The End of Gatekeeping: The Extinction Burst of Gaming Culture

It’s been an ugly couple of weeks for gaming culture. Not only did the Zoe Quinn affair erupt, leading to the increased harassment and abuse of an indie games developer for the crime of being a woman in gaming, but Anita Sarkeesian was driven from her home by death threats following the release of the latest entry in the Tropes vs. Women In Video Games video series. It’s disturbing stuff to say the least and damning of geek and gaming culture as a whole that we keep having these same debates and watching the self-appointed gatekeepers of gaming attempt to chase women out of the clubhouse and off of the Internet because they dare to set foot into the “male” domain. It’s entitlement writ large – whiny children complaining that they’re not getting their every whim catered to.

And they have a point. They’re not. And that’s why the anger has grown so much hotter and the harassment has become so much more vicious. It’s an extinction burst.



We’re watching the beginning of the end of gatekeeping in gaming culture.

The Conditioned Response

First, we should define some terms.

An extinction burst is a physiological phenomenon, a way that the brain enforces its desires. It’s why so many people who try to quit smoking will suddenly have a nicotine fit so strong that they light up two cigarettes before they’ve even noticed what they’re doing. It’s why people who try to quit diet soda may be doing great for three weeks or so before suddenly finding themselves drinking even more than they had been before. And it’s why so much of gaming culture is howling and flinging shit like a death-metal festival in the Monkey House.

"Fuck you, I'm fighting corruption in games journalism!"

“Fuck you, I’m fighting corruption in games journalism!”

Much of our behavior is predicated on conditioning – essentially, training via a mix of punishments and rewards. We do something that our brain perceives as having a positive result for us on the whole and our brain doles out a reward by chemically triggering its pleasure centers. This helps encourage us to keep doing the thing that brings that positive result. When we do something that doesn’t benefit us, then we learn to avoid doing it again; this is one of the reasons we have pain receptors, after all. Over time, the things that lead up to performing the tasks that give us a positive result become part of what’s known as a conditioned response. We do these things – often without thinking – and we’re rewarded.

But when we stop doing the events that lead to the reward, the conditioned response starts to go away. Stop doing it for long enough and the behavior goes extinct… and the brain doesn’t like that. It’s gotten used to that particular stimulus/response chain and wants to keep it going. Therefore, right when the conditioned response is about to die out, it will throw out an extinction burst – a frenzy of signals demanding that the body perform the desired function right the fuck now because if it doesn’t, then the conditioned behavior is going to cease to exist. In the case of smoking, your brain has gotten used to the nicotine addiction – because brains are basically stupid – and wants you to keep inhaling toxins because it really really loves the rush. Then, when you’re almost at the point where you’ve kicked the habit, your brain turns into a toddler throwing a tantrum, kicking and screaming and yelling and spitting for as long as it possibly can until you give in just so the damned thing will shut up.



That’s what we’re seeing now in gaming culture. The myth – and it is a myth – that gaming is for boys is coming to an end. The stereotypical gamer – the young white male – is finding himself increasingly less catered to than he has been before.

And now there’s a segment within gaming culture that’s freaking out and doing its best to try to turn back the clock before it’s too late.

The Rise and Fall of Man in Gaming Culture

One of the longest ongoing myths in geek culture as a whole and in gaming culture especially is that it’s always been a “boy” thing – that women’s involvement in geek culture is a recent development. It’s a pernicious myth born of intellectual fallacies and cyclical reasoning that creates a self-perpetuating cycle; women don’t like “geek” things, therefore we don’t market to them, therefore women aren’t served by geek properties and take less part in them, therefore we don’t market to them…” Young Justice – for example – was famously cancelled because it was “attracting the wrong demographic” because “girls don’t buy toys”.

While the increased visibility of women in geek culture can be traced back to the mid-90s with the American broadcasts of Sailor Moon and Pokémon, women haven’t just been in geek culture since the beginning, they were the beginning. The first novel ever was The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu. Mary Shelly single-handedly invented the science-fiction genre with Frankenstein, while the first “masked hero” was the Scarlet Pimpernel, created by Emma Orczy. Ada Lovelace was one of the first programmers ever while – bringing it back to gaming – Roberta Williams created the graphical adventure game with Mystery Manor

She also created one of my favorite gaming series of all time.

Gaming culture specifically has long been considered the province of boys only – practically since its inception. Except that’s not true. The traditional identity of “gamer” as “straight white male” is actually a relatively recent phenomenon… despite what many think.

In her excellent piece “No Girls Allowed” at Polygon, Tracy Lien traces the history of gaming and the marketing of gaming specifically. In the first age of gaming – from the 1970s to the crash of the early 80s – games were marketed at everyone – men, women, children, everybody. After the crash of ’84 nearly destroyed the gaming industry entirely, Nintendo single-handedly revived the market with the release of the Nintendo Entertainment System… which they positioned as a toy, rather than a video game console. With the realization that the industry had been saved from the brink of destruction, the conscious decision was made to narrow the focus of games to a specific demographic: boys. From the article:

In a magazine advertisement for the Atari game Millipede (1982), a young girl stands in front of the arcade machine with her hands on the buttons, her face visibly excited by the action on the screen. An older woman, presumably her mother, stands beside her, hand on her shoulder, equally excited, a little bit awkward.

In another ad for Atari’s home computers demonstration center, a woman with red hair and brightly flushed cheeks stands in front of the center with a controller in her hands while a man stands behind her. Cheesy grins on faces, both appear to be enjoying a game of Pac-Man.


In the 1990s, the messaging of video game advertisements takes a different turn. Television commercials for the Game Boy feature only young boys and teenagers. The ad for the Game Boy Color has a boy zapping what appears to be a knight with a finger laser. Atari filmed a bizarre series of infomercials that shows a man how much his life will improve if he upgrades to the Jaguar console. With each “improvement,” he has more and more attractive women fawning over him. There is nothing in any of the ads that indicate that the consoles and games are for anyone other than young men.

Even leading up to the ’90s, the marketing had started changing and iconic video game box covers started to emerge. Like the cover of the game Barbarian, which featured a scantily clad, buxom woman at the feet of a barely clothed man. She’s not a playable character in the game, of course. Her pixelated curves can be seen watching the game’s action from the grandstand in the background. And the ad for Battlecruiser showed an attractive blond woman wearing only a bra, one finger coyly in her mouth, with a copy of the game placed in front of her crotch. “She really wants it,” the caption reads. The game is about fighting alien aircraft in space.

In a short-sighted way, it makes sense. Boys tend to be early adopters, after all, and show more overt interest in tech and gear. Boys are more likely to go into STEM fields than girls. But this is not only at a time when women were actively discouraged from “male” pursuits, it created a classic catch-22. Girls are presumed to not play games, therefore games are designed for and marketed towards boys; the marketing tells girls that this isn’t for them, therefore they don’t take part, confirming that girls don’t play games. Of course, this focus on a single demographic necessitated tunnel vision that ignored the glaringly obvious: that women were out there, that women played games and would do so in droves when given the opportunity. Myst famously outsold Doom  – released in the same year – and had a dominant female player base. The Sims – another incredibly successful franchise – has long held an incredibly sizable female audience. But all eyes were focused on “guy” games – first-person shooters, flight sims, etc. which continued to dominate the discourse and definition of “what is a gamer”.

But even the most entrenched stereotypes eventually must fall to reality – and the reality is that women have not only always been a part of the gaming market, but they’re the most rapidly growing demographic. In 2009, women were the most dedicated players of World of Warcraft, accounting for nearly 55% of all hours of gametime. And just this year, women have become 48% of the gaming market; in fact, women 18 years old or older represent an even larger market segment (36%) than boys aged 18 years or younger (19%).

Another important trend is the rise of smartphone based gaming; games like Flappy Bird and Candy Crush make $50,000 and $3.5 million dollars, respectively, per day. Candy Crush, that little time-sink that we all hate to love and love to hate as it clogs up our Facebook feeds, makes $1.26 billion per yearIt’s a number that certainly made developers sit up and take notice…

It has gotten to the point that game developers simply can’t afford to ignore female gamers any more or to pretend that they’re not part of the industry.

Which brings us back to the extinction event we’re witnessing.

The Fall Of The Gatekeeper

To bring things back around: for the last twenty years, male gamers have been the exclusive target and beneficiary of the gaming industry. Marketers pandered directly to a specific market – not just boys but “hardcore” gamers. And to gamers… well, gaming wasn’t just a hobby. It was a lifestyle. An identity. To be a gamer meant to be part of a small, semi-exclusive club. Gaming was uncommon. It was the domain of the geek, the dweeb, the loser, the basement-dwelling cretin. But to gamers, it was an ivory tower, a community based around a common love and a common sense of “us vs. them”.

But as time moved on, the “them” suddenly started looking a lot more like “us”. Where gaming used to be the province of the nerd, the proliferation of gaming consoles as media consoles – especially starting with the PS2 and swelling with the Xbox 360 – meant that more and more people were becoming gamers. The jocks who used to give the geeks wedgies and mock them for playing The Legend of Zelda became gamers themselves, scarfing down Call of Duty, Madden and FIFA in record numbers. Women, too, started becoming a more visible and prominent part of the gaming industry. And what does one do when your once-exclusive club becomes less exclusive? You find ways to disqualify people. You marginalize them. You say “they don’t count”. More people play Bejewelled or Candy Crush Saga or Peggle than any AAA console game… but they don’t “count” because they’re “casual” gamers. Women don’t count because they don’t play the right games; they’re playing Sims 4 or Pokemon XY, not Titanfall or Gears of War. Anything to disqualify them. Anything to make sure they don’t “count”.

Anything to keep the focus on the us”. The “hardcore” gamers. The “real” gamers.

And for a time… it worked. Gamers were the gatekeepers. They were the chosen ones. They received the full attention and munificence of the gaming industry (minus the “doesn’t count” exceptions like Tetris, Myst, The Sims, Pokemon, Portal etc). AAA games like Gears of War and Grand Theft Auto defined “gaming”.

"Please, Lord Sony, grant us a third-person action game where a dude gets to sex up, like, three chicks at a time!"

“Please, Lord Sony, grant us a third-person action game where a dude gets to sex up, like, three chicks at a time!”

But time marched on and the boundaries of gaming changed. The advent of Steam and the Xbox and Playstation marketplace turned the indie gaming scene from a quirky-yet-insignificant homebrewed hobby to a potent force that people would stand up and pay attention to. The definition of what was “gaming” shifted as more and more of the enthusiast press would take notice of independently developed, less traditional games like Fez, Gone Home and Depression Quest. The rise of the iPhone and Android threw open the store to even more games that stretched the boundaries like Device 6. The casual market went from an amusing subgenre to making truly mind-boggling levels of money, capturing an audience that far outstripped the install base of the Playstation and Xbox combined. And women continued to become an increasingly important market segment – not just an afterthought to be tossed the occasional Barbie game or free-to-play horsie MMO but a demographic that can’t be shrugged off, especially as gaming revenue continues to contract. The gatekeepers were increasingly unable to keep out the others, to enforce the definitions of “gamer”. The markets changed and adapted.

Suddenly, the marketers and the developers weren’t lavishing all of their attention on Gamers. And the Gamers didn’t like that. The conditioned reflexes were starting to fade away. As the market demographics continue to change, they – by necessity – are going to go extinct. And now they’re lashing out in any way possible, trying to keep the conditions alive.

The Extinction Burst

As you watch the protests and accusations fly – along with the aforementioned death threats, hacks, doxxing, and so on – it’s important to note just how hyperbolic it all is. The so-called enemies of gaming culture are described in the most apocalyptic of terms. Zoe Quinn is a one-woman rogue intelligence outfit with a network of informants, lackeys and highly placed catspaws eager to do her bidding. Anita Sarkeesian is destroying gaming, making it impossible for games like Hitman or Dead or Alive to exist. They and their army of minions have conspired to force all of the mainstream gaming media outlets to censor any bad press against them while simultaneously destroying the Fine Young Capitalists because they’re just that evil. One “counter-insurgency” is attempting to strike back through a Patreon-funded documentary series entitled “The Sarkeesian Effect” which is totally not about Anita Sarkeesian ya’ll despite having her name attached to it. They promise to “explore how gaming and tech culture have been hijacked by Social Justice Warriors”  because no violent games featuring more brown-haired white guys with square jaws and 5 0’clock shadows have been released since they failed to stop Sarkeesian’s Kickstarter. Too bad about all those games with male protagonists that won’t be coming out in October; the Social Justice Warriors have hijacked them all, yo.


Created by Olly Moss.

Created by Olly Moss.

The over-the-top sturm und drang is a call to arms to combat the threat of… a woman applying basic literary criticism to games. Another woman… making a pay-what-you-want Choose-Your-Own-Adventure game. Companies… recognizing that gay and lesbian gamers exist? Including playable female characters that are more than just a consumable object or a reward for the player? If it weren’t for the disgusting treatment of women in gaming culture, it’d be almost comedic. 

But in a sense, it is the end of the world for the traditional Gamer. It’s increasingly impossible to change the topic. The attempts to “debunk” the Tropes Vs. Women videos by trying to nitpick them to death rather than address the content and pretend that the hate for Quinn is about “ethics in gaming journalism” are such obvious deflections and derailments that nobody takes them seriously. Instead, the message that’s being spread is about the way that gamers treat women – stories about the harassment problems in gaming culture have started reaching past gaming media and into other genre outlets such as Badass Digest and BoingBoing and even mainstream media including The Daily Beast, The Globe and Mail. Meanwhile, more and more high-profile names – both inside the gaming industry and out – have been speaking out in support of these world-destroying SJWs; among the luminaries, we’ve seen Doublefine’s Tim Schafer, authors William Gibson and Cory Doctorow and directors Joss Whedon and Rian Johnson. It gets harder and harder to pretend you’re winning the war for hearts and minds when more and more companies and names are choosing to speak out in support.

And the sad thing is: nobody’s trying to destroy games. Hell, nobody’s even trying to get rid of games where you do horrible things to female characters. As many people – including Anita Sarkeesian – have said over and over again: there’s nothing inherently wrong with liking troublesome or problematic entertainment. The problem is when that’s all there is. When it’s so prevalent and automatic that games that don’t include gratuitous sexual exploitation or fridging female characters for teh dramaz aren’t just novel but newsworthy. When nobody stops to even think about what, exactly, they’re saying. This is literally Sarkeesian’s message with the Tropes Vs Women videos – examine what you’re doing, expand your horizons. All any of these so-called SJWs are doing is making gaming more representative of its audience.

But Gamers can’t stand to see themselves not be catered to any more. They need to bring that conditioned response back. And they’ve chosen to do so by throwing a tantrum and lashing out at those women who’re supposedly about to emasculate them in an attempt to silence them and drive them away. Like I said: it’d be almost funny if it hadn’t led to women being forced to flee their homes and angry Internet mobs trying to destroy people’s lives.

The fact that we’ve reached an extinction burst is actually a positive place for gaming culture. It means that we’ve been changing for the better, that those old conditioned responses to the stereotypical gamer are going away and allowing gaming to advance. However, it also means that it’s more important than ever to reign in the misogynists and haters. It’s time to shut them down, to not let them gain traction. It’s time to squeeze out the hatred and to stand up in support of those bringing gaming into its new age.

And then, perhaps gamers can finally grow up.

  • I hope your right Doc. We've have some terrible moments against women in the geek community, but I think this one has been the single worst yet. I've spent the whole week watching in horror when every time I thought the community had hit a new low, they would then make me cry by sinking even lower.

    • Personally I want more female involvement in gaming culture and in the process of game development. The way male and female brains work are different after all, so if more women joined the developer and gaming pool we'd get to see new game styles, new strategies, and better versions of old ones!

      Diversity will make games way more interesting and hopefully put Call of Duty to bed forever…

  • I like hardcore games & support social progress. How do I reconcile these seemingly opposite viewpoints?

    • Mel_

      Recognize that they aren't actually opposite? It's totally possible to enjoy a certain type of game (I'm not sure exactly how you would define hardcore–requiring a lot of dedication of time and focus? Particularly difficult gameplay?) and at the same time be totally okay with other people enjoying other types of games, rather than feeling threatened by that. Game companies aren't going to stop making games that there's a market for–they're just going to make a wider variety of games as they recognize that there's a wider variety of players in the market now. Why would you need all or even most games to cater to your personal taste?

      • Yeah, no kidding. Then why are "hardcore gamers", a hypothetical bunch that you admit no one really knows what it means, being branded as the big bad here? Why is this even a thing at all? "Hardcore" is not a statement about social values, but rather about gameplay.
        Are we just looking for scapegoats over the actions of some raging imbeciles? When it isn't 4chan, it's "hardcore gamers".

        • Actually, it's both a gameplay style and a statement of social values, which is why you feel the conflict you originally posted about. The most powerful thing you can do is help us separate the two. Show the world that you are someone who plays in a hardcore way, but who doesn't subscribe to the shitty values and behavior that assholes self-identify as "hardcore." Those people would like to claim that only the hardcore play style is legitimate, and that it must necessarily be associated with their worldview. Don't let them get away with that lie. That's how you can not just reconcile the conflict you see, but actively make the world of games better at the same time.

          • "Hardcore" is strictly about gameplay. It is perfectly reasonable to have a socially progressive hardcore game. That's all I can say here.

            Note my use of the word "seemingly". Which means I don't really think they are at odds, I just think it's being portrayed that way in articles such as this.

            I don't subscribe to shitty values and I don't behave like an asshole. Never harassed anyone in my life. Why would you assume I am? Why do I need to excuse myself at all?

          • I don't assume you are one of those people, and I don't assume you are an asshole. But the reality is that a particular subset of misogynistic, racist, homophobic gaming assholes claim "hardcore" as their banner, and pretending they don't is a bit foolish. The fact that you are hardcore from a gameplay point of view, and you are not like them, is exactly how we show the world that they are telling lies about what hardcore means.

            Basically, hardcore is a term that is contested. It is not so obvious that it is strictly about gameplay, because a lot of people use it to mean something different. You don't need to excuse yourself for using the word, but if you aren't fighting those guys for it, then they're going to be defining what it means and how you appear to others when you use it.

          • Why don't we test that theory by making more hardcore games that are also socially progressive then? Hardcore games don't belong to abrasive people with backwards political viewpoints. This is actually the first time I'm hearing that "hardcore gamer" can be a political label. I wish the articles being written these days would reflect that it really isn't and doesn't have to be.

          • eselle28

            I agree that it doesn't have to be that way. I disagree about whether it currently is that way.

            I've seen "hardcore" used in the way that kleenestar describes, as an identity group and often as an excuse that masks bias and elitism and harassment under a banner of simply wanting challenging gameplay. "We don't allow women in our guild because we're hardcore raiders and personal relationships between members might be a distraction." "Ugh, these SJWs are ruining gaming. If they have it their way, everything is going to turn into The Sims and there will be nothing left for hardcore gamers." "People need to stop whining about harassment in online gaming. It's mostly a bunch of people who suck and who can't handle it when they run into hardcore gamers." I get that you don't want to be identified with those people, but they are identifying themselves with you.

          • The very short version of why hardcore games that are also socially progressive have trouble getting made is because abrasive people with backwards political views have successfully branded themselves as the face of hardcore gaming, whether you have personally encountered it or not. Even though many gaming companies don't specifically aim themselves at that demographic, the fact that this group claims "hardcore" for themselves shifts the kinds of conversations that happen when creative and financial decisions get made. I've been in the room for some of them; friends of mine have been in the room for many others. This is why we need you to help drive a wedge between hardcore and horrible!

          • To clarify further: when I say it's both a gameplay style and a statement of social values, I mean that those are two separate things that sometimes get conflated. They don't have to be, and in fact I think they shouldn't be – because whether you mean "hardcore" as a genre of games or "hardcore" as a description of someone's play patterns, those things don't deserve to be lumped with the people who claim "hardcore" as a social identity that justifies horrifying attitudes and behavior.

          • rebootI730

            I think I understand what you are saying now. You do not like hardcore gamer getting conflated with problematic behavior because you are a hardcore gamer that does not have problematic views or behaviors. Totally understandable (and a feeling I had to deal with for a few weeks as an American in Kurdistan).

            I handle it by acknowledging that although I do not have the problematic beliefs and behaviors, plenty of people in the group I identify with do have those beliefs and behaviors and I can not expect people to automatically class me as something different. I need to demonstrate through my words and actions that I am different.

          • Well, not really. I'd prefer not to slap a label on myself. I like skill-based gameplay traditionally associated with "hardcore games", sure, but it's not all I like. Storytelling and atmosphere are very important, as are characters. I'll play anything good.
            Thing is I feel like "hardcore game" could mean different things to different people, and many people use it in the literal sense rather than to denote a gamer identity of sorts.

          • eris523

            "I'd prefer not to slap a label on myself."

            Sounds lovely. Also, not having others slap labels on me, that sounds lovely, too. Barring that, not having others slap labels on me because of my gender sounds pretty fantastic. At least putting an end to others slapping labels on me that both directly contribute harassment in themselves and encourage others to join in with the harassment, that would be great. But being primarily concerned with what I call myself, rather than what others call me, that would be an absolute treat.

            You don't like having your preferred gameplay style be confused with other uses of a word that can also indicate "acts like a jerk to others" — yet here, you're the one conflating those meanings to generate a sense of personal affront, an idea that you're being called a jerk when you're on the side of goodness! against those being jerks to others. Why? What is the point here? DNL's piece opens with the info that a woman has been "driven from her home by death threats", and you're objecting to the use of a label you might choose to use for yourself, IF you wanted to "slap a label on [your]self" — which you don't — "being branded as the big bad".

            That label is the self-identifier of a lot of the people who are participating in driving Zoe Quinn out of her career and Anita Sarkeesian out of their homes. If you don't even use it yourself, why are you taking personally the use of it to identify the bad actors by their own term, or arguing for the term's reclamation? And why is the disgruntlement you feel over DNL using it to tie vicious actions to the actors worthy of becoming the topic of the largest single discussion on this piece so far?

          • I never said I'm on the side of goodness. I just talked about how I engage with games.
            I wasn't aware that Zoe & Anita's harassers identified themselves as hardcore gamers.

          • Well, now you know! And more than that: they receive aid and comfort from a lot of non-harassers who identify as hardcore gamers. Speaking personally I think it's the latter group that really poisons the well and makes it hard to dismiss the haters as a fringe element.

          • Interesting idea. I shall sleep on that.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          OK, yeah, #NotAllHardcoreGamers. We get it. The thing is #YesAllWomenInGaming. You want to reconcile it, don't just fail to harass women, stand for them to the guys in your community who do.

          • Please don't patronize me.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I'm not patronizing you. I'm challenging you. Some people out there who consider themselves hardcore gamers are using it as a rallying standard for this sort of harassment. If you're member of the greater Hardcore Gamer Community (by whatever definition you want to use), inaction=surrender.

          • "don't just fail to harass women" felt pretty patronizing to me. Wouldn't all of this be hilarious if it turned out I was a woman

          • If you are a woman, then you're in an interesting situation. It makes it harder for you to speak up against the claiming of the term "hardcore" by bad actors, since they already think you don't count, but at the same time people will be less likely to assume that they speak for you.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            It would be but I feel like if you had a genuine point to make, you wouldn't be dangling it like some big mystery. You'd come out and say "no really, what can I do to help?" If that's what you are asking, than I sincerely apologize for any misinterpretation.

          • I've already said my piece. Why is everyone so confrontational?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Because every time there's an issues article like this we get a flood of trolls, people who derail the conversation, or make it all about them. You started with what might have been an honest question but your very first reply to it was to derail and make it all about you. So. . .yeah. . .

        • Mel_

          I find it hard to believe you want to discuss this topic in good faith rather than just vent, given that you started out by asking a question you obviously already knew the answer to rather than stating your actual concerns up front. But to give it one shot:

          "Hardcore games" and "hardcore gamers" are two different things. You asked about the former. The article mentions the latter.

          When the article mentions the latter, it uses quotation marks around "hardcore". I think this should make it obvious that the article isn't referring to all game enthusiasts who enjoy difficult/intense games but gamers who refer to themselves as "hardcore"–it's quoting their wording, not making a statement about a particular game preference.

          I'm sure not every gamer who refers to himself as being "hardcore" has an issue with casual games and gamers, or with women making suggestions about "hardcore" games. So yes, I agree that it would have been better if the article had said "some".

          Nonetheless, there are many gamers who call themselves "hardcore" as a statement of values. It's a statement that they are particularly devoted to gaming and will defend the importance of gaming as an activity. I'm surprised that you honestly have never seen someone talk this way, since I'm not much in the game scene and I have.

          It isn't just "raging imbeciles" who perpetuate these problems. There are many male gamers who may not go to as extreme lengths as threatening to come to someone's home address and assault them, but who do get defensive and insulting about women talking about and taking part in gaming culture. These guys are a big problem in themselves because they create an atmosphere where the ragers feel justified in going after women and can count on lots of people diverting attention from their horrible behavior afterward to instead discuss how annoying/wrong/awful the victims are.

          It's not about looking for scapegoats. It's about pointing out a very prevalent problem in the community, one that any gamer who wants the community to be a welcoming and progressive space should be trying to combat. Instead of, y'know, making snarky remarks on blog posts that are trying to address the issue.

          • I was, in good faith, making the implication that the article is putting hardcore gamers at odds with social progress. Please try to consider that this is how it comes across. Given that there's no consensus on what hardcore gamer even means, let alone "hardcore" gamer, you can see how this can feel like looking for scapegoats.

            Defending the importance of gaming doesn't mean you're against social progress, or women in gaming, or LGBT representation. Does it occur to you that LGBT people and women might be doing this too? Why is this a negative value?

            The article mentions CoD and GTA being popular with millions of "dudebros" – do you think those player bases are less sexist, misogynistic and homophobic than the "hardcore" gamers? Why is a small group of elitists worse than those guys? Also if hardcore gamers are such a tightly knit, exclusionary ingroup, how does their influence permeate the entire industry, including the myriad of games that aren't hardcore (like CoD, GTA, etc)?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I think your question answers itself. While I'm not going to play "who's worse", your small group of elitists, by definition of being elitist, actively wants to exclude others. In the case of gaming and the poo that gets flung online, its not about excluding them from your club in particular but from gaming as a whole.

            This is the same thing behind the "fake geek girl", the idea that since this (gamer, geek, whatever) is your identity, you're in a position to judge who else is allowed to apply the title to themselves and/or participate. The exclusion can be quite polite, when those being excluded aren't willing to try very hard to be included. When they are, though, the elitist finds himself progressively less able to take meaningful action. This leads to frustration as reality fails to conform to expectations, which leads to progressively more forceful efforts to make reality fit expectations. This isn't a gamer specific thing. Its a historic trend that gets repeated over and over. The more danger the elite are in of losing their special status, the harder (some of) them fight to keep it. You don't have to look too far to find the parallels in today's news, or yesterday's, or the 1960s. . .you'd like those comparisons even less than sticking to the facts at hand.

          • Mel_

            You didn't make an implication. You asked what seemed like an honest question about how to "reconcile" two different aspects of your interests, and then acted as if you'd caught me out in some kind of fallacy when I answered you as if it was an honest question. A good faith attempt to start the discussion would have been a comment more like, "I don't think it's fair to suggest all hardcore gamers feel/behave this way" or similar.

            You do realize that I'm not the person who wrote the article, right? I haven't made any statements about "hardcore" gamers and their position on social progress myself. I haven't said that being a "hardcore" gamer is a negative thing. I simply disagreed with your statement that hardcore gaming isn't a statement of values at all. You seemed to be implying that identifying oneself as a "hardcore" gamer couldn't possibly be linked to one's feelings about women in games since the label has nothing to do with values, but obviously if people call themselves "hardcore" as meaning invested in defending the importance of gaming, and some of those people also see women as a threat to what's important to them about gaming, then their seeing themselves as "hardcore" is directly relevant to how they react to those women.

            I find it interesting that even though in my comment, which you are replying to, I quite clearly referred to the problem as being about "many male gamers" (note the absence of the word "hardcore") who behave in certain ways and create a problem in the community, you are continuing to harp on this terminology issue rather than engaging in the larger topic. Because hearing the word "hardcore" apparently misused in the article is a much bigger problem to you than the fact that most women interested in games find the community to be generally hostile to them? Your priorities are not making a very good case for you truly caring about "social progress".

          • I know you didn't write the article, but you replied to me, so here we are.

            People who like this medium will defend it. This isn't necessarily a statement of how "hardcore" one is, nor is it comparable to one's views on social matters.

            So you're saying that if I don't necessarily agree with the assertion put forth by the article, that "hardcore" gamers are to be blamed, then I don't truly care about social progress?

          • Mel_

            No, I'm saying that if you continue to go on and on to me about whether one term that the article uses a grand total of twice is accurate even after I have agreed with you that the article should have worded it better, while ignoring any other issue I've been talking about like, y'know, how many gamers (of whatever sort) are actually behaving badly, that doesn't make you appear to care very much about social progress. Why are you so much more concerned about the use of this term than about the harassment and hostility that's going on (which is what the article is primarily about), to the point that you refuse to move on from the subject of the term "hardcore" no matter what I say?

            Again, I agreed with you that the article shouldn't have implied all gamers who call themselves "hardcore" are the problem. I agree. I said so a few comments back. Which only makes it even more ridiculous that you're continuing to focus your conversation with me on the term as if I've defended that element of the article.

          • I continued to talk about it because you continued to question my intentions and asked why I focused on that term to begin with. What exactly are we arguing about?

          • Mel_

            I don't know. You keep replying to me as if you're arguing with me, but the things you're saying have very little to do with what I'm saying (for example, looking back through my comments, I don't appear to have ever asked you why you focused on this term).

            I agree with you that not all gamers who call themselves "hardcore" are part of this problem, and that there are gamers who wouldn't call themselves "hardcore" who are a part of it. Is there anything else related to the article that you wanted to discuss?

          • Here are some things that one can do to defend the importance of gaming:
            – Talk to people you know about what gaming has meant to you
            – Harass and threaten women who criticize games you like
            – Support the development of innovative new games on Kickstarter or Patreon
            – Write smart, thoughtful essays about games
            – Insist that women be held to an arbitrary standard of behavior to be considered "real gamers"
            – Help someone who isn't a gamer enjoy their very first game
            – Explain that if women just behaved better they wouldn't have to worry about being targeted

            Some of these things mean you're against social progress. Some of them don't. I suggest you not assume that "defending the importance of gaming" means to others what it means to you. "Defending the importance of gaming" is exactly what the harassers and their allies think they're doing.

      • Conreezy

        I wonder if the need/desire to have games marketed towards “hardcore gamers” is a response to the loss of having a sort of privileged position within gaming from it’s increased popularity. Maybe they feel they’re losing the only little bit of credit they had for being among the first to do something that was once maligned but it is now cool.

        I don’t know. I’m sleepy.

        • I don't have a privileged position. You are just assuming I am a white straight male.
          I just like playing hard games. Is this really so problematic?

          • eselle28

            No, not at all. But I also sometimes question why there's a need for people to turn that preference into an identity group. I sometimes also think that the label is a bit of a misnomer. Most people I know who identify as "hardcore gamers" mean that they like difficult games that are shooters or RPGs – they're not necessarily interested in playing an adventure game with extremely difficult puzzles.

          • I guess some people turn it into an identity when it becomes their primary hobby.

            I think the easiest way to explain it is that for a hardcore gamer, gameplay is more important than anything else. So they will usually pursue games where gameplay receives the main focus. Adventure games are not necessarily excluded, though ones with "extremely difficult puzzles" are not that common.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            The thing is, "hardcore gamer" has more than one definition. For you its about setting it to Hell mode to maximize the challenge. For a member of EvE Online's Goonswarm (possibly the hardest of this type of hardcore) it means running three accounts at once so you can gather resources with one while adventuring with the other (this is legal in EvE) and training a Death Star (Titan) pilot on the third. It means setting your alarm for 3AM so you can get up to participate in a multi-day assault to take a system that starts the moment system downtime ends because that is the point of maximum vulnerability. It might even mean making propaganda posters and behavior that would be considered harassment in most games because the easiest way to win a PVP war is not to destroy the other guy but to suck the fun out of the war until he quits participating. This is also legal within certain very broad parameters.

            All of this is to say nothing of the dude who sank $50,000 into buying game money (this is also legal in EvE) because that's just what he spends on a new hobby when he takes it up. Or the one who spent several years working his way up in a player run bank's ranks so that one day he could take everything for himself.

            These are people for whom a particular game is their primary source of identity. It is their social life. It consumes more time than what they do to pay the bills. They're hardcore not in terms of challenge (although a battle involving several thousand people on both sides and half a million dollars equivalent of game resources is clearly a huge challenge) but in terms of the amount of time, money and effort put into the game. They're also the kind who are likely to be loudly opposed to anyone they see as attacking their lifestyle.

          • There's a very good ethnographic study of "hardcore"-ness in the fighting game community I could try to dig up for you, if you were curious. There are highly trained, skilled people who are trying to understand the different and overlapping meanings of the term!

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I know outside of gaming the common meaning is pretty much "the guy who's most willing to inconvenience himself in service of the cause". You got a Zelda t-shirt? That's cool. You got a Trifoce tattoo that covers your whole face? Dude, that is hardcore. . .and probably really really creepy. You got a Zelda tattoo that covers your whole face from the guy next to you while you were camped out in front of Gametsop to be the first in on launch day? That is insanely hardcore. You did all that then got a full sized Link tattoo down the back half of your body while playing the game straight through in one session on a Zelda branded controller while livestreaming the whole thing? You have just redefined hardcore.

          • I think Conreezy is talking about "hardcore gamers" the social category rather than "hardcore gamers" as a play style.

          • Conreezy

            Yes, that’s it exactly. Shouldn’t have used “privileged,” loaded as that word is.

          • Conreezy

            I means that those who identify as hardcore gamers tend to confer upon themselves a bit of an elite position in gaming because they’re hardcore. Privileged was a misleading word. My fault.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          I'm going to go a bit outside of hardcore gaming here and speak to video games, Pen and Paper RPG's and LARP. In pevious generations, these things were seen as geeky and not something the "cool kids" would do. So the image of the player of all of them is a guy who gets shit from his peers for being a nerd, who had no physical prowess and a vivid imagination. Having recently seen a group of LARPers standing next to a group of similarly themed festival goers, I would say this continues to be the case. There's a culture, an attitude, a way of carrying yourself that marks you as a dedicated member of the LARPer/Gamer/RPGer "tribes". Yes plenty of people on both sides break the mold but put two roups of 10 next to each other and I'll bet you most people could pick the group that goes to SDCC.

          Now the question is why? Why do these people in particular gravitate towards gaming? What do they get from it? The short answer is a sense of pride, skill and achievement. You might work at Wal-Mart but dammit, your character just stopped a nuclear missile. In gaming circles, these kind of people (the ones who are invested in keeping the "other" out) are the ones who brag about their character sheet. In video gaming, they're the ones hwo can win Super Mario Bros. in 3 minutes and race to be the first to beat Diablo on Hell mode.

          So far, all fine and good assuming that you can balance this with basic adult functions like paying the bills. But then something changes. Over years, suddenly everyone in America seems to have a console in their house. Its no longer the purview of the guys who exiled themselves from high school culture. Suddenly, their PVP competitors aren't just good, they're also rich (which matters in any PVP where you can get gold for cash), they're accepted by society at large etc. Basically they're all the people these guys went to gaming to avoid and htose people are now actively challenging their status within that community. Because, sure, being the Tremere Regent or leading a HALO squad might get you a girlfriend who plays games but not if that other guy leads a HALO squad and has the traditional markers of success that you don't (or so goes the thinking).

          So what do you do when the group that ruined mainstream culture for you comes knocking with their casual games and their feminist critique, trying to change the little patch of ground that you spent 20 years staking out? You fight back, of course. You say some variation of "you guys already have everything else. Why does gaming have to be yours, too?" They don't understand that it isn't just fun. Its a BIG DEAL. This is the gaer's life, is culture. If they want to fit in, they should show some damn respect and do it right, not just track their dirty boots all over the carpet until you and all of your friends get tired of the mess and leave.

          Its a completely understandable reaction, except for the fact that gaming isn't a (pardon the pun) zero sum game. There are an order of magnitude more designers than there are jobs for them. There are an unlimited number of slots in Google App Store, iTunes Store and the virtual shelves of Amazon. Candy Crush and Depression Quest exist along side of Call Of Duty, not in place of it. Note, I dropped PnP and LARP a while back because they're still not this socially acceptable. If they ever are, you can expect them to go through the same phases.

          I'll give them this, in a way it really is a cultural extinction. Twenty years from now, the game geek, if he exists at all, will be no more than a blip on most people's radar. Its going to be the guy who is judged for spending an arbitrary "too much time" on games instead of for playing them at all. The irony is that for most of my life, my friends and I all wanted people to appreciate all this cool geeky stuff that we were into. How many 30-something male geeks here have remember the time when you wished you could find a woman into the same things you were? Now that people do appreciate it, it seems like a small but vocal minority of the community is determined to run the "fake" geek and gamer girls right back out.

          • Yes! This is what I was trying to say below, but you said it better. (As you usually do.)

          • Gentleman Johnny,

            You made my day with the Masquerade reference.

            The 40 year old female Brujah Primogen

            (PS, my mother was the top DPS in my WOW guild for a long time. Go, Mom!)

          • BRUJAH 4 LYFE

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I used to play the ghoul bartender in my own game because I got tired of seeing an ST with a power character. My line was always "go ahead, kill the Ghoul! We'll make more!"

            That said, my dear, the Brujah may have the biggest guns but when the explosions stop and the dust settles, its the Ventrue who are still standing.

          • Conreezy

            Yes. It feels like an appropriation of culture instead of an acceptance of it.

            Personally, I went the other direction and completely abandoned the geek part of me to assimilate, chasing the “cool things.” (It’s still a factor in my decision making a lot of times. I won’t lie.)

            This would explain some of the response I get from the kids I try to help train in fencing at the local university.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I wonder if its assimilating, so much as meeting halfway. The culture you got made fun of for being part of as a kid is cool now. All it really takes to assimilate is to not violently push back. The world came to us, just like we always wanted.

            They're not knocking on the door to kick us out. They're knocking asking to come in as-is, then asking rather nicely if we could quit insulting them to their faces while they;re in the club house.

          • eselle28

            I can get that it feels like appropriation to a lot of geeky men. I'm again going to offer at least one geeky woman's perspective on this: I've always been here. I've been reading the same books and watching the same TV shows and playing the same games since I was a kid. Then, the games were mostly single-player, because I didn't have a "safe space." The girls I knew were mostly interested in other things, and I had to go along with their interests if I wanted to be included, and the geeky boys treated me as if I were invisible. Their frequently-thwarted romantic attention was pointed at other girls, their social attention was pointed at each other, and it was pretty clear that I wasn't welcome in their shared geekery. Of course, these boys were under no obligation to be my boyfriends or my friends, but it's not as if my exclusion from their community was because I didn't want to be a member of it. It was only later in life that there were enough cracks in the No Girlz Allowed barricade for me to find some community with people who shared my interests, and even then, it's come with the price tag of encountering harassment, nice guying, and sexism.

            Because of that experience, being treated like an interloper is doubly hurtful. It first of all excludes me from a culture I'm very much a member of, and secondly really hammers in that I was (and perhaps continue to be) invisible to a lot of the men in that culture.

          • This. I have no sympathy for geek guys pretending the culture belongs to them – because to the extent they are right, it's the marker of successful bullying on their part. I wouldn't be super proud of that if I were a geeky guy.

          • enail0_o

            Seconding this.

            I bought Star Trek books and trading cards at the same comic stores the boys did, I just got a message I wasn't supposed to be there from the stares and challenges and from the fact that the only other girls there were posters and figurines with contorted spines and skimpy clothes. I made my own D&D characters and sent them on adventures on my own, knowing I wasn't welcome in the geeky boys' games, or in the hobby at all from the detailed rules for D&D rape i found when I went looking for fan-made material.

          • rebootI730

            Fist bump.

            There was one other D&D girls in my neighborhood and since the boys were (frankly) such assholes to us we just played with each other. The clubhouse hostility started at about age 12 when any girl who liked comics, SciFi, games, etc was kicked out. Prior to that it was mixed gender.

          • eris523

            I wonder now where your experiences and mine fit into DNL's timeline. In first grade, I was accepted as R2D2 in our Star Wars games; that would have been late 1979 or so. In third grade, I was already getting the "girls don't like this" and "girls can't math" when a special program I took part in had the class play D&D; it was intensely frustrating to the male DM and the other male PC that he couldn't just fireball my thief to death and get on with the prepared content. We never got out of the first room of the cave; the DM called the game from sheer boredom with "I cast fireball at her" / "I tumble". That was probably early 1982, and there wasn't yet much of a clubhouse mentality, but there were definitely the first signs of "girls can't" for gendered reasons not yet based on our presupposed disinterest.

            I always assumed that the growing exclusion had to do with the aging of my peer group, from cliques based on interests as small children to cliques based on gender as pre- and post-pubescents. More specifically, it always had a touch of "I don't want to have sex with you, and the women I want to have sex with don't want to have sex with me, so all females are barred from the clubhouse" — but I wonder to what extent that was caused by the marketing shift, rather than a cause of it? Or, to be more formal, I might be post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc-ing, but I might not even have my hocs in the right order to begin with!

          • rebootI730

            Oh jeez, this would have been 1985ish and honestly I can not even remember any marketing campaigns so can not speak to that.

            Personally, I always felt that the nerdy boys did not want us around because: a) they did not want people thinking they were attracted to nerdy girls because it would kill their shots with the girls they wanted and/or b) before we got boobs and butts we were just one of the guys, but after puberty we became "other" and/or c) we tended to be the better players and, well, "beat by a girl" and whatnot

          • Gentleman Johnny

            And here I used to share my sci-fi books with the girls in my class and my first girlfriend was what would be called a fanfic writer today. I was doing teenager all wrong!

          • eris523

            *manaical laughter* AND THEY SAID I WAS WRONG! I'LL SHOW THEM ALL! SOON NO ONE WILL TEENAGER UNLESS THEY DO IT MY WAY! *manaical laughter, background explosions and tinkling of glass* Igor! Fetch a mop, you lazy thing!

            ^^ FTFY

          • enail0_o

            If no one ever had to teenager again, I think people between the ages of 13 and 19 would be a lot happier!

          • eselle28

            Indeed. Though I think I'd swap out 19 for 12 easily. We can do tradesies, right?

          • enail0_o

            Actually, if I get to choose what gets skipped, I'd go with middle school – 11, 12, 13. Those are the WORST.

          • eselle28

            Same, though if I only get 3 years, I'd do 10, 11, 12. Then 13, then 14. Life got better later in high school.

            I wouldn't be entirely surprised if the responses for this were gendered, though,both from personal experience and as the daughter of someone who teaches kids in the 11-13 range. Guys hit puberty a little bit later, so I wouldn't be surprised if their Peak Awful Experience years were slightly older.

          • slidebytheside

            I'd also dump 10-12 into the sea, though it was something of an interregnum for me, so I'm not entirely sure of what all I'd be tossing.

          • Conreezy

            19, 20, 21 for me.

          • CactusLiver47

            15-17. Worst years of my life.

          • TheWisp

            Heh, I always find it funny that middle school was actually probably the best years of my life in many ways (not that that is a high bar) given how vehemently most people feel when they look back on it.

          • rebootI730

            12-14 would be the years I would erase.

          • eselle28

            If you want another pinpoint on your timeline, I was in first grade in 1986ish, and it was never really okay for girls to be into nerdy things. It was fine to be excited about Return of the Jedi coming out, but my ewok village toy was considered kind of strange and my friend who read Star Wars novels didn't tell that to people. Gaming was similar. It was fine to be excited when your family got a Nintendo, but playing it a ton or being into games much beyond the usual Super Mario Bros. ones was considered odd. My Sim City obsession was definitely something I pursued alone.

            I'm not sure how much of this is timing related or how much it might reflect on my particular childhood peers, though.

          • Conreezy

            Sim City was not much cooler in 1994, trust me. Star Wars novels were also a down-low pasttime in 2001.

          • enail0_o

            To be fair, the guy geeks weren't intentionally ostracizing me – at my school at that age, it wasn't socially acceptable for anyone but the popular kids to have mixed gender social groups.

            Not convinced they would have been totally awesome and welcoming otherwise – when the school somehow "forgot" to put all of the top math students who were female into the gifted math class and then finally let us in a month late (only me and one other girl who had the highest marks in math, they still left out several girls who were as good at math as many of the boys who'd been allowed in 🙁 ), they weren't above using the fact that I'd missed learning the terms they were using (and the teacher couldn't be bothered to tell us about them) to try and prove they were better at math than me. But they were otherwise friendly enough, just distant.

          • eselle28

            Holy shit that's a screwed up move on your school's part, on a couple different levels.

          • enail0_o

            They never acknowledged anything gendered had happened there, it was just a funny coincidence that we girls were the ones who'd been forgotten. Ha ha ha. 😐

          • eselle28

            Also, what's up with that teacher? Both not noticing and asking about the class being all one gender, and then not helping afterwards?

            The administrative issue is the more serious one, but on a personal level, it's pretty easy for me to give him side eye.

          • enail0_o

            My theory in retrospect long after is that he enjoyed being a fun in-joke teacher of a special club, and that having people who weren't in on the joke enhanced that specialness for him.

            Regardless of the real reason, I really can't think of any explanation that results in him not deserving a giant side eye. The whole thing was weird, though, b/c I can't remember any other examples of serious sexism I experienced in that school, so it seems kind of out of nowhere. I didn't even really realize "hey, wait, that couldn't have just been random coincidence. NOT COOL!" until many years later.

          • eselle28

            Oh,ick. That's not someone who should be teaching.

            I don't think I've ever experienced anything like that. I had a middle school teacher and another administrator blow off my complaint that the dude behind me was putting his feet on my butt in middle school (said dude is now serving life in prison, good character judgment, school people), and I was in Catholic school until 6th grade and got lots of "girls can't be priests" stuff, but I don't recall ever being tracked. That's screwed up.

          • enail0_o

            The classes were single-semester enrichment, not part of a track. But most of the guys in that class just happened to decide to go to the math-and-science specialist school the next year. I just happened to decide I'd be miserable there. Funny, that.

          • eselle28

            My brief brush with DnD was reading about it and thinking it sounded pretty cool, figuring out who I knew who played it, and then sighing because those were the exact same guys who made gross comments about my breasts on the bus and who wondered aloud why I'd ended up in the advanced math class when I wasn't even interested in math or science. I didn't need any messages from the products themselves to know that I wasn't welcome in that world.

            Then, joy of joys, I discovered PC RPGs, where I didn't need to find a group of people who were all on the same page to play around in some of those worlds.

          • eris523


            When I was a kid and a teen, the term was "nerd" ("geek" hadn't caught on yet), and it was unequivocally pejorative. Other girls didn't want to be seen with me, because tolerating a nerd in their midst would bring down the tone of the whole group. Boys didn't want to be seen with me because — well, because when I first showed signs of nerdery, boys thought girls had cooties and vice versa. I have a scar on my chin from playing R2D2 in first grade because I refused to be Leia and wait to be rescued, but that's the last time I remember boys overcoming "cooties" to involve me in nerd-deer games until late high school. Later, they insisted to me that I didn't /really/ want to play their games but only thought I did (video games) or that there was "lots of math" I would find too hard (D&D). Sometimes they would just laugh and act like I was obviously joking, saying "everybody knows girls aren't into that stuff".

            I ended up hiding in the stacks at the school library, reading all the female SF/F authors I could find and reassuring mysef that I wasn't ACTUALLY the only nerd-girl on he planet. That's where I met my best friend in those days. She was into Pern and Elfquest, which I thought were kind of simplistic and reductive, and not into Ea and Star Trek and Doctor Who, which she thought were confusing and scattered. Still, we kept each other from disappearing completely. We even moved into the lunchroom for lunches together, instead of hiding in the stacks together. It was glorious until the day I brought my Doctor Who RPG to lunch so we could make characters, and some guys grabbed our character sheets and ripped up them and the sourcebook. Then we went back to the stacks, choosing safety of our stuff while pursing our interests over being in a public space with them and being bullied.

            But yeah, guys are the ones alienated/ostracized/isolated because of geekery. By female geeks. Pull the other one, it's got Bells of Bullshit Detection on.

          • Gentleman Johnny
          • eris523


          • eselle28

            Ah, yes, hiding in the library. I think a lot of female geeks – especially ones who were teens before geeky things became more mainstream – end up spending a lot of time reading. All the worldbuilding, none of the opportunities for people to be assholes to you.

    • rebootI730

      With your words and your purchasing power. If you play a game that has iffy content that you do not like, let the developers know directly or in a review that you would like to see something different. Buy more products that are not problematic and ask developers for more of the same. If you see problematic behavior in gaming communities you participate in, address them some techniques:

    • thathat

      I suppose by making it a point to call out bad behavior in your circles when you see it. Like, if a messageboard or group of gamers you're a part of starts referring to Quinn or Sarkeesian with gendered insults or painting up Sarkeesian's videos as horrible injustices upon gamers (note: she's said plenty of stuff I don't agree with, and I'm still kinda side-eying her for that "fair use" fanart incident, but there's disagreeing and criticism, and then there's just hyperbolic backlash and dismissing of ALL criticisms because you can find a problem with one), you could speak up in defense, or at the very least change the subject.

      You might be doing that already. Groovy. No one is attacking you personally. But the backlash is coming largely from a particular group (although it may not be a large portion of that particular group, which is a discussion for another time).

      • No matter how large a proportion of the group it is, that behavior does come from people who claim to speak for the group. So if you're a hardcore gamer who doesn't share their attitudes, don't let them speak for you.

  • embertine


    (Quite smug I recognised Roberta Williams' name. DUUUUUN DUN DUN DUN DUUUUUN *beepbeep* *beepbeep*)

    • fakely_mctest

      I was a Colonel's Bequest/Dagger of Amon Ra girl myself.

      I would play the HECK out of a new Laura Bow mystery/reboot.

    • PlasticFruit

      YES! Although that pic was enough to give me horrible flashbacks of falling down those stupid stairs because I accidentally pressed down too long without pressing left.

      • embertine

        Oh, so many memories of falling down the stupid mountain path once Manannan had gone away to WizardCon '83, or wherever the hell he went.

        • Dr_NerdLove

          Getting that teleport map was a damned GODSEND.

          • embertine


  • I'd like to think that if Gabe Newell, the Lord and Master of Gaming, were to speak out publicly against the online abuse of Anita and Zoe, that angry nerd boys worldwide would suddenly change their tune, eager to please and agree with their Savior.

    I'd LIKE to think that, anyway… Wouldn't happen, but it's nice to dream ^^

    • Dallan Invictus

      Eh, you're right it won't happen. Any such figures who dare speak against this bullshit are just tagged White Knights who've been Corrupted By The Fempire and should be shunned. (cf. Tim Schafer's place on this list:

      • TheWisp

        The funny thing is I doubt any of these people will actually boycott these developers for any length of time.

        • I would not buy anything by Phil Fish. He is a real self entitled prick.

        • B.C.

          Well I find most of the content in the so-called hardcore games pretty distasteful, so I don’t buy them. More of a CRPG and strategy fan than ARPG or FPS. So that part of the boycott is already in effect for me. OTOH, I’m not going to boycott an entire publisher’s line-up just because some of their games are misogynist crap.

      • rebootI730

        The white knight thing is the equivalent of being called a "$insert ethnic or religious slur lover" and always the first tool used to shut down in-group objectors to bigotry, prejudice, etc.. Once people labeled as such say, "Yeah, so what?" it loses its power.

      • I like to think "Fempire" is a vampire that feeds on femininity, leaving behind husks made of muscle and toxic masculine attitudes instead of bloodless corpses.

        That has no bearing whatsoever on this discussion.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Wait, who is this Gabe Newell? Is there another hive-mind out there? We must assimilate it! One of us! One of us!

    • That would be akin to Obama saying that the Tea Party is right and him saying he'd spend the rest of his term destroying the social safety net.

      Anita and Zoe are horrible people and need to be exposed

      • People like Harris and his ilk are no better than Fox News spiking and refusing to cover ANY story that makes their conservative allies look bad or exposes how they are engaging in illegal activities.

        • lol agh yes. Because not talking about topics that don't actually affect a somewhat narrow niche – that of men trying to date women and/or become the kind of person women want to date – is totally the same as a national news corporation – who by definition should be talking about a wide range of subjects – not talking about you know… news.
          Yes, I totally understand how this is a website full of ilk and cultists now. You've blown my mind, Jesse Baker. You and you alone have exposed the truth of DNL's going about his business. </snark>

      • Gentleman Johnny

        Wait, I get it now! You're Zoe Quinn using sock puppets to drum up publicity! Well played, madame, well played.

  • People who say women in gaming is a new thing make me want to start punching. I started gaming in the 80s with Pac-Man and Centipede in the arcade. Went on to tabletop gaming, designed a card game at the start of the MtG craze, and 30 years later I'm still going strong. I was involved int he beta-testing of V:tM as a tabletop game. I play everything from Diablo III to Last of Us to FFXIV. How the hell do I *not* count as a gamer?

    • Yes! I remember my parents freaking out because they decided the Nintendo belonged in my younger brother's room, but they couldn't get me off of Zelda when it was time for him to go to bed!

    • When I was a kid, my parents got one of the first home systems, not Pong, but the Sears brand version of it.
      I played that thing to death.
      When family friends got an Atari and then a newer Atari, we 6 kids fought like crazy people to play, it came to blows more than once
      Then, when I was 19, I got a Nintendo system.. you know,, the first one.. 1988… My boyfriend, who became my husband, who became my ex-husband, wouldn't let me play. It was MY game, and he said girls didn't game.
      This garbage persisted with husband number two, who would only let me play one co-op game with him, and All I could do was fire the Mech's Guns in his Playstation game.
      He's an Ex too.
      My divorce gift to me? A Playstation 2.. and then, a desktop.
      Diablo, Diablo II, and even III, for PC, Steam games, Torchlight and Torchlight 2 were gifts from my son.. And then.. there is WoW.. I have 4 level 90s and am awaiting the expansion.
      How the heck do any of us not count as Gamers?
      I don't care if all you do is torture your friends for lives in Candy Crush, Or play PvZ.. I love that game, Angry Birds.. Anything.. You tell me you're a gamer, You're a gamer..
      Heck.. I believe that Fantasy Football, and Fantasy Baseball is just D&D for Jocks.. We can all be Gamers!!

      • What the ever-loving f**k?! They wouldn't let you game. Assholes of the highest magnitude–so glad to hear they are your exes SlightlyTwysted!

      • So….Horde, or Alliance?

        • embertine

          <can of worms>

  • #WOW #WOAH

    Most people would love gaming to grow its beard and diversify the genres represented. Highlighting the representation of Woman and depression is good and all but Anita Sarkeesian is a horrible person to represent feminist critique of games. Why should listen to a person who steals lets play footage and admits to not liking games? At that point how do you know they’re even playing the game they’re critiquing? Screw that?

    Zoe Quinn’s depression Quest? Why would I want to take a game highlighting depression seriously when she abused and gaslighted her boyfriend, marginalized the illnesses of his friends in favor of her own personal problems, tearing down a rival game jam for shits and giggles.

    I would love subjects like Women’s equality and Depression to be highlighted in gaming more, amongst many other progressive issues. Zoe Quinn and Anita are just toxic to that effort.

    By the way, Don’t even pretend Hardcore gamers are the types who play dudebro trash like GTA and gears of War. Those games that “don’t count” like Tetris, Myst, The Sims, Pokemon, Portal require more skill and offer more reward than the shit you’d like to believe “Hardcore gamers” enjoy. Just because they have casual appeal doesn’t get them disregarded.

    • Did you not read the Doc's last article involving Zoe Quinn? What's toxic to gaming is her boyfriend's post and the reaction it got. What she did or didn't do is irrelevant to gaming as a whole.

      • But you are also leaving out the fact that there are people that care more about the fact that she fucked up another person's project and tried to fuck up a charity. I would say that that is in a way relevant to gaming. Also the outcome of this is relevant to gaming, with Kotaku and Reddit deleting and hiding anything that has to mention the males involve with this.

        • eselle28

          She "fucked up" one of those things by choosing not to participate in it (the same thing a number of men involved in it decided to do) and the other by criticizing its model. That's not underhanded scheming. That's going about her business and stating her opinion.

          • username_6916

            She was spreading blatant untruths about The Fine Young Capitalists' campaign and she might have even gone so far as to doxx them.

          • eselle28

            What were the lies, and what was the actual case of the matter? My understanding is that she felt that they were offering participants a raw deal, which seems like a perfectly valid critique which people can accept or reject.

          • No, see, it was a perfectly valid critique made by a woman.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            So. . .the Damsel In Distress isn't an overused trope in gaming because. . .Anita Sarkeesian lied about a Kickstarter campaign?

          • eselle28

            So, I did my own research, and first of all, the Fine Young Capitalists say she wasn't involved in the doxxing or the taking down of the site.

            As for the "work for free" it is not a true statement about the winner of the contest, who will receive 8% of net profits in the event that the game actually is profitable. It is true for all of the entries that don't win, because they still end up being licensed to the contest promoters. Her statements about the site weren't perfect, but that doesn't sound like lying out of malice. It sounds like careless summarization.

            For whatever it's worth, I read their terms and conditions, and if I knew anyone planning to enter that contest I'd try very hard to talk them out of it, as it could easily stop someone from making their dream game.

          • rebootI730

            Now if only others would do their own research before jumping on a bandwagon.

          • username_6916

            If only Video Game Journalists would do that!

          • rebootI730

            Honestly her fact checking seemed no better or worse than your average small-time (and more than one big time) journalist/freelancer. Most of them kind of suck, or at least the ones I have been interviewed by and played source for.

            News is like sausage, you do not want to know what goes on behind the scenes. I have read quotes attributed to me by some well regarded journalists that made me go ????

          • Gentleman Johnny

            You mean like the ones reporting on this whole Zoe Quinn thing?

          • That article does not really put her in the best light especially with the laundry list of Twitter posts where she bashes them into oblivion. The article even says that it is basically a "We don’t want to have to deal with her or the crap we’ve been dragged into anymore”. The article that you posted also said "One individual decided to use a bit of vocal pull and propaganda within the gaming industry to have their campaign shutdown. They even show 2 links there as proof of it.

          • eselle28

            Oh, I'm not saying she's a nice person. It seems pretty clear that she's not. That being said, that's the Fine Young Capitalists' version of events. If even that doesn't hold her accountable for anything other than the tweets, I don't think we should be discussing the other accusations.

            As for the rest of it, I don't think it's morally condemnable. She felt the project was exploitative and criticized it. She's not their boss or the founder of IndieGoGo. She's in a lot of ways a peer. Are we morally obligated to remain silent about other people's business activities if we think they're wrong? (And if so, does that mean I can't criticize WalMart?)

            The doxxing and the takedown were wrong. If she'd encouraged those things or appeared to have done anything to egg them on, I'd blame her more in this particular incident. I'm not seeing that she's done that, however.

            (I'm sorry, but I can't read the link as I don't have a Flicker account. I'm assuming it's the same links I've seen screencapped elsewhere.)

          • Yeah it's the same link, and i can dig what your saying. 🙂

          • username_6916

            Wow, I just read that statement they made and that is classy. Fits their message too.

            I do believe this does make something of a double standard: If Zoe's ex is held responsible for a mob that he publicly decried, why isn't Zoe responsible for a mob when she has made no such statement? These are contradictory statements as far as I'm concerned. But, we already know that my answer is that the mob is responsible for their own behavior.

            You are incorrect in saying that the game ideas are licensed to the contest promoters. And even if they were, the creator retains all rights so they can go off and make a go at it themselves if they like. The pitches are placed under a creative-commons license. People can share them and look at them. But The Fine Young Capitalists don't retain any special rights or licensing and most certainly can't stop the creator from going off to another studio.

          • eselle28

            I, specifically, have repeatedly said that I'm judging Eron Gjoni for continuing to post after it was clear that his statements were resulting in harassment. It doesn't seem that Zoe Quinn made these statements on any kind of a continual basis, period. Given that we talked about this extensively, I would ask that you not hold me to other people's statements.

            This is their Google Doc:

            This is at the end of it:

            Intellectual Property

            All material in the Proposal is hereby licensed to TFYC for all use in respect of administering the competition/contest.

            All material in the Proposal is licensed to TFYC on a worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free basis subject to any reservations of rights specified herein.

            Any licences or assignments of rights in any intellectual property derived from materials Participant submits, or intellectual property in derivative works, other than intellectual property in the underlying works, are not subject to any reservations in Participant's favour.

            All intellectual property in derivative works of submitted material is and shall upon creation by TFYC be the property of TFYC.

            TFYC reserves all legal rights to the title and use of any knowledge gained from administering the contest, in whatever form, that is not explicitly codified and requiring a licence in a manner specified herein.

            All artwork generated for the Runner Up Prizes shall be subject the licence to located at :… (the “Creative Commons Licence.”)
            All promotional materials specific to the Prizes shall, upon creation, be subject to the Creative Commons Licence. All promotional materials related to the Competition but not specific to the Prizes shall be the property of TFYC.

            Intellectual property in all aspects of software and associated documentation, in any form, including object code and user interface components and design, generated by TFYC, or on its behalf, from any material included in the Proposal, shall be the exclusive property of TFYC.

            I have no idea if they actually intend to derive material from the proposals submitted to them, but this gives them the right to and makes it clear that people submitting to the contest don't reserve rights in those derivative properties.

          • username_6916

            Most of that that's all pretty standard for any website that publishes any user content. You've got to give them a license for them to publish it.

            (The only worrying thing is this line: "All intellectual property in derivative works of submitted material is and shall upon creation by TFYC be the property of TFYC. "

            It raises some questions and that most certainly could be abused)(Withdrawn)

            Oh, they are just claiming derivative works of the stuff they create. Not all derivative works of the submitted material. So, yes, still on the up and up.

          • eselle28

            That is indeed the part that's worrying, and it would be the reason that I don't think this is a good project and certainly not one that people should donate money to. I don't know if they want to sift through people's submission, mine their ideas, and reserve the right to make their own creations (which would then make it difficult for contestants to make similar works using the same IP), but there's room for them to, and they have no track record of managing projects of this nature to provide that kind of assurance in lieu of contract provisions.

            When you combine that with the odds that an indie game costing roughly $50,000 to make will earn enough profits for an 8% royalty to amount to anything more than a token payment, I would say that they essentially are asking people to work for free. They may be doing so benevolently, but that's kind of the message.

            As I'm generally very skeptical of anyone who claims that working for someone else for free will actually advance your career, and tend to double that suspicion level for both people in creative fields and people who've gotten lots of social messages that their labor isn't valuable (women, young people), I basically have the same opinion about this project that Zoe Quinn does. But even if you don't, this isn't some big meanie trying to attack a charity. There's an objection here that's at least worth entertaining.

          • username_6916

            I think we both misread that clause. They are claiming the works they create, not other derivative works of the submitted material.

            I'm coming at this from the prospective that ideas and even pitches, in and of themselves, are comparatively worthless. There's no point in going to this much trouble to 'mine ideas' when you no doubt have hundreds of good ideas yourself. Even if you were to do that, you don't need anything in the contract to do that. You can't copyright ideas, just the expression of an idea. It's the implementation that's expensive, and where all the creativity and expression is.

            Yes, ventures always have risk. In this case, most of the upfront risk is being absorbed by backers. It could be a complete flop. Or not. But, it's disingenuous to say that a share of profit is the same thing as working free. That's part of the risk of running a venture as opposed to being an employee.

          • eselle28

            That is how I read that clause too, but the thing is, they might create their derivative work first and then copyright it. That could, in turn, make it very difficult for the contestant to work with the same IP – at the very least, they'd have to file off the numbers like E.L. James did, even though they were the ones who thought of it.

            We have a fundamental disagreement then. I've stumbled into some media law issues as a finance lawyer, and I've found that ideas are very valuable – it's just that it's very difficult to set up incentives to reward people who come up with ideas, so our current IP law (which I disapprove of) has a bunch of workarounds dealing with expression to try to set measurable standards for creative contributions. My interactions with businesspeople have also indicated that the idea person is a valuable member of the team who contributes real work to it. To the extent that idea-based contributions aren't protected by law, I think it's sensible for people to try to protect them and make sure they're rewarded in an ad hoc way, by advising people who make those contributions to choose their partners wisely.

            The person who submits the idea isn't running the venture, though. That's part of the problem.

          • username_6916

            That could, in turn, make it very difficult for the contestant to work with the same IP – at the very least, they'd have to file off the numbers like E.L. James did, even though they were the ones who thought of it.

            Eh? That's not really how licensing works. And, we've seen lots of cases where separate games have been made by separate studios under the same IP. Like that installment of the Half Life series made by Gearbox. Or the fact that Gearbox bought up the rights to Homeworld's artwork and IP and are apparently working on a remake and a more conventional 2d RTS game built around it.

            I come from a background of reading lots and lots of Richard Stallman. If anything, I'm seeing copyright and patent law as being far too restrictive and starting to support the European idea of the "Author's Natural Rights" over the advancement of the arts and sciences.

            Anyone can have an idea or concept like, "First Person Shooter, Ayn Rand, Underwater, Go!", but that's a long ways from Bioshock. There isn't a place for just an "Idea Person" at a studio because every dev, artist, producer, designer and composer has their own ideas which are just as good and come from the a prospective of someone who's already deeply involved in and has a deep understanding of the production process.

            And I would say that the winner is in fact running the venture.

          • thathat

            Nah, it's still kind of a dangerous thing. Because they're *claiming* it as their property. IIRC, TokyoPop had something similar. It meant that they OWNED your stuff, so if it didn't do well and you maybe wanted to take it elsewhere or develop it on your own and try again, too bad, it's theirs and they can just sit on it for however long they want to, just let it rot and gather dust. In general, I think you want to avoid doing the thing where a company pays you to own the idea you came up with independently. Of course, that depends a bit on whether games are more like comics or screenwriting, but it's still a bit…iffy?
            (For example, it looks like under that clause, if TFYC decides to make a sequel to the game, they don't actually have to let you have any creative input at all.)

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Remember Who Wants To Be A Superhero? Dark Horse flat out owned all rights to the characters that these people developed for the show, win or lose. One guy, who had a real life(ish) superhero persona had to come up with a whole new one for the show in order to be able to keep doing his original one after.

          • thathat

            Yeah. Or that Amazon bit where they'll e-publish approved fanfiction, pay the writers of it a pittance, AND then own every idea and original character that writer came up with in that fanfiction. So a ficcer could publish something with a really awesome villain or a fantastic story arc, the series could go, "oh, we like that," actually add the villain or reproduce the story arc, and pay the writer absolutely nothing than the smidgeon she got for the story itself. They wouldn't even have to credit her.

          • username_6916

            They aren't claiming your contribution as their property. So, by definition they don't own the entrant's stuff and there's no provision from taking what they walked in with and going off to another studio and trying to make it.

            And, all the rejected entries are in fact creative commons licensed.

          • thathat

            I'm not talking about the rejected submissions.

          • username_6916

            And even there, artists retain ownership of their work and the winner gets a license to all the artwork.

            I mean, it's essentially free-as-in-beer artwork for the game creator. The only strings attached is the creator doesn't get ownership of the artwork they are provided. They, of course, do get to keep their own contributions.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I'm going to divert for a second by using a more well known example – Aemrican Idol, arguably the founder of the genre. Win or lose, when you join American Idol you are signing them to an agent contract that takes a whopping 50% agency fee on everything you do musically for the next five years. No one goes in blind, they know what the deal is. For most people, who are not already small time professionals, the agency fee makes sense. Even losing 50% can be a winning move with sudden national exposure. On the other hand, singers that are on (pardon the pun) the edge of glory.might find this to be a losing proposition. That's cool, they don't have to sign up. They might find the pressures of the show too much or that the way they're being depicted doesn't fit their brand image. That's also cool and they can (and do) walk away mid-season. In this case, didn't several teams wind up walking out over the way things were going?

            I mean, really, what's your proposed alternative? 'Well, too bad, you signed the contract. We're just going to lock you in this dev studio until you give us a game." That doesn't sound like good TV, or particularly legal.

          • username_6916

            What does this have to do with The Fine Young Capitalists? I've read it multiple times and fail to see any relationship whatsoever.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Well, I was covering both Game Jam, which she got shit for leaving and TFYC but to clarify.

            Someone found the details of the contract unacceptable. That's fine. She proceeded to share why she felt that way, which is also fine. The contract is still right there for any other prospective participants to read and decide for themselves. At first reading, I still take it to mean that the show lays IP claim to everything produced on it, which would be a fairly normal thing to do on a show like Idol. I may be wrong but nobody asked me to participate so I'm not going to hire a lawyer to look it over. I know I personally would hand them back an amended copy on a take it or leave it basis.

            In the event of Game Jam, the whole thing fell apart after they got there. The producers were clearly willing to inaccurately portray the participants in a way that would hurt the image of the indie gaming community. Not only were they right to leave, if they had stayed, they would have been complicit in the kind of behavior that people are accusing Quinn of now (deception, hurting the image of the industry)

          • username_6916

            Honestly, I don't know enough about the game jam reality show to say either way. Nor have I brought it up as some charge against Quinn's character. They probably have a different agreement than The Fine Young Capitalists, who not claiming the contestant's contributions to the game in question.

        • eris523

          "she fucked up another person's project"
          "Anita Sarkeesian was driven from her home by death threats"

          Wow, yeah, I can totally see now how Sarkeesian is the "horrible person" in this story. Yup yup yup. Perspective is everything.

      • LordAzazel

        Zoe Quinn raped her boyfriend, and sexually harassed another guy at a wedding (Wolf Wozniak).

        Who debated whether or not it was worth ruining his career over, and made the courageous choice to step forward. He immediately regretted it of course, because no one likes a tattletale, male or female.

        What she did do ís very relevant, since it highlights how predators can keep getting away with this stuff. It's still the case that victims don't dare to come forward with accusations implicating people with power.
        I recognize that victims are most often women, but this shows that both genders would benefit from a change of culture.

        • For the five billionth time: her actions do NOT justify the threats and harassment she received. Period. End of f**king story.

          • LordAzazel

            BiSian, I'm sorry to say you're reading my comment wrong.

            I was responding to "What's toxic to gaming is her boyfriend's post and the reaction it got. What she did or didn't do is irrelevant to gaming as a whole.", with which I disagree.

            What she did do (raping her boyfriend and sexually harassing someone on a party, to repeat) ís relevant to the gaming industry, where even so-called indy developers still need to have connections, and don't want to be seen as "difficult" to work with so don't dare to speak up if someone better connected tries something funny.

            I never attempted to even remotely suggest that any of the threats ór harassment against her was justified. As I said before, and as I will say again, it wasn't justified and it's horrible that just because she's a woman cheating accusations are enough to unleash the internet hate machine.

            I just hate her /as a person/. Am I allowed to hate predators in their own right if on the other hand I feel for them that they get harassed for other issues?

          • Oh yeah, sorry about that. As you can probably guess, I've lost patience for the mouth-breathers who've been spouting their annoying bullsh*t recently.

            Also: raping her boyfriend? I do not want to start a discussion of what qualifies as rape–because that is the path of assholes and creeps–but this is the first I've heard of that accusation.

          • LordAzazel

            Yeah, sorry, I'm used to the forums, where you can quote what you're responding to. I'm also not used to people crazy enough to consider cheating enough grounds to post death threats against the cheater, so I'm therefore also not used at having to explain that I don't consider it enough ground, not by a long shot.

            But anyway, Gjoni only consented to unprotected sex (keyword: unprotected) on the condition that she hadn't slept with anyone else during their break. Which means Zoe obtained consent through fraudulent means.

            Not only have several states laws condemning rape-by-fraud, Zoe herself considers it rape too (well, as long as it's done to her).

            "We’d spend hours discussing anything and everything; though the conversations often turned to ethics, motivations, and stories of her past. Among the most commonly recurring were:
            4. Views on the ethics of infidelity. Which she maintained is inherently wrong even if the person who was cheated on never finds out, because (aside from willfully endangering their partner by way of increased STD risk) if the unfaithful party then has sex with their partner, they are doing so under false pretenses, and therefore without their partner’s consent. That is, sex with a partner who doesn’t know you’ve cheated on them is sex without consent."

            I have to admit I wouldn't have given a shit about her cheating if she had made her partners wear condoms.
            But now she exposed Gjoni to a danger to his health without his knowing consent? That's a whole other game.

          • FWIW, you've gotten me thinking hard about whether I think that lying to someone constitutes rape (as opposed to say, coercion or threats, which definitely do in my book). I've always assumed not, including in my own case. I have had two guys lie to me in order to get me to be various degrees of sexually or romantically involved with them, and I don't think that either of them raped me. So this isn't me applying a double standard – I'm just not comfortable creating a double standard in the other direction either.

            To be clear, I think it's extraordinarily shitty to lie to someone about the circumstances under which they are willing to have unprotected sex with you. It's profoundly unethical and it ought to be illegal. I'm just not sure that rape is the right way to think about it, because what distinguishes it from (say) the guy who lied to me about being single isn't the lie – it's the threat of bodily harm. I don't know if that makes sense.

          • rebootI730

            I have been thinking hard about this and I think it comes down to the feeling of the person who was lied to or coerced. If that person feels they were raped, they were raped.

            A counter example is having sex while blind drunk. I did it more than once in college and was drunk to the point of blackout once. However, it was not rape. I wanted to do it even though I technically could not consent.

          • Trixnix


            "and I think it comes down to the feeling of the person who was lied to or coerced. If that person feels they were raped, they were raped."

            With the utmost respect to anyone who has experienced rape and or other forms of forced sex, that cannot be the definition of how we look at this.

            Rape is a crime. You cannot have a situation where whether a crime took place or not is down to whatever the alleged victim feels happened. Of course one must take accusations and the feelings of the victim seriously. It's just not going to work to have the definition of a crime being "whatever the victim feels happened".

            As for sex whilst blind drunk…well, that's a tricky one. At what point did you consent? If you consented to get drunk and then be in a position where you knew you wouldn't be able to consent later on but you consenting in advance, I can see that technically being argued as "not rape". However, if you just got blind drunk and did not consent to sex and sex happened, I could see that being argued as "rape".

            I'm not sure what the law is in the USA but in my country (UK) alleging someone has committed rape is alleging someone has committed a criminal offence. Libel and slander are more difficult to prosecute in the USA compared to the UK but I'd just like to point out that accusations that someone committed a criminal offence are very serious indeed. That's a message to those accusing Zoe of rape not to you, rebootl730.

          • LordAzazel

            Kleenestar – about the word rape, I tried to start a facebook campaign once against a reality TV-program that depicted non-consensual sex (Wanted to have the rapist kicked out of the house, if not criminally persecuted and a letter of the TV program condeming his acts). It started a flamewar with people telling me I should've called it rape and I was a coward for using non-consensual sex as an euphemism, other people saying non-consensual sex and rape were synonyms anyway, and in the end the campaign died in flames without any good that was done. I really don't know which of the two to use anymore.

            Anyway, of course I recognize this is a very very very gray issue.

            But well, I also consider Julian Assange a rapist for willfully breaking his condom because he didn't want to have protective sex with someone, did agree to it, and then decided he didn't like it after all. I'd feel like a hypocrite not considering Zoe Quinn the same.

            And lastly, I'm afraid that this discussion whether or not she raped her boyfriend, obscures the fact she also sexually harassed another developer who got browbeated into silence soon because Zoe is too well connected.

          • Jess

            After further thought, here's what I've identified about the framework I use. Whether it's the right framework is something I'm still thinking about. FYI I am unlikely to make up my mind about it either way in the near future – these are complicated issues that I need to think about carefully.

            Under my current framework, lying to someone to get them to have sex with you is something like fraud (because of the lie).

            Lying to someone to get them to have sex with you, in a way that threatens their health or physical safety, is something in the zone of fraud (because of the lie) AND something in the zone of assault (because it risks their physical integrity).

            What makes those different from rape or sexual assault, to me, is that genuine consent was given but under false pretenses. This is different from when coerced consent is given, or no consent at all, or when the revocation of consent was ignored.

            Obviously there's no reason anyone else needs to care what framework I use. It's just helpful to have other people to think about this with, because I'm sure there are things I'm missing.

          • Trixnix


            But would lying not be seen as a form of coercion? ~It is, after all, attempting to get someone to do something against their own will. It's tricking someone into actions they may well not have taken had they been told the truth or not had their thoughts interferred with by lies etc.

            If I had a STD, I think I can be prosecuted in my country if I deliberately infect someone else I have sex with with that STD. If I lie about having that STD in order to get someone into bed, that results in a prosecution. So lying is seen as a form of coercion. Lying and fraud would get you sent to prison if convicted in many areas so one wonders why rape should not be included in those many areas. It is, after all, possible to inflict mental assault on someone as well as physical assault. What if the lying were part of a sustained campaign of assault which forced someone into a sexual act they didn't want to experience?

            It's a minefield. I haven't formed a complete position myself so I'm not arguing for one idea or framework over another. It's just very tricky and one of the main reasons why we fail here in the UK to get convictions in rape cases even when the evidence clearly points to criminal activity having taken place.

          • thathat

            I'm still trying to figure if either she or the guys involved ever confirmed that anything happened, or if the cheating is purely from what her ex has said.

            I do think in this case that rape is not the best word to use. Not because I'm disagreeing with your definition of rape, but because this whole mess is…well, it's just a freaking mess, and seeing any one thing clearly is hard. "Rape" conjures several specific images, and while rape-by-fraud could certainly be one of them, I think using the word right now, while everything is up-in-the-air just obscures things more (as in, you still had to explain not just what you were referring to, but why you were referring to it as such).

          • Trixnix


            "I also consider Julian Assange a rapist for willfully breaking his condom because he didn't want to have protective sex with someone, did agree to it, and then decided he didn't like it after all. I'd feel like a hypocrite not considering Zoe Quinn the same. "

            Again not sure what the laws are in the USA but Assange is yet to be tried on this in a court of law. You're considering him to have committed a criminal offence may be problematic legally.

            "And lastly, I'm afraid that this discussion whether or not she raped her boyfriend, obscures the fact she also sexually harassed another developer who got browbeated into silence soon because Zoe is too well connected."

            Whether she raped her boyfriend or not is not a side issue. It's an accusation of a criminal offence having taken place and is legally problematic.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Its a borderline issue but I think in principle most people agree that getting someone to consent by telling them something untrue, assuming they would not have consented if they had known the truth, is a horrible thing to do. The examples that spring to mind are "I can help your career" and "I got tested and it came back negative" but "I didn't have unprotected sex with anyone else while we were broken up" seems like a case of the latter. I'm not sure where I come down on this one either but whatever the official word is in your locality, I hope its at least enforced equally.

          • embertine

            While I would personally not classify that as rape (it is a violation, and a potentially unsafe one at that), I must reconcile that with the fact that Gjoni claims that it was Quinn herself who defined infidelity as rape.

            So, to paraphrase, what's sauce for the gander is also sauce for the goose (Subverting one of my favourite old-timey feminist expressions! Gasp gender traitor gasp!)

          • Mel_

            I think the fact that there's even a debate on this issue illustrates just how toxic the current situation is for everyone–men and women. When 99% of the accusations and vitriol aimed at women in the gaming industry is exaggerated, misconstrued, or outright false, then it's very hard for people to give proper attention to the 1% (or whatever) that is valid.

            I think it's wrong for a woman to lie and risk exposing her romantic partner to STDs (though I would debate whether this is an industry matter that warranted public disclosure across the entire internet vs. a personal matter that should have been dealt with privately between the two of them and perhaps the social circle in which they're actually present in real life–until such point as she was actually convicted of a crime, I suppose). I think it's wrong for a woman to sexually harass a man (which is an industry matter, because it's between colleagues). If Quinn did these things, then I would want her to be called out for them just like I'd want that to happen with a guy. But because of all of the bluster and hostility around her in general, 1) I don't feel I can trust accounts of what happened as easily as otherwise, and 2) I think it's easy to feel she's already faced far more backlash in general than would be reasonable for those wrong-doings. Even though she hasn't faced the "correct" sort of backlash for something like sexual harassment (which would be, I guess, being expected to admit it and make an apology for it, being banned from the event or situation where it happened, whatever the usual consequences of being a sexual harasser are), it's kind of hard to feel reasonable saying, "Hey, we really need to make sure she faces consequences for her actions!" when she's getting rape and death threats and so on simply as a consequences as having a voice in gaming while female.

            The men who see women as a threat to the gaming industry, and so work so hard to find the slightest reason to dismiss, insult, or attack these women, are not only creating an incredibly unpleasant and unsafe environment for the women, they're also creating an environment in which any actual threat an individual woman might present is going to be buried amid the garbage rather than being properly addressed. At least a few people who've commented here might want to spend some time considering that.

          • embertine

            I agree, and I don't believe for a second that the backlash Quinn is getting really has anything to do with her relationship drama. I think that she is being targeted for the dreadful crime of being female with an opinion on the internet, and daring to take a seat in the boys' clubhouse.

            Whether she is an abusive person, or rubbish at interpersonal relationships – even the breaches of ethics that are alleged to involve her work, has very little to do with how the baying internet mob have chosen to confront her.

          • "Whether she is an abusive person"

            She is. There's really no doubt on that front.

          • "(though I would debate whether this is an industry matter that warranted public disclosure across the entire internet vs. a personal matter that should have been dealt with privately between the two of them and perhaps the social circle in which they're actually present in real life–until such point as she was actually convicted of a crime, I suppose)"

            Have you read the guys account of their relationship? It's a pretty heartbreaking story of being the victum of a clearly abusive relationship. I don't think that anyone has any right to tell him that he's under any obligation to keep the matter private.

          • Mel_

            Have you read the quote of mine that you used above? I said I'd debate whether it was an industry matter that warranted public disclosure across the entire internet. I didn't say he had an obligation to keep quiet.

            LA was arguing that her treatment of her boyfriend and her sexual harassment were relevant to a discussion about the gaming industry. I'm saying I don't think anything legal that happens between two people (good or bad) within a private, non-business relationship has anything to do with the industry, or is something that the industry definitely needed to know to evaluate Quinn's position in that industry. It certainly would be relevant to her personal relationships, and I wouldn't debate whether it made sense for her ex to talk to the people they interact with socially about it (as I said in that quote). However, it appears that his goal was to inform the entire gaming community, as if they should decide not just how they interact with her personally but also professionally based on this information. And again, I didn't say it was definitely uncalled for, only that I think that point could be debated, unlike the harassment issue.

            I'm speaking from personal experience from the victim's side here, by the way. I was emotionally abused by an ex-boyfriend who's in the same creative industry as me. I don't think the fact that he treated me badly should be relevant to whether his books get published and read. His personal relationships have nothing to do with his ability (or not) to write a good story. If I knew someone was getting personally involved with him, I would mention it to them, because it would be relevant to that.

          • "And again, I didn't say it was definitely uncalled for, only that I think that point could be debated, unlike the harassment issue. "

            And again, I don't think that we need to debate whether a victim has an obligation to "keep it within their social circle" or not.

            "I'm speaking from personal experience from the victim's side here, by the way. I was emotionally abused by an ex-boyfriend who's in the same creative industry as me. I don't think the fact that he treated me badly should be relevant to whether his books get published and read."

            I respect that you did what was right for you. I think the same respect should be extended to Eron Gjoni.

          • Mel_

            JP, are you purposefully misreading me? Because I've said twice now that what I'd debate is whether the situation called for her being exposed to the entire industry, not whether he was obligated not to do it. The comment I was initially replying to, as I will now say for the second time, was about whether her behavior was relevant to her position in the industry, not about her ex's right to speak.

            There's a vast chasm between saying, "I don't think these people needed to know this information" and "I don't think he should have been allowed to share this information". I can respect his right to say whatever the heck he wants while still questioning whether the effect he appears to have intended from speaking up (harming her professional position in some way) is reasonable.

          • "I can respect [the victims'] right to say whatever the heck [the victim] wants while still questioning whether the effect [the victim] appears to have intended from speaking up (harming [the abuser's] professional position in some way) is reasonable."

            This is the message I'm getting from you. Am I misreading you?

          • Mel_

            Yes. Do you have a problem with it? I would point out that you have been perceived as harassing someone here in the past, before you decide that anyone who's ever been mistreated by someone is definitely always correct in seeking to damage the other person in any way possible. I believe in consequences fitting the crime, not full-out revenge tactics.

            Now, maybe the way she treated him is something that deserves the consequence of her being shunned from the entire game industry. I don't know the full story to know for sure. Which is why I haven't said that it isn't reasonable, only that I couldn't say whether or not it is reasonable from the relatively little I do know.

          • Jess

            Let's also remember the context here. Every industry woman I know has a list of "guys to avoid at GDC because they cannot be trusted" and "known workplace harassers and abusers who continue to get jobs." If male harassment and abuse of women IN THE WORKPLACE isn't seen as relevant to the industry, then I'm skeptical that suddenly it's relevant when it's a woman being accused of behaving badly in her private life.

          • "Yes. Do you have a problem with it?"

            Yes, it's a victim-blaming narrative.

            "I don't know the full story to know for sure."

            Which is why I started out by asking if you have read Gjoni's first hand account.

            Also, in the interests of not misreading you, I noticed that you say that Quinn "mistreated" him. To me, that would describe behavior that while bad, does not rise to the level where it would be considered abuse. Do we have a common understanding that he was in an abusive relationship with her?

          • Mel_

            I don't see how it's victim-blaming to say that a victim can be unreasonable. Being a victim of emotional abuse does not give you permission to do whatever you want to your abuser without impunity. Victim-blaming would be if I said that Gjoni deserved abuse, or provoked it, or something like that. I am not saying any of those things. I am saying that I do not think that being emotionally abused by someone automatically gives you the moral right to try to destroy their entire career. If saying that is victim blaming, then am I blaming myself for being emotionally abused by feeling it would be wrong for me to try to destroy my own ex's career? Because… I can assure you I don't blame myself, and that is totally unrelated to my feelings about whether that behavior would be reasonable.

            Is there anywhere that you would draw a line? Do you think it's automatically okay for someone who's been emotionally abused to physically attack their former partner? To destroy their property? If so, well, I'm sorry, we just have a fundamental disagreement about morality. If not, then I'm not sure why you think trying to damage someone's career is somehow a completely separate and always acceptable thing compared to trying to damage their body or their possessions.

            I am not interested in getting into a debate about the extent to which Quinn was emotionally abusive. Everything I've said applies to her having been so. I don't think one person's side of what happened can tell me "the full story" to the point that I could say, "Yes, this person deserved their career being destroyed". I don't feel comfortable reading Gjoni's account with an eye to judge whether her behavior was "bad enough"; that seems unfair to him. To be frank, I'd be pretty uncomfortable about making that statement definitively without having actually witnessed what went on. I'm sorry if my unwillingness to make sweeping judgements about a person's entire livelihood without a great deal more information strikes you as morally reprehensible.

          • "If saying that is victim blaming, then am I blaming myself for being emotionally abused by feeling it would be wrong for me to try to destroy my own ex's career?"

            As I said before, I trust you made the call that was right for your situation. If you had decided facilitate his destruction of his career, I would support that too.

            "If not, then I'm not sure why you think trying to damage someone's career is somehow a completely separate and always acceptable thing compared to trying to damage their body or their possessions. "

            Well, I've been unemployed for the better part of a decade, so I'm fairly familiar with what it's like to not have a career.

            " I don't feel comfortable reading Gjoni's account with an eye to judge whether her behavior was "bad enough"; that seems unfair to him."

            It's a hell of a lot more fair than not reading it at all.

    • thathat

      So…they deserved it?

    • SandwichSlut

      I don't know enough about Zoe Quinn to comment, but I will object to any statement about Anita being "toxic"

      I have seen time and time again, people call her "toxic" and "hateful" and "vitriolic"…and I have NEVER, not ONCE seen her display any of those qualities. I have only seen those qualities in the people who criticize her (to say nothing of those who harass her)

      She is not a horrible person. Her critiques are valid. I will investigate to the let's play thing when I get back from work, but I fail to see how that invalidates her arguments or their significance, or somehow justifies the treatment she has received.
      At this point, Anita is only "toxic" because she is so high-profile that now any time she creates new content her detractors create a tidal wave of objection, just because of who she is rather than anything she's actually said. And that's not her fault.

      • thathat

        I will say, I think she's done a few things that make me side-eye her (IIRC, there was an issue of her using uncredited fanart, which may've been a misunderstanding, but I remember not being thrilled with her response), and I wish there were MORE women doing what she's doing in the gaming industry so that she doesn't become the single golden idol to be toppled if she does something wrong, because OVERALL her message is really good and needs to be heard, and just because a person screws up in some ways doesn't mean they're not still saying something true and important.

        • username_6916

          And misrepresenting her background and biases in the matter. If I were to say that I grew up in the Outer Hebrides singing in Gaelic in the field of ethnomusicology when in fact I grew up in the United States cutting music class, that would be a major breech of academic ethics.

          Hence, the clip of her "Too many dicks on the dance floor" video where she talks about hating mainstream gaming is relevant.

          • Hi. I'm a professor at a major research university. Want to explain to me why I should consider your take on this as a breach of academic ethics seriously? Because to me it's a hilariously inappropriate approach, not even worth arguing with unless you have some relevant expertise.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            So. . .the Damsel in Distress isn't an overused trope in gaming because. . .Anita Sarkeesian hates mainstream gaming?

          • thathat

            "And misrepresenting her background and biases in the matter. "

            See, this is something I don't get. Even IF someone isn't a SRS Gamer, games are stories, and crappy tropes against women can be pointed out whether or not someone has a BFA in Video Games. She's not critiquing the gameplay or anything like that–she's specifically laying out the problematic treatment of women in the games themselves. The only way I can see it mattering whether or not someone likes or has a "good background" in video games is if the critique is specifically about a game's quality, which these aren't.

            The music comparison doesn't really seem relevant unless the argument is that growing up more involved in video games gives you a better insight and appreciation for those problematic elements which she's talking about. As in, the "well, it's part of video game culture" argument.

          • username_6916

            The thing is, Anita is claiming to be an insider when she isn't. She cites it as a claim to authority and as a claim to authenticity. This isn't to say that outsiders can't make criticisms of gaming. While Jack Thompson is wrong, hypocritical and harmful to the industry at least he's honest about his agenda and background. I'm not sure we can say the same about Sarkeesian.

            More broadly, I do have a problem with critiques that are not about the quality of the game, its story, setting or gameplay in general. I'm not sure I see a major difference between "…she's specifically laying out the problematic treatment of women in the games themselves" and someone condemning Bioshock because it reflects poorly on Libertarians, or House of Cards because all the bad guys are Democrats, or Traditionalist Conservatives critiquing Mass Effect and Dragon Age because your character can be gay.

          • SandwichSlut

            What on earth is wrong with critiquing and discussing a major form of media as a whole? People do it all the time, and it's kind of an important topic.

            Yeah, it would be silly to say "Bioshock is evidence that Libertarians are treated poorly in the media", because that's just one example, but Anita gives TONS of examples to support her argument.

          • username_6916

            The argument I see Anita making is that these games shouldn't exist. That we shouldn't remake old games because that would be re-visiting "this regressive crap, yet again". And, that's what I have a problem with.

            That said, you do have a point with regards to criticizing an entire media for it's blind spots. In politics we do it all the time. But, I'm not seeing the National Review saying that MSNBC shouldn't exist.

          • eselle28

            Can I say it? MSNBC is terrible and shouldn't exist. Neither should CNN or Fox News.

          • TheWisp

            And they won't in 30 years! (seriously, cable news just isn't relevant to the vast majority of people under 50 of any political stripe)

          • thathat

            I always get a chuckle when someone points out that Fox is the most watched cable news channel. Because yes. Yes it is. That doesn't really make it valid or good.

          • siobhan

            can you share a quote where she said these games should not exist? she has actually said that in fact it is very probable and common to enjoy a video game that has problematic content. her commentary also is not “throw the baby out with the bathwater” – just because she points out troubling tropes in a game does not mean the game has no countervailing positive attributes. she is not judging each game but rather the tropes that some games use.

          • SandwichSlut

            But…she's never said these games shouldn't exist. She's only ever said that there are elements in these games that are potentially harmful and we should rethink them before sticking those same elements in new games.

          • thathat

            Well, firstly, it's not like she or any feminist can wave a magic wand and make all games with problematic elements disappear or even stop being made. But when it's everywhere…ugh. I dunno, you just sound like the backlash against the Manara Spider-Woman cover last week, where people thought that critiquing it and pointing out the numerous and still very prevalent instances of sexualization of women in mainstream comics was saying that comics shouldn't be sexy and that those kind of comics shouldn't exist. Which it wasn't.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            You know she has a disclaimer at the very beginning of every episode about how its ok to like things with problematic elements and how her issue is with how prevalant these trends are, right?

          • Trixnix


            She has an opinion and has decided to do research on the subject and voice her opinion. Because a lot of hateful individuals feel threatened not only by opposite opinions to their own but by women voicing their opinions on anything at all, she's received some awful harassment instead of debate or discussion.

            The game where the objective was to punch Anita in the face springs to mind. It's not debate, it's not discussion, it's hatred and aggression sent towards someone because they don't share an opinion.

            I've "butted heads" on here with a lot of people. Count how many times I've harassed them enough to make them fear for their personal safety? See the difference? Normal people disagree. They don't harass because of disagreement.

            She has an opinion on games and the gaming industry. Since when did that threaten anything? Or are we really at the point where someone's opinion is seen as a threat that needs to be countered with aggression and fear?

          • eselle28

            Bioshock is one game, so there's not much to say for it being a trend.

            I think someone could do a critical analysis of Bioware games in general and their treatment of sexuality and sexual orientation and have it be interesting. The question of whether their inclusiveness is a bad thing would be a subject on which I and your proposed critic would disagree, but there's at least a trend there to analyze.

          • thathat

            "The thing is, Anita is claiming to be an insider when she isn't"

            Yes, you've said that. But it doesn't actually mean that when she says, "Hey, this thing is sexist" that it isn't actually sexist.

            Sarkeesian is pretty clear on her agenda–she is going to vehemently have a discussion about the treatment of female characters in video games. She's doing that right now. And a lot of the things she's saying about them are factually true, whatever her "background."

            And holy false equivalence, Batman. The difference is that this isn't a critique of a single game, or even a handful of games. It's a discussion of TRENDS in a particular form of media. If the majority of tv shows in the past twenty-odd years depicted Democrats as bad guys, then that would be something to have a conversation about.

          • I'll add that not being an "insider" makes her MORE academically credible – at least to people who actually understand scholarship – rather than less. Yes, Jenkins formalized the notion of the aca-fan, but even he only suggests that it's one legitimate mode of engagement with a medium, not that it's required in order to do good work. His opponents, on the other hand, credibly argue that an aca-fan's critical faculties are necessarily compromised. I tend to come down on the side of Jenkins that the aca-fan has something to offer, but that by no means delegitimizes other modes of game scholarship and criticism. Unless of course you're a self-absorbed moron whose highest cultural form is the metacritic review. Then I can see how you might believe that only "insiders" have the right to talk about games. (Though when you only insist on that standard for women? Then you're a much, much bigger part of the problem.)

          • username_6916

            The problem isn't that she is or is not an insider. It is that she claims to be an insider, cites that as authority when that seems to be untrue.

          • If she had lied about her qualifications or methods, that would be one thing. But what we're talking about here, as far as I can tell, is her failing to meet your particular definition of insider – one that is not only academically irrelevant, but one I'd be shocked if you apply to men who talk or write about games. Oh no, how inappropriate of her not to have consulted with you before daring to open her mouth.

          • username_6916

            Err.. What?

            She did lie about her methods and qualifications as far as I'm concerned. It doesn't seem like she's playing most of the games in question. It doesn't seem as if her assertion that she's qualified because she's been playing game since she's 8.

            If I were making such a video series, I would say that, yes, I'm not a huge gamer and that I hadn't even played Half-Life until 2014. Because that would honest and truthful.

            And, when did I say that I wouldn't have similar criticisms of men in the same situation? If, say Jack Thompson had were to an expose on violence in video games but prefaced with it with a short about he's always loved games I would be calling him on doing the exact same thing, since he would in fact be doing the exact thing.

          • Mel_

            Yet I notice you've completely ignored my comment where I pointed out that you have given no proof that she is lying about her methods, because using other people's footage is not a logical reason to assume that, and asked you if you can actually point to her claiming she's an "insider".

            Do you have any reason to think "it doesn't seem like" she's playing any of these games other than her use of footage? If not, then I think you're making an incredibly unfair and unsupported assumption. If you're so concerned about intellectual honesty, why is it okay for you to go around implying that she's lying about this without real proof?

            Did she say she's an "insider"? Did she claim that she's a "huge gamer" and has played Half-Life prior to 2014? If not, then you can't just decide that she's lying because in your mind no one should criticize video games unless they are/have things things. Do you have any proof that she hasn't been playing games since she's 8? Because "it doesn't seem" phrasing suggests that this is another assumption you're making based on a general feeling rather than actual evidence.

            The only things I see her saying in her original Kickstarter are that she "loves games" and she's a "gamer" (no qualifications of how big a gamer). Again, it doesn't make someone a liar just because they don't fit your personal idea about exactly how often and how many games they need to have played to say they love games or are a gamer. I have at times identified myself as a "gamer" and talked about enjoying games even though I've played very few since I was a teen. You don't get to decide that I or anyone else are "lying" just because you don't like how we define ourselves using a totally broad term that simply means "someone who plays games (at an undefined frequency and intensity)".

          • username_6916

            You have seen this clip, no?

            Talking about how she "loves video games" does sortof contradict this video where she says how she "hates video games", no?

            Given her some stated opposition to violent games in the Tropes Vs. Women in Video Games series (which, I'll freely admit I'm behind on and will be working through), I'm not sure how much has changed in the last two years.

          • Mel_

            No, I had not seen that clip, and I'll give you that it does make her sound as if she hasn't played games much in the past. I'll also note that it's a very brief clip with almost no context given, and that when she's saying "video games" she's clearly referring specifically to shoot-em-up type games. And she says she'd "love to play video games" and doesn't because of the content she finds "gross". So, um, I don't see how this discounts the possibility that she might have enjoyed lots of other sorts of video games but been pushed (by the very community who's now getting pissed off at her for not being enough of a "gamer") to see those as not-really-games because they're not "hardcore" enough or whatever, or that she could appreciate and enjoy things about video games after playing more of them and seeing there's more to even the shoot-em-up ones.

            Oh, and by the way, the video she's talking about having just made in the clip was released in March 2010. So this clip is from more than two years before she even started her Kickstarter campaign. Two years is plenty of time for her to have started looking at games more closely and to have adjusted her thinking/recognized that she still can consider games she likes "video games" even if they're not shoot-em-ups/whatever the case may be.

            When you say you're "behind on" her videos, have you watched any of them at all? Because she hasn't stated an opposition to violent games in the series. She's stated an opposition to sexualized violence–violence that's directed solely or primarily at women in a sexualized way. That's very different from disliking all violence in any game.

            Also, the guy who made the video you're using as evidence? Seems to totally believe that Anita is now playing the games she said she would, and shows several tweets in his videos of her talking about being in the midst of playing them. So he kind of disproves your other concern about whether she's lying about that.

            Anyway, you know what? I agree that it would be sketchy of her to pretend that she's enjoyed video games earlier in life if she's never been into any games at all. I don't think anyone's provided anywhere close to definitive proof that this is the case though. If that's the best evidence people who are searching through her tweets and FB posts and every bit of recorded footage of her available can find… then there obviously isn't much evidence to go by. And even if she has lied, I only think it's sketchy in terms of her personal honesty. I don't think it has any impact on the arguments she makes in her videos, which are backed up by tons of examples and research and so on. If people are able to provide their own research that no, women really aren't treated as objects/goals in games far more than they are characters with agency, that sexualized violence doesn't happen far more to female characters than men, that this sort of content doesn't have an impact on how people exposed to it think about women, then that would affect how I see her arguments. A fact is a fact even if the person saying it isn't a perfect human being.

          • username_6916

            Imagine if, say, a writer for the National Review went off and did a Kickstarter campaign to for videos to criticize the American left-wing. In the Kickstarter pitch, he or she states that he or she has always been a liberal and that they love the Democrats. Would it merely be sketchy in terms of her personal history? Or would it point to something deeper?

            Also, there are those who say that Anita had only once tweeted about games prior to this project. Someone who's interested in games and active on Twitter would have mentioned… something in that time period, no?

            It's hard to speak in terms of facts in this subject. Anita considers Dixie Kong to be Ditty, but female. I consider, based on the SNES Donkey Kong Country titles, Dixie to be a distinct character with her own unique abilities (flying across levels!) and quite capable of functioning without Ditty (remember, she and Kiddy Kong have to rescue Donkey Kong and Ditty Kong in the third game). Which one of us right here? How do we even define right? My parenthetical statements in this paragraph are facts. The rest is just opinion.

            I mean, how do we define violence as 'sexual'? Anita's own video shows two corpses in exactly the same pose (the section about Bioshock 2) and labels one as sexual. Anita's describes being able to beat the exotic dancers to death in Hitman as an example of explicitly sexual violence when the player can kill just about everyone in game and doesn't have to kill the dancers at all. To me at least, given this context, she's against graphic violence of any sort.

            (So far, I've seen the first, the last and the "Ms Male Character Videos". )

          • Wow, you are not convincing me that anything other than "this woman must meet my personal standards for being a gamer before she is allowed to speak" is going on here. I know many games scholars who don't use Twitter at all, just for example.

            How about let's apply these standards to you! You don't appear to be familiar with either current debates in games scholarship, and I imagine you don't have any hands-on experience with qualitative research methods. My gosh, you haven't even published a single work of games criticism in a respected journal! By your standards, that makes you an unethical liar every time you express an opinion about this issue, because you sure as hell aren't living up to my expectations. In fact you're far worse than you claim Sarkeesian is, because not only have you failed to do a single piece of original research or analysis, everyone reading this should remember that you've also at best dishonestly represented data (and at worst lied outright).

            Yes, I'm sure you'll find some reason why this standard applies to her and not to you. I'm sure you'll think it's an exceptionally clever and logical reason, but don't worry, the rest of us know what's really going on.

            Or you could just keep your ignorant mouth shut about academic ethics – since you know jack shit about either. That works for me too.

          • username_6916

            The difference is I don't claim to be something I'm not. That's the standard I'm applying here. Not anything else.

          • Well, if you're okay admitting that you're an ignorant blowhard who doesn't actually understand anything about games criticism and has a track record of interpreting data incorrectly, that's at least reasonable.

          • Mel_

            I don't know what the National Review is, so it's difficult for me to evaluate your comparison. (Sorry if this is something you think should be obvious, but I'm Canadian, so I think it's reasonable that I'm not completely up on US political forums.)

            I can say, though, that being an on-going writer for some sort of Republican forum, where the Republicans are in direct opposition with the Democrats, is a very different thing from having once made a flippant comment about a certain type of video games, and not having tweeted about video games. (Guess what–there are plenty of things I enjoy that I don't generally tweet about. Again, you and the people who point to "evidence" like this are creating artificial standards.)

            I would also say that it would be totally ridiculous for someone who's known to be a Republican to pretend to have always been a Democrat, because being a Republican shouldn't affect their ability to criticize Democrats anyway. Republicans criticize the American left-wing all the time and no one acts like they're not entitled to. Whereas I can think of some pretty good reasons why someone who has uncertain feelings about gaming might exaggerate her enthusiasm in order to be heard.

            I mean, really, what's more likely? A) Sarkeesian hates all video games and is making these videos as an attempt to destroy the medium, an attempt she regularly undermines within the videos themselves by emphasizing that enjoying even the games she finds most problematic isn't wrong and that what she wants is more games of different types being made, or B) Sarkeesian is an enthusiast of all types of media (TV, movies, books, etc.) with relatively little experience with video games since she was younger (unless you're going to claim she posed for that childhood photo knowing that decades later she was going to need it for proof?), who's noticed some troubling tropes in video games and wants to make people more aware of them, and who's also noticed that avid gamers tend to question the right of anyone else who isn't an avid gamer to talk about games, so she exaggerates her enthusiasm and amount of playing to try to avoid being shouted down before she's even had a chance to research and present her findings?

            It seems to me that B makes a heck of a lot more sense. Especially when, remember, before the attacks started, Sarkeesian had no way of knowing she would end up being this figurehead. She wasn't especially famous. She only asked for $6000 to make her series, which is tiny as Kickstarter goes, and it seems pretty clear she didn't expect enough support to make a lot more than that. Whatever diabolical plan you seem to think she's carrying out, she had no reason to think she'd be in a position to have all that much influence when she began.

            Anyway, you're welcome to argue against the points she's made. But you do know that there are tons of people who are clearly established as not just "gamers" but "avid gamers", who agree with most of her points and her general message even if a few of her many examples don't hold up, right? How do you reconcile that with the idea that she's so unfamiliar with games that she can't be talking accurately about them? If plenty of definitely "real" gamers agree with her, then clearly she's pointing out something beyond a personal delusion.

            (And BTW, maybe you're unfamiliar with how "supporting one's arguments" generally works, but when someone uses an example that isn't perfect–like the Hitman exotic dancers thing–it's generally because they were reaching a little too far to provide extra support for the point they say they're making–that there's a lot of sexualized violence in games–not because they're secretly trying to make some other point they're not talking about. I mean, really, what makes you think that Sarkeesian wouldn't say she thinks games are too violent in general if that's what she's really against? She hasn't struck me as someone who's beating around the bush about what things she takes issue with.)

          • username_6916

            Yes, the National Review is a right-leaning publication of United States politics. But, I'll credit you for knowing more about US politics than I know about Canadian politics.

            Yes, option B is probably an accurate summary of the situation. I still don't think it's right for her to "exaggerate her enthusiasm and amount of playing to try to avoid being shouted down before she's even had a chance to research and present her findings". A known untruth is still a known untruth, no matter how well intentioned it may be.

          • kath

            But your standards for "avid gamer" are completely arbitrary. Why do you get to say who is "avid" enough to speak? If she considers herself a gamer or enthusiastic about games by her own standards, she isn't lying.

          • username_6916

            My standards for "avid gamer" are completely irrelevant. Anita Sarkeesian's own words contradict themselves.

          • Mel_

            If you can agree that option B seems most realistic, then I'm not really sure what the problem is. I don't see how her having (possibly–this is still speculation, not fact) exaggerated her experience with video games makes her unqualified to study and talk about video games, nor do I see how it indicates any kind of malicious or destructive intent on her part, if her motive was simply to try to avoid being unfairly shouted down.

            You can be upset that she may not have been completely honest, sure, but if that is why she wasn't completely honest, it doesn't support what seem to be your primary concerns about her: that supposedly she's trying to completely eliminate certain types of games or highly censor games indiscriminately. So maybe you should… stop telling everyone she's trying to do those things, since there's no evidence to suggest that truly is her goal, and plenty of evidence that it's not?

          • thathat

            That seems a little sensationalized. I know people who freaking make comics who still "hate comics"–by which they mean they hate what tends to dominate the industry.

            I don't really see how negative it is that she says she had to learn a lot about video games to make the film series. Again, it just seems to mean that the culture is not something she was deeply invested in, but the tropes in it seemed to stand out, so she went and learned more about them to make the series.

          • Trixnix


            Do I need to justify my opinion by pointing out who I am or am not? Do you? Why does she have to have played the games she criticizes?

            You may disagree with her but she can have an opinion as much as the next person on pretty much anything without justifying to the rest of the world on what authority their opinion stands.

          • Trixnix


            It seems to me that the toxic people here are those who allegedly harassed Anita to the point where she felt the need to leave her home in fear of her life and or personal safety.

            She is a human being. It would make sense for her to have biases in her perspective. But that does not invalidate her research. Nor does what she chooses to tell people about her background/personal life. Unless it's directly relevant to the subject of the research, I don't think misrepresenting your background is much of a breach of ethics.

        • username_6916

          I might add one other thing: I'd much rather have another Danielle Burten Berry or Corrinne Yu than another Sarkeesian.

          • eselle28

            Why do women have to be designers and programmers to express opinions about games? Men aren't held to this standard, and there are women who are interested in and talented at making games who could use support.

            (Holy shit, I am going to kill my father, or at least never let him use my computer again.)

          • username_6916

            For the same reason you every right to tell me to shut up and go off and make the next Railroad Tycoon next time I complain about the lack of economic and logistics games on the market. Going out and producing games, even small indy titles, is far more productive than just complaining.

            (Have you considered switching to Linux?)

          • rebootI730

            As customers, though, everyone has a right through money and words to ask for the products they want in this current economic system. If there is a critical mass, some bright light will say, "Oh look! An underserved market!"

            On the economic and logistics front I would love to see one about managing a humanitarian crisis. I am not creative at all so could not do it myself, but I think it would be quite challenging and fun for people who are into those games.

          • username_6916

            I'm just not seeing myself as a consumer. Remember, the player always creates half the game-play experience, and often quite a bit more when you start looking at things like mods and open source. If I'm getting my operating system, my shell, my text editor, my window manager, my desktop environment and my web browser for free, it would be rather rude of me to pop up on LKML and demand that someone listen to my ideas and implement them for me.

            You're right that everyone has the right, through money and words, to ask for such changes. Just, where I'm from code speaks a lot louder than either words or money. If you want to have a major influence on the projects you care about, the best way is to become a contributor.

            Yes, most game development is quite a bit different. It's a tough nut for Open Source to crack and the way projects get made and maintained is quite a bit different. So, no, I don't want to consumers and players to STFU and leave game dev to the professionals. At the same time, I do have a genuine concern about ideologues pushing their agenda on uninterested game studios.

            This is an interesting conflict, it's a fair point and I'm not sure I've got a good answer to it.

            Oh, and your concept has merit…. Now, trying to figure out how to turn it into a workable set of gameplay is… well… Nontrivial. The fundamental issues that all RTS and economic sim games have is just how much work you should give the player. Too much, and all the player does is micromanage. Too little and the player feels that he or she has no control over what his or her minions are doing. As I understand the situations you describe, you'd be running into lots of 'ad-hock' movements, so a lot of the route-planning abstractions you see in games of this genera would take some adapting before they could be used. Don't get me wrong, it's a really cool setting for a game and I do think this gameplay design issue could be resolved. I really hope to see a game like that someday.

          • eris523

            rebootI730: "As customers, though, everyone has a right through money and words to ask for the products they want in this current economic system."

            username_6916: "If I'm getting my operating system, my shell, my text editor, my window manager, my desktop environment and my web browser for free it would be rather rude of me to pop up on LKML and demand that someone listen to my ideas and implement them for me. …You're right that everyone has the right, through money and words, to ask for such changes. Just, where I'm from code speaks a lot louder than either words or money. …I do have a genuine concern about ideologues pushing their agenda on uninterested game studios."

            This is a really bizarre conflation that reads to me like goalpost-shifting. You agree that people have the right to expect influence over what they spend money on. In its most passive form, this is just marketing: if I like the message being packaged with an item or service by its marketing, I'm likelier to spend money on it; this reinforces propagation of that message the next time someone wants my money. In its most active form, this would be backing something crowdfunded to give money to the message/idea before the product or service even exists, or boycotting something with a message one doesn't like.

            None of that is really comparable really with using FOSS without contribution and then pestering the mailing list for new features. (Incidentally, there are guidelines for suggesting new features to the LKML:

            But then you bring in the concept of "idealogues pushing their agenda", which is a really weird way to frame "people asking for features they want". If a gay person wanting same-sex romance options in SWTOR is an idealogue pushing an agenda by asking for the inclusion of something they would enjoy playing, how is that different from a hetero guy wanting romance options for the female companions? If the difference between valid "consumer" and pushy "idealogue" is whether what you want is already on the market, there'd be no point in innovation.

          • username_6916

            About the third point on that was "Learn Kernel Hacking". Just saying. The reason I bring this up is this is the environment I come from. I want to be a kernel hacker far more than I want to be a game dev.

            Not so much shifting the goalposts so much as not being sure where I stand at the moment.

            In short, how do we exclude the Jack Thompsons of the world while giving room to the folks around here who want a game where a princess player character gets to rescue the prince?

            One though is to say that it's okay to want something that isn't offered, but not okay to condemn certain story, world or gameplay elements in a game that you would have no interest in playing anyways. But, this has it's own issues too. It's entirely possible to not want to play a game due to it's setting.

            We could test based on the critic's motivations, but that's hard to pin down and easily disputed.

            Using your example, what if a traditionalist conservative group purposefully doesn't want same sex romance options in a game? Are they any different than the hypothetical gay player you mention as example? If so, how?

          • Mel_

            No one here has brought up Jack Thompson or needing to exclude him other than you. So it doesn't really make sense to ask someone else to justify your own position.

            I believe that anyone has a right to criticize any medium for whatever reasons they want. And then everyone else has a right to criticize that criticism, to decide how much they're swayed by it, etc. That's what freedom of speech means. Conservative groups have campaigned against same sex relationships in media, plenty, and we allow them to do so because it's their right to speak up for what they think is right. And those who disagree point out the problems with their arguments.

            I have no problem with people pointing out flaws in Sarkeesian's arguments or those of any other feminist critic. I have no problem with people disputing her conclusions using their own evidence. I do have a problem with people attempting to claim her arguments or conclusions are unimportant or invalid because of factors completely unrelated to those arguments or conclusions, like how much make-up or what sort of clothes she wears, whether she allows YouTube comments, where she got her game footage from, whether she has played games enough in her lifetime to meet one particular person's definition of being an "insider", etc.

          • eris523

            And the fourth point is, paraphrased, "If you can't do that, ask if someone who can wants to."

            It's easy to pretend that a given field is a meritocracy if you're not one of the ones being pushed out of access to the building tools. Until being female while coding isn't seen as justification for holding one's entire sexual past up to hostile public scrutiny according to a bizarre gender-based double standard, though, just as an example… It's kind of important to recognize that being allowed through all the waypoints on the road to contributing is not a prerequisite to voicing suggestions.

          • username_6916

            Access to the building tools is a [yum|apt-get|emerge] away. Literally.

            Moreover, my point isn't that people shouldn't voice suggestions, but that contributions are far more valuable than suggestions.

          • And yet I note you're still posting here. How about you go follow your own advice? Or is that only advice that applies to other people?

          • username_6916

            Because I'm a pathetic failure at life.

            I've got, or could learn, all of the technical skills needed to build a game. But, I lack the willpower make it happen. Heck, I can't even hold down a po-dunk web dev job.

            So, yes I hold that it would be far more productive for me to make a game about how "Vivian James goes to SIGGRAPH" than complain here or anywhere else. I also freely admit my imperfections and failures.

          • Guess what? Your failures are not my problem. Women who want to see themselves represented in games shouldn't have to be more capable than you.

          • embertine

            Wait, so only people who design and code games have the right to criticise them, except you personally on internet message boards, which is OK because you're a failure?

            If this was an IRL convo, I would ask you if you were aware of the words that are coming out of your mouth.

          • username_6916

            You have missed the point.

            My point isn't that people who haven't made games can't criticize games.

            My point is that the act of making games is far more productive at introducing new and interesting ideas into gaming than any amount of criticism.

          • embertine

            I didn't miss that point, but I'm not seeing the link between that and…. so Anita Sarkeesian should shut up, which is what you seem to be saying above?

          • username_6916

            Anita Sarkeesian's followers would have accomplished a lot more by funding a game, IMHO. That's all. No other link to Sarkeesian exists here at least as far as I'm arguing.

          • kath

            No, they wouldn't necessarily. What Anita is doing is opening up the discussion. Making a game doesn't directly point out problems in other games. Pointing out the problems does. It brings it top of mind, so that this sort of public debate can happen. That is valuable in and of itself, and is not particularly quantifiable in its impact, particularly not while it's happening. Anita's supporters chose to support her video series. They knew they were supporting that, and made the decision to support that, whether or not they also support the development of games. Your opinion about whtehr they could have made more impact some other way is irrelevant, self-aggrandizing, and unprovable.

          • Also, I think Sarkeesian's project has done a lot to get people making games. At least four of my game design students this semester, not all female, have mentioned her work as an inspiration.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            OK, so when Eris downloads her dev kit and writes a game where goths in gas masks save cosplayers from tear gas throwing misogynists and as a result starts getting 10,000 death threats a day and has her personal info posted online, will you still be supporting her valuable contribution to the gaming corpus?

          • username_6916

            Yup. And Zoe Quinn has every right to make a go at it with Depression Quest, too. In ideal world she wouldn't have received the online harassment that she did, either.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Nor criticism of the game itself? After all, most of those people never made a game either.

          • raindancing

            And this is the problem (well, one of them) with the "well, go build your own thing, then" response to criticism. It doesn't matter that the tools are easily accessible. If a woman makes something cool and puts it into the public eye, she puts herself in the public eye. And that can be a dangerous thing.

            You say that in an ideal world, Quinn wouldn't have been harassed. But nobody lives in your ideal world. We live in this one, where women in tech get harassed for saying that women shouldn't be harassed. In this world, access to the tools isn't the problem. The fact that women in tech are not able to peacefully go about their lives after they get any media attention is the problem.

          • Gentleman Johnny
          • embertine

            NGL, I would pay good money to play that game. Eris, the floor is yours.

          • eris523

            I will get started on that, right after I find a guy willing to take credit for it to shield me.

            (Not even exaggerating on either count.)

          • eris523

            Are you pretending that installing a few packages will prevent Zoe Quinn's fate from happening to the next female game developer?

            I don't think you understood what I meant about "pretending a given field is a meritocracy". In a meritocracy, access to the building tools would be a package install away. In real life, I can build all the beautiful things I want on my own time, but the minute I show up at the cathedral I'll be told it doesn't fit the brand, and if I take it to the bazaar, my booth will be knocked over, burned to the ground, and peed on. Whether this happens because of "boys will be boys" high spirits (not an excuse, and insulting to boys) or because of personally-targeted vitriol is difficult to predict, but there's a good chance it will switch at least in part on whether what I build caters to the audience-in-power as much as they're used to being catered to.

            In other words, if I don't fit the cathedral brand, I'll be turned away. If I don't fit the bazaar's brand — because don't make the mistake of continuing to think there's any significant difference between the two structures any more when it comes to gaming — I'll be raked over the coals for my sex life or driven from my home by death threats.

            Claiming I can participate in the greater work of building our community's projects because I can download a compiler is a bit like claiming I can be on Iron Chef if I buy an EZ-Bake oven.

            This is not true in other areas of FOSS, and I think I understand where your belief comes from if you're more into kernel development than game development. However, friends I've known for 20+ years who work in game dev are asking me to stay out of that field because they'd worry for my safety. The rules of the LKML don't apply in this case, and in a few other areas of software development.

          • thathat

            "Using your example, what if a traditionalist conservative group purposefully doesn't want same sex romance options in a game? Are they any different than the hypothetical gay player you mention as example? If so, how? "

            I'm gonna say that I'm really starting to hate this attempt at "flip the script" because it reads as the same sort of false logic that says that creationists should be give a platform in public schools and in science reports to also present their views–the idea that the views of the opposition are equally valid simply because they're in direct opposition.

            Your Jack Thompson example just doesn't work either. In his case, he was making a stupid, outrageous cause-and-effect claim that was pretty provably untrue. In Sarkeesian's case, she is literally stating facts about how women are used in games.

            "but not okay to condemn certain story, world or gameplay elements in a game that you would have no interest in playing anyways. "

            I think that's kinda bull. For three reasons:
            1) The "element" in question isn't some that's just in one game or a few games. It's a predominant element both in the gameplay and in the gamer culture itself. So again, this isn't about critiquing one single game, it's about critiquing the attitudes that create those games, that seem to be thoroughly rooted in as "part of the culture."

            2) The "element" in question is a pretty harmful, pervasive element in our media. It's not something passive, or something that effects only the sheer mechanics of gameplay. And again, merely calling it out is met with backlash because for many people, it's treated as an intrinsic part of gaming.

            3) The presence of that element makes the gaming culture hostile to women. Some women can shrug it off and play games anyway, but some women, who might otherwise have been more heavily involved in videogame culture, just don't feel like dealing with that for the sake of something that's supposed to be a hobby. It's the same in comics–I can look past Power Girl's boob window and enjoy a story, but some of my friends can't, or just don't feel like delving into a shared universe with a history of fridging and objectification, so they don't read superhero comics, even though they'd probably enjoy them and occasionally express interest.

          • username_6916

            Wait, doesn't this:

            Your Jack Thompson example just doesn't work either. In his case, he was making a stupid, outrageous cause-and-effect claim that was pretty provably untrue.

            Contradict this:

            The "element" in question is a pretty harmful, pervasive element in our media. It's not something passive, or something that effects only the sheer mechanics of gameplay.

            If we say that something is "harmful", doesn't that imply the same sort of cause-and-effect that Jack Thompson is infamous for?

            Beyond that, Sarkeesian does in fact make such claims.

            I'm gonna say that I'm really starting to hate this attempt at "flip the script" because it reads as the same sort of false logic that says that creationists should be give a platform in public schools and in science reports to also present their views–the idea that the views of the opposition are equally valid simply because they're in direct opposition.

            So, then, what is the difference between Sarkeesian lobbying for the removal of depictions of abused women as minor NPCs or lobbying against situations where a woman needs help or rescue in games, and the traditionalist right lobbying against the representation of homosexuality in games?

          • rebootI730

            I would say the difference is the conservative group is asking for the exclusion of a specific group based on inherent genetic characteristics. It is akin to asking to exclude characters based on race.

            Sarkeesian is asking for the inclusion of a different set of behaviors and plots for a group as an option rather than being restricted to stereotypical roles. There is no exclusion. If you actually watched the videos you would know she does not want to get rid of anything. She just wants an expansion beyond the existing depictions.

            Oh, and next time you cite something she says, do it from her actual video. For someone who cares about source integrity so much, referencing second party quotes is sloppy as hell.

          • thathat

            "If we say that something is "harmful", doesn't that imply the same sort of cause-and-effect that Jack Thompson is infamous for? "

            So what you're saying is that gamer culture doesn't have a problem with women and frequently respond to women in their space with sexual threats, and that media in general doesn't do its best to depict women as sexual objects for men to enjoy.

            We're not talking about a violent game making a kid shoot a gun (which has generally been disproven). We're talking about casual AND overt sexism in the media contributing to sexist attitudes in people (which has been proven.)

            "So, then, what is the difference between Sarkeesian lobbying for the removal of depictions of abused women as minor NPCs or lobbying against situations where a woman needs help or rescue in games, and the traditionalist right lobbying against the representation of homosexuality in games? "


            I'm gonna go lie down.

            I mean, if you *genuinely* believe that those two things are equivalent and this isn't just a cute thought exercise for you, then this conversation clearly can't go anywhere because I'm at the point where I just don't know how to converse with you, and I'm a little scared by the implications.

            I will say, though that the basic difference is that those groups tend to be genuinely *lobbying*–as in trying to get political action or actively trying to censor things, whereas Sarkeesian's critiques tend to be more pointing out problematic elements and trying to get companies to move past them for better, more inclusive gameplay.

            Actually, wait, there's the short answer. One of those things is something to increase a game's inclusiveness, to generally make more people feel welcome and to treat people who are not Straight White Dude with a little more respect, and the other is the opposite of that.

          • username_6916

            So what you're saying is that gamer culture doesn't have a problem with women and frequently respond to women in their space with sexual threats, and that media in general doesn't do its best to depict women as sexual objects for men to enjoy.

            So, you're saying the videogames made them do it?

            You say it's been 'proven', but I haven't seen any evidence to that effect that is any stronger than what people point to when they say they have proven that 'games cause violence'. To say that Anita Sarkeesian is receiving harassment because there are representations of women in games that Anita Sarkeesian doesn't approve of is a major leap of logic in my view.

            Even if we accept as fact "the presence of these characters in video games causes real life sexism", we can't necessarily draw that conclusion. It's quite possible to harass people like Sarkeesian without being sexist, and it's also quite possible to be sexist without harassing people like Sarkeesian.

            I will say, though that the basic difference is that those groups tend to be genuinely *lobbying*–as in trying to get political action or actively trying to censor things, whereas Sarkeesian's critiques tend to be more pointing out problematic elements and trying to get companies to move past them for better, more inclusive gameplay.

            To start, they are 'lobbying' in the same way Sarkeesian and her supporters are lobbying: Getting media personalities that agree with them to voice this disapproval of the presence of this element in a game, and sometimes writing and protesting directly to publishers trying to get the plug pulled.

            Moreover, choosing to include a prominent gay character is excluding traditionalist-Christian players just as much as excluding that character is excluding gay and bisexual players. Every game excludes someone based on it's content. I'm sure there are some Russians who haven't forgiven the west for stealing Tetris. Not everyone is going to feel welcome with every title, and that's a good thing. Being non-offensive is a sure way to kill the medium entirely.

            If we take games as a whole rather than look at any particular title, your point becomes a whole lot stronger. I completely agree that we should see greater diversity in the titles that get published to appeal to a broader audience.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            You know, let's play with this. Who do you think would get more doxxing, rape and death threats: Anita Sarkeesian or some guy doing a web series on how the Gay Agenda (TM) is taking over the otherwise completely wholesome industry of video gaming?

          • username_6916

            I'm not sure why that would matter.

            The SJWs are quite capable of bullying, threats and doxxing too. I'm really not sure who would get more.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            If you're not sure why it matters, you've clearly never woken up to an inbox full of death threats. Its a pretty strong disincentive to participation. Now your average KKK racist is going to get insults and threats of violence (although probably not rape) for doing some big publicity push about how gaming gives African Americans too much good treatment. A woman in gaming will get a similar response, not for pushing a "female superiority" agenda but for the sin of asking that women more often be portrayed as something other than eye candy or victims. If those two "agendas" seem equally deserving of a hateful response to you, we're done here. I got nothing for you. Head back to camp.

            And yes, I think the straw KKK member has every right to make a case for the type of games he wants. He can make an FPS called Race War if he wants to. I'm a firm believer that the cultural backlash will keep him out of any major distribution channels. His agenda will directly interfere with the quality of the game because his goal is the message, not gameplay. What the straw woman in this example is asking, what Anita Sarkeesian is asking if you actually listen to her, is that women be made to feel like human beings in gaming without sacrificing gameplay. What I'm saying is that they (everyone in this example) should be allowed to try without fearing for their lives.

          • username_6916

            Wondering rather or not Sarkeesian is receiving more death threats than you are is cold comfort if you are our hypothetical Klansman. Or the very real and not at all hypothetical Brad Wardell, for that matter.

            I do think you are steel-manning Sarkeesian's argument, particularly with regards to the latest video. Assassin's Creed II had a number of women where not nameless victims. As did Dead Red Redemption. If this was about, "make roles other than victims or background", both of those games already pass that test.

            She's pretty explicit: Game devs are not supposed to use abuse or violence against women as part of the setting of their games unless they are making a critical look at the issue. "It's not enough to portray abuse as abusive and exploitation as exploitative", I believe are her words. She goes further with an argument that such portrayals normalize such violence and thus hurt real-life women.

            That's quite a bit further than "asking that women more often be portrayed as something other than eye candy or victims.".

            Now, I have mixed feelings about someone making their own game with an agenda. I do think it's possible to make a decant game with an agenda. I also think there should be a place in the gaming world for that, although introducing that into your game does open you up to criticism of the very kind you mention. It's possible to go over the line and be overwrought and preachy.

            What I object to is criticism aimed at forcing others to adopt your agenda. "You're contributing to the abuse of rel-life women" has all problems that we associate with people saying "you're contributing to incidents of real-life violence"

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Point taken. You really can't see the difference.

          • username_6916

            Yes, I find our hypothetical Klansman's politics to be more objectionable than Anita's. But, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. You don't get a pass on bullying and other bad behavior because you're fighting for 'Social Justice'(tm).

          • Mel_

            "At the same time, I do have a genuine concern about ideologues pushing their agenda on uninterested game studios."

            Why? What bad outcome do you see resulting from this?

            If the game studios are uninterested, then they simply will ignore the "ideologues" and continue making whatever games they want. I'm not sure how it hurts anyone for people to be able to talk about their concerns. The game makers still have full freedom to decide whether to take those concerns into consideration when designing their games.

            I'm not aware of any time in history when a person or group pushing for a particular "agenda" in an art form was able to completely and irrevocably alter that art form conforming to their desires. People have been arguing for better and broader representations of women, people of color, and other groups in movies, TV, books, etc. for decades and there are still tons of problematic depictions put out there every year. To imagine that feminist game critics are going to somehow prevent any particular type of game from ever being made strikes me as both paranoid and willfully ignoring a ton of evidence of how much influence any sort of activism has on a commercial medium.

            You're fighting a battle that doesn't exist.

          • username_6916

            Until an organized group lobbys the publisher to pull the plug.And, yes, there have been times when " a person or group pushing for a particular "agenda" in an art form was able to completely and irrevocably alter that art form conforming to their desires" Don't pretend that this sort of thing hasn't happened. Game publishers don't have the same tolerance of controversy that television producers and print publishers have, in large part because we are still a young media that has twinges of being a child's toy all around it. Much as comic books were in the 1950's.

          • Mel_

            In your first instance, the publisher still made the final decision on that matter. It's not as if they had to bow to that lobby group. It's not as if there aren't tons of other games featuring violent scenarios still getting made. That isn't an example of the entire medium being changed.

            Edit: I assumed the video was about the game Bully, based on the video's comments, but I see that game, despite lobbying, was actually published. So what game are you talking about? The video doesn't seem to be about a publisher pulling the plug, it's about how to stand up to game criticism, and if you want to make a point with it I'd appreciate you saying which part is relevant (and perhaps what time in the video it's at) rather than expecting people to watch the whole thing guessing at what you were referring to.

            In the second instance, you might have to look up the definition of "irrevocably". It means "unchangeable." Yes, apparently that guy's book made a major change in the comic book industry… that lasted how long? "The new code not only banned violent images, but entire words and concepts (e.g. "terror" and "zombies"), and dictated that criminals must always be punished." I'm pretty sure that there are about a gazillion comic books published since that time that contain violent images and the words/concepts of "terror" and "zombies".

            So, I'm not pretending that no one has been able to completely and irrevocably change the approach of an entire medium. You haven't offered any evidence that anyone has.

          • username_6916

            Wait, where did you see Six Days in Faluja released? Wikipedia says it was unreleased. I've never seen it offered.

            The Comics Code Authority has in some form been followed by major comics publishers from 1954 to the 2000's, although it is fair to say that the code itself. While what was actually prohibited by the code changed over that time period, I'd say that 50 years is a pretty darn long change that has had lasting, perhaps even irrevocable effects.

          • thathat

            I still think comparing Sarkeesian with CCA is a bit too hyperbolic and, as is so very common in these cases, confuses criticism with censorship.

            We don't see a lot of Yellow Peril characters in comics these days. Not because they were censored out, but because after awhile, after criticism and a little more social awareness, that became an unacceptable way to portray Asians.

          • rebootI730

            You do not see many Mammys or Step in Fetchit either because over time it became unacceptable.

            In both cases it opened the door for deeper, richer characters because stereotypes are by their nature one dimensional.

          • eris523

            I think that's part of the source of the persistent conflation of criticism and censorship, though, right there. If fridging and maguffins and damsels and other unrealistic-but-utility-focused shorthand portrayals of women become widely seen as unacceptable, the people who benefit from the compression of female characters into utility objects to make more room for male character development are going to feel like the critics have "shut down" a part of {gaming | TV | movies | literature} that they enjoyed and had a right to.

            Exacerbating that fear, if female characters are actually given room to develop on one show or game or in a whole medium, that's going to highlight how unrealistic — and unsatisfying — all the fainting princesses and sprained ankles in the others really are. These tropes are objectionable mainly in their ubiquity, rather than the existence of any individual instance, but they're also made acceptable-seeming mainly by lack of anything for comparison — so, by that same ubiquity. Just as comics lost a comfortable, well-recognized shorthand for "villain" with the dwindling of the Yellow Peril trope, honest representation of real women in gaming threatens to rob it of the flattened, useful versions.

          • eris523

            It reminds me of an ex who used to sleep diagonally across the bed. There would barely be room for me to curl into a fetal position next to him. Even though I got a corner that went most of the way across the head of the bed, it wasn't wide enough at butt-level for my legs if I curled up, or long enough for me to leave my legs straight. All I could do was ball myself up, knees hanging off, on a diagonal slice about the size of an infant's crib, with as much going to waste on the other side.

            So naturally, I'd poke him and ask him to give me a little more room. He'd poke the mattress near his head, inches from his side of the bed, and huff that since he was practically on the edge, and my butt was right up against him, clearly I was the one hogging the bed — and then he'd push back so far my lower body fell off the bed completely. He'd be surrounded by acres of room, all of which he said was mine to use, and none of which was a shape I could sleep in without cutting myself in half or intruding on "his" space in the middle. A bed which should have had plenty of room for both of us was too small because he had to occupy the middle ground, and "sharing" with him meant taking what was left over.

            To people who are afraid that solid representation of women and minorities in media will evict them from the happy default, the exact center, of the narrative, "sharing" means occupying only the spaces left over, in whatever shapes we can contort into, because even leaving the middle empty means they're driven from their accustomed spot there.

          • thathat

            Oh my lord, that might actually the most perfect analogy for the backlash to feminist critique in geek entertainment I've ever seen. It deserves oodles of reblogs, not buried-in-comment-thread status.

          • SandwichSlut

            Can we screencap or quote this or something and put it on Tumblr?

          • rebootI730

            Seriously. I award the Best Analogy Ever to Eris523.

          • eris523

            Aw! 🙂

            Phone ate my reply last night, but yes, feel free to reuse at your discretion. Just do please scrub it of my name/icon first.

          • Mel_

            I think you missed my most recent edit. I was confused about what you were pointing at with the video. (However, my initial point that it was the game company's decision still stands.)

            I also note that thanks to your link, it's become clear that even the CCA did not change the approach of the entire medium. It simply (or as long as it did) changed the approach of the major publishers. People could still make comics that didn't follow those guidelines, it was just harder for them to get them distributed. So what actually changed was how easy it was to make money from certain types of comics, not whether people were allowed to make them. It's not as if it was illegal or something.

            Now, obviously it's a bad thing that this happened because of a guy who lied about his evidence. But that's the real problem–the lies, not that someone spoke up about what they saw as a troublesome issue with comics. Because, I hate to break this to you, but pretty much every decision that major publishers (and studios, and so on) makes about what games to support and release is based not on some pure artistic motive but on what they think will be profitable. We don't see all these games with damsels in distress and sexualized women because from some objective standpoint those things make games "better". We see them because the market that the publishers have tended to listen to the most are guys who enjoy those things. We see them because publishers are skittish about trying things they haven't seen make a lot of money before, and so they support fewer games that step outside the mold and tend to give less support comparatively to those they take on that do something different, and then use that as proof that those sorts of games "don't sell" so they shouldn't support them more in future.

            The games (and comics and movies and books and so on) that get made and released by mainstream producers will always be chosen based on what the producers believe will make them the most money. If they're convinced that sexy women sell, then they'll release lots of games with sexy women. If they're convinced that games featuring more diverse depictions of women will be more profitable (whether because they'll appeal to a broader audience and/or because they'll face less backlash), then they'll release games featuring more diverse depictions of women.

            Why is the former okay with you but not the latter? It's very convenient that you're fine with games that feature depictions that cater to your preferences, because those preferences happen to line up with the dominant assumptions about gamers and what is profitable, but not okay with changes happening in what games get released to suit anyone else's preferences. If enough people find some particular trope or element problematic enough that a game company decides it's more profitable to release something else instead, then that's just as fair as providing bouncing boobs for a segment of men to drool over instead of women with more realistic proportions, as they've done hundreds of times in the past. Different groups say what they want, and companies decide how much to listen to which ones. As I said above, that's how free speech works.

            I'll also point out that, as a creator myself, I find it almost insulting that you seem to assume that the only reason any game maker would change how s/he's making a game in response to criticism is because s/he wants to avoid getting more negative feedback. It is possible for a creator to hear criticism and realize that it's valid and decide to change their work because they want to make something they honestly believe will be better art. I, for example, have tried to be more conscious of how I depict certain types of characters in my books not because I feel pressured into doing so by activists but because hearing people talk about these issues has made me realize that my stories will be better for it. And I appreciate people talking about these issues so that I could take them into account. Taking into consideration voices other than one's own doesn't make a creator's work bad or lesser.

            It is also okay to change how art is made because you realize that certain approaches are harmful to people. Art doesn't exist in a vacuum. Society affects it and it affects society. There's a ton of data establishing this. If we find out that a certain type of portrayal or imagery or whatever appears to result in effects that the majority of people in our society don't want, then there's nothing wrong with fighting to reduce those portrayals or imagery or whatever. Anyone who disagrees is welcome to re-analyze the data or produce their own or argue their own position. Freedom! It isn't perfect, but this is how it works.

          • "I've got mine, screw you" is definitely the impression I'm getting here. Gah. Thanks for pulling it out so clearly, Mel.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Worth noting, its also far more common to respond to criticism with "yeah, that's really sad but I got my money, so I'm going to make what the customers pay me to make. Good luck with your little crusade."

          • Gentleman Johnny

            OK, let's talk about the Comics Code, then, which seems silly now and was based on hysteria and hype when it was established. No one stopped publishers from printing non-CCA compliant material, just like no one stops anyone from releasing a movie that doesn't have an MPAA rating. What stops it is pressure from the buyers: meaning consumers, but also distributors like news stands, comic shops, video stores and movie theaters. Specific distributors can and absolutely did carry material that did not meet CCA and/or MPAA standards. Everyone remember that back room in the video store or the comic rack in the back with the black over all of the cover except the title?

            Did the CCA affect comics in the long term. . .well, sort of. When Stan Lee felt the need to publish something that was not compliant but he felt was sufficiently important, he did it without the CCA seal and indirectly started the independent comics movement. Does the MPAA rating system affect the movie industry? Absolutely, and its one of the reasons that it is so controversial. You could probably say the same about video game audience appropriateness ratings.

            Here's the thing, few things in life are all good or all bad. These systems represent something that the public more or less wants. They're implemented the way market systems are implemented, with dollars. You don't have the CCA seal, you don't make sales. Like it or not, we as a society have agreed that this is a right and proper way to pursue your agenda. They may not serve your interests personally but they serve the interest of enough people to make them relevant (until they're not).

            Similarly, you don't like the affect that someone's commentary may have on the video game industry, too bad. You're not the only one with a vote. The answer to free speech that you don't like isn't suppressing it, its more speech.

          • rebootI730

            I can not code and am in a non tech field that I love and keeps me too busy to learn to code. I am also a crap writer and everything I do ends up sounding like a field report, so I can not make my own games. I can, however, critique what exists and request games and play options I would like to see and buy the ones that fit my interests best. Not everyone has the skill or talent to be a developer.

            A refugee camp logistics game would be highly unpredictable. You have weather, ad hoc militias, diseases, food shortages, and internal unrest. You would have to do the basic logistics and make the decisions whether to expand or send people to the next camp. It is kind of two-thirds logistics one third apocalypse. I would make the player macro level (e.g. finding the best place to but latrines rather than digging them). Your minions are a relatively small staff. You have no control over the people in the camp except through negotiations through a few key leaders that may or may not do what they agree to and may or may not get their people to agree.

          • username_6916

            "I am also a crap writer and everything I do ends up sounding like a field report, so I can not make my own games. "

            UFO: Alien Invasion (the Open Source XCOM clone) has pages and pages of lovingly detailed descriptions of weapons, items, ships, and so on that are just that. It's one of the things I prefer in that title over the modern, AAA publisher backed proprietary game.

            Lowering the scope to one refugee camp and the politics thereof makes this manageable. In some ways what you describe is similar to Tropico, but probably with a much deeper political structure and quite a bit less "El Presidente". In Tropico, you can't order people to take jobs or move any place in particular, but you can incentiveise them by altering the wages.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Which always amused me, because you got a rating for being a "Capitalist" based on building government owned rum distilleries and paying people to work in them. There's almost no private industry anywhere in Tropico. The government builds all the farms, mines and factories and pays people to work in them from the treasury.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            So. . .its not ok for women to comment on games that they don't like but its ok for (#notall) men to completely flip their shit when a woman makes a game that's not up to their standards? What about when they write sci-fi that's outside the standard template?

            I ask these because critiques of Depression Quest seem to be an integral cornerstone of the harassment against Zoe Quinn. Surely those idealogues have no more ground to stand on to complain about it than women do about the games that have problematic depictions of women. I'd list them but it would take too long. If you want examples of how women are mistreated in their depiction in video games, though, there's this web series. . .

          • eselle28

            I guess we can each do both, but neither is a fair expectation of the other. And I don't agree that making indie games is more productive than critiquing mainstream works. If we look to film both have their merits, and neither has toppled the hierarchy.

            (I'm not very familiar with it. The problem this time was that my dad, whose computer "doesn't work" because he doesn't know about and won't learn about viruses runs too slow, had a real need for a computer that actually functions properly and borrowed mine promising to only access three specific sites when doing so. He didn't keep to that agreement. Would Linux let me lend my computer to idiots and not worry? I ask because I don't actually know.)

          • eris523

            Linux has better user restrictions, if you know how to set it up — not too hard — but it would basically protect your system by frustrating the idiot every time they tried to do something that could be harmful. In the end, a computer's utility to a user is roughly proportionate to their ability to mess things up, and Linux would let you lock things down enough that an idiot could neither harm it nor, in all likelihood, get much out of using it. If he's being drawn to sites that are infecting his machine (and now yours), chances are that anything that blocks the malicious content is going to block what he's going to the site for in the first place. If he can turn the blocking software off, then, he probably will; if he can't, then he'll probably find the computer isn't useful to him for browsing those sites.

            The main advantage would be that malware written to attack Windows and Macintosh systems is less likely to work successfully on Linux systems. It's not guaranteed immunity, though, since some vectors of attack are platform-agnostic — that is, the same things that let a web page look the same way across all platforms can also sometimes be used to perform attacks the same way across all platforms.

            If this is likely to come up repeatedly for you, and you're willing to invest either time or money into a solution, you might want to learn about either virtual machines (so your father could use a "computer" that was actually just a file on your hard drive you could erase or reset to a known-good state when he was done, without that environment being allowed to affect anything on your computer outside itself) or drive snapshot utilities that will, when active, restore your computer to its snapshot state every time it's booted up so no permanent changes can be made until you turn that feature off to use it yourself.

          • thathat

            UGH THIS AGAIN.

      • physicsnerd531

        Like all things anti-Sarkeesian, two minutes of googling show it to be just some noise.

        LetsPlay is based on Youtube, with the standard youtube license agreement. In the FAQ, youtube states fair use includes: criticism, news reporting, remixing.

        Furthermore, LetsPlay is themselves are uploading copyrighted material and profiting from it via ads, so I don't foresee boat rocking from their camp any time soon as the same terms of service that allow her to use their material also protect them.

        • username_6916

          Academics cite their sources. Why? It certainly isn't Copyright. Copyright law doesn't define what is and is not ethical.

          The problem I have with this isn't the use of let's plays from other people on Youtube. The use is clearly critical and clearly covered under fair use. It's doing so without citation and with the strong implication that she is in fact playing the games in question.

          • Really? I've watched all of her videos, and I don't think I've seen anything in them to suggest that she is the person doing the play through of any of the scenes. Is it the fact that she presents herself as a gamer against people trying to declare her opinion invalid because "not a gamer"? Because that's not the same as claiming (or even implying) that she's playing all or even any of the games in question.
            Personally, I watch a lot of Let's Plays because I want to know what happens in those games, but either do not have the skill or the interest in playing them myself. That said, it takes a heck of a lot less time to watch an already edited video of an expert playing a game than to play it oneself and do all the work to edit just down to the parts you need.
            So yeah, I'd be really interested to know where you're seeing this strong implication.

          • physicsnerd531

            Actually, copyright law is a big part of academics and ethics. It's the rules by which material can be used, reused, distributed, and profited from as determined by what lawmakers feel is right or wrong. Disagreeing with the rules means you just have different ethics, not that there are no ethics involved. Academics also do use uncredited fair use material at academic conferences and lectures.

            But, moving on from this definition of academics and ethical, I think some of the problem stems from the jealousy in the gaming community that has the false impression that a woman is getting paid 100k to play all the video games, but instead of doing their dream job, is intend pointing out problematic stereotypes used in video games.

            Because if one approaches it without the assumption of what her methods should be, it is very clear she doesn't used her own original material and she follows the project plan she proposed.

            On her video, in the description, she explicitly states that material used is 'fair use', which is in simpler terms, a statement that 'I didn't make these videos, I'm just criticising the content'. She further links to her blog, where more links to her sources are provided.

            On her project description in kickstarter, the only time she talks about playing games is when she talks about it in the past tense when describing her motivation, which is part of generic project plan structure.

            Furthermore, the initial sum requested was 6000$, which is far below the budget required to purchase all gaming systems, hint books, save cards, and games for her presentation, let alone the amount of time to either play them herself efficiently or pay someone else to play.

            And she wasn't even asking for money to play video games. She was proposing a project where she produces a web-video series criticising games.

            But let's cut right to the chase:
            LetsPlay generates revenue from work that is 'creative' because they do commentary. They do not credit the original owners of the material they use. Stating the name of the video game is not the same thing as crediting, i.e., Rockstar Games. Now, the material Anita uses might be from them and she also only lists game names, but she is not using the creative addition that allowed LetsPlay to operate for profit on youtube: the commentary. I have nothing against either, but it's unethical to hold one youtube channel to a different standard than another simply because you disagree with the content, give it a label like 'academic,' and have your own impression of what methods should be used.

          • username_6916

            There is one part, I'll agree on: I agree that the whole "She got $160k to do this" line is a bit overplayed. This is a common problem with Kickstarters, when the project gets funded far beyond what the creator intended and they don't have the infrastructure to scale up. From what I've seen so far, it's clear that Anita isn't an absolute fraud. She can be dishonest about lots of things in the project and her own background, but she is in fact delivering.

            Does Sarkeesian ever explicitly say that she wasn't playing the games? I do think that the promotion, and all the mentions of how 'well-researched' the project has to be does suggest that playing the games would be part of it.

            Yes, let's play videos credit the game they are from. But, the gameplay in the videos is a work of the creator in my view. The play-through is a creative act in and of itself, even without commentary. Now, it's a derivative work of the game, sure. But, that doesn't remove the creativity required to make a play-through.

            Hence my complaint about Sarkeesian. Watching a playthrough colors the critique in it's own way. Knowing the context of that playthough can be important. Is the person doing something weird and discouraged, like trying to kill everything, for example? Also, by not playing she is most certainly missing quite a bit of context. That would most certainly have an impact, and it is most certainly something to point to when a specific gameplay experience that Sarkeesian points to seems unlike most other gamers'.

            Oh, and on the topic of Copyright law, everything here should be on the right side of fair use. Making a let's play of a game is a transformative and creative process. As is making "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games". But, I'm not sure I'd tie any ethical connection to copyright law. It was certainly never intended that way. The US Constitution gives congress the power "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries". It makes no mention of the natural rights of the author.

          • Mel_

            You do realize that Sarkeesian using other people's game play footage doesn't mean she isn't also playing the games herself, right? It seems to me that for her to record her own footage, she would first need to play through the games and note which scenes she'd want footage from, and then play through often the entire game again (because many clips are from toward the end) doing the recording. Because it's a little much to expect her to have the hard drive space to record dozens of many-hours-long play-throughs so she can be sure of catching any important moments as she goes.

            Regardless of whether or not she's playing the games, using existing recorded footage a) saves her the time of playing through each game again, and b) saves her the time of trying to play a part of the game or get to a part that displays something she wants to make a point about, where there are multiple ways a scene could play out or where it's a side-mission or whatever. Given that people are already complaining about how long it's taking her to release each video, I'd think that time-saving should be a laudable goal. 😛

            If you have some other reason to believe she's not playing through the games (which I believe she did say she intended to, so I can understand being annoyed if she isn't), say so. But using Let's Play footage isn't proof one way or the other.

            I also don't recall her ever framing herself as an avid gamer–I believe she made the point that she has some experience with gaming (that she played as a kid, for example). Is there somewhere you can point to where she did actually claim to be an industry "insider"? Because if she never made that claim, then she isn't misrepresenting herself by not being one.

            Finally, it's interesting that you're harping on context here, when I've already pointed out to you in a recent comment thread that everything Sarkeesian criticizes about games is in the context of her explicitly saying that she isn't calling for the elimination of all saving of female characters/sexy characters/etc. And yet you continue to claim that she is calling for that. Why is it okay for you to go around criticizing her for things she's said the exact opposite of, but if she wants to criticize games, she can't do a single thing that looks remotely questionable for any angle? If representing a position accurately is so important to you, try doing it yourself first.

          • rebootI730

            Have you actually watched all the videos?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Copyright has express fair use carve-outs for parody and criticism. That's all that has to be said about that.

          • username_6916

            Exactly. Copyright law is something of a red herring when it comes to this argument.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Yep, no matter whether its the game publisher or the LPer you're crediting, she can use pretty much whatever she wants as long as the scene shown is the one being critiqued.

          • physicsnerd531

            "I do think that the promotion, and all the mentions of how 'well-researched' the project has to be does suggest that playing the games would be part of it. "

            That's your impression. You're responsible for it, not her. Not everyone has the same impression. Unless you can find direct quotes that are clearly misleading, then while it is okay to have the wrong impression, it isn't okay to to use your impression as the criteria she needs to fulfil in reality. It's okay to think you would have done something differently, and that your approach might be better, but it's not okay to hold someone accountable to it unless you are actually managing the project.

            "Yes, let's play videos credit the game they are from. "

            LetsPlay lists the video game they are playing. They also list the links to their own stores, gaming communities, and youtube channels, some of which generates revenue. They use a very large chunk of source material, far more than 'fair use' allows. They also settled with Nintendo last year regarding this revenue, which now goes to Nintendo for the Nintendo walkthroughs.

            Here's the thing: I don't think they're bad. They provide artistic play-throughs and original commentary. It contributes to the youtube community in a positive way, it's intended to educate, and sometimes entertain.

            And I see Anita holding to the same standards. There's no denying that there's an actual fan base. I'm not one of them, I've played games and come to different conclusions and have different opinions, but I can see her point of view.

            "Hence my complaint about Sarkeesian. Watching a playthrough colors the critique in it's own way. Knowing the context of that playthough can be important. Is the person doing something weird and discouraged, like trying to kill everything, for example?… "

            Bias always colours a critique. That she didn't do the things you think are required to make her a reliable critic simply means you don't find her to be a reliable source for you to make decisions; it does not invalidate her as a critic altogether. I actually don't find 'playing the game' to be more important than 'watching a walkthrough' as I feel that when critiquing a movie or play, the critic is better if he is not emotionally invested by acting in it. But that is my standard for what is useful, it's not to invalidate yours, it's to point out that yours isn't absolute. Also, we don't know how much she plays, as Mel points out. I don't know if it's purposeful, but she's very clear about keeping the morality of playing certain games out of her critique of the content of video games, and it's entirely possible she is purposely keeping the players anonymous due to the negative labels she gives the in-game actions of the players.

            "Oh, and on the topic of Copyright law, everything here should be on the right side of fair use. Making a let's play of a game is a transformative and creative process. As is making "Tropes vs. Women in Video Games". But, I'm not sure I'd tie any ethical connection to copyright law. "

            Are ethics different from the law? Yes, there is a difference between legality and morality. However, laws are usually created from ethical principles, and copyright law would be no exception. 'Fair use' is an ethical consideration written into the copy right law. Legally, it doesn't require citation, it is a vague limit on material taken from the source, and it must be used for news reporting, criticism, teaching, and educating. Permission is not required, nor is attribution. The morality would be the codified 'best practices', which include attribution, using a minimal amount of original material to make a point, using it for non-profit, and transforming the original work to be different. She does adhere to these principles, albeit not in ways that you find satisfactory.

            Keep in mind, I don't actually like her videos. I just find most attacks on her to be a nonissue that people make an awful lot of noise over, and as a woman who does play video games, this sort of super-critical examination of her qualifications and methods and whether she's 'allowed' to even claim any knowledge of games at all to be not unlike some experiences I had playing games where it clearly wasn't newbie hazing.

            Wow, that was long. Hopefully it's not too muddled?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Keep in mind, I don't actually like her videos. I just find most attacks on her to be a nonissue that people make an awful lot of noise over,

            If we want to talk about having an effect on games, keep in mind that Anita Sarkeesian would ave been a mostly unknown academic if it hadn't been for the legions of gamers vocally opposing her. There are few things that will get me to pay attention faster than someone who makes hateful pricks angry.

          • Mel_

            Seriously. They like to complain about her "playing the victim card," but, hello, there would be no "victim card" to play if they weren't making her a victim of attacks. *sighs*

          • enail0_o

            I am now picturing this whole thing as a collectable card game.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            In the course of coming up with a joke to follow this with, I started thinking how hilarious it could be to actually come up with this whole thing. Game Developer, The Card Game. There's this great mechanic where the higher your Profile, the more money you make but also the more vulnerable to attack you become. Also, Call of Cthluhu's Sanity stat seems appropriate.

          • enail0_o

            I like it! But don't think I want to play it.

          • username_6916

            And at the end of the day, this is why I fear that my side has already lost.

            If you're making death threats over these videos, it shows a fundamental lack of strategic thought. You know, above and beyond all the ethical problems with sending death threats over YouTube videos.

          • thathat

            What is "your side" exactly?

            Because from the sound of it, it's the side that would rather the status quo in regards to women in video games remain exactly as it is.

            Because honestly, I think if someone thought it was a problem or was generally for better treatment of women in their media, that you wouldn't try to grab every (often poorly thought-out) argument against her fitness to speak possible and instead focus on the things she's actually saying, and perhaps have a discussion about THAT instead.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            if the 'good MRA's" (a notion I'm willing to entertain from time to time) really want equality, wouldn't you be for more games that are less insulting to women?

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Why are they worth your time to speak out against, then? Let their work stand or fall on its own.

    • Lets attack the messenger not the message?

  • I can't say that I LIKE Sarkseen, but I do AGREE WITH HER almost 100% on most of her points. Even on the Bayonetta video, where she panned a game I liked, and I would argue a step forward, I could understand her point, such as the marketing direction of the game. However, I don't understand WHY this response is so extreme. Aren't we supposed to be good understanding people? What if the woman arguing was your friend, who otherwise enjoyed the game? Or your cousin, sister, whatever, just thinking how it could be better?

    Also, this Zoe Quinn business? Nothing more than rumours, guys. No matter what is going around, officially, there is no evidence suggesting that she slept with anyone or sabotaged anything. What is for sure is these threats she's receiving. Please, guys. You've worked so hard already. Don't ruin it.

    • SandwichSlut

      *nods* the only critique I've ever had of Anita is that her presentation style can be somewhat dry. I've never had a serious contention with her arguments, and I will bet you anything that the reason her presentation is so dry is because she's both trying to appear professional/academic, and also because she's trying to avoid being labeled "too emotional" if she gave a more dynamic performance.

    • thathat

      I'm really sad that my best friend seems to believe the rumors out of hand. (Though it was a funny moment. I asked what he was watching, he said a video about *ex's name here*, and I was like, "Oh, yeah, that douchebag." And he just stared at my like, "Wait, what?" It felt like one of those wacky sitcom moments where the two character realize they've been hearing the same thing from different angles, only it wasn't wacky or funny at all.) He said that she totally admitted to it or something, but all I can find is people doing fuzzy accusations.

      But hell, even if she did, seeing her get crucified like this (while the journalists just get, "what a loser/traitor!" vibes) is just horrific.

      The backlash against Sarkeesian is almost funny: "How dare this ***** say there's sexism in the gaming industry! Quickly, let's demean her with gendered insults and threats!"

      • Gentleman Johnny

        If you read the ex's original rant, she lists out the guys she slept with. He posted it because he's a classy guy who only wants the best for everyone. Or maybe he faked it, the same way she's being accused of faking her harassment. Also, its not his fault that people harassed her after he posted it but it is her fault that people who agree with her did things like send fake DMCA notices. ARGH!

        And the obligatory:
        I don't always agree with Anita Sarkeesian. . .but when I do, its about Dos Equis. Stay thirsty, my friends.

        • Indeed. In fact, what confuses me is that the original post is taken so seriously when it very well could easily be a "classier" (so-called) form of revenge porn. Whether what he claims happened did happen or not (which I seriously question), you would think people WOULD question an obvious defacing of someone without solid evidence, especially on such shaky claims. I don't know what happened between them, but it isn't. Our. Business.

          …Also, thanks, but no thanks. I don't drink. I'll take a Root Beer, instead. XD

          • Gentleman Johnny

            The beer dragon is going to be very disappointed but I'll see what I can rummage up.

          • My apologies. I did not mean to hurt the beer dragon's feelings. Please take this vintage chocolate as compensation for my rudeness.

    • For example, for the original Bayonetta's marketing, I would have focused more on the action element. In that way, I like Nintendo's trailers for the sequel, which do focus on the over the top action and music a lot more. For example, here's a boss preview of the FIRST LEVEL:

      That's what they should have focused on the first time around.

  • TheWisp

    The root of the problem, as I see it, is that these geeky guys see themselves as victims and they see their geekdom as the root of their victimhood. Geeky guys often *are* victims, especially in their formative teen years: they often have experienced a lot of social isolation, a lot of rejection and even bullying from their peers, difficulty forming sexual and romantic relationships, and their interests and passions being dismissed by others. These are legitimately painful experiences and in many ways they are victims as individuals.

    The fallacy, however, is seeing these painful experiences as being rooted in some sort of oppressive attitudes towards geeks from the rest of society. While geeky guys seem much more likely to experience these painful experiences, correlation doesn't equal causation, and I simply don't believe that them being geeks is the root of their suffering (save, perhaps, having your interests dismissed, though that is increasingly less common). So when people criticize video games, they're not engaging in art criticism, they're attacking geeks, which means they're compliant in all the suffering these guys have experienced, and so they must have solidarity with their fellow oppressed geeks and fight back. And when women criticizing gaming and the community? Well, it's like all the women who ever rejected you are coming back and doing it all over again.

    If they could only see that, while geeky guys may be somewhat more likely to experience those kinds of suffering, their suffering is individual, not group-based. It may superficially seem to be related to geekdom, but it really isn't. It's sad, in a way, because they're probably less likely to do the things that would make their lives better because they feel like they're members of some besieged class.

    • rebootI730

      If those guys have been victims in the past I find their behavior even more objectionable because they know what it is like to be bullied and ostracized.

      • eselle28

        I'd also point out that the people who they choose to bully and ostracize generally aren't the same people who bullied and ostracized them. Geeky teenage girls have many of the same problems, except that many of them were also either isolated from geek culture and left to read alone in their rooms or tried to participate in geeky things and experienced bullying and harassment from the boys who were supposed to be their comrades in nerdery.

        Someone who's been bullied finding an even more vulnerable victim to take out their aggression on isn't just a geek thing, and it's really nothing new.

        • rebootI730

          It is definitely not new and not unique to geek society. I would say a good solid number of wars and conflicts stem from these feelings.

          • TheWisp

            And not just in recent times, this sort of behavior can be seen even thousands of years ago.

        • I get what you're saying (and by no means am I excusing their actions), but it's long been known that abuse spawns abusers, and the victims of abuse who become abusers themselves almost never target their abusers.

          There was an article on Cracked recently (their personal experience columns have really become top notch IMO) written by a former skinhead where he said essentially that he joined that gang because he was made to feel powerless at home, and they made him feel powerful. It's the same mentality going on here. These men were victimized when they were younger, so they lash out to feel some modicum of power and control, but they can only really lash out by punching down.

          • rebootI730

            I think the key here is recognizing a cause of the behavior for at least some (if not all) of the people doing this while condemning the behavior itself. I can have sympathy for the kid in the past who was bullied but that is not going to mean I will excuse the adult that child grew into bullying others now. It is the same for other abusers. History of abuse does not give people a pass if they are currently abusing others.

          • Exactly. The fact that they were bullied doesn't excuse their behavior, but if we want to get them to stop / stop people from going down that path in the future, we need to understand why they're doing it in the first place, and "they hate women" isn't a good enough answer.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I have a saying: "that explains your actions. It does not excuse them."

        • eris523

          "Geeky teenage girls have many of the same problems, except that many of them were also either isolated from geek culture and left to read alone in their rooms or tried to participate in geeky things and experienced bullying and harassment from the boys who were supposed to be their comrades in nerdery. "

          One thumb is insufficient. I am hugging you SO MUCH right now.

    • Henry Gorman

      I think that this constant sense of victimization actually is a huge part of the problem. Interestingly, I think that in certain contexts (ie: ordinary high schools), geeks of all stripes, and perhaps geeky guys in particular (although I'm far from certain of this, and I think that whatever gendered effects you found would depend heavily on what definition of "nerd" or "geek" you used) are actively victimized. However, this victimization certainly doesn't extend across all of society, and definitely not into spaces like the games industry and its attached culturesphere. Unfortunately, a lot of geeks either fail to realize this or conveniently adopt the familiar victimization narrative.

      A great example of this: the Penny Arcade creators' highly aggrieved reaction to the whole "Dickwolves" controversy. In practice, they're gender-privileged people in their culture-space and, even more importantly, they're extremely wealthy, respected, and influential creators. But they acted as if they were systematically victimized, bullied, and vulnerable– an interpretation which just isn't supported by their community position.

      • eris523

        I'd like to add a point to what you've said, because you've touched on one of the most irritating things about the whole "but geeky boys and men were bullied in the past!" narrative.

        Girls and women who are into games and other aspects of "geek culture" are — well, in all cases I've heard, but I won't claim that's all cases everywhere everywhen, so let's say often — bullied, too. "Geek culture" mythology says the culture itself rose out of geek boys and/or men banding together against the people bullying them, but — again, "often" — girls and women were and are excluded from that unity-in-geekery clubhouse along with all the other clubhouses that shut out the geeky boys and men.

        In junior high, a football player gave me a concussion. A group of cheerleaders broke my tailbone. Geeky boys stole my books and tried to take my Doctor Who book bag because I didn't "deserve" it. The tailbone still gives me back problems 30 years later, but the vicious expulsion from what I thought was my peer group hurt more then and hurts more now.

        So here's the thing to add to the irony of the bullied becoming the bullies: Every time someone claims that girls and women are "new" to geekdom, that our interest is recent at best or dishonest and parasitic at worst, every time someone claims that a woman is doing for much-detested "attention" what a man is allowed to do for a valid sense of community and belonging or safety in numbers, please remember that some of the people they're treating badly have been through the selfsame social meat-grinder they use as an excuse, but were denied their strength-in-numbers coping mechanism — the very coping mechanism they like to claim built the clubhouse (that we helped lay the foundations for) and gave them the right to keep us out.

        It's not just that the once-bullied are turning around and doing the same thing to a "new" group of people, now that they have some power and some socioeconomic pull — it's that they always have, that their culture, its power, and its socioeconomic pull are built on having done so, in part by a narrative that likes to actively villainize those whom they ejected from their defensive huddle.

        • Henry Gorman

          Excellent point! This is why I highlighted the "definition of geek or nerd" comment– within my own youth, it's seemed like women have been persecuted less for being say, academic overachievers (one definition of geek or nerd) but as much or more for having socially unpopular interests. Should have clarified above!

      • Everybody's a marginalized underdog(suffering under the ever-oppressive machinery of the Left, the fatphobic medical-industrial complex or the cold grip of the dating market). Heck, they might even believe it due to selective perception(look what happens here: if 12 people snark at you on a site not favourable to your viewpoints, of course it's going to feel like everybody hates you if you don't bother to factor in a broader context).

        I highly doubt the bullied-in-highschool origin story works for most of these people. The popular stereotype of bullies as just as insecure as others has been proven quatsch: they're often on the middle of the social ladder, at least a bit charismatic and just take out their frustrations on people they perceive as deserving. Same with these internet trolls, I suspect.

        • "The popular stereotype of bullies as just as insecure as others has been proven quatsch: they're often on the middle of the social ladder, at least a bit charismatic and just take out their frustrations on people they perceive as deserving. Same with these internet trolls, I suspect."

          Not to mention, even if they were bullied in high school, that neither absolves them of responsibility for their current actions, nor is it a "good" reason for them to have become bullies themselves. There's actually no strong correlation between abusive people and people who were abused as children.
          Many many people are abused (and/or bullied) as children and do not grow up to do that to other people. And there are many people who were not abused or bullied who nevertheless began bullying and abusing others.
          And, you know, even if they were *they are still responsible for their current behaviour regardless of its 'origin' in their history*

          • TheWisp

            Very much so. Recognizing that you had a shitty time as a teenager, feeling sad about that, and getting help to deal with the baggage associated with it is what the responsible action would be. The issue is that they don't do that, they just instead live forever in high school (though, to be honest, many of these guys might actually be in high school) without examining how their present lives are different than high school.

        • TheWisp

          Well, yeah, there's the unfortunate fact that I think contemporary western culture incentivizes *everybody* to form their identity around the ways they are victims

      • Toysoldier

        The root of the problem, as I see it, is that these geeky guys see themselves as victims and they see their geekdom as the root of their victimhood.

        Dismissing geeks abusive experiences as being nothing more than in their mind is a poor way to show solidarity and empathy. It is also part of the problem, as you demonstrate here:

        The fallacy, however, is seeing these painful experiences as being rooted in some sort of oppressive attitudes towards geeks from the rest of society. While geeky guys seem much more likely to experience these painful experiences, correlation doesn't equal causation, and I simply don't believe that them being geeks is the root of their suffering […]

        Your belief in the cause of the violence inflicted on geeks is irrelevant. If a geek is bullied and abused because of his interests, then his geekness is clearly a factor. If other males exhibited the same behaviors as geeks are attacked less often, that would imply that geekiness is the deciding factor.

        Denying that there are oppressive attitudes towards geeks by the rest of society is disingenuous. We know it occurs. We know that there are boys bullied to the point of committing suicide because of what they liked. I understand that some consider those experiences less important because of the geeks' sex, but let us not pretend it does not occur.

        So when people criticize video games, they're not engaging in art criticism, they're attacking geeks, which means they're compliant in all the suffering these guys have experienced, and so they must have solidarity with their fellow oppressed geeks and fight back.

        That does not appear to be the case. The reaction is far too visceral. Geeks take the criticism personally, as if it were specifically directed at them both as a group and individually. Incidentally, that is precisely what occurs. It is not a matter of critiquing art, but making pronouncements about those who view, like, purchase, and want said art. It also does not end with the art. As you demonstrated, the attack goes right to the geeks themselves and their experiences. They were not "real" victims of anything, but if they were it had nothing to do with being geeks. There is also the tacit "and you kinda deserved" message.

        And when women criticizing gaming and the community? Well, it's like all the women who ever rejected you are coming back and doing it all over again.

        Well, it is not "like" that; it appears to be the case. Few of the women criticizing gaming or the community appear to like either. In that sense, the hostile response is understandable. Geeks creating a space for them to enjoy their interests without being attacked for liking them, and now the people who prompted the creation of the group are trying to take it over while still attacking geeks for their interests.

        If they could only see that, while geeky guys may be somewhat more likely to experience those kinds of suffering, their suffering is individual, not group-based.

        It is group-based. Again, I understand that for people of a particular political view it is anathema to accept that males can be targeted for violence, but that does not make it any less true.

        The irony of your dismissal those experiences is that this is the very complaint you have about geeks' response to feminist complaints about their community.

  • adamhunter1223

    I don't see any problems with the games industry changing to include games that are more overtly geared toward women. I probably wouldn't play them, but that's because I'm very selective about what games I buy and play for budget reasons, and because my tastes run very heavily towards RPGs of the swords and magic variety (Dark souls…so painful, but so good), Well, that and I'm a sucker for a good story, which is something woefully underrepresented in the current gaming market.

    The way I see it, any financial boost the games industry can get is a good thing, especially in a time when everyone's money is tight.

    • Tea_Fish

      I don't disagree with you, but in light of DNL's mention of marketing and marketing tactics for gaming above, I think that it's both interesting to consider just what, exactly, differentiates a game geared toward men from a game geared toward women. Or from games that deliberately market toward both.

      Games geared toward men– well, we have plenty of examples so I won't go into a comprehensive list, but I think common sterotypes would be some scruffy buff white guy as the protagonist, guns, lots of guns, lots of killing and gore, and maybe some scantily clad hot ladies. Or sports. Also highly tactical strategy games?

      But what makes a game "geared" toward women? There haven't been very many AAA titles (actually, I can't think of ANY) deliberately targeting the female demographic. I mean, you have the obvious– Cooking Mama, Barbie's World etc. , but that's hardly representative of much, and most of the female gamers I know are just as into the gore gore violence guns shoot them up and sometimes even the scantily clad ladies as any male gamer I know. They'd just like there to also be women who can shoot people up, and some scantily clad men, and maybe for there not to be this weird assumption that women are sex objects or sad dead motivations for vengeance in every game they play. To some people, that's already ~way too pandering to SJWs~ but does would qualify as making a game more overtly for women, or just evening the scales out a little?

      • Maybe, at its core, there ISN'T a difference between what men and women like. Just the characters. Things like Attack on Titan (which, admittedly, I don't watch, but stay up to date on) probably attribute a lot of their (MASSIVE) success to an evenly gendered fanbase. Why? It has a good balance of characters, so everyone can have someone to identify with. It isn't, by a long shot, "girly", so-called, yet they love it. Go figure.

        Not to mention the swimming anime FREE!. That's definitely evidence to your point.

        • Tea_Fish

          Yeehaw, anime references. 🙂 I think there are definitely ways to appeal to certain demographics (Free! for example is much beloved by my friends and is definitely fanservice pandering to women who like that sort of thing), and nothing wrong with that, but when say… EVERYTHING is divvied up by gender and what stereotypically appeals to that gender, it's equal parts insulting and ridiculous.

          A non anime example– I have a friend who works for, let's say, a MAJOR entertainment corporation you have 100% absolutely heard of, and she always comes out of marketing and branding meetings absolutely furious. "Wow, we playtested this product and a lot of girls selected for non-pink options! We don't understand!!" "A lot of the girls expressed interest in seeing combat controls in this game– I think we're having a real issue making sure the important themes are clear, because this is definitely a problem." "Oh, yeah, use a lot of warm colors on that site– but don't make it pink. We can't have it looking girly."

          It completely blows their minds that boys and girls aren't so easily categorized into pink and blue, playing house and playing fight, that "appeals to boys" isn't the default, and to make something "appeal to girls", they just have to make it pink and sparkly and slap a princess and a dress on there. Just like how Young Justice got cancelled because they felt they couldn't market boy toys– instead of capitalizing on the audience they had and adopting to market to girls, they scrapped the whole thing because it was just too incomprehensible to them.

          • Blah, don't mention Young Justice. The entire thought of that entire bag of worms just makes me….ugh. I mean, is it so hard to see girl viewers Ms. Martian/Artemis T-shirts, or whatever!? I think a Kid Flash Ken doll (or the equivalent) would have sold really well! Duds for his Main, Stealth, and Civilian costumes sold separately. Not hard, right? Too easy!! I actually wrote a University essay on the subject (Where did I put it?).

            Anyway, as far as I can tell, the reason these businessmen refuse to change is because, like I said somewhere else in the comments, these men have grown up surrounded by the message that girls like so-and-so. So they don't realize, nor want to risk, that women like things other than the so-called norm. So they don't try. If you are big enough to have control of the market, who cares what others think of you when you control what they buy? I think much of this (and the homophobia) is to move things back to something they're used to.

            Funnily enough, though, the stereotypical boy-blue and girl-pink used to be reversed prior to WWII. Go figure.

            Also, can you give me a hint of what company you're referring to? First letter, maybe? I want to investigate.

          • Ahem, *sell* viewers. Damn my grammar.

          • Tea_Fish

            I actually bought an Aqualad doll– I mean, ACTION FIGURE. Now, I would've paid good money for a nice customizable one….

            Out of respect for my friend (who shares a fair amount of private company information with me and trusts me not to spread it around), I won't be able to get too much more specific (honestly even the first letter would make it obvious, that's how well known it is), but I will just say that this company has strong affiliations with the comic industry, which is one of the reasons I'm concerned with the current change and churn going on in the comics world in regards to diversity and inclusion.

          • Ah. I shouldn't have asked. My apologies.

            On the bright side of things, there is some good news. Marvel's female-led titles are selling like hotcakes! Ms Marvel especially. Perhaps this will be the turning point we've been looking for*.

            *No, I am not talking about that Spider-woman cover. As far as I'm concerned, in light of the recent successes, that is an anomaly.

          • Tea_Fish

            No worries, I did just sort of dangle it out there, and if it was for a smaller/less well known company I probably would've been more specific too.

            Oh man, I'm not too hot on the comics scene, other than the Marvel Cinematic Universe stuff (anime and videogames are more my shtick), but hearing about Ms. Marvel's popularity and that it sounds like her run is genuinely GREAT, and attracting a lot of readers both on its own merits and for diversity it represents makes me really happy. For me, there's always that sense of conflict when something female-created or with major female protagonists comes out– I don't want to watch/buy/see something based solely on the maker/main character's gender? But… when female-created products or female-driven franchises dye off, it's invariably blamed on women not being marketable, instead of the product just plain not being good, so I don't want to encourage that either….. blah.

          • Ms. Marvel's been averaging 9/10 scores all across the board. Haven't missed a single issue yet! She-Hulk's doing great, too. I'm hoping this will be a wake-up call for everyone: Non-sexualized Action!Girls really do sell.

          • eselle28

            I'm still confused by that. I've only just started watching Young Justice after long periods of my friends telling me I'd like it and should check it out, so I initially read the reports of cancellation from the perspective of not knowing much about the show. Now that I've seen it, I don't know why someone with a bit of imagination couldn't have figured out how to market the characters in the toy market.

            They wouldn't even have to be all that creative about their marketing. Girls that age are playing with Bratz and Monster High dolls. I don't know why you couldn't make Miss Martian, Artemis, Zatanna, and Rocket dolls and sell a bunch of costumes and accessories for them. There's a lot of ways in which they fit the "group of several female characters, all conventionally attractive but visually distinct and with different social personas" standard for tween-oriented girls' toys.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Because they'd have to change the packaging and move all the toys to a different aisle and then the boys wouldn't want anything from the girls' aisle. Marketing is hard, little lady. Here, have a complimentary bottle of properly market researched rainbow unicorn nail polish. That's a proper girl product.

            I stand by Scott Adams' (of Dilbert fame) analysis of marketing departments – how high you rise is based on how good your hair style is. Even in the geek heavy company that I work in, the head of the sales side is a geek. . .with great hair.

          • eselle28

            How could I have forgotten that toys from the same IP can't possibly be designed and packaged in different ways so they can be both the girls' aisle and the boys' aisle. At least I wasn't silly enough to question why stores are divided that way in the first place. I'll go paint unicorns on my nails now, tee hee.

            (I generally don't even venture into the children's toys issues, because there's so much that's screwed up that I just end up getting depressed.)

          • They probably don't even have to worry about that. Separate line of figures in both sections would be enough! One set of action figures, another of dress up dolls. And with the money these companies have, it's not impossible, and in fact profitable, to do!

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I think my real point was that people with great hair being trained by people with great hair (Don Draper has some fine hair) are functioning on (inaccurate) received wisdom and design their market research to confirm the conclusions that they've already drawn. So, for example, girls are a bad audience for a superhero cartoon because girls don't buy superhero toys. So there's no point in making a girl's line when you can just cancel the show in favor of another boys' toy (not to be confused with boy toy) friendly one.

            In fact, don't get me started on how market research surveys really get filled in. Let's just say that I made a lot of money answering surveys for hard to find demographics when we had a deadline to meet at the firm I was working at. We just counted on the company's statistics to normalize the result. Of course, if every firm was doing that, products would be based on what young white adults think old people of color would say. Oops, I got started.

          • I understand. I was being theoretical, but I see what you mean. IF marketers tried, I think they might be proven wrong about 50% of the time, but they won't, because they're sure they're right.

            Thought if it's beautiful hair they want, they'll be listening to me anyway. Who could RESIST this beautiful, copper mane? *sparkles*

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Businesses want no risk for high return, so they're not going to break new ground unless success is nearly guaranteed.

          • Indeed. Not to mention they could add costumes from different and current eras of DC, which would essentially be free advertising for the comics themselves. Win-win. Sigh.

          • eselle28

            Plus, if the roster of four is successful, there are a ton of other characters who can be transformed into dolls…possibly leading to spin off series around those characters. But, yeah, that would invole work and changing preconceptions about how things are done.

          • Eight, if we include the boys. Ken dolls ARE popular, far as I can tell.

          • eselle28

            If we're using the model that's currently being used to sell toys to girls (which would be the path of least resistance, if not the path of least sexism), the focus would generally be on the female characters. There were always a lot more Barbies than Kens, and the toys that are popular with modern girls (all the girls that age I know are into Monster High) don't necessarily include male characters.

            If I were going to do a launch along those lines, I'd start with the four girls, then add the boys and…okay, this is the part where there's a knowledge gap, but aren't there characters in the wider universe like Batgirl and Aquagirl as well? If the girl dolls were selling well, I'd add Batgirl and then tell the creators to write her a guest appearance on the show. Not total creative freedom, but probably better than getting cancelled.

          • Touche. I see you're point. You've got talent for this.

            Anyway, Aquagirl never became part of the team, though she turned up in season 1, but Batgirl and Wondergirl came in season 2, along with Bumblebee. Adding to that, there's also Asami "Sam" Koizumi of the Runaways (Not the Marvel group). Also, the villain Queen Bee. Not to mention, they planned an Apokalips storyline, so then there's the Female Furies…gosh, they REALLY missed the mark.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Say, what did they do with Teen Titans, which seemed (for reasons I'd be hard pressed to pin down) a more "girl friendly" show?

          • It ended in 2007(?), then, when Young Justice kicked it, they revived it as the comedy series Teen Titans Go! A Chibified, crass-humour-laded comedy show. Completely what the executives wanted.

            Suffice to say, people are split on it. Kids AND adults.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Sorry, I meant what did they do toy wise?

          • I have to admit, I don't completely know. I think they made a comic series based on the show itself, along with the prerequisite action figs and t-shirts, but other than that, I'm not sure.

            I must know! Google, away!

          • Gentleman Johnny

            A quick brush with Google Shopping says "not much". Looks like someone missed the mark on the (arguably, I went with the first numbers I found) highest rated kids' show on cable.

          • eselle28

            I'm pretty sure my sister (who's not a comics person or a geek) liked to watch that show. Of course, she would have been in her late teens, so not the target toy audience, but I'm going to assume that the show's not radioactive to girls.

            This is just google images, but I'm seeing toys that code as traditional boy-oriented action figures like this and this, but also things like this that look like they're marketed toward girls. There's also this and this which I read as gender neutral, or at least as looking accessible to someone used to buying "dolls" or "toys" rather than "action figures."

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Only the 2" set and the Starfire plushie are TTG related and that looks like all there is.

          • eselle28

            Ah, okay, sorry! I only know of the show in a second-hand way and don't know anything about its merchandise. Is there just not much of it out there, or is the issue that it's an old show and that most of its toys would be in people's homes rather than online?

          • It may be both. It's possible that the original was mostly to promote the comics themselves. Go! not even having much merchandise strikes me as odd in and of itself. If the canceled Young Justice from a lack of merchandise, but are keeping this show despite not selling anything, what does that say about the cancellation of YJ?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I should have checked ebay. Lots of stuff, still guy targeted outside of the plushies but maybe not strongly so.

          • eselle28

            Yeah, that looks boy-targeted, but not overwhelmingly so. There are things there that I think could sell pretty well in the girls' aisle if they put them in different packaging.

            Basically, it seems to me like there are models of how to market a show like Young Justice, but that whoever was making the decisions didn't want to try to think outside the box.

    • I feel like maybe you're misunderstanding, or I am. My take is that this push for equal treatment isn't so we can get Walmart-style "His and Hers" aisles in the game store, because that's still some marketer deciding what men and women can and can't like based on gender, and it's really quite gross. It's not about marketing games to women, it's about making them enjoyable by people. So the goal would be you'd get your kickass new fantasy RPG (I mean, I want that too because it's awesome), and said game would include rather fewer toxic tropes.

      • Clarification: what I mean is, women most probably already play the games you play, but find some of them to contain absurd and unnecessary elements that play into a sexist worldview and probably shouldn't be in a game geared toward anyone at all.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          Strangely, it seems that my own preferences in Triple A games run about 50/50. On the one hand there's GTA (I keep hoping it will be funny again), Assassin's Creed (a story of manly men doing manly things that had some difficulties animating female models) and Bioshock Infinite (wait, why does God need Booker to save her, exactly?). On the other there's Saint's Row (the GTA knockoff that rose above its inspiration), Mass Effect/Dragon Age (fridge the man or fridge the woman, the choice is yours!), XCOM (in which women and non-white characters are frequent but accents are unheard of) and No Man's Sky.

          Its notable that with the exception of the Bioware games, all of the latter are still Triple A titles but they're notably smaller ones (sales wise) then the former list,

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Consider Saint's Row. Its violent, its raunchy, its tasteless. . .and those are its selling points. It also lets you play as a man or a woman without judging your fashion sense if you want to wear heels and a ball gown. By 4, your backup crew is pretty close to gender parity. All of the supporting characters have about the same level of depth. This isn't a game "for" women but, obligatory GTA-clone whores aside, its a game that doesn't actively dismiss women either. They can run around beating costumed mascots with a weaponsized 3' dildo without constant reminders that they're supposed to be the victim or the hostage, not the hero.

      Slightly aside – consider the 2003 BSG reboot. There was relationship drama, there was sex, but women filled roughly as many important positions as men. No one ever made gendered insults. It was very, very white but that's a separate issue. In terms of men and women being equal, this show had it so down pat that the characters never saw it as worth mentioning.

      • enail0_o

        "without constant reminders that they're supposed to be the victim or the hostage, not the hero."

        This right here. This is what I want. THIS.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          See also Mass Effect and Dragon Age. Games that let you customize your avatar as either gender seem to stack up pretty well. Now that I think about it, a good guesstimate of how inclusive a game is can probably be scored on an axis going from complete customization on one end to stubbly 30-something male with short brown hair on the other (hereafter: Default Male Protagonist).

          • eselle28

            Really, RPGs in general have a lot of room to let women in without being explicitly tilted toward them. And, really, I don't need games to have the kind of slant that someone who identifies with the Default Male Protaganist is used to (though I wouldn't mind if a handful of them did now and then) as long as the game gives me some breathing room and isn't constantly reminding me that it's not really for me because this toy is for boys.

          • enail0_o


            In the long run, I'd like to see this is specific protags, not just in customizables. Because sometimes a story is about becoming a particular person. Which is not to say that I need all the specific protags to be female. But some of them would be nice, and it would be nice if the ones with male protags didn't assume that every player was going to be the same gender as the protag.

            Again, a lot of the time, it's not so much that I need to be actively included as just not actively shut out.

          • Mel_

            Yes, this. I don't see why men (not all men, but the men who do seem to think this way) think it's totally normal and acceptable for women to play male protagonists, but somehow the opposite can't be enjoyable/immersive/??? I have watched and read and played stories about men my entire life and managed to relate to them as a fellow human being. Anyone who can't imagine being able to relate to a character simply because that character is female has some major blinkers on.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I don't know that the players proper have a problem with playing women. Lara Croft, Catwoman, Samus Aran, these were all strong lead characters that no one objected to playing or felt their masculinity as threatened by. The lack of female leads doesn't fall on the shoulders of players any more than the lack of female protagonists in movies falls on the shoulders of ticket buyers.

          • Mel_

            I'll give you that a lot of it is industry perceptions about what gamers want. But on the other hand, I have seen actual gamers complaining about the idea that there should be more female protagonists in games, especially if they're not given a choice about who to play. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen an article suggesting that women should be given a wider variety of roles in games, including getting to protag more, that hasn't gotten at least some gamer backlash.

            So it's not that I think no guys are willing to play female characters (obviously they are–though, I'd note that two of your three examples are women who are clearly sexualized so the men can enjoy looking at them more than the idea of being them while playing), it's that some guys obviously think there's a difference and resist the idea of more when given the hypothetical "what if we had more female protagonists."

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Catwoman's obviously eyeball bait but I'd say that Lara Croft has undergone a sexualization creep across her line. Yeah, she had shorts and a tank top when she was make of triple digit triangles but there was really no sexualized content for at least the first few games. Samus had her own issues with this for a while. That creeping increase is its own issue. There are a few others, too, like Joanna Dark (everyone remember her), Bayonettea (about whom I know next to nothing) etc. So developers know that it can work.

            I feel like it comes down to the same thing I said below about cartoon tie-in toys, businesses want biggest return for minimum risk. Its difficult to convince them to try anything unproven when the formula that they have is clearly working. That formula in turn comes from catering to a particular demographic who feel more entitled to it every season the Triple A list continues to be aimed exclusively at them.

          • eselle28

            "…and it would be nice if the ones with male protags didn't assume that every player was going to be the same gender as the protag."

            Yeah, this is a big one for me as well. It's not that I always insist on playing a female avatar. Some stories are about specific people, and sometimes those people are going to be men. I can stretch my empathy muscle sometimes – I just don't want to have to do it constantly because there are no other options. But if I'm already doing that, it gets really irritating when the game makes it clear that it assumes that the player, not just the character, is a man.

          • Tea_Fish

            And even some games are able to do exactly that (protagonist: oldish buff generic looking white guy with some stubble) and knock it out of the ballpark– just see Naughty Dog's The Last of Us.

            The main character looks generic as hell, shoots a lot of guns, kills a lot of folks, but in terms of diversity of characters, there are men and women with all sorts of personalities in all sorts of roles (some kickass, some helpless, some compassionate, others ruthless), forging interesting and not "generic romance/dependence" relationships between them.

            I don't want to get too derailed here, but that's one of my favorite things about having a wide variety of characters in a game– not feeling pigeonholed into certain roles because of your gender or race or what have you.

          • Henry Gorman

            I thought that Dragon Age 2 did a particularly good job with this. The story definitely doesn't make assumptions about your gender, and the dialogue options allow for enough variance in tone that you can do gender expression in ways that feel quite varied and nuanced. Mass Effect seems a little more limiting– Male and Female Shepard are both just about always super-butch.

    • Here's the thing, you'd probably like the games women play. Hell most of the women I know that game are playing Dark souls right now.

      • adamhunter1223

        Maybe, but probably not. When I said my taste in games runs heavily towards RPGs I was serious. My tastes games runs almost EXCLUSIVELY towards action RPGs, I have very little interest in 99% of the games on the market. Not to say that any of them are bad per se, just that I'm extremely picky.

  • Tea_Fish

    I made the mistake at one point of wandering into the comments sections of one of those articles. The sheer number of men saying something along the lines of: "But why are they being such attention whores about all the abuse and harassment they're getting? If they were REALLY committed to their work, they'd stop publicizing it so much and just buckle down and get back to doing whatever they were doing. It's giving gamers such a bad game, and just detracts from the points they're trying to make!!" as if sexism and male abuse of women in the gaming industry ISN'T one of the key points that Sarkeesian and Quinn are emphasizing.

    Women don't get harassed = harassment never happens!

    Women do get harassed = pretend that harassment never happens, or be discredited for the work that you do!!


    • thathat

      Yeah, at least two guys at TMS were "just saying" that, y'know, they got an awful lot of support after being "allegedly" harassed…

      I just kind of put my head down on my desk for awhile.

      • Tea_Fish

        Ah, yes, boob pics and rape threats are circulating against one women and the other has had to go into police custody in response to threats made against her family. "Alleged" harassment indeed.

        • rebootI730

          If the cops took it seriously enough to help relocate them or gave them police protection that allegation had to have some pretty concrete evidence. Getting police protection is not an easy task. It takes a real, tangible, immediate and plausible threat (and even then you might not get it if there are other priorities). I think the only time my office has gotten it was when we got letter and package bombs.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Hey guys, this thing happens in this community.

      Some Guys: No it doesn't!
      Other Guys: I know where you live. I'm coming to kill you. I'm inside your house!

      Hey guys, this thing I was talking about, now its happening to me personally.

      Some guys: You should go back to talking about that first thing.
      Other guys: Hey, Some Guys, I have no idea what she's talking about. I think she made it up. It certainly wasn't me.

      • Tea_Fish

        "Can we stop talking about this important shitty awful thing happening to you? I honestly feel like you're drawing too much attention to it and making it all about you, and that's what attention whores do. You don't want to be an attention whore, right? Go back to talking about things I care about (not shitty awful things happening to you.)"

        • Gentleman Johnny

          I'm going to remember this conversation the next time a heckler on here comes after me for illustrating all of my points with personal anecdotes. 🙂

        • Blurgle

          "When it isn't always about me me me me me me, the white male, you're an attention whore!"

        • WaywardSon01

          Ah the wonders of the most anti-social breed of nerd when it meets the internet. It's the G.I.F.T. that really does keep on giving.

  • SandwichSlut

    I was so mad when I heard Anita Sarkeesian had been run out of her own home yesterday…thank you Doc, for showing the positive side to all of this…that maybe, just maybe, we'll quash this bullshit once and for all.

  • I can honestly sympathize with these guys to a certain extent. Their reaction is extreme and totally not okay, but people often do things that are extreme and not-okay when they feel threatened and unsafe, and I think what we're seeing is a reaction to someone "taking away" their safe space.

    An analogy: When I was in high school, I had one friend, and she wasn't a very nice person. I was teased by the other kids, and even the nerd spaces didn't really like me much. This was, admittedly, because I was a fairly unpleasant person. So I got better, and I found a social set I would fit into, a group of around ten out of the 500 kids in my school who cared about the things I cared about and liked the things I liked. I was basically eliminating 98% of the population from my pool of potential friends, because that was how I stayed safe and happy. I redefined my community to turn it into a place where I belonged.

    If the other kids in that group had started inviting along people who didn't need that group, and the conversation started widening again — or worse, if people had started inviting themselves into that group, I would have felt threatened and miserable. This group, this one group where I am normal, is being changed and redefined to be a place where, once again, I'm a fringe player. I probably would have been nasty and rude, too.

    I would have been wrong, though. It's still okay to have a subculture within a larger culture, if that's what you want, and adding new kinds of games doesn't take away what you already have. Something can be different without being worse, and destroying something to keep others from ruining or sharing it is incredibly damaging.

    Also, if I want to keep my cousin from couchsurfing for eight months, I can either offer to help her find an apartment of her own or I can leave piles of dog turds all over the floor. Both are effective, but one is kinder to both me and her.

    • Well said. I think, for that reason, more than any other, is why we, more than anyone else, HAVE to maintain a moral high ground. While it does not by any means excuse their actions in the slightest, these people are, at their core, scared, depressed, and lonely people, who are trying to make themselves feel better however they can. I KNOW. I HAVE BEEN THERE. A lot of others have learned throughout their lives many of ALPHA MALE beliefs from childhood, whether from their parents, friends, or whoever they felt comfortable with. Beliefs that have lasted generations.

      These mentalities are naturally defensive, and don't change through straight aggression tactics. Who're you gonna believe, Dad or some strangers on the internet saying "YOU ARE WRONG!!"? However, even from a scientific standpoint, calm explanations and encouragement to be better is the key to changing these mentalities. Sadly, maintaining that Gandhi-like stance for change is incredibly difficult.

      But, for the determined, not impossible.

    • TheWisp

      "I think what we're seeing is a reaction to someone "taking away" their safe space"

      That is a fantastic way to put it, Eliza!

      Now that I think on it, I have heard a lot of geeky guys describe their circles as essentially safe spaces for socially awkward, lonely young men with certain kinds of interests(though they didn't use the word "safe space").

      • rammspieler

        So the question is; What can we do to make these guys feel safe and not feel threatened in the face of what they view as a violation of the only place where they felt normal?

        • Gentleman Johnny

          The only answer I can come up with is "take my football and go home" but I don't think that's a viable large scale strategy. The basic problem is that if you want people to treat you well, you have to treat them well first.You're not going to do that if you feel attacked. I fear that this is going to end up being a generational issue that gets solved by he intolerant minority getting too old to continue. Look at other similar issues historically and that's how it tends to go. However, that is contingent on the next generation not being taught the same ways.

          • rebootI730

            There is also the option of like minded people making safe spaces that are inclusive but very strict on the kind of behavior that is acceptable. A space does not have to be sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. to be safe for geeky men.

        • eris523

          Wait, why is that the question?

          I owe my entire career to computer games — and no, I don't even work in the gaming industry. My father used computer games to sucker me into using the TRS-80 Color Computer he bought me in 1980, because he believed that someday computers would be an essential part of daily life and familiarity and confidence with them would be a boon to me no matter what profession I went into. First, I had to load them from a cassette tape. Then, he got a book so I had to type them in. Then, he got a book for Apples so I had to port the games over to the TRS-80 platform as I types them in. Then he told me if I wanted more games, I would have to write one myself — and I did. I might have been 7 by then. Doesn't change the fact that I wrote my first (awful, boring) (but bug-free!) game /because I loved games so much/ years before a lot of the people harassing Sarkeesian and Quinn, or claiming that women are new to video games, were BORN.

          The complaint that this arena is no longer safe for some guys since the "influx" of women — many of whom have been here from the start, as DNL's piece notes, and are merely not as invisible now as were were during a heyday of male gaming that doesn't even go back to the beginning of the genre — this complaint that some guys feel they are losing their "safe" space in gaming and responding to it by violence against the women they blame… it baffles me to consider looking at placation for a solution. They were only happy when they could pretend I and women like me did not exist because the industry had driven us out of sight. They are unhappy now that we insist once again that we exist and no longer want to be treated as though we don't. Some of them are so unhappy they threaten our safety and our lives in reaction to this loss of our compliance with invisibility and going along to get… sidelined.

          So why again should we worried about making /them/ feel safe from our "violation" of a space where we have always belonged in order to makes ourselves actually safe from real threats?

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Also this. I have to admit, a lot of this conversation reminded me of my mom's offhanded comment when seeing the news of yet another African American kid being shot and the perpetrator walking "I got tear gassed in the 60s for this?" The argument does strike me as "well if we're going to integrate schools, how do we keep the racists from getting mad about it"? That's where my original answer came from. The biggest reduction in racism eventually came from non-racist kids taking over the culture from their racist parents.

          • eris523

            Yeah, the comparison really urges itself on me, but it's not mine to make. It seems roughly as fraught with problems as Godwinning. But despite the scale and severity being undeserving of the really major (and thus best-known/most-visible) comparisons, the problem with treatment of women in geekery and gaming has some common roots, philosophically.

            We have an elite, catered-to group whose interests are actively served to the point of pandering by the people with the ability to build the communal space: in this case, the makers of games and our other interests are specifically targeting male gamers. Some of that pandering involves the dehumanization and objectification or reduction-to-utility of a less-served group, in this case women. In return, the pandered-to reward the power structure, in this case, by giving the makers of things money. This has brought about a system in which there's a kind of glee associated with the active oppression, terrorizing, discrediting, or ostracization of the underserved group by /some/ of the pandered-to, while all of the pandered-to receive the benefits (whether they enjoy them or not). In this case, that leads to everything from ideas like the argument that the scantily-clad woman on the box art is okay because she's there /for/ the guys, while the scantily-clad cosplayer at the con is emphatically NOT okay because she's there for herself rather than the guys and the guys find this misleading, to the idea that a woman in a game who needs saving is a righteous motivation for the male gamer because her abduction/rape/death/peril is useful to his enjoyment of the story, while a woman at a con who is being harassed or drugged or groped is, by dint of not being USEFUL in her straits, an annoyance.

            I realize I'm pulling in a much wider scope of geek culture here than the article initially set about to address, particularly by pulling in "fake geek girls", con-cosplayers, and sexual harassment within physical gatherings of the community, but that's because I see the problem as generally systemic among geeky interests and sharing these qualities across the board, and sharing traits with other systems of much greater oppression with farther-reaching effects because the problems share roots in human behavior.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Yeah, comparison to school integration are way out of proportion but it does strike me as a difference of degree rather than kind. I can definitely say from my little platform that it pisses me off enough to get tear gassed over. My mother and I are of the same ethnicity so perhaps that's a fairer comparison. Mind you, I'm reasonably sure that the guys who want to exclude women from geekdom probably won't resort to tear gas. Too much chance that they'll run into some goths/rivetheads/steampunks/Mad Max fans who are entirely prepared for that and carrying large blunt instrument.

            "like the argument that the scantily-clad woman on the box art is okay because she's there /for/ the guys, while the scantily-clad cosplayer at the con is emphatically NOT okay because she's there for herself rather than the guys and the guys find this misleading, to the idea that a woman in a game who needs saving is a righteous motivation for the male gamer because her abduction/rape/death/peril is useful to his enjoyment of the story, while a woman at a con who is being harassed or drugged or groped is, by dint of not being USEFUL in her straits, an annoyance. "

            This is brilliant. Its brilliant by that definition of "obvious once I heard it but never would have come up with it on my own."

          • eris523

            Aw, thanks! It's one of those things where the perception filter is too good to see through from outside unless you have immediate and personal motivation, and it comes at you from too many sides at once to pin it down if you're in the middle of it. I happen to be in the eye of the storm right now, hiding in my hotel room at a con after a (very mild) unsettling incident that brought back to mind all kinds of other unsettling incidents, and have the luxury of mulling it over in solitude. I'm very pleased with myself that I managed to turn stewing into distillation.

            "Too much chance that they'll run into some goths/rivetheads/steampunks/Mad Max fans who are entirely prepared for that and carrying large blunt instrument."

            *looks at all-black wardrobe*
            *looks at rivethead boots*

            Thanks, that's just what I needed! *puts on eyeliner and heads back out*

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I really do value those moments of insight and I get more insights/hour on here than just about anywhere else. Also, go get 'em! Wait, are you at DragonCon? If there weren't like 6,000,000 people there, I'd have you run down some friends of mine.

          • eris523

            Yep, that's the one! It's my third year here, and I'm still trying to improve my "actually seeing things I want and plan to see" track record from "one per con" to "one per day" or better.It's So. Phenomenally. Crowded. that I have a tendency to just duck into whatever's nearby and looks like there's still a seat left.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I went once many years ago. Its a long and sordid tale involving screwed up reservations and washing my hair in a public fountain. It was hellishly crowded even back then (1999) but so much fun. Just be sure to bring your gas mask. Never know when you'll have to deal with misogynistic tear gas. 🙂

            Oh, and watch out for the 40-ish muscl-y huy with the cheezy. . .either Superman or anime costume, the really obviously costumey looking one. He has an amazing habit of winning the cosplay competition on weekend project costumes, showmanship and raw guts. He's my nemesis and an old and dear friend. 🙂

          • eris523

            Does he participate in the kilt-blowing contest regularly? I might know just who you're talking about. Shameless, cheesy, inventive, and regularly rewarded for it (rightfully).

          • Gentleman Johnny

            They didn't have that when I went in the 90's but I could see him being in it. His name is Derek and he does an excellent Goku, complete with floor length foam wig.

          • rammspieler

            As a nerd AND a Rivethead, I don't understand why I would want to clobber my own kind, even if they were annoying, knowing that nerds tend to be too cowardly to even try something like that.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            The joke was more that those particular subcultures are the most likely ones to be carrying/wearing a gas mask when the misogynist tear gas gets fired.

          • TheWisp

            I don't think rammspieler was talking about the one's making the threats. Rather, he was talking about the much larger group of guys who are angry, but in no way dangerous, who are inadvertently enabling the really threatening guys by superficially being on the same side.

          • rammspieler

            That's exactly what I meant. The guys whom despite the destigmatization of nerdiness, are still/were given slack for it. Sorta like the reason why I spent a long time in the LS/Incel community, despite the toxic attitudes that have taken over that community. The only reason why I stuck around and even defended the rights of the misogynists to spew their hatred, despite not agreeing with them most of the time, was because I felt like it was the only place where guys like me could understand what my problems were. In fact, there are times where I still wish I had a place like that to go to.

        • thathat

          Historically, the answer is usually "those people are just going to have to be uncomfortable for a little while until they get used to the idea of inclusiveness, and there will always be a handful of holdouts who view it as a violation."

          I'm thinking on a slightly larger scale than just video games. But I can think of groups that reacted badly to what they viewed as "a violation of their space" who were very much not in the right.

  • StarlightArcher

    You'll have to pry that diet soda can from my cold dead hand! I will never try to walk away from such a font of body-destorying deliciousness ever again. Can I have your share, since you've abandoned us to our soda slurping ways? *sniff* Don't feel bad Diet Dr. Pepper, I promise I'll never leave you!

  • ktest098

    I think all of the talk of "gaming culture" is nonsense.

    The bigger picture you are all missing is that there is a huge "Griefer culture" of destruction on the internet. So called "Gaming culture" is just one facet of a group of people that range from gaming sites to 4Chan to internet forums everywhere.

    These are people who thrive on chaos and destruction and pain. They are not going anywhere if "gaming" has issues, because there are lots of other opportunities to cause pain to others on the internet and there always will be.

    It's sad to see "gamers" painted as the problem when it's a wholly different group of people that just happen to also play games.

    • Hmm, that's an interesting hypothesis. I, at least, don't see those folks engage nearly as much in other communities I'm involved with. It does seem like gaming gets a disproportionate slice of their attention – and that it gets accepted and even reinforced by people who aren't part of "griefer culture" but who do call themselves gamers. Could you suggest other communities where you think these people are heavy participants? I'd love to poke around and see if I can understand your point better.

      • ktest098

        Mostly 4Chan, probably some subreddits (but I don't read Reddit enough to know). But basically in any part of the internet that allows comments, you can find them – individuals that are unreasonably horrible to the rest of the community that spends time there. They are less present on sites with heavy moderation that limits their ability to conduct psychological warfare.

        People have also been claiming they are mysoginists but that is not so – as I said they are Griefers, they will dispense hate and fear unto anyone and everyone. With women there are simply more taboo terms they can use when attacking.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          And a power imbalance. Guys don't generally get "I know where you live and I'm coming to kill you" from griefers.

        • eselle28

          I disagree that griefers are the only problem in gaming culture, though. There are a number of ways in which women are more subtly marginalized, ostracized, objectified, and harassed, from the product design level down to online gameplay, and there's a substantial number of men who apologize for and defend people who behave in ways that you do label as griefing.

          I would also say that the fact that the more extreme behavior you describe exists elsewhere doesn't mean it's not worth it to eradicate it from the gaming community. If people are vigilant enough so that the only place such people are wanted are communities that are by and for them and that have little appeal to other people (I'm not sure if chan boards are that, but I'll leave it to people who enjoy them to clean up their communities while I concentrate on my own), all the better.

          • thathat

            Oh gosh, this. I think I didn't realize until now just how very tired I am of the "well, it's only a couple of people doing it, they're just really loud," excuse. You can go onto gamer boards and see whole circles of people talking amongst themselves about what a horrible liar/slut/not-a-real-gamer Sarkeesian is and whipping themselves up into a frenzy. It's not just about the people that directly give her crap; it's about a whole culture of defensive hatred that's made this okay, made it "justified."

      • B.C.

        Try Any forum thread on Yahoo! related to sports, politics or politicized science like climate change. It’s not misogynistic, it’s Jet Fans vs. Dolphin Fans, Libtards vs. Repubicans. Basically any disagreement descends into a hairpit of namecalling.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      If I put an alarm on my car, it won't decrease the number of vehicles stolen but it will keep mine off the list.

    • Mel_

      I addressed a similar comment in the post before this. No, it isn't just people who are going around enjoying causing chaos and pain. There are lots of regular gamers who clearly feel threatened by and hostile about women getting involved in gaming, and who lash out in various ways. They make it easier for "Griefers" to get away with horrible behavior in gamer communities, and they cause a lot of grief in themselves by making women feel unwelcome, unsafe, and dismissed.

      I am started to get tired of people dismissing sexism in gaming communities as all the fault of some small group of unrelated people. All you have to do is look at Monday's post about Quinn to see several guys who aren't outright trolls who honestly think that Quinn and/or Sarkeesian's actions should have some bearing in a discussion about death and rape threats. Who consider these women to be outsiders when it comes to gaming simply because they are women, as far as I can tell. (I don't see how else you could justify, for example, calling a woman an "interloper" at an event she was invited to participate at in a professional capacity.) Are you seriously trying to claim that those people are "Griefers", not regular gamers? Or that their attitudes are not a problem? Or that there aren't tons of people who feel the same way, who you can find commenting on articles like this all across the internet?

      • eris523

        "I am started to get tired of people dismissing sexism in gaming communities as all the fault of some small group of unrelated people."

        This dismissal always comes across to me as a form of expression of the human tendency to believe that {we and people like us} do good things because we are good people, but bad things because of external influences or good reasons or circumstances beyond our control — and that conversely, {they and people not like us} do bad things because they are bad people, and good things because of external influences or bad reasons or circumstances beyond their control.

        If these self-identified "hardcore gamers" are doing things we cannot accept as "good", then we want to find some way they are {people not like us}. Another reflex is to accept them as {people like us}, but use the external influences argument: in this case, to say that Sarkeesian and Quinn somehow brought this on themselves. It fits the bill nicely and also ropes in the just world theory as an added bonus.

        The third reflex, of course, is to find a way to see the behavior as "good" by justifying it: calling it "exposure of corruption in gaming journalism", for example. This nugget of motivated reasoning does not require casting out the bad actors, allows for blaming the targets, AND finds an orthagonal issue to use as a moral standard so it repaints persecution as "justice", claiming the end justifies the means.

        The argument that these are first and foremost griefers who happen to game is an attempt to dissociate "gamer" from "griefing", which is pretty funny if you think about the origin of the term "griefing" — but that says more about the origin of the label than of the behavior. The argument itself is a little bit encouraging in that it doesn't attempt to turn injustice into justice by picking a new moral standard to elevate, and it doesn't try to equivocate by saying "well, doing that is a bad thing BUT we all know bad things exist and these women shouldn't have turned themselves into lightning rods and then complained about being struck" as if rape and death threats are a force of nature and not a deliberate human act of will. So anyone saying "{they} are not {us}" is managing not to take either of the two easiest roads out.

        However, it's still an out.

        • eris523

          And now, having edited that down to fit in the character limit, I find it reads as a lot more apologetic for that dissociation option than I intended it to. Allow me to restate:

          It's a less atrocious out than victim-blaming or pretending "journalistic integrity" is a just cause while "not terrorizing into silence those you disapprove of" is simply a means that takes on the moral character of its ends. But it's related at its root to both of those, and while it might seem less damaging than the other two, it's still both harmful and unhelpful.

          I really want to buy every gamer a copy of /The Lucifer Effect/ and a weekend spa vacation to read it on. If we cannot see that the enemy is {us}, we will not stop creating strawmen to beat our own demons out of. The "griefers who happen to game" are every bit as much a whipping boy as "the women who ostracized male geeks in junior high but had the temerity to sleep with other guys" or "the jocks who beat us up" or "women who criticize games" or "women who attend cons for male attention" or…

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Maybe we can do that on day three of the (strictly hypothetical) Fans Of DNL Vegas Vacation! Don't forget to invite the beer dragon.

          • eris523

            "Invite the beer dragon? You ARE the beer dragon!"

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Is this one of those "you've had the power all along, its inside of you," speeches? Because I'm fairly sure I'm not a literal beer hoarding dragon. If I am, the mayor of Night Vale had better watch out!

          • eris523

            When's the last time you checked? You might have turned into a literal beer-hoarding dragon, or possibly Andre the Giant, since then.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I'm definitely not Andre The Giant, I still fit in my car. Dragons can shapeshift but the question of "what's your true form" seems a bit too existential to tackle today.

    • nonA

      Follow-up question to griefer theory:

      I hope we can all agree that harassment is a bad thing. Griefer theory proposes different solutions than misogyny theory does, and for that reason it’s totally worth setting aside some space for griefer theory discussions.

      That said, what practical solutions would you offer? Why it happens is important only insofar as it helps us figure out how to make the bad stuff stop. How do you propose making the bad stuff stop?

      • rebootI730

        You use the tools I linked to a similar question you had earlier and the ones I linked in this article. There are many well structured methods to address hate speech, bigotry, prejudice etc. that can be used to combat griefers.

        • nonA

          And I’m using those. Belated thanks for those, BTW.

          My question was more directed at ktest, though. It’s one thing to say “I question your proposed solutions, here are some things I think would work better”. It’s another to debate the whys endlessly while bad stuff keeps happening.

          Basically, I’m a results-minded person. When someone quibbles about the causes, I like to see what solutions they think would work.

          • rebootI730

            Ahhh….now I get it and I agree with you. The "Oh what ever shall we do!" hand toss because it just too big grates on my nerves. I mean, it is not like this is the first time society has had to address these kinds of behaviors, so acting as if there is no solution is just plain silly.

            EDIT: On the Missouri link I find that "The Echo" and "The Questioner" and (occasionally) the "I have been there" and "The Debunker" work best for me online. I can not do "The Emoter" without getting pissed off and am not good at "The Connector" unless it is face to face

  • My experience with this has been a lot like The Tea Party. Its those handful of assholes who are yelling and screaming louder then the people who actually want to debate or calmly talk about the Anita videos. Then those crazy people yell even louder to the point the calm rational people get lumped with the crazy psychopathic people. I have watched a lot of Anita's videos and while I don't agree with a big majority of her points, I do not send death threats to her and never will.

    • thathat

      I think that's a good analogy. Also in the way that the Tea Party has completely taken over the Republican Party to the point that for the most part, Republican politicians have to go in catering to that demographic and can't be seen making any kind of compromise with the competition. Which means that everyone who isn't a Republican now looks at the party and thinks, "Okay, they're crazy, rude, and their ideas are bad."

      The solution is kind of the same too: if the people in that group want their group to not be associated with awful people, then the decent folks in that group need to stand up, visible shut down the awfulness, and make it unacceptable, *even* in like-minded company.

      • True, but it is kind of difficult for people like me or Jon Tron or Mundane Matt who do try and dissociate from the psychos but are completely lumped together with them and compared to ISIS. Even this opinion page by DNL kind of lumps all of the gamers together

        • rebootI730

          You disassociate the same way white people do during discussions of racism, straight people do during discussions of homophobia, Americans do during discussions of American power, moderate Muslims do when discussing radical Islam etc..

          This is not exactly a unique phenomenon. Every human grouping has problematic members and behaviors that some, even the majority, of those in the group do not want to be associated with. Geeky men are no different.

        • thathat

          Then you make yourself stand apart by visibly being different from those people and by VISIBLY decrying them, even in your own circles.

          And hopefully you don't get your feathers too ruffled that people on the outside of those circles don't always discuss the non-problematic elements in your group when they're discussing the problematic ones doing harm right now. Because it's not really about you personally. It's about the perception of your group of peers and what you can do to change it (and getting grumpy about being "lumped in" rarely does that. It's a pretty common sentiment that Nice Guys bring into feminists discussion: "Well, I *was* gonna be an ally, but you made me feel bad so now I won't" and so on.)

          • eselle28

            Exactly. I also think that one of the key elements is visibly decrying them even during discussions that aren't specifically about the problematic elements in your social circles. Someone who speaks up when everyone else is about to let a shitty comment or a stereotype slide will stand out as paying attention. Someone who only protests that they're not one of the problematic elements in gaming and disapprove of the people who are when there's an article like this isn't doing much to contribute to fixing the problem.

      • TheWisp

        "The solution is kind of the same too: if the people in that group want their group to not be associated with awful people, then the decent folks in that group need to stand up, visible shut down the awfulness, and make it unacceptable, *even* in like-minded company."

        Do you view this as merely a pragmatic assertion, or also a normative assertion (i.e. if they don't speak up, they're morally complicit in the others' behavior)? I agree with the former but I have strong mixed feelings about the latter, especially when I think of applying it to other groups in other situations.

        • I'd say there are a number of factors that affect the degree to which I think the normative piece applies. For example, the more voluntary one's association with the group, the greater one's moral complicity if one does not speak up. I had a list of five or six of these factors at one point. I should see if I can dig it up.

        • rebootI730

          My feeling is yes, staying silent makes a person partially complicit. Not as complicit as the bile spewers, but the silence tends to equal agreement. Be it the Germans or Americans who said nothing when their Jewish and Japanese neighbors were taken away, the Sunni who says nothing as the Yazdi neighbors are driven out, the white people that watched black people get lynched and said nothing, the person who does not stop a gay person from being beaten, etc.. Each contributes to the atmosphere of hate with their silence.

          • TheWisp

            Hm, it's interesting that all your examples were of people in positions of privilege not speaking up, because the analogies that give me pause are the ones of non-privileged groups, like moderate Muslims and radical Islam. If a hypothetical community of moderate Mulsims didn't speak up against a specific violent act of radical Islam, are they complicit in it (I'm not saying moderate Muslims don't, in reality, condemn these acts, this is a hypothetical)? Couldn't they counter back that it should be *obvious* that radical Islam doesn't represent them, and that people who don't see this are ignorant or bigoted, and that it is insulting to be lumped in with them?

          • rebootI730

            In predominantly Muslim countries moderate Muslims can and do speak out often, in some places, at great risk to their lives. Those that are less vocal makes their opinions known by changing mosques and changing donations, which speaks loudly in the community. In non-majority nations there is a tendency to not air dirty laundry due to bigotry. But if you follow any of the community press in the native language people are outspoken. Those that do not speak out in majority countries with words or actions are complicit, often because on some level they at least partially support the aims of violent, radical Islam.

            Men in our society are not equivalent to moderate Muslims in countries with a radical Islam element in that no one is likely to kill you or charge you with apostasy if you speak out. It is false equivalence because the risks of speaking out are almost zero.

          • Fwiw I think Wisp is trying to understand distinctions rather than create false equivalence.

          • rebootI730

            I think can see that, but men in geek culture not speaking out is closer to my first examples than Muslims outside Muslim majority countries. His choice got up my nose.

          • TheWisp

            This. I didn't mean to imply equivalence, just thinking about why some give me pause, and others don't (and this situation with geeky guys didn't give me pause itself, but only because I was associating it with other cases).

          • rebootI730

            I get that and know that was the spirit you meant but the comparison group just got to me because much of the speaking out is never translated. It is one of those GAHHHH!!!! topics for me.

          • thathat

            I think a big difference between this and that is that it's generally only people very outside the Muslim community who believe all Muslims are violent radicals, so the average Muslim speaking up to let them know that isn't the case is doing it to correct a misconception.

            Whereas in the gaming community, I'm not talking about people speaking up to correct an outside perception of their community, but speaking up within that community to change the problematic elements.

            Using a similar religious example, most people believe that Christians are against marriage equality. And a lot of Christians are, very vocally. But there are plenty of Christians who are for marriage equality, and there are two things they can do in regards to their community of faith. One thing they can do is, when discussing LGBTQ rights, to also mention their faith, as a way to let people know that being anti-LGBTQ is not something inherently part of Christianity and to dispel that perception. That's not without merit (other Christians looking might see it and be more confident about coming out or being allies). Another thing they can do is to speak up WITHIN their communities of faith in favor of LGBTQ rights.

            The first is changing or correcting an outside perception. That's not bad.

            The second is trying to change the harmful attitudes *within* a community. That's doesn't just help perceptions, it helps the community and people within it.

          • TheWisp

            I like this way of framing it! I hadn't thought of it that way.

        • thathat

          There are times when it's understandable if someone doesn't speak up, yeah. The social pressure and cost is too much, the backlash is more than you feel you could deal with, etc. But if someone has a problem with their group being viewed in such a negative light, but does not take an active role in shutting down those elements within their group, then…yeah, they seem a little complicit. They want for their group to be viewed well, but aren't willing to take the steps (and the risks) involved with improving the group itself.

          In gaming culture especially, though, I feel like there's a little complicity going on. It's such a ubiquitous part of the culture that it almost becomes background noise. So on one hand, I can understand the more decent folks just "not noticing" after awhile, but the fact that it does become so normalized…I dunno. There are things said and jokes made that it feels like decent people should shut down (the whole "Five Guys" bit. But then, I really hate any kind of name calling in a serious discussion), and when they choose to just let it slide, yeah, it makes me a little uncomfortable.

          • TheWisp

            I see what you're saying. Yeah, I think I agree, especially in the case of misogyny in geek culture we are talking about.

            " I can understand the more decent folks just "not noticing" after awhile"

            Not just that, but perhaps just as bad, they (mostly speaking about guys here, much more understandable and less bad when women do this) just withdraw themselves from the misogynist geek circles they belong to rather than call it out, content to just socialize with decent geeks, but not really combating the misogyny much in the grand scheme of things (though, creating a safe space for female geeks that still has some male geeks in it is probably a good in itself).

  • craniest

    just an observation: in every single article I've read on the subject in the last week or so is full of comments, most of which are not worth reading, there's always these guys (different ones each time, I suppose) and they always say the same thing:

    "I don't like/don't agree with/didn't watch Anita Sarkeesian's vids BUT what happened to her was not cool and we can't let it make the rest of US look bad…"

    the reason I'm noting this is that you don't have to be a consumer or fan of a person or their work to empathize with their terrible situation. But the way it keeps being put is almost in a "no way I'll admit to liking the videos because that will make ME a target, but I'm totes against harassment so yay for me I guess."

    I'm looking forward to seeing comments from the guys who do say they like the videos and to hell with painting a target on their own backs. So far the only ones I've seen are the BNFs like Wheedon et al. But regular guys, there's almost always that quantifier, "I hate her work/don't agree with her BUT…"

    • Tea_Fish

      In contrast, for a lot of the articles I've been reading, I keep seeing "Well, it sucks that she's getting harassed BUT LET ME LIST OUT THE 928374982374 WAYS ANITA SARKEESIAN SUCKS AND IS EXTREMELY WRONG HERE IS A LINK DEBUNKING ALL OF HER VIDEOS I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE TOUT HER WORKS/ZOE QUINN IS A LYING CHEATING WHORE," so…… very small improvement I guess?

      • craniest

        Oh yes, seen a lot of those too. But I was commenting that the ones that are even remotely condemning of the attacks also tend toward the "don't get me wrong, I don't LIKE her, but" variety. Very milquetoast. What's wrong with saying that you straight up don't think they deserve to be treated that way, period? Why qualify it?

        That's like how any apology that contains "I'm sorry BUT" is not an apology, it's another way to keep the thing you're apologizing for going.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      I saw a similar comment on TMS. It pointed out that no one starts with "I don't always agree with George R. R. Martin but. . ." or Joss Whedon or whoever. Hence my Dos Equis joke. Personally, I agree with her overarching point but I tend to find the format a bit dry and less than convincing at the prevalence of the issue. There are times that I actively disagree with her, such as using a sandbox game's ability to kill anyone as an example of mistreatment of women specifically. For the most part, I feel like there's a less academic way to make the point effectively but she's trying for scholarship, not propaganda so that's understandable.

      • eris523

        I don't always agree with Joss Whedon, but when I do, it's when he's Tweeting support for Sarkeesian.

        Seriously, I've had problems with his actions in the past regarding how much praise he expects for claiming the "feminist" title versus how much he does to live up to it, but I like him better right now.

        Possibly even enough to buy him a Dos Equis. Hope you're thirsty, Joss Whedon.

    • We mainly do this because a lot of the time when this is happening we are being lumped together with the handful of people giving death threats and calling people names. So when we do happen to post on how we disagree/don't like/didn't watch her video and we try to give reasonable answers on why, we are usually being compares to ISIS (People who decapitate other innocent people) or Nazis or other vile things from the same people who are trying to fight against labeling people or hurting other people. It's just us trying to say we are not like those trolls and psychopaths.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        I think the question was more about why someone saying "deaht threats are wrong" with no substantive discussion of her points still prefaces that statement with "I don't always drink beer. . ."

        • Aggrax

          I think that some part of it could possible be people attempting to avoid being dismissed as a "White Knight" or "Fanboy" or similar terms. By prefacing that they don't agree with her work, they are attempting to assert that their objection isn't biased towards her point of view by default, but rather that anyone undergoing similar issues would garner a similar response.

          In a way, I liken it to people in the Christy Mack case saying things like "Even if she's a porn star, (vauge denouncement of her beating and Warmachines behavior.)" To them, it seems like their using this clarification to emphasize their point, but in reality it undermines the very idea they stand for, as Doc pointed out in the article about this very issue.

    • Henry Gorman

      I'm a guy who plays video games a lot who thinks that Anita Sarkeesian is mostly right. And I would also totally appreciate seeing more guys say that openly.

      But oddly, I'm also glad that we're seeing a bunch of "disagreement but harassment and death threats are not okay" comments. That's mostly because these statements promote the norm that it's not okay to threaten to rape or kill somebody because you disagree with them, no matter how much you disagree. And that statement is generally a lot more credible from people talking about a case where they actually do disagree with the person who's being attacked.

    • LordAzazel

      I liked her videos, (simply /loved/ her Miss Male Character one!), and obviously I'm horrified by these death threats. I can't imagine how scary it must be to read something containing so detailed.

      (I didn't like her hitman video tho, I don't know why she pretended that you were encouraged to kill strippers while in the actual game you are penalized for it…)

      • Gentleman Johnny

        Like I said elsewhere, I found that using games where you can kill any random nameless background character as evidence of violence against women in particular a bit disingenuous. On the other hand the long lists of dead wife, rescue daughter or dead wife, recover her soul games was pretty spot on at making its point.

        • PlasticFruit

          I think her main point with sandbox play is not that it is bad that you can kill female NPCs in the sandbox, but that NPCs that are female are sexually objectified in a way that male NPCs are not. Male NPCs are also more likely to be coded to fight back, have dialogue which isn't all about upping the manhood of the player character, etc. When she talks about the amount of gameplay that takes place in brothels, the sheer amount of NPC prostitutes who say they'd give the player a freebie because they are so handsome, manly, whatever makes me want to slam my face into the table.

          • kath

            Yeah that was also how I interpreted that particular piece of criticism.

    • Can I agree with the message but not agree with the method? Vidya doesn't deserve a better class of critic yet, but I want a genderflipped Sean Malstrom-type, coming from a there-is-a-demand-for-this and we-can-do-better angle, who goes for quality over quantity in her examples and highlights subversions and positive role models, showing what feminist game design can mean in practice without verging towards gender essentialism while rooting it in a history of previous dudette developers and taking a comprehensive approach by putting in aspects of gamer culture and industry models.

    • jjnonken

      For what it's worth, I'm a male gamer; I haven't seen any of Quinn's works, but I've watched several of Sarkeesian's videos, like them and for the most part, agree with them.

      I really don't feel that my masculinity is threatened by, well, anybody in particular, let along female gamers. And I abhor what some other idiots have done in the name of theirs.

      I will quote you a quote: "Violence is the first refuge of the incompetent." If the only way you can address criticism is by violence or threats of violence, then you've just lost. You've lost your argument, you've lost your moral position, and as far as I'm concerned, you've lost your right to be heard.

  • actinic

    …. I'm glad I don't play vidoe games anymore

  • Karen

    Sarkeesian is dilusional. She plays the victim role very well and sees misogyny everywhere she looks. A curious ponderment is, if she is such a hardcore “feminist” who renounces men and their treacherous ways, how come she shows cleavage and paints her face to simulate mild arrousal, in what could only be assumed is a way to present her supposed sexuality to men?

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Sooo. . .the Damsel In Distress isn't an overused trope in gaming because. . .misogyny? I can't even pick apart anything after that well enough to make fun of it.

      • rebootI730

        That has been an overused trope since Helen of Troy. It was probably overused since Rama and Sita. I find the triteness almost as offensive as the misogyny

        • Greg

          If nothing else, you’d think they’d be grateful that there was someone out there who was literally risking her life to make their games less formulaic and boring.

          • rebootI730

            Seriously! Imagine what cool things could be done if the tropes were set aside or reimagined.

            For example, a two player damsel/dude in distress game where both players acted to advance the escape but neither knew what the other was doing (unless they figured out how to communicate) would be way cooler than a passive hostage scenario

    • username_6916


      Okay, I dislike Anita and nearly everything she stands for. But… Your reasoning is off.

      Yes, Anita plays the victim role very well. That doesn't mean that she isn't the target of real harassment.

      Yes, you can be a feminist without becoming an ideological lesbian. You can also be a Men's Rights Activist without becoming a "Man Going His Own Way". You can also be an experimentalist without immediately committing suicide. You can oppose firearms rights without wanting to take away the President's armed guards. You can oppose gay rights without wanting to send all gays to death camps. You don't have to accept the most extreme tenants of an ideology to wear the label of it.

      Finally, her personal appearance is only relevant when she's criticizing female characters that share these attributes of her personal appearance. It's not like men are going to see cleavage and suddenly turn off their logic centers in their brains. It's not like even has much impact on her argument, outside that one little exception I mentioned.

      • I think one of my problems with Anita is that she could do so much more with her followers and everything. I personally don't think her videos are making that much of a positive change compared to the negatives around her. What would be great is if she got enough money to make a game in her vision. I think that would run home a lot more then just a couple videos a year.

        • eselle28

          Presumably she's not interested in making a game and/or that's not the direction in which her talents lie. I frankly don't have a lot of patience with the view that every woman who's unhappy with the quality of media offered to her is required to set aside her career and become a filmmaker or a video game designer. You can dislike seeing dull, repetitive, sexist content even if you're not a talented creative writer yourself and your talents lie more in analyzing and discussing media.

          I don't find her videos particularly interesting, either, mostly because she's doing this at a 101 level and has yet to say anything I haven't already thought, but it's not reasonable to expect her to either shut up or make a career change. There are lots of other women working on games that fit their visions – instead of pushing Sarkeesian into that box, why not keep an eye out for their Kickstarters?

          • I get what you are saying. I definitely don't want her to shut up, I guess my mentality is more like, It would do a lot more good to really do something big then just critic the games at a 101 level like you said.

          • eselle28

            That's fair. I wouldn't mind if she did some huge thesis on the subject that goes beyond the 101 stuff myself. On the other side of things, the reaction to even this suggests that there's need for 101 stuff, even if it doesn't provide much for me to ponder anymore.

        • thathat

          "What would be great is if she got enough money to make a game in her vision. I think that would run home a lot more then just a couple videos a year. "

          I'm just really tired of hearing this, and I know you mean well by it. But in any arts and entertainment industry, we need to have discussion as well as new creation. Not everyone is cut out to make a game or a comic or a movie, and while from your follow up responses it's clear that you didn't mean it like this, "If you don't like it, go make your own" is a common sentiment used to shut people up (especially relevant here because I think her discussion is less about "my ideal video game" and more about "here are some problematic attitudes in the gaming industry and community that still exist). There are a lot of different aspects that go into encouraging and creating change. Making the product itself is only one of them. After all, there ARE games in the industry being made by people trying to break free of old tropes and be more inclusive and progressive, there just aren't as many of them, and their mere existence doesn't change the climate by itself. Discussion, even loud, angry discussion, in visible places, is needed.

    • "Why does a real person fail to behave like my idiotic, misogynistic caricature?" Golly gosh, can't imagine.

    • SandwichSlut

      Oh honey….
      "Sarkeesian is dilusional"
      -Hardly. She's not making this shit up. The trends she talks about are very real.

      "She plays the victim role very well" Getting death-threated out of your own home isn't "playing" the victim, it's actually being the victim of a real crime.

      "and sees misogyny everywhere she looks". That's because misogyny, while not everywhere, is in a distressingly high number of places. Also, her series is about women in popular culture…what else is she going to talk about, fluffy bunnies?

      "A curious ponderment is, if she is such a hardcore "feminist" who renounces men and their treacherous ways"
      – She has never said any such bullshit thing. She wants men to think about how they create women in media. For the love of God, stop equating "asking men to change their behavior" with "HATEZ ALLMEN MUST DIEEE!"

      "how come she shows cleavage and paints her face to simulate mild arrousal, in what could only be assumed is a way to present her supposed sexuality to men?"
      -Why, no, in fact, that is NOT the only reason that can be assumed. Maybe, just maybe, she dresses that way because she feels like it. Because for the last time, Women are NOT CONSTANTLY THINKING ABOUT ATTRACTING MEN.
      Women can dress however they want, for no other reason because they feel like looking pretty, or sexy (or not).

      • Karen

        If you think women painting their faces to simulate mild arousal to appear sexy is not inherently an attempt at attracting mates for reproduction, I believe you have a lot to learn about sexuality and the underlying motive of every undulation in the universe. Sure there are some women who wear makeup who have no intent or desire to attract a man, but they are wearing this makeup for the wrong reasons out of some insecurity created within themselves and are pretending to be something which they are not.

        • I believe you are talking out of your ass.

        • Mel_

          You know what the funniest* part of this is? If Sarkeesian didn't wear make-up in her videos, then her critics would be complaining about how that proves she doesn't really care about the videos, not even enough to put in the effort to look her best. (How do I know this? Because I've already seen people complaining about things like finding the shirt she wears unattractive or that she doesn't "make the effort" to change up her clothing from video to video enough. 😛 )

          *Where by funniest I actually mean saddest.

          • Interestingly enough, according to one of the guys heading "The Sarkeesian Effect," Anitia Sarkeesian wears makeup in order to pass herself off as a white person (despite being a white Canadian with ancestors from Armenia: a nation in the region of the Caucasus mountains: where we get the term "Caucasian").

            BTW: Those videos are of a youtube user responding to Jordan Owen pointing out how he's being full of it.

        • eris523

          So… wait.

          Wearing makeup to attract men means she has to full-on commit to nonfeminism, because scare-quotes-feminism is antithetical to… uh… undulation, or reproduction, or something like that — but wearing makeup WITHOUT intending to attract men is wearing it for "the wrong reasons" and indicates insecurity and pretense.

          What's not wearing makeup at all? Does that have to do with men, reproduction, or appearing sexy, too? Or is doing things for the wrong reasons out of insecurity the only non-gimme-babbiez motivation women are permitted?

        • SandwichSlut

          Whatever I may or may not know about sexuality, at least I understand what the word "feminist" means. And it sure as hell doesn't mean "women who eschew makeup so that they may forever abstain from the company of men".

          • username_6916

            And, while I dispute that your definition of feminism reflects the current political realities of using that word, I'm also fairly certain that it doesn't mean "women who eschew makeup so that they may forever abstain from the company of men".

        • Also, spoiler alert:

          Lesbians wear makeup!

          • enail0_o

            Oh, but apparently we're doing it for the wrong reasons.

            I look forward to learning whether my reasons for wearing hats, eating toast and dancing to Rock Lobster are wrong or right. Then we can calculate my score and see if I win, or if my incorrect making-wearing cost me the medal! 😀

          • eselle28

            Spoiler: there are no wrong reasons to dance to Rock Lobster.

          • enail0_o

            You think that. But how do you know it isn't just an insecurity created within the rocks and pretending to be lobsters they're not? Clearly you don't understand the underlying motives of the undulations in the universe.

          • rebootI730

            You know I have been meaning to discuss with you your toast eating rationale…

          • enail0_o

            DUE TO ITS TASTINESS!!! Is that wrong?? 🙁

          • rebootI730

            Oh so very, very wrong…….

          • enail0_o

            HOW DO I TOAST???.

          • slidebytheside

            Dare I suggest the services of this fine fellow?

          • rebootI730

            Do not tell but lesbians show clevage too. True story.

          • enail0_o

            No, no, no, reboot, you think you've seen cleavage, but really it's just insecurity (insecurity is also boob-shaped, obv.). Also, lesbians never undulate.

          • rebootI730

            Never ever undulate, especially not to Rock Lobster

          • enail0_o

            Words to live by.

          • embertine

            Cleavage? I thought that was just the undulations showing.

        • ChickpeaSarada

          Because everything women do is for the purpose of attracting men. And if it's not for that purpose, then the other purpose is the wrong one. Why would you do anything if it's not for MEEEEEE?!

        • kath

          So what, sexuality is somehow connected to the "underlying motive of every undulation in the universe"?

          Please tell me more about the undulations in the universe.

      • thathat

        "That's because misogyny, while not everywhere, is in a distressingly high number of places. "

        Yeah, y'know, Jon Stewart said something the other day, in regards to racism, but I think it fits pretty well here too. "You're tired of hearing about it? Imagine how exhausting it is *living* it."

    • eselle28

      When did we stop requiring account registration?

      (Err, pardon my malware. I'm working on fixing the problem.)

      • nonA

        It’s been easy to get around registration ever since the requirement was supposedly put in place.

        Want me to email you how it’s done, or say it here? I’m not sure I want to say where everyone can see, since that would just make it easier for haters to get their hate on.

        • Dr_NerdLove

          Or you could tell me and I can see how I can fix that.

          • nonA

            Sent through the Contact link. It’s sitting in your email somewhere.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            Apparently not. Do me a favor and send it directly. Apparently I need to bang in the contact form too…

  • Sarkeesian is a hack and Zoe Quinn is a fraud. The last two weeks have horribly damaged their cause, and rightfully so. Seeking "social justice" and "equality" are good and all, but when you behave like the neanderthals you're supposedly fighting, it undermines your message. They're free to make whatever arguments they like, but they should have enough backbone to take and respond to criticism without crying about how they're all helpless victims to the imagined patriarchy in their heads.

    • SandwichSlut

      Can't comment on Zoe Quinn due to lack of research into the matter, but

      There is a world of difference between "taking criticism" and "taking misogynistic YouTube trolls comments" I don't blame her one bit for blocking comments…if its so important to her detractors to say what is wrong with her, they can make their own damn response video.

      When has Anita ever behaved like a neanderthal? She has never acted rude, vitriolic, hateful, crude, etc. in her videos. She has always been articulate and direct in her delivery. If anything, I want to see her use more conviction and emotion in her videos.

      The patriarchy isn't imagined when you're getting run out of your own home for no other reason than you're a woman who dared to state an opinion.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Tell you what, imagine I replied by posting your real name, address and phone number and 50 other people replied by threatening to stop by and rape you. Now imagine it happens again tomorrow, and hits your email inbox every 15 minutes and clogs your Twitter feed until you can't even find the articles you're following. Then talk about how they should just suck all that up and respond to it calmly.

      I'm out for a while. I'll just be over here by the point, since it seems to be getting lost.

      • >be Anita
        >get rape and death threats with home address
        >print screens
        >log dates and times of threats
        >perform a few cursory Google searches
        >find invaders' forum
        >put up StatCounter or other IP-honeypot
        >know that IPs are utterly meaningless, but that it scares away the less tech-savvy
        >hand info of people stupid enough to do it on a traceable account to my numerous followers in an anonymous manner(seriously, girl, you don't do that on your main account, try to keep an image of the moral high-ground when it comes to doxxing)
        >get exhausted, plan in self-care time
        >set up wordfilters and
        >set up BlockTogether
        >get annoyed by Scunthorpe problem when discussing rape culture
        >crowdsource for better wordfilter software with feminist-sympathetic programmers
        >get lauded even more
        >implying she isn't already doing half or more of these things

        She's already responding to it calmly, methinks.

    • Conreezy

      Rape threats are criticisms of an argument one should expect? Damn, my college professors went easy on me.


    • Henry Gorman

      As far as I can tell, Anita Sarkeesian has never behaved like the neanderthals she's supposedly fighting. I don't believe that she's ever threatened to rape or murder anybody because they disagreed with her about video games. I couldn't say the same about her most energetic detractors.

      • shaenon

        In these douchebags' minds, criticizing video games IS the violent behavior.

      • The Truffle

        Of course not. But the douchebags don't get that. They also don't get the difference between criticizing people and threatening them.

        PS: "Waaaaa waaaaaa feminazis IZ MEEEEEEEAAAAAN" is not criticism.

    • The Truffle

      They're not. They're talking about the harassment and death threats they've received. In Anita's case, she can't even go home because the harassers know her address.

      Your anger is misdirected. You should direct it toward the creeps who are harassing these women, thus making it difficult if not impossible for legitimate critics. (And so far, I don't see what makes Quinn a fraud. Just because her vindictive ex made claims does not make them true.)

  • Osvir

    Hey my brothers and sisters, my fathers, mothers, daughters, sisters and brothers.. sons and daughters 🙂 everyone should be allowed to play games and participate in this community together hand in hand. "US gamers" means all of US. We are humans first, "thing", "religion", "color", "gender", "foot-size" second. When I play games I don't care about male/female agendas, the questions I ask "Is it a good narrative? Is it good controls? Is the world fun to explore?".

    I don't think anyone should be discriminated, but I think it's interesting to explore a vast amount of different experiences. I wouldn't mind seeing a video game where men are discriminated and the world is ruled by women, that'd be awesome and could even tribute to a God of War-like (Goddess of War? :D) video game during Ancient Greek and you play on the island of Lesbos (where the first poet, Sappho, is from).

    Or even a game where there is an utopia for humans and there is no war, but interesting plots and things to do instead 😀 or party based games with a myriad of characters that you can choose from and play together with each other instead of against each other. Whatever fits the shoe~ there are hundreds of different subcultures in gaming already. RPG gamers, FPS, Action, Driving, Open World, to name a few, and there is male and female players in all of them. People like different things. But I think that everyone should shine on the marketing posters and feel represented instead of feeling left out.

    It's like one corporation has the control of male marketing, and then another coporation that has the control of female marketing. Why can't it be just.. one equal corporation that markets to all of us? Right?

    Oh well, look at me rambling naive dreams where humanity stands together on our Earth.

    Peace 🙂

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Preach it brother!

      Also, I would play the SHIT out of an ancient Greek game starring Athena where wit and cunning were the keys to combat victory. Not sure how you'd game system that but I would line up for the midnight release. Come to think of it, that's a great logical choice for a game that blends action and puzzles.

  • adamhunter1223

    Totally off topic, but I'd really like to see DNL's take on the 'Yes means Yes' law california just passed.

  • MapWater

    Anita Sarkeesian's divisiveness, in my eyes, always stemmed from her being perceived as an 'outsider looking in' on video games. I have no idea if that's true, I don't know if she is in fact a big ol gamer herself and I really don't care to find out (ultimately, we need third party perceptions of the industry too), but that's how I've seen many arguments made about her. That and just flat out misogyny. But The 'outsider to gaming' thing is a big deal for sure.

    I have to mirror a lot of the sentiments from others on the post and say that I think she has good points and, furthermore, her analysis is necessary to helps games grow. There's no two ways about that if we want equality in video games as a medium.

    What I find funny is that the hardcore nerdy male gamers that give her shit are probably scared games like Bayonetta and the like are going to disappear completely because of her and women like her. I think it shows a fundamental misunderstanding of 'allowing equality between men and women in video games'. I say this as someone who loves Bayonetta and her concept to death.

    • A lot of the examples she uses might scream 'casual' to people more familiar with the films/games in question because they don't always play the tropes she bashes straight(e.g., Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as a straight example of the MPDG when the in-film dialogue directly contradicts it). Think everything in the newspaper is sensible except the article on the topic you actually happen to know something about. I'd wager this is because she can either pick lesser-known cliché fests that do play everything straight, or more prominent works which almost always have some nuance to them yet are more stuck in the cultural memory. The aim here is to reach a wide audience: getting bogged down in subtleties runs contrary to that purpose.

      Though she's gotten better, her initial impression of violence=masculine=bad/negotiation=feminine=good is perhaps the biggest factor that cause people to fear that she and her fans are aiming for alteration instead of diversification. Try to imagine the last five games you played without (cartoon) violence as a conflict resolution, and wonder how fundamentally it would alter the gameplay. Her message gets interpreted as 'don't do this' instead of 'if you use this trope, do it well'(see Spec Ops: The Line for an examination of violence and its consequences).

    • nonA

      One could argue that someone on the inside has a better sense of context. (Personally, my disagreement is that tropes are a useful shorthand to communicate things to an audience, and that you’re better served trying to introduce new ones into the cultural lexicon than you are trying to criticize the existing crop.)

      What baffles me are the people calling her “toxic”, and how often her name came up in the immediate aftermath of the Zoe Quinn “it’s all about journalistic integrity” kerfluffle. I’ve never heard any good explanations of how she became the face of everything to hate about feminism and video games.

    • PlasticFruit

      Her blog/channel/media presence has always been about pop culture so she has also examined other mediums such as books and film. Hunger Games gets mixed reviews from her, as well as Veronica Mars, True Blood and loads of other mediums besides video games. I think video games because of their participatory nature stir up more emotions than film, tv and books.

  • rammspieler

    Slightly off topic. But I noticed that there seems to be an an insistence around here to refer to yourself or others as "geeks" rather than "nerds". Maybe I'm just feeling particularly ornery tonight, but if we're going to open up the doors to our ivory tower to the "norms" now, shouldn't they be willing to accept the label (nerd) that for so long they insisted on using to make fun of us, rather than using the slightly cooler and quirkier label (geek), just to make them feel more welcome?

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Short form – no, no one should have a label forcibly thrust upon them.

    • slidebytheside

      They're not the same thing, although if enough people do use the terms interchangeably they may become actual synonyms someday.

    • enail0_o

      I sometimes use them interchangeably. But when I don't, it's largely b/c I have opinions about what each of them means, and it always annoyed me that I was pegged as a nerd rather than a geek (before either was cool), when I didn't feel I really fit the criteria for nerd all that well. Ironically, now that I get a say in it, I think I could qualify as a nerd much better!

    • rebootI730

      When I was younger nerd was the only term and geek meant you bit the heads off chickens at a carnival. I am still unclear on what the difference is now between geek and nerd.

      • slidebytheside

        To take a rough pass at it, 'nerd' is a strong interest in mathematics or hard sciences, or categorizing and memorizing statistics and technical trivia. Quantum computing and the HURDAT database are nerd topics. Traditionally coded male and had/has a correlation to the higher-functioning shades of the autism spectrum.

        'Geek' is more of a strong interest in various sorts of fantasy media: books, comics, tv, movies in horror, sf, fantasy settings. Writing Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic and cosplaying Wishverse Willow is very geeky, but not nerdy. Tended to be a bit more female-coded in earlier decades depending on the subject matter, but is more or less unisex these days. Can be on the spectrum, but can just as easily be NT.

        • enail0_o

          My understanding is slightly different. To me the main aspect about nerd is a focus on academics, with the math/hard science/tech trivia – type stuff as only a common secondary aspect, while geek is more about enthusiastic (bordering on inaccessible to people who are casually interested) interest in any topic (eg. Music geeks), but if not specified usually means fantasy/sci fi media. In short, to me nerd is about knowledge and achievement, geek is about enthusiasm and topic. Though of course there's a huge overlap.

          People who are interested in the details of grammatical tenses are nerds. People who love Tolkien are geeks. People who get enthusiastic about details of Tolkien's grammar are both nerds and geeks. People who love programming are nerds, people who love computer games are geeks, people who make their own games or mods for existing games are probably both.

          ETA: Descriptive, not prescriptive. The definitions vary quite a lot, and I'm anti-gatekeeping regardless.

          • slidebytheside

            I could sign on to most of this (I was thinking about citing your Tolkien example as an instance of both). I would caution that the association of 'nerd' with academics is primarily an artifact of the school environment, and doesn't hold so tightly in adulthood.

          • enail0_o

            True. I would still take enjoying an academic take on things and valuing academic skills as adult nerd qualities, though, they're just less clearly defined.

          • Mel_

            This is how I've thought of the distinction between the terms too. People saw me as a "nerd" in high school because I worked hard on my assignments and got good grades, even though my focus was mainly on literature and social sciences rather than math/"hard" science.

          • rebootI730

            Same, same. I was also considered a nerd because I followed and cared about things like politics and the news and whatnot and was a history fan.

          • slidebytheside

            When in doubt, consult the experts.

          • rebootI730

            Hum, definitely a geek with a tinge of nerd or wonk on certain obscure topics.

            OK, random question, so what makes a gear weenie (people into all the cool kit in military, police, humanitarian aid), barrel suckers (gun fanatics), military/railroad/car buffs, and wonks (policy and other political obsessives) not geeks or nerds? Many of the criteria match.

          • eselle28

            Yeah, I'd label many of those people geeks who have a different obsession than the stereotypical geek. My brother in law is really into ships and trains (like, he can identify particular models and talk really passionately about their production history), and he definitely has the geek impulse. Maybe the difference is that they're not as culturally compatible with people who are really into sci fi? EDIT: Or maybe it's that geek is restricted to people who have geeky impulses about media (because you can be a theater geek or a film geek even if you hate science fiction) or computer technology, and that other things don't fall under that heading?

            I'd say that wonks are probably classified by most people as being nerds, though, since their interests generally have pretty close intersections with academic fields of study.

          • rebootI730

            I know a guy who is like that with planes and helicopters. Can discourse for hours on them. I have learned more about Russian flying vehicles from him than it ever occurred to me to learn myself.

            I like your media clarification, although it still captures your Western buffs (e.g. obsessive interest in the western expansion in the US, dress up and reenact important events, read and watch westerns). Maybe they are just geeks of a different genre?

          • enail0_o

            I'm thinking it's part that they are geeks of a different genre, but also that what level of focus or enthusiasm qualifies someone as a geek or nerd depends to some degree what level of focus or enthusiasm in that subject is considered normal or mainstream. They're relative qualities, not absolute ones.

            For example, it's considered pretty normal for a guy to be interested in baseball, so they don't cross the line into nerd-dom until they're intensely and minutely into facts and statistics, beyond the point that's easily accessible to someone with a mainstream level of interest in baseball.

            I'm quite pleased with this idea, if I do say so myself, b/c I think it captures some of the nebulous "there's something that's not 'cool'" that's part of the meaning, which most definitions I could get behind seem to lack, but without defining nerd-/geek-dom in terms of outsider status or rejection in the way that gatekeepers often do.

          • rebootI730

            I think you captured the essence here. For example, a foodie would have to go into minute detail of source, growing, breeding, slaughter, harvesting, etc.. to pass into geek territory. Whereas a comic book fan would only need minimal knowledge in comparison to enter geekdom.

            Nerd has a higher bar because it requires some academic interest and more expansive technical or scholarly knowledge, such as a historian who recreates ancient weaving methods based on the historic/archeological record.

          • eselle28

            I like that better than my attemtp at a definition, because I was wondering how to fit some of my friends who are really into football into the category. I mean, most of them are also gamers, so they qualify as geeks anyway, but there's something deeply geeky about knowing the stats of promising high school players or setting up a really complicated spreadsheet to help you make decisions about your fantasy team. Though, interestingly enough, if I apply this definition of geekery, I used to know a woman who was geeky about handbags, and she's probably the least visually identifiable geek you'll ever meet.

            Going off that, I'm kind of wondering what the geeky impulse is. Is it maybe an urge to know everything about something, or research it, or try to bring it to life in other forms?

          • enail0_o

            I feel like it's almost an urge to merge with the subject, which could mean learning everything about it, or enacting it in some way, or relating everything in your life to it, or channeling it through you into creative expression. That's not quite it, though.

          • eselle28

            It's closer, though. I'm going to think about this a bit.

            I find this interesting in part because I've realized several of my family members with non-conforming interests are geeks. My brother-in-law definitely is, and I think my dad – who's sort of the male-coded version of "crafty" with metalworking and woodworking and clockmaking – might be as well.

          • I really love this definition.

          • So, upon further reflection, I think what I really like about this definition is that there are no particular activities that are inherently geeky or nerdy – there are only geeky or nerdy ways of engaging with an activity, and the threshold for geekery / nerdery depends on the common cultural understanding of the activity. What that means is that geek and nerd are historically contingent terms – something that ought to be obvious, but I think isn't to a lot of, well, geeks and nerds. It's a lovely, concise, and elegant way of getting a whole lot of things across at once.

          • enail0_o

            Although I do wonder, based on Eselle's question about what the geeky impulse is, if some activities are more inherently nerdy or geeky.

            If the nerdy impulse is to know, to memorize, to calculate, to delve, to master, then things with a particular kind of detail suited to that would tend to have more of a nerdic draw. And if the geeky impulse is to immerse, to become, to create, then things designed for immersion – fantastic worlds being an obvious one – would tend to have more of a geekly draw. Anything, I think, can be nerded or geeked, but I think there's a reason people with those impulses tend to congregate around particular topics.

            Maybe it's a kind of a chart where the x axis is the degree of enthusiasm/detail etc. needed for an interest to be considered nerdy/geeky within that cultural context and the y axis is how much inherent nerdic/geekly pull that particular interest has. And I guess the information the chart would give would be how many nerds/geeks one could expect to congregate around any given interest?

            Er… I think I lost track of something here. I may be a metaphor geek. :\

          • I think you're on to something there with the affordances of different activities, but I think that's not anything inherent about the activity but rather about common patterns of behavior and institutional support around the activity, as well as where we draw the line between activities. It's designed – though probably not consciously – rather than inherent, and remains historically contingent based on how we understand categories of human activity.

          • eselle28

            Oddly, I live fairly far West, but have never met anyone who is that particular type of geek. However, I do know Civil War reenactors, and they are totally geeks. I mean, they're basically cosplayers.

    • For myself, I strongly prefer "nerd" to "geek." I talk about "geek" here because "geek culture" is the thing with the big honking problem, but that's not particularly how I identify. If anything, I'm resentful of how badly geek culture wants to treat me, but then wants to claim me for themselves in contexts where I have status and prestige.

      • TheWisp

        That's interesting, I think a lot of people (including myself) have the opposite impulse, seeing 'nerd' as a bit more pejorative than 'geek', even though they are otherwise interchangeable (as rammspieler alluded to).

        So, you don't view them as essentially interchangeable, then? Otherwise, wouldn't you have have similar issues identifying as a nerd?

        • The reason I don't identify as a geek is because of geek culture. The misogyny is a big piece, but I also don't care for the consumerism or the active hostility to criticism. If geek culture were not so shitty, I'd be equally happy to identify as a geek or a nerd.

          I do think nerd is more socially pejorative (e.g. less "cool") but I don't really care about that. I define my own cool. 🙂

          • TheWisp

            So you're saying that geek places you into a specific group and culture in addition to defining your personality and interests, while nerd really is just describing your personality, interests, and mode of engaging those things without the loaded associations of geek culture. Is that right?

          • Right, but I'll note that's because geek culture has strongly consolidated over the past decade or so. It's not like geek inherently carries the cultural piece with it.

          • Henry Gorman

            I think that you just helped me understand a significant part of why I've recently felt a lot of dissociation from the geek community, even though I share basically all of its paradigmatic interests (video games, comic books, other superhero-related media, anime, complicated and obscure board games, tabletop RPGs, Joss Whedon-created shows, fanfiction, fanart, and the tvTropes wiki among them).

            I find the consumerism distasteful (although I sort of understand it– I was pretty happy when, this weekend, Amazon delivered me some academic books and a portable scanner which I can use to make PDFs of historical documents), but I think that the misogyny, homophobia, and hostility to criticism are the worst. The latter makes it harder to down anything about the other three problems, and it also makes it harder for us to have interesting and thoughtful game, comic, and anime criticism. (The latter feels like the most strangely absent– why is it so goddamn hard to find show reviews that do anything other than summarize the plot and the reviewer's subjective enjoyment of the show or lack thereof? I want to see some goddamn comprehensive evaluation of craft!)

          • Gentleman Johnny
  • While I agree with most of what you said, I have to disagree with what you said about social and mobile games at the risk of sounding like the very person you're complaining about.

    The thing is, those types of games have existed for a long time. They were used by everyone but were never used as games. People played a primitive version of Snake on their brick mobiles back 10 years, but like they are today they were only used to waste time. They were only used while waiting for the bus or something, nobody actually got that involved with them. If they didn't play those games they'd be doing anything else like kicking rocks just to pass the time. It was only something people did, because nobody wanted to do nothing.

    People today put some importance on them but really, they're not designed as games. They're designed to be addictive. Anything the developer wants to do that would clarify it as a "game" are swapped out for any scam tactic to get you to throw a dollar at the store to keep the app blinking with bright lights. They're not aiming to entertain or challenge you, they're aiming at getting some of the few ignorant kids with access to their parents credit card or someone susceptible to addictive behaviour to spend more money for no reason other then to think they're doing something worthwhile with it.

    Now, that's not to say that games on mobile devices and such can't exist, but for the most part they're not.

    • But so are hardcore subscription MMOs, RTSes that kick you out of the rankings if you don't keep playing and sports games that only change the roster inbetween releases.

      • …those aren't even comparable..

        • Yes they are. Content designed to keep you playing and shove more money into it.

          • No not really. The content is all there available to the player if they want to invest the time to play the game. The game is also not restricted behind a pay wall to raid or just hang out or play the majority of the game.

            Unless you really are comparing the subscription which is still a totally different thing.

          • kath

            I think people who want to take advantage of addictive behavior and moral hazard (it being your parent's money rather than yours) do so, and sometimes they do so through games, and different games take advantage of addictive tendencies to different levels.

            So you might not argue that WoW is exactly the same as a game that's pulling all the tricks in the book to keep you paying money, and no, it's not exactly the same. But they are certainly comparable in that they both rely on creating an engaging experience to get you to keep giving your money. There may be important matters of degree, and even motives of the creators and respect for their audience that come to bear on the comparison as well, but it's not like you can't account for those things while making the comparison to look at the spectrum of the various industries that are fuelled to varying extents by addictive behavior. I doubt any industry doesn't do its best to get you addicted to its product – certainly the food industry does, but anything you might buy more than once can also do this.

            As far as I know, there are lots of games that are free, or that you pay $2.99 for and are done, that are still very addictive and make their money off advertising to you while you give them your time. A product preying on addictive tendencies doesn't make it not a game. You may find that way of making money morally objectionable, but your disapproval doesn't make the word "game" have another meaning.

            There's a reason casinos are the gaming industry.

        • eselle28

          Raiding in an MMO is incredibly similar. It's dressed up in fancier clothes, but at the end of the day you're just the pigeon that's addicted to pecking a lever because at random times, a machine is giving you corn – or in this case, a some really leet purple legs.

          I can acknowledge that and still enjoy raiding.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Yeah, whether its Pac-Man, WoW, Tetris, titanfall or whatever, an end goal, or even a story line, are not requirements for a video game. They are a type of game and an incredibly popular one but not the only type.

          • But you're not paying to raid.

          • See, my problem is, you don't really seem to have any valid criteria for what makes a game "a game", except your say so.
            So, what does make a video game "a game", by your definition of the term?

            See, my definition would be :
            – is played on through an electronic medium
            – played by people for whatever amount of time at a time
            – provides entertainment for the people playing it.

            See, I have to limit myself to these criteria because I can't limit by
            – amount of time played at once (my mom is working her way through completing every single Freecell game, in order. She spends hours on the computer playing Freecell. And I, for example, will play TWEWY for ten minutes between classes, because ffs there's just so much grinding to do if I want to get 100% – I've ben playing the game on and off for years and I'm still only at about 85%)
            – amount of repetitive content – the Pokemon games are all basically identical has the most grinding content ever
            – existence of a coherent *or* original storyline – COD games are basically the same thing again and again and again
            – existence of "characters" – Faster than Light has no other "characters" than you, and you're not even a character
            – existence of conflict or opposing sides- if tetris cannot be said to have conflict, then neither can The Road Less Travelled or Don't Starve.

            Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but your criteria seem to be:
            – played by people who are not playing them "because they have nothing else to do" – really? the fact that you've said 'if they weren't playing games, they'd be kicking rocks' undermines your point. The point is, they aren't kicking rocks. They are choosing to spend time and/or money slicing imaginary fruit in half. Or whatever.
            – designed to be played, not to be addictive – WHAT DOES THIS EVEN MEAN? I'm pretty sure League of Legends isn't designed to be played for two hours and then never again. Similarly, I'm not sure what investing time and energy into cultivating imaginary fruit and feeding imaginary animals in Farmville can be called except "playing"
            – not designed just to make money – again, what? what publisher do you imagine exists would be making any video games without the possibility of making money off them?
            – is a "complete package" (the content is all there to be played, having paid a single cost). – frankly, the "not games" I have on my phone I paid 3-10$ for, and the content is all there.

            So please, I invite you to clarify what makes a game "a game" and not "not a game", by your definition, because I gotta say, as it stands, the only thing making your list make any sense is "because you say so"

          • Annnd corrections time:
            — amount of repetitive content – the Pokemon games are 90 % repetitive content, not counting cross-generation comparisons. They still have a 'unique' storyline, characters and conflict, and are played by people who are not playing them because they have nothing else to do.
            — existence of a coherent *or* original storyline – COD games (and sports games and racing games) have basically no storyline, and no originality but are still "complete package" games that are played on platforms by people who choose to play them for the enjoyment.

            Also, I need to add: to address your point about how "not games" are things played by people who have nothing better to do… BS. If people didn't want to be playing games, they could read a paper, or text, or watch a movie or listen to music.
            I know, your overall point was that… I'm honestly not even sure… that the games people are playing aren't games because…. they were intended to make money? (I've already covered what's wrong with that…)

          • kath

            (Which is normally what I do when I wait for the bus, because I don't have a brain hardwired such that games really get me stoked. I made it through a couple of myst games because I was curious about the storyline and get a buzz out of solving puzzles … but that'show my reward circuits work. Points? Don't care. The game I play on my phone is sudoku.)

          • I really enjoy puzzles too 🙂 If you're ever interested in trying games, the Professor Layton series does a great combination of puzzles and storyline. They're also all for DS/3ds, which also have more straight forward puzzle titles like Brain Age.
            lol unsolicited rec, I know, but I just love those games so much.

          • kath

            Thanks for the recs! Next time I'm looking for a game I will try some!

    • thathat

      "at the risk of sounding like the very person you're complaining about."


      (Dude, no, seriously, do you REMEMBER the early video games? Blinky addictive lights and time wasting was basically what it was all about.)

      • rebootI730

        Arcade games, Yea gods and physics how many quarters I lost to PacMan, Asteroid, etc

        • thathat

          Right? I mean, if you want games where the point was way more addictive time wasting than emotional involvement, phew.

          Also, the Ninja Turtles Arcade game.

          • rebootI730

            That game nearly did me in. I swear it got an entire paycheck at least once. So much money spent on so much frustration!

      • eris523

        And no savegames, so "throw a [quarter] at the [slot] to keep the [cabinet] blinking with bright lights" was the only way to keep playing.

        • rebootI730

          And no end goal or "finishing" a game. You just kept dumping quarters until it got too fast for your reaction time and lost. Then you started at the beginning

          • thathat

            Ernie Cline "When I was Your Age" : It just kept getting harder and faster until you DIED. Just like LIFE."

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Of course back then the games were primitive enough that if you got really good, you could "flip" them, run the score high enough that it would reset to zero. This only worked in really early ones like Pac-Man and Asteroids but it was quite the accomplishment.

    • eselle28

      I find it strange that people criticize mobile games based on the stage they are in their development.

      I actually played versions of some of those mobile games during the early era of PC gaming – one that I know I've seen on both platforms is Brickles. I assure you, people in the early 80s played those games, and not just because they needed to waste time.

      I generally try to be careful about how I talk about mobile gaming, because while the current crop of titles isn't very interesting to me, I think that in 15 years, there's a really good chance that I'll be playing my "hardcore" games on something that's a lot more like a tablet than it is like a laptop or a console.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        Oh, I can name one that has all the right ideas and executes a brilliant game simply: Ingress. I wish the story were tied more to the gameplay because its right on the border of introducing a new way of doing ARG that I think would be absolutely brilliant if they can figure out how to commercialize it. Its addictive, its like nothing else out there and it does something very few titles do – it brings players together in the real world as an emergent (but necessary to excel) part of game play. I predict that in 15 years, most mobile users will have at least one game of its type installed, even if they just play casually when waiting for their date or on lunch break.

        • eselle28

          I completely forgot about Ingress when I found out it was just for Android. Though it looks like there's an iphone version now, so I might download it and see if anyone in my area plays.

          Also, that's a really good point. People talking about mobile games tend to focus on their limitations, and even in my comment, I was envisioning games that are quite similar to today's PC and console games. There are also a lot of strengths to having a game on a mobile platform that haven't been fully explored, and it seems likely that developers will start taking advantage of the opportunity to combine virtual and real world gameplay.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Yeah, trying to build a console game for a 3" touch screen is a lost cause. Even Angry Birds isn't something you want to play on a phone if you have a tablet. Games that leverage a phone's built in features, like GPS or camera (like the Nerf Missions App that lets you turn your phone into a gunsight for a Nerf gun) are where you're going to get experiences that consoles can't match.

          • eselle28

            Yup. And, incidentally, the answer to the question "Are there people in My Town who play Ingress?" is yes, which likely means it's playable in all but the most rural areas of the US. The ones in my town seem to be much higher level than me and are disproportionately on the other side, which should make this…interesting.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Well, here's an interesting fact, the losing side has an easier time getting experience. Also, if you want, I can introduce you to the intircacies of being Command And Control for large games regardless of where they are. Doesn't earn you any points but eye in the sky is an important position on the team and its not level dependent. I pretty much invented the procedures, literally wrote the book, for my faction on it.

      • rebootI730

        The first console game I ever played was Pong on an Atari 2600. I can safely say that it was no more sophisticated than today's phone games

      • Maybe that will eventually happen but at the moment they're mostly designed to dip into your pocket.

        • rebootI730

          All entertainment dips into your pocket at some point because all entertainment aims to make money from the consumer.

          • username_6916

            I wouldn't say all entertainment is aimed at making money from the consumer. UFO:Alien Invasion, BZFlag, and The Battle for Wesnoth have their own way of supporting maintenance and expansion without worrying about monetization.

          • (I can't say I've ever heard of those games, so I'll take your word for it. I'm mostly commenting to reinforce reboot's point)
            There are also 'casual', mobile games that don't charge (or rather, don't require) money to play, so Grant's point that these games are designed for the purpose of making you pay money for them is still not really a point.

    • embertine

      They're designed to be addictive

      Aaahhhh, so those dratted quest chains that keep me up until 2am because I just want to hand in one… last… quest… aren't designed to do exactly the same thing?

  • <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    For context, Harris and his corrupt friends are Glenn Close and we the gamers who are tired of corrupt game journalists and their spineless, worthless enablers like Harris O'Malley (who might as well fucking rename himself "Doctor Dudebro", since with this post, he's shown himself to be an ENEMY OF NERDS with this post) are Jon Malkovich, who are sick and tired of being bullshitted and lied to and treated like shit and demanding that the O'Malleys give them the truth and not LIE to protect their inner circle and corrupt as fuck agents

    • thathat

      Aww, it's kinda cute.

      • I guess if you think nerd = abusive, selfish, misogynistic asshole then it would be easy to see DNL as the enemy of nerds. Speaking personally, I think both nerds and men are capable of better.

      • rebootI730

        This is one of the funnier things I have read in a while.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Who died and made you King Of The Nerds?

    • The Truffle

      Enemy of nerds? Seriously? That's a thing? Is this Revenge of the Nerds 4: The Vagina Monologues?

    • Conreezy

      Why would anyone want to be like Jon Malkovich? He's terrible.

    • >bashing dudebros

      Not cool, brah.

  • Also, Harris's cronies might as well officially join up with Jack Thompson, since they share the same lack of values and morals as as well as being bullies just like Thompsons.

    • enail0_o

      Ooh, are we cronies now? I think this might be an upgrade! 😀

      • lol definitely an upgrade from ilk

        • enail0_o

          I thought ilk was the prestige class of elk. 😛

          Definitely an upgrade from cultist, though!

    • Thompson was utterly incompetent, so are you. Here's a tip: if you want to screw the journo establishment over, go after the advertisers instead of posting melodramatic comments on a tangentially related site. The clincher is that you have to be polite and cut-and-dry to PR peeps, and I don't know if you are able to do that, so I'm not going to link the Pastebin with all the contact info I saw floating around. Find it on your own if you don't want to be a disgrace to your avatar, and make yourself useful to your side of the aisle.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Wait? So now in addition to being a horrible person, possibly a sociopath, narcissistic and a member of the hive mind, I'm now a bully?

      That, sir, is where I draw the line. Please have your seconds meet with mine to arrange the details of our duel! You choose the time and place, I shall bring the ceremonial dueling pool noodles!

      • enail0_o

        Also an ilk and a crony, don't forget those!

        • rebootI730

          I want to be a catspaw or maybe a minion 🙁

          • enail0_o

            It can probably be arranged, as long as you're willing to do some plotting, maybe some light sneaking…

          • Gentleman Johnny

            You can hench for me anytime,

      • embertine

        I have never heard the phrase "pool noodles" before, but now I must rush out and get some so that I have an excuse to say it over and over again. I don't have a pool.

        • raindancing

          Awesome pool noodle tip: you can easily make a lightsaber by cutting a pool noodle in half and applying a little ducktape. Fun at parties!

          • embertine

            And this is why the comment section at DNL is the best.

            (pool noodle pool noodle pool noodle)

          • enail0_o

            Careful, if you say it three times, it summons the goat of a vengeful pool noodle.

            ETA: That was supposed to be 'ghost,' but I think it's better this way. 😀

    • rebootI730

      Huh. So people who believe that rape and death threats are not OK and speak out against those who use them are bullies, but the people who threaten to kill and rape are not bullies? Not sure I buy your logic there, champ.

      • thathat

        It makes perfect sense if you don't think about it.

  • "Zoe Quinn is a one-woman rogue intelligence outfit with a network of informants, lackeys and highly placed catspaws eager to do her bidding."

    No, she's just an emotionally abusive person.

    • The Truffle

      And how do you know this? Because her ex said so?

      I have no idea what she's like as a person, mind you.

      • Yes, and he provided pretty good evidence to back up his claims. You can read it for yourself if you want:

        • The Truffle

          Doesn't justify the harassment against her, and we haven't heard her side of the story.

          Here's a fun thought experiment:

          Suppose Zoe Quinn were Zachary Quinn. Suppose this Zachary Quinn had an ex-girlfriend who set up a blog against him, complete with tweets and whatnot. Suppose the vindictive, angry ex tried to make a case for Zack as an emotionally abusive jerkass. Suppose she accused him, say, of sleeping with gaming journalists (male OR female) in exchange for favorable reviews and coverage.

          What do you suppose the reaction would be from the dudebros currently piling on Zoe Quinn?

          If Zoe were Zachary, they'd be rushing to defend him, claiming his ex-girlfriend had an ax to grind, calling her a crazy bitch, and–surprise!–perhaps even harassing and threatening her. There's be clucking from the dudebro/anti-SWJ crowd. The harshest criticism Zachary Quinn would hear would be: "Don't stick your dick in crazy, dude!"

          And oh yeah, nobody would give a crap about journalistic ethics. That's what the dudebro/anti-SJW crowd claim l'affaire Quinn is truly about, yes? They wouldn't be paying attention if Zoe were Zachary.

          Bet on it.

          • Does that line of reasoning make Zoe Quinn any less of an abuser?

          • rebootI730

            Does her character make death and rape threats any more acceptable?

        • Why do you have to keep on insisting that she's a terrible person? WHY does the conversation have to keep coming back to that?!
          Also, I've read bits and pieces of the evidence–it proves that they're both emotionally unhealthy and paranoid people who shouldn't date anyone until they get their shit together.

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  • When people try to tell me that women gaming is a new thing, or that girls only play candy crush and sims, I just…
    Do you have eyes and ears, or are you that blind to those of us who are women and have been playing these games forever?
    I played EverQuest since Velious. My little family style guild had a lot of couples who played together. I played Aion and City of Heroes, Plants vs. Zombies, and Rift. I play The Secret World, and Wildstar and Titanfall. Yes. I play Titanfall, a first person shooter, and if you follow the videos of players streaming the game, you will hear female voices. Try watching "Robots with Feelings" sometime and actually listen. We PLAY.
    I talked about this with a friend the other day, and he mentioned that a number of the guilds in the various games he's played, including EQ and WOW, were run by women. Raiding guilds. Run by women. He plays Minecraft with his wife all the time(also, Titanfall, and Wildstar).
    I know a LOT of people who met their Significant Other through online games.
    How blind do people have to be, or how willfully ignorant, to not see all the women?
    Now, there are a lot of games that I don't play and don't care to spend money on. All the games that I mentioned, I have the option of playing as a female avatar. That is actually important to me. If only male avatars are available, I am really hard to convince to buy it. My money doesn't go there.

    • MapWater

      While I admittedly didn't grow up during the 80s when gaming actually took hold, my earliest memories were of my sister playing through Super Mario World and Super Mario 64. I always assumed there were loads of other female gamers out there from a young age.

      It makes the whole 'gurls dunt pley teh vidjagaem' thing really frustrating from a bystander's perspective if only because they're saying my sister doesn't bloody well exist.

  • embertine

    OK, I wrote a rant, so please forgive me if this is long.

    A commenter above wrote that he would not buy games that were targeted towards women, only because he has a limited budget and prefers the sword-and-sorcery-type game. This post is not intended to shame that person, because his comment represents the thinking of a lot of young male (can we add straight and white?) gamers.

    Problem is, it’s bullshit.

    What exactly does “targeted towards women” mean, in this context? What would that look like? Possibly games about shoe shopping and childcare? Towards whom are the sword-and-sorcery games targeted, then, if not women?

    Oh right. Men.

    And how do we know this? Because almost all of the protagonists are men*. In games where the playable characters can be women (my main example is WoW, by the way), the female models are skimpily dressed, and appear to be less than half the bodymass of the male characters, a degree of sexual dimorphism only found in gorillas. The female NPCs are often sexualised in ways that have nothing whatsoever to do with the plot. It’s actually amazing that games have as many female players as they do.

    I’m not going to go over the ground that Anita Sarkeesian has covered, and not just because a) I don’t know about as many games as she does and b) some of her examples are a tad dubious. But these are choices on behalf of the game developers, and they tacitly exclude women from their marketing demographic. A lot of guys seem to think that sounds silly, like it shouldn’t make a difference what gender you play, but they still wouldn’t play games “targeted towards women”. So most of you DO understand how important it is to see someone like you as the protagonist every now and then, you’ve just never had to deal with it the other way round.

    I want games targeted towards PEOPLE. I want to play games where I get to be a man, a woman, straight, gay, black, white, fat, thin, everything in between. I want characters that look like me and characters that don’t. All I ask is that you demand the same from your games, and not just assume (without even really being aware that you’re doing so) that games are For You And You Alone, and that the rest of us are trying to take something from you by wishing to be represented.

    *White, brown-haired, chisel-jawed, stockily-built men with juuuust the right amount of stubble. I played Heavy Rain with a friend the other day and could barely distinguish two of the characters as they were so alike. BOOOOOOORIIIIIIING

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  • Bolwork

    You can keep on sticking your fingers in your ears and crying “Misogyny!” all you want, But the facts keep piling up against you:

    Especially when supporters of Gamer Gate are getting harassed and fired (not like the corrupt journalists who deserve it):

    • There's actually been a couple of journos Quitting The Industry Forever(trademarked, see you tomorrow!), but none so far on the oppressor side(even though there has been plenty of doxxing).

      We should make a scorecard for each side.

  • The Truffle

    After following the putrid slop that is Gamergate, I'm embarrassed for the normal, nice, non-douchey gamers out there. The douchebags and misogynists currently pretending this is an issue of ethics in gaming journalism are going to drive away curious would-be gamers.

    • I think you underestimate how much of this is an in-crowd issue. People turned off by sexism in gaming would already be turned off by the narrative, imagery and treatment of girls on any online medium long before they'd actually discover this shitstorm. This controversy maybe reaches a couple of thousand hardcore arguers, and 10 times as large a crowd by osmosis, which is low on the scale of number of gamers.

  • Why do people still think #gamergate is about misogyny? Is it because they only read the mainstream site's articles? The ones written by people who are all friends with each other? The ones who call for the end of harassment but continue to harass others?

    Try reading an article that isn't on Kotaku or Polygon sometime. They are not good sites.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Oh that's so sweet. There's a surprising amount of rational discourse going on about the fact that there isn't rational discourse going on towards women in gaming.

    • Mel_

      This is a very odd comment give that the article says nothing about #gamergate. It is specifically talking about the attacking of women in the gaming community and industry, and why that might be happening. I think it's reasonable to suggest that hostility aimed specifically at women is about misogyny. How much that is a part of this #gamergate thing I don't know, but I don't see how that's relevant to this article.

      (Although by the way, it's interesting that the article you link to as an example of a "good" site on this matter, while claiming that this #gamergate "movement" is all about exposing "corruption and nepotism" that apparently affects the "majority" of the gaming scene, doesn't once mention any example of this supposed corruption and nepotism other than Quinn and people defending Quinn. It doesn't even mention anyone involved in the issue with Quinn other than Quinn by name, even though in theory I would have thought someone who agrees to give publicity to a game for some reason other than liking the game is a much bigger threat to the integrity of the gaming industry than someone trying to get publicity for her game that way. So you might want to ask yourself, if the real problem people are trying to address is not about gender but all corruption and nepotism in an industry dominated by men, and that corruption and nepotism is rampant enough to be a big problem, which means presumably a fair number of men must be involved… why is even your go-to article on the subject exclusively naming one female game designer?)

      • (Also, why did none of these people give a shit about corruption and nepotism before? I'm in the industry and only a very short time ago, the only people trying to address the problems of gaming journalism were – you guessed it – feminists.)

        • eselle28

          This is a good point. I'm an outsider – I come at this from the perspective of a potential consumer – and I and everyone else I know have been generally aware that video game reviews are nonsense for years. There was never any outcry until it could be attached to this particular issue, and I notice that there's still very little outcry about corporate pressure or tying bonuses to Metacritic scores.

    • Correct, it is also about racism, homophobia, classism, trans discrimination and ableism.

      Also, the Doc writes for Kotaku so he is already compromised. *dramatic thunder*

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  • The article is.. not even wrong. This is a pathetic attempt to further push female agenda. Things are the way they are for many reasons, historical, biological, evolutionary.

    Your kind refuses to acknowledge ANY objective reality, that is in disagreement with your ideals. And that is fine. Yet, you forget, that ideals are called ideals, _because_ they are in horrible disagreement with reality. What you do not understand, in you tiny purist mind; is this.

    Actively implementing any ideal, never works in practice. Because ideals are produced by people, who aren’t situated in the practice, they are never detailed enough.

    This lack of detail, results in a black/white all/nothing implementation, that makes alot more people suffer the the original injustice.

    But that, you dont give a rats ass about that. You just want your fantasy to become reality. May you get all that you long for in your delusional… mind?

    TLDR: any change, any nudging to try to change present situation will only makes things worse for everybody.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      Ladies and gentlemen, the argument against ending slavery.

      • No, i was arguing that regulating anything incl. moral norms, to promote one of the genders is shortsighted madness. Do enlighten me how slavery enters the picture here, dear demagogue.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          Replace the word "gender" with "race" and it ports just fine, Sparky.

          • *insert something about appropriation of suffering and problematic recentering of comparing different forms of oppression here*

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I'm comparing the arguments of oppressors, not their oppression.

          • How about we just point and laugh every time this guy uses, say, penicillin?

          • enail0_o

            That's a pretty big commitment that I'm not sure I'm up for. Is it okay if I just point and laugh for a little while now and leave it at that?

          • eselle28

            That whole civilization thing is an idea if you think about it. If Dichzor was really serious about this, he'd find himself an animal hide, a cave, and some stone tools.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Quit pushing your civilizationist agenda on me!

          • enail0_o

            Stone tools and clothing come from ideas and are the beginnings of civilization. Best to steer clear of the whole mess.

          • Gentleman Johnny
  • Doctor Don’t

    Typical liberal spin doctor. You hear this a lot lately, especially from the feminist side, that evil “white males” are to blame for all the other races/gender problems. This is the same argument you people make in popular culture – The old white males are dying off, The white male dominated rape culture, The white male dominated this and that. You know what you are? A racist! Pure and simple.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      No one is saying that white guys are dying off, just bigots.

      • Conreezy

        Well, old white males DO die, along with everyone else. Let's give him that much: he is a doctor, after all.

    • >hearing you are the all-powerful oppressor class
      >being anything but flattered

      Learn to take a compliment.

  • B.C.

    About the only problem I have with the inclusivist argument in this little war is that some proponents seem to take the point of view that “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”. This article pretty much sums up my point of view: This is a war that the hardcore misogynists are going to lose, regardless of whether I man the ramparts. The idea that the argument won’t be won until every right-minded male speaks out against the misogyny strikes me as a profoundly anti-feminist “oh dear sir, please defend me against the evil hardcore gamers”. From what I see, the inclusivists are doing fine without my active support.

    BTW, I still get a chuckle about people that think calling someone a “Social Justice Warrior” is an insult. Is being a “Social Injustice Warrior” a positive attribute? If I had the time and passion to pursue anything with such fervor, social justice would be pretty high on the list, although I’m more likely to become a foodie.

    • FWIW, I'm a woman who works in games and actually, every single guy who speaks up and says "This is unacceptable" really does make a difference to me. I have to weigh the risk of being a target every time I want to do anything public – hell, it's why I don't post on Twitter anymore. When a guy speaks up, he changes that risk equation for me, not just by making a commitment regarding his own behavior but by changing what's seen as normal in the community.

      • B.C.

        Thanks for the thoughtful, balanced response. I’m not a con-goer, but I can easily imagine that it’s much easier to bring up the confidence to report an episode of harassment knowing that you have a witness (or several) to back you up.

        I hadn’t thought about the risk equation on the internet at all. In most cases, I don’t even bother to check for replies to my posts – a habit I developed after reading several sports and political threads on Yahoo!, where harassment, name-calling and threats are handed out to anyone who disagrees with the class of idiot they get over there, regardless of the gender of the target. This, however, does not lead to a vibrant online social life or even intellectual life on my part. If I make a point and then ignore the responses, I’m just a sniper with no idea if I’ve hit any of my targets, if you’ll excuse the hardcore gaming metaphor.

        OTOH, what actually IS the risk profile of posting stuff on the internet when you’re a woman? Obviously if your real name gets out you’re very easy to target with real threats like DOXing, SWATting and other forms of harassment that reach criminal levels. And obviously there are idiots who target women in forum threads and media sites just because. But if you’re just an anonymous “woman on the net”, how likely is it that any of the rants thrown in your direction are anything more than words? Or is it the sheer volume of never-ending negativity that can be thrown in your direction that just makes you want to give up and open a kayaking resort on Lake Superior?

        • Jess

          The problem is that I do have an identifiable public profile, because I work professionally at the intersection of games and academia. If I have to be an anonymous "woman on the net," it literally prevents me from doing my job. Being anonymous isn't a solution if you're identifiable as female; you're right about the sheer volume of negativity. But women who work in games often don't even have that option if they want to get anything public done. It really sucks to feel like you have to choose between your safety and your success when the men around you don't.

  • broutbrout51

    Well, I don't really think that the geek culture is that sexist. But there is that kind of pride in free speech and taste for provocation and tresspassing of social norms that make them do things that are fine in the community and may be offending to outsiders. And I really don't think that will really change. I don't see geeks becoming politically correct and these kinds of incidents may increase in the future. Unless people learn not to overreact to them.

    Usually from what I have seen, things goes as follows :
    – Someone make a sexist, racist, stupid joke or whatever. It is a joke not because he really is racist or sexist but because it is a kind of blashphemy against social norms. Never forget that many geeks are geeks because their supposed mastery of technological magic enables them to disregard social norms. "I put no suit because I f**k you and you'll hire me because you need my technological mastery". The result, is the more society will try to enforce social norms, the worse it will get.
    – Someone won't notice that the joke was only blasphemy against social norms and the geek was not really racist / sexist. To continue a little true story that is quite close of this case : I have seen a pretty much multicultural office and one of the favorist past-time of employee was to make racist joke (the worse they were the better). None of them was really racist (or they would not accept their coworkers) but it was plainly accepted as a joke. When someone was offended, the usual reply was : "You probably know jokes on white, let's do a battle !". Of course when a manager came from outside geekdom, the result was different. He overreacted when he heard a joke tried to ban people from doing such joke.
    – Then people overreacted and wanted his head no matter what. The escalation lasted a few days. It did not go to open death threats as the manager was fired when the boss was fed up with loss of productivity and as many devs said "fire him or we will work elsewhere" (which would have been easy). The story never broke out in the press. But i'm sure that it would have ended very badly if they did not get the manager's head. No blacks, jews or asians were fired or harmed during this time and stupid joke battles continued from time to time.

    Concerning sexist things, I have yet to see an office were womens are not welcome but the truth is they have to accept that other people in the office will watch porn and comment on it for the fun of it (always these stupid competitions of finding the trashiest porn movie and show it not because it's exciting but because it is a blasphemy to all social norms). If someone try to moralize the office, then escalation starts and it ends badly. A women entering this kind of workforce would be accepted and even more than that. But a militant feminist will quickly face disproportionate reactions as the "ability to break all social rules" is the engine of geekdom. Entrepreneurs want to "change the world" (meaning most of the time breaking all business rules), employees want to do what they want (and they understand as long as they are productive they can set their rules). This was not a problem when geeks were a few and considered as social outcasts. Now, that society has embraced most tools that geeks have created in the nineties, this world changing agenda is going on collision course with the old society. And I guess it will not be easily reversed unless the society itself start to reverse and being sexist. You've probably seen what happened to the president of mozilla fundation having to resign because of a donation to ban gay marriage ? I'm sure the campaign to get him outsed came from the same kind of places making gay jokes.

    Don't overreact to all this stuff and it'll go just fine !

    • Dan_Brodribb

      Well, overreaction is often in the eye of the beholder.

      In stand-up comedy, we often make the same arguments–comedy is supposed to push the envelope, it isn't about being racist/sexist, it's about pushing limits and "breaking social rules."

      But at heart that whole argument tends to boil down to: "I want to be able to do and say whatever I want without having to face any negative consequences."

      Regardless of intent, that's not a realistic expectation.

      One thing that I HAVE found helpful over the years is when people are offended by something I said or did, instead of explaining why it wasn't REALLY offensive or how they shouldn't be upset because I didn't mean it in the way the words I actually said sounded, is listening to what they found difficult about it.

      I find a do a lot of learning and growing that way, I've noticed my life has gone a lot smoother, and my relationships both personal and professional have gone a lot better.

      • broutbrout51

        And the consequences in backlash against stand up comedy as you said has been that most of the comedy now are boring and people have moved to the internet for jokes and comedy.

        And don't ask people who want to change the world to have realistic expectations 😉

    • B.C.

      A prime example of clubhouse mentality. When the outsider tried to change the rules, the club members ganged up on him and kicked him out.

      Keep living in your own little world guys. When you get your harassment lawsuit from your local equivalent of Edward Snowden, it won’t be all shits and grins anymore. Heck, that manager who got fired could probably file suit for hostile workplace and retaliation.

      • broutbrout51

        Clubhouse like you call them are sometimes a powerful way to success for a community. Ask many communities who had outstanding success in society in part because they maintain a clubhouse like you say. These clubhouse can be vers large like the catholic church, they might be far smaller but any successful community will stand up for things they beleive is right. And sometimes these communities come in collision course with society as large. Remember that first christians were not especially welcomed by the romans. Yet in the end, their subculture became the culture. The balance of power between what the internal communities bring to the society at large often explain why some subcultures are having influence and other not. When you see for example what jewish scientists have brought to society in the first half of the XXth century, no wonder that they are powerful now. They just rocked.

        You are at a same point in history now. Yet geeks were not given as food to lions (hopefully) but were considered as social outcasts in the 80s and 90s. The remarkable success is however, that everything the social outcasts build during this time has now been embraced by the society at large. Remember that in the nineties anyone chatting on a computer would have been considered as a retard. Now it's the opposite, the norm is to use social networks to communicate with friends.

        Technology is powerful and those who master it are as a result, powerful. And people ofter forget that the technical inner workings that they want to ignore sometimes have a greater influence on their life than politics. Ask Taxi drivers about Uber, they'll probably have a say. You have on one side the traditional geek libertarian ideology, a technical embodiment of that ideology and taxi drivers and politicans are on the loosing side of that unless they align. If you plan to put restrictions on free speech on these people, I wish you good luck because all the technical tools they build are designed to create the conditions contrary to restriction of speech. Btw, the chinese are learning it hard time : They invested a lot in technology and people to restrict the internet and it mostly failed. Cisco sold them one time the routers they needed to use the internet (because they can't be in the economy if they don't use it), then sold them a technological solution to the problem created by free speech on the internet. It failed and lead to more technology sales for Cisco and this will continue until they change their politics. Then Cisco will sell more routers to cater with the increase in traffic. Technology has it's agenda and you can't win swimming against the tide.

        Regarding the manager, he could have sued but this would probably have damaged his career even more. Without publicity he was able to move on and hopefully he did not repeat the same mistakes. When you arrive in a company there is a corporate culture and if you better swim with the tide if you are a manger especially as long as the company is productive this way. If he had sued, he would have a lot of trouble in finding another work in the high tech industry. No boss wants a manager who puts employees on strike. I don't know if he finally understood that people were not really against each other with these jokes. Perhaps seeing that the same employees where going to party after work together should have given him a clue that this was not to be taken seriously. If they took the jokes seriously, a fight on the parking lot would have followed, not a party.

        So yes, it's clubhouse, but the club is trying to change rules outside the club so does not want to be bothered by assholes inside.

  • nolorn

    So is this mostly a dating site or something else? cause being a feminist has no impact on the quality or quantity of your relationship

    • eselle28

      Understanding women's experiences could, though, and if you're a geek looking to date in geeky spaces I'm pretty sure it helps to have a general understanding of the pattern of gender dynamics there.

      • nolorn

        Why restrict yourself to geeky spaces? why not just 'regular' folk?
        Plenty of un-feminist men get several, quality relationships, from marriages to one night stands, and plenty of 'feminist' men don't get anything

        It seems your political leanings on feminism, kindness etc take a back seat to good looks and charisma

        • eselle28

          The target audience for this site is someone who identifies as a nerd or a geek. It stands to reason that at least some of them are probably interested in dating other geeks or in geeky spaces and may want to understand what's going on there.

          It's worth considering that not all women are feminists. Women who aren't probably aren't picking partners based on their views.

          I'm not even sure if it's worth the time to try to discuss with you the grossness of talking about sex as something you "get."

          • nolorn

            With regards to get- sorry I triggered you

            I just meant it as those who are successful in relationships as opposed to those who are persistently single or virgins, unsuccessful in relationships.

            At any rate, the pool of geeky women looking for geeky guys is small- geek guys should try their luck stick with non geeky women- where can I find advice on that? to not come off as a wierdo or a geek? I admit I was, but I am working on changing that look- I regularly dress in shits and pants instead of jeans and a t-shirt, go the gym, but I am still fat, and take a small pharmacy worth of pills and lotions to hold onto my balding hair.

            I really don't think defining myself by the pop-culture I consume is good, i.e. geek and want to distance myself from that identity

          • eselle28

            If you're looking for advice on how to stop being a geek, rather than how to be one in ways that are more attractive to either geeky or non-geeky women, and you also don't want to run into discussions about women's lives and feelings, I suspect you're not going to find what you're looking for here. I don't know where you would find this particular angle on dating, and really don't care to find out, but you may want to keep googling.

          • nolorn

            Those pretty geeks are usually skinny white men

            I am neither skinny nor white

          • You're right that whiteness and thin bodies are privileged in our society. It sounds like you're trying to change your weight, and you aren't going to change your skin color, so neither of those are particularly worth discussing pragmatically.

            Instead I think there are two much more useful questions you can ask yourself.

            1) How can I identify women who are happy to date a man who is neither white nor thin?
            2) How can I be more attractive to women in that group?

            #2 is, by the way, a place where feminism will help you. If you take women's desires seriously, that will help you figure out how to be attractive to women who are potentially attractive to you. If you make up stories about what all women want, on the other hand, you're shooting yourself in the foot, because real women don't all work the same way.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Waitasec! Back the train up to the station! Geeks are known for being skinny? That's definitely the first time I've ever heard that stereotype.Try some associated Google Image searches or "neckbeard" with words like geek, brony, fedora etc.

          • Conreezy

            I think being overly skinny or fat really just implies a physical inability, which is pretty stereotypically geeky. The "98 pound weakling" was a pretty common trope, at least a few decades back.

          • I think you are smart not to define yourself by how you consume pop culture. I also think that taking care of your appearance is good, because it demonstrates a basic level of perspective-taking ("I understand how I appear to others and I want them to find me attractive").

            I think it is probably helpful to detach "weird" and "geek." I know a number of extremely socially adept, charming men who identify as geeks because of the pop culture thing (which I personally find insufferable). I also know plenty of socially awkward men who have no interest in geek culture.

            It sounds like you are already working on the physical stuff. Maybe one thing to consider is how you can work on social calibration and empathy. These are areas where men, particularly geeky men, tend to be weak, because we teach men from a very young age that these skills aren't important. DNL has some good articles about where to start, but we can also try to identify some low-hanging fruit for you here in the comments.

          • nolorn

            yea… the physical stuff is more for relief than for anything; I get the impression I will never really be good looking to most women…. but muscle pain blots that out

          • Well, fortunately you don't need to date "most" women – you just need to find the ones who are interested in dating you.

            I also think you are underestimating the breadth of what women are physically attracted to, but I understand that it's frightening to feel like you have to be some kind of perfect physical specimen in order to rate a date. I hope it helps to know that for basically every woman I know, that isn't true.

          • nolorn

            Maybe for women your age
            Women my age (20s) aren't known for entertaining unconventionally attractive men

          • <waves>

            Trust me nolorn, we exist.

          • You're absolutely right, that's not the stereotype of women in their twenties. What I am proposing is that you investigate the reality more carefully.

            For the record, I fell in love with a highly unconventional-looking man at nineteen. I still wake up every single day thinking I'm the luckiest woman alive.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Let me see if I can find it in my clip board somewhere. . .

            Nope, I really should save these.

            Dude, I'm a pretty average 30-something guy with thinning hair who does not have trouble finding 20-something geek women who are physically attractive and interested enough to go out with me. Now, obviously I tend towards the later 20's and much more to those in their 30s but for purposes of your example, the point remains.

          • rebootI730

            Being attractive, either conventionally or unconventionally, is a big part of meeting partners, but not the end all be all. You also need to think about what type of women you are attracted to and how your interests intersect with theirs, what kinds of men they are attracted to and how to highlight those aspects of your personality. You also want to give a hard thought about what qualities you want in a partner (e.g. a planner? spontaneous? highly social? more of a homebody) and how that type of person fits with your current lifestyle.

            You may find that the type of person that interests you is a bad match for your interests and lifestyle, which is not in and of itself a problem. It just means finding someone might be a bit harder because they are more niche.

            For example, one of my friends is attracted to the 24/7 club going, high fashion partier, but his interests are more outdoorsy, backpacking, sleep in dirt variety, so it is hard for him to align the type of person he is attracted to and the type of life he wants to have.

          • Conreezy

            Man, I know that feeling, but I'm here to tell you that becoming an Olympian is no free pass. Getting into a good, healthy shape is a great idea for your entire life (not just your dating life), but chasing the certain physique/physical attribute that will finally make you feel like you're worthy will only drive you nuts and make you feel constantly inadequate.

            Confidence is attractive, romantically and otherwise, to everyone. Evaluating yourself and working on what you consider to be deficient is commendable, but sometimes just sticking to the process of self-improvement should be enough to make you feel at ease with yourself and your short comings (which probably aren't as bad to the eyes of everyone else.) There's no objective benchmark anywhere that marks those who are "good enough" from everyone else.

            I have to remind myself of this all the time.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            The pool is small? Man, I must just live in the right spot. Although I'd note that most of the geeks I'm interested in are defined by what they do, not what they buy. Although if you want to date non-geek women, there's plenty of help on that, too. One article does not a blog make.

          • nolorn

            what the hell I just posted why does this site eat up my comments?

          • eselle28

            Sometimes comments automatically go into moderation if they contain certain words. Happens to me all the time. Brush it off and write another post saying the same thing in a different way.

        • It depends on what you mean by "quality relationship." If you hold misogynist beliefs then yes, you can probably have a successful relationship with a woman with similar attitudes, in which you regularly treat her in less-than-ethical ways while believing that you are being perfectly fair. I am of the opinion that such relationships are not just unlikely to produce a sustaining and meaningful partnership, but they are also corrosive to the soul.

          If you are interested in models of quality and equality in a relationship, I'd suggest looking at Shauna Springer's study of over 1,200 extraordinary women in high-functioning partnerships.

    • Actually, this has been scientifically proven, and the site is also catering to that demographic. Next Monday we'll get an article on How To Take Care Of A High Number Of Cats, with tips on buying pet food in bulk and getting vomit out of a carpet.

      • eselle28

        Dude, really?

        • Yes, because there is someone out there with an sexist bingo card desperately waiting to cross off the Cat Lady box in order to complete a row.

          I apologize to all feminists who are actually more of a dog person.

          • Dr_NerdLove

            I realize you think you’re being funny. It’s not working.I suggest you try something else.

          • Not working for the majority of the userbase and site owner, which is all that is needed to switch modes. My apologies, I'll crawl back under my bridge now

          • Oh please, being criticized doesn't mean you're being censored.
            Get off your cross.
            Someone could use the wood for something productive.

          • FWIW, I think that was "whoops, misjudged my audience," not "woe is me." But Bas can say for sure.

          • Ahh shit, it can read it that way too.

            If so, sorry Bas.

          • No prob, tone does not carry across the internet and these misunderstandings are funny to me.

          • enail0_o

            I assumed the bridge reference to mean "I think this may have sounded like trolling."

          • What Kleenestar said below. Site policy is explicitly there to protect the character of the site and the nature of the discussion. What works for another audience doesn't work here, and that's fine by me.

            Also, the unintentional innuendo is chucklesome.

      • Dr_NerdLove

        Nature’s Miracle. If it’s an organic stain, that stuff’ll get it right out.

  • Doc, did you get linked by some idiot-filled corner of the Internet? I see a new crop of whiny man-splainers and they aren't even making entertaining arguments.

    • Dr_NerdLove

      I’ve been Slashdotted today.Which, I believe, means I have now officially completed the Nerd EGOT.

      • I had to Google two things in that comment. Does that mean I have to hand in my nerd card?

        • raindancing

          No, you just have to take a few Nerd Remediation classes. It's okay, 'cause you can take them online.

  • B.C.

    I think another thing to mention is that a lot of the marketing to boys and exclusion of female-oriented content in games developed as the game industry “went Hollywood” and the game studios and publishers were absorbed by media conglomerates. As Polaris’ debacle of an attempt to do a game-dev jam demonstrates, a lot of the sexism in the industry comes from the marketing guys and investors rather than from the developers.

  • The problem is that the people claiming in lockstep that "gaming is dead" are acting as the very people that will be swept away. Apparently the author of this article just wrote their own epitaph and doesn't know it yet.

    It is about how far the gaming industry will go to disappear some embarrassing truth about how games are reported. It's not about feminism, nor about equality, nor about bigotry. The sooner that people like Chelsea Van Valkenburg, Anita Sarkeesian, Maya Felix, Phil Fish, and the like embrace it, the sooner this goes away.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      No, its about gaming no longer being a monolith targeted at "gamers" as a unique and special snowflake subculture mad up of 18-34 year old middle-upper class white guys and instead targeted at everyone because everyone is a gamer now.

  • Anonymous

    The stench of internet feminism in these articles has really grown to intolerable levels in the past few months.

    • Dr_NerdLove

      And yet you keep coming back.

      • XKCD's "Duty Calls" would apply to this situation. In this case, you're the one that's being called out as "wrong".

        Truth, no matter how much it is silenced by the distractionary calls of "sexism" or "misogyny" or "bigotry", will not cease being the truth. The critics are calling out the deafening and enforced silence on gaming journalism getting caught red-handed.

        The more you try to frame it as a case of bigotry and try to silence people, the bigger of a case this becomes to people. Had this been resolved without a need to silence it, you wouldn't see this schism in gaming – one between the gatekeepers like yourself that shove tolerance down people's throats, or reasonable, truth-seeking individuals that keep on calling your bluff and finding ways to get the word out.

        You should be thankful that that Mr. O'Keefe from Project Veritas doesn't do gaming. He's done quite a good job at exposing people who've advanced similar narratives. Then again, it's not as if other capable individuals, who are not bigots, are exposing the falsehoods of your own arguments.

        • Dr_NerdLove

          Dude it's cool. We know you just want a chance to rage on women for being gamers. You can admit it now.It's appropriate that you bring up James O'Keefe, although not in the way you intended. I mean, he IS synonymous with inventing conspiracies and scandals by lying, distorting and faking “evidence” when reality refuses to follow the narrative he was hoping for.But hey, Intrfirst, ever see a mic drop from space? do kind of feel sorry for people who legitimately wanted to talk about the state of gaming's enthusiast press. It's a shame they were manipulated into providing cover for other people's hate.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Now that was a good read, although to be honest, pretty much what I would have guessed was going on. Mostly, its a shame that personal Internet drama was able to gain such a platform.

          • A different spin on the sekrit hackerz IRC chatroom story:

            Also, those logs were edited up quite a bit:

            That said, anyone who doesn't believe either side had sordid company is wholly delusional(see the /pol/sters 'muh cultural marxism' crowd and the folks who thought it clever to fight for feminism by resorting to fat/virginshaming, even SRS hates that crap:… )

          • Also more proof that the #NotYourShield folks are for real:

            (The notion that these people were 'duped' or used as props is really gross: they can think for themselves perfectly fine, and have a right not to have their opinions yoked because someone else might use them as a cover for misogyny: it would be on the same level as saying the game journos/devs are only standing behind Quinn because her harassment can be used as a distraction from their own dirty laundry)

          • And final post: here's a FYC vid(which is basically a dollar store version of TVW with a whut-about-da-menz angle inserted into it:… ).

            Of course this is gender theory 101, of course this is nerdy white menz speaking over and taking credit for shit feminism has been saying for trillions of years, and of course this is paid for and done on instructions of /v/, who will turn around and thrash-talk feminism and social justice within a minute after giving these instructions.

            But you know what that means? It means that you've dragged the Overton Window so goddamn far that you have 4chan trying to beat you at doing feminism. It's the same with that /mlp/ RAINN funding action in response to the Molestia controversy. You have nerds amplifying an admittedly watered down message of your movement to people who will take up this watered down version purely to spite you, whereas before they would have locked up and dismissed it completely. They are operating in and have grudgingly accept the paradigm, even though they'll never admit it.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I have no doubt that there are now people who genuinely want to look into the ethics of the relationship between game publishers and reporters. That doesn't change the fact that their movement and their hashtag were started by people trying to make Zoe Quinn look bad, not fix ethics. It doesn't change the fact that every time I hear these arguments, the name "Zoe Quinn" comes up a hell of a lot more than any reporter's. It doesn't change the fact that the reviewer she supposedly slept with never actually reviewed her game so discussions of corruption are pretty thin at best.Someone who genuinely has a cause here would do well to acknowledge that, walk away from the entire Quinn angle and pursue their cause another way.

            I also believe that there are gun rights activists who aren't afraid of being rounded up into FEMA camps. Sadly, the less acceptable side of both issus tends to be the one making the most noise and ends up gurting more than helping.

          • Those people were there from the start. Everyone was there from the start:

            This includes womanhaters from all diversity variations under the sun(cos I highly doubt some of these folks on #notyourshield don't hold some beliefs which I'd consider denigrating to dudettes), people who just hate cheaters and hipsters, folks who love drama and any excuse to troll and threaten, persons grudgingly colluding with the former categories because they need the horsepower to tackle corruption and don't have time for nuance, others who see Quinn as the latest face of what they call victim mentality feminism, SJWs who jump into it in the hopes of making the whole thing backfire spectacularly on the neckbeards, agenda-pushers and a lot of combinations of the above motivations, some of them genuine, others held to fit in or make good PR.

            The other side of the issue will also include people simply standing up for their friends, people fighting for equality, hyperpolitically correct /pol/ troll accounts trying to stir up anger, journos trying to remaining impartial but forced to a boiling point due to the abuse from trolls, folks mining for clicks, others who dislike her personally but see it as a break to fundamentally alter the discourse on videogames, attention-seekers spamming their Patreons all over the place and any combination of the above.

            Plenty of folks say 'stop talking about Zoe, this is a private matter' and 'yeah, they're all friends with each other and the scene is one big circlejerk(how is this a surprise to them in the first place?), but that shouldn't be your biggest priority' and get shut down with examples of bad behaviour from others on their side. Get lumped in with them to the point that you get tired of the 'police your own' guilt-by-association and you start accusing the other side of doing it, ignoring their points, etcetera, etcetera.

          • Gentleman Johnny


          • Plenty of stuff that has little to do with the problematic closeness and more with we-are-better-than-you, some people desiring a genuine break, some gold:

            I doubt it'll do much but spark inane hashtag rivalry, but we'll see.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            Well, it could pile more Internet drama on what is mostly Internet drama or maybe people could actually focus on the issue. I doubt there's an IRC channel somewhere to strategize for how to clean up gaming review ethics.

        • Gentleman Johnny

          gatekeepers like yourself that shove tolerance down people's throats

          A more telling quote, I could not have asked for.

      • Anonymous

        Yeah, once a month I open an article and then it lingers on the upper part of the tab bar for a few weeks until I actually force myself to read it.
        Or just close it instead.

    • slidebytheside

      What does the stench of internet feminism smell like, so I can know what to sniff for in the future?

      Dead cattle? Half-Life LAN party? Stale semen in a sock?

      • raindancing

        Estrogen and fried circuits, I think. It's a little pungent, but once you get used to it, it's not that bad.

      • username_6916

        "Dead cattle?"

        Did I seriously miss a computer engineering joke in this thread?

  • Mel_

    Something that came up on my Twitter feed via Cory Doctorow that I thought people might be interested to know: Quinn was able to get screencaps of several conversations in which people were discussing how to set up their attack on her, Anita, and other "SWJs" and how to handle the response (for example, by pretending it was about journalistic integrity).


    Anyone who was claiming that it really was about journalistic integrity might want to see exactly how they've been misled.

    Anyone who was suggesting her ex didn't intend any attacks on her to come from his post might want to take note that he was involved in this planning.

    I know pretty much nothing about Quinn, so I can't comment on her character, but it seems pretty clear that this entire conflict had pretty much nothing to do with emotional abuse, ethics, or anything other than trying to take down women speaking up for social justice in the gaming community.

    • username_6916

      As opposed to… Say, 8 different editors and writers colluding to write "Gamers are Dead Articles" and drop them at the exact same time?

      I'm not seeing anything that isn't kosher here. A group of like-minded people is organizing to advance their argument. What is so horrible about that? It's not like they are buying journalists or misrepresenting who they are.

      Her ex doesn't seem to be encouraging harassment here, if that's what you mean to imply. It depends on what you mean by attacks. People questioning her character, or the industry media's treatment of her, or republishing what seems to be factual events could all be considered "attacking" and would all be perfectly fair things to do. That said, Zoe Quinn is a sideshow at point. There are far more interesting questions to look at, in my view.

      In my view, pushing against a 'social-justice' bias in our media(s) is a matter of ethics, too. It's not the role of the media to speak up for 'social justice', any more than it is to speak up for 'people who want another damn Railroad Tycoon game'. Inserting such an agenda can, and often does, interfere with reporting the facts.

      • Gentleman Johnny

        In my view, pushing against a "respect people equally" bias is itself standing up for bigots.

        • username_6916

          In my view, 'social justice' as the movement is broadly defined, has more to do with Stalin and Mao than it does with 'respect people equally'. Just ask them how much they respect men, white people, Republicans, supporters of firearms rights, and people who disagree with them on policy regarding taxes and social programs.

          • Gentleman Johnny

            I have a pretty good idea of what your view is by now. I don't really have to ask how much they respect white men. The ones on here respect me just fine even when we disagree.

          • rebootI730

            Then you do not really know much about it at all. It is about giving everyone the same rights as white men have always had, not subtracting the rights from anyone. It is making sure that a black man with a gun has the same right to carry as a white man. Did you know that the first gun control laws came about because people got spooked when the Black Panthes came to the CA statehouse armed? Reagan drafted them:

          • Gentleman Johnny

            That's not entirely true. The restrictions on full-auto weapons were in response to Al Capone and company.

      • Mel_

        Wow. Okay, so you see one brief clip of Sarkeesian talking about games more than two years before she started her project to study them and based on this publicly condemn her repeatedly as a liar and fraud. But when given pages of current discussions relating directly to the situation at hand, in which these people scoff at someone "don't tell me you actually buy the corruption in journalism thing", talk openly about "posing" or "going undercover" as the SJWs they hate to get what they want, about pretending to be anti-harassment by defusing people who harass Quinn and others while at the same time admitting their own "high" temptation to engage in harassment too, about illegally hacking into people's emails and websites (how is this "perfectly fair" and not "attacking"?), and then, when they're caught, about lying about all of the above being fake to try to cover themselves, that's just "advancing their argument" and totally "kosher".

        All right then. In short, you really don't care how badly people behave as long as they're "advancing arguments" you agree with. How "ethical" of you. 😛

        (Re: her ex, I was referring to the many people who suggested he was just expressing his feelings and couldn't have known what he said about her would result in this backlash. This is obviously untrue if he was discussing the strategies of how that backlash would play out with the people who orchestrated it.)

        • Jess

          God, yes, could username be more hypocritical and gross? Let alone his ridiculous notion that the highest calling for game journalism is to, what? Pretend it's without cultural bias while delivering glorified reviews? Wow, yes, let's totally go to the wall for that vision. What a wonderful aspiration.

          (I almost feel bad for the guy. I can't imagine that anyone who is actually ethical would want to spend any time around him if they didn't have to. Though I suppose that would explain why he thinks he has to earn a lot of money to bribe a woman into a relationship with him, and why he's so adamantly against divorce.)

          • username_6916

            I'm not the one going around and turning what is essentially a political disagreement into a continuous stream of personal harassment.

          • Given the context, this is hilarious. Dude, you are not exempt from people having an opinion about you based on what you say. And it's deeply hypocritical that you're being so sensitive about it in a thread in which you're on the side of, you know, actual harassment.

          • (I mean, seriously, what is it with guys who think their every idiot opinion deserves to be taken seriously, them get pissy when you do?)

          • username_6916

            I am on the side of actual harassment? News to me.

          • Jess

            Well, it's not news to anyone else here. At best, that means you're not very good at communicating what you actually believe.

        • username_6916

          Ah, I think I've figured out what what you thought I meant and I can see how we miscommunicated:

          My point is any idiot can say stupid things in an IRC chat room. There isn't any sort of editorial control, and I'm not seeing widespread community support for stuff like doxxing and harassment even in the excerpts specifically chosen to maximize the presence of such people.

          No, I don't approve of trying to take down a webserver, or harassing folks. No, I don't approve of everything that was suggested in those logs. But, at the same time, I'm not sure how the existence of some 4chan affiliated backchannel where most folks are talking about far more reasonable actions somehow discredits the existence of #gamergate. The logs prove nothing besides 'some people are/want to act like jerks'.

          That doesn't make it right for games journalists to also be working for a consulting company. Or receive hundreds of dollars in swag. Or allow their personal relationships to influence their reporting.

          • Mel_

            Er, we didn't miscommunicate, you said the opposite of what you're saying now. There is no interpretation of "I'm not seeing anything that isn't kosher here." (i.e., "everything is kosher") that means "I don't approve of everything that was suggested in those logs". (i.e., "everything is not kosher")

            Anyway, I find it highly interesting that here you are arguing that we should ignore what you feel is a minority part of #gamergate because you think the movement in general is pointing out some behaviors that are actually wrong. Whereas above to GJ you are suggesting that it's totally okay to push against the entire social justice movement because you interpret that movement as not being really about equality… based on what, exactly? The fact that you've seen a few feminists say things you didn't like?

            In other words, your position is that, when it comes to #gamergate, we should ignore it when some of the organizers of that movement openly advocate misrepresenting themselves and lying, carry out illegal activities, etc., and focus on the pieces of their message that are reasonable. But when it comes to feminism in gaming, we should ignore all the pieces of their message that are reasonable and focus on the alleged wrongdoings of a few particularly visible figures.

            If you're all about equality and reporting facts fairly, why are you suggesting we treat these two groups so differently? I mean, you realize I could turn what you're saying above around and apply it directly to what you said to GJ about "social justice" above, right? The fact that some proclaimed SJWs might make hostile remarks about men, Republicans, whatever, doesn't make it right for women gamers to receive far more harassment than men. Or to be excluded from getting to see their gender represented in a non-sexualized, non-victimized way in the majority of certain types of games. Or for women working in the industry to be far more scrutinized and personally criticized than their male equivalents. And the people pointing out that those things are wrong and suggesting perfectly reasonable actions shouldn't be discredited because of people being jerks.

            It's pretty sad to me that you seem to think that the way actual living human beings are treated in the gaming community is an unimportant issue compared to the way the inanimate objects called games are being reported on.

          • username_6916

            I never intended that meaning, but I can see how you got to it. My mistake. Chalk it up to a lack of sleep here. My intent was to shoot down any argument of the form "There's an IRC channel, therefore it's ASTROTURF!", not to endorse any actions proposed by any idiot in that IRC channel. The existence of an IRC channel is Kosher. Coordinating hashtags on Twitter, and refining your argument and reasoning, are all Kosher. The "Let's go Black Hat on her E-Mail" suggestions most certainly are not.

            "doesn't make it right for women gamers to receive far more harassment than men. "
            I was about to say that's not true, but it turns out that the the data I have seems to contradict that. So, I stand preemptively corrected. (Yes, I know the data isn't gamer specific. Best I could find in 15 seconds of Google. )

            Yours is a valid point regarding double standards. But, does that make the 'social justice' crowd above criticism? Does that make their ideology above criticism? Even the the most moderate social justice advocates seem deeply anti-individualist to me. Does disagreeing with that philosophy make me a bigot? Should we have even games coverage from an individualist, or capitalist prospective on these issues?

            Moreover, I think you're deeply underestimating how pervasive some of these attitudes are. "LOL Male Tears" is in fact supported by a lot of prominent feminists. The idea that a member of minority is justified in their prejudice toward the 'other' because that minority, as a group, lack power compared towards that 'other' almost seems to be a defining belief. These aren't just the loudest parts of their groups, they are the majority as far as I can tell.

            "Or to be excluded from getting to see their gender represented in a non-sexualized, non-victimized way in the majority of certain types of games. "

            In a far greater majority of certain type of games, male characters are depicted as 'victimized'. Like, every modern military shooter for example. It seems as if most of the targets you shoot at are male.

            Am I misreading what you said? Are you asking for the presence of a non-sexualized, non-victimized female characters, or the absence of a sexualized, or victimized female characters? I agree with the former, but not the latter.

            "And the people pointing out that those things are wrong and suggesting perfectly reasonable actions shouldn't be discredited because of people being jerks. "
            I agree, these are all legitimate points to discuss. The question becomes what actions are perfectly reasonable.

            "It's pretty sad to me that you seem to think that the way actual living human beings are treated in the gaming community is an unimportant issue compared to the way the inanimate objects called games are being reported on. "

            Our creations will outlast us and have far more influence than our person. Even for someone who was a great visionary and teacher and had a lot of influence as a person. For example Grace Murry Hopper's words on computing may be inspiring for generations of hackers to come, but her work on COBOL is what had a lasting effect on the industry and it's the reason we care about her in the first place. So, it stands to reason that's what's worth analyzing.

          • Mel_

            For additional data on harassment that's specific to gaming, DNL reported on research that found female gamers received three times as many negative comments as male gamers. (Your link isn't working, BTW.)

            I never said the social justice crowd is above criticism, or that their ideology is above criticism, so bringing up that as a counterargument is kind of a straw man. I'm only suggesting that you should hold all "movements" to the same standard.

            I mean, consider that the bad behavior you're calling feminists out on is making a joke about men getting upset over things. Where I have seen this usually come up is when a guy is perceived as complaining about a situation where he's actually in a better position than most people. I have seen no evidence that, say, even a significant minority of feminists would say, "LOL male tears" to a guy who's just been assaulted or lost a child or something like that. So this is indicative of believing in a power differential, not of disdain for all mankind or men's pain.

            On the other hand, the anti-feminist crew freely admits that they want to eliminate feminism completely and don't care at all what issues feminists are fighting for or how hurt women might be by getting threats or being doxxed or whatever. Even most of the guys who aren't doing the threatening or doxxing themselves try to justify it or dismiss it or try to blame it on the victims, or even applaud it.

            I don't think these two things are equivalent. One is people not being sympathetic to every single problem men face, and the other is people actively trying to create problems for women and enjoying causing them pain.

            If you want to talk about prevalence, you might also consider that even here, on a feminist-leaning blog, we see far more comments of guys dropping in to tell us how awful women or feminists are and how little consideration they deserve, than comments suggesting all men's problems should be completely dismissed. This suggest to me that the former attitude is far more common than the latter, and thus more of a problem.

            Again, I am not suggesting that this means feminists or feminism should get a free pass from criticism. Only that if you're going to attack one group for certain behavior while supporting another that's behaving similarly or worse, people are going to take issue with that.

            "Am I misreading what you said?"

            I think so. I'm not suggesting there's something bad with video games having victims–I recognize that in many games the vast majority of targets are men. It's just, in those games the heroes and pretty much every character who gets any non-victim development is also a man, no? The problem is that women are mainly excluded from seeing the latter for their own gender.

            There's also something to be said for the type of victim we're talking about. The male victims in military shooters, for example, tend to be depicted as competent soldiers it requires some skill or strategy to defeat. That's a very different portrayal from a helpless female victim who is able to do nothing to defend herself while the villain kidnaps her/kills her/whatever or the hero is forced to do the same.

            "So, it stands to reason that's what's worth analyzing."

            Again, I didn't say it isn't worth analyzing. I was questioning the fact that you were outright dismissing a whole host of other problems and advocating for shutting down all the people who are advocating for those problems.

            Here's the thing: feminists or SJWs or whoever aren't for corruption in game journalists. They've been disputing #gamergate because the vast majority of the noise being made around that "movement" has focused on a few female figures while ignoring not just the many men who must be involved if this is a widespread problem but even the men specifically involved with those female figures. After all, if what you're really concerned about is corrupt game journalists, shouldn't the actual game journalist who supposedly compromised his ethics for Quinn be a bigger target for anger and accusations than she is, considering he's the one who had a commitment to journalism in the first place? I think it's understandable that people have gotten the impression this is more about attacking women than about attacking corruption, and they're responding to that. I highly doubt that if people had stood up and pointed out a whole bunch of figures they took issue with, most of whom weren't specifically women/feminists, there would have been this backlash. And the organizers really haven't done a good job of redirecting their movement if they do in fact want to, considering even the articles talking about how it isn't about attacking women spend more time talking about how badly the women are behaving than anything else.

          • username_6916

            This was the link I had intended to post.

            The folks are saying that opposition to 'social justice' is support of bigotry are not a straw man. It might not be your viewpoint, but it is one that we do see rather frequently in the wild.

            In this way, the 'anti-feminists' (which, can be a loaded term and I'll assume doesn't mean 'anti-woman' or 'anti-equality' for this context) aren't calling for the elimination of their opponents any more than the feminists are. Reasonable people can disagree here. I take issue with this Marxist idea of women as oppressed an men as oppressors. I take issue with the idea of suggesting that we are defined as members of a particular class or group rather than individuals, and basing our ethics on such distinctions. I would argue that these attitudes, and the feminists who support them, in fact do create problems and pain for men. To reduce this conflict to "those who oppose us support doxxing or harassment" or "Either you're with us or you're with the terrorists^w misogynists" is essentially hold feminism and feminist ideas as things that are beyond questioning.

            "LOL Male Tears" is not 'being unsympathetic', it mocking men's tears and suffering. It is functionally identical to schoolyard bullies saying, "What, you're going to cry now?".

            Similarly, I disagree with your assessment of this community. I think DNL himself dismisses nearly all of men's problems as being a problem inherent to masculinity. That everything is men's fault. Those who mock men's troubles, or agree with DNL are heavily up-voted. It's clear which attitude is favored here. And this is somewhat moderate compared to a lot of other places.

            "The problem is that women are mainly excluded from seeing the latter for their own gender. "
            Ah, okay, I can agree with most of that, but I don't think it is necessarily appropriate for every title.

            "Again, I didn't say it isn't worth analyzing. I was questioning the fact that you were outright dismissing a whole host of other problems and advocating for shutting down all the people who are advocating for those problems. "

            But, you were chiding me for saying that reporting on games was more important than reporting on 'actual living human beings are treated in the gaming community'.

            Just as COBOL is more important to computing that Grace Murry Hopper, so are games more important to gaming than Phil Fish.

            "They've been disputing #gamergate because the vast majority of the noise being made around that "movement" has focused on a few female figures while ignoring not just the many men who must be involved if this is a widespread problem but even the men specifically involved with those female figures. "

            Leigh Alexander shouldn't get a pass on being both a consultant for developers and publishers and a games journalist at the same time because she's a woman. That would be sexist.

          • Mel_

            Wow again. I really feel like you haven't actually read anything I'm saying, you're just saying whatever you want in support of your position that vaguely fits my comments.

            For the last time, I am not saying that feminists and feminism should not be criticized. I am not saying that women should get a pass. I'm saying that refusing to criticize what men are doing while heaping tons of criticism on feminists or women in general is a problem.

            But I don't see any point in attempting to explain my position any further since you seem quite set on seeing this in black and white terms.

          • username_6916

            And, I'm just not seeing a refusal to criticize men in this whole #gamergate. Most of the people in this info-graphic that points to people who had a conflict of interest in voting for winners of the Independent Games Festival are men for example.

          • Mel_

            Actually, there's one more thing I want to say, because I think it's very important to point it out, re: the games vs. human beings concern.

            You've expressed a lot of worry about social justice commentary somehow harming games, suggesting, for example, that if people listened to Sarkeesian a game you love would not have been made. I don't agree that Sarkeesian is trying to do away with any game where you save a woman in any capacity, but that's not the point. I do agree that losing games that could have been made and would have had an impact is a bad thing.

            Now I want you to consider the way women are generally treated by the gaming community. Getting three times as much negativity thrown at them as men do in online games. Being intensely scrutinized in a way no/few men are if they attempt to work in the industry. Facing doxxing and rape and death threats if they make comments about games that other gamers disagree with. I want you to consider the many women who are perfectly capable of making great games too. When they look at what happens to them when they play, when they look at what happens to women already in the industry, do you not think that this discourages large numbers of them from making games, or if they make games from trying to put those games out there? Do you care at all about all the great games that might have been made but haven't been because the gaming community has made it so much harder for women to feel comfortable, accepted, and supported within the industry?

            I don't know if you think women couldn't make games that are great, or that women couldn't make games that would appeal to you personally and so you don't care whether those games get made, or if you simply have never thought about it in those terms. But even from the perspective of "what matters most to gaming is the games", many of the problems feminists are pointing out and trying to combat in gaming are in fact problems that are getting in the way of potentially hundreds of amazing games being made, released, and/or recognized. So keep that in mind the next time you're tempted to suggest that feminism or "social justice" shouldn't be allowed to try to influence what goes on in the gaming community.

            (Necessary disclaimer, since you seem to bring this up repeatedly: This does not mean you have to agree with everything any given group does, or that you can't criticize them or their methods. It simply means that arguing that they have no place in the discussion at all–as you have, and as many of the people you're defending have–is counter to the ideals you claim to hold.)

      • What a shock, username is defending these guys.

        • Jess

          And he claims to be one of the "good" MRAs. Can't say he's making them look a whole lot better.

        • username_6916

          I'm defending #gamergate. Not these guys.

    • Oh Jesus. That's just special.

    • Speaking for myself, I found Eron's motives suspect, not the things he was sharing.

      • eselle28

        Yeah, and while there are a few people who are focused mostly on the fact that his statements are allegations, I think most of the conversation has proceeded with people agreeing that there was likely some infidelity involved and arguing whether it was sufficient to provoke death threats, whether the scandal was motivated by sex or by some larger issue regarding gaming journalism, and whether Eron's actions were appropriate, and so on.

        I, at least, did reject the wizardchan screencaps as useful evidence, but that's mostly because I don't think their screencaps support their thesis (I'm quite willing to believe that their members didn't do anything to Zoe beyond making gross statements about her game on their own site, but I didn't see anything in their document that convinced me that the harassment was invented rather than done by someone else and pinned on them).

    • TheWisp

      By the way, just to clarify, I meant my question in good faith. I'm inclined to believe that this happened, but I'm not going to 100% buy it if this is all there is.

      EDIT: nevermind, I'm not in the mood to discuss this topic

      so, here's a camera strapped to a dog sprinting for the water:

    • Mel_

      Well, for starters, I never said I thought Eron faked his screencaps, so I'm not contradicting myself here. Since I am not a member of a hive mind, I don't think it's fair to expect me to account for other people's beliefs or statements. Also, if the "elaborate conspiracy" you're referring to is the idea that feminists are out to ruin games or some such, I'm pretty sure there is nothing at all referring to that in Eron's entire post, whereas Zoe's screencaps show people very clearly conspiring to hack her email, hack into websites, pose as people they're not, etc. And that's backed up by the fact that she did actually have her personal information spread online without her permission, while I'm pretty sure no women have actually succeeded in ruining games thus far. I'm not seeing how there's a logic fail to believe a conspiracy that's based on some pretty obvious evidence over one that seems to be based on nothing but resentment of women having opinions about games.

      I was pretty clear in my initial comment that I wasn't making any statements about how "good" a person Quinn is. She could be a horrible person. The point is that the people trying to present themselves as defenders of ethics aren't looking so ethical themselves.

      • TheWisp

        Hrm, I was just puzzled (I haven't followed this story much outside of discussion on this site, so I didn't know the details of Eron's posts), I think you've cleared up my confusion, in that they're superficially similar but not really when looked at more closely. Sorry if I came off as accusing you of believing things you didn't, I intended it as a more general statement.

        I googled some stuff, as well, and am much more inclined to believe what Zoe has released, in addition to what you said, Mel.

    • Gentleman Johnny

      By the way, what's the term for a group of people who all think alike, can't stand dissent and conspire together to bring more people around to their "agenda" by any means necessary? That's a hive mind, right? Seems like a pretty good description of this group of 4channers.

      • eselle28

        Or, if you want a more pernicious-sounding alternative, "groupthink" works pretty well.

  • strivingally

    Any chance Mr Moss would be willing to sell that "Social Justice Warrior" image as a t-shirt, Doc? I would wear the hell out of that. 😀

    • Dr_NerdLove

      Evidently no, but he DID share a full-size image of the graphic on his Twitter feed for people who want to make their own.

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  • Everyone gets trashed talked on video games, I been called every name in the book, by females and males.

    I just find it odd criticism is only directed at the men for his supposedly treatment of women

    • Jess

      A randomized controllled peer-reviewed study published in a reputable journal – Kuznekoff and Rose (2013) if you are curious – found that a player using a female voice and name received three times as much harassment as the same player using a male voice and name. Sorry, dude, science says you're full of it.

  • l honestly can't wait for all of this to just go away. Really tired of hearing about it.

    • eselle28

      Women in the gaming world are really tired of experiencing it.

  • I'm really torn about the GamerGate issue. On the one hand, people I have a lot of respect for are siding with the feminists. On the other hand, there are parts of the feminists' side of the story that don't make sense to me:

    a) 4chan wouldn't have decided whitewashing their image was worth $10,000 — when many if not most of them are NEETs or full-time students — if they didn't also have other reasons to donate to TFYC.
    b) Why is nobody on your side discussing what Zoe Quinn tried to do to TFYC, or the fact that her own Game Jam fundraiser has "scam" written all over it?
    c) There *are* excesses in social-justice movements, there *is* misandry within Tumblr feminism, and it *does* add insult to injury when SJWs won't sympathize with legitimate complaints or give any other response except "check your privilege".
    d) Game reviewers *do* have COI problems, and those problems should have become front-page news a long time ago if we were to be properly informed consumers.
    e) The more time and money is spent developing games for one target audience, the less is available for games that target other audiences, so in a very real sense it *is* zero-sum.

  • Holly

    I’m a woman and I love games.