Why Conservatives Should Care About #GamerGate

 

Assassin's_Creed_coverEvery once in a while, the progressivism’s destructive effects penetrate so deeply into a story that they change the way people view the world. To the under-35 gaming crowd, #GamerGate may be one of those events.

I suspect many readers have no idea what I am talking about, or caught a primer through this week’s Radio Free Delingpole. Milo Yiannapoulos has covered it over at Breitbart. In brief, the community of people who regularly play video games (“gamers”) has significantly grown and expanded, to the point today where the image of the lone white young man in his mother’s basement is no longer accurate. It’s a diverse and widely tolerant community of people, mostly still under the age of 40 (Mr. Delingpole aside, apparently). The industry has exploded in size, rivaling — if not surprising –Hollywood’s revenue.

Increasingly, the gaming press has taken a progressive bent by injecting specious feminist arguments into reviews and coverage of games. Instead of providing insight into the industry and delivering advice on the best up and coming games and development trends in an unbiased manner, they have been weaving in feminist theories of misogyny in video games and objectification of women in a manner that is meant to steer the industry towards the development of more progressive titles.

So for example, when Assassin’s Creed was released, the gaming press bombarded gamers with preaching about how the game does not offer playable female characters. Never mind that the game’s story line is about a 17th/18th century brotherhood and that the gaming community, men and women alike, were more interested in a storyline that works rather than any social justice. We want women, we want them now.

The primary proponent of this feminism in games has been Anita Sarkeesian who has produced a series of Youtube videos analyzing the (alleged) the sexist content of video games. Her videos are full of mistakes, over-simplifications, omissions and polemical arguments, all disguised as facts. She has an argument to make, but the gaming press has adopted it as fact and never really questioned its validity. In turn, Sarkeesian has raised a ton of money off of sympathetic supporters and used that money to influence game development and reporting. Internet trolls post threats, which she uses as evidence of misogyny, she then calls the police, retweets the threats, and raises more money. The gaming press then print articles about how Sarkeesian is being harassed, even though internet trolls are just a fact of life these days, as anyone who has published anything can attest. Cycle restarts.

Recently there were revelations that some in the gaming press had been getting favors — both pecuniary and carnal — to support this progressive viewpoint. Indeed, the whole scandal blew up because the sex life of one of the feminist Social Justice Warriors was exposed for sleeping with one (at least one) of the journalists who was part of the cabal that reported favorably on her work and the work of others with the progressive viewpoint. Other corruption was subsequently uncovered, including fixing the winners of indie game contests and blacklisting entrepreneurs who are trying to promote women in gaming who are not part of the in crowd. It’s a mess.

In August, it all blew up. The gamers had had enough, and with the help of Adam Baldwin — yes, that Adam Baldwin, of Firefly fame — they began taking to twitter, reddit, 4chan and other social media platforms to decry the corruption. They launched a twitter campaign called #GamerGate. The gaming press fought back and, inadvertently, proved the point of the #GamerGate crowd by publishing very similar articles all lambasting gamers as misogynist white males within a 24 hour period. Thousands of comments on reddit sympathetic to gamers were deleted in an apparent attempt by the journalists and developers, who know the moderators on these forums personally, to shut down discussion.

Since then, Social Justice Warriors have issued false intellectual property threats against one Youtuber and had his site shut down to block discussion. Members of the gaming press, well-known names, took to twitter to denounce gamers as racist, misogynist hatemongers. Journalists were clearly colluding to press their viewpoint and in doing so, they rather stupidly criticized their own customers. They even had a mailing list to coordinate their agenda, very much like the JournoList debacle. Their customers were rightly furious, and as a result of this gamers are now completely boycotting the gaming press. It’s not a small movement anymore.

The gaming press is going to be fundamentally reformed as a result of this movement. Some sites have had their editors and publishers step in with apologies and new ethics standards meant to address concerns. Most other gaming press sites have thrown up the barricades instead.

So why does this matter? The reaction on Youtube, reddit, 4chan, Twitter and other places has been fascinating. Young people — generally, millennials — have found themselves on the receiving end of a progressive hate campaign for the first time. They’ve seen the progressive press and progressive critics using their megaphones to delegitimize gamers and their opinions. Instead of arguing the issues, they have been making hateful statements with the intent of making the gamers who have objected into persona non-grata. Gamers are beginning to realize that these progressives are making considerable money by creating conflict and maybe their motivations are not exactly pure.

Gamers are young people who tend to be open to progressive ideas. But being treated so poorly has induced them into making some very conservative arguments. For the first time, they’re arguing that our universities have created a group of progressives that are hostile to open inquiry and discussion. For the first time, they’re seeing gaming journalists and corrupt developers for the corrupt, entitled special-little-snowflakes that conservatives have been talking about for years. For the first time, they’re seeing the Far Left as the remarkably intolerant group of people it is.

And they’re not staying quiet about it. Many of them have put together blog posts and Youtube videos that amount to strikingly conservative defenses of free market game development instead of progressively-driven themes. They provide eloquent defenses of the importance of a press that is either unbiased or that discloses its biases and conflicts. They’re angered when the progressives take to their soapboxes and publish articles, blog posts, and tweets that are meant to delegitimize their opinions. Many of them have begun to draw the connections between how they are being treated and how progressives act on the national stage.

All this is happening because many of these young people never imagined they’d be on the receiving end of the pernicious tactics that progressive use everyday and that the Right has been warning about. And they don’t like it.

For more on #GamerGate, watch this video (warning, contains non-CoC language):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5-51PfwI3M

Image Credit: “Assassin’s Creed cover” by Ubisofthttp://www.amazon.com/dp/B002WC80MY/. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

There are 53 comments.

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  1. user_986247 Inactive
    user_986247
    @luly

    Thank you for this.  I’ve been seeing those headlines about “Gamergate” and totally not understanding what it’s about.  Your article clarified it for me.

    Sounds like something good may come of it.

    • #1
  2. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    luly:Thank you for this. I’ve been seeing those headlines about “Gamergate” and totally not understanding what it’s about. Your article clarified it for me.

    Sounds like something good may come of it.

    I second that.

    Also interesting point about the millennial awakening.

    • #2
  3. Julia PA Inactive
    Julia PA
    @JulesPA

    here’s hoping these “kiddos” can transfer their concept of outrage to a voting booth on election day…

    • #3
  4. AUMom Member
    AUMom
    @AUMom

    I asked AUSon for his view on Gamergate before reading.

    Then I read this; he read it. At 26 and a twice a week communal gaming guy, he agreed that the corruption is a huge problem. As he is fairly conservative, he expressed most of the points here before reading.

    • #4
  5. user_428379 Thatcher
    user_428379
    @AlSparks

    I did hear about this when listening to Radio Free Delingpole.  This is a small skirmish in the culture wars.  The gamers described in that Podcast are a very small subset of the Millennials, and the overall affect of this backlash will be minimal.  I find it hard to admire hard-core gamers, the ones that play for, say, 20 hours a week.  I’ve been to a few LAN parties myself, but my desire to game kind of died out.  I also think I was more of a casual, than a hard-core gamer.

    That being said, I’m glad our side won one, and that some Millennials got a wake up call.  I actually find that the Silicon Valley technology journalists, in general, lean very far to the left, and exhibit the same political correctness that the gaming press is alleged to have done (I don’t read the gaming press).  If they’re even handed, they should cover this.  But I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t.

    • #5
  6. St. Salieri Member
    St. Salieri
    @

    This really ought to be on the main feed.  I know nothing about gaming, beyond what my students share with me, and I am still under 40.  Personally I could care less about gaming, qua gaming, but I feel for anyone whose passion, hobby, or art form (and I think gaming has gotten to that level) is trashed by progressives.  Here is a wedge, an opportunity, a chance to change minds in a crowd that I know as a teacher isn’t particularly interested in politics or conservatism or libertarianism.  Here is a great chance to make some inroads and build bridges.  May someone with a brain in our movement that has the means, some clout, and some media savvy tools reach out to these young people.

    • #6
  7. GingerMa Member
    GingerMa
    @GingerMa

    It has been interesting to watch the progressive movement trying to enter the gaming/comics/geek communities. Games and comics are violent and hyper sexual in their content. After all you can’t have a First Person Shooter without…well…shooting. The progressive gun control arguments are just never going to work there, so they come in sideways with the misogyny angle. Trying to get that foot in the door.

    When the “scandal” about the latest Assassin’s Creed appeared in Game Informer, I asked my sons what they thought,as this is one of our favorite games. They shrugged it off as silly. Likewise they were nonplussed to the turning of Thor into a woman. I see it as the tentacles slipping into the industries.

    The “sexual harassment” brigades are now hitting the cons. We went to Rose City Comic Con yesterday and there was a large ad as part of the schedule about it. It bugs me.

    • #7
  8. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    GingerMa: After all you can’t have a First Person Shooter without…well…shooting. The progressive gun control arguments are just never going to work there, so they come in sideways with the misogyny angle. Trying to get that foot in the door.

    Hollywood film makers simultaneously produce endless shoot-em-up action movies and advocate against gun ownership. What is impossible by logic is possible by willpower — human nature.

    They don’t need a foot in the door. They have been living inside since the beginning of the industry. Like I said in the last thread on this subject, I have interacted with gamers on blogs and forums for years and have spoken with many game developers. Both game development and gaming media have always been overwhelmingly liberal. As in Hollywood, what few conservatives do exist in the industry tend to keep their heads down.

    It doesn’t seem to me that anything significant has happened here. Gaming news consumers have complained for decades that the journalists and developers rub elbows too much; that publishers manage to corrupt review scores. The cries of sexism have been common even as most developers favor cartoonish female bodies and the news media parade their female journalists in front of cameras.

    Bioware (Mass Effect), Lionhead (Fable), and Maxis (The Sims) try to normalize gay relationships through their games. EA marketed Visceral’s game Dante’s Inferno in part by staging protests with fake Christian fundamentalists. Titanfall includes a fictional area destroyed by fracking. The main reason Ubisoft won’t initially include a female protagonist option in their upcoming Assassin’s Creed game is simply that doing so would require double the design work (armor designs, animations, voice-acting, etc). They threw a bone to the feminists years ago with Liberation.

    It’s a liberal industry. I don’t see anything changing in that regard.

    • #8
  9. NYC Supporter Inactive
    NYC Supporter
    @RedFishBlueFish

    Aaron Miller: It’s a liberal industry. I don’t see anything changing in that regard.

    I agree – as it relates to video game publishing.  They won’t change their approach unless gamers stop buying their product and that is not going to happen.

    The interesting part here is not the publishing/development industry.  The gaming community is waking up en masse to how their character is being assaulted by a press that does not share their values in a manner that is similar to how many conservatives started becoming aware of how the mainstream press treated their values.  This phenomenon should be recognizable to us.  What is interesting is how many young adults are seeing this happen to a medium they care about, and have decided to call a spade a spade quite publicly.  The #gamergate hashtag is going to hit a million tweets, and an entire separate hasthag called #notyourshield was launched by minorities who were tired of the politics of a gaming press using them as shields to their corruption and agenda.

    The interesting issue, I think, from our perspective should be a focus on how the gaming community, filled with millenials of diverse backgrounds, has expressed an essentially conservative idea and are fighting back quite effectively against the gaming press.  What they want is to take the culture wars out of their favorite hobby.  Isn’t that essentially a conservative value these days?

    • #9
  10. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    When (my formerly beloved) cracked.com waded into it, with a couple of blatant pro-Quinn and anti-male polemics, it generated some of that’s site’s most pageview and comments statistics, basically ensuring that this kind of polemic will be repeated in the future. Websites run on pageviews, and conflict generates pageviews.

    Ironically, the polemics generated far more page views than this article, which illustrates everything wrong about the “gamer gate” story, did:

    http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-reasons-you-really-cant-believe-anything-you-read-online/

    • #10
  11. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    By the way, Fox News hasn’t done conservatives any favors by its abysmal coverage of game-related topics. Even if the channel isn’t consistently conservative, it is the face of conservatism on mainstream TV. They have given game bloggers much to malign over the years.

    An example is Fox’s discussions of the sex scenes in the Mass Effect series. The scenes were not interactive, showed no more than your average TV series or PG-13 film, and the game was rated for mature audiences. But Fox reporters and commentators fretted about kids playing the game, as if kids don’t see worse on billboards and TV ads these days.

    I don’t read much gaming news anymore. I just scan the headlines XboxAchievements and N4G (a news aggregator, like Drudge). But the best game reporter I’m familiar with is Geoff Keighley of GameTrailers. He asks good questions, gives fair reviews, and doesn’t talk like a stupid rebellious teenager. Gamasutra is a more professional-oriented news site.

    If you want to enjoy your games, I recommend avoiding game journalism as much as possible. It’s not just because of the hippie sensibilities or the professional atmosphere that barely rises above fart jokes. It’s because the surest way to spoil enjoyment of anything is to fret about how it might have been better. A game is a lot more fun when you simply accept it as it is.

    • #11
  12. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Aaron Miller: If you want to enjoy your games, I recommend avoiding game journalism as much as possible.

    Why should game journalism be any different from the rest of journalism?

    • #12
  13. Mister D Member
    Mister D
    @MisterD

    I don’t take issue with the same sex relationships in games like Mass Effect, Dragon Age and Fable. First, they are not, straight or gay, graphic, at least not in the games I’ve played. Maybe a kiss, a hug, fade to black, that’s about all. But players in these games get to choose from a multitude of characters they wish to engage in a relationship with, and in many, after a potential gay partner comes forward, I have seen option that essentially let you say “no, not into that, don’t ever bring it up again”, and it won’t. The game developers have gay clients as well as straight, and while the audience isn’t big enough to justify making SuperMario’s Queer Adventure, make minor tweaks to existing dialogue options seems a good way to keep that audience at minimal cost.

    • #13
  14. Gödel's Ghost Inactive
    Gödel's Ghost
    @GreatGhostofGodel

    Red Fish, Blue Fish: The industry has exploded in size, rivaling — if not surprising –Hollywood’s revenue.

    Er, this has been a fait accompli for years.

    Conservatives can no more afford to ignore the game industry than they can afford to ignore the health care industry.

    • #14
  15. user_517406 Inactive
    user_517406
    @MerinaSmith

    My 21 year old son told me about this.  I’ll have to probe a little further and see if it’s raised his hackles enough to bring him home to conservatism!

    • #15
  16. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Just can’t wait until Microsoft ruins Minecraft. It will ensure my son’s “rightwingedness” effectively.

    • #16
  17. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Fricosis Guy:Just can’t wait until Microsoft ruins Minecraft. It will ensure my son’s “rightwingedness” effectively.

    Microsoft doesn’t ruin everything it touches. Sometimes it makes things much, much better.

    Here’s a handy guide:

    Microsoft Product Development Cycle

    • #17
  18. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    Mister D: [….] The game developers have gay clients as well as straight, and while the audience isn’t big enough to justify making SuperMario’s Queer Adventure, make minor tweaks to existing dialogue options seems a good way to keep that audience at minimal cost.

    You are understating the economic insignificance of gay players. Gays are a tiny fraction of the general population. Now, how many of them are gamers? And how many gay gamers enjoy that particular style of game? Next, how many who enjoy that kind of game happen to have the available money and time to buy it, or prioritize it over other games and non-game products they wish to buy?

    Game developers make gay relationships possible in narrative games purely for cultural reasons. It has nothing to do with marketing. In fact, Bioware developers have been vocal about this. From Bioware writer David Gaider:

    The opportunities we get to include stuff like this, even if they’re few and, yes, even if it’s just in a game and thus not the most important arena for effecting change, are very gratifying to me as a developer — and, I think, for the developers with whom I work.

    In product marketing, as in politics, appealing to a particular audience is often a exchange. There are as many consumers who are annoyed by the incessant push to normalize gay relationships as there are consumers who support that normalization. Judging by Hollywood films and TV shows, one would think one out of ten people is gay rather than one out of a hundred.

    • #18
  19. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    To be clear, I don’t object to the presence of gay characters in fiction. But I do object to their ubiquity in cinematic fiction, which changes a gay character’s mere presence in a story into a statement.

    As the game industry produces ever more cinematic games and employs Hollywood talent for acting and script writing, that practice of gay ubiquity is on the rise in games.

    • #19
  20. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Misthiocracy:

    Fricosis Guy:Just can’t wait until Microsoft ruins Minecraft. It will ensure my son’s “rightwingedness” effectively.

    Microsoft doesn’t ruin everything it touches. Sometimes it makes things much, much better.

    Here’s a handy guide:

    Microsoft Product Development Cycle

    Heh, that flowchart is exactly what I had in mind re: Minecraft. It works, so it’s going in the “ruin” loop.

    • #20
  21. gts109 Inactive
    gts109
    @gts109

    Thanks for the explanation. I can’t consider myself a gamer any longer (married 34 year-old father of two with mortgage, job, etc.), but once played an awful lot of video games. The ads for Destiny I see make me want to buy the latest gaming consol for a few hours of shooting joy. Anyway, I was wondering about the #gamersgate thing, and since Twitter is so dispersed, I had trouble finding a coherent, over-arching explanation. So, your post is helpful, the whole affair is troubling, albeit not surprising. Anything that’s primarily intended for guys nowadays (no offense to girl gamers, whose numbers are increasingly, I’m sure, but still represent a small minority of gamers) is under assault. See, e.g., the NFL.

    • #21
  22. EstoniaKat Inactive
    EstoniaKat
    @ScottAbel

    Misthiocracy:

    Aaron Miller: If you want to enjoy your games, I recommend avoiding game journalism as much as possible.

    Why should game journalism be any different from the rest of journalism?

    It shouldn’t be, but it is. I was a sport journalist for awhile, and definitely they’re not considered “real journalists” by even other journalists, even though some of the people covering sports-related topics are among the best around. “The toy department”.
    I do general assignment writing now, and the first story today (because I know the most about the NFL) was on the two Estonian players who played in the Bengals-Titans game yesterday). The second story was on the American troops that arrived at an Estonian military base baring their kit. I know which was I considered real journalism.
    Neither are entertainment reporters, which is what gamer journalists fit into. I actually play online games on occasion, and I was unaware of a lot of the news sites that have been implicated in this.
    This thread is great, because I’ve been trying to get my mind around Gamergate about what exactly the story is, and this is one of the better efforts that I have seen.

    • #22
  23. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Scott Abel:

    Misthiocracy:

    Aaron Miller: If you want to enjoy your games, I recommend avoiding game journalism as much as possible.

    Why should game journalism be any different from the rest of journalism?

    It shouldn’t be, but it is. I was a sport journalist for awhile, and definitely they’re not considered “real journalists” by even other journalists, even though some of the people covering sports-related topics are among the best around. “The toy department”.

    Sports journalists have to be the among the best in the media because the most critical parts of what they cover — the games — play out in full view of the public. All the gossip that comes along with the job means little if it isn’t reflected in the results on the field, the court, etc. Also, many readers and viewers actually know something about the games themselves and can independently judge a journalist’s expertise.

    Journalists in most other fields get to fall back on the arcane jargon and hidden knowledge inherent in their beats.

    • #23
  24. user_129539 Member
    user_129539
    @BrianClendinen

    Fricosis Guy:

    Misthiocracy:

    Fricosis Guy:Just can’t wait until Microsoft ruins Minecraft. It will ensure my son’s “rightwingedness” effectively.

    Microsoft doesn’t ruin everything it touches. Sometimes it makes things much, much better.

    Here’s a handy guide:

    Microsoft Product Development Cycle

    Heh, that flowchart is exactly what I had in mind re: Minecraft. It works, so it’s going in the “ruin” loop.

    Not sure how Microsoft can destroy a game  product that is pretty mature with all the interesting stuff happening in the Mod and server communities. Microsoft has made some great games, from Freespace 2 (the greatest space combat sim, still to date) to Halo. Now Minecraft 2 could suck, which I am sure they will make. However, considering all the minecraft clones out there, it does not really worry me at there not being a good sequel to a game which created a whole gaming genre.  This game genre will live on from decades to come.

    • #24
  25. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Brian Clendinen:

    Fricosis Guy:

    Misthiocracy:

    Fricosis Guy:Just can’t wait until Microsoft ruins Minecraft. It will ensure my son’s “rightwingedness” effectively.

    Microsoft doesn’t ruin everything it touches. Sometimes it makes things much, much better.

    Here’s a handy guide:

    Microsoft Product Development Cycle

    Heh, that flowchart is exactly what I had in mind re: Minecraft. It works, so it’s going in the “ruin” loop.

    Not sure how Microsoft can destroy a game product that is pretty mature with all the interesting stuff happening in the Mod and server communities. Microsoft has made some great games, from Freespace 2 (the greatest space combat sim, still to date) to Halo. Now Minecraft 2 could suck, which I am sure they will make. However, considering all the minecraft clones out there, it does not really worry me at there not being a good sequel to a game which created a whole gaming genre. This game genre will live on from decades to come.

    Perhaps I’m cynical (and a bit tongue-in-cheek).

    However, I’ve learned to never underestimate the ability of Redmond to ruin a good thing…with “improvements” usually.

    • #25
  26. Nathaniel Wright Member
    Nathaniel Wright
    @NathanielWright

    One of the things I miss most about Andrew Breitbart is the discussions we used to have regarding how the modern PC movement – I refuse to use the name Social Justice Warrior as they represent nothing just – uses the same tactics and foundational psychological texts as Frederick Wertham. Wertham was influenced by the Frankfurt School and so is Anita Sarkeesian. Their methods and claims are the same, even if there is a facade of difference due to the  focus on “feminism” and “treatment of women.”

    I wish Andrew was around for this discussion. His combination of humor and righteous indignation would have been a perfect fit to win this battle in the culture war.

    • #26
  27. Misthiocracy Member
    Misthiocracy
    @Misthiocracy

    Fricosis Guy: Heh, that flowchart is exactly what I had in mind re: Minecraft. It works, so it’s going in the “ruin” loop.

    Yabbut, at that point they’ll fix it! Minecraft 2.0 will suck, but Minecraft 3.0 will be amazeballs!

    ;-)

    • #27
  28. user_1938 Member
    user_1938
    @AaronMiller

    In hindsight, I could have simply pointed out that the game industry is heavily concentrated in California. Enough said.

    • #28
  29. user_75648 Thatcher
    user_75648
    @JohnHendrix

    billy:  Also interesting point about the millennial awakening.

    Hmmm… “millennial awakening”…..Does anyone else like the way that phrase rolls off the tongue?

    Excellent name for a new meme.

    • #29
  30. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Aaron Miller: In hindsight, I could have simply pointed out that the game industry is heavily concentrated in California. Enough said.

    I am old enough to remember when it was heavily concentrated in the Midwest. That and Baltimore.

    God, I’m old.

    Seawriter

    • #30
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