In response to Dan Golding’s The End of Gamers.
Perhaps not entirely in response to, as I don’t expect myself nor this post to be viewed anywhere near as much as Dan’s. He’s, after all, a ‘writer and academic’. It’s easy to call yourself that. I could call myself that if I wanted to, maybe someday. However at this moment, I have better things to do to fill my time while waiting for the tea to cool.
So I’m taking a look at Dan’s article. It was linked in places that doesn’t have a reputation for being reasonable nor unbiased. So instead of reading comments, I decided to read everything by myself. It’s easier that way, as it filters out outside influences. After I finished, there was mixed feelings. Frankly everything would’ve been much easier for me if I just marked ‘no’ on the page and block it from myself forever, but that certainly is boring. I’m just someone with an opinion, after all.
The last few weeks in videogame culture have seen a level of combativeness more marked and bitter than any beforehand.
I like how the piece started. It’s like reading a 4-panel pseudo-science web comic. I don’t doubt this is what the writer believed, neither do I doubt that this was written in hope of setting the mood, rather than actual reporting. It’s fun to write and fun to read, absolutely. Everyone is biased, so I’m fine with what he thinks is right, but I am far from in agreement with his method of portraying it.
He continued with referring to a ‘developer’ – who I could only assume was Zoe Quinn (I suggest you Google if you’re interested, for this place doesn’t have enough space to explain everything) – and the harassment campaign against her. Well, that much is correct. She was indeed a target of a harassment campaign, for I was in the heat of it. I don’t mean that I partook or was even anyway involved, but rather being there as everything went live. He then went on by grouping in women, or ‘not white straight men’, as typical victim of harassment aimed at game developers. I laughed, for a few moments. It was really funny seeing how hard he tried to spin this. Misrepresenting the facts, or purposely skewing wording, was the second warning sign. He then followed with pointing out how it was because these people, or what they were doing, was out of the status quo. I have to hand it to Dan, as this was even more laughable. Considering how most of the massive publishers had been routinely criticised for sticking to the status quo, by pretty much anyone with authority of knowledge on the matter, his comment was hilarious misinformed – at worst. Since he also claimed that games often feature misogyny, I wonder if he was actually a writer. Surely writers would actually know what words mean.
An example of Anita Sarkeesian being harassed was then used. Alright, that’s fine. I understand that this is an opinion blog, not a journalistic one, so he doesn’t have to link sources. I say that as genuinely as possible, as this very blog also operates under the same principle. However, I – as a reader – question greatly the legitimately of his examples. It doesn’t help that the people in question are notorious for being dishonest, about their work as well as their own representations within the community. The thing is though, considering how death threats, and perhaps rape threats, are so common, picking on it seems like really reaching for a low-hanging fruit. I’m not even that big a personality, and I’ve received plenty. This is of course not at all claiming that such a thing is ok, in fact the exact opposite. Harassment on the internet should stop, but writing it up here on my blog is about as effective as yelling at the wall. Sometimes I feel like people skip that logic gate just to drive their agenda. The harassment that Zoe, and Anita received – if true – would indeed be horrible. However, when Dan tried to make it seem like they were special for receiving it, he was simply lying. However their mentions stop here, so let’s just move on.
The next paragraph truly revealed Dan’s intention. He made clear what he thought of ‘gamer’ as a term of identity, often alluding them to that used of old, when gaming was apparently niche and separatist. Another paragraph was spent about how ‘gamer’, as an identity, had been stagnant and noninclusive. This was mostly based on the opinion of the ‘gamer elite’, who view things such as Candy Crush, or some Facebook games etc., as not-real-gamers. His entire argument, a very passive-aggressive one at that, was that people who identify by the ‘gamer’ identity are simply being noninclusive, and heavy-handed in their approach to the shifts of reality. Dan then proceeded to call bias and corruption ‘invented problems’, as a way of dismissing concerns put forward by ‘the gamer identity’. Now I don’t know about you, but bias and corruption exist. It’s practical impossible for it not to, and to call such valid concerns as ‘invented problems’ (which was actually the head talking point of many of these people he called toxic and hateful), he no longer had an argument. This had already resorted to ad hominem, albeit as a cake. It was a lie, you see.
During his last few paragraphs, Dan finally decided to refer to those people he’s attacking as ‘gamer’, instead of their adopted ‘identity’ as gamers. The author had finally broken out of his shell, how noble. He decided that after everything that had just been written, everyone should simply take what he said as gospel and leave. Assuming he’s not actually petty enough to argue semantics about ‘gamers’ versus ‘players’ – and that by ‘gamers’ he’s actually referring to people who felt like they had their medium attacked -, Dan proved a point. He failed to convince me that the vocal minority spitting vitriol are simply doing so because they are feeling rightfully threatened, but instead he was too caught up in his agenda to understand. He argued for people who wanted to diversity, inclusion, but he never bothered to look at the opposing argument. I would call it irony, but this is the internet. It was absolutely intended that he wrote everything that he did, and meant every word to read as such. He so desperately wanted to convince others that the traditional gamers are becoming irrelevant, willfully ignoring the fact that by far and large, it had been a long time since people who actually play games regarded their hobby as those only for ‘white straight men’. Funnily enough, the thought that this discussion went far and beyond the border of the United States, his little cultural melting pot, never even crossed his mind. Games had never been only consumed by such a demographic as ‘white straight men’, but that’s not a tag line that drives attention.
It’s simply the truth.