I'm an angry person by nature. I will admit that. I will curse for hours if someone grabs my attention to only waste my time (You girls out there that thinks it's cute or funny to say "HEY I HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING", and then just say "Hi' afterwards? I hate you with more spite than a person can muster), and If my coffee is cold, I will go on a murderous rampage. So it's no surprise really, that the whole idea behind "Gamergate" drives me into a blood frenzy.
Here's the Gist: Around about, August of 2014; Indie Game Designer Zoe Quinn ( Depression Quest) was accused of cheating by her ex-boyfriend via some online social medium. Not only was she accused of cheating, but it was with a journalist from the video gaming "Giant" (what a crock...) Kotaku. This accusation was viewed as an attack on women in video games, and the feminists grabbed their rifles and "Muh Misogyny" picket signs. Thus, began the great war of wasted time.
Allegations against Quinn
Quinn's ex; Eron Gjoni, wrote a blog post containing a slew of allegations saying that Quinn had cheated on him with Kotaku journalist Nathan Grayson. This then led to Quinn's detractors in the gaming community screaming that the relationship had resulted in Grayson publishing a positive review of Quinn's game, Depression Quest. Think about it for a second. That seems crazy coincidental. But, I digress. Kotaku's editor-in-chief, Stephen Totilo, did say that the two had been involved in a relationship, but clarified that Grayson had not written anything about Quinn after the relationship had commenced and that he had never reviewed her games. Which doesn't mean he couldn't have asked someone else to do so. Although the accusations of favorable coverage were refuted, the incident led to more people crying on social media that game developers and the gaming press are too often closely connected and that cultural criticism of video games has led to an increasing focus on social representation and cultural meaning in games by some video games writers (*cough cough* IGN, and Kotaku). As a result from the storm of allegations; false or otherwise, Quinn was subjected to the worst torture the internet could offer.
Threats of rape and death came in at an alarming rate, but what do you expect for an anonymous gathering of gamers and political madmen? The usual internet warfare began. Doxxing occurred, along with DDos raids. During this entire ordeal of feminist fury and gamer rage, Any mention of "Gamergate" on any website, was met with an equal amount of backlash and was eventually erased/censored (mostly forums and image boards got this end of the stick). This, however did not stop them, and only managed to fuel the rage-fire even more.
Now, keep in mind that Zoe Quinn is not the entirety of Gamergate (I hate this term), she is merely the "shot heard round the world". Shortly after the shot was heard, all hell broke loose. Of course, twitter and Tumblr caught wind of this situation and they pulled out their favorite words beginning with the letter "m" and started slinging them around willy-nilly whilst prancing around topless. Guess who else caught wind? That's right. /v/: The problem children of the gaming universe. 4chan's video games board, and their adopted brother /pol/ (politically incorrect) caught wind of this uproar of feminists and began doing what they do best. Releasing the rest of Hell upon those who turned it out in the first place.
This prompted the biggest co-operation between the two boards, I have ever seen. On August 18th, a post on Reddit claimed that Quinn ( ah, yes. She's back again.) intentionally sabotaged a female-centric game development event on the grounds that the idea was oppressive, in order to promote her own similar event, Rebel Jam that was taking place on August 19th. Thus instantly turning her back on the same group of people that had been supporting her from the very beginning. This sabotaged event was run by a RADICAL FEMINIST group of game designers called The Fine Young Capatilists. What they were trying to do was host a Game Jam. Which is a play on Jam Session; where musicians would show up at a venue with no prior rehearsing and just "Jam". It works pretty much the same way; a bunch of developers show up and make a game in just a few days. While the proceeds of this Game jam would go to a charity decided upon by voters, Quinn's event, on the other hand, had no inkling of where the money would end up.
Shortly after, /pol/ approached /v/ with an idea. Just to spite Quinn they were going to do the unimaginable. Back a radical Feminist group. They contacted TFYC and set up a donation. They raised, together, $23,601; and with it, the right to design the protagonist character for the game and choose the charity the proceeds would go to. After dying of laughter, they got their act together; and through a series of polls, a character was born, and a charity chosen. The charity chosen was the Colon Cancer Alliance, so they could cure "Butthurt". The character? None other than Vivian James.
Vivian and The Fine Young Capitalists
Vivian James (A corruption of Vidya Games), was spawned of a conglomeration of 4chan culture. Even the symbol on her headband, the four leaf clover, is the icon for the website. Of course, other feminists from both Twitter and Tumblr went up in arms about this. Claiming that TFYC were hypocrites for dealing with 4chan in such a friendly manner, and accepting any kind of money from them at all. Which, of course, they had to; because these other feminists (backers of Zoe Quinn since the beginning) weren't donating any money in the first place. In response, The Fine Young Capitalists defended their stance regarding 4chan, claiming that should they wish to stop them from taking part in the project, they would have to oppress ( there's that word!) 4chan and that they didn’t wish to do that. On August 24th, the campaign page on indiegogo.com was hacked and deleted. By feminsts? maybe. I'd put more money on a disgruntled /v/ denizen that didn't get his way, or one suffered from a case of bloodlust. TFYC contacted indiegogo and got the page restored, and the project was put back on track.
Here's a transcript from the E-mail /v/ sent to TFYC:
/v/ has finished yelling at each other. Here are what’s been decided:
- Name: Vivian James (joke here is that slight pronunciation corruption makes it “vidya games”, /v/s term for our hobby).
- Nickname: Clover (4chan symbol).
- Online Handle (should it ever for some reason come up): Level (Level → lel →lvl →/v/).
Plenty of excited discussion around personality was had, but that’s something I think you should be free to work around. The only thing we’d like you to keep in mind (should relevant situations ever come up) are the things that are obvios from her designs and our board’s attitude towards the current controversy:
- Tough-loves video games.
- Loathes dishonesty and hypocrisy.
- Low-affect, grumpy, perpetually fed up and tired.
Ultimately it’s your game and the game of the ladies that pitched whatever concept wins.
Also, within the e-mail, among the other renditions and drawings of Vivian, was (yep, you guessed it!) porn. Which didn't hurt their standing with them what-so-ever and proved that TFYC were blessed with a kind sense of humor. So, along goes the development of the game; and you can expect a full review of it here on Slashskill, when it releases.
After all of the fuss, /v/ (and the rest of the site, really) was absolutely taken with this creature spawned from the spite (sometimes referred to as fornication) between Quinn and /v/; /v/ finally had something besides games to call his own. A daughter. Spawning comics, short-stories, politically driven rants, feminist backlash, t-shirts, etc. This girl had become a symbol. A symbol of what exactly? Who knows, all she cares about is playing Vidya.
Now we must step away from Vivian and her gorgeous red locks; for the fight was going on elsewhere. While not as hilariously ironic as the spiteful kindness of the largest internet hate-machine, the events are still none-the-less important.
The war rages on...
#Not Your Shield came about in response to Gamergate activism being labeled as " misogynistic", saying that the focus on misogyny served mainly to "deflect criticism" of gaming journalism. #NotYourShield began being used by women and other minority groups that still wanted a change in the ethical guidelines of the video game industry and press, while denying that the core issues behind Gamergate were driven by sexism. Even William Usher on Cinemablend argued that the accusations of misogyny use women as a "shield to be silently used in order for gaming media - and those that gaming media represents - to push an agenda".
Anita Sarkeesian is a feminist, media critic and blogger. Which apparently are legitimate job titles. She is also the Author of the video blogs, Tropes vs. Women, and Tropes vs. Women in video games. Aha! it is there, where her connection to this storm of crap lies. She had previously gotten some flak from gamers about the "tropes" project, but after her release of "Women as Background Decoration, Pt:2" did the Hate Machine start to operate. It got so bad that she had to leave her home, which she publicly announced. There was also a terrorist threat at Utah State University when she was scheduled to come and speak. The threat alluded to the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre in Montreal, in which gunman Marc Lépine murdered 14 women in an act that he was quoted as saying was "fighting feminism".
It never ends; this engine of hate
There were so many more instances of warfare between the two opposing sides, but none worth mentioning. Most of the topics that I brought up were purely to show how deep this laughing-stock of a rabbit hole goes. All it was/is, is a tremendous waste of time. People crying and screaming at each other for no reason other than to come to the defense of a girl that got accused of cheating. It just so happened that she was a feminist, and a game developer. Which, apparently, is a recipe for disaster. All of this time has been wasted. Arguing about roles, in video games. Wether it be a part in a story, or a particular station in the industry, and how it's all connected. All of the time I spent covering this, I could have spent playing the new Legend of Korra game, or even writing about it. But this is currently the largest gorilla in the room, and damn if he wasn't making a fuss.
Finally, we here at Slashskill want to remain as far from this fight as possible. We aren't journalists per say. We're not vultures looking for a story, or a bunch of guys looking to dig up dirt on other people for political or personal agendas. We merely want to do what everyone else seems to have forgotten what this argument deals with. Play video games. Sure, it spawned from a breakup between a game developer and her boyfriend. But the conversation evolved into an argument about gender roles and "misogyny" when it never really should have. Shut up and play people.
Damn, My coffee is cold.
Links; I love links! :
- Vivian and Reddit's character is now rendered for the game from TFYC
- An article by Pete Haas on Cinemablend about Gamergate
- a video on Christopher "Moot" Poole (creator of 4chan) responding about the censorship on 4chan and some more crap.
- Another article about 4chan censorship.