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#GamerGate discredit gamers with its online abuse aimed at the industry

The social media campaign "fighting" for journalist integrity has done the opposite.
The social media campaign "fighting" for journalist integrity has done the opposite.
Photo courtesy of Flickr, used with permission.

The social media campaign known as #GamerGate continues to "fight" for journalistic integrity in the video games industry, as it ramps up online abuse of game developers and critics.

A quick summary: The #GamerGate campaign began when Zoe Quinn, game designer of "Depression Quest," was accused of sleeping with a member of the gaming press for favorable coverage, based off questionable posts by her ex-boyfriend Eron Gjoni. Despite the fact Gjoni amended his original statement and that the journalist in question never did a review of "Depression Quest," or showed any explicit favoritism towards the game, it was enough for some to condemn the female developer and harass her online.

Following complaints of journalistic integrity being compromised, Polygon and Kotaku changed their policies on supporting independent game designers through crowdfunding sites like Patreon and adding a disclosure when a writer has communicated with a game developer. With its false sense of victory, the #GamerGate campaign was created by those seeking to rid the gaming world of "Social Justice Warriors," or people who dare to criticize a game for negative portrayals of sex and race. A criticism that's common in other mediums, but for some reason, is considered unjust and unimportant in the gaming community.

A popular target of misogynists is Anita Sarkeesian of "Tropes vs Video Games," as her online videos questioning the portrayal of women in video games have earned her countless death and rape threats. A recent death threat was so strong that it forced the video blogger to leave her home and seek safety at a friend's house. She too is victim of the harassment spurred by #GamerGate, as she continues to discuss and receive praise for her analysis of women in video games. Women aren't the only target of #GamerGate, like "Fez" creator Phil Fish was doxxed for supporting Quinn in her time of need and choosing to leave the industry because he was so disgusted by those who called themselves "gamers." However, #GamerGate supporters are often at a state of complete bliss, when they believe they silenced a good, female game writer. The same goes for game writers of color.

It's hard to take #GamerGate seriously when the originator of the hurtful movement comes from the video game section of 4chan, which openly advocates the destruction of "Social Justice Warriors" in gaming, while using sexist, racist, and bigoted language. The #GamerGate general threads there state it's not about hating or getting rid of women in the video game industry, despite the fact women are being victimized at their hands for merely stating their beliefs. 4chan's creation of a female character called Vivian James for a crowdfuned video game campaign is currently being used by members as a defense that they're not sexist. But that defense comes down, as Vice explains Vivian was not created out of sincerity.

Articles on the death of "gamers" have popped up in the media, following the disappointing events of #GamerGate. Despite the shame caused by a few and unfortunately loud online trolls, the term "gamers" is not at death's door. Quite the contrary, the meaning of who or what a "gamer" is has expanded in recent years. A gamer is no longer identified solely as an adult Caucasian male; being a gamer means you are among the men and women of different ages, races, and beliefs that loves to play video games. Statistics of women making half the gaming audience has only further proved that claim. For its claim on restoring respectful journalism to video games, #GamerGate is nothing more than an attempt to make the medium as exclusive as possible, by attacking those who treat it as an art form.

#GamerGate says it doesn't want game creators to be censored, yet it attacks game creators who speak their mind. #GamerGate says it doesn't hate women, yet it attacks women in the industry with death and rape threats. #GamerGate says it wants objective news reporting, yet the movement has been driven by pathetic and meaningless evidence on a game developer's sex life. #GamerGate says it wants video games to be taken seriously, yet it doesn't want anyone to take video games seriously.

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