Last night, a new episode of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit aired. It was “that” episode; the one focused around Gamergate, and the harassment that women in the tech industry have been dealing with for half a year now. I watched it. It was bullshit. It was an hour-long sideshow of victim blaming trash. The Quinn/Sarkeesian/Wu stand-in brought all the trouble on herself for wanting to make games (this made sense to the SVU writers somehow), then left the games industry after being kidnapped and raped by the not-Gamergaters (and whose fake messageboard domain was legitimately purchased IRL by the not-about-harassing-women members of Gamergate). The lesson for all of us to take away was to just quit. If you’re a woman, get the hell out of games, or else you’ll be violently gang-raped for the internet to see, and it’ll all be your own fault too.
To say that I, and many others, were upset about that was an understatement. I had a Goddamned meltdown over it. The women this show was based on got inundated with even more harassment. The nightmare that minorities have been living was nothing more than a quick ratings grab for NBC.
I’ve been working on games for the last few months. I have wanted to quit every single day. Every day, another reminder that anyone dumb enough to racially identify with a marketing demographic label (gamers) will go out of their way to make your life hell because they can’t get over their high school years.
And really, it gets really fucking tiring. All anyone of us wanted was just to play games, discuss them, make them, and just get on with our lives without having to deal with an abusive-ex’s petty revenge fantasy. Yes, Eron Gjoni, my heart goes out to you that you can no longer treat Zoe Quinn like a punching bag. Actually, wait, replace “my heart goes out to you” with, “you’re a worthless scumbag piece of shit and I hate your sorry abusive ass that ruined several peoples lives and set back the concept of video games being taken seriously about ten years because you can no longer treat Zoe Quinn like a punching bag.” That’s a bit more accurate. We (minorities) now have to think super duper extra hard on what we say publically, lest some frustrated Incel take offense and dedicate his life to plotting your murder. And we have to do all this by ourselves.
The mainstream games press. The mainstream games industry. They have not done a single fucking thing in six months. Oh sorry, I forgot: some of them wrote toothless “hey guys harassment is really bad now really c’mon now guys I mean it” articles that didn’t even mention Gamergate by name (that were only written after Anita Sarkeesian appeared on The Colbert Report and the front page of The New York Times, and they couldn’t ignore it anymore), patted themselves on the back, and then went back to caring more about LittleBigPlanet DLC than women’s lives. A woman will probably be murdered over video games before 2015 is out, but hey, wouldn’t you rather hear that you can dress your Sackboy up like Deadpool?
I was content on just labeling these people cowards. Dickless jabronis who care more about money that comes from a theoretical audience than on being decent people. But between Owen Good’s “you deserve it” comments, The Escapist giving preferential coverage to a Gamergate developer so extreme he was banned from a chatroom dedicated to driving Zoe Quinn to suicide, former Gamefan editors making their own Gamergate t-shirts, and Totalbiscuit…well, being Totalbiscuit, in addition to everyone else’s dead silence, it’s become very clear to me where they really stand. Now call me a conspiracy theorist if you must, but I can only see one thing:
That they’re all a part of Gamergate.
Gamergate is always asking for proof that they’re assholes, even when said evidence is produced and is staring them right in their idiot faces. Where is your proof that you’re not secretly rallying behind it? Was the reason you were all “unsure of what to say” all this time due to you wanting to say that you think women being driven from their homes and minorities being harassed on a daily basis is actually really good, but not wanting to deal with the negative consequences?
This isn’t me talking out of my ass here. Every time some dumbshit says, “oh, I’m neutral. You know, both sides and stuff,” ten times out of ten that person somehow, through some coincidence, ends up supporting every single long-since disproven “Quinn is a whore who slept around for good reviews” and “Sarkeesian is a con artist” accusation and ends up following all of the totally-not leaders of Gamergate and promoting their shitty ideas and bigoted words. There is a precedent here.
People who can make change won’t. They’ve failed us, time and time again. As far as I’m concerned, this is the last time. There is nothing that the mainstream game industry can do to make up for this. I look at a mainstream game press outlet, and I see Gamergate. I look at a AAA studio, and I see Gamergate. The lone exception being, strangely enough, Square-Enix. Mostly because they are the only company that doesn’t give a shit about braying jackasses who think the world owes them sex. The made Lightning Returns (Vid Con of the year 2014). They’re making a new Final Fantasy with a half-naked man as its protagonist. They are literally the only company willing to publish Life is Strange (Vid Con of the year 2015), and not demand that the main character be changed to a man. Every one else can go fuck themselves.
Most importantly, no matter how bad things may get, no matter how badly I want to quit, no matter how fucked up I get over my gender or my depression, I’m not going to give up. I’m not making games to please shitheads. I’m making games because I want to. Playing Final Fantasy VII as a kid and thinking, man, I would really like to make one of these someday, is what made me want to get into design and development in the first place. Telling The Man to suck my fucking dick, make all these strong women getting put through this nightmare feel like they’re not fighting for nothing, and do my part to bring about change in a septic tank of an artform is what’s getting me to stay.