The GamerGate movement was first coined by actor Adam Baldwin when he noticed the controversy over journalistic ethics at gaming websites like Kotaku. But the background behind GamerGate has spawned a lot of controversy, leading some to reject the movement outright, while others are saying it's become part of the larger social battle between conservatives and progressives.
In a related report by The Inquisitr, when an economist writer suggested anime and cosplay could be a symptom of a poor U.S. economy, the otaku among us were obviously not too impressed by that suggestion.
The above video attempts to give a brief overview of the history of GamerGate up to this point, although critics of GamerGate believe it is biased, and claim GamerGate has never been about ethics in journalism. (Please see this article on Ogeeku for an in-depth summary.) Critics claim supporters of GamerGate are simply attempting to legitimize a movement that began with personal attacks on the female video game developer Zoe Quinn, who allegedly had sex with multiple video game journalists in order to receive good publicity for her indie game. Multiple websites, including Kotaku, claim this allegation is false, and Quinn is said to be afraid to return to her own home due to GamerGate.
Regardless, supporters of GamerGate claim the movement has gone beyond Quinn.
"The Zoe Quinn scandal may have technically been the initial point of concern, but #gamergate didn't actually become a thing until it became obvious that gaming sites, seemingly unconnected, began censoring and slandering their audience for wanting an open dialogue about ethics in journalism. So it wasn't the thing as much as it was the reaction to the thing."
Kotaku's Luke Plunkett described the GamerGate movement in less flattering terms.
"There has been so much hate. So many angry words, so many accusations, over...what? Video games? Women in video games? People who write about video games? It would be absurd if it hadn't forced people out of their homes for fear of their personal safety."
Gawker, which is owned by the same company as Kotaku, notes that "#Gamergate's mission (publicly, anyway) is to convince games writers to adopt the same ethical standards as "real journalists," but asserts "the movement was focused on destroying Zoë Quinn first, reforming games reporting second." This article had conservative-leaning media outlet Breitbart wading into the GamerGate controversy by claiming Gawker published a "fact-free screed penned by someone suspended for plagiarism," and that the claims about Intel backing away from its initial stance on Gamasutra are false.
Breitbart also claims the real issue with those who oppose GamerGate is that they are part of the "liberal media."
"And that's the essence of the problem for the hand-wringing liberal media in all of this. The polite, insistent, fact-based and entirely reasonable concerns of GamerGate are invulnerable to scrambling, desperate, politically illiterate and completely absurd attempts to paint the movement as a misogynistic, right-wing lobby group. It isn't one, and advertisers know it... Advertising rates are surely set to plummet, as developers and studios object to outright lies being told about their own customers by journalists who have nothing in common with ordinary gamers and who, in many cases, actively despise their own readers, use every opportunity to poke fun at them, take the word of liars over their own common sense and go on ideological crusades against people whose politics they don't like."
Supporters of GamerGate like Robert Mariani claim the reaction to the movement resembles the political battle between conservatives and progressives because it's supposedly an example of Social Marxism in action.
"The tactic of dishonestly re-framing a viewpoint into something outrageous in an attempt to discredit those who hold the viewpoint is known as intellectual bullying.... A lot of of the tactics of the anti-GamerGate intellectual bullying campaign were famously codified in Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals.... Keep in mind: to the ideologue, everything is ideological. In this particular case, we see examples of non-white women making tweets in support of GamerGate accused of being sock puppet accounts of white males.... GamerGate has about as much to do with Zoe Quinn as much as World War 1 has to do with Gavrilo Princip – someone was going to ignite the powder keg.... GamerGate has nothing to do with gender politics or feminism beyond the incessant (and ultimately successful) underhanded tactics employed by ideologues attempting to frame an earnest call for ethical scrutiny as an insidious political attack on them."
The political nature of GamerGate appears to be unavoidable since even Adam Baldwin says he came up with the hashtag because he believes video game journalists are attempting to embed progressive ideals into their writings.
"I'm not really the be-all-and-end-all when it comes to gamer journalism or even games in general. But the people that took up the mantle have been experiencing social justice warfare, and they're sick of it, and they're speaking up. And obviously the social justice warriors are angry and lashing back.... In the educational programs, in elementary schools, in colleges, they teach a curriculum of being 'change agents.' They teach you to 'be the change you wish to see in the world.' So you get these game journalists, journalists in general, who want to change the world by invoking social justice, which really just means 'have the government be bigger, take more money from people, and institute fairness quotas'— or whatever the hell they define fairness as that day! But that's what they're doing, and they're caught out, and they don't like it. They don't like sunlight."
How GamerGate is portrayed often seems to depend on which side of the debate a person falls on.
You wanted developers to listen, to open up to you and reveal themselves? To interact with the community? They'll think twice now #GamerGate
— InfoSec Taylor Swift (@SwiftOnSecurity) October 11, 2014
#Gamergate is hurtful to gamers, game developers, game press, and anyone else who sees games as an important, positive part of their lives.
— Kris Piotrowski (@krispiotrowski) October 11, 2014
#GamerGate is equality in gaming, exposing corruption in "game journalism". pic.twitter.com/j2594kH1Au
— echohack (@echohack) October 11, 2014
Even if #gamergate has the best of intentions, the fact that no one outside #gamergate believes that means its time for a hard reappraisal.
— Stu Horrorvath (@StuHorvath) October 11, 2014
Video game developer Brianna Wu of Giant Spacekat also claims harassment from a GamerGate supporter led her to call police.
The police just came by. Husband and I are going somewhere safe. Remember, #gamergate isn't about attacking women. pic.twitter.com/ZU6oEVxMGL
— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) October 11, 2014
But other supporters of the GamerGate movement claim they helped in ending the harassment.
@thrillith The acts of @chatterwhiteman were despicable. I'm glad it's been suspended. No place for that in #GamerGate
— Goth Skunk (@GothSkunk) October 11, 2014
Twitter search for "@chatterwhiteman" shows many #GamerGate reporting him, and a suspension of his account. Good job!
— K. P. Badertscher (@badkenbad) October 11, 2014
What do you think about the GamerGate movement?
[Image via FunnyJunk.com]