"Feel very lucky to be accepted by #GamerGate even as a non-gamer. I’ve met some kind, passionate, supportive and lovely people through it."
Elly Prizeman 10/12/2014
This piece was going to end up differently than what you are reading now, I had thought for a while that things may have calmed down and maybe people would have been able to move on, but then the ABC hit piece aired and I felt so heart broken and angry as once again only one side was being covered. If that wasn't enough it became public that over at PC Gamer, one of its writers had been in a relationship with a member of staff at Ubisoft and had also written articles about the company’s games consistently leaning on the positive side. To their credit though, PC Gamer did come out almost straight away and offer an apology of sorts as well as an update of its ethics policy and a statement from the writer involved, it was a good example of what the other sites should have done in the first place to have avoided all this but their responses were quite different. Jim Sterling talked about it in one of his Jimquisition videos on YouTube, it was a hard one to take in because at the beginning he said he would give it “the benefit of the doubt that it REALLY WAS about ethics” but would also point out that most of those affected have been women such as Jenn Frank and Mattie Brice. For a while I admired his response but it was noticed that before The Escapist revised its ethics policy he left for publicly unspecified reasons, to take his show on his own on YouTube, supported by a Patreon account bringing in $10,000 a month. Much more profitable I guess.
IGN deserves a lot of credit because even though they were not remotely involved in GamerGate (and remained silent throughout) they revised their ethics policy which pleased many people. However it was noticed that just before this was announced that four of their staff left… and set up a Patreon account for their new YouTube channel. It is an interesting pattern indeed and one that simply cannot be ignored, leading me to wonder if these individuals agreed with the policy changes deep down and that perhaps some bad blood was flushed out.
Polygon’s response from its editor, Christopher Grant, felt like he was giving the firm middle finger to the consumer revolt, expressing in particular that it had been felt that the controversy around Quinn was not news worthy and claimed their could be no dialogue with a leaderless movement, making the mistake of misidentifying the consumer revolt. I read this a couple of times before I was reminded that the sites had not been interested in a dialogue to begin with, that when the scandal with Quinn first began to gather steam those who were asking why this wasn’t being covered were at first being treated with silence and then attacked for doing so. Grant’s piece was a reminder that this horrible situation was not started by Gamers, but because of the coordinated effort to shut it down and then attack by the games media. His piece almost seemed to forget that Polygon had been brought into question after Danielle Riendeau’s review of Gone Home gave it a 10/10 even though she had been friends with the developers for a few years and had taken part with them in a podcast shortly before the “game” came out. Of course the deputy editor, Phillip Kollar, didn’t see this as an issue. He had also forgotten that someone who had written for Polygon at one point, Brendan Keogh, had once been asked on Twitter what the term “Gamer” actually meant to him. He replied “Shit person who cares way too much about video games”. As a life-long gamer, seeing that from a games writer really helps me understand the mentality of some of these people. Keogh by the way, also has a Patreon to help him make Lets Play videos, but his income is much less than that of Sterling but still, is this a guy you would want to donate to?
Stephen Totilo wrote two pieces about GamerGate in November and December but neither of them helped the situation at all; the second came across as an apology without saying it and the responses I saw on Twitter confirmed for me at least, that perhaps it was simply too late for some of us involved, many still regarding “those” articles as a slap in the face. Kotaku as a website is not one I can have faith in anymore due to some of the people it employs, such as Nathan Grayson and the writing he does. It has to be remembered that Grayson was the one who wrote an article back in July based completely on an imgur picture. Had he done ANY KIND OF RESEARCH he would have realized that the imgur had been of a translated article about Elder Scrolls from a French journalist called Lamy. When Totilo became aware of this he added an update to the article but it didn’t stop Grayson from looking like a total ass. Grayson had also been the subject of much mockery after he had responded to an interview by Milo Yiannopoulos with a rude email that finished strangely with “And N” and that soon turned into a new hash tag, he has not done so well making himself look good. Grayson also has many questions that need answering about his actions as he has been seen tweeting Quinn after he had written articles featuring her as well as the fact he was thanked in the credits of Depression Quest but he had also tested it at one point. Patricia Hernandez is also worthy of a mention here because aside from her giving positive coverage to people she knew and had been involved with, she also managed to write a whole article based on a simple throwaway joke at the start of Far Cry Blood Dragon (based on a character’s assumed sexuality) and presented it as a worthy talking point. It came across as an attempt to kick up a fuss over something that really wasn’t worth writing about to begin with but hey, maybe it was a slow news day.
Those are a couple of examples that I can mention on the part of the gaming press, there were more I was going to type here but then something occurred to me that I really didn’t like. I remembered thinking back to what Jennie Bharaj had said on The David Pakman show, asking that the gaming sites apologize for their actions and make good on their policy changes. Honoring their policy changes remains to be seen and I have no doubt people will be watching for that, but after reading some of the responses from both the sites and individuals such as Alexander and Kuchera it occurred to me that these apologies simply were not coming. Is GamerGate perfect? No, it has been a chaotic movement and I do not doubt that there have been people who have joined it to cause trouble and harass people but at its core are some wonderful people and I have had the pleasure of speaking to many of them, but the actions of a few idiots has caused all of us to be looked down on and people have suffered for it. One thing that has not been pointed out is that GamerGate has many women supporting it and they have suffered for doing so: abuse, doxxing even in one case, having a picture of one of the ladies printed off and ejaculated all over which evidence suggests was planned out by individuals that really hate GamerGate, too cause turmoil in the ranks. One way forward in all this could have been debate and conversation but most of us are now behind a blocking program created by Randi Harper, a charming self-proclaimed Social Justice Warrior with an extensive criminal record the full extent of which is not known. Harper was recently fired from her job and is now surviving on a Patreon account, but the irony has not escaped many that they are being treated as criminals by someone with an actual record.
As for supporters? Many of us were grateful for Christina Hoff Sommers for adding her thoughts to the whole situation and she faced criticism and even a threat for doing so. When news spread that her husband had passed away, Yiannopoulos helped organize flowers be sent to her along with an E Card signed by those of us in GamerGate and she was certainly grateful for it. She has made videos supporting gamers and has tweeted supporting us many times and many have labelled her “Based Mom” for doing so, which she certainly appeared to like. Adam Baldwin is thanked by many for coming up with the hash tag to begin with, whilst not a gamer himself he obviously saw the injustice and voiced his support, the conversation he had with Brianna Wu exposed the fact that her blaming GamerGate for the threats against her was based on an assumption of timing and she would not apologize for it, amazingly the mainstream media did not pick up on this. One that delighted a lot of us was David Draiman of Disturbed giving us his metal voice as support. A man who takes no crap and is certainly happy to engage in an argument, his addition to the movement was even noticed by Alexander herself with some bemusement. We even have Nick Flor, an Associate Professor of Information Systems, Film and Digital Media complete with PHD who has announced, following the ABC piece that he is to write an academic piece on GamerGate. Yiannopoulos himself is also writing a book about GamerGate and I wish them both luck with their separate projects. Websites such as Tech Raptor, Niche Gamer and Games Nosh are some that deserve mention for supporting the movement, fan made sites that stood up for their audience and have been proud to do so. Niche Gamer deserves particular mention for the interviews with “Xbro”, an anonymous Xbox developer who has revealed that support for the movement is out there, but has to remain silent for fear of their jobs. Both Quinn and Jenn Frank have claimed that this person does not exist but when I informed Niche Gamer of this, they indeed confirmed the existence.
However the games media and those against GamerGate have forgotten is that we have one powerful enemy on our side, and that is time itself. They clearly did not understand their audience and it has shown as one thing us gamers are good at is grinding and battling hard to get what we want, gamers like to win and can do so on the highest difficulty settings and this situation certainly seems to match that. To the gaming media I say this, this situation was one you created and if you had addressed the many allegations and questions straight away we would not be where we are now, but you chose to attack your own audience and you have been left with a huge black eye as a result. The ball is in your court and gamers are not going anywhere which leads me to ask you this simple question: We survived you, the question is can you survive us?
To those I still in GamerGate I urge you to be calm, be polite and good to each other as you always have been and be patient. This has been a long bumpy road and will continue to be so, don’t be afraid to take a break if needed. I also suggest you try to be respectful of the opinions of those of a neutral stance as unnecessary insulting helps nobody in all this. It has also become clear to me that fan made content is the way forward in all this so support the sites that you want to and keep sending emails if you wish but conduct yourself accordingly, the slightest mistake and act of rudeness can be jumped upon and our opponents will certainly be watching for any. I have no doubts that for a long time we will not be looked upon kindly by the outside world because of the one sided portrayal by the media but stay golden and keep doing what you do best. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to GET UP, COME ON GET DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS! GET UP, COME ON GET DOWN WITH THE SICKNESS…