As usual, I’m a little late with this. Some truly awful events have occurred over the last couple of weeks that highlight the absolute worst of so-called “gamer” culture. A culture that is based on elitism, entitlement, misogyny, and hatred, and which has never truly represented those who love and play games. The people (actually, I might as well say “straight white men”) who adhere to this have falsely proclaimed themselves the “true gamers”, an idea which would have been ridiculous had the video game industry not courted and marketed to these very people for so long. They tend to react with violent outbursts of hate (anonymously, on the internet, of course, because they’re assholes) whenever it is suggested that a woman or anyone else who is not a straight white male might like to play or make games, especially if those games are not the kind of games these so-called “gamers” like.
In the last few weeks, these outbursts were directed at two women in particular. One, a game designer who had released a text game called Depression Quest which is conspicuously different from the standard AAA action games that these “gamers” so adore, was accused of having slept with a journalist in exchange for good reviews, and was therefore subjected to a barrage of online harrassment, including death threats and a whole heap of hate speech and baseless slander. No one harassed the male journalist, of course, because he’s a man, and he doesn’t make games about depression. Oh, and it turns out he probably never wrote a review of her game anyway, and the whole thing is complete nonsense. But no, the “gamers” decided the woman was guilty of some egregious offense, and proceeded to be completely and utterly awful.
The second woman has been harassed more or less constantly for the past two years because she dared to Kickstart and create a series of educational videos about sexism and misogyny in video games, which point out correctly and undeniably that there’s a whole lot of sexism and misogyny in video games. But her latest video (part 1, part 2) sparked the worst barrage of hate yet, up to and including some disturbingly specific death threats that caused her to leave her home out of fear for her safety and that of her family.
Yes, you read that right. These online harassers drove her from her home. This is not OK. This is reprehensible. This is shameful. And these are the people that the games industry courts. It has to stop.