Thursday, September 18, 2014

GamerGate: Yes, It's Still Going

All is going as I have foreseen.  Which is, the internecine war between a subset of "gamers" and a subset of games journalists is slowly seeing itself escalate to becoming another front in the greater culture war.

I'll ask for your forgiveness in advance for not properly documenting this post with hyperlinks to show I'm not high on crack cocaine.  I just want to get my view of the events on the record so I can link to them later.  Assuming, of course, that I write about this story anymore.  Unfortunately, I think I probably will.

Apparently, left-leaning elements of the games journalism community and people aligned with 4chan have skirmished for years about the content of video games.  That skirmishing erupted like a volcano in Iceland when a jilted lover decided to spill the beans on how his girlfriend, an indie game developer, slept around with other game developers and a member of the gaming press.  This brought out an outcry about how the indie game developer was using sex to further her career.

That story would have fizzled out with no result, except that members of the gaming press decided to strike back.  In EVE terms, they saw total victory in their grasps and attempted to do to 4chan what Darius JOHNSON and The Mittani did to Band of Brothers: not only kick them out of their prominent space and onto the fringe, but take their identity away at the same time.  Needless to say, the games journalists in question don't have the collective wisdom, intelligence, or judgment of the Goonswarm leadership.  Imagine a boy scout troop playing paintball against a SEAL team.  Yes, the difference is that great.

So the games journalists got together and came out with a series of posts about how "Gamers are over".  A real dumb move.  The backlash not only caused people sitting on the fence to side with 4chan, but resulted in some sites tightening up their ethical rules for their writers.  And, as I expected, sent up a flare for elements fighting the greater culture war to intervene.

The first was Adam Baldwin, who coined the term GamerGate.  His involvement resulted in the issue appearing on the radar of former members of the pajamahadeen Professor Glenn Reynolds, who runs Instapundit, and Ed Morrissey, who, EVE readers might find amusing, wrote a blog called The Captain's Quarters before moving over to write for Hot Air.  Professor Reynolds is key, not just because of his prominence, but because he likes video games.  If he starts posting about a subject, others take an interest.

The issue has reached the wider culture, with the controversy hitting publications like The Guardian, Forbes, and Time.  Perhaps notably, though, a writer for and feminist Christina Hoff Sommers are now involved.  Interestingly enough, the games journalists have once again apparently gotten together to come up with a united message to attack Sommers.  Four articles were posted with extremely similar titles.  Which is really bad timing as Breitbart is currently running a story about how some games journalists are running a version of Erza Klein's Journolist.  That is sure to interest more conservative activists to take a look around at the gaming community.  Well, to do more than blame video games for violence (yes, I'm looking at you NRA!).

That's my off the top of my head review of GamerGate so far.  Do I really want to write about this more?  No.  But if people keep acting stupidly, I may have to.


  1. I like the latest one at Breitbart, where they have discovered the secret mailing list that the game journalist cabal uses to control game journalism. Clearly not just a bunch of people who know each other talking about an issue affecting them.

  2. Let's just say that I've seen enough shady stuff going on that a charge that the list is son of JournoList is a possible concern. But I'll need to see more correspondence than has been shown so far to start yelling my head off.

  3. I would have added something about the wholesale censorship campaign, which IMO, was the biggest reasons the whole gamer gate thing blew up. Two examples: reddit editors sympathetic to the game journalist side started a wholesale embargo of the topic and were deleting every single gamergate post; and bogus DMCA take down notices being used on youtube to take down critical videos.