Gaming used to be fun. I could go and get a good RPG (role playing game) and spend hours enjoying it. I could discuss with others about the ins and outs of the games and generally have a good time with it. Those days are behind me now. Now when I look at a game I have to wonder about the community behind it and worry about those who are being punished by members of a group called Gamersgate.
Gamersgate, if you don't know, supposedly started over the issue of ethics in gaming journalism. Okay, ethics in anything is a good topic and should be addressed. Unfortunately, the original argument is flawed and irrelevant to anything. It began with an ex-boyfriend of a game designer claiming she had sex with a game reporter for more favorable reviews.
Right, an ex-boyfriend. We all know that exes are the best sources of information (that is sarcasm if you did not get it). Both the designer and the reporter denied this and there is no proof that what the ex said is even true. But because a dudebro said it, it must be true, no matter that there is no proof.
A lot of guys did not care. They started the movement in order to claim that journalists need to have ethics. This quickly denigrated into a name calling match and accusations that women have no place in games. The odd thing is that only women were targeted. Women were threatened with rape and death. Where are the ethics of the ones making these threats? It is okay to demand ethics and appropriate behavior in others but not in themselves?
One of the major people involved in this is Anita Sarkeesian. She has done reports on how women are portrayed in video games (the tropes) and has, along with many other women, been threatened over this. Many claim that she has no right to say this. How is she not allowed to say this when others use free speech excuses to rationalize what they say (the threats)?
They can claim free speech all they want but they fail to understand that free speech has limitations and they are crossing the line. Free speech does not protect against slander, libel, and creating dangerous situations (yelling fire in a crowded room, etc). Free speech does not allow for death threats. One day there will be a female president. Do you think people will turn a blind eye when she gets death threats because she is a woman? No, that will not be ignored and neither should this.
Some members of this organization claim that it is not them but only some members of this group are doing it. That is like a Democrat or Republican (or whatever political party someone belongs to) stating that they do not agree with everything the party does or says but they stay a member of the party.
For a long time, I have said the expression "haters gonna hate" is nothing but an excuse for bad behavior and this is proof of it. What should be done about this? Obviously, these people are not going to stop harassing women, the death threats, and posting personal info about the women online. Arresting them is only going to create solidarity among the other members of the group and could make things worse. There is no way to really block access to the internet for all these people. One would hope this group would cease on its own but this seems unlikely as the threats mount and even Felicia Day, who stated that this has colored his perceptions of gamers in a negative way, has been attacked.
Women have as much right to play games and express opinions about the games as anyone else. I know that there are many women who are better at games than I am and that is fine. I am okay that the market share is increasing and more women are getting involved in games. I am okay that women write and create games. Guess what? I may not agree with everything they say or do but that does not give me the right to create a hostile environment. It does not give me the right to call her names. It does not give me the right to threaten her. It does not give me the right to post personal info about her online. Women have the right to play games. Women have the right to write and critique games just in the same way men do.
The situation has gotten to the point of unbearable. Women are having to flee their homes due to the threats. This has gone on long enough. The members of gamersgate who claim not to be a part of this need to stand up and help end it. It has created a destructive culture that is going to have a greater impact on games more than the things they are "protesting." Game companies are going to realize the dangerous element that is buying their games and this may alter the games they produce. These members of Gamergate who want change may get it but not in the way they expect.