Was Gamergate a Prediction of Trump and Brexit?

Was Gamergate a Prediction of Trump and Brexit?

The establishment is currently the most hated upon group there is. Feminists deride it as being misogynist and unwilling to change. The Right Wing deride it as changing too much and being too politically correct. Liberals claim it is autocratic and a rich boys club, whilst Conservatives claim it is too liberal and rewarding people based on quotas and skin colour rather than merit.

The problem most people have, is really agreeing on what the establishment actually is. For many people, it is simply those in power, the government. For others this extends to rich people and those with connections to those in power. Some even consider any institution that has considerable sway over the country as part of the establishment, such as the big financial institutions in London or Wall Street in America. For some people the establishment is just the inter-governmental groups, such as the EU or UN, and not individual nation states governments. Others even believe it is something popular or influential, such as large newspapers and broadcasting corporations. This all adds up to create a shadow enemy that can be whatever one wants it to be, it is the resisting force to whatever change one wants to make, the opposition to the individuals crusade.

It’s in this post-consensus climate that Gamergate emerged. If you ask five different people in the gaming community what Gamergate was about, I guarantee none of the answers will be the same. For some it was simple, it was about more transparency in gaming journalism. Some went further, and wanted more transparency from developers and publishers too, as well as hardware manufacturers. Some believed it was about the state of developers catering for the changing demographics of gamers, inserting more females and minorities into games, and creating LGBT characters. Others thought it was about the community at large, and how we respond and treat one another in a changing world. Many thought it was about protecting a ‘gamer’ identity. For a large amount it was just an opportunity to attack people they didn’t like or respect. It was an absolute mess, and was never a coherent cause or debate.

This confusion is where my first point stems from. I was very involved in the remain campaign during the EU referendum, and I debated with a lot of people. The vote meant a different thing to everyone, there were people that believed they were fighting against a foreign power, some that thought they were defeating corruption, some that believed it to be about trade and the economy, for many it was just immigration, but there was a single theme I picked up on from most of the people I talked to that backed leave – a sense of disenfranchisement. They all felt they were in some way or another losing their community, losing control of what they loved, an identity they thought they had slipping away. This forms the basis of what Gamergate would eventually become, a decrepit group of narcissists wanting to isolate the gaming community from change, turning it against any kind of real debate into a revealing commentary on the very real issues of race and sex, that many people thought gone.

If you were involved during Gamergate at all, then you will know what I am talking about. People acted as if the various top websites and gaming journalists were some sort of government of the gaming community, and we had to fight them. The relationship between a consumer and producer was gone – this was personal, and to a lot of people, it was everything. For me, I could never get my head around it. It just wasn’t that important to me – these were news outlets for a hobby, they didn’t have any responsibility in society like broadsheets or the tabloid press do, if you didn’t like their opinions, simply don’t read them. In retrospect, I can see the similarities. People felt these sites were in charge of the community, and they were pushing progressive views they didn’t like, and therefore they had to fight both at the same time in order to preserve their vision of the community – exactly the same way Trump supporters wanted to preserve their view of America and leave supporters their view of Britain.

Of course, what Gamergate was originally about is a moot point. Whether or not some gaming publications were paid for good reviews, or that their staff slept with gaming developers and game them more exposure doesn’t matter, because that’s not what it became. It was taken over almost instantly by the worst people in the community, who twisted it in whatever way they could. For them, women had to be their exact, perfect vision of a ‘gamer girl’ (hate that term) or they had to be expelled from the community. It became about women proving themselves when they shouldn’t have to, about them having to live up to certain standards or they wouldn’t be accepted. It was in effect, sexist. Because there was no formal ‘vote’ or any kind of event that ended Gamergate, the battles were mostly fought across the web in forums, on social media, Reddit and via the comments section on YouTube. People joke about the kind of filth you can find in these places – but those are real people. For a long time people have been different on the internet, either the worst or best version of themselves, unleashing all their views and darkest opinions behind a keyboard without worry, it wasn’t real life. People are now like that in real life. The masks people have been wearing are slowly being removed, the keyboard is being swapped with the megaphone.

For years, we have lived in a generally tolerant society. Racist and Sexist voices were pushed to the bottom, ignored by mainstream society and not given a soapbox. They did not have a platform, so their views hardened, and they became more angry with being outcasts. Gamergate was a chance for them to finally group together and become the loudest voice, the tolerant among us could not keep them down any longer and they rose to the surface, bringing their vitriol with them and creating an echo chamber amongst them that only caused the opinions to become more extreme. It evolved into mudslinging and arguments.

The difficulty tolerant and generally progressive people have, is that we aren’t used to that type of fight. Most of us are used to reasoned debate, based on facts and figures, and a calm discussion of opinion. We aren’t equipped to battle with people that just shout and curse, and don’t care when they are presented with any kind of opposing viewpoint. We lost the fight to remain, and we lost the fight against Trump. Anti-Establishment and disenfranchisement fused with right wing values of independence and selfishness to create the ‘alt-right’. Gamergate was the first example of the true face of society. Everyone thought things were different, the gaming community was just a harsh anomaly, not really representative of the wider world. We should have seen it coming.

If you’re interested in the basics on the history of Gamergate, Gawker wrote a pretty good article. It’s linked here. This was simply my opinion on how the vile outpouring of harassment and misplaced identity that emerged from Gamergate has had clear parallels and most likely effects upon society at large. What do you think? Let me know in the comments section below. (Civilly, if you don’t mind).

Related posts

Diablo III: Death of the Auction House

Diablo III: Death of the Auction House

Finally, after nearly two years of “service”, the Diablo III  gold and real-money auction houses have officially shut down today as part of the preparations being made for the arrival of Reaper of Souls. Anyone with items and bids currently active though shouldn’t panic; auctions will expire...

Retrospective: Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater

Retrospective: Tony Hawk's Pro Skater

Back then, everything looked lovely. Playing today and it feels like I’ve downed a bottle of Jack Daniels whilst trying to do handstands on a speedboat.

Pocket Fun #1

Pocket Fun #1

Mobile gaming has exploded in the last few years and allows developers to think in new and exciting directions as the way we interact with this medium evolves. Five years ago, if wanted to play Sonic the Hedgehog, I’d have to dig out my Mega Drive and plug it into my TV. Today, I can load it up...

How has multiplayer gaming changed over the last decade?

How has multiplayer gaming changed over the last decade?

For those of us old enough to remember the chaos of LAN parties in a dimly lit room, we probably have extremely fond memories of multiplayer gaming, but how does that compare, ten years down the line?

My Two Pence on Sexism in the Gaming Community

My Two Pence on Sexism in the Gaming Community

However, a few years ago it was a choice of one of two evils: play online with your friends, the community, and risk outside abuse; or play single player campaigns and be labelled a shut-in.

RETROspective: Resident Evil Gaiden

RETROspective: Resident Evil Gaiden

With series favourite Barry Burton, returning in Revelations 2, what better time to look at his forgotten game, Gaiden.

EA Are Killing Off Their Corrupt Tactics – But Maybe Not

EA Are Killing Off Their Corrupt Tactics - But Maybe Not

EA are getting rid of their corrupt business tactics from the past but is it a kind new leaf they've turned, or are there more nefarious goals at work here?

Has Battlefront Lost Its Soul?

Has Battlefront Lost Its Soul?

I didn't want to play Star Wars Battlefield, I wanted Star Wars Battlefront.

10 Cards To Watch From M15 – Preview

10 Cards To Watch From M15 - Preview

 Article by Dave Cooke With the Magic 2015 Core Set's arrival fast approaching and the prerelease just around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to have a look at the set on behalf of all you spellslinging Voleticans out there. Unfortunately I won't be attending a prerelease myself...

2 Comments

  1. avatar
    PleasantKenobi January 5, 2017
    Reply

    Personally, I can’t help but feel that ‘anti-establishment’ rhetoric, or politicians attacking the ‘politically correct’ is all smoke and mirrors. It allows them to create an ‘other’ to deride and denounce to distract from their own horse shit. Farage did it. Then Trump did it. Hopefully, one day we will learn.

    • Profile photo of Jordan
      Jordan January 5, 2017
      Reply

      Its very true. Political correctness has become politically incorrect. Trump can get elected – that should prove to people that it doesn’t exist. In essence all it ever was was what politicians could say and still be elected – it really does say a lot about society.

Leave a Reply