Alt-Right, Games, Media, Politics, Top Stories

Are Gamer Stereotypes Accurate?

Back in 2014, the term “Gamergate” swarmed into public consciousness as major news outlets picked up the story of harassment of women—including developers, journalists, and fans—in the games industry. The Gamergate phenomenon began with concerns among some gamers that conflicts of interest between games journalism and the games industry were leading journalists to write unrealistically favorable reviews of products. These allegations were soon eclipsed, however, as several women involved in the games industry and related media alleged that they had become targets of abuse, threats of violence and rape, doxxing, and so on. In the public eye, this cemented the perception that Gamergate was associated with toxic misogyny, and that this kind of behavior was typical of gamers more generally.

The result was that gamers, already commonly the source of stereotypes and various cultural prejudices, found themselves stigmatized as young, reactionary, mainly white, hetero male misogynists. For example, a widely circulated tumblr post portrayed gamer culture as awash with “toxicity,” “hysterical fits,” and “hatred of women.” “The gamer as an identity,” the author, Dan Golding wrote, “feels like it is under assault, and so it should… the traditional gamer identity is now culturally irrelevant.” An article on the gaming website Gamasutra, meanwhile, referred to gamers as “…obtuse shitslingers, these wailing hyper-consumers, these childish internet-arguers…”

This narrative has since become increasingly prevalent in mainstream outlets, with op-ed columnists blithely asserting that video games are fueling adherence to alt-right ideologies or that white nationalists are using gaming platforms to recruit unwary youth. This narrative feels vaguely reminiscent of a moral panic that erupted during the 1980s, during which uninformed journalists and religious activists alleged that Satanists were using messages hidden in rock music to indoctrinate America’s children. This isn’t to say extremist recruitment is itself a myth, but there’s very little evidence beyond salacious anecdotes that it is a particular problem in the gaming community, or that it’s had any discernible impact on young people’s political or racial attitudes. An analysis conducted by the Anti-Defamation League found that 23 percent of gamers had been exposed to white supremacism, and 10 percent had been exposed to Holocaust denial while playing online games, although this is likely to be true of other forums outside games as well. Exposure to things such as harassment are actually more common in social networking sites and news article comments sections than they are in games according to the Pew Research Center. Exposure, in any case, does not automatically translate into influence, and newer social science research suggests people’s attitudes are less easily influenced than once thought.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the Gamergate narrative took shape in parts of the gamer press, and that this narrative was then seized upon and uncritically repeated by national non-game news outlets unfamiliar with the subculture on which they were reporting. But since the gamer press was itself at the center of the original controversy about journalistic ethics, it had a rather obvious incentive to denigrate its critics as malevolent misogynists whose allegations should be derided and then dismissed.

Any attempt to agree upon an account of the Gamergate scandal—what happened, whether or not the ethics concerns were justified, who said what and when, and so on—would be a fool’s errand in the space available here. In a lengthy investigation for Arc Digital, Cathy Young persuasively argued that both sides of the debate had legitimate gripes, and that there was plenty of bad behavior to go around. What interests me here, however, is who was responsible for harassment on the Gamergate side and what this can tell us about gamer culture.

One possibility is that the news narrative is correct—that the harassment of women within gaming is widespread, and that during the Gamergate controversy, it was instigated by a reasonably representative sample of Gamergate supporters or even gamers writ large. A second possibility is that a small and unrepresentative number of sociopathic nuts were responsible for the majority of the harassment and exerted an outsized influence during the row by obsessively tweeting and emailing threats to women they did not like. A third possibility is that the individuals involved in online harassment campaigns didn’t really care about Gamergate, games, or even sexual politics at all, and just used these issues as excuses to cause trouble.

An FBI investigation into the episode produced a heavily redacted report that satisfied no one. Holding Gamergate or even gamers accountable for the behavior of individuals makes little sense because Gamergate was an online movement, not an official organization with a leadership, membership, or a clear, agreed upon statement of principles. Furthermore, anyone could use the #Gamergate tag, whether or not they endorsed the central complaint about journalistic integrity or had ever played a video game. In such cases, people usually resolve their uncertainty by relying on their own preexisting biases and agendas. Although there were multiple possible origins of the alleged harassment campaigns, the narrative pinning it on Gamergate supporters or gamers more broadly was attractive and useful to some of those involved, not least those working in games journalism.

If the question of whether responsibility for the harassment of high-profile women in games lay with gamers or just opportunistic Internet trolls and troublemakers is unanswerable, the truth of related allegations is easier to determine. For instance, the portrayal of gamers or Gamergate supporters as largely white, male, heterosexual right-wing supporters can be tested using the tools of social science. This stereotype has been repeated in both the popular press and even in some academic papers. Such articles tend to accept the view that Gamergate is a “white male” heteronormative reaction to increased diversity in gaming, and ignore or dismiss Gamergaters’ stated concerns about journalistic ethics as pretext for advancing a reactionary political agenda.

Acceptance of this narrative has been widespread, but there’s very little evidence to support it. It might be true, but for the time being it is mainly resting on unsubstantiated assumptions. In fact, there’s been very little academic research into Gamergate at all. While I was researching this issue, I discovered that a gamergate is also a type of ant, and that scientists know a lot more about the insect than they do about the gaming controversy that convulsed the Internet for months. There are a handful of academic articles on the Gamergate phenomenon, but these are largely narrative or anecdotal, not empirical. So independent games journalist Brad Glasgow and I set out to examine the issue, and create what is, to our knowledge, the first scientific study of Gamergate supporters. We wanted to find out who, narratives aside, are Gamergate supporters?

To do this Brad surveyed 725 Gamergate supporters. Participants, although anonymous in terms of identifying details, had to be able to demonstrate that they had publicly supported Gamergate by providing a tweet, forum post, or similar that they had authored. We found that Gamergate supporters were more diverse than the prevailing narrative suggests. White heterosexual males made up the largest single group (at 41.8 percent) but they did not account for a majority. Significant percentages of Gamergate supporters were non-white, 10.8 percent were women, three percent reported being transsexual, and roughly 25 percent reported a sexual orientation other than heterosexual. So our data indicate that the perception of Gamergate as an entirely white male heterosexual phenomenon is clearly inaccurate.

More interesting, Gamergate supporters generally reported being politically liberal. On a number of social issues such as gay marriage, support for affirmative action, or universal healthcare, we found that Gamergaters were more liberal than the general population. This runs contrary to the narrative of Gamergaters as supporters of the alt-Right.

It is not my intention here to diminish the harassment suffered by women in the games industry during 2014 (as well as before and since). However, the narrative linking such harassment to Gamergate supporters and gamers more generally appears to be unfounded. Ours is certainly just one survey-based study, with all the attendant caveats and limitations, and this area would certainly benefit from further study. Our sample may have been somehow self-selecting as more liberal than most Gamergaters. But for now it’s the only peer-reviewed examination of the movement and should at least encourage wariness of generalizations about gamers or even Gamergate supporters.

Why was such an apparently misleading narrative allowed to become so prevalent and powerful, despite a dearth of supporting evidence? There are several possibilities, but here are three:

  1. In some ways, the conflicts of interest that originally animated Gamergate were allowed to continue as games journalism framed the narrative about the Gamergate controversy. Whoever perpetrated the harassment of women in the games industry (whether it was a wide cross-section of gamers, a few individuals, or trolls unrelated to gaming), the harassment campaign became an easy tool for games journalists to use to discredit Gamergate and they did so with great efficiency. Given Gamergate itself was never an organized phenomenon with a clear, coherent manifesto, this was easy to do.
  2. Gamers are an easy target for stereotyping and stigma. So, it appears to have been easy for their opponents to generalize beyond Gamergate to all gamers and the gaming community. The actual diversity of the gaming community notwithstanding, the narrative of the gamer as the regressive, socially impaired, adolescent white male has been difficult to shake. The Gamergate narrative perfectly fit these preexisting stereotypes of gamers.
  3. The Gamergate controversy is indicative of larger cultural difficulties we have with pragmatically focusing on a problem based on evidence. Instead, controversies like this one offer an irresistible opportunity to signal tribal allegiance and out-group antipathy. Many of the articles on Gamergate appear to use harassment of women not as a social problem to be tackled pragmatically but as a rhetorical cudgel with which to beat gamers or as a means of advertizing the progressive bona fides of the author. Very few articles on the topic seem to be at all concerned with accumulating evidence regarding who actually engaged in the harassment of women. Instead, anecdotes were used to support and circulate assumptions that all gamers were complicit in misogyny. This opened a new front in the culture wars over gaming that has likely done little to serve either women or gamers (or women gamers) in a positive way.

If we are to figure out how to combat online harassment, analyses of the problem and its seriousness need to be based on good evidence. An opportunity to amass and study data was wasted in favor of developing a politically expedient narrative of dubious provenance. I remain confident that a pragmatic, empirically based approach can lead us to solutions for reducing online harassment while avoiding unnecessary stereotyping of gamers.

 

Christopher J. Ferguson is a professor of psychology at Stetson University in Florida. He is author of Moral Combat: Why the War on Violent Video Games is Wrong and the Renaissance mystery novel Suicide KingsHis new book How Madness Shaped History was released in April 2020You can follow him on Twitter @CJFerguson1111.

Photo by Florian Olivo on Unsplash.

Comments

  1. The Gamergate was the first of many controversies to sweep through the culture, as the pathological philosophy of Intersectional Feminism spread out from the Universities, wrapping it’s tendrils through fields as diverse as publishing, comedy and knitting. The fact that the various Grievance Studies (with the exception of a few noteworthy serious scholars such as Christina Hoff Sommers), has been completely discredited as a laundry for fatally flawed ideas by the Grievance Studies debunking meted out by Peter Boghossian, James Lindsay and Helen Pluckrose, seems to have largely escaped it’s most ideologically entrenched adherents.

    It’s largely based upon the anecdotal evidence of ‘lived experience’ which, whilst vital for the authorship of a good fiction novel, is largely irrelevant when compared to the Western tradition of reason, logic, empirical evidence, and the discomfirmation of bad ideas so vital to serious scholarship. Worse still, it asks people to invert Martin Luther Kings admonishment to judge not by the colour of someones skin, but by the content of their character. Instead, the postmodern belief that people are little more than sock puppets for the dynamics of their arbitrary power groups, invites people to judge others solely on the basis of race (or gender, or orientation) and tells us to all to become racists.

    Jonathan Haidt’s observation that the spread of this Mind Virus was always well-intentioned, meant to correct for historic and societal injustices, and was largely conveyed by the tool of Social Media, transferred outside the domain it’s own core subjects by unwitting students, will be of little comfort to its victims. In one instance, a senior manager was called into an HR disciplinary procedure for using the phrase “lets get down to the nitty gritty”, because of the mistaken belief that this phrase originated in the slave trade, when the most cursory examination of historical records shows it’s first reference in the British Merchant Marine, after slavery was abolished. Similar historical inaccuracies are often slandered or libelled, when some poor unwitting fool references the Rule of Thumb.

    But, although the perfidious nature of this psychosis is happily ensconced in media, Government bureaucracy and corporate hierarchies through HR Departments, there is ample evidence that it will not survive long as a cultural phenomenon, outside these rarefied climes. Over 80% of the population in most Western countries are strongly opposed to both it, and it’s less virulent cousin PC. And even amongst the 8% who self-identify as woke, 30% say the Left often goes too far.

    Many consumers of movies and fiction are actively avoiding anything that appears woke, leading to the phrase “Get Woke, Go Broke”, instead choosing to support comedians like Dave Chapelle or Ricky Gervais, who refuse to tow the line. Indeed, there is even a significant, but growing demographic of Rotten Tomato users who now hunt for movies and media that the critics slam, but the audience loves.

    It is ironic indeed, that the real objective of this Intersectional attempt to unify anyone who is not a straight white male under the banner of Socialism, is a spectacular failure. One of the main reasons Donald Trump was elected was because so many people felt they could no longer speak on a raft of subjects, or contradict deliberate lies- it was precisely his inability to prudently self-edit that got Donald Trump elected in the first place, with the often mouthed admonition that anyone who voted for Donald Trump was a racist and/or a misogynist, backfiring specifically because it insulted anyone who was only considering it.

    Similarly, in the UK the fact that many Left wing politicians often repeated well-rehearsed lines that had only been trialled on the politically and culturally unrepresentative world of the Twitterati, lead directly to the greatest Labour defeat since 1935. For a significant percentage of traditional working-class Labour voters, Brexit was a secondary issue, with many feeling that Labour no longer represented them.

    It seems that in this age of Cancel Culture and the sly grift to promote ones own interest by destroying others for often petty and inane reasons, there remains one area where people can still reject this anti-humanist dogma- within the anonymous confines of the ballot box. As more people are sacked for sharing Billy Connolly jokes, convicted and ankle-tagged for sharing rap lyrics or publicly shamed and humiliated for having bad dates, or simply cancelled for not cancelling Trump with sufficient vitriol and condemnation, it seems that this one small sanctuary of freedom and democracy prevails.

  2. A similar idiocy is the notion of ‘brogrammers’ ruling over a toxic misogynistic cesspit of computer programmers.

    All because more men choose to work in deep tech than women.

    Even the media can’t decide whether the archetypal nerd is the true image of the IT industry, or whether it has been hijacked by the jocks.

    There is no connection with reality. I know. I’ve worked in the industry for 30 years +.

  3. The perfect playbook is available to counter SJW’s. The surprise is that so few avail of it . Do not apologize and kowtow. Just plough on as normal. These people are essentially hyenas. They attack the injured and those who are perceived as weak. When faced with strength they retreat .

  4. This was a good article. I’ve only vaguely heard about gamergate and missed it when it all happened, but I can definitely see how it fits in the recurring pattern of how Social Justice seeks to scapegoat and bully white men, as we have all witnessed in many other walks of life.

    However the one thing I would like the author to tell us is what exactly is harassment these days, and what is the definition he has in mind? My political correctness comrad commissars at work tells me it means anything that upsets someone higher up the diversity chain than yourself, whether real or imagined. Nowadays I find it hard to take people at their word when they talk of harassment because I don’t know what the hell they mean anymore.

    (Edit: in case anyone thinks I’m exaggerating - I’ve literally had diversity and inclusion training that told us that harassment can’t be defined in any way and can be many things, but they at least helpfully gave us several theoretical scenarios of white men being bad. Subtext: it means whatever they damn well please, and if you’re a white man you have been warned. The whole philosophy of defining things so that we know what they are and what they are not has been thrown out. God save us.)

    Meanwhile, for the rest of us who had a concept of the word harassment before the Social Justice movement, we understood it to be distinct from criticism in general. I’m a bit uninformed about gamergate but criticism of conflicts of interest between some journalists and their buddies in games companies doesn’t strike me as likely to form harassment. I’m happy to be proven wrong but let’s just say my initial barrier of skepticism and the level of proof required is going to be very high indeed.

    I feel like I’m part of an older generation, because the concept, pre-2010s, had a number of features that were important for understanding it and making it distinct from other things.

    Simply put, harassment used to be thought of as being a form of perpetual and repeated abuse from a single person to another, usually with the intentional malice. So if a colleague calls me an idiot once, that’s not harassment, no matter how little I deserved it, but if she does it everyday for a year with an intention to alienate me and destroy my career, then that is more likely to be harassment. If each day of the year a different colleague calls me an idiot then again it is not harassment - in this case it’s likely I’m doing something that is pissing them off.

    The point is that it had to be from the same individual as a repeated thing. The concept also entailed that it was somehow specific to a victim, that somehow the offender was targeting one, or a small number of people, exclusively for it. So, again, if everyone calls everyone else an idiot pretty much everyday (as usually happens when a team of colleagues are on a doomed project and there will be redundancies) then there’s no real case to be made of harassment.

    A final aspect of the concept used to be that it was rather reserved for environments that people can’t escape easily without suffering other losses. So if I go to a debating society every day and the same person calls me an idiot each day, it’s unlikely to meet the legal standard of harassment because a judge would ask why didn’t I just stop going to the society if I didn’t get on with that person. This was why the huge majority of cases of harassment that ever went to court used to be between colleagues at work, where none could easily escape.

    This is pretty much the definition of harassment we were told at school last century, that the press understood, and this was the version that exist(ed) in the law books (I’m basing myself off the french definition but I believe it is similar elsewhere).

    The concept of harassment used to be a useful concept for describing a kind of repetitive grinding down of an individual from a thousand cuts. I experienced harassment myself during a summer job in France as a young adult, where me being English made me initially the butt of a few jokes, which were good humoured the first week, but some took it too far and got nastier and nastier over several months. A few of those people had a genuine anti-english racist streak and it all got out of hand. It was indeed one of the most horrible experiences I suffered and I was at the lowest point of my life, and the point is that the concept used to be useful for describing this phenomenon. If you took any one comment I got from someone in isolation, it didn’t seem like much, but when you put them all together it made my blood boil, and it was a factor in me deciding to leave France to go back to the UK.

    Now, the concept of harassment used to be limited to people who actually lived or worked together and couldn’t easily escape one another.

    But the internet and social media has changed who can send what to whom. I admit I don’t know much about social media because I don’t use it (no, not even Facebook), but I think the word harassment is being distorted and the concept is losing its usefulness at describing a specific kind of behavior, and often seems to be now a case of people deflecting criticism over their behaviour.

  5. I’m one of the relatively few people who started playing computer (as opposed to console) games back in the 1980s. Relatively few, because not many people even owned home computers back then, and fewer yet used them for gaming. My recollection is that Myst, in the early 1990s, was the first computer game to sell more than 50k copies, and that was only because it was included in many software bundles that people got for free when they bought a new computer. I even played the early online games (BBS and mainframe multiuser) and I played the first MMO (Meridian 59) back in 1995(?). The whole time I was interacting with my fellow gamers online, via Prodigy, BBS, Compuserve, usenet, etc. I reckon there aren’t many people who know this community better than I do.

    One thing I have learned is that gamers are most heavily biased against poseurs who misrepresent their gaming credentials. This is where the slang usage of the terms leet (elite) and uber came from, after all. The very cream of the crop in terms of skill, in a hobby that enthusiasts take VERY seriously. This is where Anita Sarkeesian ran into trouble. A non-gamer who fraudulently claimed credentials she didn’t have. And you better believe gamers know when somebody is BSing them about their gaming experience. But not only was she faking it, and lying about games she never played in the process, she appointed herself non-consensual spokesman of a gaming community she wasn’t even a part of, and furthermore she started beating game developers about the head and shoulders with her absurd social justice crusade at a time when game development was being done by actual gamers again, after a decades long period where big game companies had been using random hires who treated creation of games like any other software development project. She harmed game developers and she harmed gamers. Severely. All for personal aggrandizement. In a just world she would have been encouraged by developers and by the community to vacate the scene, but we don’t live in a just world.

    I believe the sh*tshow that is Zoe Quinn and other similar dysfunctional non-gamer non-developer grifters is self-evident to anyone who spends even an hour looking into it. If somebody doesn’t understand what’s going on with that crew, it’s because they don’t want to understand. No amount of commentary from me will change that.

    The history of (electronic) gaming is actually quite tragic. So many setbacks, many regressions and transgressions, so much financial malfeasance… The only reason it still survives at all is there are hundreds of millions of people who play games regularly, and tens of millions who spend enough of their time gaming that they can be called gamers. Social justice creeps can’t change that, no matter how hard they try.

  6. Wait, are they talking about gamers, or us?

    Here’s the thing: the vast majority of gamers were completely unaware of gamergate. I’ve been involved in gamer forums all the way back to usenet for decades, and gaming since 1983 - they’re separate worlds. I’ve seen drama after drama - most recently, one guy got taken down by #metoo, and now some of his accusers have had to publicly apologise and pay him money. Nobody I know in person ever heard of any of the people involved, but it was drama drama drama on the internet for years.

    Most people just sit down at the game table or in front of their monitor and go ahead and play. All this drivel is irrelevant. If the good professor of psychology Ferguson were at my game table, I would have to kill his character and take his stuff.

    image

  7. Great point. Even during the 1990s when computer gaming first took off in a big way, there were only a couple hundred regulars in the usent RPG group. Out of the millions of people who were playing those games, at the time. It all filtered back and forth, though, didn’t it? For example, Everquest was the first really big MMO and that’s where all the MMO jargon started. It made its way to usenet and from there into the gaming community writ large. And rumors/gossip/secret info/etc that started on usenet made its way into the Everquest game community. Dedicated discussion forums were a big thing back then too, and I do remember running into quite a few people in the game that I’d previously run into on the forums, and vice versa. But you’re right, the vast majority of gamers don’t want to talk about politics and social problems with their gaming friends. They want to have fun. That’s why they are playing a game.

    “take it to ooc”

    And nearly everyone has the ooc channel turned off so that don’t have to see the dumb and obnoxious stuff

  8. Gamergate was all about an attempted SJW takeover of video game culture. Much like they took over knitting, science fiction, and other cultures. But gamers were having none of it and fought back, hard. Naturally SJWs stereotyped them as what they hated the most. It’s easier to attack a stereotype than it is a fellow human. They controlled the gaming media, ergo they wrote the history of what happened. Citizens who spoke out were silenced by SJW allies in Big Tech.

  9. [quote=“ClosedRange, post:5, topic:7783”]
    (Edit: in case anyone thinks I’m exaggerating - I’ve literally had diversity and inclusion training that told us that harassment can’t be defined in any way and can be many things, but they at least helpfully gave us several theoretical scenarios of white men being bad. Subtext: it means whatever they damn well please, and if you’re a white man you have been warned. The whole philosophy of defining things so that we know what they are and what they are not has been thrown out. God save us.)[/quote]
    Ah, the old Rock Method of Argument:

    Dolt: Find me a rock.

    Girl: Okay, here’s one.

    Dolt: Nope, that’s not the correct rock.

    Girl: (snicker) Ummm…how will I know what is the correct rock?

    Dolt: I’ll tell you whether it is the correct rock.

  10. Yes. There are 2 small books by Vox Day, a columnist and libertarian guy. “SJWs always lie” and “SJWs always double down”. He’s a friend of Milo Yovanovich, the gay provocateur. He talks about typical SJW behavior, swarming, and other things - an 8 step attack. For defense, he advises never apologizing (as you suggest) and fighting back. I have occasionally turned the tables on the SJWs in a little SJW war we are having in my church, the Unitarian-Universalist faith. The SJWs are attempting to install anti-racism as the key idea of the church, which normal people find absurd.

  11. Maybe you should have explained how “Gamergate” started.

    Blame GamerGate’s Bad Rep on Smears and Shoddy Journalism | | Observer

    But is GamerGate’s bad reputation itself unfair—the result of both deliberate smears and poor reporting? After following the movement for a year and interacting with its members, I strongly believe it is. And while the politics of video game journalism may not seem that important a subject, GamerGate—still active a year after it was first declared dead—is a phenomenon with far larger significance.

    The #GamerGate hashtag, and the anarchic movement it represents, arose in late August 2014 in response to a video game-related controversy involving both cultural politics and media ethics. Some GamerGaters are ethics purists; most also see it, at least in part, as a pushback against “social justice”—the excesses of identity politics and “anti-oppression” zealotry—in gaming and geek culture in general. Today, when not only conservatives and libertarians but liberals are increasingly questioning the authoritarian overreach of the cultural left, that makes GamerGate highly relevant.

  12. It seems likely that humans will always have “bad actors” since we cannot even agree on what’s good or bad much of the time. Religions and governments and businesses and societies and doctors and psychologists and males and females have all done good and bad things.

    Insults are not the same as hatred. People are called four-eyes, not because they think glasses are bad or that wearing them means you should be shunned and hated by society. No, it turns out that any difference you have that differs from a given person’s group will get you picked on at some point.

    Resilience over fragility. Sticks and stones vs. names. Grow up all who think society must fix any grievance.

  13. Many, if not most of the studies presented to us in articles and in on-line comments involve anonymous, self-selected participants whose responses are presumed, for no good reason, to be honest.

  14. First of all, congratulation on actually acquiring some data on this subject.
    Growing up, I’ve been an active member of the gaming community from the 90s to early 2000s. During gamergate, I was focusing on my PhD and not really active anymore. However, I followed the news and I think I know the gaming sphere and online community in general pretty well.

    I would say that options 1 and 3 seem plausible as explanations. especially option 3. I think gamers are generally quite intelligent, young, creative, rebellious and open minded and this precisely the reason why they are intrinsically drawn to counter cultures. Of course this counter culture could be a revival of the far right but as the data indicates, this is not the case. So that leaves us with the question where this far right label comes from and I think the answer is pretty straight forward: a persistent failure by the legacy media to understand online cultures. A contemporary counter culture naturally questions the establishment and the establishment’s ‘state religion’ is basically the new left ideology from the 60s, which somehow, it still considered “progressive” and left wing. The legacy media and establishment have a habit of framing anyone questioning this establishment narrative as reactionary, far right, together with a lot of ists and isms. However, when you actually look into it you encounter a group that holds liberal values, is diverse and often technically progressive as well and that doesn’t surprise me at all.

  15. I too was an early PC gamer, my first real internet exposure aside from visiting websites like CNET, was playing Quake 1, and aside from some questionable names, it was a largely fraternal and welcoming environment, unless you were a camper or some other kind of unskilled cheat. I was never that good, but I played by the rules, written and unwritten, and was never treated disrespectfully, although I was among the last to be chosen as a teammate in ‘capture the flag’ :D. One player who called themselves ‘hotgirl’ was an okay player, but liked to get into nasty disagreements with other players who would call them ‘bitch’ and similar insults. Finally she/he got banned from the server I played on, but by that time the top players would make mincemeat of me in seconds so I stopped playing. Regarding ‘Gamergate’ though, every time I heard a brazen, stupid, accusation of misogyny or racism I would think “Is that you hotgirl?”

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