Community Piece: The Humanity of #GamerGate – 10/31/2014
By Lo-Ping - Fri Oct 31, 12:00 pm
First off, I’d like to introduce myself as an Asian. Specifically, a pure-blooded Filipino who lives on an archipelago on the other side of the Earth’s largest ocean.
I worked as a nurse at a public hospital before I decided to continue my education to be a doctor once I had enough money. I am by no means a social activist. I do not identify myself as one, but I am a volunteer of the Philippine Red Cross and a frequent volunteer in charities for natural disaster victims like typhoons, floods, earthquakes and the like. Living here and experiencing what life has to offer has made me truly human in the service of others.
But before all of that, I was a boy who identified himself as a gamer. My first console was the Famicom that has sadly been a victim with time and my first game was Duck Hunt. From there, I grew to love gaming in general and became passionate with my hobby. Believe it or not, what pushed me to become a doctor were multiple reasons such as my disabled sister and the joys that I can share with her because of it. She can’t speak but she understands people, she’s affectionate and she loves games. Though she can hardly play, she likes to watch and points out things that she likes, sometimes when I let her have a controller, she becomes really ecstatic and laughs and I love it when she smiles because the little joys to her matter to me the most and to my family! Someday, I think I’d go to America and help with research in genetics for the benefit of people like my sister.
I joined #GamerGate because I love the community and how diverse they are. Sure, we can have people who we disagree with, but we love our hobby all the same. Nintendo, PC, Sony or Microsoft, I don’t care. A community that has brought a smile to my sibling deserves better treatment than to be labeled as misogynist or potential murderers. I want the community that I love to be respected and not talked down to because some of them have the same afflictions like my sister. The community has grown up and developed into a wonderful place but people just can’t get past their prejudices and I want it to stop because I love it and I met so many people who are so accepting inside of it.
The author of the following submission has requested to remain anonymous
I’m a freelance artist with a BA in Games Design , I’ve worked on a few small independent titles and I’ve won and been nominated for international awards for my work. I am, for all intents and purposes, at the beginning of my career. I was raised around games and I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a console of some kind from as far as I can remember, starting with the Sega Master System. Games are the media I grew up with, invested a lot of my time into and consequently love. Games are my passion and my hobby. So much so that I decided to invest my career so far into giving back to the industry and hopefully earn a living making content people can enjoy.
I’m with #GamerGate to protect the industry I love, the products they produce and the people within the community. I feel it incredibly necessary to defend it, even taking the risk of speaking about it as a young professional. I agree entirely with the Thunderclap’s concise sentiment: “I support ethics in gaming journalism, creative freedom and inclusiveness”. I want more people from any and all walks of life creating whatever they wish without the interference and shaming by politicized unethical journalism.
I think that in increasing amounts that gamers and the games industry as a whole has been vastly misrepresented by journalistic outlets that exist solely because of these two parties. These outlets, that make no bones about how games may or may not misrepresent groups in fiction, are profiteering in ways that I could only describe as hypocritically biting the hand that feeds. I am all for open discussion, but the attacks on the audience by the now infamous “Gamers are Dead” articles and subsequent deflections of “You are all misogynists/racists/[buzzword]-ists” is no longer printing an opinion, but an outright defamation of the entire gaming community.
To me it feels like people with an agenda in mind are trying to remove the people who built this industry up from the very thing they made, or at the very least rebuild it in their own image. Imagine this in any other field: “I understand you have your own culture that anyone with the relevant means can join. I don’t agree with it, but I can use your product to my own ends. If you want to defend your culture, I will shame you and ensure that people think you hate and abuse people.” These same people who hate cultural appropriation and demand diversity are simultaneously attacking and destroying a culture to co-opt it for the own ends. I find this nefarious, damaging and something the industry can do without.
I think that certain people, by and large, have certain tastes through both biology and upbringing. These funnel into creating a product which then goes to market and they thus reciprocate. I, personally, don’t see any issue with this. As an artist, a mantra is “Paint the picture you want to see”. The industry was developed by people “making the games they want to play”. To have your own tastes and cater to them with your own product is not a bad thing. Creating a product to cater to a market you do not identify with isn’t necessarily bad either. As we’ve seen with large publishers, they push what the market wants and not what they say they want (talking with their money and not their mouths).
In the current market climate, I would say that certain pop-culture critics and the ensuing media coverage is now influencing games through publicized politicized shaming of developers and gamers for liking what they like in their fiction. I think this disconnect from what the audience clearly wants and what the media obviously says we should want is against consumer advocacy, or at least a deformed version of it. These detractors are seemingly unaware that the independent games market is booming and are absolutely welcome, celebrated even, to make games that truly suit their ideal vision and that having separate tastes, for the most part, is absolutely harmless. It appears to be their way or the highway, which sadly infantilizes the people they claim to protect in many ways.
In terms of the negatives being pinned to #GamerGate: The only sexism I’ve encountered in the gaming world, as both a player and an industry artist, is the occasional cry of “fake gamer girl”. This isn’t necessarily a dismissal based on sex, indeed they’d chastise any hipster trying to get into the hobby because it’s cool regardless of background, but more of a “prove it”. In the hardcore subculture, this is a male dominated hobby and the game is everything. No one debates women playing casual games, it really is strictly in the domain of the hardcore to test those that want to be amongst them. Games are competitive in nature, it’s to be expected. To my knowledge, most of the people playing games are more than happy to share their hobby and passion with almost anyone, provided they’re in it for the right reasons; they love games and they’re here to play.
Look at online gaming for a great example: World of Warcraft at its peak had 12 million subscribers from absolutely all walks of life. It did not matter who you were, playing the game was important. I think that’s one of the most singly inclusive aspects of gaming, it simply does not matter who you are as long as you’re in it for the love of the game. From an industry standpoint, I’ve not experienced any sexism because as an industry, and by law, we simply do not condone it. I myself have requested during expansions for my previous workplace that we take a look at hiring more women, which we did indeed do provided they were of the standard we required. Again, this is an inclusive industry by its nature; it runs entirely on merit. Who you are does not matter if your results are what people want.
To finish, I think that this is the most important part of current culture as a whole, of which gaming culture could be considered a microcosm, albeit a male dominated one. Who you are does not matter to the larger world, the endless compartmentalizing and hierarchical viewing of people based on things that truly have no bearing on what a person does with their life will only be detrimental and lead to needless segregation. I think that we should all have equal opportunities and be judged on the merits of what we do with them, regardless of hobby, industry, race, gender or anything else. All merit.