There are a lot of people who play video games that are known as gamers. I literally work for a website called TheGamer and I think so too. Also yes, TheGamer. No space. Gaming is one of the most popular hobbies in the world, and representation on screen, in development studios, and in journalism is more diverse than ever. In the boardroom, not so much, but hey – no one is perfect. There are many games and characters to play and yet no one wants to be a gamer. Who can blame them – this week has shown gamers the worst and it’s hard to know how to stop it.
There are a lot of common gamer elements that have become so acceptable that we can’t even register them. I wrote last year when a female valerian streamer was told to go back to hello – despite the usual sexist callout to ‘go back to valence’ – it’s basically impossible for women to play games without being told it’s not for them. There are exceptions to low-combat games like Animal Crossing, although many toxic gamers will tell you that they are not real games. These are wargames – the only way to win is not to play.
Then there is the widespread racism in gaming communities. PewDiePie is one of the most recognizable figures in gaming, despite his use of the N-word, which has itself been meme as a ‘gamer moment’. Twitch on iShowSpeed may have been perma-banned, but his violent sexist and unpleasant offensive style of streaming has given him a huge, impressive audience. FaZe Clan, one of the most famous organizations in gaming, recently banned another member for using the word N-. I have lost count of how many times this has happened in all the different organs. The representation of gaming is getting better, but the stage is set to get even worse for the audience. We have recently written to a large corner of society as sexist and racist. While labeling them as ‘gamers’, we are clearly endorsing their behavior. It’s just something that gamers do and it’s always been like that, right?
Concerning more specific events, remembering that the longer we let the ‘players play once again’ mentality, the longer we accept that things like this are a regular part of one of the most popular pastimes on the planet.
A new Monkey Island game was recently revealed in full, including a brand new art genre. I’ll be honest, I don’t really like it. The cowbrush looks like a slightly rotten banana and the whole thing reminds me of one of those British 90s cartoons that was made for me just to see The Simpsons, Rugretts and Doug America. My reaction to this art style is, ‘Yeah, I don’t really like it.’ The development team did not want to send threatening messages. Unfortunately, not everyone shared my opinion. While there are some 60/40 foot rumors of hating against the new direction, 40 percent of those who oppose it seem to have come together and thrown dirty underwear on Ron Gilbert’s head.
This, unfortunately, is a common form of gamer rage. Fans of God of War Ragnarok are more creative. God of War is the biggest game to be released this year, but it currently has no release date and fans are salivating more than once. Fans who will definitely buy this game on the first day are eager to see its promotion right now. I have used ‘fans’ over and over there because I have seen the argument that these people are not fans of war, the ‘true’ gods. These people have framed artwork of collector’s versions, tattoos, custom controllers, posters, action figures, quotes. They are bigger fans than you. They are the biggest fans on the planet. This is what mainstream gaming is all about, and you have to be honest about it.
When Alanah Pierce joined the God of War development team, we saw signs of this. Pierce is one of the sexiest people in modern gaming and at the first sign of delay, She was threatened with rape And his own obscene deep fake, blaming her completely for the delay. This week, when rumors of Ragnarok’s release date came and went, another female god in the studio revealed that she had been sent numerous dick photos, saying that if she told the sender the release date, the harassment campaign would end. He knows when to buy a toy that he will definitely buy.
It was ridiculed as much as it was criticized. Stupid little gamer and his silly little penis pictures. But it’s a sexual harassment campaign that is being carried out out of love for the artwork that helps create it. It’s horrible that this is happening and it’s ridiculous that we just put these incidents on the heap of excuses and say “gamers will be gamers.” We should be more careful about gaming than sliding it all, communicate only when we can get a cheap smile from a dunk tweet, when the undercurrent of hatred and harassment grows. Gamers will only become gamers when we stop them. It’s a start that Corey Barlog has repeatedly called these God of War fans and publicly stands by his team (and unlike Drakman, it’s less prone to making it all about himself), but that’s just the beginning. For all the progress on screen, we all need to be aware that many people in the gaming audience have been allowed to stay safe and secure in the discrimination of the past.
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