So I have remarked on #GamerGate on Tumblr before, but I’ve since been keeping up with the controversy and it’s developed a lot, but with a great deal of polarization on either side of things. There’s a lot of lashing out – for example, a gaming website called GamersGate, note the ‘s’ in bold there, has had to release a statement clarifying that they’re a company that sells games, not a social campaign. Apparently they’d been receiving angry tweets, some threatening.
As I express at the end of the video, I understand the politics of both sides, but my main take on this conflict is the way that it’s developed. Game journalists have been courting controversy for a while now with articles that use video games to complain about all of society in a deconstructive fashion. The articles often don’t have a lot of substance, but they’re click-bait and bring in tons of views from highly polarized audiences. Consequently, GamerGate has emerged as a mess of a conflict featuring heated ideological clashes, outrageous moral posturing, mob vigilantism, and some difficult to perceive end goals due to the fractured, factional nature of the issue.
The problem with this is, they bury any opportunity for honest discussion and force people onto sides. The reality of the demographic situation with gaming is that there are more women getting involved in the hobby, or the culture, or however you’d like to phrase. For more high-end games, women make up approximately 25%-30% of the players, and women are absolutely the dominating demographic for mobile titles. For that fact, it’s quite reasonable for female players to ask for more variety in equipment styles for female character models, less in the way of sexy stuff – and this is not a bad thing to ask for, because having that variety gives a player the chance to personalize and express themselves, making them more attached to the game and making the game itself more immersive.
Maple Story, for example, offers this variety, and there are a lot of female players in that game. I think the adorable art style also contributes, but the fact is, players of both gender can choose at their discretion to run around in full armor, casual day clothes, or nothing more than a bath towel. It’s up to them, and like I say, it makes everyone feel more individual and attached to the game. I remember I used to infrequently meet a player who had personalized his character enough that, before even reading his name, I knew exactly who he was at a glance, and every time we crossed paths I used to chat with him for a little while because he was a nice guy.
And this is the fact of the matter: among the more moderate individuals participating in this debate, many of you share a common interest and want to see the exact same things. You just don’t realize it because so much of the reporting has been snide, vitriolic, and controversial. In fact, this hard-line negativity has been the reason large advertisers express for pulling their ads from Gawker, one of the periodicals that’s been fanning the flames.
There will be people you can’t persuade, and not everyone is expressing the best integrity. Some involved are just genuine misanthropes who want to make monsters out of their fellow humans. So what I’m advocating here is not indifference, because it can’t be allowed to let people become fearful of expressing their opinions, but that if you’re passionate about this debate, don’t become so embroiled in your stance that you lose the ability to see the forest for the trees.
Culture and identities are always changing, and nothing remains the same indefinitely. One day we’ll all be old and gray, and we won’t understand what the kids are doing. For that reason, the best thing to do is to focus on constructive behavior. Look to positive examples, not negative ones. Applaud people who make rational, constructive critiques. Try not to get drawn in to pointless battles meant simply to bait views for ad revenue.
You always have to remember, the majority of people are not acting in bad faith. We are all merely nothing more than clever apes who sometimes become victims of over-analysis.