Right off the bat, I want to say that these opinions are truly my own, not that of SteamFirst. This situation has been bothering me for quite a bit and thus I am going to vent about it to you fine folks instead of writing my normal weekly review column. I will try to get my next review up sooner rather than later in exchange.

I remember living on Andrews Air Force Base as a six year old. I recall sunny days, learning to ride a bike, and sledding down the hill at the end of our street. The fact that the hill ended in a creek filled with running, not quite frozen water did not detract from our enjoyment. It was here, via a friend down another road, that I had my first gaming experience. It was the original Super Mario Brothers. Immediately, I was enraptured. The guy on screen does what I say. I can dictate the fate, the path of this avatar. I could carve out my own story. Certainly, I died often but I knew that this sense of wonder would become a life long affair.

Many people had similar experiences and the culture of gaming, the essence permeates the privileged world. It’s easy to find someone else who shares the same passion. T-shirts, collectibles, and other paraphernalia can be found in any mall, shopping center, or bazaar without  much effort. When I was growing up, it was still considered very nerdy and marginalized by the “cool” kids. Now, every day I can tap into that nostalgia to my heart’s content. Gaming, to me, is as much about the art and fun as it is recapturing that sense of time and place.

To my sorrow, though, this love affair has turned to disillusionment. Not with the games themselves, but with what the culture surrounding it currently represents. I am increasingly ashamed of what the worst among us has done. Those outside the culture are taking notice, too. Simply put, the gaming world has lost its damn mind.

One does not need to look far for the evidence. We have the specific death threats directed at Anita Sarkeesian and Brianna Wu just in the past two weeks. Their crime? Being involved in gaming while female. There is also the practice of “swatting,” calling the cops on somebody streaming their gaming session online, just to see them get raided by a SWAT team. I don’t even want to get started on the whole Gamer’s Gate situation right now.

 

 

Is this the face of true evil?
Is this the face of true evil?

Those of you who looked at those links will realize that we are getting attention from the mainstream press about this stuff. Just look at this Google search page for the press Anita Sarkeesian is receiving. Did you notice the headlines? She is getting praise for being brave enough for confronting us animals. Frankly, she deserves every bit of it. The disgusting amount of vitriol she received from the moment she announced this project on Kickstarter is ridiculous and undeserved. As a benefit to her, though, it provided the exposure she needed to get the funds along with the encouragement of knowing that the landscape is fertile. If you happen to not like her, though, I would advise that you simply ignore her output.

The same cannot not be said about the monsters in our closet. These people are unfortunately very, very real and will not go away if we ignore them. They have already found themselves nested in groups that encourage further outlandish behavior. They feel rewarded when they go to a mainstream site and see the aftermath of their behavior is the news. A mark was made in the world by them and they know it.

When researching this column, I went trolling on some forums to gain different perspectives. One post in a famously loosely moderated gaming forum caught my attention in particular. It was a picture of a crime scene. A naked younger woman lay dead on the floor, her head turned to one side. There was blood everywhere and the rock used to crush the left portion of her skull was resting about a foot away. In her eyes was the look of terrified resignation that still haunts me a few days after viewing. The caption was: “This is what gets me off.” I wish I was making this up. I wish that I was able to lie to myself and say that it was fake, but I know better.

This is what gets me off.

I do not doubt that this is true, just not in the way the poster intended. The poster of this statement simply wants attention and went to an extreme measure to get it. The reaction to the shock value of the post “gets him off.” (I have to assume it is a male.)That, too, is the primary issue with the cretins permeating our culture. They find someone that they disagree with: a feminist, a streamer, a games journalist and harass and torture the poor soul until something better comes along.

So, if they want attention, one could reasonably assume that this piece and others like it that have already been written gives them the victory. I do not believe that this is the case. In each situation, they won when the story of the crime broke. Something that they did is a headline. Sadly, this is not a situation that has an answer that I can deduce. I do not feel that the world needs someone else to stand up and say that sending death threats to people is bad. That is obvious to most people.

What I wish to do is express that this does not have to be this way. Our community does not need to be violent and scary to the world at large. I want to live in a world where gaming is an accepted hobby, a very normal thing. I thought that we were making progress for a while there. As it is, I might be hanging up my nerd shirts for a while. Gaming might have to go back to being my dirty little secret.

15 COMMENTS

  1. “pardon me for not wanting to jump on your boat of self loathing, at the behest of professional victims like Zoey Quinn.

    just look at that thumbnail. what a poor innocent woman, who did absolutely nothing wrong, right? well, apart from

    – using sex to get journalists to promote and praise her game and make her the winner in an indie game contest
    – hijacking Game Jam and funneling tons of money into her pocket.
    – destroying a charity by TFYC that was made to help women in the industry
    – getting her journalist pals to gang up on people who oppose her and threaten their careers
    – doxxing people who oppose her and laughing about in on twitter

    – claiming that cheating on your partner without them knowing and then
    having sex with them should be considered “rape.” and then proceeding to
    cheat on her boyfriend with 5 guys.

    oh yeah. this is
    clearly a woman of pure character. who is the victim of all of us evil
    gamers who just hate women in general. we all just hate zoey because she
    is a woman.”
    just a coment from n4g

    • Most of these points have been clearly and comprehensively disproven. That you’d rather continue to believe them rather than a more balanced perspective says more about you than it does her.

  2. Every culture has psychos, idiots and twat-bags. If you want to distance yourself from them, you might as well remove yourself from your race, your country, your hometown and the human species in general. Man up, look at the bigger picture and accept that gaming is a culture like any other;,made from a majority of ‘normal’ people who are constantly drowned out by the sound of the loud subversive few that have a shitty agenda to push and will stoop to any low to be heard. Gamers are not monsters, monsters are monsters and they inhabit every corner of society.

    • Wow, you really told her didn’t you? I mean you read the article and then felt you had to comment about it so what does that make you? A fool or the fool who follows? I think this was more of a therapy session like going to a Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and saying: “I have a problem”.

      • Dude who are you, her lover? Someone gives their opinion which may differ from the author and you come to berate them?

        You are the type of person the author is describing in her column.

        But my point is that people deserve to share their opinion to the author and that is it.

        There is no reason to come to the author’s defense since their comments are not direct to you.

        • And just like you I shared my opinion of your opinion. The fact that you accuse me even sarcastically being her lover tells everyone more about you and how they should weigh your comments than anything she has said. Whether true or not I think you have some sort of insecurity issues.

  3. Hello, folks.

    Well, I am quite the fool for not expecting this reaction, that’s for certain. Apparently, I was not clear on my point for the most part. I will chalk this up to a failing on my part. My article had a few points.

    1. The deplorable behavior of a small contingency of gamers has become mainstream news. As I am well known in my day-to-day life to be a heavy gamer, both in habit and girth, I have been asked to defend and explain this behavior to those who do not understand. There is no defense or explanation that is justifiable.

    Since this is the case, acceptance of our hobby has been knocked back years. This is something I care about as games truly have the ability to do so much in life. Games really can give us a new perspective should we be open to it.

    We had gotten to the point where I could let my geek flag fly. Now, I am not so sure. I feel like I am being lumped in with the worst element. For a corollary outside of gaming, see how hardcore motorcycle enthusiasts feel the need continue to point out that only one percent of their group breaks the law.

    2. Whether you agree with them or not, the poison that has been injected into these women’s lives is despicable. That they are staying in the cross hairs to share their experience is laudable. For those of you who feel that they are publicity seekers, I cannot disagree. The only way to improve a situation is to seek publicity. See any successful civil rights movement that took place in the United States in the past.

    For those of you who think they are making everything up, have another look at the situation. There is ample evidence that what they are stating did occur. If nothing else, the FBI is not exactly known for being dumb.

    3. While I focused on the poor treatment of women in the article, it was about abhorrent behavior in general. See also that I brought up the subject of “swatting” and that the article linking was about a male victim.

    4. I also wanted to inject my half-baked theory as to why this had gotten so out of hand. That is because I feel like the vilest of the group are eager to see their actions in the news. I feel that they consider any attention good attention.
    A few side notes: the picture of Zoe was taken directly off of a simple Google image search for the sole purpose of inserting an ironic joke. The alternative was to take some of Blizzard’s concept art and caption it: “Above: Apparently Zoe Quinn.”

    To those of you who say it’s click bait, well…yes and no.

    Tucked away in a dark corner of the internet as I am, I wasn’t expecting much in the way of views. It was more of a written therapy session for myself. I honestly view it partly as a self-indulgent and self-pitying piece that was put up because I wanted explore other ramifications of this situation beyond the obvious. I also hope that if the existence of this piece makes someone think twice about their actions before going through with another vile act of chicanery, it was worth submitting.

    Oh, and I’m a dude. 🙂

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