#GameGate Nonsense

That annoying situation where I don’t wanna write formally about something, but twitter is too short form to do it without annoying the piss out of everyone and if I go on tumbr I’ll just be talking to people who don’t need to be told stuff again, so… I guess here we are.

Not going to give a real event summary. If you don’t know whats up you can look up #Gamegate or Quinnspiracy and read about it. Basically an indie game dev slept with a bunch of people (which shouldn’t be relevant but people keep bringing it up), one of which was a journo at kotaku and this was allegedly to promote her game Depression Quest. So now people are freaking out about corruption in games journalism or just her or whatever so I’m going to give my thoughts on some things.

Assuming she even slept with him for that reason, two big things bother me about basing critiques of the journalism industry off of this; It poisons the well. First it’s treating this as anything different or unique. There isn’t anything special about the corruption that went on with Quinn. Sex is about the same as money in this context and she paid off a journalist. Everyone goes screaming that this was unfair. I remember reading some bullshit somewhere about how Quinn wasn’t playing fair and how this gave her an unfair advantage… which is insane when you consider the amount of money everyone else is pumping into the system. Sex wasn’t an “unfair advantage”, it was her PR budget.

The second poisoning issue is an over focus on Quinn. Even if you think she’s scum, her being scum has little to do with the industry being corrupt. If a system is going to avoid corruption it has to do it internally. External forces are always going to try and spend money to market to their advantage. Usually we understand this. When a company buys a site takeover, I think most of us groan at the site, not the company because of COURSE the company would want that and it’s the site’s responsibility to say no. Remember, game developers are not in the business of journalism and them not having journalistic integrity doesn’t matter to them. Any real criticism of gaming news should be independent of those offering the money, yet somehow Quinn has garnered more hate than Kotaku for all of this. Kotaku’s integrity matters for the industry. Quinn’s does not.

Then their is the whole “feminists are corrupting game journalism” stuff which is just hilarious nonsense.

I think the sad thing after all this is that there is probably no actual solution to any of this. Movie reviews tend to be more honest because the industry is set up in such a way that… There are tons of reviewers and those reviews appear in papers that people used to buy and if seen on websites now, are with advertising stuff not necessarily related to movies. It’s insular and with other cash sources. I would imagine that it’s getting a lot rougher on movie reviewers now, but the culture of that industry never seemed to be “pay for good reviews” since the returns were so low in trying to do so (instead you’d just block reviews until release if your movie sucked :P). Game reviews get their money now from the industy. From there ads, from their site take overs, for doing in depth previews and even then they don’t make a whole lot of money. We’d have to pay more money to hope to get reviews free of other moneyed interests and with patreon that’s possible, but I feel like in a lot of cases, those journalists will be uncomfortably bound to us. “Hm, I could talk about this important issue that might piss off a lot of people paying for my content or I could just shut my mouth and say this is great”. That’s probably something someone has ALREADY thought about and there is probably someone who lost a whole lot of patrons by opening their mouth.

But hey you can all worry about that, I haven’t read a game review to inform a buying decision in like a decade. That’s what friends are for.

Addendum: So just some more food for thought here.

Quinn slept with five guys. One of them worked for Kotaku. That person wrote one line about depression quest, before they were even dating. Which makes the idea that this is “journalistic corruption” even more laughable and also makes it obvious that she probably just wanted to fuck the guy (because why wouldn’t she maybe want to fuck someone who lived near her and also had an interest in video games?). With the way people talk about it, you’d think she fucked five journalists to get big writeups or something.

(Post has been edited to better reflect this addendum and correct some misinformation. God the internet had me convinced there was more than one journalist but instead nerds are just obsessed with her sexlife)

18 thoughts on “#GameGate Nonsense

  1. Thank you, Kayin, thank you so much. Especially the last bit, because that’s the short and straight of it: there’s absolutely no evidence that she even committed the crime people accused her of. None. Nada. Zero.

    And I could scarcely agree more with “Then their is the whole “feminists are corrupting game journalism” stuff which is just hilarious nonsense.” except for one thing: I can’t quite find it as amusing when (a few) people who spout that rubbish proceed to send death threats and whatnot…

    Honestly, this whole episode (and the whole Anita thing) has been pathetic and ‘gamers’ really need to grow up a bit.

    And for your main point, well, I agree and it’s tricky problem; one partial solution is to look at reviews from newspapers that do them, although they only have a limited scope. I would like to add, though, that this issue has been well known since at least Dan Hsu’s famous editorial for EGM back in 2005 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dan_Hsu), i.e., nearly 10 years ago!

    For people to latch on to this like they have, well, here’s an interesting opinion that summarizes a position that I (partially) agree with:


  2. It’s incredible because while I knew some of the claims were a little sketchy, I didn’t know quite how bad they were until I spent the time to dig for them. I’m surprised less people are mentioning that. Like it’s downright offensive that this is the “five guys” Scandel to some when most of those dudes are irrelevant to the issue to anything outside of judgements of Zoe Quinn as a person(which we really shouldn’t care about it).

    I feel like The Onion headline for feminists in gaming stuff would be like “Gamers worried that Growing Up is destroying Games”. But yeah, death threats are terrible and, while they seem to mostly come from gamers, DO come from both sides. I’m on tumblr enough to see that. Always kills me when I see that because it’s like “please don’t become what you hate”.

    And yeah that doesn’t surprise me at all, but it’s cool to see a name put to someone who was talking about that. I see a lot of journalists mention it now (or even actively JOKING about it) but it really doesn’t seem to stick with th epublic, who are still mostly like “DO BETTER… SOMEHOW!”

    Also I’ve read the Dan Golding post! I think he (and others) jumped the gun a bit (maybe by a few years) but right or wrong currently, thats pretty much where we’re going and good riddance really. The “Gamer” label is so artificially insular for no good reason. :(

    Anyways thanks for the positive feedback and I’m glad you enjoyed the article!

  3. Yeah… it really, really beggars belief. And I love how so many people apparently think that imgur pictures plus irrational arguments somehow constitute irrefutable evidence of something.

    Oh, of course, as they say, this is the internet, and there’s always going to be absolute GIFTs who will act in the worst way possible in side of the debate. I was actually referring to reports that Anita apparently had to leave her house due to the severity and/or credibility of the threats at one point, which is beyond the pale…

    Yes! The classic things suck, we want change, without actually specifying what that change should be. I’d have a few suggestions, but this is a deeply rooted problem with no easy answers.

    That’s one of the things that I didn’t quite agree with, I don’t think it’s quite the end yet (and see some misguided people who are just going with the flow), but I love the paradox of it all: ‘gamers’ have been demanding that gaming be treated seriously and be held as mainstream for decades, and now that it’s finally being achieved, this kind of reaction comes out. Like yourself, I’ll be happy when people can enjoy games without being labeled as anything, quite frankly.

    Thanks for replying, and, above all, for the initial text! Thing is for me, most sites didn’t really talk too much about this whole mess for a good while, which made me feel very isolated, when all I could see was ‘shouting’ from the idiots, so I’m happy to see someone like yourself commenting on the situation in a thought-out manner.

  4. Someone publishing an article about a friend’s free game is a non-event either way. Although, my understanding of this hashtag is it was created in reaction to the ten or so articles about bringing the “end of gamers” and how the word gamer needs to be burned to the ground, which was a doubling-down on refusing to listen to the insane mob RE: Anita and Zoe… but in a way that purposely caught a lot of people in the crossfire. If we take gamer to mean someone who plays video games, like “viewer” or “reader,” I don’t think tarring everyone with this brush is helpful at all. It’s a messy situation. And all that’s really clear is nobody is going to come out of it very well.

  5. “my understanding of this hashtag is it was created in reaction to the ten or so articles about bringing the “end of gamers” and how the word gamer needs to be burned to the ground”

    No, the hashtag totally started with the Quinn thing:

    And… really everything since has been this poorly organized weirdly ambitious triple-bluff coverup from a bunch of 4chan kiddies to throw people off how they’re just kinda going down the list of women in game design/the press and trying to harass them until they quit and kill themselves.

  6. Hah, while it obviously was always started because of Quinn, I didn’t know it was so… transparently about something that didn’t even happen.

  7. That’s nothing. Not only did it start with furor over a review that was never written, but all the planning and organization of riling up a big angry mob (with all the layers and astroturfing tactics was all planned out… right out in the open, in a thread constantly at the top of /v/ and also in a non-private IRC channel… which Quinn was personally quietly logging and passing to the FBI the entire time.

    Proving the whole thing to be a big ol’ misogyny fueled sham has been so low-effort from day 1 that it would be absolutely hysterical if not for all the horrifying damage done to the lives of Phil Fish and… nearly every single notable woman who writes about videogames? I can only think of one off hand I didn’t personally witness the hate cannon being aimed at (and I’m sure as heck going to actually name her at this point).

  8. Yeah, that was a wonderful thing to see when I woke up today (yesterday?). I lost my shit reading the tidbits she posted.

    “I’m a game developer. Do you seriously think I don’t understand how the internet works?”

  9. I will just stick with the facts, and leave their interpretations for others.

    Zoe had slept with Nathan Grayson before he wrote positively about her game on Rock Paper Shotgun. This has been proven, and I can link you to the relevant material. I don’t know why you believe otherwise (except for taking Stephen Totillo’s word for it, who took Grayson’s word for it himself), but your addendum is incorrect.

    You also completely ignore Zoe using media connections to destroy The Fine Young Capitalists’s contest to get women in game development.

    You ignore journalsits directly sponsoring Zoe through Patreon.

    You ignore Zoe taking donations for a Game Jam with no date that go into her personal bank account.

    You ignore Zoe lying about being mugged to procure more donations.

    You completely ignore Zoe faking an attack by Wizardchan.

    You completely ignore Zoe and Phil Fish faking a doxxing.

    You completely ignore Zoe not donating to either iFred or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, two charities listed under Depression Quest.

    You completely ignore Patricia Hernandez not revealing she slept with a developer whose games she pimped, or was living at the house of another developer she praised. (As well as various other journalistic malfeasance that has come out of this)

    Perhaps most importantly, you ignore Zoe using bogus DMCA claims to censor information getting out about this, or people freely discussing it.

    And additionally, you have ignored how much the major gaming sites have censored this, going to the point of deleting thousands of comments and telling their writers they will be fired for covering it.

  10. That comment there just gave me the biggest laugh I’ve had all night. Thank you for being such a hilarious living parody of these trolls’ talking points, JohnnyBoy.

  11. *Refuses to address any factual points, makes a personal insult*. Thank you for being such a predictable carbon copy (sadly, not even a parody) of the cultist’s defense of the shameful corruption within games journalism, “Googleshng”. You’re a slightly more cogent version of the 13 year-old chortling at writing “fuck you” in an Internet discussion.

  12. Disappointing, Kayin. I only mentioned factual issues in my reply above, not any interpretation of them.

    Instead of responding like an adult, you’re engaging in ad hominem like a 13 year-old. Sadly, I can’t even call you a parody. Name-calling instead of having a discussion is common behavior for the “side” you have decided to hitch your wagon to.

  13. No, you posted a bunch of discredited crap and now some paranoid bullshit. I have nothing to gain from engaging with you. Topic is over, no future comments by you will be approved. I’ll let whatever you said here stand on it’s own and let people make of it what they will.

  14. Oh boy now he’s making claims about censorship and wondering what happened to me clearly someone hasn’t read my articles “censorship” and “moderating”. :P

  15. I’m still just amazed he came in with all those “facts” so far into this month. Like, on the timescale of internet harassment campaigns, he basically just came in shouting about the shocking new medical advancements- Bloodletting and trepaning!

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