Kevin J. Maroney (womzilla) wrote,
Kevin J. Maroney

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#GamerGate, a righteous rant, and not forgetting

The following text was written by my friend Greg Costikyan and posted to his blog at Gamasutra. It was then deleted by Gamasutra. If Greg asks me to take it down, I will do so.

If you don't know what #GamerGate refers to and feel a morbid interest in the privilege-laden cruelty of the worst of the gaming community, I'd recommend starting with Video Games, Misogyny, and Terrorism: A Guide to Assholes and stopping there, too, then taking a long shower and, upon emerging, playing a good game with someone you love.

Gamersgate: STFU
by Greg Costikyan on 09/07/14 12:55:00 am

"As a male voice in the game industry," writes my daughter Vicky, "you should speak out about this."


I wanted to hold my tongue. Because when I let loose, it usually does me no favors. But she's right.


What do you think you're defending? An industry in which greed-head executives make brain-dead games on a yearly basis that show little to no innovation from one title to the next? You fucking -want- Madden? And the next Call of Duty game, same as the last but with new content from hundreds of exploited drones working hours that destroy relationships because the suits think that's what they want?

For decades, we had a market that catered to Maxim-reading horny boy-men who bought games by developers who spent man-years on developing better physics to make tits bounce in the next beach volleyball title. For decades, we had shameless manager jackasses who thought the best way to market their titles was to hire high-breasted bimbos to pose and giggle at their booths at E3.

For decades, we had the best creative minds of our industry SHUT DOWN whenever they proposed the slightest design innovation, because increasing budgets meant all design risk must be minimized.

For decades, we had no way for people who wanted to do anything creative be able to find any path to market.

Finally, finally, and thank god, we have a viable path of market for indies, and a way for people who want to express themselves through games that will never sell in the millions to find a market. And you find that a PROBLEM?

What kind of blinkered idiots you are?

And of course, indies do whatever the fuck they can to get noticed, because they don't have MILLIONS OF MARKETING DOLLARS TO SPEND. What the fuck would you expect?

Let me explain something do you. Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision: Mutimillionare. Anna Anthrophy? Stroppy indie developer who probably has problems paying her rent. Who has the power here? What the fuck are you talking about?

There's some kind of conspiracy by the in-group to promote indie games at the expense of "real" games? What the fuck are you talking about? Who cares who Zoe Quinn fucked, or didn't fuck? It's none of your fucking business, unless you were one of the people involved, and most of you would give your left kidney to fuck her, if you had any brains. You are unlikely ever to touch anyone with an iota of her talent or intelligence.

And what does that even mean? Have you suddenly noticed that the game industry is undergoing weird changes as a result of this supposed conspiracy? The next Call of Duty being cancelled in favor of triple-A treatment of the next Anna Anthropy design?

Do people who actually care about whether games can be more than degraded violence porn for young men sometimes get together and talk about games that actually matter? And do they sometimes write about such games?

You're fucking right they do! And you should be fucking grateful that someday a more mature and interesting landscape of videogames may emerge from that! That's not what we call "conspiracy;" that's what we call "gamers who care about games."

And what is it with this mysoginistic bullshit?

I want to tell you some stories.

1. The studio head who invited me -and a female employee- to join them at a strip club at a conference, expecting we would all enjoy this as a 'fun time.'

2. The party given by an industry marketing firm where I and Dan Scherlis were approached by a scantily clad woman who was evidently hired to show their clients a good time (not necessarily including actual fornication) and had to explain that we were both involved with people we cared about, and actually were having a perfectly enjoyable time talking to each other.

3. The -very- gay friend of mine who was hired by another firm and started sweating when I approached their booth at a conference, in fear that I would reveal his sexual orientation to his new boss.

4. My friend, Dan Bunten, a seminal figure in early PC gaming, who decided he was a woman, and after extensive surgery, became Danielle Bunten Berry. "Shabbily treated" wouldn't even begin to describe it.

I have no idea why gender and such is even an issue in this conversation. Women have always been a minority in the games industry, to its loss; but they have never been entirely missing. Roberta Williams created the Sierra adventures. Brenda Garno, later Brathwaite, later Romero, was one of the key talents behind the Wizardry series.

If you look at recent IGDA surveys, 80+% of all jobs in the industry are held by men. This is a problem, particularly as industry surveys say that a majority of gamers are women. To be sure, they're playing Candy Crush and not Call of Duty, and maybe that doesn't qualify as a "real game" to you, but if so, fuck off. Games are games, games are good, and it's great that more people are playing them. Stop masturbating with your console controller and get a life.

Anita Sirkeesian has told some pretty obvious truths about the treatment of women in games; controversial ones, and others are free to debate them, but "debate" doesn't normally involve threats to rape or kill.

You can like, or not like, Zoe Quinn's work; tastes vary. But her sex life is not, and never has been, any of your fucking business.

Leigh Alexander is one of the most interesting journalists working in games.

This is bullshit, you are assholes, and shut the fuck up.

Deal with the fact that not all games are, or will be in the future, the same corporate crap that you apparently love so much. And understand that the money-grubbing entities who dole out this crap will continue to feed your fix, because it's a far larger market than is reached by the indie people, whom you despise and spit on, can possibly ever hope to reach.

You're attacking people who have problems making their rent, apparently in defense of people who make millions off your fanboy lusts; and somehow feel threatened by people who love games -- as I supposed you do -- but love games that are a little different.

You are assholes.

Worse, you are poor examples of men. Men, good men, defend women. They do not attack them.

To which end: To defend the honor of Anita Sirkeesian, Zoe Quinn, Leigh Alexander, or yes, Anna Anthropy, I will be willing to meet any of you, on horse or afoot, with sword or pistol, at a time and place of your choosing.

It is time this stopped.
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