Let’s look at this with the bleak honesty of a late-stage twenty-something recently stuck for no longer being the target demographic for the monoliths of the videogaming-industrial complex.
#Gamergate was, in my own opinion and in seemingly the shared opinion of anyone not directly aggrieved by subjective review scores in the specialist press of a hitherto specialist press, a misogynistic shitstorm that exposed the underbelly of the homogeneous mass that is “pop culture” or “nerd culture” as the petty house of squabbling and exclusivity gaming folk have long known to exist under the sleek machinery and family-friendly, circle-the-telly semi-experiential sell-jobs.
Escapist entertainment by its nature will draw those looking to escape. Whether the nature of that escape is the established rock ‘n’ roll rulebook that dying young and drained is glamourous, that your participation in the fandom of a sports team means that you are some-part responsible for the successes of a field of finely-tuned athletes, or that your escape into a third space to inhabit personae and situations far beyond your real-life ken, is up to you. But the fact is counter-culture has always, in some form, in its late stages, drawn laggards looking for a place in which to find reconciliation between their enjoyment of a now-popular artform and some fairly unacceptable view or action in mind.
One had to have been entirely disconnected from reality to believe that videogaming wasn’t subject to the same issues, and if one was more conspiratorially-minded, one might say that people like the misogynists of #Gamergate weren’t more organised than 4chan, so concerned with the integrity of review scores were they that they doxxed and harassed videogames journalist and developer Zoe Quinn for actions that should have been dealt with internally by employers at the very most, and settled personally between the involved parties at least.
Toxic masculinity has always been a problem in videogames culture, something as obvious to me as thirteen years old when my friends in first year began displaying early signs of profound mental health issues and found the mute, vague personae of heroes like Devil May Cry‘s Dante and Final Fantasy VIII‘s Squall as the perfect security blankets for their own issues and seeming inability to reach out to others to start to sort them. Those handsome, bishonen boys and the vast array of knives and other armaments they did carry. Irresistible to clutches of small-town lads, their gamification of relationships with the opposite sex, and the lack of ready answers to the problems surrounding them.
Whatever your thoughts on the intentions of the original posts of #Gamergaters at the ground-floor and the feelings of Zoe Quinn’s former significant others, the tone of the following actions of a small few, as disenfranchised from the hobby of videogaming as anyone else no longer considered the target market of a multinational, removed any perceived honour from its intent, to say nothing of the pig-ignorance of its delivery.
This is the flipside of the upsetting of the established order of videogame’s first historical and anthropological chapter: the reordering of history and culture brings with it an exposure of what it leaves behind, for better or worse.
The Death of Counterculture – acid logic. 2017. The Death of Counterculture – acid logic. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.acidlogic.com/where_is_counterculture.htm. [Accessed 18 May 2017].
Kali Holloway. 2017. Toxic masculinity is killing men: The roots of male trauma – Salon.com. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.salon.com/2015/06/12/toxic_masculinity_is_killing_men_the_roots_of_male_trauma_partner/. [Accessed 18 May 2017].
Jay Hathaway. 2017. What Is Gamergate, and Why? An Explainer for Non-Geeks. [ONLINE] Available at: http://gawker.com/what-is-gamergate-and-why-an-explainer-for-non-geeks-1642909080. [Accessed 18 May 2017].
Psychology Today. 2015. The Psychology of Sports Fandom | Psychology Today. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-social-self/201507/the-psychology-sports-fandom. [Accessed 18 May 2017].
Rolling Stone. 2013. A Brief History of the 27 Club | Rolling Stone. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/pictures/a-brief-history-of-the-27-club-20131112. [Accessed 18 May 2017].