So, how is #GamerGate going, you might ask? I’ll be honest – I went out of town for five blissful days for a board game convention, which is pretty much as close to a religious experience as I get. During that time, I was far too transfixed by dice and wooden meeples to give any fucks about what was going on. This was me thinking about gamergate while at BGG.con:
Well, there was the part where the dynamic duo dug Jack Thompson out of his court-sanctioned exile so that they could declare him quite reasonable and sadly misunderstood. Well, that required me to come up for air to give my two cents.
But seriously, the board game con was a few thousand game players – sure board gamers, but literally, other than one person who saw my Sea Lion T-shirt and broke out laughing, and said ‘fuck gamergate’, not one mention the whole time. You would never know Gamergate was a thing. It was blissful, and once I came back, I tried getting back into things, and to be honest, my heart wasn’t in it.
Seriously, it’s like a fever had broken. Now, a huge part of that is because GamerGate has, since the week of the Red Wedding, veered into Shirtstorm and the Jack Thompson fiasco, pretty much devolved into being an endless miasma of anti-SJW fuckwittery and, even more than that, endless, endless web drama that is more obsessed with defending Gamergate’s right to exist than anything remotely related to, you know, that ethics thing. But hey, don’t get me wrong, the GGers are having fun.
But it’s a pissant, petty, nihilistic sort of ‘fun’. Here’s a little taste of the penny-ante bullshit that has been CONSUMING the hashtag on twitter, KiA and Gamerghazi.
They’ve spend five days now talking about how a bunch of assholes began tormenting Brianna Wu about the death of her dog, with some claiming to have poisoned it, and others creating a mock account of her dog self-describing its own death. Milo suggested the dog killed itself to get away from her . Oh, and they doxxed her whole family.
A webcomic artist lamented he couldn’t draw #gamergate cartoons full-time. Brad Wardell casually invited him to apply for a job without, perhaps, googling to discover that ‘gamergate cartoons’ he liked to draw involved Zoe Quinn giving sex for games coverage.
Random #Gamergater decides it would be fun to start stalking Randi Harper’s place of employment. Includes maps of how to get to her office from his place. Mentions of knife carrying are involved. Is surprised but unapologetic at the backlash. Decides to start badmouthing the developer who she works for. In related news, if anyone knows of a good lawyer in San Francisco, let Randi know (seriously!)
Milo Yiannopoulos took the time to call out Anita Sarkeesian for using terms like ‘we’ and ‘our industry’ despite the fact she’s not a gamer. Note that Milo was, as recently as August 14th, was describing grand theft auto players as ‘ weirdos in yellowing underpants’ and that GTA fans ‘need therapy and their internet connections taken away by mum?’ before discovering that these weirdos could be his brand new army in his anti-SJW culture war! And in September, they were suggesting which games should be his very first! (My hat is still off to whoever pushed a pigeon dating simulator on him).
King of Pol may be doing an Interview on Fox News. You may remember him from the Best Week Ever, where he tried to con Milo and Hot Wheels into believing some faked Facebook pages from Gawker’s CEO actually came from Kotaku’s editor in chief. Yeah, for some reason, that guy may be going on Fox News. #GamerGate is freaking out about it.
Now, you may notice a few things here. First off, none of these things are actually about Ethics in Games Journalism.
Which should come as no surprise – #GamerGate at this point is so rarely about ethics in games journalism these days that when it stumbles upon it, it feels almost like an accident. Secondly, with the possible exception of the Australia story, this is all minor league bullshit – effectively the equivalent of reddit drama, only across multiple platforms.
Well, we do, because the third thing that’s true is that, despite repeated assurances that #gamergate is not about Brianna, Zoe, Anita and newly-inducted rage tank Randi, these women’s names still are the ones who come up. All. The. Freaking. Time. Still, really, it’s not about them!
But don’t you worry! GamerGate is winning!
Don’t worry, though. I suspect they’re winning the same way that Charlie Sheeen was winning. I present their theme song.
From the beginning it was a concatenation of ironies. They declaimed unethical games journalism with the aid of an unethical journalist; they claimed women and minorities were #notyourshield while using them as a shield against criticism of GamerGate; they excoriated “blacklists” while creating aggressively enforced boycott lists of websites and authors who disagreed with them; they averred their movement had nothing to do with Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn even as they remained unable to stop talking about them; they promoted a vague notion of “inclusion” while expending great energy claiming that there was nothing wrong whatsoever with gamer culture’s treatment of women.
So yeah, when you see them claim that they are winning, you’re right to be skeptical. But hey, lets take a quick look at their accomplishments.
- Their numbers are still tiny. The fundamentals haven’t changed. Also, they promised we’d see some big activity during Black Friday, but instead they troughed over the holidays, presumably being forced to interact socially with family members..
- The press that they claim it is their mission to reform has found that they can just ignore them. And why not? These websites are still delivering the readers that advertisers crave.
- Developers refuse to acknowledge their existence. Sony joined Blizzard in, when being asked, what do you think about GamerGate, saying harassment is ‘completely unacceptable’. Gamergaters have desperately tried to spin this as a nothingstatement. Here’s a hint: if you ask me if you should date my best friend, and I respond ‘I’m not a big fan of ball lice’, it is fair to assume that I find the two intrinsically connected.
- Their noted enemy, Anita Sarkeesian, has gotten more exposure and fame than she ever would have otherwise. She’s made not only the Colbert Report, but also the cover of New York Times and most recently Bloomberg.
- Their leaders are still disappearing. Nope, they all didn’t disappear after the Red Wedding Week. Recently, it was Internet Aristocrat who took a break, wiping his whole internet profile (rumor has it due to his new job). You may remember IA for his greatest hits, including the original ‘Five Guys’ videos. Well, those crucial bits of internet history were removed from the net. And good riddance.
- Their one pressworthy victory was overturned. Remember Intel? Yeah, about that… so far, Gamergate ha had no victories of Intel’s size on an actual gaming site.
- They’ve managed to get twitter to acknowledge that something needs to be done about abusive shithead behavior on twitter. In fact, when Twitter rolled out their new ‘how to block people’ video, the blocked target was depicted as… an alligator. Get it?
- Even they know their name is poison. You know all of their letter-writing campaigns? They always mention that writers should hide their gamergate affiliation.
So yeah, hell of a job there, gamergate.