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The Schism of Gaming – Zoe Quinn, Nepotism, and White Knight Journalism

valkyria chronicles 08-21-14-1

If you’re a fan of video games and you follow the news surrounding the industry, you’ve probably heard about a little fiasco involving an indie game developer named Zoe Quinn and her game Depression Quest. The TL;DR version of what has transpired is that prior to her game releasing, she had sex with a bunch of men who either worked with her, or could professionally write about her game.

Now I’m not here to talk about her actions and how she slept with men who were married, or how she cheated on her boyfriend in the process. This is what caused this information to come to the forefront, but it’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about the poisonous, incestuous, nepotism-filled gaming industry, and more specifically, the games journalism industry.

In my time being a gamer prior to starting Niche Gamer, I’ve seen a trend occurring within the gaming industry and games journalism that seems to seek out social justice topics, and in many cases, enforce them. This debacle with Zoe has shown that many gaming websites, and by proxy games journalists, are completely ok with having NO separation between their jobs and their personal relationships.

They are simply downplaying the repercussions of professional, paid writers who are sleeping with game developers. This has simply opened a can of worms by giving us a literal example of the corruption within the games journalism industry. These are not writers who are also gamers looking to embrace the hobby, these are liars, deceivers, bigots and agenda pushers of the worst degree.

They are in bed with one another and in this case quite literally, however it simply spells destruction for our hobby.

If you try to look up discussions of this entire debacle, you’ll find that the majority of gaming communities are being silenced, while banning members for merely talking about the corruption. Let me spell out for you just how bad this is – not only are we seeing evidence of real, tangible corruption in the gaming industry, we’re seeing the same people silence any discussion about it.

Other websites are not covering the event, and their silence reflects their refusal to cover things that even incriminate their own staff. Oh wait, Kotaku just published a damage control article thinking they’ve done nothing wrong, and that no further actions need to be taken. Here’s the hilarious bit of hypocrisy in all of these websites refusing to cover the blatant throwing away of ethics by these individuals – the man named Josh Mattingly.

If the name isn’t familiar to you, Josh is the founder of a gaming site named Indie Statik. Earlier this year, he got into a massive public debacle with a still unnamed female developer that he made sexual remarks to via Facebook, in private. This developer screencapped the conversation and sent it to a feminist cohort of hers, and then it was promptly published for the entire public to see.

https://twitter.com/pkollar/statuses/501769757104680960

What followed was a gigantic campaign with all the major gaming websites covering the events with Josh Mattingly very closely. I wrote about it as well, but did you notice something with my report? It was objective, and I simply covered what he said, and the actions that followed thereafter. How did the other gaming websites cover it? They publicly shamed him, and called his actions and words completely inappropriate.

This is simply the tip of the iceberg of the rampant embracing of social justice activism within the gaming journalism world, where so-called writers are chasing after flamebait hits by directly and repeatedly making arguments about things that the majority of gamers simply don’t give a flying fuck about.

It’s completely ridiculous to see Tropes vs Women in Video Games producer Jonathan McIntosh write an op-ed on how being a straight, white gamer is basically an endemic problem in the gaming industry, or how this year’s E3 convention had a lot of dudes.

Regardless of gender, no true gamer gives a shit about your horrible, agenda laden opinions – and more importantly how you’re trying to hijack our hobby.

Gaming is what it is today because of the most hardcore of hardcore gamers and fans, the type of people of all races and genders who even frequent our very site. It wasn’t built up by these so called journalists that made a living off of games, it was the gamers.

The problem with Zoe Quinn’s actions are that she never set a level of professionalism – she slept with a bunch of people who could potentially further her career, and regardless of gender, that’s a bad precedent to set.

This frames a bad example for women who want to get into the industry, one that says if they want to get coverage and or good coverage, they can easily get it by getting very close to journalists and critics.

I don’t hate Zoe Quinn, and I most certainly don’t hate women. I simply hate people who try to inject their agenda into the gaming industry, while trying to mold it to a form they prefer. Alternative gaming experiences are fine and welcome, but manipulating people and exploiting gender inequality to promote your game is definitely not welcome.

I’m not saying that it’s completely inappropriate for a game developer to have a romantic relationship with a game journalist, but I’m saying there has to be some goddamn recuse here.

The fact that no one on the social justice end is batting an eyelash is sickening. It’s worse, actually, the majority of them are circle jerking each other on Twitter, generalizing the naysayers to “neckbeard MRA misogynists”, when the majority of us aren’t.

I’m sick and tired of people calling for gaming to “grow up”, or for game developers to be “socially conscious”, when most of us just simply want to play games. Period.

Let’s jump back to the rampant censorship on this issue. Not only is the moderator for r/gaming a personal friend of Zoe’s, but he has been systematically removing, deleting, and even harassing commentators himself – on her behalf.

It doesn’t stop there – forums and communities like NeoGAF have been locking threads, banning members who talk about it, and generally the majority of removal of discourse against Zoe has been very swift and effective.

They cite that merely talking about her actions and the repercussions from them are simply hatespeech, that she’s being doxxed by members of 4chan and such, when the majority of us just care about the gaming industry, and removing the poison that has crippled it.

Zoe Quinn has inadvertently been made an example of by gaming enthusiasts and Youtubers like InternetAristocrat and MundaneMatt, the latter of which saw his video DMCA’ed by Zoe herself, and taken down for copyright infringement (he used a screen cap of her game’s Steam page). We’re seeing the Streisand effect in full force here, and the incriminating evidence is not going away.

phil fish 08-20-14-1

Why is it that so many vocal, social justice charged indie developers also tend to be the ones who hold gamers with contempt? Why is it that they are so dead set on trying to completely change the industry, by injecting their agenda into it?

I feel bad for what happened to Zoe, publicly, I really do. No single person should have to go through so much public animosity, but she knew well the potential repercussions when she slept with notable game journalists, being a notable indie developer herself.

Again, I’m not trying to sit here and say that she is unable to have romantic interests with other members of the games industry, I’m simply calling for some professionalism here, and some recuse.

To be clear – I’ve developed quite a lot of contacts at various companies, developers, and publishers since launching Niche Gamer. I keep them generally at arm’s length, and our coverage is always fair, and objective – the same for our reviews.

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At what point are we going to get fed up with people like Zoe, Phil, and with other websites like Kotaku, Polygon, Rock Paper Shotgun, and so on? When are we going to draw the line in the sand and finally battle for our rights, as gamers?

No Phil, it’s not people like us who are ruining gaming, it’s people like you, Zoe, and all the journalists who are so quick to stroke one another so they can make ends meet. The pursuit of clickbait articles for the goal of pushing an agenda is just sad and pitiful at this point.

Gaming was built by the gamers, pure and simple, and we just want you to stop dictating to us. More importantly, we don’t want to be lied to, and we most certainly don’t appreciate when you decide what issues are important enough to publish, while others are curiously omitted.

Nepotism leads to a loss of public opinion in a person, employer, and or company, and that is precisely what is happening here. I’ll close this out with a plea to my friends, readers, and fans – please continue supporting the developers and outlets that truly care about the gaming industry.

Please continue loving games and help both myself and Niche Gamer fight the battle for our rights as gamers, because these morons are hoping we sit by idly. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go rest my weary eyes, for they have seen lots of internet crusades for a few days.

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.


About

Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive, Catholic



36 comments
  1. Cody Long
    Cody Long
    August 21, 2014 at 1:31 am

    Yeesh. Just recently hearing about this, pretty zany stuff. I don’t get why it’s that hard to keep it in your pants.

    And some of the dudes were in relationships/married too? That’s fucked up. I mean, I think a woman is absolutely entitled to have sex with as many partners as she likes, I don’t lose respect for someone just because they enjoy the act. But sleeping your way up the ladder is generally looked down upon, pretty much anywhere.

    I think the worst part is that we have to report about this, I miss when gaming was just games and people weren’t spazzing over dumb shit.

  2. Aung Mikoto Myat
    Aung Mikoto Myat
    August 21, 2014 at 1:45 am

    That’s the whole point though, isn’t it? Trying to get back to when gaming was just games and these types of SJWs weren’t there to spazz out over dumb shit.

  3. Cody Long
    Cody Long
    August 21, 2014 at 1:56 am

    I dream of a perfect world ):

  4. Kiujazi
    Kiujazi
    August 21, 2014 at 2:28 am

    If I may, I believe this is why most of the time, I refuse to pay attention to gaming journalism (except for this site of course, I’m quickly learning to love it~) as it’s become a slave to general stupidity. It’s almost as if gaming itself isn’t for gaming, but instead for a group of people who don’t care about it. Gaming ‘personalities’ can pretty much buck right off as most of em only care about money. It’s the same spiral that every form of entertainment seems to have to deal with as of late.

    Great article though, and honestly just reinforced my look of ‘Just play the games and ignore 99% of people who write about them.’

  5. Nin
    Nin
    August 21, 2014 at 2:57 am

    While I love a good number of them, I think the rise of indie games is to blame for the increased presence of SJW’s in gaming. An indie game is a cheap way to spread an opinion, whether that message be “Robots are awesome”, “Women are oppressed” or in the case of Depression Quest (I think) “Suicide is bad”. Furthermore, this message from an indie game will reach a wider audience than one from a blog post. Assuming there is enough publicity: the topic article is concerned about.

    I’m not against games having such a social message, no more than I am against a book or video having that message. However, that message should be spread by the merits of the game, not through corrupt journalism. Furthermore, regardless of how true a message is, a bad game should be treated as a bad game and not be immune to criticism because it promotes justice.

  6. UUDDLRLR BASTART
    UUDDLRLR BASTART
    August 21, 2014 at 6:07 am

    Ignorance is bliss…

  7. Phelan
    Phelan
    August 21, 2014 at 6:50 am

    Frankly speaking it’s nothing for me…

    I mean IGN and Siliconera is often removing comments that are criticizng either developers or SCE. That’s a fact. Even without using insults, swearing or anything like that your post can be deleted just because someone didn’t like it.

    Take a look at IGN:
    http://uk.ign.com/articles/2014/08/12/gamescom-2014-sony-comments-on-alleged-lack-of-vita-announcements

    See how top comment is removed?

    I’ve been observing that weird sex triangle between indie developers – journalists – SCE. Guys… what they are doing is pure prostitution. And you don’t really need to have sexual intercourse to be prostitue.

    See how FuturLab is fawning to main medias and SCE? They even made background and avatar for twitter… they are first person to comment Yoshida-san and Shahid comments and twits… why?

    The same with journalists…. Colin and Greg from IGN are friends of Yoshida. They are defending SCE every time people are complaining.

    All 3 sides are doing themselves.

    And sometimes observing some gaming sites I just can’t stop thinking… “WOW” those bootlickers are trying hard to get free journalist version of game.

    So yeah… we have a problem…

  8. Zanthos
    Zanthos
    August 21, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Now I’mma just leave this here, but the silver haired lady at the top looks like Selvaria from Valkyrie Chronicles :D

  9. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 21, 2014 at 8:14 am

    It is. I was looking for patriotic screens from VC, but I ended up using that one since it kind of reminded me of the feeling with this situation. IDK, just abhorrent creepiness and sleazy relationships with these so-called professionals.

  10. RPGEndBoss
    RPGEndBoss
    August 21, 2014 at 9:35 am

    Nin, you’re right. I’ve often thought this myself. It’s because most of these indie developers are flimsy-spined bleeding heart hipsters who think everything needs to be “Fixed”.

    And the bleeding heart word “fixed” is normal person english for “Make it more the way I want it”.

  11. RPGEndBoss
    RPGEndBoss
    August 21, 2014 at 9:44 am

    This is the truth:

  12. Alistair
    Alistair
    August 21, 2014 at 10:43 am

    I think mess is a understatement, I do not think is the death cry of video-games the game bubble hasn’t burst.

    But oh the irony censorship rears it’s head, this is why censorship is so bad.

    Zoe in favour of censorship full stop & many of the gutter press out there (dairy mail) (Keith vaz tried so many times to banned games) every-one of the so called social justice busy-body’s that doesn’t play any video-games bat a eye-lid & screams foul of questionable content (extreme violence, ecchi games, etc etc)

    But yet not one single website bat a eye-lid when these so called SJW’s do what she did it maybe her personal life, however that not the issue she mix her personal life with work, we called that unprofessional & if any one of us did that & bring our work-place in dispute we get fired. But instead the SJW’s band together & saying like Phil fish said it’s our fault, & one site called us trolls that attacking her or any-body in the gutter press.

    She in favour of censorship alright when she censored a YouTube vid by using a copyright ID. She like censorship when it’s in her interest.

    Long story short dev should made any game with-out fear of backlash & resolve to censor games.

  13. Alistair
    Alistair
    August 21, 2014 at 10:56 am

    I think NISA MS & MSZ censored played a part but I think monster monpiece was the trigger because every-one was so rage when IFI self-censored themselves while the SJW’s rejoice.

    Then CG fuel more fuel into the fire again censorship again.

    The 2 senran series uncut further snowball this debate to epic mess.

    The day I quit gaming is when The self right arsed SJW’s keeps up it’s gutter press writing of utter trip self gain article.

    & all this is one big bore.

  14. Alistair
    Alistair
    August 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

    It looks like Phil fish has done a clean up on twitter by deleting his old account & starting a fresh

  15. RPGEndBoss
    RPGEndBoss
    August 21, 2014 at 11:47 am

    Yup. That’s Zoe and her ilk for you.

    Censorship that protects me = Good

    Censorship that hurts my sales = Bad

  16. Rupa
    Rupa
    August 22, 2014 at 10:10 am

    Also Zoe p.much taken down a feminist based game jam via doxxing and say it’s “oppressive” just to create her own game jam.

    Do what you will.

  17. Atros Red
    Atros Red
    August 22, 2014 at 4:30 pm

    I believe that ‘us’ giving them the attention gives them power. If we (gamers, fans, even devs) honestly ignored them, their words would fall on deaf ears. They would become that homeless guy with a sign that read, ‘End of the World is Near!’

  18. nonscpo
    nonscpo
    August 22, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    Wow didn’t even realize this was going on, hooray for censorship the system actually works!

  19. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 22, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    I mean there are websites out there that will backhandedly secure their relationships with certain developers and publishers.

    While I’ll nag the SHIT out of devs and pubs to get us review copies, I don’t really care about what they think about our site, and how we cover things. This also goes into our reviews, which are entirely objectionable. There is no sharing of the review score prior to us publishing, the process is generally:

    1. Writer confirms to me that the final draft is ready.
    2. I go and read it over, and make edits where necessary (grammar, spelling, etc).
    3. I talk to the writer if I have any concerns with the score vs. the content
    4. After we’ve agreed that it’s ready, the review is published
    5. I write a follow up to the dev or pub letting them know the review is up, and what the score is. I usually include criticisms or things we liked.

    While it’s nice to be on good terms with a dev or pub, the only priority for both myself and my staff are the fans and the readers. If we’re disingenuous to you guys, then we’ve failed as a media outlet.

    I work hard every day to make sure we have as much trust in each other, so that you guys can always feel comfortable visiting our site and putting faith in us to be there for you, covering games from a true gamer’s perspective.

    What Kotaku, Polygon, Zoe Quinn, and so on are doing is simply appalling as a gamer and completely disrespectful to our best interests as gamers. They’re so disconnected and condescending, it’s fucking hilarious at this point.

    Despite myself developing relationships with lots of devs, pubs, and PR people – I will never hesitate to call them out on a bad game, or a bad move as a company (or individual). That’s what a real journalist does – they report on and seek the truth, instead of trying to fucking cover it up to protect their friends. If you’re too involved and can’t report on it objectionably, then you need to pass it on to someone else.

  20. Aung Mikoto Myat
    Aung Mikoto Myat
    August 23, 2014 at 1:14 am

    That’s a good point. I think we need to learn from the Anita Sarkeesian mistake. Hard when they’re so provocational, though.

  21. ScottishWolf
    ScottishWolf
    August 23, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Why have I never heard of this website before.

  22. Phelan
    Phelan
    August 23, 2014 at 10:02 am

    I know that’s why I am here :)

    After all I was “tempted” by review in which you didn’t hesitate to say something bad about game which you got from sekaiproject, right?

    That was enough big proof that it is worth staying here.

  23. ConnorORT
    ConnorORT
    August 23, 2014 at 11:18 am

    Is asking gamedevs to treat gamers with respect too much to ask? Is gaming no longer about enjoying a game and introspectively taking in someone’s artistic view? Is gaming now about who has the most politically correct opinion, and who can force that opinion harder on everyone else? Is gaming now just about agendas, politics? What happened to gaming being about gaming?

    Most the people who are doing all this stuff don’t really care about games, or enjoy games, at the end of the day. Thankfully most gamers are really cool people and we all like to just enjoy games, but the people who want to change the industry for their own non-game-related agendas are unfortunately the loudest.

    Let’s continue to just enjoy games. If a game makes a statement about something you disagree with, take that internally, be introspective, and think about it. The game can still be a good game even if you disagree with something it says. Games bring us so much fun, and if we lose sight of that, or if we get caught up in dealing with people who don’t simply care about making good and fun games, we can lose that. Political people have a thousand forums for them to corrupt themselves and others and force their opinions. Gaming is about games, and games are about fun. So let’s have fun!

    EDIT: Also this is why Niche Gamer is a sweet site; great articles and fun. That’s why I come here regularly and don’t go elsewhere for my gaming news.

  24. ConnorORT
    ConnorORT
    August 23, 2014 at 11:36 am

    >I work hard every day to make sure we have as much trust in each other,
    so that you guys can always feel comfortable visiting our site and
    putting faith in us to be there for you, covering games from a true
    gamer’s perspective.

    You guys be doin a mighty fine job!

  25. Vorpalrabbit
    Vorpalrabbit
    August 23, 2014 at 10:01 pm

    Because don’t forget that your rights end where my feelings begin, and if you don’t agree you need to stop oppressing me.

  26. Manly Chicken
    Manly Chicken
    August 23, 2014 at 10:18 pm

    Thank god you guys are actually covering this.
    The suspicious thing is that Kotaku and whatever aren’t even TOUCHING the issue in an article.
    Not even an article denying it or shaming the people accusing her.
    Keep that in mind…

  27. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 23, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    We’re a niche within ourselves :) Always ecstatic to find new readers/fans!

  28. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 23, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Yeah it’s just convenient selecting of what to cover, and when to cover it. AKA agenda bullshit, in all reality. Most people are probably afraid to talk about it, or perhaps they’re so embedded in it they simply can’t see it any other way?

  29. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 23, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Totally missed this awesome comment, my bad.

    You’re entirely right man, and it’s HILARIOUS how these so called games journalists and developers feel “threatened” by the core gaming crowd, when they should be when THEY threaten our livelihood.

    This is our passion, this is our main hobby and maybe even our career. We care about it deeply and we deeply care about good, fun game experiences.

    Seeing these agenda pushing cretins repeatedly bang that outrage labeled drum is just getting old at this point, and it’s comparable to one of those crazy doomsday figures I see here in the city – you know the one with the body sized piece of wood covered in scrawl condemning everyone while also saying the rapture is coming?

    The more they scream the more people ignore them, the only difference is that here the big time games journalists actually hold power, and the ones that are pushing an agenda are DANGEROUS. They are trying to and in some ways succeeding in hijacking our hobby, and we can’t ignore them any longer.

  30. TheCynicalReaper
    TheCynicalReaper
    August 23, 2014 at 11:56 pm

    Yet another website I can add to the list that’s outside that incestuous circle.
    Meaning this website is far more trustworthy
    Thanks for the coverage, mates!

  31. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    August 24, 2014 at 8:13 am

    No thank you!! Always floored to see another reader/fan :)

  32. Aristides
    Aristides
    August 31, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Very well put, as a game developer myself I’m glad that all game journalism hasn’t descended to madness. At this point it has all become about spreading hate rather than finding merits in a game. Not the ideal environment for content creators to share their work imo.

    However I do believe that this whole SJW movement is just a fad, one that needs to be countered of course but it’ll die out once people move on and the media finds their next lucrative exploit.

  33. Janus
    Janus
    September 6, 2014 at 3:31 am

    Can I just say that Phil Fish can go fuck himself? Fez sucked and he’s a complete tool. I’m not sure where he gets off acting like it’s some big deal that he’s canceling projects no one’s heard about or cares about while playing himself up as a martyr for sacred gaming.

  34. Janus
    Janus
    September 6, 2014 at 3:39 am

    Depression Quest’s core message is that any one can make a video game. As someone with clinical depression that crap pissed me off more then it made me go “See! This is what my life is like!” Great idea. Shit execution. And that she made a lot of her money/publicity on the backs of those poor bastards over at wizard-chan is just…. depressing ironically enough.

  35. Janus
    Janus
    September 6, 2014 at 3:40 am

    Her own game jam that was taking donations with no dates, details of any kind, judges, nothing. Thankfully TFYC is back in business.

  36. Janus
    Janus
    September 6, 2014 at 3:41 am

    In the end who gives a shit who Zoe fucked or didn’t fuck? It’s not a big deal in the grand scheme of what’s been uncovered because of that act. Zoe’s morals or lack there of isn’t something we really need or should be focusing on.