Trump and GamerGate
The gaming community is still reeling from the GamerGate of yesteryear, and now the dude-bro president-elect has set the board for its resurgence.
By Mari Landgrebe, Texas State University
Look, 2016 has been an overall shit-show and the worst part is that entering 2017 doesn’t sound like a healthy move either.
Much of that can attributed to the president-elect, who has yet to let go of his Twitter account even though it’s clearly time for him to be weaned from his rant-blanket.
The general health of American society is in danger, but so are the various communities that live and once thrived in the Land of Opportunity™. Women and minorities have been disparaged, demeaned and demoralized by the election of a buffoon and his band of cronies. Prince John sucks his thumb anew.
And or those that seek solace in an “Overwatch” match or the nostalgia of bygone days with long-awaited game franchises like “Final Fantasy XV,” the beleaguered peace of the gaming community is once again threatened.
Gamers of America, trouble is afoot.
If you don’t know what GamerGate is about, your ignorance must be bliss, and I am sorry to either ruin that embattled bliss or, gods forbid, vindicate it.
The movement started when a jilted ex-lover of a game designer, who happened to be a woman, posted a rambling rant about their relationship. One thing led to another, and the dark corners of the 4chan gaming community began a war of harassment against the “invasion” of such ideas as respecting women (feminism) and consideration of sexual orientation, race/ethnicity and of course, gender (political correctness or, more accurately, inclusivity) in video games and the industry. Several prominent women developers where doxed and their private information broadcasted so that other “anti-Social Justice Warriors” could send threats of rape and murder to these women and any of their supporters.
GamerGate on its own would require an article at least as long as the blogpost that sparked the movement (which was over 9,000 words long). This is the home of fuckbois who only want to see scantily clad, unnecessarily big-chested women, and/or would rather not believe people of color can—and did—exist in history, space and fantasy.
This subgroup is a haven for gamers who are enamored with the president-elect. Trump’s disregard and derision of women in particular and minorities in general is a prime locus towards which the now disparate pockets of gamer dudebros can now galvanize. And these anonymous cells, however quiet they may have seemed in recent months, have been given a red-carpet return to their agenda.
The White House has had a difficult but far healthier relationship with video games over the years, alternately calling for “research into the effects that violent video games have on young minds,” to finding them to be a valid source of education and developing funds to support computer science education, including gaming. One of President Obama’s initiatives even includes an eSports event to promote healthcare to younger people.
Trump, however, is a businessman through and through, however much of a failure he is at it, and you never want to alienate your existing customer base when trying to gain new consumers. GamerGate is chockfull of man-children who, for whatever reason, can’t stand anyone who isn’t like them, least of all when gaming. Trump is the kind of celebrity that only hears the loudest squeaky wheel that interests him, panders to it and agrees with the vitriol that spews from its maw. And in gaming, that’s the GamerGate community.
After all, he did bring the former executive chairman of “Breitbart,” the alt-right sesspool of a news website, into his administration as chief strategist and senior advisor. This appointment is practically an endorsement of the exclusiveness of racism and misogyny that bleeds from Trumps supporters. Trump himself may have only used words, but his supporters have been aggressive in their demonstrations of the Trump’s political positions. And the problem is, some gamer dude-bros have proven far more willing to actively terrorize anyone who publically disagrees with their agenda.
Many video game venues, news sites and companies have decried the activities and agendas of GamerGate. The International Game Developer’s Association (IGDA) and several tech companies have developed or reinforced resource collections, initiatives and programs to not only combat the activities of the subgroup, but to address the very problems within the industry that the movement has tried to maintain as the status quo. More diversity in video game companies and a study on how minorities are represented in the games, in part thanks to the gamers who felt these things were encroaching on their sacred spaces of white supremacy and fetishized digital women.
With the burgeoning diversity in the demographics that play video games has come the awareness of how those games treated women and minorities. As the industry grows and more people want to make video games, so has the stark reality of the white boys-club culture in studios and publishers. It has become nearly necessary for game makers to be more inclusive in order to retain new gamers and new talent.
There are still many of the entrenched, life-long gamers who have spent a significant portion of the billions of dollars the industry earns each year who don’t care about diversity in video games. Instead, they feel attacked by the notions that women have a purpose other than to be sexually appealing and minorities are more than their stereotypes. Trump is their mainstream champion, an elected official of the highest office in ‘Murica.
If you’re a gamer who doesn’t hate having more women and minorities in your games—and I hope you are—so long as the story is great and the gameplay addicting, then the tasks ahead are twofold: defend against the misogyny and racist attitudes of Trump, his impending administration and his supporters; and support the gaming news sites, developer associations, studios and publishers who condemn the GamerGate actions and agenda, and are working to become more inclusive in their games and the industry.
And if you’re a gamer who prefers to eyefuck a digital woman’s unrealistically large tits in a sea of white characters, well, I’m sorry life has treated you in whatever terrible ways that has made you resistant to accepting the diversity and complexity of reality into the sanctuary of your games.