GamerGate Aftermath

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GamerGate Aftermath

With buzz of GamerGate dwindling down due to Anita Sarkeesian’s “dropping the mic” as some may say. You can view the video of her interview with Stephen Colbert here. People might be thinking…well what now?

How did it all begin?

In August, a programmer named Eron Gjoni wrote a series of blog posts about the end of his relationship with indie game developer Zoe Quinn. Gjoni accused Quinn of sleeping with a video game journalist named Nathan Grayson, who at the time was freelancing for gaming sites Kotaku and Rock Paper Shotgun, allegedly in exchange for positive reviews of her game Depression Quest.

Depression Quest was already a controversial game. Released in early 2013, the indie game simulates the experience of having depression and is played entirely by choosing multiple-choice text options. Many gaming outlets applauded the unique game and its exploration of a serious subject in a brave way. However, the game also diverged from the kinds of content and gameplay found in most mainstream games. Some observers argued it wasn’t actually a good game in terms of the experience, but it was instead merely an intellectual exercise, and the articles praising it were puff pieces that caved to P.C. pressure.

When Gjoni publicized the personal details of his relationship with Quinn, certain gamers—who had already criticized the initial coverage of the game—became even more vehement in their vitriol towards Quinn. Stories of Quinn’s sexual history along with nude photos of her soon appeared on online message boards and chat programs like 4chan and IRC. Harassers went so far as to talk about whether they could get Quinn to commit suicide, with one participant saying that wouldn’t be a smart “PR” move.

It’s important to note here that the charges against Quinn and Grayson hold little water. Neither Grayson nor anyone else at Kotaku even reviewed Quinn’s game. Grayson briefly mention the game once in a March post about a completely different subject, but that was before they began their relationship, according to all parties involved. Kotaku has since conducted an investigation into the matter and said it found no ethical violations.

Nonetheless, some gamers were angry that the press didn’t report more on Gjoni’s accusations. Frustrated, the already-angry gamers continued to levy personal attacks against Quinn in reaction to what they perceived as the media’s silence on the matter.

How does Anita play into this?

Around the same time Quinn came under attack, #GamerGate participants began harassing Anita Sarkeesian, a prominent feminist critic who speaks about women’s roles in video game plots and game development. Sarkeesian hosts a show called “Feminist Frequency” on YouTube. Last year, she launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for a new series exploring what she considers harmful, sexist tropes in video games which you could view in the video above.

What now?

Well, nothing much will change. People will still play games, the community will still thrive. Developers and marketing departments will still sexualize and apply common gender stereotypes in their thinking to make as much money as possible and still, people will hide shrouded in anonymity and cyber-bullying people. And that’s the sad part. However, one thing has changed, a voice has been heard and has erupted through all our monitors and TV’s, this news has spread and engulfed feminists to make a stand and to make everyone understand that all they want is equality. Some people will hear it and change the way they think. Some will still sit at home and cyber-bully others, not understanding the consequences. Some may not have their minds changed at all. And then there are those who knew this is how it should be, from the very beginning.