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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.

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.

In Donald Trump’s America, Even Video Games Could Suffer
Image via Fit for Kings

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.

In Donald Trump’s America, Even Video Games Could Suffer
Image via Fusion

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.

  1. Let me give you a little bit of history of “gaming” Mari, as I can only assume you’re a 19 to 22 year old white girl going to college on daddy’s money (I know the type).

    Now having a decade of experience on you is the issue here. It has nothing to do with gender. A “gamer” growing up in the late 80’s and all throughout the 90’s were probably the most ridiculed and mocked generation one could ever imaging. If you liked video games you were worse than nerds. You were worse than geeks. A Trekky had more street cred than a “gamer” did. You were relentlessly mocked by everyone. Physically assaulted for liking video games. This was the reality of “gamers” back in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s. No one cared about how “diverse” a gamer was. If you were white and male and played games, you were scum. If you were a female that played video games you were scum. If you were black and played games you were scum. We. Were. Bullied.

    You know what? We muscled through it because we loved our hobby. We knew we were freaks, that we were unwanted. We didn’t care. We had our games and we had our lifestyle. We were happy in our virtual worlds.

    So how do you think, after 30 years of being constantly bullied and mocked for enjoying our games, we would feel when we have people who come in and try to demean and dehumanize us with such a phrase as “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.”?

    How DARE you. It’s phrases like the above that continue to tick gamers off who knew what it was like to not be included in society. To know how it felt to go day after day knowing we’d be bullied for liking video games. You are no better than the jock or cheerleader who wouldn’t even treat a gamer as a human being 20 years ago. You are bullying. You are trying to guilt-trip people with low self-esteem to cater to your needs.

    Gaming has always been diverse and complex. We’ve had black characters and women characters and Asian character and every other race and gender you can think of for DECADES before your ilk came along complaining so much.

    You haven’t earned the right to call yourself a gamer. Gamers have ALWAYS included others because for decades we have been a large group of very lonely people who only had virtual worlds to run to because we had little to no friends. IF we met someone that liked video games we latched onto one another like our lives depended on it.

    You’re upset that gaming isn’t “diverse” enough for you? Too bad. You don’t get to complain. You haven’t earned the scars and stripes gamers have had to go through years before you were even BORN. You are a spoiled, rotten child and the exact reason why gaming should not cater to people like yourself. You’re the bratty little cheerleader who isn’t getting enough attention from the boys so you’re now trying to take away the very thing they like more than you.

    And that kills you on the inside.

    1. Well said Gaming for Decades, as a 40 something gamer myself you’ve just summed up a lot of my childhood. These idiots will continue to miss-represent gamergate for what it was truly about – integrity in gaming journalism or the lack there of. It had exactly zero to do with sexism and everything to do with people shagging games journalists for good reviews and promotion of their terrible games. The hilarious part about it was how the “journalists” went to war over the internet with a bunch of people who’s hobbies is to wage war over the internet. The Gamergate war was won but sadly unlike real wars the “enemy” haven’t all been laid to waste in a symphony of gore, MG42’s and katana’s. No, they are still out there writing their shitty little smear stories. None of them would know what actual unbiased reporting would look like if it hit them in the face, they have the narrative and they must not deviate from that.

  2. The only link between Trump and GamerGate is the way they were treated by independent activist media sources and the mainstream media coverage that parroted those activist media sites.

    The vast majority of GG lives outside of the United States, and has no horse in this race other than to expose corrupt media. Those who do voted at a rate on par with the American electorate, meaning about 20%.

    What’s worse is that there is no data to back up your claims. you say that rates of harassment have increased, but have no statistics, have not mentioned which game communities are affected and have not cited a single instance of harassment. The only thing you’ve presented are vague assertions that cannot even be verified, which I suspect was done intentionally to avoid anyone being able to double check what you’ve presented.

    Please try better in the future.

  3. How exactly is having a more diverse workforce supposed to help studios make better games? The most successful indie titles these days are from eastern Europe and are made by white males. Did Tale of Tales benefit from having a diverse workforce?

    Did Watch Dogs 2 benefit from having a diverse cast of characters? Let me mansplain to you why developers prefer white male protagonists. You can do anything with them. People like you will only tolerate non-white and female protagonists if they are Mary Sue, but Mary Sue is boring, and Gamers will not play boring games. That is why GTA5 sells and WD2 does not.

    Read the Galbrush paradox.

  4. Yeah, because in a country that is still 2/3 white, and an overwhelming majority of real gamers (don’t give me that Candy Crush-Farmville crap) being white dudes, your uneducated idea is more diversity. No, that doesn’t work.

    Dargon Age, decides to make a transgender character, and his Qunari (A warrior-led masculine race) boss acts like it’s normal. It’s not. I play games to escape reality. I play games to experience a world that is different from the one I live in. You pathetic sjw, white guilted oxygen thieves need to get out of art. You have no creativity. Look at what Marvel has done in comics.

    You are devoid of creativity and originality, and therefore change things made by actually talented individuals, because you are “minimally exceptional”. If you want to know what the result of your fruitless labors are doing, loo at the budding indie game scene.

    You are pushing the gaming world to another 1982 debacle. It’s sad, but so are white-cucks and people like you.

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