Many people are already aware of the internet phenomenon known as Gamer Gate, but what exactly is Gamer Gate, and, most importantly, how can it be fixed? It all started with a split up between a game developer and her boyfriend. It then snowballed into an online fiasco of name calling and short-sided accusations. The break up could be the equivalent of the “Shot heard ’round the world” of this particular chapter in the gaming community. He did something bad, which caused her to do something bad, which caused others online to do something bad, which caused the media to do something bad, which caused gamers to boycott certain media outlets… Whew. Unfortunately, in order to critically analyze the situation, we must do some digging.
From what info we can gather, the once private affair went viral after indie game developer’s (now) ex-boyfriend posted private messages to his blog, revealing that the developer, Zoe Quinn, had various affairs with five people. One person was Nathan Grayson, the head of Kotaku.com, a very popular gaming media outlet, who gave a positive review of her game “Depression Quest.” Another male involved donated a substantial amount of money to Quinn’s game, which is now available on Steam for free download. The private leaks became fodder for haters that quickly took to the keyboard and began harassing Miss Quinn relentlessly to the point where she no longer felt safe in her own home.
While there are many issues here, we must address the two issues that have made this topic grow to such a tremendous size. First, the ones who attacked Miss Quinn, and second, the corruption surrounding her actions in her private life. It goes without saying that the death threats and the constant badgering of Miss Quinn are unnecessary, to put it lightly, but can we simply dismiss the entire topic on the fact that someone got hurt? There’s a problem here that needs to be solved. The people involved with Miss Quinn’s harassment must be brought to justice, as do most of the people involved. A victim doesn’t get away with murder, or in this case, sleeping with her boss. The idea that, “once labeled a victim, I can get away with anything” has cemented itself into our society and now we see the price, corruption goes unpunished, and the guilty get consoled. While the story was hot, the media quickly threw water on it by silencing all voices who wanted to speak about it. Kotaku took the fascist route and decided to delete all negative posts in their discussions on the topic, while everyone else followed suit out of fear of getting in trouble with the Kotaku “Gestapo.” This made gamers in the online communities feel that they were losing their voice, and, in a sense, they were right.
This problem is nothing new to the world. I feel like this controversy is a sign of gamers coming of age. It’s time we stopped letting things go and put our big boy pants on and take care of business. We must hold the guilty accountable: Zoe Quinn, her ex-boyfriend, her harassers, the men of power who accepted the fruit of corruption, and the media who tried to cover and spin the story.