Misrepresenting #GamerGate and Gaming’s Place in Academia (A response to Zennistrad)

You ever see those people who think so much of their hobby that they overestimate how important it is?  For example, I think that Blade Runner is one of the greatest science fiction films of all time.  Does that change the public’s perception of that movie?  Sure, a lot of people love it, but it is very debatable what kind of effect the film has had on the medium as a whole.  It’s not like with Star Wars or Alien/Aliens, where it’s pretty easy to point at the influence.  So yeah, I love that film, but my intense love of it doesn’t mean that it is one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, to everybody.  I happen to know one critic who agrees with me.  Still, it is easy to overstate just how much influence something has, when you aren’t being objective.  How, you ask?  Let me introduce you to someone.

There is a guy called Zennistrad.  From what I’m told, he isn’t a bad guy.  Uninformed, perhaps, but still a decent enough person.  He recently wrote a post called “GamerGate is killing video games.”  Gross hyperbole, but let’s save that for the beefier problems.  The title is just one of many.

For many years, people have been fighting for games to be recognized seriously as an art form. GamerGate, as it seems, has caused serious damage to that. Social scientists have been studying the influence of games, not just because of their negative effects, but because of the potential positive effects as well. Games could potentially be a powerful tool to help teach empathy, and increase satisfaction and happiness.

Video games are Jesus!  Dude – it’s an entertainment medium!  Just because it might not be widely recognized as an art form doesn’t stop it from being one.  This is such gross hyperbole.  Also, how has GamerGate damaged people’s belief about games as an art form?

But now that GamerGate has shattered public perception of gaming in academia, we may never be able to fully understand how to allow games to reach their full potential in this regard. But it’s not just media studies in video games that have suffered.

“Perception of gaming in academia”?  Um…so fucking what?!  For real, who cares what a bunch of academics in universities think?  Gaming has become a billion-dollar industry that is showing up Hollywood without a single armchair intellectual lighting up his pipe and saying, “yes, let’s talk about the social and political implications of Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare and how Kevin Spacey stands for the anarcho-capitalist mentality that infects most of Western Society.”  Hell, if someone made that argument, that would just solidify how pretentious them and their argument is.  Who honestly cares what academics think?

So what happens to video games when academics don’t take them seriously at all? What happens when people refuse to archive games or study their cultural significance?

Oh, you’re listening?  Well, that’s great!  Alright, I’m all ears.  What do academics have to do with anything?

To put it bluntly, video games will have no future. If we do not take care to study the cultural history of games, it may forever disappear to us when cartridges and CDs inevitably die, emulators become obsolete, servers shut down, manuals are lost, and the publisher history fades into obscurity.

Is this for real?  No joke, I want to know.  Dude, video games were a mutli-billion dollar empire before you had people “archiving” cartridges and whatnot.  I’m dying to know where you got this gross hyperbole from.  Video games were massive before now.  They will be massive after now.  Unless a nuclear apocalypse comes tomorrow, video games will still be a huge industry.  Getting bigger every year.  Your end-of-the-world Chicken Little-ing does not help your case.  This is absurd, and how is it GamerGate’s fault that this future of yours will happen?

This should make any gamer uncomfortable, but unfortunately, this is not the case. GamerGate has not been shy about their disdain for academia in video games, as evidenced by the popularity of anti-academic figures such as the Youtuber known as “Sargon of Akkad”, who is one of the most widely-praised supporters of GamerGate. Just reading the title of one of his videos tells you all that you need to know:

Hey Sargon, you cool with getting trash-talked?  But seriously, academia does have some of the blame for what’s happened here.  After all, the third-wave Puritan Feminists who have been so vocal against GamerGate and have corrupted the media against Gamers (see the ‘Gamers Are Dead’ articles) come out of universities.  Social Justice Warriors are almost-all upper-middle class, suburbanite, college-educated hipsters who think that they know everything about equality, gender and the like from their heavily-biased narratives that they were fed in Women’s Studies courses.

However, I say again – who cares what academics think?  They have no power over this industry!  You know who made this industry as big as it is?  Gamers!  We have all the power here!  Academics are meaningless.  I’m dying for you to prove me wrong.

GamerGate is killing video games. And that’s exactly what they want.

No.  Wrong.  This is a flat-out lie, and it kills me that you are on board with that.  GamerGate is working to make the gaming media more honest and weed out the corruption that we have found.  Sure, along the way, some dust has gotten kicked up.  This was a culture war.  You don’t think that a war would have some collateral damage?  That’s just absurd.  But, at the same time, we have exposed so much corruption inside an industry that is believed to speak for us.  We have shined light on manipulative people who pander a party line and publications that don’t care if they spit in their audience’s face. (unless you’re Kotaku, who desperately tried to whitewash their history.  Class Act)

I am a GamerGate supporter, and I don’t want to kill gaming.  Why would I.  I play games!  Some of my favorite memories are of playing games.  I seek stories in whatever medium I can find them.  I find it weird that you tie your entire article to how GamerGate has supposedly ruined gaming’s academic perception and believe that that will somehow kill the gaming industry.  Nintendo and Sega were making money back in the day when video games were believed to be a child’s activity on 16-32 bit graphics.  When Super Mario Bros was just a novelty.

In other words – academics didn’t make this industry, we did.  And if they want to not take it seriously and walk away, then good fucking riddance!

Until next time, a quote,

And as I sat there, looking out into the darkness, I thought back on all the things I’d built and left unfinished. I realized something – I wasn’t sad that it was gone. I had had fun making all that stuff. I would have done it anyway. And then, somehow, I knew that when I woke up, all my work really would be destroyed.” -King, The Unfinished Swan

Peace out,

Maverick

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