This is an editorial piece. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.
Though our busy EIC hasn’t (or can’t) show me the average age of our readers here at Niche Gamer, I’m willing to bet most of you are old enough to remember Saturday Night Live back in its 1990s heyday. If you were watching the show back then, you undoubtedly remember the talented Phil Hartman and his popular skits based around the character he called “The Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer”.
To save you the trouble of clicking on that previous link, the skit revolved around an unfrozen caveman lawyer (you probably already figured that much) who would win cases against much better defended people by pretending he was ignorant to basic truths and then citing the fact that he was a, quote, “Simple caveman who is confused by your ways”. Each skit ended the same way as the others, in that the caveman lawyer would avoid an obvious piece of evidence that proved his case wrong by pretending to be ignorant to the truth.
What? You have a video of my client stealing your car and crashing it? Well I’m a simple unfrozen caveman and I cannot understand these strange blinking boxes you call cameras, they confuse and frighten me!!
What? You have fingerprints that match my client and it links him to the crime? Well I’m a simple unfrozen caveman and I cannot understand these strange lines on my skin you call prints, they confuse and frighten me!!
And yes, he would win.
Silly? Perhaps, but after reading Cracked.com’s intro to Chelsea Van Valkenburg’s…oops, I mean Zoe Quinn’s laughably inaccurate article, I immediately thought back to Hartman’s caveman skit.
Like the caveman lawyer, Cracked didn’t even bother to actually read up on the topic they claimed to be addressing, nor did they even bother to lie and say they did. They simply ignored the basic, clearly stated mission of the Gamer Gate “movement” and portrayed Phil Hartman’s character to a tee.
Professional journalists with communications degrees spent so long pouring over so much data and still couldn’t figure it out? I guess this doesn’t speak much for their education, since even a redneck south jersey bumpkin like me can easily fit the entire gist of Gamer Gate into just a couple sentences. After all, it’s not that hard.
Gamer Gate is about the questioning of the ethics and integrity of modern games journalists and exposing the myriad of connections between a small group of echo-chambered indie developers and their close friends who have conspired, for the past five years or so, to push a negative and hateful agenda within the gaming community that (among other things) attacked anyone outside their tiny clique, developer and gamer alike. They also, through secret (and often times illegal) collusion helped the others in their small clique push to the top of website’s coverage lists and paid off others through monetary and sexual favors in order to receive preferential treatment from reviewers and article writers.
Holy Jesus that was hard. Wow. I think I burned a brain cell trying to figure that one out. Can someone send me an aspirin?
Then again, maybe I shouldn’t expect much from a website that was born from a magazine whose mascot was a janitor that scrubbed shit off toilets for a living.
If lack of research was all they were guilty of, I would probably end the editorial here and go back to watching ESPN play more clips of the Ray Rice video…but that isn’t the only reason why I’m writing this.
Like all of these heavily researched anti Gamer Gate articles, they pull the old “Why is this even important” argument out of retirement. While it’s an easy insult to make, since gaming obviously doesn’t affect the world the way, say, ISIS is right now…it fails to address the fact that this breach of journalistic ethics is just the tip of a very large iceberg that descends so far down into the industry’s ocean that we have no idea where it even ends yet. With so many developers coming out and admitting in Reddit AMAs (before everything is scrubbed), 4chan posts and ban-filled NeoGaf threads that they were bullied by these folks, it’s getting really hard to claim this is just a gaming industry problem.
Developers are having their artistic creations stifled due to a miniscule yet cacophonous few who are boldly threatening them with refusal of coverage and industry blacklisting. A privileged few who, through unchecked egos and journalistic bravado, have dug their tendrils so deep into the gaming hobby that their unpopular and blatantly first-amendment breaking strong-arming has resulted in an uprising amongst those of us in the scene that still “care”.
So yes, this is all bullshit and doesn’t matter. It’s just silly nerds getting heated up about vidya games. If only you took the time to scrape off that first layer of information and find out what is really driving this furor, you might have realized how much of a bigger problem it is. That this seeps into a lot of neighboring “wells” and is indicative of a larger problem within the much wider online journalist community.
As journalists, you would think you’d see that. Unless, of course, you were also guilty of the same thing.
However, I’m not here to talk about Cracked. Their problem requires another article for another time. Let someone else do that. Instead, I want to talk about the editorial that Zoe wrote for them, and refute nearly every little victim-complex-driven statement she makes within it.
First of all, you are not the center of Gamer Gate. You were never the center of Gamer Gate. This victim-complex you have that convinces you that you are the center of this conspiracy is doing you a horrible disservice. It’s making you look even crazier than you’ve already proven yourself to be, and acting like you are the big giant red X in the middle of the dart board just screams “clueless”. No Zoe, you are not that important. This isn’t about you. In reality, you were simply the first domino that fell in a gigantic Rube Goldberg machine of gaming journalist failure.
As I said before, this is about corruption and collusion. Unfair coverage and silencing of developers. Intimidation and cronyism. This isn’t about you, your ex, your ex’s ex, your sex life, your trendy lip piercing or your hair color. This isn’t about you in even the slightest. What this *is* about, however, is the “San Francisco scene” you and Phil fish ran around in. You can play it off and act like it’s just conspiracy nerds throwing around wild theories, but with how much has been dug out and how much of it has been both verified and fact checked, you look really foolish by passing it all off as wild fantasies and make-believe.
Another mistake you made is by talking about the 4chan organized “Women against father’s day” twitter fiasco. You claim, in your villainous screed, that 4chan did it to make fun of black feminists. Black feminists? This is how I know you are, like most silver-spoon suckling middle class white hipsters, very racist. I was in on that prank, and it was *not* about “black” anyone. Color never played a part in that exercise. It was done for one reason and one reason only: To trick extremist tumblr feminists into believing it was real and getting them to retweet the hashtag. To be honest, very few people within the operation actually thought it would work. The belief was that it was too crazy for even the most far-gone tumblr feminist to believe…
Yet they surprised even 4chan by not only RT’ing it, but coming up with their own hilariously awful versions of it.
The problem with you, Zoe, is that you don’t care about the gaming hobby. You only care about your own ego, your own wallet, and your own success. You wonder aloud, constantly, why we continue to pursue this “foolish” crusade when you know exactly why we do. It’s because we care about this hobby and the scene that fosters it. We care about its continued growth and stability. We want it to be both lucrative to developers and beneficial to fun-seeking gamers. Unlike you, we care about the health of the industry and the money it creates on the whole. We sat here buying games for three decades, all the while helping to build a tiny little hobby into a multi-billion dollar industry that surpassed both movies and music as the way the world entertains itself. You, however, are only concerned with being famous and making sure Depression Quest gets as many 10/10s as possible. Even if you (or others in the San Francisco clique) have to step on other developers to accomplish it.
Of course, I’m talking about a person who cries about wanting more women in gaming, yet actively worked against and sabotaged an all-female game development jam simply because she didn’t like the fact that the women involved weren’t programmers.
You are the epitome of the selfish, entitled, modern American 20-something. It’s your way or the highway. Step on whomever you have to in order to get the attention, power and prestige you feel you deserve. The boom times of the 80s and 90s helped create an entire generation of weak, greedy, self-entitled, selfish little kids who grew up feeling like they were “owed” certain things by society at large…and now we see exactly what kind of fruit this country’s failings have created. A generation where a very large portion of people are unable to accept failure and gleefully piss on others to get the things they feel are owed to them.
But I digress, and I don’t want to lump every Generation Y member into the same unfair grouping.
Elsewhere in this article, you make the joke that this is all about getting you to give up your “Wealth” gained from giving away your game for free…alluding to the (incorrect) assumption that we are mad at you because you became rich and we are now jealous of your success.
Where to start?
Firstly, not a single Gamer Gater out there is jealous of your fountain of riches, real *or* imagined. The fact that you constantly bring up this rather weak strawman to deflect criticism of you and your friends just proves how egotistical you are. You’re rich, you’re beautiful, you’re successful…anything else you want to accuse us of being jealous of? You exhibit a classic case of narcissism that would make any psychologist’s toe’s curl. It’s truly astounding, and if there is anything you should be proud of, it’s that.
Lastly, you mention the death threats and how you fear it’s going to scare girls away from game development.
Considering the success of the #NotYourShield hashtag and how many women have rallied behind it, both gamers and developers, I really doubt any females are scared of entering the hobby. Now, what *might* hurt them is when a woman sabotages an all-female game development jam meant to bring females into the hobby. THAT might scare them off. Know anyone who might have done such a despicable thing, Zoe?
In closing, I’d like to say this is ultimately what Chelsea Van Valkenburg wants. She wants us to constantly talk about her, tweet about her, get her coverage in national media outlets and major news websites. She is loving the attention and lapping it up like a thirsty dog attacking its water bowl on a hot day. She simply cannot get enough of this and is doing everything she can to keep the attention on her when it so very clearly isn’t meant to be. Her victim complex is an insatiable beast, and having dealt with internet ne’er-do-wells like her that get off on pity, I fully expect her to only get worse as time goes on.
As for Cracked, they should re-freeze their cavemen writers and hire whomever worked there back before they started sucking.