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How Videogame Journalism died: #Gamergate

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Remember #Gamergate? Remember that huge controversy surrounding ethics in video game journalism, that ended up being a huge clusterfuck that became one of the biggest controversy's of 2014? I do. I was there when it all went down, and with my own eyes I saw the final nail being driven into the coffin of the video game journalism industry.
It all started back in August of 2014. Indie game developer Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni published an online expose detailing their relationship, and why they ultimately broke up. Eron claimed that Zoe spread her legs to prominent figures in the gaming media and indie development scene, most notably, a Kotaku journalist named Nathan Grayson. Not long after the post gained some meager popularity, A YouTuber named "MundaneMatt" creates a video reviewing Zoey Quinn's recently Green-lit Steam game: Depression Quest, and just so happened to mention Eron's post in detail. It wasn't long after that that the video was taken down; Flagged by Zoey Quinn herself for "copyright Infringement" because the video contained a single screenshot of the game being reviewed. One. Single. Goddam. Screenshot.

This was the spark that ignited the flames of controversy, as many in the gaming community -including readers of Kotaku- who were genuinely concerned about the integrity of the media outlets who represent them indulging in corruption, were lumped in with the inbred trolls who just wanted to call Zoey a slut by the "social Justice warriors". The ad-hominem bullshit went back and forth like gunfire in the battle of Waterloo before game Journallism made their biggest mistake of all.

Editors and Journalists representing the elite gaming and tech press combine to create the Google group "Gaming Journalist Professionals" or "GameJournoPros", and by August 28th, There were several articles posted on these popular websites -within 48 hours of each-other- including "Gamers are Over" (Gamasutra) “A guide to ending ‘gamers’", (Gamasutra) “There are gamers at the gate, but they may already be dead”, (Destructoid) “Gamers are over”, (Rock, Paper, Shotgun) “The death of the ‘gamers’ ”, (Ars Technica) “Killing the gamer identity”, (Vice) “Gaming is leaving ‘gamers’ behind”, (Buzzfeed) and even Kotaku's very own (“We might be witnessing the ‘death of an identity’ ”) This includes dissertations by Academics like Dan Golding; writer of "Gamers are Over", wherein he argues -without a hint of evidence- that “the gamer identity has been broken” and that the gamer outrage “is an attempt to retain hegemony.” Even Nathan (Dick) Grayson linked to an article on his twitter account entitled "Why I'm not a gamer", basically saying the same thing. This sparked a controversy so massive, that even larger media outlets under the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) umbrella such as Fox, MSNBC and CNN started picking it up.

You see, #Gamergate didn't begin with Zoey Quinn, and It didn't begin with concerns about ethics in game Journalism. It began when Videogame and Tech Journalists/editors colluded secretly to use their massive audience to spin a narrative that would ultimately blow up in their faces. Gaming Journalism slit it's own throat when it -en large- decided to alienate on its own audience; claiming we were all basement-dwelling, racist, bigoted, homophobic, sexists, who all live with our parents, and have no lives. Gaming Journalism died when it decided to go to bed (sometimes literally) with game developers for favors, trying to cover it up, and calling us all a bunch of "losers" for daring to show the respect -the integrity- to hold these websites to the same ethical standards we would hold any other news outlet. Forget Anita Sarkeesian, Forget SJWs for a moment, because even though the Journalists who wrote this crap are Anita Supporters and SJWs themselves, that isn't what killed this industry; this industry killed itself.

Gamers have been unjustly marginalized for decades. We have been slandered by the Christian right, politicians, mainstream news media, Feminism, and even the Social Justice movement. We are used to people -who are not a part of our culture- claiming we were losers, brainwashed, or are practicing some form of Satanism.

However, video game Journalism was supposed to be different. The gaming press's inclusion into the mainstream of popular culture represented the first time our demographic was ever taken seriously. For the first time EVER, we had a platform and a legitimate representation we didn't have to be ashamed of. We weren't treated like second class citizens, our hobby wasn't labeled childish or an epidemic, and we were finally at a point where we could be taken seriously...
...But somewhere along the line, things have changed. At some point, legitimate critics of this problematic behavior by our own media have been lumped in with misogynists, and rape-supporters. Trolls have been used by this media as straw-men in a feeble attempt to cover their own asses; using threats of rape and murder against women in an attempt to distract people from the scandal.

I don't need to tell you how stupid it is to assume that after you slander an entire demographic of people, and because one of them threatens to rape or kill you, somehow that automatically means that everyone supporting #gamergate is now a rapist trying to kill you. It's the height of schizophrenia, but it was no accident. These very same media outlets went from "gamers are over" to "Oh, Look at how victimized these women are! look at the death threats and rape threats!" -in the hopes that the moment someone mentions rape and domestic violence, that would be enough to silence anyone with a legitimate critique.

It's called a Red Herring. Red herring is a kind of fallacy that is an irrelevant topic introduced in an argument to divert the attention of listeners or readers from the original issue.

  • Gamer Guy: "Wait, did you just bang Zoey Quinn and write favorably about her Depression Quest video ga--"

  • Gaming Media: "Uh, well.... Uh, THAT'S NOT IMPORTANT RIGHT NOW!!!!! THAT GIRL OVER THERE JUST GOT A DEATH THREAT!!!!!"
  • Gamer Guy: "Hey, what do you mean it's not importa--"
  • Gaming Media: "THAT GIRL JUST GOT A RAPE THREAT!!!!! DON'T YOU CARE?!?!!?!?!? DON'T YOU CARE ABOUT THE INNOCENT DEFENSELESS WOMEN OUT THERE WHO JUST WANT TO LABEL YOU A MISOGYNIST IN PEACE?!?!?!?!"
  • Gamer Guy: "Dude, what the hell does this have to do with video ga--"
  • Gaming Media: "WHAT ARE YOU, SOME SORT OF RAPE SUPPORTER!?!?!?!!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?"
  • Gamer Guy: "What the hell are you talking about!?!?"
  • Gaming Media: "HEY, EVERYONE!!!! #GAMERGATE IS FULL OF RAPE SUPPORTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!"
  • Gamer Guy: "Dude, are you out of your mind!?"
  • Gaming Media: "RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAPE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11 oneelevenexclamationpoint"

As you could probably tell, this mentally retarded ten-year-old-girl tactic didn't quite work. After the rage died down and the dust settled, gamers were all that remained, and the gaming press, who in their dieing breaths, cursed those who loved and nurtured them into the giants they once were, lay there as their souls travel to the vast realm of obscurity. For they have lost the very lifeblood that any Journalistic entity would need to survive: Credibility.
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1 comment:

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