Listen to me say great nuanced things like “Ocarina of Time is a terrible game” and “gamers are insignificant”. There’s probably a reason I’m paid to write and not to speak. Anyway, this was a good conversation that I really enjoyed having.
Episode 88 - Opening the Gate with Brendan Keogh
BRENDAN KEOGH, video game critic and journalist, returns to Debatable to iron out a major controversy hitting the industry right now. We talk GamerGate, Anita Sarkeesian & Feminist Frequency, misogyny, journalistic ethics, and we explore the many sides of one of the highest profile movements in the history of video games. This is where detractors and progressives are really butting heads. We also get a chance to chat about “Alien: Isolation.” Deep conversation. Enjoy!
I was having a conversation with a fairly polite gamergater…
Brendan Keogh’s Website
Brendan Keogh on Twitter
Watch Brendan play “Alien: Isolation” on Twitch
A smattering of GamerGate-related articles:
"Feminist Critics of Video Games Facing Threats in ‘GamerGate’ Campaign” by Nick Wingfield
“Anita Sarkeesian on GamerGate: ‘We Have a Problem and We’re Going to Fix This’” by Sean T. Collins
“On GamerGate: A letter from the editor” By Christopher Grant
“10 Lessons The Gaming Industry Must Learn from #GamerGate” by Jordan Ephraim
“#GamerGate – An Issue with Two Sides” by Allum Bokhari
“Gamergate: The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back” by Troy-Jeffrey Allen
Music on this podcast:
Artist: De La Soul - Song: Keepin’ the Faith - Album: De La Soul is Dead
Artist: Bright Blac - Song: Come on Through
Copyrights are owned by the artists and their labels. No money is made from this podcast.
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cokiyu - Mirror Flake (2011) - “In The Air (Ametsub Remix)”
accomplishment: making a cat sound at a cat and the cat makes a cat sound back
reblogging this again just to say: if you havent seen this yet you really need to
this vine is just so excellent. the way that second guy just jumps in. the voice. the back shot and the dissonance of the FUCK OFF. this vine is a work of art.
possibly my favourite scene from anything ever
ok what the hell is the x files
Anonymous said: Oh I didn't know about zack, those same three questions for zack
Anonymous said: What are tom and jess': preferred pronouns, hobbies, favorite music
they also both like camping! they spent a lot of their free time camping in the woods with jess’ brother zack, and share a real love of being outside in nature.
hey, while we’re at it *slides across desk* you wanna, uh, make things interesting *gives you business card* meet me at this address at 8 and you can ASK ME ABOUT MY CHARACTERS all you want, big boy *you look at the card* *its a link to my ask box*
fisher and i did art trades over the weekend and i got them to draw thomas (MULTIPLE TIMES) and jess (ONCE)!! im posting this because i love it and have 0 pics of either of them on my blog for now
NEW ALBUM: “Floating Rooms” is out now!
You can stream / download from my bandcamp here. The price is $10 with the option to tip more if you’d like.
This is my first album since “Thank You” and I really feel I’ve made huge leaps forward since then. If you folks could help spread this like WILDFIRE I would greatly, greatly appreciate it. And I really hope this finds you well and that you enjoy the heck out of it.
Let’s help spread the word! <3
I’ve been thinking a lot about gamergate and power and silence lately. Mostly from a desperate desire to do something about this whole mess that is seeing a roving, angry mob pick out and violently attack one great women developer/critic after another for well over a month now. Well over a month. The anti-gg crowd (what I like to call “normal human beings capable of empathy”) is pretty fairly split, I think, between those who don’t want the fuel the fire and think gg is something best ignored (certainly, it doesn’t deserve our time or effort) and those who think it need to be actively countered.
One thing I’ve seen time and time again is editors and developers (mostly dudes) expressing bewilderment and sorrow that this has gone on for as long as it has, that is hasn’t died out yet. These dudes generally (and totally well intentionally) said nothing when things broke out a month ago, because they didn’t want to give it the attention it wanted. And fair enough! But now, a month later, it is still going, more and more women are being literally driven from their homes, and it does not look like it is slowing down.
A hypothesis: Gamergate is more powerful than we are.
An elaboration: we all know that gamergate, despite what its followers might intend or even believe, is essentially a (sometimes violent) defence of the status quo. It is those most privileged in games culture (young men who like particular kinds of empowering games) defending the top of their hill against those more diverse kinds of games creators and critics who dare attack their privilege. They are seeing the games they like go from being about 90% of all videogames down to about, oh I don’t know, 75% (at best). And that feels like a real attack on them! So they are defending the status quo. Now, if they are defending the status quo, then that suggests that they are the ones with more power and that we (those more in favour of diverse and progressive games cultures that isn’t afraid of criticism or indie games or walking sims or twine or whatever) are the margins trying to effect change and make space for more people. That’s what we’ve been doing for ages, I guess, but now we’ve squeezed the pimple of game culture to its pussy head and its not very happy about this.
So gamergate then are the ones with all the power because they are the status quo. That is not to say they are majority, but I think posts like this one that point out just what a minority they are run the risk of being like those kind of posts that point out white people are a minority in America now: quantity isn’t everything. ‘Gamers’ have been the underwhelming minority of videogame players for a long time, and they are only becoming less and less significant to broader play cultures. This is totally true. But they still hold a lot of the power, because that’s where the power has always been, especially through the 80s and 90s as the gamer identity was cultivated by games journalism and marketing as I’ve already discussed. So just as white people still hold the vast majority of the power in Western countries that may now have more non-white citizens than white citizens, the core homogenous gamer culture still holds a whole heap of the power in games, even if most videogame players are not gamers. They are the ones AAA publishers care about. They are the ones most core games journalism outlets cater to.
This is why I don’t think silence is necessarily going to achieve anything, because the silence of the marginalised is what the status quo depends on to keep its power. That’s kind of how it works.
I’ve seen people say, frustrated, that the only people they’ve seen speak out against gamergate are those with the most to lose: women, indies, freelancers, bloggers, etc. This is absolutely true in the sense that it is these people who are most likely to suffer violence against their person (or their income) for expressing an interest in diversity or empathy in game cultures. But, in a way, it’s also not true in that all those craven (yes, craven) game journalists with huge core audiences who have said nothing have a whole heap to lose if they say anything: the support of the status quo. This isn’t me trying to defend those people for their silence (rather, I am fuming at them) but rather to stress a point: every games journalism outlet who has not publicly condemned gamergate is either explicitly or implicitly worried about pissing gamergate off. Not because they are worried about violences against themselves the way every woman who has bravely spoken up is, but because they don’t want to lose a readership. It is craven.
So this has been going on for a month now. Over a month. The violences are still happening. Because this isn’t some little extremist group of 4chan nerds but it is core gamer culture making a last bid to hold onto the power it greedily hogs that should be distributed equally across gamers, casual players, indies, zinesters, everything, every one. Jumping into the hashtag and yelling at people doesn’t help. It only pours fuel on the flame. I did this myself a bit before I realised (was told) that this was me abusing my own privilege as a dude who wasn’t going to get death threats just to indulge my own catharsis while achieving nothing. Just whacking a beehive where the pissed off bees would just go sting someone else. So silence isn’t the answer, but neither is a direct attack.
Gamergate is the status quo. So attacking them to drive them out isn’t going to work anymore than surrounding an army on the top of the hill is a successful way to get that army to leave the hill (military metaphors? idk).
So talking to them will achieve nothing, but they need to be talked about. If not for them then for the much larger silent majority that can easily get sucked into that whirlpool. And, more importantly, so that all those feeling more and more alienated by games culture can see they have support.
What I’ve been trying (and failing) to build up to for three paragraphs is this: every core games journalism outlet should be writing editorials and op-eds explicitly condemning and distancing themselves from gamergate. They should be saying they do not support it. They should be saying they find their tactics vile. Beyond this, they should be reporting on every vile deed of the movement. Any core games journalism outlet that actually cares about contributing to games culture in a positive way, in making this a more inclusive culture, should be doing everything in their power to actively dismantle and disempower gamergate. Especially (if not exclusively) all those male games journalists at all those male-dominated games journalism outlets who have so little to lose from doing so.
This probably isn’t going to happen.
Instead The Escapist goes out of their way to make it look like their are ‘two sides’ of the debate worthy of engagement and Pocket Gamer panders to the hashtag mob. And everywhere else says nothing. Because gamergate are the status quo. Gamergate are their audience.
Of course, not everywhere has stayed silent. New York Times, New Yorker, The Guardian, Overland, The New Statesman, Paste, Vice, The Vine, and a stack of other journalism outlets who are not solely focused on games (read: for whom gamers are not the primary target audience) have been scathing of gamergate (and,yes, a couple have posted ill-considered op-eds showing ‘both sides’, like that terrible Al Jazeera piece).
Frankly, the sheer radio silence from most core games journalism outlets staffed predominately or entirely by men in full- or part-time games journalism jobs is nothing short of embarrassing, and continues to be so.(Games On Net are one of the few commendable exceptions I know of).
So I want to see more outlets condemn and scathe and distance themselves. But I don’t think that is going to happen.
Instead, I feel actually happy when another amazing writer in games ‘leaves’ games journalism behind to go and write for outlets that are not game-centric, that talk about games-and-other-things. Because if games journalism isn’t going to stand up to gamergate, then gamergate can have its PR echos and reviews written about framerates and screen resolutions. Create a quarantine zone and those of us who are actually interest in videogames as a cultural form amidst other cultural forms can go and write and read for outlets that aren’t interested in putting videogames on some untouchable pedestal for consumers.
I guess all I’m trying to say is if you work for a games journalism outlet that has not condemned gamergate yet, you are working for a games journalism outlet that supports gamergate. And I will not read an outlet that supports gamergate.