What is Gamer Gate?
Okay, so it’s like this… *clears throat*
Some bare facts and foundations for context:
- Video game journalism is totally a new thing and it kind of sucks most of the time.
- Zoe Quinn is a video game developer who speaks out on sexism in the industry a lot. She also made an indie game called Depression Quest.
- Gamers are pretty much terrible.
So, this whole thing got kickstarted when Zoe Quinn’s ex-boyfriend made a post shortly after they broke up. In it, he alleges that she was cheating on him and sleeping with five other guys, all of whom have some connection to video game journalism. (Note: This isn’t true and there’s no evidence of it aside from one text post but you know how the internet is with text posts)
This basically set off a shit-storm of conspiracy theories that “Surely… SURELY… Zoe has been sleeping with people to get really good reviews for her Indie Game, Depression Quest!” People used such damning evidence as “Well, the game doesn’t appeal to me, so she surely had to be dishonest to make it successful.”
It’s further complicated by the fact that she is, in fact, actually dating a member of famous video game site Kotaku. Now, that guy never reviewed her game and they started dating after the interest in her game died down, but this as PROOF POSITIVEfor gamers that everything ever said about Zoe is true.
This increased a huge call to discuss ethics and transparency in video game journalism. This “call” basically consists of yelling at people pointing out that none of the allegations against Zoe Quinn are proven or even make sense.
Right about now, you’re thinking to yourself, “Ben, this seems to all make very little sense and you’re talking about Zoe Quinn a lot and journalism a little bit.”
You see, Zoe herself has recently posted screenshots and evidence of her ex-boyfriend coaching people in chat rooms as to how to fan the flames of controversy and how to stage incidents where they appear to be victims. They even have screenshots of them planning to ask Adam Baldwin for help. You see, Adam Baldwin’s basically the walking embodiment of the Anti-SJW; angry, paranoid, and very very sure that “Social Justice” is a code-word for communism. (No, seriously, he privately messaged me that. We used to talk all the time on Twitter)
The Adam Baldwin thing worked, by the by. He is, still, on Twitter, decrying Zoe Quinn for “ruining video game journalism” but doesn’t really understand what’s going on.
And basically, the whole thing has become twisted and contorted to the point where the sides are “Attacks against Zoe Quinn are misogynistic” and “Defending Zoe Quinn is the death of video game journalism”. If you don’t believe me, check out Wil Wheaton tweeting that he resents the sexism in gaming and the flooding of tweets he got from angry people outraged that he would talk about that but not “video game journalism”.
TL;DR Zoe Quinn’s ex leveraged gamers’ misogyny, journalism’s failings, and the internet’s ability to overreact and is now using all of them to get back at his ex-girlfriend.
It’s the perfect storm. Everything that gamers are angry about has spun together to make this absurdly ignorant argument as to whether you care about Journalism Ethics or Misogyny, a question which, to see it at its face, makes zero fucking sense.
And that’s about it.
P.S. Yes, some game developers are friends with journalists and such. It’s an extremely small industry and that would happen even in the biggest of media industries. Big fucking whoop.
P.P.S. Yes, I did just sign my name only so I can say “P.S.”
Welp, that is pretty thorough.