Some of you may already be aware of the storm of controversy erupting over the internet in recent months, now dubbed #Gamergate, which has attracted the attention of nearly all video game journalism sites and even major news networks such as the BBC, CNBC and CNN, and newspapers like The Guardian and The Washington Post. For those who don’t know, ‘Gamergate’ refers to an apparent failure of video games journalists to cover the debate around the Zoe Quinn controversy and Anita Sarkesian’s popular YouTube series on sexism in video games with impartiality or concern for the views of their audiences. The Gamergate movement has since been dubbed a “misogyny-fuelled hate campaign”
by The Guardian (who else?).
What brought this controversy to mainstream media attention were the reported harassment and death threats that Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkesian and others received from some disgruntled members of the gaming community. Ms Sarkesian had even claimed to have been forced to “flee her home” due to these threats and recently cancelled a presentation at Utah State University due to an anonymous shooting threat. However, this has led to speculation from her critics over the sincerity of these threats or if they were even real to begin with. The net positive impact they have had on Anita’s campaign (and the campaigns of other ‘gaming’ feminist personalities) has aroused suspicion, particularly due to a previous history of dishonesty and questionable journalistic integrity. Anita and her supporters appear to consider all criticism of their views as harassment, which has made debate on the subject difficult, with major games journalism sites such as Kotaku ruthlessly stamping out any and all opposition. Major newspapers and news networks, seemingly not having done their research, have taken Anita and the games journalists’ sides in this affair (although a recent BBC article
has hinted that there is actually a debate going on and that it isn’t
purely a mass harassment campaign targeting her for being a woman, contrary to what some would like to claim).
I don’t consider myself a gamer at all, but this sort of thing irks me. It bothers me that any criticism of these people’s views and actions is labelled ‘harassment’ or ‘misogyny’ regardless of its accuracy and honesty (or is simply ignored), and it bothers me that the boisterous actions of a small cadre of internet scumbags were spotlighted and practically shut down the entire discourse. The immature, inflammatory comments of seventeen-year-olds is all that's newsworthy, apparently (and lets be real; it's not like they're going to publicize anything that calls them out).
I haven’t seen much discussion on TSR regarding this, so what are your thoughts?