The real truth of #GamerGate

[Written in the style of Mallory Ortberg, who is awesome]

Your bunkmates are already fast asleep when you fall wearily onto the hard mattress; it’s been a long, tiring day of back-breaking labor in the camps.  Tired as you are, however, your thoughts are unsettled and sleep seems elusive.

Once, years ago, you would have felt anger about the accident of birth that forced you into this state, but now you accept your fate. You are but a man, and the strength of men exists to serve the greater good. Or at least that’s what they tell you, and who are you to question them?

At last you decide that sleep will not come and reach under your mattress, pulling out the small handheld hidden there. Pulling your blanket over your head to hide the glow of the screen, you turn it on, eagerly waiting to resume from where you left off. But the screen barely has time to flash HITMAN 37 before you hear a tremendous crash as the door to your dormitory is kicked off its hinges. “WE’VE FOUND HIM,” someone shouts.

No time to hide the evidence – the blanket is suddenly yanked from your head and you find two large Gaming Police officers standing over you, your terrified expression reflected back at you in their mirrored sunglasses.

The first officer snatches the handheld away from you and pops out the disc. “Code 37 – no female protagonist,” she grunts, snapping the disc in half in her fist.

The second officer flashes her badge – GAME POLICE: FEMINIST CRITIC, and your heart sinks. Being apprehended by the Gaming Police was bad enough, but that they have a Game Critic with them? This is bad, very bad. The Critic grabs you by the collar, half-choking you as she pulls you to your feet. “Playing games after curfew, huh? Well guess what, bub?” She pulls you closer and the light glints coldly off her earrings. “Games are for women.”

You feel the cold metal of handcuffs snap around your wrists. “We’re taking you in,” the first officer says coldly.

You pray that she only means you’ll be going to a reeducation center, but then she holds a retinal scanner up to your face and it immediately sounds an alarm. “Repeat offender,” it squeals.

You look back to your bunkmates, but none of them will meet your gaze. “You know what that means,” the Critic growls. “Time to go.”

You’re stuffed in the back of a small transport that is packed with other terrified men. Nothing is said by anyone as you are driven out of the camps and into the capitol city itself. Any other time, you would have gasped – while living in the camps, you never would have imagined that such grandeur was possible. But you keep silent, not wanting to make things worse for yourself than they already are.

At last you stop and are unloaded in front of what can only be the palace. It is a place you have heard of but never seen, a place designed to strike fear into the hearts of men.

You stand before the Gamer Gate – which stands open before you. Constructed entirely of bone, it gleams coldly white under the floodlights that illuminate the palace exterior. Lining the walkway to the palace steps are the dread female warriors, said to be able to strike any man dead where he stands with a single glance – the Social Justice Warriors. And there in formation behind them are their male honor guard, the White Knights, proudly bearing the black, white, and red banner of the Feminist Gynocracy.

The Critic and the Gamer Police march you, along with their other captives, up the steps of the palace and into a great hall. At one end of the great hall stands a throne of skulls, upon which sits a woman, who proudly wears the womb-shaped badge of a Game Journalist. Stunned, you find her both beautiful and terrible to behold.

You are thrown to the floor in front of the throne. The skulls leer at you mockingly as the Game Journalist considers your fate. “And just who are you?”

“A gamer,” you whisper. You had intended it as a statement of defiance, but your voice sounds small and frightened. You clear your throat and try again. “A gamer! I am. I am a gamer.”

The Game Journalist smiles, a terrible rictus to match the throne on which she sits. “Too bad for you. Gamers are over.” She snaps her fingers, pointing at the captain of her guard. “Execute him! Add his skull to my throne!”

“Wait!” From the shadows behind the throne steps a third woman who wears the robes of a Game Developer. “You may yet be spared, if…” She smiles like the cat that got into the cream. “…you consent to become my lover and say good things about my latest game.”

You draw back, horrified. “Never!”

A murmur passes through the ranks of the assembled Social Justice Warriors. “He does not consent,” The Critic says sternly.

“It is our highest law,” the Game Developer agrees sadly.

The Game Journalist sits back on her throne. “Then flay him alive and add his bones to the Gate.”

You can only scream in horror as the White Knights step forward to take you away.


23 thoughts on “The real truth of #GamerGate

  1. Sigh. I didn’t grow up in the North American culture so could you explain what is going on in this article for someone who does not understand the point of this article.

    • This doesn’t rely on any special awareness of North America. This is a satire of the events surrounding #GamerGate and the harassment that female game journalists, critics, and developers have faced as a result.

      • I did not make my point clear enough: the type of satire you used is in my experience only found in North American society so I was asking what purpose does this article serve as I am not familiar culturally with this type of satire and its uses.

          • But then how is this article satire? If it was written by someone from #GamerGate as a dystopian vision of a feminist future in gaming it would be considered unemotional and bland in some of the internet cesspits the #GamerGate movement comes from and emo in some of the other cesspits that feed the movement.

            • [This is derailing. I do not intend to have a conversation about the definition of satire. Satire is a literary genre stretching back to the ancient Greeks and continuing today. There are contemporary satirists doing work all over the world, not just in North America, whom you could learn about if you bothered to use Google or Wikipedia.

              Nor do I intend to discuss the relative merits of satire as a genre, or of the merits of this specific post as a work of satire. Either of these conversations go so far beyond missing the point of what I was trying to talk about as to land on a different continent entirely.

              If you are curious about these issues, turn to Google. I am not here to educate you on matters entirely unrelated to issues of feminism. For that matter, I am not even here to educate you on the fundamental basics of feminism. I have stated repeatedly that this is not a 101-level blog, and there are myriad, easily searchable resources that can assist you in deeper research of the things that I discuss here.

              Further comments in this thread will be deleted.]

    • An indie game dev cheated on her boyfriend with a handful of people, including a game journalist. Jilted boyfriend airs the dirty laundry in excessive detail and it goes viral. It raises questions about the relationships that gaming journalists have with their subjects (is there sexual quid pro quo in the industry? for instance), and it’s pointed out that many journalists are also patreon donors to individuals and projects they cover. Of course the internet, being what it is, also has elements of trolls who posted various threats and harassing statements, including dredging up old pictures of the indie game dev lady from back when she was a porn star. In response to trolls, various game websites universally declared that ‘gamers’ were crappy people as a whole, lots of accusations of mouth-breathing and virginity and heterosexuality were tossed about. While most of the discussion had shifted to journalistic integrity and the contempt that the gaming journalist community as a whole has for its audience, the media has tried to focus the narrative on a handful of idiots saying idiot and threatening things. Of course, while women, people of color and LGBT individuals are standing up and saying ‘don’t use us to push your (game journalists’) social agenda’, they’re being brushed off as sockpuppets and trolls posting nasty comments on the internet are being held up as representative of the gaming community as a whole. Meantime, no one is really talking about the lady whose relationships with various industry insiders kicked things off except to point out that no one is really talking about her anymore.

      While some gaming outlets have stuck to their guns, others have instituted new policies on transparency, such as full disclosure when a subject and write have a professional relationship, a personal relationship, a patreon/indigogo/kickstarter relationship, etc.

      • Um the people who wanted to institute change in game journalism abandoned the #GamerGate tag after it came out that the 5 people that Zoe Quin was accused of sleeping with by her whiny ex-boyfriend did not in fact review her games after they became friends(or more, I honestly don’t give a fuck if she slept with any of them or not).

        The people who are actually concerned about game journalism corruption have stopped using the #GamerGate tag awhile ago, all that is left now are trolls,haters and misogynists.

        Also why is it that the narrative is always that Zoe Quin slept with those 5 men to get good reviews so that her game could sell well/get free good publicity and it is never that any of those 5 men might have tried to benefit from their positions as beacons of good word on games by blackmailing a female developer to have sex with them or she would not get a good score on her game(s)?

        I’m just wondering since we are talking about game journalism corruption why aren’t the game journalists being called out as the bad guys and the bad guy is instead one female indy developer?

          • They are being called out for corruption related to taking gifts and money for higher scores given in game reviews. I have not seen anyone call out any game journalist on using their position and power within the industry to blackmail female developers into sex by threatening to give a low score if they don’t get sex. No one was considering that scenario as even remotely possible or plausible in the entire #GamerGate incident.

            Could you please tell me why?

            • Alex: It’s cool. It happens.

              [Mod voice: I would not touch conversations about the underlying journalistic ethics debate behind #gamergate with a 50 foot pole. Further comments in this thread will be deleted.]

              • Also, (and feel free to delete this, but I did want to say it) even though I disagree with your take here and at other times, do not take that to mean that I do not still, by and large, enjoy your content and have a tremendous amount of respect for you and what you do.

  2. As someone who has largely ignored #gamergate, and all that: I don’t get it. I don’t want a TL;DR, cause I did read — but there’s some context I’m missing. Could you (or anyone really) Either identify the general context, or point me somewhere that can?

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