I’ve been a gamer since I was a child, it is something that has always brought me joy and there has rarely been another hobby that has matched it. My younger brother and I always fought over the computers we shared and I think it drove my mum and dad nuts but some of those games that were out back then were memories I’ll always cherish, even thinking back on those times now as I write this. I remember reading in the news that games would be criticized by parents, politicians and newspapers but I never thought I would see the day when the gaming media went after its own audience, and what followed I will never forget.
When the dust settles, remember who it was that fed their own readership to the wolves. I will.
At the time the horrible articles were published I was not aware of who Zoe Quinn was or about any of the surrounding events as I had been working a lot that year and had done plenty of overtime so I had had trouble keeping up with game related news. I suppose this was helped by the gaming press doing their best to censor the discussions on it too but it didn’t take me long to read up on the whole thing. I have seen screen caps of the abuse Quinn has suffered through this and to be perfectly clear I would wish that on NOBODY at all, but I could not help but notice since she has now taken up the mantle of Professional Victim the abuse has been used to deflect the fact that she has some serious questions to answer over what she did to The Fine Young Capitalists and what she may have done with the Game Jam reality show that crashed on the first day of filming, but nobody is talking about this anymore and I can only wonder why. As for the Zoe Post, those of us that have took part in and supported GamerGate have it to thank for providing some answers as to the conduct of Quinn and the media that had clearly sided with her at this point, I have read it and found it to be a difficult read as it was clear Eron Gjoni had been put through an emotional hell with what Quinn had put him through.
Here though, I will say part of me understands the part of him for writing that 9000 word post as I know many have attacked him for it, claiming he was slut shaming, but I have seen what he had been put through done to at least two others I know and it was not pretty for them either. The first was a friend of mine, his wife had cheated on him with someone she had met on Facebook whilst he and I were working some long hours and had told him the following morning during an argument. She left the house and he was alone to try and deal with it and he blurted the whole thing out on Facebook, those of us that had him on our own Facebook watched him breakdown and the marriage burn over a few months as well as seeing him look quite rough at times and lose a lot of weight due to stress and not eating. He pulled through in the end and managed to move on and found happiness with another lady but his ex-wife did not make it easy for him as he became aware at one point she had people spying on him for her over Facebook. The second was a person I worked with, but I didn’t know him as well as some of the other staff. He was always one of these funny types who were happy to share a joke. His wife had decided to end their marriage after only a few months and then have an affair, causing him additional pain as she then decided to drag his name through the mud in various attempts to stop him from seeing his children. He had told me this is numerous conversations I had with him and I encouraged him to keep at it as no children should be without their father.
One Monday night, we came into work and found out he had killed himself.
It left a cold feeling over the workplace that week, a statement was read out on behalf of the company and donations were made that would go straight to his children, but the atmosphere will be something I will never forget. At the work station I was at that week, he always came past and said hello to me around the same time every shift, a few times that week I found myself looking around to see where he was, and a feeling of sadness followed each time. There is that sad and painful part in all of us that causes us to lash out when we are hurt and Eron chose to do so in a blog form and the ripple effect from that hurt him as well in the long run, his character demonized and he had to resign from his job. At the same time it should also be noted that Quinn earns just shy of $4000 a month through her Patreon, more than the average working person does in two or three, and she has had Eron legally silenced in the courts and as he has had trouble in finding the money to fight this, it is unknown when this will be lifted.
Another thing that should be noted is that whilst we gamers have been targets of the press we were not the first to face their disgusting treatment, those before us may have had it worse. When the developer of Cards of Humanity, Max Temkin, was accused of rape by a girl he had known and had had a brief relationship with in college, articles were run on it. Two in particular were run by Kotaku and Rock Paper Shotgun and both of them encouraged discussion about it, Kotaku’s piece was written by Patricia Hernandez (now known to have given positive coverage to friends and lovers) in which she was critical of his reaction and went as far as to call it “gross”, whilst RPS’s piece was by Rob Florence and was also quite critical of Temkin’s response but even though Florence stated he did believe in “innocent until proven guilty”, it didn’t stop him laying into the guy all the same.
David Jaffe (the man behind God of War and Twisted Metal) had a piece written about him back in 2012 by Kate Cox and it made him very angry after it appeared to show him as a thoughtless misogynist, the audio recording of him ripping Stephen Totillo apart has almost become legendary, especially his pointing out that Cox had most certainly taken creative licensing with what the term “misogyny” actually meant. Jaffe and Cox would later agree to disagree over the whole episode and she would write another article about it but a look through some of the comments by readers suggests that not all of them agreed with Cox and found the story quite unfair.
The worst example of this to me anyway, is that of Brad Wardell, the CEO of the game company Stardock. Wardell had been involved in a court case with a former employee back in 2012/2013, she had accused him of sexual harassment and he had that actions she had taken shortly before she left Stardock had helped the game Elemental: War of Magic to fail on launch, due to it being a badly broken game. An article about it was written for Kotaku, again by Kate Cox (how about that?) and it did not show him in a very positive light as well as painting the former employee, Alexandra Miseta, as a victim and the article was written clearly siding with her. The lawsuits would both eventually be dismissed and Miseta wrote a letter of apology, Wardell would later say he felt vindicated, but he was never happy with the way Cox had covered the story, calling her article a “hit piece” and stating that after it had been published his wife had received disgusting messages, his children had been bullied at school and he had received death threats. He still endures abuse to this day on his Twitter but has took the interesting stance of answering back as he has stated ignoring it simply hasn’t helped at all, even getting into an argument with Quinn after she attacked him after he suggested to a guy wishing to get into gaming that he file a resume, without realizing he had drawn a crude cartoon of her some time ago. The matter had not been helped by Ben Kuchera (yes, him again) reblogging the details of the case and getting many tongues wagging online. The articles written on all three of the previously mentioned people are still available online, google Max Temkin and Brad Wardell and you will find that the articles about them are near the top of the search results with the comic in question is seen below.
Looking at these examples also makes you realize something else when reading them, the gaming press certainly had no issue writing articles about these men for what they considered a good story, but when information started coming out against Zoe Quinn, none of them would go anywhere near it, showing a clear gender bias and some very unbalanced journalism, but the Breitbart articles detailing the GameJournoPros would certainly go a long way to explaining this. Amusingly, Kate Cox and Ben Kuchera are part of this list.
These are the sorts of people we have been up against since this all started back in August, and GamerGate has been a long and bumpy ride as a result. Many people have been hurt along the way and some have even left but all of us have been feeling very angry and frustrated at the way they have been portrayed in the media coverage that has happened. I watched a lot of this coverage and had mixed feelings throughout, feeling most of the time that GamerGate never really did get fair coverage for most of it, but that would it still be an interesting spectacle none the less…