Community Piece: The Humanity of #GamerGate – 10/23/2014
By Lo-Ping - Thu Oct 23, 2:34 pm
The creator of this submission has requested to remain anonymous
I am a 28-year-old Hispanic male who works Data Entry. I have been a gamer ever since I was 3 years old. There are old Polaroid photos of me playing arcade games like Hang-On, Crazy Climber, Pac-Man, Wonder Boy, and Galaga whilst standing on a chair reach the controls. It was thanks to my father that I got into video games in the first place since he always brought me to local pizza parlors with Arcade machines.
Even though I played a lot of games as a kid, I didn’t get my first console until Christmas of 1990 when “Santa Claus” got me a SNES with Super Mario World inside. It was one of the best days of my life. I was extremely happy with Super Mario World, but it wasn’t until the upcoming year when The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past was released that I really got immersed in gaming. ALttP’s dungeons and overall content made me want to fully complete the game with all the hearts, items, and all secrets available. Once I finished it a few months later, it felt good, that feel of accomplishment. I sub-sequentially bought almost all of the consoles that followed. (Sega, Sony, Microsoft… you name it)
Video games may just be a hobby to some. But to me, it is like my second life. Video games almost always put you in a role you could never assume in real life like a Space Bounty Hunter who travels through space in search of life-leeching parasites, a Medieval knight fighting through hordes of ghouls and demons, and even a high-jumping Italian plumber trying to save a Princess kidnapped by an evil anthropomorphic turtle. These are but examples on what video games allow you to do. They are a way to relieve stress, have fun with friends, and even (in some cases) even win real money in tournaments or events.
Video games are important to me as you can tell, and ever since this whole debacle began on August 16 (before it even had a name), I made sure I was thoroughly informed on the subject matter. What I found was unacceptable: the appearance that someone had used sex for favors in order to further their career in the video game industry. But what I found even more appalling was the fact that this kind of person was backed up by the video game media that was SUPPOSED to denounce it. It was more so appalling when evidence of more scandals involving unethical conduct in Video Game Journalism came to light.
Everything seemed a bit of a lost cause for those outraged at this debacle, until the “infamous” #GamerGate hashtag was created by actor Adam Baldwin on Twitter. The hashtag was then spread around by the supporters of a more ethical behavior in video game media, even reaching award-winning Breitbart reporter Milo Yiannopoulos, and Christina H. Sommers (AKA Based Mom, as we like to call her) who supported the hashtag and what it was trying to accomplish. Of what started a little over two months ago is continuing to this day, and will continue for a longer time still I fear. The corrupt video game media will not budge and will continue to attempt to label #GamerGate as a hate movement of misogyny that harasses women in the video game industry when, in fact, people who support GamerGate donated more than $70,000 to help women make video games. But no video game site wants to talk about this. They instead focus on trying to stop the movement, so to speak.
No matter what kind of underhanded tactics they attempt, this supporter will not budge, and will not surrender. I will spread the truth on what GamerGate is trying to accomplish to everyone wrongly misinformed on the subject matter: denounce corrupt and biased video game journalism. Let’s fight for what we believe in to the very end.
I’m Meeki and I’m addicted to gaming.
This addiction started when my dad brought home an Atari and only escalated from that point on. Even during times of financial difficulty, my dad always managed to bring home next new game system for my brothers and I. In every sense of the word, we were a gaming family.
On July 8th of this year, I lost my dad to pancreatic cancer. This still hurts me a great deal. Up until his hospitalization, my dad never stopped gaming. He was primarily a console gamer but earlier this year, he had finally jumped into his first MMO. It was Elder Scrolls Online and he loved it. He was a former marine, so when I say he was a bit old-fashioned and hardened, perhaps you’ll understand what I mean. Yet in a game, he was like a child again. I think we can all relate to this. It really surprised me when he received Military Honors at his funeral because honestly, I always saw him as a nerd, just like me.
My dad might have introduced me to gaming but I genuinely fell in love with it. My daughter is into games as much as I am. My niece and nephew are also gamers. Our dog isn’t named Kratos, the dog of war for no reason. When I say that gaming is a big part of my life, I’m not exaggerating.
I don’t want to go into too much detail about my past because it’s honestly not a happy story to tell. Suffice it to say I was a victim of a pedophile as a child. I was molested by a roommate as a teenager and I was hospitalized for a suicide attempt in my early twenties.
If I could drown myself in the fictional world by reading a book, I did so. Same with comics and art. These things helped me forget –albeit briefly, the horrors in my life and while I love all the things I mentioned, they didn’t hold a candle to gaming. You might be able to imagine a world in printed form but to see it on your television? It was a new experience altogether.
It genuinely bothered me when I started seeing games attacked or labeled as misogynistic. While it could be argued that Princess Peach was a damsel in distress, at the time I played these games, I was too. Yet in these games, I was the hero, not the damsel. I had a mission; a duty. I cared about this Princess. I wanted her safe. I wanted to BE the one that saved her and I felt good when I did.
Is it so hard to see that it wasn’t really Mario saving the Princess? For me, it will always have been that seven-year old girl sitting on her living room floor. I didn’t care that Mario was male back then and nothing has changed today. I care about the game, characters and the story. I don’t care if I’m playing a male or female. I don’t care if it’s even human. Put a good game in my hands and I’m a genuinely happy person.
For the last fifteen years or so, I’ve been primarily a PC Gamer. I play male dominated games. I absolutely love first person shooters. So yes, I have come across some men that judged me solely for my gender and made me feel unwelcome in this genre. This is going to happen and it has more to do with the individuals than gaming as a whole. I have never blamed all male gamers for how those few had treated me and my positive experiences far outweigh the negative.
#GamerGate might be a movement to stand against corruption in journalism or the gaming industry, but it consists of people of all gender, race, class, religion, political stances taking this stand together. #GamerGate is as inclusive as it is diverse. It’s not a hate movement in any way, shape or form.
In fact, there’s been quite a number of people on GamerGate’s end that have been doxxed, threatened and harassed in this as well. It’s never been limited to one side or to one set of people. There’s hateful, mean people on both sides. There are people with the intent to cause real harm on both sides. This is wrong and it needs to stop.
I’ve personally been accused of internalizing misogyny. Of being a gender traitor, a fake female, or even failure of a woman because no good upstanding woman would dare support a group of misogynists. When I see misogyny, by all means, I’ll stand up against it. I’ve yet to see anything like that from #GamerGate‘s end.
Once again I’m having to defend my gender but this time, it’s against men AND women that claim to support social justice. Suddenly I’m “brainwashed” because I support my fellow gamers against corruption and stand up against claims of misogyny and sexism? When articles went up claiming gamers were a bunch of white cis male basement dwelling neckbeard misogynistic nerds, I cringed.
It feels like we are moving backwards, not forwards.
First off, one does not have the right to attack men for their gender more than one has the right to attack women for theirs. What I see is an attack on men despite the fact that women get attacked just as often. This may be because they continuously paint #GamerGate as a group of misogynistic men.
Secondly, it took decades for the term “nerd” to be seen as a good thing instead a reason to bully us or beat us up over. Yet look at how many times games journalists and people against us have used that term as an insult. If we weren’t ashamed during a time when being a nerd could get us beaten up in school, why would we be ashamed today?
While there’s some real people out there that are harassing and hurting others, it is important to acknowledge the existence of trolls. These people will not align themselves with either side. They want to cause problems, not resolve them. Because of this, they will attack supporters on both ends just to keep the fire burning. The sad thing is? It’s working.
We need to ignore them, block them, report them, or even call the cops if needed but we shouldn’t let them represent either side of the movement. The only way to reach any kind of resolution is to work together and listen to the those of us that care, regardless of the side he or she may support.
I’m going to end this by saying games are not ugly, twisted things that are going to turn us into monsters. When we play a game like Payday2, we do not suddenly become bank robbers in real life. Playing Call of Duty will not turn us into a killer, marvel Super Heroes will not grant us real super powers, and try as I might, I simply do not have the skills to combine two vehicles together to kill non-existent zombies with because I played Dead Rising 3.
Video games will not turn us into a misogynist. I’ve probably killed at least half a million male characters in video games in the last year. Does that make me a misandrist? I joke about this a lot because it’s a valid point to make if can take so little to label someone in such a harmful way.
When I was a little girl, games gave me a chance to be the hero instead of the victim. Even today, games help me through the rough patches in my life. Games don’t hurt people. People hurt people. And the gamers? They’re among the best people I’ve ever met.
Thank you for sharing your stories. I have greatly enjoyed reading everyone stories through all this. It was especially good hearing your story LoPing as I have been I treated ever since the charity campaign you organised .