#GamerGate: The Players and the Played

I’ve been wanting to write on #GamerGate for a long time. But this pretty much sums up the Sarkeesian angle. Then there is the fact that trading favors for positive reviews—in any manner, whether for coin, jobs, or in the horizontal position–is not just wrong, it’s so unethical as to render the person unfit for any work above Food Service the rest of their lives.

And to be clear, the payment of favors for positive reviews is NOT a new thing in gaming. Stepping into the wayback machine, there is the infamous example of Ascendancy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ascendancy_(video_game) Where the game reviewer wrote the barking STRATEGY GUIDE. Uh…yeah.

The lack of ethics in game reviews is not a new problem. Blaming the gamers for the lack of ethics in reviews, OTOH is a new, salacious low.

Paula Wright

The #GamerGate controversy reached a new high (or low depending on your perspective) recently when one of its main protagonists, the radical feminist and cultural critic, Anita Sarkeesian, was featured on the front page of the New York Times. Ironically, in view of the focus of her criticism about passive female characterization in video games, she herself was cast as the “damsel in distress”, under threat from active male protagonists.

Ostensibly, headlines like this are a direct validation of her work. Sarkeesian asserts that video games directly contribute to a culture of gendered violence in real life and – hey presto – there it is!  

But are radical feminist claims about games promoting violent norms really correct?  Studies of violence in video games say no. Last year the U.S. Supreme Court evaluated the evidence and came to a disappointing conclusion for people, like Sarkeesian, who are fond…

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