I haven’t mentioned Gamergate at all in this blog because I have way more interesting things to do (like feeding my cat or hurling myself into an active volcano). If you don’t know what I’m talking about I’m not going to rehash the details here; do a Google search.
However, just recently someone produced a “Gamer Bill of Rights” that was so inane and stupid I felt like making it into a kind of virtual pinata. You can see an annotated version here and read along at home.
Gamergate has spawned a lot of really nasty stuff, but on the fringes there are elements to it that are more hilarious and/or pathetic, such as how it’s become this all-encompassing vortex sucking in minor gaming controversies and gripes that erupted over the last few years: namely indie games and negative reviews, neither of which are really relevant to the original “issue” that started the whole thing. Indeed, the re-packaging of the “movement” as a crusade against unethical games journalism was so obvious a fig leaf that it’s turned into a huge joke (the one about how actually, it’s about ethics in games journalism).
Case in point: a lot of people are still super duper mad at Gone Home more than a year later. I don’t even know what the fuck they’re so pissed at. The fact that it got critical praise, I guess. Because review scores are a finite resource and if critics give too many of them to one game they’ll run out. And hey presto, Gone Home gets mentioned several times in this “Bill” despite not having anything to do with…. well, anything, really.
But you don’t want to hear about my general thoughts. Let’s journey trough this thing’s mysteries together, as is my style. I intend to show that the Bill, and by extension all parts of Gamergate not associated with harassing women, are really just immature spats by people who internalize their hobby way too much.
This isn’t a harassment campaign.
Your Bill of Rights is off to a good start when literally the first sentence is an insistence that you’re not about harassing people.
We simply want those implicated to realize —
“Those implicated” refers to Zoe Quinn and whoever else the Gater mob has decided to go after today. Probably Anita Sarkeesian, because why not.
We, who love games, did not vest them with the power to dictate to the market, “what games are”.
This is a bit rich coming from people who lose their fucking shit because a fairly obscure indie game got more critical praise than they thought it deserved.
(Note also the implicit assumption that the people being “implicated” don’t love games; considering several of them are game developers, this is a bit hard to believe)
If the act of reviewing a game triggers a need to write a page and a half decrying its content, maybe that game isn’t for you. Please consider passing that review off to a journalist on your team whomight enjoy the content.
Aaaand the mask comes off. See, the secret here is that a whole lot of Gamergaters- and a lot of the more reactionary gamers in general- are really just mad that people say mean things about the games they like. That’s it- that’s all there is to it. They’ve internalized the entertainment they consume to such a degree that they perceive any criticism of it to be a criticism of themselves, so much so that they apparently don’t want negative reviews to exist at all.
We believe that power belongs to the gamers. To the players. To Us.
Jesus Christ go take a long walk or something
An ‘In’clusive market includes all gamers, not just the sort you approve of
Translation: we’re being oppressed, cried the majority
We respect your right to review, comment & pontificate.
“But please stop saying mean things about the games we like”
Please respect the power of your reach, and the influence you hold
This is probably referring to the fact that Metacritic scores are known to have a huge influence on game sales and sometimes things like employee bonuses. A poor score can potentially even sink a studio, given how much money gets pumped into a lot of games these days.
I agree that all of this is a problem, but it’s a problem for the industry, not for critics. Tell developers to stop spending so much fucking money and re-evaluate how they gauge success. It’s not the job of reviewers to make sure that games sell.
#GamerGate is a Scandal. Scandals go away when the problems uncovered are addressed, not before.
This is a completely true statement, but I don’t think I’m interpreting it the way the author(s) of this thing intended. I guess it all depends on what you think the “problems” are- harassment and intimidation, or whatever the fuck the gamergaters have decided is the big issue this week.
If, instead of addressing such issues, you’d rather cling to your self-appointed lofts and hurl down buzzwords and smear campaigns, realize you do little more than court another scandal such as this one
Is it just me or does this come across as threatening? Keep in mind that for a lot of people the “scandal” involves them literally being run out of their homes, so these vague waffly warnings are akin to “that looks like a real flammable house you got there, be a shame if anything happened to it”.
It is unfortunate that debate could not forestall this event, but keep in mind that opportunity was denied to us.
I don’t even know what the fuck this means. An indie dev’s boyfriend accused her of cheating on him with a games journalist and then a segment of the internet went fucking apeshit; at what point would “debate” have stopped this? Who was being denied the opportunity?
We desire accountability
I agree, the people hurling death threat around should be held accountable.
Reform of what?
and an acknowledgement that the customer should decide what they play
As opposed to our bleak, dystopian present in which consumers are forced to play games they don’t want by….. reviewers? Anita Sarkeesian? Big brother?
— not journalists pushing dogmatic fringe ethics
I’m not quite sure what “fringe ethics” means, unless it’s a reference to feminism and/or other ideas that “social justice warriors” want to push. In which case the fact that the author of this piece considers these things to be “fringe” is kind of telling.
about gamer susceptibility to content, i.e. Jack Thompson in a new coat.
This one’s a bit incomprehensible if you’re not steeped in gamer lore but basically: a while back there was a right wing lawyer named Jack Thompson who (among many other douchey things) decided to go after violent videogames, probably as part of a cynical attempt to appeal to fellow cranks and reactionaries. It didn’t work, and in hindsight it’s become apparent that the guy was just an obnoxious opportunist who never really posed a threat to the industry. At the time, though, the defeat of Thompson seemed like a watershed moment.
Just recently a certain segment of the Gamergaters have pulled his mouldy effigy out of storage and dressed it up in an Anita Sarkeesian costume, apparently failing to understand the distinction between criticizing games and wanting to ban them.
We will continue to stand up for Freedom of Expression, Artistic Vision and a free market to decide what it wants
Just to demonstrate how incoherent this whole thing is, the sentence above is immediately followed by this non-sequiter:
We suggest fans of Gone Home review Gone Home —and fans of God of War Review God of War
This is the first time Gone Home gets mentioned, completely out of nowhere. Like I said, if you weren’t extremely familiar with the topics that get thrown around in angry comments threads across the internet this entire thing would be utterly baffling. A lot of gamers probably don’t even know what Gone Home is, much less why it’s getting name-dropped in a political manifesto.
Anyway, the point being made here is once again that there should be no such thing as a negative review, everyone should just talk about the things they like. How exactly this would work in a professional setting is highly mysterious- if the first person to get assigned the review didn’t like the game, would someone else have to play it all over again? What if they hated it as well? What if everyone on staff hated it, would they have to hire a freelancer? How fucking vapid does that kind of criticism sound?
It is in this moment that professionalism engages
“Professionalism” is a common buzzword in some gamer circles. In the specific context of reviews it’s a measure of how much the reviewers opinions match the readers- the more they align, the more professional a review is. The inverse is also true, because journalists shouldn’t criticize things that
I like are good.
Also fairly certain that isn’t a real sentence.
and a journalist demonstrates whether they are worthy of our trust.
Journalists earn our trust by only saying good things about games we like. That is, our trust that they’ll continue to say good things about games we like.
This is not a Zero Sum Game. There is room for Gone Home, just as there is room for God of War III
WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE SO OBSESSED WITH GONE HOME
(btw in case you were wondering, I have a feeling God of War III is getting mentioned because Anita Sarkeesian said mean things about it in a recent video)
Also, I know from personal experience that many of the people who support Gamergate do not actually agree with this statement and will act like you just burned their house down if you dare to make or like something that doesn’t appeal to them personally.
We believe “increasing possibilities” is important to grow and enrich the tapestry that is our gaming culture;
but it must be done with Care and Patience
…..why are care and patience capitalized? Also wait what
Think of the industry as a field to be cultivated, rather than as stones to be sundered.
That analogy makes no sense. Is the industry going to implode or something if people release too many indie games about lesbians instead of big budget games about angry bald dudes tearing people’s arms off?
We are always open to rational debate on the validity of these points, however; intellectually dishonest engagement may be met with creative ridicule
That’s a strange phrase for threatening to murder someone.
Please take this last bit with a grain of salt
So we…. shouldn’t believe the last bit? What last bit? The last sentence? What? MY LIFE IS A LIE
and respect the quirks of the culture from which we hail
GAMING IS NOT A CULTURE
Tattoo it onto your forehead or something: GAMING IS NOT A CULTURE YOU DO NOT GET TO EXCUSE BEING AN ASSHOLE JUST BECAUSE YOU GREW UP SWEARING AT PEOPLE ON HALO