The TalkBack Challenge for this week was focusing on the long-term effects that GamerGate had on us…
…Ah GamerGate, that classic videogame controversy of late August, how the world lost its collective mind and how we were all against the pillory for having any association with the hobby of controlling make-believe men (and women!) against the forces of evil.
We’re such bastards!
Did GamerGate have any affect on me? That’s a difficult one to answer
Firstly I’ll give you my thoughts on the whole issue. I cannot condone the actions of a vocal minority who felt the need to threaten the life of another human being. Also I do admit that while many games are sexist, there are many that simply are not. To suggest that ALL games are, is grossly misrepresenting our hobby. Lastly Anita Sarkeesian was a terrible spokesperson for the opposition, she excelled in dividing opinion and seemed to revel in the limelight as she made sweeping statements.
During the month of September I was occupied with thinking about GamerGate; hell who wasn’t? There was seemingly a new story, report or picture that highlighted the “gaters”(?) point-of-view and made us all look like complete and utter assholes. I was rather reactive then and created a few posts that, while never directly opposing the stance, allowed me and my readers to remember that games can be a positive influence on the world, and that we have the right to play the games that makes us happy (here, here, here and here if you’re interested).
Videos were posted online, and if I’m being honest I took several measures to ensure that I wasn’t watching anything to do with that, nor did I read any posts/articles/ramblings either condemning or condoning it. I wasn’t a part of the problem, nor did it seem there was any real solution, I have made it my mission in life to take no active part in cyclical arguments, nor engage in any debate about it. If someone asked my opinion on it, I would offer it of course; I’m not rude!
Funny thing is in the online realm, I was actually asked precisely 0 times about GamerGate, in fairness the whole thing had zero impact on my online life. The questions did, however, come from an altogether more…
For the first time in my life there was conversations going on in my day job, about the hobby that I love (for those of you who are unaware, I am a teacher and it is RARE that they mention Video Games). If I told you the conversations were negative, I’d be underselling it. Many of these, rational, human beings were talking about games and gamers as if they worse than al-qaeda. I felt the need to intervene and give a gamers perspective – this was the first time that my colleagues were made aware of my hobby – they listened, and being the educated people they are, formed balanced opinions on the situation.
In saying that though many were also shocked that an adult would play games on a daily basis!
This is how it affected me most profoundly.
My hobby and my profession were bleeding over; not that I am embarrassed to be a gamer, it’s just not seen as a desirable hobby when there are 500-600 students who play to all hours and give the hobby a ridiculously bad image in their eyes. I was worried about being seen as unprofessional or immature.
This was not the case at all. Many of the teachers were incredibly interested and even approached me to was ask questions about why I game, when I stated that games can (and do) rival movies or literature for emotional impact and, in rare cases, narrative. Many scoffed, but a few were compelled to ask me for gaming recommendations; usually for consoles their children owned (read as Nintendo DS) and I happily lent out some of my best titles, made gamers of some teachers.
How did GamerGate affect me? It made people reach out to me and allowed me to introduce a few more gamers into the circle.