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What is #Gamergate?
So for those of you uninitiated, this weekend marks the beginning of the annual Penny Arcade Expo (PAX): a communal event in Seattle for both the media and gaming community to come together, have fun, and celebrate/discuss everything related to-and surrounding gaming.
However this time something is a little off. Over on twitter the hashtag and pseudo movement #gamergate is giving a glimpse into what a significant portion of gamers at PAX and elsewhere think about the claimed weeks of censorship, wilful ignorance, alleged misdoings and general nepotism that is rife within the current mainstream gaming media. It seems that the catalyst for this movement are the reactions and information that came to light in the Zoe Quinn Scandal, a story that seemingly everyone is aware of, but nobody is willing to discuss openly and at full length outside of the few unmoderated discussion platforms such as twitter and 4chan.org.
The current driving factor and main gripe for the folks in charge of spreading the gamergate hashtag is the seemingly out-of-nowhere attack on the moniker and culture of the “Gamer” from the mainstream gaming press in response to the anger generated by the Quinn story.
Gamers’ don’t have to be your audience. ‘Gamers’ are over. Exclusive – Leigh Alexander, Gamasutra (Aug 28, 10:00am)We Might Be Witnessing The ‘Death of An Identity’ – Luke Plunkett, Kotaku (Aug 28, 8:00pm)A Guide to Ending “Gamers” – Devin Wilson, Gamasutra (Aug 28, 7:57 pm)The death of the “gamers” and the women who “killed” them – Casey Johnson, arstechnica (Aug 28, 5:00pm)It’s Dangerous to Go Alone: Why Are Gamers So Angry? – Arthur Chu, The Daily Beast (Aug 28)Gaming Is Leaving “Gamers” Behind – Joseph Bernstein, Buzzfeed (Aug 28, 8:29 pm)An awful week to care about video games – Chris Plante, Polygon (Aug 28, 1:21pm)Sexism, Misogyny, and online attacks: It’s a horrible time to consider yourself a gamer – Patrick O’Rourke, Financial Post (Aug 28, 9:33pm)Misogynistic trolls drive feminist video game critic from her home – Callie Beusman, Jezebel (Aug 28, 4:05pm)A disheartening account of the harassment going on in gaming right now (and how Adam Baldwin is involved) – Victoria McNally, The Mary Sue (Aug 28, 1:30pm)This guy’s embarassing relationship drama is killing the ‘gamer’ identity – Mike Pearl, Vice (Aug 29)
There have also been several noted gaming figures speaking out against the clique-like nature of dev/press relations and the blurred lines of what is acceptable from a professional journalistic standpoint. These include John “TotalBiscuit” Bain, Jonathan “JonTron” Jafari and Stephen “boogie2988″ Williams.
JonTron’s comments spawned their own Hashtag campaign #Istandwithjontron that was then hijacked by his detractors and used to ridicule him for his take on the issue.
So what are those in favor of #gamergate trying to achieve? This quote from an anonymous contributor sums it up:
The goals for the movement are exposition and deconstruction of corruption and nepotism in the majority of gaming journalism and the indie developer scene, a clique that excludes others and frightens them into silence or ruin if they don’t stay silence and fall in line. We want people to be aware that these sites have breached ethics and consumer trust again and again and are now lashing out with a wave of attempts to make this exclusively about gender, misappropriated allegations of misogyny, insults, and demeaning their core demographic by inciting the notion that the “gamer” identity is dying.
This movement is NOT at its core about Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarkeesian and whatever personal bullshit they have going on. They come up in discussion, but we have already continuously exposed Zoe Quinn multiple times in her wrongdoings, and the movement is no longer majorly concerned with her. Those opposing us continue to attempt to deflect the issue back towards her in order to avoid the actual discussion and to fool others into attacking anyone who dares to call for moderation and equal discussion.
There are bad eggs in our basket, but that does not mean our entire basket is spoiled. We are not all male, we are not all white, we are not all straight, we are not all losers, and we are definitely not all misogynists with no proof of anything.
The sort of vitriol that is apparently acceptable towards someone calling for reason and moderation in the hashtag shows how separated the people who are playing games are them those that are covering them.
Above all else, though, we just want the article to be fair and open for discussion, not censored and one-sided.
To read more on the events that led up to Gamergate:
click here to read about how 4chan funded a female inclusive game development program created by The Fine Young Capitalists, a group that quinn had ties to but cut after disagreements on transgender issues.
To read more on how Total Biscuit received a high level of critisim for his comments on the Quinn Scandal click here.
For info on how Kotaku changed it’s policies on funding Indie Dev projects in regards to the Quinn Scandal click here
If you’d like to hear the thoughts of our own Contributor Evo on the recent state of affairs click here to read his opinion piece
For the Original Quinn story (still up!) click here