife hired. According to Quinn, the 4chan IRC logs have been submitted to the FBI for criminal investigation.

    Zoë ʻTom-Kunʼ Quinn @TheQuinnspiracy

    I guess it’s a good time to mention that I’ve been lurking in & recording 4chan’s raid IRC channels for a few weeks
    3:46 AM – 6 Sep 2014

    (Twitter)

    Zoë ʻTom-Kunʼ Quinn ‏@TheQuinnspiracy

    SLEEPER CELLS. Probably the people who showed at my panel and took photos for 4chan. pic.twitter.com/TXIzRqznaI

    2:40 AM – 6 Sep 2014

    (Twitter)