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'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over. Exclusive
'Gamers' don't have to be your audience. 'Gamers' are over.
August 28, 2014 | By Leigh Alexander




I often say I’m a video game culture writer, but lately I don’t know exactly what that means. ‘Game culture’ as we know it is kind of embarrassing -- it’s not even culture. It’s buying things, spackling over memes and in-jokes repeatedly, and it’s getting mad on the internet.

It’s young men queuing with plush mushroom hats and backpacks and jutting promo poster rolls. Queuing passionately for hours, at events around the world, to see the things that marketers want them to see. To find out whether they should buy things or not. They don’t know how to dress or behave. Television cameras pan across these listless queues, and often catch the expressions of people who don’t quite know why they themselves are standing there.

‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online ‘wars’ about social justice or ‘game journalism ethics,’ straight-faced, and cause genuine human consequences. Because of video games.

Lately, I often find myself wondering what I’m even doing here. And I know I’m not alone.

All of us should be better than this. You should be deeply questioning your life choices if this and this and this are the prominent public face your business presents to the rest of the world.

"When you decline to create or to curate a culture in your spaces, you’re responsible for what spawns in the vacuum."

This is what the rest of the world knows about your industry -- this, and headlines about billion-dollar war simulators or those junkies with the touchscreen candies. That’s it. You should absolutely be better than this.

You don’t want to ‘be divisive?’ Who’s being divided, except for people who are okay with an infantilized cultural desert of shitty behavior and people who aren’t? What is there to ‘debate’?

Right, let’s say it’s a vocal minority that’s not representative of most people. Most people, from indies to industry leaders, are mortified, furious, disheartened at the direction industry conversation has taken in the past few weeks. It’s not like there are reputable outlets publishing rational articles in favor of the trolls’ ‘side’. Don’t give press to the harassers. Don’t blame an entire industry for a few bad apples.

Yet disclaiming liability is clearly no help. Game websites with huge community hubs whose fans are often associated with blunt Twitter hate mobs sort of shrug, they say things like ‘we delete the really bad stuff, what else can we do’ and ‘those people don’t represent our community’ -- but actually, those people do represent your community. That’s what your community is known for, whether you like it or not.

When you decline to create or to curate a culture in your spaces, you’re responsible for what spawns in the vacuum. That’s what’s been happening to games.

That’s not super surprising, actually. While video games themselves were discovered by strange, bright outcast pioneers -- they thought arcades would make pub games more fun, or that MUDs would make for amazing cross-cultural meeting spaces -- the commercial arm of the form sprung up from marketing high-end tech products to ‘early adopters’. You know, young white dudes with disposable income who like to Get Stuff.

Suddenly a generation of lonely basement kids had marketers whispering in their ears that they were the most important commercial demographic of all time. Suddenly they started wearing shiny blouses and pinning bikini babes onto everything they made, started making games that sold the promise of high-octane masculinity to kids just like them.

By the turn of the millennium those were games’ only main cultural signposts: Have money. Have women. Get a gun and then a bigger gun. Be an outcast. Celebrate that. Defeat anyone who threatens you. You don’t need cultural references. You don’t need anything but gaming. Public conversation was led by a games press whose role was primarily to tell people what to buy, to score products competitively against one another, to gleefully fuel the “team sports” atmosphere around creators and companies.

It makes a strange sort of sense that video games of that time would become scapegoats for moral panic, for atrocities committed by young white teen boys in hypercapitalist America -- not that the games themselves had anything to do with tragedies, but they had an anxiety in common, an amorphous cultural shape that was dark and loud on the outside, hollow on the inside.

"Traditional 'gaming' is sloughing off, culturally and economically, like the carapace of a bug."

Yet in 2014, the industry has changed. We still think angry young men are the primary demographic for commercial video games -- yet average software revenues from the commercial space have contracted massively year on year, with only a few sterling brands enjoying predictable success.

It’s clear that most of the people who drove those revenues in the past have grown up -- either out of games, or into more fertile spaces, where small and diverse titles can flourish, where communities can quickly spring up around creativity, self-expression and mutual support, rather than consumerism. There are new audiences and new creators alike there. Traditional “gaming” is sloughing off, culturally and economically, like the carapace of a bug.

This is hard for people who’ve drank the kool aid about how their identity depends on the aging cultural signposts of a rapidly-evolving, increasingly broad and complex medium. It’s hard for them to hear they don’t own anything, anymore, that they aren’t the world’s most special-est consumer demographic, that they have to share.

We also have to scrutinize, closely, the baffling, stubborn silence of many content creators amid these scandals, or the fact lots of stubborn, myopic internet comments happen on business and industry sites. This is hard for old-school developers who are being made redundant, both culturally and literally, in their unwillingness to address new audiences or reference points outside of blockbuster movies and comic books as their traditional domain falls into the sea around them. Of course it’s hard. It’s probably intense, painful stuff for some young kids, some older men.

But it’s unstoppable. A new generation of fans and creators is finally aiming to instate a healthy cultural vocabulary, a language of community that was missing in the days of “gamer pride” and special interest groups led by a product-guide approach to conversation with a single presumed demographic.

This means that over just the last few years, writing on games focuses on personal experiences and independent creators, not approval-hungry obeisance to the demands of powerful corporations. It’s not about ‘being a reviewer’ anymore. It’s not about telling people what to buy, it’s about providing spaces for people to discuss what (and whom) they support.

"'Gamer' isn't just a dated demographic label that most people increasingly prefer not to use. Gamers are over. That's why they’re so mad."

These straw man ‘game journalism ethics’ conversations people have been having are largely the domain of a prior age, when all we did was negotiate ad deals and review scores and scraped to be called ‘reporters’, because we had the same powerlessness complex as our audience had. Now part of a writer’s job in a creative, human medium is to help curate a creative community and an inclusive culture -- and a lack of commitment to that just looks out-of-step, like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion.

Developers and writers alike want games about more things, and games by more people. We want -- and we are getting, and will keep getting -- tragicomedy, vignette, musicals, dream worlds, family tales, ethnographies, abstract art. We will get this, because we’re creating culture now. We are refusing to let anyone feel prohibited from participating.

“Gamer” isn’t just a dated demographic label that most people increasingly prefer not to use. Gamers are over. That’s why they’re so mad.

These obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-consumers, these childish internet-arguers -- they are not my audience. They don’t have to be yours. There is no ‘side’ to be on, there is no ‘debate’ to be had.

There is what’s past and there is what’s now. There is the role you choose to play in what’s ahead.


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Comments


George Kay
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When it's either take one side or get dogpiled on and have your career fucked, the silence of content creators isn't baffling at all. There are many facets to this but you can't touch on any of them without being a misogynist pig, apparently.

Christian Nutt
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Try us.

R G
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Christian, people have tried is the thing.

The fact that a large majority of people, both male AND female, disagree with Anita Sarkeesian and Zoe Quinn and get swept aside as "misogynistic" instead of being heard is sad.

Is it right for others to flame and harass? No. But a lot of this is pent up frustration over the majority of the gaming press taking feed from publishers, AND putting certain indie devs on pedastals simply because they are "indie".

4chan's /v/ is a big target. It's easy to flame 4chan for being anti-feminist, but 4chan is not one board, and is not /b/. I find it interesting to note that not one major news source has commented on "social justice warriors" attacking and harassing e-celebs and news sources that have opposed what is being presented; see JonTron, TotalBiscuit, and Penny Arcade.

With blatant lies about being hacked, it's hard for EITHER side to not get worked up.

Feminism isn't the issue here. It's equality and understanding, something which hasn't been represented; you either agree completely with Quinn or Sarkeesian's idea of "feminism", or have your career fucked or called out repeatedly.


I'm open to discussion on this if you are. To clarify, I am a white male who constantly must check his privilege because I stop people from enjoying games just for being a white male :)


And to note, I'm a big fan of your articles Christian. Please, do not take this as an attack.

Regards,

Robert.

Lars Doucet
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*****
EDIT:
After some time to cool off, I stand by most of what I said, but I do regret my use of that metaphor. My point was simply this:

If someone is being harassed and terrorized to the point of credible death threats then please consider why you need to argue with them right this minute, and please don't engage in conspiracy theories about whether their harassment is real.

(I personally know people far less known than Anita who have been terrorized AT THEIR HOMES by internet hate mobs)
*****

Okay, R.G., I'll bite:

I don't identify as a liberal/progressive and I have plenty of nuanced critiques of contemporary feminism. I've watched Anita's videos, and in a total academic vacuum where none of this insanity was happening this is what I would say:

"I think she makes some good points, in a somewhat ham-fisted way. She misses the mark in other places and the chosen examples do not always support her argument; I found multiple instances where another reference would have supported her ideas better. Rhetoric needs serious polish. B-, good effort but needs work."

And I am MORE than happy to stand with Anita and Zoe.

By way of example:

When there's a Pogrom on, you don't stop the Jews fleeing for their lives in the middle of the street and say "Hey now, you seem like fine folks but I'd like to debate with you about the finer points of the Unitarian concept of deity in which I believe you are mistaken..."

No. You stand up for them against the angry mob, or let them hide in your basement. Like a decent person.

(And in case you think the metaphor is strained, may I remind you that Anita has quite literally been driven from her home in fear for her life).

I have been attacked by an internet hate mob before -- a TINY one -- and it is truly, gut-wrenchingly awful. A (male) friend of mine experienced one of much greater magnitude, and never said a peep, suffering in silence. Just think how intense it must be for Anita and Zoe right now, all the rage is directed precisely at them as individuals (whereas whatever the "other side" is getting is diluted over a giant amorphous blob). Just try to imagine it! I would not wish that on my worst enemy, let alone someone with whom I would mildly disagree with over coffee.

Sure, I disagree with her about this or that, and many aspects of modern Feminism in general. (Though I sympathize with others).

Okay, let's sit back and watch my career burn up in ruins, as you've predicted.

Scott Lavigne
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@Lars

I don't know how you list all of those critiques of Sarkeesian's videos and then say "B-". Just because someone's presented ideas are in the same vein as topics that actually need attention (but whose arguments are full of missteps) doesn't mean they should be given attention. The issue should be given attention, and the issue should be given attention by getting well-spoken, intelligent people who don't make those missteps to do it (note that I do not mean this as an attack on Sarkeesian's intelligence; I only bring this up because being a public figure requires pristine and polished arguments).

Giving attention to anyone even a little closer to average invites their opinions as facts to large portions of the population who may be less invested in the topic and not think as critically about it. The importance of standing against Sarkeesian (AND against people making death threats and personal attacks) is that our real goal should be somewhere in the middle of these two (not-quite-so-equally) ridiculous extremes.

fred tam
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I'd reverse your claim of a pogrom, its entirely the other way around, your side controls the games media which is the source for regular media which just reprints content, the moderators, the narrative. You are the establishment, don't pretend you are the underdog.

Anita's claims of victimhood and harassment are fraudulent. People get worse than her and don't run from home, her tactics have been manipulative from day one, and she lacks any credibility for anyone who has checked her narrative or her words to give her the benefit of the doubt.

I'm sure Sarah Palin could have made the same claim and ran from home as well, after all, a leftist male journalist saw fit to actually move in next to her so he could better watch her. Now imagine if that happened to Anita, the claims of sexism, harassment and stalking would be deafening, but what did we hear about Palin from the same people? Nothing much at all, and that tells you how genuine this all is.
When Anita's narrative can be debunnked in under a minute.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW-69xXD734
And is never covered, you know something is wrong with the picture.

And no, she doesn't make "good points" in a "ham fisted" way. She exhibits a total reliance on dishonest arguments and attempts to deliberately misleading people in her videos. This isn't conjecture or opinion, this is just objective fact.
Links on Anita's long record of dishonesty
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW-69xXD734
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p6gLmcS3-NI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6MQuEjiU2KQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqJCCnued6c
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwwFx-tz9TY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUxcLxClQ08
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9Ju-1I1DTU
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LpFk5F-S_hI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lERF9q40iS0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrOMP0hJPxA
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7nO9F7okbo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hie1UFUdSRk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gHJ_cHr5hA
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQJW3WMsx1q3BAZh3XsK1cSwCia qjSulc
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LAHt7RG67Ok
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMaObXKJDbs
People have fact checked her dishonesty.

So when people question her credibility, there is good reason behind it. Her entire track record speaks for itself. The only question is why does integrity not matter for this individual? Is it because she's a woman? What is such a special low standard indicative of?

This claim of victimhood is a tactic. Why do you think fox news perpetually claims its the victim of the left wing media? It gives them the right as victims to disregard fact and reason, its a tactic, and people really have to stop legitimizing it.

Anyways Thunderf00ts latest
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57tXyqPCOCM
Anita Sarkeesians 'death threats' and Joss Whedons 'misogyny'!


Sargon on this article
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_K13iEWQfY

And Internet Aristocrats 3rd video on this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km3DZQp0StE
"Quinnspiracy Theory: White Castles and Ivory Towers"
Which notes the odd synchronicity with the "gamers are over" articles coming out...


#Gamergate Gamers Are Dead? No They Are Just Furious
GamingAnarchist
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KuS979AiQA

Ian Griffiths
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@Lars Doucet to compare this situation to the persecution of the Jews under in Nazi Germany is appalling, outrageous and offensive.

John Maurer
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@ R G "Feminism isn't the issue here. It's equality and understanding, something which hasn't been represented;"

Or maybe just misrepresented by those who would settle for being infamous because famous is out of reach

RJ McManus
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@RG Surely what we need in this discussion is more individuals speaking on behalf of the "silent majority"!

Kyle Redd
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Hey Christian, a Twitter user going by the name Ariel Connor recently posted a very thoughtful piece on TwitLonger on the recent controversy: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1s644c0

If you're serious about giving fair treatment to those who have differing views on issues like these, how about reaching out to her and offering a visible space on Gamasutra to expand on her opinions?

I'm also confident that Matthew Rappard of The Fine Young Capitalists would like to get help promoting their Indiegogo charity campaign for women making games (http://tinyurl.com/lj96xns).

John Bain
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I did. I received a lake of hatred from people who should know better.

These one-sided articles do not help. The things being said and done in the name of "tolerance" do not help. The extremism on both sides is a disgrace.

Rob Wright
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@George Kay

First of all, that's pretty rich since the people who currently experiencing the dogpile and career fuckery are people like Sarkeesian and Fish. In fact, go back a few years and recall the oral sex comment David Jaffe made. Are you SERIOUSLY going to argue that Jaffe was one who got dogpiled and not the female reporter at Kotaku who called his comment sexist?

And second, there's room for healthy debate on the subject matter when you offer an intelligent, informed perspective instead of "woe is me" statements about the plight of free discourse regarding gender issues and gaming.

As an example: http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/185122/EA_Blaming_sexism_for_l
ack_of_women_in_our_industry_is_a_copout.php

R G
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Except Fish hacked and shut down his own company?

My only qualm with your post, as the proof has definitely been piled up against him.

The screen shot that was taken showing his profile "hacked" was completely forged, and CloudFlare shows that the only access to his profile was from his IP.

Rob Wright
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A screenshot? A flipping screenshot? From who? From where? What attribution do you have for it? Sir, I've seen a lot of "proof" and "evidence" hurled around on forums and message boards, which amounts to little more than elaborately concocted screenshots that are if not misleading then outright false. The people behind these stunts are making you look like a fool, because you're swallowing this stuff lock, stock and barrel. Like this blatantly fabricated garbage, which is being passed around like gospel on forums now, without the slightest bit of scrutiny: http://i.imgur.com/DXi8Qb7.jpg

I've had just about enough of the allegations being thrown around that Fish/Quinn/Sarkeesian/insert whoever you like is faking these attacks to further their own agendas/careers. And I just don't know how you expect to be taken seriously, or expect your calls for an informed, open discourse to be heeded.

R G
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@Rob Wright

From Fish himself :)

The fact that "moot" was even mentioned was hilarious. And again, if you contact CloudFlare, they will clarify that his accounts have only been accessed from his devices and IP.

@ChristianNutt

Most have been censored on websites; Kotaku has dismissed several in their comments. Reasonable questions and comments from both regular users and e-celebs have either been attacked or ignored. My previous examples stand, along with many sent by the supposed "misogynistic" userbase of /v/, reddit, and other groups.

If you want, I can point you towards some blogs and comments being written.

There are people out there trying to make a reasoned debate. There are trolls and flamers on BOTH sides of this, which is making it hard to discuss.

Curiously enough, and I would invite you to post or simply read through the threads, /v/ has been very adamant about keeping the discussions related to journalistic and industry integrity, and not necessarily that Quinn slept with five guys.

@Lars Doucet

So does me being a Jew give me the right to question her then?

Being Jewish has nothing to do with it. Evidence, hard, sound evidence is there that this has happened at convenient times. I will agree that her userbase has been annoyed with her, and that HAS been flaming against her.

And also, what of the threats against those who vocalize their opinions against Sarkeesian/Quinn.

Let's try to keep an open mind here.

Christian Nutt
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@Robert G -- I haven't seen blogs (or comments, though I could be wrong, unlike blogs I do not read ALL comments) that present a reasoned view of the debate around this topic. We welcome all rational and respectful debate.

Jorge Prieto Jr.
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Sweet mother of Godwin... Because people complaining that the shorts texture of a female-like model in a game is akin to the massacre of Jews. *facepalm*

This lack of perspective and dramatization is what drives the polarization between the different sides of this issue. One side paints Sarkeesian as a man-eating, video-game-hating succubus and the other as Jews fleeing for their lives.

Lars Doucet
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*****
EDIT:
See note on my original post. I would not have used this metaphor today. *****

Apropos of nothing:

She is literally, right now:
1. a Jew
2. in fear for her life
3. who has been driven out of her home
4. by an angry mob that hates her
5. among whom are those who credibly have described in details ways in which they would like to violate and kill her.

I think the metaphor fits pretty well.

It's not the Holocaust by an stretch, but that was never my reference.


(The "Jew" part was never an essential part of the metaphor, but if I'm going to be accused of Godwinning I will lay out my case).

R G
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Yours won't because you're buying what she is selling.

The account that made the supposed threats was not only a fake account, but just so happens to make the threats after she makes a new video, during the misogynist witch-hunt?

You can stand up for someone, but I wouldn't equate Quinn or Sarkeesian's situation to "fleeing Jews". That cuts a bit deep for me, and personally not seeing any proof, and with the last two accusations of being "hacked and threatened" being proven false, leaves me a bit skeptical.

I'm not saying you can't stand up for someone, or heck even stand up for/agree/have drinks or none of the above with whomever you want. I just think it's interesting that no one has examined the other side. Is it not curious how Anita gets conveniently hacked at opportune times?

Questions, questions, and more questions.

But thanks for the reply. I'm not issuing a challenge by any means, I simply think the coverage has been biased and ill-informed for the most part.

As I said before though, great article and certainly thought provoking.

R G
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My "Yours won't" etc etc. is in response to @Lars first post.

Discussion is moving fast, keep it civil folks!

Jorge Prieto Jr.
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1. She indeed of Jewish descent, as am I.
2. So she claims.
3. So she claims.
4. No such mob. Internet trolls and idiots.
5. Have had similar comments and threats thrown at me, in addition to racist and nationalist insults.

No, that's still not a pogrom. Again, please have some decency when using these theatrics and emotionally charged language. Simply stick to the facts. It sounds as bad as those who scream "Nazi!" every time they are told they shouldn't threaten, doxx, or harass people.

Rob Wright
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@RG

So what you're telling me is, this screenshot was not discovered on some forum? You're telling me Phil Fish took a screenshot of his own system showing he hacked his own network, and then posted that screenshot (on Twitter? Somewhere else)? Furthermore you're asserting that anyone can call a global content delivery network/cloud platform and demand the access history of a random account/customer? And get it? And you've done this? Confirmed it with Cloudflare? This is what you're telling me? I just want to be sure.

R G
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@Rob Wright
The screenshot has been uploaded to numerous gaming press websites. And CloudFlare is reportedly sensitive as to what goes on, security wise, with their users as it jeopardizes their business if it is compromised.

And yes. Phil Fish took that screenshot. Or Zoe did. It is on their twitter; they are in a bar, with the laptop pulled up and the screen clearly visible, with it clearly doctored.

I can call CloudFlare if you wish. But, if I may ask, why are you so defensive on this? I can ask about the integrity of the system if I am a customer who uses Cloudflare's technology.

I hope this helped!

Rob Wright
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It's clearly visible, but clearly doctored. Got it. And Adam Sessler, who was there with him, monitoring this stuff -- he's lying to, right? He's in the tank for Fish? And the Dropbox account wasn't hacked either? That was faked?

Yes, I want you to call Cloudflare. Dear God, please call them. Because I work in the infosec world and am a pretty with CDNs and network security and I have a very hard time believing that Cloudflare (who you say is "reportedly sensitive about security) would just volunteer that kind of information to anyone but the account owner. Please. I beg you. Prove me wrong. Call them.

R G
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@Rob Wright

I simply saw a picture of Zoe Quinn with whom is presumably Phil Fish, with a laptop and the doctored photo on there. I don't follow Adam Sessler on media, and if he was there than it escapes me.

You seem very on edge about this. I'm simply wanting to know what's going on, and I go by the evidence. I'm a fan of Sessler's (I don't follow him on social media, but enjoyed his Sessler's Soapbox and Rev3 Sessler's Somethings), and would love to see what he has to say about the whole thing.

But, I'd be happy to call them for you and post my results. More results have been posted online as well.

Post as soon as I can! (posting at work hehe).

Kyle Redd
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Speaking of disagreements being swept aside as mysoginistic: John Bain was himself described by Gamasutra's Mark Filipowich as being involved in harassing Zoe Quinn just a few days ago, for his piece on TwitLonger: http://tinyurl.com/ntwn4n4.

Christian, you really should ask Mark to issue a correction for that smear (and preferably an apology to Bain), or at least explain why you will not do so.


Edit: Resolved fairly.

Rob Wright
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@RG

Sir, you say you simply want to know all the facts, yet you don't even know who you're really looking at in this picture, let alone the context in which it was taken. You say you have evidence that Fish's hack was obviously faked, but you can't really explain to me how the photo was doctored or what it exactly shows. You're trotting out the same nonsense that's been repeated in the echo chambers of other forums, and presenting it as ironclad fact. And if I seem on edge, it's because I see far too many people getting swept up into that nonsense and made to look like fools. And it make us collectively -- GAMERS -- look like fools. And that is literally the gentlest, most considerate way to put that.

I humbly suggest that if you took A FRACTION of the time you spend complaining about lack of civil discourse in gaming politics and put it towards scrutinizing the "evidence" with the same level scrutiny that you devote to Sarkeesian, you might better understand why I'm on edge about this, and why I don't believe the so-called "evidence." And yes, please post your results. I can't wait, and I mean that with the utmost sincerity.

R G
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I have already stated why it is doctored, and the over-whelming evidence backing that up?

>us
>collectively

No. Everyone speaks for themselves. That's another issue here, is that there is an intense amount of generalization going around.

What I do have is evidence.

Take a look at the pic (still on hold with Cloudflare)

>http://static.giantbomb.com/uploads/original/19/196532/2673162-95
90891843-26731.png

1. A 4chan user knows not to miscapitalize (is that a word?), as that is seen as a very "newcomer" thing to do.
2. The Anonymous slang "We do not forgive" isn't a part of /v/ culture, and the actual motto was messed up. "We are Anonymous, We do not forgive, We do not forget. Expect us." is the correct motto for anonymous. This is heavily, heavily frowned upon on /v/ and 4chan in general.
3. Phil Fish was never a target for the Quinn incident until he vehemently got involved, and posted this. (Threads are archived).

(sorry for the reply delay, again I'm at work :) I have hung up, and will try calling again. I do wish to post my own results. ).

4. There is no head mod of /v/.
5. Raids are absolutely not permitted by 4chan. Anonymous is a separate entity, and even they have not taken credit for any activities.

The fact that the "hack" has so many mistakes and errors, and 4chan's /v/ board is a popular board for video games as a target, makes it seem very unlikely. If you want, you could post on /v/ yourself and see what comes up.

Again, I will post my results as soon as I can.

Christian Nutt
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@Kyle Redd: So as to help keep the discussion here about THIS post, have responded on the TWIVGC post -
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/224053/This_Week_in_Video_Game
_Criticism_From_Ageism_to_the_Downfall_of_Neopets.php#comment2502
22

Rob Wright
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1. Your image is not loading.
2. You listed evidence regarding what 4Chan or Anonymous would or wouldn't do is weak because it assumes that Fish -- and not someone else/some other group looking to hide behind 4Chan/Anonymous -- did the hack. And furthermore, you discount how easy it is for hackers to use 4Chan or Anonymous' name in an attack. I can assure you, it happens with alarming frequency.
3. The fact that Phil Fish was not a target until he opened his mouth to support Quinn proves absolutely nothing. In fact, I take that back -- it made him a bigger target, so it actually weakens your case.
4. You also seem to be discounting the fact that (how do I put this nicely) 4chan is capable of such things, which is surprising considering the group's history.
5. Please do post the results.

Kyle Redd
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@Christian

Bain posted his own comment in this thread of replies regarding the attacks he has taken as a result of his piece, so it seemed relevant. I'll leave any further comments on it there. Thank you.

Michael Ball
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Image loads fine on my end. It could be that you pasted the ">" at the beginning as well, which isn't part of the url.

R G
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1. Did you remove the ">"?
2. The fact is that there is no evidence saying another group DID do it. Phil Fish is saying that 4chan hacked his account. The evidence of the page is providing that they did not. Also, you forget that Anonymous as a group is separate from 4chan, and is separate from the poster's ID as "Anonymous".
3. After finally getting a hold of them, I got this response:

"Though we cannot divulge certain details, CloudFlare has not experienced any evidence of a "hacking" (RG: sounded like the person was quoting or using the term in an odd way) of Mr. Fish's account, or any of our other accounts. It is extremely difficult to breach Cloudflare security. Would you like to speak to other members of Cloudflare?" -Cloudflare support tech. He may have been just saying what he was told to say, so I'm going to pursue it further. However, my conversation was saved by them and I may request it.

I said yes, and am currently waiting to speak to someone. Will post more, (this time I hope to receive a comment in writing/typing).

If the image doesn't load, simply Google "Five Guys Phil Fish Hack".

Post as soon as I can ;)

Adriaan Jansen
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Hey R G,
The number of likes you get suggests you're one of the few daring to speak up for this, so I applaud you for doing so. ;) I don't really agree with you though. (I know close to 0 about Quinn, and am 50/50 on Sarkeesian)

What especially strikes me as odd, is your usage of "witch-hunt". It seems like the opposite. Sure, Sarkeesian is pretty direct and ciritical in her approach, but she doesn't call out for personal harm and isn't zealously trying to frame or blame anyone. That's a pretty vital point of a witch hunt I would say!

Now the ironic part is, in a way, you are. You are contributing to the witch-hunting of these people. By not trusting them, seeking to discredit all they say, finding a hole or a disagreement, putting it under a magnifying glass, and denying the storm outside. While a lot of people, gamers (sorry Leigh) and developers alike, agree on this being an issue, there is a search to discredit a critic by personal attack. Even IF Sarkeesian is criticizing to advance her own agenda, that doesn't falsify her criticism. That she's not alone in this and is joined by many prominent figures adds to the criticism being valid.

But in the quest of discredit, people are crossing lines. We can't deny that. It's not only Sarkeesian or Quinn or Fish. It's also people like Tim Shafer. We can't control a group of internet commenters. But we can make a statement as an industry on what we think is acceptable: You can criticize whatever you like, but keep it civil, just like you said yourself.

And that's why so many people stand with Sarkeesian. Not because they think she is the holy trinity of equality, but because she keeps her criticism civil, while a lot of others attack her personally.

Also I think the Escapist exactly voiced your opinion in February (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/no-right-answer/8643-
Is-Anita-Sarkeesian-Wrong) and they did not get a pinch of the backlash most outspoken feminists get. Just to state that situation is unbalanced.

R G
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In no way have I advocated anything of the sort. I agree on this being an issue, and never said that Sarkeesian initiated any sort of a "witch-hunt". However, many of the critics, journalists, and avid fans of hers in social media (also known as "social justice warriors") have decried many people such as myself looking to discuss things on a civil tone.

I urge you to check tumblr, reddit, and other personal blogs of male, female, and other game developers who have been threatened and labeled "misogynistic" simply for disagreeing.

The writer for Borderlands 2 is a great example (his name escapes me), but basically Sarkeesian calls him out on the character Lilith for being a typical damsel (she is not in the game) and the writer who *created* the character apologizes and frames a tweet saying he's won the introspective developer award.

Many are afraid to speak out due to the backlash they will receive. I do believe her criticism is false, because it has been shown time and time again that her criticisms against certain games are largely unfounded by a variety of gamers. Alas, Sarkeesian is not the focus for my comments.

I should of put the term "witch-hunt" in quotes, as I do not mean a literal. But, and judging by some of the responses here and primarily on social media, it certainly seems that way.

EDIT: And thank you for the compliment :)

John Maurer
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Kick back on the Jew stuff, its a red herring. I'm German, you gonna arrest me?

Allan Schumacher
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"Is it not curious how Anita gets conveniently hacked at opportune times?"

Are you suggesting that it's implausible that the "opportune time" is shortly after she releases a video about an issue that causes a large amount of outrage and puts her back into the discussion?

Especially given the already rather heated issue going on the past week with Zoe Quinn stuff?

R G
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@Allan Schumacher

No. What I am suggesting is that she is certainly known in the past to create e-drama to further her image as the "oppressed feminist", and in doing so creates more revenue for herself. And, of all the times to release another video that she has taken notable time with, she happens to release it right when the larger media is targeting supposed misogynists. Just convenient is all.

That's what I'm suggesting.

Agree or disagree, that's up to you.


@Rob Wright
EDIT: Speaking with a CloudFlare representative right now through email. Will post results, as requested. So far, the answer seems to be as other Internet users are saying: That the process is a two-step, so only someone with Fish's computer and phone can access it. As I'm trying to cover every angle here so we can get a clearer picture, I am asking as well if CloudFlare has ever been compromised.

EDIT 2: CloudFlare rep Jameson S. states that he has "Confirmed internally that we are unable to comment, even generally, about this. ." Fish's IP *is* registered WITH CloudFlare however, and since that is public knowledge that was confirmed over the phone, after I provided the link. The are used as a cache service. A Polytron employee (Renaud Bedard) confirmed through Twitter that the CloudFlare service is a cache host for the website. No further comment has been made, other than that CloudFlare's security hosting has yet to be compromised (over the phone).

I have a pretty shit phone, and so obviously whether ya want to take the phone conversations as valuable or not is up to you. I welcome you to call them as well. The emails happened, albeit brief. I sent another one, worded around a different topic regarding the "two-step" technology. Still waiting to hear back.

From my understanding, since on CloudFlare's end they have not been compromised, and the "two-step" process is in, that would leave me to believe that either:

1.) Someone stole Fish's phone.
2.) Fish did it himself.

Working a bit in web security myself, that's all I can come up with. It's very difficult to crack into phones from afar. Reportedly, and this is from Polytron, their corporate Dropbox was stolen. This means that someone who had access leaked it. Who knows?

Thanks for being patient!

Allan Schumacher
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@R G

So all it'd take to convince you is for some "inopportune time" hacks to happen?

It reads like a conspiracy theory man. Like "It only happens after she posts her videos that some groups just hate."

Coupled with the "It sure does take a long time but now it's convenient because there is another controversy going on." You have literally taken an example I provided to you and allowed it to reinforce the perspective you already had.


What were the controversies going on when she released her other videos? Because in the past couple of months representation in gaming has been a pretty consistent hot topic for the industry, so I think it'd be easy to make an (unfalsifiable) assertion that at *any* point of time it'd be "convenient timing."

R G
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@Allan Schumacher

>http://kotaku.com/5923224/rather-than-hide-from-the-hate-her-gami
ng-and-sexism-series-is-geting-online-anita-sarkeesian-wants-to-e
xpose-it
>http://kotaku.com/5923224/rather-than-hide-from-the-hate-her-gami
ng-and-sexism-series-is-geting-online-anita-sarkeesian-wants-to-e
xpose-it

And her Kickstarter soars through the roof, gaining her publicity.

It's not hard to swallow. People do it all the time; Hell, to capitalize on a situation and make the most of it for personal gain and attention is seen as *smart* in some areas. But, it doesn't change the fact that she does this.

Mike Higbee
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Another prime example is with Zoe Quinn with her Patreon pretty much doubling during this controversy.

Mike Higbee
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Just want to say I hate the amount of flack you've been getting John Bain (Totalbiscuit) and Jontron for having differing opinions and trying to be reasonable about it.

R G
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@Mike Higbee

On the nose.

fred tam
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It doesn't read like a conspiracy theory.

This is in the context of her record of behavior, which is provably dishonest.
Her narrative alone can be disproven in under a minute.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW-69xXD734
And that's just the start.
Her videos rely on pure dishonest and fallacious reasoning. All her behavior supports the idea that this person is not credible, and is someone who is a professional at manipulating situations to gain notoriety and money.

If the charge came out of no where that she was doing this to troll up attention, sure, she'd get the benefit of the doubt. But as it is, with her long record of deception? She doesn't get that benefit of the doubt.

Alfe Clemencio
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@R G: "Working a bit in web security myself, that's all I can come up with. It's very difficult to crack into phones from afar. Reportedly, and this is from Polytron, their corporate Dropbox was stolen. This means that someone who had access leaked it. Who knows?"

You know that you don't even need to be a programmer to lace a phone app with malware right? This is the main issue with android phones. It is so simple to do so that there is a program out there that can do it for you.

Edit2: Found article on easy hacking of phones.

http://rt.com/news/182168-gmail-android-hacking-research/

About two-factor authentication, apparently you aren't a recent World of Warcraft player. So you haven't heard about how they got through two-factor authentication of WoW.

http://www.csoonline.com/article/2134279/social-engineering/world
-of-warcraft-attack-highlights-two-factor-authentication-weakness
.html

Mark Johns
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The Polytron website isn't hosted by Cloudflare. Cloudflare caches and serves the content from Polytron's webhost.

The hackers came in through the Polytron dropbox, which appeared to have the sftp account information of their host (I believe MediaTemple), as well as the shared Polytron corporate twitter account. They dumped everything on the Dropbox, uploaded it, and then defaced the website.

Renaud, the Fez programmer, confirmed all of this. All this talk about "Cloudflare" blah blah blah, is a complete red herring.

Robin Clarke
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@John Bain

I look forward to the time when you willing to take responsibility for your role as part of the media. You've created within your fan community a welcoming environment for people with toxic views, and the longer you hide behind preposterous false equivalency, the less the wider industry and community will want to have anything to do with you.

Rob Wright
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Yes, what @Mark Johns said. The Dropbox info has been out there since day 1 of this news, and yet somehow this CloudFlare conspiracy has been propegated across the web. CloudFlare is a CDN (content delivery network) and DNS (domain name server) provide and it has web hosting partners but it does NOT do the actual hosting. They provide a security layer for customers but it's focused on exterior threat such as DDoS attacks. It's entirely possible someone could breach a CloudFlare customer by gaining access to the customer's internal systems/data (in this case, Dropbox) through a simple phishing or brute force attack without ever having to circumvent the CloudFlare layer (in fact, that would almost certainly be the path of least resistance here).

@RG before you and others start trotting out conspiracies about how a hacker could have possibly attained access to Dropbox, please, do a quick Google search on the particulars. Yes, they offer two-factor authentication. But it's not required to have a Dropbox account. We can debate how wise it was for Fish and Polytron to NOT have 2-factor enabled, but that in and of itself does not "prove" the hack was generated from within.

And furthermore, if you know anything about infosec and hacking, then you should know that 1) there are plenty of ways around MFA, 2) there is no such thing as a unpenetrable system, and 3) if someone really wants to break into a system/account, they will find a way.

Rob Wright
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@RG

Your first comment in this thread is about the lack of a civil, back-and-forth discussion on this topic, and yet....you're pushing the conspiracy theory that Sarkeesian attacked/harasssed herself to gain exposure? That is what you're saying, correct? Don't pull the "Hey, I'm just asking questions" routine -- if that is what you think (and it sure sounds like it) then own it.

R G
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@Rob Wright

If you actually read my complete comment, I said that after I spoke with Cloudflare and examined what the Polytron employee said, I definitely stated that they are the cache service.

You can dismiss it as a conspiracy theory if you want, but the facts stack up, and many others agree.

I'm done with this entire discussion anyway; it was taxing yesterday, and I have some delicious Chinese to eat. Thank you though, and I'm not saying this facetiously, for carrying on the conversation and remaining patient while I contacted Cloudlflare.

Toodles!

RJ McManus
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@TB Contrary to what you seem to believe, the fact that some people at either extreme are prone to misconduct does not indicate that a moderate position is "right" or that strongly opinionated individuals are "wrong". Now, that is not to condone any such misconduct, of course, but merely to caution against what I see as a fallacious appeal to moderation on your part. You lament the radicals in the name of reasonable discussion, but you're arguably doing more to shut down the discussion than to mitigate it by dismissing any strong opinion on the matter. If you leave out all the preconceptions that people bring into these SJW vs. anti-feminist conflicts, the Sarkeesian issue is actually fairly simple: a woman had the audacity to critique the medium in a manner that others find controversial, and she was subjected to a campaign of harassment. As far as the Quinn issue goes, it never was our business who she (allegedly) slept with, and no amount of fear-mongering about games journalism will excuse her harassment.

Kadayi Polokov
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I'm pretty sceptical about the whole thing. I don't get why having reported a threat to authorities, who'd generally advise doing anything to provoke a response out of a harasser whilst they investigate it, running to Polygon seems like a sensible course of action in the face of a credible threat. Did polygon even carry out any fact checking before running that article? Maybe contact the police to verify that an investigation was under way or anything? Or are they just taking things at face value and running with it?

Happy to be proven wrong on this, but more happy to know that some due diligence is taking place in games media when reporting this sort of thing.

fred tam
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@RJ McManus
Again, that's a false narrative of the situation. Sarkeesian issue isn't that simple, or if you want to make it simple you have to acknowledge the fact that she lied about her narrative.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW-69xXD734
Which is delt with in under a minute here to "make it simple". And that was just the start of her dishonesty.....

But such omissions are pervasive, which tells you something is rotten with this situation and the narrative of "harassment".

Darryn Robson
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@LarsDoucet

Why is "a Jew" number one on your list of things to justify your metaphor? Why do you think it is relevant at all that she is a Jew? Does the debate on "GamerGate" have anything specifically to do with Jews? From what I have read it doesn't seem to be an issue about or related to race at all.

Christian Nutt
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The sad thing is that in the old days of the internet, games had an online culture. There was a sense we were participating in something that was a NEW culture, not replacing culture with non-culture, with marketing and hype.

The other funny thing is that "gamers" abandoned reading the factory-style coverage of triple-A games, so the blogs and the press were forced onto new things by their audience -- which now rises against them for coloring outside the box.

Jorge Prieto Jr.
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This comment reeks of "good ol' days" nostalgia. We didn't have it any better regarding to "culture" back then. In fact, I'm not sure you or the author understand what cultures are as evidenced by the phrase "replacing culture with non-culture."

Using scary sounding words like "marketing" and "hype" doesn't change the fact that consumerism, specifically of video games and video -game-related products, has always been part of the gamer culture. That is exactly what defines gamer culture, after all, enjoying all aspects of games and game-related (and more broadly "geeky") products. The way to participate in gamer culture has always been the same: Play video games, and save for the tiny minority who actually make their own video games, marketing, hype, and consumerism will always be a part (the most important part, I'd say) of video game culture and there is nothing wrong with that.

James Margaris
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Back in the old days I posted a lot on a.g.sf2. That was my online culture.

I don't remember seeing you post there Christian. Is my memory faulty?
---

There was never a unified culture. "Gamer culture" isn't a thing, people who play games are very diverse. "Gamer culture" is just a lazy set of stereotypes to wag a finger at.

You know what really grinds my gears? Sandwich eating culture! People who eat sandwiches are the worst! Who's with me?????

Scott Lavigne
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@James

There is no single unified culture, but there are definitely very large umbrellas. Certain genres inherently value different skills or styles of play, and in that they attract people who have some commonality. I think it's fair of Christian to argue that in the past, games were a bit less diverse and thus the community was as well (and able to be broken into fewer, more discrete umbrellas), if that's what he'd like to argue.

Mike Higbee
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What irks the hell out of me is that out of say thousands of tweets or comments, one idiot just being an ass is the one that gets cherrypicked and "representative of gamer culture". It's clickbait "journalism" (or rather blogging) at its best.

Nicolas Haas
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I think i am late to comment around here, but i think i can boil down this gamer thing: being a geek/nerd and loving games is directly tied to technology, technology wasn't big back then, we were a minority.

Now that technology rules the world, geek/nerd popularity/power is so big that everyone wants to be a geek, gamers are not a minority anymore. "Liking technology is being cool" or something like that.

its actually funny the amount of flamewars about who is "casual" or not...

Ray Kremer
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Replace "video games" with other mostly-young-male-oriented forms of entertainment, such as comics (both American and manga) and the article would be more or less exactly the same.

Christian Nutt
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Really? Because I've participated in manga and anime culture for years. Manga has a huge female audience and a well established female creator base.

Chris Book
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True but you also have the division in anime/manga where the obsessive fan market wants more CUTE GIRLS OF QUESTIONABLE AGE DOING CUTE THINGS while other fans want stuff like more GiTS or nostalgia remakes of Sailor Moon. It actually is pretty analogous of the game market. "Hardcore" fans waging a holy war against casuals/women/SJWs/this weeks buzzword.

Christian Nutt
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I think you're more talking about a debate between new-guard and old-guard otaku. When I go to cons -- and this is by my understanding backed up by the statistics -- I see a nice mix of genders participating in the fandom. When I go to the manga store I see the same thing, and I see titles with a MUCH broader reach than either triple-A games or Western fan-oriented comics.

R G
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Western comics have had a very broad range of demographics for a long time Christian :)

But I do agree that anime/manga demographics are very broad.

Christian Nutt
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Yeah, I was trying to say "superhero comics" without saying it, so I'll say it now. There's a lot more out there, but I tend to think of them as distinct sub-fandoms rather than a holistic fandom like manga/anime seems (closer) to being. Could be wrong, not really my hobby.

R G
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It's easy to look at it that way. But, Dwayne McDuffie, a famed DC writer (RIP), created a lot of diverse characters without the EMPHASIS on the diversity.

Static Shock, including John Stewart (black Green Lantern) in the animated Justice League, a look at sexuality in Batman Beyond, etc. etc.

A lot of heroes and villains in DC and definitely Marvel (X-Men is alllll about the social issues) have existed since the 60s, when they started to venture into more serious issues.

Nuno Ferreira
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I'm assuming this article is a joke. Because it sounds and reads like one.

"Gamers" aren't over. Gamers are running stronger than ever. There is a divide now, between gamers and casual people who aren't as passionate about the industry, and who are at the root of many problems within the industry. However, that's the amazing thing about videogames. We can cater to everyone. And there is space for everyone. Whether you've been playing since the 80's or just started last week. Identifying and catering to each spefic group, however, seems to be a different beast altogether.

It's articles like this that create silly divides and antagonize people, when it shouldn't really have to. We can cater to a new audience without antagonizing the old one. There is space for everyone, and that's a good thing!

John McMahon
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The divide is not just the casual market and the "hardcore" market, but between the adult gamers/developers/publishers/etc, the teenage gamers, and the child gamers.

As adults, some gamers don't want bigger worlds that promise hundreds of hours of content. They want easy to get in/out systems that allow them to pause or quit with no penalty. They also want to play online with other gamers and not hear derogatory remarks from teenage, child, or other adult gamers.

These adult participants in the culture of games want a culture where they can talk without the "us or them" mentality.

But the truth is, to me, the population of the gaming community is growing so big and spread so far (physically and in cyberspace), that any structure, decorum, or social niceties will have to be enforced by the developers, marketers, publishers, news media, etc.

But those citizens that want to have a place to air their actual anger (and not just competitiveness-fueled and/or juvenile idiocy), about what they perceive to be attacks on their own values and beliefs, will find such a place.

When these "angry gamers" actually take part in games on servers or discussions on websites/forums, those platforms are each a land onto its own and all those moderators/providers will be held responsible for their actions or inactions to curb hostile actions.

Mark Verrey
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The distinction isn't between people who play and people who don't. It's between people who define themselves by the games they play, and people who play games as one of many diverse activities they enjoy. It's the same problem as identifying yourself as a member of any fandom. It's the realization that you can enjoy something without being a practitioner of that thing, for lack of a better word.

Cleiton Oliveira
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It`s much better to have the freedom to make what we want for anyone, than to be trapped on the expectations of a lot of hateful and spiteful kids.

Er Piotta
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Well, it's true. Gamers are dead, so is gaming. Industry is about gaming as much as WWE is about professional wrestling, to use a comparison regarding entertainment. You can only sell your merchandise to people who don't know anything about anything, which means not gamers for sure.

Joshua Wilson
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You talk about strawmen but you create one every other paragraph in order to build a false narrative in which there is some brave new world being created out of the Sodom and Gomorrah in which gaming, apparently, has been mired and festering.

It's hard to take the morale high ground when using hateful stereotype and prejudice as your pedestal.

A lot of people in this world are ignorant asses or worse. The internet allows them to be even more ignorant and ass-like without consequence. This will never change. To try and use those people as an example of, or to shame or guilt, or reflect upon others so that you can press your principles and ideals as truth or fact is in itself questionable at the very least.

Zack Fair
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"This will never change."

You must have a terrifying aversion to history.

Joshua Wilson
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I don't get what you mean. History fully supports my point. There have always been ignorant jerks in this world.

I suppose it's somewhat pessimistic to think it will, literally, never change. But certainty not within our lifetimes.

Zack Fair
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Sure, of course there have. The sentence I quoted directly followed a claim about the internet though, which, look at it even fifteen years ago. There were "ignorant jerks" then too, but the model on which it was built, all the way from UI conventions to corporate relationships, has changed drastically.

The real point about history though, is that "ignorant jerks" existence is never really what's going on. The American Civil War didn't happen because the South were "ignorant jerks" -- though, sure, many of them were -- but because of specific threats to an economic system on which the South was dependent. That, coupled with a strong cultural identity (and other factors), meant there was a basis on which to challenge those threats. There are a million other possible examples.

To bring it back to the internet briefly: there is a huge difference between "some ignorant jerks" and "ignorant jerks with the technical and cultural tools to organize themselves." The centralization and corporatization of the internet, especially over the last ten years, has made a huge difference in that, especially when the organizing is done as consumers.

This is, to my mind, what Alexander's article is pointing at (at least in part): here is the cultural history, here are the economics. Obviously she isn't writing a monogram, so it's not presented in quite so dry terms, but it's all there if you look (and not even that hard). She's also not the only one doing it; I think Liz Ryerson's recent post (here: http://ellaguro.blogspot.com/2014/08/on-right-wing-videogame-extr
emism.html) is a phenomenal example.

Joshua Wilson
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So I don't have a "terrifying aversion to history". Good to know.

The fact is, that this is NOT the "cultural history" nor is it even the economics - it's an extreme distortion, a caricature at best, based on some of the people who inhabit the internet whose reach, impact and representation of the rest is given far to much credit. Nor would that, even if were the case, excuse the way in which she tried to make her point, regardless of what it was.

Zack Fair
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That is exactly how she did make her point, though. I suppose I could agree with the idea that it's a caricature or distortion if we're participating in some dull thought experiment where this is the only article someone ever reads about anything ever? Which is, appropriately, what I assume people actually mean when they clamour for objectivity in, say, games journalism, since that's the only even somewhat related thing that makes any sense.

As for the "too much credit," I think that's a claim pretty well-covered by the article itself. There are plenty of elitist jackoffs in film fandom -- and not a few of them are glad to curate spaces that implicitly militate against the inclusion of women -- but there aren't regular reports of cinephiles organizing online harassment campaigns. The "ignorant jerks" are there in both fields, so why is only one of these groups acting this way?

I've no real evidence you don't have that aversion, but yes, I apologize for the bit of rhetoric.

Joshua Wilson
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No problem.

As for the direct question, my personal opinion on that would be that "gamers" feel they are under attack (this article being a pretty good example) and when you attack people they get defensive, regardless of whether your attack has any degree of merit.

Combined with the fact that because the video game industry IS inclusive and DOES care there tend to be a lot of articles and discussion on the topic. And, as another perfect example from this article, there is often a clear tone of you're either with us or your against us - everything we say is right, and you're wrong if you don't agree. And that riles people even more - including myself.

This is why, to me, this article is a problem. Attacking wide swathes of people with hyperbole and vitriol is NOT the way to solve problems. This article attacks basically anyone who has ever identified as a gamer, and any developer who doesn't want to get involved with internet drama or has no clue it's even happening because we prefer to stay away from social media for that exact reason.

Kevin Fishburne
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I apologize if I'm being dim-witted, but what exactly is the issue this article is discussing? I get that gamer culture has gone mainstream (G4 drove that home pretty painfully before it dropped off the air) and that there are mobs of Internet infants that direct bizarre torrents of hatred toward industry professionals occasionally, but as interesting as this article is I'm not sure what you're getting at. 4chan has always been full of misogynists, pedophiles and psychopaths...nothing new there. I'd also like to point out that as offensive as Internet posts can be, the alternative to freedom of expression is cutting heads. Personally I'd rather the psychopaths vent online. In a perfect world everyone would be tolerant, considerate and empathetic, but sadly people just aren't built that way and the Internet gives them a safe outlet.

Kris Graft
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Hey folks! Lemme stick our comment guidelines here as a gentle reminder.

http://www.gamasutra.com/static2/comment_guidelines.html

Chris Book
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But everyone was being civil and on-topic. Except for the dude that just got banned but his post was stupid so its fine. Are we just assuming that these kinds of articles can't have a reasonable discourse now? :/ Especially considering that the article itself is already kind of condescending and dismissive anyway.

Kevin Fishburne
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@Kris: FYI, every time I see a banned user here it makes me want to never visit the site again. Is it censorship for censorship's sake, or do you think Gamasutra's userbase is unable to identify a troll and the site comments would be overrun with flame wars?

Kris Graft
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Hi Kevin,

The comment did not contribute to the conversation at all, and broke our comment guidelines. I deleted his comment, he reposted the exact same one over and over just to be annoying, so I banned him. It's not about our userbase being able to identify a troll.

R G
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@Kris Graft

Any chance of REW REW REW breaking guidelines?

Kris Graft
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Heh, deleted.

R G
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Thanks Kris :)

Kevin Fishburne
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@Kris: Thanks for replying. The observation that "the comment did not contribute to the conversation at all" is largely subjective. "[Breaking] our comment guidelines" is technically valid, however guideline six (unwanted comments) is blanket authority to delete posts and ban users, superseding all other guidelines. Guideline five (no posting irrelevant links [or spam]) is the only guideline that is outright ban worthy. Guidelines one to four are excellent, but making them anything other than strongly encouraged recommendations is a bit authoritarian. An example with respect to my previous statement is that our discussion of post deletion policy in this thread could find everyone involved in violation of guideline two (stay on topic).

I don't expect to win any arguments here, but it's good to know you're at least hearing me. I want a professional, civilized, thoughtful board too...I just think the banhammer gets dropped a little too easily and that bothers me deeply. It's the only dark spot on what is otherwise one of my best loved sites. That's all I got, so I'll leave it at that.

John Maurer
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@Kevin Fishburne

Kris Graft likes banning user's, in fact, from my recent history with the site (which totals about 10 years now) typically he's the one doing the banning

Allan Schumacher
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Hey Kevin,

I remember reading about how hostile comments actually have a measurable (negative) impact on how much users are able to understand about a particular topic. It may not be "censorship for censorship's sake" but literally ensuring that non-trolls don't get sidetracked and end up having their perceptions distorted by the presence of raging in the comments.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/03/opinion/sunday/this-story-stink
s.html?_r=1&

Kevin Fishburne
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@Allan I agree, they certainly do. Often I'll be reading YouTube comments and become enraged having to scroll through an inordinate amount of crap to see anything personally meaningful. My main problem is that the comments are nuked from orbit. Slashdot has a clever system by which the readers vote up or down comments and you have an adjustable "display filter". You can see the BS if you want to, or just filter it out. The system here is rather primitive by comparison.

Allan Schumacher
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@Kevin

The study indicates that even simply by trolling through the filth of the bad looking for the good, your view of the actual article becomes distorted.

If the mere presence of filth is bad, why should it hang around?

Kevin Fishburne
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@Allan Because ultimately perceptions of what is "filth" and "bad" are subjective, and the phrases "slippery slope" and "paved with best intentions" were coined due to more Orwellian nightmares than I care to look up. I realize this is a niche web site, but it's my niche and I believe that winning small fights here and there can help the larger war for people being able to communicate without draconian censorship. I just don't think it's a boolean situation...we're game devs for god's sake. A reasonable comment moderation system shouldn't be beyond our ability to implement. I agree with everyone's intention, just not the implementation.

Scott Lavigne
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To piggyback on Kevin's criticism: I largely feel the same way, and it would be much appreciated if at some point you could adjust it so that removed comments/comments from banned users are simply hidden but can be expanded (like a spoiler tag) while maintaining the note that says the comment was removed or the user banned.

Kevin Fishburne
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@Scott Ars Technica has a nice system just as you describe. It even shows the specific reason the post was hidden so you have an idea what you're getting into when unhiding the post.

Bradley Andrews
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Why the purchase hate? hypercapitalist? hyper-consumers? Lots of subcultures have identities tied up with buying stuff and it's not exactly relevant to whether someone is a troll or misogynist scum.
Look at like Twilight fandom or soccer or EDM people... pretty much anything that can generate a line of fans has some aspect of consumption to it, and if anything gaming is a very affordable hobby.

Frank Cifaldi
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oh man the guy I was replying to got banned so

Gabriel Williams
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Articles like this make me sad, for everyone. Spiteful, angry, full of derogatory generalizations...clearly the author has a bone to pick, and I'm genuinely sorry they've had such bad experiences, but this sort of thing isn't okay, or correct, or good.

Angrily generalizing, stereotyping, and name-calling isn't going to help anyone. This article should bolster support for "better gamers and better games", but instead it comes off as offensive to me. Because it's labeling me, and sticking me in a category, and calling me part of the problem based on my gender, race, age. And that's exactly what articles like this should be _against_, not promoting.

Mathias Belger
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Maybe this is a good thing that you are feeling offended: Why is it that you feel the article is aimed at you? Why are you offended?

Maybe consider that it is speaking _for_ you.

Gabriel Williams
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The article does speak "for" me, in that I believe sexism in the game industry needs to go. It's supposedly getting better, but looking at recent LoL stuff/etc...it's not really moving forward yet.

However, the article also speaks "of" me, and that is the part that I find offensive- I (a white, male, once teenage, gamer) am being stereotyped as part of the problem. Or this is how I feel after reading the article, that is.

Per the other comment (tone police), I'm not saying the article has to "honeypot" itself, not at all. But I do feel it lumps the blame too easily.

Gabriel Williams
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You'll have to explain to me what that means...ah I looked it up. Hooray for Google.

Hmm. I don't want/mean to be that person. I apologize to anyone reading who took my post to be, well, "tone police", I can see how it would come across that way.

I meant to say, and maybe went of course, the target of the anger felt wrong to me. The anger itself, is totally justified- gaming and gamers in general need to grow up, and it is an incredibly sexist field. Again, it was the targeting of the anger that I was reacting to.

Hopefully that helps remove foot-from-mouth :)

Mathias Belger
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"a white, male, once teenage, gamer" -- as am I but I don't feel we need to feel 'threatened' like so many do in this comment section.

She cites detailed behaviors predominantly enacted by people who look like us and are of our gender, here:
"You should be deeply questioning your life choices if this and this and this are the prominent public face your business presents to the rest of the world." (check article for the links).

If that's not what we engage in, she has no qualms with us but to point out that we should not be entirely comfortable who we are also identifying ourselves with when calling ourselves 'gamers'.

And along that line, as a white male I see it as my responsibility _not_ to feel my sensitivity breached because I'm not really under any true danger or threat here as opposed to a lot of others.
Their suffering is the point of origin of the outrage in this article.

That and that I also identify much more strongly with values of compassion and being human than being a white male gamer makes it easy for me to step aside and not feel stereotyped or lumped in that awful crowd.

Gabriel Williams
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Well, I don't feel "threatened". Just objecting to the stereotyping, and generalizing, as everyone ought to (both in this case, and in any case of such actions).

Read down a few more comments while thinking on this, and had some other thoughts as well. Mainly, that I'm able to sit back at ease through this, while the people who it really, actually matters for (the author, women in games, etc) have a much harder time of it. They are being actively harassed, stereotyped, apparently even threatened, and that's horrible. It's very important not to draw away from that, to get pulled into smaller arguments/etc.

Unfortunately, I feel that's what this article did for me- I came here hoping to find a solid article (the top-most bold quote was what drew me in, very well put), and to share with others to build up more awareness/support. But instead I ended up feeling alienated, stereotyped, even somewhat blamed and insulted. And so I wrote the initial post, etc etc...

You say it is your responsibility _not_ to be sensitive when someone is stereotyping? I say it really, really is. Everyone's. You don't have to disagree with the argument, but it's definitely ALL of our responsibility to step up and say "Hey- that's a bit broad, don't you think?".

Allan Schumacher
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@Gabriel

I don't know. I'm also a white, male, once teenage, gamer... and I don't really feel that Leigh is calling me out specifically.

I think she's more trying to illustrate that the hostile loudmouths are loud and prevalent enough that to many, they are the collective voice of gamers. Kind of like how the perception of places like 4chan and reddit (or a lot of things) start to give off the impression of their extremes, because the extremes are so loud.

Mathias Belger
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In this context, yes. Because considering the severeness of what's at hand we both are not really under attack, relatively speaking.

Or to put in another way: Being _even more_ sensitive I can empathize and take the author's point of view first before I relate it directly to me: she speaks of gamers as a 'petri dish of the socially inept'. Harsh words but like as you brought up LoL... it's a description that can be quite fitting to some of the matches of online games I've played.

Here is another spin on it: in a sense she is directly attacking the stereotype of white male dudebro gamer and that we don't need to pander to it. It's the whole point of the article, this being an inside industry site and all.

The issue of when to stand up and what for is a complicated one, though. I agree with the sentiment but I consider a.) I can't do it all the time all over the place and b.) I believe it should be proportionate in the context.

The author is in fact standing up for something, and to make a poignant case ruffles some feathers through evocative language. I think that's a good thing (imagine if it were filled with clauses and conditions, how boring, no drive behind the message). That also does not mean one could not rebut or criticize the article, especially if one has some good insights to share or contrast.

In my opinion, it'd be detrimental to stand up and stand in the way of the point she is making.

Now, if I hear someone not invested in games painting games and the people who enjoy them in such broad strokes I'm happy to stand up to them any day of the week.

Iain Howe
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I believe this article is putting the creative cart in front of the economic horse. Unless you're a self-funded hobby project, nobody can afford to create 'art for art's sake' in our industry. You are generally making a product that you intend to take to market and market forces will determine who your audience is.

You can aim at a demographic more in line with your sensibilities and, if you resonate well with them, tap into a niche market but, even so, you still don't choose who buys your game, posts in the parts of your community that you don't own or identifies themselves with you. And if you're aiming for mainstream, mass-market, AAA territory - you need every customer.

Gamers are over? Did Call of Duty stop selling while I wasn't looking? Do EA's sports franchises not make money anymore? Companies that pander to a toxic audience are setting themselves up for trouble but, equally, companies that believe they can ignore their customers are doomed.

nicholas ralabate
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i don't know... it seems like with the way tool cost is free-falling there's actually never been a better time to make 'art for art's sake'

think about it -- you can get maya/photoshop/ue4engine for $60 a month. that's less than the price of a retail game. and that's just the high-end commercial stuff! i don't use paid tools at all, but i know that's not for everyone.

even the price of the hardware, and distribution is laughably small compared to the recent past.

don't confuse the eight hours at the office with the other sixteen. games -- and more and more games -- are coming from people making 'art for art's sake' and i think it's just about the best thing that's ever happened.

Iain Howe
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In some cases I have to agree with you! Nothing beats a well targeted and executed 'niche' game that bullseyes the expectations of it's following and sets up that wonderful synergy where the team and the audience feedback into each other - looking at you Dwarf Fortress, Minecraft etc.

However there is also a LOT of shovelware being produced. Poorly designed and awfully executed games on a shoestring budget. Teams with no experience and no backup. If you've looked at the greenlight section of Steam you know what I'm talking about. Stuff that becomes commercially available too early and will NEVER be finished.

Matt Boudreaux
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Without commenting on the actual content of the article; the broad brushing, stereotyping, and dismissive attitude throughout this article really doesn't do her argument any favors.

Chris Book
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Interesting that its okay for this guy to troll but the other dude was banned 30 seconds after he posted.

edit: Yes I understand he works here. That doesn't make it okay. :P

edit 2: Frank's insightful posts were deleted.

Matt Boudreaux
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Fascinating commentary there, Frank. Any other pedantic onomatopoeias you wish to share with the class? Perhaps you should provide the argument on why those elements of her article are necessary or justified, especially in an article about how the culture is becoming increasingly divisive and toxic?

R G
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Kris Graft, so it's okay for Frank Cifaldi to pull the REW REW REW stunt?

Luis Guimaraes
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"'Game culture' as we know it is kind of embarrassing"

Somehow I expected to read that as soon as I read the title. I knew it came down to it but was pleasantly surprised to find it so early and so explicitly laid out.

I have lately started to observe, as it seems to me, that video-game journalists seem just as concerned with how stating what theirs job sounds at parties as some '-game developers, if not more.

Living in Brazil, most times you tell someone you "make video-games" they're baffled and amazed in disbelief at first, ask if you're lying or joking, comment on how "you have to be some kind of genius" and then proceed to ask if you make much money from that and, when you tell them it's not really the case, they tell you not to give up and that it will undoubtely pay off sooner or later.

What I get from these pieces is that it's far from how things work in first world countries with a longer term relationship with video-game development and an age pyramid that leans mostly towards the 40-60 range, specially in the western societies.

For those reasons I had dodged this kind of subject lately as I sometimes inevitably see most of the "polemic" subjects that surface in media related to the video-games industry as either first-world problems, click-bait or simply the Parkinson's Law Of Triviality in practice as the very "polemic" term naturally implies.

I also take notes that such inferiority complex from industry professionals is also more present in cultures where the concept of "bully" is a such well defined one. Where I'm from, everyone "bullies" everyone, to the point where you very early learn how to deal around most of that in many ways, from making fun of yourself and derail the subject, to turn the table around in unsuspicious ways that make the other party seem like a fool, to pushing matters into levels that even the attacking side is uncomfortable with.

It's a cultural thing though, and I cannot expect my views of the subject to conform with anybody's that lives in a different society with different unspoken rules.

I can't perfectly recall where but I recently read a piece where somebody mentioned feeling the need to apologetically explain that the video-games they made where "no! not that kind!". Maybe it's partially a cultural thing as well, but I'm more inclined to believe it's more of a personal matter and there's no rampant "video-game developer/journalist shame syndrome" around.

But still, I can't completely detach my mind from the correlation between those age pyramids and the kind of inferiority complex, as it's a perceived pattern than most people to look down on video-games and to be uninformed enough about them in order to have the kind of narrow views necessary for that kind of impression of video-games being either "kids toys" or some kind of "demon tool". I guess it doesn't help that I have an internal joke with some friends about how some senior citizens would react if they found out a collection of Steam '-games is called a "Library".

There were some few situations though, in which I happened to be confronted with negative looks and questions like "still into video-games?", with the implied meaning that I should have somehow "outgrown" them.

I could simply have explained to them things in a logical manner and started a discussion about Complexity Science and how everything around us, including whatever their favorite subject happened to be – which in most cases somebody acts like that towards games it is most likely to be Sociology –, is a Complex System, and that games are nothing but small-scale representations of them which shared the same core concepts and patterns.

I could have explained that playing games is manipulating Systems,and that engaging is such activities sharpen your mind about those patterns and help you abstracting concepts that can be applied to any situation and how the pursuit of more understanding of how to use Complexity Science to improve video-games as products and as a means to create smarter Culture and combat the Dumbing Down of the next generations was also accomplishing residual advancements in the Science as a whole, which led back to the entire spectrum of Human Sciences.

I could have explained that there are more Game Designers that see games as such and that progress is being made in that aspect but that the platform is still too young and also a business, and that it leads to mass-marketing and risk-avoidance that leads not only to the production of mindless entertainment, which sadly supports societal Dumbing Down instead of combating it, but also that the products made with that purpose are the ones with financial backing to be the face of video-games to anyone not invested in the subject.

I could have explained that, while negative in many aspects, the business side of video-games is also a necessary evil that sustains the possiblity of improvement in the positive areas by attracting people raised among them to be the future leaders of such scientific developments, and that as a positive side-effect, the pursuit of technological edge against competition, which's the common strategy of the big players in the business, along with the film and animation industries, lead to lots of technological advancements that are useful to many other fields in a short period, like the applications of GPUs for processing in scientific research, such as the NVidia Tesla units used to fuel simulations in Aerodynamics, Termodynamics, Geology, Climate Prediction, Biology, high-scale Chemistry and many other fields.

I'd also point out that it's much better to have such scientific and technological leaps fuelled by Business and Entertainment instead of from arms-races caused by World Wars as it has been in the past.

I could have brought up the societal aspects of video-games being perceived as "kids-toys", and how it correlates to similar events in Culture and Society across History, from Arts to societal organizations to technological and organizational breakthroughs like the Internet or the Industrial Revolution, and how it's a normal and expected effect that there will be those kinds of opinions.

But I couldn't help but let my bitter side lead me into employing those kinds of anti-bully tactics against them, only for the manner and tone those questions came out, and lead them into a downright spiral of wrong assumptions and straight-faced sarcasm until one of them finally was smart enough to realize I was playing them for fools – which suddenly puts at question everything I lead them to believe, with a blurry line as to what was just me mocking them and what misconceptions they already had before –, at which point I had smile and answer:

"I'm sorry, that's what I do: I play games."

Act apologetic for what a bunch of children with too much time in their hands and too few actual problems to solve? Never.

R G
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Interesting post Luis!

Luis Guimaraes
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How did you read it so fast? :O

R G
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Took five minutes to read man! That's a long time to read a post!

Again, great post.

Joel Nystrom
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"it's much better to have such scientific and technological leaps fuelled by Business and Entertainment instead of from arms-races caused by World Wars as it has been in the past."

I'm generally no fan of capitalism, but this tidbit made me think!

Benjamin Quintero
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I'm conflicted...

These sort of directed articles are tricky, because we are pointing the finger at "gamers". But a "gamer" is a concept or a distributed social group who don't always agree. A "gamer" is not 1 person. Journalist shaking their finger at "gamers" is not very different from how people might blame the President for everyone's choices up the chain of command, or the way we mistakenly talking about Microsoft and Sony like it's a first name. "I can't believe Microsoft did that!" - said everyone

For some gamers, this is their everything. For some people, they see games in their lives like the star quarterback of a small town may dream of a college scholarship. Now comes the part that might anger some people...

Gamers are, in many ways, no different than any other oppressed division of society. We need to look at the tension in Ferguson, or the constant jockeying for women in games, or the downright violent outbursts by gamers online as one in the same. Where does all of this tension come from, and why do people act the way they do?

I'd like to remind people who shake their fingers at gamers. Just because you are a gamer does not mean that you are a violent outspoken man-child who thinks that women only belong in the kitchen or naked on your bed. This is no different than making the assumption that anyone black in Ferguson is throwing a brick through an apartment window, or looting a TV out of the liquor store. This is no different than assuming that just because some women are having a rough time in the workplace that all women are feeling objectified. There is no 100%, there will always be shades of gray whenever more than 1 person's actions and feelings are being aggregated to represent a social group.

The social group who associate with "gamer" are the gaming equivalent of peaceful activists, neutrals, criminals, and mentally disturbed individuals; all thrown into the same pot. Gamers are fighting to hold their ground in a world that still rejects them; a world where The Morning Show will poke fun, make jokes, and talk about pimple-faced adults in their parents' basements. There is rage there, tension, a feeling of abandonment and misunderstanding. When someone, anyone, attacks the image of what it is to be a gamer they feel threatened and are frustrated by the ignorance of another group who refuse to reach out and understand. And when threatened, people do what people do in times like those. Some lash out with words or violence, some run and hide, some just shrug and keep walking, while others might just sit there and spectate.

Racism and sexism are age older problems than the way mainstream has segregated gamers. But that doesn't really make it less of an issue for those affected, for those who feel the title of "gamer" is not different than saying, "I'm black" or "I'm female" or "I'm gay"...

R G
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Really great perspective on things. I really enjoyed reading the last half; I think what you brought up as an attack on the "gamer" as an ideal is very interesting. I didn't think of that until now.

Great post man!

Mike Higbee
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The thing is it's cherrypicking of a few bad apples that gets represented of "gamer culture". If you look at the flip side a prime example being Jontron and Totalbiscuit getting harassed with the same vehement spite and childish remarks as the ones they claim to decry for having a differing opinion.

James Coote
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Having some media jockey occasionally poke fun at gamers' lack of sophistication hardly makes them an oppressed group. No one ever got put in prison or attacked on the street or got turned down for a job just for liking video games

Benjamin Quintero
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Oh James... I don't know where to start. I'm just going to leave this one alone. As Roger Murtaugh once said, "Im gettin' too old for this shit..." #BecauseInternet

benn rice
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great post Benjamin.

and it points out (without being explicit about it) that this article demonstrates a very hypocrisy-fueled way of thinking.

@Leigh,
if you've suffered so much *ism/misogyny, why the hell would you not try to prevent yourself from unfairly passing negative judgement on a whole group of people YOURSELF?

you KNOW how damaging this kind of group-based negativity can be. don't do it to others!

Chris Book
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I'm becoming increasingly of the opinion that both sides are a bitter, toxic minority unwilling to compromise. Meanwhile the other 90% of us basically are fine with whatever. We can definitely do better with inclusion and being decent human beings, especially when our designs stop following the Hollywood summer action movie methodology and start putting effort into stories and characters instead of: BRICK SLABCHEST - MAIN CHARACTER, TITS MCTIGHTOUTFIT - LOVE INTEREST. But the industry isn't as toxic as one side wants to believe, and it isn't as insular and unwelcoming as the other side wishes it was.

There are problems to be sure. There's no denying that our issues are the same that every community has or does face. Unique to us is the fact that our ability to remain almost totally anonymous along with instant communication and feedback. No other medium had to deal with that issue during its growth into acceptance. Unfortunately the Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory still holds true to this day.

But toxicity is a societal issue, and its something that we all have to try to fix when we can. Articles like this just help to play up the division. It's another Us vs. Them ploy. Not even Us vs Assholes, its Us vs Everyone That's Ever Dared To Be a Gamer. You can't fight toxicity with toxicity. It only makes people more bitter AND makes them look more sympathetic.

But either way this is why I just want to make Mech games. So much simpler.

Leonardo Ferreira
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If anything, this shows there isn't a problem with games per se; there are more diverse, strange, brilliant and interesting (not to mention, eminently acessible) games nowadays than ever before.

The problem, it seems, it is with games media, and their self-centered, singular discourse.

Marvin Hawkins
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I was going to ignore this, and not comment. I think people like myself have been silent for too long. I JUST had an argument with my co worker about this 'drama'. He was trying to explain to me how the sites he participate in aren't harrasing someone, rather they are trying to expose them for being liars. And it's the Journalistic integrity that's at fault. What?

Here's the deal: No one should be harrassed ever. I think Sarkesian's work is interesting. I have never played quinn's game but the concept is also interesting. I think people are upset because of what they represent. Women, 'outsiders' and this is not OK.

To the people harrasing others, or trying to spread the truth, please look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself why you're really doing this. I used to think that these stories came up too often. I used to think the topic was overdone. I get it now. There is no just 'in it for the games'. People's lives are being threatened for their opinions and that's just not acceptable. It's sad it took two awful stories for me to realize that

Chris Book
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This is absolutely true. I don't totally agree with Anita, and I definitely think Zoe is shady as hell. But NOBODY deserves to be threatened or harassed for their opinions. If you don't agree with them, you present an educated counter-argument. That's how a society is supposed to work. I don't care if I think your opinion is wrong, you should never feel unsafe for having it.

Nathaniel Grundy
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The problem is that many people aren't harassing - they're just asking for earnest discussion. Yet they're grouped with the people making threats and mudslinging.

Alex Broadwell
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The problem is that a lot of this so-called "earnest discussion" has come in the form of men writing blog posts marinated in patronizing condescension. Not to mention that it's kind of messed up that so many male gamer reactions to women feeling upset is, "You're WRONG and you SHOULDN'T feel upset, here's why, discuss with me," without having walked in their shoes.

Just listen, for once.

Mike Jenkins
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"blog posts marinated in patronizing condescension"
Did you read the article you are commenting on?

fred tam
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Men writing blogposts? Like who?

The narrative is controlled by the games media which is in turn controlled by sjw types, there is only one story out there at the moment, and its been like that for years now.

Patronizing condescension perfectly describes the attitude which is exhibited by the sjw types who derail any criticism of people like Anita Sarkeesian by throwing out the "misogynist say what?" defense.

So far the critics have been open, not silencing people, deleting posts or banning comments or threads, Its entirely on the side of the so called "victims" where mass campaigns of flagging and banning and just plain suppression of dissent is occuring. Basically these are bullies who hide behind a false mask of vicimhood. Their behavior is why there is no "earnest discussion".

Its like if every criticism of Sarah Palin led to a quote mining of some democrat somewhere who said something nasty about her on the internet once so the discussion could be derailed into a lecture about how misogynistic democrats where. This is the toxic mentality which has corrupted our community for far too long.

Anyways sargon on this article
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_K13iEWQfY

Sam Stephens
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-"It’s buying things, spackling over memes and in-jokes repeatedly, and it’s getting mad on the internet."

-"It’s young men queuing with plush mushroom hats and backpacks and jutting promo poster rolls."

-"‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works that they can concoct online ‘wars’ about social justice or ‘game journalism ethics,’ straight-faced, and cause genuine human consequences. Because of video games."

-"this, and headlines about billion-dollar war simulators or those junkies with the touchscreen candies."

-"Suddenly a generation of lonely basement kids had marketers whispering in their ears that they were the most important commercial demographic of all time. Suddenly they started wearing shiny blouses and pinning bikini babes onto everything they made, started making games that sold the promise of high-octane masculinity to kids just like them."

-"These obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-consumers, these childish internet-arguers -- they are not my audience. They don’t have to be yours. There is no ‘side’ to be on, there is no ‘debate’ to be had."

As other commentators have already asked, how can one expect tolerance, clarity of intent, maturity, and understanding from an article that is filled with spiteful generalizations, inflammatory remarks, and Orwellian glib? Regardless of intent, it's clear the author's frustrations have hijacked the quality of the writing and any sense of professionalism such a sensitive topic necessitates. It's alright to be frustrated, but lashing out doesn't create understanding, only resentment.

As for the term "gamer," it's one that I take no issue in subscribing to regardless of the behavior of my peers or the general image the public has. I love games, and I learn so much more by immersing myself in the communities that surround them, volatile as they can sometimes be. I've enjoyed everything from big budget shooters, to Newgrounds flash games, to independent board games. Gamer culture will never die, because games will always exist so long as humans have the time to play them. There will always be people who are passionate about them.

So what is the way forward? How can we promote diversity and accessibility while still retaining a community? My approach to these issues has always been different to those of Anita Sarkeesian and Leigh Alexander which highlight diversity and difference. I like to promote what everyone shares. As mentioned above, almost everyone plays games and have done so for a long time. Drilling down into how and why has greatly helped me to understand all players a little better, regardless of gender, race, or economic opportunity. The presentation of Call of Duty may be explicitly masculine, but from what I have seen, there is little difference in how anyone actually plays it.

R G
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EDIT: For some reason, I thought Christian wrote this!

Either way, I'm actually glad someone posted this, even though the article itself is flawed. I think it's always a good thing to be honest and post how you feel.

Ian Griffiths
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Excellent reply.

Mark Venturelli
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Leigh, I am a sincere admirer of pretty much everything you write, but as someone who is not very aware or interested in the details of this whole drama that is going on right now, I am perplexed by this article.

It reads like pure rage and anger turned into words, and I am still asking myself of what use it could possibly be to anyone. I know you are much, much better than this, so perhaps it is time for you and other brilliant writers to calm down and step away from the keyboards for a moment before you turn into the very thing you hate.

Reading my go-to places lately has felt like I stumbled into some parallel dimension of internet arguments fueled by pure spite, everyone sounds hurt and incoherent.

Chuck Jordan
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Let me ask you this:
How bad does it have to get before you realize how condescending responses like this are?

How many people have to tell you that there's a serious problem before you recognize that it's a serious problem?

Let's be absolutely 100% clear on what's happening with this type of comment: We've got a situation in which a developer has been relentlessly harassed and threatened with violence because of a post an ex-boyfriend made about their personal life. The OVERWHELMING majority of complaints have been blatant slut-shaming -- because women aren't allowed to be sexually active -- with a completely transparent smokescreen about "journalistic integrity." This is straight-out-of-the-50s sexist BS that insists the only way a woman can succeed is to sleep her way to the top, and some sources are actually humoring it as if it's a valid complaint.

And then we have a woman making videos who's been driven out of her home by threats of violence, all for making a video of media criticism. An opinionated but even-handed series in which she insists that games might be enjoyable even if "some elements are problematic," and then follows that with a video sequence including a woman literally being used as a doorstop.

And in this kind of environment -- where a woman is threatened with violence because she dared point at a scene where A WOMAN IS LITERALLY USED AS A DOORSTOP could be "problematic" -- you guys have the nerve to criticize Alexander's "tone?"

What the fuck?

You say you want a calm, rational debate without anger. That's something I would've agreed with a week ago. I was squarely in the "now hold on of course I condemn harassment but let's all just calm down, ignore the screaming children, and discuss this like rational adults." The events of the past week FINALLY were enough of a wake-up call to shock me out of that.

Here's the reality: if you want a calm, rational debate, YOU (and formerly, ME) are helping make that impossible. You are ignoring unconscionable levels of abuse being flung at people who are just trying to make their voices heard, and you're directing all of your criticism at the people being abused.

How dare any of us look at someone being subjected to years of unnecessary abuse, and say that their problem is getting too angry? "A minimum bar for decency" indeed.

Mark Venturelli
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You seem to be a very angry person, and also confused. My "what the fuck man" comment was targeted at a deleted comment which mentioned nude pictures and whatnot.

Also, Leigh Alexander is not a man.

Chuck Jordan
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So again, you have nothing substantive to say in response? All you can do is express surprise at how "angry" people are? You're content to do absolutely nothing, to contribute absolutely nothing of substance to the discussion?

"Also, Leigh Alexander is not a man."
Where in the world did I imply otherwise?

R G
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I'll dare, as many others have.

Benjamin Quintero
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Chuck

"Where in the world did I imply.."
He was making it clear that it was in relation to another thread that was deleted; making it clear by noting "man" as in not engaging with the female author.

Nathaniel Grundy
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Let me ask you this:

How is it fair that such a staggering gender inequality exists that when a woman receives death threats from a few people online, it's a rallying cry to feminists everywhere, yet when a man receives the same threats, nobody is shocked and apalled, nobody treats him like a damsel in distress, and it barely even qualifies as news?

Women aren't the only people who receive messages of hatred online. It's completely unjustified to treat them like special snowflakes when they do. I am in no way supporting harassment. I simply request that everybody be treated equally.

fred tam
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@Chuck Jordan
Its like you didn't read or watch anything that was said in the last 2 weeks on this issue...well at the very least straight from the horses mouth.

Because what you are saying doesn't match any reality that exists outside certain games media outlets who have to strawman a narrative in order to avoid dealing with this issue.


There are many valid complaints, and almost none of them delt with the issue of "slut shaming", you writing that betrays your lack of research on the subject. The only thing that was of concern was whether her personal relationships reflected on the professional ethical standards within the industry. You trying to just dismiss this issue out of hand just isn't valid reasoning.

If you want "rational debate", first, make sure you are working with the facts for a start. and stick to topics which are relevant. Whether or not Sarah Palin or Zoe Quinn get ugly messages on the internet has no bearing on whether they are right or wrong on other issues. If you constantly derail or just use this other issue to avoid dealing with valid criticisms, then it becomes rather obvious this isn't a genuine concern but rather a deliberate tactic to avoid criticism.



Anyways Thunderf00ts latest answer to all this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57tXyqPCOCM
"Anita Sarkeesians 'death threats' and Joss Whedons 'misogyny'! "

And Internet Aristocrats 3rd video on this
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Km3DZQp0StE
"Quinnspiracy Theory: White Castles and Ivory Towers"
Which notes the odd synchronicity with the "gamers are over" articles coming out...


#Gamergate Gamers Are Dead? No They Are Just Furious
GamingAnarchist
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KuS979AiQA

Benjamin Quintero
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Mark, I'm personally a fan of the views put forward by this person.
http://youtu.be/kXnBSb1l56k

Mark Venturelli
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You seemed to think that my "what the fuck man" comment was targeted at her.

Well, I'm sorry if you feel that my opinion contributed nothing to the discussion, but I have no plans of engaging you right now.

Mark Venturelli
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Great link Benjamin. I also agree much more with the person in the video than the author in this article.

Kim McAuliffe
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Perhaps you should take some time to think about why you haven't considered the details of this "drama" interesting enough to bother with before you waste Leigh's or anyone else's time explaining to you why you should care that all of your go-to places are talking about this particular issue.

Mark Venturelli
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Wow, what the fuck man? Don't you have a minimum bar for decency?

Christian Nutt
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Guessing that was in response to a now deleted comment, so -- maybe the poster did not, but we do.

Mark Venturelli
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Thanks :)

Vasily Yourchenko
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I am confused by the idea that the average person is any better than the average "gamer". I will freely admit to having a mild case of misanthropy, but as I see it the core of what makes the archetypal "gamer" a terrible person - an egoistical sort of utilitarian hatred for the less fortunate best summed up as "Screw you, got mine!" - is shared by the general population.

James Coote
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I for one want to be a part of this. And there's definitely a willingness from many others in the indie dev community to make this happen. The economics don't stack up though. Most distribution channels are aimed squarely at gamers (consoles, Steam), whilst on mobile, the barriers to entry are too high.

There's always the temptation at times like these to go off and build our own island somewhere else. But I'm still a little bitter about OUYA, because that felt like an attempt to do just that, only to be shouted down by the very crowd that helped spawn it in the first place.

Creatively as well, we need to get out of the retro-nostalgia and "making games I want to play" comfort zone. Again, it partly comes back to the economics - when indies have one (or both) eyes on the commercial side of things, they tend towards the conservative, and sticking with what they know.

Curtiss Murphy
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'Dramatic' also means 'attracts drama'. At least that's what my wife said when our daughter's nurse got in a fight, at high school, with a student ... (please read that last sentence again, carefully)... I've tried to follow this stuff, and as a 10-year veteran of this industry, I see nothing here that helps advance the art or the science of what we do. It's just ... DRAMA.

And I'm reminded that: "For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness" - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

John Maurer
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@Curtiss Murphy "I see nothing here that helps advance the art or the science of what we do. It's just ... DRAMA"

Well said sir, let's get back to business

Tim Conkling
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We're talking about a situation in which peoples' lives and livelihoods are being *actively threatened.* To write this off as highschool-esque drama is obnoxious and aloof.

John Maurer
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Bottom line, this whole thing is toxic and bad for business. Saying it's worthy of such a lengthy and involved frenzy, now THAT'S obnoxious and aloof.

Matthias Rigling
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Was the 'geek shaming' really necessary? "A generation of lonely basement kids?" And of all things... "They don't know how to dress [...]", so we are now literally supposed to tell them how to dress? Is this satire? Well, it should be, unless the dehumanizing image of a "petri dish of people" was a deliberate attempt to imply we're dealing with 'sub-humans', simply because they don't live up to 'our' standards of "human social interaction and professional life". Well okay, that last bit was cynical.

The point is, I know many people who try to challenge and actively change what it means to be a 'gamer'. They try to fight against these exact stereotypes. Women can be 'gamers'. People who play Sims or Animal Crossing can be 'gamers'. The idea? People who are passionate about playing games should be allowed to identify as gamers. It's inclusive and I personally think it's the right way to go.
But instead, the next time you read an article about a woman who is distraught about other men calling her "not a real gamer", should you just go with the No true Scotsman argument and say "Well you're not, are you? You're not a man, sexist or bigoted, so how could you possibly be a REAL gamer?"
That's the whole point: those 'shitslinging' assholes aren't mad because 'gamers are over', they are mad because the definition of the term is evolving and threatens to ruin their little, elitist boy club.

So, I'm sorry, but I can't find the overall tone of this article to be constructive in any way...
Yes, in the public eye those 'bad apples' do represent the gamer community and that's sad, but... now what? I feel that's like saying "Terrorists and ISIS represent the Muslim community, whether they like it or not!" Is it true? Well, I reckon many would argue 'yes'. Does it legitimate bigotry against Muslims? Definitely not.
If this parable was too extreme, maybe think "Extremists and Patriots".

Should we now encourage people to abandon ship and jump on a band wagon of "gamers suck, anyway" or should we encourage gamers to speak up against commercialism, sexism and bigotry to advocate a healthy and inclusive game culture?
I know, this is basically clinging to this (now apparently controversial and allegedly dated) label, but if we want to actually promote inclusion and tolerance, not just in 'game culture' but in society, in general, I think it's absolutely imperative to say: "It is 100% okay to be passionate or a total geek about playing video games, no matter if casual or hardcore. But being sexist, racist or bigoted is not."

Jim Burns
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I like some of what is said, disagree with some

Jonathan Barone
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My first reaction to the article was similar to others here: while Leigh didn't say anything inaccurate, the way she said it was so caustic and inflammatory that she's just giving the gamer shits exactly what they want.

But that's from the comfortable and untroubled viewpoint of a white male developer, who finds said gamer shits reprehensible but who hasn't been the target of their collective temper-tantrums before.

The fact of the matter is that articles like this are critically important. Not because they are going to make a 19-year-old who thinks threatening women with rape is great fun realize the error of his entitled, chauvinist ways. NOTHING is going to do that, short of the sort of life-altering personal experience that can't be canned and distributed. This article, and others written with the same bare emotion - rather than the calculated, measured restraint that those well behind the front lines call for - communicate in a visceral way how hurtful and vile these cretins are being.

If their victims did nothing but turn the other cheek and keep soldiering on, there'd be little indication to those who aren't intimately familiar with the industry of exactly how bad things are. Articles like this get shared and linked and make outside forces aware of the problem. A formerly oblivious parent of a preteen just starting to play online games could see an article on the subject on a friend's FB, and they could pay closer attention to their child's habits and attitudes and maybe prevent them from becoming another muck-dweller. People who know folks like the aforementioned 19-year-old troglodyte, and who formerly considered their antics amusing and harmless, could stop tacitly endorsing their behavior.

And, ultimately, maybe people will start shunning publishers and review outlets who release or praise games that implicitly or explicitly endorse misogyny in the same way they would if those entities released or praised games that were unabashedly racist. As well they should.

Joel Nystrom
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If the collective tone in all this 19-year-old guys media outlets changes from condoning to condemning of this type of behavior, then maybe he can reach that new insight without such a life-altering personal experience.

In fact, society's tone dictate all behavior.

Nathaniel Grundy
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As much as the media (Including miss Alexander) wants to characterize this as an "anti-feminist" vs "feminist" issue, the fact of the matter is that there's more to the situation than that. However, every time the supposed "misogynists" try to engage in actual debate, they're immediately designated as the enemy and ignored. This "with us or against us" mindset is childish and toxic, and it needs to stop. On all accounts.

R G
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Agreed!

Chris Book
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I like how the header image suddenly changed to make it appear less hostile.

Kris Graft
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It was updated because it was brought to my attention that the previous image was copyrighted...but thanks!

Chris Book
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That's a fair reason to do so then.

James Margaris
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I am very happy to see this getting pushback.

Here's the rub - many of the people who complain about how bad "gamer culture" is, or about how bad "the internet" is, or about how Twitter is bad, are clearly part of the problem.

It's hard to say more without crossing over into personal stuff so I'll leave it at that.
---

Edit: Very tired of "do as I say not as I do" mentality.

Benjamin Quintero
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Leigh,

"Lately, I often find myself wondering what I’m even doing here. And I know I’m not alone."

This has nothing to do with gamers vs journalist or game culture, this is online culture period. We've seen depressed kids being bullied online to the point where they live stream their suicide attempts. We've seen how nasty the internet can be to someone who reveals online that they are gay because they feel that they can't take that information to their own parents.

The internet is just a mine field of suck, but flowers do grow in the spaces between.

Please don't confuse internet culture with gaming culture, even if those two spheres do overlap a bit. Gaming culture specifically is still a very cool place, and you don't need to look too far beyond PAX, GDC, GamesCom, BlizzCon, QuakeCon, and many other events where people congregate to share their positive experiences in video games.

John Maurer
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On a side note, if you do a search on Zoe Quinn for articles that mention her or her game on gamasutra.com you'll find that the author of this article, Leigh Alexander, has got his named stamped on quite a few, which you can see for yourself if they haven't allowed him to replace his name with anonymous yet.

Which leads me to believe that this isn't a journalist reporting news as he would lead others to believe, this is a blogger defending his friend(s).

@GamasutraStaff

Just let this one go man, the collateral damage to this whirlwind is credibility. It's just not worth it.

Christian Nutt
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I write about Nintendo often. Am I friends with Nintendo? Or am I interested in Nintendo's work?

John Maurer
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Common man, he mentions a 120 point game list and out of all of them Zoe Quinn and her depression quest get mentioned. It was that great? Really?

Out of all the gamasutra writers I respect you the most Chris. I'm not trying to insult you man.

To an outsider that doesn't sound suspicious? Like several other key points in this web of drama?

Julian Cram
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It's more suspicious that you've done a google search and can't figure out Leigh Alexander is a woman.

Chris Book
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Christian confirmed for pushing the Nintendo agenda

Kim McAuliffe
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Nintendo Justice Warrior.

Brandon Shelton
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I would take your comments more seriously if you bothered to figure out Leigh Alexander is a woman.

John Maurer
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I'll leave the error, I don't care if it was Rob the Robot that wrote it, there's been tons of misrepresentation going on, and for me that's the real issue.

But there's to much smoke at this point to ever prove anything, so who cares?

More to the point, this whole article doesn't contribute to the art and business of games, which is why I even read this website. So again, who cares?

Nintendo is a major player, these 3 women are internet nobodies that found their way to notoriety by causing as much damage as they could.

My take is we have three young women who got excited about the prospect of being a part of an industry filled with energy and passion and wanted to be a part of it without having any way to really contribute.

In the end, they still haven't, at least not in any positive way.

Shove that in your pipe and smoke it

Ryan Andrew Smith
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You know, when I got back from GDCE a couple of weeks ago, me and everybody who went there, male and female alike, from different countries, different backgrounds, different sexualities and personal experiences, talked about how much of a blast we had, how everybody was greatly looking forward to making new things feeling inspired and invigorated... and ever since GDCE the internet has been one constant stream of bile and hatred.

Leigh is absolutely right. There are no sides and there is no debate, because everybody involved in this discussion isn't discussing anything. Everybody's just flinging shit left and right and having insult fights over Twitter - over freaking TWITTER of all places. I've been trying my best to ignore it, but apparently it's even spread over here to Gamasutra, a place I thought would stay out of this.

This article (I hesitate to call it an article because it's more of an angry rant) is not helping. There is nothing positive to take from this article. At all.

I don't know about you guys, but I don't give a flying rat's ass about all this drama. I'll be out making and playing games with my friends.

Alex Wawro
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Leigh's article specifically takes members of our community to task for ignoring the disgraceful behavior that's taking place, and actively encourages us to create a better community through our actions.

That's a call to positive action that applies to developers as much as (if not more so than) the people who play their games.

Brandon Shelton
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I read through all of these comments and I just wanna say I love this conversation. It's been great and awful, but not awful in the sense of badness, awful in the sense of revealing some kind of uncomfortable horror about the universe and humanity. Like, we're all trying to figure this shit out, but it's hard, and no one really knows what to do, but we know what makes us uncomfortable and what we agree with. We seem to agree on "the problem" for the most part, which makes it even more awful because it's just so damn hard to figure out what to do about it. This has really been a wonderful moment of personal growth for me. (I swear I'm not on drugs right now)

Larry Carney
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I read before on one of Ms. Alexanders' previous blogs that she does not read the comments.

I am simply wondering, that with this indisputably negative and hostile opinion piece, how Ms. Alexander can comment on the negativity and hostility of the culture if she is unaware of that which she contributes towards it?

James Russell
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I think that's one of the biggest problems that journalists and supporters of social justice are facing. Any sort of criticism is dismissed with a handwave and/or a once-meaningful buzzword like "misogyny" or "you are white/male/etc, your opinion doesn't matter." They aren't here to have a discussion, they are here to tell you what to think and how to act.

You cannot simple say vile things and hope people will change their minds. In fact, I'd argue that this is going to have the complete opposite effect - people will be thinking, "should I really market my games to people like this, or to those oh-so despicable gamers"?

Ian Richard
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To be honest, they've changed my mind. I used to agree with most of what they said... but now I just hate both sides.

If you resort to name-calling, falsifying information, death threats, etc... I don't care what you stand for. I stand against you.

Kim McAuliffe
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It's only from a position of privilege that people can sit back and choose to "sit out drama". Labeling the events of the past week as drama is silencing and disrespectful to those who don't have the option to ignore what's going on around them.

sean lindskog
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Here's why this discussion is a total waste of time.

- About 1 out of 10 people enter a debate to exchange ideas. The rest are there to win an argument.
- Make it an online debate (where the human empathy factor is removed) - you've got 1 in 100.
- Make it an online debate about an emotionally charged issue - you've got 1 in 1000.
- Make it an online debate about an emotionally charged issue where each side feels personally assaulted/insulted by the other - you've got 1 in 10000.

The other 9,999 people are just getting more angry, and more entrenched in their own dogma, singing in chorus with whichever side of the mob is chanting their mantra. You make it worse by being part of the crowd. Nobody convinces anyone, everyone gets angrier, and it all feeds into a vortex of hate.

The only path is to ignore the hate vortex, and live by the same moral code you wish others to. Your example might slowly convince others to change. The online forum wars never will.

Kyle Phillips
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Couldn't agree more.

Daniel Pang
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http://universeinapockybox.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/damned-audien
ce-part-3-gamers-and-the-argument-for-change/

I wrote this last year.

It's way more level-headed than I feel right now, so I feel like this is the only adequate response I can give on the topic given that this was written at a time when my opinion was less colored by the current spate of flat out disgusting things I've read on the internet this last week.

Rachelle Bowers
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I've seen Ms. Alexanders' tweets as of late, and I'll admit some bias already because I did not agree with what she said, but I will try to push aside said bias while speaking about this article.

When on the internet, I have never made my gender, my race, my job, or anything else about me become the topic of conversation, because it is rarely relevant to the matter at hand. But I think in regards to this article (and some of her tweets) it is. I am not a "gamer gurl/girl/g1rl/etc." I am simply a gamer. I am 25, mixed, and a graphic designer. I've played since I was a child, getting much farther than anyone I knew on the Sega version of the Lion King game. I played along side my little brother, my male cousins, my friends and now, my fiance. I play my 3DS on the train to work, only to come back home to play on the computer. While I wouldn't solely identify myself as a gamer, I would never deny that it is a HUGE part of who I am as a person. Games have gotten me into graphic design, concept art, and slowly into dev work. Frustrated a bit with an industry that doesn't want to make games I enjoy because they don't "sell well," I have taken the Sakurai approach and decided to work towards making my own games.

For the past week or so, Ms. Alexanders, and many others, have been throwing around the term "gamer" and attaching the "young white male" descriptive to it, along with others such as "basement dweller," "nerd," "virgin," etc.. It has been applied to the entirety of gamers, and especially the entirety of the critics in this matter that isn't discussed. I am a part of the group of critics. I am neither a young white male, a basement dweller, and the last two are moot.

In this article especially, this description of gamers still stands. I feel oddly silenced, even though I have made my voice and my points known on the matter as the days trail on. I have watched as during discussions or arguments I have partaken in, people have looked over my points in favor (or against) men who have made the same points, only to say, "Hah! You little gamer boys!" If ever acknowledged, I am told I am "deluded," perhaps "brainwashed," and harboring some sort of awful feeling towards others like me. It boils down to, my opinions are not my own, and are just echoing off of the "white male gamers" that are supposedly terrorizing everyone who is trying to do good in the industry.

To watch Ms. Alexanders lump "gamers' into one subset, and then tell the reader that there can be no divide, to me is on par with telling me, someone who is mixed, how one part of my heritage acts, and how I am no different from them, even if I honestly am. "Gamer" is a part of my identity, just like being mixed is, but it does not speak on my entirety. I am the sum of my parts, the result of a weird concoction that seems to work somehow. There is always a divide, because people are multi-dimensional, and each have their own personal thoughts and experiences. I am a gamer, and as a gamer, I have made nothing but civil, rational arguments that have been ignored by those who do not believe I can fit into the narrative that they are writing. I mean how could it? I'm sitting here writing this comment, when I could be doxxing someone and spreading nudes amirite?

Constantly in this article she is speaking on "gamers" and "gaming culture" as if all gamers are nothing but social rejects. I will admit that I had a super thick shell when I was younger, I could barely speak above a whisper to people I didn't extensively known. But this was a result of difficult upbringings, not gaming. Thanks majorly to gaming and a rather long cashier job, I have become more comfortable and social. I think for myself, I purchase for myself. I am not a robot programmed to do what the creator feels I should do. It appears I do not fit into Ms. Alexanders' narrative, not even a bit. But according to her, I am part of the collective, I am not an individual, I am a Borg. I must assimilate.

Gaming sites are not bowing down to "trolls." I am legitimately disappointed to read/hear/see what gaming journalism has become. While I do not snub a writer's opinion, overall if I am going to read about a game that I have heard of or have a slight interest in, I am ultimately wanting to know about the game's mechanics, it's story, it's characters. You are more than welcome to add your thoughts on the game personally thereafter, but as a gamer going to and participating in a game journalism websites, that is what I am looking for. If I want opinion, I happily turn to a blogger, or an op-ed piece.

I have not "drank the kool-aid," I understand that the gaming industry is ever changing and ever evolving (sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad). I have recognized however, that there is a large subset of people who, surprisingly like the Borg, are trying to assimilate gaming into what they believe it should be. I am not against new and progressive/artistic games being made, in fact, I welcome it. But I do not agree nor will I stand silently as those who believe they are speaking for me, are trying to change every existing and soon to be existing game into what they think is "right."

Thiago Conceicao
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I agree with you. Gamers are much more diverse than "young white male" stereotypes.

I am tired of people trying to speak for me as well, I am a mixed male, as if non-white people were retarded and unable to think for themselves. Who elected them spokespeople for everyone?

The impression I get is that "journalists" like her either live in a bubble or are intentionally dishonest.

I am against Anita Sarkesian and the corruption in the industry simply because it is a way of rigging the market in favor of that they deem "right" and at the expense of everyone else.

Dylan Morrison
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Thank you. Just, thank you. Everything I wanted to say, and did say in my own comment, basically already said. I may *be* a white male geek (and perhaps "young", if you want to call 26 young, it's a rather vague definition), but I still don't feel like anyone should get to define what being a gamer is and isn't or say that gamer's are basement dwelling trolls or whatever.

I just want to be left alone to enjoy my games, and not feel insulted.

jin choung
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angry woman angry at angry men.

got it.

:P

also, is this where i'm supposed to write, "not all gamers"?

:P

is it possible for me to respond to this piece without more :P ? we shall see... the suspense is killing me too.

this piece is intended to convey the message of what? "we're better than this" i suppose?

sorry but no we're not.

as you intimate yourself in mentioning the piddly crap that we peddle - i.e. "war simulators" and "candy smashing" - this is not high brow stuff by any stretch of the imagination.

this is the sum total of the industry's major money makers and you're expecting an audience that... what? engages in discourse befitting rabid fans of "my dinner with andre"?

we create juvenile crap. you as a writer gravitated towards writing about this juvenile crap. and you are... now... surprised by the juvenile behavior that this product attracts? disappointed in the lack of new yorker level insight?

actually, i'm just surprised at where your surprise is coming from. the internet is a cesspool. you're just discovering this? are you feigning this shock or have you really not been paying attention to all things internet? your online book club conforms to higher standards does it?

if you think this is bad, you should try going into an android forum and start hailing the superiority of iphones. or hang out at jezebel.com and speak out about men's rights. this... all this is ooooollllllllld news. where have you been?

Matthew Calderaz
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Or, god forbid, visit www.chat.annecoulter.com and espouse "Progressive Ideology"

fred tam
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Exactly, and the fact is, quote mining nasty comments about Anne Coulter from "progressive" sites is not hard at all, if we applied the same standards of criticism used to defend Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian, we'd have to conclude that progressives are just misogynists who are so toxic that the label of "progressive" needs to be retired.

Christopher Gore-Gammon
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I may be very young, but in my experience I have seen that people's viewpoints change greatly with action. When games that invoke change come around more frequently people will begin to question the possibilities. We as an industry, as a community, will move in the right direction when the right games come out; because, when it comes right down to it, what is our community about? The games!

I know this seems very naive, but as an aspiring game developer I will fight to the very end for a better community and industry.

Mike Hatley
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So you could have just summed up the entire article with this picture: http://i.imgur.com/VLGZUBy.png

What I find the worst part about these specific types of articles is I keep being challenged when I say that "The agenda" wants to take away parts of my entertainment. They keep saying that it is utterly bullshit and I won't lose anything, only gain. Then you get articles like these that are effectively reverse boycotts. "These aren't the cool kids anymore! Lets take away their toys until they go away!". Articles like this, statements like that pic above, literal calls to war like the one by Elizabeth Sampat (http://elizabethsampat.com/the-truth-about-zoe-quinn/) all make this far worse than it needs to be. You expect calm discussion in face of threats? Do you honestly believe that everyone has threatened you so you should threaten everyone else?

You are declaring war on the wrong people, as this rather long blog points out beautifully (http://nastythingssaidabout.wordpress.com/2014/08/26/the-terrible
-misogyny-in-the-games-industry/). Right now your motives are suspect because your actions do not match with your stated goals. I believe that if you (personal you and you as whatever side you are claiming to represent) actually wanted to change things in a positive way you would be pushing policies closer to things like what is described here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NCJTV5KaJJc

If you really want to end the lions share of harassment, to stop muddying the waters so that actual issues could be seen clearly, you would be pushing for more accountability, in all aspects. You wouldn't be championing things like "signal boosting" or lauding shoddy journalism for supporting a bias. You want to sit there on your pedestal and claim everyone else is the problem but you. Makes your entire article sound a heck of a lot like projection.

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James Coote
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Gamasutra are an industry publication, so getting random punters / game players to the site doesn't really benefit them. I think it's more that they have an agenda to change the industry (and maybe even wider society) for the better. Also, you can't be "above" issues like race or gender discrimination without legitimizing the debate

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James Margaris
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Does taking an Ann Coulter screed and replacing "liberals" with "gamers" improve society?

I'm going to say no.

Maxim Preobrazhenskiy
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I am a gamer.

However, it also just so happens that i haven't queued anywhere with a plump mushroom hat for a long long time now. I haven't been really paying a lot of attention to what marketing tells me - instead, i know the kinds of games i like and i know how to find them even in current saturated market.

You probably won't see me being a "spokesperson" for anything, because i really have better things to do than impose my opinion on other people via social media. Well, except occasional posts like these ) but hey, being responsible requires occasionally responding to stuff :D

I also don't remember appointing any people that the article listed as "speaking for all gamers" as those who speak for me.

This "direction" where the "industry discourse went in the past few weeks"? I didn't even see it happen. Because it is by and large irrelevant. People who make genuinely good products in this industry will continue to find their customers and sell well, regardless of what kind of stink is produced by people who haven't really shown the ability to consistently make good products.

You are saying that in 2014 the industry has changed... Well, from where i sit, the industry has not so much "changed" as finally started going back to its roots, suddenly realizing that it is time to stop pandering to the traditional gamer stereotype and get back to delivering on stuff that made us all gamers to begin with.

Games are more relevant than ever. Those who played games their whole lives are finally getting some real pull in this world. More and more people come to routinely rely on games for delivering the kinds of experiences other people still struggle to find in movies or books.

I am not mad about anything right now and i certainly don't feel "over".

Andrew Wren
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Well written but a pointless article - nothing will change until the old guard both people and corporations in the game industry die out

Giuseppe Navarria
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This is probably the worst and least constructive article Gamasutra ever hosted, let alone featured.
So sad to see this kind of stuff here...

Jennis Kartens
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Sometimes I think not being on Twitter and Reddit and not really caring about the US demographic makes me miss all the fun in the interwebs...

Jon Xavier
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I just want to thank you for writing this. I think you're going to catch a lot of flack from people who will read it as an attack and won't engage with your argument in a meaningful fashion, but for me this is a good summation of what's really happening here — gaming is seeing a kind of conservatism born from the cultural anxieties of a privileged group who see something they define themselves by moving in new directions, with all the ugly identity politics attendant to such movements. If we're going to move past the hostilities and toward a less dysfunctional games industry, we need more levelheaded articles like this to acknowledge the sea change that's happening without getting bogged down by the personalities and the personal attacks. Good job.

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marques oneal
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Gamers as a stereotype is bad, just as all stereotypes are bad. Especially when things like this are going on http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/female-adults-oust-teenage-bo
ys-largest-gaming-demographic/ all these people are gamers.

there are a-holes that troll others and attack anita or zoe or even jack thompson(most are probably the same) or whom ever they think is attacking them or a hobby they identify with, need their voice taken away. articles like this do the exact opposite. it gives them a voice by highlighting their words and actions, and can even push some people to sympathize with them due to the name calling and bashing. they don't care if they are seen as horrible they are getting their message out. its the same as the klan or other hate groups. they only care about their message getting out, not how they are precised by society or the majority.

These people aren't even gamers, they are a-holes that think they are above others, they are the ones that say facebook games aren't real games, or such and such isn't a real game. that prevents them from being gamers right there. A gamer plays games, not only hardcore games, or core games, or whatever they deem to be games. a game is a game these a-holes don't get to decide who is a gamer, nor do they get to decide what a gamer is.

leigh, you don't get to decide what a gamer is either. you don't get to say a gamer is a "young men queuing with plush mushroom hats and backpacks and jutting promo poster rolls", because guess what, there are young women and old men and old women at those conventions too. gamers aren't the a-holes, the a-holes are, and these a-holes don't speak for gamers. gamers are everyday people, from granny playing candy crush to mom playing farmville, to little jimmy playing mario, to jane playing well mario, to dad playing CoD or AC. gamer isn't a stereotype its a way of saying "Hey i like to play games."

instead of trying to destroy gamer, you need to actually identify with the word and change what others think about it. if you like playing games, you are a gamer, and you should tell people that. it shows them that their preconceived notion of gamer is wrong and needs changing, or they could say wow I am too. you never know until you try.

Steve Fulton
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>>Lately, I often find myself wondering what I’m even doing here. And I know I’m not alone.

No, you are not alone. Not alone at all.

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Neil Sorens
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There are many cultures within gaming, and some are extremely vocal, reactionary, and/or juvenile. Holding up the extreme examples to criticize gaming culture as a whole isn't reasonable. And in a pastime that appeals to teens, loners, and people for whom Internet crusades are a way of life, it's to be expected that there will be friction and unhappy things going on in various corners - and in this case it they are corners that gaming writers frequent for those very reasons: they exude passion and controversy.

The contemptuous potshots at "white" gamers are loathsome but not surprising from this writer. Has it been decided that racial animus is ok as long as it's towards an approved target? What races do Gamasutra's editorial policies allow to be targeted?

Ryan Andrew Smith
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Punching up is generally tolerated, but this article is more of a giant round-house kick to the entire community than a punch against a single target.

Angelo Abela
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So let me see if I got this... The author is complaining of the consumerists culture within a community that revolves around a consumer product?

Ettore Luigi Gislon
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Tactless and rude piece of writing, that imo comes off as elitist, pseudo-intellectual, and most of all angry at the world for not being as the writer wants it to be.

Luis Guimaraes
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Those are not Gamers. Those are Hooligamers.

Gamers are not "The Problem".

Attacking the whole term like this is abstractly no different than using an atom bomb to stop a riot. You'll hit a much broader area than what you're actually targetting with much more lethality than you really need. This is an uncontrolled remedy and, as always, creates more problems from collateral damage than it "solves".

In a case where said solution is certain to actually solve the problem, small, measured and counter-measured collateral damage can be considered acceptable, but when the remedy is a blind move in the current Game State and the propagations of the move are just guessed but not really considered, the "any action is better than no action" motto will only feed the current State into more sparkles for chaos.

http://pmav.eu/stuff/javascript-game-of-life-v3.1.1/

Also, the initial state of the problem and the current state of the problem are different things.

Gamers are not "The Problem" anymore than Lives in Super Mario World are "The Problem".

"We're out of Lives. Damn, Lives suck! Savescumming is better!"

As videogame developers we are supposed to understand Cause and Consequence very well and have a considerable ability to see the big picture (also known as: System), spot Patterns, see how things came to this current State, reload the Game to a previous State and solve things from there. Sure, we can't go back in time, but we can control the original source of the issue to avoid further damage.

Inductive reasoning and emotional reaction are the problem.

As much as I respect Leigh and loved Save Merlin The Pig (where's the sequel?!) I can't answer "well played" to this turn.

Ryan Keeler
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I appreciate your point of view, Leigh. I'm trying to figure out what to do with it, though. "Gamers don't have to be your audience." If that essentially means "Don't pay attention to comment sections," then I'm with you. Harvesting comment sections for actionable insight would take an entire full-time job and a genius. Trying to do so just leaves the company with no confident ideas and probably a lot of troll-related resentment.

However, if it means "Don't bother targeting the group that identifies as 'Gamer,'" then I'm a bit lost. Creating games under the banner of "Core-Targeted" seems to sell tons of games--Call of Duty, Assassin's Creed, Destiny (Maybe), Bioshock.

If you just want to say that the Internet has jerks on it, then I'm also with you. But still don't have an idea how to put what you're saying to use.

Daniel Cofour
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You know what you just did there? You called every person who is arguing for equal rights a Social Justice Warrior(the bad connotation). You called every Muslim a terrorist. You called every black person a thug. Do I need to go on, or did my point get through? You put a very large number of people in a very small box of clearly identifiable negative attributes.

I'm a gamer. I was for a very long time. I got my love of gaming from playing Warcraft, Starcraft, Rome Total War, KOTOR, GTA and so on when I was a kid. I've played all those games marketed towards "self-obsessed lonely basement dweller shitslingers". Yet I'm nothing like what you described here. I never was. Nor are any of my friends who play video-games. You took the worst of the bad apples and applied that description to everyone who happened to share their hobbies with them. And worst of all, the condescending implication that somehow, somehow, my life was defined by some companies' marketing? Are you kidding me?

But you claim to champion for inclusivity. So tell me, how is a hit-piece on everyone who, by the random chance of genes, happened to be born white, male and straight, supposed to be inclusive? Inclusivity is for everyone. You are not inclusive if you champion for the rights/conveniences(because gaming is not exactly a right it's a luxury, no particular point, I'm just all about accuracy) of one group by attacking the other. You think you're helping, but you're throwing gasoline on an already out of control wildfire.

You look at the state of discourse in gaming, and decry it as sad(which it is), please remember this article, and realise that you're part of the problem. Cause even someone who knows that calling people names and being aggressive doesn't solve anything, and actually makes things worse, it's hard to conjure up the will not to do just that after reading this. I'm sitting here in my room, I just stopped playing a game, have done nothing wrong in my life(apart from that one time I made that "women can't drive" joke, which is a bit of hypocrisy on my part, since that minor DUI incident) I come to this site and see this: you called me a despicable person, called me not-so-nice names, and told me that me, my opinions, my preferences or anything related to me is worthless.

Do not be surprised when someone just like me, because of this article, gets pushed over to *your* other side of this gender-war(I say your, because there is no gender-war, I haven't seen it anywhere expect for internet forums, there are gender issues, but those won't be solved by a war a lot of people on all sides of the argument are trying to create), and this inclusivity in video-games discussion becomes one extremist more messier.

Jon Knoeller
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I could feel myself becoming sick to the stomach as I read this article. Your hypocrisy and arrogance of the entire situation is appalling and if you fancy yourself as a writer you would do well to consider learning more about a community before writing about it. Maybe go to a video game convention at the very least, and see that the gaming community is one of the most vibrant, accepting, beautiful, and highly social communities you will ever witness. That is, if you put yourself out there and meet them and accept them for who they are.

Or you can live out your pretentious time trash talking them and trying to marginalize them into a group of apes without culture, and that any true gamer can prove that they are not, if you were ever to talk to one. Trying to define us with one sentence or even one article is not good enough especially considering you barely tried, you only singled out the few people who even gamers dislike and despise.

And for those people who you singled out accusing them of having no social skills or capabilities, shame on you. I hope you look back at this article and feel nothing but shame for attacking those people who gave you no reason to do so. As somebody who had a very oppressive childhood and nobody to talk to because everybody I tried to be me with made fun of me. I can tell you that I went to games for help, I connected with all the strong amazingly crafted protagonists who stood up for what they believed in and I was inspired and I learned to be confident in myself and was able to become a social being again and stand up for myself.

Gaming is not a cause of the socially inept, its an effect, because of people who marginalize and bully them for being different. They go to games and avoid people because video games, the right ones at that, don't hurt them, they only encourage them and teach them lessons about who they truly are as a person.

Also I would like those of you who think the gaming community has no culture to look at the things this community has created and the people it attracts. Ranging from fanfiction giving those with a knack for writing the ability to create their own stories in an already established video game universe to fanart for those with a steady hand to mods and skins for those who want to hone their skills as a coder or designer and to cosplayers who can create the most beautiful and life-like costumes to wear to bring their favorite characters to life.

So shame on you, for insulting a young community of people without even truly giving us a chance.

Jon Knoeller
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I'd also like to add on to this "We are creating culture now." part. The culture has been there since fricking pac-man you've just been too busy slinging shit to notice or acknowledge it. The people who think this article is correct are the exact people that this article is trashtalking. Not gamers, You've labelled gamers completely wrong and I hope you never label them correctly.

Ricardo Hernandez
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I feel compelled to re-post what I posted on the "let's retire the word gamer" article-
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I struggle to understand the new "fad" - it seems to me, in being ashamed somehow or remove or change pretty innocent words from the dictionary. Now it's the turn for "gamer." I mean really. When did this become a problem? Where is this politically correctness Lysol™ sanitizing dictionary effort coming from?

I don't let the media define me. I have used the word "gamer" myself for a *very* long time. Why do I have to give it up all of a sudden? Who defines it is offensive?

This reminds me of the whole gay/queer wording. Gays didn't say "you can't say queer"- they said "oh yeah, we *are* queer, get used to it!" They never let the word define them, they appropriated it and marched with it.

Of course now I find out there's a new ridiculous similar issue going with the quite innocent word homosexual. I don't understand it.

[]

You are not going to change other people from using the word the way they want. You have to live by example what it means to be a "gamer." In the ideal case, more than a "gamer" I am simply me.

I refuse let this article define what I am supposed to do now, given "gamer" has been used for ages and I used for myself on my own.
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Specifically about this article, I find it completely ridiculous to get one sector within what people may call gamer and make it the total qualification of the entire group. It strikes me as insecurity. Where is it really coming from?

Ricardo Hernandez
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Oh and btw, you are citing another article (the article I originally replied to) as evidence that people are more and more uncomfortable with the word "gamer?"

"“Gamer” isn’t just a dated demographic label that most people increasingly prefer not to use. Gamers are over. That’s why they’re so mad. "

Eh? WTF. Which people exactly are you talking about? That line up there almost reads like "the reason atheists are mad is because they know god exists."-> which incidentally has made some circles from the Hercules TV series actor.

How is this supposed to make sense? This reeks of a conspiracy to change a word.

Conal McLaughlin
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A friend linked me to this post. I registered just to voice my opinion. I am not here to troll. Rarely does an Internet article...move me enough to register for potential spam.

IMO, this article represents so much of what is wrong with people these days. Because of small minority of vocal idiots, an entire "group" of people is then made out to be the devil by another even smaller vocal minority. The smaller vocal minority in this case has the biggest and loudest megaphone ( ie media outlets). And of course neither of these groups actually represent the vast majority of people who call themselves "gamers". Even combined they represent a just a small fraction. Slippery slope people.

Everyone has their moments of weakness. I understand that people can have impulse reactions and lash out. Especially when a bunch of idiots are running the train on your twitter account (or whatever social media you use). But this exact reaction is EXACTLY what those trolls and instigators want. HELLO. People with big megaphones (ie journalists etc) should be more aware of this then most others. And if you are not prepared for this, then you should consider not putting yourself out there. The alternative....again slippery slope.

Fail all the way around. People... EVOLVE PLEASE!!!!!!

Daniel Cofour
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And by the by, a lot of people you just grouped here as a big box of despicable strawmen, are advocating for women's right, gay rights, equality and inclusivity. So for that I'll post this quote, originally posted by TotalBiscuit, from Braveheart:

“I beg pardon sire, won't we hit our own troops?”
“Yes, but we'll hit theirs as well!”

http://blueplz.blogspot.ro/2014/08/this-game-supports-more-than-t
wo-players.html

Jennifer Hane
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This article says a lot about how we as gamers need to create culture, but I'm left with a muddy impression of what that actually means.

First: yes, gamers are consumers. Somebody has to make the games, and we enjoy giving money to people who make things that we like. I thought that was a GOOD thing? I'd rather see a consumer culture than a pirate culture among gamers. My best reach at what the article is trying to say is that gaming has been characterized by *mindless* consumerism, i.e. gamers buy whatever the big corporations make for them without questioning its quality. They're a herd following fads. This could be true ... but the bare fact that a large number of people buy the same thing from a large company doesn't make them mindless. Perhaps said large company has simply figured out how to make a product that speaks to a lot of people. Me, I just try to buy things I like, whether their creators are big or small, wildly popular or obscure.

Whether the consumerism is mindless or not, gamers don't merely consume, they also create: fan art, fan fiction, costumes, and in some cases their own games. There's quite a bit more than just meme-swapping going on in the gaming community. If art, literature, and fashion don't represent forms of culture creation, what does? What, exactly, have we failed to do?

"Have money. Have women. Get a gun and then a bigger gun. Be an outcast. Celebrate that." The only game franchise I can think of that actually fits this pattern would be Grand Theft Auto, which is admittedly and unfortunately very popular. Taking it as a representative of generalized gaming culture still feels like a stretch, however. I happily consider myself a gamer, and I've never played GTA or anything like it. My pallette of favorites includes The Elder Scrolls, League of Legends, Myst Online: Uru Live, Dragon Fable, and Sins of a Solar Empire. This article seems to be telling me that I'm somehow responsible to curate a more positive culture for the people who think fantasizing about running over pedestrians is good entertainment. Mmm. It would be nice. But again, HOW? I play better games and promote them by word of mouth. I strive to be an example of good behavior when playing MMOGs. I make derivative works of art that are harmless or positive, and share them with the community. What more do you expect of me and the wider culture of gamers?

Speaking of Myst, I've been spending a lot of time with that fan community lately. It couldn't be farther away from the article's characterization of gamers as angry young men striving for hyper-masculinity. Not only is it gender- and age-diverse, I get the impression that *it always has been.* Myst has been around for 20 years and sold millions of copies (it was the highest selling PC game until 2002), and a major part of the audience, as far as I can tell, were families. Kids watched or assisted as their parents played the game. These non-violent adventure games may have receded into the background with the recent market saturation of FPS and RPG battle games, but they have always been a part of gaming, as far back as the 8-bit days, and they still are.

Ben Peck
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This author obviously doesn't know what a gamer is. The dictionary definition simply defines gamer as a game enthusiast, more specifically video and computer games. And there are a hell of a lot of gamers out there. So, being a gamer, I find it insulting to be stereotyped because of the actions of a few people. For the record, gamers are not all basement dwelling, socially incompetent, jobless fat loners as this article makes them out to be. But that can be forgiven. That has been a stereotype of gamers for years, and it's not going to change anytime soon. What is unforgivable is the fact that this article makes all gamers seem like sexist, racist, homophobic pigs. That pisses me off. So just for this article, I'm going to use a gaming reference as an example. I play many online MMO games. Me and my friends have formed a clan. It spans across many games and we have a lot of fun together. The point is, our members consist of many people, including women and a few gay people. These are some of my best friends and we have fun outside of games. This article is written from the perspective of someone who only sees what they want to see. And sadly, they only seem to want to see the few people who enforce these stereotypes.

Amir Barak
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I'm a gamer. Been a gamer since I was 5. Will be a gamer 'till I die. Proud to call myself a gamer. And nothing you've done or said so far has convinced me you actually understand how language works or why the term 'gamer' is the root of all evil.

Maybe.
Just maybe.
It's not the term but some of the people. I've not seen you write an article calling out the word "Germans" just because of Nazism.

If someone's an asshole then they are called an asshole. If someone's a criminal then they are called a criminal. Guess what though these people are also fathers and mothers, brothers, sisters, cooks, cleaners, gamers and game developers. No one can reduce a single person to a single word and no one should try.

Your article is full of ignorance, misinformation, generalizations and sexism.

Jon Knoeller
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Could not have said it better myself. I personally find the insult to gamers as being socially inept to be the most ignorant thing I have ever seen. What this author clearly doesn't recognize since she has no since of empathy is that playing video games doesn't make you socially awkward or inept. People go to video games because they are bullied and harassed for other reasons and games are the only escape from reality that won't bully them or assault them. This author is the exact kind of person who harasses gamers and pushes us towards isolationism and depression because she just finds it entertaining to sling shit at us and make fun of us.

Carmen Zecchino
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Gamers aren't dead. We're always out there, in the shadows or the light of day, heroes and villains alike. Gaming on while the rest of the video game world argues and fights and attacks each other. What you consider gaming culture, is a flawed and distorted opinion. You see the mob. They aren't gamers, they play for different reasons. I am a gamer. And there are plenty more of me, guys and girls alike, gay straight or all of the above, who don't care for the nonsense and we respect each other because we share a love for these amazing games. Some of us are 6 years olds and some of us are forty, and older still. As long as our hearts are still beating, gamers live. Born of the original mold, we sit down and we have fun, we don't pick games apart for sport or observe them as critics or obsess over reviews or scores. We enjoy a game, or we don't. But we play because we love it. We get mad at each other in Mario Kart. We sway the tides of epic encounters in shooters and strategy games. We sit quietly at home, absorbed in the story of a massive RPG or waging intergalactic battles across time and space. We're the ones smiling to ourselves playing pinball on our Vita or Pokémon Red on a GBC in the airport. Tapping away methodically at our 3ds. Hooking up our old SNES' and diving into Mega Man X for the hundredth time. We rob banks and slay dragons and toss spells like pro's. We fight across alien worlds and vast deserts, dogfighting in the clouds one day and fending off zombies the next, and we love every second of it. Sometimes we build wonders, other times we destroy them. We lose ourselves in the games we love most and are always looking expectedly into the future for new adventures, new battles, new worlds to explore and new stories to take in. That mob will always be there, it surrounds and attaches itself to anything of substance and works to tear it down, human nature maybe. But this whole "community" you write on could burn down around us gamers, rebuild itself and burn right down again in a never ending cycle of screaming and crying and oddly political or philosophical debates, and we'd still be there. Shielding our consoles and PC's from the ash and ember and gaming right on. We're not dead, we're very much alive and still landing killer combo's, still striving to beat those high scores. We always will be.

Cody Tate
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This article actually made me so furious, I singed up for this website to write this response.

"‘Games culture’ is a petri dish of people who know so little about how human social interaction and professional life works"

And yet, you sit here, trying to be-little such a large community of people, who doing what they're passionate about. What gives you such a moral high ground that you can insult millions of people? Do you actually think we're just basement dwellers who spend 80 hours a week playing video games? No, that's just insulting that you even implied we don't know about human social interaction.

I talk to a large group of friends daily, who span across the entire planet, and can name AT LEAST 20 people from every major nation in the planet, can you?

"Suddenly a generation of lonely basement kids had marketers whispering in their ears that they were the most important commercial demographic of all time."

Why do you try to pick on "Lonely basement kids" in this article, hell, if it wasn't for the "Lonely basement kids" you wouldn't even have a website to post your fairly terrible article on. Those lonely basement kids of yesteryear created the world we know today, if it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have mobile phones, we wouldn't have the internet, we wouldn't have micro-processors and we wouldn't have the ease of access to medical supplies we do now, because research would be almost impossible to reproduce to todays standard, if it wasn't for those "Lonely basement kids".

So please, before you sit behind your monitor, and try to pick on Gamers and "Lonely basement kids", think to yourself, what have you done for this planet? Why are you so important, that you can get away with insulting millions of people.

Gaming is something I'll never give up, it's part of me and I'm happy about it, but if you're going to sit here, poking fun at me, because I enjoy spending my spare time playing video games, then of course I'm going to turn around and tell you to get lost (Would probably use a word that isn't lost), just don't act all surprised when something goes wrong, after you've made fun of those Gamers and nerdy "Basement kids" when you poke fun of them.

A website can be taken down just as easily as it can be made, remember that next time you make fun of someone who spends a lot of time on a computer.

Enjoy your day.

Nick Harris
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Cineaste, bookworm, audiophile, petrolhead, coder, gamer - convenient categories.

Peter Gabriele
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I am sad to see the same stereotypes and social rejection faced by the gaming culture in the 80s and the 90s, resurfacing today because of a dramatic controversy involving harassment by a group of people.

In this article, "gamers" are defined as one single type of individuals, asocial people with no self-esteem and no social skills, immature harassers filled with hate.

As with all stereotypes, it was never true.

We never had one single group of homogenous of gamers - imagine how easy it would have been for publishers and developers ! Ever since we had the first video games, we had people preferring one over another, people preferring one element of a game over another.

-

Diversity was immediately the key aspect of gaming: everyone could do anything (within the current technical constraint). Space exploration ? Check. Medieval adventure ? Check. Critique of our modern life ? Check. Cyberpunk dystopia ? Check. I know these examples sounds cliche, but everyone could make and play whatever they wanted, so most of the production was what most people of that generation dreamed about (from what they read in books, comics, or saw in movies). Nowadays the modern tools have made it easier to achieve a more complex result, but the very idea of being free to code and create freely was always there.

Just like with literature, video games became a medium on its very first day. But it will take a few decades to get its own masterpieces, just like cinema needed a few decades to truly shine.

-

Diversity was also within the participants themselves: we had female, male and trans gamers, we had all kind of sexual orientation, all kind of social and ethnic origins. Nobody shouted it on rooftop, because it was normal for gamers that anyone could join the fun.

That was before*(1) the "popularization" of gaming (in the mid-to-late 00s), of course.

The demographic profile of the "average" (<- note how it simplifies the actual demography, especially if the variance is strong) was a white young american male, sure - but that "average" wasn't representing all the non-white, all the non-young, all the non-male, all the non-american/non-western gamers. These people didn't disappeared, they didn't vanished and transformed into invisible ghosts: they were there, they are there, they never left.

That's why grouping all these people, all these games, into one single strongly negative stereotype, is offensive and doesn't help anyone having a better understanding of the question.

*(1) The "popularization" of gaming: when the misogynist and judgmental people coming from the IRL society flooded the video game market. These people aren't gamers. They were never gamers.

This is the big mistake this article (and many many others) keep making when talking about gaming: they group together the enthusiasts who spent decades building the gaming culture of openness and tolerance, far away from the IRL society - and the entertainment consumers who violently attack women/LGBT/black/hispanic/asian people online, because they can't do it IRL without facing consequences (lawsuits, fines, social rejection).

These 2 very different groups hate each others and have been fighting for years: gamers suddenly had to deal with a constant barrage of "lol faggots" and other abusive behaviors from fratboy idiots who only cared about their ego - these aggressors are the exact opposite of gamers, bundling them together is completely wrong.

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I understand that seeing these abuses (the harassment and the threats) unfold right in front of us is frightening and make us back up in fear. Yes, fear is among us. But we shouldn't surrender to fear, like we should never surrender to terrorism. For two reasons.

It makes us lose our rationality and tolerance, we start being afraid of everyone and seeing evil everywhere. We start being aggressive, wanting revenge to "show them we can fight back, that we're not afraid" (sic). We start wars. We attack innocent people that look like our potential aggressors. We lose all our values of tolerance and humanity, in the false hope of gaining security. It happened countless times in history, it happened to the US society a decade ago, it isn't something we're unfamiliar with.

Also, if we pledge allegiance to fear, we massively expose ourselves to manipulation. Anyone who would want to exploit our force or take our wealth will only have to use FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) to control us: if we're told we're being attacked from everywhere, we'll give away any amount of wealth to gain "security", and we'll attack (with all our force) anyone designated as our "enemy". Some people know that and will use that to get what they want, no matter what is their apparent "side" in the conflict.

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In the previous weeks, we had a complex issue involving possible nepotism and conflict of interest (problems that shouldn't be ignored), while some of the people involved reported threats and harassment, some of it being visible on social networks. At the same time, we had the video series by A.S., praised by some people, criticized by some people (sometime the same people who praised some other elements), that also sparked, according to the video series author, a new wave of insults, harassment and threats.

Such worrying events shouldn't make us forget who we were, it shouldn't turn everyone who isn't completely "with us" into a vicious enemy. It shouldn't make us back up in fear and grab whatever is within reach, such as hateful stereotypes about the gaming culture (and gamers) that we abandoned several decades ago. It isn't what we need to face these problems, it isn't what will actually help us contain and control these threats and harassment.

Instead of rejecting and demonizing the entire gaming culture and all its participants, we should celebrate what was and is right within that community, to carefully and accurately identify and isolate the few persons insulting and harassing anyone debating the issue of sexism, invading their personal and professional lives to demolish them.

And no, the harassers aren't "4chan" or "gamers" or "feminists". These are very easy but ultimately terribly flawed answers.

"4chan" is a nebulous group of subgroups (ex: they have their own lgbt board), and even within each board you can have many different people, opinions and behaviors.
"Gamers" is a complex notion that can't be summed up in a single paragraph, with a confusing history and many different generations.
"Feminists" have a very long and complex history too, with so many different movements, branches and waves, that it's practically impossible to give an universal definition of the word that is regrouping all feminists. Simply because some of the people who participate in social harassment campaigns identify themselves as feminists doesn't mean they're any representative of feminism and "feminists" in general.

This is why baseless generalization is the main challenge here, it is THE obstacle on the road to progress, not "gamers" or "feminism" (depending on whichever "side" you're currently in).

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I'm sure the author meant no harm to what is *actually* the gaming culture and gamers, L.A. only wanted to express her frustration, anger and fear at what is currently being displayed on Twitter, websites and blogs.

What saddens me is how that anger fuels a very hostile and simplistic speech, that is *currently* resulting in actual hate speech by common people outside of the gaming community, toward anyone who identify as "gamers" (no matter what is their gender, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, etc).

"Gamers" are being assimilated to terrorism (I'm not joking), school shootings, all form of cruel physical violence in the world - "gamers" are being described as antisocial sexually deviant monsters with mental diseases that should be locked up and socially rejected by everyone.

I never thought I would hear that again - such hate speech used to be limited to conservative biggots afraid of a new medium, back in the 80s/90s - but now it's in every comments section, blogs and articles about the topic of sexism and gaming.

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And no, two wrongs don't make a right.

A group of malicious individuals insulting and harassing some public figures doesn't mean anyone is allowed to suddenly turn around and attack a very large group of people that might be vaguely related (or not) to the harassers.

Simply because foreign terrorism against the US is currently dominated by Islamic terrorist cells doesn't mean americans are allowed to target, harass and kill anyone who is a muslim (or vaguely "look" like a muslim, like it happened with Sihk people).

Simply because physical non-white-collar criminality is mainly done by "minorities" (who also happen to live in poverty, which might be the main/only factor at play here) doesn't allow anyone to make general statements about these racial and ethnic groups.

Sames goes with "gamers".

Simply because some of the harassment come from people being more or less related to gaming doesn't allow anyone to make broad statement about the gaming culture and gamers.

Doing that is deeply offensive and disrespectful of all the people who never took part in any harassment (often being victim of harassment themselves), always fought for tolerance and equality, and also happen to be gamers.

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I hope the Gamasutra staff will allow this post to be visible, as I believe the notion of "gamer" is crucial to understanding the gaming culture, especially in these troubled times.

What we need is openness and unity, not hate and hostility.

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Thank you for reading this, I hope we'll find positive solutions to this problem.

Luis Guimaraes
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Good post; and good luck.

Michael Guy
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i don't post often on Gamasutra, but i think the editorial team really needs to rethink the value in allowing culture articles that denigrate most of the readers and developers in the same equally venomous and distorted perception.

it's not backed up by facts or the greater experience of others.

it might be connected to a collusive experience, but that's not this article.

This article is poorly framed, and seems to be abadoning one argument and picking it right up again.

"It’s young men queuing with plush mushroom hats and backpacks and jutting promo poster rolls. Queuing passionately for hours, at events around the world, to see the things that marketers want them to see. To find out whether they should buy things or not."

which is to ask the question, when did they allow such shitty writing on gamasutra ?

the links used, the rhetoric, the odd 'PR' choice of abandoning an entire culture in favour of what .. calling gamers ... customers ? consumers ? fans ? should it be a pejorative term instead of an endearing or derivative one ?

"Gamers are over. That’s why they’re so mad.
These obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-consumers, these childish internet-arguers -- they are not my audience. They don’t have to be yours. There is no ‘side’ to be on, there is no ‘debate’ to be had.
There is what’s past and there is what’s now. There is the role you choose to play in what’s ahead."

logically, since nothing is solved, only grief and emotional outburst and insulting people with stereotypes, what's ahead is more of the same thing.

it's a fatuous article and not what i'd expect on gamasutra.

Jo Pearson
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I agree with the article.

I would add to the assertions, a predication that the term 'gamer' will gradually come to have an approximate meaning to 'cinephile' or 'bibliophile'; becoming an interest set so widespread and mainstreamised that identifying as a 'gamer' will eventually no longer suggest an affinity with 'gaming' culture - but instead purely suggests an interest in the medium.

Gerry Quinn
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Well, if "gamers are over", presumably that means they are a minor culture which groups unwelcome to them should not be permitted to "appropriate"...

Perry de Havilland
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"Gamer" isn't just a dated demographic label that most people increasingly prefer not to use"

And you know this how? Outside the games journalism bubble, The Gamer is alive and well and if you do not cater to the self described Gamer, fine, someone else will.

I know why I play less games than I used to. I have indeed grown up, and I expect more and better games before I am willing to pay for them. I have stopped pre-ordering from every company (I am looking at you Bioware) other than CD Projekt Red, because I am tired of crap games with the best reviews money can buy. I am still a self described Gamer, but I am finding less games being made for me. I am not changing so much as the people who make the games are.

Well whatever, I suspect the next crop of developers will figure out how to get me to wave my credit card at them even if the current crop seem to have forgotten.

Kelley Ni
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As an avid gamer, I wasn't aware of this nonsense that's been going on until I someone showed me a twitter hashtag calling me, and other gamers, some pretty awful things. Now I'm going through these articles, trying to understand why people hate me and why they are calling me names. I want to know why I'm being to misunderstood by so many, and why do you even care?

According to this article, my culture is over; I don't know how to dress or behave; I know little about human social interaction and professional life; I should question my life choices; I have an industry and I need to control how I present it to the world; my culture is infantile and promote shitty behavior; I am a young white dude with disposable income; I am lonely; I live in a basement; I am angry; I have a powerlessness complex; I am an obtuse shitslinger, a wailing hyper-consumer, and a childish internet-arguer (troll?); I am mad because traditional gaming is "sloughing off".

I have been playing video games as long as I can remember, since the early 90's. I grew up with them. Mario taught me typing and I learned to hate that mocking Duck Hunt dog. I was better than my brothers are Space Invader, and they actually respected me for it. Those are my credentials, so I feel like I have the right to call myself a "gamer," yet I don't recognize the culture you're describing as the one I grew up in.

I don't live in a basement, I'm happily married to a gamer spouse. At 26, I chose to leave my professional job to pursue my passion. I am a college graduate and tested leader of men and women. I have friends who don't play games, friends who do, and some who help make them.

My family didn't have much money growing up, but my parents always managed to get games for us, usually around Christmas time. Usually they'd wait until the release hype had passed and prices dropped, but they were always gifts of love from a parent to a child. I suppose you could say I'm a hyper-consumer, because thanks to my and my spouse's successful careers, we've been able to afford the latest major consoles, and we own them all. If gamers really are these unprofessional degenerate angry young men, living in basements, with no concept of basic human interaction, then how do they also have the money to be hyper-consumers? Or are we all independently wealthy, too?

What you've described sound half like the stereotype of the nerd from the 80's an 90's (the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons, maybe) and half like internet Trolls. That's not gaming culture, and this doesn't sound like a debate. The more I learn, the more it sounds like a bunch of Trolls in a Flame War.

And how am I supposed to control how people view me, and Gamers in general, especially in today's globalized world? I don't control the industry (if I did, EA would provide better post-production game support) and I don't control what people say on the internet. I'm a user. You can't define me by the actions of corporations. And I am an individual, you can't define me by the actions of others.

I believe you're mislabeling your target, and if you're not, you need to more clearly define it, because you say "gamer" and "gamer culture" but then you don't define what it is before you start hurling insults.

And for the record, I am a little mad, and a little scared, about the future of the gaming industry. Not because I think gaming culture is fading away - I know that casual gaming is a growing field, and there's still a lot of money to be made from it. What I'm mad about is the quality of mainstream games being released. With some exceptions, quality games are becoming more and more rare. Single player gaming is going away. Call of Duty is going to have more sequels than The Land Before Time, soon, and with even less variety in content. I'm afraid that big game production companies think they've figured out the "magic formula," and, like Hollywood, are going to start cranking out over-priced, cooker cutter shit, calling it a game, and expecting me to buy it. I'm a consumer, and I want to consume, but I'm afraid that soon there won't be anything coming out worth playing, and I'll have to start finding something else to do with my spare time.

fred tam
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Writer has direct involvement...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_K13iEWQfY

Frank Inktomi
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I wrote the same thing to Luke Plunkett at Kotaku, and it applies to you too.

Many people loved using the word "gamer" when it was hip, popular and upcoming it was such an over-used buzzword. We never asked for a label. That is for marketers and advertisers to use to catch the young market who is looking for an identity.

The older crowd, like me, who never dared allow themselves to be branded with it look at you and the rest of your brethren and laugh.

Remember that this is a multi-billion dollar industry and how it started.

Remember that is why you are here, to make a living writing for this crowd you are ready to claim "is over."

Remember that is was our money that helped build this industry to where it is now. We are the "hyper-consumers."

Remember the "the gamer" when you look at your bank account and your direct deposit paycheck is there. It is there because you write for Kotaku, which would not exist without video games-which wouldn't exist if we didn't spend BILLIONS every year on video games.

Remember that this is supposed to be about having fun.

Andrew Jackson
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I've been seeing a lot of buzz about this issue, so I came here looking for articles to see what was going on. Honestly, if this is the kind of article gamasutra is featuring and touting as "exclusive" then I am done with this site.

The only people I've seen using "gamer" as a derogatory term are the ones writing these disgusting, lie riddled, propaganda pieces. You just painted every gamer out there as a socially inept basement dwelling troll. I expect this kind of talk from elderly news pundant on fox, not from a supposedly informed game site.

I am a gamer, have been my whole life. And yet, I fit none of the blanket slandering statements you've made. In fact, I don't know a single person that fits your description that plays games.

This article has enraged me so much, I can't even begin to point out all the problems with it. Games-journalists' ethics problems are a real concern. Gamers are not "obtuse shitslingers"(although I wouldn't hesitate to put that label on you).

And if gamers aren't your target audience that's a good thing, because we don't want hateful, slandering, "journalists" like you representing us anyways. I for one, will keep developing games for gamers because guess what...We are the ones BUYING the games.

This whole thing seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to the horrible ethics problems that have been exposed in the games-journalist industry. You decide to create straw-man arguments about "gamers" being basement dwelling children, and spread propaganda about "gamer is dead" instead of taking responsibility and owning up to the truth. You hype games you are payed to hype, and ignore games that don't pay the toll. You often "review" games you don't actually play. You push agendas, and turn supposedly objective interviews into subjective slander pieces.

Game-journalism is the thing that is dead, you are being replaced by youtube personalities, and ever more informed game developers that can do their own publicity without paying your "hype-tax". Evolve or die, that's how this industry works, and it seems a lot of you "journalists" have chosen the latter (meaning that in a business sense).

"Lately, I often find myself wondering what I’m even doing here" - then leave, we won't miss you.

Rebecca Richards
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Hi, actual AAA developer here taking Leigh's side. Because someone who actually knows what they're doing should once in a while.

You said something a lot of non-developers don't want to hear and that's why they're scared and angry and trying to ruin you. I met you at GDC and I was very happy to find you were exactly the person I'd hoped you'd be, and this article just proved it.

Leigh, don't stop talking and for the love of god don't let anyone silence you. You've said what a lot of people needed to hear, with the exact rage and tempo they deserved. Anyone seriously crying that you "shut down the discussion" is the same type of person who won't allow a discussion to happen and can't recognize that you finally had to break the door down to even start it.

I'm a game developer. I will never call myself a "gamer" again. Not until "gamers" decide to grow up. I am done with "gamer culture" because I'm an adult and I've discovered most people that want to be "gamers" don't want adulthood in the first place. The number of days in the last few weeks that I've found myself seriously questioning why I want to make games for people that literally hate my existence is kind of frightening to me. But I'm also too damn goonish to stop because at least I'm getting my girl cooties into their precious vidya games whether they like it or not.

John Maurer
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"Hi, actual AAA developer here taking Leigh's side. Because someone who actually knows what they're doing should once in a while."

That was pompous

"You said something a lot of non-developers don't want to hear and that's why they're scared and angry and trying to ruin you."

No one's scared, but plenty of people are angry, and she does not speak for developers, neither do you, your speaking for yourself and passing it off like your speaking for developers, which is where most people are really stepping in it.

"You've said what a lot of people needed to hear, with the exact rage and tempo they deserved."

I would say she said what --some-- people have been wanting to say. Rage and tempo have little to do with reason, and this article is very unreasonable.

"I met you at GDC and I was very happy to find you were exactly the person I'd hoped you'd be, and this article just proved it."

You may as well of stamped "bias" all over your post.

"Anyone seriously crying that you "shut down the discussion" is the same type of person who won't allow a discussion to happen and can't recognize that you finally had to break the door down to even start it."

She didn't break down any door, she ran through one.

"I'm a game developer. I will never call myself a "gamer" again. Not until "gamers" decide to grow up."

There's nothing inherently wrong with the term "gamer", nor is there anything inherently wrong with people that identify with it. What is wrong is people attaching additional context just to create a group of bogeymen, with emphasis on "men".

"I am done with "gamer culture" because I'm an adult and I've discovered most people that want to be "gamers" don't want adulthood in the first place."

Your a AAA game developer, you'll never be done with gamers. I'm an adult, a gamer, and a family man, and some of the best family time I've had have revolved around games.

"The number of days in the last few weeks that I've found myself seriously questioning why I want to make games for people that literally hate my existence is kind of frightening to me."

What your experiencing is Internet harassment, most people have been hit by it. It's not a problem with the game Industry, it's a problem with the human condition.

However, if your fed up with working for a AAA developer/publisher, you can always quit, there are plenty of other people dying to take your seat.

"But I'm also too damn goonish to stop because at least I'm getting my girl cooties into their precious vidya games whether they like it or not."

Now your just being mean, and simultaneously underscoring your passion with hatred. Come on, your better than that.

Dylan Morrison
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And so, because some gamers are assholes, being happy to have a passion for games is a bad thing?