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Weekend Roundup + #GamerGate: September 7-13


Tweet of the Day: Silicon Valley’s Cult of the Male Ego

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Yet another “controversy” has exploded on the video gaming side of the internets called by a few names but mainly #GamerGate. If you haven’t seen it you have been spared the worst of humanity (on the internet, you don’t say!) but again, I feel that this is another reflection of a larger culture war that is not limited to video games. Just see the whole SFWA kerfuffle earlier this year. Or the whole issue of spousal abuse and the NFL. Or the massive invasion of privacy of female celebrities. And if you look at all those situations, their evolution, the language, the positions, well everything is eerily similar. I may write more about it in the future but for now, here are a few thoughts on the matter:

  1. I don’t think that the gamer identity is dead, and claiming that it the be all and end all of the sad man-children from certain corners of the internet is an over broad statement to say the least. We have to work hard to change the image by standing up to them.
  2. Games are an art form and should be treated as such. That means that multiple critical paradigms can and will be applied to the medium as they are applied to other art forms such as books, movies and TV. Think of each school of criticism as a microscope that brings a narrow and intense look at a particular aspect of the subject. It is not an attack on media or those that play games to point out the obvious, tired tropes that games have relied on for too long and that the industry as a whole could benefit from challenging, changing, or simply moving on.
  3.  It is time for Games Media to update their standards. While there is no secret cabal of propagandist manipulated by industry puppeteers, the combination of shady business practices across the industry and the lack of criticism or even embracing of such practices by many (but certainly not all) on the media side does not bode well for the industry. The problem is clearly that the perception of wrongdoing is as bad or worse than any actual wrongdoing by any party.
  4.  Start treating your consumer base as consumers and not as crazy fanatics that need to be fed a steady stream of hype about minutiae from map packs to who can or can not be romanced in a game. Certain developers like BioWare go out of their way to trumpet aspects of their games like, “diversity,” when in fact they are exploiting their audience need to fulfill a power fantasy (and have an actual poor record when it comes to the fetishisation of non-heteronormative sexual identities) just to gin up support for a given product and deflect from its short comings or poor performance.
  5. There is a clear set of agendas behind some in #GamerGate and the like that have nothing to do with games, journalism, ethics, or support for consumers but rather neo-atheist/MRAs with a clear anti-feminist agenda that simply have latched on to certain figures in the industry to vent their views upon.

Of course, for the long time reader of this blog none of this is particularly new but well you know me, I not about to walk away from such topics. Now to this week’s posts:

That is all for now. Have a nice weekend and thanks for all the fish!

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