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Wednesday 29 October 2014

Don’t Menshn Gamergate

The ruckus that is Gamergate continues to rumble on as an argument, an exercise in sexism and misogyny, and a festival of clickbait generation. The whole area is quite heated enough: some moderate and reasoned discussion is in order. Thankfully, Anita Sarkeesian of Feminist Frequency has tried to do just that in an op-ed for the New York Times on the female perspective on gaming (read it HERE).
(c) Doc Hackenbush 2014

She concludes “The time for invisible boundaries that guard the ‘purity’ of gaming as a niche subculture is over. The violent macho power fantasy will no longer define what gaming is all about. Those who police the borders of our hobby, the ones who try to shame and threaten women like me into silence, have already lost. The new reality is that video games are maturing, evolving and becoming more diverse”.
But Louise Mensch, as with all other subjects, knows more than Ms Sarkeesian, and, indeed, more than everyone else put together. “Interestingly rubbish article by Anita Sarkeesian on Gamergate in the NYT. Facts are against her ... Sarkeesian says ‘I know games can tell more inclusive stories’ and ‘gamers have already lost’ but actually, nothing will change” she declared loftily. And there was more.
Video games appeal mostly to boys and men, make tons of money, and will continue to do so without being ‘inclusive’ ... So therefore, Sarkeesian has the free speech right to whine away and the free market will ignore her”. Hmm, I wonder what Helen Lewis might make of that, other than a significantly-sized bonfire. And Ms Mensch ignores the “shame and threaten” part.
She continues not to get the point of Ms Sarkeesian’s article, telling “It’s intellectually bankrupt to complain that products made for men appeal to men”, which will most likely engender many head-desk interface scenarios. And then she goes off on an unexplained tangent: “totally tempted to post World of Warcraft comedy video forced me to watch last night from Wowcrendor”. Wait, what?
She’s not sure what: “not sure what it was called but it was a lot of bosses sitting around in a therapy circle thinking ‘happy thoughts’ ... come on Gamergate types give me a link to the Wowcrendor bosses therapy meeting thing”. I’m sorry, but this is totally irrelevant to Gamergate, isn’t it?
But soon she snaps out of it and returns to attacking Ms Sarkeesian: “that is [Feminist Frequency] vs Gamergate in a nutshell. Attempted censorship by association”. Not sure about that one, Ms M. But do go on (as if she needs prompting).  She asks us to “look over there” at films: “Macho films appeal to both sexes without ‘inclusive’ marketing or stories”.

Louise Mensch is at least consistent: she hasn’t got a clue about Gamergate, just as she hasn’t got a clue about most things. And she was allowed to become an MP.


Darren said...

But Louise Mensch's columns are actually about ethics in journalism.*
(* I think I incorrectly spelled 'a complete load of truthiness drivel'.)

Anonymous said...

"The violent macho power fantasy will no longer define what gaming is all about."

It never did and it doesn't now - it's a subset of gaming, in the same way as you know, Strategy, sport games, fighting games also co-exist. Edge was debating cartoon vs photo realism the other week like there's a choice of one or the other. You might as well debate only allowing one genre of film or Animation vs live action.

Nintendo's existed in it's own bubble for 35 years, it's games have always been diverse and accessible, they sell (though they need to get their fingers out)- games have never ever been more diverse, I used to think the only things we lacked were the modern equivalents of those great lucusarts games but even they exist in some form on tablets and the DS plus are readily available on emulators and from good old games..

Really games are more diverse than they've ever been, you have the entire history of gaming available at a moments notice, on more platforms than ever and able to appeal to more ages and backgrounds than ever before.

Fact is there is a market for FPS's and that's all there is to it, if it changes it'll change because tastes change, in the same way 2d fighters ruled the roost in 1992 and 5 years later were a small sub-genre with a cult following on the Saturn and Neo Geo. But I'm prepared to bet they will sell for the foreseeable future - if you don't like them, don't buy them, if they don't sell, they'll change direction very quickly.

If you want better stories then write them, make the diverse games better than the dumb stuff.