Do not go gentle into that good night

Do not go gentle into that good night
Gamers should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
– Dylan Thomas, slightly edited

I am #Gamergate #notyourshield

I am #Gamergate #notyourshield

#GamerGate began quite awhile ago, by the standards of pretty much any justice movement online – several months of intense misdirection, false claims, defensive reactions and hatred at being called out for poor behavior and a lapse of journalistic integrity have not gone unnoticed, and I’m here, today, to tell you that this is not the end, but merely the beginning.

For those who missed what #GamerGate is all about, a vaguely brief overview is simply that gaming journalism, for quite some time, has been backing itself into a corner. Accepting free copies of games from studios to review by promising to give a good review, whether it was deserving or not, being given favours under the table, or simply being good friends with developers and giving favoured treatment where there was a conflict of interest were only some of the issues that gaming journalism had.

Worse, was the financial issue: with the crash of the dotcoms over a decade preceding the #GamerGate scandal, ad revenue for these sites plummeted. No longer could a gaming journalist afford to play a game for more than 15-20 minutes before writing an article and hope to get paid adequately for their time, and so it came to be that quality journalism had to suffer.

Under these conditions, gaming journalism found a new way to support itself: clickbait.

Rather than provide useful commentary about which games were worth buying based upon gameplay, story elements, character design, replayability and so on, the journalists found that all one had to do in order to get a million views was to enrage the population with wild, baseless accusations against their very own readers. We were drawn like moths to the flamebait, one thousand voices or more at a time in angry protest over being called vile misogynists or neckbeards, needing to tell them how wrong they were… except they already knew. That was the whole point.

Gaming journalism simply wasn’t profitable any longer. It just didn’t pay the bills to tell the world which games were worth buying, or to spend several weeks playing an MMO before being able to provide it a detailed review. The key was in pissing off as many people as possible, as often as possible, in as short of a time as possible.

Somewhere, in the back of our collective consciousness, we knew what was happening, and we knew why. We knew that it had become festering with a black rot, that the very foundation of why gaming journalism even existed had been lost. We knew, but it was a quiet thing, resting peacefully in the back of the mind, ever present, yet little more than a gentle snore now and then.

And then, everything changed.

The sleeping giant awoke, and we found that it had grown to a formidable beast during its slumber. All it had taken was the hard evidence of a single case, a single example where a journalist had traded a good review for a blatantly bad game in exchange for sexual favours. A single drop in the ocean of tears that had been shed over such matters before.

This time it was different, though. It began with the standard protests as it always had, and should have ended there. To fire those involved, to brush it off as a mistake, to simply apologize. So many things could have been done to prevent the tsunami which erupted, but that’s not what happened.

Instead, it was covered up, brushed under the rug, and anyone who pointed out trading sexual favours for a good review defeated the purpose of giving a review in the first place was attempted to be silenced and shunned, accused of hating women or their sexuality.

It didn’t work.

The fact of the matter is, the giant had been nudged awake, and likely would have rolled over and gone back to sleep in our metaphorical representation of the collective gamer population’s anger. It would have quieted down with little more than a gentle lullaby comprised of simple placations and empty promises for reform.

Instead, the gaming press poked at it with pitchforks and yelled at it to stop snoring so loudly, and thus the beast arose to the mighty din with a roar of pitched anger, and still, the press threw pebbles at it, tried to direct it to damsels tied to posts, with cries of equality, assuming it would be too stupid to notice the blatant bait and switch used upon it.

Unfortunately for the press, this isn’t what happened. The beast that was #GamerGate saw through the flimsy attempts at obfuscation and misdirection, and barreled straight for them anyway.

We stand, now, in the wake of the giant – it still barrels past all that those who awoke it throw in its way, yet they are on the retreat, losing ground with every step it takes, and with each new attempt to dissuade it, the rage it feels only grows.

Behind the path of destruction, lies the calm after the storm. An eerie silence which permeates the air, and there are those with vision who have seen what a lush paradise has been left behind by those who have set off in terror.

This is the beginning of a new age of gaming journalism, you see. We have uncovered the ruins of what once was, and learned the lessons of those who came before us. We see, now, that the purpose of the journalist is not to justify their own existence with a paycheque, but rather, to provide a service and be granted recompense only by fulfilling that service.

The service which was always meant to be provided was to let gamers know which games were worth playing, and which were not worth spending the time and money on. As a gaming journalist myself, and as an Editor for 20oz, I will state flat out that it’s not our job to tell people whether they should be enraged at cleavage in a game, nor is it our job to tell the player what they should or should not enjoy. It is our job only to report what factors are there, so that our readers can make up their own mind over whether they want to play the game in question or not.

It is most certainly not any journalist’s job to tell anyone that their culture is dead, or that they’re horrible people. We exist to report what is, not to guess at what might be, nor to try to make what we want to be reality, regardless of whether people agree with us or not. We simply get the facts, and report them. Preferably with a touch of personality to go along with such.

You see, the gamer isn’t dead; we have always been here, since the days of the console wars, since Mario fought Sonic, since the days of the Atari and the Commodore 64, since the long forgotten night of the arcade machine, and this is not about to harm us nor deter us. If anything, #GamerGate has provided us room to grow, with dozens of new websites and content providers springing up all around, eager to fill the niches we have noticed go empty. Strong minds and hearts toil away, even as I write this now, to provide what should have been.

I, as the writer of this article, am a bisexual, transgendered woman of Lithuanian descent who is legally blind. I’ve worked as a writer, a manager, a concept artist, a 3D modeler, and as a designer for several game design companies, and I am both a gamer and #NotYourShield. I am the very poster-child of what Anti-GG claims to stand for, and have found them wanting.

I support #GamerGate, because I believe in journalistic integrity, because I care about gaming, and because I care about equality, rather than the Animal Farm-esque “some are more equal than others” brand of “equality” that the opposition has touted around.

I’m here because, like so many others, I’ve seen an opportunity to become part of the solution. Were it not for #GamerGate, I would not have felt the need to lend my support 20oz at all in the first place, and you would not be laying eyes upon this text at this very moment.

The gamer lives on in all of us, because we say it lives on. We will not be told our identity is dead, nor that we are “evil” by bullying tactics and ad hominem attacks. We will persevere, and they will never break us. If we survived the barrens run of WoW, the voice chat of XBox Live or CoD, and the forums of League of Legends, what makes them think they even hold anything in their verbal arsenal that could harm us anyway?

And so, dear gamers, game on, and let us go out this evening for pleasure. The night is still young.

About Catreece MacLeod

Catreece MacLeod has worked as a writer, editor, video game designer, teacher, 3D artist and quite a few other roles. Her specialization is pre-production writing, most notably, world design and IP creation.
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  • Rik

    You are so awesome. Thank you for sharing your story and your support. <3

    • Catreece

      I’m going to have to question the awesome part, but you’re welcome for the support, I suppose. The thing is, I wouldn’t give the support if you didn’t deserve it, so I’m not sure that deserves a “thank you” in response. If anything, I should be thanking you for creating something worthy of supporting in the first place.

  • Some Guy

    I like the background information.

  • Wavinator

    Thank you for sharing this. Little by little the word is getting out there, despite the deplorable behavior of the the main stream media.

    • Catreece

      Yarr, I’ve been following gamergate since about three days after it started or so, but this would be the first time I’ve dipped my toes into the piranha infested waters. Kind of silly, when you think of it, given that piranha’s simply aren’t dangerous to humans and try to escape instead of bite as soon as you go anywhere remotely near them. This analogy may be more apropos than I’d originally intended, now that I think of it. =P

  • Catreece

    Due to Disqus being a brat, one person was not able to post. Here’s the copy paste of their comment, as per their request:

    I have but one small quibble:

    “All it had taken was the hard evidence of a single case, a single
    example where a journalist had traded a good review for a blatantly bad
    game in exchange for sexual favours.”

    There is currently no evidence to support the allegation of Grayson
    giving good review to Quinn for sexual favors (although the initial
    censorship of these allegations did contribute to blowing the whole
    thing up). It has instead been reduced to “positive coverage for a
    friend without recusal or disclosure”. Mind you, this is still a clear
    ethical breach, just not the one that was initially alleged.

    However, the media still emphasizes “good review in exchange for
    sexual favours”, and then goes on to say there is no evidence for this
    (while ignoring the rest of the evidence against them). Basically they
    keep pointing out what #GamerGate once got wrong, as a means of
    straw-manning the entire movement.

    Trust but verify.

    (I would REALLY like to post this in the article comments, but Disqus REFUSES to work for me)

    • Catreece

      To jakobxavier:
      Thanks for this information, I hadn’t been aware that the information had been overturned; the last I’d checked on that particular topic, it was still being listed as true (the article’s actually a few weeks old and I was meaning to tweak/edit it with further fact checking and a rewording, and it got snuck in overnight while I wasn’t looking =P ).

      In light of new information, and having checked it after being told such, for the purposes of the article, consider that line to be redacted and now to read that it was alleged and it’s happened so often that people just got annoyed the moment they saw yet another case of abuse of power since it happens so frequently.

      Anyway, I could go in and edit the original article, but I prefer to keep my errors maintained for later reference, so am only placing the edit in this response. That way people don’t have to go back and try to screenshot my stuff in case I change it, because there’s a full, visible record of any changes made.

      • Ebola-Chan

        The reality is that they seem to have known each other before he ever gave her coverage(he was actually in the credits to her game). Not only that but someone else she’s close with was a judge at an Indie competition that Depression Quest got an award at.

      • Chris Wedge

        Different font colours would be very useful for that. Edits in red, original in black, redactions via strikethrough maybe? So anyone who reads an article can see both it’s current and original editions?

        • Catreece

          I use a similar method for things like forums and when editing (with judicious overuse of the comment feature, as several of our writers can attest to after getting back ‘edited’ copies of their work with 3x more notes than actual original article. =P ) though in an actual article that’s been published it tends to just make it look messy.

          When you’re programming or editing work, it doesn’t matter what it looks like and you can make a big mess just fine, so long as the information that’s needed is provided. In published works, everything has to be exact and streamlined; spelling and grammar actually checked, wording phrased just right, that kind of thing. It has to read well, look pretty, and otherwise seem professional.

          Sadly, this means a mess of notes, recolourations and strikethroughs, though highly informative in a small space, ruin the appearance of such, and makes it look like a rough draft rather than a finished work. Hence why normally sites provide redactions or edits in new articles entirely to essentially say “Oops, my bad.”

          Fortunately, we have a comments section, so at least I can attach it to the same article, so that’s nice, especially since if something said bothers people, they tend to read the comments, so it’s more likely they’ll see the redaction than if it were a separate post linked to at the bottom.

          I know, it’s not the most efficient system, but it’s what we’re stuck working with in order to make things fashionable and functional. It’s a nuisance, but at least it’s still better than printed ink media, who has to reprint an entirely new edition or write an apology two weeks later, stuffed in the back where no one will ever see it.

          Thanks for the concern and options, however, and I think I could safely speak for all of us at 20OZ to say we appreciate that someone cares enough to make the suggestion at all. ^.^

          • Chris Wedge

            Hmm, well…
            Maybe get in touch with the site coders and implement a version tab for each article? Because comment sections get messy quickly. If that’s not possible, Disqus can feature comments…

  • Imdefender Mra

    The Always Awesome Catreece MacLeod strikes again

  • pablocr7

    Thank you, and GREAT article.