The Labeling of #GamerGate Must Stop, a Plea for Reason

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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.

A lot of the recent and older editorial spins that I’ve seen taken by other websites and other journalists regarding #GamerGate and its demographic have just gotten me pissed off, and ultimately confused. Not only are these people trying to spin the narrative into a movement of hate and misogyny, they’re also labeling everyone, ignoring any individuality.

Let me explain my confusion with a brief description of myself, where I come from, and how life was like for me. I naturally have olive/tan skin, although I’m essentially half Italian and half German. Despite this, growing up I’ve basically heard everything but white thrown at me, as a label.

Here in America, I get called Latino, Black (mixed or not), or even Jewish – whatever that means (that’s not even an ethnicity!). In Europe I get called an ethnic Gypsy. In China I get called Middle Eastern – all of these mislabels and judging from complete strangers, just because I don’t have white skin, or blonde hair, or whatever you consider to be “Caucasian.”

Here’s a picture to reinforce how much of an unabated WAP, or Daygo, or whatever derogatory and nonsensical term people might use against American Italians:

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That’s a lot of spaghetti! Can’t forget the Parmigiano! I was STUFFED after eating that plate!

Anyway, back on topic. I’m making note of this because if you didn’t know me, you’d easily try to label me in some way, because that’s what people like to do. People like to categorize things and make them familiar in a sense, because having unknown things makes people uncomfortable. To remove the unknown factors, anti-#GamerGate folk simply lump everyone together into the same group, to make their arguments easier.

I think we’re seeing this happen with the opponents and the very groups/individuals that #GamerGate is attempting to fight. These people don’t further their agenda and their campaign unless they consolidate everyone into one homogeneous, misogynist, cis-white-male war machine that is hell bent on “chasing women out of the gaming industry.” Reading that to yourself, doesn’t that just sound completely ridiculous?

That’s not what #GamerGate is about and #GamerGate has never been about this. To say that the movement has ever been about this is not only disingenuous, it’s ignorant and cleverly oblivious to the fact that many women, non-white and non-heterosexual individuals stand proudly behind the movement. All we’re asking for is more clarity, more objectivity, a reinforcement of ethics and professionalism, and an end to the gamer shaming that we’ve been seeing lately.

These people don’t further their agenda and their campaign unless they consolidate everyone into one homogeneous, misogynist, cis-white-male war machine that is hell bent on “chasing women out of the gaming industry.”

The reality is that a multitude of people enjoy video games, people of all ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, political affiliations, countries of origin, and so on. Coming from this, all of these different peoples naturally have their own preferences and their own go-to genres for which they find the most enjoyment of. Quite a lot of gamers enjoy a myriad of genres, hence why the industry has been flourishing – because of the diversity we’ve been able to see in gaming.

That’s not what these people want. These ideologs simply want to keep pushing their malcontent agenda through the gaming industry, and they simply don’t care for anything else, and most especially other peoples’ opinions and or game projects. They simply want to co-opt the gaming landscape so that whatever agenda-charged games they create have a better chance at really making money. The fact of the matter is – these games just don’t sell in comparison to other games.

Look, I’m not sitting here saying that games with an ulterior message or a really thoroughly provoking one can’t exist – they should. What I am saying is that we live and participate in a free market, and by surviving in a free market, I believe the market will dictate what is commonly made. Within gaming, the most popular games tend to be escapist fantasies, whatever the true nature of these fantasies are.

Interactive novels that attempt to educate people on depression (while taking advantage of other peoples’ depression to market them) simply don’t sell – which is why you’ll probably see these games being given away under the guise of good will. This is why you typically see really targeted games being relegated to a niche, which you can probably attribute to our website even existing. We celebrate specialized games and or diversity, so games like the aforementioned novel can, and should exist.

The gaming industry thrives off of diversity, and to their discredit, the so called educated critics that cherry-pick examples out of context to shame games they don’t agree with are essentially calling for censorship. They may not outwardly be saying “this game shouldn’t exist”, but they are cherry picking an example that shouldn’t exist, and therefore saying the entire game is wrong for having it in there. I’ve seen this strategy used again and again, while no respect is given to the developer’s vision.

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If these people have their way in controlling the narrative in gaming, controlling which games receive awards and high scores, and controlling which games receive good press – games like Bayonetta will not only be scored poorly, reported on poorly and under a bias, they’ll eventually (and I guarantee this) cease to exist. Just look at Dragon’s Crown and the co-opted reviews crying about the artwork – although the deliberate agenda-laden libel ended up helping the game’s sales.

Do you want to live in a world in which gaming is co-opted in that manner?

Do you want to sit idly by and let these charlatans repeatedly cross the line between professionalism, common-sense ethics, and their own personal biases, in exchange for the furthering of their own careers, or the careers of their friends – whether they be fellow journalists or game developers? That’s why #GamerGate is still going strong, because this is a problem that multiple other industries, hobbies, organizations, and so on have allowed to happen.

If you sit there and plead with the proponents of #GamerGate to stop and go back to just playing video games in hopes of being left alone – that’s just not going to happen. The issue I (as well as many other supporters of #GamerGate) have with their version of “social justice” is that it’s either their way or the highway. Disagree with them and you’re oppressing them and preventing change, and their definition of change is always progressive and always good.

I think ultimately, what I’m trying to say is that it’s fine to be different. It’s ok to be different. I sincerely worry that these people just don’t believe in that – in fact they campaign against it.

We’ve heavily invested in this industry and this hobby, and we’ve put up with all the various outlets, pundits, critics, and agenda-pushers for long enough. We’re not going anywhere and we’re not going to stop until we’ve either gotten what we want as a collective, or until the opponents have been held accountable for their actions and their misdeeds. Seeing Intel and other companies pull their ads from the flagrantly offensive websites is a testament to the power of #GamerGate.

I’m pleading with all of you anti-#GamerGate people to stop labeling everyone as you have and continually do. I’m not easily identifiable due to my skin tone and facial features, and neither are gamers due to their wonderful diversity. Throwing them all together in an effort to further your campaign of hate is just disgusting, and I simply hope that it can stop, even if it’s at the cost of the jobs of the guilty parties.

Image source: Catbib, Sketchling

Brandon Orselli

About

Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer. Also an IT guy.