This isn’t a post to agree with any side of Gamergate, nor is this a comprehensive article that will cover every aspect of what is going on in Gamergate. This is simply my side of the story and why I think that, regardless of when or who would have initiated Gamergate, it was bound to happen.
I am a 34-year-old male gamer. I make up the persona of the “average” gamer. I was raised on the Nintendo Entertainment System and moved onto each iteration thereafter. My days after school were spent playing videogames, and my weekends were packed with hours-on-end gaming sessions. In my generation, gaming was for kids because parents weren’t indoctrinated into gaming and couldn’t have cared less about videogames.
As with all people, I grew up, but I never out-grew videogames. In fact, my taste for various types of games matured until I was playing multiple genres. I now enjoy shooters, RPGs, puzzles, music games, etc… I am open to all gaming genres as forms of entertainment, much as someone who enjoys music expands their tastes into different genres. Along with me, millions of other gamers (who are my age) are now either continuing to play videogames as entertainment or are now in the gaming industry themselves. Many CEOs and COOs are my age–creating games, writing about games, talking about games, and promoting games.
With the growth of the videogame medium as a valid form of entertainment, more women gamers, and gamers from all walks of life, are beginning to enjoy them. It’s not uncommon to meet a professional adult who enjoys playing videogames. In addition to the mass consumer market now involved with videogames comes the possibility of corruption and bias in the journalistic market.
This article is not going to win me popularity points; however, I think it needs to be said. There are shady business deals in the gaming industry. Not all journalists and not all companies deal this way, but there are those who do. With the market expanding, is it unrealistic to think that the gaming industry couldn’t become like government contracts, for instance? Do you think for one second that politicians don’t hold a stake in some form with commerce? Do you think people don’t lobby for bills to be passed so their product has a market and ensures a nice, healthy retirement check? If you do, I think you are seriously misled. The gaming industry is a “good ol’ boys club.” To breach the market, you must know someone in it. For a website to receive a product to review, they must be in good standing with the company. To maintain good standing with the company, they must produce timely reviews (and sometimes biased ones). It’s a give and take.
If I am selling a product, and I give it to a company for free to review it, and they give me a bad review, I won’t sell that product. In turn, I will most likely seek out a company that will give me a more favorable review, increasing product sales. This will then become my go-to company for reviews because it will bring in revenue. Meanwhile, my integrity as a company isn’t flawed, but the integrity of the reviewer can be questioned. There is no loss for me.
While this entire paragraph could easily cast skepticism on the review integrity with which Geeks Under Grace operates, we stand by our writers and their reviews. This is simply because, more often than not, our reviewers purchase the products they are reviewing themselves. Yes, it is tempting to appease the companies to bring more revenue and “SWAG” to the site, but not in the form of deceit or lies.
When games were hardly considered a major component in the world market, companies naturally appealed to gaming’s core audience. When the average gamer was 18-25, it would seem realistic to construct games that would appeal to those gamers. Sex and violence were key selling points. Is it any wonder why Duke Nukem was such a popular game when we were growing up, and then, at the release of the latest Duke Nukem, players were less than satisfied? We grew up. We see games for what they can be–as an experience that can become part of our lives.
I don’t need to play a game for sexual stimulation today, like I needed to as a young, unsaved boy. I couldn’t access porn, and the only way to see those tantalizing images and situations was in videogames. It was a draw. It isn’t any longer, now that I am saved. Nor is it a draw to the gaming community, who can access sexual content with the click of a mouse. Now that the user base for gaming has expanded in large part to women, is it unrealistic to think that maybe the ladies don’t want their only in-game option to be a scantily clad woman with unrealistic proportions? Do they not get that enough with Barbie?
If the roles were reversed, and all the women in videogames were average looking gals, and the guys all looked like Conan (loincloth included) wouldn’t we men say, “Hey, don’t you think this is weird?” While I am all for women being empowered and considered equal to men, I don’t think the right way of going about it is disenfranchising them. The issue with that would be bringing creating a full reversal where men are treated unfairly.
There have also been some unfortunate things said in the feminine movement against Christianity which are unwarranted and unfair. If you take issue with the way women are treated, that is one thing, but do not allow your agenda to attack a religion. It’s not Christian men who are oppressing women in the videogame industry; it’s mostly non-religious men doing so.
In fact, I think it’s important to note that women are absolutely elevated to a position of equality in Christianity. Most of the misunderstanding comes from the verse in which Paul says “women ought not to speak” and the very misquoted “wives, submit to your husbands.” Both verses have been used out of context to further an agenda that is just plain un-biblical. Most Christians recognize and honor the importance of women as a role that is crucial to the family unit.
This is never an occasion for violence against anyone, but if there was one thing to show you the reality of the mistreatment of any party it’s this: the simple fact that gamers are so outraged at the women involved in Gamergate that they would threaten violence against them. This shows the truth behind the womens’ claims. Instead of peacefully discussing the misconceptions and issues presented in today’s media, gamers choose to harass them. There is no better way to prove your “opponent’s” point than to resort to angry outbursts and violence. Take the Westboro Baptists for example. Which is the better example of getting your point across? Displaying hatred, or showing compassion? I am convinced that it is the latter.
In conclusion, as gaming culture becomes more mainstream in today’s society, we will feel the stretch and strain of growth. More groups and classes of people are becoming gamers, and more people have a voice in society, now more than ever. We asked for gaming to be taken seriously as a valid, artistic medium, and we are getting exactly what we asked for with criticism as the outside begins to look in. This can only result in good changes if kept under steady watch, and the fact that we can have this discussion only means we are moving in the right direction.
This is why I believe that Gamergate was inevitable.