Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: The GamerGate Conundrum

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GGThere is a lot discussion buzzing online about #GamerGate. On one side there are individuals who seek to diversify gaming from multiple perspectives and on the other side there are individuals who feel the gaming industry in under attack by feminist enthusiasts who don’t understand the accusations they are making. Oddly enough, this discussion did not start with male vs. female perspectives. It started as a call to revolutionize and/or evolve how current Game Giants develop their games. Indie games are popular: they stretch the imagination and break many of the self-confined molds that game companies use when developing their newest titles. It is honestly a little shocking for someone who has grown up games to see such a simple suggestion balloon into a heated debate about the ethics of gaming.

When I first caught wind of this debate I was extremely confused. One site explained #GamerGate as a movement for women in the gaming industry to receive equitable treatment on a professional level. Another site explained #GamerGate as an onslaught of inappropriate, cruel and violent threats on women in the gaming industry. Other sites note the movement is one of change; one to see Indie/Self-Published games become another genre equally as popular as any first-person shooter or rpg that a gaming giant would release. Having read many of these articles I have come to this conclusion: #GamerGate is a movement of ethical and personal opinions that is fueled by the agendas of folks who want nothing good for anyone in this scenario. The fact that death threats have blossomed from what should have been a constructive discussion is very much disturbing.

As one who does not often comprehend the need for political debate it saddens me that something as amazing as video games are turning into the book debates of the early 20th Century; debates that lead to mass burning of literature and unneeded loss of life. I grew up on games from Nintendo to Windows. I have spent much of my life admiring the development and craft of games.Have there been times where I wished there was a female character I could play? Absolutely. Did I stop playing the game because there wasn’t? No. The only time I stopped playing games was when their violence disturbed me so much I had nightmares or when the game had so many strobe effects I had to stop (a history of seizures makes you pause when considering a gaming title).

I understand the passion associated with games. If someone came to me and said that Final Fantasy VII was made only for men I’d have a few words to toss their way but I would not threaten them with violence. The same defense would occur if someone told me that Skyrim had no artistic value. Yet, I would bear no ill-will towards that individual. Why? Well, it’s very simple: we are allowed to have opinions. Opinions help mold you into the person you want to be. They teach you when you are wrong or when you are right. They help you understand the value of morality and the fragility of ethos. It’s through opinions that laws are formed, that religions are evolved and that communities are formed. It is through opinions that we, as humans, connect.

Perhaps I am biased. Being an artist I am acclimated to constructive criticism. I am used to someone telling me why I am wrong and how to fix it. I accept that I am not perfect and I use that criticism to make me stronger. In the end, #GamerGate is a matter of respect and perspective. In the words of Yoda: “Fear is the path to the dark side – fear leads to hate, hate leads to suffering. Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose“. Good luck out there Fan Girls and Fan Boys; never forget that what oppresses you in the short term will only make you stronger in the long run.

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5 Comments

  1. Manuel Cruz November 14, 2014 Reply
  2. Leah Miller November 14, 2014 Reply
    • Jess November 15, 2014 Reply
    • Briar June 23, 2015 Reply
  3. Neowarden June 23, 2015 Reply

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