The ABCs of Gamergate

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A total war where game journos & indie developers side against the people who keep them in business, Gamergate has been fought in the awful, muck-and-porn filled trenches of the Internet for 3 months. Here, then, is a primer to understanding the finer points of what happens when hipsters think they can win a war of attrition with the Internet.

Advertisers: They’re pissed and they’re leaving. Unilever, Colgate, Intel, Adobe, Bonobos, Olympus, Nissan, BMW, Scottrade, StackSocial, Mercedes-Benz & University of Advancing Technology have all withdrawn their advertising and/or partnerships from sites that have presented a united message of “gamers are dead.” More will undoubtedly follow: At press time, Best Buy & New Balance are weighing their options. As a result of bad blood with advertisers, Rock Paper Shotgun has been forced into a patronage model, and Polygon has mostly switched to a lower-cost advertising aggregator instead of direct sales where they name their own pricing for ad campaigns. The house is burning, even as the frauds continue to declare victory.

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Related: Alexander, Leigh: Once the “it girl” of games journalism, time has not been kind to Ms. Alexander. The woman’s writing has never been good, merely verbose – what she lacks in ability and knowledge of the medium, she makes up in a willingness to use every last word in her thesaurus. But an apparent alcohol problem (going by her tweets) seems to have made her bile more caustic than ever. Whether it’s using what remains of her influence to kill the careers of people she disagrees with, encouraging the leaking of her detractors’ personal info, talking down to those in service professions (honey, you’re a games writer) or referring to African Americans as “hood men,” Alexander stands as a shining example of the hypocrisy found in gaming’s SJW (social justice warrior) press. She’s also the editor-at-large of Gamasutra, a site that lost both Intel and UAT as advertisers as a direct result of her latest tantrum. That’s one expensive megaphone you got there, hipsters.

Baldwin, Adam: The actor who first labeled 2014’s Internet Civil War as “Gamergate,” and the name seems to have stuck. If the “Hero of Canton” be for us, who can stand against us?

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Celebrities: Alluded to in item “B,” as our crusade has gained traction, it has attracted notice from some of America’s sacred, gilded cows. Patton Oswalt & Seth Rogen have come down against Gamergate on the basis of muh-soggy-knee, proving that even wealth, fame, and a successful dieting regimen can’t kill the hardwired instinct of some larger men to compensate for their girth by knighting in the whitest of fashion. Most comical is the input of Joss Whedon, who compared a consumer movement in the name of bleep bloops to a racist organization that terrorizes and kills minorities. Yes, Mr. Whedon, I would LOVE to hear what a man who wedged the phrase “whining cunt” into a PG-13 superhero film has to say about sexism! I’m all ears! And when you’re done, you can encore by explaining how having a vampire try to rape your defining creation fits in with the Grand Wizard’s 5-year plan.

Related: Chu, Arthur: Bring me a pan flute; draw yourself a stein of mead, and stay awhile to hear the tale of the hateful little troll who beat Trebek. Yes, the dude who once pissed off a country by gaming the Jeopardy board has come out frothing at the mouth against Gamergate in an attempt to launch a writing career at Internet shit rags. If I won 300k and 15 minutes of fame from Jeopardy, I’d like to think I’d do more with my windfall than shouting “lol nerds am I rite?

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Related: Chong, Ian Miles: And while we’re on the topic of chubby little troll men, we can’t forget about the former Reddit mod who got bounced from the gig for selling content promotion and declaring his love of Hitler. Now EIC of Gameranx, the SJW crowd loves this guy because he hates gamers, which should tell you all you need to know about the SJW crowd.

Doxxing & Death Threats:  Not cool, don’t do it. All ethical considerations aside, it’s not worth spending an afternoon with humorless representatives of the federal government because you wanted to ruffle some feathers.

Escapist Magazine: One of the first sites to capitulate before the momentum of Gamergate, publisher Alex Macris wisely realized his outlet’s finances were unsustainable in the face of even a short-term boycott (Escapist runs on famously low margins). Macris deserves credit for instituting a network-wide ethics policy and shutting down the more toxic elements of his staff on social media. He deserves scrutiny for continuing to employ an EIC who admitted to using his masthead position to “create change” by running single-source stories without attempting verification and a human pimple film critic more hateful and vile than any 10 fringe Gamergate supporters combined.

Four (4) Chan: Even the darkest corners of the Internet can be made to get the SJW religion. All it took was a “close friendship” with a bimbo from Gawker Media, and overnight, Gamergate became a ban-on-sight topic. What SJWs can’t fell through argument, they’ll demolish through employ of their shopworn babymakers.

Gjoni, Eron: Zoe Quinn’s jilted ex couldn’t have possibly predicted what his lengthy tell-all would ultimately give birth to. Though Gamergate has certainly grown far beyond the scope of pithy breakup drama from two game industry lunatics, one only wishes that all separations were this productive.

Harassment: The newest SJW buzzword. No longer limited to threats or hate speech, this has become the catch-all term for any discussion of a public figure (journo or dev) in a public space that paints them in a less-than-favorable light. Did someone call you out on your bullshit using info found in a Google search? Cry “harassment,” and the sycophants will flock to your aid.

Infinity Chan: The Gamergate-friendly 4chan alternative owned and operated by a wheelchair-bound fellow with osteogenesis imperfecta. Even so, I’m sure some prominent shill will be telling him to “check his privilege” any day now.

Journolist: Nickname for GameJournoPros, a (now-closed) mailing list used by the industry’s top press and PR types to make sure everyone stays “on message,” most recently with regards to Gamergate. Derived from an earlier scandal involving more mainstream outlets, if there ever was any doubt the games press is an incestuous cottage industry of far-left activists, those doubts are now debunked.

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Kids Getting Killed: Even our nation’s most recent school shooting can be used to promote oneself, provided one is as disgusting, self-serving, and vile as the woman in the screenshot above. Within hours of the events in Washington, Anita Sarkeesian gleefully stepped over the body of a dead girl (now 3) to take a shot at men. Never let the slaughter and maiming of literal children stop you from positioning yourself for publicity from The New York Times or a TV spot on Colbert Report (she got both in the same week).

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Listen and Believe:  Speaking of which, this is “the most radical thing” you can do with regard to women online, according to Anita Sarkeesian in her XOXO speech. These three words justify the very existence of Gamergate – no longer content to report on the products they’re paid to cover, the games press has declared “games are culture” only as a means to demand your unquestioning allegiance to their interpretation and judgment of that culture, especially if the pundit has ovaries. Never mind that Anita started her career as a multi-level marketing (read: Ponzi scheme) rep. Never mind that she’s been caught stealing work from artists and plagiarizing the videos of others, without credit or compensation, in creating her six-figure budget project. In the online utopia the SJW crowd envisions, one may never question the claims or credibility of the games press. You may only listen, and believe.

Money: The only way to effectively battle the hipster slime is to impact their ability to pay for overpriced NYC/SF water closets. The games press can and does moderate comment sections into reflecting the party line, but they can’t stop those they’ve declared “dead” from picking their pockets via mass email campaigns to sponsors. This is exactly what is happening. We are, to steal a phrase, “fucking with the money.”

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Look at all these white males. Just look at ‘em.

 #Notyourshield: The sister hashtag to Gamergate, it’s been by used by the vast swarms of women and minorities who don’t appreciate an insular clique of bearded beta hipsters and self-obsessed women declaring themselves the ultimate arbiters of what is acceptable for them to play or support. These folks don’t fit the journo narrative of “evil white men keeping others out of the treehouse,” so you’ll rarely see this tag mentioned in hit pieces on Gamergate.

Oh, Who Cries For the Lowly Ant?: In all the bloodshed and shit-flinging of Gamergate, it’s easy to lose sight of the real victims of this conflict. Let’s have a moment of silence for the humble, reproductively viable, female worker ant. We pray for a day when this battle is won and she regains her identity.

People’s History of Gamergate: At six pages (plus intro), it’s still one of the most concise, honest recaps of several months of Internet nuclear war. Highly recommended.

Questions: Why is the press so adverse to implementing and enforcing simple ethics and disclosure policies? Why is this worth going to the mat with the people who keep your lights on? Why is “don’t let journos cover their friends, and disclose if they must” such a controversial request? Why are game journos so mad that some outlets are now prohibiting their staff from financially backing (via Kickstarter/Pateron) the people they cover? Why haven’t we gotten an adequate answer to any of these questions, three months in?

Read, Max: Gawker’s editor-in-chief declares: “I’ve been told that we’ve lost thousands of dollars already, and could potentially lose thousands more, if not millions.” This, in an article with a headline declaring Gamergate “dishonest fascists.” Say this for the SJW games/tech press: they’re not afraid to go down with the ship. Let’s oblige them, shall we?

Sarkeesian, Anita: It should come as no surprise at all that the queen bee of Kickstarter fraud has found a way to cash in on the controversy. The games press welcomes her as an academic scholar of sorts, even though she doesn’t rigidly adhere to the scientific method or publish her research for peer review. More damning is the fact that Anita doesn’t actually play the games she’s critiquing (she gleans info from TV tropes and parrots the ideas of her boyfriend/producer, Jonathan McIntosh). Anita recently cancelled a gig at Utah State after some dumbass phoned in a death threat, but lost in the resulting hyperbolic furor (again, this was the work of a single dumbass) lies a very inconvenient truth: Were she to attend the university as a student, the SJWs’ reigning champion would be expelled for plagiarism under the academic honesty policy (see item “L”).

Two Weeks Suspension And An Apology: This is all it would have taken to shut down Gamergate’s momentum before it started. If Kotaku boss Stephen Totilo had given Nathan Grayson a slap on the wrist and forced a public mea culpa, this shitstorm wouldn’t have grown into something that’s hit close to two million tweets. Instead, the games press circled the wagons – first they did a total blackout on the story when they believed they could control the narrative. Then they got snarky when they realized the story wasn’t going to die out. Now that Gamergate has cost them Actual Money, we’re seeing direct attacks and coordinated salvos across major sites (Polygon, Giant Bomb, Gamespot, and Eurogamer all posted tsk-tsk announcements within hours of each other).

Undeterred: Back on September 9th, Zoe Quinn declared “victory over nerds” day, based on the assumption that the release of Destiny would absolutely demolish any time gamers had for extended hostilities with the games press. Yeah, about that…

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(*Note the above graph shows only a very small portion of Gamergate tweets even mentioned Zoe Quinn or Anita Sarkeesian, despite the press insisting the movement has always been “about” driving them out of the field. The orange line represents all tweets with #gamergate made during the period, the blue line represents #gamergate tweets made with no reference to Anita or Zoe. )

Video Games: At the end of the day, what this whole 3-month shitstorm has been about. Frothing SJW or Gamergate supporter alike, what the fuck is wrong with the lot of us?

Women & their XX chromosomes: The first may never be questioned; the second might as well be a halo. So it goes that, despite common sense and evidence to the contrary (see item “Z”), it is the position of Anti-Gamergaters that the fairer sex never tells a lie, never manipulates or embellishes, and is incapable of creating drama or controversy for their own means of self-promotion. All women must be given the benefit of the doubt by virtue of being women, you see, and so even the mere act of verifying harassment claims with a second source before accepting them as gospel (and running fifty articles about same) is decried as “victim blaming.” Ladies, I’ll defend your right to fuck as thou wilt without fear and exterminate any and all undesired pregnancies that result, but once you imply your vagina gives you a +5 to all rolls in a debate context, I start to wish – if only momentarily – there really was an X-Files style patriarch conspiracy, complete with black helicopters and everything.

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Yiannopoulos, Milo: An openly gay, right-wing pundit with great hair, Milo went from writing about gamers in broad stereotypes to being one of Gamergate’s most vocal supporters. A shameless opportunist? Certainly. The point remains that when you have to look to a goddamn Breitbart writer for “the other side of the story” your niche press ignores, you know that niche press is utterly fucked.

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Zoe Quinn: As unfathomable as it might have seemed a year ago, one day in the near future, we may very well look back and say it was the open-border policy of this neon-haired, career manipulator’s ladybits that was the ultimate downfall of the game journos’ rancid clique. The world’s a wacky place, folks.

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About George

George holds the world record for having pissed off the most game journos in a single post. You can read more of his insane ramblings about digital playthings at www.subtleblend.com or follow him on Twitter.